Twitter on Thursdays Preview 1/28/2016

This month we are discussing mid-year reflections and purposeful planning for the rest of the year. January is a “turn-over month” - new year, new semester, but we still have a ways to go. Many of us are asked to review our PDP and face mid-year reviews with our administrators, and additionally self-examine what we want to accomplish by June. So let’s share some ways these important tasks can be done with librarians across the state!

At our #NCSLMA15 conference in October, media specialist Robin Rhodes presented a session called, “If you build it, they will come: Building advocacy with web tools.” In this session, she discussed ways that teens are drawn into using the media center at West Wilkes High, collaborative opportunities with teachers, and ways that she shares data and instructional highlights with administrators and other stakeholders. Because of the many awesome examples she shared, your social media co-chairs asked her to guest-moderate the #NCSLMAchat on reflection, so members can see the connection between reflection and advocacy.

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Friday Faves: January 2016 Edition

It's time again for Friday Faves! This month, we have a curated mix of tools, resources and online articles for you.
Member submissions are noted.

If you'd like to get involved and submit a tool, resource, article, blog post, etc to be featured in an upcoming Friday Faves blog post, please use the NCSLMA Blog Submission form.

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Media Monday - Meet Brandon Robbins, Media Coordinator at Goldsboro High School

Each month, we feature a column called Media Monday, in which we highlight an NCSLMA member who is a Media Coordinator or a specific Media Center. Today, we have a guest post by Brandon Robbins, Media Coordinator at Goldsboro High School. In 2015, Brandon received a grant from NCSLMA to attend the American Association of School Libraries National Conference in Columbus, Ohio. 

Brandon graduated from the University of Mount Olive in 2005 with a BA in English and then East Carolina University in 2011 with an MLS. Before moving to Goldsboro High School, he worked at Wayne County Public Library for 10 years. He is a member of the ALA Emerging Leader class of 2011 and writes "Games, Gamers, and Gaming" for Library Journal. 

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Friday Faves: December 2015 edition

Happy Friday before a looong holiday break! As many of us use this time to recharge for the new year, we wanted to share some resources that members shared with NCSLMA for you to explore and consider using in 2016. 
The purpose of our monthly Friday Faves is to share member-submitted resources, articles, and ideas that you want to share with your librarian colleagues! Please use the link anytime to share something you've come across or use regularly - this blog is your opportunity to get your voice heard across the state!



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Catchin' Up NCSLMA's Media Coordinator of the Year

Catchin' Up with Meredith Hill

In today's post we'd like to introduce you to NCSLMA's 2015 Media Coordinator of the Year Award recipient, Meredith Hill. She has been the media coordinator at Creekside Elementary School in Pitt County for seven years and worked previously as a Reading Recovery teacher©. Meet Meredith and find out for yourself why she's this year's award winner! When you're done reading this interview, visit her blog to see examples of the many projects and activities referenced here.

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#NCSLMAChat 11/19/15

Thursday's #NCSLMAChat was amazing. We had lots of participants and the conversation was both passion filled and productive. We discussed advocacy and ways in which we can continue to promote what we do and tell our stories. We had two NC Librarian rockstars guest hosting, Jennifer LaGarde and Lauren Schultz who posed thought provoking and important questions. We thank them so much for taking their time to participate in our chat. We'd also like to thank all of the members (and those from other states!) who joined in. Our organization, and our profession, is only as strong as we are! 

In case you missed our second #NCSLMAChat this past Thursday, here's the archive via Storify.

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Twitter on Thursdays Preview 11/19/2015

In light of the article posted in Charlotte Observer, Are School Librarians Going the Way of the Milkman? (, we want to continue the conversation that has ignited passionate responses in our school library community.

On the flip side, Scholastic re-launched its School Libraries Work campaign, which provides stakeholders and the community-at-large with reports about the positive effects that licensed, full-time media specialists have on student achievement. Visit this link, to receive your report.

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Wildcard Wednesday

We're so excited to feature our first Wildcard Wednesday NCSLMA blog post! The idea behind this column is that one Wednesday a month, a NCSLMA board member will write a guest post on any topic of his or her choosing. This is a great way for members to get to know the board and offer feedback.

