Thursday, December 14, 2017

Free Access and Leveled Reading: Balancing Library Philosophy with Teacher Expectations

by Stephanie Kraft
Lakeview Design Center (@ldclibrarylions)
I was an elementary classroom teacher for 10 years. It was wonderful, challenging, and rewarding. However, when I became a school librarian, I felt like I had found my people, my niche, and my calling. I love helping students choose books that make them excited; books that they like to show off to their friends, even if they can't read every word. Students will often return books the next day--I know they didn't read them, but they ACCESSED them, they were proud of them, they gave it a shot...that is what matters to me. They will find their way to the books they can read, because they have the access to try and try again.
I am also passionate about helping teachers, and my teacher heart remembers the pressure of reading instruction; how easy it becomes to see reading only as instruction, constantly trying to measure progress in fluency and comprehension. Being on the hook for student reading growth is an overwhelming responsibility, and it is tempting to direct students to read ONLY on one level, even for at home reading. I'm sure we've all experienced students being sent back to the library to choose a different book, because the one they chose didn't meet classroom level requirements.
The school library exists to bridge the gap between school and home; to aid students in discovering reading in a broader sense and to build a foundation for life-long reading. So what do we do as school librarians to meet those seemingly conflicting needs? How do we balance what teachers want (levels, levels, levels) and what we want (choice, choice, choice)?
For the teachers that require levels, I use every opportunity to encourage them to allow students at least one "free choice" book from the library. When students think they are limited to a level, I remind them that they have a free choice option; to look for the books they are excited to try, and then we can check the level if needed. I help teachers understand that there can be value or joy in a book even if "he/she can't read it." Fortunately, my message of student choice has been catching on at our school.
There is value in choice, there is value in instruction, and true learning will happen when students have the chance to use their instructional tools in books they have chosen for themselves.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hip Hop and Scratch

by Nicole Greer at Antioch High School (@WeareAntiochHS)

Last August, YALSA issued a call to librarians to apply for travel funds to attend a coding summit in Cleveland, OH: Hip-Hop and Scratch. Working at a school with an emerging STEM pathway and a flourishing hip-hop culture, I was intrigued. I flew to Cleveland and joined nearly 50 educators at the Progressive Arts Alliance. I. Wasn’t. Ready. When I opened the email from the summit organizer whose first bullet point read, “Wear clothes you’re comfortable moving around in on Friday—we’ll be dancing,” I should have known then. My inner nerd had applied so that I could work with MIT’s Scratch Team. However, the first half of Day 1 consisted entirely of dance workshops. Once I finished physically stretching and began to mentally stretch beyond what I thought I couldn’t do (i.e., hip-hop dancing), I found my groove (or my pop and lock—and I have the pics to prove it).

Next, we received an introduction to Scratch, a programming language developed by the cool kids at MIT. Previously, my experience with coding literally had been designing “from scratch,” or writing in languages like HTML. I found this simplified or, rather, more accessible form of coding fascinating, and I knew it would be something that my students could learn and enjoy. Instead of using generic avatars to create our Scratch videos, we uploaded and sequenced still images of ourselves performing hip-hop dance moves. To keep us motivated, we had a live DJ who created a vibe that prompted this tweet: “At the Hip-Hop and Scratch Coding Summit wondering why school can’t be this LIT on a daily basis!” To round out THE summit of epic proportions, Eric Rosenbaum, co-inventor of Makey Makey, made an appearance and literally crafted a beatbox out of folks’ hand claps. Check that out:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Introducing Susan Lapp, Librarian at Amqui Elementary

Hi everyone, I'm Susan Lapp, the new librarian at Amqui Elementary. I've been working in education for the past 20 years, mostly with Kindergarteners. Last fall I moved from Florida to Tennessee and was blessed with an opportunity to work for Metro as an interim librarian. It came at the perfect time when I knew I needed a change in my career path. Now, I'm enjoying this new job and getting kids excited about the library and what it has to offer them. I intend to create a makerspace in our library so that our students can be experimental and creative in positive ways. At the end of this year, I hope my coworkers will feel like I supported them and always went that extra mile to provide for what they needed. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Introducing Edie Whitley, Librarian at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet

