Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ready for #Nerdlution?

Thanks to Colby Sharp I am re-evaluating my priorities. How can I challenge myself to be better? How can I better help my students?  What could really make a difference in mine and their lives? I have decided to do at least one good deed a day for fifty days. I will go out of my way to do something special everyday for someone- it could be a teacher, administrator or a student.  The best part??? I am going to do it anonymously! Let's see how creative I can be disguising my good deeds! Have any suggestions? Just let me know!  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


American Association of School Librarians Conference 2013

     Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my first national conference. My road to the American Association of School Librarians Conference started in June 2013 with a simple tweet.  Shawna Ford tweeted that she needed a roommate for #AASL13.  Wow! I wanted to go and tweeted her immediately!  Did it matter that I only knew her from Twitter? No!  She was a librarian, and that meant she would be fabulous.  (Although, Shawna's family & friends were concerned I might be a homicidal maniac!) With the support of my awesome principal, I soon had plans to attend my first national conference. Then Carolyn Foote asked if I would like to present in the eLearning Commons.  Would I? Try and stop me!  I was so excited about AASL would it ever live up to my expectations?
                                                     Presenting in the eLearning Commons

Without a doubt the highlight of AASL was meeting the librarians I admire and respect. I have collaborated with some for years, but have never actually met them in person.  The TL News Night team is fabulous, and I finally had the chance to meet all my colleagues.  Yes, they were just as nice in person as I thought they would be!  The live TL News Night show from the eLearning Commons was a great experience. Usually we only see each other on a Google Hangout, and it was fun to experience the excitement first hand.

There was even an unconference organized by Joyce Valenza that rocked into the night with everyone learning, collaborating and having their voice heard.  The eLearning Commons was a huge success thanks to all the hard work of Carolyn Foote.  A big thank you to everyone involved in organizing the American Association of School Librarians Conference held in Hartford, Connecticut.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Digital Shift 2013

The Community Joins In:  Library Makerspaces

I had a wonderful experience presenting for The Digital Shift 2013! My fabulous co-presenters were Justin Hoenke from the Chattanooga Public Library and Amy Koester from St. Charles City County Library District. You can read about my co-presenters at The Digital Shift and view our slides below.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Teamwork: Lion Style

Showing your School Spirit

This past week was homecoming at Henderson High School, and everyone showed their lion spirit!  The week was filled with fun dress up days and special events.  This week I was adopted by the science department. We transformed ourselves into "lions" to cheer on our favorite lions--our students. We even made a special guest appearance at the pep rally.  What I learned most this week is how blessed I am to work at HHS.  We truly love our students and fellow teachers.  I am honored to be a part of the Magnificent Seven.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Being a Connected Librarian Rocks!

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to join connected librarians Elissa Malespina, Gwyneth Jones, Nikki Robertson and Tiffany Whitehead on a panel for the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.  
I had a blast and the following tweet sums it up nicely.

We discussed great resources for connecting with colleagues in our profession.  Twitter was at the top of the list for sharing, collaborating, and making connections.  Are you using Twitter yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Twitter offers the best professional development 24/7 for FREE.  Did I mention free?   Aside from making connections, Twitter provides a forum for numerous professional chats.  A few of my favorites include:
               #TLchat 2nd Tuesday at 8:00 pm EST
               #Edchat Every Tuesday at 7:00 pm EST
               #TXEDchat Every Wednsday at 8:30 pm CST
               #TXLchat 2nd & 4th Tuesdays at 8:00 pm CST
For more educational chats, hashtags and Twitter resources for educators, visit Jerry Blumengarten's Cybraryman page.  Happy tweeting! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Paying It Forward: The Power of a PLN

Paying It Forward: The Power of a PLN

Do you have a professional learning network of educators you can call on for advice, resources and inspiration? Everyone deserves a PLN as amazing as the one I have been fortunate enough to build. My network includes librarians, teachers, tech experts, principals, authors, and many virtual colleagues. They motivate me on a daily basis and challenge me to be a better person--not just for me, but for the students. As a librarian, I sometimes feel isolated. Since I became a connected educator, I know guidance, support, and collaboration are only a click a way.  Educators across the nation share many of the same challenges, concerns and goals.  Our greatest resource is each other.
Please meet a few of my PLN:

