Tag Archives: school libraries

Pick-up Lines

I’m very excited and had to share this really not-beautiful but really successful YA Display. I got the idea from the Johnson County Library via Pinterest. (Thanks for sharing, JCL!)

First Lines Display Sign

I decided to go with the black and white theme and added some intrigue by calling it “Pick-up Lines”. There’s so little time at the beginning of the year, I did this as simply as I could. I had planned to lay some black paper and decorate the shelves a little more, but this is all I got done before the first classes came in.

I found a frame and a bunch of first lines, printed them out and set up the display. The first two junior high classes checked  out half the books! That’s a pretty good number here as most of my displays in that section are barely noticed. One Grade 9 student even let me know that it’s a really fun display!

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I gathered the first lines from all over the place including books in my library. I’m still working on more, hoping this keeps going for a while. Feel free to use the sign or covers, for which you’ll also need the first lines list to identify the titles.

  • Print 2 quotes side by side on 8.5″ x 11″ paper landscape-wise.
  • Cut the sheets and glue each quote to the right side of a sheet of construction paper.
  • Attach a label to the reverse, with the title, author & call number.
  • Laminate the sheets.
  • Wrap sheets around the book so the cover is hidden (some books are too big but so far I’ve made it work).
  • Crease it a little to square off on the spine.
  • Attach a piece of clear tape from the back to the front, folding the end over to make a pull tab for removal.
  • Design a sign (or print mine if you like) and set up the display!

I have now made a second batch from books gleaned from my shelves including some older gems to encourage some new circulation for them. I reserve the books for myself when they are borrowed, so I can set them back up on display once they are returned. I’m keeping track of the circulation on the master list as well and may remove some that don’t end up going out at all.

Like all displays, I’m sure this will have a limited shelf-life, so I will have to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t get stale. In the meantime, I’m happy with its effectiveness. If you try it or have tried it, let me know in the comments how it went for you. I’d also love to hear if you have any other successful YA display ideas.

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Filed under Library Management, Library Programs, Rethinking My Library

My Library This Christmas

Books are Snow Wonderful Bulletin Board

It’s “Share the Gift of Story” this week, with readers from the community coming in to read to K-Gr. 9 library classes. It’s so great for the kids to see that it’s not just school staff and parents who enjoy reading stories. Our local RCMP really get in on the act with several constables joining in the fun this year. Perfect way for the kids to meet the local police officers too!

Easy Street decorated for Christmas with New Fireplace

A long-time participant, whose grandchildren are now in school noticed a couple of years ago that the YouTube fireplace video that I put on the Smart Board behind the readers was a little pathetic. It couldn’t be seen well, it distracted the kids as the tender rustled logs and it often froze. This year, this kind gentleman brought in our very own electric fireplace to lend ambiance to our seasonal program and story time throughout the year. What a wonderful gift!

The Circulation Desk with Christmas Tree

Our Grade 6 class decorated the library. Doesn’t it look great?

The big project on the go is a wonderful collaboration cooked up between our local public librarian, Nancy Keough and me. It all started, more or less, with my not being able to work out how to offer e-books to our students. I get my own, personally through the public library system along with a plethora of other resources that aren’t available to us otherwise. Some of our students do have memberships but the majority do not. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had access to all the wonderful things they offer?

Nancy took the idea to the library board, who generously offered us a great deal on public library memberships for the entire school! All staff and students. Our administration gave the go-ahead and four local business have helped to fund it. We’re just collecting forms now and are hoping to have everything in place now.

For more about the membership project, the sponsors and a few other things around the library, see my December newsletter.

Other than that I’m finding myself with a little time to clear up my desk and check off some of those stickier tasks on my to-do list. Next week will be our last week before the break and I’ll read to library classes from my selection of Christmas favourites.

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After that, it’s focus on family (and shopping and cooking and wrapping and crafting) for 2 whole weeks! I wish you all a great holiday, if that’s what you’re in for as well and if not, enjoy December wherever you are.

