Looking for the latest and greatest in school library media resources? Check out the following three blogs highlighted below:

A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet

This blog provides helpful links for media specialists to provide to educators from all backgrounds, from K-12, including core subjects, specials, new teachers, references, and world languages. Tabs include topics concerning age appropriate lesson plans, resources, and a wealth of web 2.0 tools that can be helpful to introduce, model, and use with students in the classroom. Initially, I believed this site would be a great starting off point when looking for lesson and classroom resource ideas. However, as I dived in deeper and scrolled down from her teacher librarian tab, I found a lot of posts that were well thought out and emotionally charged concerning the job of a media specialist, providing both encouragement, and analysis of major educational issues that are present in today’s school systems.

As Carie Windham notes, blogs can be “a way to reach beyond their normal network or their usual audience” (4). Greller’s blog posts have the ability to connect teachers that are floundering, desperate, or in need of an idea that could turn out to be a ray of hope and connection to resources, ideas, and plans. The posts dedicated to major concepts affecting educators are heartfelt and emotional, showing a passionate side for her field and a hope for the future of our library media programs within the education system.

Some of my favorite posts on this blog include:

Are media specialists indispensible? 

This post really opened my eyes to the differences of opinion about the role of media specialists.

Grades K-5 Lesson Plan sites 

This post is a great example of the wealth of links and resources Greller provides to her readers.

Throw Back Thursday #14 

I also enjoy her posts like this one that use humor and visual aids to creatively connect her own life to those of her readers.

How can teachers use this blog?

This blog could encourage media specialists to find resources to assist in daily library media activities, and, as Carie Windham suggests, “to [encourage interaction and critical thinking].” (9) One reason this blog was rated number one in The Best Library blogs is because it is “rich in ideas and promote[s] active exchange and critique…[that] foster[s] conversation, interactions with other blogs and other information sources, and invite[s] feedback from [its] reader[s]” (Brain of the Blogger). Educators can utilize the links on this blog to create more indepth lessons, use free resources to save time and money, and identify new and emerging technology to introduce and utilize with their students. Its connection to all grade levels and the majority of core curriculum coursework ensures that a wide selection of educators will find it useful and informative. Media specialists, especially, will find a passionate dedication to our craft and can use her hands-on tips and professional development connections.

The Adventures of Library Girl

After reading a number of LaGarde’s posts, I find that the majority of them are her passionate reflections on the role of a school librarian in the educational system today. She evaluates library goals, programs, and incentives in order to encourage current librarians to focus on students in order to ensure that initiatives have true meaning and outcomes that matter. The majority of her posts are professional reactions to the libraries and programs that she came into contact with while supporting workshops, conferences, and discussions with other school librarians. She does include links to her presentations, publications, and a wonderful live binder link that provides connections to a wealth of information, including other library blogs, recommendations to build your Personal Learning Network, and author, classroom, and educational links.

Some of my favorite posts on this blog include:

Personal Learning Network Starter Kit

This is the live binders site that I will be bookmarking as it houses a wealth of informational blogs and encouragement for me, especially as a first-year school librarian.

Presentations and Professional Development

This post highlights what leading libarians feel a library of the future should look like. As I look at my somewhat outdated library, it can feel a bit overwhelming, so having a goal in mind of what it could look like really helps me to focus on specific tasks that I can do now to make it more of a reality.

My ISTE Bucket List

I found this link so encouraging, as I am learning about the ISTE standards for teachers in my current class module.

How can teachers use this blog?

As Lee and Sachi LaFever mention in their video, “Blogs in Plain English,” LaGarde’s blog is popular and encouraging because it inspires her readers and other bloggers that find a connection to school librarianship. Her reflections are heartfelt and have just enough emotion for the reader to understand that school librarianship is not just a job, but a way of life that she is hoping to encourage and improve around the nation. The personal news that she provides, her impressions from speaking with other library leaders and conference information, give someone new to this career, like me, a glimpse into what my library could be. I cannot begin to describe how excited I was to read her suggestions and evaluate my own opinions after reading her reactions to specific situations regarding technology, and relationships with school staff. LaGarde takes every opportunity “to reflect on [her] experiences and to process [her] interactions” with others in the school library media community, and her readers get to benefit from it immensely (Windham 6).

The Unquiet Librarian

I feel that this blog rounds out the purposes of the other two blogs that I have reviewed. Hamilton, a current school librarian, was a former learning strategist, and her blog posts reflect that background as she examines types of lessons, their goals, and their outcomes. Her overall purpose seems to be a reflection on learning technique by evaluating equipment, lesson ideas, and learning processes related to major themes and requirements that most school librarians are required to teach, encouraging those readers that are school librarians to feel that they are not alone in trying to find a successful way to reach students among the somewhat stringent requirements they face. She includes posts on Professional Development and training sessions that provide questions to engage readers in similar situations to want to find out what the solutions are. She also evaluates her own lessons with her current school and explains the lesson details, including what worked and what did not. Like LaGarde’s blog, she also includes links to her own professional presentations, publications, and professional portfolio for readers to take a closer look at her work.

Some of my favorite posts on this blog include:

Framing and Developing an Inquiry Stance

I was drawn to this post, as research is a requirement that I will be teaching my 3-5 graders this year for the first time. I was immediately intrigued by the responses that teachers gave during the workshop and enjoyed seeing the collaboration and ideas that stemmed from their writing activity.

Revisiting Book Tasting

I have seen pins on Pinterest for this idea, and I loved the fact that she walked the reader through the entire process, from collaborating with English Teachers, the organization of the event, and finally to the outcomes that she observed. Her thorough reflection helped me see how I could adapt something like this to an elementary level, and subtly included tips that I would want to remember if I ever chose to have a lesson with my students related to this.

How can teachers use this blog?

Initially, I did not think this blog would be one I would choose to analyze because she focuses her posts on the high school level of instruction. However, I quickly discovered that the heart of each post focused on key ideas that should be addressed at libraries on every level, “encourag[ing] interaction and critical thinking” skills among her readers (Windham 9). This blog serves as Hamilton’s “outlet for creative expression, and a way to reach beyond [her] normal network” as she so obviously has encouraged and inspired me to try different methods and rethink the way I view my library space (Windham 4).

Ways to use these blogs to enhance your professional portfolio:

  • School Library Use: This could be set up a number of ways. As a media specialist, I could set up a blog that could use students to provide guest posts related to books that they have read or technology that they are learning about or want to learn about. I could also have tutorials with older students to set up their own blogs and assist them with learning how to tag posts, organize their writing, and encourage them to include creative, authentic posts that could help establish a positive digital footprint.
  • Classroom Use: One easy way to share library blogs with my fellow colleagues would be to share specific posts on my county’s Google Share Drive. The Library Media Specialists have their own Google Site where we share important information and this would be a great resource to include there.
  • Professional Development Use: As both LaGarde and Hamilton demonstrate in their blogs, links to professional development and presentations can be a great tool for drawing in new readers of their blogs. They bring a deeper sense of respect and appreciation for their dedication to library media, as well as a sense of awe that they have accomplished so much in their careers. In doing so, their digital footprint includes professional resources that will positively impact their reputations.

Common Craft. “Blogs in Plain English.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 November 2007. Web. 18 August 2014.

Eide, Drs. Fernette and Brock. Eide Neurolearning Blog . 2 March 2005. 20 December 2010.

Windham, Carie. Reflecting, Writing, and Responding: Reasons Why Students Blog. Educause, 2007. PDF file.

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