Archive | July, 2010

Etsy does librarian chic

29 Jul


Etsy’s latest theme, “Librarian Chic,” features some not-so-sensible and stylishly hued pumps, vintage shirtdresses, refinished card catalog cabinetry, and the like.

There’s also this photo by Marico Fayre entitled “Summer Reading.”

It’s reprinted here with Marico’s permission.


Chocolatey goodness and a fond farewell

29 Jul


Dale Goldberg, SLJ‘s assistant editor in our book review department and managing editor of Extra Helping, our e-newsletter, is serving her last week on the SLJ staff. We will miss her terribly.

But Dale’s got other cool stuff going on. Her blog, for instance, a “recipe journal,” as she describes it, called The Daley Dish. “I’m looking forward to being able to spend more time on it, and I hope to use it to help me segway into a career in food writing and recipe testing,” she says. “For the short term, though, I just really enjoy doing it.”

With entries like “Fun with Malted Milk Balls,” “Beet Risotto,” “Maple-Chipotle Cashew Chicken,” and “Rich Chocolate Coconut Bars,” (pictured), I see a brilliant career. (and extra hours on the treadmill for me, damn you, Dale).

Good luck! —Kathy Ishizuka



Have Pigeon, Will Travel

26 Jul

Our lead story in this month’s technology section featured a project by John Schumacher. The librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, IL, takes a summer road trip each year. His traveling companion? A literary character that his students select for the journey.


In summers past, author-illustrator Mo Willems’s characters, Knuffle Bunny and Pigeon, became Schumacher’s travel buddies, while this year, children chose author Melanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel (above with a giant stamp this summer) to join the librarian on a trip East.


Above: Pigeon viewing petroglyphs out West in 2009.

We could only fit one image into the print issue. John’s kindly let us share a few more here.


Above: Knuffle Bunny does the teacups at Disney World, 2008.

Thanks, John. You sure visit cool places. Take us next time! 


SLJ Seeks Assistant Editor, Book Review/Managing Editor, Extra Helping

23 Jul

 Here’s the job posting:

School Library Journal (SLJ), the nation’s leading publication for librarians who work with children and teens and the largest reviewer of content for young people is seeking an Assistant Editor for its book review department. This individual will also serve as the Managing Editor for Extra Helping, SLJ’s twice-weekly, award-winning, digital newsletter.

As Assistant Editor for the book review, this individual will be responsible for the accuracy of the bibliographic data for the 4,000+ reviews that SLJ publishes annually. In addition, this editor copyedits all reviews and is responsible for managing changes in the reviews through to publication.

As Managing Editor of Extra Helping, this editor organizes, edits, and proofreads all content for the newsletter—which has been produced by other editors and contributors—integrates art, enters the content in our content management system, and works with production staff to deploy the newsletter.

Other responsibilities including providing bibliographic data for features and stories; editing the magazine’s Letters to the Editor; proofreading news, columns, and features as needed; and managing several components of our website.

The successful candidate should be comfortable meeting deadlines, managing multiple projects, and working under pressure. Previous copy editing experience, work with digital publishing, and experience in children’s publishing or library services to children and teens are all pluses.

Please send resume and cover letter to Brian Kenney, Editorial Director, School Library Journal,

Please submit resumes no later than 07/30/2010.

Still Kikin’

12 Jul


There are step stools and then there’s the Kik-Step. The classic fixture of libraries and offices now comes in a special edition honoring Kik-Step’s 50th anniversary. The “Library Edition” features classic lines from literature molded into the non-skid tread. The basic design by Cramer, however, remains the same: spring-mounted casters that roll with the kick of a foot and lock into place when weight is applied. The Kik-Step now comes in eight colors, from celery and copper to orange zest. $69.

SIGMS Forum video posted #ISTE10

9 Jul

Video of the SIGMS Forum (that’s the media specialist special interest group of ISTE) has been posted. The Learning Tools Smackdown with Joyce Valenza, Gwyneth Jones, et al, starts about 11 minutes in.



SLJ Reviews: Digital Resources: Five Top Resources for Fall

9 Jul


By Shonda Brisco

Sure it’s summer, but fall will come all too soon, along with those requests for additional resources, new ideas for lesson plans, and questions about how your library meets the needs of both students and faculty. With budget cuts and increased enrollments, it’s time to make your dollars work smarter. Over the year, we’ve shared some great digital resources to consider for your library, but now it’s time to showcase the must-haves for 2010. Following are my top five resources that school librarians should seriously consider adding to their library wish list.

