Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Helen Adams - Thurs. Sept. 17 to Sat. Sept. 19, 2009

Helen Adams teaches online courses for Mansfield University's (PA) School Library and Information Technologies program. Formerly Helen was a school librarian and technology coordinator in Wisconsin.

Helen is an advocate for school libraries and teacher librarians; a strong leader who is active at state, regional, and national levels. She is a frequent conference presenter and has authored a number of articles and textbooks.
Her latest book is Ensuring Intellectual Freedom and Access to Information in the School Library from Libraries Unlimited.

Helen's professional interests focus mainly on issues and ideas related to intellectual freedom, privacy in school library media programs, and Internet filtering. Learn more about Helen Adams at


  1. I am a new Media Specialist at Valparaiso High School. I previously taught history for 14 years and transferred into this department. I have found that the biggest challenge so far has been dealing with faculty members that want our services right then and there. Because I am not new to the school, I feel as though I can hold my own with them but I can't imagine what it would be like to be 24 and come in to a job like this without previous experience in the classroom. Of course, I do whatever I can to get them what they need and I USUALLY get a thank-you but not always.

  2. I am a teacher for third grade students and will finish my degree to become a library media specialist in December. I was wondering what the best way to start collaborating with teachers would be. I feel like at the school I teach at, some teachers think it is just "one more thing to do" when they have to collaborate with our media specialist. How do you suggest one starts the idea of collaboration in a school?

  3. Hello Ms. Adams. In your April 2007 School Library Monthly article, “The Age of the Patron: Privacy for Middle and High School Students,” you commented: “Just as educators are required to report cases of child abuse, there are times when concern for a student may move the library media specialist to seek the advice of another school professional bound by confidentiality such as a guidance counselor. Intervening to potentially save the life of a student transcends student privacy.” I seem to notice a growing number of adolescent students who are curious about subject matter that would raise red flags for most adults (violence, gang life, guns, etc. in addition to topics like teen pregnancy, abortion, and drug use). Do you have any suggestions for differentiating between the student who is curious and simply wants more information and the student who may have ulterior motives?

  4. Hello – I am wondering if you know the work of Nancy Willard and what you think of the following post: (I am sorry it is so long)
    From: Nancy Willard nwillard@csriu.org.
    Post to listserv (http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb) 9/16/09

    The Broadband Data Improvement Act, Protecting Children in the 21st Century (S. 1492) amended CIPA to require elementary and secondary schools to educate minors about appropriate online behavior, including online interaction with other individuals in social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.

    Based on this reading, it is reasonable, at this time, to presume the
    following new requirements:

    * A new provision must be included in the district Internet safety
    policy/plan that addresses the education of students in terms as set forth in the statute. There will be no data collection and reporting requirements.

    Willard urges schools to address “issues related to the operation of your filter, which in too many districts is blocking access to valuable instructional material. The only material that you are required to block under CIPA is obscene material, child porn, and material harmful to minors. All other categories that are blocked are merely for management purposes.

    In addition to this new educational requirement, schools should address issues related to the changes in its Internet safety approach to manage student and staff Internet use that are necessary to incorporate the new interactive Web 2.0 technologies.

    I firmly believe that schools need to do a better job of providing education to students about the risks and their responsibilities in this new digital environment. Unfortunately, some of the curriculum that is being distributed is not in accord with the research insight on risk and uses fear-based messages that impart simplistic rules delivered in an authoritarian manner.
    This is an instructional approach that is known not to be effective
    preventing risk behavior. So it is imperative that educators be
    exceptionally careful in selecting curriculum. Sorry to say this, but be wary of any curriculum developed by law enforcement or with DOJ funds – this tends to be very fear-based. The original DARE was ineffective, but it took law enforcement a long time to admit this.

    I really like the CyberSmart Curriculum
    (http://www.cybersmartcurriculum.org/). The materials on Connect Safely and affiliated sites are excellent (http://www.connectsafely.org/). Common Sense Media is also very sound (http://www.commonsensemedia.org).

  5. Anonymous8:28 AM


    As a new librarian, you have many responsibilities and demands on your time and expertise. Incorporating the principles of intellectual freedom into your daily practice and advocating for students' right to access information seems like something that can be reserved for Banned Books Weeks. However, I would encourage you to think about talking with your principal in a friendly manner about your materials selection policy and the reconsideration procedures. Think of it as educating as well as feeling out the principal's thoughts about YA fiction and non-fiction on the hot button issues. In a way, you're starting the process to garner support if/when a challenge occurs.


