Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Meet Jeni Sloan!

This IASL member graduated in 2009 from the University of Northern Iowa.  She has been an IASL member for 3-5 years.  Currently she is at J.C.Hoglan Elementary in Marshalltown where her hidden talent of finding just the right book for her students is put to good use.  

She has about 400 students that she works with and she enjoys hearing about new apps to use with her kids.  Her favorite app is Animoto. She says,”It is so versatile, and the kids feel like they have a professional looking project when they are done.”  Sue Inhelder, IASL Secretary/Treasurer and Marshalltown high school teacher-librarian, is her mentor.  Sue never stops looking for ways to improve the program, so that kids have the skills necessary to succeed in our technology filled world.  

Jeni would love to have the district superintendent visit for the day because she would love to show him what teacher-librarians do in order for kids to succeed.  She says, “I think he would be blown away by how our program tailors the instruction, material purchases, and a hundred other things toward our #1 goal.  The goal?  To  have our students thrive in a world full of information and technology at their fingertips.”

When Jeni isn’t teaching, helping kids find books, sharing apps with her students, and hundreds of other things at work, she enjoys spending time outdoors.  

Interview by Diane Brown

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant is the final book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. In this book, Tris & Tobias are offered the chance to leave their city behind and explore life outside the fence. They are hoping to find answers, but instead they find even more questions about the faction-based system that they were used to. They also begin to learn the truth about the history of being "divergent" and what it really means. Tris is used to facing her fears, but she is put to tests she never could've imagined. She has to learn forgiveness, trust and sacrifice in order to live in this new place. 

One of the main themes in the series is whether people are born with an inherit skill set genetically that determines their worth, or if choices people make can define them. The ending of this book sure leaves you wondering who Tris is allegiant to and how much being part of the Abnegation faction never left her.

If you've read the first two books, there's no way you can avoid reading this one. It has deep, meaningful themes that make the reader reflect on what humans are worth, and perhaps leaves the reader with more questions than answers.

A Teacher Librarian is...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Donham ILA Member of Year

IASL Board Member Jean Donham was named Iowa Library Association Member of the Year at the 2013 Fall Conference in Coralville.
   Donham, one of three IASL presenters at the annual fall conference, currently serves as a Professor of School Library Studies at the University of Northern Iowa. Donham, who has touched the lives of many, shared the results of her analysis of college assignments from 15 Iowa colleges and universities. Her  findings provided key insight into the expectations college professors have of first-year students.
   Other IASL presenters included Kathy Kaldenberg, who moderated a panel on library blogs, and Sam Garchik, who focused on the impact of gun violence in Iowa school libraries.
   If you were unable to attend, you can view handouts on the ILA web site ( or look up the hashtag #ialib13 on Twitter for tweets shared during the conference. View pictures of Friday's Tweetup on Kathy's blog.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Follow the Leaders: The Evolving Roles of Teacher Librarians

SAI (School Administration of Iowa) Transforming Your Teacher Librarian Into a Leader

Listen to how it can happen...and why it needs to happen.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review: Delirium, by Lauren Oliver
Imagine a world where love is outlawed.  It is logical, really.  Love is a dangerous thing.  “It affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being” (3).  “Humans, unregulated, are cruel and capricious; violent and selfish; miserable and quarrelsome.  It is only after their instincts and basic emotions have been controlled that they can be happy, generous, and good” (354).  All teenagers get the surgery to remove emotions at age eighteen, when their brains have been deemed sufficiently matured.  Lena is looking forward to the surgery, when she can move on from the legacy of her mother, whose surgery did not succeed and was taken away from her family in shame.  

Until Lena meets Alex.  She never understood why anyone would not want the surgery until she connected with Alex and realized that she was showing symptoms of amor deliria nervosa.  Alex opens her eyes and heart not only to strong feelings that she didn’t realize were possible, but to problems in her own government and a community of resistors who lived outside the reaches of the government.  What will she choose?

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver, is the first in a trilogy that delves into the familiar realm of a dystopian world.  Although the first half of the book is a bit slow-moving as Lena realizes what she is feeling for Alex, the second half of the book has more action and twists as we realize all the problems she faces if she decides to resist either her feelings or her responsibilities as a citizen.  Readers that are enamored with other dystopian fantasies such as Hunger Games or Divergent will also enjoy Delirium.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Healthy Libraries Build Healthy Communities

The Iowa Library Association Conference is underway at the Coralville Marriott. Some great sessions are planned and what a timely theme - Healthy Libraries Build Healthy Communities. Follow the hashtag #ialib13 on Twitter!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Teen Read Week - October 13-19

This week is YALSA's annual Teen Read Week, and the theme, Seek the Unknown @ your library, "encourages teens to explore and learn about the unknown through mystery, adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy books." 

