Live from New York

LogoThursday, 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, Watchingfollows 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.Techexpogroup When I returned, we immediately jumped online to explore the coincidence and found
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 Jakes
said, ‘wrong on so many levels.’  Check out Dave’s great free PhotoStory tutorials on his siteSpeaking 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 Librarian2
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.


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  1. this summer... said:

    will you be at the Berkeley Summer Institute in August?
    Wondering when i’ll run into folks next…any clue as to who/how many of you Discovery pros are going to NECC in HOTlanta, this June?
    Looking for that to be fun and informational, knowing more people, now.
    Very cool, with the virtual librarian, i must say!

  2. David Jakes said:

    I think a virtual librarian is a great idea and would be perfect for her. There is already a similar model; see where you can chat with an online guide and they help you locate information online. Why couldn’t that be expanded to a full librarian?

    Thanks for posting the “picture.”

  3. Hall Davidson said:

    Thanks! I personally agree with the idea that a Virtual Libarian could be fully functional. You would have to be able to tap into the checkout/checkin software, and you would need a library volunteer. But that has been the situation in many California schools trying to made due without a school librarian (sadly!). Yes, a librarian could virtual resource gathering from a library account, true, but why not try it out with a person so dedicated to making it work.

  4. Martha Thornburgh said:

    Hi Hall,

    I think that a virtual librarian would be much better than NO librarian which seems to be the trend. That connection with a person who takes an interest in the interests of the student is so important especially for those reluctant readers who would never venture out and try new books.

  5. Hall Davidson said:

    Great comment, Rob. And you know something about the topic! Glad you found the blog post. This librarian has her hearing coming up this month!

  6. Hall Davidson said:

    Joe,this is hysterical! I’m not sure all librarians will find it that funny, but it does say something about the information age. I suppose a great librarian only needs one book–the right one. But it will be interesting to see if Rob Darrow comments on this one. And talk about a photo that begs for a caption…

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