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A Manifesto for Resource Sharing, part two

  • Posted on October 31, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Continuing yesterday’s conversation on Rethinking Resource Sharing and the Manifesto with discussion led by keynoter Anne Beaubien of the University of Michigan. http://rethinkingresourcesharing.org/manifesto.html There are ways to get involved including:

  1. the Rethinking Resource Sharing listserv
  2. the committees and working groups. 
  3. Starting your own grassroots effort! Introduce the Manifesto to other staff at your library or in your region. Give a presentation about the Initiative at a local or regional meeting — feel free to adapt any of the presentations posted on the website under Publications

Yes, my library friends, they are providing the presentations, handouts and everything we need to begin this conversation now.

Anne talked about Wayne Gretsky skating to where the puck will be. As librarians we need to anticipate and be where our patrons will be. It’s time to review, rewrite, and communicate our policies toward resource sharing. We need to do more to measure our success and the users satisfaction. As Anne talked about interviewing for library staff, “If you don’t like change, you won’t like this job.” I think I’m going to post that everywhere.

While at the Tenn-share conference, the school librarians gathered in one room to discuss the Rethinking Resource Sharing STAR Submission paper. I could not find this online so am emailing Anne to ask. This is a checklist to allow library staff to review the policies and processes that make up the resource sharing service they provide. The list is designed to be aggressive, challenging library decision makers to live on the front lines of rethinking resource sharing.

  • Areas on the checklist include:
  • Ease of Resource Sharing Transactions Between Libraries (11 areas)
  • Ease of Identifying Materials (6 areas)
  • Ease of Requesting for Borrowers (5 areas)
  • User Friendly Service (21 areas)
  • Access to a Wide Variety of Formats (6 areas)
  • Electronic Materials (2 areas)
  • Fees (12 areas)

When I began assessing my libraries policies, I realized that district choices made for our automation system tend to limit my students access needlessly. It seems I have a lot of work waiting for me on Monday. Watch out administrators! Time for dialogue.

Susan Writes about Getting Black Boys to Read

  • Posted on October 31, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Susan Norwood guest blogs today about a subject near and dear to our heart. She doesn’t tell you but she is focusing her graduate work on this topic and has done some amazing action research, too.

Until this year, Metropolitan Nashville Schools required Language Arts teachers to teach Essential Literature. We are not required to this year because there is not enough money in our district to replace the books that are lost or damaged. Nonetheless, we still have crates of these books, and teachers still teach them. Here are the titles we have at our school:  A Break With Charity (Rinaldi), Diary of A Young Girl (the play), Gathering Blue (Lowry), The Count of Monte Cristo, Tales of Edgar Alan Poe (Adapted), The Pearl (Steinbeck), Hope Was Here (Bauer) and The Lottery Rose. Diane Chen did not choose these, so don’t blame her. What do you notice about this list?

What I notice is that there are no characters of African descent, and all but one (The Pearl), have protagonists of European descent. With the exception of A Break With Charity, that was published in 2003, all the rest were published in 2000 or earlier. There is nothing wrong with these books, except that they do not especially appeal to African American males. Not one boy wanted to read Gathering Blue based on the cover, which shows a white girl holding flowers. It is one hard sale!

At a faculty meeting early in the year, we were told to focus on our African American males, because they were a subgroup, along with ELL and Exceptional Ed., students who scored the most poorly on standardized tests. These boys simply do not see themselves reflected in these titles, nor for that matter, do my other boys. This is why libraries are so important. We need to make sure that boys are connected with books that matter to them. This is the only way we are going to improve the literacy of our African American males. Not only must libraries have books that appeal to these males, but we must actively promote the titles. We can’t leave boys to stumble upon a good title by themselves. We must make displays, give book talks, show trailers and place the books physically in their hands.

