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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.

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.
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 [email protected] with your guesses!
-Posted by Sarah Justice, NCSLMA Past President



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.
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

Image sources:   African Library Project logo – Original Photograph by PRHS student LMC Cover -

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.  

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. <>.

Resources to Consult: 
An Essential Connection: How Quality School Library Media Programs Improve Student Achievement in North Carolina

Change in School Librarian Staffing Linked with Change in CSAP Reading Performance, 2005 to 2011

Additional Research Studies

-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 at[email protected].

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
Follow us on Twitter at: UNC SILS

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!

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