  6. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Hi Colliers (Is it Laura?),

    AFter you have a job, find ONE teacher with whom you have developed a rapport and offer to perform a valuable service for her/him. For example, the teacher is looking for books on bird migration, and you not only assist with finding print resources but offer to demonstrate to students in the library the Journey North/South website showing the progress of bird, animal, butterfly migration in the fall. That teacher will likely be thrilled, accept your offer, and tell her colleagues at lunch about the great experience the students had. Bit by bit you'll develop a cadre of teachers to collaborate with; however, it will probably never be 100%. I also used the internal though "I'll work with the living!" meaning I would work with those who chose to use the IMC with their students but I still continued to reach out to those who never did.


  7. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Hi K. Hladek,

    I would address you less formally if I knew your full name.

    How to separate the curious from those who may be moving into dangerous terriroty? I think of library books and electronic resources as "safe" places for students to investigate, try out, experience vicariously those behaviors or situations which involve danger yet intrigue them. It is so much safer for a student to read about drugs or alcohol and what happens when a young adult becomes addicted. We can't look inside a students' head, but minors' do have the First Amendment right to access information for personal knowledge in the media center. We need to respect this need to know and keep the observations we make confidential. I think you will be able to make the distinction when a students' friends begin to change, behavior goes from acceptable to negative, and other signs. It's more a gut feeling.


  8. Anonymous8:51 AM

    Hi Judy,

    Yes, I am familiar with Nancy Willard's writing and respect her knowledge and recommendations. While book challenges occur throughout the country, the biggest censorship of information for students AND teachers is through Internet filtering practices in many schools. Much of the filtering goes way beyond what is required under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Partly this is based on fear of having students view or access something "inappropriate" on school computers, fear of parents' complaining, and fear of lawsuits again the district. There needs to be a balance among providing an educationally useful/relevant safe experience when using online resources, well thought out progressive instruction of students, and a local agreement of teachers' need to not have their computers completely "locked down" by filtering. AFter all, students spend only 8 hours give or take in schools but many more at home in possibly unsupervised use of the Internet. Education is the key.


  9. Helen,

    I read a book that the previous media specialist purchased and was profoundly disturbed. While I don't condone censorship, I feel that this book is every parent and child's worst nightmare. How do you reconcile your personal feelings on a book and your responsibility as a media specialist. While I don't want to give the title or author, I can tell you that it explicitly describes a child's abduction and the repeated sexual and mental abuse she suffers over a period of five years. If this were a movie it would be rated R and we would not keep those in our collection for student use. What are your suggestions? Or do you have any advice?

  10. Anonymous12:46 PM

    Hi Kristine,

    If you have serious doubts about a book, look at your materials selection policy to ensure that it meets district selection criteria, check reviews and awards for the book, and ask 1-2 other media specialists about their opinion on the book. We all have different tolerance levels and levels of personal comfort. If the book is offensive to you, it may not be to others.

    When we enter the school library and especially in selection, we need to set aside our personal feelings, beliefs, etc. The ALA Code of Ethics, article VII states "We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to information resources."

    To investigate this a bit further, I would suggest that you read Lester Asheim's essay titled "Not Censorship But Selection" available online at http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/basics/notcensorship.cfm I think this may help you sort out some of your concerns for this book. You don't want to fall into the trap of self-censorshp. SLJ had an excellent article in Feb. 2009 on this topic. It is located

    Hope this helps.


  11. Anonymous1:25 PM

    I am a K-12 media specialist in rural Indiana. We switched to a new cataloging system this year which is tied into the school management and cafeteria programs as well. This being said, much of what goes on at the school can be viewed by the parents including discipline referrals, grades, etc.
    At this point, they can also see what students check out from the library. Where does this fall with the privacy of the patrons and the rights of the parents? Is this something we should "block" or look into changing? Would letting parents know their children have books checked out (number/due dates) but not the book titles be an acceptable option?

    Amber H.

  12. I am a first year teacher-librarian at Rossville Middle/High School. I previously taught special education at the same school. My library also has a computer lab that I oversee. Your bio mentions that one of your professional interests is internet filtering. What is your stance on this issue? I find myself getting frustrated daily as I try to implement Web 2.0 technology in the library and the sites are blocked by our filter. Our technology coordinator is good about unblocking many sites I need, but it seems like I'm always having to go around in circles to figure out how to make things work. (I can't even access this blog from school!)

