Monday, April 30, 2012

Divergent, by Veronica Roth

What would you do if you had to choose between your family and your true self?  This what Beatrice had to do in Divergent, by Veronica Roth.  Divergent is set in a future society where everyone is divided into five factions:  Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).  Each faction has specific duties within the society, but tensions have been running high between Abnegation, who has a lot of political power, and Erudite, who wants more political power and believes the Abnegation faction is abusing their powers.

When individuals turn 16 in this society, they are allowed to choose which faction they want to go into, but if they choose a different faction than where they grew up, they are turning their backs on their families and may never see them again.  Before they choose, they are evaluated to see which faction would fit them best.  However, when Beatrice is evaluated, she is considered to be "divergent"--not fitting in just one faction, but a possible fit for multiple factions, which is an unacceptable and dangerous thing to be in this society. 

How will Beatrice choose?  How will being divergent affect her choice and her future...and the future of her society? 

Divergent is reminiscent of The Hunger Games with a strong female main character in a dystopian society, and plenty of action and adventure, along with a bit of romance.  If you are looking for a read-alike for The Hunger Games, check out Divergent, by Veronica Roth.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hunger Games At UNI Links


I know it's the end of the school year, but I wanted to post something that you may be able to work into your activities in the Fall or Spring. I got this from the folks at UNI, who put on what I have been told is quite the spectacle - The Hunger Games in Simulated Reality.

Apparently they had dozens of people running around the campus all night. Teams had, I am told, up to 4 or 5 people on them, and the highlight of the night was the deep fried crickets.

Also, I'm including a link to both the public library's involvement page, and the 

Please comment on the blog to clarify anything I have wrong, and post any comments that can add to what I just said. I've only heard about this from related people, so if you have testimony, bring it on!

I'd love to do something like this in the future.

Sam Garchik
Librarian, 7-12, Regina Catholic Education Center
Chair, Publications Committee, IASL

Friday, April 27, 2012

YA Book of the Day

"I died with the fires of the incinerator still burning on my flesh, like the devil himself had his fingers in me. I died with the warden's howls of laughter ringing in my ears." Death Sentence (3rd bk of Escape From Furnace) by Alexander Gordon Smith

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ordering Book Award "Stuff"

On the bottom of each award page (this is the link for the Goldfinch) there is an order form for all things related to the book awards such as spine labels, seals for the winners, extra posters, etc. Please contact Kim Carlson. She has the “stuff”!

Sarah Latcham
IASL Awards Chair

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Iowa school libraries at risk

News about Teacher Librarian cut backs in Iowa school districts is being posted regularly on the SLIK-12 email list. I thought it might be interesting to see how this data looked on a map.

Click on the link below the map to see it full screen. Let me know if there is information I have left off and I will make sure it gets added.

View Iowa School Libraries at Risk in a larger map

YA Book of the Day

"Eighteen months had passed since Haven had learned the truth about the strange visions that came to her...scenes she'd witnessed in previous lives." All You Desire by Kirsten Miller

Iowa Book Award Winners from the IASL

Here are the 2011 - 2012 winners, as announced at the IASL meeting. According to Sarah Latcham, who is head of the Awards Committee...

"The new 2012-2013 books have not been delivered by Perfection Learning, yet, but will be out soon so libraries that ordered through the IEC bid may not have many of the books already. Students can begin reading for the next list anytime. Voting for 2012-2013 will open again in late February or early March 2013 with the deadline at the end of March and the winners announced at the next IASL conference in the spring."

