Thursday, December 19, 2013

You Asked For It!

Overdrive has added a new feature that lets users suggest titles to add our Digital Library.  While users will be able to recommend titles not currently in the collection, they won't have access to Overdrive's full collection.  They will be limited to viewing titles that are a part of Overdrive's collection of titles with juvenile or young adult subject categories, titles that have school metadata such as Lexile scores or titles that have been added to other school library collections.
As we add these titles they can be found under the Collections tab.  The collection is named, You Asked For It!

In order to recommend titles after a search is executed users will see this link at the bottom of the page.  

By clicking this link users will be presented with a list of titles to recommend.  It's that easy.  Spread the word!

P.S. We just added new titles for elementary, middle and high school users!! Happy reading over the holidays!

Activity Report Due December 20

Note: If you are reading this post via email, please click through to see the embedded information below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

iPad staff development opportunity

Oleksiy Maksymenko / All Canada Photo / Universal Images Group
If you have iPads on your campus, please consider taking the following staff development this spring (if you haven't already had it). It is a hybrid course with face to face meetings plus an online component.

Teacher iPad Camp 1 

Monday, January 27
Monday, February 24
Monday, March 24

Monday, April 28

4:15-6:15 pm at the TEC

See the spring staff development catalog for more details.

iPads during the holidays!

Paige Wester, mobile learning facilitator, recommends the following for your iPad carts during the holidays.

Just a friendly reminder to PLEASE be sure to do the following BEFORE you leave on Friday:

1.  Charge the iPads to 100% and unplug them from the charger.  Also, unplug the cart from the wall.  If you use the iPads on Friday, don't worry about them being fully charged.  Just be
     sure they are unplugged from the chargers and wall.


3.  LOCK the cart

4.  If you are in a portable, PLEASE BRING ALL CARTS inside the building to a designated locked room.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your campus technology facilitator or myself.

Hope you all have a SAFE and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Paige Wester

Mobile Learning Facilitator

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Food for Thought: Making to Learn

Great blog post written by a high school librarian whose makerspace focuses on STEM activities. Click the link below to check out what they are doing, then visit some of the sites she links to (especially the Makey Makey kit site).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Region 10 Staff Development Offerings Spring 2014

from Terry Roper, Library Consultant at Region 10:

Greetings from Region 10 ESC.  Please see attached flyer for the Library Services Cooperative professional development opportunities for Spring 2014.

 Registration is now open and available online at  Full program descriptions can be found online at our Calendar of Events.

  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need further information.


  Terry Roper, Library ConsultantRegion 10 Education Service Center400 E. Spring Valley Rd.Richardson, TX  75081972.348.1414Follow Us at Twitter@R10LibraryLibrary Stuff Blog: "The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man." - T.S. Eliot

Library Flyer - Spring 2014 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fingerprinting requirement for authors/guest speakers

The district has just received a notice from TEA regarding a fingerprinting requirement for contractors who will have direct contact with students on school property.

You can read the official notification here, but this is what it boils down to for us:

Authors and other guest speakers who are paid to do presentations for your students are considered "contractors" and are subject to the fingerprint requirement. This would include Mother Goose, Zooniversity presenters, storytellers, poets, Santa Claus, etc.

When you are considering inviting a presenter to your library, please verify that they have met the fingerprint requirement FIRST before booking them. 

If your presenter has not been fingerprinted and is not sure what to do, you can point him/her to this page on the TEA web site:
Information for School District Contractors

Presenters who are NOT paid will need to have the same district criminal background check as a volunteer.


UPDATE 1/16/14: 
It seems that TEA has softened their stance about fingerprinting.  Now they are saying that we must fingerprint anyone:

**Who is paid either by us, a grant, a donor, or by anyone else 
**Who works directly with students without supervision

We do not have to fingerprint a volunteer (but we do have to do a background check).

We do not have to fingerprint a contractor who is paid who will be supervised at all times and who is there for a one-time event.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Top Shelf Advertising

Did you know that part of being a librarian is knowing how to advertise and market the resources that we have? Of course you did!

Here's one way to advertise online resources - provide a slick tutorial highlighting the database features in a graphical and colorful format.

Selena at AC New created just such a document promoting the trial of Britannica School. This is the email that she sent out to everyone:

We have a new trial database, Britannica School, that is very user friendly and helpful for both students and teachers.  Here is a PDF with some info to help you.  I created the file with Strip Design (which is an app I will share with you during your Appy Hour next Monday). 

