My career as a Librarian 3 of 3

I was so very very fortunate to be elected as the Texas Library Association (TLA) President for 2002-2003. The opportunities afforded me through that experience opened up many new experiences in what could be accomplished with technology in Libraries. Ultimately, my presidency lead me to be invited to the first School Library Journal (SLJ) Summit in New York in 2006. That was when the whole web 2.0, social networking concept began to became clear to me and its potential impact on students and Librarians.

Actually, the first SLJ Summit reminded me that we must understand from wince the students come. Joan Frye Williams gave a great presentation on what students want and need these days. One important point was that in order to have credibility with our students we must understand their information retrieval devices before we can teach them ours (their iPods our databases, etc…). Another thing I learned was about the $100 computer. That opened up new thinking about computers and what they could do and how they could be used. I still am impressed with the concept of one computer connecting to the Internet through another computer instead of having to go directly to the network.

The next SLJ Summit was another “pulling things together” experience in Chicago. We all spent hours talking about blogs and wikis and more web 2.0 stuff. By then sites full of web 2.0 tools began to spring up. Then came the 23 Things and the rest as they say was history.

We have successfully turned 23 Things into a plethora of training opportunities. We are probably over a 1000 users by now and the biggest advantage to the 23 Things concept is that the teachers and Librarians and administrators come back to us and tell us how much more comfortable they feel with technology. Once that hurdle is jumped then technology can really begin to be integrated into the curriculum in a way that allows students to use technology to think and create and share in the 21st Century mode.

Here is our pudding (as in the proof is in the pudding):




Curriculum for students to create products for the 21st Century

Teacher preparation for technology in the classroom

So, we do not quite have Star Trek Holo-decks yet in education but it wont be long (see Second Life and Reaction Grid and an enthusiastic Librarian named Mary Miner if you don’t believe me).

I can safely say that my vision of what education could be back in 1979 has come to fruition with the help of exemplary co-workers like Liz Philippi, Vaughn Branom, 38 wonderful Spring Branch Librarians, a visionary curriculum leader Jennifer Blaine and a bunch of others from who I have learned and who I will miss.

It has been fun!


My career as a Librarian: 2 of 3

My mentor and friend, Dorothy Baetge, saw something in me and asked for me to apply to be the Library Supervisor for the district in which I worked. She was the Library Director. I applied and was hired. We and the third member of our tem, Ann Parker, continued to push the envelope of technology in Libraries into the 90’s. In 1992 I decided to go back to graduate school and get a doctorate in Instructional Technology. As it happened I took many classes from a new professor, Bernard Robin, who introduced us to something very new—Mosaic. We were learning about the first browser as the first browser was being developed. As we learned about the browser we also learned about the Internet. Back in the district we started using things like e-mail and other new things that rolled out during the decade. Star Trek technologies were getting closer and closer. I even remember some dallying with some speech recognition software so all we had to do was talk to the computer (as Scotty tried in the Star Trek movie about the whales). 

first browser Mosaic

We even knew what these terms meant: World Wide Web, gopher, Anonymous FTP, and NNTP (Usenet News) protocols, archie, finger, whois, and Veronica.

With my doctorate in hand I moved to a new district and became the Directory of Libraries while still hearing Dorothy’s words of wisdom in the back of my head. Soon with the help of innovative people like Mike Suchoff we had our own web page and then started serving our electronic card catalog on the web. I was going to show a picture of the Library Resources Page from 1998 to show how it has changed, but in fact it has not changed much and we did not do a good job of archiving its evolution. Consistency during all kinds of changes was not so bad.

The era of online subscription databases arrived. We were getting closer and closer to having all information available at our finger tips. We worked hard to integrate the databases into teachers’ lessons. It took several years to really build up our user statistics. We experimented with online books and everything else we could find.

