Category Archives: Librarian Life

My cup runneth over (feeling the pride)

Filling my cup

Three times a year, I spend the day outside of the library doing a non-librarian task that is meaningful to me personally and to our school’s community. I’m the faculty adviser for the school’s blood drives.

2016-10-20 09.46.32As a large city school district, we have the ability to host three drives a year: October, January, and May and collect about 100 units per drive which is amazingly powerful. A smattering of staff, but the majority of these units are donated by upperclassmen looking to help our community.

In my eight years of overseeing the drives, I have never had to ask students to step up to be the student volunteers nor have we ever had a lack of enthusiasm from staff and administration in supporting the drives. Everyone rallies to help whether it’s the PE department giving up their space for the day, teachers giving during prep time, and the students overcoming their fear of needles or first time jitters. No matter what happens, I always finish the day down a pint of blood but feeling full of Falcon pride.

These are the moments that reinvigorate me. There are days I feel like I’m only fixing printer issues or checking passes. Then there are days that I’m riding high on research questions and inquiry. Then there are the blood drives. What do other educators do outside of their regular duties that make them feel as fulfilled as what they do each day?

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This year’s three senior student volunteers and me (second from right). Photo courtesy of Jake Planck, communications for our district. 

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Posted by on January 13, 2018 in Events, Librarian Life, Miscellaneous



For the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education. While the official club has ended, they have shared posts to continue the journey through 2017. This week’s prompt is the final one to celebrate the success of completing the year-long challenge.

It’s a bit anti-climactic since I’ve celebrated two “endings” of the challenge. Well one reflecting on the blogging process midway through the year called Reflecting on Blogging (though I’d been blogging before the club began) and the second when they were going to end early called … and scene. So, unless they come back from the dead, this is really IT.

MatterhornHow do I feel? In one word, accomplished. I saw the yearlong activity through from January through December. I posted each week using the prompts and in between with other blogging-related content like book reviews and librarian activities. I’d say that it’s a characteristic of my personality, the need to accomplish an activity once it’s started. Ultimately every library activity from author visits (planned years in advance sometimes) to preparation for the year ahead is an exercise in perseverance. Students may change, the weather even, and administration or colleagues, but inside you need to revisit the concepts and the reasons, refining them and getting as close to perfection as they can before the launch. You hear this from authors whose published books began years before.

So again, thank you Edublogs for putting this together and keeping people connected. I’ve followed several blogs and connected with others professionally that I would not have otherwise. It’s inspiring and reinforces the need for educators to talk, share, and engage with one another. I’ll be closing the book on 2017 and a years worth of posts and can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring.


10 new prompt ideas

For the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education. While the official club has ended, they have shared posts to continue the journey through 2017. This week’s prompt was to create a list of prompts like Edublogs did for the #edublogsclub.


Here are my thoughts on what I’d like to see from fellow educators including my librarian colleagues.

  1. Behavior and consequences— How have you dealt with difficult students? How do you feel about discipline in your building and in schools in general?
  2. Wardrobe– What do you wear everyday?
  3. Most creative thing you’ve done– What creative activity are you most proud of?
  4. Profile a student– Was there one student who won you over? A student that you’d like to see run the world one day? A student that you’ll always remember?
  5. What you do on holidays and breaks– Is this your time to decompress and unwind? Do you pack it with activities that you’re not doing while in school-mode?
  6. Encouraging memes, quotations, videos, or music– We all need a pick me up and there’s a reason I have a Pinterest board called “For One of Those Days”, so what meme, quote, video, or music do you use to encourage you on one of “those days”?
  7. Share a lesson or activity– Do you have a particularly awesome activity or lesson you’ve done with students that you’d like to share?
  8. Summer— Just like what what you do on holidays and breaks, how do you spend your summer?
  9. Gift-giving or gift-receiving— We share gifts with our mail people and neighbors, but what’s the best gift you’ve given or received during your time in education?
  10. Bulletin board or display— We don’t have to be Picasso’s to whip up (or steal) a great bulletin board or display, share the picture and the reason for the display!

Phewf! That was exhausting, how did Edublogs do that for a whole year? I’m sure a fabulous collaborative team, but I am only one person and ten was all I could handle. Any other ideas that you’d like to see?



10 things I love about her

As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education. While the official club has ended, they have shared posts to continue the journey through 2017. This week’s prompt was to write an open letter to someone.

This past Monday, my colleague and co-librarian Kristen and I presented to a room full of K-12 librarians about how we have re-imagined our library with English Language Learners in mind.

And then this prompt appeared to write an open letter.

While I have written many small letters to her over the few years we have worked together so far including thank yous, encouragement, and congratulations as she has done for me, I’m taking it a step further and compiling the 10 things I love about her.

