Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marnie Bolstad - Mon. Oct. 20 to Wed. Oct. 21 , 2008

Marnie Bolstad, one of three teacher librarians at her school, is working her third year at Newton South High School, Newton, MA.

Prior to her current assignment at NSHS, Marnie was an elementary library teacher for five years in the Newton School System. At the elementary level, she worked 'solo' without an aide or other staff support. In her own words, "I did a little bit of everything."

At Newton South High School, Marnie
works with three paraprofessional library staff members, a secretary and two aides.

Learn more about our Marnie and her school at


  1. I see you have worked in an elementary school and now in a high school. As someone who is still trying to decide whether to work in an elementary or high school, can you give me some advantages to both? What did/do you enjoy most about each age group?

  2. Jennifer6:11 AM

    Hi Marnie,
    I was wondering, how does collaboration with teachers at the high school level and the elementary school level differ? Do you find it easier or more difficult?
    I noticed there were summer reading lists for your high schoolers. I don't remember there being summer reading at my high school. Although, I used the public library more than I did the school library in high school. How do you promote summer reading with high schoolers?

  3. I have met a few media specialists who worked without staff support, which makes me think it might happen to me someday. How do you find the time for collaborating with teachers and still keep up with day to day library maintenance?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi Lauren,
    I mistyped my first response to you and am posting it a second time.

    After making the switch to h.s. after 5 years in elementary, I found I enjoy both levels.

    Advantages to elementary: What's not to love about the younger kids? I enjoyed teaching them about various kinds of literature, basic information literacy skills, incorporating technology with the curriculum, etc. It is gratifying to see young children acquire skills as they pass through the grades and to get to know them as well as their families over a period of time. I worked .70 fte (full time equivalent) in a small school with approximately 2 classes per grade level. I was lucky to work in such a small school.

    Disadvantages: I had a fixed schedule. The constraints on my time made it difficult to find common meeting time with teachers.

    Advantages to High School: I find the h.s. students and the secondary environment intellectually more stimulating. The research projects that take place in our library cross grade levels and disciplines. Today, for example, we had 3 classes in the library: 2 in psychology and 1 in history. I enjoy creating pathfinders that incorporate print, online databases and Internet resources for such classes. When I am not working with classes, I am busy helping students locate resources in the library, helping them with technology issues, and keeping our 24 student computers operational. To quote my department head, "We save many papers from certain death." I enjoy this diversity of activities.

    At the h.s. level, I work with a team of three lib. teachers. It is a pleasure to be part of a team after working solo at the elem. level.

    Disadvantages to h.s.: My school consists of nearly 1,800 students. This makes it very difficult to get to know the students. Quite different from my small elementary school. Also, discipline issues are different with teenagers. They are good at arguing their positions and challenging authority. I have 3 sons, the youngest of whom is 17, so I approach high schoolers with a sense of confidence.

    Hope this answers your questions. Let me know if you need more.
    Marnie Bolstad

    Copyright © 1999-2008 Google

  6. Anonymous12:14 PM

    How did you get the students excited about reading at the elementary level and now at the high school level?


  7. Hi Jennifer:
    I find collaboration quite different at the elem. level as opposed to high school. At the elemen. level, I tried to meet with the teachers in the library and have them take me through their research projects. Together, we worked out how I could help them attain their goals and objectives while fulfilling the library curriculum at the same time. B/C of my fixed schedule, meetings like this were difficult to schedule and did not happen with every teacher. I had several major successes which involved teachers, students, library volunteers and parents. Lots of work to coordinate, however!

    At the high school level, teachers contact us when they want to bring classes to the library to work on research projects. The teachers bring their lesson plans to us and we create research pathfinders for their students and post them to our library Web site. We have 2 classrooms off the library that are used for such projects. When the students come in with their teachrs, we introduce them to the pathfinders and them help them one-on-one as they have questions.

