Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Learning Projects in the Library

Lindsey Bishop, the School Librarian at Hillview Elementary has great ideas on her blog about enriching projects and studies in her library. Recently, she had a Soda Bottle Book Characters contest where 90 kids submitted entries. Check this, and her other ideas out at:http://thelibrarylady.blog.com/

Monday, December 2, 2013

Working Wonders

A fellow librarian has a tag line on her email that says " teaching library skills in isolation is like having a kid waving his arms and legs sprawled over a table, then saying, 'Remember to do this when you get into a pool' ". (Betty Buckingham) Despite continuous efforts to collaborate and build lessons with the teachers at my school, we have always been only marginally successful. However, with the implementation of the College and Career Readiness Standards and the adoption of the Wonders Reading Program, new life has been given to the library program. On practically a daily basis I am talking with the teachers at my school about research whether its ideas, scheduling the lab, developing a lesson plan, or actually engaged in research. Following is an outline of how we have implemented this.

Around Thursday or Friday, I start working on the next week's lesson plans. First, I send an email to the faculty to ask if there is any topic in particular they would like me to cover for the following week.

From the responses I get, I either do what they've asked, or if they don't  respond I log onto the Wonders website and look at the research selections for the following week. 

The website is http://connected.mcgraw-hill.com/connected/login.do and you may need to talk with your classroom teachers or reading coach about getting logged in.

Once logged in click on Resources in Quick Links, the research and inquiry in the navigation list on the left. Plug in what week the class you are working with is studying, then choose one of the guides. It's important to know, also what unit and week the class is on. I tried to set my Wonders home page up to correspond with each teacher, but it didn't work. 

Life Cycle Wheel
After I've reviewed and decided what the required research is for the next week, I begin gathering resources and often modifying the research. Because of time limits or skill levels I may need to make changes and adjustments to the research guides. I put research guides and resources on our school-wide wiki. Then I work with classes during library and lab time as well as additional time with classroom teachers. 
Learning to Use an Outline
Here is a link to our wiki                                      .https://wjeslibrary.wikispaces.com/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Forward thinking in school librarianship...

*This post was written by Meg Brooke, Supervisor of School Librarians for Jefferson County. 

Twenty three years ago I interviewed for a library position in the system where I was moving my family. In preparing for the interview, I got my interview outfit ready (Ok…hate to say it, but this was my first thought!). I knew that I needed to get my mind and interview skills ready, and so I prepped by doing lots of reading on what was new in library theory as well as  in technology, and I talked to several practicing librarian friends. The CD-ROM was just starting to be used, and I memorized what the letters stood for and learned about information that was available on the CD-ROMS. I had a MacIntosh computer that I could use at home, and I felt prepared. But, whoa, Nellie! 

Dr. Robert Mitchell, superintendent of the system at the time, interviewed me, and I was amazed!!! This was 1990, and Dr. Mitchell was envisioning students being able to access our school library from their homes. Wow!  My finite mind could never have dreamed that big…everyone having a computer at home and being able to retrieve information from our school library…. but I’m thankful that others have minds to be able to see what possibilities lie ahead. 

Remember: computers were just appearing in schools around that time, and the library where I was hired to work had no computers….ZERO.  It took a few decades to get there, but his vision did become reality. (a side note…..Dr. Mitchell was a hero to me in several ways, but I’d love to add that he left the system a year after I was there and started the first daycare in the area that had cameras so that parents could log in and see what their children were doing whenever they had a chance to do that. A real forward thinker!)

Dreams of what our libraries will become must move from the ideas that many were taught and have practiced, too, if we are to move toward the vision of the library that our students will need.  In Harland’s The Learning Commons: Seven Simple Steps to Transform Your Library, we are given some questions to ask ourselves as we think about the future of our particular library. 

Ponder these:
  • ·         Does your school need a library when most information can be accessed in the classroom using the Internet? (This is a question that we need to be able to answer!!!)
  • ·         What is it that your library offers to your users in addition to accessing information?
  • ·         Are you doing it well?  Could you do it better?
  • ·         How can you increase and improve services?
  • ·         Could you make a shift in your service?

