Filtered by author: Clear Filter

Turning the Page in Minneapolis: Day One

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.

Let me start this first post with a disclaimer: I am not a blogger!  In addition to the fact that I am new to the conference scene, I am new to blogging.  Sure, I utilize blogs with my students, and even have a blog of my own that I created as part of a technology challenge in our district.  But it has not become a habit for me.  As with everything, we improve with practice.  I don't anticipate becoming an expert blogger over the next few days, but I do hope to feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts, to stop wondering "who cares what I have to say?", and perhaps even have a new habit.

I can sum up my first day in one word: overwhelming!  I imagine this will be a running theme throughout the conference, but I'll just take it one day at a time.  

After winding my way through the skywalks from the hotel (great idea to be able to get virtually anywhere in the downtown area without even stepping foot outside!), I checked in at the conference registration desk and received a nice bag to add to my collection.  I figured this would be the first of many tote bags to come.  Prior to arriving, I had attempted to be organized and involved: downloaded the conference planner app and even added items to my agenda on the app; read and reread the article in Knowledge Quest "Conference-Going Strategies, Redux" (but still managed to forget the pre-printed mailing labels); and joined the Ning, just to name a few.  I was surprised to find that it was difficult to access all of these great tools.  Other than the Internet stations in the lobby of the Convention Center, we were informed in the program booklet that "free wireless access is based on a finite number of users, so please be considerate of other users and limit your time on the wireless network to 30 minutes per session".  Of course I could purchase access for a mere $14.95 per day.  I was reading this after finding out that there was a charge for Internet at the hotel as well.  Really?  I can go to my local Red Roof Inn and get free wireless for my $70/ night stay!  Ok, I'll stop.  Thank you for letting me vent!  (I can't promise this won't come up again, though!)

Anyway, I was finally able to access my email and verify the time that I would be meeting up with our very own Jennifer Northrup to watch her receive the Follett Challenge award.  Congrats to The Candid Librarian for winning $15,000 for her entry on "History Our Way" (  This announcement and celebration took place at the same time as the opening session, but from what I heard, I was  better off toasting Jennifer and the other winners with a little bubbly!

The next two hours were spent wandering aimlessly around the exhibit hall trying to enter every drawing and grab up all the freebies, followed by another hour of aimless wandering trying to find somewhere to eat.  I returned to the hotel, debriefed a bit with my great roommate Kelly Brannock, and tried to develop a plan for day two.  I am sure I still had a glazed-over look as my head hit the pillow--from being overwhelmed, not the champagne:-).

--Jennifer Umbarger

ECU Librarian to Librarian Networking Summit, February 4, 2012

The Librarian to Librarian Networking Summit is designed to encourage K-12 school media coordinators to communicate with each other and the educational community at large in order to promote the essential role they play in student academic success. The sessions, covering a wide variety of topics, will be primarily comprised of roundtable discussions facilitated by experts in the profession. Summit attendees will be given an opportunity to attend sessions of their choice.  This year’s summit will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2012.

If you would like to serve as a facilitator for the 2012 summit, complete the online form found at  Proposals will be received through Friday, October 21, 2011.  Since the summit committee can only accept a limited number of sessions, please submit your proposal prior to the final deadline.  Acceptance emails will be sent no later than Wednesday, October 26, 2011.  If you have not been contacted by this date, please contact Alan R. Bailey at [email protected] or 252-328-2579.

We are requesting that individuals "facilitate" and not "present" since the primary purpose of the summit is for attending media coordinators to network with colleagues and discuss current professional topics in a roundtable setting.  Responsibilities of the facilitator include guiding session discussion and learning, providing interactive activities when possible, answering questions, recommending resources and providing handouts if appropriate.  Sessions are one hour in length, beginning at 9:30am and ending at 3:30pm.   A limited number of instructional sessions will also be accepted.

To view agendas and facilitator biographies from previous summits, visit

Teaching Resources Center
J.Y. Joyner Library 
Mail Stop 516
1000 E. 5th St.
East Carolina University 
Greenville, NC  27858-4353 
252-328-2579 (Office); 252-328-6076 (Service Desk); 252-328-0918 (Fax)
TRC Web Page: 

Waiting, waiting, waiting…..

