Greetings from Ruth Larson Bender in Tokyo! My husband and I have lived here for over 20 years. We return to the States several times a year to visit our two children (both now in graduate school too) and extended family in Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona and New York. Eventually, we’ll return “home” but we’ll stay international educators for a bit longer.
My library work experience has all been at The American School in Japan (ASIJ), a 112-year-old international school for preschoolers to high school seniors. I spent my first 11 years happily immersed in the lively elementary school library. But, five years ago, I moved the the high school library and I have loved it! My coursework through SLIS and my experiences working with high school students and faculty all dovetail nicely. One enriching the other, I think!
Embedded librarianship didn’t pop up on my radar until Michelle Holschuh Simmon’s Information Literacy Seminar. It so captured my attention that I devoted my final seminar paper to the topic. I applied findings from a literature review of the embedded library trend to our high school at a time when the launch of our new 1:1 laptop program promised fresh possibilities. Although the embedded library model is not as often associated with high, middle and elementary school libraries, I believe that it works there too. I am looking forward to digging deeply into this topic and shamelessly stealing ideas from academia for our high school! In this week’s lecture, Meredith already mentioned initiatives at Portland State, like Library DIY and Train-the-Trainer, that sound right up our alley.
Best Learning Experience? Wow! That’s tough! With a half century behind me, I have many “bests” from which to choose. The SLIS program alone has been so uniformly rigorous and top-notch that I almost hate to graduate! But, for today, I’ll cite these two learning experiences from SLIS that share essential ingredients.
- Building a Library 2.0 site in Michael Stephen’s TransTech course
- Being a LIBR 203 Peer Mentor under Debbie Faires
Three elements in common make these two experiences standout for me:
- The course expectations were so ambitious it was scary!
- But, thanks to expert scaffolding, the learning environment felt safe.
- And, perhaps most importantly, the learning products were authentic. In one, a Library 2.0 package was created and deployed for a school’s library staff and, in the other, 18 student successfully graduated from LIBR 203!
Good learning experiences transform us. I look forward to collectively creating a new Best Learning Experience with all of you.