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Action Research in the Library (Part 2 of 3)

In my grant proposal, I combined technology tools with centers based learning to create an innovative model for instruction in the media center. My goal was to address the achievement gap in literacy in Kindergarten students.  In my first post, I went over the basic model that incorporates technology, movement, group work and lots of talking in order to impact achievement.  In this post, I will go into more detail about the content of the learning centers.

We began each lesson with a simple story, example: Biscuit Goes to School, at the Activboard.  This ensured that every student had exposure to the story, and an opportunity to identify the basic story elements with plenty of support from teacher and other classmates.  Then we would move to center work where students would respond to the story using technology tools.

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Action Research in the Library (Part 1 of 3)

In my Action Research Grant proposal, I combined technology tools with centers based learning to create an innovative model for instruction in the media center. I developed this model in order to address the achievement gap in Kindergarten students (in literacy) at my school.  My main goal was to move these students forward to proficiency by the end of the year so they would be ready for first grade; the crucial reading year.  But, in addition to academic goals, I wanted to create a different kind of learning environment in my media center.  As we all know, learners have changed and continue to change.  Young people expect to be involved in the action, they want to “do”, not watch, and they want to use technology to learn.  My hope was that a model that included technology, movement, group work and lots of talking would be a better way to help my students master basic literacy skills—as well help me keep the sanity with classes of over 24 students and no assistant!

Many of our students come to Kindergarten without a quality preschool foundation, and many come with very limited Standard English literacy skills.  I worked with the Kindergarten team to identify six basic literacy skills that our students need to develop the most, in order to catch up and be proficient by the end of the Kindergarten year. We looked at assessment data for incoming Kindergarteners and proficiency benchmarks for EOY Kindergarteners in order to choose specific instructional goals for each of the centers. 

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Time to Tell your Story!

Spring has taken it's time to arrive this year, but all of a sudden April is upon us! And that means School Library Month (SLM) and National Library Week(April 13-19) are just about here too.  I love this year's theme--Lives change @ your library--as it communicates the impact libraries can have upon individuals and in schools and communities. And it sure doesn't hurt to have two awesome spokespersons:  Judy Blume, one of the queens of YA literature, and Jeff Kinney, author of the wildly popular Wimpy Kid series.

I'm intrigued this year as the American Association of School Librarians(AASL) and American Library Association (ALA) are both suggesting the use of social media to encourage our communities to tell their stories.  I'm looking forward to seeing, hearing and being a part of the convo that is about to emerge!  Take a look at some of these suggestions.
  • Have patrons tweet their stories using hashtags #nlw14 and#liveschange
  • For stories more than 140 characters, post to the @yourlibrary website. People of all ages and background and families are invited to participate.
  • Snap a library selfie and use this speech bubble template from theQueens Library as a prop for your patrons to visually tell their story.  Post to the Flickr user group or other social media using#nlw14 and #liveschange hashtags.  If you work with youth, I'd recommend Instagram as it seems to be the social media of choice for young people.
  • AASL is holding a video contest for students to show how their library experience connects to the theme Lives change @ your library.  Enter by April 15, 2014.
  • Print one of the several Declaration to the Right to School Libraries versions available and hold a signing campaign.  Scroll down this page for links to the printable files. I must admit I'm a little unsure what AASL intends here.  Is it meant to be symbolic or is there somewhere to send the signatures?  Perhaps a reader can help us out here.
  • School Library Month is the perfect time to display this telling graphic about the impact of school libraries.
In our district we encourage each of our school librarians to hold special events and activities to celebrate SLM. Here's a sampling of the possibilities.
  • Hold a family "pajama party" and invite families and local storytellers to share their favorite books and stories
  • Classroom door decoration contest-- classrooms decorate their doors with pictures and information about books by their favorite authors.
  • Create bulletin boards featuring pictures of students and staff holding their favorite books or what they are currently reading.
  • Hold a staff "open house" introducing new print and electronic books, resources, or programs they may not be aware of.  Refreshments, music, prize drawings and a festive mood to be included!
  • Try a book blind date or book speed date--plenty of ideas at theRead if you Like wikispace.
  • Host a Reader's Theater with various classes performing for each other or a character dress-up day with teachers joining in the fun.
  • Collaborate with the Art or Graphic Design teachers on a book jacket, bookmark, or promotional poster project.
  • Have student assists or certain classes create book trailers and feature them in your morning announcements.
  • April is also Poetry Month so why not hold a Poetry Slam interspersed with book talks about your library's poetry books? 
  • If you are in North Carolina, the NC State Library has outlined a 5-day challenge of activities for April 14-19, complete with directions for each challenge and prize drawings! Consider incorporating these ideas into your celebration.

What about you?  Do you have a creative way to spotlight the great things happening in your library, foster literacy, and spread the library love? If so, please leave us a comment.