    Regarding summer reading: We work with the English department on compliling and annotating the summer reading lists. The library teacher, who serves as the Web master, posts our list as well as lists from other high schools to our library Web site. We promote the summer books in the library through book displays and have most of them available for circulation. (There is always a heavy demand when school opens in the fall from students who didn't finish their books!)
    Last year, for the first time, the English Department sponsored a One Book program where all students and staff read Fahrenheit 451. In late spring, we offered copies of the book for sale in the library. We made a special book display in the fall in the library. We hope to have more involvement with this program next year.

    Marnie Bolstad

  8. To tkenjock:

    You asked about the difficulties of working without support. One of the most important things I had to learn in my elementary library was I would never be caught up. That was very hard for me! Working in a school library is similar to doing laundry, you are never finished!

    Don't dispair though. At the elementary level, there are often parents who are willing to help out. I sponsored a training session in the fall during which I taught parents how to check out, shelve and process books. Over the years, I developed a small cadre of parent helpers who were wonderful. They were so well trained I didn't have to tell them what to do. I couldn't have survived without them. Because of them, I had the time to meet with teachers and attend to technology issues throughout the building.
    Bear in mind however, that parent volunteers are just that, volunteers. There are days when they don't show up or their kids are sick. In the end you are in charge.

    One last thought: Every spring I sponsored a small breakfast with bagels and coffee to say thank you to my parent volunteers. I would hold it right after school started for half an hour. I always invited the principal and the custodian, a library teacher's two best friends. Other library teachers I know give small gifts to parent volunteers, such as plants with a little poem in them, bookmarks made by students, etc. Any small gesture is much appreciated.

    Marnie Bolstad

  9. Kristi:
    You asked about how I got kids excited about reading:
    At the elementary level, it was easier to get students excited about reading b/c I saw them nearly every week. Here are some of the things I did:
    - asked students to review books. This can be as formal or informal as you wish. On an informal basis, I asked students to talk about what they had been reading, what they liked/disliked and why. Be sure to give the kids a time limit.....On a more formal basis I would ask students in 4th and 5th to write small reviews.
    - involve students in "readers' theatre." For a school assembly, I had students "perform" poems from Mary Ann Hoberman's, You Read to Me, I'll Read to You. They loved it as did the literacy specialist in the building.
    - display books where ever you have space.
    - create bulletin boards with posters for movies made from children's books
    - booktalk new books when they come in. You will be amazed how fast they go out.

    A colleague of mine at the elementary level just created a blog to promote books. She writes her own reviews and posts them to the blog.

    And so on...

    At my high school, we are making an effort to purchase popular teen books in paperback. In the past our fiction collection was heavy on "books for the college bound." We have a special book rack just for paperbacks with comfortable chairs nearby. We are also developing a good collection of graphic books. We have several comfortable chairs back in the stacks which are always occupied by students reading the graphics. They love the private reading spot. We often find little stacks of graphics hiding on the bookshelves!

    We also promote books through rotating book displays and through the simple act of putting the books out where the kids can see them. Our current display features the YALSA theme of "Books with Bite" to promote the popular vampire books. Great theme for October!

    We are developing a group of faithful readers. We feel this is an accomplishment as we work in a highly academic h.s. where students have little time for free reading. Our circulation stats for fiction go up each year.

    Marnie Bolstad

  10. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Dear Marnie Bolstad,

    I enjoyed browsing your library website. On the right hand side you have listed all the current projects according to classroom. That is a great way to inform parents/guardians of projects. Do you think that kind of recognition draws parents to volunteer at the school more (library, post-proms, aides, etc)? Your website was so inviting that I felt apart of your school. Thanks for taking our questions.


  11. Donna4:42 PM

    Hi Marnie,
    I too work at a large high school (1,780 students). I taught here for 9 years before moving to the library. I will finish my masters at the age of 50. This has been a great career shift for me.

