Sioux City presentation

I’m presenting PD in the Sioux City School District!  It’s midnight and I’m just finishing up, so I won’t put my resources here quite yet – besides I hate to spoil the fun.  But here’s the link for the Padlet!

Here’s some raw (and one finished) video you can download.  They’re in Google Drive, just click on the link and choose download file.

For sound, go to Soundzabound on the Iowa AEA Online website, Free Music Archive, SoundBible, or FreeSound.

For images, try Library of Congress, Flickr Creative Commons, or Iowa AEA Online‘s iClipart for Schools.


Inadequate staffing in school libraries harms student achievement

I created this Pecha Kucha for a class in my doctoral program.  My problem statement is the title.  I’m thinking of changing my research focus from that exactly, because as I say below, the research has been done.  This is a settled question.  The problem now becomes how to get that message to stakeholders?  That feels a little squishy to me to be my research because I’m so close to it, as IASL Past President and Advocacy Chair, and the chair of ILA’s Governmental Affairs Committee.  So who knows.  But here it is, and at the bottom as a video:


This work, “School bus” is a derivative of “2007 International Corbeil School Bus” by dflirecop, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

People have argued for centuries about the purpose of school.  Is it to guide students to be good citizens and future leaders?  Or to help them gain job skills so they can support a family?  Is it to give students a true liberal arts education?


This work,“MNW Elementary Library,”is by Christine Sturgeon and is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Whatever the case, it seems the central role of school is to educate young minds.  So it’s only fitting that the school library – a repository of information, after all – should be the metaphorical if not physical center of the school.


“Day 174: Amazing Push-Button Shushing Action!” by Laura Taylor, used under CC BY 2.0.

Now, when I say “school library” you may have an outdated vision in your mind.  Let me assure you, today’s school libraries – and the  teacher librarians who lead them –  belie that stereotype.  School libraries can, should, and must be “safe, vibrant, energized information-rich environments” (Lewis & Loertscher, 2014, p. 48), led by professionals specially trained in information literacy.

Vision Statement Postcard

This work,“IASL Vision Postcard” created by Chelsea Sims, is used with permission.

And the state Department of Education knows it.  Their Vision for Iowa’s School Libraries reads, “Iowa’s best schools have library programs that engage the entire school community to elevate the learning experience for all.” It describes how teacher librarians teach students critical thinking and research skills, and how they “nurture curiosity to develop in students a passion for learning for life (Iowa DE, 2013, para. 8).


States with impact studies, 2000 – 2009, even more since This map was made at

In order to have that sort of impact, school library programs must be lead by full time certified teacher librarians.  Impact studies in many states, including Iowa, have demonstrated an increase in students’ standardized test scores and pleasure found in reading when a school has a full time teacher librarian (Lance, Schwartz, & Rodney, 2014; Lance & Hofschire, 2012; Lance & Hofschire, 2011; Lance, Rodney & Schwartz, 2010; Lance & Schwarz, 2012; Rodney, Lance, & Hamilton-Pennell, 2002). Many of these studies show these increases cannot be explained away by other school or community conditions.


Many of these impact studies were conducted by library consultant Keith Lance.  In 2009 he looked at data from the National Center for Education Statistics, “to document the impact of librarian layoffs on fourth-grade reading scores between 2004 to 2009 . . . Fewer librarians translated to lower performance – or a slower rise in scores – on standardized tests” (Lance & Hofschire, 2011, p. 29).


This work,“MNW Elementary Makerspace Marble Challenge”was created by Justin Daggett and used with permission.

Denice Adkins from the University of Missouri combed through PISA data and found that school libraries can positively impact poor students at such as degree as to help level the playing field.  But she states, “Merely having a dedicated library space is insufficient to serve the needs of students.  What is more important, especially for low performers, is having resources available and staff who can provide support” (Adkins, 2014, p. 17).


“Chained” by Kool Cats Photography, used under CC BY 2.0.

One review of the literature stated, “The existence of a positive link between school library services and academic achievement is a practically inescapable conclusion” (Chan, 2008, p. 7).


Feuerbach, S. (2014). TL building staffing in districts in Iowa. Des Moines, IA: Iowa Association of School Librarians.

In a study commissioned by the Iowa Association of School Librarians, only 8 of the 331 responding districts – 2% – had at least one full-time teacher librarian per attendance center, which is considered best practice.  Five percent of the respondents – 158 schools – had no teacher librarian whatsoever (Feuerbach, 2014).

Stressed Schoolgirl Studying In Classroom

Vital Imagery Limited. (2015). Stressed schoolgirl studying in classroom [stock photo]. Retrieved from iClipart for Schools. Used with permission.

This is a problem for Iowa’s schools, teachers, and most importantly, Iowa’s students.  Academic achievement is harmed when school libraries are inadequately staffed.