We’ve heard the term libraries without walls, and we’re there. Dr. Mitchell got it right!  Our students can access Atriuum, Nettrekker, the AVL, and many ebooks outside of the school library. One leadership session at the upcoming AASL conference and one that was recently presented in a webinar entitled A Library in your Pocket is a reality NOW!  

High schools are without walls, providing online courses for students via ACCESS now. Our buildings are seeing changes as methods of teaching are moving toward more technology, and our library spaces will need to follow suit as well.  No longer are we just protecting what we have…our books, our AV, our equipment, but we are morphing into being the promoters of how to use what we have so that our students and teachers can easily access and use that information. 

This is just a smidgen of food for thought that you’ll find in The Learning Commons by Pamela Harland.  I hope you’ll check it out if you’re interested in moving your library forward into one that will meet your students’ needs.  

Be the “Dr. Mitchell” in the lives around you!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Christmas came to us in October!

*This post was written by our sweet and fearless leader, Meg Brooke! :)

Christmas came to us in October! J  There were some funds left in the account that we were approved to spend, and so I ordered these books for our professional development.  It does not look like we will be moving downstairs, and so I will keep these in my office upstairs.  I know that there is little time for much extra, but hopefully some of these references will be something that some or one of you needs to give that extra “umph” to take your library or you as a librarian to that next level!  Our students deserve this!

If you’re interested in any of these, let me know and I’ll send it by the PONY.  I plan to do some quick “reviews” of these in the future, too, to hopefully pique your interest.

These are the books:

I get pumped just reading the titles!  But the real worth is what’s inside………

School Libraries Matter: Views from the Research
Mirah Dow, ed
Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers
Debbie Abilock, Kristin Fontichiaro, and Violet Harada, editors
Literacy: A Way Out for At-Risk Youth
Jennifer Sweeney
Get Those Guys Reading: Fiction and Series Books that Boys Will Love
Kathleen Baxter and Marcia Kochel
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and the School Library: Inquiry-based Education
Anthony Tilke
The Library Catalogue as a Social Space: Promoting Patron Driven Collections, online Communities, and Enhanced Reference and Readers’ Services
Laura Tarulli
Copyright Catechism II: Practical Answers to Everyday School Dilemmas
Carol Simpson
iPads in the Library: Using Tablet Technology to Enhance Programs for All Ages
Joel A. Nichols
Travel the Globe: Story times, Activities, and Crafts for Children
Desiree Webber, Dee Ann Corn, Elaine Harrod, et al
Book Clubbing:  Successful Book Clubs ..
Carol Littlejohn
Reference Skills for the School Librarian
Ann M. Riedling, Loretta Shake, Cynthia Houston
Integrating Young Adult Literature through the Common Core Standards
Rachel Wadham and Jonathan Ostenson
The Learning Commons: 7 Simple Steps to Transform Your Library
Pamela C. Harland
Seven Steps to an Award-winning School Library Program
Ann M. Martin
A Guided Inquiry Approach to High School Research
Randell K. Schmidt
Guided Inquiry Design: a Framework for Inquiry in Your School
Carol C. Kuhlthau, Leslie K. Maniotes, and Ann K. Caspari

Monday, October 21, 2013

What's Next for Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

On November 4th, from 1 - 2 p.m. Central Time Jeff Kinney, author of The Wimpy Kid Series, will give readers a preview of his newest book Hard Luck. It sounds like a great program for a reading class or elective class to join in and get excited about this crazy-popular series!

Sign up for alerts from School Library Journal to hear more about these special events.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Come to the AASL Conference in Hartford!

Only days are left to get the discounted registration rate for the AASL Conference in Hartford!

Advance registration rates end October 17th.

