What can a LITT do for you?

Every so often I will send out an email to my faculty with helpful tips and resources.  All information will be archived on my resource site:  https://sites.google.com/a/beaverton.k12.or.us/sunsetpd

9/8/15   What Can A LITT Do For You?
LITT stands for “Library Instructional Technology Teacher” and my role is to be an embedded resource at Sunset High School to help us move forward with the Future Ready initiative.  I am a certified School Librarian and technology evangelist!  I love to work with teachers in designing unit plans, locating print and digital resources for students to use and offering suggestion of how technology might engage students to impact and deepen their learning.  So what can a LITT do for you?  Here are a few ideas …


  1. Invite me to a Learning Team meeting — especially when you are planning out an instructional unit. I might be able to suggest electronic database resources or offer to help co-teach a technology lesson.
  2. I can locate and evaluate print and electronic resources to support your curriculum.  Give me a heads up and the Media Center staff can pull books onto a cart for you or I can peruse websites or our database collections and narrow down resources to match your curriculum.
  3. Struggling with a tech issues like building a Google Site or setting up a course in Canvas and you need someone to help you out?  Invite me to sit with you 1:1 and we will work on it together.
  4. Invite me into your classroom to promote the #SunsetReads program.  I can booktalk my favorite YA books, bring along interesting non-fiction titles to match your curriculum or take a #SunsetReads photo for the display.

Cross posted:  https://sites.google.com/a/beaverton.k12.or.us/sunsetpd/library 

Colette’s Future Ready: News You Can Use


I’ve been gathering some of my favorite resources for a new website that I am creating for my new position at Library Instructional Technology Teacher at Sunset High School.  Here’s my initial shares.


Google Apps for Education

  • Google Apps for Education – Training lessons and educator-created materials from Google.
  • Google Classroom resources from Alice Keeler – Math teacher and Google Classroom guru.
    • Alice posts great Classroom resources from her book:  50 Things To Do With Google Classroom and is a wealth of knowledge on all things Google Apps for Education.  Follow her on Twitter.
  • TimelineJS 3 from Knight Lab at Northwestern University uses a Google Spreadsheet to create an easy to make an interactive timeline with text, images, videos, sound files, etc.

Information Literacy

  • OSLIS for Secondary Teachers: OSLIS is the state funded Oregon School Library Information System that provides access to electronic databases for every Library in the the state.  This site also provides ideas for teaching research as well as an easy to use Citation Maker.
  • Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab).  The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.



  • Oregon School Library Standards – A strong school library program includes instruction to support student achievement of standards in: Information Literacy, Reading Engagement, Social Responsibility and Technology Integration.
  • YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Book and Media Awards and Lists for Libraries.

Subject Resources

Social Studies
  • Gapminder – Gapminder is a non-profit venture promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.
  • The Racial Dot Map – This map is an American snapshot; it provides an accessible visualization of geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country.
Video Editing

Library in Your Pocket

The school year has begun and I started a program in my Library called “Library in Your Pocket”.  I was inspired by Shannon McClintock Miller and created small signcards and placed them around the Library encouraging students to download these apps on their mobile devices.  I also embedded the following screencasts on our school Library page.


Library in PocketHelpful video links:




Gone Mobile?  Download these apps on your mobile device and have informational resources at your fingertips all the time.  Get access to Schoology, Destiny Quest – Library Catalog, AML Gale Databases, Google Drive, EasyBib, eBooks or general helpful educational apps.  Click here for the full listing – or – click here to see a Listly list with links to the iTunes App store.

There and back again

“There and back again” seems like an appropriate title of my journey to becoming a certified teacher librarian.  Even though I am a “fresh voice” in the land of Oregon school libraries, I am not a stranger.   My adventure began over 17 years ago when I was a third grade teacher at St. Clare Elementary school in Portland.  The school library was run by parent volunteers and being the teacher with a reading endorsement, good tech skills and a willingness to learn landed me the position as the school’s first librarian.  Those early days were filled with fun book promotions and read-alouds but also the challenge of cataloging the entire library with little training.

Twists and turns and new opportunities sent me to Valley Catholic School in Beaverton where I taught technology classes to middle and high school students.  There I immersed myself in the world of computer applications, video production, graphic design, and journalism.  I completed my Masters of Educational Technology at Pepperdine and discovered the power of networked learning for myself and my students.  The opportunity to attend the Google Teacher Academy and to present at library and technology conferences opened my eyes to a whole new world of educators who were passionate about teaching and learning.

