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Let’s Get Together Thursday – Collaborating with Your Local Public Librarian August 28, 2014

Posted by Jennifer Laboon in Check this out!.
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Today’s guest blogger is Joann Absi, Media Coordinator at Eugene Ashley High School and President of NCSLMA, posting on behalf of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA School/Public Library Cooperation (SPLC) Interdivisional Committee.

SPCL Collaboration

A new school year is about to begin and as you start to get your library organized, get updates on the students you will have this year and reconnect with your faculty, don’t forget to touch base with one more person – your local public librarian. She or he can be a great asset in helping you to develop programs during the school year, meet the afterschool needs of your students and with coordination provide extra resources for your teachers. Set aside some time to discuss each other’s collection to see what resources you both have to offer your students and faculty, what types of programs you would like to collaborate on to enrich your students learning experiences, and the type of services the public library is interested in providing.

The North Carolina School Library Media Association (NCSLMA) and the North Carolina State Library Commission’s Youth Services Advisory Committee conducted a joint survey for school librarians and teachers to find out which types of services we were interested in having provided. We did one survey for elementary librarians and one for secondary librarians. We received many good suggestions which we have made available to both public librarians and our school librarians to make use of during the school year. You might consider doing this in your state or county to get things moving.

Here are a few ideas to suggest to your public librarian to begin the year:

  • Parent information session during open house or a parent night
  • Teacher information session during the beginning work days about services available for them
  • Elementary level: Story time or book talk event to begin the year with and introduce the public librarian to the students  (Book talks are great at any level!)
  • Middle School level: Assistance with Battle of the Book programs
  • High School level: Senior/Capstone Project information session to introduce seniors to the resources available at the public library
  • Discuss major topics or events that your teachers cover during the year and see how each of you can address these topics
  • Look into grants that you can jointly apply for
  • Library card promotion program in September

If you haven’t worked with your public librarian before, this might be one of the strongest new collaborators you can have. Share some ideas that you have found successful.

Tuesday Tech Tips – Snappy snag.gy August 26, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.
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Yesterday was the first day of school for students, and although I’ve been on campus for 2 weeks I still didn’t feel like I had enough time to get everything just the way I wanted.  Time is always in short supply between trainings, teaching, meetings, committees and work,  so I’m always looking for more efficient ways to complete tasks . One program I return to again and again is snag.gy because it saves time and works great. Snag.gy is a simple website that allows you to copy images from your web browser or your computer,  and then edit or share them. You don’t need an account to use snag.gy or an account to retrieve the image.  Images added to snag.gy can easily be cropped, or annotated with text or drawings.  Once you’ve edited your image,  it can easily be shared via many social media sites, or via URL.  As faculty were preparing for the new school year, I used the following image to help them remember how to set their course passwords in our learning management system.   I have both Jing and Snagit installed on my computer, but I use snag.gy more often than their full-featured cousins.  Why?  Because I can quickly take, annotate and share a screenshot without having to download and then re-upload the altered image.  If I am working in a web-based environment it feels counter-intuitive to have to download an image or screenshot in order to edit or annotate, and then upload again in order to share the image. Snag.gy eliminates these steps so I can help faculty and students more quickly.  If you haven’t tried snag.gy you should!

Monday Means Leadership: Defining Leadership August 25, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Check this out!.
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Businessman in Cubicle Raising Foam Hand

For a while now, Mondays here at the AASL blog have been all about advocacy: promoting connections with partners, tooting our own horns, collaborating and sharing with colleagues, communicating our mission and vision with others.  All these aspects of advocating for school librarians and school library media programs are really just part of the bigger picture: LEADERSHIP.

Often we assume that leadership must mean taking on a title, a new role, in our school or district or even within the committees and boards of AASL and ALA.  But leadership is much more than the new hat that we wear or a title that defines us for the moment.  True leadership encompasses all those everyday moments (remember Drew Dudley’s TED talk?).  A leader embodies honesty and integrity, commitment and good character.  A leader is confident and effective.  A leader is a strong communicator, a decision maker, and a problem solver.  Sounds like the work we do every day as school librarians!

As we move forward in our journey to promote strong, effective school library media programs and to become confident, effective school librarians, we must accept our leadership qualities and our roles as leaders in our schools, districts, and states.  We hope that Leadership Monday will provide inspiration, support, and resources to embrace our roles as school library leaders.

Friday Finds August 22, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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Ever wondered how to introduce poetry to your students?  Or wondered where you could obtain additional poetry resources or ideas?  Well, I have a Friday Find for you.  The Poetry Foundation website is a wealth of information for both teacher librarians and students to utilize.  There are audio and video podcasts available. You can search by poem or author.  They also publish a Poetry magazine. They even have an app that you can download.  The resources are Free and Excellent!


Check it out!



Tuesday Tech Tips – Making Noise August 19, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.
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I recently had the good fortune to move into a new office. My new office space is larger, much easier for our students to find, and I will be sharing the space with a wonderful colleague. The one downside? Our new office is located next to the server room which creates a consistent and audible buzz. So, we began looking for an ambient noise generator to decrease server noise in our new office.