    I am impressed with all your pathfinders and subject guides. That is something we are lacking and I want to spend more time developing our LMC page to include them. But it is so hard when I have to keep changing hats!

    You have a lot of help. Have they been with you since you began at the high school or did you have to ask for more help?

    How many teachers are in your building? What is the extent of your collaboration?

    We have over 96 teachers. The extent of my collaboration is mostly just creating pathfinders and giving mini lessons on how to search the databases, the online catalog and evaluate internet resources. Most teachers already have their project or assignment very well planned and I make a few gentle suggestions if we encounter problems. I'm always on hand to assist the students. Have you collaborated in depth with teachers? How did you work into this? What strategies do you use to get them on board?

  12. Hi Marnie,

    How do you and the other two library teachers split your time, energy, and resources? Do you each have an area of expertise, or do you all dabble in everything? I attended a high school with only one media specialist, and she had students (I was one) to help her out with mostly clerical work and some small-scale teaching. What is it like to have multiple library media specialists?

    Another question I have is regarding the elementary school library. What would you say is the best thing about being an elementary library media specialist? I have never really considered it, as I have had my sets sight on the high school level. I am just curious.


  13. Marnie,

    I see that your community and school have a large population of families for whom English is a second language, and also that many different languages are spoken by your students. How does this impact your work in the media center, its programs and collections? Do you have special resources available for these students and their families?


  14. Jennifer8:40 PM

    I see you have a more sizable staff at the high school as to you flying solo in the elementary school. How do you delegate responsibilities? Did you find it hard at first when you actually had a staff as apposed to volunteers?
    Who is in charge of the website? How often is it maintained?

  15. Hi Marnie,
    I noticed that the tab under Library Curriculum was empty. What is your Library Curriculum? Is this something you and the other librarians are developing?

    At the high school level, do you still try to incorporate the Library Power standards into the research projects?

  16. Thanks for the response. I think I often forget that parent volunteers can really be a big help when it comes to some of those circulation tasks. I know that at the Intermediate center I visited the media specialist there had several student volunteers, but in an elementary setting it really would benefit to have parent involvement. I'm sure the kids at that age enjoyed seeing their parents at the library as well.
    -Tara Kenjockety

  17. Hi Maureen,
    You asked about our library Web page and whether it attracts volunteers. The short answer is: I don't know! At the high school level parents tend not to volunteer in the library. Imagine being a 16 year old and finding your parent or guardian in the library. Just doesn't happen! One of the key benefits of our Web site is its availability. It is accessible by students 24/7. When we check the logs to our databases, we find students are using them at all hours of the night.


  18. Donna,
    We have lots in common. I finished my masters degree in library media at age 53. When I first started back to school I worked f/t and had 3 kids at home. when I look back on it, I am not sure how I survived.

    You have many questions. I will see if I can answer them all. The blurb about my school is a bit misleading (I take responsibility for that!) Our staff consists of 6 people: 2 f/t library teachers, 1 p/t library teacher (me) 2 p/t aides who share one f/t job and 1 p/t secretary. Several years before I started here, the staff had 3 f/t librarians. Budget cuts caused the reduction in force. We are fortunate that our current principal is very supportive of the library. We did not experience a cut this year when other departments had to reduce staff.

    We have approx. 125 teachers. Huge staff compared to the 13 I worked with at the elementary level! We collaborate in a manner similar to what you describe. The teachers make an appt. to bring classes to the library and provide a lesson plan in advance. We develop the pathfinders based on the lesson plan plus our previous experience with that teacher. On occasion we help teachers flush-out their lesson plans but not on a regular basis. We are strategizing (sp?) now how to collaborate more effectively.

    Need to sign off to help a class working on an Industrial Revolution assignment!

    Marnie Bolstad

  19. I'm interested, too, in how you deal with the ESL students and how that impacts the items you order, the technology you use, and the ways you design collaborative lessons.

