Thursday, June 22, 2017

looking ahead

I'm thinking about my goals for the coming school year.  What do I want to accomplish this year? What are my top priorities for moving the library forward? I'm really still in the brainstorming process here, and will continue to take a look at the space itself, at the new state standards (currently still in draft version, but available as we continue to work on them), the Future-Ready Library information, and the TEKS for my grade levels as I make a list of To-Do's and work to prioritize them.

Future-Ready is divided into 8 sections that center around personalized student learning.
So, here, in no particular order, is my current list of things I would like to accomplish this year.  As the summer moves forward, I'll look at prioritizing and plotting & planning. 
  • Thorough weeding of the Reference  and non-fiction sections.  I need the space to be put to better use.  I've farmed out a ton of books already to the art department.  I've put some up for adoption.  I've moved the green books into a storage location for future book-tree building opportunities. I bought a cat-shaped book to show my fabulous shop teachers what I want to have done to some of them.  I've saved some to rip pages out of for blackout poems and other artsy stuff, but there is only so much storage space I'm willing to give up.  I really, really hate to dumpster them, but yeah, I'll probably have to with some of them as there are JUST.SO.MANY.  ugh. 
  • Building some community partnerships.  I've been working with our local public librarians (who are seriously amazing, by the way), and now I'm looking to branch out to create some new partnerships, as well.  
  • Create a stunning new website.  Mine is seriously lacking. 
  • I need to up my social media game.  Why?  Because I need to reach my stakeholders with the great news of our library, and I need to do this more than every-once-in-a-while.  Consistency creates a presence. 
  • Create new signage.  Mine is no longer correct since I've genrefied. 
  • Collaborate with more teachers, building on what we've already done.  I'll have many new teachers at my campus next year and want to start them off knowing we can partner up and that it isn't an "extra" thing for them---that it will be curricularly based and not a waste of precious class time. 
  • I want to increase my Maker area, which is currently all low-tech, and add the tech portion to it. 
  • I want the library to be utilized in better ways---honed in to student's needs better.  Not just open and available as a place, but really more of a concierge atmosphere in a way. 
  • Teach my teachers and students how to use our digital resources effectively--particularly our TexQuest resources.
  • Teach my teachers and students how to use our newly updated Destiny resources.
  • increase our digital holdings and market them better.
What are YOUR goals for the coming school year? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


My friend is moving.
She's funny and kind and smart and we have the best time working together.
Yeah, she's my friend and she is also my lovely library assistant.
Which doesn't make the situation easier.

I'm really so happy for her and her husband to have the opportunity to live closer to their kids and grandbabies.  Truly.

I'm happy we'll stay in touch through the magic of social media--and because she is moving close to my old stompin' grounds so we visit on a semi-regular basis.

I'm so grateful that Paula has been with me all 3 years I've been at the high school.  She has rolled with the punches and handled all my crazy wild schemes with ease.  She has been up for dressing like pirates and superheroes. She has relived the 70's with me and celebrated Tiara Tuesday like a boss.  I came in and shifted just about everything at that library and never once was she not along for the ride. She made me feel welcomed and wanted in my new days and some of my best working memories are with her.

She is moving on to new adventures and I hope she has a ball attending grandbabies t-ball games and dance recitals.  She will sure be missed in my neck of the woods.

So now comes the part where I will be setting up interviews for a new assistant.  I'm grateful the powers that be are giving me the opportunity to have a say in it, but I'm nervous.  I need someone flippin' amazing, filled with a passion for working with high school kids, and having fun doing it. I'm starting the process today.  I can train someone to do the work, but I'm looking for someone with that certain je nais se quoi.  I need someone that just *clicks*, you know?

I'm wishing Paula luck in her new adventures.
I'm wishing myself luck in mine, as well.


Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Monday...what are YOU reading?

This summer I hope to read many of the new 2017 Tayshas list books.  I can always count on the list being full of amazing reads, and I love to be able to do reader's advisory with the newest and greatest out there.

First, I added a shelf to my Goodreads account that lists all the books in a want-to-read status.  Now I get the pleasure of reading all those that I haven't already read!

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum was a fun romance.  I enjoyed the cast of characters very much and the storyline has a nice meet-cute element.  This was a perfect choice for the first weekend of summer break---an easy, fun read that held my interest.

 I'm now reading The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry. You can see my makeshift bookmark there in the pic.  I'm about halfway done and would love to just sit down and ignore all my other responsibilities to get this one finished.  The kids & the hubs think they need to eat and have clean laundry, however, so I'm reading it a bit at a time.  This is a long one--and a deep subject matter--women Christian mystics during the time of the Inquisition.  I long for a day filled with thunderstorms and soup on the stove so I can delve into this world more fully.  I find that I am intrigued by all the voices in the novel, but especially those of the three sisters.  No spoilers, but this one is really good!

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Yesterday was my last official work day of the school year and I spent it in the most awesome way possible. I traveled up the road to White Oak Middle School and spent the day learning from the best at the TCEA Area 7 Conference, put on by my good friend and librarian extraordinaire, the ever-fabulous Michelle Cooper.

Our keynote speaker was Shannon Miller.  Um, yeah.  SHANNON MILLER!  Y'all.  May I just say that I left the keynote so inspired, so determined, and so ready to really champion for my kids to use their voice and left the first session more excited than ever to be a Future-Ready Librarian. While I've followed her on Twitter, read her blog, and have been involved in the Future-Ready Libraries Facebook group, I had never had the opportunity to meet Shannon until yesterday.  What a delightful person!  I feel like I gained a friend. She is so sincere and knowledgeable and real.

