Monday, October 17, 2005

Blog Interaction with Bonnie Grimble – Mon. Oct. 17 to Wed. Oct. 19, 2005

Bonnie Grimble works in a large urban high school as the media center department chair working with three other media specialists.

Learn more about Bonnie Grimble at

You might focus discussions with Bonnie on program planning, administration and budgeting, facilities design, or the value of professional involvement. Or you can open up to include any issues and ideas related to her knowledge and experience.


  1. Anonymous7:43 AM

    Hi Bonnie! I hope things are going well with your new media manager, Francie. I stepped in for Marty last year and worked with Francie at CMS and loved her. She's fun and a hard worker. I was wondering how the new space is coming along. Is it being referred to as the "Freshman Library" or is it an addition that will house a certain part of your collection there? I would love to know how the space will be used and when it will be completed. I would also like to know what you think could be done at the middle school level to better prepare students for the media center at the high school. Also, I have been watching comments on a listserv about prepping high school students for their college libraries - do you have a prep class for that purpose at CHS? I enjoyed my visit with you last year during my internship. You were very helpful, thanks! Sandy Hodges

  2. Anonymous8:22 AM

    Good morning everyone!
    I'm Bonnie Grimble ( and I look forward to the opportunity to communicate and dialog with you on various issues.
    I have jsut returned from the AASL national conf. in Pittsburgh. I strongly encourage each of you to join your state and national prof organizations...they provide a wealth of information!!! and they are an excellent way to network with other professionals.

  3. Anonymous8:31 AM

    Good morning Sandy,
    We do not refer to our new space as the "Freshman Library". We are providing instructional tours to all our students and making clear to them the new addition is the CHS library. We studied various floor plans for the addition and decided upon a "Reference Room", a "Reading Room" and a "Multimedia/mutlipurspose Room".
    No matter how big or small a facility...signage is critical. Your comment on prepping HS students for college was very timely...I just had a discussion on that very topic with two English teachers this morning. We incorporate all our isntruction into research lessons. It is very, very difficult to get teachers to dedicate time to an Information Literacy curriculum outside of their immediate focus. Teachers are more amd more driven by standards and pushed, pushed , pushed to accomplish so much. As one speaker stated so well at the AASL conf...a teacher came to them requesting "next Tuesday in the media center to research WWI and then next Thursday to research WWI". True story and true picture of how pushed teachers are to cover materia. Teachers see the need for search skills, info lit and media lit...but....just "not today, don't have time"

  4. Hi Bonnie,

    Before becoming a stay-at-home mom and attending graduate classes for my MLS degree, I taught math for almost 10 years. I always thought there are too many standards for me to cover in a year and I quit doing what I deemed excellent projects (‘Living on Your Own’-from finding a job to paying taxes at the end of the year and ‘My Family Vacation’). Now although I loved these projects they just did not cover enough different standards for me to justify the weeks of class time. However, I have learned through several MLS classes requiring us to come up with lessons/projects incorporating Indiana State Standards that I could cover 20 standards (not math projects though)in one project. You can have good meaningful projects with students if it is completed over time and if you are covering 20 standards, you can afford the time.
    I so agree with how important it is to prepare students for college and research is the key. Most of the projects completed with teachers and media specialist together are language arts or science research projects. What type of projects have you collaborated with math teachers that you are interested in sharing?



  5. Anonymous9:16 AM

    Hello Jenni,
    You're qusestion about integration with math classes...
    the majroity is focused on reading integration. We have multiply copies of titles and provide focused bibliographies and booktalks to math classes. These units can easily branch into projects. I must admit these are not everyday occurances...math is a difficult subject to team/collaborate with on a regular basis. Most recent book topics have focused on biographies (contemp and historical) in the various math fields.

  6. Bonnie,

    You would think that I could come up with math collaborative ideas being that is my first field of study. I want to be able to collaborate with all teachers and unless I am in a middle school, I have no ideas on projects with math teachers. Teachers wanting to have students research the history of mathematics makes sense as a place to start...or where the high school math teachers minds are for possible projects.

    Do teachers in the high school ever attempt interdisciplinary projects with you and/or other subject areas?