    Are you fluent in a second language? Do you specifically hire assistants who are fluent in a second language to better assist students? Pardon my ignorance - I've never taught in a school with the least bit of diversity, unfortunately.

    Do you separate materials by language if you have a considerable number of non-English materials or are all languages side-by-side on the shelves?

    Brian Moline

  20. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Hello Marnie! I just moved into our media center last year. Before that, I taught 2nd grade for 17 years. I really wasn't looking to leave the classroom, but had mentioned to my principal, a few years ago, that I would be very interested if our media center position ever became available! did and I jumped on board. This is my 2nd year in the library and I love it! My passion is just getting students excited about books! I had seen that begin to disappear over the last several years I was in the classroom - mostly, I believe, due to electronic games. I know that technology and inquiry are also important parts of being a media specialist, too, but I am curious to know what your thoughts are are sharing great books with primary-aged children? How can I make a balanced program between all three? Thanks for your words of wisdom!
    ~Gracia Lane

  21. Marnie,
    I went to school, worked full time and was raising three kids too! I often wonder how I did it. I just love learning.

    Have you done any booktalks at the HS level? If so: do you go to classsrooms, small group, large group or after school? I haven't tried it yet.

    What about book clubs and/or discussion groups? Last year I read a lot of what the kids were reading (a lot of it was homework for a grad class). I loved connecting with the kids. I hate that I don't have time this semester to read much fiction.Do you read a lot of YA titles?

    I too am interested in how you ladies divide the labor in your LMC. Carli posed a question so I'll look for your response to her question.

    Do you do inventory every year? I've been here 2 years and the other media specialist said he quit doing it. Is this something I should push to get back in the habit of doing? Is it really all that beneficial?

    Thanks for taking time to interact with us.

    Donna Price

  22. Carli, Jennifer and Donna,
    The three of you asked about how the three library teachers in my library divide the tasks. I have to say I work with the most flexible team in the world. The "boss" is the department head. In that role she represents the library on school and district committees. The day-to-day tasks of creating pathfinders, teaching classes, helping individual students, etc fall primarily to the remaining two of us However, we all pitch in as needed. When we upgraded our online catalog to Destiny (Follett) a few years ago, I volunteered for the task and have been the point person for that ever since. My co-worker wrote a grant approx. 4 years ago to design the Web page. She became an expert in DreamWeaver and has been the Webmaster ever since. I guess what I am saying is we divvy things up as they come in. We each take on tasks as time permits. No set rules, very flexible, very nice.


  23. To Carli, Donna and Jennifer:
    An addendum to my comments on how my team divides the work. Carli, you mentioned student volunteers. We do have students who help shelve the books. Usually they are enrolled in a one credit Library Services Course. The number of students who do this is small. This semester we one. Last spring we had two student helpers. Our library aides (two people sharing one f/t job) manage book circulation, shelving of books and other front desk duties. The secretary, who is shared by three different departments, handles book processing.

  24. Carli,
    You asked about the best thing about being an elementary library teacher. That is a hard question for me to answer - I guess I would say sharing childrens' literature with students was my favorite thing. The literature is so phenomenal and the artwork in the picture books is spectacular. I was always frustrated by my limited budget as there were so many good books out there!


  25. Marnie,
    You mentioned a limited budget at the elementary level. How is the budgeting at the high school? Do you have a bigger budget for databases and magazines than you have for books? Do students do much free reading?

  26. Hi Mandy and Brian,
    The two of you noticed that Newton South has many students who are English language learners (ELL). I work in an upper middle class suburb where many of the parents of ELL students hold professional positions in the Boston area. Some of the ELL students speak more than 2 languages and most work very hard at learning English. Very impressive group. We have an ELL Dept. that provides classes and services for the ELL students. Some of the students attend ELL classes while others are mainstreamed into the regular classes. Depends on their language abilities. We have a foreign language section in our library collection. The books are written in Spanish, German, Russian and French among others. I have to admit that most of the books in this section are outdated and collecting lots of dust. The ELL students are focused on learning English and do not use these books.

