Friday, December 20, 2013

New Reads for the End of the Year

New books at the HS

New books at the MS

New books at the ES

Plus there are new ebooks at each building and new Catalist audio books at the middle and high schools!

Friday, December 13, 2013


Anyone who knows me knows I'm an avid reader of fanfiction. For those of you that aren't in the know, a work of fanfiction  contains characters or settings from a TV, movie, book, or other media source but is not commissioned or sanctioned by the actual creators. Fans of the media continue the story on their own.
Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couch-bound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.  —Lev Grossman, TIME, July 18, 2011
That is a great quote to explain what fanfiction is and why people write it. For most authors it's not about the money or the acclaim. It's the simple act of writing a twist in plot or a perspective you wish had happened in the fandom you immerse yourself in.

Fanfiction has been around for centuries, though not always by that name. The most observable historic form of fanfiction are unauthorized sequels to books. Sherlock Holmes stories are abundant and the Bronte sisters wrote stories about characters and people not their own. The term "fanfiction" wasn't coined until the 1960s, but the advent of the internet really let the category of writing really take off. With the internet a fanfiction could be easily spread to thousands of people across the globe, instead of being confined to a small geographical area or a small group of super-fans.

For me, fanfiction allows the continuation of the journey with characters after the credits roll or the last page of a book is read. Great fanfictions posit alternative universes where alternate decisions were made or a character is just slightly different. They allow you to jump into a story without having to be filled in on background knowledge.

As an educational tool (and yes it can be) fanfiction is a great way for students to examine a story from a different point of view or change a decision a character made and play that out. Becoming thoughtful individuals requires examining choices. Becoming good writers requires trying different styles on for size. Writing fanfiction allows for both of these things without having to develop characters, settings, or sometimes plot lines.

So where can you look for fanfiction stories? The largest repository of fanfiction is There are literally millions of stories on the site covering fandoms in books, movies, tv, comics, plays, and games. Most specific fandoms also have their own archives. Just use a search engine to search "fanfiction" and your fandom.

A note of caution: Keep in mind that fanfiction rarely goes through and editorial or review process. So some is really very good and some is horrendously bad. In my opinion it's the search for the great story that's half the fun.

Also fun fact: The book Fifty Shades of Grey began life as a Twilight fanfiction.

That's it for today. DFTBA!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Did you hear the story about.....

Our lives are all about the go, go, go. Running from class to practices to work. Getting kids to this, that, and the other thing. Then falling asleep at the end of the day watching random reality TV. Who has time to read the next big thing in the book world?

Luckily most of us spend time doing activities that could support an injection of literature. We ride the bus. We drive to work. We workout every evening. We putter around the house doing chores. None of these activities require communication or interaction with others, so we can use this time to engage our imagination through stories and the written word. Or in this case the spoken word.

Audio books have become a booming part of the publishing word in the past decade. Cassettes and CDs started us off, but now many of us have smart phones or another handheld device that with the right app could allow us to take an audio book anywhere on a device we would have had with us in any case.

Catalist audio books are our preference here at SCC. We offer these audio books at the middle school and high school. And students can access them on pretty much ANY internet connected device - regular computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.

Catalist Audio via a Browser on Any Device - On any device students can use a browser to visit and login to see and listen to our audio books. Login information can be gotten from the library at any time.

Catalist Audio App on an Android or i-Device - On an Android device or an iPhone/iPod/iPad students can get a free app to access and download audio books onto their personal device.   Android App   iOS App   Login information can be gotten from the library at any time.

HELP! - If you need help with the apps or navigating through the Catalist audio books, click HERE. Or stop in the library.

And if you have any suggestions for future audio book purchases, email Ms. Olson - aolson[@]

Have a wonderful day and DFTBA!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Internet Safety

Being safe online is a high priority for anyone that uses technology on a daily basis. Weather you are shopping, communicating, creating, posting, or just watching funny cat videos, we need know how to keep ourselves and our technology safe.

Our students at SCC cover internet safety topics starting in kindergarten and going though high school. Topics range from basic things like creating an appropriate username and using a secure password, to social issues like cyber bullying and social networking, to security issues like viruses and identity theft, to legal issues like illegal downloading and copyright.

As an adult you might be unaware of some of these issues or might want to be "in the know" to help your students down the right path. Below are some links you can use to shore up your knowledge and keep yourself and your children safe online!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Author Visit November 19th

Here in library land we are very excited to announce that we are having an author visit on November 19th to kick off the opening of our new elementary library. Julie Bowe, author of the Friends for Keeps series, will be joining us and presenting to each grade level during their specials time. Ms. Bowe is a Wisconsin native and speaks about her books and the writing process throughout the country.