  13. This is from Laura Collier- I have a family blog and when I sign in, it calls me by "The Colliers." Thank you for responding to me about collaboration.

    I read your article about Banned Books in the School Library Monthly. I was thinking about my future position (hopefully!) as an elementary school media specialist and how I would convey why we have banned books week. I figured that I would have to gear this towards thrid grade and up. I think the kids would understand the concept behind it, but I would be very nervous to back up my lesson plans and celebration of banned book week. I think I would have to talk with my principal and have a plan in place for parents that might call in to complain.

    I do think it is important to teach the first ammendment, but is it worth the battle of the parents?

    How would you go about having Banned Book Week at an elementary school? Just a simple answer will do.


  14. Anonymous5:04 PM


    Yours is a great question, and there is a lot of gray area. The answer depends on several things. First, your state library records law does not grant parents the right to see their minor children's library records. Try to shield your students' library records under the state library records law. To get advice on how to do this, call the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (800-545-2433, ext. 4221, and ask for Angela Maycock. You need not be a member of AASL or ALA to do so. Describe your new record keeping system and get her advice. Another course of action is to create a privacy policy for the library that protects the records, and to delete circulation records once an item is returned. You can't divulge a record that is not longer there.


  15. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Hi Sherry,

    You are fortunate to have a tech director who readily unblocks sites for you and your colleagues. In my opinion many school filters overblock beyond what is required under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), and I listed the reasons and some of my opinions in the post to Judy. Perhaps you, principal, several teachers and the tech director could discuss what type of filter the school has, the categories blocked, and whether the level of strictness for blocking could be lessened for high school age students, since CIPA has only 3 requirements for blocking. Prepare to lay out how students are being training to use the Internet and Web 2.0 tools safely. Make sure you have a strong AUP and that violators are punished. The last point for being prepared for the discussion is to have strong examples of what educational sites are blocked when you and others need them.


  16. Anonymous5:17 PM


    I have never taught in an elementary school and was always a high school LMS. I think the First Amendment and the concepts around Banned Book Week may be over the head of early elementary students. I'll have to defer the answer to this question to an elementary LMS with experience. Sorry.


  17. Hello Helen- my name is Steve Skirvin. I am a librarian for a small private school in Indianapolis. I was wondering if you have any experience in grant writing for libraries, or know what is the success rates on grants to increase library materials. I also would like to ask a practical question- we hear so much about how the position of school media specialist is being taken away from alot of school systems- so will we be able to find jobs when we graduate? Thank you.

  18. Hello Helen. I am Kelly Hladek. I forgot to add my first name to my posting. I appreciate your reply to my earlier question. As a classroom teacher, I understand what you mean by that “gut feeling.” Since I have my students all year, I get to know them very well and can pick up on changes in their demeanor and circle of friends. As a future media specialist, I wondered if I might not be able to have that same kind of insight because I’d be working with a larger number of students for shorter periods of time.

    I have been reading the other postings and your replies. I noted in particular your comment to Judy: “Much of the filtering goes way beyond what is required under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Partly this is based on fear of having students view or access something "inappropriate" on school computers, fear of parents' complaining, and fear of lawsuits again the district.” When filters were first added to our school computers, “lock downs” occurred often. The reins have been loosened, so to speak, and now they happen less frequently. When they do happen, teachers can request temporary access for a particular project or lesson. Do you feel this is a reasonable compromise or do you see this arrangement as still too restrictive?

    Thank you, Kelly

  19. Helen,

    Thank you for your comments regarding censorship. I have read the ALA article by Lester Asheim, Not Censorship But Selection and found it helpful particularly his Intent of the Author inclusion. While the subject matter of the book is a very real problem in our society, the author's presentation of it was graphic to the point where many times I had to put the book down and walk away. I felt my blood pressure go up. But, your point about personal feelings is well taken. As I have young children and I am a helicopter parent as some would say. The director and I are reviewing our selection policy to prepare for the presentation to the school board. Perfect timing for such a review. Thanks for your input.

  20. Anonymous8:22 AM

    Hi Steven,

    As a former library media specialist and tech coordinator I did write grants for my district. It was very time consuming, and there were all for larger technology projects, not library materials.