Just to be sure that I am clear. Books will be around as long as they add value to the consumer. And I personally think that will be a long time. I love my Kindle, but I still read paper books as well. I do not see that changing much

My career as a Librarian: 1 of 3



I stumbled into teaching and then stumbled into School Librarianship. My first courses were in the summer of 1978. I learned a lot of philosophy about the organization of all the knowledge of the universe and then how to serve it to patrons. To my University program (University of Texas in Austin) I am very grateful. We did multimedia. We called it slide tape presentations. I did some cool science fiction pictures from some classic books and then added some eerie sound that I recorded twice and off-set the sound by about a quarter of a second so it sounded echo-y. It was great. Mostly, though I learned about what could be. They took us in small groups into a dark room where we were introduced to probably one of the first computerized card catalogs anywhere. The screen was green and the interface was awkward, but I loved it. Somehow, I knew then that some day all information could be accessed via computer. I guess watching Star Trek then seeing part of it come true on the green screen convinced me that if we could think it then it could be done.

 I was hired to open a new “Learning Resource Center”. Since I knew the card catalog would be replaced with computers then I was not too concerned about making changes on the cards with pen in hand. Some of those still haunt me and that Library to this day. I was fortunate to be able to have some of the first Apple/Bell & Howell computers in my LRC. We wrote and stored simple math flash cards on cassette tape that plugged into the computers. I figured out a system to run every student through our little room of 4 Apple/Bell & Howell computers. We were all amazed.Apple II Bell Howell

For some reason I wanted more money than a Librarian in K-12 education so after Regan fired all the Air Traffic Controllers, I took the rigorous test and past, left Libraries and started my training as an Air Traffic Controller. I learned several valuable lessons. One was that Air Traffic Control was hours of boredom separated by moments of shear terror. During my training I learned that I could learn anything and that I had an aptitude of recognizing patterns. But most importantly I learned what could be done with computers. The huge cold room full of main frame computers ran the Air Traffic Control System for our section. With the computers you could project where the air planes would be in 5, 10 15, 30 minutes out. It was magic. To make even more magical impressions, I learned that the Air Traffic Control technical folks where experimenting with a single computer the size of a small TV (it was one of the first Macintosh computers) in the basement that could do everything that the room full of mainframe computers could do. Miniaturization was already happening.first Macintosh

Air Traffic Control was not for me so I moved back into the School Library world in 1984 (portentous). We were just starting to transfer our catalog cards to a stand alone computer system. We typed on an Apple IIe and stored the data on 5 ¼ inch floppies (really floppy). I remember when I had at least 800 entries on a floppy and did something to loose all the data. I just had to start typing all over again. There was really nothing else to do. It kind of made getting frustrated a waste of time. We finally made the transition from paper circulation to automated circulation. We were “up-town”. Our Apple had 2 floppy disk drives. We could leave the program in one drive while we recorded the circulation transaction data on the other. We next started exploring using something new called a hard drive. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. Then in 1991 I was able to convince our superintendent that with Keith Curry Lance’s first study and the most modern union catalog on the market we could raise student achievement by spending 1.2 million dollars and putting dumb terminals on every campus. But we had a nightmare migrating our data from stand-alone systems to a union catalog. We survived and even had time to investigate other technologies like laser disks and CD towers for multiple access encyclopedias. Alas, life was good.

YouTube in Schools – talking points

It appears that much of the movement forward with web 2.0 tools in a district rely on cooperation with the technology department, particularly the ones that run the network, firewall, filter, etc. This post has some good ideas about YouTube and then some links at the bottom about the whole issue. Hopefully it will help someone to negotiate a little more digital freedom for the educators and the students in their district. I think it is important to ask the technology department who their customers are and what is their main purpose.


This part is an attempt to give some points an educator might use to convince the school district administrators to open up YouTube.


For general information about YouTube look at our 11.5 More Things, YouTube is talked about in Thing #4.


Below are 5 bullet points that I think make sense about YouTube. I have given the links for background information.


The first 5 points emphasize that YouTube is mainstream (especially number 5 and the fact that President Obama puts his Saturday message on YouTube).


