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We're All In This Together: Building Community in a School Library

Many arms, with hands touching in the center

As school librarians, we want our students and patrons to feel welcome in our space. We want to build community — and programming is a great way to do it.

The new American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Standards expressly address inclusivity in the standards with "Include," one of the Standards' six Shared Foundations. "Include" states that students, librarians and libraries will be able to “demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to inclusiveness and respect for diversity in the learning community.”

Deepfakes, Part 2: Resources for All Ages

Hands holding puppet strings

Last month, our blog provided an introduction to deepfakes, a technique in which artificial intelligence-based technology is used to alter or produce video content, tricking viewers into believing that something happened when it actually did not.

This month, we follow up with more on this important subject, including resources and programming ideas for all ages.

Changing Landscapes: Information Evolution

Two people pointing at laptop screen

Between the two of us we have over 45 years of teaching experience. (Yes, we are stunned by that, too!) From the beginning, our library programming has taught students to responsibly and critically select and evaluate their resources. It’s the very foundation of media and information literacy and a critical skill for students to master in their K-12 education. 

Star Wars Spelling Bee

Library workers dressed up in Star Wars themed costumes

In honor of Star Wars Reads Month in October, our library held programs related to the iconic movies. We capped it all off with a Star Wars Spelling Bee at the end of the month, at 4:30 p.m. on a Thursday.

We picked specific words related to the movies and provided example sentences related to the movies to provide context. The event ended with a costume contest.

Wonder Time

Wonder Time

Wonder Time is an engaging program that encourages curiosity and self-expression. Children discover that learning is fun!

Each Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m., kids have an opportunity to “wonder” about something. The program is geared toward (but not limited to) children ages 6 to 14.

Lights, Camera, and an Idea Worth Spreading

Student presenting his Ted-ED Club presentation

Most of us are familiar with TED Talks, a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas through short, often powerful, talks. As librarians, we can use the format of a TED Talk to engage students and teachers with research and encourage them to spread their ideas.

We chose to incorporate TED-ED into our ninth-grade programming — with excellent results. In fact, we are now hoping to spread it to eighth and fifth grades as culminating projects during those capstone years in our district.

Making Trivia Masters: Using Trivia to Turn Students into Explorers

A woman looks for a book in the stacks.

A few months ago on Programming Librarian, I talked about asking a trivia question as part of your passive programming. Now, I've taken it a step further to create a Trivia Master Challenge that encourages students to search the library’s catalog, explore our nonfiction section, and learn how to search successfully within a book.

Passive Doesn't Mean Boring: 5 Passive Program Ideas for School Libraries

Girls making bookmarks

Passive programs can be a great way to regularly attract students into the library without having planned, specific events. Pick a corner of the library that can be designated for these drop-by activities, set out the supplies and some instructions, and let it go! Here are a few of my go-to passive programs.

Group of girls making bookmarks

Junior Ambassadors Program

Photograph of Junior Ambassadors loading a bus of donated items to be sent to children in Haiti.

In 2015, the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with the intent that these goals be met by 2030. In May 2019, the UN began an SDG Book Club for young people. The UN encourages young people to read the books that they hope “will inspire the children to help make the world a better place for everyone.” 

Welcome to School, I'm Your Zoom-brarian: Relationship-Building for a New Year

A woman holding a coffee cup smiling at a computer screen

As we look to fall 2020 and our start to the school year, one thing is certain: it will be like no other start we have experienced before. Many districts have already decided to begin the year virtually, and others are sure to follow. Districts starting with a hybrid model of mixed virtual and face-to-face learning will also face challenges that we have not yet encountered.

National History Day and Teacher/Librarian Collaboration

NHD Logo

National History Day (NHD) projects have been part of our collaborative library programming for years. They are a great way for students to learn the research process in a deep and meaningful manner, meeting many National School Library Standards. It's also a great way for students to practice the various literacies: news, information, media and digital. 

Distance Librarian-ing: the New School Library Normal

A photo of a child drawing a picture titled "Stay home"

As we approach May still in quarantine, we wanted to share how our library programming is continuing to roll along in the midst of the pandemic. We have learned some amazing things about ourselves, our library programming and what our school community needs.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of the lessons learned, how our programming is holding up, and what we see as necessary as we continue in this brave new normal.

Not Just for STEM Class: Makerspace Programming & English Language Arts

A human figure made out of popsicle sticks with clay and a balloon

As librarians, we are passionate advocates for makerspace programming. We share with teachers and students how makerspaces engage and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Our school library has supported many makerspace programming events, from Makerspace Monday to our monthly Makerspace challenge.

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