Try it out and see what you think....SK

Click here to see the PDF.

Thanks to Selena for sharing her top shelf creation!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Coming soon to the Preview Library

The titles below and many others will be coming soon to the Preview Library from Disney/Hyperion!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Top Shelf Decorative Touches

Since our staff development on connecting to your community through the library's physical and virtual environments, we're starting to see some sprucing up in both areas. Today's "top shelf" post focuses on some physical library improvements that are taking place around the district.

Several of you have been working on identifying the library from the hallway. As we learned in our staff development, the space outside should reflect what kind of space you will find when you come inside the library.

Connie at Rugel used a resource mentioned at our staff development and ordered the big Scrabble tiles for the wall outside the library.

She said within an hour of putting them up, she had so many nice comments, including this one:
“Now us little people will know where to come!!”
Don't you just love it? Sometimes we forget that one door looks like another to our little ones and these big signs can really help them out.

One day when I was at Agnew, I caught Paula up on a ladder hanging these letters over her door. (Maintaining your environment counts as management and maintenance, by the way.)

Although you can see that the library is behind those glass doors, the colorful letters coordinate with her decor inside and enforce the perception that the library is a vibrant, fun place.

I have to also give a shout out to Meghan at Hanby. She also added the colorful letters to the wall outside her door. Now there's no doubt what is behind that door when it is closed and everyone will know where to go.

At Wilkinson, Misti has been busy refurbishing some of her tables. She added chalkboard paint to some and used Mod Podge to decorate others. She reports that her users (kids and teachers) are loving the updates.

Have you done something to perk up your library environment? Send us your pics and we'll feature your updates too!

Britannica School Trial

Mesquite ISD has access to the brand-new Britannica School program for the rest of the school year!  Britannica School now appears on the Library Services Virtual Library and each of your resource pages.  We hope you will give this new program a try with your students. Users will go straight in from any Mesquite ISD computer and use our regular username/password for home access.  Contact me if you need this information.

The program received major enhancements a couple months ago, with new features like adjustable reading levels, STAAR and TEKS alignments, and smartphone, iPad, and tablet computer support. Britannica is providing a webinar so you can learn about this resource from your own desk!   Elementary, middle, and high school teachers and Library Media Specialists are encouraged to attend one of these webinars coming up, to see all of the new changes and answer any questions. 

Monday, December 9th at 3:15 PM  CST  Register Now!
Wednesday, December 11th at 3:15 PM CST  Register Now!

Questions?  Please email   

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Preview of TLA 2014

from Gloria Meraz, Director of Communications, Texas Library Association

Dear Friend,

We hope to see you at the 2014 TLA Annual Conference in San Antonio, April 8-11, 2014. The full conference program will be published as part of the winter issue of the Texas Library Journal, which will be mailed out in early January.

For now, we are pleased to offer you this preview of Conference 2014 programming presented by audience types. Registration for conference will soon be open. Be sure to check out the TLA conference page for updates, registration information, and exciting new programs and events.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Top Shelf Makerspace

Great idea for letting students create in the PHS library! Marnie said kids feel special to have some supplies to work on projects! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Food for thought: making things in the library

Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to attend the SLJ Leadership Summit in Austin. One of the speakers was Annie Murphy Paul, an author and journalist who writes about how we learn. In her blog today, she writes about how making things helps kids understand content better. Click the link below to read her post.

How does this apply to the library? Many librarians are offering after school or lunchtime programs where kids can learn by experimenting or making things to learn new skills. Some libraries are crocheting, making crafts or building with Legos. 

What kind of experimental learning experiences can you offer your students?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mockingbird Reading Program

The Mockingbird Reading Program is a read aloud program for our K-2nd grade students and teachers. It is set to begin in late January/early February after Texas Bluebonnet Award voting has finished.

The books have been ordered and most have been received, but we are still waiting on a couple of backordered titles before we ship the sets out to campuses.

Click the links below for the 2014 list of titles and program materials.

2014 Mockingbird list

Materials folder for Mockingbird Reading Program

Anna Biggs (Lawrence Elementary) heads up this program for us. If you have any questions about how to run it on your campus, she is your gal.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Top Shelf Welcome

When you enter the library at Austin Elementary, this is what you see:

I don't know about you, but this makes me feel like a VIP coming into the library. 

