My practicum time and my first year as a library media specialist are coming to a close. I have learned so much this year and put into practice so much that I learned in my program at Western Kentucky.

I came into the position with little less than two weeks before school started and have felt like I’ve been playing catch up all year trying to get both libraries organized. I think I’ll be finished by the time school is out and will be able to use that time next year to work on bringing in more programs to both libraries. I heard several times from former assistants that “that’s not how we did it last year” but have felt confident with the changes I made, such as allowing students who forgot their book or even lost their book to get another one until they brought it back and not confining students only to the reading level that corresponded to their grade level. Just these two changes encourage kids to read more and help them feel better about coming to the library.

I felt confident this year approaching teachers with ideas to collaborate and watched as they used  aspects of the projects to create new lessons. I worked with 7th grade social studies classes, 8th grade Language Arts classes, and 9th grade Literature class this year. All of the students in those classes created a video product that they were proud of.

Looking to next year, some things I want to work on include having more programs in the elementary and middle school, drawing attention to Teen Read Week and other significant dates, doing a better job of changing the bulletin boards, cleaning out the closets and offices, and getting more middle and high school students to come into the library.

Right after I was accepted into graduate school, I found out that I was pregnant. I was 38 and had been married for 19 years. I have had many late nights finishing assignments and I feel proud that I have accomplished my goal of getting my master’s degree as a new mom, working a full time job and a part time job. I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to work as an LMS as I finished the last few classes and, after 19 years in the classroom, look forward to finishing out my teaching career as a library media specialist.

We had our Buy One, Get One Free book fair this week. We were so busy I forgot to get any pictures! Last year, the spring book fair grossed around $2400 and the year before was around $2900. The previous librarian held them as half price fairs (even though Scholastic had changed it to BOGO). I was worried that I would not get as many people in by doing it this way but I set my goal at $3000. We more than doubled last year’s total! We had kids coming in with $1.00 and leaving with 2 or 4 little things. Several people threw their extra change in our penny bucket so when a kid was a few cents short, we were able to get it out of there. We also stayed open from 7:30- 3 so teachers and students could come in at any time. I think all of this helped. I will do some things differently. I allowed the classes to come in as a group to preview the items for sale and discovered some of the packaged books were missing the little trinket that was bundled with it. I don’t know for a fact that one of our students took them or if they were sent that way (most likely the former), but I will not be allowing that many kids in at one time and we’ll be putting the bundled items closer to the checkout from now on.  I am glad that such a small, rural community is willing to support things like the book fair.
Friday around 12 we closed up and my 3 helpers had everything packed up as I was getting the financials in order. So thankful for my helpers!

In other news, as I mentioned last week I mailed my portfolios off and tracked the package as it traveled to Memphis, then Nashville, then Bowling Green, then stayed at the Bowling Green post office. I started to get concerned when on Wednesday it was still there so I called the post office to check on it. The gentleman told me it had not been scanned out but had been delivered. I emailed my advisor just to make sure and thankfully, it really had been delivered. Way to give someone an anxiety attack, post office! Less than an month away until graduation!

I see the light at the end of the graduate school tunnel! I took my Praxis this week. I got there early and they let me start after I got signed in. It took about an hour and a half. It pops up a score at the end and I *think* I passed based on that number. I should know in about a week.

This week I also mailed my portfolio copies. It is amazing how much work fits onto such a small flash drive and in small package. I have been watching my tracking number since I mailed it. It is almost there!

 

 

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The Buy One, Get One Free Book fair arrived Thursday. I had two helpers plus a student worker helping get everything out. We were able to start previews for the students to make their wish lists that afternoon and finished those up on Friday. Even without being officially open we sold about $300 worth of product. I hope this book fair will be as successful as the fall one. Everyone seems to love the BOGO fair!

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I have banners and ground signs advertising the book fair. I don’t think anyone could miss it.

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Next week will be all about the book fair. I will still have library classes in there, we just won’t check out books. Next week will be tiring but fun!

Values professionalism: Professional development and involvement. References and makes use of professional organizations or publications. Willingly participates in professional activities or events that promote professional development.

