Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Change is a-comin'

I don't know if I have any loyal readers.  I like to think that I do.  So I'm going to address this blog post to you, my loyal readers.  I think most people have heard that I have accepted the library position at Campbell Middle School.  My last day at Marshall Lane will be Friday, February 7.

I know this seems sudden.  That's because it was.  I had no plans to change jobs a couple weeks ago.  I love my job at Marshall Lane.  And although I could have done it forever, deep down, I knew that I wouldn't.  I had always thought about moving to one of the middle schools if the library job opened up but that never seemed likely.  Then suddenly, the librarian at CMS gave notice.  It was a shock to me and the other library clerks in the district when our colleague quit.

And then there it was.  The Opportunity.

At first, I told myself I would apply just out of curiosity.  I said things like 'even if they offer it to me, it doesn't mean I have to take it.'  But then they did offer it me.  And I thought 'oh, what have I done?' I asked for time to think about it, but I think I already knew I was going to say yes.  Mr. Richards said "If you didn't want it, you wouldn't have applied."  Of course, he's right.

And so for the last three days I've been telling teachers, students and parents that I'm leaving for another school.  And it's breaking my heart.  Each class I tell my news to answers back "No!" and it makes me cry.  I'm crying now as I write this.  I'm so terribly sad to leave this place.  I've spent the last 13 years building this library into the best it can be, building relationships with the staff, getting the right books in to students' hands and I'm so proud of what I've done here.

But I also believe that every student in our district deserves a library as good as ours at the very least. If I can do for CMS what I've done for Marshall Lane, perhaps we can set a new standard for all the libraries in the district.  It's a lofty dream, I know, but a worthy one.  I plan to advocate for our library clerks to work a full school day so that the library is accessible to all students and teachers throughout the day, and to have a budget to buy new materials.

Anyway, I hope that helps you understand why I'm going.  I'm not sure what will happen to this blog yet.  It's registered to me so I will probably just change the name and it will become the Campbell Middle School Library Blog.  I'm looking forward to reading some YA literature but I'm sure going to miss the picture books.

Here's some more Fuzzy-Grams to make me cry some more:

"Thank you for organizing the books in the library.  Also thank you for helping us find books to read."

"You have been our librarian for so long and I appreciate it.  Thank you."

"Thank you for helping out the library. I love to read."

"You are such a kind and helpful librarian.  You're very patient with other kids and you always have a positive attitude. Thank you so much for being our school librarian."

And that's all I can take.

I love you guys.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Invisible Boy

This book came in the last shipment of books from Junior Library Guild that I received during book fair.  I'd finally gotten those books processed and shelf ready and I picked this one up because the title caught my attention.

The first page made me laugh out loud.  It was the kind of laugh one laughs when the truth is called out.  It read "Can you see Brian, the invisible boy?  Even Mrs. Carlotti has trouble noticing him in her classroom.  She's too busy dealing with Nathan and Sophie."  What educator can't relate to that?  And I bet there are many students who can relate to Brian's point of view.

The story goes on to break your heart.  Brian doesn't get picked for either of the kickball teams at recess.  Brian doesn't get invited to parties. But Brian can draw and loves to do so.

Then a new student, Justin, comes to Brian's class and here is where the story heals your broken heart.  A simple act of kindness on Brian's part to make Justin feel welcome changes things for Brian.  Justin returns Brian's kindness and Brian is no longer invisible.  We see the transformation as Brian changes from a simple black and white drawing into a full color illustration.

This story is beautifully told and it doesn't feel preachy or teachy.  It's a simple tale of how kindness can affect both the giver and the receiver.  It's absolutely lovely and I recommend it for everyone.

Speaking of simple acts of kindness, here's a quote from one of my Fuzzy-Grams:

"To Mrs. Richards- You are such a wonderful librarian.  My favorite hobby is reading and I love coming to the library at recess."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Awesome Box is Awesome!

After a bumpy first two days, I was finally able to properly launch the Awesome Box.  I'm very pleased to say that it was enthusiastically received by the students.  In fact, many students went to the shelves to pull their old favorites and put them in the Awesome Box!

Many of the titles in the Awesome Box are not surprising.  It's chock full of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Geronimo Stilton and Captain Underpants.  The books that get checked out all the time.  But what I get really excited about are the other books that are kind of sleepers.  Titles like Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson.  I love this book but it doesn't circulate much.  I'm so glad that there is a child out there who thinks this book is awesome and now other kids will know it's awesome too!  Also, The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen by Geraldine McCaughrean.  This is a new book that has only been checked out once or twice but now I know it's awesome and I'll have to read it.

I was also surprised by how many non-fiction titles popped up in the Awesome Box.  Books about magic tricks, fossils and volcanoes.

And to top it all off, the Superintendent happened to be visiting our school this week and the principal brought him by the library.  He seemed very impressed with the Awesome Box and made sure that I would share the idea with the other library aids.  Which I will.

It's been a good week in the library.  I received some "Fuzzy-Grams" from a 5th grade class.  Fuzzy-Grams are notes you send to people to make them feel warm and fuzzy.  They are the best!  I'm going close this post and future posts with quotes from my Fuzzy-Grams. Be sure to check out the Awesome Box!

"Thank you for keeping a safe place to learn and read.  I love our school library" - 5th grade student.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Awesome Box

I intended to kick off our new Awesome Box on Monday but I had some technical issues that were finally resolved today.  So, tomorrow, I will be promoting our new Awesome Box during library time.

The Awesome Box is where students can return books that they think are really awesome, books they think everyone should read because of how awesome they are.  When these books are returned, they are scanned twice, once to check them in, and once again to add them to Marshall Lane's Awesome Box website.  Go there now to see what's recently awesome!  

The cool thing about this site is that you can click on one of the awesome books and it will take you right to the library catalog so you can find it in the library.  So awesome!

I think this will be a really fun way for kids to quickly recommend their favorite books to their peers. Of course, teachers can put books in the awesome box as well!