You are currently browsing the archives for August 2008.
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Mitali Perkins is everywhere!

  • Posted on August 31, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Mitali Perkins, I know you are everywhere on the blogosphere giving interviews and inspiring authors. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to escape this week and read your First Daughter books:

First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover 

First Daughter: White House Rules

Anyone who teaches middle school (grades 5 and up) should have both of these in their collection. I’m going to need more copies with my multicultural school as Mitali explores issues of racism and being "between cultures" throughout both stories.

What better time than during an election year to whip out First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover?  Sameera (Sparrow) Righton is my kind of character. She is feisty, smart, capable under pressure, and logical. Even better, she is at heart a blogger. Bloggers view the world differently. Bloggers see the events around them as items for dissection, discourse, and dissemination. Watch five minutes of news coverage on the hurricane going to hit the gulf coast and bloggers want to immediately link you to numerous sources for help on shelter, pet relocation, emergency medical supplies, and safety shelters with internet access. Bloggers are not as concerned with issues of privacy as they are with sharing their point of view and honesty.

Sameera is a blogger. Her blogging is a vital part of both books. While other authors have begun to incorporate web 2.0 tools in their novels, I believe Mitali Perkins’ characters embody the vision of using these tools as an intricate part of life. Cloudscome on the blog "a wrung sponge" gives an excellent review of First Daughter. Mitali was interviewed on SLJ in 2007 and wrote about why she’d begun  www.sparrowblog.com As my students spend more time researching the upcoming election and candidates platforms, Mitali is providing opportunities to expand the discussion. 

The issues of racism, sexism, and immigration are important to this campaign. While standing near a political booth at the Wilson County Fair, I was shocked by several "good ole’ boys" who thought joking about assassinations of people of color and destroying the reputation of women were fun. I’m afraid my teacher voice and look came out. 

Perhaps if we engaged in more of these conversations in a safe manner at school, the world would become a safer place? Extreme Make-Over offers the opportunity to chat about being oneself or developing a fake persona. There are opportunities for discussion of so many topics, but I warn you librarians, your students are going to be inspired to write their own blogs and commentaries. (I happen to think that’s a good problem to have)

The depiction of Sameera disguising herself in a ghurka to become invisible in America was amazing. Several teachers were discussing how covering oneself could be more liberating than revealing all. I was able to place these books in their hands and to encourage them to read more. 

Issues of interfaith dating and cultural acceptances of dating practices flood White House Rules. Are you your religion by choice or by ethnicity? Great questions, aren’t they? Mitali’s characters are almost too good to be true, until I stop and consider some of the teens I’ve known in life who were also this capable, logical, and genuine.

Thanks to Mitali, I know about the Kahani literary magazine. I see that Mitali is coming to Nashville for YALSA’s Literature Symposium.  I notice there are two evening reception events and an author’s luncheon for Saturday. You’ll see me there.  I hope to see all of you there, too.

Where to start reading?

  • Posted on August 31, 2008 at 1:21 PM

It’s a HOLIDAY weekend. Where should I go? What should I do? I know… I’ll stay home, turn off my cell phone, and read. Heavenly bliss! Reading everything I want and anything I want. Yes, I know I should be reading and blogging those nonfiction series books, but I also want to catch up on some fictional novels that have been neglected the past few years. Am I the only one who hadn’t taken time to read The House of Scorpions, New Moon, and Hoot? If it wasn’t in my curriculum age-group, was I allowed to set it aside? Yes, but now I have those ages and I have a great deal of reading to catch up with. 

Bear with me as we marathon read again. So far I have finished several picture books like Happy Birthday to You, chapter books for YA, nonfiction history series, and the entire series of Authors of Banned Books. I want to talk about all of them. Will I have enough time to blog about them all? We’ll see. 

I’m trying to balance my reading. I ran statistics for my circulation in the middle school the first two weeks of checkout. So far we circulated over 2,000 items with 51% being fiction and 49% being nonfiction and biographies. These aren’t books to meet research needs. These are the free choices of students. I’ve been watching for gender differences during this time period. I’m finding a very slight difference in the number of boys vs girls who prefer to check out two nonfiction titles at a time. There is almost an equal number of boys and girls choosing one fiction and one nonfiction each time. 

The RM’s (reading machines) are checking out large novels at a fast and furious pace. They are keeping me on my toes with their demands. Teachers are beginning to come in for literature support for their lessons. I need to stay ahead and get back to reading. Stay tuned and share what you’re reading now.

