Monday, December 19, 2016

Book Review: Falling Over Sideways

The day that everything changed was a normal day.  Dance practice, homework, worried about the new school year, quibbling with parents, her brother off at some practice or another.  Until Claire was eating breakfast next to her father and he started acting strangely.  His words weren’t making sense and he couldn’t move one side of his body.  From that day on, everything changed.  And Claire simply didn’t know what to do with this kind of change.  Not only does she have to deal with mean girls at school, a rivalry with an old friend, and her dance friends leaving her behind, but now her dad is sick, her mom is distracted, and her brother is dropping everything to help out at home.  Where does Claire fit in?

Falling Over Sideways is a typical Jordan Sonnenblick book: a serious subject with a light-hearted touch.  His books are always a quick and enjoyable read, though there might be a few tears along the way.  If you have readers that enjoy books by John Green or other books by Jordan Sonnenblick (Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie), they will love Falling Over Sideways.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

ILA Conference - Seeking Presenters


ILA Annual Conference 2017
Seeking Inclusion Finding Success
October 18-20, 2017 Coralville Marriott

Iowa libraries can be vital partners in their communities.  Libraries are often champions of inclusion in the broadest terms.  Whether it is the library seeking inclusion with administrators or processes, the inclusion of new policies, procedures, materials or programs, or welcoming users who seek to be included in what the library has to offer.  This conference is an opportunity to showcase how libraries (and our communities) succeed when we seek inclusion in all these ways. 


Do you have an idea for a conference session or speaker?? 


Deadline to submit session ideas is January 9, 2017.

Interested in presenting a session?  ILA will do a call for session proposals in mid-January, 2017!





Thursday, December 1, 2016

Recognizing our Retirees! Deadline: February 1st

Do you know an IASL member who is retiring this year?

Please complete this form so we can recognize their service at the spring conference!

Deadline for being recognized at the conference is February 1st!

IASL Awards - Deadline February 1st

Do you know an IASL member who is retiring this school year?  Someone who is an outstanding advocate for school libraries? How about a Teacher Librarian who advances our profession on a daily basis?  

You should nominate them for an IASL Award!



Fill out this form to nominate IASL members for the Vision Award or to recognize a retiree. 

Fill out this form to nominate anyone who stands up for school libraries for the Distinguished Advocate Award

Fill out this form to have your library recognized as an Outstanding Library Program (This one requires additional materials - please see criteria on the Awards page).

The deadline to nominate someone or apply for IASL Awards is February 1st!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

School librarians and libraries help Every Student Succeed in Iowa!

Steven Yates, president-elect for AASL, presented a wonderful workshop on ESSA in Cedar Rapids and via Zoom to other AEAs across Iowa on Tuesday, Nov. 29th. We taped this workshop and will be sending out a link to the recording soon.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30th, a small group of teacher librarians and library professionals from across the state are meeting with Director Ryan Wise – at his request - in Des Moines to have a conversation about ESSA, school librarians and effective school library programs.

 We all have an excellent opportunity to help Every Student Succeed in Iowa! We can send emails to essa@iowa.gov with messages (see steps 4 through 9 for some ideas). 

It’s hard to sum up all of what happened in the three-hour workshop to a single email. For now, I will give a brief summary of what you can do now.

1.       First of all, go to the ESSA web site and download the Iowa handbook we used for the workshop: http://essa.aasl.org/forums/topic/iowa-112916/ There are excellent resources in there, including video links for more information about ESSA and libraries.

2.       Next, think about who in your community would have a stake in local school district plans to ensure that school library program provide students an opportunity to develop digital literacy skills and improve academic achievement? Who needs to have college and career ready individuals graduation today?  Those might include teachers, administrators, parents, current students, other library and educational associations, community colleges, private and public colleges in your region, news organizations, businesses, former students, public libraries, and many more. I am sure you can think of some to add to this list.

3.       Next, think about what they can contribute to our efforts and three things you could do today to build or strengthen your relationship with them.

4.       Now it is time to develop your personalized “elevator speech” based on ESSA’s key areas that relate to school librarians and effective school libraries.  You can use this message for an email to the Iowa DE or to share with friends to ask them to share with the Iowa DE.

