Scheduling Virtual Visits with Authors

Joy McCullough, author of Blood Water Paint

Putting authors in front of my students at Taylor has always been a goal of mine, and I have been lucky over the years to have had many authors visit our school since 2008. Getting authors to visit in house is not always possible for many reasons, so I have supplemented face to face visits with virtual visits. Skype use to be my method of choice until my school district blocked it. Since then, we have been using FaceTime quite effectively. So far everyone who I have scheduled for a virtual visit has some Apple device that allows us to use FaceTime. 

Bookmarked and Girl Up
(High School with Joy McCullough)

I was early on the bandwagon for skyping with authors, and I could always find an author who had time to talk. Now, it has gotten more difficult as more librarians and teachers are asking for these virtual visits. I have such a small budget that I would rather spend library money on purchasing the author's books for my students to read than for paying the author. Not that I don't think their time is worth something, but my budget is so very small. 

BRiMS with Nikki Loftin
(Middle School)
The last couple of years I have used a program through Source Books to find authors willing to give us 30 minutes of their time. This worked great for us as the only monetary requirement for me was to purchase some of the author's books. I had difficulty connecting with Source Books this year, and I was on my own to find the authors. 

Asking Nikki a question

I did a search of the Internet for links to authors who Skype (for free) and also used Skype in the Classroom to find authors. After many emails went out, I made a connection with Nikki Loftin for my middle school book group and Joy McCullough for my high school book group. We made these visits in early December. Both were excellent. You can read more about these authors and what they had to say on the links above to the library website. 

All I can say is that it is important for students to meet the people who write the books that they read and love, and it is our job as librarians to help make this happen. With social media and the Internet we can make these connections. Even without a live visit, students can meet authors through You Tube videos and their personal websites. 


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