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Showing posts from April, 2013

The News of the Successful School Librarians vs. BESE and Louisiana is Spread

There are have been op-ed pieces, news articles and blogs touting the wonderful job that the school librarians did in rallying the troops to oppose changes that would have opened the door to ridding schools of librarians and libraries.

Here are some links from around the state of Louisiana that you might like to read. Here is a blog post from Robert Mann explaining that librarians and counselors are not an option in schools. The local NPR station, WWNO in New Orleans, reported on the librarians win. Will Sentell of  The Advocate, in Baton Rouge, reported how unusual it is to turn around decisions that lawmakers want to make. This last article is about the state of school librarians across the US and was written by the president of ALA, Maureen Sullivan.

If you want to read my blog post summing up the long process of convincing lawmakers not to mess with school librarians, open the link here.

Teens Share Their Thoughts on New YA Books

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Last week, SLJTeen published reviews written by members of Bookmarked, the PFTSTA high school book group, for the books that are pictured above. Open here to read these reviews.

BESE Reverses Decision to Amend Bulletin 741 for School Librarians

This is all about school librarians, not just school libraries. Let me start by saying that you could have a school library without a librarian but what would be the point. I am a professional librarian. I have over 20 years of experience, a Master's degree and awards to prove it. The years that I have spent honing my skills could never be replaced by a paraprofessional, clerical, or parent volunteer. You could have those people running a library, but it would not be the same as what a professional can do in managing the library, developing a program, collaborating with administrators and teachers, teaching lessons, providing reader's advisory, planning events to celebrate libraries and literacy, and on and on and on and on. I have no clue why lawmakers and school administrators think that librarians are not indispensable to an exemplary school program. There are numerous studies that have illustrated how students' test scores go up in schools with a certified librarian a…

Another Infographic about School Librarians and What They Do

I found this infographic that lists 27 things that a school librarian can do for their school community. Click here to find the infographic by Mia MacMeekin.

Speaking to Librarians at the National Catholic Educational Association Conference

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On April 2nd, I did something that I have never done before. I got on a plane at 6:30AM to go to Houston, and by 7PM that night I was back home in New Orleans and getting ready to walk my dog. Back in October, I received a call from the Catholic Librarian Association (CLA) asking if I would speak at their national conference about using digital resources in the library. I was hesitant at first because I have had to be away from school a number of days this year when I spoke at different conferences around the state of Louisiana. When my principal offered her support, I agreed to speak. As I was making my plans to attend, it just seemed too easy to go up for the day because the flight to Houston is less than an hour. 
The title of my talk was, "Become a 21st Century School Librarian by Harnessing the Internet." In the talk I gave a run down of all the electronic tools I use to promote the library and the library program at PFTSTA. I brought an edited Prezi that freshman, Mar…

BESE Responds by Editing Revisions to Bulletin 741

Students spoke and BESE listened, sort of. BESE received more letters from students than anyone else in support of school libraries in Louisiana. What a wonderful testament to the librarians who run those libraries. Students know how much they have to lose if their school libraries are shuttered.

Open here to find section 1705 (with the most up to date revisions) of Bulletin 741, the Louisana handbook for school administrators. The sections marked in yellow are the additions that were made after BESE received letters from the public. The first page of this document is in regards to school counselors, scroll down to the second page to read about the school librarians.

Open here to read the summary of public comments that BESE received regarding changes to school counselors and school librarians in Bulletin 741. Again, the counselors are mentioned first, and you must scroll down to read about the responses to the school librarians.

Okay, the librarians did not exactly what they wanted bec…

Collaboration Infographic from NCLE and AASL

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I am a big fan of infographics. They tell a story quickly with research data, and as a visual learner, they make it easy for me to understand and remember what I am reading. There have been many created recently in the field of education. I haven't made my first one yet, but I certainly like to share them when I find a good one. The following infographic was created by the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) and was posted on the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) website
Collaboration is an important component of 21st Century Skills, and librarians are great models for collaboration as you can see below. Also, librarians engage in professional development for lifelong learning and share what they learn with other teachers. I love being part of a profession that values learning beyond the classroom, beyond the school building, beyond the district and so on. Visit AASL, and you can download your own copy of this infographic. 



Check Out the Status of Our New School

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It has been several months since I have driven by the new school. So last Saturday, I took a ride over there to take some pictures. The trailers in the front of the school that blocked your view as you drove by are now gone. The chain link fence that surrounded the site is gone. The parking lots in the front and the back have been poured, and though there was a semblance of a plastic fence to keep you from walking on the parking lot, it was easy to walk across the parking lot and get a good view of the building. Yes, we are planning to move in and begin the 2013-14 school year in this space. 





Winners Announced for Follett Challenge, PFTSTA was Not One of Them

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I worked so hard on the application and getting votes. I am really sad that we did not win, but I always knew that it was a possibility. Congrats to the six schools who won the Challenge. They seemed to have some awesome programs at their schools.

Teens Like New Books From Established Authors

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All three teen reviews in this edition of SLJTeen were written for books by established authors. Many of the teens have favorite authors that they will read regardless of the quality of the book, but it is nice to hear that the students enjoyed these books by Sarah Dessen, Francesca Lia Block and Jaclyn Moriarity. Click here to read the reviews.

Students Don't Want to Lose Their School Libraries

In December, I posted some letters that students wrote telling BESE what they thought about the revisions to Bulletin 741 that would allow school administrators to eliminate school libraries. BESE is planning to talk about this issue at their next meeting. Some of the teachers decided to give an assignment that would combine preparation for standardized testing and writing a letter to BESE. The students were given a writing prompt to write a persuasive letter explaining why they want to keep their school libraries opened with a certified librarian at the helm. All of the students wrote a letter. Some even chose to take the other side. They thought is would be easier to argue even if they did not agree with it. I am going to mail some of the best letters to BESE, but I wanted to share a couple with you. These students were really thoughtful with their responses, and believe that the school librarian and library offer them a better education. 


April 2, 2013 Dear BESE Members: A librarian’s…

Winning a Chance to Attend ALA 2013 in Chicago

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Last year, I had such a good time attending the ALA Annual conference away from home that I knew I wanted to go again. I just didn't know how I was going to fund the conference and a summer vacation. So when EBSCO and ALA announced in the fall about a scholarship to attend ALA Annual, I wrote 250 words on how attending ALA would contribute to my professional development. I found out a couple of weeks ago that I had won. I didn't want to post here until ALA announced it. Which they did yesterday. Open this link to read the press release about the seven winners. I am the only school librarian. The only stipulation for this scholarship is that we attend the EBSCO breakfast on Sunday, otherwise I can schedule my time at the conference any way that I want. I have never been to Chicago so I am not only thrilled about the conference but also thrilled about seeing Chicago. My husband is going with me, and we are going to stay an extra day so that I can actually visit a museum or take…

Have You Written Your Letter to BESE?

Below is the letter that I wrote to Louisiana's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) asking them not to revise Bulletin 741 which would allow school administrators to eliminate school libraries. Please write your own letter and let them know how you feel. All letters must be received in the Baton Rouge office by April 8th. 
BESE Members Attn: Heather Cope, Executive Director  Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Box 94064 Capitol Station Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064
March 31, 2013
Dear BESE members, 
I have been teaching in Louisiana schools for over 30 years, and I have been a librarian for two thirds of my teaching career. I am a nationally award winning school librarian who is as viable today in the classroom as I was when I began my career. It really saddens me that it has been a continuous fight at the local level and now the state level to keep school librarians in the schools. Yes, in a sense that fight is helping me to keep the job that I love so much. …