Sharon Gullett has been my teacher, mentor and friend for more years than I can remember. When I was just a shy quiet librarian student, she saw potential in me. Potential I did not see in myself at the time. She pushed me out of my comfort zone over and over again because she knew I would rise to the challenge. Today I speak at conferences, lead professional development, and view everyday as a learning opportunity because of Sharon's influence. I cannot ever repay her, but I can pay it forward to the students, teachers and administrators I come into contact with daily.

Scott Floyd is a true change agent and visionary. He works tirelessly to create an environment whereby students and teachers have the technology resources, freedom and leadership to achieve their goals. He inspires me to make a difference and always be forward thinking.

Nikki Robertson is a rock star librarian and friend. She creates innovative library programs and is a leader among school librarians.  One tweet to Nikki, and we have a whole new adventure-TL News Night. We hold a monthly newscast featuring school library news and in depth discussions with a panel of school library leaders.  The all-star panel includes Elissa Malespina, Sue Levine, Tamara Cox and Shannon Miller. I am honored to be a member of TL News Night Crew.

Terry Everitt is my principal, but he is also a man of character our students and teachers admire and respect.  His motto is, "Make Everyday Count." What a simple but powerful statement.  Our students need us every single day. They need us to genuinely care, provide guidance, and be dependable role models. We never know the day our students may need us the most. Can they count on you?

If you have not taken the time to build a personal learning network, now is the time. Join a network of connected educators! As Helen Keller once said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Vampires vs. Werewolves vs. Immortals

Fictional Book Character Smackdown

What better time to start a Vampires vs. Werewolves vs. Immortals Book Character Smackdown than October?  My students have worked hard to create brackets for our most popular characters similar to March Madness. 

The students began voting today for their favorite characters using a Google form.  Each week we will announce the winners and get closer to crowning our ultimate victor. We had numerous requests to put Edward and Jacob from Twilight on opposite sides of the bracket. Many of our students are hoping for an Edward and Jacob showdown! Girls and guys both are busy predicting who will win the first round and attempting to persuade their classmates' choices. May the best vampire, werewolf, or immortal win! Stay posted for the results on Halloween.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TL News Night

A few weeks ago my long time mentor and friend, Sharon Gullett, expressed that she would like to see me create a video podcast for school librarians. What a great idea!  I knew just who to call.  My talented friend, Nikki Robertson, would be the perfect person to help start this new adventure. In a few days we had a title and direction for the show, an awesome team of librarians, and guests for the first broadcast.  This little dream had become a reality-FAST. 

Monday night was the inaugural broadcast.  We welcomed guests from the New York Association of School Librarians.  Hearing their story of cutbacks, lost positions, and massive budget cuts rang all too true. Librarians across our great nation are losing their place in our libraries. Now is the time for us to become leaders in our libraries, schools and communities. I admire school librarians because I know the love and dedication we have for our students. We do make a difference!

Our next broadcast is October 21, 2013. Please join us as we highlight the Texas Library Association and discuss librarians as leaders in our changing world.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cool Tech Tool: Blendspace


You may have previously heard of Edcanvas. Now it has a new name Blendspace.  This cool tech tool allows you to add content from YouTube, Google, Vimeo, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, files from your computer, and much more onto one page with one link to share.  Teachers can create easy to access lessons and tutorials for their students. Quizzes and documents can be added seamlessly.  Teachers can create classes in Blendspace and have their students create accounts.  Those students can then be added to the correct class. Once finished creating the lesson, you can play it, and share it with others. Blendspace lessons can be shared on Edmodo, Facebook, email, embed code, QR code, or you can share the link with anyone.  A searchable gallery of lessons is also available on Blendspace. If the author allows, you can copy the lesson and edit it. Play the video above for a quick tutorial. Create something awesome!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

If you give a student...


