The librarians are having a conference
Full-day conference offers insight and new
ideas for school administrators and librarians
two years, school library media specialists from area schools
come together to share new ideas and encouragement at the HFM
BOCES School Library System’s Administrators’ Breakfast and Best
Practices Fair. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, nearly 50 school leaders
and librarians gathered in HFM’s Conference Center to see and
hear fresh ideas on school activities, collaboration, the use of
technology, and new resources.
For those that think
the school librarian only sits behind a desk and says, “Shhhh,”
think again. Library media specialists play a critical role in
successful schools and contribute significantly to student
success. That was the message, backed by research, conveyed by
New York State Library Association Executive Director Michael
In his keynote
presentation, Mr. Borges shared results of a brand-new New York
State School Library Impact Study that concluded that a direct
link exists between well-funded school library programs run by
certified school library media specialists and increased
student test scores.
The New York study,
conducted by Syracuse University’s School of Information
Studies, joins 20 other state’s studies since 1992 to come to
the same conclusion: Quality library services equal improved
“That’s the bottom
line for school districts - student achievement,” said Mr.
Borges, pointing to statistics that show that districts with a
certified library media specialist on board increased their
average test scores by 10 points.
The Syracuse study
found that libraries and library media specialists’ play key
roles in their schools in three distinct ways.
critical,” he said. “The study indicated that working together
with classroom teachers to teach and integrate information
skills and resources into the curriculum has a significant,
positive impact on student achievement.”
media specialists as educators is the second key point, he said.
Librarians teach students important skills necessary to use
ideas and information effectively.
The third key for a
successful library is to be up-to-date, relevant, and a
welcoming place for students and teachers, Mr. Borges told the
Staying up-to-date is
a big challenge. Slashed budgets and tightened belts leave
school libraries struggling to find resources.
“The average age of a
school library book is 20 years,” he said. “Much of the
information in these books is either misleading or factually
Mr. Borges told the
group that advocacy is extremely important. “Boards of
education, administrators, and parents are often unaware of the
research supporting library effectiveness,” he said.
Gov. David Paterson
recently appointed Mr. Borges to co-chair an action committee,
along with New York State Regent Joseph Bowman, to develop
information literacy standards for students across the state.
“The Board of Regents
recognizes the need to revise and improve the learning
standards,” said Mr. Borges. “Informational literacy is a
vitally important skill set, and there are currently no
offered presentations on practical and successful grant writing
strategies and the creative potential for using interactive
whiteboards in the library.
Best Practices Fair
displays new ideas and fresh approaches
full-day conference shifted gears as participants roamed from
table to table during the Best Practices Fair. Exhibits
displayed their colleagues’ most successful supporting
activities and materials, online resources, “how-to” strategies
to engage students and foster better collaboration with
teachers, as well as new books. Tables were piled high with
resources available from Fulton-Montgomery Community College,
Gloversville and Johnstown Public Libraries and Mysteries on
Main Street bookstore.
fellow professionals is always a win-win situation,” BOCES
Library Media specialist Edie Willcox said, “and it generates so
much new enthusiasm for what we do.”