Category Archives: Professional Development

Upcoming Knowledge Quest Webinar

I am very honored to be a part of the September/October issue of Knowledge Quest, the professional journal of the American Association of School Librarians.  The theme of the issue is Participatory Culture and Learning and my article Opening the Space:  Making the School Library a Site of Participatory Culture can be found on p. 8.  This article was a joy to write, even though it took hours and hours to create.  I hope that the article inspires other school libraries to think about how their programs can embrace participatory culture as well.

If you would like to know more about the article and our Barrow Media Center program, I invite you to attend a webinar that I am presenting this Tuesday, October 9th, at 7PM EST.  I will expand upon what I wrote in the article as well as offer pieces that didn’t make it into the text.

The following October webinar is FREE to anyone wishing to attend. Members and non-members are welcome to register!

kq headphones iconOpening the Space: Libraries as a Site of Participatory Culture
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT/5 p.m. MDT/4 p.m. PDT

Participatory culture is grounded in low barriers to artistic expression and allows students to be creators of content as well as pass on their experiences and knowledge to others. The Barrow Media Center is a site of participatory culture through elements such as student book budgets, collaborative projects that culminate in student product creation, opportunities for students to showcase their creations to others in a variety of ways, and students taking leadership in teaching one another how to use technology to create. This year, developing the participatory culture of the library is a specific goal that has been made public to all students, teachers, and families in the school and all members of the library have been invited to find their place in the library and make things happen. This webinar will explore participatory culture and how the library can be a space of participation.

Andy Plemmons is a school librarian in Athens, Georgia.  He teaches students in PreK-5th grade at David C. Barrow Elementary.  The participatory culture and collaborative projects of the Barrow Media Center are regularly featured on his blog Barrow Media Center

Register by clicking HEREThis webinar is FREE to anyone wishing to attend.

Resources for Media Specialists

We hope all of you have been enjoying your summer vacation, but with school starting back soon, GALILEO offers some resources to support your professional reading.

First and foremost, if your professional development this summer has included a look at the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, take a look at this information on how GALILEO supports the CCGPS.

In addition to that, ERIC (@EBSCOhost) and ERIC ( provide access to lesson plans, technology plans, journal articles, books, reports, and much more. Try searching for library services, library materials, electronic libraries, library use studies, technology integration, multimedia, educational technology, or other topics of interest to see the types of resources you can find. Remember to check both versions of ERIC when you’re searching because the full text may appear in one but not the other.

Professional Development Collection from EBSCO includes articles and educational reports for professional educators, including many resources for media specialists. From book reviews of children’s and young adult literature to evaluation of a library media program and from instructional design to technology integration in the classroom, there are articles on a wide variety of topics. Search for school libraries, school librarians, educational technology, technology integration, or library media to get an idea of what you can find in this database.

GALILEO also includes several professional magazines for media specialists that include book reviews, articles, and more. Use Magazines A-Z to find magazines and professional publications in GALILEO, such as the following:

  • Book Links
  • Computers in Libraries
  • Curriculum Review
  • Information Today
  • Knowledge Quest
  • Library Media Connection
  • Multimedia & Internet@Schools
  • Online
  • School Library Journal
  • School Library Media Activities Monthly
  • School Library Monthly
  • Teacher Librarian

Remember that you can use journal alerts to keep up with a favorite publication or search alerts to keep up with a topics of interest. NoveList also offers series alerts to help you know when the next book in a series is coming.

The GALILEO Training page provides a list of upcoming sessions. Several sessions designed to help media specialists get the most out of GALILEO have recently been scheduled, including sessions on how GALILEO supports the CCGPS and an introduction to GALILEO for teachers and new media specialists. Also, stay tuned for more GLMA blog posts in August on how to link to GALILEO resources how to create search widgets for your media center site.

If you have questions or comments or need to report problems, please Contact Us.

Courtney McGough
GALILEO Support Services
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Upcoming GALILEO Training

New webinars have been added to the GALILEO training calendar. Webinars are easy to attend and are great tools for professional development. Connection instructions are sent a day before the webinar to everyone who has registered. The instructions include a connection wizard that helps you make sure your computer is ready. Certificates of participation are sent to all attendees soon after the session. Below is a list of upcoming sessions currently scheduled. More will be added, so keep a watch on the training page and the GALILEO list for new opportunities.

