We want you to meet some of our talented Nebraska school librarians. In today’s librarian spotlight, you will meet Christine Ambrose, librarian at Chadron Intermediate School.
NSLA: Hi Christine, can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey to becoming a librarian?
Christine: I am the librarian at Chadron Intermediate School (3-4) in Chadron, NE. Before that I was a paraeducator at the same school for 12 years. I am also our school Acadience Learning Reading program and Acellus online program coordinator.
I have a Bachelor's in Sociology with a minor in Geography from Chadron State College. I also attended Western Washington University where I studied Anthropology. I am currently working on my library endorsement and I only have one class left!
I have published 2 history books, (Land of Mirages: The People & History of Mirage Flats, & The Mueksch Blacksmith Shop & Branding Iron Reunion) and write a history column for the Hay Spring Hip Hop newspaper called Sheridan County Memories.
NSLA: What do you like most about being a librarian?
Christine: I love helping kids find and enjoy great books. I believe that if you can read well everything else will come more easily. It is the building block for education. I could not read until the 3rd grade and finally had a teacher that took the time to figure out why and how to help me. I love books and read over 300 a year on average.
NSLA: Tell us about one of your favorite library programs?
Christine: Our Pen Pal Program is definitely one of my favorites! This year we decided to have our students write letters to people in our local Prairie Pines Lodge & Assisted Living complex. We knew the effects on our kids from being home for 5 months due to Covid-19 and knew that the Prairie Pines adults were struggling with loneliness as well. It has been a huge success. The response from both adults and students is wonderful. They write back and forth, sending cards or letters monthly or more. We then read the letters in library classes. The students love hearing from people who are almost 80-100 years old. They talk about what school and life was like for them then and now. We plan on continuing the program next year.
NSLA: What is your favorite book, author, series, or genre?
Christine: My favorite general authors are Kimbra Swain, Nora Roberts, and Stephanie Meyer. I love history books of all kinds and am currently researching Mari Sandoz & family as they lived in Sheridan County which has been the focus of our writing.
NSLA: What are some ways you promote literacy in your school?
Christine: I tell kids to expand their brain's and reading choices by pushing a diverse library collection. For my displays I tend to pick books that are not so currently popular, and especially choose non fiction choices on history topics or science. We do read aloud with every class as well. During the 1st semester we were reading the I Survived Books and Who Am I? books in the lunchroom and then discussing the actual historical facts. It was fun and the kids learned a lot.
NSLA: How has NSLA helped you grow professionally?
Christine: I have enjoyed working on my library certification classes and talking to other librarians and getting ideas and feedback. I also enjoy the the suggested book lists.
You can contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine’s writing email is email@example.com.
We want you to meet some of our talented Nebraska school librarians. In today’s librarian spotlight, you will meet Sara Friest, librarian at Southwest High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.
NSLA: Hi Sara, can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey to becoming a librarian?
Sara: I teach at Lincoln Southeast High School. I have been a librarian for nine years but I've only been teaching for five. I realize that may seem backwards but I earned my MLIS before going back to school to get a teaching certificate. I earned my MLIS from the University of Missouri, my K-12 Special Education Certificate through Doane University, and the remainder of my endorsements at UNO.
I LOVE my job ... it's my dream! In addition to my duties as a librarian, I serve on my school improvement committee, steering committee, and enhancement committee. I also serve as an instructional coach within my building and in my spare time, I review multicultural books for LPS's MOSAIC collection!
NSLA: What do you like most about being a librarian?
Sara: So many things!
1) I get to learn and grow every day! I'm always so inspired by the students and staff I get to work with.
2) I love that every day is different! Sometimes I'm teaching students how to avoid plagiarism or how to find information in the databases, sometimes I'm hosting events to create spaces where people can connect with each other and with the books, sometimes I'm learning or teaching new technology, sometimes I'm making 3-D hot air balloons for a display!
3) I love being the heart of the school and the first place people go to when they need help!
4) My students and coworkers make me smile every day!
NSLA: What is one of your favorite lessons to teach?