We would like to thank Jeanne Larson, music teacher for SCC, and the Panther Parent Group for organizing and sponsoring this event. We are deeply grateful for their support of literacy in our schools.

For more information on Ms. Bowe you can visit her website:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Elementary Library Tour

It has been a busy week for the Panthers of Library Land. Mrs. Mueller and I have been diligently unpacking boxes and shelving our new library collection. Some quick facts about this week:
  1. Our new collection came in 147 boxes on 4 pallets.
  2. It took Mrs. Mueller and I a solid day and a half to unpack all the boxes.
  3. I have shuffled around the fiction section twice already trying to get the books to fall in the right space. I hope once more and it will be done!
  4. Our current collection includes: 3500 non-fiction titles, 2500 fiction titles, 2900 everybody and EZ books (for our littler readers), 273 graphic novels, and over 300 DVDs and audio books. PLUS we have nearly 600 ebooks!
  5. I had $123,000 to purchase our new collection and it is fabulous!
I know not all of you will be able to see our new space anytime soon, so I wanted to give you a little tour. Watch my amateur attempt to show you around below. DFTBA!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Can YouTube be Educational?

YouTube has been around eight years, and in that time has grown from a small video sharing site with only 65,000 videos uploaded daily (1) to a HUGE social media site with 100 hours of video uploaded every minute (2) ! In that time it has seen memes come and go, watched stars rise and fall, and seen content shift.

But can YouTube be educational? The answer, unequivocally, is yes. Yes, YouTube can be 100% educational. Mixed in with the funny cat videos and baby's doing cute things are videos about how to set up your new digital camera, demonstrating skills and hobbies, and explaining complex academic topics. But how do you sort through the random, time-wasters with the real educational content? Well, there are a few ways you can do that.
  1. Check out YouTube's Education portal. From here you can drill down into different topics such as science, math, and history. You can also go into specific age ranges (primary & secondary, university, and lifelong learning). This is a great place to start finding content.
  2. Do a web search for "great educational youtube channels". You'll get hundreds of people that have done the work for you and found a list of great channels to start you off with.
  3. Look at who some of your favorite educational channels are subscribed to or who they like. Below you can see what channels the SCC channel likes. (SCC currently doesn't have any subscriptions to other channels.)
Now, you may be wondering, if YouTube can be such a great source for educational content, why do some schools block it? Well, that has to do with some federal laws that were enacted in 2000. You can read more HERE, but basically the the law states that public schools need to have some form of internet filtering in order to block content that may be harmful to minors. When YouTube first started, there was MUCH less educational content and very few videos that were aimed at children or young adults. I order to protect our students, many districts blocked YouTube. However, as the educational content on YouTube has increased, the question has been raised if districts should allow it to be unblocked.

No matter where or how you access YouTube, there are many educational videos that you can access. Having critical thinking skills is imperative when you are doing any kind of internet browsing though, so you are able to discern what is worthwhile and what is a waste of time. Read the title and summary of a video before you click. Figure out how is the posting channel and look at the video thumbnail. If all those things look good, then try the video out. Don't just jump in and click on the first video for your search (Hint: most of the time it is an ad.)

So after all that, the answer to the question is yes, YouTube can be educational.

Have a wonderful day and DFTBA!

(1) "YouTube Serves up 100 Million Videos a Day Online." Gannett Co. Inc, 16 July 2006. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. <>.
(2)"Statistics." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. <>.

Monday, October 28, 2013


SCC became a GAFE school last year. Here's an FAQ to help you out!

What is GAFE?
Google Apps for Education. We have our own domain and email addresses we can distribute to students and staff.

What do the staff have access to?
Teachers have access to Drive, Calendar, Contacts, Picassa, YouTube, and many of the other Google apps. The staff is currently NOT using Google for email.

What do the students have access to?
Students have access to Drive, Calendar, Contacts, plus many of the other Google Apps. In grades 5-6 students have access to internal email (can only send to and receive from students and staff at SCC). In grades 7-12 students have access to global email (send to and receive from outside email services).

Can students and staff access their SCC Google accounts from home?
Yes. An SCC Google account is very similar to a regular, personal Google account and can be accessed on any computer or device that has an internet connection.

What makes an SCC Google account different from a regular, personal Google account?
What makes GAFE special is that we can use our own domain ( instead of Google's ( This allows parents, students, and educational companies and institutions to recognize this an account or email instantly as coming from a verified educational institution. We here at SCC can also monitor student's email accounts for inappropriate content and address any issues immediately.