    The library staff are not fluent in other languages. Two of us know a smattering of other languages as we have lived abroad. I notice that the ELL students help one another with their school work when they are in the library. At the moment we do not provide special programs or materials. Your questions have given me pause for thought!


  27. To KB:
    You commented that the tab for our library curriculum is blank. Please try again as the benchmarks should be there. They are under Faculty Resources on the horizontal blue navigation bar on our library web site. We adopted a detailed K-12 library curriculum in 2003, complete with library benchmarks and outcomes. Many aspects of Library Power are incorporated into the benchmarks. Please let me know if you can't "see" our curriculum when you revisit the site.


  28. Marnie,
    You mentioned a One Book program where all students and staff read Fahrenheit 451. My middle school is planning a One Book program this spring. Do you have any words of wisdom about setting up and carrying out such a program? Did every student have their own copy of the book?

  29. Marnie,
    You mentioned a One Book program where all students and staff read Fahrenheit 451. My middle school is planning a One Book program this spring. Do you have any words of wisdom about setting up and carrying out such a program? Did every student have their own copy of the book?

  30. Gracia,
    You asked about maintaining an elementary library program that balances inquiry, technology and reading. Let's just say with the limited time you have with elem. students, it is not easy. My tendency was to incorporate information literacy and technology into the collaborative projects I did with teachers. More hands made this doable. One of my closest colleagues at the elem. level was the technology specialist who came to the school just once a week. We collaborated on a number of projects where I used her expertise to help teach the kids. For example, we read Look, Look by Tana Hoban and then did a lesson with digital microscopes that I had obtained with a grant. Great way to incorporat literature with science and inquiry. When I taught library classes on my own, I shared as many books as I could with the students. I always had a theme and/or objective. For example, I taught compare/contrast (a concept that appears on our state tests) by reading Cinderella stories from a variety of cultures.


  31. To KB:
    You asked about budgeting at the elem. vs. the h.s. The budget at the high school is many times bigger than at the elem. The student population is much larger and we are serving college-bound patrons. Plus, and this is a BIG plus, we have a very supportive principal who understands the need for a strong library program.

    The budget for the databases comes from a variety of sources. Some are funded through the asst. superintendent who is in charge of curriculum. Others are funded through our area library consortium, which includes public and school libraries. In addition, we purchase a few ourselves.

    We just purchased a number of ebooks through Gale. Most are reference books that students can access 24/7. We expect they will receive heavy use once students and teachers realize they are "out there." The ebooks we purchased supplement others that are provided by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

    You also asked if students do much free reading. Sadly, I think many wish they could do more free reading. They live very scheduled lives balancing school, jobs, sports, and varied other outside activities. That said, we are developing a group of avid readers who keep coming back for more. Right now the vampire books by Stephenie Meyer are very popular, as are the graphic books.


  32. Mrs. Newton:
    The One Book program was sponsored by the English Dept and the library got involved at the last minute. We hope it will be more of a joint effort next spring. Most of the activities related to the book took place in the classroom. :-(

    Every student had to read Farhenheit 451. I was able to secure many copies at a reduced price from other h.s. libraries in the area who used the same book. I put out a plea on the the Massachusetts School Library Assoc. listserv and got very responses from librarians looking to get rid of their extra copies. We sold the books in the library for just a few dollars. If you have a similar library organization where you live, put out an inquiry as to what others have done. You will be amazed at the response.

    I am a trustee for my local public library and started a One Book program there two years ago. We developed programs around the book including speakers, music, and activities at our local historical society. The first book we chose was Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. The book involves a murder by a young man. Our best program was a mock trial between two attorneys that was mediated by our Asst. DA. I suggest you check out The Center for the Book at:
    The focus is on public libraries but you may find some ideas there.