Sara: I love teaching anything involving research. I realize that most students dread it, but I like to think of it as a scavenger hunt followed by a puzzle. First, we have to find all the best pieces and then we have to put them together in the way that makes our ideas clear to a reader.
My students especially love learning how to use keywords properly. They are so used to typing a whole question into Google, they often do it in the databases too. To teach this keyword concept, I have them play a modified game of Heads Up! where one person has to guess a word based on clues his/her team gives. I split the room in half and it ends up being quite competitive. When it's over, we talk about what strategies worked to get the guesser to know the word quickly. The students talk about their use of synonyms, descriptive words, and related terms (all helpful when doing keyword searching). We then apply this information to some database searches. They quickly realize that sometimes the words that we use are not the same words that academics use in professional literature.
NSLA: Tell us about one of your favorite library programs?
Sara: When possible, I love to bring different subject areas together. Last year (pre-COVID), we had a monthly activity in the library combining English classes and Life Skills classes. I worked with several teachers to create a theme each month with activities that would most help our students. On the day of the event, one class of English students would set up different stations all around the library. The next class would wait outside the library to welcome the Life Skills students. They would pair up and take their buddy from station to station. There were so many very magical moments that happened each time and it was always the highlight of each month!
I'm also working on organizing an eSports team for my high school.
NSLA: What is your favorite book, author, series, or genre?
Sara: How can I choose just one?! I probably have a favorite book in every genre. I love Marie Lu's Warcross series (or ANY of her series). I love the imagery of The Night Circus (Morgenstern). I enjoy a good nonfiction book. Boys in the Boat and The 57 Bus are both so powerful! The Giver of Stars (Moyes) and The Nightingale (Hannah) are both excellent and if I had to choose, historical fiction is probably my favorite genre.
NSLA: What are some ways you promote literacy in your school?
Sara: This year especially, I've been doing a lot to help the students be more independent as they search for books. My staff has helped me create topic tiles within Destiny as well as Destiny Collections. We've put transparent colored stickers across the spines of the fiction books so that our students can know at a glance what genre each book is. We've placed shelf talkers with QR codes to book trailers.
NSLA: How has NSLA helped you grow professionally?
Sara: I love NSLA because it offers a sense of community. I am able to connect and get ideas from others across the state! I also take advantage of webinars and conferences and always walk away with ideas that I can take and use in my own library.
You can find Sara on Instagram @contagious.curiosity. If you do, please send her a direct message so she can follow you back!
My name is Elizabeth von Nagy, and I’m here to talk with you about collection development. I’m in my 7th year of School Librarianship and over the course of my career, I’ve served three buildings. I spent my first three years splitting my time between two elementary schools and I’ve enjoyed the last three years at a high school in the Omaha Metro area.
Before the publication of the CREW/MUSTIE model, many Collection Management texts examined had little to say specifically about weeding libraries. Johnson wrote in the 2018 title Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management that an “early report from the Lynn Public Library in Massachusetts noted that 295 books were withdrawn in 1887 because they were worn out or duplicates” (p. 198). The same volume also stated when “A weeding plan proposed to address the overflowing Quincy Public Library [it] caused a major flap at the ALA 1893 annual meeting” (Johnson, 2013, p. 198). It appears that collection management has always been an undertaking. Other Collection Management models share obvious similarities. One 2014 text titled Rethinking Collection Development and Management by Albitz, Avery, Zabel recommends a shelf review, usage review, alternate availability review, replacement review, and final review as a system to manage collections, which shares many similarities with CREW/MUSTIE (pp. 69-70). Yet another title, Crash Course in Collection Development, written by Disher in 2007, recommends librarians use CREW, plus a “space and balance” assessment, which focuses on ensuring that multiple viewpoints and perspectives are present in a collection (p. 129). I felt that in the marathon that our profession has been running, collection management lagged behind. All of these models are missing a crucial element: how will these appeal to our learners’ personal preferences, personalities and the fluidity of their needs? Additionally, I noticed that our patrons and the way they consume media has changed, so I wondered if the way we as librarians manage and develop collections could be changed to better meet the needs of our patrons. OCEAN can help you by:
Meet the Big Five--our framework. Lewis Goldberg developed the Big Five Primary Factors of Personality and their bipolar markers in his 1990 study “An alternative “description of personality”: The Big-Five factor structure” and it has been used in research across the globe to study media and genre appeal based on personality types. The results from the research examined are generally consistent--that personality plays a large role in what patrons choose to read, watch, or consume. Therefore, School Librarians can consider applying the same method by which personality is measured and the science behind genre appeal to books and materials in their collections. Such an examination would allow School Librarians to see collections as they may or may not appeal to Learners.