5.       Start with ESSA’s key messages for school librarians are as follows:
a.       School librarians and access to effective school library programs, impact student achievement, digital literacy skills, and school climate/culture (Title I)
b.       School librarians share their learning with other professionals when they attend conferences and workshops, applying the benefits of new techniques, strategies, and technologies to the entire district (Title II)
c.       School librarians are uniquely suited to lead the effort in applying for competitive grants because of their expertise and access to strong professional learning networks (Title II, Part B)
d. School librarians increase access to personalized, rigorous learning experiences supported by technology, allowing equitable resources for all students. (Title IV) 

6.       Connect the message specifically to your work with a quick fact or data point and a story. It is OK to use data from a survey or research if you do not have specific data from your school or district to support your story. A story or anecdote that shows the impact you have on a student or students is key here.

7.       Consider who you are talking to, what they care about and what it is within their power to impact.

8.       Wrap it up by making a specific request of what you would like them to do to help.

9.       If it helps, practice in front of a friend or the mirror. It’s important to be prepared should you find yourself faced with questions and comments such as “Are there really any libraries left?” … “We don’t need librarians when you have the Internet.” … “Everything kids need is on Google.” …

Check the IASL web site for more updates on ESSA at http://iasl-ia.org and on state listservs.


Keep up the good fight!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Update on Tuesday's ESSA workshop


The Iowa Association of School Librarians is partnering with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) to offer a free three-hour workshop on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on Tuesday, Nov. 29th, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency in Cedar Rapids.  

Additional locations include Heartland AEA in Johnston, Northwest AEA (Sioux Center and Sioux City), AEA 267 in Marshalltown, Prairie Lakes and Mississippi Bend.  Check with your local AEA for details.

Steven Yates, AASL President-Elect, will facilitate the session which will include:
•  The most current information on developments at the Federal level and work through the sections of ESSA that can be directly linked to the school librarian/library program.
•  Connecting ESSA language to the school librarian’s role.
•  Discussing current state work with recommendations for opportunities at state and local levels to ensure the effective school library program’s language in ESSA.
This hands-on session will aid in identifying stakeholders, building coalitions, message crafting and elevator speech development.  While the content will be directly related to ESSA, the tools and exercise portion is advocacy for positioning school librarians in general as leaders for teaching and learning. Each participant will receive an ESSA handbooks.
To RSVP so we can know how many people to expect, please complete the following survey:
goo.gl
The Iowa Association of School Librarians is partnering with AASL to offer a free three-hour workshop on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on Tuesday, Nov. 29th, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency in Cedar Rapids. Additional sites will be available virtually. Please RSVP if you plan to attend so we can have some idea how many participants there will be. Thank you!

  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Book Review: Kids of Appetite


Vic is fascinated by a group of kids he sees around his New Jersey town.  Baz is the leader, Zuz is the quiet one, Coco is the comic relief, and, of course, the beautiful and intoxicating Mad.  But he never thought he would actually interact with these people, until he impulsively ran away from home one frigid night, and the group enfolds him within their strange wings and helps him with a very personal quest.  Thus begins an eight-day adventure, with stops at the ocean, a church, a greenhouse, New York, and ending at the police station.  Will Vic fulfill his quest?  What will happen to Vic when the time comes to leave his new friends?

Kids of Appetite, by David Arnold, is a coming-of-age book about family, friendship, and grief.  It is not a quick read, but it is worth every minute.  If you have readers that enjoy books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, or We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart, they will love Kids of Appetite, by David Arnold.

Friday, November 4, 2016

ESSA Workshop in CR Nov 29th

The Iowa Association of School Librarians is partnering with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) to offer a free three-hour workshop on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on Tuesday, Nov. 29th, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency in Cedar Rapids. Additional sites will be available virtually.

Steven Yates, AASL President-Elect, will facilitate the session which will include:
•  The most current information on developments at the Federal level and work through the sections of ESSA that can be directly linked to the school librarian/library program.
•  Connecting ESSA language to the school librarian’s role.
•  Discussing current state work with recommendations for opportunities at state and local levels to ensure the effective school library program’s language in ESSA.

This hands-on session will aid in identifying stakeholders, building coalitions, message crafting and elevator speech development.  While the content will be directly related to ESSA, the tools and exercise portion is advocacy for positioning school librarians in general as leaders for teaching and learning. Each participant will receive an ESSA handbooks.

Support is also provided by the American Library Association’s Washington Office and Office for Library Advocacy.


Additional locations will be announced as this information becomes available. Check with your local AEA for details in the next week or so.

