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!