    I'm pasting in a URL for a press release on a grant program from Dollar General Stores: http://www.dollargeneral.com/Pages/hot_topics_content2.aspx Information on the grant program itself is at http://www.dollargeneral.com/servingothers/Pages/GrantPrograms.aspx

    I'm also pasting in a URL for Education grants from Walmart

    Since I am also an instructor in a graduate program that prepares school librarians, I too wonder whether all will find jobs. The American Association of School Librarians and the American Library Association have an advocacy program for school libraries. I'm giving you the URL to many online resources: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/aasladvocacy/advocacy.cfm It is critical that communities and administrators understand the importance of school librarians to the total education of children and young adults.

    I will say that there are school library position being advertised in Wisconsin, but frequently the person looking for a job must be willing to relocate.


  21. Anonymous8:43 AM


    Although I was unable to provide you with ideas for celebrating Banned Books Week with younger elementary students, here are some resources to review for BBW.

    Check out information on the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s BBW resource: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm and also on the stand-alone Banned Books Week website: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org


  22. Anonymous8:53 AM


    I can understand your concern about whether you will know the majority of students who use the media center well enough to determine whether there are serious changes that warrant a discussion with a guidance counselor. Here's one way to think about the situation. You are part of a school community, and the regular classroom teachers of a troubled student will sense something is wrong and likely speak to a counselor or ask another teacher of the student to confirm personal observations. You will, however, be surprised how well you will get to know some students although it will be in a different context from being the student's teacher. LMS's don't give grades, so students sometimes feel more free to "be themselves."

    Giving teachers the opportunity to request websites be unblocked for research or a lessson is a good first step. Depending on the grade level of students, I would like to see a gradual lessening of the filtering level as students get older coupled with a very strong online use and safety curriculum. Is it educationally sound to strictly filter juniors and seniors in high school when they will graduate soon and be eligible to vote and serve in the military?
    Use the AUP guidelines for discipline if a few students go to sites that do not conform with school goals.


  23. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Hi Kristine,

    I'm glad that the Asheim article proved useful for you. Even though it was published many years ago, the principles of selection and censorship remain. I can also say that self-censorship is a battle we each face throughout our careers. I certainly did in mine.


  24. Helen thank you for your thoughtful answer. It seems to me the students who are hurt by filtering at school the most are those who do not have computers and Internet access at home. Even public libraries have filtering, don't they? So filtering promotes a information literacy gap, like the digital divide. I know evaluation of websites is not being taught - my students can examine a website like the Burmese Mountain Dog (http://descy.50megs.com/akcj3/bmd.html) or another hoax site and still rate it as credible. And they are preservice and in-service teachers!

    AFter all, students spend only 8 hours give or take in schools but many more at home in possibly unsupervised use of the Internet. Education is the key.

  25. Anonymous1:47 PM

    As a K-12 media specialist, I currently have a space divided into an elementary part and a junior/senior high part; the media center is one very long room, divided physically by tall shelves with an opening to get from one side to the other.
    We are looking at a future renovation to open up the space and centralize the circulation desk. My vision of the future media center includes an elementary area, middle school interest, and high school/mature content shelves (since we are K-12). Would dividing the shelves by at least elementary and jr/sr high school be similar to public libraries who have separate children and teens sections? Would having a high school/mature content shelving area be considered censorship or would that be acceptable since the books are available? (The previous librarian kept "questionable books" behind her desk and students had to ask for them. I have moved them out to a cart at the far end from the elementary side at this point.)

    Amber H.

  26. Hi Helen,

    I see that you have a strong interest in technology. What is your postition on internet filters on k-12 school computers? I feel like as a librarian I should be an advocate for information but personally I am on the fence about it. On the one hand students need to learn how to handle inappropriate/explicit material on their own. On the other, I don't want kids finding or viewing explicit materials on purpose or accidently on the library computers. I think it is highly unlikely that a staff person could be monitoring them at all times. What do you think?

  27. Helen,

    Hello! I am not an LMS at all. In fact I am not even employed at a library. I am working towards my MLS and will graduate in the spring. I am currently doing my internship at the Allen County Public Library, Georgetown Branch and I worked in the library during my undergrad at Taylor University. So my perspective on internet filtering may be a little rough and naive as it pertains to school age students. I have mixed feelings on censorship and internet filtering. I know I am supposed to set my personal feelings and beliefs aside, but I find I have a very hard time doing that. I do feel like students should be able to access whatever they need without an automatic filter in place, but I can tell you this if there was no automatic filter on the computer and students in the media center were looking at inappropriate materials that was offensive to other student I would tell them to get off the site. My question is this. Is that okay for the LMS to do? In that position can you tell a student to get off the site? Or would you do that? I would feel like I had a personal responsibility to that student to protect them. That is what I cannot reconcile in my mind. They may not know that what they are looking at could have long lasting effects. How do I keep them safe while letting them learn?
    I read through all the post as to not be repetitive. I apologize if I am being so. As I said I am coming at this from a totally different perspective and really have no understanding. Thank you!!!

