Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Becky Johnson...She Has It Covered

Becky Johnson is the lead librarian for the Cedar Rapids Community School District lead and the teacher librarian at Jefferson High School.  Becky is the Past President of IASL but she is still very active in our work through her IASL executive board position as the delegate to AASL.

Becky says, “I like the kids that I work with.  Every day is a little bit different. Every child is a little different.  Just when you are having a bad day is seems like you have a kid come up and say something that makes you realize that you do have an impact.”

Becky loves attending local, state, regional, and national conferences primarily because it is an opportunity to connect with other professionals.  Becky always learns more than she shares.  Becky says, “Don’t do what I’ve done and try to pick up so many handouts because you wind up with a sore shoulder from carrying so much stuff.  Just exchange business cards and contact information to connect later. It will spare you a lot of pain.”

Rarely will you walk into the Jefferson High School library and find it quiet.  It is not a shhhhh… kind of library and she is not a shhhh… kind of librarian.  The only librarian stereotype that Becky would like to portray is someone who works valiantly to defend all students’ freedom to read, view, or listen, or be who they are.  

Oh, and don’t forget you need to have a tattoo!  Check out her library’s website at this link: and check out one of her tattoos!

-Thanks to Diane Brown for conducting this interview!

Friday, April 18, 2014

IASL book award winners 2013-2014

The winners of the IASL book awards were announced Monday April 14, 2014 at the spring conference.

The Goldfinch Award winner this year is Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery.

The Iowa Children's Choice Award winner is Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea.

The Iowa Teen Award winner is Legend by Marie Lu.

The Iowa High School Book Award winner is Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Help IASL help you!

As Iowa's delegate to AASL, I will be meeting with other Region 3 delegates in Minnesota next month. I have been asked to share state accomplishments and concerns. I would love to hear from you as we celebrate our achievements and tackle our statewide issues.

Please take a few minutes to share via the link listed below. Write as little or as much as you would like.

Keep up the good work you are doing for schools and students across the state!

Becky Johnson, NBCT
Teacher Librarian, Jefferson High School
Lead Librarian, Cedar Rapids CSD
AASL Delegate, IASL Past President

National D.E.A.R. Day - National Drop Everything and Read Day

Even though it is after April 12th, I think that we should incorporate D.E.A.R on a regular basis. One way is through silent sustained reading. 


Regardless if a person is engaging in text daily or weekly, reading is the basis of all learning.  A SLIK-12 post illustrates the importance of teacher librarians promoting life-long reading in multiple formats.

"a middle school teacher tells his students during SSR that "reading fiction is a waste of time, you're not going to read it in my classroom, so get out a newspaper."

Ernie Cox responded to the SLIK-12 post, "I would be looking to clarify how I can help this teacher's class achieve the purpose of SSR.  Maybe asking the teacher to confirm what that purpose is would get the ball rolling.  If the intent of this time is to increase student engagement in the act of reading one of the most important elements is CHOICE. Maybe having him read the opening chapter of this book would help Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading/Chapter 1: Creating Lifelong Readers.
This chapter highlights some of the roles (one of them being a model of reading) of a teacher in SSR….(what is this teacher's understanding of his role?)"

This conversation reminded me of a May/June 2009 Library Media Connection article by Beverly W. Nichols What Does The Research Tell Us About Sustained Silent Reading? 

"Stephen Krashen describes three types of free voluntary reading."

1. Sustained silent reading (both teachers and students participate)
2. Self-selected reading (teacher and student conferences about readings)
3. Extensive reading (minimal accountability for student)

Directly from article...

  • Studies have found that students who participated in planned free-reading programs such as SSR do more independent, voluntary reading than students who do not participate in such programs
  • One study that included a follow up of adolescent boys found that the students who participated in an extended free reading program were reading more six years later than students who had not participated in such as program. 

We are dealing with the Common Core's focus on reading informational texts, dispositions such as the SLIK-12 comment above, and social media content that takes time and energy away from fiction.

The bottom line is that freedom of choice to read (educational and recreational) is what matters most.  Working as teacher librarians we provide environments that value opening the doors for all to explore content and make meaningful connections with the world around us.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Build Upon The Excitement From IASL...Explore Your Options For Learning At AASL

It was an honor and a privilege to learn from Gail Dickinson AASL President 2013-2014 @ our IASL conference!!

Thank you to all who participated and a special thank you to Kathy Kaldenberg our conference organizer extraordinaire

Celebrate School Library Month! 
We are halfway through the month of April and there is still time to view the events and resources.

Keep the information flowing throughout the year.
View the AASL Blog

Cast your vote for ALA President
Voting for the ALA election is open now through April 25th

Sunday, April 13, 2014

#IASL14 Spring Conference Begins!

We are so excited to learn, collaborate, and share with you all today and tomorrow at the IASL Spring Conference! 

You can find a digital copy of the conference schedule here.

To read and approve the minutes from the October membership meeting, click here.

Following along on Twitter?  Use #IASL14