Newsletter Archives

Newsletter Archives 2007 - 2010

2009:    Fall                    Summer     Spring 
2008:    Winter             Fall               Summer    Spring pt1 pt2
2007:     September     June             March

I Love to Read Week – Olympics Style

April 26th, 2010 by vslainfo

by Donna Sullivan-McDonald, Orchard School, South Burlington

Since the Vancouver Winter Olympics were happening at the same time as Orchard School’s I Love to Read Week, we decided to give our celebration a distinctive Olympics twist.

The I Love to Read Week "flame" remained "lit" in the library during the entire week's celebration.

The I Love to Read Week – Olympics Style“flame” remained “lit” in the library during the entire week’s celebration.

To begin the special week, students paraded to the gym for a whole school morning meeting, which would be the “Opening Ceremonies” for I Love to Read Week-Olympics Style.  Students followed a banner they created for their class’s favorite author.  The Olympics theme music was playing and the Olympics flag was waving as each group entered the gym.  Class representatives carrying the banners formed a circle around the entire student body. Continue reading ‘I Love to Read Week – Olympics Style’

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Bluecat Jazz & Poetry at St. Johnsbury Academy

April 7th, 2010 by vslainfo

by Linda Wooster, St. Johnsbury Academy Library Director

On the afternoon of March 26, St. Johnsbury Academy Library, the Academy English Department, and Kingdom Books jointly sponsored a live jazz improvisation and poetry reading by award-winning poet F.D. Reeve, father of the late actor Christopher Reeve.  This spring program of the Fireside Literary series was held in the Academy’s library and was free and open to the public.

Joe Deleault provided a setting of live jazz improvisation for a reading by Reeve from his poetry volume The Blue Cat Walks the Earth (2008).  Deleault’s recording credits include Bon Jovi, as well as Zydeco master Clifton Chenier among others.  He performs internationally, composes, and works as a session pianist.  Together, F.D. Reeve and Joe Deleault have performed The Blue Cat series of programs at the Jazzmouth Festival as well as Off-Broadway. Continue reading ‘Bluecat Jazz & Poetry at St. Johnsbury Academy’

Read Fest: The Night of the Living Books 2010

April 7th, 2010 by vslainfo

at Bristol Elementary School Library

Listening to a scary story

On Friday night, March 19th, the Bristol Elementary School Library was transformed into Read Fest: The Night of the Living Books. Thirty-six BES students in grades 4-6 and a few guests enjoyed an evening filled with fun, snacks, and creepy stories. Students used their skills and imagination in a scavenger hunt.  They played Readers’ Jeopardy games, and gave dramatic and silly performances in readers’ theater skits.Continue reading ‘Read Fest: The Night of the Living Books 2010′

Kurn Hattin Materials Review

April 7th, 2010 by vslainfo

At the Materials Review session at Kurn Hattin on March 25, 2010, a mix of public and school librarians came together for an enjoyable day with Grace Greene presenting live reviews.

Grace Greene with author Karen Hesse at Materials Review

Message from VSLA Past-President Marsha Middleton

April 5th, 2010 by vslainfo

Dear VSLA Members,

As I looked over my 2003 IPDP in preparation for writing my reflection narratives, I had to smile when I saw what I had written for the Standard of Colleagueship: “I will continue to actively participate in VEMA . . . .”  When I wrote those words, I imagine I was just planning to attend regional meetings, but shortly after my plan was approved, I became the VEMA secretary — I can’t remember now if I was asked or if I volunteered — and thus began a wonderful adventure.

VSLA President Marsha Middleton attended the SLJ Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., in October.

VSLA President-Elect Claire Buckley attended the SLJ Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., in October.

In the spring of 2004, the Legislative Affairs Rep was unable to go to Washington, DC for “Legislative Day,” so along with State Librarian Sybil McShane, I met with Senators Jeffords and Leahy and attended a reception honoring Representative Sanders for his support of libraries in the face of the requirements of the Patriot Act.

Continue reading ‘Message from VSLA Past-President Marsha Middleton’

Professional Development Opportunities Through UVM’s School Library Media Studies

April 5th, 2010 by vslainfo

by Judith Kaplan

Registration is now open for the first of a new series of courses available for school librarians in practice. Anna Bolognani, VSLA member, will be offering Powerful Web Tools for the School Library Media Center: Changing the Way We Teach and Learn, an online course from May 24 to June 25, 2010.  Here is an opportunity to get up to speed on some Web 2.0 tools that you could incorporate into next year’s teaching.  Summer is a great time to think about how you can improve your lessons.  Perhaps a teacher in your school would take the course with you and you can work on some curriculum planning collaboratively.