Blazing a new trail I have now returned to the library but this time bringing with me a whole new set of technology skills to La Salle Prep.  This part of the journey includes completing my Library Media Endorsement at Portland State and the joy of discovering a network of librarians through OASL.

So what have I learned along the way that I can bring to my new school?  My adventures took me everywhere – they were all so different and yet they each changed me in their own way.

“Persevere” was a favorite word of Sr. Dolores Doohan, a beloved teacher at St. Clare.  You must have perseverance if you love to learn and I have learned this lesson well.   Learning is tough.  It’s hard work and its always a privilege to be part of the process.  I  remember being impressed with the dedication of high school students at Valley Catholic who researched, wrote, filmed and edited a documentary about teens and technology. One of my favorite quotes is from Lloyd Alexander and I believe it is so true: “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it … than we do from learning the answer itself .”

I appreciate those who have encouraged me and pointed me down the path.  I first met Victoria McDonald (2010 Oregon Secondary Librarian of the Year) when I was at St. Clare. She was always so positive and offered helpful advice.  I’m thrilled that we now work on staff together! Sue Osborne’s dedication and efforts to support the needs of her teachers at Valley Catholic taught me the value of hard work and aligning information literacy skills with the curriculum.  I will always think of Sue, now retired, and her impressive collection of collaborative project samples from teachers.

My own experience of developing an online PLN (Personal Learning Network) has helped me stay connected with other tech-loving teacher librarians.  Reading the blogs of Joyce Valenza, Buffy J. Hamilton, Gywenth Jones, and Doug Johnson has inspired me and challenged my thinking as a teacher librarian.  I stay connected to my PLN through Twitter (#tlchat), ISTE’s SIGMS, and TLchat webinars.

I am ready for the next leg of my journey.  I have already learned so much from my PSU professors, Ruth Murray, Deanna Draper, Nancy Sullivan, Reba Parker and Dolores Johnston. I am thankful to be a recipient of the  OASL Joyce Petrie scholarship this year.  I can’t wait to be more involved in OASL and work together towards stronger school libraries.

I am ready to find resources and support the new STEM Academy at my school.  I am thrilled that La Salle has adopted collaborative technology tools like Google Apps and Moodle.  It’s been fun introducing my book club to goodreads.com and seeing the power of social media transform them as readers.  I look forward to the joy and excitement on a student’s face when you show them the arrival of much anticipated book. I’m glad to still have the opportunity to stay connected with my students by teaching a Multimedia/Web Design class.  Blending the teacher librarian role with technology is the perfect combination for me.

The journey is priceless.  Who knows what the bend around the next corner will bring.

Changes in education have influenced library media programs

Blanche Woolls describes in The School Media Manager (2008) how changes in education have influenced and affected library media programs over the years.  Due to economic difficulties or teacher shortages, libraries were staffed by untrained professionals and plagued by loss of funds (Woolls, p. 5).  That was my experience back in the 1990’s when I took on the role of the first paid librarian at a small private Catholic elementary school in Portland.  I was the classroom teacher with the reading endorsement and good technology skills- wouldn’t that be a good fit for a Librarian?  I learned by trial-and-error, lots of research, helpful mentors and was assisted by enthusiastic parent volunteers.  I remember reading Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning (1998) in those early days.  It gave me guidelines and directed me towards helpful resources.

Progress in school library media programs is reflected in the development of the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner (2007). These standards are based on the idea that learners use skills, resources and tools and having an effective library program is essential to the development of informational literacy skills of students (Woolls, p. 7). Today, librarians are encouraged to take a stronger leadership role in their schools by collaborating with classroom teachers and placing the resources of the media center into the curriculum (Woolls, p. 11).  I believe this is a critical aspect of our job – to support student learning – otherwise librarians are left with the role of becoming “glorified babysitters” whose primary objective is to manage and check out materials from a “archival museum.”

Today, school library media specialists are also responsible for information literacy.  With constant technological advances, librarians are challenged to help students access, select and evaluate the vast amounts of resources student’s have at their fingertips. Information literacy is defined as the ability to find and use information and is “the keystone of lifelong learning” (Woolls, p. 23). Librarians collaborate with classroom teachers to make sure information literacy skills are taught within the context of the curriculum and not as isolated library lessons.

