A New Chapter

Originally this post title was to have referred to the fact that I was leaving my job at Alice Drive Elementary School and doing something else.  I had become so disheartened at my failure over the years to institute any real changes in the library media schedule or program that I was ready to just give up and move on.

Enter my new principal, Mrs. Boozer.  In May I shared a heartfelt letter with her and broke the news to her that I would not be returning.  She responded to my concerns by letting me know that she had some of the same concerns herself, and that she wanted to begin making some changes that would set our Library Media program on the path to becoming a model program.  Did you hear that?  A Model Program!!!

Her first act was to take Library out of the related arts rotation, replacing it with a Math Lab.  It took blood, sweat, and prayers on her part to work out a way to staff the Math Lab, but she persisted in the face of district red tape and budget constraints until she received final approval for her plans.  Now our students are getting extra help and practice with math concepts, and our library is operating under a fully flexible schedule.

So, I want to publicly thank Mrs. Boozer for her faith in me, and to say that I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve our students, teachers, parents, and community in a new and more effective way.  I’ve rediscovered my passion for my job, and I appreciate the fresh start that this year has brought.

Let the learning begin!

 
 
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SKILLS Act Update

Please take a moment (okay, a few minutes – it’s long) to read this post from the AASL blog.  More action is needed to get school libraries into the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) bill.  SKILLS only has 5 co-sponsors (none from S.C., for those who were wondering) which means it is vulnearable to being cut from the final bill.

Basically, we need to continue calling, writing, faxing, and emailing our senators to let them know this is important.

It only takes a few moments to call the senate switchboard, ask for your Senators’ offices, and leave the message:  SUPPORT SCHOOL LIBRARIES IN ESEA!  OUR COUNTRY’S STUDENTS PERFORM BETTER IN SCHOOLS WITH SOLID SCHOOL LIBRARY PROGRAMS.

Click here to look up the contact information for your elected officials.

Update:  I forgot to include this quote from the article, which really surprised me when I read it:

Unfortunately, we have not had great support from the education unions and from other K-12 organizations.  We are competing with everything from literacy coaches to classroom teachers – even though we know that school librarians are both of these.  In the present political environment and the challenging budget climate, we have to cling to survival for our school libraries and, more importantly, the students they serve. 

Somehow I guess I expected that other professional education organizations “get” how important our school libraries are, and were fighting hard for us teacher librarians as well as for classroom teachers.  They aren’t.  It’s up to us to band together and speak out for our programs and our students.

 

 

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Act Now on the SKILLS Act

I know this post is long, but I hope you will read it through, and then take action!

Here is a copy of the email I sent to all of the school librarians in my district last week:

Fellow Librarians,

 Please see the messages below regarding the importance of advocacy in general, and a specific piece of legislation you can influence.  We need our senators to co-sponsor the SKILLS (Strengthening Kids Interest in Learning and Libraries) Act, which is part of S1328.  Click here for more info: http://capwiz.com/ala/callalert/index.tt?alertid=51784501

 I have already called Senators DeMint (http://sc–ala.capwiz.com/bio/id/532&lvl=C&chamber=S) and Graham (http://sc–ala.capwiz.com/bio/id/531&lvl=C&chamber=S) at both their Washington and Greenville offices, to ask that they support the SKILLS Act.  (I was a little nervous, but the people I spoke with at all four offices were very polite and friendly.)

 We have to speak up for ourselves and our students if we want the support of the decision-makers, in Washington or anywhere else.  Please add your voice to those who have already called or written to ask that our senators make school libraries a priority in the federal budget!

 Lori June

And here is the forwarded message I received from Fran Bullington, our SCASL Advocacy Committee Chair,  that prompted my actions:

Continue reading

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Library Lovers Page is Up!

In celebration of National Library Card Sign-Up Month, I’m encouraging my students to bring in their public library cards and have their pictures taken for our school website.  I decided to use Glogster so that I could present the photos in a collage format. 

I’ll continue to add pictures throughout the month as more kids sign up for their own library cards and bring them in to show me.  Take a look at it!

And I’d love to hear what tools or software programs you like to use to share photos and information!

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Page Turning Tool

I played with a fun new tool this past weekend called Page Flip-Flap.  It turns Word or PDF documents in online booklets, complete with a rustling sound when you turn the pages.  (And we book people sure do love us some paper rustling sounds!) 

Page Flip-Flap

All you do is upload your document and fill in your email address, which is used to email you the link to your online flipbook.  No registration or login necessary, and they promise not to use your email address for spam.  It’s free, so there are ads on your online booklet page, but you can banish them by clicking the “full-screen” button, which is at the bottom of the page next to the printer icon.

I used it to transform the S.C. EdTech Conference summary I created last year into a nice online report that my new principal could view.  (I’m requesting permission to attend as usual this year, and wanted to make sure she understands what a valuable experience it is for me.)  You can view it here.  Maybe. 

Or maybe the site is blocked where you are.  Like it is in my district.  As I found out this morning when I skipped to my school computer ready to copy and paste the link into an email to my principal.  And luckily tested the link first to make sure it was working.  And it wasn’t.  Sigh.

So there go my grand plans for Page Flip-Flap, such as converting our school newsletters into this nice online format for our parents to view, or publishing my policy and procedures manual as an online booklet, or anything else creative I might want to do but can’t because once again I’ve been thwarted by our filters.

Oh wait, this is supposed to be the happy sunshine blog where I celebrate good things.  Well, I guess I could request that the site be unblocked.  It could happen.  No, really, it could.  Right?

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Library Card Sign-Up Month

Library Card Sign-Up 

 

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and as always ALA is providing some free resources to promote the event, including a customizable poster featuring Cal Ripken Jr., some audio PSAs, press releases, and clip art.  While you’re there, take a look at the “52 Ways to Use Your Library Card.”  (Word document)

 I always take some time during my library classes each September to pull up the Sumter County Library website on the Promethean board.  We discuss what the public library has to offer, what special events are planned for the month, and how to search their OPAC.  I close by reminding students that it doesn’t cost anything to get a library card, and then I seal the deal by promising a trip to my Treasure Basket to any student who brings in a library card to show me!

This year I am going to add an extra twist by taking a photo of each student proudly holding up his or her library card, and create some sort of Animoto video or Photo Story project for our school website.  (I’ll post a link once I set up the page.) 

“A library card is the most important school supply of all.”library card

 

 

 

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