Monday, September 22, 2008

Leslie Preddy - Mon. Sept. 22 to Wed. Sept. 24, 2008

Leslie Preddy is the library media specialist at Perry Meridian Middle School, Indianapolis. Leslie is another Indiana and national leader in the school library field. She is an author, presenter, and an enthusiastic teacher librarian with a long list of participation, accomplishment, and some well-deserved recognition.

Learn more about Leslie:
Introduction at eduScapes http://eduscapes.com/sms/overview/preddy.html

Instructional Media Center Website: http://pmms.msdpt.k12.in.us/imc/index.htm
Leslie Preddy: Reading, Thinking, Learning, Living . . . http://www.lesliepreddy.com/

Here is another occasion to discuss real issues, concerns, and experiences with a library media professional.

61 comments:

  1. Jamie B6:35 AM

    Hi Leslie! Thank you for taking time out of your busy, busy schedule to do this with us. I have just a few questions for you. (1) My first one is, how do you find time to do everything you do? I know you don't do them all at once, but do you ever feel overwhelmed keeping up with you day to day work, working on publications, plus you website and other commitments? (2) What's one of your most memorable collaboration projects with another teacher at PMHS? Do you collaborate with most of the teachers, or is there a few that are repeat collaborators?

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  2. Anonymous12:56 PM

    Hi Leslie,
    I just explored the PMMS webpage, wow--great resources presented in an organized way. I also browsed the IMC Teacher Handbook-a great marketing tool for the media center. My question is related to the handbook. In a positive way, it clearly states IMC goals and purposes and should help create expectations for teacher and student usage.
    The question is this: 1) are teachers made aware of the handbook in a staff meeting, newsletter, other? 2) Do most read it or are you still having to do a lot of individual reminders, etc.?
    Keithia, SLIS student

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  3. Hi Leslie,
    I noticed you've been a Media Specialist for Perry Meridian for 16 years!! What are some of the biggest challenges you've had to face over the years and how did you overcome them?

    What keeps you coming back year after year?

    Kathy

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  4. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Hi Leslie-
    I have a couple of questions for you.
    1)What is the best way to go about convincing teachers to get on board and to use you as a resource, especially when the building is used to one way and that way doesn't use a lot of collaboration?
    2) What do you feel is the biggest challenge that media specialist will encounter in the next 5 years?

    Thanks
    Kelly

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  5. Anonymous5:27 PM

    Hi Leslie,

    I am a 6th-grade elementary teacher. Right now I am on a sabbatical until next fall so that I can complete my Master of Library Science degree. I hope to return to work as a teacher-librarian...anywhere in the school district. My biggest fear is putting in the 12-hour days again that I was putting in as a teacher, so I'm always interested in hearing what other media specialists have to say about their schedules. How do you balance your time between collaboration and all the other jobs a media specialist has to do? What does a typical day or week look like for you?

    Thanks!
    Sandy B.

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  6. Anonymous5:37 PM

    Hi Jamie -
    It's great to be here talking to you:) In response to how do I find time to do everything...I don't have an answer to that, except that it always somehow seems to get done. I feel committed to this profession. I'm very passionate about being an educator, whether I am teaching adults or kids, which I think helps me find the time necessary to continue to strive to always do my best, learn from my mistakes, and be better than I was yesterday. I think that it's important, and the research shows it to be true, for us to be active professionally and from my own experience, writing or speaking about my experiences takes me up notch in my understanding of myself, my students, my collaborators, our experiences, and best practices. That is not to say that I don't feel overwhelmed, because I do - everybody in this profession does, but I just have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and tackle things one at a time. I don't want to sound silly here, but I wouldn't change it for anything. I love that I adore my job. I love that I care so much about doing a good job. I love that I have teachers tell me they don't want to leave our school because they don't want to leave our school library. I love helping students, teachers, parents, fellow professionals...okay, enough mushy stuff. To make my long answer short, you just figure out how to work it all out and find time to do what is important, personally and professionally.

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  7. Anonymous5:48 PM

    Jamie #2,
    My most memorable will always be my first collaboration, because it took me around five years to gain the trust in a very traditional building before I could even get anyone to step out of their comfort zone and allow me to co-teach with them, and it grew into the most expansive to include a whole team of teachers, as well as eventually winning us the AASL award.
    I work in a middle school, with a secondary model and over 60 classroom teachers and 1200 students. Even though I feel guilt about it, it is physically impossible for me to collaborate with every teacher. Unlike in an elementary school, where I could theoretically work with multiple teachers in one day, at the secondary I can only work with one teacher in a day and that teacher and I will repeat ourselves six times that day, teaching the same lesson to over 100 students throughout the day, and most research projects lasting 5-15 school days. I do have a lot of 'repeat' customers that want to work with me year after year, which is good! I must be doing something right, because my callendar was filled before the first week of school ended with collaborative projects (the second week of school through the last week of school) I'm co-teaching with a variety of teachers/subjects.

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  8. Anonymous5:59 PM

    Keithia,
    Eek! I bet that handbook is last year's handbook, too...I think you just reminded me that I'd forgotten to post the updated handbook online.
    As far as your questions goes, there is an IMC section to the Teacher's Hanbook, which is given to every teacher and gone over the first staff day of the year.
    I do have people ask/email questions that can be answered in the handbook (for example, the password for accessing our online encyclopedia from home or how to update classes in our lexile testing program), but I don't mind reminding them where to find it. It's my opinion that it's always good to have things in writing, because it reduces confusion and it only takes a moment to tell them where to find the information. Everyone is so busy and overwhelmed, I don't expect everyone to remember everything, or where to find the answer to everything, and instead I find their questions that can be answered in the handbook an extension of my responsibility to answer any reference question they might ask. Over the years, as I've made the library section of the Teacher's Handbook more useful, I've found I get fewer repeat questions as people get used to using it & referring to it. And honestly, it's also very helpful for me to be able to find all the information I need as well so easily at my fingertips in one spot.
    Leslie

