Sunday, October 08, 2006

Blog Interaction with Bonnie Grimble – Mon. Oct. 9 to Wed. Oct. 11, 2006

Bonnie Grimble works as the department chair of the Media Center at Carmel High School. Carmel High, grades 9 through 12, has over 4,000 students, more than 150 classroom teachers, ten administrators, near twenty other professional staff, and over 150 other support and service staff members. In her position, Bonnie works closely with three other media specialists and three media managers. Learn more about Bonnie Grimble at

Bonnie is another return participant for these blog interactions. You will find last year's discussions with her here at this blogsite: Oct. 17-19, 2005. Bonnie has a comprehensive range of expertise and experiences gained at both her large-urban high school workplace and her service in the school library media profession. And as usual, try to extend this year's conversations with Bonnie in ways not covered previously.


  1. Anonymous6:12 AM

    Good morning everyone. My name is Bonnie Grimble and I am one of the Media Specialists at Carmel High School. We are a large HS of 4,000+ students. We are in our second year of our Freshman Center, which is a 3 story wing of our building. The addition of the Freshman Center brought us 5,000 more square feet to our library facility.
    I look foward to our discussions

  2. Hi Bonnie,

    With such a large staff at CHS -- 250 teachers, ten administrators, etc. -- would you say that you and the other LMSs have the opportunity to collaborate with with most of the staff? What portion of the staff do you collaborate with and in what ways?

    Also, could you say speak about the "5000 square feet" addition of the facility? How did you approach the further development of you collection with the addition of the Freshman Center? What special considerations are there when developing a collection geared toward Freshmen?

    Jennifer Clifford

  3. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Hi Bonnie,
    My name is Kim Hardin and I am the librarian at a middle school in Southern Indiana and our high school is on the same campus. The media specialist at the high school has developed a mandatory Reading Counts program for the language arts classes. Our high school is much, much smaller than yours, but does your library/media center participate in any formal reading programs like Reading Counts or Accelerated Reader?

  4. Hi! I also have a question about collaboration. What do find are the challenges of being a supervisor of media specialists?

  5. Hi Bonnie,

    I just read an article, "Where the Kids Are," by Pamela Bacon from Ben Davis. In this article she discusses how she had to come up with creative ways to teach the kids information literacy skills becuase many of the teachers did not have time to bring their kids into the library due to state mandates. Her solution was to create an online, mandatory tutorial that all sophomore's complete. Have you had to develop creative ways to get information literacy skills into the curriculum? Did you have to get creative to encourage teachers to come to the library?

    Katie Baker

  6. Anonymous10:50 AM

    To Jennifer Clifford...
    It really is close to impossible to collaborate with everyone. What we do is work very closely with the English, Social Studies and Family and Consumer Science classes. We do quite a bit of work also with Business, Health/PE and Art. Our weakest links are Science, Math, World Lang and Ind. Tech. Our main focus via the English is our copperative lessons/instruction for all 9th and 10th grades. All 9th Eng focus on reading projects and all 10th Eng focus on search strategies and evaluations.
    Please note the addition of 5,000 square feet was not for a "frehsman library". It was just an expansion of our ONE library. We do not develop or design a frehsman only collection.

  7. Anonymous10:55 AM

    To Kim Harden...
    We used to use Reading Counts. However, we are no longer pursuing a formal reading program. What I find much more informative is to have short, meaningful one-on-one booktalks or book review discussions with each students. It does not take very long to determine if the student actually read the work in qustion. Even if I have not read the work myself...I find it a great discussion time with kids.

  8. Anonymous11:00 AM

    To empressofanime....
    As with any suervisory position, the challenges are to honor everyone's individulaity and style and to remain cohesive in our goals, mission, philisophy and planning. It is very helpful that the 4 media professionas here at Carmel have worked together for over 6 years. We each bring strengths to the program and our line of responsiblities reflect those strengths. By dividing things up we can offer a very comprehensive, very focused program with experts in various areas (reading, technology, instruction, maintenance, etc)

  9. Anonymous11:14 AM

    To Katie Baker....
    I certainly appauld Pam at Ben Davis for her program. What a great idea to address issues and rech out to others. We, too, have discussed this approach to students (we DO assist with online instructions for staff via webstreaming and podcasting) but we really like the face-to-face approach. We are very, very fortunate that we have built a strong working relationship with our teachers. I honestly feel our English teachers would rebel if we did not do instructional sessions with each 9th and 10th grader. It is helpful to always have the Info Lit standards (memorized? ha!) on hand when we schedule and collaborate and teacher/class visit. We can quickly talk the connecting issues and help them in a variety of ways. Please note...every teacher is very, very busy and locked down and struggling to stay with their curriculum and meet their standards. I truly beleive you can connect, have meaningful collaborative discussions in a very short amount of time. Give me 10 minutes with a teacher and I can get ideas and plans flowing.