My name is Edie Whitley and I am the school librarian at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet elementary school.  I have twenty-two years of experience in the district in various grades and the library.  The library is my favorite place to be because I am surrounded by books with beautiful pictures and words that seem to dance off the page.  I never grow tired of sharing books with children and introducing them to new authors or genres. Kids who love reading will do well in all subject areas and I especially hope to instill that love of reading in all of my students!    
At Robert Churchwell, we have a beautiful library with a cozy tree house where classes can go to read! My Principal, Ms. Taylor and Assistant Principal Mrs. Perry are so supportive of the library program! My hopes are to build our collection and to teach strong lesson plans that can support my kindergarten through fourth grade teams so that we can make strong gains.  We’ve really been off to a great start this year with students learning map skills, figurative language, important geographical terms, and how to retell a story! When I see students in the morning, they always ask me if it’s their day to come to the library! They love to check out books, like I do and I try to make learning fun!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Introducing Melissa Zettler, Librarian at Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet

Hello everyone! My name is Melissa Zettler, and I am the new librarian at Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet Elementary School. For the past eight years, I have worked as a middle school math and science teacher. I attended Middle Tennessee State University for undergraduate school earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies grades 4-8 with a concentration in Mathematics. Next, I attended the University of Kentucky for my Master’s in Library Science. I am very excited to finally be a media specialist! This school year I have lots of goals. I can’t wait to transform the library into a more inviting space for the students by getting the walls painted, weeding the shelves, and getting new furniture. I would like to get parents more involved and informed about the happenings in the library. The students at Hattie Cotton have not used Limitless Libraries very much in the past, but I am already changing that! However, my main goal is to create a makerspace! We have a great space for one, here at Hattie Cotton, and we already have lots of materials to get us started. At the end of the year, I hope my coworkers will say that I have created and implemented lots of fun activities that have instilled a love of reading in the students.  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Introducing Ronda Watson, Librarian at Stratton

My name is Ronda Watson, and I am thrilled to be Stratton Elementary School’s new librarian!  I have been teaching for 25 years.  I have taught 1st grade, 3rd grade, and 5th grade, but most of my teaching years have been in 4th grade at Stratton Elementary.  Learning all the many different hats a librarian wears has been a challenge, but one I enjoy learning.  My favorite part of the day is seeing students’ eyes light up when we have conversations about books.  Their enthusiasm only makes me want to be the best librarian I can be.  My hope is that I continue helping students to expand their book choices, and that I can be a true resource for my teachers.     

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Introducing Sarah Dark, Librarian at J.T. Moore Middle

My name is Sarah Dark and I am thrilled to be the new librarian at Moore. I worked for years as a volunteer with predecessors, Mrs. Fortenberry and Mrs. Bridges, officially joining the Moore staff in 2016. I’m hoping to continue some of their beautiful work cultivating deep scholastic hospitality and collaboration, and am especially pumped to get our makerspace up and running. When I am not helping our community gather, manage, and share good stories and information, I am working on my MSIS at the University of Tennessee.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Introducing Erin Burnett, Librarian at Cole Elementary

My name is Erin Burnett, and I am the new librarian at Cole Elementary school! I am the daughter of two educators (one who is a former librarian), so I think becoming a librarian was in my genes. After teaching fourth grade reading for six years, I decided I wanted to share my love of reading with an entire school instead of just two classes. I am excited about getting kids to love reading through book clubs, author studies, and reading promotions. I hope to help students find those books that spark their love of characters, stories, and plots, so that they can begin the journey of becoming a lifelong reader. At the end of the year, I want my school to say that this library program created a new group of avid readers who love to get lost in a book!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Introducing Melissa Williams, Librarian at J.E. Moss Elementary

In the six years since I have achieved my Information Science degree, I have been very fortunate. I have the amazing opportunity to experience public and school libraries, elementary and high school. With that in mind, I feel very excited to be back in elementary where I believe my heart lies. I love introducing my students to the wonders that can be found in reading and seeing what they have to share. 

I had a great time in the lead up to the Solar Eclipse. Everyone was so excited and we had a blast prepping for the event. In looking ahead, I really want to build up the maker space and create some more chances to bring STEAM into the library. I also have a great fondness for pictures books and all that they can explore. I am hopeful that being in a library that has them has a large part of the collection will allow me to become more active in the K-2 Volunteer State Book Awards. 