Revolutionary War & The Revolution of Sabine!

  • Posted on August 31, 2008 at 12:00 AM

I saved blogging about this title until closer to release date although the waiting nearly did me in. The Revolution The Revolution of Sabineof Sabine by Beth Levine Ain is being released by Candlewick Press on September 9th  for ages 12 and up. ISBN 978-0-7636-3396-7, 224 pages, $16.99 

"Loved it! Teenage girl in France coming of age and wanting to control her destiny. Learns that finding herself is far more important." – those are the words I put on GoodReads in the ten seconds I had.

Those phrases don’t convey the way Sabine haunted me after reading this story. I wanted to demand that Social Studies teachers offer this title in U.S. History, even though this is set entirely in France. Self-determination and making choices to control one’s destiny empower this story. Through Sabine we explore the aristocrasy of France and the radical ideas of early America being supported by Benjamin Franklin in salons and taverns in France. 

Sabine is a love story as well as a coming of age story. It contains surprises for the jaded and satisfies the romantic while it stirs feelings of dissastifaction and disenchantment that will haunt you. I have received many requests for romance in books, and I’m happy to add Sabine to my collection. Hopefully girls who dismiss arguing over concepts of democracy will discover themselves drawn to the discussion.

During my Freshman year at BVU, we experienced a special Freshman Core program in January where every student was broken into diverse groups with faculty leaders. We read the same materials, saw the same films, and had similar discussions. The topic of my freshman year was on war and peace. We read the documents that helped found our nation. We argued intensely and passionately. We listened and discovered that there were other view points than our own small town "sameness." This program helped differentiate college studies from high school. College students were expected to consider a topic and invoke personal reactions. Active learning instead of passively being told their roles in history and their future.

Through reading the Revelation of Sabine, hopefully readers will be stirred to question their roles in society and what they simply choose to accept without thinking. I hope Sabine haunts you as she has me.

Bubble-Gum in the library?

  • Posted on August 24, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Yes, folks, bubble-gum. Gum is NOT tolerated by my assistant. She knows where it will end up and has clearly stated her refusal to clean gum from furniture and chairs. Sooo, what on earth am I trying to do to her by bringing in the book Lester Fizz, Bubble-Gum Artist written by Rush Spiro and illustrated by Thor Wickstrom? 

Lester Fizz, Bubble-Gum Artist is actually a book of accepting one’s place in a family while romping through a wide variety of arts, styles, and works. As you read the clever word-play and tongue-in cheek humor, you realize that every word, name, and illustration has been carefully selected. Students are encouraged to study and ask questions. 

I heard one ask the art teacher "Is there something special about the name Edgar and ballet dancers?" Yes, this is what I want to see. Fun picture books that trick you into thinking of even larger concepts and expanding your knowledge – in this case of famous artists and their works. 

Lester Fizz is the only non-artistic member of his family until he discovers and nurtures a talent for blowing bubblegum art works. It seems all artists have their detractors and cousin Cornell delights in ribbing Lester. Thor Wickstrom’s illustrations are exhuberant (as all the reviews tout) but they are also thought-provoking and hilarious. Thor has managed to sneak tricky details into some of artist’s work that seem to mock the originals in a playful yet inventive manner. Art is appreciated, celebrated, and extended through this title. 

Still, it’s not enough in practically paradise for me to have fun with a title, I had to try it out with students. I chose an enthusiastic resource classroom whose students were tired of working hard all week and wanted a change. Remember that English is new to many of my students. The teacher excitedly read the title to students and reminded them that I love to read their writings. It looks like I’ll be writing notes all Monday morning commenting on their responses. Remember when people exchanged letters before blogging and commenting? 

Here are some of their comments:

The story was great. Bubble-gum art, that’s cool! Whoever wrote this story will make lots of money. It was really good!

It was good. I saw a great bubble like I never saw in my life.

I really like what he [Lester] did and how he tried to make a good picture and I really like how he did it.

I liked this book because he made his family out of it [bubblegum] and he is so good at it. I like him.

I like the book because she blew her bubble-gum. 

I like the book, it was great. I liked the art work. I think you can let JFK have some of your great books more often. 

This was good to me and the bubble-gum artist was the best book ever. Thanks for letting us read it. 

It is cool – the gum act. I wish I could do that. I like it. 

It was cool. I want to learn how to blow bubbles like that.

This book is the best book that I have ever heard. Lester Fizz, the Bubble-Gum artist. I did not know he had a talent where he could blow the bubble-gum. He covered the girl’s body. This book is a great one.