Where can I find out how to use my SCC Google account?
You can find specific SCC help HERE. I (Ms. Olson) maintain this page, and you can direct further questions to me.

Other resources for GAFE?
Google Apps Learning Center
Wisconsin's Google Apps Resource Site

Friday, October 18, 2013

New and Notable Books @ the HS

Here in library land, we are continuously updating our collection of resources.Old books and magazines get weeded, and new stuff gets planted in its place. The circle of life at work at work in your library. As part of that circle, we've recently added some great new books to our high school library. Below are just a few of the brand new titles.

Super graphic : a visual guide to the comic book universe by Tim Leong -- The comic book universe is adventurous, mystifying, and filled with heroes, villains, and cosplaying Comic-Con attendees. This book by one of Wired magazine's art directors traverses the graphic world through a collection of pie charts, bar graphs, time lines, scatter plots, and more. Super Graphic offers readers a unique look at the intricate and sometimes contradictory story lines that weave their way through comic books, and shares advice for navigating the pages of some of the most popular, longest-running, and best-loved comics and graphic novels out there.

Rise by Anna Carey -- The Eve trilogy finale finds Eve, the king of New America’s daughter, in an unwilling marriage to her father’s employee Charles. She’s still mourning true-love Caleb and discovers she’s carrying his child—and she’s resolute in helping the rebel uprising. But when plans go awry, Eve, her friend Clara, and some girls they free from the king’s nefarious school initiative, escape and face dangers and difficulties on the path to new beginnings. Though some elements throughout may stretch believability, this dystopia offers descriptively detailed fantasy-futuristic elements and builds suspense, and Eve’s continuing experiences—and the concluding twist—will be welcomed by series followers.

Quarantine #1: The Loners by Lex Thomas -- It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High--until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning. A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you're as good as dead. And David has no gang. It's just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

Sounds of rebellion : music in the 1960s -- Looks at various music trends in the 1960s, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Folk revival, Bob Dylan, Folk Rock, Soul music, and psychedelic music.

Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner -- In ancient Japan, Himiko, the privileged daughter of her clan's leader, fights the constraints and expectations imposed on young women and finds her own path, which includes secret shaman lessons.

The silver dream : an InterWorld novel by Neil Gaiman -- After mastering the ability to walk between dimensions, sixteen-year-old Joey Harker and his fellow InterWorld freedom fighters embark on a mission to maintain peace between the rival powers of magic and science who seek to control all worlds.

OCD love story by Corey Ann Haydu -- In an instant, Bea felt almost normal with Beck, and as if she could fall in love again, but things change when the psychotherapist who has been helping her deal with past romantic relationships puts her in a group with Beck--a group for teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell -- Feeling cast off when her twin sister outgrows their shared love for a favorite celebrity, Cath, a dedicated fan-fiction writer, struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

Rose under fire by Elizabeth Wein -- When young American pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp, she finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of her fellow prisoners.

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang -- In 1898 during the Boxer Rebellion a boy named Little Bao recruits an army of Boxers to rid China of foreign missionaries and soldiers who bully and rob Chinese peasants.

Search the SCC Destiny Library Catalog to find more great books. DFTBA!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Badger, Badger, Badger, Badgerlink!

*** Before we start, did you get the internet reference (meme) in the title? If not click here, and here. It was just one of those things that popped into my head just now and made me smile!

On with the show!

Do you ever know something and think everyone already knows this something, so you never mention it? That's how I feel about Badgerlink. It's been around for 15 years and has continued to expand during that time. I used it in high school, college, and now encourage my students to use it. But even my husband, who hears me talk about this stuff pretty often, was astounded when I told him he could just go on Badgerlink to look up Consumer Reports information. "What! That's awesome!" was his response.

So I'm going to pretend that you have never heard of Badgerlink for this post. Basically, (not .com) is a website full of awesome resources on every topic that the state of Wisconsin, specifically part of the DPI, purchases for its citizens to use. As long as you have a Wisconsin internet service provider or have a public library card, you can access this content.

Here's the main page at
As you can see, there are large buttons for the most frequent users, but there are also sections for specific topics that the public might be interested in. Badgerlink actually redesigned their website over the summer and I find it much more user friendly.

Here are some of the things you have access to in Badgerlink:
  • 8000+ full text magazines and journals
  • Test prep materials and practice tests for the ACT, SAT, AP, ASVAB, and GED
  • 3000+ royalty free songs and sound effects
  • THOUSANDS of documents and resources for genealogy buffs and history nerds
  • Auto repair information
  • And several amazing health related resources
If you ever have any research needs or want to answer a question with verified facts, Badgerlink is the place to look. And unlike Google, Badgerlink offers you resources that are usually locked away in subscription databases, so you have many more quality resources to choose from.