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  9. Anonymous6:09 PM

    KB,
    Yeah, I'm feeling old - nothing ages one quicker than working with adolescents;) It depends on what day you ask as to what I would answer for the biggest challenges. In my youth, it would have been trying to overcome the librarian stereotype (ie not a teacher) and the stereotypical old-school library I desperately wanted to update. Ongoing issues to always be aware of is that how people feel about you will impact their willingness to have their student's use the library, so it's always important to consider people's feeling or potential reactions when dealing with them. And a final point that comes to mind is that administration and support staff play a key role in your program's success, and as the library media specialist, you'll have to deal with them more than a classroom teacher would, so care is needed when building those relationships.
    Leslie

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  10. Anonymous6:19 PM

    Kelly #1,
    To change old habits and convince people to move toward the 21st century can take some time and I would take every little step forward you make as a big success. Do little things to make them notice you, like subscribing to some grant lists that summarize education grant opportunities, which you can then review and forward those that might be of interest. Try doing a monthly newsletter to keep staff informed professionally, personally, and throw in a few reminders of what you can do for them. Prepare a lesson, then approach someone you trust and ask if they would be willing to co-teach it with you to try it out. Once you've worked that lesson out and both of you are comfortable, ask to collaborate on a full unit. I found I could get my foot in the door if I had ideas and mini-lessons already in place for most research skills. The classroom teachers tell me they were relieved, because they felt ill-prepared to teach research and with me in the lead teaching role, they could follow my example/lead. Once you get your foot it the door, things may move quickly, but also don't be surprised if it takes some time - I believe I read somewhere that it could take up to five years to turn a traditional library program around into what we need it to be for today's youth.
    Leslie

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  11. Anonymous6:24 PM

    Kelly #2,
    I think the biggest challenge for media specialist will be to keep up with technology. We will need to know where the kids are, what they are doing, what appropriately applies to education, learn how to do it ourselves, then figure out how to teach it effectively to students and staff, including ethics and unteaching bad habits. I find keeping up with the social networks, Twitters, Blogs, Tubes, Wikis, digital editing/publishing etc. quite a challenge, but an even bigger challenge is getting kids and teachers to unlearn bad habits in order to re-teach appropriate technology skills effectively.
    Leslie

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  12. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Mrs. Preddy,

    I can't believe there would be teachers who would be against any sort of co-teaching. I would love to have such an opportunity to actually be able to see new methods and have somebody help me. At my current school our media center is staffed by volunteers and I avoid it as it has no materials that are relevant to our middle school. My question is what types of teachers seem to be the most reluctant to cooperation? Do they tend to be those veterans who are set in their ways? Do you see more acceptance from younger teachers who are desperate for help or is it even throughout the board? Are guys less susceptible to wanting to work together or more. It's neat to actually see and write the person behind the "Preddy Book" as it was called in class. Another question for you, any relation to George Preddy, the famous ace?

    Chad Gish

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  13. Anonymous6:45 PM

    From Judy A. Hickman
    Hi Leslie,
    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I have two questions for you. 1) I am currently an academic librarian (may want to switch to a school media specialist someday, but I am not sure as of yet) and one of my greatest challenges is getting enough money to support the library collection. I was wondering if you face this challenge as well and if you had any advice on how to get additional monies. 2) How do you help your disabled students in the library? Do you provide tutoring services, have someone read the material... I sometimes get frustrated with the system that I have at my school. I have adults who struggle and need additional help, but I cannot give them what they need because I am understaffed and my Dean frowns on me helping them too much. Thank you again for you time!
    Judy A. Hickman

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  14. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Sandy,
    Oooh, I'm not sure I'm a good person to ask this question to...I love my job & I don't know how to do it without putting in a 10 hour day, if you count only the hours spent at school...
    My average day begins by trying to be at my desk by 6am (my husband takes care of the kids in the am)- this way I can get some things done before staff begin arriving and needing help and I can leave at 4pm to pick up my son from Cross Country practice. At 6am I usually begin by digging into my email. I subscribe to many online resource lists, including teacher lists, library lists, and community resource lists, so it is common for me to get 200 in my inbox in a day. I try to go through and forward (I have a technique for this so that my teachers don't feel inundated with my emails) to staff what might be of interest either personally or professionally. Soon, I begin getting interrupted by faculty coming through needing help, or just needing to talk. People become my priority. In between helping people & trying to finish email, I get set up for the day and touch base with my collaborating teacher (if it's a co-teaching day). When students are released from the buses, I work with Mustang News TV crew & we air televised announcements live. After that, I grab a few minutes to take care of librarian-type things (like this morning I was preparing registration confirmation for students who signed up for next week's Genre Lunch in the Library). From there, I either begin co-teaching with my collaborator or if it's a librarian day, I'll begin working on my priority project, like tomorrow I'll be working on processing in a cart of new materials. In between working on my priority project or during passing periods, I'll continue to check emails to make sure nobody has sent anything needing immediate response and check with my clerk to make sure there aren't any questions or needs she's tried to field for me that need addressed. No matter what I'm doing, it will be common for me to be interrupted by students and staff needing help. Unless I am in the middle of direct instruction, I will stop what I'm doing and their need will be my priority. At the end of the school day, I often have a meeting, like SSR/Literacy committee has been meeting every week to plan our October 1 training that we are presenting to the staff. After the meeting, if I am chair, I will send an email out the the members with the minutes -what we got done, what we agreed to do, and who agreed to what 'homework' assignment, etc. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to catch some time at my computer before I leave at 4pm preparing lessons or materials for upcoming reading promotion events.
    At 4pm I begin family time, but it wouldn't be unusual for me to be doing 'homework' while the kids are working on their homework as well.
    I also try to carry around an adolescent book & try to keep up on literature trends, etc. I love my job, so it would be pretty normal for me to spend some evening time and parts of my weekends writing, concocting ways to motivate readers, grading projects, etc.
    I'm an addict, really, I think...
    Leslie

