Category Archives: library school

vlogs: DollFaceBarbie

I know very little about video blogs (vlogs) and I want this to change. The only vlogger I have spent time with is DollFaceBarbieTM, a 23 year old androgynous model from L.A. who is the “first gay Barbie on the internet” (naturally I heard about him from a student via Facebook). Only the vlogging medium can do justice to what DollFaceBarbie presents to the world. How else could subscribers see his baby hair techniques (264,810 views) and hear the twangy cadence of his voice? No audio on blogs, no visual on podcasts. (Some vloggers who also write embed videos into blogs; others, like DollFaceBarbie, prefer creating a YouTube channel.)

DollFaceBarbie has 34,679 subscribers–pretty good for a “niche market.” One of my favorite posts is “Being Gay……My Story/Advice,” (fast-forward a bit if you don’t want a fashion rundown first) (95,373 views).

Please, readers, if you know of any other phenomenal vloggers, please share. I would love to use vlogs in a new media class to discuss online self-representation, self-publishing, and ethics (for instance, the ethics of the “haul video” phenomenon).

barbieboy vlog link


How can school librarians use RSS feeds?

To give teachers free, full-text access to their favorite professional journals.

Through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, MA residents have free (and password-free) access to a wide variety of Gale databases.* I recently went to the Gale Academic Search Premier database > Browse Publications page, and found that this database carries the full text of School Library Journal, Booklist, and Library Journal. From each journal’s page, I got a RSS Feed URL that sends all full text articles from this professional journal to my feed reader. Now I don’t need a subscription, nor do I have to remember to visit a library to browse these journals. Beautiful! (and props to Amy Short, who taught me how to do this)

This could be a fabulous in-service training that a librarian could do with teachers in each subject area. Librarians would simply need to find out first which professional (and/or student-interest) journals are available through Gale for each subject area.

*If your computer is within MA state borders, go to the Mass Libraries website and press the “search” button under the heading “Search Our Library Resources.” This brings you to the Gale Power Search. To switch databases, click on “Change Databases” at the top left of the page.

How can school librarians use blogs? For polling.

I want to explore using a blog as a polling tool: to gather information from students and teachers about reading, research, and new media–what they read/use, why they like it, and what they would recommend to others. I would write a weekly question, such as What’s the best book you’ve read recently? What website(s) do you visit to get your news? What’s your favorite mobile app? Fun, simple weekly polls can be used to create/deepen relationships amongst students and adults at school, and the data from responses can be used for collection development and instructional ideas. Blogs would keep all of the responses organized in one spot and easily browsable for all visitors to the site. The polls would be categorized and archived.

What’s the best platform for polling? Undecided.

Using a library Facebook page would be easiest, because in my experience, most students and teachers already have Facebook accounts, and this means they could simply “like” my page and get my poll questions that way. They wouldn’t need to navigate to a separate website or blog to post (though this could mean increased traffic to my library site). Unfortunately, Facebook is blocked on Boston Public School computers, so they would have to participate outside of school time (or “illegally” via their smartphones). Twitter polls are a possibility too, though, like Facebook, comments are unmoderated. (With Facebook, comments can be removed. With Twitter, they can only be blocked as spam, and then the user is blocked forever . . .?)

For whole school participation, a blog would work better than a free PollEverywhere account, which limits its polls to 30 respondents (However, Poll Everywhere allows for anonymous comments, which means that sensitive or confidential questions can be asked. Anonymity is not possible on blogs, Facebook, or Twitter, unless people create an anonymous profile.)

Blogs that allow video comments are helpful for students who have writing disabilities or express themselves more effectively through speaking (Edublogs allows video comments in its Pro package; WordPress does not offer this feature).

Should educational blogs have moderated comments?

Yes: because comments should not be off-topic, inappropriate, offensive, hateful, or profanity-ridden. However, this means the blog administrator is required to monitor all comments frequently, or else risk not approving and posting the appropriate comments and thus stifling/slowing down the conversation.

No: because students need to learn how to write and publish responsibly for a wide, authentic, online audience. A school culture should be created in which off-topic, inappropriate, offensive, hateful, or profanity-ridden comments are not accepted by peers and the offensive poster is seen as ridiculous (and thus naturally “shamed” into changing his/her behavior). In this case, inappropriate comments can be deleted by a blog administrator as they come up.

testing Gale database link

gale academic one file icon Click here to search this database. . .no password needed (within MA).

my first LibGuide

I have really enjoyed making my first LibGuide research pathfinder, and look forward to using the LibGuide platform in my future school library work. Stretched myself a bit by focusing on science content for high school researchers.

Thank you, NELA

for granting me a scholarship this year. . .