Points 6 and 7 basically say that there are good quality (university produced) educational resources found on YouTube and nowhere else. Number 7 is an example but there are many more (MIT lectures).


Points 8 and 9 make a case for using YouTube for consumption, critique and produce (CCP) is the way for education to go. YouTube is the creative media of our students and will be during their productive careers.


Points 10 and 11 are things SBISD is doing to adequately prepare for the opening up of YouTube.


The negative, points A, B, and C are the things we will need to teach our students how to handle and avoid.



I. YouTube is mainstream

1. There are 70,000,000 total videos on YouTube (March 2008)


2. Every Minute, Just About A Days Worth Of Video Is Now Uploaded To YouTube


3. YouTube is the top social media website.


4. YouTube is web 2.0, we are already moving into web 3.0 (


5. General Services Administration has also signed agreements with YouTube allowing federal agencies to use the services. Other government Agencies that want the services can sign onto the agreement, which is effective now.



II. Good educational resources exist there

6. There are tutorials about things that can found nowhere but YouTube.


7. Starting in 2003, the Berklee College of Music started offering free music lessons online. The lessons include guitar, brass, bass and even DJ & turntable training. When you click on the “keyboards” section, you’ll find a list of 12 lessons in either YouTube video format. The videos are about one to two minutes.



III. YouTube is the consumption, critique and produce (CCP) for our students.

8. “We’re trying to help our students learn to express themselves in words and images, and moving images in particular,” says Richard Miller, Chair of the Rutgers English Department


9. CREATING & CONNECTING//Research and Guidelines on Online Social — and Educational — Networking


The study encourages the use of social media in schools to help prepare our students for their lives.



IV. SBISD is preparing to open YouTube.

10. Spring Branch ISD will initiate the I-Safe Internet safety program starting in the fall 2009.


11. The district plans to have doubled the Internet bandwidth by December 2009 to be able to handle more video streaming.



V. There are negatives about YouTube that we need to teach our students about.


The negative:


A. Two girls post a cartoon video on YouTube that depict “The Top 6 ways to Kill Piper!” Piper is an elementary school classmate of theirs at Elk Plain Schoolin Spanaway, Washington.


B. If you are registered you might be able to search and find nudity.


C. A portion of the videos are just note worth the time to watch because of poor quality and poor thinking.


Also, find usueful information about moving the district filter in the right direction at  previous blog postings:

TLA 2009 – Several Good Sessions  (number 7)

Facebook and Education

TLA 2008 Friday – Social Networking

Web Filtering Recommendation (long but the best summary) 

The Filter Web Sites Dilemma



Good Luck,



TASLA09 Summary

The Texas Association of School Library Administrators (TASLA) had there annual June meeting with great success. Mary Woodard from Mesquite ISD (of Top Shelf fame) planned the program. Mary Christmas from Corpus Christi ISD chaired the event. As always, this event is more than worth the time. Below are the blog postings from many attendees:


Using TLA Stats and Docs to Share Success by Mary Woodard

Legislative Update by Mary Woodard

Training for New Librarians by Mary Woodard

National Board Certification for Librarians by Mary Woodard

Alternative certification for school librarians by Mary Woodard

State book awards by Mary Woodard

Promoting the State Databases by Mary Woodard

Second Life by Mary Woodard

TASLA 2009 begins this week by Mary Woodard


TASLA 3rd Morning Session Google Docs, legislative Updateby Vaughn Branom

TASLA 2nd Afternoon Session Training Librariansby Vaughn Branom

TASLA 2nd Morning Session Part 2 Book Awardsby Vaughn Branom

TASLA 2nd Morning Sessionby Vaughn Branom

TASLA Session #3 biblios and Speedgeeking by Vaughn Branom

TASLA Speedgeeking by Vaughn Branom

TASLA Session #2 Peggy Rudd TSLAC / Second Lifeby Vaughn Branom

TASLA Session #1 21st Century Educatorby Vaughn Branom

Back Channeling at TASLAby Vaughn Branom


Session #2 Second Lifeby David Schuster

First Session at TASLAby David Schuster


Denton Library Services: Stretching your mind by Patty Windsor


TASLA09 Skype presentation by Barry Bishop


Of the 120 attendees, about 40% had laptops out during the sessions. So, I suspect there were many more bloggers than those I have listed. If anyone wants to share their blog postings in the comments, I will edit this posting by adding the links.