Media Specialist, School Librarian, Teacher Librarian, Information Specialist, Cybrarian, Library Guru, or Book Dude….   No matter what you call yourself, call yourself “here!” at the NCSLMA conference in Winston-Salem, October 6-8.  

I'm personally looking forward to the keynote and sessions offered by the amazing Gwyneth Jones, a teacher librarian at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, Maryland, a member of the ISTE Board of Directors, a Library Journal 2011 Mover & Shaker, Gale/SLJ New Leader, and the author of the award-winning Daring Librarian blog.  (Think of a super smart “I Love Lucy” on steroids!)  She is an innovator, a techno-whiz kid with fabulous energy, and she always entertains, challenges, and inspires -- I can't wait!   

The Frances Bryant Bradburn Award Distinguished Service Award will be presented this year, on Friday October 7th.  It's not often that this Award is presented and this year's recipient is truly deserving -- I know this will be exciting and hope you can be on hand to congratulate the winner!  Bring your hankies…. this should be a good one.

Need a little advocacy??  Use the power of the force, the technology force, to build your skills in networking and advocacy – Nancy Mangum of the Friday Institute will be your Jedi Master. 

How about “Web 2. Uh Oh! Making the Leap from technoPHOBE to technoFAB!”  a fab pre-conference con-fab presented by two of our state’s leading Jennifers – Jennifer LaGarde and Jennifer Northrup.  I wonder if they’ll mention eReaders or QR codes….?  

For you history buffs and literature lovers, you can’t beat the session on “Coming to America: Exploring Immigration through Children’s and Young Adult Literature” offered by the very smart and charming Maggie Gregor from App State’s Instructional Materials Center.  

And those are just some of the pre-conference offerings!  I can’t wait!

Check out the conference schedule -- there are lots of great learning opportunities for all you 21C school library types, including sessions on the new Information and Technology Essential Standards and the new professional Standards.   Plus, there’s free lunch on Friday.  Be there or be square!  

Are there authors??  Oh yeah!  Ever heard of Gloria Houston?  And what about that Origami Yoda guy (Tom Angleberger)?  They’ll be there.  I will be having lunch with noted author, Frances O'Roark Dowell – how about you?  Almost every one of this year’s authors is from North Carolina and they’ll be autographing books and sharing their inspiration.  Bring your books.  Bring your camera.  Bring your Flipcam!  I can’t wait!  

Poetry performed by Asheville’s amazing Allan Wolf, news from those “DPI people”, and a rock star, LIVE on stage, previewing his latest music video.  Did I mention . . . I can’t wait?!

Excitement, adventure, free stuff, and food!  Authors, books, library t-shirts, books, cool gadgets, and a road trip with friends!  I can’t wait!

Pre-registration closes on September 30th.  At $100 (including lunch on Friday), it's a great deal for high-quality PD (with CEUs)!  This year, the conference is on Friday and a 1/2 day Saturday to make it easier to get away and get smart!  Check out the schedule and start saving your nickels and packing your bags – it’s conference time!

I. Can’t. Wait!

DPI person & Conference Fanatic,
Kelly Brannock

Expand the Influence of School Librarians Within ALA

This is an opportunity to serve the library profession that some of of you might be interested in.  It would be great to see some NC names within these committees! 

Here's an opportunity for you to expand the influence of school librarians within the American Library Association – a key part of the AASL Strategic Plan.  On July 20th, Maureen Sullivan, ALA President-Elect and chair of the Committee on Appointments, began to encourage members to volunteer for ALA committees. AASL needs your voice to represent school library issues and concerns on these committees which help to govern the largest and oldest organization devoted to libraries. It is important that school librarians play an active role! Members can volunteer by filling out the online form.

Serving on an ALA committee is an excellent opportunity to build leadership skills and networking opportunities.  ALA is looking for volunteers for the following committees:
  • Accreditation
  • American Libraries Advisory
  • Awards
  • Budget Analysis and Review
  • Chapter Relations
  • Conference
  • Constitution and Bylaws
  • Council Orientation
  • Diversity
  • Education
  • Election
  • Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory
  • Information Technology Policy Advisory
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • International Relations
  • Legislation
  • Library Advocacy
  • Literacy
  • Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory
  • Membership
  • Membership Meetings
  • Organization
  • Policy Monitoring (current Council members only)
  • Professional Ethics
  • Public and Cultural Programs Advisory
  • Public Awareness
  • Publishing
  • Research and Statistics
  • Resolutions
  • Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds
  • Scholarships and Study Grants
  • Status of Women in Librarianship
  • Training, Orientation and Leadership Development
  • Website Advisory
  • ALA-Children’s Book Council (Joint)
  • ALA-Association of American of Museums (Joint).
The deadline for completing the ALA Committee Volunteer form is Friday, Nov. 4, 2011.  

