I presented this Animoto on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at the Petaluma City Schools District Office to our library-loving Superintendent Greta Vigue and her Advisory Council -- made up of one teacher representative from each school in the district.
Petaluma High School's teacher-librarian, Connie Williams, and I toured the committee members through our library websites and collaborative teacher projects. We talked about the Governor's initiative to move toward electronic textbooks -- something I strongly support and coincidentally just mentioned to my principal Linda Scheele and tech committee chair Tom Kinney today. And we asked about the possibility of unblocking social networking site Facebook in schools -- something I'm not so sure about yet (as you know, I am not a social networker). (The Superintendent said that she is working on a plan for that with Eileen Rohan, Director of Educational Services, and Mike Cole, Director of Business Technology.)
Connie and I offered to lead a professional development session for district teachers about the Big 6 information literacy model and/or a workshop for adult education students and parents a la the Classroom Learning 2.0 program. Though school librarians already do so much, these days there's more than ever to do, and we are happy to do whatever we can. :)
One of the teacher reps lamented the fact that Petaluma's elementary schools no longer have any credentialed teacher-librarians at all. But we pointed out how lucky Petaluma is to have what we do have:
- 4 secondary school libraries that are open full-time
- 4 credentialed teacher-librarians who work full-time in just 1 school each
- 2 full-time library assistants, 1 at each high school (I love you, Miss Helen!) :)
- an inter-library loan program that give students access to materials at 4 schools instead of from just their own
- a voter-backed parcel tax that supports school libraries with a very healthy budget every year from now until perpetuity (I love you, Measure C!) :)
Hopefully the adoption of State School Library Standards by California's Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell (read that story here) will keep some districts from shutting their school library doors for good. But should it come to that, maybe Petaluma parents will fight for us the way Orange County families protested on behalf of their school libraries and the way Oregon moms got almost militant about saving their school librarians. :)
Petaluma understands the importance of strong school libraries. Research shows that strong school libraries have a positive, observable, measurable impact on students' academic achievement (just look at all the data from the California Department of Education and the data from 16 other states!).
Strong school libraries DO make a difference -- especially here in Petaluma. :)