Saturday, May 25, 2013

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

There are many wonderful things about being a middle school librarian.  Getting to read amazing books by fantastic authors is indeed high on the list.  

I've long been a fan of Joan Bauer's work and I'm especially fond of her underdog-makes-good stories like Hope was Here and Rules of the Road.  She just has this magical way of writing that always makes me feel like her characters are not only actual people, but people that I know and love. 

Sugar Mae Cole might just be one of my all-time favorite characters, and that's saying something!  I absolutely love her voice, and her wisdom, and her strength throughout all her many trials and tribulations.  

Hard times hit Sugar and her sweet mama Reba, leaving them homeless and in charge of a puppy named Shush.  They may be down, but don't count them out! Saving their world and impacting those around them with their sweetness-and-strength combination makes this book a fun and inspiring read.

Grab it up and get cozy in a comfy chair---
Read on, Gentle Readers; Read on...

Mrs. S

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Branding Your Library

As one of the moderators of the Twitter Chat #TXLchat I've spent a lot of time and energy lately pondering our latest chat topic, branding your library.  We discussed it last week, and will continue for the next couple of weeks (we'd love you to join us Tuesday nights from 8-8:30, Texas time) speaking with a couple of experts on the topic.

While working on brainstorming for creating my own library's brand, I came across this fun video that has some great reminders on branding.  Go on, take a look-see!

What is Branding? from Bret McQuinn on Vimeo.

I've taken a good long look at the TEA library guidelines and standards document to really properly evaluate the current state of the library, if you will, noting strengths as well as weaknesses,  and I've created my new combo mission/vision statement (I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, too)

The MMMS Library exists to:
Empower learners with information literacy skills, creating an information commons where inquiry, knowledge, enjoyment, and creativity all come together; a space where minds are nutured, inspired, and challenged. 

Now I'm focusing on some keywords in the statement that should be reflected in my brand (inquiry, knowledge, creativity, inspire) and trying to gather up bits of inspiration for a logo and catch-phrase.

Hey!  Here's another word for me to ponder--transform--because that is exactly what I'm in the process of doing in the library!

Where are you in the process of branding your library?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Mrs. S

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Meeting of the Minds

April 9th was an amazing day as it marked the very first #txlchat librarian chat on Twitter.  Each and every Tuesday evening from 8:00 to 8:30 (Texas time, howdja like that?) a great group of Texas librarians virtually get together and have a meeting of the minds.  I am beyond thrilled and blessed that I was asked to be a founding moderator of this amazing group of information goddesses!  Every week I have learned amazing things and "met" librarians and other educators from all over Texas, and other parts of the US (we Texans are a friendly lot--all are welcome, Texan or not!)  Sharing information makes us ALL stronger! 

The topics are relevant and voted on by the group each week, so you can always count on it to be a time of meaningful Professional Development (PD), which is SO important in today's world.  Librarians, in particular, tend to be a lone wolf in the schoolhouse, with schools rarely having more than one librarian.  Sometime it is even difficult for district librarians to physically get together---and we need that time for learning, growing, brainstorming, and thinking outside the box.  

Sharing ideas is vital to keeping our libraries...well, vital. And I truly believe the world needs libraries and librarians now more than ever---if they are vital, vibrant, amazing spaces (both physical and virtual) where information seekers can be connected with just the right information they need at just the right time that they need it. 

Won't you come join in the fun?   I'd love to "see" you there!  This week's discussion will be on branding your library!

Mrs. S

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I mentioned that during testing I made plans for some changes to the library.  That very Friday afternoon I was able to start implementing some of those changes---and then I worked on things a bit more as my library space was in use for a meeting the following week.

I'm thrilled that my principal was on board and helped get the district painters out SO quickly to paint the wall behind the circ desk "dragon gold" as well as painting over the what-had-been-hideous-but-now-looks-amazing galvanized steel piping on the back wall that holds extra electrical stuff.  I can't tell you what a difference these little touches have already made!

Sometimes its the little things, folks.  We can rearrange a cozy reading area to make it even better and suddenly the entire world (or library, as it were) opens up with new possibilities.

For me, my mind is buzzing with a renewed energy and excitement.  I'm finishing up this school year, yes...but already really in the head space for planning for next year.

David Bowie is a master, but perhaps the fabulous Nina Simone said it best...

I'll post pics of my "new" library soon!

Mrs. S