If you have any questions about Badgerlink, please check out their website,, or contact your local school or public library.

Enjoy and DFTBA!

Friday, October 4, 2013

5th Grade Library Class

Library class has been a part of the fifth grade specials rotation for as long as anyone can remember. It's a time for students to be introduced to the middle school library and be immersed in library stuff. I use the term "stuff" a lot, but I think there are so many avenues of study in library class that it's hard to come up with one cohesive term to describe them all. Here are a few things we've talked about or will talk about in this year's 5th grade library class.

  1. General Library Info -- This includes how the library is set up; which sections are where and how they are organized. It also includes rules, policies, and procedures. My big rules have to do with being respectful, being responsible, and having some common sense.
  2. Login Info -- Our library catalog, Destiny, is the first login information we learned this year. Students can do a multitude of things in Destiny with their login including writing reviews, recommending books to other students, and placing holds. Next we learned about their Skyward login, in order to check their grades. Finally we will learn to login to their school assigned Google account. Three new logins in a year is a lot, but we practice using them often.
  3. Google Accounts -- The next thing we will focus on is learning to use their school provided Google accounts and its various applications (Drive and Mail).
  4. Internet Safety -- Simultaneously with learning about their Google accounts, students are learning some basic internet safety rules-of-thumb. We spend time talking about social networks, cyber bullying, computer security, username/password security, etc.
  5. Research -- Learning how to organize a research project, take notes, correctly cite resources, and create a project is what we spend much of third and fourth quarter on. Using the Big6, students work through the research process for a variety of topics. 
  6. Book Trailer -- Last but not least, students create a video book trailer during fourth quarter. We use the Big6 to organize our project in order to create a video book trailer on a book they have read this year. Students have the option of having their finished video posted on the school's YouTube channel (no names or student pictures are attached to videos, so it is fairly anonymous). 
  7. Literature -- Throughout the year as we have a few minutes at the beginning or the end of class, or as the new book awards come out, we will spend time talking about literature that they students may enjoy. 
So that's the fifth grade library class in a nutshell. You can see what we are currently up to by visiting the 5th Grade Library page.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Everyone Needs a Goal

Everyone needs a goal in life. I feel like I've heard that in a movie somewhere, but it holds true. You need a goal to give you a drive for the future, to make things better, or to get things done. As part of the new educator effectiveness assessment (a teacher's yearly evaluation) all the teaching staff at SCC had to come up with a goal for the year which was tied to improving literacy.

The goal for every library this year is to increase circulation of non-fiction and informational resources. This ties into the new common core standards which have an emphasis on reading and evaluating an increased amount of information texts. Reading non-fiction books and other informational resources helps students become more well rounded individuals with a broader understanding of the world around them.

There are lots of ways that we in Library Land are hoping to achieve our goal. You can read the full goal outline by clicking here.


Friday, September 20, 2013

(Soon to be) Bright and Shiny ES Library

I had an exciting morning. After our elementary school staff meeting this morning I had the opportunity to visit the construction of our new library. The first words that popped into my head were "bright and shiny". That's what our new library will be. With the addition of two windows we will have much more natural light. I was afraid that they would be in the way of shelving and other furniture but the powers-that-be put them high enough were that shouldn't be a problem. We will have sunshine!

They have 99% of the drywall up which gives the space a feel of coming together finally, after months of having it be a big empty concrete room. Painting is starting today, and they told me they would like to have carpet in by mid-October. We are shooting for a completion date of November 1.

After the library is completed we will be able to start putting our brand new collection on the shelves. I explained the process I was using for ordering in a previous post. That was completed and sent away to Follett in mid-August. However, there was one part of the order that we received immediately and that was the new ebooks! (Also explained in a previous post).

I want to thank everyone in the community for the good thoughts and support they have offered. I know I've said it before but it's truly amazing. And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me.


Friday, September 6, 2013

One Awesome Thing

The first week of school is always a jumble of things that needed to be done yesterday, problems that nobody was expecting, and students being unable to do something/get to somewhere/understand what is going on. This week was no expection in library land. But even with all the password resets, printing problems, "I can't find this book", the book fair extravaganza, and the elementary being without a library, I still found one awesome thing. Follett's ebooks.

Now I know what you're thinking, "She's talked about these before and they haven't worked that well and there haven't been many out there". That may still be the short-term case at the middle and high school as far as selection goes (which I'm hoping to change within the month), but for the elementary the selection has greatly increased. Also the usability of the ebooks has gone up as well.

