The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

Sunday, September 27, 2015

This Week In The Library @JCHS: September 21-25, 2015


Wendy Cope, Librarian at Woodstock Middle School and Media Specialist of the Year for Cherokee County, GA, came to visit the JCHS Library during her Fall Break.  We were delighted to have Wendy come see how we have shaken things up this year from genrefying the collection to setting up our MakerSpace.  

I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Cope at the Georgia School Librarians Association Summer Conference this past summer.  I attended her MakerSpace session and learned so much.  What I liked most about Wendy when I first met her was her enthusiastic personality.  She is a dynamic individual filled with wonderful ideas that she is willing to share! 

Wendy jumped right into the day helping and talking with students, faculty members and administrators.  I was excited for Wendy to see how James Clemens High School runs "lunch" as we ditched the traditional lunch waves for a Refuel Hour.  Our students love this change and it allows for students to choose the direction that hour will take.  I am pleased to say that many students use this time to tinker, explore, discover and create in the new JCHS Library MakerSpace.  

Together, Wendy and I were able to collaborate, think out and put up the beginnings of a Banned Books Week display.  During this time we discussed how important it is for librarians to get out of their little isolated spots in the library and visit other libraries, public and school, as often as possible to keep your mind fresh and sharp looking for new ideas to incorporate for your patrons.

After Wendy left for Georgia I looked at the JCHS Library through new eyes and made some changes to the arrangement of the MakerSpace.  I certainly wish Wendy had stayed for another day or two because the changes I made caused traffic to the JCHS Library MakerSpace increase dramatically!

I hope to visit Wendy Cope soon at her school during my Fall Break in October!  Watch out Wendy! Here I come!

Class Visit

Ms. Humphrey's students came to the library this week for story time. We read, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.  After reading this story we talked about food chains and played a food chain game from BrainPop.

After story time was over we made our way from the Harvard Room into the JCHS Library to check out books and spend time in the MakerSpace.  

Professional Development

Dr. Jim Knight, Instructional Coach and author, brought his years of study and wisdom to Madison City Schools leading two 3 hour workshops on building better communication skills.  

This was definitely one professional development session that I felt was well worth my time.  It has provided me with realistic strategies I can use to become a better communicator.  I also loved how Dr. Knight had us divide into groups using a "clock".  I plan on stealing and using this idea next time I present! 

Library Collection

In the realm of "behind the scenes librarian stuff" is working on a book order.  This week I was finally able to take a moment to get our first book order created.  When preparing the book order many factors were considered.  Genrefying the collection this year let me know what areas we need to build.  I also reviewed our automated system to see what long term missing books needed to be replaced.  The most important part of creating a book order is listening to your patrons and what they want to read.  To get student and faculty input regarding books they would like to see added to the library collection, a Google Form was created and widely advertised.  

Tech Tips of the Week: September 21-25, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Not Your Average Book Club (NYABC)

(Not Your Average Book Club)

I have been waiting for this week to come ever since the school year began because it is the first week that our new Not Your Average Book Club (NYABC) got to finally meet!  

To get members signed up I released a video detailing what type of book club we would have this year and asked students if they were cut out to be a member of the NYACB!

At James Clemens High School clubs are held during the day during Refuel Hour, not before or after school.  Due to this change, most clubs only get to meet for 30 minutes once a month.  Fortunately the Not Your Average Book Club is mostly virtual so time and date restrictions don't bother us; although was nice to all be together in the same place and the same time!

Unlike other book clubs you might be familiar with, the NYABC does not focus on all members reading and discussing the same book.  The NYABC focus is to connect club members with other school book clubs across the country. The two clubs we are currently connecting with are the #2JennsBookClub and the SWVBC or Somewhat Virtual Book Club.  

The #2JennsBookClub meets via Twitter.  During their twitter sessions participants discuss the book chosen for that date. Additionally, the #2JennsBookClub has the authors of the book participating LIVE during the twitter chat! As if that wasn't awesome enough, the #2JennsBookClub also gives away great prizes during each session!  

NYABC members get to choose whether to participate in the #2JennsBookClub or not. The choice is theirs to make. 

To learn more about the #2JennsBookClub click HERE.

The SWVBC or Somewhat Virtual Book Club meets using Google Hangouts. This way students from around the nation can see and talk with each other about the books they have read.  

The SWVBC meets once a month at 5 pm CT. Since this is after school students from the NYABC who would like to participate do so from home.  

The first SWVBC was September 2nd.  We decided to let students share some of their favorite books from the summer.  I was so proud of my NYABC member, Hailey, of making it onto the Google Hangout as there were some crazy technical glitches.

The next SWVBC meeting will be Wednesday, October 7 at 5PM Central Time to discuss I'll Give You the Sun. Mira Costa will be moderating.

The SWVBC November book is The Impossible Knife of Memory.

Again, NYABC members can decide if this is something they would like to participate in or not.

In addition to joining in the conversation with #2JennsBookClub and/or the SWVBC, NYABC members will get to help create a budget for purchasing new books for the JCHS Library, create book talkers, and more!

During our next meeting on October 16th we will have a NYABC "social" with punch, finger foods, and snacks.  While club members are eating and socializing they will also be given the opportunity to create book talkers or work on the book budget.  

As you can see, the NYABC is student centered and student driven.  Members get out of the club what they put into it and I love that it feels relaxed and happy and doesn't add to the stress of a full school load. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MakerSpace Ribbon Cutting & Big Reveal

Thursday, September 3, 2015 Sandy Brand, Librarian at Liberty Middle School, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new library MakerSpace.  