Monday, October 24, 2016

ESSA Update


The Iowa DE Task Force developing Iowa's ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Implementation Plan is holding three more listening meetings across the state this fall and we are seeking school librarians and advocates to speak up at these meetings. All meetings are at 5 p.m. and start with about a 30-minute presentation and then the meeting opens up for you to speak. Make sure to check in when you get there so you can speak.

Here are the dates for the remaining statewide listening sessions:
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2 - Grant Wood AEA, Cedar Rapids
  • Monday, Nov. 7 - Great Prairie AEA, Ottumwa
  • Wednesday, Nov. 9 - AEA 267, Cedar Falls
If you are interested in attending one of these meetings, please complete this survey: 

Updated talking points are available on this web site at this link: More on ESSA


Friday, October 14, 2016

How can we improve this website?

We are always seeking ways to make the IASL website more user-friendly.

For example, check the Book Awards pages to find more streamlined and consistent information about each award, based on user feedback!

Do you have other suggestions for how to make the website easier to use?  If so, please click here!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Iowa Teacher Librarians Take Over #ITEC

Once again, Teacher Librarians were big players at this year’s ITEC Conference in Des Moines. We’ve asked several attendees (and presenters!) to think about their experiences and share with us their big takeaways!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Speak Up for Teacher Librarians and Effective School Library Programs

The Iowa Department of Education has a statewide task force that is collecting input on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The Iowa Association of School Librarians has a work group working on this initiative which could have a tremendous positive impact on school libraries and school librarians in Iowa. If we do not get involved, it could have a negative impact.

Here's where we need your help. We just learned the dates of the public input meetings. The first one is Monday in Johnston. We need to have as many teacher librarians and library supporters at each of these meetings. We will provide you with talking points if you are willing to attend and speak.

The Iowa Association of School Librarians (IASL) has an important and necessary role as a stakeholder organization in supporting the Iowa Department of Education’s ESSA plan development. The work school librarians do impacts every student and teacher in every school. Research shows that an effective school library program boosts reading test scores. At this time, there are no school librarians on the task force and we are trying to get our voices heard.

If you are interested in attending one of these meetings, please complete this survey: 
  https://goo.gl/forms/G9zxD4yluBGfXiNr2  We will follow up with emails with directions and talking points. 

All public input meetings will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Meeting dates and locations are as follows:

Monday, September 26 - Heartland AEA, Johnson
Tuesday, September 27 - Green Hills AEA, Council 
Bluffs
Tuesday, October 11 - Keystone AEA, Elkader
Thursday, October 20 – Northwest AEA, Sioux City
 Tuesday, October 25 – Mississippi Bend AEA, Bettendorf
 Wednesday, October 26 – Prairie Lakes AEA, Storm Lake
 Wednesday, November 2 – Grant Wood AEA, Cedar Rapids
 Monday, November 7 – AEA 267, Cedar Falls 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Research to Support Importance of School Libraries - K-16

From Jean Donham, PhD.

IASL and Iowa ACRL are working on ways to raise awareness of the importance of school libraries to the transition from high school to college. 

This annotated bibliography lists articles about K-16 cooperation as well as articles describing what students need to know to be successful as they enter college.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review: Emmy & Oliver


Imagine you're in second grade.  It's a Friday and everyone is anxious for the weekend, passing notes and generally not paying attention.  Your best friend gets in the car with his dad after school...and never comes back.

Emmy and Oliver were neighbors and best friends, practically from birth.  Oliver's parents were in the middle of a nasty divorce when his father picked him up for a long weekend, but never returned.  Police called for searches, news reporters were on the lawn, and Oliver's mother pledged to never stop looking for her son.

Ten years later, Emmy and her family are still next door, and Oliver's mother is still looking, although media coverage has waned.  But suddenly, Oliver has been found.  He is coming home! Where has he been? Where is his father? How will he fit in with his family, which has expanded while he was missing?  How will he reconnect with his friends and at school, after being the center of an extended media frenzy?

Emmy & Oliver, by Robin Benway, is literally a "coming home" story.  Oliver is remarkably well-adjusted after ten years missing, but still has a lot of issues to work through.  The book is a quick read, fairly light-hearted considering the subject, and focuses on family relationships, friendships, and romance.  If you have readers who enjoy heavier subjects with a light-hearted touch--think Sarah Dessen and John Green--I would highly recommend Emmy & Oliver.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Get to know the Board! Becky Johnson

Becky Johnson has been active in IASL for many years. She currently is Iowa's delegate to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Affiliate Assembly. She is a past president of IASL and also served as publications chair prior to that. She loves advocating for school library programs and networking with other teacher librarians across the state and nation.