In closing, I'll pass along this quote I came across recently and have made a part of my email signature: 
"Our school library took me to worlds I could only visit in my mind, but it exercised my imagination and shaped my dreams. I shall be forever grateful. Growing up in a home with no magazines and few books, Monday mornings became the highlight of the week."     ---Margaret H. Baroody, Author

Don't ever forget, what we do does indeed change lives, so let's not be shy about telling our stories all April long!
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Independent Schools Roundtable Professional Development Day

On March 5th, the NCSLMA Independent Schools Roundtable held a professional development day at St. David’s School in Raleigh.  Joanna Gerakios and I were invited to attend.  The day started with a guided tour of the new James B. Hunt Library at NC State located on the Centennial Campus.  We saw the 50 foot tall Bookbot in action and toured the five floors of specialty rooms and open spaces that are geared towards collaborative learning, computer gaming, music recording, makerspaces, visualization, creativity and study.  It was an exciting tour.

We then went to St. David’s for a meet and greet session, lunch and a presentation on Flipping the Media Center by Carol Gehringer and Laura Warmke from Grace Christian School.  After the presentation we moved to the library to rotate between four roundtable discussion groups on One-to-One Initiatives; eBooks, Databases& Digital Periodicals; Library Facilities, Renovations& Learning Commons; and Collaboration, Social Media, LibGuides & Author Visits.It was a great opportunity for finding out what works and doesn’t work from others who have tried some new ideas.

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Membership Has Its Privileges

NCSLMA Awards and Scholarships Section Chair and Instructional Technology 
& Media Specialist for Pitt County Schools, Joanna Gerakios, made this excellent video highlighting some of the ways NCSLMA supports its members.

If there's one word the current state of education in NC, it's change.  New curriculum!  New professional teaching standards!  New technology!  New and evolving student needs!  What's more, North Carolina's school library media coordinators are certainly at the front lines when it comes to navigating and excelling in this fluid landscape.  

In many ways, this is the most exciting time EVER to be a school librarian. And what better time to connect with your colleagues from around the state??  By sharing our knowledge and experience, we help strengthen school librarianship throughout our state! So don't delay...join today! 

 




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DEADLINE APPROACHING! First-Time Attendee Scholarship to AASL

Time is running out to apply for the First-Time Attendee Scholarship to AASL, so don’t delay!  As a past recipient of this award (2011 in Minneapolis), I can assure you that you are in for a real treat.  Was it overwhelming?  Yes, but totally worthwhile!  Attending the NCSLMA conference each year is always so refreshing to me.  I come back to my school motivated and inspired.  Having the opportunity to attend both our state conference and the national conference in the same month a couple of years ago--I thought I would explode!  What a great way to network with school librarians from all over the country, share ideas, learn about new and innovative aspects of our field, reflect upon your practice...there is nothing else like it.  I am no professional author stalker (I need to take lessons from Sarah Justice) but I certainly took advantage of the numerous opportunities to meet and hear from so many of my favorite authors.  The exhibit hall goes on and on, and of course there are lots of freebees.  After exploring this year’s conference website, I am jealous of the lucky winner of this award.  So “Rise to the Challenge” and apply today!

To be considered for this opportunity, please complete this form & submit it no later than August 15, 2013. A committee will review all applications, make a selection, and notify the recipient no later than August 19, 2013. Once notified, the recipient is expected to register for AASL before the deadline for early bird registration ends on August 22nd. Applicants who were already planning to attend AASL and have already preregistered are also eligible for this scholarship.

~Jenny Umbarger, Media Coordinator at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham

The UN-Doing of Dewey!

Susan Varner, School Library Media Coordinator at Wayne Avenue School in Harnett County, was the winner of the NCSLMA 2012 Action Research Grant.  This is the first of three posts on the subject of her research.

After years of enthusiastically teaching the Dewey Decimal System, (with limited success, may I add) I had an epiphany:  the time had come to UNDO Dewey!  I began to talk to students and teachers - what are you studying/teaching?  What do you really need students to know about x ?  What levels are you/your students reading?  How can I make it easy for you/your students to find books ? 

The information gleaned from these conversations led to the action research project that was funded by the NCSLMA Grant in 2012: 

MEETING  REAL REFERENCE NEEDS: Reorganization of traditional nonfiction and reference sections

The goals were as follows :

  1. Survey teachers to determine a topic to center research on.
  2. Create a sections of topic specific materials that will include : narrative fiction, nonfiction, traditional reference materials, periodicals, graphic novels, e-books, QR Codes to links - in  short, any available resource will be located in this area. Teachers will be able to access leveled book sets by topic as well. 
  3. Examine holdings to determine what is currently owned/what is needed.
  4. Purchase books on topic at every reading level
  5. Label books and other materials for easy reshelving
  6. Invest in signage to create visually appealing area.
  7. Create “sublocation” note in Destiny catalogue.
  8. Promote the library as a “1 stop shop” where students and teachers are able to access materials for research.
  9. Follow up the research with circulation statistics,  surveys, and anecdotal records  to determine if the reorganization was useful and should be continued throughout the library 

The results of this research will be presented at a concurrent session at the 2014 conference.
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Top 20 Reasons Why You Should Submit a Proposal to Present at NCSLMA This Year!

