Sunday, July 23, 2017

A New Year!

A new school year is just around the corner (really.. I go back on July 31st) and I am SO excited! I have a couple of weeks left of my summer classes, and then I only have one semester left to be a full fledged librarian! I will hopefully graduate in May.

Just like a teacher, as a librarian my brain has been moving fast as I think about next year.  How am I going to promote the library? What types of activities am I going to have? How am I going to work with teachers?

This summer I promoted the Irving Public Library activities by having a couple of Meet Me At the Library.  The Irving Public Libraries offer so many great programs through the summer and throughout the school year.  I am already excited about some guest authors that will be coming to a public library near me!

The first part of the summer I also spent working summer school programs at the library. It gave me a chance to still keep the library open, and also think about rearranging for next year. One of the things that I took time doing was creating new labels for the shelves. 
Old shelf labels- new ones coming soon!

I also moved some tables around, moved some book sections around, and also worked on weeding (which I couldn't do without some help!)

The month of July I chose to spend front loading some items, so I wouldn't be so behind (of course I will still be behind on some things.. oh wait.. who am I kidding.. lots of things!) 
-I have designed shirts for the beginning of the year and for Dr. Seuss day
-I cleaned up emails (do you know how good it feels to start at a zero inbox on 5 different email accounts.. AMAZING!)
-I have cleaned up my 3 different Google Drives
-I have backed up and cleaned my desktop
-I have decided what my theme will be this year.. going for the Travel theme

Although these all seem like little things, they make a big difference in organization. 

I also nabbed a couple of sets of these cuties.  I have not been a big fan of stuffed animals in the library..
but OMG.. it is Mo Willems!)

Some things I hope to incorporate in the library next year-
-more planned out Library Helper and volunteer opportunities
-more technology
-Sponsor a shelf

My word this year is Seek. I plan to Seek out new ideas, Seek out new opportunities, and most importantly Seek calmness as I take on new tasks and ideas!

What did you work on this summer?  What ideas do you have for next year that you for sure want to implement?  Do you have a word of the year?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Who I Am

I know that TLA ended last Saturday.. but the thoughts have been swirling in my head.

I recently had a friend post that what happened to 90's country music? I grew up in a small town (Canyon, Texas) and lived out in the country.  I had the same thought and my Spotify playlist became 90's country.  I digress.. this post really is about TLA.. but this song came up in my feed today, and it reminded me that no matter where I am.. I am lucky enough to have people that surround me to push me to be Who I Am (check out the lyrics here) (really.. this song does tie in with the blog!)

Thursday started a little later, because I was being more of a turtle than the rest of the time!  I went to a FANTASTIC session over Sribblers: Creative Writing in the Community.  These 2 ladies had a fantastic idea about creating spaces for creative writing outside of the library.. and using the community.  I will be incorporating this into Late Night in the Library next year!

I also attended the session where the Irving Public Librarians shared how they started working together using Pixar's ideas.  I even won the book Creativity Inc.  I am super lucky to work in a district that collaborates with public libraries and community members.  I ended the day with a lovely group of women with Scholastic many great resources!

Friday I was up and moving a little bit faster!  Oh my goodness.. each day was amazing and  I learned so much.. but guys.. Friday was AMAZING!!!!!
It started with a session from Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell over Building Blocks of Language Learning.  I can't wait to check their books out of my own library and use them!

Of course the next session I had to make it to was with Peter Reynolds.. and an amazing panel that included Melissa Sweet, Bob Shea, Peter Reynolds, Isabel Quintero, and Patrick McDonnell.  Such great books to share with students.

My brain sort of exploded with Tiffany Whitehead (aka.. Mighty Little Librarian.. and I can't believe that I failed to get a selfie with her!)  Although I LOVE technology.. and it is my first masters, this is an area that I struggle with in my own library.

The end of the day came with a keynote that had me laughing.. and then crying.. and then laughing again.  I could sit and listen to a good storyteller, and Carmen Agra Deedy was just that.  She spoke of her own journey and her library experience.  Now, the video here is not her exact speech.. because I was able to listen to her amazing storytelling for almost an hour.
During this keynote, I looked around at all the librarians that are changing the world.  I looked around and saw that the people in this room are making a difference.  Every educator whether in a private or public school has a hard job.. but guys.. being a Librarian is one of the toughest and most amazing jobs I have ever had.  As she said "Did you know the moment you were born, somewhere in a dusty corner of the world a book was written just for you."  As a librarian I have the chance to touch lives of hundreds of students every day... help them find stories and adventures in the pages of a book.  The library is a place where all are welcome no matter the background, social status or beliefs.