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Filed under Education, eReaders in the School Library, Library Class, Library Programs

SHS Elementary Inspired by Visit from Illustrator Georgia Graham

20141006-DSCF5021Yesterday,  elementary students at Swan Hills School were treated to presentations by Alberta illustrator and author, Georgia Graham. Growing up on an Alberta farm and now living on a tree farm in central Alberta, Georgia has a natural affinity for animals and wildlife which shows in the  beautiful and realistic drawings in Where Wild Horses Run among others. Georgia also excels in a completely different style with the humourous cartoon-style images in books like Here Comes Hortense and The Lime Green Secret.

6164409While fascinating the kids by drawing detailed pictures, she told her stories  and showed slides of her illustrations and the photos she took while researching. She showed pictures of herself as a child and her early drawings, and talked about how she had been fascinated with pastels since her mother gave her a set in Grade 4.

6321955Working through pastel drawings of a circle transformed into an apple, a scene with a road through hilly hay fields (from The Strongest Man This Side of Cremona) , a sled dog (from A Team Like No Other) and several others,  she demonstrated how to create depth and perspective in objects and scenes with shadow and light. She described the process involved in creating a book from concept to publication and how she often uses an inspiring true story to ‘tweak’ into a great fiction book.

GeorgiaGrahamSwanHillsSchool2014Division Two learned the proportions and shading techniques of making a realistic portrait and Division One watched her create the whimsical, cartoon-style protagonist of The Lime Green Secret. After each drawing was complete, she drew the name of a student who would take the drawing home. The kids were amazed and enlightened as she laid transparencies in cyan, magenta, yellow and black over one another to create a final image of one of her illustrations from the very popular Tiger’s New Cowboy Books written by Irene Morck.

3141384Students had been introduced to Georgia Graham’s books in library classes and were eager to meet her. They were not disappointed as she fleshed out their experiences with the books and gave them the motivation to check them out more closely on their own, which will broaden their understanding of Alberta, of nature, of people and of life – those things we all gain from intimacy with books.

6881719With their beautiful, realistic depictions of Alberta’s landscapes, several of Georgia’s books are listed in Learn Alberta’s Social Studies Literature Connections (K-12), and more could be added for students studying Alberta in general, various geographical regions, rural life and individual identity. Based on a true story, The Strongest Man This Side of Cremona tells of the destruction of a farm during a tornado that hit the area in 1965. Sweeping prairie vistas and period-accurate illustrations strengthen the story of how the experience must have felt to one small boy.  Sled dog driving is featured in A Team Like No Other,  a story of love and trust set in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.

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Illustration from ‘Where Wild Horses Run’ by Georgia Graham

Our annual author visits are partially funded by the Young Alberta Book Society, who in turn are sponsored by many groups and agencies. We pay the artist’s fee only with the money we earn through the excellent local patronage of our annual Book Fair.

Next week is the Junior & Senior High’s turn when storyteller and urban myth exploiter Gail de Vos visits on the 15th.

Georgia Graham’s Website
Reviews on Goodreads
Young Alberta Book Society’s Taleblazers

 

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education, Library Programs

Grades 7-12 Inspired by Comic Books Presentation

Last Friday I had the pleasure of hosting three visitors from Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton. Store owner Jay Bardala, along with two very talented comic book artists inspired and enlightened our junior and senior high students through four sessions.

Jay Bardala from Happy Harbor Comics with artists Tracey Risser and Dan Schneider

Jay Bardala from Happy Harbor Comics with artists Tracey Risser and Dan Schneider

Jay’s extensive knowledge of the comic book industry and entertaining style kept us all captivated as he described the complex process of comic book production. I for one had never imagined that after a writer has written the script and planned all the panels, there are at least three artists involved in the drawings.

The penciller does the initial drawings after whihch the inker defines the light, shadow and emphasis with black lines and shapes. The colourer then, after determining the mood of the story adds colour, usually digitally. Then there’s the letterer, the editor, printer, distributor, retailer and others. It was all quite fascinating to discover the impressive collaboration that goes into the production and distribution of a $3.00 comic book.

