Oh yes, summers off, right? We know the old misconception of this theory. I decided to reach out to librarians of every variation and find out what the summer schedule had for them, and WOW! SO MUCH! Hope you see what school librarians “shelve” and circulate with ideas and creativity all summer long. Check it out below from EveryLibrary
The third preconference workshop at the Library of Congress, and the ALA 2022 Conference hadn’t even started yet – and the information received here was enlightening, so I sat wondering, “What would I dare to expect from the conference?!”
Below is the description of the workshop attended –
and the LOC (Library of Congress) Folk Life Collection were just broader strokes of a close up look at what this third workshop offered – and allowed users to unearth previously known information.
As the description stated, it was a little known fact to many that took this detail for granted – When searching vital records, as well as the Local History and Genealogy Reference Services, records usually go back to 1870- but not before. Why? African Americans at the time were not on Federal records, during slavery,. and often slave owners had to be researched in order to locate family members that were African American. let that sink in, as it sunk in to my brain throughout this workshop.
There are almost 700, that’s right, SEVEN HUNDRED subsections in the database!
The collections section has such a wide variety of sources/materials – it will surprise you when you start checking out this amazing resource.
A good reminder brought up was the Library of Congress does not have Federal records but does have city directories.
As mentioned in previous posts, the access to the “Chronicling America” database is absolutely free and has countless types of primary sources.
The Ask a Librarian service is also pretty invaluable to many individuals as librarians from the Library of Congress are available extensively. I also like the clause that they are willing to get you in the correct direction, but will not be doing the research for you, a common phrase that is often expressed from an educator to student.
The best advice was what Ahmed Johnson passed on knowing the scarce information it was to find genealogy informartion on African American family trees – ” Look on places not so obvious.” – Examples he provided in this workshop were utilizing research guides on the Local History and Genealogy Reference Services page,
digging into the regimental histories that enlisted individuals during the war, looking into the extensive collection of periodicals collection from the digital collections and the Chronicling America Project. Vital records and starting with yourself are also the advice Mr. Johnson passed on as well as a treasure of clues like investigate the oldest member in your family, as well as your attic, trunks, etc..
It is worth nothing how interwoven the aspects of research are and often not obvious when starting the process. The initial two workshops the Library of Congress laid the foundation of this principle of how all can truly be connected, and in a world where research often is deemed to be boring, mundance, and not good if achievied if results are not found in the first 20 minutes, one has to question, and instill the question, how good are the results, how accurate are the results found within 20 minutes?
From the Library of Congress, not at home, services like printing, acnestry.com, and services usually needing to be paid for, are free. Another MAJOR resource is the American Memory resource from the Library of Congress.
The largest takeaway so far has been unpacking the depth of the Library of Congress, not continuing to let it appear that the countless resources are just for serious researchers foundf in major academic institutions, and connecting the tools here to many other sites and using the Library of Congress as a tool to learn how to utilize similair research skills across the spectrum of the research process. Ahmed Johnson and Karen Walfall (who has countless informatiion on state resource guides as well) were knoweldgeable enough to let us see how this applies to African American ancestry research, and think now to how many other individuals, groups, and ethnicities these skills can be applied to, bringing students, parents, educators, and professionals all together ina similar way?
There are so many discoveries that need to be found representing so mant aspects of American History, both good and bad. Discovering in this case the challenges in research to African American families due to not being listed on federal records presents a challenge to discover how to utilize research to your advantage when odds are stacked against you. How many other situations, groups, races, ethnicities, contain this same challenge?
Instead of seeing history as always somthing to be ashamed of, the perspective should be taken of how to rise above the challenges utilzing research to learn aspects of who we are as a country, that many might not be aware of. Certainly, the Library of Congress strives to do that on a continual basis. Not a bad way to start the American Library Association Annual Conference, after a long period of Covid. Stay tuned for the first of many informatiive and resourceful days packed with tools you can reignite opprtunities to your patrons, in and out of libraries.
YES! I know! I am only on preconference two (just published) on PRE CONFERENCE DAY ONE! – of my posts but think of it this way – you are getting alot of resources for FREE by checking this blog for the next few weeks :)!!! ALSO since life is often this way, we are going to mix it up and just jump to one particular event a few days ahead, and yes, we will come back to that last preconference overview of resources tomorrow. A shout out to Stephanie who inquired (excellent quality that certified school librarians LOVE!) and address something I posted visually, which often causes a teaser for people to hopefully come back to – but did not catch up with in written form – that occured Saturday of this week – (get all that?!)
