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.

cat & student


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.

due date

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

author signed

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! ūüėÄ


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!

cat in hat


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.

The Good

This week I introduced my elementary students to¬†Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena. Before reading, I discussed the Newbery and Caldecott awards. I only have 25 minutes with each class so after checking in books, reading a story, and checking out a new book, there is not enough time to do much else. I would like to do more with these classes but I just don’t know how to squeeze it all in. That is something I am going to look more into this summer.

My last big book order came in this week. Again, before I even started processing them I had students asking for some of them. Here is a picture of the first part of the shipment:

new books

The ones on the left side are for my elementary students and the ones on the right side are for the 6-12 students. Minecraft inspired, Ninjago, and Amulet are huge right now for the 3-5 grades. The second part of the shipment came in at the end of the day and had the majority of the graphic novels that I ordered. I can’t wait to get the bigger display set up in the elementary library. My students will be excited to see the new graphic novels.

My bins also arrived this week. I used Scholastic bonus points to order these to help with the Great Elementary Library Organization Project. I am going to put some of the more popular series in these so they are easier for the students to find. Aren’t they cute? I got three sets of these.



The Bad

One of the more frustrating things I’ve had to deal with this year is that¬†several times I’ve scanned a book for a student to check out only to discover it was in the computer as something else or not in there at all. This has been particularly bad with books in the non-fiction section. During 2nd block on Friday, my student worker and I took one bookcase and scanned each book. I was not only checking to see if it was in the system correctly, but also putting in the location (elementary or high school) so that I will know when I look up a book which library it can be found in. I was shocked at¬†what I found. This picture shows the books from just one bookcase that were not in the system or were in as a different book.


Some of these will be weeded.

It’s a good thing I started now. Hopefully, we can finish this job before school is out so that inventory will go much more quickly.


The Awesome

On Thursday, I got to spend the day at McKenzie High with my cooperating teacher, Mona. I also happen to be the guard instructor at that school and got to see my guard girls and many of the band students when they came into the library with their classes. Mona and I spent time discussing weeding, cataloging, purchasing, TASL activities, etc. Since we use the same software, I covered for her while she went to lunch so I got the opportunity to recommend and check out books to students. I am fortunate to have Mona as my cooperating teacher. She has been so kind and helpful answering all of my questions during this school year.


Also in awesome news- I spent time this¬†morning in the elementary library and was able to get the pink dot section in order! I am so close to having this library more organized and functional. It’s getting there!

Values collaboration. Actively seeks out and incorporates ideas of others. Takes leadership in working with others to improve the overall environment. Regularly share information and ideas.

Before beginning the library media program, I didn’t think much about collaboration in the library. For one, I was a math teacher. Secondly, the lms at my school did not reach out to teachers to collaborate. As a result of this program and the fact that I am already working in an lms position, I see the benefits of collaboration. Studies have proven that collaboration with the library media specialist contributes to higher test scores. Students learn literacy and technology skills. Besides, I am a teacher and need to have this sort of interaction with students and not just be the guardian of the book collection. I enjoy introducing students to new tools and seeing what they can create from them. I have reached out to three teachers this year for collaboration and all three were very receptive considering that their precious class time is being used. They were all pleased with the final products that the students produced and felt that the collaboration was a good use of time. I hope to work with the 6th grade before the school year is over and plan to do even more next year.



Somehow having a snow day on Tuesday seemed to make this week drag out forever! Here in the south, we get out more for ice than snow. This is the amount of snow we had on Tuesday that got us out of school.


Not a lot of snow, but the backroads were slick.

The younger students are a little more rambunctious after a break like this and this week was no exception. I had to review the library rules during the elementary classes. Some of them seemed to have forgotten how to come in quietly and not play around while looking for a book.

On Monday of this week, the Social Studies classes finished up their projects and presented them on Friday to the entire 7th grade (around 40 students). The classroom teachers and I were very impressed with their work. While there were some questionable images in regards to the images of food and a few spelling errors, overall, they did a great job choosing images that fit what civilization they were researching and choosing music.

Here is one example from the class:

The teacher liked this project so much that she wants to do something similar when they study the Dynasties of China.

I wish I had more time to work with students for this project. They felt rushed toward the end because it took so long to teach how to save and open from a flash drive, save a Word document and images, etc. I typed up basic instructions on how to do this and gave a copy to each group. This seemed to help. Doing this project helped me think about how I can scaffold the learning in the library beginning with 6th grade. I am going to try to start at the beginning of the school year and use the advisory class time to teach the basics.

In other library news, I¬†assumed that I had the whole school year to spend my library budget and¬†had been budgeting to stretch out the money¬†at least through April. Imagine my surprise when I found out it had to be spent by February 12! ¬†I have been working every free minute this week getting orders together- one from Scholastic and one from Amazon. Several of my 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students are starting to read graphic novels thanks to Raina Telgemeier’s books, so my goal for these orders was to get graphic novels for both the elementary and the middle/high school libraries. I used the Facebook group ALA Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries MIG and ALA’s Great Graphic Novels lists as guides for my purchases. I was able to spend the rest of my money with 26 cents left!

I have also continued this week to re-organize some of the shelves in the elementary library when I’ve had time between classes. It’s getting there, but I think I could almost finish if I had an entire day to work on it. I see a Saturday project coming up soon!

This week I worked with the 7th grade Social Studies classes on a project. One of their standards is to use multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to describe the artistic and oral traditions and architecture in the four civilizations (Olmecs, Mayan, Aztec, and Incan civilizations). The classroom teacher and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do some collaboration in the library media center. Students would learn technology skills along with creating a presentation.

Last semester, the school board authorized money for library upgrades. This included laptops, an interactive white board, and a projector. These make collaboration and instruction in the library so much better. Before the students came in I got everything set up and ready.

media center

Recent additions to the library- interactive white board & laptops

I started off talking about reliable sources and was quite impressed that many of the students were aware that they don’t need to believe everything out there on the internet. The more challenging task so far was getting students to save onto a flash drive properly. This made me realize that I need to work on this skill beginning with the sixth graders and gave me ideas for a plan of action starting next school year.

I use my hands a lot when I teach.

I use my hands a lot when I teach.

The social studies teacher already had her students in pods so we used those as the groups. They picked out of a hat which civilization to research, then in their groups decided who would work on which aspect. I gave them suggestions of sites to use other than just Googling or Wikipedia, showed them how to save their sites in a Word document, and gave them an overview of Animoto. Since I had a limited time with these students, I did not require proper citation but did tell them they at needed to give me a list of sites they used.

Overall, the students worked well within their groups and were eager to get started making their video. They are to finish up Monday and hopefully we can present them to their classmates Friday.

The principal can be seen peeking in the window.

The principal can be seen peeking in the window.

I had one of my observations during one of my lessons this week and the Director of Schools also popped in for a bit. Collaboration in this manner and instruction in the library is new at my school and I think they were fairly impressed with what they saw.

Other than the collaboration, I catalogued more books, ordered book stops to help organize the shelves better, and started working on organizing my office in the high school. Between bus duty, homecoming activities, parent-teacher conference, and announcing at both the senior night and  homecoming games, it has been a crazy long week.