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  15. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Chad,
    LOL! No, no relation to anyone famous, but I'm sure, give my daughter a few years and my answer will be different... :)
    You know, I'm sure somebody has studied, and if not somebody should, what type of person is willing to collaborate. The stereotype would be that it must be 'veteran' teachers that are less willing, but I've found newly certified teachers are just an ill-prepared for the modern school library and library media specialist. It seems to be more of a mindset. If you think about it, it can be rather intimidating to put yourself out there - to show your teaching, warts and all, to not only a fellow educator, but also anyone that happens to walk through the library. I have found new people to my building are easily swayed to believe in working with us if they actually happen to walk through the library and see two or more of us co-teaching. Once they see the fun we have, the comraderie, the energy, and the shared work-force, they want to know how to do that with me, too. But those new to the building that work in a section of the school where they do not find cause to walk through the library and be a casual observer, are less likely to be initially interested.
    I do think your gender question is also interesting and I am trying to think whether that is a factor, but I think since there are fewer males on faculty, it proportionally plays out to be a non-issue.
    The "Preddy book" eh? What a hoot.
    Leslie

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  16. Anonymous7:13 PM

    Judy #1,
    Money is always an issue. In Indiana, the funding guideline is from the 70's (that's 1970's) and is woefully inadequate. Unfortunately, in these tight finanical times, many school districts fund only the minimum necessary. Luckily, AIME sponsors a Blue Ribbon award and a school library cannot even apply for it unless it meets a minimum per pupil expenditure, which is much greater than the state minimum, and this has influences some school districts to maintain or increase their library funding.
    I'm always looking for ways to add to the budget I'm given. Sometimes I can persuade the principal to give me some of his funds. Sometimes I'm able to get grants to do certain projects & part of the grant includes buying new materials for the library. I sponsor book fairs twice a year so that I can have money in a building level account that I can access throughout the year, which I use to purchase YHBA books and books that are in high demand that are requested frequently. Some years I've even posted a magazine sponsor form for parents to fill out & donate money to 'sponsor' a magazine subscription. At book fairs and large parent functions, I've also posted donation trees (like what you'd see in classrooms) where parents can pick a sticky note with a title to pick out and donate to the library. We have a book drive every year where families donate used books and part of the books are donated to a local charity, part are kept for our SSR Lending Library, and another portion (the popular titles we need multiple copies of) are added to the library collection. And so and so forth...the ideas are only as limited as your staff's time and imagination.
    Leslie

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  17. Anonymous7:21 PM

    Judy #2,
    How do we help special needs students in the library? The library does not provide tutoring services, but we do offer the same assitance to all students - helping students locate materials in their interest and/or reading range. The school, of course, offers them assistance as designated by their IEP, which does mean that an aide will bring an individual or small group to the IMC to work or reward.
    The library does provide, through the SSR/Literacy Committee, ongoing training for faculty on how to teach and model reading in all content areas.
    The library also provides resources for a wide range or reading levels. We have picture books and early elementary non-fiction for our MiMh and MoMh classes (and other kids love them, too:). We have high interest, low vocabulary fiction and non-fiction for our students reading below grade level. We have the average adolscent literature for those reading at or near grade level. We also have high interest, high vocabulary fiction and non-fiction for advanced readers reading above grade level.
    Leslie

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  18. Hi Leslie,
    I have read some of your articles and know you talk in-depth about SSR. As a firm supporter of this, have you found many teachers rejecting the program? And if so, how do you still convince teachers even after explaining the positive results? Some teachers just don't want to be bothered with SSR.

    Thank you for your time and thoughts,
    Julie

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  19. Hi again, Leslie!

    I'm interested in the question of how well AR and RC programs promote critical literacy skills in students. Knowing there is some opposition to AR, what are you opinions and how well do you feel this program develops and encourages students' critical reading and evaluating of texts?

    Thank you,
    Julie

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  20. Anonymous2:01 PM

    Julie,
    I agree that it is hard to implement or sustain anything, but I don't think the problems are just SSR specific. Anytime we try to do something school-wide, there are those that rebel. Sometimes the rebellion is fear or discomfort of the unknown or change and other times it is just that human stubborn streak some people have whenever they're told what to do (you know the kind - those that don't show up for restroom duty or bus duty or a variety of other responsibilities we have to share). Key to success is initial training, plus ongoing training throughout the year and every year. One high school in Indianapolis told me about how they firmly believe that they've sustained and been successful with SSR because they have a motivational reading/literacy speaker come in for the first faculty day of the school year. We also need administrative support, actively involved, to keep sustained change. My school is definitely not perfect, and our committee still struggles with how to get everyone on board, but we have noticed that every year, more and more people are converted;) We also realize that some people may never change, but we continue to work with them anyway. We also know that we can't stop doing something evidence based practishows us is the right thing to do just because there are a few people that refused to follow the program (and they're often the same people that have trouble following other school policies as well, so don't get yourself down about them, instead be excited by all the good you've done with the others).
    Leslie