I like it because it was funny and good. That’s the best I ever heard. 

I like the part when Lester was flying with his bubble gum. The cool thing about Lester is how he makes things with his bubble gum. I wish that if that’s possible, I could do it because I like bubble gum. I wonder how it feels making things like that with bubble gum. I wonder how it feels flying with bubble gum. I liked the story because it has bubble gum in it. I wonder how he got the skills of making things with bubble gum. I’d like doing it because I would have to eat alot of bubble gum. I really would like it. 

OH, NO! Now I have an entire class of students wanting to chew bubble-gum and blow bubbles. I’d better hide the evidence of my inciting bubble-gum-blowing before my assistant realizes what I’ve done.

Thanks for the copy, Ruth! Readers, you can read more about the story of this book’s release here or on the author’s website.

Active or passive

  • Posted on August 24, 2008 at 1:57 PM

How exciting is being a school librarian? Ask my new students and they’ll tell you I have the very best job. In fact, they seem to be waging an active campaign to organize student workers so they can spend more time in the library. I’m hearing pleas to go to the library as I walk through the building and students bargaining with teachers to re-arrange their schedules for reading. Teachers lie in wait as I come to school 1.5 hours early to plan and find new titles. What is so exciting? 

Perhaps it’s our enthusiasm for discovering new titles? Since I receive quite a few things to read, I’m always carrying boxes of new books into school and placing them on shelves in the Kennedy Room. Teachers and students know they can come browse through my ARC’s and review copies to see what I’m reading. They quiz me daily, "What did you read last night?" What pressure! What if I simply sat and played Civilization on my computer? It forces me to read something new daily. 

Teachers come to borrow new titles and "try them out" with their classes. It looks like I will have 3 groups of 10 students each wanting to be "book bloggers" and regularly review YA/Middle School fiction AND NONFICTION. Several students have submitted reviews and commentaries to me in exchange for a bookmark. Mainly they want to be heard and responded to. Some have no books in their homes and hope that publishers will send me several copies so they can form groups to chat about books.

Publishers, take note. Students want to tell you about your books. Many of mine are recent arrivals with 47 countries and 35 languages represented. We have the ELD students with 10 words of English all the way through the honor students who create their own opportunities. We have the gangs and the family problems at home that we refuse to let determine our future in school. 

I have 25 pages of writings in English and in Spanish from one classroom that reviewed the My First Pet Bilingual Library from the American Humane Association and Enslow publishing. The teacher was thrilled when I waltzed into his room with 6 titles from Enslow and asked his students what they liked and didn’t like about the books. He said I saved his second period class and they were delighted to "help" the librarian. They wrote about what they liked and disliked about each pet, also. They have strong opinions and writing their reveiws gave them an opportunity to open those dictionaries and increase their vocabulary. They had something to share instead of passively receiving language during that block. They are actively involved in making the world better and helping us build a bilingual collection.

Out of the nearly 1000 students who checked out titles the first week of school, only 3 told me they didn’t like to read and 7 couldn’t find anything. I gave them nonfiction series choices like planet books, geology titles, and disaster books. They quickly chose from among the 6-8 books in the series I indicated and seemed relieved that someone forced them to take a book. While one told me that he wouldn’t be opening it, I spied him reading it and drawing pictures of volcanoes in his advisory period. My expectation is they will read and learn something every time. It’s that simple. Leave passivity at the door and get involved. 

I’m following up with the students, also. I printed my barcodes of everyone in a class and quickly pulled up every name to scan and see if they’d checked something out. All students left with materials. No excuses. No cop-outs. No telling me that they’d lost a book 3 years ago and couldn’t get a new one until they paid for it. New year, new start.

We determine how we are viewed in our schools. We’ve been in school two weeks. I’ve been in every classroom at least once, seen every student in school individually at least once, and developed relationships with every sixth grade class. It didn’t happen by staying in the library and hoping they’d come to me. I had to actively go out into their rooms and ask questions, issue invitations, and listen. If a student takes a new book, I make sure they know if I haven’t read it so they will tell me their opinion when they return it. Many catch me in the hallway to let me know which chapter they are on and how it’s going so far. 

When one girl told me she was hating the book she was nearly finished with, I dashed to the teacher with a Book Emergency Pass so we could solve that problem. I made sure she had a new book that she did like and dangled the carrot in front of her, "If you finish that other book this weekend and write down what you hated the most, I’ll let you choose a prize." Should I expect to see her Monday morning?

