Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Speaking volumes


I love a good quote. When I come across one on Pinterest or Instagram, I usually save them to reflect on and in this case write about as I’ve done in past posts.

Rick Holland, poet, shared this gem with the world that was then made beautiful when superimposed on the world touched with gold.


How else could I learn about a war I wasn’t alive for or empathize with someone from a different culture? Learning from books is equally as important as being transported by them be it in fantasy and science fiction. So why did this quote strike a chord with me?

Probably because I understand the significance and weight of why reading is integral to our development as human beings and why I chose a profession that values continual learning. I’ve spent the last decade (and will continue) to demonstrate to teenagers the power of reading for their own learning and understanding. It can be an escape when life is difficult, it can be an instructional manual for how someone rose above a particularly trying life event, it can be entertainment of the most basic kind. I know I get screen exhaustion and reading a book with the paper in your hand can cure that. (It might also be why puzzles and card games have made a comeback in a big way in our library).

And I’m also seeing it in my own kids. As third graders, my boys are obsessive– and possessive– of their books. We make trips to our library at least once a week, they read daily, and I’ve caught them plenty of times with a book and a flashlight past bedtime. I want there to be plenty of opportunities to engage with others who have the same feelings too. And while I’ve been involved in planning book festivals and author visits, I’ve never visited the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, so I’ll be making the drive with my kids there this Saturday to bask in the excitement of the printed book. I’ll post a followup after Saturday to share how it all went.

But be reminded, as Holland’s quote speaks to me, that the world truly does belong to readers. It’s evident in our vocabulary. It’s a cheap vacation when there isn’t money to go on a physical one. Food and beverage feels more indulgent with one in front of you. It is the aha moment when you learn something new. It’s the mirror, the window, or the sliding glass door. So if it’s been a while since you picked up a book, try again. Make it a priority. If it already is, you’re in good company.


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?



The drive

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 describe your commute to work.

Ah, my commute. Not too long, not too short. I judge how the day will go by whether my favorite songs end up being played on the radio. If it’s a special day, I’ll plug my phone in and play a specific playlist, but those days are few and far between.

Unfortunately I do what most others in our capital city do, I drive in to the city to work and leave the city (to return to my pint-sized home city to the north). If it’s my late day, it aligns more perfectly with this heavy traffic pattern but I frequent the interstates that run the smoothest, though I’ve had my fair share of stop-and-go or completely halted traffic. I often think that everyone who causes an accident during rush hour should be fined and that money disbursed to those that have driven by to relieve the annoyance. A thought– certainly never going to be a reality– but it makes me temporarily better.

And my usual route follows a river, so while it is a busy route, it’s lovely to look over at the peaceful water. This fast stretch of interstate is punctuated by city-driving which includes an awareness of pedestrians and traffic lights.

TrafficWhether I’m coming or going, my home city is always a sight and was actually the center of quite a lot of media attention recently due to a stupid mistake and a windy day. It is devastating to see the aftermath, but we’re a strong city and will recover. Work and home are two of my favorite places and I enjoy the journey between the them.


But the best thing about sharing this post with you is that I remembered about a book a librarian friend shared years ago that I never go around to reading, a book called Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). It’s now in my queue, maybe it should be in yours too?



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


Is there a write way?

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. I’m combining the next two prompts about teaching handwriting and embedding a poll.

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Good handwriting means something, like being well-dressed. It’s a skill and should be seen as such. Maybe I’m biased because I am often complimented on mine. But, I also appreciate it in others and can count on one hand colleagues and friends whose handwriting I admire.

With that out there, yes, I do believe teaching handwriting including cursive should be required, if for nothing else than knowing what’s out there and picking what’s best for you. Don’t tell me you’re a cicerone, but have only tasted a handful of beer. So, how would you know if cursive is your handwriting style of choice if you haven’t learned it? To quote Nike, “just do it”.

Yet I am only one person. What do you think?

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Blogging, edublogsclub, Miscellaneous