The Big Five, which can be remembered by the acronym OCEAN, will shed light on holes, areas of concentration, and areas of need in collections. Each of these five factors is defined with bipolar markers. Bipolar markers are descriptive adjectives, identified in Goldberg’s 1990 lexical study. Each factor lives on a spectrum and each spectrum is identified on it’s poles by those previously identified adjectives. This works well for pairing media to learners while really focusing on the needs of the learner in that moment. We’ll spend some time learning about each of the five factors before applying them to books and media.
Openness to Experience, also known as culture or intellect, is the first of the five factors of OCEAN. Each factor lays on its own spectrum, with indicators on either end. Goldberg’s 1990 lexical study worked to define sets of trait terms, or bipolar markers, for each of the Big Five. Words like “knowledge,” “originality,” and “wisdom” are on the, for our purposes, “positive” end of the spectrum. The “negative” end of Openness to Experience can be defined with words like, “imperceptivity,” “simple,” and “ignorant.” A 2004 study by Kraaykap and van Eijck hypothesized that "openness to experience will have a positive effect on all serious, exciting, or unconventional types of media use and a negative effect on the use of popular, predictable books or television programs” (p. 1677). In the library, a person that falls on the positive end of openness to experience would be inclined to gravitate toward daring fiction, nonfiction, and makerspace items. A person that falls on the negative end would dislike mainstream medias and predictable plotlines.
Conscientiousness, or dependability, is defined on the positive by words like “religiosity,” “thrift,” and “grace.” Rebelliousness, inconsistency, and negligence define the negative end of this spectrum. A person that falls positively on this spectrum might prefer predictable, structured, and popular items like easy readers or books with a set plot line or other writing devices. This person might dislike heavy reading, like the classics, and eBooks.
Extraversion’s markers range from “spirit,” and “spontaneity” on the positive end and “pessimism” or “modesty” on the negative end. Kraaykamp and van Eijck hypothesized in their 2004 study that “extraversion will have a negative effect on book reading and watching popular, predictable television programs, and a positive effect on outdoor cultural participation and watching serious or exciting (e.g. action movies or erotic programs) television programs” (2004, p. 1677) Patrons that fall on the negative end of this spectrum may be reluctant readers, but may especially dislike the mainstream. Patrons that fall on the positive end of this spectrum may enjoy adventurous books and materials that are emotionally charged.
Agreeableness, also known as friendliness, is the fourth factor. It’s bipolar markers are “trust,” and “tolerance,” on the positive end and “vindictiveness,” or “criticism,” on the negative end. A person that falls on the positive end of this spectrum might love materials that allow for interactivity, like choose-your-own-adventure books, Spheros, database articles with read-aloud features, and eBooks that let the user click on pictures or other links. A patron that falls on the negative end of Agreeableness might gravitate toward materials with more serious topics or that are unconventional.
The last factor in the big five is neuroticism, also referred to as emotional stability. Our positive markers here are “poise,” “self-reliance,” and “durability,” while our negative markers are “anxiety,” “timidity” and “insecurity.” A student that places positively on this spectrum might enjoy how-to books or culturally relevant or popular materials. Someone that places negatively on this spectrum might enjoy materials that are easy to digest or that they can access without assistance, like eMaterials, because those feel more anonymous.
