Thursday, December 19, 2013

School Libary Story from SLJ

Have you seen this post from SLJ by Joyce Valenza?

Watch her story here, and read her powerful post about what a school library gives to our students.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Responsibilities of the Iowa Library Association Executive Committee

Are you aware that IASL members report at ILA exec meetings?   Members report to the ILA board about our inner workings and help them to accomplish their work in the most efficient way.  An ILA Executive Board meeting was on December 6, 2013 and our liaison Katherine Howsare submitted a report.

Iowa Library Association

Report to the Executive Board

Committee/Subdivision Name: Iowa Association of School Librarians

Committee Chair/Subdivision Chair Name: Susan Feuerbach.

Report for ILA Board Meeting Date: Dec. 6, 2013

I.     Information Items

Two new board members were elected in our online election: Dixie Forcht as vice president, president elect; Becky Johnson as AASL Delegate.

Professional Development chair Kathy Kaldenberg has organized two successful Pop Up PD events featuring the Iowa Children’s Choice and Goldfinch Award Books.

IASL sponsored three sessions at the Iowa Library Association Conference, including sessions by IASL members Jean Donham and Sam Garchik.

Becky Johnson, Christine Sturgeon and Kathy Kaldenberg represented IASL at the ILA Annual Planning Meeting in November. We discussed several preliminary partnerships with several subdivisions.

Jean Donham and Karla Krueger represented IASL at the AASL Conference in Hartford, Conn., in November.

Plans are underway for our January meeting, which we will likely do as a Google Hangout.

Plans for our spring conference in April in Cedar Rapids are under way and going smoothly. We will soon announce the keynote speaker on our web site.

II.   Discussion Items (include issues for which you desire discussion and include any recommendations)

We would like to change the organizational manual language to reflect our desire to hold our membership meeting since we have as much higher attendance by IASL members than at ILA. It is our understanding that we do not need to take any action on this but I am including our resolution and justification should it be needed. It is our understanding that we do not need to bring this before the executive board, but wanted to make you aware of it.

Here is a resolution and justification for the above item.

The Iowa Association of School Librarians would like to request an exception to the Iowa Library Association policy. We would like to hold our annual membership meeting in conjunction with your division conference, typically held in the spring.
Our justification for moving our membership meeting date is because attendance at the ILA annual conference is limited for the following reasons:
1) Few teacher librarians/media specialists are able to get permission to take time to attend professional development.
2)  The fall is a busy time for teacher librarians and few can get away for a conference in October (conferences, America Reads, open houses, Teen Read Week)
3) ITEC are typically scheduled for the same week, and ITEC is very applicable for many tech-savvy teacher librarians.
4) Spring is a better time for more teacher librarians to get away.
5) The Sunday-Monday combination that IASL has worked well for teacher librarians.

III.    Action Items (include issues that require Executive Board approval)

We ask the board to encourage our lobbyists to keep school librarians better informed about legislation impacting school libraries, including incentive money for districts and reduced budgets, and to continue to lobby for us.

Report Submitted by Becky Johnson, Past President

-A special thanks to Kathy Kaldenberg who shared information for this post. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Showcase and Be Proud of Your Outstanding School Library!

Consider applying soon for this award since this is an opportunity for multiple winners to be recognized. 

Deadline to apply is February 1, 2014 and here is the link to sift through the details. Outstanding School Library 

Recent interview with Christine Tomlinson recipient of the 2013 Outstanding School Library Award.

What does an outstanding library look like? How do you measure success?

An outstanding library looks busy, messy and loud (if something can look loud).  Students and staff are coming and going, both digitally and physically. They work on projects, they read, they learn within the space. Being successful means more than having an updated collection; it means that students and staff have access to and can use the resources my learning commons provides for them. Being successful means more than having books returned on time; it means having students finding and reading books that they truly enjoy.

What are some things that students would miss if they didn't have an outstanding library program?

Our students would miss two very important things if our program was not successful: access to digital research resources and the ability to use them effectively and the access to a blossoming culture of reading wherein all students’ tastes are valued.

Preparing for the application process: I figured out my criteria by thinking about what I’ve done over the past couple of years. I had just finished my program, so the vision was fresh in my mind—The other criteria were a matter of reflection.

