woman with penLibrary media specialists must apply a wide variety of practical skills. Throughout the course you will be developing a Professional Toolkit containing information, resources, and examples. These materials will demonstrate how you are developing as a school library media professional. They will also reflect the important Information Power areas of collaboration, leadership, and technology.

This Professional Toolkit contains three components. Each component involves several sections or sub components. Some components provide options or choices. You should be working on and building these throughout the semester. Together these components will serve as a valuable resource base that can be expanded throughout your career as a School Library Media Specialist.

The Professional Toolkit will be worth 45% of the total course grade. Each component will be worth 15 points for a total of 45 possible points.

Components. Specific ideas for things that might be included for each item will be detailed during the course.

Submission. Your Professional Toolkit components are submitted as web pages or attached as a MS Word or PDF document(s). Submit them in the Forum sections at Oncourse. Separate areas are setup for each of the Toolkit assignments. Do not submit a partially completed Toolkit; rather turn in when you have completed all requirements for each Toolkit.

View these components as not only resources that support your own professional career but as documents that can be shared with colleagues. Prepare them for a public audience. They could be used in a personal professional portfolio.

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Toolkit A - Professional Connections

Becoming actively involved with your profession is an essential part of the school library media specialist's career. There are many ways to build professional relationships.

Toolkit Item A assignment contains THREE distinct parts.

Online Interactions
(Required for All)

Some people think of listservs as old technology. They are well-seasoned but some are still vital communication modes. There are over 50 thousand public lists and five times that many listservs. Over 240 have 10,000 subscribing members or more. One can explore the index / find listservs at Catalists.

In the course materials, a few listservs and forums specific to school library interests can be found at the Profession E-Communication webpage at eduScapes School Media.

For this portion of Toolkit A, the assignment is fairly simple. You are to join a professional listserv or participate in a professional forum over a period of several weeks (minimum of 4 weeks). Then report on your experience: describe and summarize the events. Identify and summarize the most important content / discussions / issues covered. Assess your experience. Discuss why you feel continued participation is or is not a good use of your personal and professional time. Decide if it is worthwhile, provide examples and explain the basis of your decision.

If you have not been a member of LM_Net, that is my first recommendation. It is a busy listserv and will have daily communications. A built-in problem for you as a new member is to determining the best strategy(ies) for coping with the volume and flow of information. Include that in your report.

If you already are a member of LM_Net, then I suggest that you find another listserv or forum that you think might be useful to a school librarian and complete the assigned tasks for that choice.

Virtual Presence: School Library Websites
(Required for All)

Many school libraries maintain websites that extend some of their programs and services. Explore several school library media websites and determine your three top choice for best "SLMC Website."

Your examination and analysis can include SLMCs around the globe. The following online resources may be helpful in locating media center sites:

Library Homepages from The School Library Media Specialist at eduScapes School Media
School-Libraries Net (Peter Milbury's Network of School Librarian Web Pages)

Remember the goal is to identify the three best websites. Your submission for this segment should identify your three choices, include the URL, identify the school, the web developer, and summarize the content of each, and include your rationale for each choice.

After this develop a list of criteria that you would include in your own SLMC website. Think in terms of the school community, mission for the virtual library, audiences, etc. Develop a content plan whether it is a dream of a future project or something you can put into place immediately. But for this class, you only need a plan that conveys the vital elements of your envisioned site. Include your plans for developing and maintaining the site; who is involved, how often it should be updated, and an estimated amount of time needed. Finally write a brief paragraph on the value of such an endeavor; that means that you can examine the issue of whether this should be a part of your work as a school media specialist. But do not duck the issues by saying that another person will take the lead and see that this is done. Be realistic.

Blog Interactions: Learn from Experts in the Field
(Required for all)

Learn some of the experts in the field, persons out-on-the-job who are or recently have been practicing school library / media specialists / teacher librarians. A few school library media specialists have agreed to share and interact with class members online. This will be accomplished using a blogsite: L553 Blog - SLMS Bridging Theory and Practice. Previous year's discussions are there for you to examine, and this year's will be added chronologically.