I am a member of TASL, AASL, TLA, ALA, and NCTE. I have utilized the TASL e-list to ask questions about acquiring non fiction resources. I am already making plans to attend a TASL meeting this summer and the annual conference in the fall. I have attended the NCTE convention 10 times and plan to go again this fall when it is hosted in Atlanta.

I look forward the the NCTE meetings: from meeting authors, getting books to bring back for students, sessions on current topics, and networking with other professionals. Even before I became the LMS at my school I learned a lot from the NCTE conference and am looking forward to going back in this capacity.

This week was full mostly of scanning and weeding and more scanning and weeding. I finished the non-fiction section! I have 4 bookcases in the fiction section finished as well.

I spent about 2.5 hours Thursday processing out the weeded materials (is that the right phrase for that?) by deleting them from the system, removing the barcode and stamping Discarded in them. I am allowed to sell the discards and have a cart set up in the library with them for 25 cents each.

The 7th Amulet book came in and I have so many kids clamoring for it. I bought 2 copies for the elementary and 2 copies for the middle school and there is a waiting list for all of them. I love that I have brought in something that these kids can’t get enough of. I tried at the beginning of the year to get the elementary kids into the few graphic novels that we had in there but it wasn’t until I bought the Amulet books that really got their attention.

The 6th graders have been working on book reports this week (shoebox and puppets are a couple of the ways they can report on their book).

Spring break is next week and I think we are all ready for this break!

Monday was Pi day (March 14=3/14=3.14=Pi). Being a math nerd on top of a book nerd, I had to wear my Super Pi shirt to celebrate.

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Back at the beginning of the school year the school board approved allocating up to $13,000 for library upgrades. I wanted to let them know that I appreciated the money and to let them know what I had used it for so I asked to be put on the agenda for the next board meeting. I used my advocacy presentation that I had done for LME 512. I began by discussing the study that shows the impact that school libraries have on student achievement. I think this got their attention.

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I explained what collaboration I had done and what standards were covered. I used one of my student examples from the 8th grade presentation where they had too invent a product that could help some aspect of the school and create an advertisement for it. It just so happened that one of the students from that group was going to be at the board meeting to be recognized for winning the regional spelling bee and would be heading to Washington, D.C.! I had him introduce his video. This young man also created an external website to go along with his invention.

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At the end of my presentation one of the board members asked what was at the top of my wish list. I said new furniture for the high school library. Hopefully this has opened the door for more improvements.

Report cards for the 3rd grading period went out this week. I sent out overdue notices to students asking them to return or renew their books or their report card would be held. I decided at the beginning of the year not to charge fines for overdue books as long as they didn’t abuse this by keeping books forever. This system seems to work so far. Most students came in by the end of the week to take care of their books.

I spent every bit of free time scanning books in the non-fiction section. When I left Friday I had about 40 book left to scan and the non-fiction books will be done! I will still have to process out the weeded books. I don’t think I had a single shelf that didn’t have at least one book that was not in the system properly. I hope by doing all of this work now I will save myself time and frustration in the future.

I found a few more gems while weeding.

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I don’t think these have been checked out in a while.

This area still needs more weeding, but this is a start.

It was a rainy week here in West Tennessee. We got so much rain in a short amount of time on Thursday that they decided to close schools about the time the students were arriving. Some of the busses were already having trouble picking kids up. They sent the car drivers back home and stopped parents from dropping off. The kids who rode the bus to school had to wait until closer to 9 to be taken back home. I had bus duty that morning. Needless to say, it was a little chaotic! We were also out on Friday. That brings our total of days missed this year to 5.

On Wednesday, I uncovered what I called a “covert cheating operation” among some of the middle school students. A class of 7th graders came into the high school library while only my assistant was in there and overwhelmed her taking AR tests on our 6 computers. I happened to come in at some point and realized a student was too close to another while he was taking a test and discovered that she had given him some answers. When I pulled the records for all the kids that took tests that day, I noticed that many of them took, and made the same grade on, several of the exact same tests and that other kids were giving answers and “helping” out. I know that many people don’t like AR for many reasons. However, this is what we use at my school at this point, and it mostly is for the ease of use. It has been so frustrating dealing with this cheating situation.

In weeding news, I have been hard at work this week still scanning every book and weeding as I go and am still finding books that are not in the system correctly (or at all). Some of these books came pre-barcoded and I believe they were simply left out. This, however, is no excuse. If inventory had been done, these would have been caught.