Here is the Course description:

This class will explore Web 2.0 literacy and how tools such as blogs, wikis, twitter, social bookmarking, mashups, podcasting, and vodcasting can be used to foster collaboration and learning in our schools.

Participants will explore current research and information on student learning in the digital age.  Through the use of blogs, wikis, twitter, IM, social bookmarking, mashups, podcasts and vodcasts they will become familiar with the technology and develop ideas on how to use them for collaboration and lessons in an educational setting.  Students will use web tools to develop a multimedia web based presentation.

Go to the UVM registrar’s site to sign up now.

In mid April, the fall 2010 course, School Library Leadership in 21st Century Schools will be available for registration.  That course promises to be an in-depth look at the connection between the 2007 AASL Standards and school library leadership and advocacy.

Here is the course description:

21st Century Standards have been developed to meet the changing educational needs of learners in schools across America.  Library Media Specialists are asked to revision the future for school library practice for the future, and the future is now.   This course will explore the ideas presented through the AASL documents, Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs (2009), and the Standards for the 21st Century Learner (2007).  The focus of the course will examine the concept of educational leadership, and  offer ways to create leadership opportunities for library media specialists to become agents of change and educational leaders within the school community to ensure the continued support of equitable access to resources, both physical and virtual, through Library Media Centers.

Keep reading to see the complete list of proposed courses from our flier:

University of Vermont School Library Media Studies Sequence

Advanced Level Courses

During the next two years, UVM will be unrolling professional development opportunities for School Library Media Specialists in practice.  The courses will concentrate on topics that are loosely defined as “Contemporary Issues,” and are geared to practical application of emerging technologies and new guidelines for 21st Century Library Media Programs.  The courses will be offered online and will vary from one credit to three credits, depending on the scope of the topic.  Course delivery will be through synchronous and asynchronous modes.  Participants will need access to a high speed internet connection, and a computer with a web cam and microphone for webcasting.  Participants are encouraged to enroll with partners or as district learning communities, as well as, individually.

Fall 2010

School Library Leadership in 21st Century Schools-3 credit course

Judy Kaplan, Instructor

Course description:

21st Century Standards have been developed to meet the changing educational needs of learners in schools across America.  Library Media Specialists are asked to revision the future for school library practice for the future, and the future is now.   This course will explore the ideas presented through the AASL documents, Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs (2009), and the Standards for the 21st Century Learner (2007).  The focus of the course will examine the concept of educational leadership, and  offer ways to create leadership opportunities for library media specialists to become agents of change and educational leaders within the school community to ensure the continued support of equitable access to resources, both physical and virtual, through Library Media Centers.

Spring 2011

Contemporary Issues in Children’s/Young Adult Literature: The Literacy Connection-3 credit course

Course description:

Reading is described as a “window to the world,” as a common belief listed in Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs.  (ALA 2009)  Library media specialists face challenges in making the literacy connection between collections of literature for children and young adults and young learners.  New pedagogies for teaching reading skills and comprehension, written expression, and other communications skills impact student learning.  To be effective educational partners and collaborate with classroom teachers in literacy instruction, library media specialists will be introduced to many of the recent learning theories and practices that are used in the literacy classroom.  Basic language literacy and other 21stCentury Literacies will be addressed as well.  Library media specialists will use current children’s and young adult literature to apply these new pedagogies and literacies in the School Library Media Program.

Summer 2011

Assistive Technology in the School Library Media Center-1 credit course

Course description:

The School Library Media Center is arranged so students have complete physical access to library materials.  Aisles are wide, shelves are low, but can students actually access the content of your collection? Can the students see the print, can they use the computer mouse?   Assistive (or adaptive) technology can help all students who need accommodations to use library resources for their learning needs.

Copyright News in the Time of the Social Web-1 credit course

Course description:

Changes to concepts about copyright have recently emerged in response to the impact of Web 2.0 social network tools for student learning.  This course will provide a guide to navigate the new interpretations of fair use rules and how to help students and colleagues make sense of using resources appropriately.

Collection Development for Virtual Libraries-1 credit course

Course description:

21st Century School Library Media Centers or “Learning Commons,” require a virtual library presence along with a physical presence to accommodate student learners 24/7. The scope of this course will include an overview of concepts that drive the development of virtual libraries, the technological components necessary for implementation, and principles for developing a collection of resources for the virtual library. Students will use knowledge gained to produce or enhance a virtual library.