I think this will be a great year but I will know it is, if at the end of it my students and teachers say the library programs are fun and educational.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Introducing Erika Long, Librarian at Wright Middle Prep

I'm a native of Memphis, but lived in Knoxville for the past 15 years. While I am new to MNPS, I am not new to libraries or students. I have worked with students for over 10 years in non-profit, college athletics, and through community/school programming in the NBA. This is my fourth year in school libraries and I look forward to it being as amazing as the previous three. I love serving students, whether it be as a librarian, mentor, listening ear, or just to love on them. My goal is to always ensure the library is a safe space where students are encouraged to find and be themselves, learn, and explore beyond their imagination. I hope that at the end of the year, the staff and students at Wright have found the library to be a place they seek for resources or refuge and are confident they will find either of those here.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fit Leaders: Carrying Education's Torch

Editors Note:  We are honored to have Dr. Ryan Jackson, Principal of Mt. Pleasant High School in Mt. Pleasant, TN as our guest blogger!  As a new school year begins, we encourage you to create your own #FitLeaders plan.  Thank you Dr. Jackson for reminding us that we must take care of ourselves before we can offer our best to others.

By Ryan B. Jackson, Ed.D (@RyanBJackson1)
Librarians are like lighthouses. A great librarian serves as a beacon of resource and hope for all teachers. Whether you are a starry-eyed millennial newbie fresh out of college ready to save education or a seasoned veteran committed to pushing the depth of 21st century teaching and learning, a great librarian can help you get to where you are going. However, today’s librarians (dubbed Media Specialists by many) are also much, much more than that. Today’s librarians define Jack-of-all-trades: testing coordinator, professional development facilitator, data analyst, curriculum specialist – the list goes on. Truthfully, a great librarian is the lifeblood of a school, the proverbial backbone of the organization capable of initiating, supporting and sustaining the vast amounts of change that can truly test even the best of schools. The question then becomes, how do librarians meet the ubiquitous needs of 21st century education while, quite frankly, meeting their own health needs in order to both maximize their performance and sustain it? 

The above question forms the ethos of the #FitLeaders movement. Ultimately, it is about asking leaders, such as librarians, to take a hard, honest look at their own physical health and lifestyle in order to determine what changes can be made to better ourselves. See, like most public servants, librarians get so consumed in the daily rigors of uplifting and supporting everyone around them that a focus on self becomes purely an afterthought. The #FitLeaders ideology flips this thinking, asking us instead to lead first from within, securing our own physical, mental, even spiritual well-being before truly committing to leading others. Now, in theory that all sounds well and good but then other questions start to seep in: Where do I start? Where do I find time? What are my goals? 

What’s cool about the #FitLeaders movement is we are a tribe of educators from across the country that encourages, informs, and serves as an accountability system during the fitness journey. What’s even cooler is the process is profoundly simple: Progress Equals Happiness! We even have an answer to the most frequently asked question: Where do I start? We call it, Pick 3 for Me!

The key to sustaining physical health and an overall sense of well-being in a rigorous profession is to begin with incremental change and celebrate your successes along the journey. Pick 3 for Me is designed to do just that. Here’s how it works:

1. Pick an incremental goal but be specific. Ex: I want to lose 15lbs. 
2. Pick a physical exercise that will help you achieve your goal. Ex: Walking 1 hour a day
3. Pick a dietary restriction or change but be specific. Ex: Switching from 2% to skim milk

You have literally formed the basis of your #FitLeaders plan. The next-step is to work the plan! What’s really cool, though, is that you are not alone. Sure, your exercise and diet discipline are personal, but the journey doesn’t have to be. By sharing your journey via social media platforms like Twitter, using the hashtag #FitLeaders, you will connect with thousands of others on similar journeys. This sense of belonging, inspiration and affirmation will help keep you going, help you update your goals, and connect you with other passionate educators! I look forward to connecting with you as embark on both a new school year and a life-changing transformation! I’m only a tweet away: @RyanBJackson1

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Save $1000 on Nonfiction Signage!

