Monday, June 25, 2012

Accepting Award from AASL at ALA Annual

Below is my acceptance speech for the AASL Information Technology Pathfinder Award Secondary. I wanted to post the entire speech because some of the people that I thank were not able to attend the luncheon where I received the award. This was definitely one of the huge highlights of a 30 year teaching career, 21 years as a school librarian. 

Let me tell you that running a school library is the best job on Earth! Winning this award makes me smile, big time.

I am very excited to accept this award from AASL today. Winning this helps validate for me all the hard work that I have done over my 30 years of teaching. In ‘91 I left the classroom to become a school librarian. I took over a library that had a Macintosh SE computer running a circulation program that no one else in my district was using. I had to back up the library on dozens of floppy disks, and we still used a card catalog.

Now let’s fast forward 21 years later, my students can download an app on their smart phone to search the library catalog, as well as conduct research in our databases on that same device. I have been able to create a library website with little knowledge of HTML and with social media can reach out to educators around the world. Librarianship at the end of the 20th century and into the 21st has radically transformed, and I feel lucky that I have had the opportunity to be on the forefront and ride the wave of these changes. 

Before I step down, I would like to thank some people who helped me along the way.
First, the AASL committee that selected me for this award. I am truly honored. I want to thank my principal, Jaime Zapico. She is very patient and listens to every harebrained scheme that I come up with for the school or for the library, and believe it or not many of them actually do work. Also, I had the pleasure of working next door to English teacher, Mary North, for four years before she retired for the second time in 2011. We collaborated on many lessons and units. She was also a great cheerleader of mine. She convinced me that I could compete at the national level. I would never have attempted to apply for this award without her in the wings pushing me onto the stage.

Last, I want to give a shout out of thanks to my husband who is with me today. He has had to suffer with me sitting for hours at the kitchen table tweaking the library website and listening to me as I recorded instructional videos and digital booktalks over and over again to get them just right. Steve, thank you for being there. Without your support, I don’t think that I would be standing here right now. Thank you. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Check Out Article from

A couple of weeks ago I received  a call from Steve Zalusky at ALA. He writes for the online magazine, atyourlibrary. He was calling because he wanted to do an article about technology in school libraries. He had the press release about the award that I am going to receive from AASL. He also wanted some additional talking points from me. I was sitting at home on the computer when he called. I was sort of taken aback, so when I talked, I thought that I might have sounded a little lame. When I write, I get a chance to edit and edit and edit some more so I don't sound like a blathering fool. Lucky for me, I blathered in the right direction. I sounded half way intelligent. As always, I am very passionate about my school library. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Already on My Way to ALA Annual in Anaheim

If you are reading this, then I already arrived in California. This is my first time attending an ALA conference away from home. Living in New Orleans, I have been lucky to attend several conferences over the years just a few minutes from my house. Last year I had so much fun at ALA that I wanted to go this year. Without school funds to attend this conference, I decided to apply for an award that would pay for the airfare and flight to California. I didn't think that I had a chance to win, but I found out in April that I did in fact win. On Monday, June 25th, I will be receiving the American Association of School Librarians Information Technology Pathfinder Award for High School. There is a special luncheon being held, and I will write more on the award later.

First stop when I arrive in Anaheim is to meet up with one of my former students for lunch. She was in first grade when I became a school librarian. I can't wait to see her and find out all about her life as an adult. After that, I will attend the opening session and the opening of the exhibits.

I have a full calendar while there. You can follow all the fun by following the twitter hashtag: #ala12.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Teen Reviews Published On-line in SLJ Teen

Two weeks ago, Bookmarked, the high school library book group at Patrick Taylor Academy was introduced as the new review teen team for SLJ Teen. Reviews will be published twice a month for the next year. Anyone can subscribe to this free newsletter. So open here to complete the form for subscription, and you can get a copy of the teen's reviews in your inbox every two weeks. 

Open here to read this edition's reviews.

Click here to read the reviews

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summertime and the Reading is Easy

Our last day of school was May 25th. I have been a reading fool since the end of May. Boy, does it feel good to get my reading groove back. This happens every year. The end of the year is extremely stressful. I may have a book going, but reading is not a priority. My priority is getting the seniors through graduation and closing the library with only a few lost books and no students left on the library indebtedness list. I accomplished my goals, but some of the books that I was anticipating had to sit quietly until I could find the time to sink my teeth into them.