Remember, just like our needs, wants, and preferences fluctuate, books and library materials’ purpose can shift to meet our needs. We all live on a spectrum, and so do our books. When pairing learners with resources, it is vital that librarians use what we know about the patron in that moment to pair them with the best resource. Ask yourself: What do you do when a learner comes to you and says, “I need a good book”? OCEAN can be used to guide the conversation when determining which material may be a best match for that patron. In addition to tucking the Big Five into your patron-material-matching toolbelt, you can use it to guide collection development decisions. It may be that by visualizing your collection as a group of people, each with their own unique personalities, sheds light on holes or areas of hypersaturation in your collection. Using OCEAN to drive decisions about which books to weed and how they may or may not appeal to patrons might better inform your decision. Whether you are making an attempt to more deeply understand your collection or asking yourself how to better match patrons and materials, the Big Five can help you make an informed and balanced choice.
Albitz, B., Avery, C., & Zabel, D. (2014). Rethinking collection development and management. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
Crysel, L. C., Cook, C. L., Schember, T. O., & Webster, G. D., (2015). Harry Potter and the measures of personality: Extraverted Gryffindors, agreeable Hufflepuffs, clever Ravenclaws, and manipulative Slytherins. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 174-179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.04.016
Disher, W. (2007). Crash course in collection development. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Goldberg, L. R., (1990). An alternative “description of personality”: The Big-Five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(6), 1216–1229. https://doi-org.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2066
Johnson, P. (2018). Fundamentals of collection development and management. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.
Kraaykamp, G., van Eijck, K., (2004). Personality, media preferences, and cultural participation. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 1676-1688. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2004.11.002
Larson, J., (2012). CREW: A Weeding manual for modern libraries [PDF File]. Retrieved from https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/pubs/crew/index.html
Rentfrow, P. J., Goldberg, L. R., & Zilca, R. (2011). Listening, watching, and reading: The structure and correlates of entertainment preferences. Journal of Personality, 79(2), 223–258. https://doi-org.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00662.x
Tirre, W. C., & Dixit, S. (1995). Reading interests: Their dimensionality and correlation with personality and cognitive factors. Personality and Individual Differences, 18(6), 731–738. https://doi-org.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/10.1016/0191-8869(94)00211-A
My name is Michele Sleight, and I am a veteran School Librarian. I currently
teach at Fredstrom Elementary School, in Lincoln. I try to find innovative ways to recreate my program each and every year! This is the story of just one example of something that has worked for me!
Finding time for special activities during a student’s busy school day can
sometimes be difficult. So I thought…what about lunchtime? Our 4th and 5th
Graders typically spend their 30 minute lunch period in the cafeteria. I thought
this would be a great time to target!
To gauge interest in lunchtime book clubs, I pitched this topic to our 4th and
5th Graders. I asked them to fill out a simple application that showed that they
could be committed to meeting weekly in the library, and reading the chapters
that we would be discussing. The amount of interest was amazing! I think about 50 of our 80 students were interested! So how could I choose? I put their names into a hat and pulled out eight (which felt like a manageable number).
Our PTO provided eight copies of Wish by Barbara O’Connor, which was a
Golden Sower last year (when I ran my first club). Our students were SO excited! Some asked do we REALLY get to keep this book? The group that was formed was at different reading levels, but I knew this could still definitely work! The students were excited to be grouped with people that they do not typically interact with during their reading class.
The goal of lunchtime book clubs was to get kids excited about reading and
discussing books, and to show them a book club could be fun! If someone forgot or didn’t have time to read their assignment, I gave them a break, and just asked them to catch up for the next time. At least one parent read each night with their student, and that student reported to me that their parent enjoyed the book as well!
In addition to the reading, it was an opportunity for these students to get to
know each other (and myself) better. It was also an alternative activity to their
typical lunchtime experience. I had so much interest in this club, I ran it during
additional quarters, with different students. It was always a fun time!
Of course I marketed this activity through social media posts. One student
this year said that her mom was scrolling through our Facebook, and saw the
mention of a book club, and asked if she could be involved. Creating a positive reading culture is always a goal for School Libraries, and I think this activity definitely helped us to stretch toward that goal!