I am thankful for each adventure I have had to get me to library land.  I know that I have so much to learn.. and so much to do.  But.. I am a spitting image of my father and my mom is my biggest fan.. and I have friends that love me for Who I Am.

I do have one more TLA blog coming up over Life Lessons in the Library!

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Texas Librarian Association Convention Adventure- Part 1 Tech Camp

As I sit in the hotel room with the bag of ice on my ankle that is propped up and uploading the 60 pictures from 2 days, I realize that the blog for #TXLA17 needs to be at least 2 parts!

This year TXLA17 took place in San Antonio, and I was SO excited!  I was going to be able to mark off one of my items on my #40by40 list (attending a ghost tour), hang out with some amazing people, meet some amazing librarian friends face to face.. and LEARN a ton! Last year was my first time to attend TXLA, but I was an instructional technology specialist, so learned through a different lens. Being a "baby" librarian this year, I knew I was going to have a whole new outlook!

The Sunday before TXLA (Easter Sunday), I was bringing some items down the stairs and missed the last 2 steps.  Yes, we have lived in this house for over 12 years.. and I guess I forgot about those last 2 steps! After a visit to the ER, I was  now a proud owner of a beautiful boot, extremely sprained ankle, and knee scooter.

So, this week started off a little tougher.. and as a Busy Bee, I became more of a turtle.  It didn't stop the learning! Now, I could not have even made it to the convention center without this girl right here! Skye Bryant is one amazing librarian that has mentored me from afar, but during TXLA became the "donkey" to help get me around!

Skye Bryant one amazing and talented librarian!
 The first day of the conference I had a chance to attend TXLA Tech Camp (go check out the #TXLA17tc hashtag, OMG.. the learning was amazing!)  I was so excited to finally meet some librarians that I have known online for a couple of years face to face! I also do love a selfie.. and these are only part of the pictures! I do believe that I will be making a movie of all the pictures.
Sherry Gick is a Mover and a Shaker!

Nikki D. Robertson is another INSPIRING Librarian!

Renee Newry is my official mentor librarian.. and I don't know what I would do without her!

Amy Mayer is that crazy cool kid that I met several years ago, and am continually mind blown when I hear her speak! Not only that.. she is a ROCKSTAR!
 I was able to attend the Keynote that morning with Hadi Partovi the founder of and then 3 sessions.  I had to miss the last one to get ready for my poster session! Here are my "sketchnotes" of the day.

Although I learned a ton (and my brain is still swimming!) I wanted to share my top five take aways!

1. I have done with students and the curriculum (which.. is amazing), but I need to collaborate with my ITS to get this started again!
2. Make more interactive displays! What a great idea for a makerspace that can be done with just some butcher paper!
3. Have students sign up for displays in the library (I think that I am going to do something like this next year to go along with sponsoring a shelf in the library)
4. Begin to help students understand the importance of having a digital portfolio and not just a resume. A transcript only shows letters and numbers, but a portfolio shows what and who a student (or person) is.
5. Using Google Classroom to do a "flipped" style learning for the library (and for bookfair too!)

Of course there are so many other things that I learned.  From every session I heard.. the library is the place to give a student voice and choice.  As librarians, we have an important job of making sure that every student or patron has the opportunity to create, be heard, and be welcomed.

Did you attend TXLA17tc or TXLA17?  What were your take aways? My next few blogs will be over my LIFE Lessons in the Library Poster Session and other take ideas from the conference.

Oh.. and even though I was on a knee scooter.. with the help of the amazing Skye and other people on the tour.. I was able to "walk" on the walking Ghost Tour.  If you are ever in  San Antonio.. I would HIGHLY Recommend Sisters Grimm Ghost Tour! They shared great history.. great stories.. and were as accommodating as could be. Now.. on a knee scooter.. it was pretty tough (unless you have the all-terrain one) love that San Antonio is original and beautiful..but cobblestone is not the greatest when it comes to the knee scooter.
The crew on the Ghost Tour!

Monday, March 6, 2017

I Do So Love LibraryLand a Librarian I am!

Did you like my little play on Dr. Seuss? I need to get better at blogging more than once a month! Of course this busy bee has been busy with everything! Destination ImagiNation season just ended. I had the 3rd grade team.. we stayed busy and I hope they had a good time (I know I did!)
This being my first year I haven't done the greatest at displays.. so I am trying to change that! I am very thankful for Teachers Pay Teachers right now. (I am not getting paid anything to promote these items, but I wanted to share what I used and where I found it)

Here was my Black History Month bulletin board for February.

Loved these posters that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers

For March, I found some great resources for posters on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Loved this set of printable posters from Teachers Pay Teachers

I found several great sets on Teachers Pay Teachers and put them into a book that is next to the display.  You can find them here and here.

