Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The ABC's of Issuu

A while back I blogged about some new-to-me tools I stumbled upon when a fellow
Blogger's post led me on a birdwalk.  Over the past year, I 
Committed myself to becoming "fairly proficient" with each of these tools. 
During 2012, I frequently posted on! over morning coffee, and I
Found a couple of new blogs to follow through that tool, as well.  
Gathering a decent webmix for Symbaloo has taken longer than expected, but I may
Have finally created one worthy of sharing with my students.  
ISSUU is my latest and greatest victory.
January was the month grade 1 students finished an inquiry of How We Express Ourselves.
Knowing that alphabet books are one way to structure information, we  
Looked at several and read a few during library visits.  
Many of the books were a single subject (sports, princesses, animals), but some of the 
New books played with the letters in funny and strange ways.
Only after exploring a wide variety some did we attempt to make our own.
Perhaps our product could be better, but this was a first try.  Using
Quiet library voices, students brainstormed words for each letter.
Reflection tells me grade 1 students could have written full
Sentences for each letter, but I was worried we would run out of 
Time.  After each word was illustrated, the cover was designed and all the pages were
Uploaded to ISSUU.  It was
Very exciting to see the students' hard work turned into an eBook that 
Was even added to our library catalog.
NeXt time we may use an iPad app for the writing and illustrating.... but I have learned
You can't let your perfect get in the way of your good, or you will have 
Zero to share.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Myth #10 - All Librarians are Created Equally

Note: Like so many, my 2012 ended in reflection over the events during my first semester at a new school and 2013 began with a review of my Library Action Plan.  As I pondered how to ensure my next steps take the library program in the direction I truly want to be leading, those thoughts collided with a blogpost that I had been chewing on for several weeks.  Thus, I busted….

 Myth #10: All Librarians are Created Equally

At one point in my last district, there were only three certified librarians, each working at a different school.   
  • One of us was a secondary English teacher and a master of literacy.
  • Another had a background in science and was the tech guru of us three.
  • The third started teaching in elementary grades and had a passion for the research process.
We were all very different, yet we shared a very common purpose in our work with students.  Mind you, we all three tackled tasks in all areas of librarianship, with some roles coming more naturally to one or another of us.  We often laughed about our differences, and joked what a team we could make if we all three worked on the same campus. 

Three different backgrounds, three different focuses, but one passion.  

As fellow librarians, we have so much to teach and learn from each other.  

Are you learning from your colleagues?  Or do you see those differences as a threat to your comfort zone?

All Librarians are NOT Created Equally  

As individuals, we bring our unique strengths, weaknesses, and personal interests to the circ desk and build a library program uniquely ours.  We collaborate, teach lessons, build collections, implement programs... make our mark... create a reputation.  And when we move on, due to choice or age or budget cut backs, we leave a particular gap, as unique as our individual fingerprints. 

As I reviewed my mission statement and goals at this mid-point in the year, I was struck by a question that refocused my work and made my vision crystal clear:  

What will be my legacy?

I began to ponder:  At former schools, what was I known for?  What do past students and coworkers remember about my work?  What mark did I leave? And most importantly, was it what I was trying to accomplish?

Teresa Schauer is known for her passion for book trailers...
Mr. Schu is breathing life back into Newbery classics…
Joanna Fountain made her mark through cataloging and subject headings…
Toni Buzzeo has authored books to help us teach library and information skills…

The librarian I replaced this year was a gifted storyteller.  He frequently incorporated music and singing in his lessons, and it is what everybody misses about him.

Another librarian I knew called herself a “Rehab Librarian” for her ability to rejuvenate aging libraries... ruthlessly weeding badly outdated collections, rearranging shelving and furniture, and creating a fresh, inviting environment before moving on to another “old” library.

What are your strengths? Which weaknesses are you going to commit to strengthening this year?

Where do your specialties lie? Who do you know with a different specialty you can learn from?

What kind of librarian are you? What legacy will YOU leave behind?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

For the Love of Poetry

For the Love of Poetry.....

I had the pleasure of listening to Sylvia Vardell speak at Region One's Spring Librarian Meeting today.  Vardell and her co-author, Janet Wong, compiled a treasury of poems for the whole school year.  They took wonderful works, connected them to the TEKS and prepared lessons for librarians and teachers to use every Friday for one whole year.    What an inspiration to librarians and educators to share the love of poetry!   Scroll over her book cover below and read about some of the phenomenal author's who shared their works in this anthology.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Infotopia - My type of search engine!


I was at  a the Region One Service Center  recently when Dr. Michael Bell and his wife Carole Bell came to give a talk on their joint project, Infotopia.  Two retired librarians who have done a wealth of research to produce a great search engine.  If you aren't familiar with Infotopia, take a look!  The URL for this site is:

Are there other great search engines you know about?  Tell us about them!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook launched its search product yesterday.  It is still in beta, so if you do not yet have access, go to and scroll to the bottom, where you will find a link to try it or join the waiting list.

What is Facebook Graph Search?

A search engine that is not a search engine..

Graph Search looks through information and people and things that are already on Facebook.... unless it has no idea what your search terms are asking and then it goes to Bing.

A way to sift through social information...

Like finding which restaurants your friends like in Albequerque, photos of the Grand Canyon taken in 2002, or your own posts without scrolling through your entire timeline.

It give you answers, not links.

Pose a question, facebook trolls through posts, photos, and links, and returns results ranked by your relationships and the number of likes.

You may want to double-check your privacy settings, so that your photos, locations, and comments are not shared with the public unless you want them to be shared.

Thanks to the Lone Wolf Librarian for sharing these videos that explain Facebook's new Graph Search:

TCEA 2013 - Using Augmented Reality in Education

Who out there is going to TCEA 2013?  I am excited that I will be presenting with Sherri Kushner, a middle school tech/production/art guru I met at iPadpalooza this last summer.  Here is one topic we will be discussing during our presentation!

Sherri and I will be presenting on Thursday, February 7, at the Library Academy at TCEA.  Having talented and innovative teachers like Sherri make a librarian's job and student's life so worthwhile!

Friday, January 11, 2013

App of the Week - Inside Voice

Inside Voice by Nonlinear Ideas Inc. has been a big help this week in my library. I don't expect to maintain a silent library, but I do expect students to be respectfully quiet. And for a few students that is a challenge. They just don't realize how loud they are.

This app monitors the noise it around and sounds a programmable alarm whenever the noise level is too high. I have been using the free version, but there is an upgrade available for $0.99 that includes more alarm sounds as well as the ability to record your own sounds.

Home Screen

Noise Over the Limit                   Noise Below Alarm Level

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

6 Easy Tutorials to Get the Most out of Google

6 Easy Tutorials to Get the most out of GOOGLE!

Use your cursor to scroll over the Google image below to access tutorials on how to use the Google Research tool, Create appointments on Google Calendar, Use Google Script Flubaroo, Email your form results, and access Google's Research Lessons.

Google is one of my favorite tools to use with students and teachers. What other Google tools would you like to know how to use?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Librarians on the Fly Blog - Nominated for the TASL MVP Award!

Our blog has been nominated for the TASL MVP Award for 2013!  Cindy and I committed ourselves to blogging about our profession and how we need to be 21st Century ready for our teachers and students.  Thank you to those who follow us faithfully and thank you for those who have visited our blog.  This is a great way to start 2013!