  33. Anonymous6:52 PM

    I am interested in creating a webpage for our library. Is there a program you went through to create it? Is it hard? Would you suggest training? I have had a little on how to create webpages but we had to do it the hard way. I know there are programs out there where you can create webpages easily but I don't know where to go.

    Kristi L.

  34. Hi Marnie,

    Thanks for blogging with us!
    Could you please share your experiences with school library OPACs? I have noticed that Destiny seems to be a popular choice. It doesn't look very high-tech, but I am wondering how well it works. I don't really have anything to compare it with except for public and academic library catalogs, but it sounds like you do and I am curious.

    Again, thanks!


  35. Anonymous6:33 AM

    Hello Marnie,

    Thank you for taking time to blog with us this week!

    One of my questions addressed the library's collection for your ELL student population, but from reading the blog responses so far I see that it has already been brought up in discussion! But, along the same lines, do you find that you need to collect more English language resources at lower reading levels for those students just now learning English? Or is that left up to the ELL teachers in their classrooms to provide reading materials for ELL students?

    Also, I'm curious about working with high school students and the differences in instruction as opposed to an elementary setting. For example, I'm thinking about plagiarism and citation rules -- do you find that those are emphasized more in high school? Have you encountered plagiarism from students? And if so, do you as the teacher library (I really like that you are referred to as a library teacher to emphasize both your roles!) deal with that or is it solely left to the classroom teacher?

    Also, we've been discussing this past week in our forums the impact of facility design and elements to consider when planning use of library space. Is this something that you have been involved with in your library experience? Have you had to change any parts of your library set-up for any reason?

    I enjoyed exploring your library's webpage and am impressed with the staff that you are able to have and work with in your library! It must be wonderful to have the support needed and not feel as if you have to do every single thing!

    Thank you,

  36. Donna,
    I realize I never answered your questions about book talks, book discussion groups and inventory.

    A few times a year, some of the English teachers bring their students to the library to find a book for a "free read" assignment. We pick out many types of books at a variety of levels and put them out on tables in the classroom. Before they start browsing, I booktalk one or two of my favorites. If you check the website for the other Newton High School, you will see how one of the library teachers there posts book talks to a blog:

    We do not sponsor any book discussion groups. I have always wanted to run a book group during lunch but find we have a problem with coverage. For example, during lunch today we have a library full of kids, 2 classes coming for research related projects and just 2 library teachers are here. My dept. head is at a system-wide meeting. We just can't squeeze a book discussion group in.

    I try to read as much YA lit as I can but find it hard to keep up. I can barely manage to finish the books for my own monthly book group!

    Regarding inventory:
    We inventoried the entire library last year. While we were at it, we weeded extensively. Took us an entire year to get through the 30,000 books we had on hand. We reduced the collection a few thousand books. Sounds like a lot but an inventory had not been done for many years. Now the library looks much better, books are easy to find and we can focus on collection development.

    For the next few years, we will limit our inventories to one or two sections a year. Much easier to manage.

    I recommend you try to inventory what you can. If doing the entire inventory is too intimidating, do a section at a time. I do feel it is worth the time and effort.


  37. Shellie,
    You asked about my experience with OPACs and Destiny, specifically. I worked with Winnebago Spectrum until company buyouts/mergers moved us to Destiny. We find that it works fine. When we sign in as administrators, we have access to all the bells and whistles we need. Recently I saw a demo on the Destiny of the future. It looks completely different and will incorporate features from Web 2.0. We will move to this version sometime in 2009. I can see, already, it will be a big adjustment for many of us to make. Change is not always easy!

    It is possible to provide Destiny at school and at home. In Newton, we provide it at school only. Students can access Destiny from any computer with Internet access in the building. In the future we will "roll it out"for home use.