Upcoming webinars:

  • Black History Month Resources — Demonstration of the Civil Rights Digital Library and GALILEO subscription resources
  • Holocaust Resources in GALILEO — In time for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27
  • Grab GALILEO for Great Multimedia Projects — This session is great preparation for submissions to the Georgia Student Media Festival
  • Meet GALILEO for Elementary/Middle/High School — Separate session that focus on each grade level
  • Digitized Maps in the Digital Library of Georgia —A look at Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and an examination of historical maps to trace the changing environment of a Georgia city
  • Civil War Resources — Explore subscription and DLG resources covering the American Civil War
  • Bueno GALILEO: Language Resources — GALILEO foreign-language resources include encyclopedias for several languages and Spanish-language magazines
  • Journals and Magazines: Best Practices in GALILEO — Tips on searching journals and magazines in GALILEO and optimizing usage with alerts and linking

Archived webinars include a wide range of topics for all audiences.

GALILEO Support Services
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

If you missed AASL 2011…there’s still time to learn and take action!

I just had the great fortune of traveling to Minneapolis to the attend the American Association of School Librarians National Conference.  I’ve made it a professional goal for myself to attend this conference that occurs every two years because it’s an opportunity to network with librarians from around the world.  The aspect of the conference that I love the most is that there are so many ways to get involved with the conference as a whole whether you are attending in person or learning from afar.

Georgia Librarians @AASL Minneapolis/photo source: theunquietlibrarian

As the conference comes to a close, it’s not too late for you to connect with the conversations that were started in Minneapolis.  In fact, I think it’s necessary that you find at least one avenue to not only connect with the conversations from Minneapolis, but also use them to take action within your own practice, your school culture, and the education community as a whole.  It’s not an excuse to say, “My school doesn’t have funding to travel to Minneapolis”.  From the comfort of your own home, you can learn, reflect, and contribute well after the close of the conference.

The main message that I took away from AASL is that we are in a time of opportunity and transition.  Now more than ever, we must all take on a leadership role not only within our schools, but also within the education community and beyond.  We must be innovative, creative, and daring listeners, teachers, and collaborators.  We must harness the resources that are available in the world and work with our students and teachers to use these evolving resources to both consume information and create new content.  We must be transparent about the work that we do and digitally document our practice to not only support one another as librarians, but also to send a message to the world about the importance of our role as teachers in our profession.

What might you do to connect to the conversations at AASL:

1.  Download the new ebook School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, and What’s Yet to Come? which was crowdsourced by more than 50 authors.  I started reading the book on my flight to Minneapolis, and every essay spoke to issues that I am currently wrestling with in my own practice and in my district.  I love how each essay is short and concise and that I don’t learn who the author is until after I finish reading the text.  This book can be a springboard for current and future conversations about libraries.  However, it should be more than a springboard for conversation; it should be an invitation to take action and move forward with the transforming nature of our work.  Here are just a few of the quotes that spoke to me.

School Libraries: What's now? What's next? What's yet to Come?

“New technologies do not create or fill some new need; they allow us all to express needs that have existed for generations.” ~Sara Kelley-Mudie

“The only constant is change.  More than anything else, perhaps, that change is exemplified in the future librarian herself: a highly skilled teacher who is an instructional chameleon.” ~Jennifer LaGarde

“As what it means to educate the 21st-century learner evolves, school librarians have the opportunity to claim our place as instructional leaders in this new educational landscape.  Today’s students cannot afford to wait for the ‘future librarian’.” ~Jennifer LaGarde

“I am a storyteller, information curator, database expert, extended essay supervisor, book group coordinator, wiki specialist, transliteracy coach, interdisciplinary-information literacy collaborator, approaches-to-learning leader, guided inquiry mentor, curriculum team member, open-access advocate, one-to-one and mobile device promoter, reading champion, and accreditation team member.” ~Beth Guorley