If you have any questions about my experience, contact me at
Hi everyone! I am Laurie Schlautman, K-5 Media Specialist for Schuyler Elementary. I wanted to share some ways I am planning my lessons around the test standards to team up with my teachers as they introduce test skills each week.
3rd grade seems to work the best, but I have also carried it over into the other grades. The kids get excited when I have the skill on my agenda as I show them the skills in our library books.
Here’s an example: Author’s Purpose
I show many different books and we practice what the Author’s Purpose is and then locate them in the library. My 4th graders also do book talks to persuade the other classmates to read these books. Along with that they also have to share what genre the book is and promote the book like an advertisement.
Similes...so many books have similes. To follow up, the kids wrote similes about themselves and then they inserted their own picture from Photobooth and printed them.
Genres is a fun one also…
This past week we did Poetry...love teaching this also. We can include alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhyming. We look at multiple examples and then work on our typing skills by typing up their own poems.
In 4th grade we spent a few weeks on References. Using World Book Online and Google Earth we practiced many skills with maps and expository text.
The kids love seeing what is on the agenda and get excited about what library books have their “test skill” that week. The teachers love sharing their weekly test skill and I can still read my favorite books with my lessons as well as incorporating the test skill too!
Have a great holiday season with your families and get re-energized!
S.A. Bodeen. Alan Gratz. April Henry. Bruce Arant. Gary D. Schmidt.
Mary Gregoski from Palmer Public Schools has hosted an author visit from each and every author listed above. A master of new title introduction, Gregoski is here to shed some light on book promotion for all grade levels and author visits from her personal experiences.
What types of introduction to new titles do you find to be the most effective at your school?
To introduce students to new titles, we display new books in a prominent area of the library. We have a designated place for elementary books and one for junior high/high school books. Sometimes I introduce new books to elementary by reading them during library class. For my 7-12 students, I ask students to read new books and then let me know their thoughts. I don't have time to read all the new books before putting them on the shelf. The most effective way for me to promote new books to junior high/high school students is to share titles one-on-one.
What do you have in place for students and staff to recommend new titles or topics?
Students and staff recommend new titles or topics by emailing me or sharing the information with Mrs. Happ, the library aide, and she writes it down in a book. I tell my students and staff members that I am willing to order any book they suggest because I know it will be read. And, they will most likely share the book with others.
Does your library have a section just for teachers of professional books? If so, how do you promote those titles?
Yes, I do have a professional development section in my library. I promote these books at the beginning of the school year during my presentation at in-service days. I also talk about these periodically throughout the school year. I am so glad that I began this professional library as I have had several teachers throughout the year ask for books to be added. The best advertising is by word of mouth. I love that teachers are talking about books throughout the year and using them to enhance their profession.
Please tell me more about these author visits.
My school's first author visit began with S.A. Bodeen. I heard her speak at the Literature Festival in Norfolk, and I was intrigued by her presentation about writing The Raft. She shared her stories of failing to be published and her stories of success. When I left her session, I just knew I needed to bring her to Palmer. Many of my students had already read her novel The Compound and enjoyed it. I knew they would love this story, The Raft, as well. To make sure her visit would happen, I asked my superintendent if he would allow this great opportunity to come to Palmer. He said, "Yes, but you have to find the money." Finding the money has not been difficult for me to bring any authors here to Palmer. Our school has an Endowment Fund to which I write letters to support bringing authors to our school. The generosity of this committee is wonderful! I contact the author via email, once I have stalked them on their website. We talk about dates and what and to whom they will present. I ask other schools if they are interested in hosting an author because most authors do a half-day workshop. Each time I have brought in an author, the students offer rave reviews. Once I find out which author I will be inviting, I make a display of his books and do lots of book talks. I have hosted S.A. Bodeen, Alan Gratz, April Henry, Bruce Arant, and just this year, Gary D. Schmidt. Having an author come to visit with kids is just an awesome experience for everyone.