How do you manage your time? Who helped you along the way and what tactics were successful towards gaining support? 

I struggle with time management. I always start the day with a list of things I must accomplish, but the on-demand nature of my job (dealing with laptops, student research requests, teacher emails) quite often means that I transfer my must-do list to the next day. I know I should take a plan period, but I don’t. My head teacher and my principals have helped me along the way, as have my former colleagues in the North High Language Arts department.  All have given me the support to re-make our media center into a Learning Commons.

Since the award is valid for three year what is your plan to maintain high standards for the library program and stay current in school libraries?

I do have a couple of goals like moving more inquiry projects into disciplines other than Language Arts, creating and sustaining a summer reading program, and finalizing a K-12 library curriculum for the district (with my department’s help). Staying current is almost easier as I read the library journals and I follow the important peeps in the field. 

As we’re in our third year of a district wide high school 1:1, I’m always learning/planning/thinking of ways to incorporate tech into the lessons and how to use tech to transform education—it’s such a new area that there’s always new and interesting things to learn and implement (and ponder). 

What would surprise people most about your current job?

I think people are most surprised that I actually have a Master’s to do this job. For some, I think they are surprised that I actually “do” stuff

Just for fun...paper or digital?  You could have any superpower; what would it be?

Paper for my favorite authors; otherwise whatever I can get my hands on. 
Superpower? Make everyone have manners.

Who is your greatest ally and why?

Greatest ally—my husband. He lets me be in a book coma for an entire weekend and actually buys the excuse that “it’s for work”.

What's the best of worst part about working with young people? 

Best and worst part about working with young people? They are young people.  Enough said
Professional advice:  Do or do not—there is no try (Yoda).  Write it down in plain people English (my mom).

How do you respond when someone asks you, "Isn't everything online?"

I go online first for answers (if my mom doesn’t know the answer, that is)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beginning Readers...Creating a Bridge to Reading Comprehension

Bridge to Reading Picture Book Award

What are factors influencing the development of emergent reading?
  • visual components (recognizing letters/words)
  • auditory (being read to/listen to stories)
  • texture or "feel" of the book
  • kinesthetic actions (turning pages)
What have you observed about young children's "emergent literacy?"
  • memorizing a favorite book
  • pretending to read
  • "writing" by making marks or scribbles on a paper
  • realizing that words are written-down speech 
  • recognizing familiar words (your name, STOP on a stop sign, etc.)
  • connecting letters with sounds, or other early word decoding efforts
Connect to Bridge to Reading 
"The purpose of the Bridge to Reading Picture Book Award is to promote early literacy and reading to children through the introduction of quality picture books nominated by a committee of librarians, teachers, preschool and early literacy leaders." 

Bridge to Reading Picture Book Award

Friday, December 6, 2013


-Excerpt from Early Word: The Publisher l Librarian Connection
Librarians are answering the call to tweet their favorite books of 2013. 
For YA, Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Great character development and suspense!
You can join, too. The rules:  Tweet your top ten favorites of the books you read this year (not necessarily those that were published this year), countdown style, one per day, Dec. 1 through Dec. 10 (don’t worry if you haven’t started yet, just jump in). Please include authors (last name is fine to save space), so the compilers can identify the correct titles. Writing titles in all caps also helps the compilers. And, don’t forget the hashtag — #libfaves13

Thursday, December 5, 2013

5 Roles of School Librarians

Take a few moments to watch (and share!) this Google Docs Story Builder story created by Sarah Russo (@librelearning), School Library Studies student at Florida State University! Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Review: Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson

Imagine a time in the not-so-distant future where normal humans have power.  Not everyone, just a few seemingly random powerful individuals called Epics.  What kind of powers would they have?  The ability to fly, to pass through walls, to shield themselves from bullets, to read minds?  It would be great, right?

Now imagine that these people, these Epics...are evil.  Hungry for power.  And nearly invincible.

When David was a child, his father was murdered by one of the most powerful Epics, Steelheart.  He has spent his entire life covertly studying and collecting information about his father’s murderer and the other Epics, hoping to someday get his revenge.  And when a revolutionary group of resistors called the Reckoners comes to town, he may finally get his chance.

