Monday, November 30, 2009

CAL Session November 20

I attended a CAL session called:
School Liaisons - Building A Partnership Between A Public Library and A School District
Presenter: Priscilla Queen, Douglas County Libraries
This was a very good boost for me as ALD has been trying to build relationships with schools for many years.
November 2008 the bond issues on the ballot for the Douglas County Schools and for the Douglas County Libraries failed. That crisis sent the schools and the public libraries looking for ways to make the most of the money each had. Priscilla Queen the Literacy Specialist at DCPL and Patrick, a technical services person with the Douglas County schools began meeting to find out how a partnership would be beneficial for each of their institutions.
After getting input by teachers and school personnel, they worked together to identify the most needed databases. At first the vendors insisted that the schools and the public library should each have their own licenses. But when Priscilla and Patrick explained close cooperation between the school and the library was essential, most companies were happy to have them as a single customer.
The school district was eventually able to connect directly to the IP addresses of all the library public computers . When the kids were working at school, they did not even need to use their library card barcodes to access the public library databases.
Priscilla assigned a librarian or paraprofessional at each branch to be the Library Liaison to each school in the Douglas County system. They received training and suggestions as to ways to contact people in their schools, and what they should bring to the attention of the school personnel. A monthly contact with the school through phone or email was the starting point. This was an excellent opportunity to remind students and teachers of the Homework Help connections available to students through the library website.
She also saw this as a great opportunity to refresh the call for Assignment Alerts from teachers so libraries could learn of assignments before the kids did and better serve the students. A direct email connection between the school and the Library Liaison made this easier for the teachers.
Priscilla already had a volunteer group she was working with called Spellbinders who told stories to groups at the libraries and schools. Now their visits can be set up through the Library Liaisons in each branch.
Many more advantages were realized by both the schools and the libraries once an individual from each institution was cooperating to mutual advantage. They see no end to the benefits that will be forthcoming.I sat next to a friend who is the Librarian at Lois Lenski Elementary School in the Littleton Public Schools. She has been working with librarians at Koelbel Library for many years. She got quite excited about the progress reported by Patrick and Priscilla and said she is now in a position to facilitate a better partnership with the Arapahoe Library District for LPS.
She asked who she should contact in the Arapahoe Library District to see how to strengthen and formalize the school outreach relationship. I told her that I would get back to her with the name of a person she can contact in ALD. I still am not sure exactly who that will be.
Virginia Brace, Youth Services Librarian

Beyond the Newbery

FYI, I'm teaching a class next week about children's and young adult literature awards. It's held on Wednesday, December 9 at Support Services. It's a fun class, and if you can't squeeze into this month's session, it is offered again on February 17, 2010.

Award lists are great readers' advisory tools. Here's the course objectives:

By the end of the training the learner will:
1. Be familiar with awards for fiction, picture books, non-fiction, poetry, and media
2. Be able to use award lists for professional development, collection development, reader’s advisory, and promotion
3. Be able to deal with issues regarding purpose, authority, inclusion, eligibility, quality, and availability
4. Be knowledgeable of booktalks of recent award winners
5. Be able to demonstrate how s/he can utilize useful resources

Friday, November 27, 2009

Them's Fightin' Words

Any Twilight lovers willing to take this on?

All the flaws of Stephenie Meyer’s novel — the redefinition of conflict as prolonged miscommunication, the romanticization of obsession over affection, the passing off of incident as plot — are laid bare in this self-indulgent cinematic adaptation.

Claire E. Gross is associate editor of the Horn Book Magazine. This quote is from her review of New Moon, which you can read here..

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Evaluating Folk Tales

The School of Education at The University of Arizona has a cool blog called Worlds of Words: Currents, with very thoughtful posts on children's and teen literature. In September they did a super series about evaluating fairy tales for cultural accuracy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Heavy Medal

Well, it's November, and for some of us that means serious Oscar season, but for me, it means it's time to get in gear and read a bunch of Newbery contenders!

I try to keep on top of the Heavy Medal blog over at School Library Journal. Two bloggers, Jonathan Hunt and Nina Lindsay, sound off on what they're reading, what should win, what the Newbery rules are, all sorts of things. Jonathan is particularly opinionated which makes for pretty lively discussions in the comments.

The Allen County Public Library has a vibrant Mock Awards program. Their reading lists are a great place to start if you're curious about what's getting that awards buzz so far.

There's talk it's a really strong year for nonfiction with titles like Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, Moonshot, Almost Astronauts, and Charles and Emma rising to the top.

What did you love this year?