Elizabeth von Nagy
Career Snapshot: I graduated from UNO in 2013 with a degree in Secondary Education and endorsements in School Library Media and English. I began working at Anderson Grove and Golden Hills Elementary Schools in Papillion-La Vista in the Fall of 2013. I split my time between those two schools for three years. I have spent the last two and a half years at Papillion-La Vista High School.
Digital Natives expect near-instant access to information.
This means that it is imperative that our digital Library resources are easily accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To support Learners in this endeavor, one of the first things I do each semester is send an email out to all staff and all students with a link to our catalog, all of our database passwords, and a tutorial on how to access and use our most frequently used resources. A simple email such as this one ensures that each Learner has the information they need to access our digital resources.
So, our staff spent some time weeding, refining, and rearranging our Fiction section. Now the entire portion of that collection is housed in stacks against walls and is clearly arranged. The simple act of moving books around affects how our students access our holdings. This new arrangement made more sense to them and I did get fewer questions for help finding books. That’s a good thing, though, because students have a right to privacy if they want it. Arranging your library in such a way that Learners can navigate your resources on their own is, in my opinion, best practice for equitable access.
Everyone in my district has full and unrestricted access to our materials.
Another librarian asked me last year if I would question or decline an ILL request for controversial materials for a young patron. I told her absolutely not and that if a patron wanted to read something from my library, it isn’t my responsibility to judge and censor. All learners, even our youngest, have a right to access information and any effort to impede that access violates the Library Bill of Rights.
Teaching accession to both students and teachers.
If learners don’t know how to use something, they most likely won’t use it. This is why I love hosting our Freshmen English classes at the beginning of the school year for a library orientation. Teaching Learners what is available to them and how to get to those materials is the first step in ensuring that they feel welcome to use our collections. Oftentimes, for one reason or another, we forget that our teachers are also Learners and that they too may not know what resources are available to them and how to access. This is why I asked my principal for some time on a staff development day to teach our teachers about their library resources. After that session, I received quite a few emails along the lines of, “This is great! When can you come co-teach with me?”
Fines restrict access.
I’ve struggled with library fines and overdues over the last few years because I’m well aware of the reality that if a student has a library fine, the narrative that accompanies that makes them feel unwelcome in the library, which in turn means they will not access as many materials. To mitigate this challenge while still maintaining consistent fine policies across district libraries, we now offer students the option to read or study off their fines. For every ten minutes they read or study, $1.00 will be taken off of their library account. Earlier this year, our NSLA president sent me a quote that prompted this change. It is from Doug Johnson and it says, “The mission of the school library isn’t to get all of the books back. It’s to get readers back.”
Erica Chancellor is no stranger to challenges. Her six years in education have been spent as a middle school classroom teacher, then computer support specialist, and finally as a school librarian. In her first year in the library at Minden High, Erica set out to change her high school library's culture with a clear mission statement and a copy of the new AASL Standards Framework by her side. Here's how she is doing it in her own words:
Library Mission Statement
Gone are the days where libraries are only used for checking out books and quietly entering in and out. The school library today is adapting to the needs of its school, teachers, and students it serves. There is definitely a shift in the library culture happening throughout schools everywhere and here at Minden High School we are trying to be part of the progress. School libraries are now becoming the hubs of the school. A space where students can gather in order to collaborate, communicate, and access information. School librarian roles are adapting with that space into becoming technology integration specialists, co-teachers, information specialists for both print and digital resources, and digital literacy experts.
At Minden High School we have been working towards this change and curating a new library culture. Collaborating with teachers has been the greatest step in this direction thus far. Through collaboration, as educators we are trying to increase student achievement by really holding our students accountable in the information they are seeking and then producing. We are preparing them to make critical choices about the information they are using. Making sure they are checking sources for credibility and giving credit to the sources they use. We are also striving to help students curate high quality resources that reflect the information they have learned and demonstrates their thinking. Today, more than ever these skills are needed. As the school librarian, I am working towards being able to provide our teachers with ways to implement information literacy into the lessons they are already teaching through collaboration with them and providing them with the resources they need. Some of the classroom collaboration we have done thus far is teaching students about databases, using something other than Google slides to create a presentation, and library orientation for research.