To celebrate one of the most awesome conferences yet, our first Wildcard Wednesday post will be a recap of #NCSLMA15 from our new President-Elect, Sedley Abercrombie! We can't stress enough how much we love Sedley and how appreciative we are for her putting together this awesome post! Please enjoy and feel free to submit comments on any future Wildcard Wednesday topics you would like to see board members write posts about. 

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Friday Faves - October 30, 2015

Welcome to our first Friday Faves post! We hope to get MORE submissions of some of the favorite resources BY members using them: articles, apps, blogs, websites, etc. It's as easy as going to, telling us the name of your resource, and why you like it. That's it! We will find a photo (if necessary) and do the grunt work of posting & promoting it. You don't have to wait until we call out for submissions on social media - the link to open for recommendations at any time! If you want to tweet or post on Facebook how you use one of these resources, we'll be sure to share with members so we can help you grow your PLN & gather new ideas.


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#NCSLMA15 Recap

The #NCSLMA15 conference was awesome! We had three days of learning, sharing and growing. The enthusiasm from the attendees was inspiring and contagious and bled through in every single session. Now it's time to go back to our schools and continue that feeling of empowerment by doing amazing things for our students and colleagues!

In case you missed some of the awesome tweets happening both Friday and Saturday, we've archived those through Storify. Click the links below to access each day's tweets!
Friday, Oct. 23rd #NCSLMA15 Tweet Archive 
Saturday, Oct. 24th #NCSLMA15 Tweet Archive

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Tuesday Trends - Augmented Reality

Welcome to Tuesday Trends! This monthly column will feature trends in librarianship and education, and, we hope, will feature how NCSLMA members are integrating these trends into their own libraries and schools. Our first Tuesday Trends post is all about augmented reality - an awesome, hands on technology that is both exciting and engaging.

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Twitter on Thursdays Preview for 9/24/2015

Our first Thursdays on Twitter post will give you some information about the upcoming NCSLMA conference in October. This post will preview the guests we have joining us for the chat, which will be next Thursday, September 24, and resources to make anyone new to Twitter more comfortable participating in the chat. Each time we host a Twitter chat, we will post helpful information about the theme the Thursday before the actual chat.

If you missed our last blog, please go back and get acquainted with your new NCSLMA social media co-chairs, Tavia Clark and Mollee Holloman. We are revamping the way members interact with NCSLMA through our blog and on Twitter. Be sure to follow @NCSLMA on Twitter before our 9/24 chat, and also @Tavia_Clark and @MolleeBranden.

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Media Monday - Meet Mollee and Tavia

Welcome everyone!

We are so excited to introduce ourselves as your new NCSLMA Social Media Chairs! We hope to bring some fun changes that will create a more participatory experience for all NCSLMA members! 

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Action Research in the Library (Part 2 of 3)

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

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

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Come chat with us: #nctlchat

Come chat -- and blog -- with us at #nctlchat

As teacher librarians, we know the power of connecting and building a strong personal learning network. If you're looking for a way to make connections with other NC Media Specialists, #nctlchat is a weekly Twitter chat held every Sunday from 7:30-8:30 EST, hosted by North Carolina teacher-librarians Sedley Abercrombie, Chris Tuttle, Lisa Milstead, and Jen Baker.  The topics vary each week and cover a wide range of topics. This year #nctlchat will host a special challenge. If you've been wanting to start a blog, or if you have one that has been somewhat neglected, #nctlchat has an opportunity for you!  Join other teacher-librarians (and librarians-at-heart) to blog twice a month between September 2014 and June 2015. We'll encourage one another, suggest topics, and build community while also giving ourselves a space to reflect on our own practices and share what is going on in our libraries

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Action Research in the Library (Part 1 of 3)

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

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

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Time to Tell your Story!

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

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

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

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

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

Independent Schools Roundtable Professional Development Day

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

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

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Membership Has Its Privileges

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

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

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


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DEADLINE APPROACHING! First-Time Attendee Scholarship to AASL

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

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

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