  38. Marnie,

    It makes sense that your ELL students don't use the world languages books too much...they are probably much more focused on improving their English language skills. As Kara mentioned, there might be an increased need for high-interest, low reading level books for these students. Do you find that to be true? Have you found good ways to display these materials and get them into the hands of the ELL students without making them feel inferior for reading "little kid" books?

    You also mentioned that you received grant money to purchase microscopes - how wonderful! Do you apply for grants often? For what types of projects? What are the best resources you've found for locating grants and for assistance with grant proposal writing?

    Thanks again,

  39. Jennifer4:48 PM

    Hi Marnie,
    I've been visiting school media centers lately and I've noticed that around my area (I live in NW Indiana), that the only SLMS' are in the middle schools and the high schools. There are only two districts around here (that I know of) that hire SLMS at the elementary level. Is this rare? I would really like to work in the elementary school, but it looks like I may have to broaden decision.

  40. Hi Marnie:

    Thanks for giving your time to us. I've learned a lot by reading your responses to posts. Could you tell me more about the Gale reference e-books? This is a new concept to me. How do you balance your print reference materials with the e-books? How costly are these electronic materials?

    My school is working hard to not only educate parents on Internet safety, but to show them how to seek, evlauate, and use information, so that they can help their children. How do you encourage parents to continue to be a part of student education? How do you get them involved in your media center?

    Thanks again,
    Lee Ann

  41. Kristi L:
    I had to consult one of the other Library Teachers in order to answer your questions about the Web page. She is our Web Master extraordinaire. She used DreamWeaver to create the Web page and updates it almost daily. As with many things, she learned DreamWeaver on her own as she created the page. She did attend a DreamWeaver workshop but felt she knew as much as the instructor. As an aside, I have to say she is a techy at heart who really takes to things like this.


  42. Kara,
    You asked about providing English language books for ELL students, copyright and plagiarism issues and facilities design.

    We do not purchase books specifically for the ELL population but we do try to provide materials on a variety of reading levels. Increasing the number of popular fiction books such as Twilight and the Princess Diaries, was a big shift for us and reflects the philosophy of my dept. head. fyi: We find the graphics appeal to all kinds of readers, including those with learning disabilities.

    I am glad you mentioned copyright plagiarism as this is a big issue with us. In Newton we start teaching students about citing their work in elementary school. Obviously it becomes more sophisticated at the h.s. level. In my library, we talk to every class that comes to the library about citing their work and being mindful of copyright. Just today, I talked with seniors about the necessity of citing images in PPT presentations at the point where they insert images. We have posted citation guidelines on our library website for students to use. We also have print versions of these guides all over the library. This summer I was part of a team working on a copyright Webpage we hope to launch in 2009. It will contain guidelines for students K-12 and information for teachers as well.

    The English Department subscribes to a program called Turn-it-In. Teachers submit student papers to this site which compares it to all the papers in its vast database to check for plagiarized work. Students who are caught are punished accordingly - with a suspension, I believe. Turn-it-In is very controversial with students. Some believe the school does not have a right to submit their papers to the program. So far, I think the courts have ruled in favor of schools on this issue.

    So, in a nutshell, we take copyright issues very seriously.

    As far as facilities design goes, I have had little involvement with any kind of new design. We move computers and furniture around on a semi-regular basis in order to utilize the space in the most effective manner. Several years before I joined the h.s. there was a large remodeling project and the library was redesigned. Unfortunately, all the computer drops were put in the wrong places. My understanding is this was done with out consulting the library staff!


  43. Mandy,
    I am going to focus on your questions about grants as I have tried to cover the ELL questions in other postings.
    I love to write grants and generally submit one every year. Most of my grants are from the Newton Schools Foundation. The funds for the NSF are raised within the Newton community. (Newton is a city of 80,000 people, just outside of Boston.) The grant I wrote this year is for Taylor Mali, a slam poet, to visit the h.s. I wrote the grant in collaboration with the English and Theatre. Departments. Mr. Mali will come next April during National Poetry Month. He will give a live performance and teach writing workshops for students and teachers. Check him out at:

    The grant for the microscopes, called ProScopes, was from Best Buy! The company provides grants each year for technology that can be incorporated with the curriculum. The interesting thing about this grant was Best Buy provided the funds and I bought the equipment elsewhere. Best Buy doesn't carry ProScopes!

