When I was hired as a Teacher Librarian last fall, the terms of my employment included returning to school to earn my California Teacher Librarian Services Credential to complement my single subject teaching credential. As a result, I enrolled as a graduate student at San Jose State University's School of Information. The Teacher Librarian program requires completion of 31 units (1 introductory course and 10 core courses) as preparation for credentialing; but, by adding another 12 units, it is possible to earn a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree.
While I already have a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology, I have chosen to earn an MLIS for a couple of reasons. First of all, having the degree will open up a number of career options for the future since an MLIS is usually a minimum requirement for library-related jobs outside of K-12 education. In addition, since the Teacher Librarian course sequence is prescribed, taking the additional units allows me with the flexibility to explore elective courses.
So far, the elective courses that I have taken include:
- Seminar in Library Management, Topic: eBooks (Summer 2015)
- Seminar on Contemporary Issues, Topic: Digital Copyright (Spring 2016)
- Information Technology Tools and Applications (Spring 2016)
Having mapped out my future courses, I am also looking forward to taking these other electives in upcoming semesters:
- Seminar on Contemporary Issues, Topic: Graphic Novels (Summer 2016)
- History of Youth Literature (Fall 2016)
Upon review of these electives, you might notice a mix of technology-focused courses along with those related to reading and literature. I have attempted to select an array of courses that will help me to develop greater expertise in different areas that directly relate to my work as a Teacher Librarian. This semester, for instance, I chose to study Digital Copyright since I have felt that this is an area with which I could use more in-depth exposure and familiarity. My hope is to integrate this information into my instruction and professional practice.
As a one-unit course, the Digital Copyright class has been an intense, whirlwind experience over the past month. I have gone through periods of feeling very overwhelmed and lost; but in the end, I am glad that I took on the challenge. Having just finished the final project of creating a "copyright toolkit," I do not claim to be an expert by any means. Still, I do think that I have gained a great amount of knowledge in a short amount of time, and I am glad that I now have a finished product to use as a reference and share with others.
Provided with different options for creating the copyright toolkit, I ended up choosing to make a website. Click on the screenshot of the homepage below to check it out!
If you want to explore the entire toolkit, please go for it. But, since it might be more than you have time and/or interest to sift through, I will highlight my top ten copyright resources below (not necessarily in any particular order). Enjoy!
- U.S. Copyright Office - While legal language is not always easy to understand, it is often important to reference actual law by going to this website. Here, you will also find a number of detailed guides and tools.
- Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums - This free ebook by Hirtle, Hudson, and Kenyon was the textbook for the Digital Copyright course. While it has a focus on digitization, it covers the general foundations of copyright and features helpful flowcharts.
- Stanford University's Copyright & Fair Use Website - This is one of the most comprehensive free copyright resources out there! The information is well-organized and written in an accessible manner for most audiences.
- University of Minnesota's Copyright Services - The site features great overall resources, but it is perhaps most well known for its "go to" online Fair Use Checklist.
- Cornell University's Copyright Term and Public Domain Chart - This is an easy-to-use and frequently cited resource for determining whether or not a work is currently under copyright or in the public domain.
- Copyright Advisory Network Resources - The American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy provides this suite of interactive copyright tools worth trying out.
- Creative Commons - The nonprofit organization provides a leading alternative licensing mechanism that adds nuance to copyright by expanding options for clarifying rights when it comes to sharing content. The site provides a number of tools to help with choosing licenses, searching for Creative Commons licensed content, and more.
- Lawrence Lessig - As a follow-up to Creative Commons, an interesting way to go even deeper with ideas related to open access is by exploring works by Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons. He has a free ebook, TED Talk, YouTube channel, and more about the power of "free culture."
- Electronic Frontier Foundation - This nonprofit group defends "civil liberties in the digital world." Besides the advocacy work that they do, they provide a number of useful resources such as their blog and educational curriculum.
- Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain - This university project is host to a variety of events and resources related to the public domain, including an annual Public Domain Day, a public domain comic book, video lectures, and much more.