Carl A. Harvey II
President, American Association of School Librarians

Jessica Harden Moore Wins Gale TEAMS Award

Jessica Harden Moore, NCSLMA Communications Section Chair and media specialist at Winter Park Elementary in Wilmington, NC, and a second grade teacher at her school just won the Gale/Library Media Connection Teams Award for their collaborative project with 9 second graders and all 4 of the other specialists at Winter Park.

It all started with a single child's interest in a book and ended with the incredible digital story you can view at Jessica and the second grade teacher have already presented The Lost and Found of Sabrina twice in New Hanover County and taught a workshop on enrichment groups at a summer institute. They will be presenting again at the North Carolina School Library Media Association's annual state conference in October. 

Jessica and the second grade teacher will be accepting Gale's award on behalf of the enrichment team at the American Association of School Librarians in Minneapolis, MN on October 28. Three awards are given annually, one at each level - elementary, middle and high. Along with the award, they will receive a check for $2500 and an additional $500 in Gale products. 

Click on the link above and view this incredible example of collaboration. It is truly worthy of this national recognition. This is what teaching is all about!

Thanks to Jessica's mom, Patricia Harden, media specialist in Wake County, for sharing the good news!

Deanna Harris, NCSLMA President 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 8:11 AM

Getting the word out!

As the end of another summer break creeps closer, I adjust my sleeping patterns (fewer late nights and more early mornings), review my “to do” list and that stack of books I schlepped home back in June and revisit the media program goals we will use to focus our efforts in the up-coming year.  I know I’m not alone in this process because I’ve often commiserated the ever shortening summer days verses my ever higher expectations for what I can fit into these days with colleagues. This is not the only similarity educators, from the disciplines within a school, share; we are all cogs in the wheel attempting to mold our students into successful, productive, fulfilled graduates. I’ve spent many a meeting involved in attempts to write a vision statement, mission statement, etc. relating to “why we are here”. I’ve determined that while each discipline and/or grade level has responsibility for particular standards, goals, objectives (etc.) we are, ultimately, seeking to provide our students with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful 21st century citizens.

As media coordinators we are in a unique position. Working with the entire student body allows us to see first-hand the interconnectedness of the curricula and the opportunities to connect these “dots” with students. This is why it is among our most important roles within the school is to educate and demonstrate the value of collaboration. Within the media program it is vital to build the 3 levels of collaboration identified by IMPACT: Guidelines for NC Media and Technology Programs. Level 1 integration, the media coordinator simply provides resources to support the classroom. Level 2 cooperative activities, the media coordinator prepares lessons to support classroom objectives as students are scheduled for instruction. Level 3 co-planning, cross-curricular lessons and units are planned, delivered and evaluated jointly by the teacher and the media coordinator. IMPACT identifies proactive methods that will help us (and our program) implement Level 3 collaborations. Revisiting these collaboration levels, seeking methods to build and expand collaboration have become part of my and NCSLMA’s annual “why we are here” exercise. 

In order to further incorporate collaboration, NCSLMA’s advocacy committee is focusing on outreach, communicating the value and importance of media programs to our education colleagues. In July as part of this initiative, I presented a session for the Sr. Teaching Fellows Conference “Survive and Thrive” at Elon University. The focus for my session, “The Perfect Pair: Teacher/Librarian Collaboration” included a brief description of the 3 collaboration levels and the growing body of research that confirms the value for students and teachers. These “baby teachers” (thanks Doug Jones) were receptive to the information shared. I encouraged each of the participants to incorporate a library-based lesson during their upcoming student teaching and collaborate with the media coordinator (at least once) to experience firsthand the value for themselves and their students. NCSLMA members, Jennifer Northrup and Renee Davenport from Flat Rock Middle School presented a session introducing the Big 6 research model and its application as a problem-solving model for students. Jennifer LaGarde, NCSLMA Advocacy and Governance section chair presented at the Junior Teaching Fellows Conference July 24. The theme of the conference, “Explore Diversity, In and Out of the Classroom” allowed her to draw a connection with the media program through her sessions “Bibliotherapy 2.0 - Using eBooks(and Print Ones too!) to Reach and Teach Diverse Student Populations” and “It’s a Small World After All --- Developing Personal Learning Networks for Students and Teachers”. 