You should interact and conduct a discussion with a minimum of two school librarians / teacher librarians / school library media specialists who are scheduled for 3-day "blog" appearances. These persons are all successful school library media specialists / teacher librarians who currently or recently were working in the field. They are distinguished practitioners who have built and shaped successful school library programs. They bring to the class varied experiences, expertise, and opinions, and each has agreed to schedule a blog session where you can discuss ideas, issues, and pose questions related to their work and careers. These interactions are scheduled in the two weeks of September. You may choose which persons that you interact with and discuss current issues.

See the scheduled dates for each participant and learn more about these people at School Library Media Specialists. (Schedule for this Fall semester will be completed by mid-September)

In addition to completing the two online interactive sessions (each requiring a string of comments, and replies / responses made on the Blog - - not just one question with the response), you are to complete a summary of those online discussions identifying the learning points gained and adding your own related insights, opinions, and ideas.

There are over thirty 'archived' discussions from previous S671 classes that are connected at the bottom of the School Library Media Specialists page. Select one of those 'historical' blog participants and compare and contrast the archived discussion content with those of your online blog guests this semester. Have issues and ideas changed, in what way? Give specific examples.

Your summaries and discussion analysis are part of the Toolkit A assignment.

Toolkit A: Requirement Review (15 possible points). Before you turn in this assignment, be sure you've included the following elements (These criteria lists guides scoring of the Toolkit):

Online Interactions

  • Summary / discussion of listserv or forum experience (2 pts.)
  • Discuss content (1 pt.)
  • Identify important issues (1 pt.)
  • Assessment: Is participation a good use of time? (1 pt.)

Virtual Presence: School Library Websites

  • Top 3 websites selected; URL, school, web developer (1 pt.)
  • Rationale, reasoning for selection (1 pt.)
  • Content, elements for own school library site (2 pts.)
  • Development / maintenance plans (1 pt.)

Blog Interactions

  • Minimum of 2 online interactions and 1 archived discussion series (1 pt.)
  • Summary discussion identifying key discussion content and learning points (1.5 pt.)
  • Analysis of archived discussion series (1.5 pt.)
  • Inclusion of your personal insights, connections to course materials, experiences, opinions and Ideas (1 pt.)

Note that the assignments provides the minimum criteria for the assignment. Outstanding work will meet and exceed those guidelines in some or all areas. For example, you might include unique insights, bring in added ideas and examples from your own experiences, and identify connections to the course materials.

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Toolkit B - Professional Participation

(Choose One of Two Event Options)

From the first day of your job, you must effectively direct a school library media program and be an advocate its success. For one's on professional growth and development, attending and participating in meetings and conferences that are directly related to school library programs is imperative.

Choose and complete ONE of the following TWO options:

Option 1: Attend Professional Event
(For anyone who is able to fit this into their schedule and especially if you have never attended an ILF Conference, the option of attending the annual ILF Conference is recommended)

It's never to early to become active in professional organizations and meetings. The professional organization for teacher librarians in Indiana is the Association for Indiana Media Educators (AIME). AIME is an association of the Indiana Library Federation (ILF). You can begin your professional participation by attending the annual ILF Conference. Option 1 is to attend a professional conference or meeting that you believe will be beneficial to a school librarian.

Select two or three conference sessions, a workshop, or professional meeting (The meeting or conference must occur during this semester). Attend a professional conference that is directly related to school libraries and their programs. Participate, and summarize / report your experience(s). Consider 'journaling' about your experience with an overview of your expectations before the conference, explain how and why you selected to attend particular sessions, provide summaries of your experiences at the meeting, and reflect on your participation and the event after it is over*.

NOTE: Attending a professional conference or meeting is recommended (If you can, attend ILF). If that is not possible but you know of a professional meeting that is relevant to school libraries and teacher librarians - - a professional gathering which benefits your personal and professional development as a SLMS - - then please check with your instructor on its appropriateness. An example of such a related conference might be a educational technology conference. If you are unable to identify and attend a suitable meeting, there is NO penalty for selecting Option 2 (Below).