And I am still finding things like this. Why did we need three copies of this book?

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I did find a book that I checked out my senior year of high school….in 1992. I do not recall this book or why I would have checked it out. I bet it was for an assignment.

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I was the last one to borrow this book. It got added to the weed pile.

I am making good progress in the high school library. I hope once I move to the fiction section things will move more quickly.

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Most of this week was spent giving the first round of the TNReady test. I’ll save my thoughts on giving middle school kids 3.75 hours of writing assessments for a later blog. Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot to be accomplished early in the week.
Friday, however, the elementary school celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America. I bought books to give away to every PreK-5 student.  I either left out a class or miscounted because I somehow didn’t have enough books. I had counted multiple times! Thank goodness for Scholastic and their $1 books and bonus points. I’ll have the books in soon. I felt so bad!

3-5 books

3-5 books

 

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I bought the books as Scholastic’s warehouse sale before Christmas. The kids were so excited when they found out they got to pick a book and KEEP IT! I also gave them a Cat in the Hat bookmark. If budget allows, I plan to continue this every year.

Also on Friday, a local weatherman came to read to our students and talk to them about the weather. The principal was able to get Tom Meiners from WBBJ out of Jackson.

Reading Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today?

Reading Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today?

The students were well behaved and loved when he did his air pressure experiment where he made clouds in a bottle.

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The teachers were excited to meet him, too.

Most of the teachers wore Seuss-themed shirts

Most of the teachers wore Seuss-themed shirts

 

It was a nice change from the testing they had to do this week. And we got to celebrate reading. I am already thinking about things to add to next year’s celebration.

The appearance of the Cat in the hat in the elementary library caused quite the excitement when each class came in last week. I had to give the speech about how it’s just a statue and that he feels like a stuffed animal. I also let the students feel of it. Some were a little afraid (even some of the big kids), but they warmed up to him after a while. I even found a few kids each day wanted to read their book next to him.

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As I was going through the nonfiction section last week, I stumbled across a little gem. I flipped to the back of a book to see how often it had been checked out. As you can see, not very often, and some of the dates are from the 40s.

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I flipped to the front to check the copyright date and discovered it was signed by the author in 1939! It is the 1934 edition of General James Robertson:Father of Tennessee

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On the one hand, it’s so awesome that we have a signed copy of a book from the 1930s.

But on the other hand, we had a book from the 1930s still on the shelves. We actually have several (not signed by the authors though).

I am going to keep this book and create a section in the library for local and interesting history. There are several that I think would fit nicely in there.

I have spent every bit of free time going through the shelves, updating the catalog, and weeding. I don’t know what happened, but there are so many books that have a barcode but were not in the system or were listed as something else. I am not sure if it happened when we went to the automated system or if it was the result of inattention. I finished all of the biography section Friday.

My goal is to finish checking every book in the high school library before the end of the school year so that inventory will go quickly. Inventory, to my knowledge, has never been done, so that is also going to be a long process of removing books in the system, etc.

Oh, the life of a new librarian! 😀

Weeding

So far this week (and it’s only Tuesday!) I have weeded and checked 2 bookcases of non fiction books. Well, I haven’t weeded them from my catalogue yet, but I have pulled them off the shelves. Why is weeding so hard? Some of these books are well over 3o years old, but look almost brand new. And, being non-fiction, the information is still relevant, right? So I’m stuck between “these books are not being utilized” and “but they might be useful for research.” So I am not really sure what to do.

Cat in the hat!

I had quite the surprise today. My director of schools asked me to step into my office to talk to me about something from earlier. It was all a ploy, though, because when we came out of the office, there stood my parents, my son, the elementary principal and a 6.5 foot tall Cat in the Hat!

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My mom made this for the elementary library,  somehow managed to keep it hidden from me, and wanted to make sure it was delivered before our Read Across America celebration next week. It is a little startling because it’s so tall, but the kids have warmed up to it so far. I gave the kindergarteners and pre-K kids a heads up before they came in and gave them the chance to feel its belly and hug it if they wanted so that they could see it was stuffed and not a person. It’s going to be a permanent fixture in the library now.