  10. Anonymous11:18 AM

    And oops....apologies all around...I just realized everything I have been submitting has come under anonymous!
    near with me...BGrimble

  11. Hi Bonnie,

    As a former middle school teacher, I was wondering about the level of information literacy skills that are taught at the middle school level versus those taught at the high school level. I'm sure your corporation has an effective media program for middle school students, but I wondered if you could speak about your expectations at the middle school level. What do you expect the kids to be able to do when you get them in high school? In your opinion, what areas do middle school media specialists need to really focus on? Are there needs at the middle school level that are not effectively being met?

    Heather Bontrager

  12. Anonymous12:47 PM

    With all the people and resources at CHS, how do you manage your time? What do you spend most of your time doing? Do you wish it could be changed? If so, in what way?

    I know my post sounds more like an essay question but I'm really curious as to how you keep all these balls in the air at the same time.


  13. Anonymous1:17 PM

    To Heather Bontrager...
    We are in a building year with our 3 middle school media programs. One has 3 yrs exp; one has 2 yr and one is new this yr. We have begun meeting informally for dinner (twice) to begin a more articulated focus from the 6-12 level. In a year+ from now I would be able to answer this much more effectively. Basically, I hope all middle school graduates come to the 9-12 bldg with basic understanding of our card catalog system, search strategies, computer management skills (basic) and some evaluation techniques.

  14. Anonymous1:25 PM

    To Nicki Kirchoff.... depends. Today it seemed all I accomplished was putting out fires and dealing with technology ,troubleshooting things.There is never a day that goes like I think it will. There is never a day that pans out like I plan. Maybe more than anything (in all honestly) is to have some un-interrupted time! There always seems to be someone needing something, wanting something. Most days it (interruptions) comes as an easy flow and other days it brings chaos. Keeping up with the reviews and pruchasing can be a challenge but all 4 of us work on it and that helps. Our first priority should be being on the floor and working with students...reality does not always happen.
    I'm not sure if that answers your qusetion...I try to remind myself that interruptions are what makes our job special!

  15. Hi Bonnie,
    I studied French as an undergraduate and am curious about the type of interaction you have with your foreign language teachers? Do you collaborate, help them with resources?

    Foreign language courses are not part of the standards but are an important area of study today especially in our global community. It is an area of collaboration I would like to see expand. Just wondering what your experience is.

  16. Bonnie,

    Could you tell me what your role is in your media center website? I know the media specialist at our school takes care of updating it herself, but I was not sure if that was typical for media specialists.

    Also, I was wondering how you go about encouraging your students to use the databases that you have available through your media center, as well as those that are available through INSPIRE. Do you do any direct instruction on how to use them/why to use them?

    Amy Acree

  17. Hi Bonnie,

    I'm curious how much of your book budget do you guys spend on print reference material vs. electronic reference materials such as databases.

    Other than INSPIRE what databases does Carmel subscribe to for student use on campus as well as away from the campus network? Why those particular databases?

    Also is your media center equiped with wireless? Do students have the ability to use their own laptops on campus?

    Ben Waymouth

  18. Anonymous5:10 AM

    To Lindsay....
    I agree that foreign language is vitally important to today's world and today's education. Our foreign language has two language labs and a very well-defined currciulum. We collaborate on 2 or 3 major projects a year. The majority of their work (good or bad) is self contained. Yes, it would be wonderful to do more work with those reality it does not happen here at CHS.

  19. Anonymous5:16 AM

    To Amy Acree....
    We have a great arrangement here at CHS for our HS and our media websites. John SHearin, one of our Media Specialists, is the teacher of our website class. We are on block schedule here at CHS and every other day we have a 90 minute SRT (Studetn Resource Time). John instructs an independent class of 8 to 12 students (it varies from yr to yr) who receive a full grade for designing, maintaining and operating the HS site, the media site and all other HS links on our webpage. It is a wonderful opportunity for the students and a great resource.
    We incorporate all our database insruction into our Sophomore Eng project. Every sophomore receives instruction (embedded into a project) on all our databases.

  20. Anonymous5:25 AM

    To Ben Waymouth....
    Budgeting is always a challenge. First, there is never enough $$ to meet the needs. Second, to adequately balance the expenditures across the acct lines can change from yr to yr....demands, requests and curriculum changes influence everything. The electronic expenditures (databases) continue to eat up our acct monies. We are always looking for new items (receiving free trials as often as possible) to add to our databases. We are also exploring books online...reference only at this point. To see what we subscribe to, please visit our website at
    I might mention that we work very closely with depts and constant ask for their input on purchases. And though we balance our purchases across depts, we do give a "bonus" amount to the dept who has completed their 1st yr with new textbooks. As the textbook cycle goes, a dept spends a yr studying and choosing new textbooks. We wait a year for them to use the textbooks and them we meet with that dept to see what issues they find need enhancement. We found that teachers need a yr to work with their new curriculum and ne textbooks before they really know what materials they need to suppliment their materials. It is a system that works for us.
    And yes, we are equiped for wireless in the media center area.