Teen Read Week

Check out resources and programming ideas at their Ning here.

Find the event on Facebook here.

Teens are also invited to vote for YALSA's Teen's Top Ten books this week!

Learn more, and vote here: 

Information Connects Us All: 21st Century Learning Environments

Shannon McClintock Miller tells us why learning through online communities has a unique potential to support the curriculum in our schools. Give administrators a reason to try online social learning. Learning and problem solving in online spaces is possible through collaboration.

Look here to find out more!
Wonderful Ways to Connect with Other Teacher Librarians Throughout the Month By Shannon McClintock Miller
Connected Educator Month

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries

From the ALA:
Declaration for the Right to Libraries
In the spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that libraries are essential to a democratic society. Every day, in countless communities across our nation and the world, millions of children, students and adults use libraries to learn, grow and achieve their dreams. In addition to a vast array of books, computers and other resources, library users benefit from the expert teaching and guidance of librarians and library staff to help expand their minds and open new worlds. We declare and affirm our right to quality libraries -public, school, academic, and special – and urge you to show your support by signing your name to this Declaration for the Right to Libraries.
LIBRARIES EMPOWER THE INDIVIDUAL.  Whether developing skills to succeed in school, looking for a job, exploring possible careers, having a baby, or planning retirement, people of all ages turn to libraries for instruction, support, and access to computers and other resources to help them lead better lives.
LIBRARIES SUPPORT LITERACY AND LIFELONG LEARNING.  Many children and adults learn to read at their school and public libraries via story times, research projects, summer reading, tutoring and other opportunities. Others come to the library to learn the technology and information skills that help them answer their questions, discover new interests, and share their ideas with others. LIBRARIES STRENGTHEN FAMILIES. Families find a comfortable, welcoming space and a wealth of resources to help them learn, grow and play together.
LIBRARIES ARE THE GREAT EQUALIZER.  Libraries serve people of every age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical ability. For many people, libraries provide resources that they could not otherwise afford – resources they need to live, learn, work and govern.
LIBRARIES BUILD COMMUNITIES.  Libraries bring people together, both in person and online, to have conversations and to learn from and help each other. Libraries provide support for seniors, immigrants and others with special needs.
LIBRARIES PROTECT OUR RIGHT TO KNOW.  Our right to read, seek information, and speak freely must not be taken for granted. Libraries and librarians actively defend this most basic freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
LIBRARIES STRENGTHEN OUR NATION.  The economic health and successful governance of our nation depend on people who are literate and informed. School, public, academic, and special libraries support this basic right.
LIBRARIES ADVANCE RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP.  Knowledge grows from knowledge. Whether doing a school assignment, seeking a cure for cancer, pursuing an academic degree, or developing a more fuel efficient engine, scholars and researchers of all ages depend on the knowledge and expertise that libraries and librarians offer.
LIBRARIES HELP US TO BETTER UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER.  People from all walks of life come together at libraries to discuss issues of common concern. Libraries provide programs, collections, and meeting spaces to help us share and learn from our differences.
LIBRARIES PRESERVE OUR NATION’S CULTURAL HERITAGE.  The past is key to our future.  Libraries collect, digitize, and preserve original and unique historical documents that help us to better understand our past, present and future.

Sign the Declaration here:

Monday, October 7, 2013

AASL Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2013

Looking to beef up and/or add some spice to learning tools engaging students in learning?

Helpful in conjunction with the Common Core and correlate with the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner...

Older lists back from 2009 are linked at the bottom of the webpage for easy reference. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2014 Iowa High School Battle of the Books!

Registration is now open for 2014 Iowa High School Battle of the Books!  

High school students from across the state of Iowa are invited to participate in the Iowa High School Battle of the Books.

Here's how it works:
  1. Form a team of 4-6 students in grades 9-12 (you can have more than one team per school)
  2. Find an adult coach (teacher, parent, librarian)
  3. Complete one registration per team and include $5 registration fee by check (postmarked no later than January 31, 2014)
  4. Read the books!
  5. Discuss the books, talk about them, have fun!
  6. Coaches complete online survey to test the online testing system February 15-24, 2014
  7. Take a multiple choice test and an author name test online with your team March 1-15, 2014 at your home school
  8. Top 16 teams travel to Marshalltown for the GRAND BATTLE on April 29, 2014.

Check the website for information, book list, registration and more.  Hope you will "battle" with us this year!

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