Artist Tracey Risser draws the students' choices of superheroes.

Artist Tracey Risser draws the students’ choices of superheroes.

While Jay spoke, artists Tracey Risser and Dan Schneider drew superheroes in action from student requests. Tracey is a professional graphic artist and works on comics in his spare time. Dan works full time illustrating comic books. Jay writes scripts for comic books some of which Dan has illustrated, but he just does it for fun and doesn’t market them. That’s love.

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Two of the drawings the artists left with us. Tracey’s is on the left and Dan’s on the right.

The 8 amazing drawings, 2 from each artist at each session, will be displayed in the school for a while, then offered to the students as contest prizes.

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Artist Dan Schneider shares tips with a talented student, while other students and artist Tracey Risser look on.

After the sessions, Dan and Tracey offered to share their expertise with any students who brought artwork to share. It was amazing to see some of the work our students were producing and they appreciated the artists’ advice. I’m hoping to see a few students fleshing out some of those brilliant ideas percolating within, as scripts or drawings.

See also:

Happy Harbor Comics services for schools and libraries
Dan Schneider’s Website
Dan Schneider Artist in Residence interview (2011)
Tracey Risser at Harper PR

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Filed under Art & Design, Library Programs

Dang! I’m Inspired Again

September is so busy. I shouldn’t have taken the day off of work to attend Yellowhead Regional Library’s annual conference.

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I shouldn’t have had a peaceful night in a lovely hotel – where the people-watching game was very satisfying.

I shouldn’t have listened to so many intelligent people, making so much sense…making me admit that I’ve had enough time to assess my project and now it’s time to begin to take it to the next level. Just when I was trying to convince myself that I might be able to coast a little, get that teacher resource room cleaned up, maybe repair some books…

Then along comes Lynn Shabada and Lori Bell, the administrators of Onoway Elementary School and then Twyla Lesko, Onoway’s Librarian, Karen Mason, from Centennial Elementary School in Wetaskiwin and Stacy Howse, from Westlock Elementary School. These amazing people are transforming their libraries into Learning Commons. The upshot of this combination of presentations was to remind me that my library, although open, welcoming, somewhat comfortable and as accommodating as I have been able to make it, it is still not the hub of the school.

Sessions: The importance of school libraries: an administrative perspective, and Transforming your library: inspiring the Library Learning Commons

Onoway’s ‘Dream Team’ of principal, associate principal and library manager share a vision of transforming the space, the service and the culture of the library to “Open it Up” and remove a miscellanea of subtle and not-so-subtle barriers to reading: rules and procedures that stand in the way of students’ natural curiosity and adventurous spirit.

Twyla’s advice: “Say Yes! Think We”

Twyla’s advice: “Say Yes! Think We”

Karen’s vision is to “To Bring Technology, Community and Learning Together in one Memorable Place!” Newly placed into the library from her position as a learning assistant, Karen immediately saw a crowded, dated and unwelcoming space and transformed it into a well-appreciated hub that supports her students culturally, emotionally and academically.

Karen's welcoming reading corner at Centennial Elementary.

Karen’s welcoming reading corner at Centennial Elementary.

Stacy’s project began with a tree. When a well-known member of the community and school board chair passed away, his family wished that a fitting memorial be placed in the school library. The upshot of collective brainstorming was a tree house where children could climb to reading nooks. The coming construction seemed to Stacy to be the perfect time to begin a transformation that she had had percolating in her mind since she started in the position over a year ago.

Westlock Elementary

Stacy’s journey has just begun with the reclassification of her collection but is fully envisioned. Her goals: successful browsing, improved curriculum support and increased visual appeal.