This is a crucial role of mine at my current school.  Luckily, I teach at the school that values the collaborative relationship between librarian and classroom teacher.  Our school already has developed a scope and sequence of information literacy skills and has identified specific classes where the instruction is integrated within the curriculum for each grade level.  These research projects give students opportunities to practice skills in a variety of subject areas.  Students do not see these skills only belonging to English class because other curriculum areas also require MLA citations/Works Cited, reference databases and consistent use of note-taking among all 9th grade teachers.

Woolls (2008)  describes the development of technology/digital literacy.  I do not distinguish the difference between information literacy and technology/digital literacy. I believe they are one in the same.  Accessing and evaluating information is the same whether you are using a print or electronic platform.  This notion is the same for plagiarism and copyright infringement.  Plagiarism is plagiarism.  The difference today is the ability to access so many more resources and the ease of copying and pasting and declaring it as your own.  What this means for librarians, though, is that they must have and use effective technological skills themselves.  It is no longer acceptable to be digitally illiterate if your primary responsibility is to assist students in accessing information.

Having the school library specialist involved in the development of the school technology plan is essential in order to maintain a technology-rich environment in the library (Woolls, p. 27).  Focusing on curricular outcomes and student learning is the determining factor whether this plan includes online databases, a library catalog, communication links, a library web page, Internet filtering, LAN/WAN or wireless networks, and/or teleconferencing (Woolls, p. 29-31).  There are so many factors to consider and though the librarian doesn’t have to be an expert in all of them, they should be aware of their uses and implications in the library or classroom. This is one aspect of library media specialist where my technology background gives me an edge.

The list of qualities for an effective school library media specialist is quite comprehensive:  outstanding teaching skills, enthusiasm for learning, service orientation, creativity, and leadership (Woolls, p. 39).  Its an exciting role.  I love being a part of all aspects of the school curriculum and become excited when I work with enthusiastic teachers who love what they do and their students love to learn.

I read with interest the AASL position statement of the Role of the School Library Program (1990).  Even though it was written two decades ago I believe it still holds true today.  One aspect that was mentioned in this article was that school libraries  “provides a mechanism for choice and exploration beyond the prescribed course of study”.  Yes, our job is to support the school curriculum but also to foster the love of reading and life-long skills that students will use everyday.  The statement goes on to remind us that books and other materials need to be selected to meet the wide range of students individual learning styles and of interest to ALL members of the community.   This is an important aspect of collection development and that’s why we include graphic novels, ebooks, books on tape, etc, in the library.  I love the idea that the library is the symbol of freedom: “the freedom to speak our minds and hear what others have to say”.  Having just celebrated Banned Books Week, this idea is even more important than ever!

Faye Pharr, Principal  from Lakeside Academy of Math, Science, and Technology describes how their school transformed their media center with the Library Power initiative in the article, Reflections of an Empowered Library (n.d.). The goal of the Library Power initiative was to enhance student learning by  improving library services.  They moved to flexible scheduling and the library became a center of instruction, exploration and learning.  Pharr reported that the key to change was the collaborative planning between the library media specialist and the classroom teachers.

I find this as the most rewarding as well as as the most challenging aspect of my new role.  It takes a concerted effort on my part to connect with classroom teachers.  I find that I need to seek them out and ask them how I can support the student learning that is happening in the classroom.  Just because you want it to happen … doesn’t mean it will happen.  I think that it is great that Lakeside Academy reported that “there was a direct link between library usage and test scores in the reference study and reading comprehension” and that circulation of non-fiction books doubled in the last two years.  Results like this should motivate librarians everywhere to evaluate their current library program.


Information power:  Building partnerships for learning. (1998).  Chicago, IL:  American Library Association.

Pharr, F. (n.d.). Reflections of an empowered library. Retrieved October 3, 2010, from http://www.laurabushfoundation.org/Pharr.pdf.

Position statement on the role of the school library media program.(1980).  Retrieved October 3, 2010, from American Association of School Libraries: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/positionstatements/slmprole.cfm

Standards for the 21st century learner. (2007).  Chicago, IL: American Association of School Librarians.  Retrieved October 3, 2010 from http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards.

Woolls, B. (2008). The school library media manager. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.