The Advocacy Committee will continue to reach out to inform NC administrators and teachers this year with additional initiatives to ensure the media program’s role as a collaborative partner. Building on our first initiative with NC Teaching Fellows, Teaching Fellows coordinators at several universities have expressed an interest in hosting a 40-45 minute presentation during 2011-12 to introduce these future educators to the media specialist’s instructional role. An outline of the presentation is intended to serve as a framework that will be “fleshed out” by NCSLMA member presenters with individual examples and stories. If you are interested in preparing a session for one (or more) of the Teaching Fellows programs, please contact me for the specifics. The scheduled sessions include: Appalachian State, Campbell, East Carolina, Lenoir-Rhyne, North Carolina A&T, Queens, and Western Carolina. NCSLMA has a small budget to pay for transportation costs and supplies. 

As you can tell our NCSLMA Advocacy committee is working to “get the word out” about the benefits and vital role of media programs. It’s time to blow our own horn!  

Tammy Young 
Media Coordinator 
Charles D. Owen High School 

Posted by mrsjustice at 6:56 PM

Conference Planning

Never knew conference planning looked like this, did you?
This picture doesn't show it, but I can tell you there will be a lot of great sessions this year! 

Posted by mrsjustice at 5:08 PM

Presenting at NCSLMA Conference--a great opportunity!

Explain the birds and the bees to my daughter...wear a bathing suit...teach a group of 7th graders while my skirt is tucked into my pantyhose...these are all things I would rather do than make a presentation to a group of my peers. But, since I don’t have a daughter (two boys so I’ll leave that talk to my husband), I never wear a bathing suit except at the beach, and I never wear pantyhose, much less a skirt (hello!  I climb under the computer tables all day long to plug in the elusive missing cables)...a few years ago I decided to sign up for a presentation slot at the NCSLMA conference, and I have done it almost every year since. I have attended the NCSLMA conference every year since my first year in the media center. Sometimes, I would have difficultly finding a session to attend because most seemed to be geared towards elementary and middle grades only.  After a few years of complaining to myself about this, I decided that since I was a high school person, maybe I would squash that fear of speaking in front of my peers and sign up for a spot.  At that time, DPI was discussing the idea of requiring Graduation Projects for all schools.  Since our school had required the projects as part of graduation since 2000, I felt like I should impart the knowledge that had made ours such a success.  Would anyone care about this?  Would anyone show up to the presentation?  Did I actually know what I was talking about?  To say I stressed out would be an understatement.  But, thankfully the presentation was a success.  There was an overflow crowd, I ran out of handouts, there were some great questions, and I don’t think anyone walked out. So, for the next few years, I did this same presentation until DPI decided that maybe requiring the projects wasn’t such a good idea (shame on them).  During this time, I also was drafted by NCCAT one time to present on their National Boards support program.  I was more than happy to brag on this since I have taken advantage of it many times as a participant and a mentor.  And last year, I presented once again.  This time I talked about “fun”draising.  We all need more money, don’t we?  And it should be fun! You  might be asking, “What’s the point in this article?”  Well, it’s just a little pep talk for those of you who are on the fence about presenting.  We all are great at something, but might not realize that other people would like to hear about it.  I think we all feel that what we do in our program is probably what everyone else does...but a lot of times that is not true.  Teach us!  Share with us!  And, if it is something that we all do, at least know that some of us feel better about ourselves to know that others do the same thing.  Are you ready to present now?  If this isn’t enough to push you over the edge, maybe you should take into account that a lot of conferences waive your registration fee for presenting.  This was always a nice way to convince my director that I had to go to the conference, and she could pay for food and travel instead!  But, the Call to Present form will be available only a few more days.  So, before July 15th, you need to fill out an application at And finally, my journey to sheer terror has not stopped with my small group presentations.  This year, I am the president-elect of the NCSLMA.  So, during my first presentation to the whole group if I happen to have my skirt tucked into my pantyhose...don’t giggle...too much. 