The elementary now boasts over 550 ebooks through our Follett Shelf. Several publishers have recently worked out deals with Follett for ebooks and I just had to make sure we had these for our students. The middle school and high school are still hovering just over 100 ebooks, but that will change soon.

Usability across multiple devices was always my concern with ebooks before Follett Shelf. Kindle books only work on Kindles or with the Kindle app. Nooks are the same. The public library service Overdrive is just not cost effective for SCC. But Follett Shelf has finally worked out it's issues and (at least from my testing) is usable via the browser on any computer, Kindle, Apple device, or Android Device. Yippie! As long as you have a stable internet connection the text-flow reader works great.

Follett Shelf Help
If you're nerdy and want the tech specs for Follett Shelf they can be found here.
Follett Shelf Help - here is just a "what icons do" page. Here are some video tutorials.

Login Info
Elementary students and staff have access to a guest login. Students and staff in 5-12 can use the guest login or their individual Destiny login to access the Follett shelf. If you have questions about loging in, please stop by the library or email me directly.

One week down, many more to come! DFTBA

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Sale, Aug 9 & 10

Let me start by saying I'm so grateful to everyone in our community for donating books after our disaster this spring. We received THOUSANDS of books that were amazing. Teachers pulled boxes upon boxes of books to help replace their lost classroom libraries. I pulled a plethora of books for the library. And the book room (for guided reading book sets) has over 150 new sets. Thank you so, so much! We couldn't have done this without you.

It was so amazing, that we still have thousands of books waiting for some lucky person to read them. There were hundreds of duplicates, more-than-gently-used books, and non-elementary books donated. We would like to get these back in the hand of the kids in our community. There are books for ages 0 through college. We've got everything!

The book sale will be:
August 9 and 10, 8am-4pm
High School Library

All books will be 25 cents each.

If you have any questions, please let me know! DFTBA

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Elementary Library!

Good day fellow internet users!

It has been a crazy few weeks, which is why you haven't seen a post from me in a while. Recovering from the craziness of Panther Camp and closing down three libraries is tiring, so I needed some R&R time. But on the days when I'm not enjoying the sun, I have been making strides in planning for our new elementary library to be up and running in the fall.


Step 1 - The Floor Plan

My first step in learning I was going to be helping in the design of a new library was to go and visit some area elementary libraries. SCC has been my first libraries, so I only knew what our elementary looked like. I found out there there is a wide range of libraries in the library. But everyone I talked to had a few things to say. Lots of outlets. Flexible space. And student focused area. So that's what I came back to our meetings with. Meeting with the architect was interesting and something I wish we had more time for, but moving forward was the goal. So by June 3 we had a floor plan. You can view the plan HERE by going to page 9.

Change is always hard and it's scary for me to help design a new library. But I'm exciting to make this new space a great area for our students.


Step 2 - The Book Donations

First, THANK YOU! Thank you for all the amazing book donations we have received. The number of books has been crazy. I keep saying we've gotten more book donations than we had in the library before the fire, and I don't really think that's a stretch. If you've been to the high school you know that they have taken over a large part of our library there. So thank you, but please, no more. We wouldn't know where to put them!

Besides pulling books for camp use and our new library, the teachers have pulled thousands of books for their classrooms. The libraries they have in their classrooms will be revamped and bursting at the seems when the students return in the fall. I also pulled the multiple-copies of titles to create reading group sets to keep in our book room. We will be adding approximately 150 sets up books to our book room, each with 5 our more copies of a title. (Fun Fact - We had over 25 copies of Charlotte's Web donated)

We are currently working on finishing pulling for the library and classrooms and then our tentative plan (nothing set in stone yet) is to have a book sale in August. There were many duplicates, old series, and non-elementary books donated that we are going to try to give back to the community. Watch for more info as August gets closer.


Step 3 - The New Library Collection

For a non-library person this is probably the step that you have no idea how it works. Well let me fill you in. At SCC, 90% of the library books, movies, and audio books we order come from a company called Follett Library Resources. The company has been around for decades and has lots of experience setting up new school libraries (or like us, restoring a collection that has been lost). I've worked with them throughout my seven years here at SCC and have always been happy with their products and customer service.
Midnight lounging around at the high school library

The first thing they did was convert the records that we had for our collection into an online order. Approximately 60% of our collection could be directly replaced. The rest was either something they didn't carry, something that was no longer in publication, or a book that came from a record that they couldn't interpret (Quick book records have sometimes been entered with no more than a title. For a book like Vikings this can be a problem.)