So to reiterate – Despite still working on and finishing my posts on the precoference workshop information and dissemination to you’all :), from Monday, June 22nd, I am going to jump real quick to one of many significant and unexpected events occurring during the American Library Association Conference of 2022.
During the ALA conference and between workshops, there was always an opportunity to make your way to the exhibit hall, and find a smattering of authors signing their books and a chance to meet a new author, a new book, etc.. I happened to be wandering on this particular day, eaxctly 5 days past the pre-conference day – and there up to this point has been SO MUCH good information shared, presented, and disseminated, it always seemed unreal.
As I was walking the exhibit hall making sure I did not miss anything that shouldn’t be missed – I happened to see a medium to larger line in front of one of the authors, and I took a closser look. Despite a book appearing pretty amazing with the illustration, the title, We are the Water Protectors, glared out at me. With good reason this was a well desererved accolade and honor. Caldecott Medal award winner!
Okay, so hold the presses – as the Education and Volunteer coordinator of the NRWC (Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy)- I felt my duty to pass on the address and the invite to The Vince Morris Trail at Chapel Branch, and I did, and she was excited and I think, based on the recent visit to the trail from students at Upward Bound this past Saturday – don’t worry a blog post happening here…
…and soon to be updated with what they found – I owed it to the creed of a Master’s Degree earning Information Science earning school librarian to connect the world I know, to someone else who showed us throgh her book the world she knows, and to emphasize the water that surrounds us all – and doing so by showing her the amazing little window we can look in on the Nanticoke with – and it connects with the theme of her book, protectors.
Protectors of our environment, protectors of our school librarians and giving out students the medium, the individual, qualified to bring in qualified writers like Ms. Lindstrom and Ms. Goade to protect our stories that tie us to our community, tie us to the water, tie us to literacy and passing on stories, passing on the ability to create, and on and on- the protection and need for passing this on to generations, making possiblities for creating and connecting all we come into contact with to our immediate environment. Authors do this for us, books do this for us, certified librarians in our schools do this for us, our community leaders can and Do do (not a typo of two do’s by the way!) this for us, and so much more.
Exciting things are happening and we hope you continue to check here to be able to take ideas and opportunities, and see where we can go, who we can pair up with, and what we can do with those possibilities! Thank you Stephanie, thank you Robert and please, if you know from my blogs by now, I always have to get the initial idea down and elaborate and connect later as the syanpses seem to fire way faster than my mouth can get it out (hard to believe, I know, for some!) but, giving each of ourselves the time to be able to go back, reflect, contemplate, and synthesize, and put into action is the ultimate way to fully impact our experience.
The one trick I try to do with blogging, and try to do in writing, is put something out there and hopefully people will want to know more about, and often, this seems to be a good indicator of topics to start conversations, proividing little, and being able to go back and provide more and start a conversation in the process.
Thank you Ms. Lindstron and Ms.Goade for getting this started with your book and we want to meet and greet you at the Vince Morris Trail at Chapel Branch and bring your book to life again and again around us, and ultimately, thanks for providing the incentive and steam to keep pushing past naysayers of why certified librarians, why stories, and why creativity is so important in a world that wants results, and not be aware, or take the time to be aware, of the process in between!
Preconference Workshop 2 – Thursday – “Chronicling America” Library of Congress Collections
As I found my way to the second pre conference workshop based on folklore and special collections at the Library of Congress, what a revelation! The American Life Folklife Center implements the idea of primary documents in ways that many would not even recognize.
Looking at the abilities of the American Folklife Center to collect the aspects of Cultural Equity, Civil Rights, Expressive Cultures, and the ability to access field notes, letters, manuscripts, live performances, photos, and so many more primary and secondary artifacts. An examples of one of these exhibits was Herb Ohta.
In looking at oral histories available, looking at projects of Wallace Quarterman (the last remaining freed slave on record), Jelly Roll Morton from 1938, and looking at the culture of Buckaroos from 1982 gives a small, tiny look into the variety that is represented in this collection.
The indigenous perspectives and representation through the Federal Cylinder Project is ASTOUNDING. Looking at Omaha Indian Music, and the American memory Project, there were some amazing discoveries. Looking at sponsors like the Sustainable Heritage Network, it is offering Cultural Documentation guidelines to help guide people to work on this project and contribute. Interview guidelines, are provided that help and guide others to continue to contribute to this project as well.