Goldfinch Award
Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library by Vicki Myron

Iowa Children’s Choice Award
Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Iowa Teen Award
The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

Iowa High School Book Award
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review Monday

Revivwed by Cat Patrick – ARC provided by the publisher

                With a name like Daisy, one would have a hard time believing that bees could be so deadly.  However, in this book, the first two pages have Daisy being stung by a bee and dying on the first day of a new-to-her school.   One thought running through her mind during her dying is that she thinks she could be friends with one of the girls watching her pass away.  By the third page she is alive and on her way to a new life in a different state and city with a new last name.
                How does this happen?  She is part of a small group of research test subjects for a drug called Revive.  It all started when she was four and the bus on which she was riding plowed off a bridge due to a vehicle crossing the center line.  14 of the 21 people on the bus were revived.  All of the students and their parents were relocated to other parts of the country and all of them must complete a thorough physical and mental exam every year.
                Daisy was an orphan before the bus crash so she was placed with two of the agents involved in the research trial.  Matt, one of the agents, believes that Daisy should have open access to the test data.  Daisy doesn’t usually spend too much time with the data or making friends but when she is befriended by Audrey who ends up being the sister of the hot boy, Matt, in English class and learns that Audrey is dying of cancer she decides to ‘read’ Matt into the program.  While showing Matt the program records she finds record number 22.  She wonders about it at the time but must stop looking quickly when the agents return home.  When she goes back to do more research on case 22 the file is gone and she begins to notice other strange activity and coincidences as the story continues.  Meanwhile she faces the dilemma whether or not to try Revive on Audrey.
                When I started reading this book, I thought it would be a typical girl meets new best friend with hot brother but she’s dying kind of book.  Teens that like this type of book will enjoy reading Revived.  However the final chapters put this book into the mystery and suspense category and will appeal to readers of that genre as well.
 Submitted by Wendy Lamos, Teacher Librarian, West Fork CSD, Sheffield and Rockwell, IA

Update on School Library Data Survey

Here's the latest info about the state data survey. I called interested parties to double check the facts, so things should be accurate and up to date.

1. The school library data survey, which was once part of the state library system, was, several years ago, given to the Iowa Department of Education. Since then, it was moved to Great Prairie AEA.

2. Prior years surveys are available AT THIS SITE.

3. The survey will not be given this year. However, the 2010 - 2011 data summary has been completed, and may be posted on-line shortly at the above site. Unlike previous years, when the raw data has been posted, only the summary may be available this year.

4. If you desire access to the complete data set, which I do because it allows me to compare my library to school libraries I know are similar AND it helps me learn about other libraries close to me, you can email Deb Hindman at the State Department of Education. Her email is If you email her, as I will, she will provide you with information on how to get the raw data. The Department of Education is NOT ALLOWING us to post the raw data beacuse they claim it contains some confidential information.

5. The survey was cancelled this year because of some decisions made by the Department of Education. HOWEVER, in several weeks, on May 17th, at a meeting of the AEA Media Services consultants and the heads of large school library programs (As far as I know, Iowa City is included in this group.), a discussion will be held on several issues. These issues include:
      A. There has been talk about giving the survey at different intervals. The state may commission the survey every other year. OR, they may commission it only for libraries that have reviews done on a rotating five years basis.
      B. There is also a more general discussion that has been going on at the state level about (1), the time the survey takes to complete, and (2), the use of the data by school librarians. The May 17th meeting will discuss these issues as well.

6. In order to vocalize how you feel about this, you should talk with your AEA library consultant, who will be at this meeting on May 17th. I have asked one of the AEA librarians to provide us with notes. I will get those out to all of you as soon as I can get them.

If you have any questions, I encourage you to post them in this forum. I will post links to this post through the ILA IASL list-serv, the slik-12 listserv, and the teacherlibrarian NING. If you email me with questions, I will post them as comments to this blog post.

Sam Garchik, Regina High School Librarian.
Chair, Publications Committee, IASL

Thursday, April 19, 2012


 "My girlfriend has a new boyfriend now. The athletic type. Beside him I feel weedy. Needs to shave every day already so doesn't, just to prove he could." The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

YA Book of the Day Quote

With Sam's encouragement, and a little "provoking", the YA Book of the Day
Quote will continue next year in some form --  website or a blog for
certain.  Trying to figure out Facebook and twitter feeds too.  We'll see.
Thanks Sam!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

IASL Publications Committee Ideas?

Any ideas what you can contribute? I am thinking of...
1 - 3 book reviews per week, in very short form.
2 - 1 500 word post, about a different area.
3 - With a blog format, we can attach keywords and assign topics of discussion, so if we are interested, we can create areas of expertise for us.