#HoldShelf – Late to the Party

Sigh…..seems I have good intentions, but my follow through is not up to par.  I saw the invitation to share a picture of our library’s hold shelf and thought, “Wow!  What a fantabulous idea!”  Our hold shelf is not pretty – and books don’t sit on it for long, so I was waiting for it to fill up a bit before I took a photo.

When a book that has been put on hold comes home to us, we complete a Hold Notice to send to the main office.  At the end of the morning’s and afternoon’s announcements, students with items in the front office are called to pick them up.  So, often within a couple of hours of sending the notice to the office, an excited student rushes into the library to pick up his/her book.  (Doesn’t it just make your heart melt when a student comes in to check out a book he has been dying to read? I feel like I have just sold the winning Lotto ticket cause I know the treasure that’s within the covers of that book.)

Anyhoo, we never had more than two books on our hold shelf at any one time in the last couple of weeks so I decided to take Cathy Nelson‘s idea and use a screenshot of the holds report in Destiny to share our requested titles.

Yep, The Hunger Games  is there, just as you would expect with the media frenzy surrounding the movie’s release.  But I’m pleased to see that Thirteen Reasons Why is there (twice); Ms. Gray’s classes completed their Literature Circles a couple of weeks ago and those who had read that novel have talked it up to their friends!  (Love it when they do that!  Just blesses my heart.)  Unwind and Shattering Glass were also titles in those Literature Circles.

What books are your students requesting now?

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Free Educational Posters

Poster-Street offers an array of free posters that teachers and teacher librarians can download, print, and display. And with dwindling (or disappearing) budgets, free looks even better.

The posters are divided into several categories:

*office

*home

*teacher

*kids

*teens

Visit the site to discover posters that will inspire both you and your students.

(Screenshots of posters used here, but the site does provide embed codes.  WordPress.com does not allow me to use them, however.)

You Can Take the Librarian out of the Library, but…..

I’m into my third week of summer vacation and loving every hectic and relaxing minute of it.  I have been back to the school library a few times to water plants, check on the mail that piles up over the summer, and just visit with office staff.

Today after stopping by the school library, I headed over to my local pubic library branch (two libraries in one day – nirvana!).  I had to return a couple of public library books that had been left in lockers at school  (those rascally kids!) and also turn in one of my book reviews for our public library’s Rock and Read summer reading program.

As I walked in the door, I heard my name being called – one of my favorite students was in the library with her aunt checking out  a load of books to carry home.  When I asked her if she was participating in the teen summer reading program, she said “no” and then gave her aunt a strange look.  Turns out her aunt reads as much as she does and wasn’t participating in the adult reading program.

So here I am, a school librarian, encouraging one of my students and her aunt to join the public library’s summer reading program.  Then up walks another one of my students who is also – gasp – not participating in the summer reading program.  Can I keep my mouth shut?  Or do I urge her to sign up, too?  Whadda ya think?

Photo attribution:

“Relaxing on the Beach” by Andrew Osterberg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtualphotographystudio/2890301351/in/set-72157607796135691

Organizing Booktalks

Reader’s Advisory can take many forms, but my favorite is booktalking.  The beginning of a new semester is the perfect opportunity to reach out to teachers and offer to do booktalks for their classes.

Last week, I gave booktalks for twelve classes.  Each booktalking session averaged three to seven books which can become a management nightmare.  I use the following method to organize booktalks so that if teachers wish for me to booktalk more than once to their classes, I can be assured I am not repeating myself.

Organizing Booktalks

1. First, I created a spreadsheet of the books from which to choose (and keep adding to it).

The spreadsheet includes the author, title, and up to three genres.

2. Next, I gathered the booktalks I have created (or found) on each title.  These are all titles I have read; one of the primary rules I learned in my YA Lit course was to only booktalk books you have read.  Creating booktalks is often time consuming, so when I don’t have the time, I use Nancy Keane’s Booktalks — Quick and Simple.  I file these alphabetically by title.

3. Finally, I created a simple booktalk chart template that I use for each teacher.

I keep all of this information in my Booktalk Notebook that I keep for reference at the Circulation Desk.

Giving the Booktalks

Once a teacher requests a booktalking session, I confer with him/her to determine a few factors I need to consider as I plan:

1.  length of time teacher wants to stay

2.  class composition (equal numbers of males and females?)

3.  student interests (At the beginning of the semester, teachers often can’t provide a great deal of information, but if they have done interest surveys they might be able to share if any students are in band, chorus, orchestra, student council, or participate in any sports.)

Then I pull together from three to seven books based on teacher information.  I use the template to record the titles I plan to do for each class. If this changes (sometimes I can tell from a class’s attitude as they enter the library that I need to change a title or two), I note the changes after the booktalks.

I set up a display of the books I plan to booktalk in front of the Promethean board, and as students enter and are settling in at the tables, I play an Animoto video I created on the current year’s South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominees. Brochures on each table provide more information about each of these titles. I end the booktalks with a book trailer and tell the students that they are free to check out the titles I used on the table.  It is always SO rewarding when students run to get a copy of the books on the table!

Analyzing the Booktalking Session’s Effectiveness

Often I can tell if a title is going to get checked out as I am doing the booktalk.  High school students don’t fake interest in books; their body language speaks volumes.  And, bless their hearts, some students are not ashamed to say, “I’m getting THAT book.”

Other ways I use student feedback to help me improve my booktalks:

  • A quick look over at the table a bit later as students are checking out books lets me know if a title (or titles) didn’t get checked out.  I make a note of this on the template.
  • If a title did not get checked out, I discuss the booktalk and title with my service learners and the other media specialist to see if I can pinpoint the reason for lack of interest.  If possible, I revise the booktalk before giving it again the next block.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not.
  • If students ask me if I have more copies of one of the titles I booktalked, I put the title on hold for them and make a note of it on booktalk template.

I would love to read about your booktalking methods and sessions.  How do you organize your booktalks and what techniques have you found to be successful?


 

Free eBooks for Your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.

I finally did it; I gave in and  asked for a Kindle 3 for Christmas.  (Looks like I wasn’t the only one:  “Kindle 3 Is the  Best Selling Product in Amazon History.”)   Friends and family have had Kindles for quite some time and have all been pleased with them, but I was holding out for an eReader that met all of my requirements.

Did I find it in Kindle?  No.  But, after playing with several of these eReaders at my local Best Buy, I decided Kindle was the best fit for me.  (The one thing Kindle lacks as far as my definition of the “perfect” eReader is the ability to read EPub format so that I can borrow and read books from our public library on it.)

My good friend and gadget guru, Heather Loy, had shared a blog devoted to free and low cost eBooks with me months ago.  I had added it to my Google Reader and even downloaded some of the free books to read on my iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac.

Since my Kindle arrived, I have discovered a couple of other worthy blogs devoted to free eBooks and thought I’d share them:

Books on the Knob

Free eBooks and Tips

Kindle Nation Daily

Happy reading!

2010 Edgar Award Winners Announced

Mysteries have long been my favorite genre. Give me a good whodunnit and I’m happier than an allergist in spring time.

The Mystery Writers of America met on April 30 to announce the 2010 Edgar Award Winners.

Young Adult Nominees

The nominees for this year’s Best Young Adult Award were:

Abrahams, Peter Reality Check

Cooney, Caroline B.  If the Witness Lied

Ford, John C. The Morgue and Me

Low, Dene Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone

Mitchell, Saundra Shadowed Summer

And the winner is….Reality Check.

Juvenile Nominees

The nominees for this year’s Best Juvenile Award were:

Barnett, Mac The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity

Beil, Michael The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour

Hahn, Mary Dowling Closed for the Season

Reynolds, Aaron Creepy, Crawly Crime

Springer, Nancy The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline

And the winner is…..Closed for the Season.

We only have one of the young adult titles (If the Witness Lied) in our school library so I’ll be checking the public library for the other nominees this summer.

Speaking of Mysteries

The South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominees for 2011 include Something Wicked by Alan Gratz.  Seems it is the second title in the Horatio Wilkes mystery series.  I just recently read Something Rotten, the first title in the series, and loved it.  English teachers who are looking for modern day novels to pair with Hamlet need to give this one a spin.

Now I’m reading Something Wicked, a modern day version of Macbeth.

What good mysteries have you read lately?

Photo used through a Creative Commons license

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oddsock/3623474374

Overwhelmed by Series?

Photo used with permission under a Creative Commons license

Photographer's Assistant, Bird and Beckett

School librarians often find book series to be both a blessing and a curse.  Students who might normally  read one book per semester will read three or four books in a series.  Hooking students on one series can whet their appetite for more books just like the series they devoured in two weeks.

But these same series can also cause problems.  What happens when a student finishes book one in a series and rushes into the library to find that all copies of book two are checked out? What happens if a student begins a series unfamiliar to you and wants to know the order of the books?

Resources to the rescue!

Need to know the order of books in a series?

Need ideas of other books to recommend?

  • Check out the ATN-Reading Lists Wiki’s Read Alikes page.  You’ll find suggestions for a wide range of books, both fiction and nonfiction.
  • What Should I Read Next? Enter details (title or author for example) or the ISBN of a book you’ve enjoyed.  You’ll be given a list of suggestions.  Currently (April 2, 2010) the site has over 70,000 titles in its database with more being recommended by readers daily.

Photo attribution:

Photographer’s Assistant, Bird, and Beckett

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/3243151512/