TASLA09 Skype presentation

TASLA is the Texas Association for School Library Administrators. We meet each June for 2 and half days in Austin. This year we have almost 120 attendees.

The first session was a very exciting one provided to us by Kim Cofino of Always Learning Blog. She presented to us over Skype. Her presentation, 21st Century Learner, was very good. Even though we had to reestablish the connection a few time from us in Austin Texas and her in Bangkok, Thailand, she kept all 120 of us enthralled.

Hear is a post about her presentation from one of our two resident real-time bloggers Vaughn Branom and Marry Woodard.

TASLA Session #1 21st Century Educator

Thanks Kim!


TLA 2009 – Several Good Sessions

The Texas Library Association (TLA) Annual Conference held in Houston, March 31-April 3 was another success.

In addition to some good hall networking, I was able to learn from these sessions:


  1. The Google-ization of the Universe – there was some information about how Google and the State databases work together.
  2. Gaming for Instruction – a good presentation by Chris Harris (digitalreshift) and Jenny Levine (The Shifted Librarian). Jenny also has a wiki that contains presentations she has made at other places about gaming. One point made was that gaming can start with modern board games and that games definitely support learning and learning state standardized objectives. Board games are easier for teachers and administrator to accept.
  3. Michael Stephens Talks Hyperlinked Libraries – I actually did not see this session but this link contains 335 slides from one of the most prolific Librarian blogs around and I wished I had seen it.
  4. Top 10 Technologies and Ideas to Improve Library Productivity – Another session by Michael Stephens (Tame the Web). As always Michael gave more than asked. He covered 11 things time 2.
  5. Tagging Your World with Jenny LevineJenny (The Shifted Librarian) explained tagging history, advantages and disadvantages.
  6. Digital Storytelling (pdf1, pdf2)– was a presentation by 2 friends. The theme was about using digital tools (Photo Story) to convey the same things good story telling does. The storyteller was Kimberly Morris. And the digital master was Bernard Robin.
  7. Getting to Yes: Finding Web 2.0 in a Filtered World – Chris Harris (digitalreshift) gave another great presentation, this time about how to change the filtering culture in your institution. He had 4 great steps to take.
  8. The Librarian in Black’s Strategies for Staying on Top of the Library World – by Sarah Houghton-Jan, digital futures manager, San Jose Public Library. This was another one I did not get to see but wanted to. I heard she was very good as always.

There were many other excellent programs and many authors. The presentation web site for other sessions is here. And I always get a lot out of the huge Exhibits Hall.


Next year another wonderful conference will occur in San Antonio, Texas, April 14-17, 2010.

TLA 2009 – Strong Libraries, Strong Scores

The 5th annual Strong Libraries, Strong Scores mini conference for School Administrators occurred as part of the Texas Library Association Annual conference held in Houston March 31-April 3.


We had over 85 school administrators attend. We have already received 2 e-mails unsolicited from administrators that were going to increase the Library budget or rethink how the campus and Library were going to relate next year. Effecting a change in how administrators understand Libraries is very rewarding.



