One Book, One School, One Great Impact!

Illus. by W.W. Denslow; Courtesy of Project Gutenberg

Looking for creative ways to engage your entire school—across grades and content areas—in learning? Cathy Evans, director of libraries at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, created a project that did just that. Even if you’re not lucky enough, like Evans was, to have extra money available, you’re sure to be inspired by this project. So sit back, give this a read, get inspired, and start thinking now how to adapt it for your own school!


What started as a gift grew into an idea and blossomed across the school community. In 2011, our school received a generous gift, in honor of a longtime friend of the school, to create an ongoing speakers series. The mission of this series is to bring to our campus thinkers and doers whose ideas challenge conventional wisdom and spark new thinking.

As the director of libraries and one of the people on campus with the most experience in bringing speakers to campus (mainly authors), I was put on the speakers series committee. At our first meeting we tossed around topic ideas and possible speakers, and finally settled on the topic of global hunger, food, and sustainability. Since we wanted to have speakers come to school in the fall, we had about six months to find dynamic speakers and build an exciting curriculum around the topic.

Linking Speakers with the Theme

The result was a unique pairing of internationally known activists in the field. Ido Leffler, the founder of the Yes To line of beauty products, Ellen Gustafson, co-founder of Feed Projects and founder of the 30 Project, and Dr. Cary Fowler, founder of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Leffler’s Yes To seed fund helps create gardens at schools located in impoverished areas across the country. Gustafson’s Feed Project takes simple burlap grain bags and turns them into chic accessories, funding school meals for children across the world. Dr. Fowler’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault deep inside a Norwegian mountain contains seed samples from crops around the world, more than 250 million seeds to date. Continue reading “One Book, One School, One Great Impact!”

The Many Faces of Collaboration

School Library Connection is pleased to collaborate with ALA President Julie Todaro and her school library group Task Force to provide access to a selection of key professional development articles aligned with essential professional competencies for school librarians. These articles were hand selected from our archives by an expert panel of librarians chaired by Susan Ballard, Dorcas Hand, and Sara Kelly Johns. You can read the latest about the initiative here.

“The Many Faces of Collaboration” by Stacey Gerwitz. School Library Connection, December 2015.

Much to my dismay, there are no hallway traffic jams caused by teachers lined up at the library door anxious to collaborate. In fact, some teachers might never cross our library threshold if I didn’t reach out and offer my services. Working with different faculty members can be quite the adventure, and it is never the same experience. There are different levels of collaboration. Some will be full co-teaching experiences, while others will include a division of skills and teachable moments. Whether you are just beginning your career or are a seasoned veteran, you may already know—or may someday meet—this assembly of collaborating teachers.

The Dream Teacher

This is the teacher who makes a librarian’s life amazing! When you meet with the teacher for the first time, you become instant collaborators. You want to work with her as often as you can throughout the year. In fact, the year isn’t long enough for all the ideas you have. She realizes the potential and increased cognitive gains for students through collaboration. It’s a win-win-win for the students, teacher, and librarian. Her units become your units and vice versa until you can’t tell which unit belonged to whom in the beginning. It’s a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Continue reading “The Many Faces of Collaboration”

ICYMI: November 2015 Author of the Month April Pulley Sayre

Who says kids find nonfiction boring and dry? Despite what many people may think about kids and nonfiction, children’s author April Pulley Sayre knows that kids really do love nonfiction, it’s simply a matter of “letting them graze and have some input so they can pursue their interests.”

If you want to inspire students to read nonfiction, April Pulley Sayre suggests that you make sure you have titles from “passionate writers. Stock the library with Seibert winners, AAAS/Subaru/SB&F award winners, John Burroughs Award winners, and so on. Check out the many great Internet resources like the Picture Perfect Science book website, http://www.pictureperfectscience.com/.” When you’re looking for some good nonfiction titles, Sayre’s own books are a good place to start. Continue reading “ICYMI: November 2015 Author of the Month April Pulley Sayre”

It’s Summertime…But the Learning Doesn’t End

Summertime. A time to spend with family, a time to do some traveling, a time to have some fun, a time to simply relax. You probably know some people who think that’s all you do when school’s not in session—but we all know that summer isn’t all play and no work. We know you most likely spend a lot of your summer on a number of professional activities for which you’re not paid. Rather than asking you to list all the professional activities you partake in during the summer, we decided to narrow it down with our One-Question Survey that asks, “Which professional activity do you typically devote the most unpaid time to during the summer?” Below, Dr. Maria Cahill shares and summarizes the results.