Option 2: Virtual Event
(Only if Option 1 is Not Possible):

Today many professional conferences are conducted online. One such conference that has provided several relevant sessions is the K-12 Online Conference. It is usually scheduled late in the semester but the Conference maintains an archive of previous conference programs (Beginning in 2006). As an alternative professional participation activity, go to the archived conferences, then select and attend a MINIMUM of four sessions (They can be ones conducted in different years). Pick the best sessions for your professional needs as a school library media specialist. Participate and summarize / report your experience(s). Consider journaling about your experience with an overview of your expectations before the conference, explain how and why you selected to attend particular sessions, provide summaries of your experiences at the meeting, and reflect on your participation and the event after it is over*.

Defend Your Program
(Required for All)

It's your first few months of your new job. The school board has indicated that they may eliminate the library media program entirely. You must defend your program. The previous librarian was a "book sitter," so there's little to support the program given the history of the position. You don't have a lot of evidence to show that your program is effective, because you just started. However you should have been collecting evidence from the first day, so you should have something to share.

School board members don't have time to read a bunch of studies. However they are very insistent that their decision be based on evidence. You'll only have five to ten minutes to present your case. You must develop a 2-page summary (not including your bibliography) of your philosophy, strategies, evidence collected in your few months of work, and support from the professional literature/research.

Use the Library Media Program Data Sources page for ideas.

Notes about due dates for Toolkit components: The course Calendar shows due dates for the four required Toolkit components. The due dates are NOT optional; rather you have flexibility in selecting which of the Toolkits you complete on each due date. For example if you are planning to attend the annual fall conference of ILF / AIME and using that in the Toolkit A: Professional Connections 1 component (Described above), you must hold off submitting that assignment until after the conference. Therefore you have to select and submit another Toolkit on the due date. The assignments also give you multiple options - - that is you can select some elements from two or more options. Example: You must complete Toolkit C and D and have a total of six options to chose from (listed below). Make these as 'real-world' as possible. I would prefer that they be a program / project that you can put to use in a school library position. Even if you are not currently working in a school media center, I'm looking for model projects that can serve as an example and be adapted and modified for future use.

Toolkit B: Requirement Review (15 possible points). Before you turn in this assignment, be sure you've included the following elements:

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Toolkit C - Professional Practice (Choose One Option)

All school library media programs must be centered on student learning. This requires collaboration with the entire learning community. If you are currently in a professional position, you may be able to build real projects to implement in your center. If not, you'll need to simulate this situation making it as real as possible. It is suggested that you use your experiences gained from interviewing media specialists and visiting centers for the foundations of this project. Or, you may draw on your own professional teaching experiences.

Complete One Option of the following six choices - choose one of the following:

In general, all projects should identify the five Ws and one H:

Put together a stand-alone plan for your selected activity or project. Be sure that you provide enough information that another educator or colleague could read and follow or adapt in a different location. This is to be a model plan for activity or project. For more help and ideas, revisit the previous reading at Planning Lessons and Activities.

Attend to the criteria listed within each option below: post your completed project at the Oncourse Forum sections.

Option 1: Curriculum and Collection Project

Collaboration is an essential part of the curriculum and collection development process. Consider ways that you plan to systematically involve teachers in collection development.

Collaboration and Leadership Requirement
Your job is to identify a particular area of curriculum and collection need, analyze an existing collection, and make recommendations for purchase. Your project should incorporate a particular content area or grade level focus. Discuss how you would you get these people involved with your project. How would you approach the potential partners?

Read Instructional Key Word: Collection Development by Danny Callison in School Library Media Activities Monthly, 2003. (PDF document) Then, examine a Fourth Grade Economics Inquiry Project (PDF file) and the Inquiry Budget Template (Word document).

Also, explore the collaborative planning sheets found online. Find several examples of those types of forms and more about collaboration at Collaboration & the Learning Community. Note that the sample collaboration forms are found in the 'How do we show that our programs are effective?' segment of that webpage.

Complete the template for your own collaborative inquiry project. Or, combine elements of different sheets to build your own form. Be sure to cite the resources you use at the bottom of your form. Create a sample completed form using information from your experiences or a project you find online. If you are currently working in a library media center, try out the form and see what you think. Then, discuss why you think this form would be effective.

Technology Requirement

Option 2: Evidence-based Decision making

What evidence do you have that your students are learning and that your library media program is effective? This is an essential question that must be answered by all library media specialists.

