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Brian Kenney, SLJ’s Editor-In-Chief Reports…

Treasure Mountain Offers Up Pure Gold
It often seems as though librarians are from Jupiter and library researchers are from Mars. Fortunately for the school library community,
the Treasure Mountain Research Retreat offers a venue where practitioners and researchers—often library school faculty—can spend a day learning from each other. The 12th Treasure Mountain retreat, (via Gargoyles Loose In The Library) held October 5 to 6 in Pittsburgh, drew nearly 100 participants. It’s organized and run by the wonderful David Loertscher, professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University and president of Hi Willow Research & Publishing.

This year’s theme, "Understanding in the Library," provoked conversation on several topics, including the impact of information- and technology-rich environments on teaching and learning and the experiences of collaborating with classroom teachers in the creation of high-level learning experiences. There were many great presentations—too many to list. "Collaboration Is Not a Natural Act," by an Ohio library media specialists and a technology director, sums up well the challenges that collaboration presents. Member of the Amarillo Independent School District, TX, reported on how they "keep school libraries alive in a test-crazed world" by tracking direct and indirect impact measures and by, yes, collaboration.

Technology was also a research focus. Two New York researchers, Joette Stefl-Mabry of the University at Albany and Michael Radlick of the Institute for Research on Learning Technology Visions presented their work in the Hudson Falls Central School District. They are tracking an astonishing amount of data about both student online usage, from school to public library to home, as well as data about the students themselves—stripped of all personal identification, of course. The goal is to understand student use of technology, library resources, time spent at school and home for learning, and achievement and other outcomes.

While the presentations of new and ongoing research were excellent, even better were the conversations they prompted that spilled over into the hallways and well into the night. For all the talk about collaboration, Treasure Mountain itself may be the best example of what collaboration can achieve. Proceedings from the retreat will be available from LMC Source .

–Brian Kenney