By: Olivia Rodney (@oliviacgm)
Rosebank Elementary School

Did this topic catch your eye? Are you interested in having amazing signage for your nonfiction section without spending a ton of money? Then, you are reading the right blog post. 
A little background before I provide step-by-step directions. ☺ Like many of you, I work in a school that does not have tons of extra money. And when there is money, library signage is not typically what a school wants to spend their money on. At Dodson ES, I created nonfiction signs in Word, backed them on different colored construction paper for each Dewey section, laminated them, and taped them on small book ends. This worked really well; however, there are several drawbacks to this option. 1.) The construction paper faded even when laminated, which made them look old and worn after a yearish. 2.) The small book ends took a bit of space and went at the end of the section rather than at the beginning. This was fine when I had a ton of shelf space and was able to space the sections out. 3.) The biggest issue of all was it didn’t allow for me to shift sections easily. If I wanted to move books and shift, I would have to create a completely new sign. This worked when I had a clerk and plenty of time, but that is no longer the case.
So when I came to a brand new library at Rosebank ES, I had to decide what kind of nonfiction signage I wanted. I contemplated printing up the signs I already created, modifying the sections I have here and be done with it, but that just didn’t sit well. The drawbacks for that method were too much. This created the Great Search for New Signage. In the Great Search I found what we all find….boring signs that cost WAY TOO MUCH. The one only one I liked cost a little over $1,000 for the nonfiction section alone. What was a poor librarian to do? Get CREATIVE! 

So now this brings us to my solution:
The first thing you will need to do is gather as many discarded laptop computer boxes as you can. The Dell ones your school receives are PERFECT. If you don’t have any, ask your IT guy. I bet they can help you gather some. Once you have these boxes, use a box cutter and cut them in half. This will fit the depth of your shelves perfectly (unless you have oddly deep shelves).  

Optional step – Tape top end to ensure it stays together.

Next you can either create your own signs or buy a package from Teachers Pay Teachers. Since I am super busy and don’t have has much extra time as I used to, I decided to spend a little bit of my (yes personal) money. The great thing about Teachers Pay Teachers is they have a lot of options for you to choose from. The one I went with is Magazine File Box Shelf Signs for $10  ( Print these signs out on thick paper or cardstock.

After I cut all my signs out I laminated them. I originally used our school laminator but the lamination creased in places and separated. Also, it wasn’t as thick and sturdy as I wanted it to be. A teacher at my school has a small personal laminator that uses pouches which she so kindly let me use. I purchased 5 mil laminating pouches from Amazon (yes with my own money again). Again like Teachers Pay Teachers, Amazon has a MILLION different options. This is the one I went with I highly recommend this one. It’s thick and has held up really well. 

Finally, I taped these on to all the boxes (you can hot glue them if that’s more your style) and they look FABULOUS. For a total of $25 I have the perfect nonfiction signs. The author of the TPT package included several blank signs as well as an editable file so you can create customized signs needed for your library. If $25 is still too much money for you, you can always ask PTO or your school to purchase these items. ☺ I hope this helps you in your Great Search for New Signage. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I’d love to help you in way I can.

Before Pictures:

After Pictures: 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Young Naturalists @ Westmeade Program

by Karen McIntyre, Librarian at Westmeade Elementary (@kjmcinty @WESdragons)

"I thought you were a librarian.  What does a bluebird nest have to do with the library?”  It’s a response I sometimes get when describing the joy of watching young students experience their first gaze into the bluebird box after tiny naked birds have emerge from the blue eggs with their beaks open to receive worms.                                                            
In my first library job a City Councilman accosted me.  “Are you are trying to compete with day care?”  Stunned, I asked him why he thought that.  Well you are spending money on shaving cream, dirt, seeds and all kinds of arts and crafts supplies, you are supposed to read books to children.”  I invited him to stay and see for himself what I did.  He saw kids reacting to stories through activities.  Today we call them makerspaces.  He saw happy parents for whom the library provided a shared community.  My first practical lesson was that educating people about a good library is best told as a story!   

I recently heard a principal (not mine) say that having the kind of library program that provides open checkout, team taught lessons, and all that goes with it is a luxury.  Libraries,

as the repository of human knowledge and experience, are never a luxury.  Librarians as instigators of curiosity, research and reason, are never a luxury.   Time to tell the story!

Every school is a unique community of learners and every library program is shaped by that.  A good library will respond by also reshaping its community.  Let me illustrate what I mean with my school, Westmeade.  It  is in a part of town with a long history of conservation including on-going  support  to maintain a corridor for animal migration.   Working with the Westmeade Conservancy introduced me to passionate neighbors who were eager to help our students develop a sense of wonder in nature.  A partnership with our P.E. teacher, who was dedicated to healthy living, lead to our garden.  Soon students were eagerly rescuing worms to put them in the compost, and rejoicing in things that formerly would have elicited “Yeeews.” They were seeing wildlife through new eyes.  

