Monday, September 28, 2015

Books of the Week, Sept 28

High School - The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun
Details how Adam Braun, inspired after meeting a begging young boy on the streets of India, quit his job at Bain & Company to start up the organization Pencils of Promise, which has since built more than two hundred schools around the world.
370.91724 BRA @ the Library

Middle School - 101 Ways to Organize Your Life by Deborah Underwood
Presents over one hundred tips on organization, offering advice on organizing school supplies, clothing, activities and social events, bedrooms, memories and collections, family, and time.
646.7 UND @ the Library

Elementary - Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day by Gary Paulsen
When supremely organized seventh-grader, Molly McGinty, loses the notebook she relies on to keep her life in order she spends the day in chaos.
FIC PAU @ the Library

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nobody Should Ever See This!

Working with students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds makes purchasing, promoting, and developing a library collection very interesting. I need to account for the readers with low and high abilities, readers with varied interests, and staff members asking for supplementary material for their classrooms (again at a variety of different reading levels). But one thing I keep in mind is that the school library, like a public library, should have something for everyone.

There is a great quote by Jo Godwin which says “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.” This doesn't mean that a library's job is to offend people. It means that a library should contain all points of view on a variety of subjects, some of which may be offensive to patrons of the library.

In celebration of the idea that libraries are a place to celebrate the freedom to read what you want, the American Library Association sponsors Banned Books Week every year. We celebrate the books that have been challenged by communities around the country as being too offense to be part of a library collection. We don't say you have to read them, we say that people should always have the option to read them. We celebrate the fact that we live in a country where the freedom to write, publish, and read any idea is an inalienable right. We celebrate the fact that books, magazines, newspapers, TV shows, movies, and the internet all exist to share and discuss stories and ideas from every viewpoint. 

Many mediums have mechanisms in place to help students, parents, and the community decide if something should be read, watched, or listened to. Movies and TV shows have ratings; so do video games. Music has a warning if it contains explicit content. The internet and books are a much less restricted. We all need to be responsible consumers of stories and information and decide for ourselves if it meets our personal values and ethics. 

So if you see something out in the world or if something comes into your home that offends you, don't go with the knee-jerk reaction to say "Nobody should ever see this!". Take the time to read/listen/watch the material and then have a discussion about what you find offensive and why. Take that teachable moment to reaffirm your own beliefs or help your child build a framework for their beliefs. 

Here is a great video from author of the Captain Underpants series, Dave Pikey, who happens to have one of the most challenged books of the recent decade.

We live in a society that values the sharing and discussion of divergent viewpoints. It's a good thing that our libraries provide the opportunity for students and parents to discussion those viewpoints. Take the time to talk with your child about what they are reading, what messages does the book have, what things do the characters values. Those discussion can help your child make better choices in the future, not just about which books to read, but about what choices they should be making for themselves.

If you would like further information about Banned Books Week visit

And as always, DFTBA!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Books of the Week, Sept 21

High School -- The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
On the morning of her wedding, Princess Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive--and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets--even as she finds herself falling in love.
FIC PEA @ the Library

Middle School -- The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs
Fifteen-year-old Princess Meg uses magic and her wits to rescue a baby dragon and escape the unwanted attentions of princes hoping to gain her hand in marriage through a contest arranged by her father, the king.
FIC COO @ the Library

Elementary School -- Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Princess Celie loves Tuesdays at Castle Glower, because every Tuesday the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes a whole new wing, and Celie likes to map the changes to the castle, but when her parents, King and Queen Glower are taken captive, it falls to Celie and her knowledge of the castle to defend their home and save the kingdom.
FIC GEO @ the Library

Friday, September 18, 2015

Game Nights, Sept 22 & 23

The library will be hosting two game nights next week so students and staff can battle it out and determine who reigns supreme at table top gaming.

Middle School Game Night
Sept 22, 3:15-5pm in the library
All MS staff and students are welcome!

High School Game Night
Sept 23, 3:25-5pm in the library
All HS staff and students are welcome!

We will have traditional games like Uno, Life, and checkers. But will also have new hits like Killer Bunnies and Robot Turtles. If you have a favorite game, feel free to bring it along!

DFTBA and have a great day!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Books of the Week, Sept 14

Celebrate Constitution and Citizenship Day on Sept 17!

