April is always a hard month

Wow, April is rough because we are make sure that all the goals for the year are met. We also learn who is staying and who is moving on in our district.

I am waiting hear back from some people that I want to call me back. This become rough when you know there is a lag time, but you want to be finished. I am happy for good friends that remind me that we all have to wait on decisions.

Great classroom experience

I gave a lesson to middle schoolers today about using the on line catalog to find a book. The students were attentive during the lesson. I left and examined what I hadn’t done that I normally did to make lessons more real for the students. They did not have access to computers during the lesson. Little did I know that the teacher pulled out computers when I left. Five minutes after I got to the library, students come in with Post-it notes that have the call number of the book they had looked up and they wanted.

Some students needed more information, but all were able to fine their books. It feels really good to provide a lesson that gets used by the students to engage them in learning.

Inventory cannot be done in one day

I worked today to inventory the school library in White Mountain, Alaska. I have stopped thinking I need to repair everything during the inventory. For right now I just need to find out whether the books that are in the system are here or not. In the past, I have always felt the need to fix any books that don’t register. This time, I am just doing inventory. The goal is to clean out books that aren’t in the library. Five years ago there was a fire in the school here. We haven’t done a viable inventory to know what is in the system that shouldn’t be. This will not be true tomorrow.

Today I inventoried the nonfiction, fiction, and reference collections. I created a collection code for early chapter books. All in all, a very successful day.

Lots of news this week

I am wondering if others have compared coworkers to characters from picture books. I have two picture books on my desk this week because the characters remind me of coworkers. In fairness, I have a picture book on my desk also because it reminds me of me.

I love the book, “An Amazing Snowman” The snowman has the characteristics that I find important in life. The best one is from the end of the book, “he knows that every ending…is a chance for a new beginning and a chance for a nice warm hug!” I wouldn’t normally recommend books from a movie tie in, but this one is Awesome.

OCLC does have a z39.50 interface for library catalogs. Tomorrow I should have my log in and password for that. This should make cataloging much easier for all of the library staff in Bering Strait School District.

I have found a fun way to write questions for Battle of the Books. This week my husband and I are reading “Fahrenheit 451”. After I read, I write the questions for that part of the book. I read the questions to him and he adds or edits some of the questions. It has been a fun way to spend an evening that pulls us away from the television and a great book to use for this activity.

What’s up in the catalog

Ever wonder what librarians are busy doing when they aren’t doing all the things they do.

Update the catalog. It sounds like a simple thing, but there are about 130,000 items in the catalog. When a mistake gets made it is hard to find it. Every once in a while, you have to look at the information and make sure that it is up to date. That is what the month of February seems to be connected to.

In order to do this, I have to download difference fields of the catalog to make sure that they have the correct information. When you see that the information isn’t correct, you have to individually go to that records and correct it. I am getting that work done now. When I finish it will be easier for people to find the type of books that they would like to fine. Earlier this month I changed where items where located in the catalog. I added a location of media tub. This makes it easier to find the materials that are held in the 400 different media tubs that we have the Bering Strait School District.

Why do we become librarians

The library in Diomede got a facelift over the past year. I showed up on Monday to put the books away. I am hoping to be finished in a week’s time. To understand, in order to get to Diomede you have to take a plane to Wales, Alaska, transfer to a helicoptor and fly the last 10 miles. A note on the pilot’s map warns against flying in Russian airspace as Little Diomede is two miles from Big Diomede which is in Russia.

The real plus of this work is opening boxes of books and hooking up students with old favorites like Bruce Coville and Katharine Applegate. Tomorrow, I will introduce “It’s a Book” to the third to fifth graders. Students here want to read, they just want to be able to find their books easily. The jr. high student that was reading the “Bone” series is asking daily if I have unpacked more.

All of this combines to make my job very rewarding.

White Mountain takes it all

The students in White Mountain are known for doing a great job with Battle of the Books.  This year they were up to task.  It was a strong race in 7-8th grade, coming down to a tie breaker round between White Mountain and Wales students.

Now is the time to get started for next year’s battle.  I am really excited for a new book “My Name is Not Easy” by Debbie Dahl Edwardson.  This would be a great book for the high school level.  The problem is that it is only in hardback.  The cost will be 13.50 from the local bookseller.  This is a lot for a battle book and I have argued against that price before.  On the other hand this book is such a great book for Alaskan students that I don’t want to wait the two years that Marshall Cavendish says it will be until it is out in paperback.  I have done all I can do.  I have a classroom set that I can check out to teachers and I have placed at least one copy out in each library.

I am looking forward to traveling to Savoonga next week.  It will be good to talk to the students and catch the library back up to what it was a year ago.



Battle of the Books is in full swing

This is our week for Battle of the Books competition at the district level.

Questions are ready.  Times are set.  Teams are scheduled to appear.


Now is the time to evaluate how many students does Battle of the Books affect.

  1. How do I get more students interested in participating?
  2. With the move to ebooks, should I provide Kindles to some schools to improve their participation?
  3. What should be included in the contract with schools to ensure that the Kindles are used, taken care of, and returned at the end of the year?
  4. On a price level, do I push for a book that I think would be terrific, even though it is only available in hardback?

Time to take a break and go to inventorying the library books.


Perfect Library World

I will be updating what the perfect school library environment looks like for the next week or so.

1. Time — The library aide needs to have time to plan for their classes, do the library housework, and allow teachers and students 15 minutes a day to find a new book.
2. Space — I need help to figure out the optimal shelf space for each different book type(Picture, fiction, nonfiction, and reference)
3. Amount of books for a good library. I think we have great library collections in all of our schools. We need to weed the collections and I know this is hard for a lot of people but it is necessary for a good collection.

It is good to know what your reference question is at the start of the weekend.

Today in Gambell

It has been a great start to the school year.  Today I am in Gambell, Alaska training a new library aide.  I had an order of 300 books arrive at the school.  We were able to scan each bar code and make sure it works in the Koha system.  It should be a wonderful week.