Here are the highlights of what I have been reading over the last couple of weeks:

A couple of the books I had to read because I was asked to review them. I read Ghosts of the Titanic by Julie Lawson. I can't reveal what I thought until the review is published in Library Media Connection, but I am always looking for titles to recommend to middle school students. This one is for the Titanic fanatic who also likes the paranormal. The other book I had to review was for School Library Journal. It is called The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert. This is the sequel to last year's, Momento Nora. I was not going to review the second in the series without reading the first one. I really wanted to know if you needed to read the first one to enjoy the second. So I pulled Momento Nora off the shelf of the library and read it. This is a small book with some pretty heavy themes. A great choice for the high school reluctant reader who will read science fiction. I really liked Memento Nora, but you will have to read my review of the sequel in an upcoming SLJ

The next book that I read was Marie Lu's Legend. During ALA Annual in Anaheim later this week, I am going to a Penguin dinner with authors Ally Condie, Marie Lu and Jessica Khoury. I love Condie's Matched series, so I was good there. I had bought Legend because it is on the 25 nominated books for YALSA's Teen's Top Ten. If I was a teen, I would definitely nominate it. I loved the two points of view from the characters June and Day. Yes, it is another dystopian story set in the United States, but with the wonderfully complex characters and the intriguing setting in Los Angeles, I think this a real winner. I didn't have new author Khoury's book in my library, so I will have to wait until Anaheim to grab a copy. 

One of the books that I have been waiting so patiently for was the sequel to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, called Bitterblue. I was a big fan when Graceling was published in 2008, about the same time as the Hunger Games. I was pushing both of them to my kids at school. The strong female characters really spoke to me. You know what happened to Hunger Games, but I believe that Cashore's works are equally as compelling. Queen Bitterblue is 17 and ruling her land the best way that she can, but she is frustrated by the lies and cover ups that her advisers seem to be harboring. Some of the characters from Graceling appear at her court and help her untangle some of the puzzle pieces that surround the tyrannic rule of her long dead father. There is even a character's appearance from the companion book, Fire, who makes an appearance. I was hesitant to read any comments or reviews that anyone made about the book, but it is so tempting on Good Reads to see what others had to say. Not everyone was a fan, but I treasured every word. 

I also read the book Wonder by RJ Palicio. There was so much buzz about this middle grade title that I wanted to read it to see if I agreed with the other readers. As I started the book, I really didn't think Auggie Pullman rang true. A fifth grader with such an understanding of the world just didn't seem possible to me. As the book progressed with the multiple points of view from the various characters, I gained an appreciation of the premise. I felt that the multiple points of view really gave an insight to the reader about Auggie's facial deformity and how others perceived him. Maybe students won't pick up this title, but I think that it would make a good class read aloud where the teacher can have some focused discussions on tolerance/intolerance. 

More later and happy reading. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Now Introducing Bookmarked

The high school book group, Bookmarked, will be reviewing books for SLJ Teen, an enewsletter from School Library Journal. Check out our first article here: Now Introducing Bookmarked.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My First Ever Giveaway: The Letter Q

A few months ago I watched a video from Scholastic promoting some of their new young adult titles for spring. Since the students in Bookmarked, the high school book group, are reading advanced reading copies (ARCs) for Teen's Top Ten, I thought that they would enjoy the video too because we had received many of the titles at school. One of the books that we received was The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon and released May 1, 2012. I loved the premise of this work, and the idea that well respected published writers could offer some insights to young people today who are concerned or questioning their lives as LGBT people. These kids need all the love and support that they can get and putting good books on this topic on the shelves of our libraries is important. 

Here is a description of this wonderful work of non-fiction: 
In this anthology, sixty-four award-winning authors and illustrators such as Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Jacqueline, Woodson, Terrence McNally, Gregory Maguire, David Levithan, and Armistead Maupin, make imaginative journeys into their pasts, telling their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people. Through stories, in pictures, with bracing honesty, these are words of love, messages of understanding, reasons to hold on for the better future ahead. They will tell you things about your favorite authors that you never knew before. And they will tell you about yourself. 

You can find more information about this book on The Letter Q on Facebook:

PS: There are two books to give away, so if you would like a chance to win a copy of this book, just enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway (You have until June 15th to enter this contest)

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