High School - The Great American Citizenship Quiz by Solomon M. Skolnick

Presents one hundred questions from the test on United Stated history and civics required of would-be United States citizens, providing background facts and stories on the answers, and includes lists of senators, representatives, governors, and state capitals, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and amendments, and the Emancipation Proclamation.
323.6076 SKO @ the Library

Middle School - US Government Through Infographics by Nadia Higgins
Introduces basic concepts of government, discussing democracy in different countries, taxes, voting, and more. Includes charts, maps, and illustrations.
320 HIG @ the Library

Elementary - D Is for Democracy: A Citizen's Alphabet by Elissa Grodin
Presents a children's A to Z alphabet book on democracy and explains the government's structure and concepts including immigration and taxation.
320.973 GRO @ the Library

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ebooks and Digital Audiobooks Available K-12

I've been in several classrooms at the middle school the past few days talking with teachers and students about FollettShelf, which is the digital school library where our ebooks and digital audiobooks are housed. Students, especially those in 6-8th grade with Chromebooks, have been super excited about all the cool titles they can check out on their own devices.

Available on any device with a browser, each building has it's own unique FollettShelf available to students and staff members to use. You can see what's available at each building by clicking the links below.

For students at the elementary, we have everyone use a generic guest login, which can be obtained by stopping in the library or emailing me at aolson[at]

For students at the middle and high school, each student has their own login. Students should login to Destiny and then use the FollettShelf link available there to access the ebooks/audiobooks. Students at the middle and high schools have a Destiny username that is the same as their regular computer username (first initial+last name+last two digits of graduation year). Their Destiny password is just their school lunch number (NO LETTERS). 

While many books are available, there are always the holdouts in the publishing world who can't get with the ebook program (I'm looking at you J.K. Rowling). But if there is ever a book you don't see that you think we should have, please let me know and I can see if it is available for me to add. I'm always looking for suggestions!

Handout for middle (and high) school students about how to use Follett ebooks and audiobooks.

You can find how-to videos and information about the Apple and Android apps by visiting this page

As always, if you have any questions, you can always stop by your school library or send me an email! DFTBA

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Books of the Week, Sept 8

High School - Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron by Jonathan Strahan
An anthology of short fiction about witches.
SC UND @ the Library

Middle School - Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer
An illustrated history of the witch hunts that took place in colonial-era Salem, Massachusetts, featuring primary source accounts, and describing the victims, accused witches, corrupt officials, and impact of the events on society.
133.4 SCH @ the Library

Elementary - Alice and Greta: A Tale of Two Witches by Steven J. Simmons
Two young witches use their powers in opposite ways, one helping people and the other making mischief.
E FIC SIM @ the Library

Friday, September 4, 2015

One School One Book

Welcome back! I'm hoping you had a wonderful summer full of reading. But even if you didn't it's time to jump back in with both feet!

To promote fun reading and a community that talks about books, the middle school will be hosting a One School One Book program this year. Each quarter an ebook will be selected that all staff and students have access to and can read simultaneously. This ebook will be hosted on our FollettShelf and can be accessed on any internet capable device with a browser. With all staff and students having access to read this book, great conversations can happen around the selected title and about reading in general.

For first quarter staff and students will have the option to read the book Juice by Eric Walters. Summary: "When a new coach comes to their school, Michael and his teammates are convinced that steroids are the way to compete, but what they do not know is their coach's determination to obtain a college post rests on his ability to create a division one high school team." This is a short book (only 101 pages) and a fast-paced, really interesting read.

If students finish Juice during first quarter, they can stop by the library to complete a short activity about the book and get their name entered in a drawing to win a Strandbeest Kit. Sorry, staff are not eligible for the prize.

Middle School FollettShelf - Handout
This two-page handout goes over how to use the Follett ebooks and audiobooks. It contains reminders of how to get their and what the students use as their login information. Staff can contact me for their login information.

If you have questions about the One School One Book program, please contact me (email is the best)!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Books of the Week, Sept 1

Elementary - 10 Ways I Can be a Better Student by Sara Antill
Explains ten small changes in behavior to become a better student, including avoiding distractions, finding astudy spot, and getting organized.
371.3028 ANT @ the Library

Middle - School Made Easier : A Kid's Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools by Wendy L. Moss and Robin A. DeLuca-Acconi
A guide for students on how to study for tests and how to deal with anxiety.
371.30281 MOS @ the Library

High - The Secrets of Top Students : Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Acing High School and College by Stefanie Weisman
Offers advice for top academic success, including staying motivated, with tips for better studying and learning.
371.30281 WEI @ the Library