The deadline to submit a proposal to present at the 2012 NCSLMA Annual Conference is fast approaching!  For some NC librarians, presenting at least one session at conference is a yearly tradition.  While others have never dreamt of taking the stage in Winston Salem.  That said, whether you're a veteren conference presenter or consider yourself a newbie, there are lots of reasons why you should submit a proposal to present at this year's conference! 

In fact, what started out as a "Top 10" list quickly grew to double that.  This crowd sourced list contains ideas and reflections from librarians from all around our state.  And, take it from them, presenting at conference is GREAT, not only for you, but for our profession and, most of all, our students!

20. You get a nifty “presenter” ribbon for your name badge! - Jennifer LaGarde

19. You will meet like-minded colleagues who share your passion for lifelong learning. - Joanna Gerakios

18. You will find the colleagues and peer participants give you positive feedback and become a part of your extended professional PLC. - Tammy Young

17. A conference is only as good as its sessions and you can help make ours stronger by sharing your ideas and successes! - Deb Christensen

16. You will hone your leadership skills and become better at delivering professional development in your school or district. - Joanna Gerakios

15. Sharing at conference helps you to meet the new SLMC standards - April Dawkins

14. Presenting at conference helps build confidence to perhaps someday present on a national level. - Deb Christensen

13.  It’s fun to present!  You feel great when you are finished!- Jackie Pierson

12.  If you present at conference, you receive free registration! - April Dawkins

11. Where else can you talk to a room full of adults who really understand what it is you do on a daily basis?  Sarah Justice

10.  Your principal and teachers in your learning community will begin to view you as an expert and leader in your field. --Tracy Bell

9. We need to do our best to make sure our position is defined and in a place of importance in our schools. Creating a dialogue with our administrators on the school level about our conference and our involvement can show one more facet of what we do. -Lisa England

8. You will help to inspire others to take what they learned and use it so they can be leaders in their own buildings. - Jennifer Northrup

7. You will be empowered while you inspire others within our profession. Everyone wins! -Tavia Clark

6.  You will learn a great deal about yourself as a teacher, presenter, media specialist, and leader AND you will get some amazing feedback from your colleagues.   - Jessica Moore

5. Shows you are taking leadership in the field. - Anne Akers

4. Impress your principal.  -Anne Akers

3. You'll be expanding, supporting, and extending your PLN sharing what you know and getting feedback and support. -Anne Akers

2. You are showing yourself as a leader in your profession not just for yourself but to your principal, fellow teachers and fellow media specialists. -Celesta Woodard

1.  Sharing Makes Us Better! By sharing what you do, you help strengthen our entire profession which is good for librarians, good for teachers and, most of all, good for kids!  - Jennifer LaGarde

So what are you waiting for??  Submit your proposal today!

Scholarship Update! Reflections on the AASL Fall Forum

As the recipient of the NCSLMA scholarship to attend the 2012 AASL Fall Forum, I’m here today to tell you all about “Transliteracy and the School Library Program.” (Not really, but I will share what I learned and pondered most.) First, a little about me - this is my first year as a middle school librarian in Chapel Hill, NC. I was previously an elementary school librarian in Urbana, IL, so middle school and the South are both new to me! That being said, the topic of transliteracy was also new to me, and I thought this the perfect opportunity to jump in and learn more. 

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Beyond the Walls: Building a Vibrant School Library Community

Everything in a school needs to have relevance to the world. I’ll go a step beyond that comment by asserting that true education doesn’t just relate to the world, it encompasses the world. When my school library providing its best educational opportunities and services, the students are not limited by time and space. They see portals, opportunities, and windows to the world -- through print, non-print, electronic, and interactive experiences and resources. To accomplish this learning environment, I believe in bringing the community into the school as much as I do providing connections for our students beyond our walls. When students see their parents, community leaders, practicing professionals, and other adults actively engaged in school activities and events, it helps them to understand the value and importance of literacy in living a rich, meaningful and productive life. Moreover, the community members we invite to engage in our program are often amazed at the richness and value of the modern school library and what it means to a student’s educational journey. It’s the very best form of advocacy I’ve ever experienced.

One way we build community in our school and beyond is to offer our “Ages & Pages: Family Literacy Program.” Our students and their families are invited to read common text (this year we offered two selections: Donald Davis’s Tales from a Free-Range Childhood and Paul Fleischman’s Seedfolks). Working with a committee of teachers, parents, students and community representatives, we created a program that launched with an author visit (Donald Davis) at storytelling concerts for the students during the day and the school community and families at night. Over 300 people attended the evening event, which included a chili supper, author meet and greet, digital storytelling information station, and family discussion guides and optional projects for students to work on with their parents. We invited local business partners and potential partners to join us, believing they would appreciate the opportunity to participate in an engaging school event without being asked to contribute to the event in any way. Currently, over 100 students are now reading and working through the project guide with their parents. In the spring, we will showcase the best family projects at the culmination event. We will also use the culmination event as a forum to recognize at least 50 additional students for reading accomplishments, such as book review blog posts and top passport readers in our incentives program.