     I have always loved the book series If You Give a Mouse a Cookie written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond.  Once my son came along, it warmed my heart to see him fall in love with this book series too. His personal favorite is If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Reflecting on the magic of these books, helped me realize the whole journey begins with If.  What a magical word.  Anything is possible with If.
     Students walk through our doors everyday ready for If.  What if this is the day I succeed,  create a masterpiece, go on a real life adventure, or learn something wonderful?  What could our young people accomplish if we, as educators, gave them...RESPECT, SUPPORT, HONESTY, FREEDOM,  and SAFETY . What Ifs could they dream and accomplish?
     I always want my students to know I value them, and they have great worth in my book. Above all, they matter to me.   Respect is an amazing trait to model for young people.  If you respect them consistently, they reciprocate, and they pass that gift along to their friends and family.
     Students arrive at our school every morning. Some are ready for a new day, and some are not.  Our students have diverse backgrounds, and no one student's circumstances are the same as another.  What I can give is my unwavering support. I am never too busy that I cannot stop and help a student.  Support can come in many forms.  As a classroom teacher I sent postcards to students' parents.  I would describe something great their child accomplished in class, a good deed the student performed, or how much I enjoyed teaching that young person.  I never really thought twice about it. I just sent them out and forgot about them.  Years later, a student came up  to me and thanked me. The student said his family still had that postcard hanging on the wall of their house. Wow! Now that student is all grown up and works in my school district. It is his turn to pay it forward.
     One of the best gifts educators can give and receive is the opportunity to get connected with students. Our young people are amazingly talented, humorous, creative, and gifted with no preconceived notions about what can be accomplished in life. Students want educators to be 'real' with them. They want our honesty. Students deal with tough issues in this day and time. I hope all my students know they can come to me when they are in need. I cannot always help them myself, but I can always get them help.  School counselors are an amazing resource, and they are trained to deal with tough issues.  When students know you truly care, they will share their accomplishments, disappointments, goals, and dreams.
     When possible, I always allow students to make their own choices about learning.  Who does not like freedom? Students will take ownership and invest in the learning process when they feel empowered. Student choice also creates a more authentic learning environment.  Students learn in many ways, and I admire those who respect that fact. Not everyone learns like me, and I never want to force my learning style on others.
     As I focus on giving young people respect, support, honesty and freedom, I remind myself that student safety is paramount. If I do not provide a safe and secure environment, then no learning takes place. Safety is a basic necessity and must be established first.  Once students know they are secure, respected, and supported, our young people can begin to dream. As I start a new week,  I am focusing on a small, magical word...If 

If you give a student RESPECT, SUPPORT, HONESTY, FREEDOM, AND SAFETY, they will rise, and rise, and rise.....How far?  As far as he or she chooses.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ready to Collaborate? Join the AASL Conference Ning!


As school librarians, one of our greatest resources is our ability to collaborate with fellow professionals in our field.   The American Association of School Librarians is helping to facilitate collaboration by asking all school librarians to join the AASL Conference Ning.  Even if you are unable to attend the AASL Conference, join the Ning to share ideas, resources, and develop professional relationships with fellow librarians.  As Helen Keller once stated, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Please take a few minutes to visit the AASL Ning and join today! http://ning.aasl.org/

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

#TXLchat is Back!

Welcome back to a great new school year!  The new season of #TXLchat starts at 8:00 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday, September 10, 2014.  We will discuss back to school ideas, resources and more.  #TXLchat is expanding to an hour long chat this year on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.  We have an expert group of librarians serving as moderators who are professionals in the field of library science.  

                                               Sharon Gullett      @sharongullett
                                               Marsha Edney      @EdneyLib
                                               Naomi Bates        @yabooksandmore
                                               Sue Fitzgerald      @sue_fitz
                                               Sandra Carswell   @ sandracarswell
                                               Sonja Schulz        @sonjaschulz
                                               Michelle Cooper   @_michellecooper

Join us for library resources, great ideas, special guests, and more to help you and your library this year!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Got E-Books?