Congrats, Tracy, on creating such a welcoming entry for your students and teachers!

Digital Library

We have just added new titles for elementary, middle and high school students to the Digital Library.  Be sure to promote to your  students before leaving on Tuesday! 

We also created a Holiday Collection so it will be easy to get to those titles.  It's under the Collections tab.  Happy reading!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Top Shelf Reading Program: Successful Skeeters Read

Sharon and Amianne were instrumental in bringing the Successful Skeeters Read program to MHS. Watch the video to see what it's all about!

A simple concept that required lots of  background work to get going. First, Sharon and Amianne worked with the MHS administration and enlisted their wholehearted support. Then they (along with one of their assistant principals) did a presentation for teachers about why free voluntary reading is so important and how the students would benefit. Then they contacted Half-Price Books and asked for donations to stock every teacher's classroom with additional reading materials. It took the whole first six weeks to prep the project, but their planning paid off, and the result is a successful reading program that is not often seen at the high school level.

Kudos to Sharon and Amianne for a job well done!

Agenda for Book Study Presentations

Our next staff development meeting takes place this week - Thursday, November 21, 12:30-3:30pm in the Challenge Room at the PDC. At this session, you will be presenting your chapter(s) from Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers. Please see the agenda embedded below for the order of presentations.

Please send me any slides or handouts that you want to provide for your audience and I will post them for you.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nominate yourself or a colleague for the MVP Award!

posted on the TLC listserv:

Do you know someone who represents their library virtually?  Do they amaze and astound you with their online presence?  Then you should nominate them for an award!

TASL has created a new award for web media pertaining to school librarianship!

The MVP (Media/Virtual Presence) Award is given to those school librarians who show excellence in their virtual presence through several different avenues, including but not limited to Twitter, professional websites, Facebook, school library websites, blogs, Pinterest, and other social media. Winners for this award will be selected by a panel of judges, including TLA officers and TASL officers and/or committee members.

NOMINATIONS for the 2013 TASL MVP Award are accepted online between December 1 and December 21.  The award will be presented at TLA 2014 during the TASL general business meeting and program session.

The nominations are anonymous, so feel free to nominate anyone and everyone, including yourself!  There is so much good stuff out there!  Let’s celebrate it!

Melanie Scales, Chair 
TASL MVP Committee

Monday, November 11, 2013

Openings on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Committees

from Mary Jo Humphreys, Texas Bluebonnet Award Coordinator:

November 15, 2013 is the deadline for making application for membership on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Selection Committee or the Texas Bluebonnet Award Program Committee.

The TBA Selection Committee is made up of ten members, one from each of the TLA Districts. 2013 vacancies occur in:

District 1
District 5 - this is our district!
District 8
District 10

(The district map can be found at: )

The TBA Program Committee is made up of ten members. There are four (4) vacancies this year that will be appointed. There is no TLA District requirement for the TBA Program Committee. Applicants from any TLA District will be accepted.

For instructions, eligibility, and more information, please see the TBA web site, (under “Apply to be a Committee Member”)

The TBA Selection Committee just completed their selection of the 2014-2015 Master List. Now, the TBA Program Committee begins their work to make and find materials that can be used to promote the new Master List.

I hope many of you will seriously consider becoming a part of the great work done by the Texas Bluebonnet Award Selection and Program Committees. If you have questions, please direct them to me, Mary Jo Humphreys, TBA Coordinator.


Texas Lone Star Reading List 2014

The Texas Lone Star List for 2014 has been announced!

Library Services will order one set for each middle school library. If you reserved budget funds for an additional set, those will be ordered at this time too. We can also order additional sets with Book Fair funds. If you'd like to do this, please contact Gail.

Click here or on the embedded piece below to see the list.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Activity Report Due November 12

Note: If you are reading this post via email, please click through to see the embedded information below.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Coming soon to all elementary and middle school libraries

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease is a classic that every elementary and middle school teacher and librarian should be familiar with. What started as little booklet that the author self-published in 1979 to encourage other parents to read aloud and talk about books with their kids became a phenomenon that was was named by Penguin in 2010 as one of the seventy-five most important books published in the company's 75 year history.

The 7th edition was published in June and includes new research findings, book recommendations, and discussions of the impact of eBooks and tablets.

We have ordered a copy for each elementary and middle school library. 

