Saturday, April 5, 2014

Excellence in School Librarianship

This is a really powerful video (less than 5 minutes) compiling feedback from administrators of different schools located around the nation on the impact of school librarians. It was posted on the AASL forum yesterday and was created by Judi Moreillon, who is known for her advocacy of school librarians. This would be a fantastic resource to share with principals and other supervisors! 

*Personal side note, feel free to take or leave it: the only two aspects I really wish they had tweaked were the consistent reference to librarians in the feminine (as we all know we have some rockstar guybrarians in our midst!) and the emphasis on school librarians as the Most Important Person. We are each free to have our thoughts on this, but personally I don't think that touting ourselves as the most important members of our faculty is beneficial or accurate. We are equal partners with our teachers and administrators and students and support staff...we just have unique training that helps us fill some special roles!

Friday, January 24, 2014

12 Days and Counting

12 Days and Counting…..
No, It’s not the 12 days of Christmas.  That was last month.  We’re 12 days away from Digital Learning Day, a day when all sorts of digital activities are planned throughout the world to demonstrate how effective incorporating digital resources can be in our learning.  There’s a plethora of information on the internet that will lead you to resources if you just google Digital Learning Day.  A one stop shop, though, is from Edmodo:
This site links to digital lessons with video introductions as well as lesson plans, toolkits, workshops to offer and attend, artwork and graphics to use in advertising DLD, publicizing ideas, and how to share your events as well as how you can attend events. 

So, the challenge is made for you to celebrate Digital Learning Day on February 5th in your school.  You have 12 days.  Check out the website above and find at least one thing that you can do to participate whether it actually involves the library alone or is a collaborative activity with your colleagues in your school.  Take the challenge, and share with us all how your participation affected learning at your location!  We’d all love to hear!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blogging Challenge for School Librarians

Check out this blogging challenge for librarians! If you haven't started a blog for your library, this is a great way to get it kicked off nicely! 2014 is the year to come aboard the blogging train.

20-day Blogging Challenge for School Librarians

Blogger, Wordpress, and Edublog are all GREAT platforms for starting a blog. Comment here OR post to our Edmodo group or discussion forum if you want to try this and need help getting started!

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:

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 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                                      .

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