Collaboration and Leadership Requirement
Create a list of evidence that you plan to begin collecting from the first day of your job. Given your busy schedule, what do you think are the most important pieces of data you'll need to make important center decisions?

Choose ONE of these data collection areas and conduct a data collection project. In other words, create and conduct a survey, participate in an inventory project, or conduct a collection mapping project. Or, choose another type of evidence-based project. If possible, collaborate with a media specialist and complete this project in a school library media setting.

Review the following resources as you explore the possibilities:

Technology Requirement

Option 3: Facilities Design

Collaboration and Leadership Requirement
Create a plan for a renewal project that would make a school library media center more effective, efficient, or appealing. This would involve facilities but may also include aspects of the collection. It does not need to include the entire center. For example, you may focus on the nonfiction area, storytelling section, or front-desk area. You may wish to base this on conditions you observed in your school visit. Your plan should discuss how you will identify the needs, collaborate with center users on the plan, and make evidence-based decisions.

Technology Requirement

Option 4: Staff Development Project

Select an area of library staff development or classroom teacher professional development. Or, write it as a H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant.

Collaboration and Leadership Requirement
You have up to $3500 to spend on this project. This may include items such as equipment (i.e., digital cameras, data projector), software (i.e., copies of software for teachers, clipart collections), print materials (i.e., photo duplication, "how-to" books for library, videos), and other materials needed for teaching or learning.

Design and develop a staff development activity. Create a short piece of instruction you could use with your support staff, student workers, or classroom teachers. The instruction may be one-on-one, small group, or large group. It could also be self-instructional. You should identify a very concrete, measurable skill for this project. For example, an after-school workshop for teachers on integrating Kidspiration into the primary classroom, a lesson in shelving books for fifth grade library workers, or a self-paced handout on using an electronic databases for high school teachers. The lesson may be short (5-50 minutes), but make certain that there is a plan for practice and feedback. Remember, the skills acquisition requires active participation. Your learners should answer questions, create something, and actively complete activities. Consider using media as a tool for teaching such as a videotape or PowerPoint presentation. Or, create a worksheet or "job aid" to help them complete the task required.

Technology Requirement

Option 5: Promotion Project

Collaboration and Leadership Requirement
Develop a marketing plan to promote a grant project, facility, materials, or program with staff, students, and the community. For ideas, go to Marketing Our Libraries. You might also adapt ideas found at Marketing Resources for Libraries from New Jersey State Library and Great Britain's School Libraries - Making A Difference(PDF document). Your plan must include collaborative partners, analysis, identification of problem or need, specific goals, evidence-based decisions, timeline, activities and strategies, evaluation. Or, consider writing your project as a Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant.

Technology Requirement

Option 6: Grant Project

You're the new teacher librarian. In the past, the librarian had a candy bar drive in the fall, sold Christmas wrap from catalogs in the winter, and pushed magazines in the spring to supplement that library media budget. Your school already collects soup labels and box tops and has a soft-drink banner on the football field. This money is used for buying computers. You've decided to go another direction.

Describe one of the many funding opportunities not already mentioned. How would you develop this type of program? Why do you think it's an effective approach? What do you plan to do with the money?

Example Idea - With recent federal mandates, there has been a renewed focus on reading. In particular, many school are placing emphasis on reading across the curriculum, particularly science and social studies. Local and state literacy funding is often available for this type of initiative. Or, consider Walmart, the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries or any other suitable grant support.

Collaboration and Leadership Requirement
Review the materials at Funding Sources for ideas. Write a grant proposal for a particular funding source. Include a spreadsheet budget with specifications.

Develop a grant proposal for any area of the school library media program. This should be based on a real grant opportunity.

Technology Requirement

Be sure that you allow enough time to complete all Toolkit components to the best of your ability. Thrown-together, last-minute efforts generally do not have the detailed thought and completeness that is needed. Having said that, there is also no need to pad any segments - - include the relevant components, enough that another educator could read the document and discern the needs to be met, objective(s), audience(s), persons involved, time and resources needed, and strategies and activities involved.

Toolkit C: Requirement Review. Before you turn in this assignment, be sure you've included the following elements for the option that you chose to complete:

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