We hope you use these surveys to help you reflect on your own practices. Subscribers can view our archive of past surveys here or check out the complete Summer issue, “Summer Escape,” at our website.

Which professional activity do you typically devote the most unpaid time to during the summer?

Several years ago, January 2015 to be exact, quite a few school librarians reported via the One-Question Survey (1QS) that “Students think I know every book that has ever been written!” Now, you and I both know some school librarians who probably do know just about every book that has ever been written for children, right?! It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that in response to our latest 1QS—Select the professional activity in which you typically devote the most amount of unpaid time during the summer—three of every seven respondents indicated the professional activity to which they typically devote the greatest amount of unpaid time is “reading or reviewing materials written for children and/or YA audiences (e.g. literature, information texts, poetry, audiobooks, etc.).”

As the chart above illustrates, the only other responses selected by more than 10% of respondents were “attending and/or presenting at professional conferences” and “engaging with and/or learning about new technology tools.” The next most frequently identified activity was reading back issues of professional and/or scholarly journals that the school librarians didn’t have time to read during the school year. Interestingly, 11% of high school librarians selected this choice compared to only six percent of elementary and middle school librarians. Continue reading “It’s Summertime…But the Learning Doesn’t End”

Summer Escape (Summer 2017 Issue)

Subscribers: Check out our Summer 2017 bonus online issue at SLC online! Find out how some of your fellow librarians spend their summers and get inspired. Click on the article titles below to read more.

Not yet a subscriber? What are you waiting for? Click here for more information and to sign up for a free trial.


Table of Contents

SUMMER ESCAPE

Free-Range Professional Learning by Susie Highley

The YALit Lover’s Travel Guide by Jennifer LaGarde

Mindfulness in the Library by Brooke M. Davis


Continue reading “Summer Escape (Summer 2017 Issue)”

Thoughts on ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference

ALA’s annual conference offers an opportunity for librarians to hear about the latest initiatives, ideas, award-winning books, authors, illustrators, websites, apps, tech tools…and so much more. But perhaps most importantly of all, it presents a chance to simply meet with fellow librarians, to reminisce with old friends, meet new ones, to share ideas and concerns. And, at the end of the day — after attending panels and checking out the exhibitors including, of course, stopping by to hobnob with our own Becky Snyder  (and Keith Chasse, Sharon Coatney, Jessica Gribble, Kevin Hillstrom, Barbara Ittner, David Paige, Cleta Walker, and Blanche Woolls) — it’s your time to let your hair down, enjoy the company of your colleagues, and to eat, drink, dance, and be merry. Oh, yes, and to advocate, always with the advocating!

We’re sure you learned many things that furthered your professional development and that you can use in your own library, and had lots of experiences that will make for some warm and fuzzy memories. In that spirit of learning and sharing, we asked some of our editors to share a few of their takeaways on the conference. And please, if you’d like to share any of your thoughts, leave a comment or give us a tweet; we’d love to hear from you!


Liz Deskins, our curriculum editor for reVIEWS+, jumped in with what might be everyone’s first thought as they gather at the conference:

“There are so many librarians! All different kinds, with a variety of interests and specialties; but all are happy to talk with you. We are family!”

Liz also felt it worthwhile to point out that “AASL is a democratic microcosm; it is wonderful to watch it in action.” And let’s not forget the books: “Books, in many formats, are still exciting and worth standing in line for.”

Here’s Liz taking advantage of the chance to meet with fellow librarians Jeffrey DiScala, Deb Logan, and Susan Yutzey. And who’s that sitting beside her, can that be David Paige?