     Are you a Destiny user? Do you have Follett Shelf? Well, there is an app to help your students find the books they want!  With Destiny Quest students can log into Destiny to access their personal account. From the app students can search your online catalog, view books, check out and return e-books on the Follett Shelf, and manage their bookshelf.  
     I am spending the next week visiting all our high school English classes to show students and teachers how to use the Destiny Quest app.  I love the search feature in Quest.  Students can search my entire catalog of books, print and digital.  Students wanting a print book can put a hold on the book immediately. Students can view resource lists that teachers prepare and digital resource links to databases.  The account setting allows students to see any books they currently have checked out, titles on hold, and any fines the students may have. The bookshelf feature shows students what they are currently reading, books they want to read, and books they have already read. A new arrivals feature allows students to see the latest books hitting the library shelves.  Students I have already shown the app to love the top ten section. This is a list of the top ten most circulated books in the library. 
     I am a strong believer of books in any format for our students. Many of our students still love the book they can hold in their hand, but a new group of young people is emerging who expect digital content. I want our library to be ready for book lovers of any format.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What is your big dream this school year?

For me the start of a new school year is almost magical. New students, new teachers, new hopes, new dreams....the list goes on and on. Anything is possible in a fresh new year. The most important part of a new school year is your dream. What is your big dream this year?  I am asking students, teachers, administrators, and all school staff to share their dreams for the coming school year. Students are beginning to jot their dreams down on post it notes and stick them to our dream board. Soon, I hope, it will be covered with dreams.  If you are like me, you have too many dreams to put on the board. I had to narrow mine down to a small list.
  • I want to help every student be successful in school and in life.
  • I want every student to know how important and vital they are to this world. 
  • I want to find every student the "right" book for him or her.
  • I want EVERY student to know that I CARE and they matter!
So...what is your big dream this year?


Monday, August 19, 2013

Treasures from Library Summit 2013

Recently I had the opportunity to present at and attend the Dallas ISD and Region 10 Library Summit. What an amazing opportunity to connect and share with other professionals who are committed to making a difference in education. The fabulous Joyce Valenza was the keynote speaker. Her presentation was inspirational and provided a wealth of resources focusing on collaboration with students and educators. It is always a pleasure to hear her speak. Many talented librarians presented at the summit, but one stood out as a Google maven. Marsha Edney, from Marshall ISD, presented  "Get Stuff Done with Google Forms" and shared a variety of creative ways to make forms work for you. 
Below are just a few of the ideas Marsha shared.

Library Sign In forms- Have students sign in to the library on a Google form that time stamps their arrival and departure.

Calendar for Library and Computer Labs, Mobile Labs-  Teachers can view and reserve library space.

Parking Permit Database- Create a searchable list of student and faculty parking permits for increased campus safety. 

Class Research  Topics- Allow students to choose  topics easily on a form.

Pre or Post Tests

Freshmen Orientation Survey

Campus Surveys-Parent Surveys during Orientation or Open House

Book Requests Form

Student Elections- Marsha conducts all student elections through forms.

     You can follow Marsha on Twitter @EdneyLib for more great ideas!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Have you checked out SymbalooEdu lately?

SymbalooEdu is an interactive collection of all your favorite web tools, YouTube videos, Animoto videos, lesson plans, RSS Feeds, and much, much more.  
Create links to research tools, lib guides, e-books, and cool sites like EasyBib.  Having all the links in one place makes researching easier for students and teachers. Symbaloo easily embeds in library homepages such as Destiny.  Students love using the webmix with icons. Before using Symbaloo, I had a list of links to important resources on my library homepage. This frustrated students who were looking to find links quickly.  The colorful icons help students find resources easily.  Symbaloo is a great tool for student projects. Let students create webmixes on any topic and share them.  Students can also create e-portfolios and have a professional body of work for the 21st century. The possibilities are endless! Check out www.SymbalooEdu.com today!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Being selected to be a part of the Tall Texan Leadership Development Class of 2013 has been one the highlights of my career.  I am thankful for the Texas Library Association’s commitment to create an institute that prepares leaders to excel in the field of librarianship.  Jack Siggins, Director of the George Washington University Gelman Library, and Maureen Sullivan, Past President of the American Library Association, were the institute’s facilitators.  Along with an amazing group of mentors, Jack and Maureen shared insights from their own careers and leadership theories to help us become successful leaders.   
Jack Siggins & Maureen Sullivan

With an emphasis on collaboration, we learned how to lead groups of professionals, utilize risk taking strategies, and develop interpersonal relationships and skills. 

