Wednesday, October 30, 2013

AASL Embraces the Unconference Model

Created by Gwyneth Jones

Thanks to the Bound To Stay Bound Grant I am attending my first ever national library conference in just a few short weeks.  Who knew that when I received this grant I would be part of a ground breaking, earth shattering, never attempted before unconference event?!  

As the Co Founder of EdCamp Atlanta and an EdCamp Junkie, Joyce Valenza had no trouble convincing me to jump on board to help make an AASL Unconference event happen, even if it is way after my bedtime! 

If you have never attended an EdCamp event or an Unconference you are missing one of the BEST professional development experiences of your life! 

So what makes an EdCamp or Unconference so different from the professional developments you are familiar with, even the riveting presentations at AASL and other national education conferences?  The first thing that comes to mind is the people.  The people who attend EdCamps and Unconference events are some of the most innovative, enthusiastic, creative people you will ever encounter.  The people who attend EdCamp and Unconference events ignite a spark in anyone they get near.  You leave an EdCamp or Unconference event knowing you have made valuable friends that will be there long after the event to spur you on as you bravley move forward with innovated lessons in your classroom, library and school.  The second thing that comes to mind is the format of an EdCamp or Unconference event.  There are NO planned sessions.  That's right.  No planned sessions.  When you walk into an EdCamp or Unconference event there is a blank session board.  Participants fill in the session board with topics they are interested in sharing or learning more about.   There are no "sit & get" sessions at an EdCamp or Unconference event.  The sessions are truly participant driven round table discussions where every voice is valued.

I know it's late and past most of our bedtimes, but this is an event you just cannot miss.  Once you have experienced an EdCamp or Unconference event you will have to have more!

Learn more about #AASLUncon here:

You can also download the #AASLUncon App by following the steps below:

Download iPhone App: YappBox

Click "View a Yapp"

Enter your name & 4VTTCF

Click the blue ADD button in the top right hand corner then click on app to open:


This Week in The Library@HHS October 21-25, 2013

A Visit From Katie Jane:
Katie Jane from the Hoover Public Library is always a special treat that Ms. Hollis & Ms. Vann's students look forward to each month. Katie Jane brought props with her this time and the kids roared with laughter as Katie Jane told a story about a big brother dinosaur whose little sister follows him everywhere and loves to give him kisses.....YUCK!  Katie Jane keeps the kids and library staff completely engrossed with her amazing storytelling skills.

The Library@HHS staff is a fun, quirky group. Ms. Michaels played a practical joke on our IT guy, Mr. Fulmer.  Read all about our antics HERE

Zombie Display:
The Library@HHS put together an awesome interactive display for October (after Teen Read Week) where we made administrators, teachers and aides into zombies that needed to be matched to their favorite book. The link to the Google Form used for the contest can be found HERE.  The teachers and students all loved the contest with many sharing the zombie makeover pictures via Facebook and Twitter.

Teaching Classes:
In The Library@HHS we are always available to teach classes whether it is library related skills or co teaching to assist teachers in transitioning to the use of a new technology.  This week we taught classes how to use our ebook system, OverDrive, how to use the Alabama Virtual Library, and how to use our Destiny system to search for physical books in the library.  Below is a video I recorded during one of the AVL/Destiny classes. I emailed the video to the teacher so she could put it on her learning management system, Edmodo, for those students who were absent or who needed to review thee video for a "flipped classroom' experience. 

Weeding is one of the most misunderstood tasks that school librarians conduct.  Teachers, students, parents, etc get in a tissy when they see us "throwing away" books, videos, etc. This week The Library@HHS focused our weeding on videos that had not circulated in 5 years or more.  We pulled the video, removed all identifiers from the physical video & box and removed the records from our automated library management system, Destiny.  Our next step is to send out an email to teachers notifying them that the library ahs free videos for the taking.

Speaking of weeding, this email came through today from one of our district librarians:

Question:  Just wondering where do you guys send weeded library books? 

Answer: I offer them to classrooms and if they are not taken I trash them under the cloak of darkness so as not to upset the discard Gods!!!!!

Spreading the Word:
I was invited to present a session about building your PLN with Twitter to the Jefferson County School District Librarians.  They are a fun and energetic group of librarians and I had an great afternoon with them. See my presentation HERE.

I was also asked to write a blog post for OverDrive regarding our Personal Shopping service for students and teachers.  The post that I sent can be found HERE.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Personal Shopping from The Library@HHS

School libraries are a hub of activity, offering an endless variety of services.  At The Library@HHS we like to refer to the library as the “One Stop Shop”.  If we can’t meet your needs we can always connect you with someone who can.

