Library Learning Blogs

Teacher-librarians can use blogs in their school libraries to connect with students and the community, to support learning standards, and to give students a voice in collection and program development.

I like the idea of a blog written by the school librarian(s) that promotes library activities and resources; a blog written by students in which they share reviews and library thoughts; or, a blog that invites outside participants like community leaders and authors to directly engage with students. The library blog project I’m especially interested in, though, involves librarians, students, teachers, administrators, and trusted community members all engaging together in civil discourse. All educators should be addressing civil discourse in all our subject areas, and the library as a center for literacy learning should focus on it, too.


While engaging in civil discourse through blogging meets criteria across the board in the American Association of School Library’s standards for the 21st Century Learner (which I explained briefly in my last post), it particularly supports Standard 3: Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.

This is what I envision: A school library blog, focused on student engagement and ideas, that serves as a platform to encourage informed, civil debate based on critical thinking and generating understanding of different perspectives that leads to collaboration and the creation of new ideas.

  • Students will create the guidelines for engagement in this blog community and suggest topics about issues that are important to students. The librarian will facilitate the creation of a rubric by which students will assess their own blog posts and responses for appropriateness.
  • Students will view select news clips and blog posts (and responses) to evaluate tone, bias, and factual accuracy. They will assess the material for helpfulness and edit these real-world examples to practice writing comments that would provide more value than the original, and that represent civil disagreement.
  • Students, the librarian, and teachers will engage in ongoing assessment and reflection of the power of fact-based, rational engagement in civil discourse.
  • The librarian will provide links to resources that include factual information and varied viewpoints for further investigation by students. This activity will be richest when topics are developed through collaboration with subject area teachers, who will also provide resource content advice.

Our students learn in an increasingly participatory environment, they deserve a platform to develop critical thinking and communication skills that will prepare them to be participants that will be taken seriously.

12 replies »

    • Thanks, M! I really think it will strengthen the connections for students learning digital citizenship to connect with authors and community members via blog, and then to have follow-up visits and chats via Skype or in-person visits. Multiple modes of engagement will certainly prove for richer interactions.


  1. Your ideas are, as Megan said, inspiring, Kate. They all will contribute to critical thinking and sharing of perspectives. I also think that you can use this in Assignment 2!


    • Thank you, Marilyn! I sometimes share the nervousness of more cautious educators when it comes to exposing students to the “big wide world” online, but I firmly believe we need to coach and advise students instead shielding them. If we facilitate the development of students’ digital citizenship skills (including responsible online behavior and critical evaluation of online content), we will have prepared them for meaningful engagement in the greater online community.


  2. Kate you have some fantastic ideas!!! As you showed in IST612 over the summer, you have such a creative mind and your passion is evident in the ideas you create. I think this sounds awesome! What a great way to use blogs in the classroom.


  3. Kate,
    These are such great ideas. I especially like the idea about using blogs to evaluate tone and bias, in addition, to teaching students to post response that are relevant and helpful and not just angry!


    • Thanks, Jenn–I always love hearing your ideas and getting your input. Won’t the Internet be a lovely place when students have the skills they need to provide their relevant and helpful ideas…and understand how much more powerful relevant and helpful are than “angry?” 🙂


  4. I really like your idea of encouraging civil discourse through the use of a blog. The point of having trusted community members was really key with there being so many incidents in recent history. The library should be the place where community from inside and out of the school meshes together to build real world experiences.