According to A.A. Samad, a black commentator (his website is Getting Black Boys to Read: Hip-Hop Enters the Fray (and that might not be a good thing) this segment of our society is becoming increasingly unengaged and illiterate. He says that getting young black boys to read is not just a black problem, but a problem for our entire society. I fully agree with him. For the past year, I have made a concerted effort to find books that my black boys will read. I care about getting these boys to read, because it is my mission as a teacher. On a personal note, I care because I am the grandmother of an African American male.

What do these boys of mine like to read? They like to read books that are current. As one boy blogged, “old books are bad.” Okay, that’s a start. I found that they also like magazines, non-fiction with pictures, urban lit. with male protagonists, and graphic novels.  In no particular order, specific titles they like are:

Non-Fiction:

  • LeBron James: The Rise of a Star (Morgan, Jr.)
  • A Child Called It (Pelzer)
  • My Life in Prison (Williams)
  • Go Ask Alice (Anonymous- may be fiction, but who cares?)

Fiction:

  • Wimpy Kid Series (Kinney)
  • Brotherhood (McDonald)
  • Harlem Hustle (McDonald)
  • After Tupac and D Foster (Woodson)
  • Scary Stories- (Various: R.L. Stine, Horowitz, Schwartz, etc.)
  • Killer Pizza (Taylor)

Trivia and Reference:

  • Guinness World Records
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not
  • 100 Unbelievable Facts (Otway)
  • Oh, Yikes: History’s Grossest, Wackiest Moments (Masoff and Sirrell)
  • Oh, Yuck: The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty  (Masoff and Sirrell)
  • Thrill Rides: Top Ten Roller Coasters in America (Shulman)
  • Worst Case Scenarios

Manga and Graphic Novels

  • Artemis Fowl (Colfer and Donkin)
  • Bone – Jeff Smith
  • One Piece
  • Bleach
  • Naruto
  • Full Metal Alchemist
  • Dragonball Z
  • Smile (Telgemeir)- This is an interesting choice, since the protagonist is a white female.

Magazines (These are extremely popular and hard to keep!):

  • Automobile, Motor Trend, Car and Driver
  • Dupont Registry (Frequently borrowed permanently. I don’t like to say stolen.)
  • Sports Illustrated, ESPN
  • Hoops (I had to stop getting this, because it was always taken within the first week. I may relent and re-subscribe)
  • Slam!
  • GameInformer (I only had one remaining copy at the end of the year.)
  • Gamepro
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • J-14 ( a girl mag, but all the guys read it!)
  • Seventeen (another girl mag that all the guys read)

This list is just a start, but these titles are my go-to titles. Once again, I risk the wrath of would-be censors, because my students want to read realistic books that deal with topics such as abuse, gangs, drugs, and violence. This means that many of my books also contain profanity. As one boy told me, “The best books always have bad words.” I’ll leave you with that thought.

Susan writes about Diane's Library

  • Posted on October 30, 2010 at 7:36 AM

Susan Norwood guest blogs today (and I am almost too embarrassed to post this):

For those of you who read Practically Paradise, or who know Diane, you will like this blog. You may know Diane, but have you every visited her library? This is what it’s like.

The first thing you would notice is the large number of students. The library is only empty on the days that Diane is away. On those days her assistant tapes a sign to the door that says “The Library is Closed.” The kids don’t want to go anyway, when Diane isn’t there. Sometimes the assistant will allow 4 or so students, but they need to make it quick.

When Diane is in, the library is a buzzing beehive of activity. There are usually at least 3 classes present. Along with these 90 or so kids, there are many strays. A library with 100 or more students is a busy place. There are kids on the computers, kids in the comfy chairs by the magazines (the “no more than one to a chair” rule is frequently broken), kids playing games at tables, and kids helping Diane. At the checkout desk, you may find 3-4 kids running checkout, another few scanning books, and a few looking to see what new books are in that haven’t been processed yet. Oh, there are also kids by the ARC shelf to see what needs reviewing. It isn’t especially quiet, but there are kids at the tables reading anyway.