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  21. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Julie,
    You're right, AR and RC are very touchy subjects. Educators either love it or hate it. Administrators love it because it's quick proof they're doing something and it's easier to implement than to make sure their teachers are effectively teaching reading comprehension and a love of reading. Some educators love it because it feels like an easy solutions and definitely makes grading easier. The problem is that it is only a tool, not a reading program, but too often a school adopts it and says it is their reading program. Another problem is that the questions are shallow and do not test a reader's deeper understanding. You might also read Nancy Everhart's 2005 article in the peer reviewed School Library Media Research. He study found that it works in elementary, but has negative ramifications when those students reach secondary. I'm afraid I have first-hand experience with this myself. My son was a voracious reader, then we moved to an AR school at the start of his 3rd grade year. The teachers and school library, no matter how much I pleaded, would not allow him to pick books freely. Instead he was required to read in his reading range and was limited to checking out only books that had AR tests. Within two years, he hated reading and to this day (he's in 6th grade now), he talks passionately about his dislike of AR and rarely ever picks up a book to read for pleasure anymore.
    Again, this is s sensitive subject with many strong opinions and I hope I have not upset or offended anyone.
    Leslie

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  22. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Hey Mrs. Preddy,

    It tends to seem from your reply that you co teach out of the library. Do you ever take the your lesson to the teacher's room. When I have been reading on all this cooperation I just naturally percieved that you would be working with the teacher in their surroundings. Sure there may be times when they take their students into the library for research, etc. but for some reason I picture you invading their room rather than the other way around. Do you think in doing so, teachers might also feel more comfortable in collaborating? I am interested in becoming a media specialist because I see myself as kind of the caddy bringing the right clubs to the teachers instead of them having to come to me and play on my course. Is that doable or is it not plausible.

    By the way, shoot I was hoping you were related to Preddy, I always enjoy reading up on aces and he had some interesting stories to him.

    Chad Gish

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  23. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Hey Mrs. Preddy,

    It tends to seem from your reply that you co teach out of the library. Do you ever take the your lesson to the teacher's room. When I have been reading on all this cooperation I just naturally percieved that you would be working with the teacher in their surroundings. Sure there may be times when they take their students into the library for research, etc. but for some reason I picture you invading their room rather than the other way around. Do you think in doing so, teachers might also feel more comfortable in collaborating? I am interested in becoming a media specialist because I see myself as kind of the caddy bringing the right clubs to the teachers instead of them having to come to me and play on my course. Is that doable or is it not plausible.

    By the way, shoot I was hoping you were related to Preddy, I always enjoy reading up on aces and he had some interesting stories to him.

    Chad Gish

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  24. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Leslie,

    Thanks for your prompt response! Tell me more about "librarian days." Do you set these aside or just let them happen naturally if it's not a "co-teaching day?"

    How much freedom and trust do you have to determine your own schedule? I've found the occupation of teaching to be a very political thing, so I'm curious.

    I bet teachers want to collaborate more and more with you mainly because of one thing: trust. I can tell by your responses that you truly, passionately want to help and would not be the type who would criticize or run to the principal. Last year, I went with some colleagues to visit an elementary in Indianapolis known for being highly successful. I had so much respect for something the principal said. He was talking about how teachers were shy about working with the literacy coach at first until they found out they could trust her. He said something like this: "When the literacy coach comes to my office, we don't talk about what teachers are doing wrong. I might really want to know, but I don't ask. That would break the trust." It sounds like you are an incredibly tolerant, understanding, trustworthy person. And knowledgeable too! I bet teachers count their lucky start every day!

    Sandy

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  25. Anonymous4:27 PM

    Dear Leslie,

    Thanks for addressing this class!
    Just a couple of quick questions -
    What conferences do you plan to attend this year?
    Which conferences would you recommend? I've been to the ICE Conference for several years and plan to attend AIME /ILF Conference this fall.

    Secondly, what committees do you believe are important for school media specialist to share their expertise with or to have representation on? I hope that makes sense. I serve on my school's RTI and technology committees.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Jennifer Sigler

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  26. Anonymous4:42 PM

    Hello again Leslie,
    3 questions:
    It appears that the library has flex scheduling in general. 1)Are there any "scheduled" times for book checkout?
    2)Classes can schedule the library for use also, is this when you are co-teaching a unit, or can they schedule it for their own projects and teach it themselves?
    3) What are your practices for leveled reading?
    Keithia

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  27. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Chad,
    I love that you are thinking of going to the classroom. You are right - if you have the support staff necessary that allows you to go to the classroom, it is good to co-teach there as well as in the library. I think kids need to experience and be comfortable with the library, so I think most of the time I am in the library. I do love to begin a research project in the classroom for the pre-search (you know, the questioning phase, etc.). It is a great way to phase yourself in as another teacher in the their lives, as well as set the tone before moving them to the plethora of resources and freedom and possible distractions available in the library). I also enjoy going to the classroom for booktalks, reading instruction, cultural presentations, etc. WIth techology, It can also be nice to take a cart of resources to a classroom, practice a book selection strategy, then do remote checkout right there in the classroom (some kids, especially struggling readers, have trouble keeping focus on book selection in the library are overwhelmed by all the choices, so for them, reducing the selection to a cart of resources selected based on their interests and a range of reading levels can help).

    Please call me Leslie - if I remind you of George, you can't call me Mrs Preddy:)
    Leslie

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  28. Anonymous4:53 PM

    All of you sound so interesting, fun and diverse! I'm curious -what is the one great think you've gotten from blogging with practicing library media specialists?
    Leslie

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  29. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Sandy,
    You are very kind. I never thought it through the aspect of trust, but you're right - that must be a huge piece of it. I'm always very careful to respect the fact that they are the teacher of record and they're putting a lot of faith in our joint ability to make effective use of the instructional time. Being in middle school, we get the good fortune of repeating ourselves six times a day, so when I think if building trust, I think of how I always try to touch base after co-teaching to discuss what we think worked and didn't work so we can immediately fix it for the next group, discuss how to adapt to the personality of a particular class, etc.