Posted by mrsjustice at 6:49 AM

Lessons from The Big Easy

President-elect Sarah Justice and I spent six days in New Orleans at the American Library Association annual conference at the end of June. We attended meetings as your NC representatives to the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly and spent some time stalking authors and speakers on the exhibit floor and in concurrent sessions.

Here are some lessons I learned from our trip to The Big Easy:
  • Network with as many folks as you can. At our meetings, we had the opportunity to talk with school librarians from our region (KY, SC, WV, VA, TN, NC) as well as across the country. But it was also the conversations standing in author signing lines and on the airplanes and throughout the conference that reconnected us with passionate readers, tech savvy individuals, and information gurus.
  • Pack lightly and mail your books home or stick them in your suitcase. Yes, I borrowed my five year old daughter's suitcase for the trip -- rolled clothes and I had plenty to wear for our six days. But I did mail two boxes of books (freebies and a couple that I purchased) back home to avoid hefting 40-50lbs of books on the plane.
  • Wear comfortable shoes to a national conference. While Deb Christensen clocked over 16,000 steps on her pedometer one day during the conference, I'm sure that between the two of us Sarah and I walked 40 miles during our trip. Comfy sandals and supportive tennis shoes were our friends.
  • AASL has some great resources, if you'll just take advantage of them. At our Affiliate Assembly meeting, we were reminded of the toolkits and planning guides at the AASL website that can help us be better teachers, assessors, planners, and advocates in our library media programs.
  • Leadership is key to making things happen in our profession. While we heard some incredible speakers and authors, we also heard from key leaders in our profession, folks who are at the building levels just like us and making a difference everyday in the lives of students, teachers, and fellow school librarians.
Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:31 PM

Focusing on Solutions

Gina Webster, media specialist at Walkertown Middle School, posted this on the NCSLMA listserv back in November, but it is very timely and worth revisiting, considering the impending budget cuts. 

I've been feeling a sense of urgency and a call to action lately. I'm generally focused more on solutions than problems, so I thought I'd share a few ideas that may be worth considering as we consider our emerging and evolving place in education.

1. Develop a student focus group to get feedback & fresh ideas to connect w/ what they need/want from their library.

2. Create a space on the library/media center's website that showcases collaborative work with teachers & students.

3. Find at least 5 other School Librarians who have a positive attitude about growth/change.

4. Develop an online request system to solicit ideas for future purchases.

5. Weed.

6. Invite someone from the Board of Education to participate in a lesson, program, or special event.

7. Realize that books may change in format and such but READING isn't going anywhere.
Focus on reading and literacy and you won't go wrong.

8. Try a new techy tool and shamelessly show it off to anyone who'll listen.

9. Use a social network to build a professional support group, think tank, sounding board, and cheering section for yourself.

10. Find a reason to make parent phone calls every week. Solicit volunteers, reinforce student accomplishments/learning, whatever you can do to remind parents of your role in their child's education.

Lots of library love to you all,

Posted by Ms. Dee at 7:41 PM

Save the NC Teaching Fellows

It's almost like we are all becoming endangered species---I've written to the "officials" about our media programs, about NCCAT, and now, sadly, the Teaching Fellows program.  I thought I'd share my letter with you all because I know that at least you will give me a response (and I would think that response is total indignation).

Over the years, I have accomplished many things that I can honestly say I am proud of--I’m proud to be a mother to two adventurous boys (7 years of my life); I’m proud to be getting ready to celebrate my wedding anniversary (9 years of my life); I’m proud to be a middle and high school librarian in an amazing small school in Western North Carolina (13 years of my life); and finally, I’m proud to be a Teaching Fellow.  I have been a Teaching Fellow for HALF of my life.  I am so proud of this accomplishment that I achieved when I was 18 years old.  I was just starting my “adult” life and I knew exactly what I wanted to do, which was to work with the students of North Carolina.  I have dedicated my life to this endeavor.  In my years of working with high school students, I have met many of the younger generations who feel this same way.  A very grateful senior at my high school just received word that she will be receiving the scholarship for next year.  And now, this wonderful opportunity that I was given is being ripped away.  I do not understand how anyone could think that this action is a good idea. 