Ted Wanner is the project coordinator for Tall Texans and does a wonderful job organizing the institute. The Montserrat Jesuit Retreat Center, a beautiful facility overlooking a lake, provided the accommodations for the institute.  

I would like to express my thanks to everyone who helped to create a wonderful Tall Texan experience: Texas Library Association, Jack Siggins and Maureen Sullivan, Ted Wanner, Sharon Amastae, Donald Dyal, Oralia Garza de Cortes, Carlyn Gray, Deborah Halsted, Ling Hwey Jeng, TASL, YART, and all the participants of the Tall Texan Class of 2013. A special thanks to my longtime mentor and friend Sharon Gullett, my amazing superintendent, Keith Boles, for supporting me, and Stacey Sullivan who has always believed in me.
Our Amazing Mentors

Monday, June 3, 2013

“Why not?”
Lessons Library Lady Learned from the Seniors of 2013

     The seniors of 2013 have taught me some pretty important lessons this year. The most powerful of all is, “Why Not?”  I started this school year pretty much the same as I always have for fifteen years.   I planned with teachers, prepared the library for another year, and thought I was on the right track.  I have always loved my profession, but at times I did feel I could do more. I just wasn’t sure what it was; then, walked in a group of amazing young men and women who turned my world upside down. 
     Cleverly disguised as library assistants, these young sages challenged all my traditional thinking.  We sat in my office and brainstormed ideas—not just occasionally, but most every day.  What could we do to promote reading, help teachers, and push ourselves to grow? We came up with crazy ideas and really simple ones too.  I am proud to say we implemented most of them and changed the way students and teachers feel about the library at our school. 
     Our mantra this year became, “Why not?”  As we thought of ideas that were too farfetched, we tossed them aside, only to resurrect them later as we thought, “Why not?”  When you really think about it, what would stop you from doing something great--fear, worry, lack of confidence?  Well, I had all of those and so did my students, but together we knew we could accomplish anything. To quote Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”   From dressing up as Library Lady in outrageous costumes and checking out books in the cafeteria to creating forensic crime scenes, I feel we have accomplished so much more than we dreamed possible.  We have created a library that is viable, relevant, and no longer invisible. Now we are the first place teachers and students come for research help, tech tools, great books, and a place to socialize. Do you want to know the best part? This is only the start--the sky is the limit.  Imagine what we can do next year! 
     As the year draws to a close, my wonderful seniors are graduating and going off to change the world while they will always leave a lasting impression on me.  Seniors, please remember the road that lays before you is filled with joys and hardships, opportunities and challenges, but most of all your future is what you make it.  So why not make it as awesome as you are???

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Celebrate National Donut Day 

The Center of Everything

by Linda Urban

What better way to start off the day than with a Skype visit from the wonderful Linda Urban?  The creative writing class was so excited to meet a real, live author.  They all anxiously gathered round the computer as we waited for Ms. Urban to Skype call us.  Ready, Set, Go!  She is calling! She is on the screen! We all rush to say hello at once.  There she is...a real, live author.  The students all have their questions ready and anxiously await their turn to talk to her.  

Her first question is,  "Do you have your donuts???"  "Yes, we do!" everyone chanted as we see Ms. Urban hold hers up on the screen.  Ms. Urban's publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has graciously provided donuts for the entire class.  We are so glad the protagonist of The Center of Everything lives in the fictional town of  Bunning, New Hampshire.  Bunning, as it turns out, is the home of the modern day donut. 

