April 2022

Volume 3.3

Welcome to the North Carolina School Library Media Association's Monthly newsletter!

Questions? Contact kenishasmith@ncslma.org

In this edition:

NCSLMA Website

Our Sponsors


Jenny Umbarger

NCSLMA President


Back in September, I was tasked with the difficult decision of whether to continue with our in-person conference or make the switch to virtual. That was probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make, mostly because I am (as I mentioned back then) a “people-pleasing, procrastinating, perfectionist.” I had several people reach out to me with kind, supportive words and many who shared that they, too, are P-PPPs. It is great to know that I am not alone (shameless plug for #NCSLMA22), and in good company.  However, I don’t necessarily like being this person, and am constantly trying to improve myself and change my ways. I heard a piece on NPR back in January about how to kick the procrastination habit (take a look/listen here, and it was apparently an encore of an episode in January 2021, linked here), but ended up procrastinating at starting to implement some of the strategies. So here I am, just a couple of hours before the final deadline to submit the April newsletter article, again thinking how I really need to stop procrastinating…

What I will not delay in doing is wishing all of you Happy School Library Month! AASL has a variety of resources available to help celebrate School Library Month (linked here). Included among these resources are the recording and slides from last month’s free webinar featuring several librarians, including the 2022 School Librarian of the Year, K.C. Boyd–congrats to @boss_librarian for receiving this award! I know we are often underappreciated in the work we do and not recognized for the integral role we play within the educational setting throughout the year, let alone during the month designated to celebrate us. But we know how hard we work and the impact we have on our most important patrons, our students. Thank you for continuing to show how libraries - and librarians - transform!


Jennifer Abel

Conference Chair, President Elect

More information coming soon!


Calling All Bloggers

NCSLMA has a small blog on our website. If you would like to contribute to it, please send submissions to kristysartain@ncslma.org. We're looking for news items, stories about your library, fun events you have had, etc. Pictures can be included and are welcomed. There are no minimum or maximum length requirements. Share some of the great things going on in your library!

Better Together Grant Update

Thanks to the Better Together Grant funds, our school now has a storybook walk for students, staff, and families to enjoy! The path goes all the way around our school and features a new story each month. 

My favorite part of this project is that all of our second-grade students are in charge of the content. Each month, I present a book trailer for two different diverse texts and have the second-grade students decide which will be featured. After the selection process, each second-grade class helps to create questions for each page of the text. These questions are posted along with the story walk. This involvement has created a sense of ownership, community, and exposed students to more diverse texts. Classes are excited to go for the walk and many students have encouraged their families to go on the walk.

I greatly appreciate your support of this project. It has made such a positive impact! I look forward to seeing where this program continues to take our students and community.

Thank you!

Hannah Wilson

School Library Media Coordinator

Apex Elementary School

Conference Keynote Speaker

NCSLMA is excited to announce that Scott Reintgen will be our conference author keynote speaker. Scott is the author of the Nyxia trilogy, the Ashlords duology, and the Talespinners series. His next middle grade series will kick off in May 2022 with The Problem with Prophecies.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'NCŚLMA Is Proud To Present This Year's Conference Author Keynote Scall Peintgen Author of the Nyxia trilogy the Ashlords duology, and the Talespinners series. His next middle grade series will kick off in May May:2022 with The Problem with Prophecies NCSLMA support promote empower'

2022 Call To Present Deadline Has Been Extended!!

The call to present has been extended! We know NC School Librarians have out-of-this-world ideas. Submit your conference presentation proposal for the 2022 NCSLMA Conference "We Are Not Alone in the Library". This year's conference will take place in Winston-Salem on October 6th-8th.  The call to present is now open and we are accepting applications for concurrent sessions (50 minutes) and mini-workshops (90 minutes).  Proposals can be submitted until April 10th. NCSLMA members who have a proposal selected will have a reduced conference registration rate of $25. Non-NCSLMA members who have a proposal selected will have a reduced conference registration rate of $75.

Submit your proprosal here!

Closing Keynote--2022 Conference

We are excited to announce that Dr. April Dawkins will be our closing keynote speaker for the 2022 NCSLMA Conference! We cannot wait to see all of you October 6-8. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay up to date on everything NCSLMA.

We have a new store!