Since the kick-off of “Ages and Pages,” we have recruited new business partners, received direct donations to our library, had several community groups request tours and observations of our library in action and made connections with alumni from our original high school graduates (class of ’62 in particular). Over half of the students participating in this program are truly at-risk in one regard or another. The parents who attended our kick-off event had an opportunity to evaluate the activities of the event: 100% gave the event an A or a B. 98% of the parents said that the school would benefit from reading programs and activities that engage parents in reading books with their children. In a middle/high school setting, I have to say we were overjoyed with this feedback. After kicking off the program, the students involved have apparently shared their enthusiasm with their peers. Each week, we have additional students come in to enroll in the program so they can be a part of the literary buzz.

I think the most important element of building community within and beyond the walls of a school library is keeping a sharp eye out for opportunities to let people shine. Whether that be showcasing student’s multimedia projects, inventing an awards program, inviting professionals to share their expertise with students, giving students an authentic audience to share their findings in a research project, asking community members to help judge contests or to give input into the design of a new initiative, there is so much value to fostering a sense of sharing and pride in a school environment. With the library being the heart of a vibrant school, the sky is the limit on how these opportunities can look. Each time I challenge myself to find a new way to expand our reach, I realize what comes back to our students benefits them far beyond what I could ever dream.
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Posted by NCSLMA Member Gina Webster
School Library Media Coordinator
Walkertown Middle-High School
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Confessions of a Professional Author Stalker

I’m the first to admit that I have a problem…and being an officer for NCSLMA has only made this problem worse.  Hi, my name is Sarah, and I am an author stalker.  I’m not sure how it happened, but I can definitely tell you when it started.  My stalking started in November of 2009 at the AASL conference.  During the NCSLMA conferences, I would always find the young adult author who was headlining and get them to sign my books.  But, it was really no big deal because that conference would usually have only one author that I was interested in.  At AASL, suddenly I was rubbing elbows with authors at every turn.  It was amazing!  Intoxicating!   Addicting!  And it only got better from there.  
 
In 2010, I was elected President-elect of NCLSMA and my stalking became a full-fledged addiction.  One of the perks of being President-elect and President of NCSLMA is that you are also the North Carolina delegate for AASL, which means that you must (absolutely  must) attend ALA midwinter and ALA annual.  And not only do a whole bunch of crazy librarians go to ALA…a whole bunch of awesome authors go too!   
 
My first ALA mid-winter was like book geek heaven.  In the exhibit hall, authors are on every corner signing books that haven’t even been published yet and most of the time, those books are FREE.  And most of the authors are more than willing to pose with a tongue-tied fan!  Deborah Harkness’ Discovery of Witches?  Had it three months before it came out and became a bestselling sensation—and my copy is signed.  The sequel to Cinder by Marissa Meyer?  Scarlet is on my signed and read shelf right now (and it’s an excellent sequel).  Copies of all of Carrie Ryan’s books?  Signed and shelved.  I think I returned from that ALA conference with more poundage of books than body weight.  During my 3rd and 4th ALA stalkings, I was very grateful to April Dawkins for bringing a luggage scale!  
 
When this summer rolled around, I knew it was my last hurrah for author stalking, so I made sure to go out with a bang.  My one regret is that I didn’t have a chance to get close enough to Stephen King to get an autographed book (or touch him).  But, I did get to experience his final concert as a Rock Bottom Remainder, so I think I can halfway mark him off my bucket list.  
 
And now, my time for easy author stalking has come to an end.  I’m going to have to make a conscious effort to search out those author events and find other ways to stalk them.  I’ve already got a few events from the Asheville bookstore Malaprops on my schedule and a new Brevard native, young adult author is being introduced to us in January and I’ve got her on my radar.  I can’t go cold turkey!  But in the meantime, I hope you’ll sit back and relax and enjoy my Animoto of my greatest stalkings.  I’m offering a prize for whoever can name the most authors.  Email me at sjustice@tcsnc.org with your guesses!
-Posted by Sarah Justice, NCSLMA Past President

 

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Globalizing Your Media Center

As we begin to implement the new Standards for School Library Media Coordinators, we will all need to take a look out how we have been running our programs and our media centers.  I work in one of the counties that will be piloting the new rubric, so as I write for the blog I’ll be focusing on some ideas that can be used to meet the standards.   Standard 2 includes components focused on the learning environment and meeting the needs of diverse learners:
“School Library Media Coordinators incorporate a global view and multiculturalism in library services, programming, and collection development to meet the personal interests and learning needs of a diverse student population.”
Last spring, I was fortunate to attend a workshop at World View (part of UNC-CH) about creating a Global Media Center.  The experience was very helpful and gave me many of the ideas I have now begun to implement in my own media center.  If you are interested in attending, the workshop will be held again in April 2013. Here’s the registration form.

