Monday, September 23, 2013

Pete Hildebrandt - Tues. Sept. 24 through Thurs. Sept. 26

Next up for blogging is Pete Hildebrandt, a 34 year veteran of public education. Pete is the Library Media Specialist at Sylvania High School  (OH).

He has taught grades 1,2, 4, 5 and 6, worked as a principal, and been a media specialist at the middle school / junior high as well as two high schools. An award winning educator, he has just about done it all!

This year's startup question is "Can you provide a few examples or ideas of what makes your library program successful?"

Learn more about Pete:
Use this opportunity to learn all that you can from his work as a teacher and a teacher librarian.


  1. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Hello All! So sorry for the late posting. Have been hammered in the Center today! Hammered! (That's a good thing when we library media specialists are always working to justify our position and keep our centers open)...
    A quick list of ideas that come to mind re: keeping my program successful:
    1) I start with an engaging freshman orientation program, taking the freshman English classes for up to 3 weeks of instruction, including not only the standard scavenger hunt of the Center (this year taking photos using their phones), but also online databases, my SWAT Method of Website Evaluation, the I.C.E. Method of MLA paragraph writing, but also tech education including presentation software like Prezi, etc.
    2) Making "Customer Service" my ongoing mantra, and stressing this with my student staff; how they answer the phone, never pointing but rather guiding clients to materials. No request to big or small. We can run laminating orders, bulletin board letters, last minute copies, parcel deliveries, recycling needs, etc. Becoming the "go to" place and people keeps me feeling "needed"
    3) I walk around saying....constantly....."I am dedicated to your may I help you?..." so kids and staff can not only see but hear my role
    4) Super fast response time to any tech fix or materials request...making my client say "Wow, that was fast, thanks a lot" keeps me focused. Fast must, even when overwhelmed, become and remain a priority
    5) I take some of my budgeted money and purchase subject related journals for departments i.e. English Journal, Wired Magazine, American History, Popular Science, Discover, How Magazine... Every time one of these is delivered to a teacher it reminds them of what we do and how we can support them, money well spent in my book
    6) Running a Parent Teacher Book Club, we meet monthly, and mix our genres. This is reaching the larger community, along with allowing parent or community groups use my side conference rooms for gratis...keeps 'em happy
    7) When book ordering time comes around I invite my strongest and most visible readers in to browse catalogs and choose 2 books they want to order for the center. They get first dibs when they come in. I have about 15 kids that really love this.
    8) Concentrating on offering support services before and after school, Monday through Friday For finishing last minute projects, free printing services, meeting with friends, group projects. An inviting environment filled with folks lets new folks see that this is a good place to be.
    9) New thing this year...Personalized newspaper delivery services to students in study hall or commons. We are part of the Toledo Blade's Newspaper in Education program, meaning we have 250 free newspapers delivered each morning for use in classrooms, etc. I announced this service when students were borrowing my newspapers to take to study hall or commons. We established a sign up sheet, and now are pleased that nearly 74 students receive delivery of the Blade personally to during the day. My first period assistants label each with name, period and location. Each period my staff then hand delivers the papers to the students personally, asking them to "Please recycle" when they are done. Great to see students reading the paper in their down time, and even breaking apart the sections to share with their friends. I playfully also "warn them" that the crosswords are
    Well, that's what I can think of for now. Let me know your impressions....
    Pete Hildebrandt

  2. Wow! I am impressed with all of the services you offer your students and co-workers. The newspaper program, especially, is amazing. It sounds like you are nurturing many lifelong readers. Would you mind describing your SWAT Method of Website Evaluation? Evaluating websites is a skill that I need to start teaching my elementary students.

    1. Anonymous12:28 PM

      Andrea: Thanks for your kind comments. S= Site check, W= Who (author) check, A= Audience check and T= timeliness check. It's probably easiest to send you my orientation PowerPoint series with the SWAT slides embedded. Just email me at with a message for this. I'll fire it off to you (or any other of your classmates if they read this too). Thanks!

    2. Anonymous12:35 PM

      Oh! Andrea...Also.....Have you heard about or seen the site called It presents itself like Google, but generally only presents sites that meet the SWAT criteria. Check it out! It's awesome, and I recommend this site after teaching my students about website evaluation. I even mass produce and provide a sticker label with this web address on it to each student, which they put on their agenda books or English folder for future reference. Can't believe I almost forgot this!

    3. Thanks so much for sharing! I just sent you an email from my school account

      I hadn't heard of, but I checked it out just now. It looks great! I will definitely be sharing it with my students. Sticker labels are a great idea that I hadn't thought about doing. Do you have any other tricks like that for advertising good research tools or library services?