It’s hard to describe Diane, herself, in the midst of the activity. Have you ever seen those remora fish that move around with sucker fish attached to them, or mammals that have birds sitting on their backs in a kind of symbiotic relationship? Well, that’s what Diane is like. There are always several kids who move around with her. She is a kid magnet, big-time. I know my description is not pretty, but it is accurate.

Did you notice that I said there were “strays” in the library? That’s right; it is the favorite destination of kids who want to skip a class. Kids have been known to hide out in the library with a fake pass from me. “Ms. Norwood sent me up here to write a book review,” they say—even the kids I don’t have. Seriously, there are students who ask to go to the library every period, every day.

The interesting thing about some of the “strays,” is that they don’t necessarily read a lot of books. They go up to “help” Diane. They alphabetize and shelve books, unpack boxes, rearrange the furniture, etc. Diane and I agree that they do a fair amount of reading in the process. They look at the covers and read the books’ blurbs. Sometimes they go on to read the entire book. Setting up for the Book Fair is a much-loved experience. Her Library Club has a large number of boys who live for the Book Fair.

Contrast the picture of Diane’s library to others I have visited. I went to another middle school library recently. It was so clean and neat and quiet. The books were all standing upright and not a chair was out of place. There were also NO students for a good 3 hour period. I don‘t know how to conclude this blog, except to say that Diane is my hero. She is the best librarian I have ever known. She is incredibly patient with the neediest of students and multi-tasks her heart out.

A Manifesto for Resource Sharing

  • Posted on October 30, 2010 at 2:06 AM

Anne Beaubien of the University of Michigan was the keynote speaker at the TENN-SHARE conference. The theme was “Smarter, Faster, Cheaper.” Anne shared with us A Manifesto for Resource Sharing that I am still deeply exploring.

Anne mentioned that Rethinking Resource Sharing began as an ad hoc group that advocated for a complete RETHINK of the way libraries conduct resource sharing to put the patron at the center, not the staff. Their mission was to be a catalyst for systemic change , to be a think tank, to inspire a change in provision of services, and to offer people options.

Anne noted Marshall Breeding reminds us that Amazon.com does not need library instruction to use, yet our Interlibrary Loan policies and procedures for sharing resources of all types often does in a library. Anne shared how 1) the internet has changed user expectations, that people can shop for obscure things, and that the Google settlement will be impacting libraries.

Anne discussed OCLC’s studies and the PEW studies to note (not surprisingly) that 15-21 year olds want instant gratification and wonder why libraries don’t work like ATM’s. (Hmmm, I’m thinking to myself of those easy to use RedBoxes in front of McDonald’s, the grocery store, and even the pharmacy. Have a sick child? While you pick up meds, pick up a movie quick to keep them in bed… Hmmm, why are we afraid of book vending machines?)

2) People work outside the library context.

3) The publishing world is changing. You won’t be able to receive telephone white pages unless you request them.

4) There’s more use of mobile devices. Wired magazine issued their cover story “The Web is Dead” with 51% of web traffic involving video streaming. Did you know that social networking counts for one of every 11 minutes online? I want to see that stat in print. Anyone help me out here? By 2015 every student will own a mobile device and by 2020 mobile devices will be the primary connection to the web. That’s not far away.

The Manifest was affirmed by the

  • ALA/RUSA/STARS Executive Committee, January 2007
  • ALA/RUSA/STARS Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies Committee, January 2007
  • Rethinking Resource Sharing Steering Committee, February 2007
  • IFLA Document Delivery and Resource Sharing Standing Committee, May 2007
  • MAILL (Maryland Interlibrary Loan), October 18, 2007
  • Forum for Interlending, Danish Research Library Association, September 10. 2009
  • DELNET-Developing Library Network (India), January 2009
  • Tenn-Share, February 2010