NCSLMA Sections

Director: Faith Huff

Director: Susan Sawin

Awards, Grants, Scholarships
Director: Sarah Justice

Book Programs
Director: Stacy Hersey

Director: Cindy Sturdivant

Director: Laura Aldridge

Regional Directors:
Lead: Robin Rhodes

Social Media
Director: Alicia Luke

Director: Kristy Sartain


Sandy Grove Middle School Makes History

Sophia A. Demetri, Media Specialist, Sandy Grove Middle School

For the first time ever, SGMS has placed first at the District Level Battle of the Books Competition in Hoke County

Back in January, I was reading my latest ebook checked out from the Libby app entitled, Early Man, a novelization of the 2018 Nick Park film of the same name.  In the story, a tribe of cavemen have to achieve what their people had never achieved before and win a soccer tournament to get their land back.  And in typical feel good story fashion, they manage to overcome adversity with some help from a friend and attain greatness.

As I went through this story, one thought kept ringing in my head, “I wish I could do the same with my Battle of the Books team.” And two months later, my wish came true.

Much like the cave people in the book, our team had a lot riding on us when the school year began.  Our school had never placed first at Battle before, it was my first time ever coaching a B.o.B. team, and it was the first time that Hoke County Schools had had a Battle of the Books tournament since the pandemic.  And if that were not enough to either make you pray for a miracle or consider a Faustian contract, the students were apprehensive about joining up.

Our school has many great readers among us, but the minute that Battle was suggested, they immediately acted like I’d said Lord Voldemort’s name out loud!  Apparently many students had become bait shy of joining Battle for two major reasons: 1) They didn’t like being forced to read and 2) They had done Battle in elementary school and felt they had been-there-done-that.  But to make matters worse, more than one student that signed up with enthusiasm ended up being overwhelmed by their Battle missions and left to follow other pursuits.

Despite this, our Battle team kept going.  With support and guidance from Karen Nichols and Tracy Roberson, I made every effort to help my students.  I welcomed advice from teachers so that students could apply the study habits that they practice in the classroom to our meetings.

On March 10th, it was finally time.

The competition was nerve-wracking.  The students put every effort into answering every question and pronouncing every author name correctly.  Their enthusiasm even resulted in a behavior penalty, but they put it behind them and carried on!  Finally the competition ended, and it was time to announce the winners.  

We were all on edge, fearing the worst and wondering if all the nice things people said to us were out of pity as they called out the schools.  Third Place: West Hoke Middle, Second Place: East Hoke Middle.  Wait, that means…

For the first time ever, Sandy Grove Middle School’s Battle of the Books team was a champion!  Just like the cavemen in the book, we achieved glory, returning to our school with a sense of accomplishment and an eagerness to set new goals.  


Aardman Animation Ltd. (2018). Early Man: The Junior Novelization. Sky Pony; Media   tie-in edition 

Hoke County Schools. [@HokeCoSchools] (2022, March 11). The annual Battle of the Books voluntary reading challenge was back live this year and in full swing! At the [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/HokeCoSchools/status/1502310898173497344?cxt=HHwWgMCivazzo9kpAAAA 

The Sandy Grove Middle School Battle of the Books team 2021-2022 following their victory at the District Level Battle of the Books tournament on March 10, 2022.  Left to Right: Da’Janee McAllister, Jennifer Galusha, Emma Reinhardt, Lianna Jardine, Mia Jardine, Madilyn Ansley,  Favor Anab and Coach Sophia Demetri.  Photo Courtesy of Tracy Roberson. 


Continuing Ed Opportunities
Brought to you by the State Library of North Carolina



Facebook Page


Facebook Group


Would you like to contribute to the next NCSLMA News & Notes?

We want to hear from you! Do you have an upcoming multi-school or district event, were you recognized in some way, are you involved in the coolest collaboration, or did you contribute in some other spectacular way that shows the value of school libraries and librarians? We know you did! So we want to share the fabulous things school librarians are doing across the state! Please submit links to articles, published materials, and/or graphics to Kenisha Smith (kenishasmith@ncslma.org). Materials should be "copy and paste" ready. Submissions will be edited and published at the discretion of the NCSLMA News & Updates Editorial Team.

Submission Guidelines Document

© NC School Library Media Association | 151 NC Hwy 9 Ste B #188, Black Mountain, NC 28711

NCSLMA is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization (W-9)

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software