Friday, May 27, 2016

State of the Library

The library we have today is ever growing and changing. It's not the library of old where students were absolutely silent and books were the only resource. Today's library is evolving into a learning space where students are encouraged to pursue knowledge and develop skills that excites them about the world. Though paper books are still prevalent, we have expanded our collections to include ebooks, playaway audiobooks, digital audiobooks, DVDs, documentaries, and magazines that spark the imagination.

While there is much to say anecdotally about what occurs in the library, hard and fast numbers are much easier for quick consumption by the masses.

In the 2015-16 school year:
  • The elementary circulated 34,456 items to K-4 students
  • The middle school circulated 9,235 paper books, DVDs, and playaway audiobooks to students in 5-8, but also circulated 5,208 ebooks and 476 digital audiobooks via the FollettShelf. This brought total circulation up to 14,919 items, an increase of 38% over last years total circulation.
  • The high school struggled this year, but had a solid 1,426 physical and digital items circulated.
  • I hosted monthly game nights at the middle school for students to build relationships with staff and among their peers in a positive atmosphere.
  • Students in grades 5-8 participated in the One School One Book program, where the whole school was invited to read a chosen book each quarter and discuss it with their peers.
  • Coding nights were held at both the middle school and high school, with students learning the basics of computer science.
  • The $58,476 that was allocated to SCC by Wisconsin's common school fund helped purchase books, ebooks, playaway audiobooks, digital audiobooks, DVDs, and green screen equipment, all of which are available to all students and staff to support learning. (Learn more about the common school fund)
What does the future hold?

I believe that the middle school will continue to see increased use of the ebook and digital audiobook collections and that the high school will see this bump as well when these students begin our Chromebook initiative. 

I believe that the elementary will always have strong circulation based on the a nature of the learning taking place there. Our only struggle at this level is the lack of time for library classes; students are often finished with books before their next library class comes around in the rotation. However, the growth in student population with a stagnant staff growth means that our schedules will just not allow any more library time. 

I believe that the inclusion of more creation stations in the library will transform the library into a true learning and creation space. Currently I have plans to set up a green screen video recording area at both the middle school and high school in the fall. This area can be used to extend lessons in the classroom and is available for students to use for personal projects. Other areas that may be expanded are an audio recording area for both podcasts and music (though sound proofing is proving to be a problem) and makerspace areas where students can explore robotics, coding, and problem solving.

The library is growing and changing, and we are growing and changing with it. I appreciate all the support the SCC community gives to us by making purchases at our book fairs, by donating books and supplies when we need them, by supporting literacy with our students, and by being the amazing people you are. 

If you have any questions about the data presented or would like more information on plans for the library, please contact me at aolson[at]

DFTBA and have a great summer!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Books of the Week, May 23

High School - The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman
When a nonprofit organization called Save the Girls pairs a fourteen-year-old Sudanese refugee with an American teenager from Richmond, Virginia, the pen pals teach each other compassion and share a bond that bridges two continents.
FIC WHI @ the Library

Middle School - Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics by Marilee Peters
Looks at the history of epidemics, focusing on the great plague epidemic of 1665, yellow fever in Cuba in 1900, ebola in Zaire in 1976, and others.
614.4 PET @ the school library

Elementary - Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! by Philippe Coudray
Benjamin Bear, accompanied by his faithful rabbit friend, continues to share his observations and questions about the world around him.
GN COU @ the school library

Friday, May 20, 2016

Just Because It's Summer...

Just because it's summer ... doesn't mean your brain stops working.

Just because it's summer ... doesn't mean you are still curious.

Just because it's summer ... doesn't mean you'll stop creating new things.

Just because it's summer ... doesn't mean that you stop growing and changing.

Just because it's summer ... doesn't mean the school library is closed and can't help you will all those things!

There are tools available through the library website that can be used all summer long to grow, create, and learn. I try to curate tools that I find that can support students' growth in a fun and engaging way (and also hopefully for free!). If you ever have great resources or tools you find, please let me know and I can add them.

There are 2-4 main pages on all of the schools' library pages.

Find -- On this page of the library website you'll find links to paid SCC resources, Badgerlink resources, and free resources that can be used to learn about a plethora of topics. There may also be links to video and audio websites that become incredibly helpful when creating multimedia projects.

Read -- On this page, just like the name suggests, you will find links and information about all things literacy related. There is information about great new books, current events, and links to resources that support literacy. There is also a place to make suggestions of things that could be purchased for the library.