Steelheart is written by Brandon Sanderson, a prolific author who writes epic fantasies for adults (Way of Kings, Mistborn, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series) as well as penning more accessible books for young adults (Alcatraz series, Rithmatist).  Although this book is very different than his previous books, Steelheart does not disappoint.  The book is full of action and plot twists, as well as the types of creative inventions that Sanderson is known for.  This work would interest a wide variety of readers, from the normal fantasy reader, to lovers of superheroes, to students looking for action.  Readers who have enjoyed dystopian fiction such the Hunger Games series, the Uglies series, the Divergent series, or the Maze Runner series will also enjoy Steelheart.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Van Meter Library Voice.....Selected As One Of The "Top School Library Blogs" From Teacher Certification Degress

A Blog Roll listing of Teacher Librarians from Top 50 School Library Blogs released from Teacher Certification Degrees.

Congratulations  who is listed at #5 for her Van Meter Library Voice! Subscribe to her blogs and others today to find links to professional learning communities.

Can you think of any blogs not listed in the top 50 list that make a difference in your library? Feel free to post in the comments section below with any blog links that you would like to share. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meet Alyssa Calhoun

IASL member Alyssa Calhoun serves as the K-12 Media Specialist for Central City Schools. As a 1:1 school (iPads K-4 and laptops 5-12) much of her five years in the district has been devoted to refining the library curriculum to include more technology.  When library classes (PK-6) meet now there is always meaningful use of all things tech. Alyssa also teaches two robotics classes for junior high and high school students.

Google Docs Research Tool
“We integrate technology into almost every lesson, whether it is for research or using the Destiny library catalog. We also use Educreations on the iPads to talk about characters, make predictions, and create alternate endings to stories. Currently, the 5th & 6th graders are using the research function in Google Docs to learn about how other cultures celebrate winter holidays. The 1st-4th graders are learning about the functionality of the Destiny catalog and some of the advanced features of adding books to their personal bookshelf and rating books."

Alyssa carries three goals to school each day “for students to love reading, for students to have a passion for learning, and for them to believe that they are capable of reading and learning.”   When her high school students joke about the easy job of a librarian they can’t contain their laughter for long - they know she is so much more than that kind of librarian. “I am rarely the person who does the actual checking out or in because I'm always teaching!” Alyssa went on to say,  “I try to defy the typical librarian stereotype and I tell kids that they don't have to fit into one specific group either. It's okay to enjoy and participate in sports, music, art, book clubs, robotics and anything else they want.”  Alyssa enacts this advise in her varied roles of athletic coach, guitar player, robotics coach, and teacher's book club member.  She reminds those joking students that her ubiquitous presence in the life of the school “makes me the coolest librarian they've ever met!”

 To learn more about Alyssa’s library program visit her website:

 profile contributed by Ernie Cox / @erniec

Thursday, November 21, 2013

AASL Concurrent Session: What Does the Research Say?

What Does the Research Say? (F1-R27)

ESLS-juried papers to be presented include: School Libraries as Innovative Spaces: Stimulating Student Creativity and Inventive Thinking; College Research: What Can We Learn from First-Year College Assignments; School Librarians’ Experience with Evidence-Based Library and Information Practices; and Can a First Year School Librarian Be a Technology Leader?
Ruth V. Small, Professor
Jean Donham, Professor
Jennifer Richey, Assistant Professor
Maria Cahill, Assistant Professor
Marcia A. Mardis, Associate Professor
Nancy Everhart, Associate Professor
Strand: Research
Target Audience:
School Librarians; Administrators; Classroom Teachers; Library Supervisors; Higher Education; Curriculum Specialists; Students; Technology Coordinator; Public Librarians working with Children and Young Adults
Grade Level(s):
K–3; 4–6; Middle/Junior; High

Notes from Current Research Presentations

Ruth Small
School libraries as innovation spaces.
Self determination theory of dece or deci
Use intrinsic motivation inventory.
Research question 2 what are students information needs during the innovation?
Most helpful... Web, youtube, etc
Least ... Databases, books, School library...
People most helpful... Parents, teacher
Least...  School librarian ... only 5 percent
Question about how school librarians could help
Students said...Help identify best quality sources...
Conclusion ... We Could have space in library devoted to fostering creativity and critical thinking... Innovation spaces, or makerspaces

