Libraries

Watchworthy Wednesday: New Report Features Connected Learning in Libraries

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 Comment Creating a dress she designed at Providence Public Library’s Fashion Forward program

In their just released research report, “Connected Libraries: Surveying the Current Landscape and Charting a Path to the Future,” scholars from the University of Maryland and University of Washington examine the different types of “connected learning” happening in public libraries across the nation and the challenges that librarians face as facilitators. The report opens with an infographic explanation of connected learning, an educational framework that emphasizes learning experiences that are socially embedded, interest driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Examples of connected learning experiences in libraries are discussed and resources for librarians to use


Closing Digital Gap: Libraries Offer Youth STEM Programs

Thursday, June 02, 2016 Comment girl works on coding program on ipad

It seems today that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and coding are constantly in the news, especially in relation to youth and learning. But, despite near incessant news coverage, there is a continuing uneven access for youth to STEM and coding classes in school, as well as after school. Gaining prominent attention at the national level is President Obama’s recently released Computer Science for All initiative, focusing on offering more computer science classes. But, it does not emphasize the opportunities for interest-driven learning outside of the school structure.   One group — libraries — working


Collaborative Thinking Through Writing, Libraries, Markerboards

Thursday, May 07, 2015 Comment 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 in Libraries: Processes and Pathways to Inquiry and Learning

Monday, November 17, 2014 Comment 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


What We Miss by Comparing MOOCs to Traditional Classrooms

Monday, September 08, 2014 Comment wide shot of beautiful traditional library

“They hear a program about sea creatures, another about the North Pole. Werner’s favourite is one about light: eclipses and sundials, auroras and wavelengths. When they find it, Werner feels as if he has been launched into a different existence, a secret place where great discoveries are possible, where an orphan from a coal town can solve some vital mystery hidden in the physical world.”— Anthony Doerr, “All the Light We Cannot See” (2014)  Perhaps imagining vivid worlds unlocked by new knowledge is a romantic notion or perhaps not. Movies and novels depict hallowed halls at Oxford,


Connecting Youth Interests Via Libraries

Thursday, July 31, 2014 Comment students focused working on ipads in library classroom

As libraries across the country reimagine themselves, patrons, particularly young ones, are finding them more relevant in today’s technological age. Examples of innovative projects, tapping into the power of the Internet, include the Chicago Public Library, which offers a free Maker Lab, with access to 3-D printers and milling machines; and two branches of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), where underserved  kids are learning to code and tell stories through photography this summer. Many other libraries and librarians across the country are embodying the principles of connected learning as they evolve in this digital age.


Fear and Learning in Las Vegas

Thursday, July 10, 2014 Comment 2 authors at book signing antero and lemony snicket

I hung out with popular children’s and young adult authors like Mo Willems and Lemony Snicket and Markus Zusak last week. Okay, maybe “hung out” is too strong a description. I mainly walked in the same general vicinity as these noteworthy authors, occasionally snapping selfies. I admit that I was too, too lazy to wait in the long, long lines to meet these awesome authors (and many more). (Are you there, Judy [Blume]? It’s me, Antero, too impatient to wait to meet you but, still think you’re awesome!) See, my better half is a librarian and


The Rise of Writing Literacies, Implications for Libraries

Monday, March 17, 2014 Comment 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 Comment 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 Comment 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