I had the great opportunity this past Monday to attend the annual Mass. School Library Assoc. conference, a wonderful professional development venue for school librarians. It is always inspiring to network with colleagues. The day is packed with a multitude of workshops I loved hearing about hot new young adult books, and have already ordered a number of them for the middle school library. I heard about how Cushing Academy is organizing information now that the library has drastically reduced their print collection. Last year, I was concerned about the library nearly eliminating all print resources; despite my lingering misgivings, I am impressed with their vision about how to organize online information. I feel validated, having worked on the MS library web page for the past year and a half with Svetlana; we are moving in a similar direction in terms of information organization. We are striving to create a library web site that serves as a portal for information access, both print and electronic. Later in the afternoon, my imagination went to town as I listened to the librarian and info. tech. specialist from Pentucket High School describe their "Digital Literacy Challenge" program. Every two weeks, they present their school community with a challenge that requires use of a digital tool or resource, like visiting delicious, exploring the wonder wheel feature of advanced google search, using the online library catalog to find relevant resources for a research project, and more. I'm thinking about how to integrate this sort of challenge into the middle school. I am always grateful for a chance to learn new things and find ways to use them here at BB & N!
Beth Brooks, MS Library Director and All School Library Coordinator