A tale of three cities: Emerging from the pandemic…or not

New York City, New York. Cleveland, Ohio. Williamston, South Carolina.

In the height of the pandemic, nearly every community looked similar. Schools were closed.  Restaurants were closed. Families stayed home. 

As our world is emerging from the pandemic, there is a distinct division in our communities that was clearly articulated by the three librarians who participated in a recent panel for publishers who create content for schools and public libraries.…Read More

Student-centered learning lessons from the Future Ready Library Summit

As students across the country began heading back to classrooms, a couple hundred library leaders participated in one of this summer’s Future Ready Library Summits. The guiding principle driving the agenda of this professional development opportunity for librarians was simple: students–or rather, student-centered learning. 

During the Summit, we reflected on the fact that in some cases, the students who will be returning to the classroom haven’t been in a formal school setting in a year and a half.  They are returning to the classroom, changed in many ways.  First graders may be walking into school having spent kindergarten on Zoom.  Freshmen may be entering high school after spending eighth grade being home schooled by a parent. 

As every librarian in the virtual audience was challenged to be empathetic to the challenges the return to school may bring for some students, each was also encouraged to acknowledge the progress the pandemic forced upon us. Today, students readily access digital resources. They understand the norms associated with virtual group discussion. Teachers are more comfortable delivering differentiated instruction through multiple channels.  After a year and a half of turmoil, we’ve made progress that should be celebrated.…Read More

5 must-haves for school makerspaces

School makerspaces have emerged as centers of creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and more. These skills–often referred to as soft skills, but also known as durable skills for their importance in the workplace–are a focus of 21st-century classrooms.

These days, school libraries often include makerspaces and librarians are becoming well-versed in the coding, robotics, engineering, and tinkering skills necessary to help students bring their ideas to fruition.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, students set up personal makerspaces at home, logging onto school-provided resources and gathering materials from their homes to keep their creativity going when learning moved online.…Read More

Facing the future through Future Ready

In Part I of this series, I reflected on the journey that led Follett Learning to Future Ready Librarians® and why the time has never been better for librarians to transform their programs using Future Ready tools. 

Now, let’s explore the most important question: Where do you start?

I used to advise librarians to pick a wedge of the Future Ready Librarians framework that aligned with their school’s or district’s strategic objectives. Today, aspiring Future Ready Librarians have a new Self-Assessment Tool designed to assess their strengths and areas of growth related to the Future Ready Librarians framework. Where are you on your Future Ready journey?   …Read More

Pandemic Leads to a Significant Increase in Streaming Video Usage That is Expected to Continue, Study Shows

As more people stayed at home during 2020 due to the pandemic, they were streaming a lot more videos for reasons beyond just entertainment. This trend is expected to continue over the next three years, prompting many public libraries to transition their budgets from DVDs to streaming and prepare for changes and challenges.

This finding, along with others, was revealed in a recent survey conducted by Kanopy, a company committed to streaming high-quality films that inspire, educate and entertain to libraries around the globe. More than 730 librarians, primarily in the U.S., participated, and a full report is freely available to anyone who registers here.

“Kanopy is extremely grateful to the hundreds of librarians who took the time and effort to participate in our survey,” said Kanopy CEO Kevin Sayar. “Their invaluable input will help inform our product development and allow us to better serve the public library community and the patrons they serve.”…Read More

Kanopy Enhances Kanopy Kids with Short Films from Sesame Workshop and Highlights

According to a soon-to-be released Kanopy survey of more than 730 librarians — primarily in the U.S. –50% of public libraries believe it is their responsibility to provide their local K-12 schools with streaming films that support their curriculum. Despite that, just over 14% say they are currently collaborating with local schools to help meet their needs.

To help facilitate collaboration between public libraries and the communities they serve, Kanopy is adding a dozen Spanish-language videos from Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street,and 30 films from Highlights to Kanopy Kids. This carefully curated collection now includes a growing selection of more than 1,500 educational, age appropriate videos with parental controls covering topics from STEM to history and story time.

“Parents, educators and librarians know that having access to quality content is important,” said Darryl Eschete, Director of the West Des Moines Public Library. “The educational and instructional films that Kanopy offers helps our library make sure that we meet the strategic goal of supporting education and making content appropriate to all grade levels accessible wherever our patrons are.”…Read More

In an uncertain fall, remote assessments and focus skills offer clarity

Teachers around the country have a lot of questions this fall. How will the lack of summative assessment data from last spring impact the school year? How quickly can I determine what students may have missed in the chaotic close of the 2019–2020 school year? Are remote assessments accurate? How can I parse the interim and formative assessment data of incoming students and focus on the areas that will provide the greatest return?

The answers will vary from school to school, but across the board, assessment is going to be critical in getting students back on track.

Missing and Remote Assessments: Do We Have the Data We Need?…Read More

4 Reasons to Run a District-wide Reading Challenge

Most librarians are familiar with reading challenges — the challenge format is a type of reading program that provides a more engaging way to get students to read. Challenges give students a set of goals to accomplish within a defined period of time.

Libraries and schools around the country run all sorts of reading challenges, and there are lots of ways to do it, themes to use, and ways to promote it — if you’re thinking of running one, feel free to take our quiz to see what type of challenge would work best for you.

But reading challenges don’t have to be run by one teacher or media specialist independently. Many K12 educators are finding success with reading challenges at the district level as a way to engage all their schools and students at once. It’s easier to get started than launching multiple individual school/grade level challenges all over the area, and students (and their parents) stay more engaged when they hear it promoted more broadly.…Read More

Keep kids reading all summer long

As parents, educators, public librarians and community leaders, we applaud all you have done for your children and students to keep them learning through unprecedented closing of schools. As we enter the summer months there is no doubt we are all continuing to adjust to this new reality together. Now more than ever it is critically important to keep kids engaged in summer reading to ensure their academic success in the fall. Scholastic is committed to providing at-home learning over the summer months with Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza.   Learn more now