Buffy J. Hamilton

Buffy J. Hamilton headshot

Buffy J. Hamilton is currently a school librarian at Norcross High School in metropolitan Atlanta. Hamilton, formerly the Learning Strategist for the Cleveland Public Library, has over 20 years of experience in public education as a secondary English teacher and the lead librarian of “The Unquiet Library” at Creekview High School in the Cherokee County School District. Hamilton’s research and practitioner interests include participatory learning and culture, ethnographic studies, digital composition, critical pedagogy, and social scholarship.

Buffy is a 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker; a 2011 winner of the (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) Cutting Edge Library Service Award; the 2010 Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year; and a 2010 National School Boards Association Technology Leadership Network “20 to Watch.” She blogs at The Unquiet Librarian, winner of the 2011 Salem Press Best School Library Blog Award.


Blogs (8)


Collaborative Thinking Through Writing, Libraries, Markerboards

Thursday, May 07, 2015

students gathered around table in library working on writing project How might mediums for writing in school libraries be opportunities to grow academic literacies for students across different grades and academic tracks? How might these opportunities to engage in both individual and collaborative writing experiences as pathways to academic literacies close participation gaps and make literacy as a social practice more visible to students and teachers (Kiili, Mäkinen, and Coiro 224)? I recently partnered with teachers Sean O’Connor, Dan Bynre, and James Glenn to incorporate writing literacies as part of larger inquiry activities for two very different classes: 9th-grade Language Arts and IB Theory of Knowledge. Formulating


Writing Our Way Into Inquiry and Presearch

Monday, March 23, 2015

Students writing on white board creating think puzzle in classroom As we continue our efforts to think about writing literacies as a focal point of our inquiry work in a high school library, my colleague Jennifer Lund and I continue to see the power of an old school technology: pen and paper. We’ve targeted the presearch phase of research projects as a sweet spot for using writing literacies as a medium for critical thinking and making visible student ideas, questions, and patterns of understanding. In their “Pathways to Knowledge“ model of information literacy, Pappas and Tepe define presearch as the stage that “…enables searchers to connect their information need and prior


Learning with Twitter Chats and Socratic Seminars in Virtual Spaces

Thursday, January 15, 2015

classroom of teenage students sitting in circle of chairs learning My fellow librarian Jennifer Lund and I had the opportunity recently to partner with IB Theory of Knowledge teachers Dan Byrne and Dr. James Glenn. Our instructional design challenge was to think about how we might help students process the first chapters of an advanced text, “The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why” by Dr. Richard Nisbett. Inspired by our previous efforts with Socratic circles and Twitter chat with Emily Russell’s language arts classes, we all agreed this medium would help us meet our student learning targets. After two short meetings and one extended planning session,


Writing in Libraries: Processes and Pathways to Inquiry and Learning

Monday, November 17, 2014

hands writing on large poster board with ebola case studies brainstorm Earlier this year, I wrote about the possibilities for libraries that embrace writing as the literacy of the masses and how libraries might function as more powerful sponsors of literacy if they were to be more inclusive of writing literacies. During the last year, my colleague Jennifer Lund and I have been collaborating with our faculty at Norcross High to explore the use of written conversation strategies with students as a starting point for inquiry and participatory learning. Inspired by a December 2013 Harvey Daniels workshop sponsored by our school district on written conversation strategies, Jennifer


The Rise of Writing Literacies, Implications for Libraries

Monday, March 17, 2014

kids sitting reading playing in kids area of library The look of any library — school, academic, or public — is always dependent on local needs in a community, but the feature that has traditionally characterized all types of libraries is reading literacy and the tools and practices that support readers. Walk into any library and the feature that tends to dominate and define library for most people is the print collection housed in stacks and stacks of books. Even as libraries continue to transition to digital formats of eReading like databases and eBooks, most people associate print books and reading literacies with libraries.   In the December


Libraries as ‘Sponsors of Literacy and Learning’: Peeling Back the Layers

Friday, December 13, 2013

close up of a white onion In my last two posts, I have reflected on a rationale for looking at the work of libraries through Deborah Brandt’s concept of sponsors of literacy as well as the philosophical and practical imperatives for libraries to examine the forces and ideologies that shape their work.  As libraries begin to examine the ways they function as sponsors of multiple forms of literacy and to consider the kinds of literate practices that are privileged and marginalized, a checklist or inventory of questions for consideration is needed as a starting point for peeling back the layers of influences.


Libraries as ‘Sponsors of Literacies’: Diving Deep to Expose Narratives & Metanarratives

Monday, October 14, 2013

underwater photograph of scuba diver In my last post “Literacies and Fallacies,” I introduced Deborah Brandt’s conceptual approach of sponsors of literacy that connects individual literacy development to the economic development of literacy.  I also shared a rationale for why libraries should use this critical interpretive lens and offered an initial list of questions as focal points of inquiry to consider.  As I recently finished Natasha Trethewey’s brilliant and deeply moving Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I saw parallels between the narratives in Trethewey’s work and Brandt’s ethnographic research examining sponsors of literacy.  In this collection of


Literacies and Fallacies

Monday, August 26, 2013

students setting up equipment to film in classroom As someone who inhabits multiple learning worlds in libraries and public schools, concepts of literacy–traditional and emerging–are central to my work as I think about pedagogies that inform literacy practices in these spaces.  Educational policies and curricular standards, economic factors, local and federal legislation, and political mandates are increasingly a driving force in the literacy practices championed by libraries (public, academic, K-12) and public schools.  As library and educational organizations craft programming and curriculum in response to traditional literacy mandates like grade-level reading as well as contemporary literacies like digital, new media, and information literacy that