Friday, August 12, 2011


     My most indispensable item at work is something that our district calls a "BHI cart."  It stands for "Beyond Hardware Initiative," and is one of the best things the district ever provided for students and teachers.  On this cart I have a computer, VCR, document camera, speakers, and a data projector.  Remember the old overhead projectors?  Okay, maybe you remember when the only tool the teacher had was a chalkboard.  Well, with this cart, I can read a book aloud while projecting the illustrations on the screen so that the entire class can see them while I'm reading.  Then I can make notes or diagrams on a piece of paper, and students can add their own comments so that the whole class can see.  I can show a brief video clip, using a videocassette, DVD, or file on the computer, or I can access author interviews, maps, and book guides at the click of a button.  Students can interact with educational games or quizzes.  This tool makes the learning process come alive in a way that chalk certainly never could.  However, Texas has recently suffered severe budget cuts.  As districts desperately scramble to make ends meet, I'm afraid they won't be able to keep up with technology.  Our students need to learn to operate successfully in a technology-driven world, but I fear that this is just one of many gaps that they will have in their education.

I am what the librarians have made me...
---Bernard Keble Sandwell

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dreams for the Library

If time and money were no hurdles, what would my dream be for the library?  Hmmm...  Well, first of all, I want some of those HGTV guys to get on over here and redecorate the place.  Dark woods, real artwork, no fluorescent bulbs anywhere.  I know most children's libraries get decorated in the usual bright, cutesy style.  But why should kids not be surrounded with nice things from an early age?  I've seen some fabulous libraries in School Library Journal, and I think if a building looks like it was meant to be attractive (and not just to little people), kids will take better care of it.  Oh yeah, let's not forget the koi pond in that little forgotten alcove!

We think too small.  Like the frog at the bottom of the well, he thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well.  If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.
---Mao Tse-Tung