During the month of February I wasn't able to schedule a Late Night in the Library, but I did have a modified Late Night in the Library during Open House.  Even better it was Read Across America Day. I purchased all of my library helpers a shirt that said Elliott Librarian Helper I Am.  They practice reading to students and each had a classroom to read to.  We had to reschedule our reading time to this week (they were really bummed.. but I think they will live)

During Open House I had a photo booth station set up with the theme Oh The Places You Will Go and of course I had a STEM challenge set up.  I loved this idea of Cat in the Hat Cup Stacking.  Easy peasy set up and clean up! Now, I have to admit I think the parents had more fun doing this than the kids (and I might admit.. there was some standing on tables and chairs.. and some parents put their kids on their back) I LOVED IT!! They measured and recorded how tall their tower was.  I love seeing the parents work with their kids.  It is my favorite part of Late Night in the Library

Easy set up 

A small tower
Photo Booth set up

Display outside my door

Newest bulletin board put up by our awesome parent liaison.  The pictures are photos of the new 2x2 and Bluebonnet books.

How did you celebrate Read Across America?  What do you do for displays and how often do you change them out?  I will blog again soon about the different lessons that have been going on in the library (4th and 5th grade Drama, LIFE text features, 2nd grade Nouns and so much more!)

Monday, February 6, 2017


I LOVE Libraryland! Have I mentioned that before? I have always been an avid volunteer, one that likes to try new things.. and I love connecting.  Now, is libraryland overwhelming.. it sure is! Another thing I love is learning from others (and having a space to offer to different activities is great as well)

The title of this blog is collaboration.. but when rethinking and writing it, I realize that the collaboration that I had with my art teacher was bouncing ideas off of each other.. and making sure the space was ready for various activities.  That is still collaboration..right??

Before I became a librarian.. I was already following some amazing librarians (some that I will actually get to meet in person soon!!!) So, one awesome librarian/tech facilitator Nikki Robertson posted this way cool picture that she had found (if you are the original poster of this.. would you please let me know so I can thank you for the wonderful idea.. and give you credit!)
How absolutely beautiful is this!
So, I talked to my amazing art teacher on campus.. and the conversation went something like this:
"Hey Mrs. R... want to work on something like this for the first of the year? The feathers can be students hopes, dreams, wishes and resolutions."
"Sure! That is great!"
A couple of weeks later.. Mrs. R approaches me and shows me the bag of beautiful feathers.
"Yes, Mrs. R.. these are PERFECT! How can I help!?"
"I am still getting feathers"
We decided to hang this up for science night (as what better time to talk about wishes and dreams)
"Hey Mrs. R.. what can I do to help with these wings?"
"Help me hang them!"

In other words.. I had nothing to do with this! (Well.. I did make the poster above the wings.. and I helped hang them) Seriously.. they are beautiful! She created a generic feather and then asked each student in the school to create/decorate their own and then combined them with this wonderfulness.These wings are right across the hall from the library, so I loved hearing the conversations that students had with their parents about their goals and dreams (and of course it was a perfect photo opp!)

Mrs. R. the rocking art teacher

At the beginning of January, Mrs. R. came to me and asked if I would like to help with a Chinese New Year Celebration.  She did tell me that there would be no glitter! (Side note.. I love seeing things being created in the library.. and I don't mind mess. HOWEVER.. I HATE using glitter.. that is the one thing not allowed)  Of course I said yes.. as the library is a great space to have people! We set a date, got it on the calendar.. and like before I asked what can I do to help.

The space is how I helped (and help somewhat monitor the stations)
The Chinese New Celebration ran much like the Late Night in the Library.  It was an extended time with several stations set up.  I read a short story in the middle of the time, but the hightlight.. the Dragon Dance!

-Rooster stamp
-Paper lanterns (like this idea.. but of course there are tons of ways that you can make them)
-Chinese Plastic Spoon Dancing Dragon (like this idea, but did it with plastic spoons, string and paper pieces)
-Chinese drum (much like this idea)
-Write Happy New Year in Chinese (this was a super cool station because she had put out thin paper and brushes with the black paint)

The art club students ran the stations, and we had over 30 attendees for a Friday afternoon.  These art club students are also the ones who did the Dragon Dance.

We are already talking about next year for this!  We are going to do the Dragon Dance to end the day.. but before the event starts as almost a parade to the library.
Did you celebrate Chinese New Year?  How do you collaborate?

