Tag Archives: school library

Library Displays: An Awesome Resource

Library displays are the best way for our kids to discover new books.  The books on the shelves are for the kids who already know what they want.  We should never assume that our kids can figure it out on their own- even if they don’t want our help.  Ever notice how fast you have to refill the display books? There’s an excellent reason for that.

I love this Padlet, made by Jennifer LaGarde (Library Girl). We need to all add to it, stat. 🙂

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A Great Way to Get Kids Thinking about Plagiarism

Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Here’s What Happens When Your Joke Goes Massively Viral On Twitter

Caroline Moss

Jul. 15, 2014, 10:57 AM 798,639 40

via Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Man, I wish Scott hadn’t used the F word in his original tweet.  However, I think that we can still use this as a really relevant case study on plagiarism (with a little, um, censorship).

The gist is this: a random guy tweets something funny.  Other people steal his tweet and repost it as though it were their own.  Even famous people.  One comedian even accuses Scott of plagiarizing him.

Scott’s thoughts on the experience are fascinating- I loved that he said that he doesn’t understand how people can read something, relate to it, and then say “yup, that’s mine now,” without giving one thought to how it effects the person who created it.

I think that this example is so much easier for kids to “get” than what we’ve used in the past.  I love it.  It’s mine now — with proper attribution, of course. 🙂

 

 

The Abe Books are Out!

This year, I was fortunate enough to help pick the Illinois High School Reader’s Choice Award nominees for 2017.  Even though I was on the round one committee, and many of my favorites were passed up, I couldn’t be happier with the list this year.

Here it is!  Click on the covers to go to the Amazon page for each title (they are affiliate links).

I’d love to know what you think of the list… let’s talk about it in the comments!

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Happy Reading!

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5 Little Flips to Modernize Your School Library

I had the best time tonight. I had dinner with an old friend, a new friend, and an old acquaintance who really should be a friend.

We gossiped. We talked about books. We talked about the fact that we were talking about books.

I noticed something at dinner. I was sitting with a teacher and two tech integration guys. And me- a library media specialist. There was this unspoken (and mumbled a couple of times) thing in the air about librarians. I think they felt comfortable about it because I’m an unconventional librarian- I have surround sound, for god’s sake. But, in the grand scheme, nothing has changed. The perception- the stereotype- is still there. And I can’t go it alone.

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We all need to work together to change it. Otherwise, those of us forging the newer path look like we are just “jerks” bent on making the rest of you look bad. That isn’t the goal. We want to push our profession forward. In order to do that, we all have to be in this together. So I thought I would share a few things I’ve heard by the “water cooler” and you can go from there…

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1. Tech Integration. It isn’t just the tech integration guy’s job. As a matter of fact, I get a little salty when my guy crosses the tech line into my territory. I would have to say that 50% of the tech integration stuff is OUR job. They can keep the google integration, grade book programs, blogging, smart boards (barf), and teacher websites. If we aren’t pushing databases, ebooks, audiobooks, literacy apps, etc., then how will we stay relevant? And if your tech guy starts teaching Boolean searching, you have my permission to go medieval. I almost did.

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2. Environment. This isn’t your momma’s library. I have gotten so many positive remarks since I started piping music into my library. I play mostly Vitamin String Quartet (modern music, classical style) – my music policy is NO VOICES. I’m a musician, so I realize that if there is too much going on, I will pay too much attention to the music. However, I have noticed that my own productivity has gone up because of the music, so I know that the kids’ has too. And Thrift Shop done classically is a trip. I also bought couches and bean bags a few years ago. It’s a mess. The bean bags are all over the place- my assistant and I happily clean them up every morning. You have no idea how nice it is to see kids lounging with a laptop, concentrating. It’s magical. Ditch the stodgy view of what the library should look like. The kids need a safe, comfortable, serene place to work. Like I said- the compliments come in every day. From teachers AND kids.

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3. The books. I just received a compliment about books today. I am a middle school librarian, and the books in my library aren’t available in the other middle school libraries. Parents are asking friends and relatives to check books out of my library for their kids (against policy, but I let it slide). Put your beliefs aside. Put your prejudices aside. Put your preconceived notions aside. Put your fears aside. Some of your students are gay. Some of your students have eating disorders. Some of your students are victims of abuse. Carry books for everyone!!! Only restrict THE MOST edgy books- the 5% most edgy books- in your library. Don’t make everything good available ONLY for the oldest students. They might not be the ones who need them!!! You have a varied population, and you need to cater to everyone! It’s in our code of ethics. Don’t be afraid of the .01% of parents who might be offended. If they show up, tell them, “I have 1000 students and I need to have something that speaks to everyone. If your child checked something out that you find questionable, please tell your child to return it and talk to me about a book that would be great for them.” Done. Was that so hard?