Creating a MakerSpace for the Liberty Middle School library has been a dream of Sandy's since she came to Liberty a year ago.  She had worked hard all last year and over the summer to make this dream a reality.  

Students started the school year a month ago and have been chattering about what could possibly be behind the big area covered with a black curtain in the library.  With the ribbon cutting ceremony students, teachers, parents and community members were finally able to see all of Ms. Brand's hard work and the amazing array of items students will now be able to use to create, discover, explore and learn.  

In attendance at the ribbon cutting were Madison City central office personnel, PTSO members, students, parents, Mayor Troy Trulock, and the local news media.

Students are certainly in for an exciting school year in the library at Liberty Middle School!

See more posts about the Liberty Middle School MakerSpace below:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Week in the Library@JCHS: August 24-28, 2015

You never know what will happen in the JCHS Library!

Class Visits

This week the library "hosted" classes for STAR Testing, saw Ms. Hamilton's students as they worked on a really cool project for Chemistry, and we read and did arts & crafts with Ms. Humphrey's students.

Ms. Hamilton's Chemistry students are researching about scientists and creating birth certificates, wedding certificates, designing, drawing, researching and more! Ms. Hamilton really kicked what could have been a boring research assignment up a notch! The kids were engaged and excited about what they were creating.

Ms. Humphrey's class read The Napping House by Audrey Wood. After reading we created rainbows just like the beautiful rainbow at the end of the story.  Our awesome student aides even got into the creative fun!

Ditching Dewey

Much progress has been made in our effort to ditch dewey and genre-fy the library collection.  We have four free standing "kiosk" shelving units in the middle of the library in between the computers and the MakerSpace.  I have put the following in these four kiosks: Arts & Crafts (mostly 700s plus matching biographies), Sports (fiction, non fiction & biographies), Biographies (all others), and one kiosk w/a mix of career, picture books, graphic novels, and vintage fiction.  

We are also making progress with the rest of our genre sections and can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel.  In just the short three weeks we have been in school we have already noticed an increase in book circulation as our genre sections form.  Students have also told us how much they like the new set up and how much easier it is for them to find the books they like to read!


The JCHS Library MakerSpace went through some growing pains this week as students continue getting use to the one hour Refuel Hour and what type of behavior is acceptable. 

One student finally completed a charm bracelet she made from items in the MakerSpace Arts & Crafts section! It turned out so good!

The students building the K'nex Roller Coaster completed it this week and it works GREAT!

Students were also introduced to the art of book folding this week.  Ms. Johnson, the JCHS Library Aide, has found some pretty amazing patterns and discarded books for the students to use.

Students also continued discovering the fun of Makey Makey, Dash & Dot, the Green Screen Room, Coding, Google Cardboard and more!

Coming to the JCHS Library MakerSpace soon:

Library Promotions 

As we have genre-fied the library collection we have become aware of areas in which we need more books.  These include manga, anime, picture books, and classics.  Also, our MakerSpace still needs some board games, card games, and 1000+ puzzles.  We now also need items for our Photo Booth: hats, feather boas, funny glasses, etc. 

To encourage students to donate these items we have started a Library Bucks program.  

Students can donate needed items specified to earn library fine forgiveness and/or use the credit toward printing fees.

Coming Soon

Next week the JCHS Library launches an "inspirational quote" contest.  We have a great deal of blank wall space in the library and would like to use our new Cricut to make wall quotes.  The inspirational quote contest will determine which quote will go right above the library doors for all to see as they leave the library to go about the rest of their day.

Tech Tips of the Week

This is our weekly tech tips S'more Newsletter:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This Week in the Library@JCHS: August 17-21, 2015

Watch the original video HERE

In The News

This week JCHS was featured by the local news reporting on our bold new lunch approach known as, Refuel Hour.  As you can see from the video the JCHS Library and it's MakerSpace was prominently featured.  Students can be seen in the JCHS Library using computers to study and catch up on homework, others can be seen coding Dash & Dot, programming the Makey Makey, creating in the Arts and Crafts area, and directing videos using our green screen room.  

Class Visits

Ms. Beckett, Mr. Burkett, Ms. Turner, Ms. Steinert, and 
Ms. Humphrey's classes came to visit the JCHS Library this week.  

Ms. Beckett's 12 grade English classes learned about Google Classroom while also summarizing, "Get Up and Bar the Door", medieval Scots ballad about a battle of wills between a husband and wife.  

Ms. Humphrey's students were introduced to the book app, EPIC! Books for Kids.  From the app we read the book, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.  We then explored the library makerspace and checked out books. We had lots of fun playing with Dash & Dot and the green screen room!

Ditching Dewey

Ms. Johnson and the JCHS Library student aides continued pulling books off shelves, labeling genres and reorganizing books via genre.  Already our circulation statistics are on the rise and all student reviews about this change are positive.

We also spent this week creative new signage for our genre sections using our Cricut Explore Air.  Once the JCHS Library has completed our various signage projects the Cricut will become a part of the arts and crafts are of the makerspace.  

Upcoming News

As the JCHS Library creates new spaces we have also become aware of areas that are in need of improvement.  To help build these areas the JCHS Library will begin a sort of bartering system for our areas of need.  In exchange for board games, card games, 1000 piece or more puzzles, and books in these genres: anime, manga, classics and everybody books (picture boos/easy readers) the JCHS Library will forgive library fines and/or give printing credit.

Social Media

Keep up with all the adventures in the JCHS Library via our social media feeds.

Flickr Images by Day

August 17, 2015

August 18, 2015

August 19-20, 2015

August 21, 2015

Tech Tips of the Week

Each week the JCHS Library offers Tech Tips of the Week via S'more, an online newsletter.