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: http://txla.org/groups/tla-districts )

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, http://www.txla.org/TBA-forms (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. maryjohum@gmail.com.


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 http://txla.org/tba.