One of the most significant ideas I took away from the experience was to partner with the African Library Project.  This organization partners groups with schools and communities in Africa that need collections to create a new library.  Our school book club and National English Honor Society is sponsoring a new library at St. Catherine’s High School in Maseru, Lesotho.  We collected 1100 books and with the help of the NC School Library Media Association, we raised $575 to cover shipping costs.  The books will ship out next week!
 
One School, One Book Program  
 
You might consider beginning a school-wide reading program like One School, One Book.  We began this program two years ago at my school.  As we began to talk about implementing the Common Core, our teachers wanted to move away from fiction as our required summer reading.  Instead we wished to incorporate more non-fiction and a global perspective, so we decided we wanted to look at memoirs.  Also as part of the initiative, our teachers participate in year-long activities to help them integrate the book in their curriculum areas.  They are also eligible to earn a Literacy CEU credit.    For the 2011-2012 school year, we chose, A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. This memoir tells of Beah’s experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.  This year, we are incorporating Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman.  This book tells how Timmerman, a journalist, traveled to the countries where his clothes were made to explore working and living conditions.   This year a group of our students were able to visit a nearby university to hear Timmerman speak.  If you’d like to read a student’s perspective on the talk, visit my school’s website.
I have had the opportunity to work with a number of teachers to tie in our school-wide read with classroom research projects.  Currently, I am working with a math teacher.  For the project, each student chooses a favorite article of clothing and determines where it was made.  This becomes the springboard for a research project about that country.  The students will be creating five different graphs from data that they will gather from their research.  
As a result of our new focus on global issues, our school’s clubs and classes have undertaken several international service projects including collecting shoes for Souls4Soles, and raising money for MANA, a NC-based organization that provides nutrition for starving children. 

Need more ideas?

Another source for ideas is the current issue of Library Media Connection (Nov-Dec 2012). It contains articles focused on Global Students.
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Do you have ways you have worked to globalize your media center?  Please share what you are doing by commenting on this blog post!
 
Thank you,
April Dawkins
NCSLMA President
@aprldwkns

Image sources:   African Library Project logo – http://www.africanlibraryproject.org/ Original Photograph by PRHS student LMC Cover - http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/lmc/

A Closer Look at Leadership in the NC Professional Teaching Standards For School Library Media Coordinators

The Professional Standards for NC School Library Media Coordinators are the foundation of our practice. As NC school library media coordinators, we can be confident that our practice is built on a solid foundation because our standards correlate with other standards and guidelines including AASL, ISTE, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians, CCSSO's Model Core Teaching Standards, NBPTS, the 2011 NC State School Technology Plan, IMPACT Guidelines, and State Board of Education priorities and policies.  Our first professional standard focuses on the school library media coordinator as a leader and expands our circle of influence from our library media programs to our schools and school communities. National and state research continues to demonstrate that school library media coordinators positively affect student achievement especially when we are strong leaders in our schools. School library media coordinator leadership activities particularly noted to impact student achievement include school library media coordinators regularly meeting with principals and faculty, collaborating with teachers to both plan and deliver instruction, and providing professional development for teachers (Lance).  As leaders in our school communities we are problem solvers, curriculum specialists, advocates, collaborators, instructors, technology experts, resource providers, and ethical models.  Although it is challenging to fulfill these leadership roles, as school library media coordinators we will meet that challenge because we know that our students’ success depends on our success.  

Credits: 
Harvey II, Carl. No School Left Behind: Leadership, School Improvement, and the Media Specialist. Columbus, Ohio: LinworthPublishing, Inc., 2008. Print.

Lance, Keith. Chapter 4: School Library Characteristics that Affect Student Achievement. 2010. Video. Vimeo Web. 21 Nov 2012. <http://vimeo.com/16517124>.

Resources to Consult: 
An Essential Connection: How Quality School Library Media Programs Improve Student Achievement in North Carolinahttp://www.lrs.org/documents/impact/NCSchoolStudy.pdf

Change in School Librarian Staffing Linked with Change in CSAP Reading Performance, 2005 to 2011
http://www.lrs.org/documents/closer_look/CO4_2012_Closer_Look_Report.pdf

Additional Research Studies 
http://www.lrs.org/impact.php

-Posted by Kathy Parker, NCSLMA DPI Liaison and NCDPI School Library Media Consultant

Meet Your 2012 School Administrator of the Year

Now that you’ve met NCSLMA’s 2012 Media Coordinator of the Year, it’s time to feature our 2012 Media Administrator of the Year.  Each year NCSLMA provides media coordinators across the state an opportunity to nominate administrators who go “above and beyond” in their support of the school library media programming. This award is supported by Hart, Inc., with a $1000.00 gift certificate for the recipient’s school.  But even more importantly, it allows our organization to illustrate just how significant administrative support is to a strong and thriving school library media program.

