Stacked in Our Favor

Thoughts about libraries, education, children's literature, writing, art and being connected

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New books in the library

The books I ordered have arrived! They are lovely. Sometimes it just feels so good to look over the purchases and know that the decisions were good ones. I always love getting new books and showing them off to students. Sometimes, it seems like every book is a jewel and each one fits a special area of the school curriculum or social needs so perfectly it brings tears to your eyes. This year was like that. As I pulled the books from the cardboard boxes I felt that all the work I had put into selecting the ones which would serve us well paid off. I’ve already started my list for next year.

On Friday I had a “Sneak Peek” for teachers to come and see what’s new in the library. Last time I did this there was very little response. This time I was more proactive – emails to all staff, a follow up flier in their boxes and an announcement on the intercom at the end of the day. Not only that, I offered refreshments, games and prizes.

One of the games I prepared was a Caldecott guessing game. When I submitted the purchase order for Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse last year it had not yet won the Caldecott Award. So I chose three other new books to display with Mr. Pinkney’s book. Teachers had to guess which one was the medal winner. It was fun to watch them. Several of them huddled together whispering and trying to come to a group decision. One teacher picked up The Lion and the Mouse and kept saying over and over again “It has to be this one.” This teacher complemented me on choosing books which mimicked former award winning selections. She was convinced that I had done this thoughtfully. In truth, I just grabbed three reasonably beautiful books. More than half of them chose correctly.

It was good to hear the teachers squeal with delight, grab a book and express that the book fills a need they had. One teacher was overcome with the giggles reading Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas by Cynthia Rylant. Another one accosted every person who came through the door and insisted that they immediately read Mama Says: A book of Love for Mothers and Sons by Rob D. Walker and lushly illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. By the time the afternoon was over there were at least five people who intended to go out and buy a copy as a gift. I was glad when one of the teachers made a point of telling me how glad they were that I had purchased a number of Grace Lin’s picture books including Dim Sum for Everyone. It seems they are just what she needed.

The books will start going out today. Can’t wait to see the kids’ faces when they see them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

ALA Conference in Boston

Yesterday I went to the American Library Association Midwinter Conference which is being held in Boston. It was my first ALA conference. My original plan had been to be there to soak up every single minute of it, but life got in the way. So yesterday was it.

This was my first view of the exhibition hall:

I hit the ground running and didn’t look up for an hour. I’d made it down half a row. There was so much to see, so many new books to sample, myriad ideas for using materials we already have or soon will, that it was impossible to see it all.

While I was at the conference I learned that AASL has voted to use the term “school librarian” to refer to librarians working in schools. I understand that the decision was not taken lightly and that many hours of debate went into the decision.

The experience of going was just what I needed. I met new people, found books which are just the thing to fill a need in our library back home, was inspired by new ideas I saw and generally got charged up and re-inspired. Coming home, taking the things out of the bags and organizing them made it fresh all over again. I’ve returned with new ideas for how to use Ellison Die Cuts, a variety of prizes to motivate students, and plenty of advance copies to read.

It was a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

60 posts or bust

I’ve started out the year on the wrong foot. I neglected to do an end of year post (despite the fact that some significant things occurred in my life). That’s not all. I never pulled together my list of hopes for 2010.

Call me a late bloomer. This year I am aiming to complete 60 posts. Along with that, I hope to make at least 60 comments on other people’s blogs. Lurking is my modus operandi, but I am ready to change that. Frankly, my hope is that I will surpass this goal early in the game and wonder why I set the mark so low. I find I am much more productive when there is some kind of a challenge. These two goals are not the sum and total of my goals for the year. Far from it. They are a good place to begin, however. So 59 more posts and 60 comments are in my future.