Our community continued to bring us experts who helped create more contacts with nature.   Sam Jones, local Bluebird enthusiast taught us to build our bluebird boxes!  Then two years ago, Cynthia Lee, local nature educator turned up through a connection with a parent.  Her wonderful nature enrichment program at the University School in conjunction with Warner Park Nature Center became the model for our Young Naturalists @ Westmeade program.

What more awaits our school with the Library at its heart is yet to be written, but we hope it will include being the first school in Tennessee to become an environmental/sustainability magnet. 

What has that to do with the library?  Everything if a library's purpose is: 
to provide a flexible space with a wide and inclusive range of resources to support learning and teaching throughout the school. 
• to have a vibrant role in the development of a culture that promotes wider reading, motivated readers and learners for life.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lunch Speakers at Hume-Fogg

by Amanda Smithfield, Librarian at Hume-Fogg (@asmithfield @hfalibrary)

My library is in a new location this school year.  Even though most of the library is open, the main entry is still not finished.  And while the new library is beautiful and has many amenities the old library did not, it’s a bit out of the way. So it may not surprise you to know that checkout and visits by individuals to the library are down, although class visits for working on projects are up.

What to do?  Well, as David Lankes tells us in The Atlas of New Librarianship, every librarian has the same mission – to improve society by facilitating knowledge creation in our communities.  How could I improve society when kids weren’t coming by the library as much?  That’s when I created my speakers’ series.

My new library is blessed with a very large classroom with flexible furniture.  Hume-Fogg has one lunch for all grade levels.  So I decided to invite a lunch speaker about once a week, although sometimes it ends up being more frequent depending on when people can schedule to come.

Usually, about 20 or so kids show up for these lunch and learns.  And finding speakers has been really easy!  We’ve had a lot of great ones: former TN Governor Bredesen, Justice Richard Dinkins, Lawyer Abby Rubenfeld, Southern Environmental Law Center Managing Attorney Anne Davis, local rapper and Hume-Fogg alum Starlito, grammy award winner and Hume-Fogg alum Street Symphony, among others.

Here are some hints:
1. FINDING SPEAKERS – Just reading the local newspapers should provide plenty of inspiration for you.  Also, talk to your kids.  My kids have always been really passionate about the environment, and AP Environmental Science is a popular course here.  Kids were talking to me about possible cuts to the EPA, so I knew having an environmental lawyer as a speaker could have a big impact.  

2. EMPOWER KIDS TO REACH OUT TO SPEAKERS: I’ve had a couple of kids who have talked to me about arranging speakers.  I give them a few suggestions, but then I allow the kids to take it from there.  I love that I have kids who feel so passionate about issues that they do this!

3. HAVE KIDS AS FACILITATORS: I’m usually in the front with the speaker, but I usually ask a kid who has an interest in the topic to be a facilitator.  They write questions and they are in charge of “handling” the speaker – picking them up in the office, sitting at the front with me for the interview, and handling audience questions.  They get to have a personal conversation with the speaker, and those conversations can have a tremendous impact on a kid.

4. HAVE SNACKS: I fully admit that I may be going broke providing snacks for kids but some kids will skip lunch to hear an entire presentation, so it’s worth it to me.  I don’t think you have to have snacks to have interest, but it helps.

5. DISPLAY BOOKS RELATING TO THE SPEAKER: This is a great time to mention that you actually have books related to the topic being discussed.  Put them on display – they often get checked out!

6. WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE: have your student facilitator write a thank you note to the speaker.  It’s a great way to teach kids about the power of thank you notes as well as reminding them how to address envelopes!  Sad to say that some of my students do not know this.