By being a Teaching Fellow, I was introduced to so much more than what the average education student experiences--and I feel I can truly say this because my college roommate was also an education major, but not a Teaching Fellow.  I had extra classes in education, was introduced to the classroom much earlier than during student teaching which is when most future teachers step into the classroom, and had a network of fellow educators to lean on.  After graduating, when I applied for jobs I had that extra gold star of being one of the “best and brightest” because of being a Teaching Fellow. 

With all the cuts to people who are currently in education, how can you already punish those that wish to become teachers?  Please fight to keep the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program...future generations of students will thank you. 

Posted by mrsjustice at 6:32 PM

Tammy Young Advocates at Library Legislative Day

Tammy Young, NCSLMA Advocacy Committee Chair, shares her experience from this year's Library Legislative Day.

As the Advocacy Chair for NCLSMA, I have stepped waaaaaaaaaaaaay outside of my comfort zone. When I volunteered for this position I was intimidated a bit by the responsibility required of me in “speaking for NCSLMA”.

My first opportunity came when the NC Library Association (NCLA) invited me to join the NC delegation’s trip to Washington, DC May 9 and 10 to participate in ALA’s “Library Legislative Day”. NCLA has coordinated a group for the past several years and I was very excited to be able to travel and network with these colleagues.

The journey began on the morning of Monday, May 9 when the “western” delegates met in Greensboro to board the chartered coach and head toward Washington with a stop in Henderson, NC to pick up the “eastern” delegates. Among this group were public library directors and branch managers, library board members, NCLA leadership, academic librarians, a county commissioner and Mary Boone, our state librarian. It was a boisterous group of 27 advocates lead by the energetic Carol Walters, Director of Libraries Sandhill Regional Library System.

During the ride to Washington, the delegates were given information and key talking points regarding the state of NC libraries to utilize in our legislative discussions. Information packets with statistics were distributed on Tuesday to the NC legislators and their staff –including among the multicolored and informative papers, flash drives with video presentations that put faces and places with the numbers. One piece of advice I’ve heard over and over is the importance of showing the “transformative power of libraries” not simply statistics, when advocating for our patrons, programs and personnel.

The NC delegation focused on three key points: fund Federal initiatives including the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries, support school libraries through Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and assure stabilization of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF) and simplify the E-rate discount program.

We arrived in Washington in time to drop in at the ALA reception and meet other delegates. The NC delegation received an award for the largest number of delegates of all states represented.

Day 2 began with an early AM departure to Washington where we began the day by meeting Celia Sims, a staffer of Senator Burr. Delegates from 2010 were very enthusiastic about reconnecting with Celia due the previous year’s meeting resulted in Senator Burr co-sponsoring the Museum and Library Services Act of 2010, which provides expanded authority to the Institute of Museum and Library Services to promote and ensure library and information services, and reauthorizes appropriations for and programs under the Library Services and Technology Act.

The entire group then moved to Senator Hagan’s office where we met with her staffers and we gave testimonials about the importance of libraries to all North Carolinians. To cover as much ground as possible, the large group divided into two groups and thanks to prearranged meeting times, we met with House members and/or staffers. I along with the other western delegates met with Rep. McHenry’s staffer Krista Stafford, Rep. Myrick’s staffer Andy Polk, Rep. Foxx, Rep. Shuler’s staffer Erin Georges, Rep. Coble and Rep. Kissell. The eastern delegates met with Rep. Miller’s staffer Brandy Dillingham, Rep. Ellmers’ staffer Josh Babb, Rep. Price’s staffer Laura Thrift, Rep. McIntyre’s staffer Alyssa Dack and Rep. Butterfield’s staffer Meredith Morgan. During each conversation we shared stories of the value and importance to maintaining and/or improving library funding and staffing.

While it was thrilling to meet personally with several representatives, we were told by veteran advocates that the staffers are often the best “pipeline” to our elected officials. These staffers can ensure the legislator continues to focus on library needs and concerns. Rep. Kissell (District 8), a former educator, asked pointed questions and expressed his support of educators. The group met on the Senate steps to have our photo made with Senator Burr and present him with a certificate of appreciation for his past support of NC libraries.

