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Practically Paradise
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15 minutes a day

If you missed Stephen Abram's blog post "Playing and Learning: Making a Sandbox for Librarians," you may need to go back and consider why learning to use new technologies is easy for Stephen and some people, but difficult for others. A year ago Stephen Abram wrote a column "43 Things I (or You) Might Want to Do This Year." (Information Outlook – Feb 2006). Helene Blowers of The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenberg County changed this into a website course with "23 Things that people could learn, track and prove in order to earn an MP3 player." I joined many others from around the world exploring, playing, learning, and sharing. 

Choosing 43 things or 23 Things to do to change your life doesn't sound like too much to most people -unless they are school librarians near the end of the year with tons of tasks to accomplish. I personally find large lists too overwhelming and that I can't even begin because I can't imagine how much I would have to change to schedule my wild life around finding time for  23 things. What about you? Could you find 15 minutes a day if you knew it could profoundly change you? Do you really want to change?

Instead of focusing only upon the 43/23things of web 2.0 technology tools, let's create a much shorter list of 13 things a school librarian could do for 15 minutes a day that would change their program. I'll throw a few ideas out, and I encourage you to add to these.

  1. Read your RSS feeder (like bloglines). Limit yourself to 10 blogs in the beginning so you can keep your 15 minute time-limit. This will help you prioritize. If you don't know whose blogs to read, choose one and look at who they are reading.
  2. Read your favorite journal's top articles. If you truly read something everyday, you could actually read far more journals than you anticipated.
  3. Read new picture books as they arrive. Sit beside a child and ask them to look with you while you think to whom to match the title.
  4. Make a short list of new titles or 3-5 books that thematically go together. Then type these in a pre-formatted bookmark template and print off a few copies. Simple bookmarks like these disappear and quickly become checklists for your methodical readers. I find that I can jot down the ideas while someone else volunteers to type these and add artwork.
  5. Jot a thank you note or email to a teacher and ask them to stop by to plan with you. If you could write one thank you a day, could you sincerely reach your entire faculty several times that year?
  6. ….Here's your chance …. add to this list.