Each student had the opportunity to ask questions and personally talk with Ms. Urban.  "Wow", they say after it is over, "she is really nice." Yes, I think, yes, she is really nice. Not only did Ms. Urban take the time to visit with each student and answer their questions, but she told funny stories about her writing. She gave the students more than she knows this morning. She encouraged those high school students to keep on writing and not give up.  As they left, every one of them was excited! How often do high school students get super excited about writing? I think she gave them a wondrous gift that they will have forever.  Thank you, Ms. Urban!  

National Donut Day is June 7, 2013.  Why not celebrate with The Center of Everything and a donut?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jet Off to Space with a Good Book!

Library Lady rocketed into the lunchroom to check out books to all her amazing high school students. The students love dystopian novels, so I took this opportunity to promote all the cool futuristic books in the library.  What was at the top of the list?  
  • The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth is still the most popular series in the library this month. Students are still excited about this series and cannot wait until October for the third installment.  
  • Feed by M T Anderson is a popular read set in the future where most people have a computer implant in their head to control their environment.
  • Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky has students wondering how they would date in the future. In the year 2060, when people hardly ever leave the security of their houses, and instead do everything online, even dating, Madeline Freeman, the seventeen year old daughter of the man who created the national digital school attended by all citizens, is wooed by a group of radicals who are trying to unplug.
  • MILA 2.0  by Debra Driza is a tale of a sixteen year old who discovers she is not who she thinks she is. She is on the run from the CIA and a rogue intelligence group. "Who is she?" or more the more troubling question is "What is she becoming?".
  • Frozen by Robin Wasserman is book one in the Cold Awakening Trilogy.  Lia, involved in an accident that should have killed her, wakes to find her wealthy parents have paid for her to have an experimental procedure that makes her a mech, one of a select group of people given mechanical bodies that never die or age, and though she tries to return to her old life, she finds nothing is the same, and is soon drawn into a group of mechs and begins to see the limitless possibilities of her new body.

Nothing is cooler than checking out a futuristic book from your favorite robot librarian!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Do you want to be a crime scene investigator?

John Doe, a frequent library patron, was found at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 30th in the library by Mrs. Cooper.  There is no evidence of foul play, but there is an ongoing investigation into his death.  Come by the library and use your forensic skills to solve our mysterious death. 

In collaboration with our science department, we have created a mock crime scene in the library.  We have QR code clues, book clues, and many other hints for the most observant students.  This all started with a simple idea.  Nikki D. Robertson posted a picture of a forensic book display, and that set my mind to thinking.  One of our creative biology teachers asked, "Why don't you do that?"  I thought, why not?  So we decided to create our own interactive crime scene.  Students received a bookmark with their first QR code clue and are now investigating the mysterious death of John Doe. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

School Lunch Lady Superhero Day!

Jarrett J. Krosoczka is honoring lunch ladies around the nation on May 3, 2013.  Cafeteria workers play an important role in our children's lives and rarely get recognition for their hard work.  Take this opportunity to say, "Thank You!" to your school lunch lady.  For great ideas and free printables visit a special website Krosoczka created just for this event School Lunch Lady Superhero Day!  At our high school, each lunch lady will receive an apron that students, staff, and administrators have signed to show their appreciation.    Let's all show our cafeteria workers that they ROCK!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Poem In Your Pocket Day!

April is national poetry month! Let's celebrate with a poem in your pocket on April 18th. My students and I are busy creating gigantic pockets for every language arts classroom. We are going to to stuff the pockets with favorite poems.  The students loved going through the poetry books and picking out great poems to use. They chose poems by Langston Hughes, Gary Soto, Shel Silverstein, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Edna St. Vincent Millay just to name a few.  We are also going to give every teacher on campus a poem pertaining their interests or subject they teach along with some sweets! Our language arts teachers are excited to get their pockets and share great poems with the students. For extra information and poems ready to print check out http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/406 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ready for an App Smackdown?