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4. Back to Tech. We need to get more tech savvy, people. I just acquired 14 iPads for my library, and I plan to use the hell out of them. I have plans. Buy some books- iPads in Library is a good one. Troll the internet- Twitter and Pinterest are my favorite resources for Ed tech tips. Find an ebook supplier (I use Follett) and then go into classrooms and market the hell out of it. Don’t buy another goddamn encyclopedia. Find a Web 2.0 tool that relates to info literacy, research, reading, or whatever, and master it. Then, offer to teach it to kids. When I started, I had three false starts… Nooks, Kindle Fires, and a third party ebook client…. FAILS. Don’t let the fails set you back. If you have questions, ask me. Don’t do that librarian thing – well, I tried and it didn’t work, so I’m not trying again. Technology is horrible. It doesn’t work in my district. NOPE. You are wrong. Technology doesn’t always work anywhere. Oh well. Move on. Make it work.

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5. Push IN. I surprised the hell out of one of my administrators the other day. She walked through the library and saw me teaching… Then she did a surprise visit to a teacher and found me teaching…. And then she dropped into another classroom and (you guessed it) saw me teaching. She didn’t realize that I do as much push in as I do, and that’s a good thing. When you surprise them like that… Priceless. Is every day like that? Of course not. I got really lucky that day 🙂 but it isn’t rare, either. I constantly badger teachers to let me come in and teach something, anything. Come on- we are the best people the school has to teach research skills, for instance. Do you have any idea how many lessons you can prep on research? Especially with Common Core???

Bottom line? MARKETING. You need to run your library like a business. Be a retail manager. What is going to bring in revenue?

Tough love. 🙂

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Five Graphic Novels that will Change Your Mind

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from parents and teachers that graphic novels aren’t “real books.” It hurts me inside every time I hear that.

The visual literacy gained from graphic novels is real.  Not only do you need to comprehend the words on the page, but you need to interpret the images, and how they relate to the words.  Some graphic novels do depict superheroes and action like the comic books we are all familiar with, but there are so many richer themes going on in graphic novels as well.  Even the superhero comics can be good, though- the themes of good triumphing over evil and social justice above all are really great things for kids to learn.

As a librarian, I find that even my most reluctant readers can lose themselves in a good graphic novel- and then I see them coming back for more and more.  They don’t realize how good these books are for them.

Now, I know that some may need more convincing than that.  So, I put together a quick list of five graphic novels that may change your mind for good.

epilep1. Epileptic by David B. – David’s brother is diagnosed with epilepsy at age 11. What follows is a desperate search for a “cure,” where his parents try everything (even things that are crazy or harmful) to cure David’s brother during a time when not much is known about the condition (the 60s and 70s). David uses vivid imagery and metaphoric characters to represent some of the people and situations he encounters along the way (a macrobiotic healer is a tiger, for instance).

persep2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – Students tell me all the time that this was an eye-opening read for them.  Persepolis is Ms. Satrapi’s memoir of her experiences from the ages of 10 to 14 living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  She weaves together a story of the horrors of the conflict, coming of age as an independent, smart girl, and the history and culture of Iran.

 

Maus3. Maus by Art Spiegelman – Speigelman depicts Jews as mice and Nazis as cats in this Holocaust story.  The story is true- Speigelman’s father was a Holocaust survivor, and the entire story is based on his memories of what happened to him during that time.

 

 

american-born-chinese-cover4. American Born Chinese by Gene Yang – Yang weaves three stories together: one about a mythical monkey who wants to be a god, one about a popular white kid embarrassed by his stereotypical Chinese cousin, and one about a Chinese-American kid who wants acceptance from his white peers.  The book teaches acceptance: from others, and from oneself.

 

odyssey_cover_400px5. Anything by Gareth Hinds – Hinds turns classics in to another kind of art by turning them into graphic novels.  He keeps the original language of the piece, and he is extremely thorough.  These have absolutely no resemblance to the “Illustrated Classics” we grew up with- these are graphically gorgeous adaptations that adults can appreciate just as much, if not more than, teen readers.

 

There are a ton of others- some even better than these (Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, etc.), but I wanted to show you a cultural mix that might surprise you.  I didn’t even delve into the genius coming from Asia.