Here are the big 7 principles from the Rethinking Resource Sharing dot org website and their handout with my notes in italics:

  1. Restrictions shall only be imposed as necessary by individual institutions with the goal that the lowest-possible-barriers-to-fulfillment are presented to the user.
    • fewer restrictions, imposed only as necessary, lowest possible barriers to fulfillment
  2. Library users shall be given appropriate options for delivery format (paper, electronic, etc.), method of delivery, and fulfillment type, including loan, copy, digital copy, and purchase.
  3. Global access to sharable resources shall be encouraged through formal and informal networking agreements with the goal towards lowest-barrier-to-fulfillment.
  4. Sharable resources shall include those held in cultural institutions of all sorts: libraries, archives, museums, and the expertise of those employed in such places.
    • expertise included checking out LIVING BOOKS which are people who would make appointments to meet at the library to assist and share expertise, experience, and resources
  5. Reference services are a vital component to resource sharing and delivery and shall be made readily accessible from any initial “can’t supply this” response. No material that is findable should be totally unattainable.
  6. Libraries should offer service at a fair price rather than refuse but should strive to achieve services that are not more expensive than commercial services, e.g. bookshops.
  7. Library registration should be as easy as signing up for commercial web based services. Everyone can be a library user.
    • WOW! This is a big issue with me. I HATE public library policies that make you feel like a criminal for trying to sign up and get a simple card. I have to have my paystub with me and a home utility bill every single year to renew my educator’s library card for example in Nashville. WHY? I have my teacher ID, my teaching license, etc. What business of yours is my pay? And for that matter, they don’t put my name on the stub anymore, just my identification number. Why should I show you that? As for a home utility bill? I do all that online. I live out of county. If I lived in county and was paying taxes, then I would need to show you where I lived, but this is an educator’s privilege in our community, so why are they making it more difficult for teachers? I think that school libraries should be able to work with public libraries to issue public library cards to teachers, staff, and students. If you are under the age required and have to have a parent’s signature, we know how to collect signatures. With electronic delivery, many of our students don’t actually go into the public library branch, but have things sent to them or have their parents pick up the things they want during their lunch break at a convenient branch. Why should we keep CONTROLLING the sign-up and distribution of library cards? Last year during a field trip, one of my teachers wanted to renew her card but didn’t have a pay stuff. We were on a freaking FIELD TRIP FOR THE SCHOOL LIBRARY CLUB. Couldn’t they see we were teachers, see her teacher shirt, her school id,  and just issue her card? It was very annoying and anti-service friendly. I had to check out the books in my name for her.  These type of knee-jerk policies #$%% me off.  There, I said it online.

I need to find out more about this whole MANIFESTO thing and get involved. It is time to rethink resource sharing. Anyone want to explore with me?

Tenn-Share Overview

  • Posted on October 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Tennessee librarians joined together in 1992 to establish Tenn-Share. From the Tenn-share.org website comes their Mission: Tenn-Share believes that all residents of the state of Tennessee should have access to quality information through adequate resources from their libraries. Tenn-Share seeks to make available to all libraries in the state the resources necessary to meet the information needs of their patrons. Tenn-Share will work to make a reality the provision of equal resources for every library in the state.

Tennessee libraries, museums, archives and information agencies–rather than individuals employed by or sharing an interest in these entities–are eligible to become members of Tenn-Share. Currently, over 585 Tennessee libraries, museums, archives and information agencies of all types and sizes belong to Tenn-Share. This includes a huge number of school libraries – including mine.

The 2010 Fall Conference was held on Friday, October 29 at the Nashville Public Library. Anne Beaubien of the University of Michigan was the keynote speaker. The theme was “Smarter, Faster, Cheaper.” Anne shared with us A Manifesto for Resource Sharing that I will be blogging about separately.  The interesting part of Tenn-Share is that there are actually three events simultaneously occurring:

First, the School Library Collection Fair occurs Thursday and Friday for free. Vendors are there to display their wares and help all librarians place orders. This was a big help with the new acquisition software MNPS has (thanks, TLC) and the new bookkeeping systems (EBS). We were able to view new titles, meet old friends, and learn about sweet deals.