And that was all before lunch…

After a wonderful lunch of Shepard’s Pie and Peach Cobbler, (where I won a door prize of two novels on CDs), and visited the vendors’ booths, I attended another two great sessions. Mary Medinsky from Red Deer College gave an lively presentation on Teen Tech Trends and Jamie Davis, the coordinator of Learn Alberta’s Online Reference Centre showed us some of the exciting new resources in that collection.

Between all these fabulous presentations and chatting with lots of people, (like Janet from Warburg, another K-12 school), the result of all this darn inspiration is a 25 point to-do list that I now will have to follow up on because I couldn’t hold my head up if, after all this work, my library is still not what it could be.

by Tom Fleming

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Filed under Education, Library Management, Rethinking My Library

Thinking About Buying New Library Shelving? Here’s My Advice

In June of 2011, I purchased all new shelving for my library. It was difficult to figure out a whole new configuration, choose the type and colour etc., and on the whole I’m quite happy with my decisions. I like the heights I chose, the adjustable metal shelves, floor kickers (so nothing gets lost hidden underneath) and the solid tops and end panels.

However, the past 15 months have revealed a few things that I would now do differently.

If I Were to Do It All Over Again

I would get all freestanding shelving on wheels. It’s more expensive, but makes the space more flexible. I have to unload and pack up stacks to move them for the annual Book Fair and if it wasn’t so much trouble there are other events I would hold in the library. I’m going to ask our maintenance department to put solid bottoms with Very Strong Wheels on them, but I don’t know if it’s doable.

I would not buy the shelving company’s end panels, but would purchase the much more inexpensive slatwall sheets. I ended up needing a few more after we changed the configuration so, after hearing about the idea at a workshop, I bought slatwall from a retail supplier. Our maintenance department cut them to size and framed them and I purchased the fitting holders for end-of-range displays, which I love, although I’ve experimented with some different sizes and types and would not purchase some of them (the displayers) again.

I would buy shelving with some kind of backstop, especially on the back-to-back stacks. Books are always falling and pushing through. I have begun to collect  boxes from book wrap and long paper rolls to put between, but that will take forever and really doesn’t look that nice, so I expect to be able to purchase some kind of back-stops before that ever gets done.

I would definitely budget for installation. It was not worth the time and hassle involved in assembling it myself, begging volunteer help. It was difficult and it put the project days behind just as school was about to start.

*The fun numbers in this post are from Discovery Education’s Clip Art Gallery

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Filed under Library Management, Rethinking My Library

Delving Through Delicious (Bookmarks)

Advocating for silence in a noise-addicted world – The Quiet Ones.

8 Tips for the Care and Feeding of the Reluctant Tech User from the Daring Librarian

People of the Bookshelf “Alpha by subject … or by dinner party seating rules? Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks on a shelving obsession.”

Ideas from L_M Net for inexpensive / homemade bookmarks.

Over 250 Free Children’s e-Books for ages 3-11 from Oxford Primary to read online with or without narration. Activities included.

Emoticons at 30 (Or Is It 45? Or 125? Or 131?)

Reconceptualising the School Library as Collaborative Makerspace “We need to deliberately and systematically create spaces and processes in our schools that foster creativity and innovation”

Free Books: 100 Free Sites to Download Literature

New SF bookstore devoted to rescuing out-of-print sf books and making them into free ebooks

B.C. Librarian Judith Comfort’s Fieldnotes:

“Our kids and their teachers are rushed off their feet like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland –“No time, no time,” and as for both student and adult attention and concentration – eye contact is replaced by eye – to screen contact. Factor in the whirling, dervishing technology gurus who have compromise our pedagogy with brilliant myths personalized to seduce us.

I feel I am needed more than ever because my teachers have no time to look for stuff themselves, and have no time to analyze it’s usefulness in terms of their teaching goals. The kids need to be reassured that space and quiet is a good necessary thing; that reading heals their fragmented attention-addled brains.”

* Images in this post have been offered as ‘Free to Use or Share’ according to Google Advanced Search usage rights filter.

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Filed under Education, Library Management, Online Resources, Reading, Technology, Wisdom