AASL 16th National Conference & Exhibition image

Here are some of the concurrent sessions on Friday, November 15:

  • Challenge Your Four Walls with a Twitter PLN
  • Game On: Scratch in the Library and Classroom
  • Game On: Using the Latest and Greatest to Entice Patrons and Promote Literacy
  • Give the Kids the Keys: Students Drive the Independent Project
  • Lessons from the Winners Take All Community Read
  • Leveraging the Library: Sci-Fi, Storytelling, and New Media Ignite Student Interest in Science
  • Making the Case for Tablet Computers
  • No-Fear Nonfiction: Meeting the Challenge
  • Presenting Social Issues in Teen Literature
  • Rising to the Challenge: Preparing Students for College-Level Research
  • Rocks in the River: The Challenge of Piloting the Inquiry Process in Today's Learning Environment
And that is just Friday! Plenty of opportunities abound to rub shoulders with some of the best librarians in the business. This type of professional development always brings out the best ideas in technology, books, programming, and literacy promotion.

Conference friends are a built-in bonus and the friendships continue through Twitter and ALA Connect.

So, come and join the fun and remember the old adage that "you get out of it what you put into it!"

Monday, October 7, 2013

Teen Read Week

Students at Hueytown Middle School are working hard to get ready for Teen Read Week 2013! Be on the lookout for posts written by students explaining the significance of Teen Read Week as well as digital resources created by library aides to promote this library event.

Friday, October 4, 2013

ASCLA Awards - Nominate Someone!


A $1,000 award and certificate for a library organization that has provided services for people with disabilities. The award recognizes an innovative and well-organized project which successfully developed or expanded services for people with disabilities. The award can be for a specific service(s) program or for a library that has made their total services more accessible through changing physical and/or attitudinal barriers. Original funding for this award was provided by Aetna U. S. Healthcare beginning in 2000 through the National Organization on Disability. Keystone Systems assumed sponsorship of the award in 2004.

The nomination form is available in both PDF and Word document formats. The deadline for 2014 award nominations is February 1, 2014.

The information above comes from the ALA office.

Has your library offered special services fro people with disabilities or do you know a librarian who has? Nominate someone today!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

This is What Happens When Students are Searching for Information on a Reliable Website during a Government Shutdown

United States Department of Agriculture - Home: Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available.

After funding has been restored, please allow some time for this website to

become available again.

For information about available government services, visit usa.gov

To view U.S. Department of Agriculture Agency Contingency plans, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans

Message from the President to U.S. Government Employees

The message above is what our middle school students tapped into when searching the website www.choosemyplate.gov. This is what happens in school with a Federal Government Shutdown. As Robert Burns said, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Yes, the Library has Standards!

Here is a recent poster I placed outside the library door. At our school teachers have to place lesson plans outside the door and objectives for students in student language inside the room.

I wasn't asked to do this, but I thought it would be a great idea to advertise to teachers our 21st Century Standards.

Teachers have even asked me about them! It's been a great way to show that I am a part of the teacher/teaching team.

If anyone has other ideas out there for posting standards, please share them!
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Constitution Week

It's Constitution Week and a great time to have a congressman or field representative from a congressman's office come and speak.

He or she will speak about the White House and tell students facts like when the flag is flying above it, it means the President is at home; they tell kids fun facts about how the President gets to choose the rug and furniture for the Oval Office; and about the favorite museums to visit in Washington, D.C.

They also speak about amendments to the Constitution and tie in a real world aspect to studying the Constitution.

My favorite part of Constitution week is the tiny pocket Constitution of the United States that would tempt anyone to read.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Digital Learning Day and Project 24: Planning for Progress

How does a dose of digital learning for district and school leaders sound? That's right - as a school librarian you are a school leader! More on this in a sec because this whole Project 24: Planning for Progress is preparation for Digital Learning Day in February. If you didn't participate in that in some small way last year, please make plans now to particpate in 2014 - which is right around the corner, by the way.

Now back to being a leader. It is incumbent on us as school librarians to rev up our engines for learning in every way - but especially digital. Excuse the cliche', but you will want to be on that train. It just may save your job one day! So, all aboard for Project 24. (You may want to sign up for School Library Journal's digital newsletter to read about New York City's Education Department asking for a variance not to have librarians...)

This course lasts for eight weeks and is free. Part of it is to help your district get a digital plan which we have in the Jefferson County Schools district, but the rest is to strengthen and learn about digital transition. This year is only the second one for this course and it sounds great! I have already signed up and I hope you will, too. It asks a few questions about your district that are quick to answer. It starts September 30 and ends in November.