    Thank you for your time again,


  7. Anonymous11:37 AM

    Teachers are open to collaboration and many (especially in our new Freshman wing) attempt to do so. The Freshman area is divided into teams and have some common planning time. The "common planning" time really is essential for total implementation of planning across disciplines. I'm afraid many teachers do not "team" projects, simply because they are do not have common planning time within the school day.
    There are pockets of teaming success....but I can't say it is the norm.

  8. Anonymous12:51 PM

    Bonnie, Thanks for the info. I agree that teachers want library curriculum, technology and information literacy, to fit their topics. At our elementary school the Media Specialist does a unit on Bats with the fourth grade and teaches the kids how to use all the different sources available to them in the library. The 4/5 GT teacher asked me to come up with a similar unit on Ancient Rome. It will get the job done!
    Do many teachers come to you with ideas for integrating technology into their assignments, or is someone else responsible for that area? Last year at CMS everyone was making brochures for their projects. I sent out an email suggesting other possibilities, but nobody actually asked for my opinion. Do you think teachers are seeing the expertise of the Media Specialist in this area? Thanks, Sandy H.

  9. Anonymous1:06 PM

    Good afternoon!

    This may be a rather basic question, but I only have experience working in smaller schools that employ a single media specialist-- How is working with three other individuals different from 'running' a media center individually? How does your department decide how to allocate responsibility? Do you feel that your current staff is adequate to serve your student population?

    Thank you for your time,
    Sadie Smith

  10. Bonnie,

    You mention in one of your postings that teachers just do not have the time to incorporate the search skills into their tight curriculums. How can we address this issue? Should study halls be used more creatively to teach these skills? What is the answer? If no one has the time to teach our students the skills they need, then they are going to be blasted at the college level. I know I felt like an idiot stepping in front of a computer for the first time and had no idea where to start. Our students need the are we going to spare the time to teach them?


  11. Bonnie,

    Could you describe your relationship with your principal and assistant principal? I am wondering how this relationship evolves and works for all involved. Are you considered an administrator in your building? Do you have a direct say in your program administration and budget decisions, or does someone get the final say so? Very interested to hear about your experience with the administration in your building.


  12. Anonymous5:11 AM

    It's Tuesday...good morning everyone.
    Response to Sandy....more and more teachers are coming to us to help with integrating technology and thank ehaven we have a media specialist who focuses on that area. I do believe the teachers in our bldg see us as "experts" and professionals who can assist them with many things. I make sure we (one of the media specialists) are appointed to committees and take an active role. We are very visible

  13. Anonymous5:15 AM

    Tuesday morning....response to Sadie...
    I am blessed with a wonderful team of media professionals! Connie Mitchell is our reading expert; Lynette Gross (half-time Eng teacher) is our circulation/reference person; John Shearin is our multimedia guru and I do all the instruction for the databases and search strategies.
    We have three fulltime support staff. With the added 5,000 sq ft....I feel we need at least another support staff and would love another fulltime prof!
    It is very important we share/divide our expertise.

  14. Anonymous5:19 AM

    tuesday....response to Amanda...
    We teach search strategies/database navigation skills via all sophomore English classes. Our English teachers are wonderful and we integrate 2 days of focused instruction into the soph projects. I do believe it is critical we prepare our kids for collecge with these info lit skills. Study halls are not an option for our school as we are on block schedule and we do not have study halls.

  15. Anonymous5:24 AM

    Tuesday....resposne to Amanda....
    my principal is estremely supportive of our program, our work and our goals. We meet regularly (as much as his and my schedule allows!), but our best conversations and updates are by chance when he walks thru. My principal is in his second year...when he came, I met with him and presented him with our goals/mission/vision/history and curriculum (embedded into English classes). We talked info lit and I reminded repeatedly how we impact student learning.
    His best resource as to our success is our teachers...they are always singing our praises!
    I am provided budget amounts from the central office. All budget decisions after that are made by me. I feel very confident my principal supports our efforts and program....constant communication is the key!

  16. Bonnie,

    Thank you to your response to my previous questions. I have another for you!