Now, library collections are constantly being weeded for old/outdated/falling-apart materials and updated with new, more appropriate materials. It's something that is usually done in sections, not all at once. But it didn't make sense to me to reorder something that I was planning on weeding anyway. So, here came the job that I'm still in the middle of. Digitally weeding our collection. It's taking some time since looking at a computer screen is not the same as holding the book in your hand, but it's coming along.

After weeding the collection, the next step is to add in all the awesome titles to flesh out our collection. This is an exciting process and can be really fun. Picking out books for the fiction and picture book sections is an exercise in restraint sometimes. You just find so many good books! One thing that Mrs. Mueller did at the end of the year that is helping, is talking with the kids and seeing what titles, series, and authors the really wanted to have in the library. The non-fiction can be a little trickier. You need to balance all subject areas with new, appropriate titles, while still maintaining enough selection for the areas that get heavy use (like sports and animals). I'm also taking into consideration the research projects that they teachers typically conduct and making sure we have books in those areas.

So that process of putting together our new library order will take a few more weeks. After that it's sent off to Follett to be picked, processed, and shipped. When I say "processed" what I mean is that they will put all the appropriate stickers on (barcode and call number), a due date slip in the back, cover the jackets on the hardcover books, and organize the digital records for the books to be uploaded to our catalog. That takes a huge burden of us once the books arrive. They books will be shipped in shelf order boxes. So they can come out of the boxes directly onto the shelves. Overall it should be a pretty smooth process.


Step 4 - Don't forget to enjoy the summer!

I don't know for you, but for me that last month of school was a mile-a-minute. And I'm sure the fall will be the same. With a new elementary library plus a book fair at the middle school the first week of school, my life will just not settle down. So, I'm making it a priority to enjoy ever moment I can this summer. From sitting out on my deck, to reading for fun, to visiting family, I'm going to focus on making sure I'm okay. So that when I need be at SCC I'm at 100%.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me an email (aolson[@] without the brackets). Have a wonderful day and DFTBA!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hammond Public Library Summer Programs

Like I mentioned in my last post, there are tons of great resources and activities that happen at the public library. Michelle Johnson, director of the Hammond Public Library, asked if I would post the information for their summer programs. Feel free to contact her if you have any questions.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Library Land in Hiatus

As the end of the school year approaches, we here in library land need to go into hiatus. Shutting down for the summer is a yearly event, but this year we need to be extra organized. In order to do that we need some help from parents and students.

The most important thing to know: All library books are due back May 29. Get them back to the library by then or as close to that as you can.

Second most important thing to know: We love that the community has been so willing to donate books, and in a short span of time we have received a mountain of them. Because of this, we are no longer accepting any book donations. Thank you for all your support and if we need anything else we will surely let you know. 

Last thing to know: Just because the physical school library is in hiatus doesn't mean the digital school library is. Our ebooks, digital audio books, and online resources can be used throughout the summer. Just email me at aolson[@] if you need login information. The public library is also an awesome resource during the summer months with tons of great children's programs happening.

Thanks so much for everything and DFTBA!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Fair Wrap-up

So the book fair is over. The carts have been returned. The money has been counted. And the slime-ing has happened. Slime-ing? You might be asking yourself what that is and why it happened.

We had tons of awesome students, parents, and staff members that supported our middle school fair, and helped us surpass our goal by $300. We were able to get a mountain of books for the classroom teachers and the library. And we gave away over 20 books to the students throughout the week.

Because we reached our goal, a stunt must be done. That stunt was me being covered with green slime (like on Nickelodeon). The recipe I used can be found here and was super easy to make. The students who were the slime-ers were those that had purchased books at our fair. One book equaled one chance to enter to be a slime-er.

You can see video and pictures of Slime Time below. Enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Fair Begins!

Our middle school book fair has begun! Classes have been visiting all morning, checking out the latest and greatest books and learning about the contests/activities we are running this week. Here's my rundown:

The fair will be open all this week during school. We will also be open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the concerts.

Our theme is Story Laboratory  so we've got some science-y stuff going on.

Our goal is $2016, and our goal chart is an empty periodic table. For every $18 we will add an element, and hopefully by Friday afternoon it will be full.

If we reach our goal I will be slimed! (like on Nickelodeon) Students who buy a book can enter to be the slime-ers and toss a bucket of slime.

We are running an All-for-Books campaign, were students can drop in change or dollars in support of the elementary library recovery. We are making it a little bit more fun by voting for 2 different things every day.

We are also doing locker lottery. Students who find a winning slip on their locker can stop by the fair to receive a prize.

Guess the number of radioactive bookworms in the jar is our estimation contest. The closest guess will win the jar.