  28. Anonymous4:17 PM


    Your question involves both an ethical dilemma (providing access to information as the goal) and obeying the law (even though many districts filter beyond CIPA requirements). Where do I stand – with a foot in both camps. I believe filters are here to stay, and we must learn to live with them and how to lessen their impact. I was a school librarian for 30 years and spoke repeatedly against the sole reliance on filters in my district. I wanted students to be able to access the multiple sides of a question and to ensure their First Amendment right to receive ideas and information. However, as the former technology coordinator responsible for the technology resources in the district, I favored filtering, despite the difficulties with access to information. I knew what was happening regarding Internet use in the two libraries, but Internet use in the classroom was another thing. One of our teachers said he did not need to monitor his students because we were filtering Internet content! Our district’s strategies included the following:

    •to filter at a minimally restrictive level,
    •educate staff on evaluation of information and safe use of the Internet as part of staff development,
    •provide students with Internet skills as part of the information literacy curriculum,
    •monitor student use of the Internet, and
    •have a board approved strong acceptable use policy in place and enforced.
    •select and post large number of links and electronic subscription resources on the library’s web pages
    •Provide classes on Internet safety and general Internet use for parents and community members


  29. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Amber and Really Everyone who is reading this blog,

    I'm going to answer Amber's question by referring her (and you) to a site that will answer many of your intellectual freedom questions on a practical level when you're on the job and out of grad school. It is What IF?, the question and answer service provided by the Cooperative Children's Book Center in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Two experienced intellectual freedom experts answer questions posted by school and public librarians, teachers, and others. YOU may post a question and receive a personalized answer from the two individuals. Many of the questions are now in the What IF? archive. The address of What IF is: http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/freedom/whatif/default.asp

    Now to answer Amber's question. I'm giving you the URL to a question similar to yours: The question was:
    "I'm responsible for a K-8 library. Some of the books are simply too mature for elementary school-age childen. I'm labeling these books "Y.A." I know "labeling" is wrong, but how else can I designate which books are really suited for older middle school readers and not appropriate for children who are still in elementary school."

    URL to answer: http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/freedom/whatif/archiveDetails.asp?idIFQuestions=57

    Another question on selection for a wide range of students is found at http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/freedom/whatif/archiveDetails.asp?idIFQuestions=47

    Another question deals with labeling in a K-8 library:

    As you use What IF? Note that there is a pull-down menu that next to the term "category" that allows you to sort for questions/answers related to school libraries.

    It's a great resource. Check it out.


  30. Anonymous4:54 PM


    You raise many of the questions that a school libraian would face in an unfiltered school library/school setting. If you read my answer to Jenny about filtering and the strategies my district used, you begin to see how filtering can be one strategy, especially when it is required if your school/district receives e-rate funding and several other types of federal funding.

    There are at least 2 keys to help the LMS when students are using the Internet in the school library. The school's acceptable use policy (AUP) sets the guidelines of what is permissible behavior when using school computers and the purposes for which the Internet may be uses. Not just surfing but real school work AND some appropriate personal research. If a student is on an inappropriate site based on the AUP guidelines, you have a responsibility under CIPA to monitor and a responsibility as a faculty member to take action. The student should receive the consequences of his/her actions.

    Second, under the new federal law passed last year [Broadband Data Improvement Act, districts that receive E-rate funding are required under their AUP or Internet Safety Policy to be "educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.” URL Source: http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/erate.html#latest

    Education and enforcement of the AUP are the keys to providing the best access to information possible to students because filtering is required and here to stay.