Another piece of the school library is to foster the love of reading. Ways we are doing this at Minden are through our book club and our student podcast. Our podcast is led by myself, and I interview a student who volunteers to share with us the book that they have read. The student answers some fun get-to-know-you questions and then we move on to discussing the book and what happens in the book. The podcast is then uploaded to the library website and shared out through our social media platforms and library newsletter. The hope is that it will inspire students to want to read that book and foster a love for reading at the school as they see what their peers are reading. Students really seem to love doing the podcast and we have hopes of it becoming a student led activity. Our book club meets every two weeks after school to discuss the books we are reading. We are currently getting ready to read Nothing but Sky by Amy Trueblood who has agreed to Skype us in December (thanks to our awesome English teacher Angie Oberg who coordinated this for us.) The book club is just another great way to celebrate the love of reading and continue to encourage that.
Another huge piece this year - getting students to pick up a book and read - has been the collaboration with the English department. The English teachers do an amazing job of promoting books and allowing student choice into their directed reading program. Students like having the ability every so often to choose a book they are going to read for class. Through collaboration with the English department we have been able to do some neat lessons such as a book tasting and will begin monthly book talks to promote the new books in the library for student checkout.
There's so much more!
Erica has a wealth of information online about her school's library and library life. To connect with her, visit any of these:
(Personally, I love her website the most! Constant goodies there.)
The Kearney Hub wrote a fantastic article about the student podcast here.
Are you doing exciting things in your school library?
Megan Huenemann isn't one to shy away from a challenge. Currently working as a half time English, half time Librarian, she serves the staff and students at Norris High School. She's also a level 2 Google Certified Educator.
"My biggest goal for our library has been to make it a welcoming space. I want students to feel like this is a space they can come to do their homework or their research but also a place they want to go when they have some free time."
Make them feel like the library is their own. Here's how she does it:
1. A monthly library video featuring displays, a Dewey Decimal section, and library activities makes sure students are current on their library knowledge.
2. Reading incentives - like the Golden Ticket.
Golden Tickets are placed in new books as well as older books on display. When students find one in a book they have checked out and bring the ticket back to the library, Megan exchanges the Golden Ticket for a treat from the school cafeteria.
3. From Golden Tickets to Golden Sowers, Norris High students are encouraged to read, read, READ!
Students keep track of Golden Sower novels they have read on bookmarks that the school library staff initials at checkout. Once a student has read all of the current nominees, they are entered into a drawing for a free book and free frozen yogurt at the end of the semester.
4. A maker space encourages students to dream big - even in a small space.
A maker space can be anything you - or your students - want it to be. Megan keeps her maker space flexible and constantly changing to the needs to her school community.
Coloring is a very popular activity - especially for the ends of the semester when stress levels run high. If you don't have any coloring sheets, don't worry! Megan says it works just as well to cover the table with paper to make a doodling center.
To help use up some old, weeded materials, the Norris High School Library created a maker space with foldable books. The binder contains directions for multiple book folding options - including the popular arrow and heart configurations.
If you're interested in starting your own book folding maker space, here is a great Pinterest board to get you started.
The current maker space on display is an origami craft station. Students have an example, step-by-step instructions, plenty of paper, and an example book in case they want to learn more about origami.
Upcoming makerspaces include magnetic tiles and erector sets. Megan hopes to add more robotics and 3D printing in the future.
5. Ozobots, away!
Speaking of robots, the Norris High School Library has Ozobots available for patrons to check out before school, during lunch, and after school. Each kit features a checklist of items so students can create their own courses and learn through play.
It's "great for beginning code and general fun", says Megan. High schoolers can't seem to resist the tiny robots!
Thanks to Megan, her school library is well on its way to being her students' favorite place. Her knack for communication and involving students in their school library will make a lasting impact on her students and staff.
Are you doing exciting things in your school library?
Click here to be featured in our Library Spotlight!
Featuring the school libraries of Nebraska and their high-quality School Librarians