And finally we will have a brain teaser up every day. A drawing will be held for those who get the right answer and the winner will receive a prize.

Students are reminded to be respectful, responsible, and act appropriately when browsing the fair. This is a special treat for them and we need to be aware of that.

Wow! Lots going on for the fair. OH! One more thing. People who won't be around or who miss the fair completely, you can shop online (with Scholastic's full web store) by going HERE. These sales will also count towards our goal.

Thank you for all your support!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Middle School Book Fair, May 13-17

We are having a book fair at the middle school! There will be contests and prizes for the students, teachers are setting up wish lists for their classrooms, we are running an All For Books campaign to raise money for the elementary library, and if we reach our goal of $2016 I will get slimed by the students (just like they do on nickelodeon). We are celebrating books and gearing up for summer reading!

May 13-17, during every school day. Also open before and after the concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. 
May 8-28, shop online! Items are shipped directly to school and delivered to your child.

For more information and to shop online, use this link:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Reading Festival

The Hammond Community Library is hosting a Reading Festival for grades 4K-4th in just a few short weeks. View the flyer here for more specific information.

Theme: “Find A Treasure”
Date: May 11, 2013
Time:10:00AM-1:00 PM
Location: Trinity Lutheran Church, 1250 Broadway Street, Hammond, WI

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Elementary Library Damage

I'm not going to write a long post about this. Connie Mueller and I were able to view the damage to the elementary library on Friday. It's bad. The fire damage didn't spread to the library. But the roof was on fire, and in the process of putting that out they used a TON of water. So, the damage is water damage as well as lots of chemically laced soot. We have been told that nothing out of the library will be salvaged. You can view images and a couple short video clips of the damage below.



Library Visits at Panther Camp

Wow! Lots of work being done at Panther Camp. It is amazing what has been accomplished is such a short amount of time. Thanks to everyone for donating supplies, books, equipment, and time.

This post is all about how the library is going to run at Panther Camp. Connie Mueller and I have come up with a system, at least to start with.

  • Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade -- Mrs. Mueller will be visiting them in their area daily. She will stop in the morning to pick up returns from students. In the afternoon she will be back with a cart of selections for the students to choose from for checkout. We may have to rotate by classes, but we aren't quite sure about that yet.
  • 3rd and 4th Grade -- Students will bring returns with them when they come to pick up their lunch and drop them off on a cart at the entrance to the library. The cart will be clearly marked. We will attempt, and with weather permitting, to bring selections to the students in their areas during the afternoon for checkout.
  • Other Rules / Explanations:
    • No students are allowed in the library cubby/room. There is just not enough room.
    • Students may make requests for a specific book by writing it down for Mrs. Mueller. She or I will check our library and see if we have it. If we do, it will be delivered to the student the following day.
    • Our finally due date for the year, for all library books will be May 29. We would like to start shipping them back the HS or MS for summer storage before camp lets out.
    • There will be jugs available when Mrs. Mueller visits for students to put book suggestions for our new library in . Any and all suggestions for titles, authors, or topics are welcome.
If you have any questions about anything, please leave a comment below or email Ms. Olson at aolosn[@] (without the brackets).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Library Shelving at Panther Camp

Losing your library is a devastating experience. Connie and I can attest to that. But losing your library and still being expected to have a library in 6 that is nerve racking.

However, we have had some superstars to support us. There have been so many awesome individuals, organizations, and companies that have been willing to donate books, it is amazing. Our collection is growing rapidly with picture books and chapter books. We have had tons of library staff from the area offer help. And we have had companies from all over offering services. Thank you so much for all of your support in whatever way you are giving it.

The super exciting news that we got today was that we were going to be able to have shelves, ACTUAL SHELVES at our temporary library in Panther Camp. I was astounded. To have real shelves instead of relying on book carts (which was my plan, to steal the book carts from the other buildings) was something I am eternally grateful for. It will make the storage of all our awesome donations easier. It will make our job easier. And probably most important, it will show the kids that even though you get knocked out of your routine and sometimes even your home, you can make a new one wherever you are with the support of the people around you.

Thank you to everyone who helped get our shelving up and in place in our library cubby. To see just a few pictures of them getting started , check out the slideshow below. (I'll post post-installation pictures later tomorrow)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Digital Resources Mean the Library is Still Open

When we hear the word "library" with think of rows and rows of books. Maybe we add in a reading area with magazines and newspapers. But we often don't think about the digital resources that are available via our libraries.

There are many resources available through our school library, public libraries, and state resources. While our physical library is out-of-order, so to speak, we still have all of these digital assets at our fingertips.