My prize drawers are growing – bookmarks, journals, pens, pencils, erasers, playdoh, toys, books, fancy paper, notecards, greeting cards, invitation cards, manga, drawing tools, etc. So far everyone has found something when randomly rewarded for actively responding when I asked a question, when I requested movement, or for choosing to do something without being asked. 

I wonder what their library will look like as this continues. It’s a work in progress. Stay tuned.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

  • Posted on August 21, 2008 at 8:34 PM

"This is YOUR library… If there aren’t enough manga books here, whose fault is it?" I asked my 6-8th graders during their visits the first 7 days of school. 

When someone hesitantly said, "Yours?" I dramatically reacted with, "How can it be my fault? This is my first week here. This is YOUR library. You’re in charge of suggesting new books. If I don’t know what you want, I can’t go get it."

After a bunch of giggles as the students realized I’m not their sterotypical librarian, these teenagers leaned forward and started to think. I put out a huge blue bag that said @ your library, some post-it notes, and lots of writing tools and GOT OUT OF THE WAY!  They worked. They browsed the shelves. They frantically compared notes with each other, scratched their heads recalling titles, and wrote as fast as they could.

They averaged five minutes per class to add to the bag while they checked out their first 2 books for the school year. Everyone HAD to have a book or they couldn’t leave so I wasn’t sure I’d get any feedback at all. Without filtering, cleaning up or commenting on any of their notes, I’m posting their responses so you can see what’s currently interesting them:

Titles

Manga / Anime / Graphic Novels

P.S. Longer Letter Later by Danziger

Island: Shipwrecked series by Gordan Korman

Dog Training commands

Red Kayak by Cummings

Seeing Red

Clique series
Twilight series

Bluford High

Simpson’s

Animorphs

Eragon – Eldest- the third one

House of Night series

R. L. Stine mystery books

St. Iggy – Goings

Fat Kid Rules the World

Stuck in Neutral

A Child Called It – Lost Boy – all sequels

How to Draw Cars

Comics – Spiderman/Marvel – Hulk – Ironman – Batman

The Red Mask by Edgar Allen Poe

Trumpet – Music Instrument

Vampire Kisses

Diary of Anne Frank
Ender’s Game
A Path to Destruction
The Young Man and the Sea

The Freedom Writer’s Diary

Magazine – Game Informer
Magazine – Low Rider
Magazine – Thresher Skateboard 
Soccer Magazines
Football Magazines
Crime Scene Magazines
Magazine J-14
Boxing
Stargirl and Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Chris Crutcher books

Sharon Draper books – Tears of a Tiger
more Warriors books by Erin Hunter

Cheerleading Books
Dance Books
Beauty
Thirteen Reasons Why!
Song Books
Skateboard books
Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb books
Football books
Wildlife Animals books
Sugar Gliders books
More Reptile books
More World Record books
Celebrity Biographies – Beoncye
Ghost Picture Books

More Origami books

More Scary books

More Paranormal books

A to Z Mystery books
Forensic Science
Crime Scenes books
Telling Christina Goodbye
Library of Doom series by Dahl
Books about cats
Chad’s Inspirational book
Teenagers preparing for the real world
Tony Dungy’s The Inspirational book
Tony Dungy’s You Can Do It 
Tony Dungy’s Quiet Strength
Walter Mosley 
Devil in a Blue Dress series
Cook Books on Foreign Food
Dragon Hunter
Dragon Head
Jing the King of Bandits
The Gun
Horror books by Christopher Pike
R.L. Stine’s Fear Street
V.C. Andrews books
True Confidential Series
Basketball Posters
Football Posters
More Posters

Naruto

Death Note

Bleach

Dragon Ball Z

Yu-Gi-Oh

Zatchbell Harcenogo

Bone

Beat

Vampire Knight

One Piece

Yugioh

Shamon King

Dragon Drive

Hoshinengi

Shonen Jump

Preist ? Priest
Fruits basket
Inuyasha
Boyfriend
Digi Cherat
Childi Vampire
Elemental Gelade
Kingdom Hearts
One Piece
Ruroni Kenshin

Now, where to begin….? I plan to pick up sons #2, 3, and 4 to help me examine anime and manga this weekend. They think we’ll be relaxing before attending the Wilson County Fair. Silly boys! They should remember they’re my best guinea pigs. Remember the Life cereal commercials with Mikey? We could make our own with book reading and #3-#4 sons. "They won’t read it. They won’t read anything…" What? They like it?!