Following a quick lunch at Union Station the group boarded our coach for the ride back to Henderson then Greensboro, very tired but feeling like our presence “planted a seed” with NC’s federal representatives (and their staffers). Personal thank you notes were written to each staff member and/or representative in an effort to help keep our concerns “front and center”.

If you are in Washington or Raleigh during a break from school, drop in and allow your representatives and/or their staffers to hear from you how much libraries mean to you and your patrons. I would encourage you to remember your local, state and federal elected officials and issue a “blanket” invitation to visit your library next time they are available (or nearby)! Check out this link to "District Days" -- an opportunity to take advantage of legislators summer break

Please let us know your plans to advocate for libraries with legislators by posting to the Facebook NCSLMA discussion and following up with photos from your events. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:30 PM

Pilot Mountain Middle School Wins BOB Competition

Monday, May 9, 2011 Pilot Mountain Middle School Wins BOB Competition On Tuesday, May 3rd, NCSLMA hosted the annual Middle School State Battle of the Books competition on the beautiful campus of UNCG in Greensboro. What an exciting day for the teams that represented each of the nine regions in the state. 

After 36 rounds of challenging questions and evenly-matched teams, the ultimate victor came from Region 7—Northwest. Congratulations to the students and coach of Pilot Mountain Middle School! 

Congratulations to the second place team, Pembroke Middle School (Region 4—Sandhills), and to the third place team representing Topsail Middle School (Region 2—Southeast)

Congratulations to ALL the participating teams who won their regional competition to represent their region at the state level:
Region 1—Northeast: G.R. Whitfield
Region 3—Central: Apex Middle School
Region 5—Piedmont: N.L. Dillard Middle School
Region 6—Southwest: Marvin Ridge Middle School
Region 8—West: Waynesville Middle School
Region 9—Independent: Our Lady of Grace

Thank you to all those who made the competition a flawless event, especially members of the State MS BOB committee, Mary Swoope (chairperson), and Jean Howard and Ann Woerle who edited the questions. The 2011-2012 MSBOB list is available on the NCSLMA website: 

Happy Reading! 
-- Jackie Mills 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:19 PM

National Library Legislative Day

Contact your elected officials on National Library Legislative Day!

Libraries are increasingly essential in these tough economic times. People are flocking to our nation’s libraries for job and career information, small business research and e-government services as well as support for formal and informal education and lifelong learning. Congress made across-the-board cuts to federal programs in its FY2011 budget, and libraries fill the gaps made when other agencies and services. Unfortunately, libraries are also receiving federal budget cuts.

Even if you can’t make it Washington for National Library Legislative Day on May 9, you can join us by contacting your representatives and senators during Virtual Legislative Day. 

Please contact your elected officials with the following requests:

  • Fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at $232 million, the level last authorized in December 2010;
  • Preserve the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program with its own budget line and appropriate the program at its FY2010 level of $19.1 million;
  • Maintain funding for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch at $2.9 million in order to preserve publication of “Statistical Abstracts” and other publications;
  • Fund the Salaries and Expenses work of the Government Printing Office (GPO) at $42,173,000 to preserve public access through the FDLP and FedSYS.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (School Libraries):
  • Support student performance by including an effective school library program as part of ESEA through the LEARN Act to include:
  • A school library staffed by a state-certified school librarian;
  • A school library with up-to-date books, materials, equipment, and technology, including broadband connectivity; and
  • Instruction by librarians for students and staff on digital and computer literacy skills, including collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians to develop and implement the curriculum and other school reforms.
While these issues are the most urgent at this time, there are many other critical pieces of legislation impacting libraries. 

For full list of key issues that will be discussed at National Library Legislative Day, click here. ALA has also drafted issue briefs on the following areas:AccessAppropriations for LibrariesBroadband & TelecommunicationsCopyrightElementary and Secondary Education ActGovernment Services & InformationSurveillance & Privacy and theWILL Act

Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:24 AM

NCSLMA Conference Call to Present

The planning has started...speakers have been booked...convention center is getting ready...All we need is you!   The 2011 NCSLMA Conference Call to Present is now available at   The 2011 theme is "Hello...My Name Is"  What's the reasoning behind this?  Well, it's simple. For years we have advocated for our program, but now it's time to advocate for ourselves.  The easiest way to do this is to make sure everyone knows your name and knows what your speciality is!  So, show us some of those specialities!  Are you good at technology? library promotion? reading programs? professional development?  Strut your stuff at the 2011 Conference and let us get to know your name. 