All Aboard!www.commons.wikimedia.org.

Hope to see you soon in the digital world and beyond!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Swirling Solo - This post originally appeared on http://irondalemiddleschool.blogspot.com/

Well, this is the first year of flying solo or "swirling solo" which rolls off my tongue in a way that's a bit more fun!

In the middle school setting swirling solo means I'll have a lot more student aides swirling around and I'll be swirling a lot more myself around the school and back to the library before a flurry of e-mails sends me to the next task! I am looking at this transition in a positive way.

At first I did not see working alone in the Library Media Center as a good thing. I only saw more tasks ahead of me and wondered how I would get it all done.

What I have found instead is lots of teachers pitching in to help other teachers on their hall with setting up technology and a lot more teachers stopping by the library to talk about future collaborations.

So, I am excited about this! Here is how I will handle some of the housekeeping issues:

  1. Create self-checkout for students in Atrium.
  2. Allow students to take on an ownership role in creating huge dsiplays in our very large display case.
  3. Allow students to take on a bigger role in management of Nooks - counting them and making sure they stay charged.
  4. Demonstrate to students how to troubleshoot issues on teacher laptops and send them out to take care of it (The Fn (function) key being the largest of these issues). Perhaps I'll create a laminated sheet of various problem-solving tips or let "guided inquiry" take over! Many times the techie student can figure it out on his/her own.
  5. Allow students to assist teachers with pulling books and assist students with software, hardware, and website issues.
  6. Bounce ideas off students for grants and contests.
  7. Provide a student chair and rules for being behind the desk.
  8. Students with the best handwriting will be able to abbreviate the genres in the fiction collection - since my library is genre-fied.

All in all it's going to be a more student-centered and student-led Library Media Center. No, there is nothing earth-shattering and very new here, but I think it's going to work. I am ready to swirl! If this is the case for you, have a great year and leave a comment about how you will manage the year.

Our former library aide, Mrs. Barker, working one of our many bookfairs. Have a great year at your new school, Mrs. Barker!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ALA Leadership Institute

             Instructional Specialist for Library Services, Head of Liaison Services, Assistant Library Director, Art Librarian, International Documents Librarian, Special Projects Coordinator, these are a few of the titles held by this dynamic group of public, academic and school librarians,  who converged at the Eaglewood Resort outside Chicago  in August  for the four day  Inaugural Leading to the Future Leadership Institute sponsored by the American Library Association.  We were taken in hand by Maureen Sullivan, Past-President of ALA, and Kathryn Diess, Content Strategist  for ACRL/ALA and guided on an informative and exciting journey into leadership development.        
         It is difficult to describe all of the things I learned in any kind of detail, and I'll attempt that later, but what was so remarkable about this Institute was the people. Have you ever taught that class where all the kids just worked together in harmony and you were able to achieve great things?Have you ever worked with a group of people or had a group of friends where everybody's personality just fit? This Institute had all those elements. The environment was so warm, supportive and safe, which is wonderful, but for that kind of cohesion to take place nearly instantly among 40 attendees and two instructors from so many different cultures and backgrounds in such a short amount of time is something truly remarkable and unforgettable. The only way I can think to describe it is by our seating arrangement. Personally, I pick a place and stay there. Most people tend to that behavior from my observation, but everyday, people sat in different places during the sessions and at our meals.  It just seemed like we were just that interested in knowing each other. And although I felt completely intimidated by even showing up for this Institute, by Day 2 I was thinking, Yeah! These are my people! But seriously, it just fueled the environment for learning and discovery.     
  Here, in as little detail as I can manage are some of the highlights I felt like have and will transform my practice as a school librarian and school leader. 
 1. The difference between internal and external power. External power is a defined power given by an outside entity.However internal power comes from our ability to do things, our power is drawn from within and has to be developed. 
 2. Skillful Discussion-which begins by building trust, asking the right questions, listening to others and responding when necessary. We discussed several models and spent time practicing skillful discussions several times. It takes energy and time, but yields a much better outcome. 
 3. Planning-I started to write that nothing good comes from poor planning, but sometimes we do get lucky, however a little up front work is important. We began  with identifying our strengths and weaknesses, developing our own personal visions, then were able to apply the information to that vision throughout the Institute. By the end we were able to sketch out a plan for our personal leadership development.
 4. Pay It Forward-One epiphany I had at the Institute was exactly where my power and leadership come from, although I do not have defined leadership position. I am a leader of students. We all are.

