Monday, December 5, 2011

Literacy and Learning

This is based on Gorman's chapter 8- Literacy and Learning-  just my reactions, and a little ranting...
On to the reading!  I loved this chapter of Gorman, it was super easy to read, mainly because of the group that did literacy and learning did a great job of laying this chapter out.  (I really liked your presentation, literacy group!)  I think it is incredibly important to think about this problem with literacy in our country.  I think that Gorman does a great job of presenting this without hard statistics.  I’m still blown away by the statistics that Joan gave us about adult illiteracy in Buffalo at the beginning of the semester!  I think it is definitely a problem that librarians need to focus on.
I loved Gorman for reiterating the thoughts of Senator Simon in 1984, saying that “not only were librarians people who appreciated the enriching powers of reading and writing more than any other group but also that libraries were places that adult illiterates could enter with neither shame nor embarrassment” (p. 126).  I think this is incredibly important!  No matter what the reading level of an individual, they should never feel embarrassed to go to the library or ask for help.  This is so important for what we do and what our profession stands for; this must always be kept in mind with dealing with people; never make someone feel like you are talking down to them!  Try not to ever make someone feel dumb! 
The other interesting discussion I found in the chapter was about the comparative illiteracy of college students.  I can really get worked up about this- it really “fries my bacon!” I hate that college kids don’t read, like it’s some kind of badge of honor to never have read a book in college; or high school.  It is absolutely ridiculous the level of reading comprehension and the absolute garbage writing that comes out of students today.  I feel like such an old fogey, but seriously!  It’s something we should be ashamed of as an institution.  I agree with Gorman, that something needs to be done to stop this illiteracy in its tracks- but what?  At this point, academic librarians need to take the reactive standpoint and try to get students back up to speed.  But there are major issues with the entire education system in this country…

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thoughts on stewardship and service

Blogs and wikis; discussion boards, technology! reference foundations and theories. Digital libraries. Virtual libraries. Longevity of media? Librarianship. Issues in libraries are deeper and more theoretical than I imagined. Seriously, a professor this week actually mentioned the possibility of a gap in the human record, which I am determined to not see happen. Feeling slightly overwhelmed with the first week and the rush of information, but left with an undeniable sense of This is right for me, this is what I’ve been waiting for. Take that all you doubters in my life, all you folks who tell me libraries are “ dying”. I finally have an abundant supply of confidence that outweighs your negativity.

In the first chapter of his book, Gorman succinctly outlines the major philosophies that have impacted librarianship as we know it and ends the article with his formulation of what he believes are the core values of the profession. While I agree with each of the values he describes, the first two are the ones that stand out the most, and that I feel I’m coming to understand their depths more clearly. Though there is no mention of any type of priority in the order of the list, perhaps it is no coincidence that the values of stewardship and service come first.

This reading allowed me to really lay out some fundamental values and weigh their importance in my mind, which in hindsight seems incredibly important. I wholeheartedly agree with Rothstein’s Ethos, where in a speech that Gorman relates to the reader, he demands that a declaration of principals is necessary in order to define what a librarian is and does. The value of stewardship is resonant, especially after a shocking daydream of a future with a gap in the human record. It is a librarian’s duty to preserve our history, and pass education along to future generations. The value of service, too, reminds me of the usefulness of the profession; we serve a purpose. That purpose is to serve our users; to never stop acquiring new materials or providing educational resources to the community in which the library exists.

I am comforted by a new sense of the pivotal need for the librarian, as a record keeper of history, as well as the pragmatic, everyday function of the librarian in today’s society. Though some may fear the fast pace of technology and the changes it brings to the field, I am ready to embrace it; though I’m not sure I could ever truly keep up!

The Book Whisperer

First off, it was AMAZING! The conference was for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County school librarians and English teachers. The speaker was Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer. Going to this conference was a real pick me up. It motivated, inspired, and made me feel excited about becoming a school librarian. Donalyn's speech was about creating life long readers out of children. To create students who love and are excited to read. She took students who read zero to maybe five books a year and had them reading between 30-90 books by the end of the school year. Her secret...she had her students reading books that interested them and made reading time a top priority. She would find out what book(s) a student loved and would help guide them to another book similar to the one they treasured at their reading level. She created an environment that valued and showcased those who read, being teachers, faculty, and students by creating what was called "Reading Doors." These doors highlighted all kinds of readers and their interests. Teachers would decorate their door with pictures of the materials they read. Whether they read books, magazines, newspaper articles, reviews, blogs, etc. She also created what was called a "Graffiti Wall" in which students would read a book and choose 1 quote, their favorite quote, out of the whole book and write it on the black wallpaper with a silver metallic sharpie pen. This would attract her students and many would check out a book based on the quote. So in a nut shell, it served as a recommendation board. Students also were exposed to many books based not only on recommendations but by displays and frequent book talks (from the librarian and peers). If they liked a book presented or displayed they would write it down on their "To Read List." This way students are keeping a record of what they plan to read after finishing a book. It was a great time saver and kept students reading rather than wondering.

On a professional note, I loved how Donalyn stated that we need to make celebrities out of authors and readers out of children. I was astonished at the effects/benefits of life long reading on test scores, a person's overall success, mood and life happiness. A great research article to read is The Power of Reading. She also stressed on the value Twitter has had on her life. She has used Twitter for professional development, to follow a conference she was unable to attend, as well as getting connected with authors. She said she follows a lot of people on Twitter but if you are to follow one person, it would be John Schmaker. He gives great book reviews and advice. Another idea to put in your back pocket would be to check out "Goodreads" and "Shelfari." Donalyn also introduced us to the newest books available, the ones she rated the best to must haves. She book talked them and had them available for purchasing as well.

Overall, I learned a lot from this excellent experience! Everyone should get connected and start going to these any chance they get!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Welcome to our LISLINKS blog! I hope you find this space useful and friendly. This is a place for students like us to share ideas, vent, ask questions, as well as talk about what is going on in our lives both personally and professionally.

A little about us:

We are three young lowly, studious ladies seeking to pass on the wisdom we have gained in our travels in the graduate program of Library & Information Science, so that we may be of service to future generations and students alike. We are hoping to learn from you as much as you may learn from us and our website. We are your support team!