Friday, August 23, 2013

Give Yourself a #makerbreak

Today we prepared for our new library program, Maker Break. We introduced it in the back to school student weekly calendar, and put up signs physically and then virtually in our @bwslibrary twitter stream.
I also posted the following description on the Library page of the school's website:

Give Yourself a Maker Break
Libraries foster finding information and creating something new from that information. If we extend our thinking of libraries from housing books to making all types of information easily accessible, we see that we can use videos, works of art, and even tweets for information, evaluate that information, and build upon it. Satisfying intellectual curiosity and creativity doesn't always have to happen in the classroom. Often that spark happens elsewhere.

Introducing Maker Break, a table in the library where you can learn new small skills - in the time of a lunch period or half a free track. Relieve some stress, have fun with others, and create something new. Maybe you will be inspired to take these skills and expand them to something else. Maybe you will just feel good for having spent 20 minutes not thinking of school. Maybe you need an alternative to video games to clear your head. Whatever the reason, come to Maker Break for a little dose of fun, sometimes old-fashioned, sometimes high tech, sometimes crafty, sometimes literary. But always with potential for creativity and learning.

Want to know what is happening with Maker Break? follow @bwslibrary on twitter or bwslibrary on instagram, where we are hoping people will post photos or short videos of their work, #makerbreak.

Week #1 is Origami. We are putting out instructions for making some beginner to intermediate origami, including our school mascot, an eagle. We also have paper to fold, and instructions on how to share their creations with the school community. We are excited to have the kids write poetry some weeks, make stop motion with lego, and do other small, inexpensive, put fun "maker" activities, without the 3-D printer. We are trying to get our kids from just hanging out to messing around...maybe someday to geeking out. I'll keep you posted!

What maker activities are you doing at your library this year? Do you have any new programming? 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Professional Development Part Two: ISLE Retreat

One week after attending NAMLE, I attended another professional development weekend. The Independent School Library Exchange (a Southern California consortium) held a weekend retreat at the gorgeous Thacher School in Ojai.

The librarians at Thacher have wanted to host a retreat for the ISLE group for many years, and finally it happened - and I hope it happens again. The ISLE Board met the first evening, and sat outside with a view of the mountains as we discussed consortium agenda items such as dues, attracting new schools, what to do when a school doesn't pay, the pros and cons of the Ning that we use to communicate and host documents, and we started to discuss what goals we should have for the upcoming year. As a group, we usually meet twice a year, but there usually isn't time for pondering and long discussions, which we finally had time to do.

Saturday morning more librarians came, bringing our total to about 20. Saturday and Sunday we had carefully selected sessions and roundtables on favorite books, professional publishing, LibGuides, book repair, integrating library/information/research skills, and maker spaces. Past Thacher librarian and ISLE member Elizabeth Bowman, now from Santa Barbara City College,  presented about information literacy on the college level, entertaining and informing us, and delivering great ideas.

Our hosts fed us well, and made sure we had time to share more informally during free time. We had time to swim, surprise each other on the high diving board, hike, have dinner in the town, and generally learn from each other and collaborate on new ideas for our schools. I got to know librarians who I had only met at brief meetings in the past, and i am so thankful for the opportunity to do so. Building these relationships will only benefit our school libraries and our work in the future.

I even got to take an early morning run with my fabulous co-worker.
This small and relaxing retreat was extremely beneficial, local, and inexpensive. The complete focus on independent schools was extremely valuable. I hope we can make it a tradition and that more ISLE librarians can take part in it.