“We cannot simply support the curriculum anymore.  We cannot wait for people to see our worth.  Yes, part of our job is to support the staff and students, but we can also teach them and improve student learning directly.” ~Heather Hersey

“There is a good chance that the school librarian or library media specialist, as one of the school’s technology leaders, has the most organic understanding of how content and technology are most effectively co-mingled to the benefit of the student and to best help the teacher.” ~Evan St. Lifer

“What we cannot afford is to let students forget to love to read.  What we cannot afford is a generation of people who forgot how to think, to imagine, to care.” ~Jesse Karp

“Libraries should not shrink as physical collections shrink; they should grow as opportunities for collaboration and cooperative learning grow.” ~Len Bryan

“As we look to the future of school libraries, I see us as a run-on sentence of sorts.  People outside librarianship are often so anxious to box us in, to define us.  They want to apply their grammar to the library – a place that is, at its heart, artful, authentic, and inquiring.” ~Elizabeth Friese

2.  Join the twitter conversation by search for the hashtag #aasl11 and reading through the extensive documentation and reflection of hundreds of people attending in person and from afar.  Contribute to the conversation by adding your own tweets and responding to tweets.  Be sure to tag your new tweets with #aasl11 as well.

3.  View the wealth of slidecasts, wikis, and videos from the Learning Commons.  Sessions on topics such as the bookstore model, play in the library, inviting participation in the library, the image of the school librarian, iPad apps, advocacy, reimagining libraries, and more can be found on the pages of this wiki.

Andy Plemmons presenting on participation in the library/photo source: theunquietlibrarian

4.  Register for the virtual conference.  For as low as $99 for AASL members, you can get access to the recordings of the opening and closing sessions as well as 8 concurrent sessions.  You’ll also have access to the handouts and slidecasts uploaded by presenters of other sessions.  Some of the archived sessions include Buffy Hamilton’s Libraries as Sponsors of Transliteracy, Doug Johson’s Cloud Computing, a panel on what kinds of books we need in K-12 libraries, and Dr. Violet Harada’s Assessment in the library.

5.  Join the conference Ning.  Get connected with people who attended the conference, continue conversations from before/during/after the conference, and view feeds of tweets and photos from the conference.

In one of the sessions I attended, a leader within ALA stated that she would like to see all librarians being transformative, transparent leaders within the next 3 years.  How will you get connected and take action?

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

Some Notes After COMO 2011

The cool thing about COMO is that you and a colleague could go and could come back to compare notes and you would have had two completely different experiences.  There’s that many different breakout sessions on that many different subjects.

My personal COMO journey focused, with no forethought, on pictures books.  I just kept ending up in cool little breakout sessions that told me about amazing picture books and ways to use them to teach with that were incredibly fun and interesting with all different grade levels.  I still need to sit down and process through it all, but it definitely gets the creative juices flowing.  And this is definitely a good time of year to get a renewed kick in the creative pants!

It was a smaller affair than in past years.  Not as many districts are sending as many folks.  I sincerely hope it doesn’t dry up and go away.  The inspiration, information and new ideas you get from conferences and other good professional learning experiences are invaluable for tech and media people like us.  I’m not saying you should go to as many conferences as possible every single year.  I’m saying do go to at least one professional learning experience, whether a class or at least a local conference every year.  You never know what you’ll end up taking away or how it will influence your practice.

It may not even be the main subject of the experience.  I got just as much from lunching with colleagues as I did from the sessions themselves.  I learned about technology that was new to me just by asking.  I’m talking here about tech that was being used by presenters, but not necessarily the point of the presentation.  Or I learned new and different ways to do things I was already into.

Probably everyone’s favorite general session was seeing Eric Litwin and James Dean in their Pete the Cat presentation.  Yes it was amazingly fun and interactive, but it also taught us how to be better interactive presenters.  Many people have commented that they read an author’s books much better after seeing the author(s) present it themselves.  I know I learned a ton from seeing Mo Willems in person some time back.

So keep going to conferences when you can and share what you learn with the rest of us!

Jim Randolph
Partee Elementaree
Snellville, GA