We Beat the Street

  • Posted on August 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Listen to your teachers. What titles have they read that excited them? Since I’m new to the "strictly middle We Beat The Streetschool" environment, I’m spending much of my time listening to teachers. Thankfully! Otherwise, I’d have missed the book We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenins, and Rameck Hunt with Sharon M. Draper. 

Reading this book has motivated me to work so much harder. Can I be the person who helps someone else beat the street//the odds/their environment/their family situations? 

I can’t rave about this book enough. I especially like the format which will break up the narrative to include the doctors giving insight into what happened at each point of their lives. The structure makes this book lively, interactive, and REAL. 

No wonder Ms Martin had 25 hardbound copies in her room. You can bet that I’ll be purchasing more for the library immediately. If you need a review to back up your purchases, here are snippets from SLJ reviewer Francisca Goldsmith:

Grade 7 Up–The Three Doctors, as the subjects of this inspirational book call both themselves and their nonprofit foundation, grew up in a tough neighborhood in Newark, NJ. …Draper tells an epiphanic story featuring each of the young men by turn, followed by his comments on how a single event affected him across time.Draper adds dialogue and evokes the pivotal moment in each vignette as though it were a scene in one of her realistic novels. … The writing here, whether Draper’s or the doctors’, is simple and accessible and there is plenty of action for reluctant readers."

Thanks, Ms Martin for alerting me to this important book. I was so single-mindedly devoted to elementary students before, I had missed this title. Readers, any others like this that are so motivational and positive?

RANT: Customer DisService

  • Posted on August 18, 2008 at 8:24 PM

ARGH! My frustration has boiled over and it’s time for another rant. What happened to good customer service? Especially in our libraries? I was reading the article about the  Itch and Stitch Children’s Knitting Club being kicked out of the Long Sault Library in Long Sault, Ontario since they aren’t allowing arts and craft groups. What? They’ll allow games and videogames, but NOT activities where people tend to quietly work and converse? Be sure to read the comments because I’m not the only one offended.

Perhaps because I have shared my love of yarn crafts – particularly crochet – with BOYS and girls for so many years, I cannot fathom discriminating against the group. Perhaps one of those children would have grown up to develop a knitted story similar to Faith Ringgold’s story quilts?! 

I’m planning to take in my latest 3 simultaneous crochet projects to show students while I teach some of them how to chain their own belts so they won’t violate dress code. I believe a crocheted chain would be much more creative than the phone cords, tie-down straps, and pieces of string I’ve seen used as an emergency measure. 

Why do we set policies without considering the customer’s reactions? Let me give you two other examples. I drove through a fast food chain Friday night to place an order. As I approached the window, I noticed several cars lined up in parking spaces idling. I paid for our order and the worker said, "Go park over there and I’ll bring it out." 

Seeing no one behind us at all, I simply put the car in park and chatted with #2 son while we waited. The worker returned, opened the window, and demanded to know what our problem was. I simply stated that there was no one behind me so we were content to wait there and save them steps. She grew quite upset and yelled that they had a timer counting us there and she wouldn’t get a good score if we didn’t move right away. 

I was so intimidated and surprised that I moved right away and told son, "Wow! I didn’t know we were getting her in trouble." Then I thought about this and I grew angry. All of those people were waiting awkwardly far longer for food than was indicated by the lines in the drive-through. She was tricking the system to make herself look better, but was actually irritating the customers. Is that customer service?

Another case: I ordered a cafe mocha at the local "celestial-object-compound-word-male-deer" store recently. When I asked for chocolate syrup to be drizzled on my mocha, the server rushed over to say I’d have to get back in line and pay an extra 30 cents for that line of chocolate. WHAT? Since when? Seems they have this rule on the books and the managers could use anyone’s granting that pretty swirl gratis as terms for dismissal. I was MAD (not angry, because there was actual whipped cream foam on my mouth). I’d received the swirl constantly for two years, now they wanted to charge me. Changing the rules without notice!

When I ventured to my favorite bread, internet, and coffee shop around the corner and told them this, they all froze in astonishment at the thought of such nonsense. The manager finished my beloved mocha with the swirl and said, "That’ll be 7 cents extra or a smile!" Much better service. All of us were laughing. Where do you think I’ll go in the future?

How about your library? Are you bringing people back or chasing them away? We didn’t have bar codes for students to check out books this past week. Did I let this stop me? NO way! I have over 900 students clamoring for books. I simply made sure that everyone of their teachers appreciated my creativity and customer service ethic by going the extra mile and locating every single one of them in the system so they could have books. No one went away unhappy. Everyone left with a book. Don’t we want to make them happy and to come back?