Strong Libraries Strong Scores
(mini conference for School Administrators)

10:30 – 10:45 = Barry Bishop welcome


Welcome from TEA Commissioner by Karen Kahan


10:45 – 11:30 = Dr. Keith Curry Lance (current research)


11:30 – 12:00 = Marla McGhee (collaboration with teachers and administrators)


12:00 -12:15 = break and dividing the group into 3 sub-groups

12:15 – 1:30 = Box Lunch and Breakout sessions (as follows):

Practical applications of Library best practices to benefit campus and principal

Elementary principles

Middle school

High school

Jerona Williams


Guusje Moore

Marla McGhee


Barbara Jansen

Billye Smith


Betty Baker


TLA 2009 – 23 Things

Barry Bishop, director, Spring Branch ISD and Mary Woodard, director, Mesquite ISD presented 23 Things: New Technologies Training sponsored by Texas Association of School Librarians on the opening day of the Texas Library Association Annual conference held in Houston March 31-April 3.


We had a packed crown of over 250 standing room only Librarians. Some had never heard of the 23 Things professional development format and some had their own blogs.


All were enthusiastic about the possibility of learning a lot from home. They were pleased to hear that one of the major strengths of the 23 Things is the confidence gained with all technology.


There was a lot of interest in either doing their own 23 Things or to join Spring Branch’s 23 Things this summer.


Mary did an excellent job of presenting a fabulous overview of the program.


My PowerPoint

ACU ConnectED Summit 2009

Abilene Christian University gave each incoming freshman an iPod Touch or an iPhone in the Fall Semester of 2008. The ConnectED Summit was to detail their implementation and to bring together educators who wanted to discuss mobile technology. There were 412 attendees from 144 organizations, representing 64 colleges and universities, 29 K-12 school districts. More than half the states were represented and 7 counties other than the US. Overall 1,773,711 students were represented.


The first keynote speaker was Dr. Stephen Molyneux from the UK. ACU provided coverage of this and other speakers at . I thought it was particularly interesting to me that Dr. Molyneux said basically the same thing our students said about teachers fearing the technology, fearing to look like they did not know, and fearing change (see previous post).


The second keynote speaker was Dr. Eric Mazur, professor at Harvard. He made the point that his physics students began to truly understand physics when he started using mobile technology in the lecture hall for immediate responses. Then if between 50% and 70% of the students got an answer right, he would have the students do what he called peer discussion. He would instruct the students to find someone who had a different answer than theirs and discuss the question and answer. What he found was that someone who had just recently learned a physics concept could sometimes explain it better than a physics professor to whom these physics concepts had become second nature. Anyway, the iPod Touch is an excellent instant response mechanism.


These are some interesting things learned:


  • A school district decided to invert their attitude on homework. They sent teacher lectures or presentations home via podcasts. And then the teachers spent class time practicing or discussing what was in the podcast. Families who had no access to the podcasts at home received the podcast burned onto a DVD.
  • One school district bought iPods for each student in elementary grades so that students would have access to a vast amount of material created by the teachers in podcast format.

Over the 30 hours of the summit, these were the things that I could figure out to do on the iPod Touch:


  • Access the Internet and read text and/or follow the links
  • Find current location
  • Use developed apps that did things like show me a map of the campus. The ACU staff program apps that would actual take the GPS locator function and plot a path from current location to a desired location with a virtual view of what would be seen along the way.
  • Keep a calendar
  • Check weather for current location and any other location desired.
  • Calculator
  • Take notes or access Google Docs and write, calculate, present etc. (warning-it is challenging to edit a spread sheet in Google Docs from an iTouch but it can be done)
  • Check e-mail
  • Access the App Store and download App (an account needs to be set up and at this point I cannot figure out how to set the Apps Store account up without entering a credit card. However, using a gift card would be safer.)
  • Listen to a book or podcast
  • Watch a vidcast or movie

The final speaker was an executive from Apple. He shared some inspiring thoughts but also reminded us that the E-Trade Baby will be in our elementary schools in 3 years. He then went on to relate a fact stranger than the E-Trade Baby fiction. His son is 2 and has had an iTouch for over 4 months. He was given the iTouch so that he would stop bothering his parents’ iPhone. The less than 2 year old son can manipulate an iTouch.


In our district we intended to implement iTouch’s in the Library so they will not be assigned to individuals. We anticipate new challenges. Any tips or tricks will be greatly appreciated.