NCSLMA is proud to recognize Bob Grimes as our 2012 North Carolina Media Administrator of the Year.   Mr. Grimes is currently an Assistant Superintendent at Brunswick County Schools and previously was the principal of North Brunswick High School.  Here is an excerpt from Mr. Grimes’ nomination, expressing his personal philosophy for school libraries:

“The school library media center reflects the school’s culture and should be the hub of the school.  It takes a collaboration of administrators, media specialists, teachers, parents and community to create and sustain a media program that will make a difference.  I truly believe that effective media centers make an impact academically as well as socially in the lives of our students.  Media centers should not be considered add-ons to the instructional program.  They must be an integral part of every student and teachers academic and home life.”

Some of his contributions to library media programming include:  proposing a budget initiative with the goal to bring all district media center up to the outstanding level based on collection age and books per student, instituting a middle school reading that promotes self-selected reading, and supporting summer programs involving summer circulation and online book discussions. In his nomination one media coordinator stated “He's actually the principal who taught me to be a media coordinator, to truly promote a love of reading in students, to make the media center a place where students want to be.”

Hats off to Mr. Grimes for his outstanding support of school libraries and media programs!  NCLSMA members, if you know an administrator who exemplifies noteworthy support of your library media program, please consider nominating that person in the coming year.  Nomination forms for the 2013 awards will be available on the NCSLMA website in the spring.



-Posted by Joanna Gerakios, NCSLMA Awards & Scholarships Section Chair

Meet your 2012 Media Coordinator of the Year Honorees

Each year NCSLMA receives many wonderful and deserving nominations for Media Coordinator of the Year, so this year the board decided to recognize four regional finalists from among the many outstanding candidates. Take a few minutes to get to know this year’s regional finalists and learn a little bit about what makes them great school library media coordinators. For each honoree, a brief excerpt from their nomination follows.  First let’s meet our 2012 Media Coordinator of the Year Award Winner:

Natalie Strange, Piney Grove Elementary School, Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools, Piedmont West Region

Natalie tells us in her nomination, “A strong media center is the place that everyone in the school immediately thinks of if they have a question. It shouldn’t be, “let me Google ideas on planning a lesson on writing informational texts for 2nd grade”. Instead, the teachers should think, ‘I want to talk with the school librarian to see what we can plan together.’ Similarly, the administration should think of the library media center first when looking for a place for discussion and finding answers. The media center provides support for all aspects of school life, enriching the community.”

As the winner, Natalie was presented a $1000 gift certificate from Follett Library Resources and a beautiful plaque at the NCSLMA conference.  The other regional finalists received a $325 gift certificate from Mackin and a $150 gift certificate from Perma-Bound Books.  

Now, here are our other regional honorees:

April Benton, Hertford Grammar School, Perquimans County, Eastern Region

In April’s nomination she shares that she believes in “giving the students access to the tools and instruction the students will become problem solvers, collaborators, and creators.  The media center also needs to be a fun place where students meet characters that spark their appetite for books that keeps them hungry for more.”

Andrea Lyons, Sycamore Creek Elementary, Wake County, Piedmont East Region

Andrea’s nomination states, “I teach that 21st Century Skills are not only a vital part of our lives, but can also be an amazing journey in which they can “meet” fictional characters beyond their imagination and non-fictional characters who may add to their own dreams and longings in life.”

Jennifer Northrup, Flat Rock Middle School, Henderson County, Mountain Region 

Jennifer believes “A Media Center should be an interactive environment where students and teachers are a part of the everyday landscape.  Through promoting library services and serving as a collaborative partner the media center and my role have become integral parts of the school’s function to help students learn and be successful.”

Congratulations to each of these media coordinators, who represent our profession so well! If you know of an outstanding media coordinator, please check back in the spring when the nomination forms for next year’s awards will be available.

-Posted by Joanna Gerakios, NCSLMA Awards & Scholarships Section Chair

Hanging Out 2.0

Welcome back to NCSLMA’s blog!  We are re-launching the Hanging Out in the Library Blog this week with plans for new postings each week.  We are hoping that we help you get ideas and stay informed about what is happening in the school library world.  Look for postings about Common Core and the new NC standards for School Library Media Specialists.

So, I will be contributing the first posting each month dealing with big themes. Here’s my plan for the year, so you can check back –
  1. December – Globalizing your Media Center – Report on the African Library Project
  2. January – Resolutions for a New Year and revitalized Media Center
  3. February – Report on ALA Mid-Winter Meeting (Seattle)
  4. March – Report on the 8th Annual Librarian to Librarian Networking Summit @ ECU
  5. April – Celebrating Libraries
  6. May – The Annual Media & Technology Report – And Making Reports Your Principal will READ!
  7. June – Not sure about this one yet – any ideas, anyone?
  8. July – Report on ALA Annual Conference (Chicago)
  9. August – Starting the new school year right
  10. September – Conference news
In addition to my postings, you have the opportunity to contribute.  Members of our executive board and committees will also be posting about upcoming events, awards and scholarships, and book competitions.  But you can contribute too!!  Are you doing an innovative research project with your students? Got a great idea?  Read a book you love and want to share it with the rest of NCSLMA?  This is the place to do it.  Contact Jennifer LaGarde to get on the schedule at jennifer-at-librarygirl-dot-net.