Adkins, D. (2014).  U.S. students, poverty, and school libraries:  What results of the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment tell us.  School Library Research. Retrieved from ERIC database.  (EJ1043360)

Chan, C. (2008).  The impact of school library services on student achievement and the implications for advocacy: A review of the literature.  Access 22(4): 15-20.

Feuerbach, S. (2014).  Ratio of teacher librarians to school buildings in Iowa.  Des Moines, IA: Iowa Association of School Librarians.

Iowa Department of Education (2013).  Vision for Iowa’s school libraries.  Retrieved from

Lance, K.C., Schwartz, B., & Rodney, M.J. (2014). How libraries transform schools by contributing to student success: evidence linking South Carolina school libraries and PASS & HSAP results. Retrieved from

Lance, K.C., & Hofschire, L. (2012).  School librarian staffing linked with gains in student achievement, 2005 to 2011.  Teacher Librarian, 39(6), 15-19.

Lance, K.C., & Hofschire, L. (2011). Something to shout about: new research shows that more librarians means higher reading scores.  School Library Journal, 57(9), 28-33.

Lance, K.C., Rodney, M.J., & Schwartz, B. (2010).  Idaho school library impact study – 2009: How Idaho school librarians, teachers, and administrators collaborate for student success. Retrieved from

Lance, K.C., & Schwartz, B. (2012).  How Pennsylvania school libraries pay off:  Investments in student achievements and academic standards.  Pennsylvania School Library Project. Retrieved from ERIC database.  (ED543418)

Lewis, K. R., & Loertscher, D. V. (2014). The Possible Is Now. Teacher Librarian41(3), 48.

Rodney, M.J., Lance, K.C., & Hamilton-Pennell, C. (2002).  Make the connection:  Quality school library media programs impact academic achievement in Iowa.  Bettendorf, IA: Iowa Area Education Agencies. Retrieved from

Bookstore model ins and outs

Here’s a link to my presentation at the AEA today on the bookstore model.3d wooden shelves background with books. computer generated


1.Find (mostly uninterrupted) time

2.Get help if you can

3.Mostly plan your categories

4.Touch every book




8.Circ system

Complete BISAC subject headings can be found here, or transcribed in my spreadsheet



  1. America
    1. Government
    2. History
      1. 20th Century
      2. General
      3. Early
      4. 19th Century
      5. Revolution
      6. Civil War
      7. 21st Century
      8. World War
      9. War in Asia
    3. Native Americans
    4. Military
    5. States
  2. Animals
    1. General
      1. Habitats
      2. Misc. Invertebrates
      3. Endangered/Extinct
      4. Encyclopedia
      5. Animal babies
      6. Traits
    2. Bugs
      1. General
      2. Bees
      3. Spiders
      4. Butterflies
      5. Insects
    3. Fish
      1. General
      2. Sharks
      3. Assorted
    4. Amphibians
      1. General
    5. Reptiles
      1. General
      2. Lizards
      3. Turtles
      4. Crocs/Gators
    6. Birds
      1. General
      2. Assorted
      3. Penguins
      4. Birds of Prey
    7. Mammals
      1. General
      2. Rodents/Mustelidae
      3. Wild Dogs
      4. Bats
      5. Deer
      6. Mursupials
      7. Bears
      8. Primates
      9. Wild Cats
      10. Elephants/Rhinos
      11. Ocean Creatures
      12. African Prey
    8. Pets
    9. Farm
      1. Horses
      2. General
  3. Art
    1. Architecture
    2. General
    3. Drawing
    4. Crafts
    5. Music
    6. Theater
  4. Celebrations
  5. Dinosaurs
  6. Facts
  7. Farming/Gardening
  8. Health
    1. Medicine
    2. Psychology
  9. Hobbies
    1. Magic
    2. Games
    3. Puzzles
  10. Language
    1. General
    2. Books
    3. Literature
    4. Sign Language
    5. Folklore
      1. Assorted
      2. Collections
    6. Poetry
  11. Math
  12. Science
    1. Astronomy
    2. Weather
    3. Habitats
      1. Desert
      2. Ocean
      3. Jungle
      4. Arctic
      5. Mountain
      6. Prairie
      7. Forest
      8. Wetland
    4. Earth Science
    5. Physics
    6. Experiments
    7. Environment
    8. Botany
    9. Ecology
    10. General
    11. Encyclopedia
  13. Sports
    1. Extreme
    2. Water
    3. Motor
    4. General
    5. Winter
    6. Soccer
    7. Football
    8. Baseball
    9. Volleyball
    10. Cheerleading
    11. Martial Arts
    12. Basketball
    13. Wrestling
    14. Bicycling
  14. Tech and Invention
  15. Transportation
    1. Shipwrecks
  16. World
    1. History
      1. Ancient
        1. Mythology
      2. Middle Ages
      3. General
    2. Geography
      1. General
      2. Americas
      3. Europe
      4. Asia
      5. Africa
      6. Oceania


  1. Adventure
  2. Animals
  3. Classics
  4. Fantasy
  5. Historical
  6. Horror
  7. Humor
  8. Mystery
  9. Quick reads
  10. Realistic
  11. Science Fiction
  12. Sports

On mindsets

I’ve been meaning to read Mindset by Carol Dweck for a long time, but finally am forced to because it’s the first reading for my first class in my (first?) doctoral program.  (Okay, okay, this better be my only doctoral program.)


