Recent happenings

So much has been going on in the library!  I was waiting to post until I had pictures to show you, but what with just moving, I can’t find the cord to transfer photos from my camera to the computer.  Well, just as well, then you will be able to see the complete transformation from before to after.  It’s still in the process of changing right now.  My self-imposed deadline to be all done (moving books back into the library space, posters up, furniture in, and now some other things I’m excited about) is August 1 for registration.  We’ll see if I meet that!

When I do post the pictures, I will also share some things I’ve learned in this project.  I will say that since I’m a K-12 librarian, the only librarian in the district, it’s great to have someone to help with an eye toward design of the library.  I found that person at the local furniture store here in town.  It’s great to have someone who knows the space, knows the people, and can see the possibilities.  Oh, also, make sure when you begin to have a tape measure!  Of course we have several at home, but since I live 20 miles from the school, when I forget it, I can’t just pop back home and get it.  I ended up having to change my entire floor plan because my measurements (done with – ahem – a ruler) weren’t accurate and I needed more space for fiction books than I thought, so the fiction is where I thought the nonfiction would be.  (Plus, I don’t put books across the full length of a bookshelf.  I give a little room at the end so I can stand a book up vertically to feature it.)  But I think it’s better this way, anyway!  

I got the go-ahead on Follett Shelf, an ebook program that will work with the students’ laptops.  Very exciting!  I was always apprehensive about using Nooks or Kindles because that’s an additional device to break.  I have to admit, my superintendent had the vision of this type of ebook program way before I did.  Mr. Egli, are you a closet librarian?  (Apparently I already heard about Follett Shelf at the AEA meeting I went to this spring.  I think that Vgotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development applies here – I just wasn’t ready to learn about that yet.)

I met with the new TAG teacher and am very excited about that.  It is so nice to have someone who speaks my language – defensible differentiation, autonomous learner, Henry Passow’s could-would-should test – and we get to teach a class together!  (My son isn’t too excited about that, as he is in the class.)  It’s a class for any high school student, and we’re going to really be able to make it our own.  It’s basically a research class, but also learning about your own learning style, study skills, expanding the walls of the school to learn, and really, being responsible for your learning.  All those things that we think schooling should be – that’s what we’re going to do. 

Oh!  And gutter shelves!  Have you heard of these?  They’re going in!  I anticipate two section of them, about 48 feet total.  I’d love to put them in at the elementary, too.  We’ll see.

I did a Titlewise collection analysis.  The previous librarian did a fantastic job of weeding – two years ago, the average age of the collection was 1973!  But now it’s a much more respectable 1993.  I’m going to have to do some more weeding – I’m adding a lot of books to the collection, and there are still more books that probably should go. 

Loving life!

Photo by What What, with Creative Commons rights.

My first week


That’s my excited voice . . . excited that I am working as a school librarian!

The thing that surprises me is exactly how many different realms there are.  I am really found of Evernote as a tool to keep track of my shopping list and my husband’s honey-do list and for work, my FIRES list.  Here’s the different categories (so far):

  • High school library space
  • New cataloging software
  • Book order
  • Ereaders/ebooks
  • Schedule
  • Digital presence
  • Elementary library instruction
  • Elementary tech classes
  • Collaborating
  • Personal PD
  • Clean office
All but that last one has seen a lot of progress this week.  🙂

But then a blog post I read will send me in a whole new direction.  Yesterday, it was this post by Doug Johnson.  He writes:
Unless you already have the e-reading devices in hand, cancel the order. Spend your money instead on e-books that can be read on as wide a range of students’ own devices as possible. Take a hard look at Adobe Overdrive or FollettShelf. (I have no stock in either company.) The BYOD – bring your own device – are gaining footholds in a lot of districts where personally owned technologies that can be used to read e-books were previously forbidden.

I didn’t go any further – but started making phone calls.  Since I work at a 1:1 laptop school, this is what makes sense.  I’ll write more when we know where this is headed, but one of those two (not the one that costs $4,000 a year!) is very promising.

Then this morning, it was this post by Eliterate Librarian.  I did a featured collections project in my practicum (I wrote about it here) and now I’m really thinking doing this whole-library might be the way to go.  I think I’d phase it in first this year at the high school – we’re doing a lot of changes to the space (I will post before and after pictures eventually), so it might be a good time to change this too.  Again, since we’re 1:1, the nonfiction collection isn’t as deep, and so this would make what is there more inviting.  I am definitely going to study up more on this.

I started creating our digital footprint – so far I have Twitter, a blog, Diigo, and Shelfari, but eventually will add Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, Flickr, and probably more.  

So much to do!  It’s hard not to feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole sometimes, but I can see even in a week, I’ve made a lot of progress. 

Love my life!

Photo by TPapi,”Seven Mole Fever.”  Used under Creative Common License.  Retrieved online at

Liar, Liar

It’s so sad, it’s almost July 4th and this is only the second book I’ve read all summer!  Well, I have to start somewhere:

Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen is about Kevin Spencer, a 14-year old boy who lies.  A lot.  But it works for him in a strange way, but the story has a good message that liars never prosper.  Or however that saying goes.

I have mixed reactions to this book.  It is so different than Gary Paulsen’s other works.  Had I not known, I would have thought it was by Andrew Clements because it reads a lot like one of his school stories.  That’s what I love about Carl Hiaasen – I can read his work and know it’s his.  But I suppose something can be said for being flexible with your voice.  He’s a ventriloquist of sorts!

But here’s two things, one I liked and one I didn’t.  Here’s what I liked, on page 97:  “So I went where I always go when I don’t know what to do – I headed for the library to organize my thoughts and hammer out a battle plan.”  Love that, Gary Paulsen!  But here’s what I hate, on page 108:  “My eyes stung and my throat closed, tight and burning.  I took a few minutes to stare at the floor until I was sure I could speak without squeaking or choking.”  A few minutes?  MINUTES?  I mean really.  Do you know how long a few minutes is, to just sit there and wait for someone?  Certainly Paulsen is not the first writer to use this inaccuracy, but it is like fingernails on the chalkboard for me.

Writers – especially those writing for children – please use language correctly and avoid this usage.  Thank you for your attention to this very serious matter.

Even so, I’d give this book a good strong B+.  It’s a fun character – plus I don’t think it’s going to be a series.  You know how I feel about series!