April M. Dawkins, NCSLMA President
Follow me on Twitter - @aprldwkns

Scholarship Application: 2012 AASL Fall Forum

NCSLMA is sponsoring a $500 scholarship for one NCSLMA member to experience school librarianship's national staff development experience. The 2012 AASL Fall Forum titled "Transliteracy and the School Library Program" will be held in Greenville, SC on October 12-13, 2012. 

In order to be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must: 
1.) Be a current member of NCSLMA. 
2.) Be a current member of AASL. 

The 2012 AASL Fall Forum Attendee Scholarship covers the cost of registration, travel, hotel, and meals up to $500. Approved travel expenses will be paid through reimbursement according to the travel guidelines on the NCSLMA website. In exchange for this sponsorship, the attendee agrees to share his/her learning with other NCSLMA members by completing the following tasks:
 
1.) submit a schedule of events/sessions attended. 
2.) present a conference session at the 2013 NCSLMA annual conference or at a 2013 Regional Spring Refresher 
3.) write 1 post for NCSLMA's blog. 
4.) contribute to a virtual professional development opportunity (webinar) for NCSLMA members. 

Your attendance schedule and blog post must be completed by December 31, 2012. We are eager to hear about your experience and to have you share your learning with other NCSLMA members! 

To be considered for this opportunity, please complete this form & submit it no later than September 1, 2012. A committee will review all applications, make a selection, and notify the recipient no later than September 6th, 2012. Once notified, the recipient is expected to register for AASL before the deadline for advance registration ends on September 12th. Applicants who were already planning to attend AASL and have already preregistered are also eligible for this scholarship. 

                       Click here to apply for this scholarship.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact April Dawkins atapril.dawkins@ucps.k12.nc.us.

Using the NC Young Adult Book Award to Encourage Students to Read for Pleasure

When I was in library school, I thought I would spend my days helping students find books that they would enjoy reading.  I really didn't know that much of my time would be spent as a tech trouble-shooter, online research detective, and web 2.0 guru.  I think all of us can relate to the days when we don't have the opportunity to talk about reading.

So, when I have a chance to talk about books, it makes my day!  I have been fortunate to become involved with the NC Young Adult Book Award in the past year.  I was thrilled several years ago when NCSLMA made the decision to begin offering an award for middle and high school books.  Becoming involved has made me more aware of what students are reading, the trends in YA fiction, and trying to get books into the hands of more students.  Those of you who are middle and high school teacher librarians know how difficult it can be to get students to read for pleasure.  In a small way, the creation of this award has allowed me to talk with students about reading by showing them the books that teens and librarians have nominated.

What do I do to encourage pleasure reading?  

•   display books (often centered around some kind of theme) 

•   book talk new books

•   create book trailers

•   bookmarks and handouts with new books

•   sponsor a book club

•   create a contest for students trying to connect teachers with their favorite books

•   get your faculty talking about what they like to read

It is an amazing feeling when you connect a student with a book that they love.  One of this year's YA High School nominees is Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill from Wilmington.  I recommended the book to one of my students who stops by the library every afternoon on his way out to the bus lot.  Pablo reads voraciously, and his question every day is "Did you get any new books in today?".  Pablo read the book, loved it, and immediately wanted to know if there was a sequel.  I emailed David Gill and he replied that he had just sent off the first draft of the sequel to the publisher.  

In September as I was preparing a presentation for the NCSLMA convention, I visited Mr. Gill's website and saw that he had a few ARCs (advanced reading copies) of the sequel, Invisible Sun which comes out in April 2012.  I emailed him and asked if I could surprise Pablo by having Mr. Gill send him a signed copy.  To my surprise and pleasure, Mr. Gill did!  Pablo was thrilled to get a copy "before anyone else has read it!" and sent him a thank you e-mail.  Mr. Gill replied to that e-mail telling Pablo that a third book was in the works and asked if he could name a character in that book Hernandez after Pablo.  Wow!  This is not what I expected to happen when I introduced Pablo to a new author.  All of you will have the opportunity to meet David Macinnis Gill at next October's annual NCSLMA  conference in Winston-Salem.  He has agreed to be one of our featured authors! 

By the way, Pablo let me borrow the book to read.  As Pablo says, "It was awesome!"



April M. Dawkins, MLS, NBCT
Media Specialist, Porter Ridge High School
President-Elect, NC School Library Media Association


Pablo holding his ARC of Invisible Sun with April Dawkins, PRHS media specialist, holding Black Hole Sun.

Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell Receives Grant for African-American Youth Literacy Summit

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell a $99,074 National Leadership grant to plan a summit addressing literacy in young African-American males. The summit, to be hosted jointly by the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, will be titled "Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Call to Action for the Library Community."

According to the IMLS Web site, "The summit will unite national stakeholders, including members of the library and education community, researchers, educational policy makers, national organizations focused on the needs of African-American youth, publishers and young black males, to focus on the role of school and public libraries in closing the literacy achievement gap of African-American male youth."