One service that gives us a great deal of joy is Personal Shopping for students.  Personal shoppers help others shop by giving advice and making suggestions to customers usually found in department stores or specialty boutiques. We have taken the Personal Shopper concept and revamped it for the school library.  Typically when we take on the role of a personal shopper it is at the request of a teacher for the students in their classes.  The students are asked to write down the following:
  • Last book read
  • Favorite book(s)
  • Favorite TV Show
  • Favorite movie
  • Hobbies
  • Anything else you think will help us match you to your perfect book

Occasionally the teacher will write the student’s lexile level on the back of the Personal Shopping Card and ask us to find book matches within the indicated reading level.  Matching students to their perfect book is a meticulous process.  On average, for a class of 25 students, it can take 2 to 3 days to find at least three book matches for each student.  

Here is a basic breakdown of the Personal Shopping process.  The teacher collects the personal shopping detail cards from their students and gives them to the librarians.   We take one card at a time, review the information provided and then begin searching our Destiny library management system and our OverDrive account for books that best match each student's interests. This is just the beginning of the Personal Shopping process.  Because we want to provide students with quality books, we spend a great deal of time reading book reviews, checking book award lists, and checking sites like Goodreads and Shelfari for ratings. Students at Hoover High School  have a voracious appetite for books which throws a kink in our personal shopping process as it is often a challenge to actually find the books we have chosen on the shelves available for check out, virtually or physically.  This is a good yet challenging “problem” when serving as a personal shopper.

Once all students have been matched to at least three book choices we schedule the class to come to the library for the big “unveiling” of the books.  

We briefly explain the Personal Shopping process to the students as well as letting the students know that if we haven’t made a successful match we will work with them individually to find the perfect book.  Students are given their book match stack and advised to find a comfortable place to review each of their books.  If they like a book or books in their stack they can check those books out and begin reading.  Any books students did not choose to take with them are put in a central location for others to peruse.  

It is always fun watching students get excited about the books we have chosen for them.  One girl exclaimed, “All of these books are perfect for me!”  

There are always one or two students in each class who we strike out with.  We work with these students one on one and delve deeper into their particular interests.  We are proud to say we have a 100% success rate matching books to readers.  Students often come back just a few days after a personal shopping experience to tell us how much they loved the book and asking us to match them up with another great book.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Silliness in The Library@HHS

The Library@HHS is fortunate to work with a fun, quirky group of people.  Ms. Michaels, one of our extraordinary Library Aides, is amazingly organized and efficient, for which I am eternally grateful.  Labeling items is part of Ms. Michaels organization process.  Mr. Fulmer, one of our IT guys for the high school loves to pick on Ms. Michaels about her "obsession" with labeling often telling her that one day he will come into work and find his door labeled.  


I can't even begin to describe how much fun we had with this and waiting for Mr. Fulmer to discover what had been done to his office!

Recently I read a blog post that lead me to the 21 Days of Gratitude website.  I am grateful everyday that I work with such amazing people both at school and in my PLN.  

This Week in The Library@HHS October 14-18, 2013

We celebrated Teen Read Week in The Library@HHS this week, ending the week with a visit from the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile. Bailey, Don & Luke with OverDrive were a delight!  I look forward to seeing Bailey again at AASL in November.

Because their were only 12 time slots available for a school of almost 3000 students, The Library@HHS held a contest to determine what lucky classes would get to visit the OverDrive Bookmobile.

We also ordered new ebooks in anticipation of the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile visit.

The day was an incredible success!   Almost all of our new ebooks were checked out as well as a large number of other ebooks.  The event really helped to solidify the highly important role of the library in a 1:1 school.

The Library@HHS is also lucky to have a very supportive administration.  All administrators at school came out to tour the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile as well as Melody Greene, our Assistant Superintendent.

Below is a slideshow of some of the classes who were able to visit the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile.

In addition to our Teen Read Week activities we also continued with our Personal Shopping, this time for Mr. Colfield's 1st and 7th period classes.  Personal Shopping is where the students fill out an index card detailing their favorite book(s), TV shows, Movies and what hobbies they pursue in their leisure time.  Using this information we try to match the student to at least three books that we think best matches their personality.  It's a lot of fun for us to brainstorm and exciting for the students to see what books we have selected.  If we haven't successfully matched a student to a book, we work with that student individually to find a more suitable match.

Much, much, much more went on in The Library@HHS this week.  Below is a picture of our calendar from this week.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This Week in The Library@HHS October 7th - 11th

The week of October 7th through 11th, 2013 was a busy one in The Library@HHS but the highlight of the week was our Personal Shopping for Ms. Tew's classes.  Last week Ms. Tew, wanting to increase her students reading, asked us to find books that suited the individual interests of her students. Ms. Tew had students fill out index cards detailing the last book they read, their favorite book, TV Show, movies and hobbies.  Based on this information Ms. Crystal Camp and I matched each student to three books we thought best matched their interests.

Ms. Tew's classes came to the library on Thursday to see what we had picked out for them.  Crystal and I were on pins and needle waiting to see if the students would like our choices.  