Below are a few of the resources that you can still access via the internet. You can contact me for login information for any of these resources, aolson[@] (without the brackets)
  • Follett Shelf -- This is our elementary library ebook collection; it's small but growing. (login required)
  • PebbleGo -- Read through some awesome non-fiction articles for kids about social studies, nature, biographies, and more. (login required)
  • BookFlix -- Pairs storybooks with nonfiction books to reinforce early reading skills and introduces children to a world of knowledge and exploration. (login required)
  • TumbleBooks -- Online collection of animated, talking picture books which teach young children the joys of reading in a format they'll love. (login required)
  • Searchasaurus -- Pulls together magazines, newspapers, interviews, books, pictures, and much more to support curricular learning. Provided by Badgerlink for citizens of Wisconsin.
  • Elementary Encyclopedia Britannica -- Comprehensive elementary encyclopedia with articles (that will read to you if wanted), pictures, videos, games, and links. Provided by Badgerlink for citizens of Wisconsin.
  • Even More! -- There are more resources listed on the elementary library's Find page.
  • Public Library -- The public libraries are a wonderful resource to support your child's reading when school is not in session. Check out their pages: Roberts and Hammond Public Libraries

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Elementary says "Forward, Together"

In a temporary home base this morning the elementary school staff meet. Gathered in the Roberts park building, teachers, paras, custodians, food service ladies, and admin gathered to figure out what comes next.

The most important question was answered -- we have a place for the kids to go on Monday. Through an awesome act of kindness and support, the local Girl Scout camp was made available to us. We will be holding Panther Camp (tentative name for now) for the elementary school kids with areas for each grade level and a special temporary library room, nurses station, and office.

As a staff we grieved this tragedy, but we also celebrated the community support and strength of our staff, as well as the concern our students have shown. There was much talk of how this is a great opportunity for us to grow and come together, demonstrating to the students that though you get knocked down, you get back up and face a new challenge head on.

One special education teacher said she had a motto in her room (which was later pointed out to be "borrowed" from a larger body). That motto is "Forward, Together". That is how we are taking this new challenge, together moving forward, doing the best for our kids.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Book Donations

Thank you! I can not believe the outpouring of offers I have had to donate books to our temporary elementary library and for classrooms/grades. It is truly amazing.

YES, we are taking book donations for any picture books, chapter books, or elementary non-fiction books. Please drop off donations at the high school in Hammond.

If you want ideas for books we need:
  1. Books that are on my July order (that I was intending on purchasing) -- click here
  2. Look through our Desiny catalog to see what we have/had in our library -- click here
  3. Award winners are always great -- Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre, Theodore Geisel, Sibert -- do a web search to find the list for each
UPDATE 5-2-13: To see the top 50 most-checked-out books from the past five months click here. These would also be good to get.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fire in the Library!

My heart aches as I write this, but there was a fire at our elementary school early this morning. Damage was contained and no one was injured, which we are all thankfull for. However, the damage was contained to the library. I haven't seen the library yet, so am hopefull that all the books aren't irreparable. Sources say we will be allowed to survey the damage later this week, and by then will have a better idea of how to move forward.

I'd like to thank everyone in the community and the students at the other buildings for the outpouring of support. There were several mentions of book drives, donations, and fundraisers. For right now we are holding all that in reserve (except for one thing) as we get a complete picture of the damage and the road forward.

The one exception for fundraising has to do with the upcoming middle school book fair. We will be having jars set up during the book fair for students, parents, and community memebers to make cash donations with funds being used to restore the library (furniture, books, or other we don't know what yet). The program is part of Scholastics All for Books. Click HERE for information about the book fair.

If you have any questions about the library, please email me at aolson[@]

Friday, April 26, 2013

Good Press!

We had some good press this week in one of the local papers. Thanks to Gretta Stark for the interview and to Ms. Tate and Ms. Loenser for the collaborations!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time, there was a library lady who wanted to share all of the cool things she found. There were videos and infographics  articles, links, and personal thoughts that she felt that people would be interested in knowing. But how should she share it? She tried Delicious, and though it tasted great, it wasn't great for everything she wanted to share. YouTube playlists worked for videos but nothing else. And tumbler seemed to kitschy to be long-lasting. Finally it was decided, a blog was the way to go.

Now you can benefit from her this library ladies hours of online stumbling, twitter following, and YouTube trending goodness. Use an RSS reader to keep up to date, or bookmark (favorite) and check back often.

Welcome to Library Land all you Panthers. We hope you enjoy exploring and sharing, creating and commenting, celebrating and pondering all of the awesome things that appear. DFTBA!