The breakout sessions were great, too.  I went to one that was a Future-Ready conversation, led by Shannon Miller, Mary Kay Wisener, and my friend & mentor Sharon Gullett. One of the things I really loved about this session was the feeling of camaraderie in the room and the support given to folks who are brand-new incoming librarians.

My second breakout session was also led by Shannon Miller and was a celebration of some her favorite innovative things going on in libraries. I left with a list of apps to try and was texting library friends with lists of things they need to try!

I went to a breakout session led by Marsha Edney (also a good friend and such a hoot!) about using green screens.  So, I've always thought green screens are cool and all, but I got ideas yesterday on how to use them with classes that could be game-changers for our students.  Inspiring! I think I have a place in mind that would be perfect for this in the library.  Now to convince the powers that be.

Even my lunch break was enjoyable.  I was the lone librarian from my district to attend, so I didn't go with ready-made lunch partners.  However, I made a new librarian friend (she is both a new librarian and new friend) and we enjoyed getting to know one another during this time.  We've connected on Twitter and I can't wait to see how her year goes.

My last breakout session was led by Andy Adams from Region 7, who was an engaging speaker and again, I left with lists of apps to play with both for creating my own videos and for having students create videos to use in innovative ways.

Our closing speaker was Jamie Donnally who began #globalmakerday  which I will totally be participating in from now on.  SO COOL.  Seriously, anytime a learning day ends with play-do and Bloxels, and 3-D pens you know you've had a good day.  This is something to remember in our own days-of-learning with students. Did I mention I came home with the cutest, coolest sphero ever? YAY! for door prizes!

What a day, y'all.  What a fabulous, learning-filled, FUN-filled, glorious day to end my school year on just the perfect note.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The week with no kids

Okay, so maybe not no kids.
I've had a few drop by just because, a couple kids making up hours by working in the library, and a former student who wasn't sure school was actually out swing by, but you know, no kids.

It is always a bit weird when the kids are gone to still be working.
The kids are my WHY.
However, I am really getting a ton done this week, which is great because I'll feel much more settled about leaving for summer vacation with more items checked off my to-do list.

  • I've managed to nearly complete getting the last straggler books re-labeled and fixed in the system by genre (and I would have to, if it weren't for those pesky kids folks updating my system, thereby shutting it down for today--but it will be totally cool once it is done.) Let's hope I get to complete this task or I will be up there on my own with no air conditioning to finish it.  I refuse to carry this particular task into the new school year. 
  • With the help of my making-up-hours kids, all the new Chromebooks are in their charging station home.
  • I'm sorting and cleaning out my messy office. Y'all I can stand it for so long, but this cleanup was WAY overdue.  Getting so many carts of books and all those boxes of computers OUT OF MY OFFICE was super helpful in this endeavor. 
  • The Google Form for collecting the thoughts of my district librarians was sent out so I can get our PD settled for the upcoming year.
  • Our MAGIC calendar of events for next year is progressing nicely.  I've even enlisted the help of a kick-butt local public librarian to collaborate for a particular event.
  • I've just about finished double-checking all my last purchases--still awaiting the arrival of one, so will check on that.
  • I will meet with one of our new elementary librarians tomorrow. :)
  • I need to complete my EOY reports. 
So, pretty good progress, all things considered.  Onward!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reflections on the finished year

ah, what a year.
We FINALLY got our genrefication project done.  Whew!
This marks the end of my 3rd year as a high school librarian.
I had the opportunity to work more with some teachers this year---but I'm not done with this just yet.
We have only just begun, in fact.
Still, our beginning was super fun.
3 of my teachers were truly willing to do at least one collaborative project with me.
3 more were sort-of willing.  Still working to win them over.  This girl is not a quitter!

The library is used all the time. ALL.THE.TIME. I have AMAZING supportive co-workers.
(we're losing over 40 teachers this year, so I'll be really starting over come fall)
My kids love to be in the library.
A typical morning has over 150 kids and so does a typical MegaLunch.
(next year our schedule completely changes so we'll shift from morning times to afternoon times, which will, unfortunately leave out bus-riders.)
Our teen book club "Unbroken Spine" got a name and actual readers that wanted to come to meetings. Woo-HOO!  We ended up with about 15 kids who were devoted to attending and discussing.  It was awesome.

MAGIC was fabulous---building it year by year with grand plans to expand for next year.
(we'll have two new Heads-of-House and I'll sorely miss the former ones, but truly love the newbies)

and I have some things to work on for sure---
I want the librarian to be utilized as much as the space itself (yeah, that's me).
I want to up my game on offerings during "extra time" such as MegaLunch.  Yes, it is great to be a place to hang out--I mean that, and many kids need that.  BUT....I would also love to offer some actual mini-classes, professional development for teachers, and silent reading parties.
I will need to finish shifting and rearranging the library and then teach everyone how to use it.  I'm planning some back-to-school events for teachers in the fall to really showcase what we can do for them.
I want my kids to be able to utilize Destiny more--and all of its cool features.
I want my digital resources to be better understood and utilized.
I want to be on-point with my social media game.

My kids know I love them.
We have awesome books and digital resources.
We have great tech support in the district now.
It's just time to move it up a notch or two.