    I find it's also important not to be caught up in the peer gossip. In my position, I often know things that I'd rather not, sometimes personal, sometimes not so nice instructional habits, but I can't 'kiss and tell' or I think they'd be wondering what I would say behind their back next...
    Leslie

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  30. Anonymous5:22 PM

    Sandy #2,
    I have complete freedom with my schedule. Any 'fixed' scheduling is self-imposed on my part. Actually, the library has what I call a 'semi-fixed' schedule (you'll notice I said the library, not me:). We feel it is very important for students to be exposed to books, to find going to the library rountine and normal (if there can even be a definition of normal in middle school:), and to be exposed to the habit of reading. So some years ago, we began scheduling all English/Language Arts classes for 20 minutes of self-selected reading/library time every week. The classes come with their E/LA teacher & the classroom teacher handles most everything. When available, the clerk and I will help students who need or request help selecting reading material, but the classroom teachers have become very confident in being able to navigate the library, so they are very involved in assisting their kids during this time. It is a lot of fun!
    Leslie

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  31. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Sandy #3,
    I guess in my mind I break my job (library media specialist) down into whether I'm doing librarian stuff or doing the media specialist stuff. Canada may be on to something by calling themselves Teacher-Librarian. Sorry if it sounded funny when I said "librarian days".
    I'm not a good person to ask about scheduling these days, because I am a sucker for the opportunity to collaborate, so often my librarian duties suffer in the name of working with classroom teachers and/or students. So I guess I let these days happen naturally - people come first and when I'm not working with people, I'll get my library stuff done. Many times I squeeze my library responsibilities in before school, after school, while my collaborating techer is on prep, etc.

    "Librarian days" are times when I am able to take care of library stuff: ordering, processing in new materials, weeding, developing reading promotion programming, equipment repair, book repair, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes at work, but more often at home, I also try to keep up on reviews, professional journals, etc.

    If I misunderstood your question, please let me know & I'll try again:)
    Leslie

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  32. Hi Leslie,
    Thanks for answering my questions on challenges.

    1. You mentioned that it took you 5 YEARS to get teachers to collaborate with you...how do you keep asking?
    2. What is this email technique you use to forward the right lists to teachers without overwhelming them?
    3. Do you work with a variety of subject teachers or primarily the English teachers?
    4. Check out station on a cart??!! Do you have wireless in your building? What checkout software do you use?
    5. I noticed that you've received a billion grants...how do you find out about them? Would you recommend a SLIS student taking a grant writing class?

    **********************
    What I get out of the blogging is not feeling so ALONE! It's nice to know that all the stuff you read about is ACTUALLY POSSIBLE and not just theorectical. It's nice to know that collaboration takes time...even for the gifted media specialist! Reading all of the other questions also helps. The best is communicating with people who love their jobs. It's a wonderful change.

    *************************
    Thanks for taking the time out to answer our questions so thoroughly!

    Kathy

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  33. Anonymous5:53 PM

    Jennifer,
    I used to go to ICE, too, but haven't been the past few years. This year I just got back from the Ecyclo-media in Oklahoma. I will also attend the the ILF/AIME conference, which I attend every year. This year I will also be at the SLJ Leadership Retreat, IRA, and probably the AIME Survivor Workshop and Adolescent Literacy Conference this summer. ALA Annual is in Chicago this summer, so it might also be fun to talk some fellow slms to take the train in for the day from Valparaiso and walk through the exhibits (ALA Annual exhibits are HUGE & worth the experience - plus it's usually only about $25 for a day pass to the exhibit hall)

    Many schools now restrict teachers to only one conference a year. If you're asking my advice for the must-attend conference for Indiana slms, I would say the ILF Annual Conference (unless AIME has a separate annual conference, then I would say AIME). It's important to attend this because of the sessions that are specifically related to our field. It's also important because of the networking opportunities - meeting, visiting with, and befriending slms from all over the state, which is especially important when you think that we are often the only slms in our building. An important goal for me every day of a conference is to walk away with just one idea that I can use and plan to do something with right away, and I get those ideas from ILF/AIME. I also think it's important to apply to present a concurrent session at ILF/AIME. I am also gratified by how much I learn about myself, best practices, my students, my classroom teachers, etc. by just presenting a session sharing someting we've done in my building.
    Leslie

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  34. Anonymous6:01 PM

    Jennifer #2,
    What committees are important to try to be involved in is an important question. Different schools call them different things, so generally speaking, I would focus efforts on getting involved in the ones that impact the whole school (where your unique perspective will be beneficial). Usually, the slms is involved with the tech committee, literacy committee, school improvement committee, team/dept leaders committee, but it could also extend to PTA, special projects, etc.

    Consider outside of the school, as well. You may want to be involved in a district level committee, a state slms committee, a national organization committee, etc.
    Leslie

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  35. Hi Leslie:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us.
    Like many schools in the state, we are struggling to accumulate the funds necessary to get books of interest into the hands of the students. We are a new intermediate school in a corporation recently completed two large capital building projects and suffered the effects of the June floods. Money is more than sparse. We need to write a grant to have someone speak to us about successful grant writing. I worry about keeping the students motivated to read with limited amount of materials. I love your idea of asking for magazine subscription requests, your donation tree, and book drive. Your grant writing tips on your website will also prove to be helpful. In your opinion, where should I start? I have very little experience writing grants.

    You mention that you high interest, low vocabulary fiction and non-fiction for your students reading below grade level. Which company do you use to order these collections?

    You also mention that you have a technique for forwarding listserv e-mails to your colleagues so that they will not feel inundated. Could you share your process? I have so much that I want to share with my colleagues, but I worry about sending out so much that they stop reading anything I send out.

    I am in the process of starting live televised announcements in my building. Would you be open to visitors? I would love to observe your Mustang News TV crew for ideas.

    Could you tell us more about the purpose and mission of your SSR/Literacy committee? What type of activities do you plan?

    Would you tell us more about your SSR library? How is this different from the main library collection?

    You asked, “What is the one great thing we’ve gotten from blogging with practicing library media specialists?” I believe that I’ve learned that you don’t have to be perfect: that even the most experienced media specialist have the same struggles that we(beginners) face. I suppose the key is that we keep on moving forward to reach our goals.