The two and a half-day summit will focus on three areas related to the central theme: research pertaining to the development and needs of literacy in African-American male youth, what programs and services currently support their literacy needs and what gaps need to be filled, and the kind of resources that are needed to enable school and public libraries to address literacy development and needs.

Interactivity and expanded dialogue will characterize the output of the summit. In addition to preparing a white paper, summit organizers will create a Web site with information created during the summit and a prominent blog feature, allowing visitors to participate in the conversation. The project team will also lead a national webinar based on the summit's findings.

"The summit will provide a forum for a diverse group of stakeholders from across the country to explore the complex processes and issues involved in closing the achievement gap for African American male youth," said Dr. Sandra Hughes Hassell, SILS professor. "Including the voices of Black youth themselves will be critical to our conversation, so a portion of the funding will be used to bring not only researchers and practitioners who have partnered with Black male youth in their research and programming efforts, but to also invite a group of teens from local schools to participate. We believe their experiences will better inform our efforts."

More details about the summit will be shared as they become available.

**********************************
Wanda Monroe
Director of Communications
School of Information and Library Science University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
100 Manning Hall, CB 3360
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-3360
Phone: 919-843-8337
Web: sils.unc.edu
Follow us on Twitter at: UNC SILS
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Turning the Page in Minneapolis: Day Two

Editor's Note:  Jennifer Umbarger is the Teacher Librarian at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, NC and was the winner of the this year's NCSLMA's "First Time to AASL" Scholarship.  She will be blogging about her experiences as a first time attendee at the only national conference for school librarians.

Today was Librarian Lollapalooza for me!  I had scoped out some of the author autograph sessions, but lucked out as I happened upon many others...some at which they gave out free books!  This lineup of rock stars included Joan Bauer, Roland Smith, Laura Elliott, Pete Hautman and a few more new authors.  I even had my picture taken with Captain America and Darth Maul (my 8 year old son is jealous, and my husband thinks I am at a Star Wars convention).

I started my day off with a good session on assessment recommended by Kelly Brannock (she was familiar with the presenters).  I am eager to try the strategy of video interviews to assess students' learning and get their feedback on the research process in a collaborative project coming up next month.

Due to my paparazzi-mode author hunt, I was a tad late to the next session.  This meant several of the sessions I had listed on my personal agenda in the conference planner app were full.  This was a blessing in disguise, as I was fortunate to hear Tom Angleberger and Nora Baskin talk about "Authors and Autism".  I feel like Tom and I are old friends, after recently seeing him at NCSLMA and having him visit our school last spring.  Of course I missed both of them at their signings :-( Food for thought from these superstars:

Nora: Sympathy or Empathy?  Tolerance or Acceptance?  We shouldn't by sympathizing and merely tolerating those who have differences, but empathizing and accepting...and teaching our students the same!

Tom: His "superpower" is the constant stream of words in his mind.  We should encourage kids with this same superpower to get the words down on paper.  He commented on how he used his "disability" to his advantage when he had writing assignments in school.

Although my school district has not adopted a district-wide research model, I have been working with our teachers and students on the Big 6 method.  The next session I attended provided insight on a new method: the ASE model.  ASE is the "information detective" and the acronym represents both the process (Analyze, Search, Evaluate) and the method by which it was developed (Asking Students about their Experiences).  While the actual process is similar to that of the Big 6, it is an easy to remember, easy to use strategy, according to the presenters.

The final session of the day I attended dealt with a specific example of collaboration that incorporated 21st Century Learning Standards for authentic learning.  Students gained a better understanding of the 20th century by interviewing seniors and creating videos of their findings.

The highlight of the day was by far the author dinner (after a little wining and dining courtesy of ABC-CLIO).  Pat Mora started the evening reading from some of her books and encouraged us to celebrate childhood and bilingual literacy during "El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros.  (Sorry, I haven't figured out how to insert the symbols on pages yet.).  A few thoughts from her that stuck with me:

We cannot have a democracy without literacy.

We have books in our home and we are at home with books.

Andrea Davis Pinkney followed and invited us to all close our eyes for a couple of minutes and focus on what makes us happy.  This is how she starts each day, with 30 minutes of quiet meditation on what makes her happy, before she begins to write.  She discussed the "myth of genius", but that really all we need is "just the pen and the freedom to write anywhere, even on a flip-flop".  Yes, she showed the flip-flop on which she made notes once during her daily swim at the YMCA when she forgot her notebook.    She read from her new book Bird in a Box and shared with us her process for writing the book, which included boxing lessons.

Joan Bauer stole the show.  She was so captivating with her speech and weaved through the tables as she shared the following words of wisdom:

You don't have to wear a cape to be a hero.

Humor is the voice of an overcomer; victims don't laugh.

I help kids find the hero that they have inside.

I was a punk--slouched, head down, but my heart was open and I with my teachers knew that about me.

A great end to the second day of the conference!
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