I also put a blue @your library shopping bag out with notepads and pens and instructed them to start telling me what they wanted in their new library. This was THEIR library so if they had suggestions, I wanted to hear them. That included ideas on decor, posters, bright lights, temperature, and activities as well as books/magazines/media to purchase. Teachers are getting involved. Students are frantically writing down titles, authors, and details and the students are talking about books.

This is the kind of interaction we need to be fostering. Not the "get in and get out quick" line, or the "I’ll have to charge you extra because you inconvenience me" store, or even the "in my evaluation your activities aren’t worthy" administrators! Tell me what you want. Talk to others. Come to consensus. Be involved. 

Welcome! and in the spirit of the Chinese Olympics Huan Ying Guang Lin. Perhaps we should be wearing welcoming signs and greeting patrons at the door.

All Play and No Work

  • Posted on August 10, 2008 at 10:55 PM

I also found time to attend the Toyota Tundra race at the Nashville Superspeedway for about 12 hours on Saturday and created my own speaking avatar using Voki. Great fun! Go check it out.

Get a Voki now!

This week I removed all the kitchen floor and retiled it in my spare time. I helped a friend set up his classroom for several hours this weekend, read MANY books, and began a number of blog posts that all need tweaking before I’ll release them. I am SUCH a perfectionist. Don’t you just hate people who leave you hanging while they are perfecting (or off playing)?

Beginnings

  • Posted on August 9, 2008 at 8:08 AM

Did I disappear? Yes! The first week before we open the school to students, I disappear from my blog and focus exclusively on helping get the school ready. This year is particularly exciting since we feel like a brand-new school. Most of the teachers are new to the building. There are only a few who "opened" the building 7 years ago and stayed with the program through being moved to another location for two years. Many of my colleagues are experiencing tremendous changes. Not always anticipated. 

I have a great staff. PHEW! We focused our time this week during inservices on dealing with change and learning about personality styles/temperaments so we can work better together. Teachers are excited to be there. They ask for help. They are courteous. They welcome me visiting their rooms and they PROMISE to bring in their classes frequently.

Let me give you a quick overview of my schedule:

Monday – frantically setting up the library, putting up posters, processing new books and creating inviting displays of new books that attract people to go touch the books.
Tuesday – Student Orientation! Two groups, over 500 students visit with 315 parents.
Wednesday – Inservice for faculty, set up rooms & equipment
Thursday – Inservice for district librarians
Friday – Inservice for faculty, set up rooms & equipment

The building was expected to house 820 students. We have over 900 enrolled and expect close to 1000 Monday. We are still unpacking boxes, setting up computers, discovering which phones work, and learning the names of our colleagues. Teachers are still being hired for Monday morning and we are having FUN!

I was so nervous on Tuesday. Time to meet students and parents. Will they like me? (Come on! You feel the same way.) Do you have enough expertise to handle everything thrown at them? Are they "different" from what you are accustomed to after 19 years with mostly elementary students? Can you stimulate learning and a desire to learn? Will they find me too babyish?

I love it. As soon as I met the students, I knew we were going to do well. They wanted to know they were welcome and that this was "their library" so they needed to get involved in making it great. Some immediately started making notes of the titles they wanted to see. Some quizzed me. "Have you read so-and-so? How do you feel about graphic novels? Will you be buying so-and-so? How do you feel about bangles?"

What?! How do I feel about bangles? That was the last question I expected. Of course I was wearing long earrings, stone pendants, bracelets, 6 rings, a watch, and a skirt that has a bell on it. I looked at the three girls who were intently drilling me. "I wear alot of bangles," I said. "I hope that won’t bother you." 

Phew! That was the right answer. Seems "someone" made them remove bangles when they came to the library in their past experiences. They’d have to leave them at the desk and come back only at the end of the day to retrieve them. Who on earth wants to deal with the responsibility of keeping up with students jewelry all day long?

I reminded the girls of the one word I’d be using all year long R-E-S-P-E-C-T. As long as they respected me and others in the room by controlling the sound, we’d have no problem. I reminded them that if my bangles distracted them, they were welcome to point this out and we’d adjust. I expected them to be equally courteous to others if they were distracted. 

I expected the intellectual freedom questions, the queries about accessibility and parent involvement. I didn’t expect to discuss jewelry. I think we’ll be doing fine next week.