On Tech Tuesdays and Thursdays, I share tech tools with the teachers and staff at our high school. Yesterday, was our app smackdown. Have you ever thought there are so many great educational apps, but I have so little time to spend researching them?  I created a list.ly to share our apps.  It is a great site to curate information.   I am always amazed at the great apps that are FREE.  Our science teachers love the Virtual Heart and 3D Cell Stain.  Have you viewed The Raven iPad app? It is well worth your time.  One of our teachers stated that he would have nightmares after seeing it!   The California Science Academy has a virtual Penguins app. It allows you to view their penguin habitat in real time.  TinkerBox is a physics app that allows viewers to use levers  and pulleys to create new inventions. Do you want to control your students' iPads and tablet screens as they view your presentation?  Idea Flight and Xavier allow teachers to show a presentation to students and control the slides at the same time. We have used these apps in an English class, and they worked perfectly. Students could not rush ahead or lag behind.  Need Social Studies apps? National Geographic Today, European Exploration, The Presidency, and History Line are just a few of my favorite apps at the moment. Need math help? Try Algebra Touch and Quick Graph. Next, I have to mention Chirp. Instantly share pictures and links just by putting your device close to another and chirping!  I would be remiss if I did not mention Aurasma as well.  This augmented reality app is extremely cool.  Tag images and have them appear virtually!  There are too many great apps to mention them all here in this short post so please go to my app smackdown list and explore!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Instead of RedBox, how about a ReadBox?  No charge for rental of books!  You can keep them for two weeks, and then you have an option to renew them.  We have the latest bestsellers.  Want to hear a summary of the book or view the booktrailer? Just scan the qr code for the book you are interested in reading!  We have free in library pick up and delivery. Did I mention we have free checkout?  Our books can improve your vocabulary, reading comprehension and creativity. Stop by the library today!

The students have enjoyed scanning the codes and viewing booktrailers. We also recorded students reading summaries of books using Vocaroo. We created a qr code from the link and posted it on the ReadBox beside the corresponding book. Have you tried Vocaroo?  It is so easy to use! Need something new? Make a ReadBox for your school!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Boy Who Lived...Wins Again!

Inspired by March Madness, we held our first Battle of the Books at high school.  Students, teachers and administrators nominated books for our beginning sixteen brackets. Student library assistants chose the starting line up from all the nominations.  I was thrilled to see not only popular books but all time classics like The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird.  The King James Bible was also nominated and made it all the way to the quarterfinals. Our ultimate battle was between The Hunger Games series and The Harry Potter series.  In the end, their could be only one victor.  Yes, The Harry  Potter series was the grand champion by a landslide of votes. I have to admit I was overwhelmed by the amount of participation. We averaged over 300 votes a day!  People were SERIOUS about promoting their favorite book. I had e-mails about how unfair it was their fave book was pitted against Twilight or Divergent. Personally, I loved every minute of it. How awesome is it to have an entire campus excited about books?  It was this librarian's dream come true!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Create Beautiful Webpages

Need a great webpage for your library? Wix is an extremely user friendly and visually appealing website creator. The above webpage was ready in just a few minutes.  I created extra pages and linked my research tools, online newspapers, e-books and cool web 2.0 tools.  You can embed this webpage or link it to another site.  Create something wonderful for your students!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Virtual Battle of the Books


Inspired by March Madness, the library is hosting a battle of the books!  Students are busy voting for their favorite books to make up our book brackets.  I created a Google Form that students, teachers, administrators (and anyone with a pulse) could use to nominate their all-time favorite book.  Beginning with sixteen books on our bracket, we will have our first round of voting on Friday, March 22, 2013.  We will continue voting everyday until we crown a victor!  I sent out an informational flyer to everyone at high school with a link to the nomination form and a QR code to the link.  My helpful library assistants posted flyers around campus.  Since we are a BYOD school, students can scan the code with their devices and vote at their convenience. We just started today, but it has been heartwarming see how many teachers, students and administrators have nominated books.  And they are serious about wanting their book to win! Competition is not reserved for sporting events.  They are already campaigning for their fave book.  Stay tuned for the victor... Keep Calm and Read On!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Author Megan Miranda has released a gripping psychological thriller in Hysteria.  Mallory's parents want to give her and the entire family a new start after the tragedy.  Her father decides to send her to Monroe, an upscale private school,  and Mallory is finally ready for an escape from the rumors, ugly glances and paranoia.  As she arrives at her new home, she wonders if life can really change for her.  She soon finds out that the rumors of her past have caught up with her at Monroe. Everyone knows what she has done.  Soon the nightmares begin again, the visions come...boom, boom, boom.  