All the materials and information we received have been cleared to share. Let's do it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Miss Spitfire (book review)

*Post by Pam Bullock at McAdory High School

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction book. Obviously it is based on a true story, but Miss Spitfire is actually Anne Sullivan not Helen Keller. The story inspired me to learn more about Miss Sullivan. It begins when Anne, desperate for work, arrives in Alabama from Massachusetts to a seemingly impossible task - to teach Helen to communicate. Sarah Miller's debut novel is a wonderful tribute to Anne Sullivan's determination to "tame" Helen, whose frustration at trying to communicate has made her as wild as an animal. No one has been able to be persistent and patient enough to help Helen until Anne arrived. I highly recommend this novel and it is a quick read. Great for Upper Elementary and Middle.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

McAdory Jacket Slam!

*Very special thanks to Pam Bullock at McAdory High for this post.

We held our first ever Jacket Slam the last Wednesday in April in honor of Poetry Month. This event began with a student who saw the promo for the Word Up event held in Bham. She decided that we needed to put together our own event and started a sign up sheet to see if there was enough interest from the student body.

Planning began in late February and she and a small committee of students promoted it by making posters. They created a form for students who wanted to participate and share their own original work. We included poems, short stories, rap/song, and skits. In the end we had 10 students perfom their work and each area was represented. We held the event in the library and had it set up like a cafe.

After each person performed the audience snapped their fingers to show their support (much like a beatnik). The library sold snacks to the audience during intermission as a small fundraiser, and the students who performed were able to have snacks after the event was over (for free of course).

I was very pleased with the poems performed and proud of the students who were willing to stand in front of their peers and share their personal work. The senior English teacher and I were the faculty sponsors and she was the MC while I videoed. One of our principals commended us on having the first McAdory Poetry event and has asked that we continue it next year in the fall and spring (hoping that it will empower other students to participate).

I truly loved seeing the students take control and plan and manage everything. We liked the intimacy of the library setting but would love for more students to be able to attend, so we may have to expand to the auditorium in the future.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Free Sampler of The 5th Wave!

Barnes & Noble is giving away samplers of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey! It's the first 70 pages of one of the best books I have ever read.

The first three people who respond will get a pony surprise!

This post-apocalytic novel is perfect for middle or high school readers.

Remember, respond to the blog for a copy!
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (James Patterson)

Rafe Khatchadorian is every 6th grade boy. He’s nervous about all the new challenges and rules that come with middle school territory. He’s excited about having a little more freedom than elementary structure afforded. Mostly, he feels overwhelmed that there is entirely too much to take in at once, and what to do with it all.

And then, of course, there's Jeanne Galletta. 

The thing about Rafe is that he is also anything but typical. Along with his very, um, special friend Leo, Rafe constructs an elaborate plan to survive his 6th grade year by defying what is intended to be the safety net of middle school society: the student code of conduct. His adventures might help Rafe make it through the worst year of his life…but they might keep him there as well.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life as a title is a work of genius. Everybody is either headed to middle school or has been through it and very likely remembers 6th-8th grades as some of the worst years of their life. I would agree. Largely due to changing bodies and brain chemistry, middle school continues to be a very hard time for teenagers.

For those parents, teachers, and librarians curious about how well this book might meet the needs of their kids, know that it is very nicely done. There are a few twists classic of a James Patterson work, and the addition of humor-laden, skilled illustrations adds a quirky yet highly entertaining layer. The short, brief, action-packed chapters sprinkled with bits of slapstick humor will be appealing for reluctant readers (ahem: BOYS). 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Books to Think About -

Common Sense Media just posted reviews of "five books parents should read". What are your thoughts about these books? I have read a couple of them and I must say that Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite teen lit books from this year. Which ones are in your library?