  31. Thanks for answering the previous comment I posted- it scares me a little about not being able to find a job- I mean I am investing all this time and money and I want it to pay off, but my wife and I are able and willing to relocate within reason. I think Wisconsin is a wonderful state and I love cheese! Can I put you down as a reference- just kidding.
    How many MLS/school media people go on into higher education eventually? It does seem like alot. What did you do your dissertation on?-if that is okay to ask.
    -Thank you, Steve Skirvin

  32. Anonymous5:35 AM


    I was a remedial teaching teacher in a high school for 7 years and worked on a Master's degree in library science. After being a school librarian for 30 years, I was preparing to retire from K-12 education in a public school. But I was not yet ready to fully retire. I had taught a few graduate courses as an adjunct for several WI state colleges. The WI higher ed system was experiencing financial problems, so I investigated teaching online. I taught one semester for Drexel University and have taught for 4 years for Mansfield University in its School Library & Information Technology program. I have double Master's degrees (library science and media technology) but do not have a doctorate.

    My husband and I had to move for him to find a job in counseling in a tech college, and I was lucky to find a library position in the area after a semester. I got my job about 2-3 weeks before the school year began. Be optimistic and keep trying. Another alternative is working at a public or academic library.


  33. Hi Helen,
    You covered a lot of ground on our blog. Thank you! Passing along the URL for the CCBC’s What If site is a very helpful gesture. Several interesting questions (…My principal wants to know why we can't just "white out" swear words in library books that might offend parents. How should I respond?...or…How can I defend purchasing graphic novels?) and their answers are easily available. It’s nice to know we can ask our own questions, too.

    Is there one piece of advice (about any aspect of the profession) that you’d like to offer library media specialists who are just starting out in their positions?

    Thanks again. We’ve appreciate your time. -Kelly

  34. Anonymous10:25 AM

    Hi Kelly,

    Rather than one piece of advice, I'll recommend a resource for beginning library media specialists. New on the Job: A School Library Media Specialist's Guide to Success was written by Ruth Toor and Hilda K. Weisburg, veteran LMS's, presenters, and the publishers of The School Librarian's Workshop professional magazine. It was published by ALA in 2007 and these are the topics in the table of contents: Your Philosophy, Getting the Job, Getting Yourself Organized, Reaching Your Students, Reaching Your Teachers, A Matter of Principals, Advocacy and You, Planning, Technology and You, Ethics, Standards, and You, and Looking Back/Looking Forward. It would be a good book for you to own or to add to your school's professional library.

    I've decided to give one piece of advice. Join your state's school library association. You can then participate in its e-list discussions, you'll make friends with persons facing the same issues as you, you can attend the annual conference where everything is focused on school librarians, and you'll be able to keep current in your profession. Many of my friends and acquaintances are those I met through the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association, AASL, and ALA.


  35. Hi Helen,

    I wanted to pipe in on Kelly's comment on graphic novels. One approach to graphic novels we have taken is to get the English teachers involved. Within the first few days of school I met with all of our lower-level English classes and shared the books that I felt were appropriate for them. I chose high-interest fiction books and I included graphic novels. The point is to get kids to read. In our most recent book order, I ordered from Classical Comics. Great Expectations, Frankenstein, Henry V, Macbeth are among the titles. We are creating a display case for those books and the ones we already have. The lower-level English classes have required SSR. Those kids are very willing to read graphic novels. Why not sneak in the classics? English teachers are slowly coming on board. I would like to see them use those as a gateway to the real-deal. I guess I don't have a question but I have found the discussion on Intellectual Freedom and Internet security incredibly informative. We filter big time at our school. This is in response to an incident that I am not comfortable discussing. Let's just say that our administration sleeps a bit better with filtering on. At least that is my guess. Thanks for all of your expertise and especially your time!


  36. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Thank you so much for all of your insightful comments and advice. Each comment has been very helpful I am especially pleased with the link ti "What If" as well as the links to labeling books based on age appropriateness. At my new school (grades 6-12) I consolidated the middle school and high school fiction collections, but then had to create a small Advanced Fiction section based on subject matter, language, etc. Students aren't restricted to check out, but I try to make my 6th graders aware of the reasoning the book is labeled advance. So far, no phone calls from irate parents!

    Sherry Gick
    Rossville Middle/High School
    Rossville, Indiana

  37. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for your questions. I enjoyed blogging with you.


  38. Helen thank you very much for all your input and answers. I am especially grateful to learn about
    the What If site.

  39. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Hi Kristine,

    Here's a resource you may want to check if anyone has concerns about graphic novels. The site is part of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom online resources and is titled "Dealing with Challenges to Graphic Novels." It's proactive and very helpful. The URL is http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/ifissues/graphicnovels.cfm