School Library Blogs

This month, the Building a Culture of Collaboration (BACC) co-bloggers are sharing information about school library and librarian blogs. Each of us will spotlight various blogs and bloggers and share why we think these sites are useful resources for school librarians.

Edublog-Awards-1mb7e9dEach year, Edublogs-hosted blogs in various categories are nominated for the “eddies.” (Note: BACC is hosted by Edublogs.) “The purpose of the Edublog awards is to promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media. The best aspects include that it creates a fabulous resource for educators to use for ideas on how social media is used in different contexts, with a range of different learners. It introduces us all to new sites that we might not have found if not for the awards process.”

Congratulations to Katie Dolan and Kathy Counterman, two Texas school librarians, whose sites earned #15eddies in the “best library blog” category.

Katie Dolan is the school librarian at James Randolph Elementary (JRE) School library in the Katie Independent School District. Katie and her library program earned the top award for the best library blog. Edna Mae Fielder Elementary School Librarian Kathy Counterman, also from Katy ISD, earned the third-place best library blog award.

School librarians use their library blogs for many purposes, including promoting books, reading, and literacy events, publishing student work as well as educators’ lessons, and interacting with students, classroom teachers, administrators, parents, and the community at-large. School librarians can analyze the content of these two bloggers’ sites to get ideas to implement in their own teaching, to lively up their own library blogs, or to get ideas for starting a school library blog in 2016.

#15eddies graphic used with permission

Reaching Out to the ELA-R Department

ELAR_LibraryI asked Becky McKee, District Librarian, Mabank ISD, to share more details about a brief mention she posted to the Texas Library Connection distribution list about her initial efforts to reach out to teachers in a district where she is new this year. She has given me permission to share what she did when she had five minutes to talk with middle/junior high school (JHS) English language arts and reading (ELA-R) teachers where they were participating in another meeting.

First, Becky gave each teacher a copy of the “You Might Need a Librarian If” handout. (See BACC post from Monday, August 31st.) She followed that up with giving way four prizes. The first prize was a fancy spiral notebook to the first ELA-R teacher who could tell her about something that she/he wrote over the summer. Then she talked about the importance of students seeing adults compose. She volunteered to help develop some short opportunities for writing.

Next, she gave away a 2015 Texas Lone Star Reading List to the first teacher who volunteered to talk about a young adult novel she/he read over the summer. Then Becky talked about the importance of students seeing adults read, and previewed a Lone Star Contest that she plans to implement for JHS teachers.

Then she gave away a poster that said: “Today is a great day to learn something new” to the first person who could tell her something new they’d learned during the in-service that week. (Becky noted that her principal was lingering in the area and really liked this; she smiled when Becky asked the question. This was strategic on Becky’s part.)

Finally, Becky gave away a bag of snack mix to the person who had the closest birthday to hers. In this way, all of the teachers knew a little more about Becky, and Becky knew at least one other person’s birthday.

Becky reported that later that day she had a productive conversation with the JHS ELA-R department head about some writing ideas and a reading teacher followed her suggestion about a specific title for her remedial reading class and asked Becky to order a class set of the book.

Assessment: Success!

Get your school year off to a positive start. Reach out. Be warm, friendly, and ready to serve.

Thank you again to Becky for allowing me to share her marketing strategies and her success! You can reach Becky on Twitter @bsmartr_educatr or rsmckee@mabankisd.net

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