Continue reading “Thoughts on ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference”

Serving Black Youth — Part Two

Yesterday we spoke with Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell and Dr. Casey H. Rawson to find out more about their new book. Today, we present a sneak peek of their new video workshop on SLC. This professional development workshop briefly covers some of the key concepts from their work on equity and the need to change our thinking about serving Black youth.

In this sneak peek, Dr. Hughes-Hassell discusses enabling texts, why they are important, and what to look for when including them in your collection.

Subscribers can access the full workshop here.

Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth, edited by Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Pauletta Brown-Bracy, and Casey H. Rawson covers key research concepts and includes profiles of school (and public) libraries that are working to effect change.

 

Serving Black Youth — Part One

One of the new books from Libraries Unlimited that we’re particularly excited about is Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth, edited by Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Pauletta Brown-Bracy, and Casey H. Rawson. This book tackles the issue of making libraries welcoming to Black youth and addressing the needs and desires of this population in the interests of promoting equity and social justice. The text covers key research concepts and provides illustrations of best practices by offering profiles of school (and public) libraries that are working to effect change.

In their introduction, the authors say that rather than a how-to guide, they want their book to “spur dialogue and reflection about how libraries must change” in order to better serve African American youth. In the interests of building on this dialogue, Dr. Hughes-Hassell and Dr. Rawson were gracious enough to answer  some questions for us about their work.

And, stay tuned! Sandra and Casey also created a professional development workshop for SLC on these same issues. Tomorrow we’ll post a sneak peek of the video.

Continue reading “Serving Black Youth — Part One”

June Author of the Month Deron R. Hicks

Mystery, history, and Vincent Van Gogh—these are at the top of my list of favorite things. You may well imagine, then, how  thrilled I was to run across a book that incorporated all three, Deron R. Hicks’ The Van Gogh Deception. On top of that, he also has a Shakespeare mystery series. I think I’m in love!

Be sure to look for our review of The Van Gogh Deception, which received a highly recommended rating in the May/June issue of School Library Connection. Subscribers can see our complete archive of reviews here.

As our forever-leaping columnist Stacey Rattner has written in the pages of School Library Connection, children’s book authors are the school librarian’s rock stars. And it is definitely one of the perks of my job that I get to have a little one-on-one with these rock stars and get to know them on a somewhat more personal level. Another perk? I get to share their stories with you. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the author of the highly recommended The Van Gogh Deception, rock star Deron R. Hicks (whose books, by the way, are anything but much ado about nothing!). Continue reading “June Author of the Month Deron R. Hicks”

“We Read Diverse Books: Connecting Our Diverse Collections to Our Instruction.” A Supplement for LIS Faculty

We are pleased to continue our series of learning experiences designed for use with school library candidates in graduate/professional programs, including pre-service school librarians and practitioners working as educators while earning their credentials. This month, Carl A. Harvey II, Topic Center Editor for Organization & Management, has provided a series of activities to help faculty in using the text from our May issue for assignment instructions or online course modules.

Current subscribers can access the referenced articles via the hyperlinks below. (Magazine subscribers who still need to register for their login credentials at no extra cost may do so here.) As always, new subscribers are warmly welcomed into the SLC community, or we invite you to sign up for a free preview of our online platform.

In this issue of School Library Connection, which focuses on how to connect our students to diverse books, Leslie Preddy reminds us that, “although diversity is currently a social and politicized buzzword, it is important for us to remember school libraries have a history with understanding and embracing diversity in our community. It is through meeting the needs of the populations we serve that we intentionally, and in a natural manner, incorporate compassion and respect through the instruction, programming, and collections we design for our schools.” In many articles this month, our authors explore the diverse collections found in our libraries and the diversity of the patrons who use them, offering potential connections and points of discussion to LIS courses that focus on collection development, children’s literature, young adult literature, and library instruction.
—Carl A. Harvey II, Instructor of School Librarianship, Longwood University, Farmville, VA Continue reading ““We Read Diverse Books: Connecting Our Diverse Collections to Our Instruction.” A Supplement for LIS Faculty”