Tag Archives: School media center

Where Have the Media Specialists Gone in 2014?

This is the fourth year that CMLE has been pulling the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) data and studying the slow decline of school library media specialists in our CMLE twelve-county region. Sharing the data is our attempt to engage people in helping  think of solutions to this issue. If there is inadequate media specialist staffing in high schools, are students going to be prepared with the skills they need to be successful in college? Will middle schoolers be prepared to do high school work, and when students have no library program at school, are they simply going to the public library for assistance? Are the public libraries funded or staffed to absorb this work on a large scale? Everyone is stretched for resources, so it is critical that  K-12, public, and academic libraries all step up to do their part. Without further ado, here is data for Aitkin, Benton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright counties. In a nutshell, the grim news is…..

  • 79 individual schools (41%) in Central MN have no licensed media specialist. This compares with 53 individual schools in 2013, and 48 in 2012.
  • 52% of the schools without a media specialist are middle, secondary, or high schools. A whopping 69% of secondary schools are functioning without licensed staff!
  • 38 elementary schools have no media specialist (compared to 28 in 2013), yet as far as I know, we are still focused statewide on demonstrating reading proficiency by 3rd grade!
  • 16 out of 52 districts (31%) have no media specialist in any school in the district. This compares to 14 in 2013, and 9 in 2012!
  • Is there any good news? Yes. The great news is that 36% of CMLE schools have a full time media specialist. Let’s applaud those school administrators for understanding the value of maintaining a professionally staffed media center.

According to public 2013-2014 MDE data, here are the CMLE school districts with no licensed media specialists in any school: Annandale, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Bertha Hewitt, Browerville, Eagle Valley, East Central, Foley, Kimball, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Maple Lake, McGregor, Onamia, Royalton, Staples-Motley, Swanville, and Willow River. Are parents in these districts aware of this issue?

CMLE will use this data in its advocacy work, in targeting its programming, and in working statewide to bring attention to this growing problem. How can we change this trend?  All Minnesota students deserve a high quality, K-12 academic experience that prepares them for the next step in their life. We need students to be able to proficiently use  the research process and to think critically about competing sources of information. These are key lifelong skills needed by all high-functioning members of society.

If you have comments, solutions, or ideas, please email me at papost@stcloudstate.edu

Wisconsin School Libraries Receive $30 Million

dollarsRecently, the 426 school districts  in Wisconsin received an infusion of money specifically for school media centers. If my math is correct, if split equally, the $30,200,000  means each district will receive about $71,000! It all happened through the Common School Fund, and needless to say, there is great excitement in this news. To find out more about this story, go to http://tinyurl.com/l5xbjdn

April is School Library Month!

SLM2014_banner_emailThis month, we honor the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student’s educational career. I wish CMLE had a little traveling task force to go into each Central MN school to toot the horn loud and long for all of our media specialists and paras, and highlight the important programming and support they provide. Lacking that, I can offer you the tools to do so for yourself, and I hope you consider trying at least one of the ideas provided below by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

They have tried to make it easy for you to make a splash!

  • Decorate your library or library website with the 2014 School Library Month poster
  • Customize and print your own posters, bookmarks and mini-posters
  • Download two PSA videos featuring Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
  • Information for a student video contest where students record how their school library changes their life! Prizes for the best submissions!!
  • Complimentary webinar series (pre-recorded and available on-demand)
  • Check out other materials too to make you look like the rock star that you are!

Click here now for your treasure trove of  2014 School Library Month goodies!





What should an Administrator expect a School Library Media Specialist to be?

Image by Celestine Chua. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by Celestine Chua. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

In this fast changing world, do you sometimes look for something to help ground you, to fully realize the importance of your role in your school or district? School media specialist extraordinaire Joyce Valenza recently tweeted a really excellent one page handout about what it means to be a School Media Specialist. The document is free to share and spread better understanding about your role in your setting too! Credit for content goes to Carl A. Harvey II , who is the library media specialist at North Elementary School in Noblesville, Indiana. See the pretty version of this doc at http://tinyurl.com/8a82cbr

2013 Fall MEMO Conference

Image by MEMO. Conference Logo 2013.
Image by MEMO. Conference Logo 2013.

Information in this post was provided by Laurie Conzemius, MEMO.

The MEMO Fall Conference, It’s About the Learning, is being held on Oct 3-5 at St. Cloud’s River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Each year attendees comment that the sessions at this conference, more than any other they attend, support their work in schools and provide the tools and training they need to do their job.

  • As teacher librarians we share a love of books and authors. For those of you able to attend, Thursday evening will feature a new special event, Journey of a Young Adult Book: From Writer to Reader. Dr.Heidi Hammond from St. Catherine University will moderate a discussion with young adult authors Carrie Mesrobian and Mary Losure, along with Carolrhoda Lab’s educational director Andrew Karre and Red Sofa Literary agent Dawn Fredrickson. Mary Casanova, featured Minnesota author, will delight us with a Saturday luncheon keynote address.
  • Both Joyce Valenza and Stephen Abram, recognizable names for those working in school libraries, focus on integrating technology in all aspects of education.
  • Keynote speaker Steve Hargadon, host of the Future of Education interview series and creator of the Classroom 2.0 social network, also has a strong connection to school libraries. Their keynote sessions are certain to inspire you, and Joyce and Minnesota’s own Doug Johnson will be hosting a “unconference” format for our Saturday breakout sessions. This format allows attendees to tailor the conference sessions to their own needs, and will be certain to provide you with a wealth of knowledge and a list of connections for your professional learning network.
  • Several Minnesota authors will be on hand throughout much of the conference to share their stories, offer autographed copies of the books, and provide information about their interest in school visits and other communication with students and libraries.
  • Breakout sessions of interest to K-6 library media specialists include iRead at the eLibrary; Minnesota Youth Reading Awards; Literary Rotations with a Technology Twist; Books for Teaching the MN Native American Standards; 2013 Mackin BookTalk Live!; Information Literacy: The Transition; Be Essential – and Convince Others that You Are; Younger American’s Reading and Library Habits Report; and much more!
  • Breakout sessions of interest to secondary media specialists include: YouTube (Your Channel/Your Resources); iRead at the eLibrary; Research Collaboration Librarian & Teacher; Research Projects and EasyBib; Supporting the New MN 6-8 Social Studies Standards; Online Information Literacy – Creating Effective Search Strategies; How Twitter Changed my Professional Life; Books for Teaching the MN Native American Standards; Teaching and Learning with Graphic Organizers; 2013 Mackin BookTalk Live!; Information Literacy: The Transition; Be Essential – and Convince Others that You Are; Tech Tools for Reading & Writing in content Areas; Younger American’s Reading and Library Habits Report; and many more!

Register online at: bit.ly/2013memo