    I believe that support and cooperation from all sides of the field are necessary. What advice would you give to a media specialist who is not in the supportive environment you are? How do you overcome lack of cooperation from faculty and administration? A friend of mine just took over a media center in a small high school in my hometown. She is the youngest member of the faculty and has found herself in situation where teachers and administrators are working for the status quo and change is hard to come by...what advice can you give her? She needs a pep talk!


  17. Anonymous7:27 AM

    Amanda...there are many ways to woo staff over to the "right" side of thinking! One of the best ways (besides food!!) is to dedicate a portion of budget to their needs. I meet with dept chairs and individual teachers as often as possible. I have copies of all their standards and I let them know what I have to coordinate with their needs....more imporatntly I ASK them what they need and promise to deliver! Even if it is just one book, one video, one DVD, etc....I constantly let them know..."I can take care of that"...that's my (and hopefully their) favorite phrase. I make it clear I want to know their needs and will fullfill requests. Often it is winning over one teacher at a time. My first year I had one mornign a week where I had cookies,donuts or something and asked teachers to stop in before school. I constantly wa offering help! I make flyers,newsletters (webpages) boasting our collection and services....over and over and over....go for one them over and others will come.
    Don't ever think you'll get everyone to come....13 years at Carmel and there are still teachers who probably have not stepped in here!
    BUT....celebrate and concentrate on the ones who "get it"

  18. Anonymous7:44 AM


    Did you get to input any information for your new space?? What were your must have things that you absolutely wanted within the space. I was part of a new space construction and found even though the architects asked for our inputs in the planning stages very few actually came to light. Does the new space have anything you don't like or wish you could change?

  19. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Response to the facility design/architect question....
    Our FHS addition was my 5th media facility project. Every project has had it's two alike! There are many books and articles written about facility design that offer wonderful hints and tips. Almost every conf (particularly at national level) offers a session on facility design and I have found every one of them very helpful. Probably the best tip I can share is DOCUMENT everything..every conversation, every communication. Followup after every meeting with a communication discussing what was discussed! Make sure you do your homework and so you can state your needs with confidence. VISIT other facilities and interview as many librarians who have been working in new facilites as possible. In-the-trenches experience is the best!
    And remember you will never get the perfect place! Choose your battles and let the small stuff go

  20. Bonnie,

    As you stated in your last posting, "let the small stuff go". Any interesting stories of how you had to fight for the big stuff?!


  21. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Going back to the space question-- are you happy with how your facility turned out? Is there anything that, looking back, you wish would have been designed/ constructed differently? Is there anything that you would say stands out as being particularly useful to you?

    Thank you,

  22. Anonymous5:07 AM

    Wednesday morning...response to Sadie...
    I am particularly pleased with each design I have had helped with. A constant component of all 5 have been the designated areas for "active", "passive", and "interactive" space. Each facility must plan for those three concepts in each facility. I think we have achieved that goal. The other component in the design (initiated in the last two) was a seperate small conf. room for collaboration and scheduling. It is a space where a media specialist and a teacher can sit in a quiet space with all the tools (prof readings; media scheduling book; handouts; etc) are all in one place. It allows both to focus on the task as soon as you set down. And please remember to request enough electrical outlets(tell every 3 feet!!! ha!). I know we will soon be exploring wifi connectivity, but electrical connections will still be a part of our lives for many yrs. Put elec jacks everywhere you can for flexibility

  23. Anonymous7:18 PM

    I currently teach in a high school that is 1/3 of Carmel HS. I can't begin to imagine what is is like working in a high school that has over 3,000 students and 230 teachers!

    How do you advertise the library's services to students? Your website and Carmel's website were down so I couldn't check them out. What is the library's schedule? Is it open before school? During lunch? After school? Do you have reading clubs? Do you have student workers / aides? How do you reach out to students to get them to come in to the library?

    How do you advertise to teachers what you offer? In one posting you said you make flyers and newsletters, but what specifically are you advertising? Do you send the info to all teachers? Do you customize the info for certain departments?

    I currently am in the classroom teaching and I, like many other teachers, am easily seduced by food. On the behalf of all of your classroom teachers, keep the treats coming!