An article posted on last week on Lifehacker.com about ambient noise and productivity caught my attention.  The article mentioned that studies have found the ambient noise of a coffeehouse might actually help increase creativity and productivity. The article highlighted a Chrome App called Elmnts, as well as the web-based ambient noise Noisli.  Both noise generators feature a simple to use interface, that allows you to select and combine several noise types to create a custom ambient noise creation of your choice.

After investigating several other website based noise generators, we also discovered Ambient-Mixer.com which features user created ambient noise recordings in a variety of catagories, including a Harry Potter category that includes the ambient noises of each of Hogwarts common rooms! This site was great fun to explore, and allows you to adjust various elements of each of the created soundscapes.  I can’t wait to share the site with students, I’m sure they’ll enjoy exploring the different sound elements used to create fictional locations, and our PE and Religion teachers will enjoy the variety of creative background soundscapes available for use in their classes.

In my office, we have opted to use Noisli because no browser or account login is needed, so we can run it on a student designated computer we have in the office. We’ve been using a combination of forest, coffee house, and stream sounds to create a soundscape I’ve dubbed “National Park.”  I wasn’t familiar with the research on coffeeshop noise, but I know that I personally work better in an environment featuring a low level of noise, instead of silence, or the buzz of a server room.  I’m curious to know if other librarians have experimented with the use of ambient noise to inspire creativity with their students or as a way to manage noise levels.

What to Read Wednesday – FREE AUDIO BOOKS August 6, 2014

Posted by Karin Perry in Check this out!.
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cropped-SYNC-WEB-Header-GrapheneThere is one week left of the Sync YA Free Audiobook Summer program. If you hurry, you can still download this week’s selections.

July 31 – August 6
DIVIDED WE FALL by Trent Reedy, Narrated by Andrew Eiden (Scholastic Audio)
THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane, Narrated by Frank Muller (Recorded Books)

The last two will be available starting Thursday, August 7th.

August 7 – August 13
LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS by Ben Lesser, Narrated by Jonathan Silverman and Ben Lesser (Remembrance Publishing)
THE SHAWL by Cynthia Ozick, Narrated by Yelena Shmulenson (HighBridge Audio)

Tuesday Tech Tips August 5, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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Here is a brand new resource for you to try before the school starts this year.  As you can see, it was created by Blackboard and is a free online class platform. You can choose you own URL and determine how much or little you put on the internet.  It has all the attributes you would expect of a online classroom and is easy to navigate.

It is very powerful and it is free! Check it out!




What to Read Wednesday – Retellings – SPLINTERED series by A.G. Howard July 30, 2014

Posted by Karin Perry in Check this out!.
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splintered unhinged











This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

I can’t wait for the conclusion of the trilogy set to be released on January 13, 2015.  It is called ENSNARED and featured Jeb on the cover.


I love the cover of the third book so much better than the second. BUT, I am so torn between Jeb and Morpheus. AGH!!!! I don’t know who Alyssa will end up with in the end.

If you like this retelling, be sure to check out the Epic Reads (HarperCollins) Infographic of Classics Retellings.


Here is a link to the page with all their Infographics. Scroll down the page until you get to Classics for links to the books mentioned.


Tuesday Tech Tips July 29, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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This week’s Tuesday Tech Tip is dedicated to a way for all of the school librarians to save money and use technology.  Walmart is offering a 10% rebate on purchased school supplies to all teachers in the United States and we are teachers!  You must act QUICKLY, though.  Purchases must be made in the store, not online, by July 31st.  Then go online by August 15, 2014 to register your receipt for a 10% egiftcard. The website states you will receive your egiftcard within two weeks.  Walmart knows that teachers purchase many of their supplies with their own money and they are trying to help us out this year.   Read the website for all details.  Rebate is valid only on school supplies and does not include anything in the electronics department.

So, take advantage of this offer and get shopping!



Monday Means Advocacy: Partnerships July 28, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy, Check this out!.
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A partnership is an arrangement in which parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. (Wikipedia)

Public library partnership – In a research study on the public library-school library connection, the successful relationship between the two partners shows the positive impact to education reform and student achievement.  Working together, the public and school libraries can form networks for resource sharing, develop complementary collections, provide information services and instruction, and encourage reading and literacy.

Civic organization partnerships – Partnerships between school libraries and civic organizations benefit students, teachers, and parents.  Many civic organizations support literacy programs with funding and through mentoring and tutoring.  Civic organizations can assist with speakers and training to support teachers and parents.

Business partnerships – Depending on the particular needs or theme (arts, STEM, technology, etc.) of your school, community business partnerships can enhance your school library program and the entire school.  For example, school libraries in STEM schools can partner with businesses such as SAS, BASF and Red Hat to provide insight into science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, supporting the school’s STEM initiatives through funding, resources, speakers, mentoring, instruction and presentations.

What partnerships have you created between your school library and businesses or community organizations?  How will forming partnerships with these groups benefit your school library?