Posted by mrsjustice at 11:38 AM

Allan Wolf to Speak at Toast and Tales Breakfast

Toast and Tales Breakfast on Saturday: Allan Wolf


10) Allan is a past National Sonnet Slam Champion. 
9) Allan can recite hundreds of poems from memory. 
8) Allan did not like school. 
7) Allan has a pet chicken named Atilla the Hen. 
6) Allan has two goldfish named Lewis and Clark. 
5) Allan plays drums with a band called The Dead Poets. 
4) Allan never watches television. (He doesn’t even own one!) 
3) To relax Allan plays guitar or juggles. 
2) Allan dreams of one day living in a house with a secret room. 
1) Allan can ride a skateboard standing on his hands. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:41 PM

Get Motivated with Conference Luncheon Speaker

Friday's Luncheon speaker: Jennifer Pharr Davis
(cost included with pre-registration

Jennifer Pharr Davis, a native of Henderson County, NC, is the author of the book - Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. The book chronicles her adventures, experiences and challenges during her first Appalachian Trial thru hike just out of college in 2005. In 2008 she became the women's speed record holder by completing the entire length of the 2175-mile Appalachian Trail in just 57 days, 8 hours and 35 minutes. This summer, Jennifer has plans to break the overall speed record on the Appalachian Trail. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:34 PM

Gwyneth Jones, Keynote Speaker for Fall Conference

 Friday's Keynote Speaker will be Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian 

Gwyneth A. Jones, aka The Daring Librarian, is a blogger, a Tweeter, a Plurker, a speaker, a citizen of Nings and a resident of Second Life. Gwyneth is a teacher librarian at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, Maryland, a member of the ISTE Board of Directors, and the author of the award winning Daring Librarian blog. The Daring Librarian is a digitally shifted ed tech teaching ninja with a passion for re-mix mash-up production, transliteracy, cutting edge librarianship, graphic design, & being a change agent within in her learning communities both geographically and within the æthernets. Fearlessly daring to take chances, fight the filters, and ignoring the negative naysayers, all for our most important customers – our students. Admittedly, she’s also a goofball & a geek. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:47 PM

Teachers Spared? Think Again about Proposed Budget Cuts

This is a letter that I sent to the reporter at the News and Observer asking for clear, factual reporting of the proposed budget cuts:

Ms. Stancil,

Your article ( indicates that teachers and teaching assistants are spared and that non-teaching positions are reduced, including media specialists.

While for budget purposes media specialists are classified as instructional support, media specialists are TEACHING staff: we are TEACHERS. We INSTRUCT students on a daily basis. We TEACH individual, small group, and whole classes of students. We are evaluated on our TEACHING. We are paid on the TEACHER pay scale (unlike other instructional support staff which are paid on different, higher pay scales). 

It is important that we TEACH students to evaluate, analyze, and think critically, to access information and to use it ethically. It is important that we keep TEACHERS whose curriculum includes information literacy. Those TEACHERS are media specialists, and we are responsible for TEACHING students!

Please be sure to report the fact that not all TEACHERS are being spared in the proposed budget cuts.

Posted by Ms. Dee at 7:41 AM

Hello! from ALA Midwinter in San Diego

Sarah Justice, president-elect, and I here in San Diego for the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. This is the time for our meetings with the American Association of School Librarians and Affiliate Assembly where we represent you and the our association at meetings with other delegates from other state school library media organizations.

Sarah and I took this morning to familiarize ourselves with the meeting schedule and convention center. We were even caught on camera by the ALA photographer! (Thanks to my own media assistant who found me on the ALA Flickr site and sent me the link!)
On Saturday, we will represent you and our association at the AASL roundtable discussions, where we will work on topics of interest and importance to school librarians around the country. On Sunday, we will attend the Affiliate Assembly and work with our colleagues in Region 4, continuing to discuss those issues important to our profession.

On Monday morning, we hope to attend the announcement of the book award winners. You can view the program on the ALA website:

We hear that you all are bracing for another winter storm while we are enjoying the 60 degree weather here in California. Watch for more updates about the conference and our meetings, and we hope to make it safely back to the east coast without too many snow or ice delays on Monday night! 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:53 PM