    Thanks again,
    Lee Ann

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  36. Anonymous6:20 PM

    Hi Keithia!

    1- We work out a schedule every year for E/LA classes to come in once a week for 20 minutes of self-selected reading/check-out. My teachers have come to love this opportunity so much that I have people placing their time/day request in the summer before school starts:)

    2- Collaboration, and more specifically the co-teaching aspect does mostly occur in the library or adjacent computer lab. Teachers can request to use the facilities, but say they do not need my help, and I will respect their wishes...but as the years have gone by, I can only think of one person that still requests the library, but says they don't want my help (but in the past few years, once his classes arrive, we end up working together to help the kids, but I wouldn't call it 'collaborative').

    3-Leveled Reading isn't something we do as a district in the middle grades. For the past few years students have taken a lexile test three times a year to get their reading range, which can be used when selecting independent books as well as for classroom teachers to use when deciding whether content area reading can be independent, read aloud/along, in class work, or homework. Just this year we've adopted Scholastic Read180, which is a program that takes struggling readers, reading two grades below, and brings them up to grade level. We have high hopes that this will be successful, especially since literacy is a determining factor for dropout, prison, and career/income.
    Leslie

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  37. Leslie,
    I am very lucky in having numerous collaborations already scheduled this year. My problem is finding time to do the "library stuff." I have been trying to keep 2 days a week open, but it seems as if something always comes up. Do you have any suggestions as how not to overbook collaborative projects?
    Cindy

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  38. Anonymous6:34 PM

    Hey Kathy!
    1 - It took me five years, first because I was an incompetent, crappy, doofus slms when I first started AND I began work in a very, very, very traditional school library with a very, very, very established staff. From getting to know all of you, I doubt it will take any one you that much time...One thing I did was met with each teacher, to find out who their personal interests and hobbies, what they were doing with their classes, what they planned to do next, what they were having trouble with, etc. I took notes on what they said & would go back to the library find ways to make a connection. I would also keep an eye out & follow-up throughout the year as I came across things that might interest them. I tried to meet with them once a quarter. After a bit, they saw me as somebody that was helpful and I no longer had to go to them all the time, they would seek me out for help and ideas. As the relationships built, I found somebody that was receptive and willing to be my guinea pig as I tried collaborating and co-teaching for the first time. Neither of us really knew what we were doing, but we talked through it a lot, forgave each other's mistakes, and finally figured it out. Once we'd figured out how to do this magic called collaboration, things just clicked and special things started happening. Other people noticed these special going on with the students and the collaborators and suddenly, there were more people willing to collaborate.

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  39. Leslie,
    A second question...
    I've been reading your website about SSR with Intervention and just ordered your book.
    My school has SSR scheduled 3 days a week for 18 minutes each session. However, remediation is now also done during this time. Struggling students, especially our LD students, receive remediation, but have no time or very little time devoted to choice reading. What suggestions would you have for my administration as to the loss of SSR?
    Cindy

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  40. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Kathy #2,

    Subscribing to email lists is awesome. I gather so much information is such a convenient package and one thing nearly everyone on my staff compliments me on is the passing on of information through emails.

    First, I skim through the email to see if there is anything I think is worth passing on. If there is, then I cut and paste into the email only what is worthwile (sometimes this also means following a link in the email to get further or better information to add/include) and a link to further information, if needed.

    People just want snippets at a time, so I only include one thing per email. It could be a distance learning opportunity, community event, grant, education article, etc.

    In the subject line of the email, I add a prefix in all caps so people see right away whether they want to open it or delete it (examples of prefixes: GRANT, PROF.DEV., NEWS, LOCAL, DL, WEB, CONTEST, SSR Teachers ONLY, SS Teachers ONLY, SCIENCE Teachers ONLY, etc.)

    At the end of the email I'm going to send out I add in paranthesis "quoted from such-and-such e-newsletter month-day-year e-newlsetter arrived in my inbox)

    Leslie

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  41. Anonymous6:55 PM

    Kathy #3,
    I work with all subjects, as a matter of fact next week's project is with 7th grade Social Studies. My schedule does seem to have a lot of E/LA and SS, but I think some of that is because of how their standards are written.
    Leslie

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  42. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Kathy #4,
    We use Follett's Destiny, which is web-based, so I can go into any classroom, access Destiny from any computer connected to the Internet (like the teacher's desktop), log into Destiny and go right into checkout. Our scanner plugs into the USB port on the computer, so I can even bring that with me so I don't have to type the numbers in by hand.
    Leslie

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  43. Anonymous7:04 PM

    Kathy #5,
    I find out about grants by subscribing to free lists/e-newsletters that summarize upcoming grant opportunities. I think some of them can be found at http://www.lesliepreddy.com/grant.htm

    Yes-take a grant writing class! I wish that had been available when I was in school. People love getting and spending money & sometimes getting a grant has gotten my foot in the collaboration door with some classroom teachers. They love helping spend the money we get and the prestige that comes along with winning the grant.
    Leslie

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  44. Anonymous7:20 PM

    Lee Ann,
    Floods-try contacting some of our local book reps to find out if their company is doing any flood victim bok donations or extra deep discounts to help. Also, contact Julie at AASL and she might know more - I think I read something about how they were working with publishers, etc. to help flood and hurricane victims. I would also contact DOE's Office of Learning Resources to find out if there is anything they can suggest or are working on.

    High Interest - I'll need to check that at work tomorrow and get back with you (unfortunately, this blog is blocked at work, so it will be evening before I can respond), but there are publishers that are really doing a great job lately with this stuff...I think Capstone is one, but I'll look tomorrow...