It was also a treasure to see William Saunders’ account of his experience in army life – and again, seeing how racism and how past generations have dealt with, faced, and survived racism is a crucial element of anyone’s education. This was a GREAT and amazing transition to the Veteran’s History project, and one of the best parts of this project is the fact that the public can play a crucial part of this collection.
With theVeteran’s History Project, and the ability that Owen Rogers from the Library of Congress has enabled the public to be part of this project, I do believe we can all make a huge impact and help with this collection. Former student David Miller’s work should be on the way to the LOC, as I emailed him today. Each of you can help instruct youth with the guides provided to help students learn about archiving and interviewing while contributing to the Library of Congress Veteran’s Project. Any materials or questions you might have about this – can be answered or sent using this email for Mr. Owen Rogers – email@example.com
The Field Guide that is available is one of many documents provided that extend this Library of Congress project beyond a library archive, but one we each can play a vital role in.
I want to say more, but will let this page speak for this project, and it is PERFECT in showing what education should be, learning WHILE doing in every class.
With a whirl of the 2021-2022 school year technically in “rest” – there is so much to reflect on from the past year – and while that seems an impossible task to tackle, I think it is worth the attempt. Hold on, the next few weeks will be a visit into some take-aways from the 2021-2022 year! Being a part of the 2022 American Library Association Conference right now, I immediately look back at the thoughts I had in realizing over three years had gone by without any possibilities of this occurring due to the pandemic.
It seems fitting the return of ALA is back in it’s original place, Washington D.C.. Does it seem a coincidence that the overturning of Roe vs Wade occurred during the largest gathering of information (true information!) collectors of certified librarians in the world?
These were my thoughts leading up to a frenzy of trying to figure out how to cover the duties of a busy house – leading up to the days of the ALA Conference, 2022:
“It may shock people outside of our profession, but teachers’ knowledge of children’s and young adult literature and how to use books in the classroom aren’t skills that are universally expected or sought in many schools. Few teachers take more than one children’s literature course before entering the classroom. After becoming teachers, there is little encouragement or opportunity for many educators to expand their knowledge of children’s and young adult books. Ignorance of the types of books available for children to read or the importance of using authentic literature in the classroom limits children’s exposure to meaningful reading experiences.”
The lack of knowledge of the deep dives certified librarians, individuals that glean the skills needed from an Information Science Degree, utilize with students, for faculty, for administration, for their communities, and even broader, that lack of realization needs to change immediately so that all communities realize the role the certified librarian needs, can, and will fill in a time when it is needed the most.
Additionally, “Teachers’ lack of knowledge about children’s and young adult literature doesn’t rest solely on their shoulders, though. In many schools, reading for pleasure and regularly visiting the library are seen as frivolous pursuits in the scope of short term academic goals. School and district leaders lay off librarians, cut budgets for books and professional learning, narrow measurement of children’s reading ability and motivation to data points on spreadsheets, and question teachers who give their students time to read.”
In a time where mental health now not only rests in the shoulders of counselors and administrators that operate the areas where students come to need a place they can call their own, certified school librarians have for years, found ways to tackle the barriers often thrown in front of them to prevent students from claiming vitals spaces as their own and finding themselves. Just as the American Library Association a growing forum for strategies and opportunities to meet the barriers that are set up all over the world, so does that information need to be put into action to give students the protection they need, to feel welcome, strengthened, and empowered to overcome the same obstacles thrown in front of them for various directions.
Will the ALA 2022 Conference help the above and more? I believed it would and am experiencing the ways we can inform, create, rebuild and strengthen in many ways.
Butterfly Garden Take Two! That’s right – part II of installing the butterfly garden status – everything is HUGE! To see previous information on the initial install, check this blog post and let’s see some images! :
The one thing I have learned – lawns are awesome to look at – and can be an art but the act of being able to take a plot of lawn, and recycle it to have even more benefit in preserving honeybees, butterfly habitats, ushering in types of ferns, as well as creating places and spaces for rabbits, squirrels, and providing relaxing environments full of color – priceless.
If you have ever heard of the This I Believe segment of NPR, in my opinion, that was one of the most personal, moving, and insightful aspects of NPR I had ever heard.
Each year, an English teacher has made that part of their English curriculum, and it is 100% liberating for students, and a powerful, impactful, forward-thinking project in the teacher’s English class.