So what’s been the impact of our speaker series?  Kids have heard from experts in their fields.  They’ve made connections to people who have and are making a difference.  And now my kids have new knowledge!  And who knows what good will come out of that in a few months, years, or decades?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Laura Hartley (L), Librarian at Waverly Belmont
Also pictured Stacey Cleghon (R), Library Clerk at Waverly Belmont

Get to know me!
1.  My family husband, Todd, (we've been married for 10 years this year), my son Zeke, who just turned 17 months, and our little boy who will be here in June!
2.  My secret talent is...hmmm. If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore!
3.  My favorite local Nashville spot is...Any of the parks.
4.  If you could eliminate 1 librarian stereotype it would be...that the library has to be a quiet place. Of course, we all know that is not how it is anymore!
5. My favorite book or author is...How do you choose just one?? Some of my favorite chapter books are El Deafo, Brown Girl Dreaming, and Wonder. (Maybe I'll read an adult book again one day...)
6. The literary character I most identify with is...The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Being pregnant, I feel like all I do is eat, eat, eat!
7.  I decided to become a school librarian because...I wanted a change of pace from being in the classroom. I had this fabulous librarian at the first school I taught and she really showed me what all a school librarian does. She helped me out so much when I first started teaching...supporting me, my students and even co-teaching together. I always say she inspired me to look into being a librarian. She is retired now, but you may know her...Jana Whittle.
8.  I would love to travel to...anywhere! People say you get the travel "bug" and I think I definitely got it in high school. I've traveled to 18 countries (including living in Dubai for two years) and can't wait to travel more! Todd, Zeke and I just went to Canada over Spring Break and our next big trip will be to return to Europe next summer to visit some friends.
10.  I think life is better with...a cup of coffee, sunny days, and lots of time to relax by the beach or pool.

Get to know my library!
1.  Some of my student's favorite library resources are...Limitless Libraries, of course! Some books that are constantly checked out right now: all of Mo Willems (Kinder is doing an author study in class), riddle books, (thanks School Library Challenge), Raina Telgemeier books and Dav Pilkey's Dogman. 
2.  I am happiest when my library is...busy! I love having students and teachers use the space in many, many ways!
3.  One way I collaborate with teachers is...I am always asking teachers what they are working on in class and try to suggest resources, books, or lessons that I could teach to enhance student learning. 
4.  I would love to have...more time! More time to plan, more time to spend with students, more time to meet with teachers and collaborate! 
5.  The thing I love most about my library is...It truly is a beautiful space. We are lucky to be new and have tall windows and lots of updated resources. Oh, and of course, the students!
6.  My library is busiest when...We've been closed for testing or right after a break. I love seeing that flood of kids come in desperate to get a new book!
7.  My library is quietest when...we have testing.
8.  I think every library assistant. I have one this year and it's been a game changer. Not only does she allow students more access to books because she can physically be there to check out, but she has been an amazing help to me in so many ways that I didn't even know I needed help! Being in the library can also be somewhat isolating...what "team" do I belong to? I now feel like I have a team of two for sure! What did I ever do without her?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Alison Maliszewski Brooks, Librarian at Apollo Middle

Get to know me!
1.  My family includes...too many people to list! haha  My immediate family is just my husband, Noah and our cat, Thomas.  I also have parents, a sister, brother-in-law, and nephew nearby, as well as LOTS of in-laws!
2.  My secret talent is...speaking with a British accent.  It's my superpower when I need the kids to really listen.
3.  My favorite local Nashville spot is... Arrington Vineyards!
4.  If you could eliminate 1 librarian stereotype it would be... that my job is somehow "easier" than a classroom teacher's.  It's different, but has just as many challenges.
5.  My favorite book or author is... Madeleine L'Engle.  I love many of her books, but A Ring of Endless Light really shaped me when I was growing up.
6.  The literary character I most identify with is... oh, probably Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.  Not in looks or in family situation, but in her very humanness--that she is flawed yet loveable, and also because she grows up to be a teacher.  I read her entire series when I was younger and loved them all.
7.  I decided to become a school librarian because...I get to work with ALL the kids in a school, not just "my class."
8.  I would love to travel to... New Zealand.  I love traveling, and that is at the top of my list of dream places to go!
9.  I think life is better with... books and laughter!