Becky is in her first year as Teacher Librarian at Wilson Middle School in Cedar Rapids and serves as a curriculum facilitator for the Cedar Rapids Community School  District. This is her 17th year as a Teacher Librarian, including 16 years at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids.  

She earned her Master's in School Library Media Studies from the University of Northern Iowa in December 2003.   

Becky is an At-Large Board Member and our AASL Affiliate.  What does the AASL Affiliate do, exactly?


At-Large Board Member/Affiliate Assembly Delegate
This is an elected position with a three-year term.

  • Serve as the official representative of the Iowa Association of School Librarians to the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly and Region 3 meetings in accordance with the AASL Affiliate Assembly Policies and Procedures (ALA Annual, ALA Midwinter, and Region III) If the delegate is unable to attend, the President is the first alternate. Otherwise, the President may designate a representative.
  • Solicit from the Board statements of concern and statements of commendation prior to ALA Midwinter.  
  • Present Iowa concerns and commendations to AASL Affiliate Assembly Region 3 Representative by the prescribed deadline.
  • Report regularly to the Board and membership about AASL initiatives.
  • Must be a member of AASL.
  • Participate in ALA Connect communication on a regular basis.
  • Communicate regularly with AASL Staff to ensure state’s information is up-to-date.
  • Be provided by IASL with partial financial support to attend the required AASL meetings. Some out-of-pocket expenses will occur.
  • Attend IASL board meetings as a voting member of the board.

Sound like something you are interested in? You can run for this position this year, or in three years from now! Fill out this form to express interest!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Library Orientation - Pokemon Style!

Many school libraries have been successful in making library orientation engaging and even fun with interactive activities like scavenger hunts, mapping activities, or series of videos with embedded quiz questions.

This year at South East Junior High in Iowa City, my teaching partner, Elizabeth Schau, and I were inspired by Karissa in the Library's approach: using Pokémon to introduce our students to the library! Of course, Pokémon Go has made the collectible cards and video games popular again for students.... but also for adults! I happen to be Level 22, Team Mystic... no big deal.

Like any other orientation, we wanted to make sure our lesson introduced students to library staff, our basic expectations, help them find where books are located, and inform them of our checkout policies. We began with a short introduction to the library as a large group, scheduled with each section of 7th grade language arts. We then explained to students that they would have to discover how the library works by hunting for Pokémon.... but with no apps involved.

In pairs, students were to move about the library and answer the questions listed on their "Pokédex" by finding the printed Pokémon. Get a copy of our Pokédex questions here.




Monday, August 29, 2016

Library Associate/Volunteer Training

With a new school year, this can sometimes mean new staffing & volunteers within the library. While each situation is unique, I wanted to try to come up with a list of important topics to cover. Even if you don’t have an associate, but are trying to better utilize volunteers, these might also be some things to consider.
  1. Library System- Library systems are vast. Even though they are fairly user-friendly, there are tricks and quirks to each program. Set goals for what you feel they need to know and what is a nice to know.
Examples:
Goal for the end of the first day: Checkout & check-in books
Goal by the by end of the first week: put a hold on a book, request a hold from another library in the district, etc
  1. Emergency Stuff
While 75% of the time I would be in the library when a drill happens, it is important for my associate to know how to handle a drill if I am not there.
  • Fire Drill
  • Tornado Drill
  • Emergency Drill/ Intruder Drill/ Lockdown Drill
  1. Tour- This is not just a tour or the building (where various classrooms are located), but also other important locations. Some of these might include restroom, vending machine, copy machine/printers, and mailboxes. This also can include where to find leave forms or the location of the time clock in the building. Also, think about the tour of your library & computer labs. Where are items and supplies stored? What items will he/she need to know how to access & use? Are the items or supplies that they do not need to be aware of right away?
  2. “Virtual Tour” - While you can have a tour of the physical space, there also is a tour of who’s who of the school or district. While I often act as the first line of defense when it comes to questions or problems, I don’t have the answers to everything. It is also important for an associate to know who they contact with questions related to their pay, sick leave, and other issues.
  3. How to part of the job- This comes down to some of the daily tasks. This could include tasks like processing books or other items as well as basic book repair.  As books came in over the summer, I tried to save as many as possible. I tried to give examples of fiction and nonfiction as well as different types of books (paperback, hardback, hardback with a book jacket). This helped as books came in over the year and I did not have to explain how to process each type of book, because, I had already saved examples over the summer.
  4. Job expectations & duties- While this seems obvious, it is simply being clear about what you expect them to do as well as how their job duties vary and differ from the librarian. It also is allowing them freedom in other parts of their job. For example, if you expect your associate to change out bulletin boards would you consider to allow them to create or design a bulletin board.   
  5. Get to know them. Ask questions about family, hobbies, and more. You need to be able to work closely with this new individual. While it takes time to get to know each other and to understand each other's’ likes and dislikes, it is important to build this relationship and start to build trust between each other.  