Those of you that know me, or do not know me, know a typical library day is not your typical day. It is easy to get lost in the mix, definitely lost in the stress, and can be one small fire after another, that just simply needs to be contained. Thursday was such a day and in the middle of what seemed a whirlwind, a student asked me, “Mr. Brake, do you want to read this?” My answer was at this moment – “After the previous 20 people that have asked me for their help are met, we can see!” and honestly, I did not think today was the day a read of someone’s writing would occur.
Am I ever glad it did.
Almost 40 minutes later, something in the back of my mind itched saying, if asked, you need to try to make time to read that student’s writing, if they asked.
I pushed myself over to the student, away from incessant phone ringing, and sat down to what I found was one of the best writings of the day. This student had spilled out their heart and a traumatic event to be one of the most detailed and meaningful reveals of something that occurred in their life, and it took me by surprise that they were willing to reveal the depth of their experience. Yet, I realized this was therapeutic for the student, and the ability to ue writing as a vehicle was even more so.
The Library Media Specialist position is one of very unique and specialized skills, the Information Degree is more than just a master’s, it is a degree in so many angles of understanding, on a research level, on a diversity level, on a personal level, on a curriculum and student level, out of three Master’s Degrees, this degree has stood out on its own easily and I realized that today with this student’s reading.
Had I also found myself “too busy” to take in the student amid the things that usually stress me out, this near miss would linger in my memory for awhile, and I felt would as well in how the student had come to know the services of the library and the ability of words to impact their library experience.
I realized sometimes the near miss is always worth contemplating before missing it, and am glad that I was able to involve this student is realizing their words, and every word, is so very important, especially theirs.
It was subtle, but spoke volumes and stuck with me.
Driving back from Dewey Beach, the canines in tow, all three heads out the window, as is normal for them, and the passing car to our right – an older female driver shaking her head in disapproval. Don’t be mistaken, nothing about her being older or female makes any difference at all, the point all rests on her disapproval. At that moment she saw me, she saw three dogs having the time of their life, and she saw messy. Crazy. Not her. Unsophisticated.
As I finished Daniel Nayeri’s Everything Sad is Untrue, this moment flew back to me as I reflected on the stages of how I transformed from page 1 to page 351; starting this YA novel I hated the disjointed reflection, the interruptions, the interjections of one story over another – by the last page, I wished there were 300 more like it. I came to realize, that is life. THAT is life my friends. That look of disapproval from someone that deemed my ride with three canines lavishly lapping up the air as fast as they could take it in, to me, represented so much of what many will disapprove of, and yet, what makes you more whole as a person.
For some reason, I see that head-shaking disapproval, and I instantly see my canine’s eye. Dane, the night he was delivered to me from a caring man that lived three hours, THREE HOURS, outside of Mexico City, OUT of his way, in a caravan filled with his children, just to get Dane to someone that might take a chance on saving his beaten, broke, messy condition.
Did she see that? I would say absolutely not.
I see Dane’s eyes every time he looks at me and think of what almost might not have been, it causes shivers in my soul every time. This is not being said to congratulate me on being a good person, that misses the whole point. The point is to look past what makes each of us tick, satisfied, happy, and finding that extending ourselves beyond what we see, what we envision for our future, to include others, and as a result, finding a fuller sense of who we are through the understanding of others. Pretty deep.
It is interesting how chance occurrences, chance events, allow you to develop as a fuller, more understanding, and less unselfish person. I certainly never wanted nor want to be a person that disapproves of what I see at first glance and shutting windows and doors of opportunity that widened by perspective. I used to be that person that was so100% concerned about me, my future, my success, where will I be- and throwing that out those windows and doors and allowing myself to more of a person by finding what others experience, have gone through, and being understanding, it is a game changer.
and he has it so right. I do at a fault have to receive help from others when I get taken advantage of the kindness I try to give others, and this pains me as it puts others in a difficult situation trying to support me as I try to give more to others than myself. This is the difficult part of my personality.
Yet, one thing is absent from so many. The lack of compassion, looking beyond someone that is not like each of us, looking past borders we create that are made up how others see how many pets we should have, save, or what kind of vehicle we drive, what kind of job we should be able to afford, to how we consider someone that does not live near us, confined the borders of where we live and that we create, and so much more.
A crazy thing happens when you start to open your mind, drop your expectations, and take chances to create opportunities for others. You grow. You learn more about yourself and you feel a more open sense of freedom. I want to continue to grasp every single level of recognition, honor, and opportunity and spin it around to give it to everyone that needs that same recognition, honor, and opportunity, and the respect that others deserve, at least has a chance.