Here's a link to the books: Common Sense Media's 5 Books

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More poetry resources

Just a few more fun and interactive sites to use with our students to celebrate National Poetry Month! 
North Highland Elementary School
Scholastic-Poetry-Writing with the Writers
Featuring famous children’s poets Jack Prelutsky, Karla Kuskin, and Jean Marzollo offer advice to young poets on how to write poetry.  Experience the Poetry Writing Engine- a fun and interactive way for children to learn about and create different styles of poetry.
Giggle Poetry
 An interactive site where kids can read  and rate poems, learn how to write them,  and create their own with fun “Fill-in-the-blank” poetry activities.
Poetry for Kids
Read and listen to funny poems by Kenn Nesbitt.  Play poetry games and learn how to write poems.  This site features an awesome Rhyming Dictionary to assist students with writing poetry.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Common Core PowerPoint

In doing a little research on Common Core, I came across this PowerPoint that is a great starting point for exploring Common Core.

Here is the link: Increasing Informational Text in ELA, Social Studies, Science, Math. The PowerPoint is from the Long Island Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Their website is filled with Common Core strategies, rubrics, ELL, ESL, math and literacy information. Although the PowerPoint was created in 2011, all of the information is still relevant and fresh.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Importing Records into Atrium

    Here is some handy information for importing records into Atrium: 

1.  Click on the attachment in the email and choose to “save” the file ( I generally save these to my desktop, but you can save it where you want as long as you know where it is later).
    2. Open up Atrium and choose "Catalog".

3. Click "Import MARC file".

4. Click "Browse".

5. Navigate to the file you saved earlier.
6. Click "Continue".

7. Then you should get the confirmation screen. You then click the "blue" words: Review Imported Bibliographic". You will see a screen that looks like a "report" screen that says "View Imported Bibliographic".

8. Now click "edit" and add holdings by inputting a barcode for each record. Rather tedious but necessary. If you are importing records for e-books, go back to step 4 and choose "Import MARC E-book File" and follow the next steps. There will be no need to input barcode numbers.

For a document with screenshots, please e-mail dstaton@jefcoed.com

Friday, March 29, 2013

National Poetry Month

Thank you to Delfreda Coleman at North Highland Elementary for this contribution! 

A few poetry sites to get your students moving to the beat of Spring!

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr411.shtml-  Discover how a poem a day can transform your classroom

http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/318-Poetry Read-a-thon is a great way for our schools to get involved globally in the reading and celebration of poetry!

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr411.shtml - Ever run out of words to use when writing poetry?  Here is a list of beautiful and ugly words to convey your feelings.
http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/361- Listen and view live poetry!

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/browse/- Download the free app to your smart device to access classical and modern poetry.

http://www.poetryteachers.com/poetclass/lessons/teachsimiles.html  - A fun way to teach poetry using similes.

http://www.poetryarchive.org/childrensarchive/home.do - Have your students listen to inspiring children’s poets express the process of coming up with their writings. You are able to publish your students’writings for others to view on The Children’s Poetry Archive.

http://www.classroomjr.com/tag/printable-poems/ - Get your kids moving and grooving with this collection free printable Poems from Classroom Jr.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

School Libraries in Finland

Finland is the new global standard for education, and teachers from every major country in the world are flocking there to observe how they do things. Major elements in the Finnish system that differ from America's educational model include delayed school start age, how early and often students are tested, avoidance of merit pay for teachers, the amount of job-embedded professional development time teachers are provided weekly, the honorable status of teachers within the Finnish society, and the limited number of students in each classroom.

Naturally, as librarians our curiosity is inclined to wonder about the role of school libraries in Finland. Though it is rumored that school libraries do not exist in Finland, this is not true. There is a major reliance upon the public library system, and a strong tie to school libraries strengthens the programs of each.