AWE Early Literacy Station
Reviewed January 2010, pp. 64-66

The AWE Early Literacy Station is perhaps one of the more unique systems available for use by pre-K through second grade students primarily due to the wide variety of instructional games for younger users. In addition to the visual appeal of this child-friendly literacy station is the option to provide the same types of instructional content to bilingual students, making this product a valuable addition to schools with ELL programs.

The flexibility of the stand-alone computer system, which works independently from the Internet, assures teachers, librarians, and even parents that younger students will be working on the task at hand, rather than cruising the open Web. This, paired with the ease of assembly and user-friendly accessibility for students, teachers, and librarians, makes the AWE Early Literacy Station a top pick for educational programs and school libraries.

Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database
Reviewed October 2009, pp. 69-70

For those researching children’s literature reviews, Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD) goes well beyond a quick, Amazon-like overview of books. Content within this database includes professional review sources such as Booklist, H.W. Wilson Catalogs, and School Library Journal. While CLCD is commonly found in university libraries and used by education majors studying children’s literature, the database is a good choice for K-12 programs. For large or small school districts serving teachers and librarians interested in locating quality children’s materials, CLCD can be a valuable asset.

Librarians and teachers can quickly locate book reviews, including the review source, publication date, and any other information that might inform the selection process-or perhaps, a case of challenged materials. Reading and interest levels, special awards, and honors are also included for each book, allowing users to easily create their own lists of quality content that can be saved or compiled as an annotated list for selection or review.
Recent updates include the ability to link the library’s holdings to the database content, enabling users to identify which records are currently available within the school’s library.

Library of Congress Teachers Page
Reviewed September 2009, pp. 73-74

For students of history, the Library of Congress (LOC) Teachers Page is a great resource for investigating and exploring the nation’s treasures in the comfort of their classroom or library. New content includes teacher-created lesson plans, thematic units, primary sources, and classroom activities.

Rather than having users wade through tons of resources, the updated LOC Teachers Page offers content that’s immediately relevant and ready to use in the classroom or library. Students in grades 3-12 can easily use the site to explore historical documents, photographs, and even music (available for listening online). Teaching materials, handouts, and worksheets are available in either PDF format or Word, providing instructors with the ideal solution for integrating primary source content into their lesson plans or for creating an entirely new project for the fall.

I had an interesting personal experience with this program. When I attended the teachers’ workshop on using the LOC Teachers Page with students, we were introduced to some of the archived music from the 1920’s (all available for downloading). While we listened to the scratchy sounds of the LP recording, we followed along with the lyrics and tried to determine what the political sense of the nation might have been just after World War I. An image of the sheet music was also linked to the MP3 on the LOC website and we discussed the publisher, the production company, and the songwriter-all of which, presumably, had been long forgotten.

Then about a month later, I was browsing a local antique store where I discovered an original copy of the very same sheet music that we had discussed during the Teachers Page workshop. Immediately, I recalled every point of discussion and observation made during the workshop; it all drove home the value of this material in today’s classroom. As I purchased the sheet music (cost: $2), I was reminded of the importance of primary sources-even if they’re virtual ones.

National Science Digital Library
Reviewed February 2010, pp. 65-66

There are times when you know you’ve discovered something so truly awesome, it’s difficult to actually describe the experience. That’s exactly what you (and your science teachers) will feel when you access the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) online. This absolutely free (yes, free) science resource is a collection of websites, instructional resources, tools, and classroom-related content that directly supports STEM education, as well as professional collaborative partnerships.

Specific instructional content for grades K-12 is available for teachers to easily access and use in the classroom. Audio content, including podcasts by scientists in the field, as well as video clips can be accessed in the classroom or you can provide links for students to access NSDL content through the teacher’s website. With thousands of resources available within this digital library, science and math instructors can easily supplement any lesson plan using NSDL.

This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides a trove of instructional material aligned to national standards in math and science. As a resource that can only improve as additional content is added, this database providing instructors, students, and librarians with quality instructional materials deserves to be at the top of the wish list for the coming school year.

For a free trial, visit this page.
Reviewed July 2009, pp. 57-58

Amidst all of the databases available for elementary students, the dearth of similar products for the preschool level remains an issue. Unfortunately, databases for our youngest students have been difficult to find, until now. With the release of Capstone’s PebbleGo database for reading and research, pre-K through second grade students can now investigate a variety of topics from animals to earth and space science, as well as practice online research using a database, just like their older siblings.

PebbleGo’s leveled text, along with its science-related content activities and entertaining videos make this database a great learning station for the classroom, as well as an introductory tool for teaching younger students how to do research (as well as cite their sources). Read-along text accompanying each article helps struggling readers as they work independently and encourages students to practice their reading skills as they research their favorite topics.

Shonda Brisco is assistant professor curriculum materials librarian, Mary L. Williams Curriculum Materials Library, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.