Warning:  Mature Language and Graphic Scenes

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Future of Libraries?

Is the future of libraries in question?  Absolutely! In a world where most students have access to the Internet at their fingertips, the librarian is actually more important than ever  in my humble opinion.  How do our students sort through the sea of information and misinformation? How will they know what is relevant?  Is Google the new librarian? I love Neil Gaiman's quote, "Google can give you a 100,000 answers, but a librarian can give you the right one."  Yes, the role of librarian is changing. Are we ready for the change? We need to be in order to stay relevant. Librarians are curators of information in all formats. As I sit at a local coffee shop and ponder the future, there is a group of students beside me working on an English project. I have to admit I am quite impressed with their intellect and skill. They are using tech tools to create an exciting presentation (Smore, Vocaroo, BigHugeLabs). Places where people can come together and collaborate will always be in demand.  That is what I want the library to be for everyone. The 'go to' place for learning, researching, collaborating, and technology. What excites me about the future is I want to be the person in the middle of it all--challenging, helping, and yes curating the electronic resources to stay relevant.  Are you ready to stay relevant?

Find Treasure in a Good Book!

Go green for reading! Library Lady celebrated St. Patrick's Day early with great books.   Who says reading is not a priority for high school students anymore?  Every Friday the students wait to see what Library Lady (L2) will wear next and what books she will be promoting.  As we prepared to leave for spring break, L2 knew that the students needed great books to keep their minds full of creativity and imagination.  L2 pushes her cart of books to the cafeteria on Fridays at lunch to check out books to all the students, but there is something more important than just checking out books.  The relationship she builds with the students is the number one priority.  There are so many awesome students that she visits with every week.  Some students may never check out a book, but a strong bond is formed.  Students know that they can come to L2 to get help with research projects, homework and a smile.  Sometimes we just need to let our students know that we care.  Remember, for some it may be the only kind gesture they receive that day. Being real and passionate about learning lets students know we genuinely want them to succeed.  In the great words of Robert Frost, "I am not a teacher, but an awakener." 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Need a book? Listen to this....

How many times have students asked you to find them a good book?  Create your own audio book summaries and make it easy to find every student the perfect book.  Using Vocaroo,  students can record  themselves reading a book summary!  My high school students love making their own recordings and then generating the link into a qr code.  We post covers of books and the corresponding qr codes around campus. Students using a qr code reader on their smart device scan the code and listen to the book summary. If they are interested in the book, they come find it in the library and check it out. Now your books can go everywhere!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Must Stache" you a good book in your backpack!

 Looking for great ideas to increase your circulation? Students will be excited about coming to the library and finding good books to read when you have a promotion.  For the month of March we are celebrating "Mustache You a Good Book in your Backpack!"  We created a giant mustache bulletin board and are posting pictures of students holding their favorite books while wearing a fake mustache.  A great librarian, Mary Clark, posted this idea on twitter, and I loved it. I give her all the credit and my thanks for sharing her great idea.  That is one of the best things about our profession--our willingness to share and learn from each other.  I believe it is what keeps us inspired from day to day. Students also become inspired when we share our creativity and enthusiasm.  Students dash into the library between classes and during lunch just to have their picture taken with their favorite book! It warms my hear to see all the excitement.  At the end of the month all participating students will be entered in a drawing for Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Remember to Keep Calm and Read On!

Library Lady wore an enormous mustache to check out books to students at  lunch in the cafeteria. The 'Stache' would not even fit through the door!

Students had a great time putting mustaches on the books!