Side note: This would be a great book study to be led by the librarian. I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Library Snapshot Day 2013

Thanks to those of you who submitted data last week for Snapshot Day. We had about half of our libraries participate, so you could probably double these numbers for a district-wide picture. 

On our snapshot day...

  • we had 5,789 library visitors;
  • we had 2,341 people who came to the library to use a computer;
  • we answered 724 reference questions;
  • we circulated 18,366 items;
  • we had 6,040 visitors to our library web pages;
  • we had 2,266 elementary students participating in library activities;
  • we had 851 secondary students participating in library activities;
  • we had 315 adults participating in library activities:
  • we served 2,099 students through 1:1 or  general class instruction;
  • we served 1,358 students through 1:1 or class technology instruction;
  • we worked collaboratively with 157 teachers; AND
  • we had 567 students participate in non-class related activities, such as book clubs, Teen Read Week, etc.

As part of the snapshot, there was also a user survey in addition to the data collected. There were some great comments submitted by our library users. These are a few of my favorites:

I love the library! It's a place where you can read and learn a lot of stuff you never knew before. Books can help you learn about someone, help with your projects and sometimes just for entertainment. To me the library is a place that takes you into a whole new world called imagination!!!!! -- MS Student

Ms. XXX does so many different types of lessons with our first graders. She uses technology some days, reads books, does interactive lessons with the kids, and so much more. My class loves going to the library. -- Elementary Teacher

the library is a place where people come together being in the library for the past few days made me three new friends and i was just doing some work for class -- HS Student

And my all-time favorite:
our library is the best in Texas. I feel so successful when I'm in here. And our Librarians are so nice and helpful. They care about our learning -- HS Student

Wow! This student summarized perfectly what we are all about, right?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List 2014-2015

The Texas Bluebonnet Award list was announced in hilarious fashion last weekend at the Texas Book Festival by Jon Scieszka (rhymes with Fresca) and Mac Barnett. You can see the announcement in the embedded video below.

Library Services will order one set of the list for each elementary campus from our budget. Additional sets can be ordered from your book budget (if you reserved funds), Book Fair, Title I or other campus budgets. Check your collection to see if you have any of the nominated titles already and let Gail know if you would like to order additional sets.

The annotated list is embedded below.

Other information and resources regarding the Texas Bluebonnet Award program can be found at

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Setting up your iPad

All of the ipads (not purchased this year) are being picked up and brought to the TEC to be reconfigured and updated to iOS7.  The whole process will take several months and yours may not be picked up for a while.

There is a new process for logging in on iPads that is different from what librarians have done in the past.   Although we will no longer use the generic login for iTunes (, we WILL be able to download the apps you purchased under your generic library login.   To do this, follow the directions in the link below. 

Going forward we will not purchase apps.  If you still have money, contact me directly to determine how to use the remainder.

Texas Library Snapshot Day 2013

 What happens in a single day in your library?

Participating in Texas Library Snapshot Day will allow us to add our data to other data gathered statewide from all types of libraries. Images and statistics gathered during this month will be used to promote Texas libraries.

The "official" snapshot day is October 31, but you can select any day in before then as your Snapshot Day. Here's what to do:

1. Let your staff and students know about Snapshot Day in advance. 
2. On your chosen day, collect data, stories and photographs of things happening in your library. 
3. Submit your information using the MISD Libraries Snapshot Data form (link below) by November 1.

In addition to data, you will want to collect stories from your students and teachers about how the they use the library by surveying them on paper or online.

Online Survey

Paper Survey (Word doc - you may edit as you wish)

Finally, you will also need to take some pictures during the day and email them to Debbie or Mary.

We will compile all of this data and submit it as a district.

Thanks for your participation!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Top Shelf Collection Development Idea

Want to increase student involvement in the library program? Need help choosing manga titles and graphic novels that kids like to read? Marnie Cushing at PHS addressed both of these issues by inviting students who read manga to have lunch in the library and help her choose titles to add to the Fall book order. She showed the advertisement below on the announcements and posted it to her Pirates Log blog, Facebook and Twitter to peak her students' interest. Click the link below to see the video.

