Tuesday, August 27, 2013

IASL Pop Up PD - Iowa Children's Choice Awards 2013/2014-Sharing Ideas

Searching for new ideas to promote the 2013-14 Iowa Children’s Choice Award list? Do you know how many students participated in voting last year?  Can you name the first book to win the ICCA? 

All these questions and more are answered in the first of a series of Pop-Up PD sessions hosted by the IASL professional development committee.

Please comment with possible topics for future Pop-Up PD sessions.
-Thanks to Ernie Cox for this post

Sunday, August 25, 2013

AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning

Need suggestions for tools to guide students to become independent learners? Look no further than the American Association of School Librarians updated recommendations for 2013 to start the school year on solid footing. Highlighted this week is the Best Apps for Teaching and Learning.

In a world where we seem to be kissing browsers goodbye, we are electing to use apps that represent another form of information discovery that are convenient and reliable. “AASL favorites from the 25 winning apps that cover a broad range of subjects, inspire curriculum connections, and can be used for classroom instruction and public library programming” (AASL).

Remember in the words of AASL, “Strong School Libraries Build Strong Students” (AASL).

REPOST: 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, August 13, 2013

IASL Member Spotlight

This IASL member is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa.  She loves reading and working with kids.  Although she has the requirements to be a Teacher Librarian, she is currently working as the Director at a public library.  She is a member of IASL because she finds it very relevant to her job and she wants to keep her TL skills up to date.  She has tons of hobbies and is quite skilled at sewing and needlework.  She also has recently organized a community health initiative which includes a couch to 5K training program that she is participating in. (Be sure to look for her as a panelist at this years ILA Conference in Coralville for this initiative.)  If you are looking for heirloom seeds, be sure to contact the library she works at, as Ely started their Seed Lending Library in 2012.  Their mission is “to build our community through the sharing of open pollinated seeds, provide education on seed saving techniques, and create a forum for discourse on the relevancy of local food systems to our community.”  Visit the Ely Public Library website or Facebook pages to find out more about the interesting place where this IASL member works.  Can you guess who it is?  It is Sarah Sellon! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Iowa School Library Program Guidelines: How does your program measure up?

Goal setting is a great way to start the school year.  As we all know, setting goals and actually following through with them can be two totally different things.  But what if the goals are already there on paper, and all you have to do is choose a few?

Take a look at the Iowa Department of Education’s School Library Program Guidelines (remember those from the last site visit??) Do a brief evaluation of your program and collect a few artifacts (digital or otherwise).  Set up a meeting with your principal and share 3 strengths of your program and 3 areas that could use improvement.  

Having that document in your hand will not only give you a concrete way to reflect on your program and set some goals, but it is also a nice tool for you to use when advocating for the things that will make the program stronger for your students. Administrators love data, and they love someone who comes in with not just a problem, but also the solution.  The guidelines are a list of what the state requires and what they consider best practices - what principal wouldn't support a teacher striving to be the best?

Friday, August 2, 2013

IASL Vice-President Christine Sturgeon meets with Iowa Senator Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge

Senator Beall serves on the Education Committee for the Iowa Senate, and represents parts of Webster, Calhoun, Humboldt, and Pocahontas counties.  He is a former teacher and journalist, and was interested in what I’m doing here at Manson Northwest Webster Schools and about the concerns of the IASL Board, especially regarding HF 472 which gives Iowa school districts additional funding if they share certain positions, including librarians.  

Mr. Beall stated that he voted for the bill (as did all of his colleagues; the vote was 50-0 in the Senate, and 99-0 in the House).  No one in the Capitol thought this bill was controversial.  In this librarian’s opinion, I’m sure it would have been fodder for an election fight if one did - who wants to be seen as being against additional money for schools?  

When Mr. Beall arrived, my para and I were setting up a book fair in the library to support a new initiative between the elementary library and the preschool called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. (I blogged about it here.)  I told him about working with others in the state to hold Iowa’s first student-led conference on education, ISLI (sign up today, for you and your students).  I told him about changing to the bookstore model at both schools in order to increase student reading.  I said that none of this would be possible if I was shared with another district.  He reminded me that school boards don’t only look at the bottom line, but also what is best for students (he’s been a school board member, too).  I hope he’s right.

What I learned from the experience is that our - or at least my! - elected officials want to hear from us, and they can help.  Mr. Beall is going to help us get some positive press for ISLI, and told me about grant opportunities for my school library.  I know he’ll let me know next time the phrase “teacher librarian” or “school librarian” is featured in a bill for his consideration.

Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, with IASL Vice-President Christine Sturgeon, July 2013.