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Have an article idea we should hear about? We are always seeking talented writers to contribute to School Library Connection, and welcome both experienced and first-time writers. Please address your query to the appropriate Topic Center editor below.
The Organization & Management Topic Center focuses on providing tips, tricks, ideas, and strategies for the day to day running of a school library program. Often the behind-the-scene elements in the school library world, this Topic Center highlights best practices and effectively running a program to facilitate instruction and student learning.
Editor: Carl A. Harvey II, email@example.com
The Instructional LeadershipTopic Center provides librarians with ideas and inspiration to provide quality instruction supporting achievement. As instructional paradigms shift from teacher-directed to student-centered learning, it is vital for librarians to understand how millennial instruction should change, be able to model inquiry-based solutions and understand the vital connection between reading, research, standards, technology, and achievement. This Topic Center models standards-aligned lessons and inspires teacher-librarians to become part of the instructional team in their building.
Editor: Leslie B. Preddy, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Perspectives & Partners Topic Center examines school libraries in the broader context of education. For school library programs to uphold their status as an essential and relevant aspect of student learning, school librarians must keep current with school-wide priorities outside the library, educational policy updates and conversations, needs and concerns of community stakeholders, and the practice of teaching. This Topic Center tackles a broad range of topics, including librarians as providers of professional development, advocacy, research updates "made practical," communications with stakeholders, trends in education, certification/licensure updates, and legislative topics, among other areas.
Editor: Rebecca J. Morris, email@example.com
2018-2019 Publishing Calendar Themes
Relax, reflect, and come back to school ready to rock. We continue our annual tradition of proposing some low-stress ways to learn and grow during the break with our summer online issue.
"The Money Issue"
Many of us are raised to believe it’s impolite or embarrassing to talk too openly about money. Especially at a time when school librarianship as a profession is under siege by those administrators and governing bodies without a firm grasp of our value, raising “the money issue” can seem uncomfortable, or even dangerous. This issue will look from many angles at this conundrum. Among our many investigations, we will explore effective strategies for advocating for the increased budget you need, including the budget to fund adequate, qualified professional and support staff. Authors will also present field-tested, outside-the-box fundraising ideas, advice for effective grantseeking, and shoestring solutions to squeeze the most value for the learner out of every budget dollar.
"For Art’s Sake: Your New Best Collaborators"
In our standards- and testing-driven educational culture, it’s no surprise that when we seek collaborators, our first ports of call are typically with our teachers in English, science, and the social studies. But when seeking to build strong collaboration across the school, we tend to neglect our teachers in the arts to our students’ detriment. And in many ways, our visual arts, music, and theater teachers are among our most natural collaborators. Like them, too many of us find ourselves having to prove and re-prove our own relevance to core educational goals and defend ourselves in tight budget times as more than “enrichment.” Often, we’re also the only teacher in our area in a building, or in many cases, the only specialist serving a few buildings. Like them, we need to demonstrate the connection between our work, standards, and student learning outcomes, and we can do this even better together. In this issue, we showcase exemplary library-arts collaborations from around the country and offer practical guidance for getting started in your own school..
With all the leadership opportunities for us to seize in today’s school libraries, it can sometimes feel like good ol’ fashioned reading can take a back seat. But we shouldn’t feel guilty if connecting students with great books is still one of our favorite parts of the job. Inspiring in our young people a life-long love of reading, for both learning and pleasure, remains—and should always remain—a core aspect of school librarianship. In this issue, we let our hair down a little, relax, and enjoy talking about some great books and even hearing first-hand from some favorite authors. We introduce some fresh ideas for reading promotion, best practices for developing your collection, and field-tested examples of collaboration with classroom teachers that integrate great recent releases
December 2018 (Online Only Issue)
"Stay ahead of the Game"
A recent SLC survey by Maria Cahill showed that 60% of school librarians currently do not make use of gaming in their library and only 13% integrate gaming into their instruction to support curriculum and student research. Most librarians who don’t currently support gaming and don’t have plans to do so simply haven’t considered how or why they should. Empirical evidence suggests that many games foster a variety of competencies necessary for academic success. Perhaps equally important is the social learning and development of communication and collaboration skills that take place around games and gaming. In this issue, we investigate a broad array of topics, including game selection and management, collaborative youth programs around gaming, safety and online gaming, gaming as a career path, game design, and the gamification of instruction.
"Think Big: Teaching Students to Solve Complex Problems"
Coding. Game design. Makerspaces. Genius Hour. Chances are you’ve introduced, or considered introducing, at least one of these ideas into your library program. The Holy Grail of learning goals behind all of these trends is the ability for students to think through and solve complex problems. “Computational thinking” and “systems thinking” are current buzzwords in the instructional technology space, but we as a profession are only beginning to grapple with these concepts. In this issue, we’ll provide practitioners with an accessible introduction to current research and theory around how to teach complex problem solving to students as well as practical program ideas from current practitioners at all grade levels for meeting these learning goals.
February 2018 (Online Only Issue)
“School librarians are leaders” is a truism in our field. But when we talk about leadership, we often talk in the abstract about dispositions, leadership styles, and leadership culture. While these conversations about the intangible aspects of leading are critical, they can sometimes distract us from other questions: what is it, exactly, that our profession’s boldest leaders are actually doing, and how do they do it? In this issue, we hear from school library leaders who push the boundaries to establish themselves in their districts as the foremost experts in areas ranging from privacy, to assessment, to professional development. As a school librarian, you’re already a leader, but we challenge you to “lead larger” and showcase stellar work by your peers for inspiration.
Recent polls show more than half of us live in the same communities where we were raised. With that in mind, we ask this month what the school library’s role is in grooming the next generation of our communities and what it means to build “local literacies,” to be good neighbors, upstanding citizens, knowledgeable about local issues, involved in local organizations, and networked for success. We explore strategies ranging from service learning, to bringing local experts into your library, to community partnerships with a broad array of local organizations.
April 2018 (Online Only Issue)
"Making and Inquiry: A Match Made in Heaven"
Makerspaces, where we encourage students to tinker and explore, are a natural fit for inquiry-based learning models. In this issue we take a deep dive looking at the relationship between making and inquiry and how they can work hand in hand to create authentic, memorable learning experiences for our students. We showcase exemplary models from your peers and provide practical advice for getting started.
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