Jean Donham’s
First year college assignments
Themes of assumption in college,first year assignments.
Assume students can pick out what is interesting and exciting for them
Assume students can figure out on their own about how many sources they need for the paper assigned.
Assumed students were able to determine authoritative sources.
No mention of technology. Were all traditional assignments ...writing a paper.
Implications from high school assignments
Arriving at own line of inquiry
Supporting argument with evidence
Self reliance
-Karla Krueger

Thank you to all who participated and provided us with information! We are grateful for your insights! And be sure to check out Shannon McClintock Miller's blog Van Meter Library Voice for any potential upcoming posts about the conference. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

AASL Keynote Address...Innovative Approaches Are Key

What does innovation look like?

Tony Wagner at AASL Hartford, CT

Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World gave the keynote presentation.  A few highlights:

Three challenges in education today:
  • Democratization of information means that anyone has access, so teachers and librarians and adults no longer hold the “keys.” What, then, is a teacher? What is a school? What is a library?
  • The nature of jobs is changing and so our graduates need to be able to create opportunities for themselves.
  • Unlike school, learning from the Internet allows student to be the architects of their own learning

What skills will our graduates need to prepare them for college/career/citizenship?
  • Critical thinking and problem solving as evidenced by their ability to ask good questions
  • Collaborative skills and the ability to lead through influence
  • Agility and adaptability to accommodate change
  • Initiative and entrepreneurship
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to access and analyze information
  • Curiosity and imagination
Instead of manufacturing things, they need to be able to manufacture ideas.

Five stark contrasts:
  1. Schools reward individual achievement BUT the future calls for teamwork
  2. Schools compartmentalize knowledge BUT innovation happens at the margins and intersections of disciplines
  3. Schools are passive environments BUT the future calls for creating, not consuming, ideas
  4. Schools reward extrinsically BUT the motivator is making a difference
  5. Failure in schools is typically considered bad, but it is from failure that many innovations occur.

Additionally, while schools focus on grades and test scores to determine achievement, other more authentic evidence is important—and is increasingly valued and used by employers in hiring.

One idea for changing school culture:  Every school needs a research and development budget to stimulate and support creativity of educators.

-Jean Donham
-Denise Rehmke

Play, passion, purpose: Tony Wagner at TEDxNYED

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

AASL Preconference...A Sampling Of Workshops

Mission: "Promises to help school library professionals rise to the challenges of their careers" (ALA News).

Here is the link for all the Preconference Workshops

From our on the scene reporters...

Instructional Partnerships that Deliver Success: Meeting the Leadership Challenge Judi Moreillon, facilitator.

Job-embedded professional development.  One benefit that can happen from the collaboration of teachers and TLs, is that individual, face to face PD can occur.  If "elevating the instructional practice of teachers" is an goal, when two professionals are working together, this can happen!  When asked who we (teacher librarians) primarily serve, students or teachers, most say "students."  However if we consider our role in serving teachers, ie. collaborating with them, planning instruction with them, suggesting and teaching new tools, resources, strategies, the effect, power, and impact, could be greater.  (See Ken Haycock study).
-Denise Rehmke

-Deanna Weber

Preconference ESLS Educators of School Librarians Research Symposium 

Focused on an analysis of all states DE teacher evaluation tools and what they mean for TLs. Heard about Tennessee and how Race to the Top influenced teacher evaluation there, which includes school Librarians and also has 50 percent of evaluation based in student achievement scores. Areas of assessment for teachers and for TLs -- planning, environment, and instruction. Very structured defined emphasis on specific components of instruction also required for observation.

In Virginia, have 7 professional teaching standards.  One is student achievement. A survey asked TL s how they were going to meet that, if through setting goals for student achievement or if they were going to set program goals such as about how much instruction was done. Some TL s used student academic achievement goals tied to state standards i.e. selecting student standards from core.

Discussion sought researchable questions and methodologies. Ideas proposed were to learn state by state about how the CCSS is changing our information literacy curriculum as we share more objectives with literacy teachers? And how might we become prepared for requirements for evaluation if based on students assessment.
-Karla Krueger