Below are a few resources including valuable information about the vitally essential school library programs in what is currently recognized as the strongest educational model in the world:

School Library Association in Finland

Observations about School Libraries in Finland from an American school librarian

Finland's Library Network

What aspirations do the Finnish librarians provide for our own instructional practices?

And the second winner is...

Pam Bullock is the proud new owner of Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys! Congratulations! You will receive it in the pony soon.

Comment on this post if you are interested in another giveaway of an advanced reader edition!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Winner Wednesday Book Giveaway!

Who needs a good book to read this spring? It's an Advance Uncorrected Galley and is Not for Sale! It's a giveaway! The novel is Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys.

You will not be disappointed by this novel set in New Orleans about a girl trying to figure out her life after being raised by ...herself! She lives in a good place, though, with plenty of reading material.

The winner will be announced in time to put in the pony on Friday!

Good luck!

Monday, March 11, 2013

And the winner is....

Carla Crews! Your book (along with another small happy or two) is going on the pony tomorrow. Congratulations and we hope you enjoy it!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Fun Giveaway!

Just for fun, I am giving this away to one lucky LibraryVision reader! Just comment below, and I will draw names Monday at 8pm. The lucky winner will receive this copy of Isabel Allende's Island Beneath the Sea (a fabulous historical fiction piece about late 1700s slavery conditions in Haiti: brief review here) via the Pony.
Thanks for dropping by!
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

ASLA New Librarians Conference June 9th

Leadership for the 21st Century
ASLA New Librarians Conference
It’s back!  The Alabama School Library Association (ASLA) is offering a special professional development opportunity for school librarians who have been librarians for three years or less. This pre-conference is held in conjunction with ASLA’s Annual Simmer Conference. You will have an opportunity to meet other new librarians in Alabama, ASLA Board members, ASLA officers, “Library Girl” Jennifer LeGarde, and hopefully join networks in your area of the state affiliated with ASLA.  You will learn about what ASLA is, what we do, and how you can be an active part of the organization.

You must be new to the library profession, not just new to the position. 
This pre-conference on Sunday, June 9, 2013 will provide:
• All meals - Sunday lunch, Sunday dinner, Monday continental breakfast, and Monday lunch
• Lodging for Sunday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Liberty Park
• Complimentary 2013-2014 ASLA membership
• Complimentary registration to the ASLA Summer Conference on Monday, June 10th
• Opportunities to network with local and national school library leaders
• Information on professional organizations and potential leadership possibilities
Best of all, this experience is FREE!

This opportunity will be available to only 25 new school librarians, so act now!   For more information send your name and e-mail address to Jennifer Anders at janders@jefcoed.com or call 205- 379-5550
ASLA (Alabama School Library Association) is a professional organization dedicated to the improvement of instruction through the utilization of media and technology. It provides a forum for school librarians, administrators, curriculum specialists, teachers, school librarianship educators, graduate students, professional association leaders, and retired library media professionals to promote excellence in education in Alabama through effective school library programs.
ASLA is the state affiliate of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, the American Association of School Librarians, and the Alabama Education Association. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's World Read Aloud Day! What are You Reading?

How will you reach across the world today to celebrate World Read Aloud Day? Skype is a great way to connect to other classrooms across town or farther and share reading aloud.

Authors have also volunteered their time to read with classes of students through Skype (a free software tool for video chats or phone calls and it's free as long as the other person also has Skype downloaded on their computer).

And it's not too late to participate today. The whole idea is to celebrate reading around the world and "pay it forward" according to the World Read Aloud Day website. We are celebrating that we can read and write and have that privilege to learn. What a wonder!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Great things at Greenwood!

*Big thanks to Caralyn McDaniel for these pictures and information about the great things going on at the Greenwood Elementary School Library! 

Greenwood Elementary students are enjoying their reading tent! GES students voted on for a camping and outdoor theme for the library last year. They can earn special, individual time in the reading tent as a reward from their classroom teacher for good conduct, helping out, and the like. Each semester, I send out an e-mail with reading tent "tickets" for the teachers to send with the student. It can be used anytime during open check-out time...essentially whenever a class isn't meeting in the library.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Genre-fying Your Collection?

