6 time-saving tech tricks for school librarians

Is there an educator on the planet who would turn down a bit more time in their day?

With time-saving technology strategies, school librarians can find ways to connect with their school’s teachers and students on a deeper level, forming relationships and helping with research and skill development.

During an ISTELive session, Kristina A. Holzweiss, a high school educational technology enrichment specialist librarian, shared her tips to help school librarians engage with students, support teachers, and make their school libraries dynamic and welcoming learning spaces.…Read More

K-12 Students Access 100 Million+ Digital Books from their Schools with Sora Reading App

CLEVELAND – June 7, 2022 – Digital book access for reading and listening for K-12 students has reached a milestone. Students using the free Sora student reading app have now accessed more than 100 million books from their school’s digital collections since Sora launched in 2018. Sora is the award-winning student reading app available in more than 53,000 schools worldwide.

As schools transition to increased use of digital books and reading technologies, educators and school librarians are creatively integrating digital titles and Sora into curriculum programs and pleasure reading. For example, educators use Sora to connect students with their local public library for additional age-appropriate materials through Public Library CONNECT. Also, educators can create their own digital book clubs for students as well as encourage involvement in regional or global programs. Finally, educators can serve those with print or reading disabilities effectively via digital audio, and encourage students to spend more time reading by leveraging Sora’s badges and achievements.

Through Sora and a school-managed account, students have convenient and safe access to age-appropriate ebooks, audiobooks, digital comic books and more from their school’s hand-selected collection. Noteworthy data regarding the 100 million books milestone:…Read More

What are your reasons to celebrate this school year?

We can all agree that the challenges we’ve seen in the last two years are unprecedented. However, when we consider all that’s happened and all that we’ve learned, there is also much to celebrate.

We can celebrate because students are back in school. We can celebrate the fact that libraries and librarians are in the spotlight. We can celebrate the fact superintendents no longer have to moonlight as meteorologists to call a snow day because we can deliver instruction virtually. 

We can’t forget specific challenges and controversies, though—we’ve argued about masks, vaccines, and books. Teachers are leaving the profession. Librarians are facing criminal consequences over their collections. District leaders are attempting to navigate an increasingly political landscape where it’s becoming nearly impossible to please everyone. …Read More

Gale Primary Sources Release New Archives Dedicated to Underrepresented Histories

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – March 30, 2022 Gale, part of Cengage Group, is supporting academic initiatives in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with the release of six new archives on the Gale Primary Sources (GPS) platform. These archives explore the stories of LGBTQ+ communities worldwide, women, Native Americans and other underrepresented communities. Gale Primary Sources provide librarians, students and scholars with historical context on controversial issues from a wide range of perspectives underscoring how the past has shaped today’s political and civil rights movements across the globe.

With the steady increase in misinformation on campus about diversity, social justice and political issues, these archives change the conversation by providing access to original historical primary sources that enable researchers and students to compare resources and make key connections. These latest archives from Gale promote open dialogue and teach critical thinking skills that inspire change and cross-cultural awareness.

“No other resource gives researchers more insights from more perspectives than Gale Primary Sources. The original, first-hand content is meticulously cross-referenced to bring facts into focus and information to life in remarkable new ways,” said Seth Cayley, vice president of global academic product at Gale. “These new additions came from regular discussions with researchers, librarians and students who have emphasized the need to support diversity, equity and inclusion. Our work to bring these stories to life is ongoing at Gale. We are actively working on several projects that will provide a greater representation of the history of minority groups like these.”…Read More

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