Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get 'em early!

New teachers, whether new to the building or new to the profession, often aren't aware of all of the things the school library and teacher librarian can offer to them and their students. How do you communicate what is available in your library program to new teachers?  Do you have a ready-made packet with the list of services you can offer? Do you make a point of setting up a meeting with each new teacher at the beginning of the year? Do you rely on other teachers to recommend working with you on certain projects? Do you show up unannounced and offer to help with something they are doing at the time?

No matter your method, anything is better than waiting for new teachers to come to you. As teacher librarians, the need to advocate for ourselves and our programs often is overlooked. Just like the new teacher in the building, we are often overwhelmed with how busy we are and can put off things that we don't see as top priority. But just like the books in our collection, if we don't show off, *ahem*, display what we have available, our resources will never be used.

New teachers provide the perfect opportunity for teacher librarians to advocate for the many many things we can offer to all teachers, and in turn to student learning.  Not only do we have a chance to create a career long teaching partnership, but the relationship that is formed could serve as an example for long-time teachers who have not taken full advantage of what the library program has to offer.

So how have you successfully communicated what the library program can offer to teachers? Share ideas in the comments section, or weigh in on our new Facebook page!

Here is one example from Miranda Kral, librarian at Mid-Prairie schools. She created this packet for her secondary practicum at College Community, and then adapted it for her current position. It's a good way to have information "at the ready" for the new teacher and an open invitation for them to ask more!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

IA TeacherLibrarians Ning expires Aug. 17 2013

There is still time to access the IA Teacher Librarians Ning to gather information before the account expires on August 17, 2013.  The link will remain in the sidebar until that date.

IA TeacherLibrarians Ning

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Unboring Board Meeting

The IASL Executive Board met Sunday July 21 and Monday July 22 for the summer retreat! What did the board members find the most exciting?

Susan Feuerbach

I am always excited to work with passionate teacher librarians.  The programs we are planning to excite and encourage new and present members is something I am anxious to see come to about this year.

Christine Sturgeon

I’m so invigorated after spending two days with these great teacher librarians.  I’m especially excited about the Welcome Wagon program we are spearheading to connect new members with a IASL member who serves in a similar position across the state.  We are stronger together.

Becky Johnson

We came across with a common voice and sense of pride about what we do, and what we can do. It's great to be around people with so much energy in one room. I love the idea of lowering the registration fee for members to attend our annual conference in April.

Sue Inhelder

It was refreshing to share ideas of ways our organization can benefit our members and I’m excited about creating an archive of IASL history to document the early chapters of our organization.

Alicia Patten
Awards Committee

I am most excited about sharing out information with IASL Teacher Librarians about the Outstanding Library Award. There are many excellent and outstanding library programs across Iowa. Giving recognition to their dedication and hard work will be exciting!

Diane Brown
Chair, Membership Committee

I am excited to have so many new ideas for the membership committee.  It was great to work in the company of such such smart, talented teacher librarians.  

Chelsea Y. Sims
Chair, Advocacy

I am excited about so many things - especially getting our organization’s amazing abilities out in the spotlight!

Kathy Kaldenberg
Professional Development

On two gorgeous summer days, IASL board members donated their time to reflect on the past year’s successes and to make goals for the next year. I am so lucky to be a part of this dynamic team and I am really looking forward to the coming months working with IASL and its dynamic membership.

Amy Power

While working collaboratively in a collective group environment, we were able to pinpoint issues and needs for the organization so we can work together to move forward in a progressive manner.  It will be interesting to see the ideas turn into action.

AASL Affiliate Assembly Representative
We celebrate a cohort of new leaders fresh from the IASL Leadership Academy and ready to share their talents in their schools, in our association, in our state, and beyond.

Iowa School Libraries: a Student Centered Vision

The following video is being presented by the IASL Advocacy Committee to communicate the vision of a 21st Century School Library in Iowa.


IASL is seeking members to present our message to pre-service administrators at Iowa Universities.  If you would be willing to present at one or more education program in your area, please contact Christine Sturgeon for more information.

In the meantime, feel free to share the video with the administrators (or others!) in your area. You can also find the video here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NEA unanimously votes to support AASL and the Strengthening America’s School Act

NEA unanimously votes to support AASL and the Strengthening America’s School Act

For Immediate Release Mon, 07/15/2013
Contact: Jennifer Habley Manager, Web Communications AASL

CHICAGO – Delegates at the 2013 National Education Association (NEA) Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly adopted without debate a new business item which called on NEA to support the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) in its lobbying efforts with regard to the Strengthening America’s School Act.

Presented by Susan Ridgeway, AASL member and advocacy chair for the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, the business item read: The NEA will assist the American Association of School Librarians with public support of its lobbying efforts, in the passage of the Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2 (Improving Literacy and College and Career Readiness Through Effective School Library Programs) under the Strengthening America’s School Act. This act includes the dedicated funding for: staffing of all school libraries with state certified or licensed school librarians; up-to-date books, materials, equipment and technology (including broadband); the development of information, digital and research literacy.

The measure was supported by the NEA Library, Information Literacy, and Technology Caucus. “I am so happy that the item passed unanimously,” said Ridgeway. “That tells me that my colleagues agree wholeheartedly with all of the studies that have been conducted in the last twenty years. They know students perform better when they have access to certified school librarians. This will send a clear message to the Senate that this portion of the ESEA needs to be included and the whole bill needs to be passed by both houses as soon as possible.”

“This high profile show of support by NEA will encourage school librarians across the nation,” said Gail Dickinson, AASL president. “AASL would like to thank the NEA, the caucus, and Susan for championing the profession and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership.” The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Iowa Teacher Librarians Participate in Leadership Academy

 Seventeen Teacher Librarians from across Iowa were selected to participate in the IASL/ABC-Clio Leadership Academy held in Coralville in late June. The academy was funded through a grant from the American Association of School Librarians and was aimed at Teacher Librarians who have been in the profession for five years or less.

The two-day academy stressed the development of skills in teamwork, effective communication and increasing self-awareness. Participants focused on "leaning-in" to leadership roles, working with our communities, and being more effective advocates in our own schools and districts, as well as in professional organizations.

Sam Miller, superintendent of the Solon Community Schools, was the keynote speaker for the event; his speech was titled. “The Teacher Librarian As Leader.”  Miller places a great deal of importance on the relationship between Teacher Librarians and administrators in leadership roles and urged participants to "train" our principals on what school librarians can do.

Other speakers at the academy included Kathy Kaldenburg of Solon, Ernie Cox of Prairie Point, Denise Rehmke of Iowa City, Susan Feuerbach on behalf of IASL, and Nancy Medema on behalf of the state library. Each panelist spoke about an aspect of their career as librarians as it pertains to leadership - attending professional conferences, becoming active in professional organizations, partnering with other librarians and communicating with other leaders throughout education.