Here is a dilemma I faced. One of the vendors was offering a “FREE” iPad if we would order $1500 in books but you had to include their $997.95 new state series in that $1500. I don’t think it is necessarily the best series out there, but it wasn’t terrible. I only have $5100 to spend on books this year for 1000 students and have already set aside $670 for magazines. If I ordered that series and their yummy NBA and NFL series, I would have a free iPad to play with. I do so want an iPad, but ethically, I don’t think it’s the best purchase decision I could make. Drats! Ethics! This hurts. What would you do?

Second, the DATAFEST occurs Thursday, and it’s free, too! I love the opportunity to hear vendors and librarians tell us about new products. There’s always so much to learn. I attended sessions on:

  • BYKI for educators by Recorded Books
  • Freegal by Jim Petersen of Library Ideas (had to miss the Movie Stick presentation, rats!)
  • AASL Planning Guide for Empowering Learners by Chris Hoover of Britannica
  • TEL Training Databases for Gale
  • Gadgets & Gizmos (playing in the sandbox)
  • MyiLibrary Audiobooks by Kay Bowin of Ingram
  • netLibrary by Steve Strother of EBSCO

I missed the session by Tim Byrne of the U.S. Department of Energy on Data.gov: Helping You Find and Use U.S. Government Data Files. Accessing government files and resources for school  libraries & our students is a weakness of mine. I really need assistance here. Can anyone point out some good sources? I’ll be emailing Tim to beg and plead.

Third, the actual TENN-SHARE conference occurs and it only costs $30 which includes breakfast and lunch. There was a keynote address by Anne Beaubien of the University of Michigan. Then various library types dispersed in breakout sessions to address a STAR survey, resource sharing, and the barriers we face to improving sharing. There were additional sessions in the afternoon, but I was mandated to attend training on the new ordering process so had to lose part of the day.

All in all, this was a very productive two days to spend at the Nashville Public Library. The setting is always lovely. I kept  my educators’ library card renewed, saw what’s new, and met with several fun staffers to plan library club field trips where we’ll learn how to use their ebooks.  Since I cannot access their ebooks at school and don’t have enough computers, I think we need a field trip to the public library to learn how to access their additional sources.

Susan's Really Rather Read Rally

  • Posted on October 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Susan Norwood guest blogs about the Pep Rally Thursday. I was out of the building and couldn’t provide a refuge for those of us who hate screaming gyms fulled of chaos.

Today was Pep Rally day at our school. We were going to celebrate the last home football game. Do you remember Pep Rallies? Did you like them? I must confess that I didn’t.  I agreed with one of my students who said, “It’s all about other kids having fun. The rest of us just watch.”

I let it be known quietly among my students that I don’t like Pep Rallies at all. It’s not that I don’t have school spirit, I just find them to be hot and NOISY. I have smuggled a book in with me, but it’s impossible to read with all of the noise. I have found kindred spirits in my students.

One of my boys asked me if I was going to be “staying behind” today, and if so, could he come to my room to read. I said “Yes, absolutely. Go to your ‘holding room’ and I will come get you.” When I went to the “holding room” to get him, about 15 other kids wanted to come to my room. They know that I am such a pushover. If they read and write in my class, then I am happy.

Anyway, I had a group of 8 students who were thoroughly delighted to come to my room. What a diverse group they were! I had 3 girls and 5 boys. The girls were White and Hispanic. The boys were White, Hispanic, and African American. We were all wonderfully happy together. We agreed that it was better than a Pep Rally.