    Mustang News - I'd love to have you visit, but right now we're a little broken and are awaiting our LSTA grant equipment, so you might try visiting another school. I heard the new Franlin Intermediate school (Franklin, IN) has a really nice setup - if you call, ask for Brenda Crauder and tell her I suggested you call:)

    Emails-Kathy asked about that as well, so you might check one of my responses to her.

    Leslie

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  45. Anonymous7:35 PM

    Lee Ann #2,

    The SSR/Literacy Committee was initially established as part of our School Improvement Plan to implement the roll-out and training plan for building-wide SSR. Annually, we develop, plan and present training to staff on SSR, reading in the content area, and reading motivation. Besides the staff trainings and SSR implementation, we also work together on building-wide reading motivation/promotion events. We set up a calendar or events, which include an author visit, Reading Madness Month, YHBA, bookmark design contests, writing/art contests, Family Read-In, Genre Lunch in the Library, etc. I've really enjoyed having this committee's support. First, it means that the importance of reading isn't always coming from me. It also means that I'm not doing all this stuff alone - other people are willing to help, which means we're able to do more and do it better!

    The SSR Lending Library is a no-fault (no checkout, no pressure, no responsibility) collection of (mostly) paperback in a back storage room. Teachers can trade books in and out any time they want for their classroom bookshelf. We encourage teachers to have 50-75/100 books on their bookshelf. Besides having the books, though, they are also encourage to trade their books in/out every grading quarter or at least once a semester. These books are not barcoded, but they are stamped with the school name and a library logo sticker is wrapped around their spine - The only reason we mark these books is so that we don't waste time later, because often the SSR Lending Library books get dropped in the library book return along with library books (and the sticker/stamp helps us quickly identify them and put them back on the SSR Lending Library for re-use).
    Leslie

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  46. Leslie:

    I apologize. I was working on my post around the time Kathy posted and was oblivious to the fact she had asked the same thing. Thank you for your insight.

    Thanks for the guidance in the grant process.I now have a direction.

    I am blessed to be the media specialist in Brenda Crauder's building. She sings your praises! We have a great set-up, but are awaiting missing equipment to begin our announcements, so I understand your situation. I thought it might be nice to see live announcements in another building.

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us.

    Lee Ann

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  47. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Hey Cindy,
    Thanks for buying the book. -It always makes my husband happy when I tell him a book was sold:)

    It is my belief that SSR time should be sacred. If we permit reading time to be replaced with anything else that happens to come up, then we are unconsiously re-affirming to this generation that reading is only done when there absolutely nothing else in the world to do.

    According to our action research, our SSR program was incredibly valuable for struggling students. Those students will continue to struggle without time to practice reading and without the chance to find themselves as a reader. Read Krashen and his review of nearly a century of the research. What these guys need most is time to read. Unfortunately, most, if not all, will not get that practice at home, so if we don't give them independent reading time in school, they may never get that time.

    Having said that, I also understand that students with an IEP would use this time as resource with their SpEd teacher. Some of our IEP kids are pulled for resources during SSR and I have to trust that the expert, the SpEd teacher responsible for the IEP, is chosing to do what's best for that particular child.

    Leslie

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  48. Anonymous7:51 PM

    Lee Ann,
    Wow! I had no idea! Congratulations - I adored working for Brenda and miss her dearly. You might also try calling Markita Wade at Perry 6th Grade Academy. She has a great, simple, student-run TV news set-up.
    Leslie

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  49. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Leslie,

    Hi again! I was wondering about something last night. How do the presenters of awards find out you are worthy of one?

    Also, we are using The Blue Book in another class I am taking. How did it come about that you got together with Daniel Callison to co-author this book?

    Thanks!
    Sandy

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  50. Christina Moore12:22 PM

    Hi Leslie,

    Thank you for taking time to answer questions. My question is about budgets. I know that school media centers often have a very small budget. How do you maintain a healthy collection on a small budget?

    Christina Moore

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  51. Julie2:34 PM

    Thank you very much Leslie for sharing your thoughts and reflections on SSR and AR. I'm sorry to hear your son had a bad experience with SSR. I feel students should be allowed to pick what they want to read.

    Also, thank you for recommending Nancy Everhart's article on SSR. Your comments and suggestions have helped me reexamine SSR and AR. And to not let others affect my decision to imlement this within the schools.

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  52. Julie2:39 PM

    Hi Leslie, I have one last question. One your media center's website, I noticed a link to staff newsletters. Are these newsletters you share with particular teachers you work with or is the newsletter distributed throughout the school? I think it's a great way and example of keeping students and teachers informed of new things and changes going on in the LMC.

    Thank you again, Leslie for your time!
    Julie

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  53. Anonymous2:43 PM

    Hey Leslie,

    What I get out of blogging is seeing that these people who are making the calls in the field by writing books and whatnot are actually regular people. I guess I had stereotypes of not only librarians but book writers and academia in general. I never thought I was made for that kind of stuff and here I see that these people aren't all the different than me and actually have some of the same ideas. Its not all on some plane I can't understand and that means a lot.

    Chad Gish

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  54. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Hey all -
    Sorry I'm so late. I just got home...To answer yesterday's question about publishers of hi-interest, low-vocabulary: Capstone, Stone Arch, ABDO, Sundance, Compass, Enslow. My kids especially like some of the new Stone Arch we just got it.
    Leslie

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  55. Leslie,
    From your website, it appears that you have one clerk assisting you. How do you divide the workload? Do you have student helpers or volunteers?
    Cindy
    ____________________________________
    What I get from blogging is different ideas, perspectives and possibilities about being a media specialist and how to best carry out the duties.

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  56. Anonymous5:47 PM

    Sandy,
    Awards are interesting things and many have a monetary prize, so I put them in the category of grants and fellowships, which bring money to the school. Some awards you are nominated for by your peers, some you are nominated for but then you have to complete the application process, some are promoted through professional organization and you apply. If it's self-application, I'm a sucker for it once I see the dollars connected to it.