Fall 2011

Instructional Design for 21st Century School Library Media Centers-3 credit course

School library media specialists are learning specialists and instructional partners in the 21stCentury school environment.  With the focus on the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2002), and school reform,   students in this course will use the AASL documents, Empowering Learners (2009), and Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action (2009) to examine methodologies and pedagogies that support instructional and curriculum design in schools.  Students will explore common beliefs about learning and develop collaborative models for successful student learning.

Judith Kaplan, MA

(802) 233-0880
Library Media Specialist
School Library Media Studies Sequence Coordinator
University of Vermont
Link to UVM Registrar’s Site:

A Lot Can Happen Over a Cup of Coffee: Reaching Out to Parents on “Third Thursdays”

April 5th, 2010 by vslainfo

by Kathy Lawrence, Hiawatha Elementary School

Advocacy.  It’s on everyone’s minds these days.  How do we communicate what we do to our biggest stakeholders?  What can we do to assure that our role in the school is seen as vital?  I began thinking about these questions right after the spring Vermont Library Conference last year.  One of the keynote speakers talked about marketing our libraries, and cautioned that if our administrators, colleagues and parents don’t know what we do it’s nobody’s fault but our own.  So for this school year I decided to do something about it!  I’d be proactive and hope that by continually putting my program out there I wouldn’t be forced in the future to re-act and scramble to put the ALA Advocacy Toolkit to use!

Last June I came up with an idea for an ongoing series targeted to parents (probably our most important allies).  I talked with my principal about it because it could impact my class schedule.   I wanted this series of events to be consistent, ongoing, and easy to remember–maybe a catchy name with alliteration.  I wanted it to be convenient for parents to come.  After looking at the fixed schedule of classes, my principal and I decided on “Third Thursdays” because my classes that day were all in the afternoon which meant I could plan a monthly coffee hour right after morning drop-off.  (We don’t bus in our district.)  There were no months where there was a vacation day on the third Thursday so it worked beautifully.  I decided right from the start not to schedule a program in December, since   everyone is too busy that time of year.

These gatherings are intended to showcase student work completed either in my library classes or small groups, and collaborative projects involving the library.  I also use them to explain different aspects of my program, to do booktalks, and to discuss issues around raising readers.

What is the process to prepare for these monthly events?  I try to plan the topics for 2-3 months at a time, knowing that I can change if necessary.  About a week before each session I send home a half-sheet flyer, distributed during library time.  I post the pertinent details and topic on our webpage.  I always invite our curriculum coordinator, our principal, the superintendent, and associate superintendent.  These folks have been very gracious and attend when their schedules allow, and I’ve received great feedback from them.

With book fair profits, I purchased enough coffee cups and coffee to last through the year.  Each month I bake something to have with the coffee, but have found that having a lot of food isn’t really necessary.  Younger siblings attend although that can be a bit challenging for some of our parents.  Some topics I’ve addressed so far and things I’ve shared:

Destiny—what it is and how parents can access it at home

Navigating the school webpage, what’s on the library webpage

Kindergarten orientation (Photostory I created)

Browsing through our new books in September

Seven Wonders video (3rd grade project inspired by Betty Birney’s book—idea from Carol Scrimgeour at Essex Elementary)

Booktalks—The Power of the Picture Book, and “Kathy’s favorites for the Holidays”

The Red Clover program

The research process at the primary level

Family Reading Night (an annual event in February)

Podcasting with our students (something new I’ve launched this year)

Summer reading (our public librarian and our Reading Specialist will be our special guests for this in May)

Overall, this has been a positive step.  The parents have appreciated the information and enjoyed viewing projects that students have been a part of.  I feel like I have a new group of people who are aware of the kinds of things that take place in the library and the steps I’m taking to stay current and integrate technology.  These parents would be the first I’d go to if I needed someone to speak on behalf of the library during a budget crisis.  My hope is to continue this next year, although it’s not likely that I will have a morning slot to work with in next year’s schedule.  I’m thinking that a 2:00-3:00 gathering before dismissal once a month could work just as well.  I know I’m not reaching everyone, but it’s a start!

March 31st, 2010 by vslainfo

Funny thing about Vermont Librarians: A few months ago, Rebecca Brown, former librarian at People’s Academy in Morrisville, came to Cairo from Warsaw and interviewed for the position of business manager at Cairo American College, where I work.