Selflessness is rarer a trait occurring than being taken advantage of, disapproving at what you see opposed to approving of what you learn and discover is more common, being willing to accept what you do not agree with or like is a difficult and rare ability, and I was seeing that as I worked through Everything Sad is Untrue, stories of children having their hand slammed in a door because they were considered lesser being a refugee, treated as a disease because their food smelled different, not being believed because stories from other countries are fairy tales compared to U.S. history books, abuse at the hand of being accepted, learning the strengths of Mothers, and So many more lesson. One passage stands out to me still:
“The point of the Nights is that if you spend time with each other- if we really listen in the parlors of our minds and look at each other as we were meant to be seen-then we would all fall in love. We would marvel at how beautifully we were made. We would never think to be villain kings, and we would never kill each other. Just the opposite, The stories aren’t the thing. The thing is the story of the story. The spending of the time. The falling in love.”
As Upward Bound was on the horizon, it was Friday night, and I was still on the search for the right lesson plan to delve into the book, Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes. Nothing much of substance existed on the internet that I was interested in, unless paying for a lesson unit. It hurt me to think there were no deep-diving lessons other than those to pay for, and I wanted something more appealing and off the cuff.
An idea hit me of using the writings of several individuals I knew from Paul Allison’s Teachers Teaching Teachers, specifically Samuel Reed – and somewhere the idea of journalism, credible sourcing from a teacher unable to attend on Saturday, and Between the Lines all began to appear out of nowhere. it is interesting that I am discovering true ideas for lessons are often inspirational, like music, lyrics, art, etc that is more effective than meeting state standards and instead, school librarians meeting students where they need to be inspired, moved, and motivated.
This was the plan- Banana bread
was baked at 6:00 AM to give to students at 9:30AM as they came into English class for Upward Bound on a Saturday. Think about that. Students, taking their Saturday, getting on buses as early as 7:30 AM on a SATURDAY, and creating some amazing things – how many students do you know have that drive? I was proud of the students before they even arrived.
As they were breaking banana bread, we introduced Nikki Grimes to them:
As students let this marinate, they looked at templates of a potential newspaper, each receiving a copy of Between the Lines and this was the game plan:
And we indeed looked through the book, first page 0-105 and then on the backside of the newspaper template, 106 to the end of the book. Some not have read the book yet, just picking one sentence that stuck out to them for some reason, jotting it down with the page number. Some were nervous about not having read the book before, we threw that out the window.
Skimming and seeing what catches your eye are some of the best prereading fun a person can have.
The thought of requiring students to choose APA or MLA as a page citation did cross my mind, I pushed it away for now. It was before 10:00 AM after all and on a Saturday.
Once that task was done, as music played in the background, students passed their papers to another, and that person looked at was had stood out to the previous student, and then both on the front and back, write a short passage (1-2 sentences) of what that chosen pulled quote meant to them or invoked in their minds. Once that step was done, students passed the paper again to another student.
This third student looked at what was before them, and chose an empty block, either drawing or describing what sort of image would go with this preliminary article, based on what was in front of them. This was done both for the front (covering pages 0-105) and the bask side, (pages 1-5- end of the books).
Finally, students would look at all this and name what this newspaper would be called based on the information in front of them.
What was gained from all this? I loved the fact that this was done over 5 classes, where a combination of 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students all added to someone else’s ideas, not knowing necessarily whose thoughts were down (no names were placed on any of the templates)- and no grade level became in the way from each student adding to another’s idea and complementing and stretching their idea to a newer idea.
I liked the fact that this template could in fact be messy, just as reading sometimes, and sometimes skimming is messy and unorganized, as is writing, to get to a more organized finale. Yet, the process is not always organized and neat to get there – just as is life.
I loved the idea that students dived into a book and were comparing and talking about what they picked from the book, and INTERESTED at before 11:00 AM and picking their OWN pieces and choices of what stood out to them. Owning any part of a lesson, and morphing a final piece into a part of their own thoughts, should be a part of every single lesson ever presented to students,
Unless their own, their own contribution, sometimes, most of the time, seems a moot point over putting what the instructor wants and not sharing a part of who they really are.
What they came up with was pretty phenomenal, and worth the experimentation. Next blog post we will share the results, and I could not have been more envious of their ideas, loved it.
I still am reeling from the creative genius these students exhibited on a day most people would not be even up, let alone out, to face mental exercises and some pretty amazing analysis of what they see and think about and yet they did and beyond. I can hardly wait to show you the results, and what lies ahead!