    In my role as a library trustee for my local public library, I received an LSTA grant for the One Book program. I wrote the grant with the Library Director. LSTA (Library Services Technology Act) grants are federally funded through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The grant was for &7,500! LSTA grants are available to school and public libraries.

    I am telling you all of this just to let you know funds are out there. You may need to beat the bushes a bit but the effort is worth it.


  44. Hi Jennifer,
    I am addressing your questions about certified library media specialists at the secondary vs. the elem. level.

    You may be aware that high schools are subject to reviews by regional accrediting associations. We are reviewed by NEASC (New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges) which requires a licensed LMS at the high school level.
    If I understand it correctly, these standards do not apply to middle or elementary schools. That is why you tend to see more certified library teachers at the secondary levels and fewer at the elementary level. When elementary principals face tight budgets, library teachers are often on the line.

    In our district we still have certified library teachers K-12. The LTs at the elementary level are not all f/t in their buildings. Some share buildings depending on the size of the schools.

    One factor I took into a/c when moving to the h.s. level was job security. The reality is that h.s. LTs are safer than elementary LTs.


  45. LeeAnn,
    You asked about ebooks and Internet safety.

    If you are unfamiliar with e-books, I suggest you look at OPAC for your public library. I am sure you will find ebooks there - probably lots of fiction. You can probably download a book to an MP3 player, if you have one. (Usually iPods don't work. I think there is an issue between MicroSoft and Apple here.)

    We just purchased ebooks for the first time. All of them are reference books. We buy the ebooks in combination with the print copies. In some cases, we already owned the print copy and supplemented it with the ebook. The cost of the ebooks is an additional 30% above the cost of the print version.

    At first, we expect that students will browse the print version of the reference books in the library and access the electronic version at home when they have more time. In the ebooks, students can view the table of contents and the index when searching for information. Or, they can search the book using a key word search. The results of their search will take them directly to the pages in the books that contain the key words they used. A little hard to explain with out demonstrating it to you live1

    One nice feature is that students can search for information from one book, two book, three books...up to all the ebooks we own.

    Our students already use databases such as Infotrac, JSTOR, Student Resource Center, etc on a regular basis. I think they will adapt to the ebooks quickly.

    Internet Safety is a big issue and one which concerns our School Committee. When I was at the elem. level I did a program on Internet Safety for a PTO meeting in the evening. Now I believe the elementary staff has developed one program that can be used at all of the 15 elementary schools in our district. In addition, the elem.library coordinator made a presentation on Inernet Safety at the Newton Free Public Library (a huge library).

    I just reread your question and realize I digressed a little. Getting parents involved is a process. At the elementary level I worked through the PTO. There was always one parent assigned to the library. She put out requests for volunteers which was fairly successful. She also scheduled them into the classes for me. As mentioned in an earlier post, I hosted a training session in the fall and a thank-you breakfast in the spring. Over the years, I developed a loyal following and was sad to see them go when their kids moved on to m.s.

    Be aware that it is not always easy to have parents in the library when their kids are there. There can be tears and clinging. I made sure the parents understood I was teaching lessons and it was not "story hour." For the most part, it worked out well.


  46. To this wonderful class,
    Thanks to you and Larry Johnson for the opportunity to "blog" with you. Your questions made me think hard about what I do. I have spent the last three days talking about this experience at work. This is a wonderful way to integrate Web 2.0 with this class.

    I tried to answer all of your questions. I apologize if my answers were a bit lengthy!

    Best to all of you.

    Marnie Bolstad