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Kristen, pictured on right

  1. She is an optimist. Every approach she takes and every thought she has is eternally positive which makes it easy to work alongside her.
  2. She speaks in idioms. There’s a reason we have an #idiomoftheweek. We use is to demonstrate the quirks of the English language and focus on language development for our English Language Learners and we pull them right from Kristen’s conversations each day. Needless to say, this is entertainment.
  3. She’s a researcher. What librarian isn’t? But she gets geeky when she gets to dive deep into research. She spent a week at the Library of Congress over the summer and was over the moon (see what I did there?). For our latest presentation she leaned-in to the work done at public libraries for immigrants and could have spent a whole workshop sharing out the nuggets that she found fascinating and useful.
  4. She sees the best in students. Whether it’s a difficult student, a new student, or a student we see every day, she always assumes the best in them and that they can be role models for others and themselves. A cheerleader for sure.
  5. She’s a techie. For a few years she was an instructional technologist. She was an early-adopter of Twitter and is an avid user. She thinks in work-arounds and better and easier implementation without losing sight about the larger picture that technology plays in our world.
  6. She’s funny. She even makes herself laugh. And then I can’t help but laugh.
  7. She is a friend. At every workplace and institution she has gone, she has made several long-term friendships and when she speaks about these people, you know that she cares deeply about them. Plus chocolate helps too.
  8. She’s a team-player. We’re a perfect pair, her and I. And it’s her willingness to be a part of the team that is the reason she is involved in activities like our school’s JROTC program, the student help desk, our union activities, and why our library runs like a well-oiled machine.
  9. She’s a mentor. She always puts the hat on of a trusted adviser. This might be in doling out some advice from personal experience or her years in education at various levels and in different capacities that she has the knowledge to put it to use for her and others. I’d sit by a fire and listen to her words of wisdom.
  10. She’s not your grandmother’s librarian and kicks butt every day. The more I get to know her the more I know her colorful past lends itself to her work every day in our high school library. She’s subversive when she needs to be to get the job done. She’s a librarian super woman. Oh, wait, isn’t there already a librarian superhero? Move over Barbara Gordon, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Research shows that having a work spouse makes you happier and more productive. I can unequivocally say that this is true. End of story, though ours is just beginning! And why, I can’t help but share my love for my work spouse, colleague, co-librarian.

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Posted by on December 6, 2017 in edublogsclub, Librarian Life, Miscellaneous



As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education. While the official club has ended, they have shared posts to continue the journey through 2017. This week’s prompt was what an alternative career would have been.

When I saw this prompt, I had to laugh out loud a little and then I got really quiet. What would an alternative be? I don’t think I have ever really had a crisis of conscience that I wasn’t in the right field– well except for those fleeting moments during a stressful day or March (educators– amiright?). Luckily those are few and far between.

And I can read the prompt one of two ways– 1) a dream job that I could do without worrying about things like income or 2) if librarianship went extinct tomorrow, what would I then do?

Humor me and I’ll answer both. First, my dream job would be reading and writing. Reading children’s, young adult, and adult literature and blogging, speaking, and sharing everywhere and anywhere people would have me. Luckily that seems like something I’m doing on the side now, which is a good thing and I won’t rock the boat. It’s a nice balance.

But, if school librarianship went away? Gosh. That’s a tough one. If I trusted my horoscope, I should go into something like mortuary science or investigation. Maybe psychology. But I’d have to take a long hard look at what’s out there in the job market. There were times where I thought about being a paramedic. The truth is that it is too difficult to think this way.

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Because Allen Smith’s quote rings true. Everything I do in life prepares me for being a librarian. While I know I sound super annoying to love my job as much as I do, it is good to dream and think. What would you do if you weren’t doing what you’re currently doing?



Posted by on November 12, 2017 in Blogging, edublogsclub, Librarian Life



As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education. While the official club has ended, they have shared posts to continue the journey through 2017. This week’s prompt was short and long term goals.


Taken from Pinterest and saved from

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Posted by on November 7, 2017 in Blogging, edublogsclub, Librarian Life


Looking to be inspired

As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education. While the official club has ended, they have still shared posts to continue the journey through 2017. This week’s prompt was blogs we follow. 


A few years ago, my colleague and I wrote an article for School Library Connection about being local book bloggers. In addition to contributing to a books blog for our local newspaper’s online community, I have maintained this blog for a few years and have grown into what I want the blog to be about. And my message in our article was that for years I was inspired by others and it was time to give back (also my theme for professional development).

Here are my six sensational blogs to follow and why I follow them:

  1. Seth Godin
    • There are so many valuable insights he provides that I actually have a folder called Godin-isms and there are three posts that are printed and sitting on my computer at work to inspire me. Godin’s posts tend to be short, succinct, and pointed in their advice or question about why we do the things we do.
  2. Reading While White
    • I’m white and I work at a school that is predominately non-white. I always need to explore my biases, especially when reading and reviewing books as I do. The offering of multiple perspectives is what keeps this blog fresh.
  3. Librarian Leaps
    • Yes, she’s a colleague and a friend. She’s also an elementary librarian. And while I’m at a high school library, she’s a go-getter and inspiration. She even guest posted for me as part of another edublogs prompt.
  4. Mrs. ReaderPants
    • When I want to know what’s going to be published in middle grade and young adult, I look no further than Mrs. ReaderPants. I’m guilty of not paying attending to publication dates especially since I do so much reviewing and receive so many galleys that I hardly ever pay attention to when they’re available to the masses. She keeps me grounded in when everyone has access to the amazing-ness that is YA books!
  5. 500 Hats
    • While not frequent in her blogs, when she does post it’s always something to stop and read. Her premise being that as librarians’ we wear so many hats and who would disagree?
  6. Goodreads
    • It’s no secret that I love Goodreads since it keeps my reading life organized– gone are the days of laminated pages in a binder using Microsoft Word. So it makes sense that I would follow their blog of book candy.

And this isn’t to say I don’t follow more local, national, and non-librarian blogs because I certainly like to keep my inbox full, but these are a few that pique my interest when they arrive in my mailbox. Consider them for yourselves.