Beth Phillips and Rebecca Brown at Cairo American College

Rebecca and I went out for dinner and yakked about the wonderful world of Vermont Libraries and all the people we knew. As it turned out, Rebecca was offered and accepted the job. Next August, she’ll come to Cairo as CAC’s new business manager. How cool is that!

Beth Phillips

MS / HS Librarian

Cairo American College

Cairo, Egypt

Leda’s Latest Book

March 31st, 2010 by vslainfo

Leda Schubert is ever so happy to announce the release of her new book, FEEDING THE SHEEP (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), with illustrations by the amazing Andrea U’Ren.

Kirkus says, “The collaboration of text and illustration is seamless and presents a complex operation in a manner completely accessible and understandable to young readers. Lovely.”

And SLJ: “Its approach is unique, showing the loving relationship between a mother and her daughter through the seasons as the animals are fed and sheared; the wool is cleaned, carded, spun, and dyed; and a sweater is knitted. Schubert’s musical text has a predictable, soothing structure: “‘What are you doing?’ the little girl asked. ‘Feeding the sheep,’ her mother said. Snowy day, corn and hay. ‘What are you doing?’ the little girl asked. ‘Shearing the wool,’ her mother said. Soft and deep, sheepy heap.’”

Leda will be signing, reading, and demonstrating the wreck she made of trying to knit small sheep at Bear Pond Books on May 1—just in time for Mother’s Day. But boys of all ages are welcome as well.

VSLA Newsletter – Spring Edition, Call for Submissions

March 4th, 2010 by vslainfo

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to think about writing an article for the Spring edition of the VSLA News.  VSLA members would like to hear about what’s happening in your library.  New technology? Ideas for promoting DCF, Red Clover, or reading in general? Or, in this time of budget cuts, perhaps you have some ideas for recruiting and training volunteers?

The deadline for articles this time is March 31, and you can expect to see them up on the VSLA website early in April.

Please see the Newsletter Guidelines before submitting.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Marcia Peterson, M.S.
Library Media Specialist
Ottauquechee School
304 Dody Lane, P.O. Box 353
Quechee, VT 05059-0353

Letter from a Vermont Librarian in Cairo

January 25th, 2010 by vslainfo

November 25, 2009
I am a long-time Vermont librarian now working at Cairo American College in Cairo, Egypt. As part of my job, I sometimes travel with students on school trips. Below is a description of one such trip. (My husband John and I had spent an October weekend relaxing at a glamorous resort hotel in Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai.)

I was back in Sinai a few weeks later under different conditions. My companions were a dozen teachers and 150 middle school kids studying reef ecology.

We’d loaded school busses at 4 AM for the drive to the Cairo airport. When our chartered plane landed in Sharm el Sheikh, the kids piled onto different busses for the hour drive to Dahab, a funky resort town up the coast. What our hotel lacked in quality it made up in charm and location – right on the beach with lots of outdoor space for seventh graders to roam around.

The reef snorkeling was challenging. Each small group of a dozen kids swam with a marine biologist, snorkel master, and faculty member. It was cool to watch kids in my group overcome fears, gain confidence, and enjoy the water.

Besides time in the water, kids studied marine life and causes of reef destruction, tested water quality, made art, and participated in drama simulations. In the evening, they performed skits and had a bonfire.

Each group visited Nabq, a protected area where desert and ocean environments meet and the coast supports a mangrove forest. Small groups sipped Bedouin tea and learned a little about traditional Bedouin life.

Kids had a great time but it was definitely exhausting for faculty to be on duty and constantly vigilant with 150 daffy middle school kids. Below are kids in my group.

Cheers, Beth Phillips

Fall Conference in Brattleboro

January 19th, 2010 by vslainfo

The VSLA Fall, 2009, conference was held at Brattleboro High School in October.  Our morning speaker was J’aime Foust, author of Dewey Need to Get Organized (my answer to that question would be “yes!”).  J’aime encouraged us to make a pie graph showing the most important things in our life, then make another pie graph showing what we are reallydoing.  She suggested that we repeat the exercise in 6 months to 1 year to see if anything has changed.  I admit that I tucked my conference notes away, and did not come across this idea until just now as I sat down to write.  I did manage to borrow J’aime’s book from a friend, though, so now I am encouraged to try this exercise and look for more ideas in the book.  My favorite piece of advice from J’aime?  “The trash can is your friend.”

