Thursday, I had to opportunity to speak to Tech Expo 2007 in New York. A technology leadership institute put on by the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center it was a high level look at school implementation of some bold strategies, including virtual worlds, video conferencing, podcasting, and Open Source. Not a tips or trick session the whole day. (And I’m not knocking tips and tricks.) When I returned home, we discovered that where the conference took place, Westchester County, is the setting for a book series my fifth grade daughter is wild about. The Clique novels, by former MTV program developer Lisi Harrison, follows girls at the exclusive middle school for girls, Octavian Country Day. The boys school is called Briarwood, and the conference took place in Briarcliff Manor, NY. I should have asked the assembled body if any of them were models for the fictional goings-on. When I returned, we immediately jumped online to explore the coincidence and found
videos of author Harrison, which may soon be in my daughter’s iPod. Life, as Betsy Whalen would say, is a teachable moment. Great dialog all day at the conference. The Edith Macy Conference Center is owned by the Girl Scouts, and they use Girl Scout cookies instead of mints on the bed. A whole box. I got Thin Mints. At the same conference, pal Dave Jakes let me use his photo as the single guy my mobile phone picked up in the "Google Ogle" faux tech demo. It was, Dave
said, ‘wrong on so many levels.’ Check out Dave’s great free PhotoStory tutorials on his site. Speaking of challenges, here is one for you. I met a librarian who spent more than a decade in a school where a serious mold problem was discovered, not before the damage to her health was done. The state has tried to put her on disability, but she has the chance to make her case that a librarian in 2007 can do a pretty important job to support teaching and learning as a Virtual Librarian.
A Virtual Librarian could work with teachers and students to assemble resources for teaching units that tapped not only the stacks, but also the wide world of information online. It seems to me that in an age begging for information literacy, a Virtual Librarian could do a pretty fair job of supporting instruction. A "VL" could meet with teachers regularly, assemble and post resources for individual units or tasks, and could monitor the stacks remotely. In a sense, librarians have always searched beyond the stacks. But what do you think? Should the library maintain an in-person position? Would a
VL be worth a school investment, or should there be a librarians behind the oak desk? Post an opinion! As a longtime member/supporter of the California School Library Association, (founder of the 41 year-old California Student Media Festival), I have my own thoughts. Let us know what yours are! There is a position in the balance.