End of the Year… What Have We Done?

Listening to John Lennon’s So This Is Christmas put me in a reflective state of mind. To paraphrase the lyrics, what have we really done? What better place to refresh my memory than my past KQ blog posts? As I read my posts, I realized our priorities are still the same: increasing and cementing school/library partnerships and the creation and curation of OER. These are still our go–to works-in-progress and will probably remain so for the immediate future.

Last December I wrote The Beginning of a Library Partnership Conversation, which detailed the need to create and expand public and school library partnerships. In the blog I described the partnership between the Napa County Library and Napa Valley USD’s One Card Program. For many across the state these partnerships still remain a wary work in progress. However, for Napa Valley USD students, the One Card Program has been a resounding success. Noting this success, the California State Library has implemented a grant-funded initiative to improve school and public library collaboration. As a side note, this school year Napa Valley USD and Napa County Library included all K-5 students in the One Card Program. In addition, we have reached out to our community/parent liaisons to ensure that our Latino families are aware that the One Card provides protected access to Napa County Library resources.

In April I wrote OER: One Size Does Not Fit All. In retrospect, I should have titled it OER: A Blessing or a Curse? Like most librarians, I have a love/hate relationship with OER because they are so ephemeral…useful for a small window of time and then forgotten when something newer comes along. So who curates and decides what stays and what is weeded or deleted? At the worst OER can become a digital nightmare and at best a useful resource but a time-consuming library task.

I must admit that this past school year I haven’t been as involved with OER. The district suffered through the Napa Fires and a recent horrific accident that killed too many of a co-worker’s family. To make up for this, Jennifer, my amazing .5 public librarian, and I spent the last few days evaluating OER platforms and providers. We compared Follett’s Collections, OER Commons, and Amazon’s Inspire. For Follett users, Destiny Discover’s Collections was the winner. Students and faculty have the options of creating their own (private) OER, searching publicly shared OER, or using Follett’s curated Collections (for a price). Follett’s Collections allow the user to create OER that include site-based print and digital materials, including subscription-based databases and audio and video resources. The results are easily managed and attached or downloaded into an OER. My only complaint is that too many of the Follett/Destiny Lightbox OER video is in Flash and is not  easily accessible for all. Our next choice was OER Commons. While it is not as glitzy as Collections, it has the ability to reach a broader audience. It is easy to navigate and has a myriad of options. Amazon Inspire is still in a beta mode and is definitely a work in progress. However, I do find it somewhat alarming that an Amazon account (username and password) is required for access.

Our New Technology High School Government and History classes have partnered with California Senator Bill Dodd’s office to create OER that can be included in the senator’s focus for student media literacy curriculum. We are also reaching out to San Jose State’s LMIS program for interns who would like to create OER that we could include in our private NVUSD Collections. We felt this would benefit all while increasing our partnership base and giving library students a taste of school libraries.

All in all we have had a good year and hope you had the same! Happy Holidays to all!


Author: Kate MacMillan

18 years as Coordinator of Library Services for Napa Valley USD and Napa Valley School Library Consortium; 2010-current CDE Recommended Literature Committee member; 8 years as an outside library consultant for Follett Library Resources; 6 years as a Napa County Library Commissioner; Current member of California Dept of Education’s Literature Committee; Napa TV Public Access board member; ALA, AASL, CLA (Californiia Library Association), CSLA (California School Library Association) and CUE (Computer Using Educators). Conference presentations include: United We Stand; School and Public Libraries Working Together (CLA 2016, CSLA 2017), It’s Not Your Mother’s Library 2012 and 2013 (CUE); Enhancing Online Resources through Library Partnerships (CUE 2010); Implementing School Library Consortium (CSLA 2008); Athletes as Readers and Leaders (2008 Association of American Publishers & CSLA Project). Contributor to School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come!

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Professional Development, Technology

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.