Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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A hill to die on

Posted by lpearle on 4 November 2006

The session/breakout group I’m attending at the conference is about School Library 2.0 (go here for a good explanation). There’s lots of talk about using wikis and blogs and MySpace to create a “public presence” for the library.

Not to sound like a sceptic but… if my kids don’t know where we are (that big building on the quad? can’t miss it), going to MySpace isn’t going to help. If we don’t allow them to use laptops in class, why use IM for Virtual Reference? Sounds like a cool idea (and I’ve done it at MFPOW) but here? After school they’re doing sports, or some other activity, and I’m not assigning a staff member an evening shift to handle reference when those questions are likely to be asked (somewhere between 10pm and 3am, from what I understand about their homework habits)!

Because we’re an independent school, we – like many such schools – have invested in course management/content management software. It’s a significant investment, and getting the teachers and administration to buy into using it – at all, not just effectively – is a major thrust for the next year or so. Practically speaking, that means we have to use their “discussions” section, rather than create a blog. It means that the news page can be updated (and it has an RSS feed!) but not in blog-like fashion. It means that class content is kept behind passwords, protected from the public view for safety (and work product) reasons.

Am I going to spend my days bewailing our lack of wikis? No. I’m not going to buck protocol and say “I’m establishing a MySpace page” – that’s not the hill for me, either. My hill? Continuing to work with faculty and technology to create more relevance for them and the students. And if that means I use limited tools, so be it. Because 2.0 tools are not the hill I’m doing to die on.

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