Get to know my library!
1.  Some of my student's favorite library resources are... Culturegrams, playaways, DVDs, and any Anime/Manga books, and of course, using Limitless Libraries!
2.  I am happiest when my library is... bustling and full of students!
3.  One way I collaborate with teachers is... by co-planning lessons using whatever resources are available--from Traveling Trunks to the Dewey Decimal obstacle course!
4.  I would love to have...a clone so maybe my to-do list would get done every day... haha!
5.  The thing I love most about my library is... seeing students', parents', and teachers' reactions to how big and beautiful it is!
6.  My library is busiest gets close to PBL project time or I am collaborating.
7.  My library is quietest when...there's a school-wide event going on elsewhere in the building.
8.  I think every library needs... an amazing library clerk to help keep everything going wonderfully!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Katie Garrett, Librarian at Isaac Litton Middle

Get to know me!
My family includes...myself and my two dogs.
My secret talent is...painting furniture.
My favorite local Nashville spot is...Welcome Home – it’s an adorable home goods store run by wonderful people.
If you could eliminate 1 librarian stereotype it would be...that librarians always want the library to be a quiet place.
My favorite book is...The Catcher in the Rye.
I decided to become a school librarian because...I love reading and working with students and it was a natural transition after teaching Spanish for six years.
I would love to travel to...Cuba.
I think life is better with...good friends and good books.

Get to know my library!
Some of my student's favorite library resources are...the makerspace and Limitless Libraries.
I am happiest when my library is...full of students.
One way I collaborate with teachers help them look for quality resources to use in their instruction.
I would love to have...more iPads available to check out to students in the library.
The thing I love most about my library is...our makerspace.
My library is busiest when...all areas of the library are full of students checking out books, researching on the computers, and working in the makerspace.
My library is quietest when...students are testing.
I think every library needs...a culture of welcoming all of their students.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Diane Chen, Librarian at Stratford High STEM
Get to know me!
1.  My four sons are all grown and out of the house, so now I share a house with my best friend and travel buddy Debbie. I have a new grandbaby and a step-granddaughter who loves to get books in the mail from me. My dog Benji is the love of my life right now.
2.  My secret talent is crochet. I love yarn art work and three dimensional projects like the afghan I made with a chess board and all the pieces.
3.  My favorite local Nashville spot is McNamara’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. You can listen to live music nightly and everyone there loves to tell a good tale. No one minds when you hold an impromptu book club either.
4.  If you could eliminate 1 librarian stereotype it would be the idea that we sit around behind a desk. We are so busy at Stratford that I don’t bother to sit down at all. I didn’t even notice when the students borrowed the chair behind my desk for three days.
5. My favorite book or author is Tamora Pierce. I love fantasy and her Beka Cooper series and the Circle of Magic series.
6. The literary character I most identify with is a composite of all mystery solving female detectives including Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Kay Scarpetta among others. I have a cynicism of romance and love of forensic science to solve crimes.
7.  I decided to become a school librarian because one classroom does not present enough of a challenge. I love computers, technology, and connecting students with learning through reading and experiences so the library is a natural outlet. The library is such a creative place that I can incorporate my love of languages including Mandarin Chinese, German, Spanish, and sign language into storytelling and instruction.
8.  I would love to travel to Africa, South America, and the Middle East. I’ve been to Asia and Europe (Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Italy, Monaco, France, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Mexico, and Canada). I travel whenever I have the opportunity including the summer Debbie and I visited 13 national parks.
10.  I think life is better with a dog beside you. Dogs appreciate your presence and I love to curl up with my Benji and read a good book. Everyone should rescue a dog! It changes your life.
Get to know my library!
1.  Some of my student's favorite library resources are our color printer and the supplies in the maker space for their presentations. We focus a great deal on Communicating and Creating whether it’s the posters, . We added some stickers to books and the most popular categories are Romance and Horror.
2.  I am happiest when my library is bursting with students from all grades 5-12, working, reading, and sharing with each other.
3.  One way I collaborate with teachers is by meeting them in their rooms, hallways, and at events. It’s important to be out of the library and in their spaces because the library goes beyond our four walls. Digitally I am always connecting with teachers via text and social media.
4.  I would love to have more space – we are always full of students and have to balance both high school and middle school schedules. Students are always asking us for more books, more computers, and more movies. We have students sitting outside on the balcony space.
5.  The thing I love most about my library is it’s a comfortable place for everyone to come in, sit down, read, and work on technology. We constantly rearrange the furniture to accommodate many small groups. Even faculty members pop in just to sit down and read.
6.  My library is busiest when both campuses are synced between 9-2. We open at 6:30am and stay open til 4:15. Two nights a week I am here for tutoring til six. We never seem to be empty – even on weekends.
7.  My library is quietest when it’s late at night. I finally experienced a quiet moment at 8:30pm one night. Once!
8.  I think every library needs flexibility in schedules, furniture, technology and instruction.