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JUNE 5, 2020

Pandemic Best Practices

BY SHANNON MAUGHAN, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY


School librarians weigh in on what works and what may lie ahead.

The sudden closure of schools across the country in mid-March and the resulting pivot to distance learning has meant that the role of school librarian has shifted into a whole new gear. Certainly, the picture looks different from district to district and even school to school, but the American Association of School Librarians has been staying in touch with its membership in a number of ways, including a periodic survey that offers a snapshot of what the school librarian’s work looks like during the pandemic. AASL’s second such survey was conducted at the end of April. The information from 975 respondents represents 1,087 schools and more than a million students. We consulted those survey results and contacted some individual school librarians to highlight a range of experiences and best practices.

Craig Seasholes, teacher librarian at Dearborn Park International Elementary School in Seattle, has been hosting two weekly Book Chat sessions during which he invites students and staff to share what they’ve been reading via “60-second lightning book talks.” From that point, he says, “Information goes out in our district Learning Management System, and readers contribute titles in a shared PowerPoint slideshow unique to each session.” The recommended titles are then added to a growing Follett Destiny® Collection. In addition, Seasholes says he attends teachers’ classroom online meetings and “adds [his] ‘3 minutes from Bookman’ presentation highlighting print and online resources appropriate to each class.” He also participates in three Read-a-Rama Virtual Storytimes hosted by Michelle Martin and Rachelle Washington on their site each week…

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