Opinions abound on genre-fying a collection. According to Affiliate Assembly at AASL meeting in Seattle, AASL has received many questions on this issue. So, the genre-fying session at ALA was born: "Dewey vs. Genre Shelving in School Libraries Discussion Group".

Here is one of the questions that AASL has received: "Is this a viable way for shelving? If so, please set some standards."

Hilda Weisberg moderated the session. Attendees can listen to the audio version sent in an e-mail blast from ALA, but if you weren't there here are some of the panelists' opinions.

Panelist 1 went on to discuss her community not having a lot of "high professionals" so she likes to "keep things simple". She said kids move and go to a different school. Example: 796 is sports no matter where you go she said.

Panelist 2 used Ebsco to re-categorize her fiction books. Students did all of the work and they made new signage. She's keeping them in alphabetical order within the genres.

Panelist 3, "Chris" yelled the whole time and got the audience riled up! He is against genre-fying and said "Why not locate the army books out of vehicles and locate them elsewhere?!" He said why not develop a system to fit with subjects?

Panelist 4 from Arkansas said her area caters to retirees and why would we ever want to change a system that has worked for years? She argued that perhaps it is "not the system, but the teaching that needs to be changed" in regards to Dewey. She also argued that Dewey is universal.

Panelist 5 is a cataloging instructor and she is "not totally opposed to the bookstore model". However, she believes Dewey is "effective and useful", but she agrees that it is okay to genre-fy fiction area, not non-fiction. She advised using subject headings: "they allow you to have a little more detail".

Panelist 6 argued that the area of focus should be what students read. She highlighted the rise of e-books and the fact that students are sophisticated consumers. Tagging, sharing, and yelp are on the rise she said, and everyone has adapted. She used hash tags on Twitter as an example. Our systems are too antiquated for this though.

So, the work is cut out for anyone who decides to take on this task, but I also think it can be a lot of fun. It can allow you to really get to know your genres and get into great discussions with students about which fiction goes where.

Irondale Middle School shelves in the midst of genre-fying the fiction collection
As for me, I am a combination of Panelist 2 and Panelist 6. Which panelist do you agree with?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Training for the Alabama Virtual Library


If ever you are in need of training on a specific database or would like to offer this as PD for your teachers, contact the AVL through this site to schedule it. There are even opportunities for you to become a trainer, if your schedule so permits!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Collaboration at its Best!

Collaboration can be achieved through short meetings, forms, and tweaking annual projects that teachers turn to year after year.

It can turn to fun when the teachers are so "on fire" with teaching and collaborating with you that they say things like, "What cha got next?" That's when  it no longer feels like such hard work.

The picture here is of an 8th grade Social Studies class getting help from their teacher with downloading a video on Islam.

In the January 2013 issue of School Librarian Monthly, A Matrix for School Librarians: Aligning Standards, Inquiry, Reading, and Instruction is available. The columns include CCSS, AASL Standards Indicators, Inquiry Process, Reading Comprension Strategy, and Learning Applications.

In Alabama we use the College- and Career-Ready Standards (we added a lot of standards, such as cursive writing). Here is a look at one line of the Matrix graphic and how it compares to my collaborative lesson with an 8th grade Social Studies teacher:

CCSS: Production and Distribution of Writing (Students had to research and write a script before beginning filming). 6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

AASL Standards Indicators: Use writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings. (2.1.6) Students had to use a creative scenario like freinds from differing religious backgrounds meeting up at a camp.

Inquiry Process: Demonstrating ability to integrate knowledge and apply it to answer inquiry questions. They have definitely done this with their project!

Reading Comprehension Strategy: Synthesizing information. They have done this as well! Some are teaching lessons and recording their lessons.

Learning Applications: Using Multiple literacies to create and share final products that inform, persuade, or explain new understandings. This project accomplishes that.

All of this goes to show that many lessons you already use are going to mesh with CCRS. If you are interested, this Matrix is an amazing chart and very helping for cross-checking.

The Matrix was created by Judi Moreillon, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of Library and Information Studies at Texas Women's University. Click here for a link to the Matrix and search for the January 2013 article in the search window.
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