Pretty please with a cherry on top: next time you see someone with a graphic novel, DO NOT think that it isn’t a real book.  It is real- and it just may be even more real than some of the Kindle candy being published these days.

Read one! You might love it- never know unless you try!

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Five Titles I Can’t Wait to Book Talk This Year

With the school year almost upon me, and a lot of free time on my hands (I am sitting in my recliner, recovering from a septoplasty), I am starting to get really excited about all of the great books I have read over the summer. Net Galley has certainly been kind to me.

While I have definitely worn out the new “New Adult” genre this summer (I kinda hate it now), I have also read a ton of great books in my favorite genre- Young Adult. I love reading YA for two reasons- first, the YA authors out there are putting out some really great stuff that isn’t all depressing or pretentious like adult fiction can get. Second, I LOVE being able to bring YA to my middle school readers that is just appropriate for them… that’s the stuff that they really get excited about reading. My eighth grade boys were drooling over titles like World War Z and Rot and Ruin a couple of years ago, and I like to keep it coming.

Without further adieu…

41TzYsSC84L._SY300_Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone. So many sequels fall flat or completely lose the tone of the first book, but this is an awesome sequel to Time Between Us. Since I am Bennett’s age, I love reading from his point of view, too. Going back to 1995, in my hometown (Chicago), is pretty cool- and I love the fact that teachers and librarians can talk to kids about when we grew up without sounding stupid.

51ZhFCzTS9L._SY300_The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This is another sequel, but I have to say- Maggie Stiefvater is probably the best paranormal writer for teens out there right now. The Shiver series sees a ton of circulation every year, and now the Raven Boys has seen the same kind of popularity. I like the fact that Stiefvater’s heroines aren’t weak and her narrative voice doesn’t make kids sound stupid.

41SzknL9faLKindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman. So many books touch on the insecurities of girls, but not many capture the real emotions that go through boys’ heads these days- and so realistically. I actually felt the dirt under my fingernails as I read this one. The tone of the book is so gritty and the way in which the protagonist interacts with the world will resonate with introverts everywhere- whether down-and-out like this guy, or not.

51xb9EOj5HLThe Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. I have read a couple of Witness Protection program books lately, and I watched My Name is Earl from start to finish with my son this summer, so I feel like an expert on the genre (insert sarcasm icon here). This one surprised me. I love the fact that this isn’t action- it is a classic mystery. Mystery is a genre that so often gets bogged down by paranormals and sci fi. When I find a good one that is just a good mystery, I hang on to it. I will be hanging on to this one for sure.

51g07mPX-7LBeing Henry David by Cal Armistead. Like number three, this is a “boy book” that isn’t cheesy. Even boys can only handle so many teenage spy books.  I loved this book when I read it a while back, and it stuck with me. Who doesn’t like a good amnesia mystery? The fascinating thing about this book is the fact that it is a mystery and a coming of age story wrapped in one beautiful, lyrical package. When I want boys to read deeper and experience more, I will turn to this one first.

I hope Net Galley keeps em coming, because I get a lot of my best stuff because of them.  I can’t justify buying YA for my middle school library unless I have a chance to read it first, you know?  If you like hearing about YA that is just appropriate for middle schoolers, let me know in the comments or “like” this post and I will keep the suggestions coming.  🙂  Thanks!

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Ditching Dewey Part II: First Round of Data Entry: Check!

I think we have at least two more to go.  Fun.

Quick recap… I am completely reorganizing and re-cataloging my school library. The first step was to completely and painfully weed the collection.  We got rid of anything more than 13 years old (unless we felt we needed it).  The second step, and the one we just finished, was to separate the fiction section into genre-based categories in Destiny.

Now, we can go back and change all of the call numbers, based on those categories.  Right now, all of our fiction books have call numbers that begin with FIC.  So, The Lightning Thief is FIC RIO, and Looking for Alaska is FIC GRE.  Now, the call numbers will reflect the genre.  Those two titles will be FAN RIO and RF GRE for Fantasy and Realistic Fiction.

We are also going to re-sticker everything.  My awesome husband, a graphic artist, created genre stickers for the spines.  I made sure that they fit in an Avery 5428 label.  I was looking for something black and white and clean and modern.  I think they came out gorgeous- they are going to really class up the library.

One of our new and improved spine labels!

One of our new and improved spine labels!

After everything is re-stickered, we can reorganize.  Because, really?  A big wall of random “fiction” isn’t very kid-friendly.

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Have a great day!

:)Kristina