The most important thing I have learned is to go slow. You have the whole year to figure things out and to train your associate or volunteers so prioritize.

  • What is the most important things for your associate to know?
  • Are there things that they can live without knowing right away?
  • Will it just be easier to teach/show something as it comes up? (For example when a box of books comes in, then teach them how to check the packing slip and other parts processing books).

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Iowa Book Awards - Coming to a Library Near You!

As the school year starts, start thinking about how you will promote the Iowa Book Awards to your school!



IASL has a few resources available for you for free - click on the Awards tab at the top to find specific resources for each award, and watch the blog for more information!

In the meantime, print the bookmarks!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Get to know the Board! Christine Sturgeon

Christine Sturgeon is the Teacher Librarian/Technology Integrationist for Manson Northwest Webster School District in north central Iowa.  It took her 21 years to get her BA in elementary education (Go UNI Panthers!), 18 months to get her MA in Library Science (Go Mizzou Tigers!), and she is now working on a PhD in Educational Leadership from Drake University (Go Bulldogs!).  Her dissertation will be about makerspaces (as her district is the first in the state with makerspaces at all district schools - okay that means two but it still counts), but she is also passionate about early childhood (she started a 1,000 books before kindergarten program at her school's preschool) and writing really long sentences.  

Christine is a past IASL President, and was appointed chair of the Advocacy committee last year! What exactly does that mean?  Well.... here are her duties!


Advocacy Chair

This is an appointed one-year board position that may be renewed.


  • Appoint a committee of 3 IASL members to assist in advocacy and report names to President and Secretary.
  • Work with committee to plan and implement advocacy activities.
  • Submit a proposed committee budget to the IASL president at or before the November ILA Planning meeting.
  • Remain vigilant to needs for advocacy at the state or national level and communicate time. sensitive advocacy opportunities and suggestions to the membership as they arise.
  • Collaborate with publications chair to keep advocacy web page refreshed.
  • Attend IASL board meetings as a voting member of the board.
  • Submit a progress report for the IASL membership meeting.
Sound like something you'd be interested in in the future?  Fill out this form to express interest in joining the committee or being appointed chair!





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Get to know the board! Dixie Forcht

Dixie Forcht is the secondary Teacher Librarian serving grades 5-12 at South Tama Community Schools. She is beginning her fourth year at STC, and previously served the East Marshall as the PK-12 TL. Dixie holds a B.S. and M.S. from the University of North Texas in Communication Studies, an M.A.E. from the University of Northern Iowa in School Library Studies, and UNI's Educational Leadership endorsement and K-12 TAG endorsement. Dixie enjoys working with students and teachers to improve research and analysis skills.

Dixie is now the Past President of IASL. What exactly does the Past President do? Well, here are her duties!



Past President
This position falls to the president at the end of the presidential term for one year.

  • Assist President in transition to office.
  • Chair the Nominations and Elections Committee consisting of at least three members.
  • Identify elected positions to be filled for the upcoming year.
  • Identify and invite at least two candidates for all open elected positions, and report the names to the IASL board.
  • Carry out the election of new officers in October.
  • Notify candidates of outcome of election.
  • Send new officers information about expectations for their respective positions and assist in their transition into office.
  • Communicate with the ILA Nominations Committee when that committee is seeking school library representation and submit names of potential leaders for their consideration.  
  • Attend board meetings as voting member of the board.

Sound like something you'd be interested in doing? We are now seeking self-nominations for the role of Vice President/President Elect! Fill out this form to express interest!