I tidied and put up my newest purple Wimpy Kid poster. The boys discussed the merits of various manga titles as well as Shonen Jump. They talked about video games in the 2010 Scholastic Guide to video games. After 30 minutes or so, someone spotted the games in one of my cabinets. They asked if they could play them. “Of course,” I said. The girls played Would You Rather?—a simple card game with questions. Two of the boys opted for Uno, because they already knew how to play it. Was this educational?

I believe it was.

By playing games, they met many state standards, such as working cooperatively and demonstrating active listening. One of the girls read a question and mispronounced the word masseuse. Another girl corrected her, and the game went on. Then they debated another question –“Would you rather have your head temporarily shaved and then tattooed, or have your eyebrows permanently removed?”  Spirited conversation ensued. Tattoos might cause brain damage, but in the end, they agreed that they wanted to keep their eyebrows.

As a final note, my next door, teacher-neighbor told me that some of her quieter kids hated the Pep Rally. She even observed them with their fingers in their ears to block the noise. I told her to send them to me next time for my alternative rally. I bet I will have many more students.

Susan Says: Wanted: Audio Books

  • Posted on October 28, 2010 at 5:10 AM

Susan Norwood Guest Blogs today:

If I had the money, the first thing I would buy for my library is audio books. Even though I have really interesting books, there are days when kids don’t want to read anything. Sometimes kids just get tired. By the time my 6th period class arrives at 3:00, many of them have mentally packed up and gone home. This is even worse if you have the same students in a 2 period block at the end of the day. They are tired of school and having to think.

I used to do a lot of reading aloud; however, it’s really tiring and hard on your voice to read for hours a day. Also, not all of your students will like what you are reading. This is where audio books come in.

I have begun to check out audio books from the local library using my own card. So far, none have been “jacked,” as my students say. If they are, I will have to throw myself on the mercy of the library. I have also invested in rechargeable batteries, a recharger, and some inexpensive headphones. Lots of kids have ear buds, because they have Ipods.

Audio books are wonderful. Students consider reading time to be “free time,” if I allow them to listen to audio books. I love seeing the kids sharing a set of ear buds so they can both listen to the same book.

I only started this a couple of weeks ago, so I am still working out the kinks. Some kids will sit with ear buds, only to be listening to tunes on their Ipods. Even so, they have a book in their hands and appear to be reading, so I can’t really complain. My biggest problem is availability.

I forgot to mention that kids vastly prefer Playaways. They don’t fall off of the desk like CD players, use 1 small AAA battery, and are easy to use. I tell the kids that I don’t have a lot to choose from, but will do my best to find books they like.

Here are the audio books that have been the most popular: Deadline (Crutcher), Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters (Giles), Thirteen Reasons Why (Asher), Compound (Bodeen), Tupac and D Foster (Woodson), and Goosebumps (various titles – Stine). This list is incomplete. I know of many books the kids would like. They tell me what they want, but there are few titles from which to choose.

Administrators, Title I folks, Librarians, and Publishers—Kids love Playaways. Please make them more available to our students. My next door teacher-neighbor has a quote that goes something like this, “Readers are made on the laps of their parents.” Not all of our kids have parents who read. Not all of our kids have parents who speak, let alone read, English. Audio books fill that gap. Is anybody listening?

How SSR Has Saved Susan's Sanity

  • Posted on October 27, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Susan Norwood Guest Blogs today:

We teachers have all heard that horrible cliché “A teacher on his/her feet is worth 4 on his/her seat,” meaning that you should never be seated, but constantly at the ready. You should be prowling about the room, er… I mean monitoring and facilitating. This isn’t realistic, and it encourages students to be needy rather than independent.

What does this have to do with books? SSR enables students to work and think independently. It encourages sustained concentration and builds reading stamina. Actually, I began SSR in my classroom, because it was the only way to get some kids to behave appropriately in class. The more interesting the reading material, the fewer off-topic conversation, notes to friends, small items being tossed across the room, numerous trips to the pencil sharpener, trash can, etc. Plus, my walking about the room annoys some of them.