We set the books up on top of the bookshelves, explained to students how we made our book choices.  We then set the students loose to find their personalized book stack.

We were thrilled when one student exclaimed, "All three of these books are perfect for me!"  Several students came to Ms. Camp and I to personally thanks us for finding such great books for them.  Students could check out 1, 2 or all 3 of the books we chose for them or if we didn't do a good job matching them to a book they could work with us individually to find the perfect match. 

Students ended their visit to the library by finding a cozy place to read their new found book.

We were delighted when students wrote us Thank You cards but we knew the activity was a true success when they came back to the library telling us about their books and wanting to check out more books because they had spent the entire weekend reading the book we picked out for them.  

With October in full swing it was time to set up a new book display.  I came across a great idea on Pinterest and here is what I came up with:

We have already had quite a few brave souls check out our mystery books!

Other activities included one on one training with Ms. Glass on how to use Google Drive with the Special Education Department and training for the use of Method Test Prep.

Monday, October 7, 2013

New Jersey Association of School Librarians Conference- Panel Discussion

On Saturday, October 5, 2013 I was part of a panel discussion lead by Elissa Malespina at the New Jersey Association of School Librarians Fall Conference.  This was a real treat for me because all of my favorite people were there including Gwyneth Jones, Tiffany Whitehead, and Michelle Cooper.  We also got to see some of our favorite New Jersey librarians as they came forward to ask questions of the panel.

If you missed the session you can watch it below.  The conversation was lively, fun and informative.

This Week in The Library@HHS Sept. 30 - Oct. 4, 2013

One thing we do at the end of each month in The Library@HHS is to send a "statistics" report of library activity to our administrator.

Here is what Ms. Crystal Camp, my co librarian, sent to Principal Hulin on October 1, 2013.

We had another great month in the library.  Below are a few of the highlights from September:

  • 2816 students signed in with individual hall passes. 

  • The Library Staff provided all 9th grade students (approximately 800 students) with an orientation to the library where students learned about OverDrive, WEPA printing, Destiny Quest, and Easy Bib. 

  • Mrs. Camp and Mrs. Robertson visited Ms. Gannon’s classroom to teach students about OverDrive and Destiny.

  • Mrs. Camp visited Mrs. Westerlund’s class and Mr. Walkers classes to teach student about the Alabama Virtual Library. 

  •  Mrs. Robertson created a video tutorial on how to make a shared Google Drive folder for students to turn in assignments for Ms. Kemp. 

  •  Mrs. Michaels created a one day service request form for students.  Since 9/16, we fulfilled 56 students requests for iPad help.  

  •  Approximately 160-170 broken iPads have been processed by the library staff since the beginning of the school year.  (on average, we spend 20 minutes with each broken iPad.  With that in mind, we have spent about 25% of our time with broken iPads.) 

  •  Mrs. Latta laminated for teachers and also printed many posters.  She also assisted Coach Kervin with making an instructional game for his class. 

  • Ms. Robertson and Ms. Camp scheduled 133 teacher calendar requests to book library space, labs, laptop carts, etc. 

We have five main areas of the library can teachers can reserve to use for their classes.  They include a computer lab, library right, library left, the atrium, and the community room. If the lab is full we offer to set teachers up with laptops on either the right or left side of the library.  Mr. Ware's classes were in the library Monday, Tuesday & Friday.  We pulled books for them to use as research sources and also set up laptops for his students to use.

Dr. Kevin W. Whitaker, Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, came to visit and speak with engineering students at Hoover High School this week.  It was exciting to listen to him speak about the choices students have in choosing their path for the future. Below is the first 15 minutes of Dr. Whitaker's visit (We had freezing issues trying to get the rest to upload):

Juddie Walker from Boaz High School came to visit The Library@HHS Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Visiting other libraries and seeing first hand how other librarians run their programs is some of the best professional development you can get.  This is Juddie's first year as a librarian and she is already full of great ideas.  One of the most important things Juddie is doing in her library is change the perception of the library to a positive, active, engaging environment.  

Have you ever heard of Personal Shoppers in the library?!  Well, Personal Shopping is one of the services we offer at The Library@HHS.  This week we were Personal Shoppers for Ms. Tew's classes.  Ms. Tew's students wrote the following on index cards:

We then take the index cards and find three books that best suit each student based on interest indicated on their index cards as well as the Lexile level indicated by the teacher.

Ms. Tew is scheduled to bring her students to the library next week to select the book or books they want from our selections or they can choose for themselves.

We also changed our signage in the library to match the new high tech nature of our school.  We moved form using a dry erase board on an easel to a digital display.  Since there are 5 distinct areas that are used by teachers our signage is important so that students know where to go for class.

This week we also kicked off our Teen Read Week contest for the 12 coveted spots to visit the OverDrive Digital Bookmobile during Teen Read Week.

I also took a moment to put together a "NEW" book display right near the entrance of the library.

Below is a slide show of pictures from the week: