Three for: Free Resources for You and Your Library

Free is always good!

  • The Libraries Agency offers free templates for posters, notices, announcements, and more.
  • Have Playaways or considering purchasing them?  Circulation Station provides both  Click & Ship and a Build & Print options.  Get free posters, stickers, info takeaways, and shelf tape through the Click & Ship option.  Customize posters, trifolds, and newslettters on the Build & Print page.
  • Love, love, love this downloadable pdf (see photo above) to display in your library!  Gale Cengage Learning offers this and more.  School librarians can find resources designed specifically for K-12 here.  Check out the Lesson Plan Library.

Let’s Play!

Want to add some excitement to your lessons?  Incorporate online games.

Identifying Genres

Library media specialist Dorothea Johnson created Name that Genre to help younger students learn to analyze a book’s  cover to determine its genre.

Using Call Numbers to Shelve

Order in the Library provides three library skills games:  Sorting, Shelving, and Reordering.  Although it looks elementary, the skills it introduces/reviews/reinforces can be adapted for middle and high school levels.  I plan to use the Reordering game with my service learners this fall as we introduce them to the concept of “reading the shelves”.


Students become more proficient information searchers when they understand the concept of keywords and tags.    Can You Guess the Tag presents several photos  and gives you thirty seconds to guess the tag they have in common.  Some of the tags are very simple to guess, while others will leave you wondering, “Huh?” when you are provided with the answer.

A similar game, Guess-the-Google, provides more images, but only gives you twenty seconds to make a guess.  I haven’t been as successful with it and have been frustrated when the time is up and the game doesn’t provide the correct keyword.

Choosing Resources

Carnegie Mellon Library offers two games in their Library Arcade.  When they play “I’ll Get It!” students will have to use critical thinking skills to determine the best resource to answer a question presented to them by a library patron.

What games have you found to use with your students?

Reading Challenges

J. Kaye of the Home Girl’s Book Blog has issued the 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge.  The rules of participation are simple:

1. Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate.

–Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. There are four levels:

–The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.

–Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

–Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.

–Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not purchased at a library sale.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

6. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

7. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your post where your library books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

****You do NOT need to review your books. That is optional.****

(excerpted from the Home Girl’s Book Blog)

What a great way to promote your library and resources!  Imagine using this as a contest in your own library.  Create fliers with the challenge’s image and post throughout your school.  This would be a great advocacy tool to share with your school community.

J. Kaye has other reading challenges listed on the website.  Encourage your students to choose one or more of them.

Library Usage Soars in Poor Economy

An interesting report on the popularity (and necessity!) of libraries in today’s economy from the Today show.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

And the Winner Is…..


Recognizing Excellence!

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences bestows the Grammys (short for Gramophone), the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League recognize achievement with Tony Awards, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes excellence with Oscar winners.

Excellence in literature is recognized with myriad awards.  There is the Pulitzer Prize  for newspaper journalism and literature, the Edgar given by the Mystery Writers of America, and the Newbery Medal given by the Association of Library Service to Children just to name a few.

Recognizing Excellence?

Then there are the awards that no one wants to win or awards won for negative reasons.  There’s the FBI’s Tne Most Wanted Fugitives list,  Mr. Blackwell’s Top Ten Worst Dressed Women list  which acknowledged* celebrities’ fashion faux pas, and  the English Department at San Jose University’s Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest that  encourages bad writing (recognizing “winners”  and dishonorable mentions for the opening sentence to the worst possible novel).

The MUSTIE Award

Librarians and school library media specialists are charged with developing their library’s collection. The obvious way to do this is by purchasing materials which will meet the needs of the library’s users.  But the not so obvious way is to pull and dispose of materials which are no longer meeting the users’ needs.

Librarians have been known to pull and dispose of these materials in the dark of night so as not to raise the ire of bibliophiles everywhere:  “What?!!! Throw out books?  Preposterous!”  I propose a new award to add glamour to the fine art of weeding:  the MUSTIE.

The term “MUSTIE” is defined by CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries  in this manner:

M =  Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)

U=  Ugly (worn and beyond mending or rebinding)

S=  Superseded (by a truly new edition or by a much better book on the subject)

T= Trivial (of no discernable literary or scientific merit; usually of ephemeral interest at some time in the past)

I=  Irrevelant to the needs and interests of your community

E=  The material or information may be obtained expeditiously Elsewhere through interlibrary loan, reciprocal borrowing, or in electronic format

 The 2009 Boiling Springs High School Library Media Center’s MUSTIE award goes to:

2009 MUSTIE Award Winner








Arnold, Robert ,Harold Hill, and Aylmer Nichols. Modern Data Processing (Second Edition). New York:  John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1972.

 Although this book obviously was cutting edge for 1972, it now easily fits the MUSTIE criteria:  misleading, ugly (although it could be mended), superseded, trivial, irrelevant, and up-to-date information can be found elsewhere.

Now, how to celebrate the book’s winning the MUSTIE Award?  Keep it on display as an example of outdated material (keeping the bibliophiles happy), or send it on to book heaven?  After all, it has earned a jewel in its crown there now! 


*Richard Blackwell, fashion critic, died on Oct. 18, 2008

Getting Your Money’s Worth: Libraries

Posted in library. Tags: . 2 Comments »