Anyway, I’m only on page 8 but something hit me so profoundly that I needed to blog about it.

She writes:

To give you a better sense of how the two mindsets work, imagine – as vividly as you can – that you are a young adult having a really bad day:  One day, you go to a class that is really important to you and that you like a lot.  The professor returns the midterm papers to the class.  You got a C+. You’re very disappointed. That evening on the way back to your home, you find that you’ve gotten a parking ticket.  Being really frustrated, you call your best friend to share your experience but are sort of brushed off.

Then she talks about those with a growth mindset vs. those with a . . . set? . . . mindset (I’m not far enough to know what the opposite of growth mindset is called.  [Edit:  Set mindset, ha ha.  I think it’s fixed mindset.]

But I don’t have to imagine her scenario because I have my own:

I was really excited, eager to start the program for my BA in elementary education, which would allow me to eventually become a librarian.  I worked as a secretary and had a great boss, who allowed me to work over lunch or later on some days so I could go to class on others.  Classes started in the city, about 45 minutes away, at 4:30.  These were definitely designed for people already working in a school, rather than a secretary like me!  But I forgot something at home, so I had to go twenty minutes the other way first.  I was scooting along at a clip so I wouldn’t be late, and I got a speeding ticket.  After dealing with that, I sat in my car and cried, and I had to make a decision:  Was I going to go to this first class late, or just forget about the whole thing?  I didn’t have the money for the program and would rely on student loans.  I worked a full-time job and had five kids at home.  Was this smart?  Maybe I should just go home and crawl into bed.

I didn’t.  And I can honestly count that decision as the one that made it so here I sit, reading this book . . . for my doctorate!  Boo-ya!

Booking Through (Last) Thursday

Going to get back doing this! Thanks to the folks who put this on.


What magazines do you subscribe to? Personal ones? Professional ones?

Here are the professional ones:


And personal ones:

oprah mental

Then I get school ones for free.  I really love the Grinnell one:

uni grinnell mizzou

I love magazines!  Since I was a child, I’ve loved having monthly subscriptions come to my mailbox.

Or do you only/mostly pick up your periodicals at the newsstand? Very rarely at the newsstand.

How do you feel about digital editions versus print?  Ugh!  I can read ebooks, but magazines have to be print.

Do you save the old copies after you read them? Or promptly recycle them?  Save SLJ and other library journals, save the Grinnell and Mizzou ones, recycle the others pretty quickly.

Hey, did I mention I got into Drake?

I’m entering Drake University’s Education Leadership doctoral program!  I start in August.


Here was my essay:

My name is Christine Sturgeon.  I am a teacher librarian and serve as the current president of the Iowa Association of School Librarians.  In that position, I have become aware of the great shortage of teacher librarians that exists in our state and nation.  I have also learned of the even greater shortage of professors of school librarianship.  This shortage, if not corrected, is a travesty for our children because teacher librarians create programs that engage entire school communities which elevate the learning experience of all (from the “Vision for Iowa’s School Libraries,” available online here).  I want to be a professor of school librarianship, and Drake’s Leadership program will open the door to that possibility.

I am a lifelong learner.  It took me some time for that to  be the case on paper:  21 years to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, with another 18 months to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Library Science.  Even before that, though, I was continually learning and challenging myself.  Since my graduation, I remain an example of lifelong learning to my family, my colleagues, and my wide personal learning network that I have nurtured by attending conferences, serving on boards, and networking on Twitter.

I believe my references have attested to my abilities and vision for education.  At Manson Northwest Webster Schools, where I am in my fourth year as a teacher librarian, I have transformed the school library from a staid place of tradition to a vibrant community of learning inside and outside the school walls.  I have successfully led the change of the physical space at both the elementary and secondary levels.  But more than that, I have shown by example how the library can change lives.  Some examples include creating the first “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program in a school in the state [that I know of!] leading the international student program at the high school, teaching Genius Hour and Genre Reading, facilitating VREP, introducing computer coding at the elementary level, winning grants, doing video production weekly with sixth grade students, and soon, creating and overseeing makerspaces at both the elementary and secondary buildings.

I love being a teacher librarian.  No day is identical, and in so many ways, I am able to write my own job description.  Yet I know I can reach more Iowa students by teaching other teacher librarians.  I already do that in some capacity as IASL president, but I know I can have a greater impact as a college professor.  It is your program that will make that possible.

Thank you very much.