Upcoming blogs-
-how my lesson plans are evolving
-February happenings (I just finished my first actual display!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

LITE UP 2017

It has been back to school with a bang! Started the year of with library helpers (y'all.. I have libraray helpers!!) Late Night in the Library.. my next round of classes started (2 this semester, 2 in the summer and 2 in the fall.. and I am done!) and my first official Library conference as a Librarian!

I was super excited to attend the LITE Up  2017 conference. Not only attend, but I had a chance to present!

Before I go any farther, I first have to say I am so lucky to surround myself with amazing people that inspire me to be a better librarian. (of course I don't have updated selfies with Skye and Heather.. and SO many others to name) Maybe that will be an upcoming blog.. inspiring selfies (I recently bought a shirt.. yep spent money on it.. that said No Selfie Control) okay.. I digress. 
Seeing these 2 weekly keeps me going!!

My mentor, Renee, asked if I would like to co-present Library Outreach- Building a Community of Readers.  How could I say no!  I was even more excited to see that the keynote was going to be Shannon Miller. I know Shannon.. follow her on social media sites, have seen her before.  The LITE Up Conference was the first time for me to hear her give a keynote.  I was so inspired by all of the things that she did in her library, and the voice that she allowed her students to have. I loved that she reminded us "Anybody can make a difference in a students life."  It was so powerful to listen to her stories of the students that were making big changes because they were given a chance to have a voice.  I walked away from the keynote with my head spinning... right into our session.

Loved hearing Shannon speak!

Renee and I had a chance to share how to build a reading community outside of the four walls of the library.  It included how we reach teachers, students, community members and more.  You can check out our presentation here. During the presentation... there were several times that I almost forgot to change the slides as I was taking my own mental notes of all the things that Renee does!

Not only did I get to see great presentations, I actually had a chance to talk to the different publishers. Many of these publishers and vendors I had met at the first of the year when I had NO CLUE to what they could do for me.  Now with a better understanding of Library Land... the vendors were much more interesting.  It was an amazing day of learning!  The LITE Up conference was so well organized.. and it did not disappoint. Now I am gearing up for Bluebonnet voting (okay.. I know that I am a little behind) and the TXLA Conference.  

P.S. When Renee and I were planning our presentation.. we started brainstorming a Meet Me at the Library- more coming soon!

What are your favorite conferences to attend? How do you vote for Bluebonnet winners?

P.P.S. The Brandenburg Library (where my mentor is the amazing librarian) is up for the Follett Challenge! Take a moment to go vote for their video.. I can't wait to see what they do next!

This was exciting to see in our district newsletter!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Late Night in the Library-January

What the What! I made it through the first semester of library land! If only I could write down all the stories (because.. man there have been some funny ones.. and some are not for the faint of heart!)
One of the first days back.. I was feeling pretty cute (wearing all my new LuLaRoe) I said good morning to a kiddo in the hallway.  She replied back with a good morning and then a compliment of I look like a librarian! I asked her if that was good or bad.. and she responded.. good you just look like an elementary librarian with all the layering.  My wondering.. what did I look like before?
On the first week back we hosted our Late Night in the Library to get ready for the upcoming science fair.  I forgot to snap pictures of my awesome counterparts Madden and Poe (which I can't believe.. I mean.. I love a selfie!) We set out resources for science fair projects, logged computers on to Science

I only had 2 stations up and running this time.. I blame it on the fact that I actually took the whole break off! The two stations were uber easy to set up as they only required index cards, tapes and scissors.
Index Tower

Can you fit inside a index card
The first station was Index Tower.  Patrons were asked to build a tower as tall as they could be using only 3 index cards.  These towers had to stand for 30 seconds before they could get measured.  Once measured we added the height on our dry erase board.  I LOVED watching parents work with their students.  It makes my heart SO HAPPY!!!

So.. the second station was a flop.  I am going to chalk it up to me not being completely prepared.  On stations like these.. I don't make samples as I want the students and parents to work it out. I usually still try to make one so I can then help as needed.  This one.. I should have made but didn't.  The object is to cut an index card so you can wear it.  See the website here for more ideas. I did have one family cut it so it was a headband.  I also had a couple of other students create hats :)

There were 29 people that came to this cold Late Night in the Library!
All of the measurements

An awesome cap a student made

Measuring their tower
At the end of this month I am working with our art teacher and we are going to have extended hours on a Friday to celebrate Chinese New Year.  Bluebonnet voting is this month. I am also attending my first librarian conference as a LIBRARIAN! I will be going to Lite up Conference on the 19th. I am even co-presenting with another amazing librarian!

This semester is going to be a busy one with more Late Nights, Destination ImagiNation, TXLA.. and of course 2 more classes at TWU (omg.. classes start next week!)

Here are the station signs I used (Have I mentioned I love Canva)