A chance to gather and chat before the first session of the day

Amy Howlett of the DOL talking about Readers Advisory Basics

Workshops continued throughout the day.  I attended Amy Howlett’s session on Readers’ Advisory Basics.  Amy works for the DOL and does Rapid Reviews for the VLA.  She reminded us that turning kids into readers is the key thing that we do.  She presented many tools, from books to websites to her own handouts.  My favorite was her approach to “reading” a book in 10 minutes.  There are many features that give us clues about a book, and if we are willing to skim through and skip ahead (yikes!) to the ending and epilogue, we really can learn a lot about that book in just 10 minutes.

J’aime Foust inspires us to get organized

New member Chris Putnam-Poulliot talks with VSLA President Marsha Middleton

The semi-annual VSLA membership meeting was held after lunch.  Minutes of the meeting are available on the VSLA website.

The day concluded with a presentation by artist John Steven Gurney, who has illustrated all of the A-Z Mystery books.  There is also a new series of Calendar Mysteries, which is an off-shoot of the A to Z series.  Mr. Gurney also wrote and illustrated a book calledDinosaur Train, which has been made into a TV series.

As usual, I came away from the conference thinking that it is one of my most valuable professional development activities of the year.  So much is packed into one day, but at a comfortable pace.  And it all relates directly to many aspects of our jobs as School Librarians.

by Marcia Peterson, Librarian at the Ottauquechee School (Hartford School District)

A Collaborative Approach to a Red Clover Book

January 19th, 2010 by vslainfo

This year, for the first time, our Art Teacher Kate Townsend and I sat down with the Red Clover books to select one for a collaborative approach.  Our goal was to reach 4th and 5thgraders in a more meaningful way.  At Dothan Brook I do the Red Clover program with the 4th graders.  This year I decided to include the 5th graders with some of them.  One reason for this was our school district’s approach to bolstering reading with Fountas and Pinnell.  At recent discussions, the picture book has been emphasized for use with older students.

Student begins to work with wire.

The Red Clover book we selected wasSandy’s Circus by Tanya Stone.  I did research on the internet to find two You Tube sites to show students after reading the book to them.  The first was an old black and white video of Alexander Calder actually performing his circus and the other was a kids’ Art Display made by K-5 students in Calder style with wire circus figures and mobiles after Tanya Stone had come to their school.  My students found it totally fascinating.

During Art Class in the following weeks, Kate had the students make wire circus creations with fanciful odds and ends.   Among the materials Kate used were twisteez wire, pipe cleaners (regular and shiny), wire edged ribbon, buttons, beads, feathers, toothpicks, pencil eraser heads, pom poms, marker caps, and shish-ka-bob sticks.  Large detergent bottle caps and styrofoam were used to stand up figures.  Styrofoam used in packing allowed for the display of several youngsters’ work in one scene. Several students got so excited about the project that they worked on ideas at home.  One class’s work was on display in the library.  Many students wanted to take their work home to give as holiday gifts.

Student displays her first finished product

Kate also had the book Roarr: Calder’s Circus, by Maria Kalman (copyright 1993 so it needs to be found in an out of print book source).

Kate and I also used this project as one our Professional Development goals for the year.
Pat Cook, Librarian at Dothan Brook School, Wilder, VT (Hartford School District)

Fanciful creature

Trio of performers

Complete circus scene

Greetings from the Essex High School Library Media Center!

Interested in some new ideas to help promote the Green Mountain Book Award?  It’s difficult to get students to read beyond what’s required of them for class.  We have been trying to get increased participation for years and came up with a new plan.  We created a new promotion to encourage our students to read more GMBA books.
It all began with offering the sweet incentive of ice cream!

Our Plan:

•    Create New Shelving Section:  We moved GMBA books to an area where they are more visible and accessible.

•    Implement a GMBA punch card program:  Each time a patron reads a GMBA nominee we punch the corresponding image on their card.  When they’ve read three titles, they get a personal invitation to our “GMBA Make Your own Sundae” voting party.

Punch card: The student puts his/her name on the back of the card.

    Promotional Advertising: Designed new signage, buttons and displays to get the word out.

•    Library Staff wears buttons in support of the GMBA.
•    Library Staff actively includes GMBA nominees when recommending books to individual patrons and during book talks for classes.

The End Result; We’ve tripled the number of student participation in the GMBA program!
We’re really excited about our increased participation in the program and are looking
forward to our “Make Your Own Sundae” voting party in the spring.
If you have any questions regarding our promotions let me know via e-mail.

This is a snapshot of the poster that we’ve displayed above our books. If you’d like a jpeg file, or the original publisher file let me know and I can e-mail it to you.