    When I grew up in the library field, Danny was a state and national icon - When he walked past me at conferences, I looked at him in awe, too afraid to speak (yes, in real life I'm a coward). The way Danny and I got together is crazy. In the late 90's DOE-OLR offered me a grant to head development of research/information inquiry resources and test them out. This was back when info inquiry was in its infancy & you couldn't find all the books and articles on it like you can now. Danny was on the forefront of that work. So, idiot that I am, I just cold-called him and even though he didn't know me at all, didn't know if I was worth the time or effort, he still agreed to meet with me to discuss inquiry. He even drove out to my school to meet with me - that's how awesome he was about it. And even though I sounded like an idiot, because I was clueless and running into a great deal of difficulty finding resources to explain info inquiry, he didn't talk to me like I was a goof (even though I was) and he gave as much time as I needed (which I'm sure was a lot). He graciously hung around as a consultant on the project and kindly donated most of his time (not being compensated anywhere near what a consultant of his calibre normally gets). From there our relationship grew & we worked together on many projects together.

    Almost all the wonderful, out-of-the-box things that have happened to me professionally are because I was at the right place, at the right time and/or when asked, I would say yes no matter how inadequate I felt I was for the position/situation. Even if I was far from qualified, I figured I could disguise that by working hard at it and learning as much as I could along the way (boy, now I'm getting mushy, again -sorry;)
    Leslie

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  57. Anonymous5:54 PM

    Christina,
    Budgets are pretty tight, and my school is no exception. When I first worked there, it was pretty healthy and I could buy anything anyone asked for without any worries, but now we are at the state minimum and even with the large student population (the state guidelines are per pupil), it's hard to buy what we need to keep current on resources that meet standards as well as recreational reading and trendy student interests.

    I supplement the budget by applying for grants and awards, hosting book fairs, asking admin for extra funds (yes, it sometimes works:), PTA donations, parent gifts, etc. We also accept donations students and host an annual used book drive (and the library keeps a small portion of those books). ...And I'm willing to do anything else I can think of and have time for to supplement the budget.
    Leslie

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  58. Anonymous6:08 PM

    Nancy,
    I think those newsletters are old - I've not begun posting this year's yet, but I do what is usually a once a month (sometimes twice a month) library newsletter. I include in the newsletter tech tid-bids, silly or serious statistics and research news, school humor/jokes/comics, library news, recommended web resources, announcements, etc., etc., etc. What I love most about my newsletter is that I have a captive audience. How, you say? Well, a few years ago, I received permission to the principal to post them in the staff restrooms. Above the urinal, you now have something to read. Sitting on the toilet, you now have a newsletter on the door, comfortably at your eye level (tee hee hee). I also know it get read, because staff has also asked for an electronic copy emailed to them, so they can keep a copy in their files. I also know it gets read, because it often is permanently 'borrowed' from its display sleeve in the bathroom and has to be replaced (as I was walking out today, I was told of two bathroom stalls that needed a replacement copy put up:) I also know its read because I get told by people that they've already read everything more than once (something to be said for a confined audience) and wonder when I'll have a new one.

    We have talked of trying to do something it the student bathrooms, but we always decide that is not wise in adolescent bathrooms, but I do put little information pieces in the student newsletter that goes home.
    Leslie

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  59. Anonymous6:18 PM

    I'm glad to read what ya'all have to say, especially that many of you are getting something of value out of the blogging. I hope it doesn't feel like busy work. I would have given my right arm to have had this opportunity when I was going through my program...of course that was back in the dark ages when the Internet was a baby and a MB was considered a monstrous amount of memory.
    ...I don't know about you, but I can't imagine life without the convenience of social networking, cell phones, word processing, and so on to the next 'can't live without' some genius dreams up:)

    Also, be sure to grab me and say hello if you see me at ILF/AIME!
    Leslie

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  60. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Cindy,
    I do have a fabulous, amazing, library lovin' clerk working with me. We divide the work so that she takes care of most of the secretarial/clerical things, but sometimes we work together on a project if we're trying to get it done quickly, and she is definitely worth more than she is paid and definitely more than a clerk. For example, she takes all 20 YHBA books home over the summer to read, then is ready on the first day of school to give advice, recommendations, book discussions to any staff or students.

    We have central processing (which means our school district had hired a cataloger and a central location where all the school's library book orders are delivered, checked in, then sent to us to finalize processing), but once it comes to us, I then go through it to look for discrepancies and deal with any other local concerns, then it goes to the clerk for cataloging confirmation and the final touches (book jacket, pocket). We don't charge late fees, but she handles the bookkeeping for any payments we receive for lost items.

    I read the book reviews, but the clerk enters what I select for possible purchase, then when it's time to order, I review the list for standards alignment, duplication, and final selection.

    I process in the new equipment, troubleshoot, repair if possible, send out repairs we can't do in-house, and usually she daily handles any reservations and pick-up we have.

    Students assistants primarily do checkout, but we both of course help out with that, too, then the kids help us prepare books for checkin, but the clerk does the actual barcode scanning as well as spot checking for any repair issues as we checkin, although a week doesn't go by that I'm not also helping with this, too. The kids again help get the books organized on the return cart and do some simple shelving, but we hope to soon have an aide for a few hours each day to do the actual shelving and shelf reading.

    There are, of course, other things we do, but those are the major ones we are dealing with currently.

    Without my clerk, I would not be free of many of the clerical, library duties, so that I could co-plan, co-teach, co-evaluate, coordinate reading promotion events, video editing, and all the other higher level things we expect of ourselves as 21st century slms.
    Leslie

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  61. Leslie,
    I can't begin to tell you how helpful your comments have been. I appreciate your time and love your blog. Thank you for helping us and being so enthusiastic!
    Kathy

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