    4. Anonymous6:44 AM

      I "stick" with the stickers. Easy to mass produce and have them put on something they carry with them at all times. Be sure to use the free online templates based on the size and type you are using. I also make posters of recommended resources for all the labs in the building, and put links on the school website.

  3. Anonymous4:43 PM

    Mr. Hilbrandt,

    Your examples of ways to make a library program successful seem built on a profound belief in "meeting the needs of patrons" in a personal and meaningful manner. From using students as staff, organizing scavenger hunts, collaborating with teachers, interacting with parents, and allowing students to help with the selection process, hands-on, face-to-face interaction is key.

    How then, has this interpersonal (in-person) approach interacted, in a positive or negative manner, with the integration of technology into your School Media Center and the school? In other words, how have you made the 'internet' personal at your center and kept face-to-face interactions strong?

    Thank you,
    Ardea Smith
    Indiana University - Bloomington

    1. Anonymous12:39 PM

      Ardea: What a great question! I find being perceived as approachable and helpful a great way to address internet or technology questions as they arise. Creating sets of bookmarked sites geared to specific projects also creates some personalization for staff needs and time saving for the students. I not only recommend resources geared towards specific needs, but also help clients to develop strategies to use Google correctly and effectively (nested searches, etc.). Creating this balance is crucial... it's nice to see you already have a sense of its importance.

    2. Anonymous5:10 PM

      Hi Mr. Hildebrandt,

      Thank you for your reply.
      Sometimes I feel like technology is more of a burden in the classroom than a help - I've sat around for more than a few hours during my time as a student as a teacher gets frustrated trying to get a machine or program to work! So, your reminder that specific needs and time saving measures are definitely important with regard to technology. What sorts of platforms are you currently using that embrace this "easy technology" or "time saving" approach? For instance, while perusing your Sylviana Southview Library Webpage, I noticed you have a library booking system. A SMS (at a middle school) I recently interviewed found that booking appointments actually discouraged teachers from using the library. They wanted to come and go as they pleased, or have her come to them. How does your booking system work in your environment?

    3. Anonymous5:10 PM

      P.S. Did you design the Library Booking system/website yourself or use a template from online? It looks great!

    4. Anonymous6:51 AM

      Ardea: Great "digging"! I'm glad you saw our webpage and booking system. The system was actually developed by 2 "technogeek" students who are into programming and on my staff. Can you believe that? As far as time saving and ease my use, my center is busy enough that I guess my teachers prefer to know what times are available and which aren't. For the "coming and going" issue, we are always open to letting them come in at the last moment (you HAVE to be for customer service). If my lab areas aren't available, there are 3 other labs in my building. I don't schedule these areas, but I am free to send classes there if they are available.

  4. Mr. Hildebrandt,
    You have so much experience as a teacher, administrator, and librarian! What piece of advice would you give someone (me!) who is a new teacher librarian with no teaching experience?

    Lana Reeser

    1. Anonymous12:47 PM

      Lana: I'd say you should seek out some of the best educators around you (via word of mouth and recommendation of peers or other teachers) and spend some time in their classroom observing and assisting. Learn how to make great bulletin boards and displays, and key into classroom management strategies, which easily adapt themselves to use in your center. Soak up what you can where you can. Several hours spent in this process, keeping a journal of ideas as you see and "like" will be extremely valuable. I'd also suggest spending similar time observing dynamic media specialists in action, one at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Centers at each level run very differently because of client needs. These would be your best bet.
      Write back if you'd like!

  5. Thanks for all the great suggestions, Mr. Hildebrandt. I have been able to observe a couple of great teachers, and that was very helpful. Last year was actually my first year, and while I don't have an aide, the building substitutes are "stationed" in the media center, so if they are not covering a class, I put them to work. Fortunately, one had her teaching license, and she did my bulletin boards and displays, and I did learn a lot from her, which was great. And I observed two media specialists as part of this class for an assignment, which was also a great experience. In fact, i asked if I could use a PD day for it, and my supervisor not only said yes, she had all secondary librarians choose a place to visit! then we got together in the afternoon and shared what we learned. Everyone loved it so we are going to do it again for our next PD! Regarding classroom management, I generally don't have too much trouble in the library because teachers come in with their class, so they are able to help; although i've learned some teachers are more "helpful" and others let me be more in charge.
    Thanks again!

    1. Anonymous6:57 AM

      Lana: You are very welcome. It's good to see you are already reaping the benefits of observation opportunities. Remember, the "best" in our profession always "steal from the best in our profession"! Great to hear you don't have too many issues in your library...and some teachers ARE more helpful than others. I'm lucky that way too. Only one or two of my staff have ever "dumped" their classes in the center, but I made the best of it and didn't complain. They haven't done it since.