Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Review: Heartless

Living in the kingdom of Hearts, Lady Catherine loves baking and would love to open her own bakery with her best friend.  But her family expects her to marry the King of Hearts, who is perfectly nice but also slightly foolish.  Cath has no hope of making her dreams come true...until she meets the new mysterious court joker, Jest, and her dreams start to change.  Can she really sacrifice love for family duty?

Heartless is Marissa Meyer’s new work, set in the world of Alice in Wonderland (before Alice).  As in the Cinder series, there are many references to characters and ideas in the original, from the Cheshire cat to the Mad Hatter’s tea party to the looking glass between worlds, but with Meyer’s own twists. This new work starts to flow more quickly than her previous series, but if the reader doesn’t know much about Alice in Wonderland, they may not pick up on some of the foreshadowing.  Good for readers who enjoys twisted or fractured fairy tales.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

American Library Association's Youth Media Awards

Yesterday, the American Library Association announced this year's Youth Media Awards! If you haven't had the opportunity, be sure to check out the lists here: ALA 2017 Youth Media Award Winners.

And don't miss the opportunity to discuss these award-winning titles! Connect with other Midwest Teacher Librarians tonight (January 24) through #mwlibchat on Twitter!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Honoring our Retirees - Deadline Approaching!

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!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ESSA meeting update

The statewide Iowa  Department of Education meetings will start with a presentation of the first draft of the plan and how it was developed. At the end there should be an opportunity to speak.

Upcoming meetings will be held at:
Jan. 12, 2017 - Heartland AEA, Ames, 511 S. 17th St - Join by video conference 
Jan. 17th, 2017 - Mississippi Bend AEA, Clinton and Northwest AEA, LeMars.
Jan. 18th - Oelwein HS
Jan. 19th - AEA 267, Marshalltown
Feb. 2 - Prairie Lakes AEA, Pocahontas

Here are some things you might consider saying:

"Thank you for mentioning effective school library programs in the first draft of your ESSA plan.

"I and other school librarians hope that you will consider including effective school library programs - consisting of a certified teacher librarian, a paraprofessional assistant, and current, relevant materials – as one of your Accountability Systems Indicators in Section 4.1.A of your plan.

"Additionally, I would ask that you consider encouraging the use of school improvement funds to increase library staffing and keep school libraries open in the evening and through the summer months to promote academic engagement in a literacy-rich environment. This would help schools provide extended learning time for struggling students as required in Section 4.3B."

Also give a personal story or anecdote about how you and your library make a difference.

I would greatly appreciate you sharing with me what happens at the meeting, including how many people attend and what they speak about. You can email me at 

For more details on the statewide tour, check out this link.

Thanks again!

Becky  Johnson 

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017-2018 Book Award - Ordering Now Available

It's officially time to order the IASL Book Award nominees for 2017-2018.

Order forms should arrive at your school this week. You can also find everything you need on the AEA Purchasing site.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Join the #FutureReady Libraries Facebook group

Are you a #FutureReady Librarian?

Join the #FutureReady Libraries group via Facebook and join in the conversation!

To join, click here!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

ESSA First Draft Posted

School Library Programs are listed as an additional opportunity Iowa school districts should consider in order to provide a well-rounded education for students in the first draft of the Iowa Department of Education's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan released Friday on the IDOE web site.

The IDOE also anounced it is holding statewide informational meetings Monday, Jan. 9, through Thursday, Jan. 19, at different AEA sites and virtually through Zoom video conferencing.

For more details on the statewide meetings, go to this link from the IDOE website. To go directly to the meeting schedule,  click here. All meetings start at 5 p.m.

In Iowa's ESSA plan, School Library Programs are listed as an example of one of the "additional opportunities that the IDOE will encourage districts to consider" as a way to "further student opportunities to obtain a well-rounded education."  This means that districts may use money from ESSA for School Library Programs but they are not required to do so.

Iowans are invited to provide feedback on the first draft in an online survey through Feb. 15 or in person during the statewide meetings in January. Feedback can also be submitted via email at or by mail: Iowa Department of Education, Attn. Deputy Director David Tilly/ESSA Feedback, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St.,Des Moines, IA 50319-0149. The IASL task force will be working on an official response with our consultant from

The document is 198 pages and includes summaries of all statements at both public meetings and the meeting the DE held from its issue-specific meeting with representatives of IASL in November. School libraries and librarians are well  represented in the IDOE's feedback section of this document.

Click on the link below to see the entire draft:
ESSA First Draft   

IDOE officials said they will consider feedback submitted in preparing a revised draft they plan to release in May 2017.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review: Our Chemical Hearts

Henry Page doesn’t mean to fall in love with Grace Town, the new girl in school.  She is a mess.  She wears weird clothes, smells weird, acts weird, and doesn’t seem to care about anything or anyone.  But when Henry is thrown together with her as a co-editor of the school newspaper, he can’t help but be drawn to her, and a friendship blossoms.  But then things get...complicated.  Henry discovers that Grace is recovering from an serious accident that killed her long-term boyfriend.  Can Henry possibly compete romantically with the ghost of a past love?

Our Chemical Hearts, by Krystal Sutherland, is a serious book about a romance that happens in the wrong time and wrong place.  Grace is obviously disturbed and grieving, but genuinely seems to care for Henry.  Henry believes in love and truly loves Grace, but can he have a future with someone who is living in the past?  Find out in Our Chemical Hearts, by Krystal Sutherland.  Great for readers who enjoy John Green or Rainbow Rowell books.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Reflections vs. Resolutions: Celebrating Success in Your Library

It's the start of a new year. It's that time of year when people make resolutions. But as I've been sitting here thinking about the very nature of New Year's Resolutions, they've suddenly struck me as, perhaps unintentionally, a thing of negativity. It seems like all too often these resolutions focus on the things we're unhappy with, the things we want to change or fix. And something isn't quite sitting right with that for me.

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with wanting to improve yourself. In fact, I'm all for bucking the status quo and constantly moving towards progress. I'm just saying that sometimes in looking forward, we forget the power of looking back. I'm making the argument that before we resolve to do anything new, we take a moment to reflect and celebrate the things that we've done well in the past year.

To this end, here's my celebration of 2016 in my library!

So instead of resolutions that will drastically change things, I instead resolve to continue to provide amazing opportunities for my students via the library. What specifically am I committed to continuing, you ask?

I commit to continue to provide my students with a culture that celebrates literacy in all shapes and forms. I commit to continuing to provide them with opportunities to think critically and explore new ideas. I commit to providing them with opportunities to find themselves and their passions. I commit to helping them connect to the world beyond our school. I commit to providing my students with a place to feel safe to take risks.

There are always amazing things looming on the horizon, things to look forward to in the future, things to strive to improve. But I challenge you to reflect and celebrate the things that have gone well with your library, your school, and your program!

In the comments below, I encourage you to celebrate and share what's gone well in your library so far this year!

Originally published by Lynn Kleinmeyer via: thlibrarizen.blogspot