Region 10 Library Services Blog

Keep up with library info, communication, thoughts, discussion, comments, etc. from Region 10 Library Services by subscribing to their blog.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New! Region 10 Library Listserv

from Terry Roper, Library Consultant, Region 10

Hello All,  

Please note that we have just started a Region 10 Library Services listserv as a vehicle to communicate timely and relevant information directly to librarians in the field.  This list will be reserved for notices of events, resources, and to generally disseminate information pertinent to area librarians and staff, not a place for general comments and discussion.   This is intended as a one-way communication tool only. 

Please subscribe directly so you can stay informed.  

Click the link below to register.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Library Expo 2013

Can't make it to Library Expo tomorrow? Follow tweets from the conference here and learn along with Expo attendees.

AASL Best Website: Socrative

Each year AASL puts together a list of Best Websites for Teaching and Learning and the AASL blog features posts on ideas for using these sites.

This month they are featuring Socrative.

Socrative is an online student response system that is currently being used by many teachers in our district - especially high school teachers who are leveraging the BYOD program.

It is a web tool that MISD librarians should be familiar with, so take a minute and click the link below to read the details about Socrative. Your teachers will think you are SO smart!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top Shelf Online Newsletter

There are lots of web tools out there that can be used for communicating with teachers. 

Phyllis Grady and Karen Allen at Horn High School are using Smore for an online newsletter that highlights library activities and links their staff to lots of great information. They've even come up with a devastatingly clever title:

The Jag Wire 

Don't you just love it? See their latest edition embedded below.

Smore is free and super easy to use. Give it a try!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Shelf Tutorial

Your virtual library space is not only an access point to resources. It can also be an access point to instruction. 

Using tools like Educreations or Knowmia allows you to create tutorial that can teach your students at their point of need, 24/7. 

Elizabeth Warrick created a tutorial that teaches Range students how to use the MISD Digital Library. She has posted it on her Edmodo page and shared the link via Facebooks and Twitter. She could also embed it on her library web page.

Watch her tutorial below and let it inspire you! What kind of tutorial could you make to teach your students something while you're at home reading a book, enjoying dinner with your family or watching your favorite TV show?

Elizabeth, thanks for sharing your top shelf tutorial with us!

Note: Your tech facilitator is familiar with both of the tools above in addition to others. Give him or her a call if you need some help!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Coming soon to libraries with grades 6-8

Libraries that serve 6th, 7th or 8th grade students will be receiving a copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (TEKS edition). They are currently being processed and should be arriving on campus soon.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Getting started with the Digital Library

New marketing materials have been added to the collection on Docushare.  Just click the link below to download and print Getting Started material for your library! (You will need to login to Docushare)

Getting Started with the Digital Library

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Activity Report Due October 8

The information regarding Activity Reports is embedded. If you are reading this post via email and don't see what's embedded, please click on the post title to go directly to the blog.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Top Shelf returns!

Back in the early days of blogging, some of you may remember that I had a blog called The Top Shelf. That blog focused on the "best stuff" for school librarians. I read a lot of library-related blogs and web sites, then shared what I thought was the best stuff from what I read. Sadly, it was abandoned in 2011 when Debbie and I began blogging here and using Twitter more. 

Now, though, I think it's time to bring back the Top Shelf concept, but with a different twist.

As we do walkthroughs, visit with you, check your websites and your Facebook pages, Debbie and I see lots of exceptional things going on - things that are worthy to be designated Top Shelf - so we're going to start highlighting them here. 

All Top Shelf entries will be labeled as such, so when you're looking for good ideas, you can click the Top Shelf label and see all of the tremendous things that MISD librarians are doing.

Today I'd like to feature a Top Shelf worthy newsletter from Vanston Middle School. It was created by Carmin Langford, who is a first year librarian. 

New librarians in MISD all have the same goals for their first year. One of these goals is
Build a relationship with the campus principal.  Communicate at least four times during the year about the library program.
This newsletter is one way Carmin is using to let her principal know what she is up to in the library. It's visually appealing, packs a lot of information into two brief pages, and was created with plain old Microsoft Word.

Congrats to Carmin for her Top Shelf newsletter!

September news letter from Mary Woodard

How do you communicate with your principal? Share your ideas in the comments.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Activity Report Changes for 13-14

Based on input received from many of you, we have made a few changes to the Library Activity Report form. New categories/data points are explained below. Click on the graphics to see them larger.

General Data section

Class Activity section

Instructional Activity section

Instructional Partner Activity section

Leadership Activity section

Program Administrator Activity section

Outreach/Service Activity section