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A Day In The Life Of A “School District Library Media Coordinator”

7:30 am: Small committee meeting to evaluate 8th grade “technology” literacy assessment test pilot data. Yes, we understand that you can’t really adequately assess these skills in a multiple choice test. However, this is what our middle school principals want. Okay – for one year. After all, the data might be very interesting. We decided last month that information literacy skills were more important – looking at both our district and state “definitions” of technology literacy – all framed within the important skills and concepts of information literacy. We tried out our assessment on 9th grade students to see how they’d do. The results were less than spectacular. We dissect the test – try to determine what the problem areas are – is it vocabulary? Are we really not teaching students how to evaluate information critically and competently? We decide to continue our analysis on our wiki – as we separate for conferences, teaching, and other job responsibilities. Time is running short.

10:00 am: Travel to one of our high schools to train and brainstorm with a new audio/visual paraprofessional how to use the library system to effectively search and report on her equipment inventory. Dissect the MARC record form, see what fields display in reports, the circulation module, and the PAC. Yes – we can make this work! How lucky I feel that this new staff member has the technology skills to follow me as I show her searching and reporting strategies in software she’s never really seen before.

11:30 am: Meet with the high school’s library media specialist. She’s been saving up her questions for me. Right and left brain questions. How should she introduce AASL’s new Learning Standards and gain buy-in from her teachers? How do I see these relating to the previous 9 Information Literacy Standards, and the state-adopted ISTE NETS? Big questions – no immediate answers. How can we make the online library catalog display a message to students, when they are looking at non-fiction results, a suggestion to go to our online subscription databases for further information? And lastly, have I looked at her school’s linked “citation machine” to determine if this is producing accurate and up-to-date MLA citations? I did not have an answer for any of these questions – more to explore later.

1:00 pm Back in my cubicle – scanning email for “emergencies” and checking voice mail. Is Kids Catalog down? -No. Why can I only check in items and not check out? –You haven’t loaded a patron. My principal wants me to add these books to the database. The first few worked – then I keep getting errors. Why? – I need a bit more information to answer that question. Can you load this MARC record file right away? I have a student who has been asking to check out this book for 2 days! - Ok – wow – no errors – it loaded in less than a minute! The other 50 emails will need to wait…Checking my calendar – what’s on for tomorrow? A half-day training with teachers, librarian and technology teacher at an elementary school. A chance to model collaboration, integration of information literacy, backwards design, formative assessment…need to check my notes and make sure I have enough handouts.

2:00 pm Department meeting to review our progress on creating a video to show what 21st century learning looks like. The script is in place – but where can we find those examples of excellence to capture on film? Do we all agree what it looks like? I am not sure. Add to my list of to-dos – find out when some great collaborative projects are happening in our school libraries. Schedule the film crew.

2:45 pm: My chance to be with kids – I am scheduled to read to a preschool class today! What a delight! I feel grounded.

3:30 pm: Finally a chance to catch up with the school I’m working with tomorrow. The agenda is approved – the plan is in place. I run off the handouts I need.

4:00 pm District Accreditation Sub-committee Meeting: We have been re-writing the district plan to accredit schools. This is an important place to have my voice heard. This is hard work – deep thinking, and it is late in the day. I contribute what I can to the conversation and decision making – content in the knowledge that the administrators and teachers, as well as the parents on this committee know that I am a librarian by profession – and I have good ideas to contribute and support the ultimate mission – student success.

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Comment by Mary J. Johnson on January 29, 2008 at 11:58pm
What a fascinating account! I suspect that this is a typical day for you. If parents, building-level librarians, district administrators, and school board members were to read your "diary," I think it would open their eyes to the high levels of responsibility you assume and the meaningful work you do. Slowly but unmistakably, you are having a significant impact on student learning that shows through all of the actions you have described. Thanks for sharing!

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