My sure-fire materials to calm the wildest of children include the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not series, the Guinness Book of World Records, graphic novels, and magazines. Seriously, every kid loves magazines. I divide my classroom mags into the following genres: Cars, General Sports, Basketball, Chicks, and Entertainment. Kids read them until they gradually decompose (the mags, not the kids).

Do I want my students to read books? Yes I do. But it is certainly good to see a reluctant reader pick up something to read. Today I actually had to fuss at my students for continuing to read their self-selected material, so we could start a story in the literature textbook. I feel guilty at not being as far along in the text as other teachers, but at least the kids are reading!

You can email Susan at susan dot norwood at mnps dot org

Susan Says She is a Librarian Wanna-Be

  • Posted on October 26, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Guest Blogger Susan Norwood writes today about being a “Librarian Wanna-Be.” I am so fortunate to work with Susan.

It’s 4:20; the bell has rung and the kids are on the bus. I trudge back to my classroom. What a mess! Books are everywhere! What is the problem with me? Why is my room a wreck?

Back up. The room may not look so bad at first glance, but if you look carefully, you will see that my books are not where they belong. There is manga in with the fiction. There is fiction wedged in with the Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Magazines are scattered everywhere. I sigh, and go about straightening up my room. The only time my room is neat is when I don’t let the kids use my classroom library—which is hardly ever.

Why do I bother with this extra work? I peek into other teachers’ rooms and they’re nice and tidy. They’re nice and tidy because they don’t have classroom libraries. They may have one 4-5 shelf bookcase, but that’s it. I look at the books on the bookcase and am unimpressed. They’re “old.” No zombies or vampires. No LeBron  James. Nothing on drugs, pregnancy, child abuse. . . You get the picture.

Why do I bother? I love young adult literature, and I love to get kids reading. I live for the day when a student tells me “I didn’t think I liked to read, but now I actually like reading.” This past week, a mother told me about how much her son was reading. This 8th grade boy is my student. He is an athlete and was voted the team captain of our school’s football team.  In nine weeks, this boy has read all of the Wimpy Kid series, Smile by Raina Telgemeir, A Child Called It, and most recently, Tupac and D Foster. He has just started Life in Prison, by Stanley “Tookie” Williams. (Yesterday, he asked me the meaning of the word “rectum. I told him that it was an important word to know, and helped him look it up in the dictionary. He hates dictionaries.) He is getting other kids interested in books. Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

I consider myself to be a Librarian Wanna-Be. I have at least 6 bookcases of books. That doesn’t count the books lined up under the white boards, on the window sills, on my desk, behind my desk, and any other flat surface I can find.

Why do I bother?  I believe that if you like to read, you will never be bored. I believe that books change lives. I believe that books help us find the answers to the big questions in life.

You can email Susan at susan dot norwood at mnps dot org

Tell a Publisher

  • Posted on October 21, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Psst! School librarians! Don’t look around but they are watching you. They are monitoring your listserv’s, your tweets, your facebook statuses, your webinars, and your conferences. They are listening, taking notes, and then acting. Who are they?

Publishers! Publishers read our blogs. They want to know what we really think about titles. They want to know what to publish and even more importantly what not to publish so they don’t lose money. They want to know the interests of your students. They want to know what things would sell. They even want to know how many titles in a series you’d consider purchasing and at what cost.

How are they going to find this out (besides cyber stalking)? How about telling them? You can post a comment here telling them what you want and I guarantee at least 5 major youth publishers will respond. (Because I will demand they react)

Today for example, I asked for books on wrestling (the sport not the entertainment show), math, biographies, and even books on controversial characters. When the publishers questioned whether they could get away with publishing a book on, oh, say, hunting, I dared them. Yes, I actually threw down the gauntlet and dared them to publish them.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell them what you really wish they’d produce and let’s see their reaction. Budgets are tight. Let’s tell them what we really want them to publish and what we would really purchase.