Learn -- While not the most exciting page on the library website, this page has information on projects I collaborate with teachers on. It also has information about the research process, copyright issues, and creating bibliographies.

Create -- This page contains a bunch of links to great fun tools that can be used to create something. They can be used to showcase new knowledge or to create something just for fun.

Just because it's summer doesn't mean you don't have access to some really splendid school resources and tools. So even when school isn't a place you go to, check out the library website to find some online resources to keep your brain working.

SCC Elementary Library

SCC Middle School Library

SCC High School Library

Monday, May 16, 2016

Books of the Week, May 16

Elementary - Museum Shapes by Metropolitan Museum of Art Staff
Introduces different shapes through a look at works featured in the collection at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, from Navajo blankets to Japanese prints.
516 MUS @ the school library

Middle School - 13 Buildings Children Should Know by Annette Roeder
Describes the history of thirteen important buildings around the world, including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Tower of London, and the Guggenheim Museum, each with illustrations, photographs, and a time line.
720 ROE @ the school library

High School - Earth Then and Now: Amazing Images of Our Changing World by Fred Pearce
Earth Then and Now records the dramatic way our planet has changed over the past century. On one page is a specific part of the world as it was 5, 20, 50 or even 100 years ago. On the facing page is the same place as it looks today. Each stark visual comparison tells a compelling story -- a melting glacier, an expanding desert, an encroaching cityscape, a natural disaster.
550 PEA @ the Library

Friday, May 13, 2016

When are library books due?

School ends in just a few short weeks and the SCC libraries would like to make every effort to get back all library items that were used this year. 

As a student, please look around your room, check your backpack, and please clean out your locker.

As a parent, please help your child look for any books that we have sent a notice about. You can also ask your 4th-12th grade student to login to Destiny to view what they have out. 

As a teacher, please double check your classroom as you wrap up the year and drop off any books, videos, or equipment you find with a library barcode.

If anyone has questions about what is checked out from any of the SCC libraries, you can email me at aolson[at]

So when does everything need to be returned?

Elementary - Wednesday, May 18
Middle School - Friday, May 20
High School - Tuesday, May 24

But what if you can't find an item? We know that sometimes things are misplaced; however, in order to maintain our collection so all our students can have access to materials, we ask that you pay for items that you cannot return. If your family faces financial hardship, please just let me know and we can work something out.

Thank you all so much for helping to keep our collection current and teaching our students responsibility. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Books of the Week, May 9

High School - An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossaw
Provides a guide, illustrated with animals, on how to properly have an argument.
168 ALM @ the Library

Middle School - Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee
Bobby inadvertently gets into a fight with his best friend Holly, and their disagreement develops into a boys versus girls war involving their whole fourth-grade class.
FIC YEE @ the school library

Elementary - Almost Zero: A Dyamonde Daniel Book by Nikki Grimes
Dyamonde, longing for a pair of red high-top sneakers, is persuaded by a classmate that it is her mother's job to give her what she needs, and she learns an important lesson when she tries that argument on her mom who responds by literally giving Dyamonde only what she needs.
FIC GRI @ the school library

Friday, May 6, 2016

Need a New Book for Summer Reading?

We are chugging along towards summer at a pretty brisk pace. But before we get there I want everyone to have the chance to pick up some new summer reading material. To that end, the middle school is holding a book fair! (though anyone in the district can stop by and shop online)

Shop Online Dates - May 4-18

Our online book fair has a wide variety of books from Scholastic, from beginning reader picture books to adult best sellers. Anything purchased on the online fair will be shipped to school for free after May 18 and delivered to students. Students in K-12 can find books at our online book fair.

Shop at School Dates -- May 11-18
In the middle school library.
Open to students from 7:45-3pm daily.
Open to parents and community members on May 12 and 17 from 3:30-8pm.

Books that are available for purchase during these dates at the middle school are geared more towards grades 5-8. There are also school supplies and posters available during this time.

Reading for pleasure unlocks the power of information and imagination and helps children discover who they are. Here’s what you can do to help children develop stronger reading skills and a love for reading:
  • Set the example. Let children see you read.
  • Have a collection of books in your home. Update this collection routinely to keep pace with changing tastes and reading skills.
  • Support our school’s Book Fair by allowing your children to choose their own books to read.
Remember, all purchases benefit our school. To that end, we are running a classroom wish list program again this year. Teachers will be pulling books that they would like for their classrooms, and if you feel able, you can purchase one of these book to donate to your child’s teacher. Building classroom libraries and having children surrounded by books will lead to reading success.

If you have any questions about the book fair, please contact me at aolson[at]