Blogger Stacy Dillon

Ideas with Crossover Possibilities

Sometimes, school life and library life overlap.  Sometimes they don’t. Often I read the posts of my public library friends and find myself nodding my head and then I read the posts of many school librarians and my experience doesn’t mesh with theirs.  There are two hot topics that are happening right now in both the arenas of education and libraries and we should definitely be expanding our thinking and reading outside of the library and the school publications proper. Makerspaces.  Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 3-5 years, you’ve been reading about, learning about, or implementing some aspect of making whether you are in a school, a school library or a public library. I know that as children’s librarians we have been participating in maker culture for years, but the new focus really is more than a rebranding.  The blending of digital and analog, the open…

Blogger Stacy Dillon

Opening the Doors

I was lucky this week to host a fellow librarian from another NYC independent school.  She had attended a workshop at my school earlier in the year and wanted to chat about the job of the “American school librarian”.  She is to be returning to France soon, and is going to be writing a paper on the subject. We chatted about our respective schools for a bit and then got down to the real meat of the conversation.  What does it really mean to be a school librarian in the USA today? What are our roles? What could our roles be? Within this conversation, she filled me in on what it is like to be a school librarian in France. She lamented the fact that there are no elementary school positions — there are only middle and high school librarians in France.  I found this incredibly interesting, as my experience…

Blogger Stacy Dillon

#libtechcon15

At my school (LREI), our Library and Edtech departments merged a few years ago. We are in a bit of a unique position since two of our dedicated tech people are degreed librarians, and the Department Chair of the Edtech department is actually our high school librarian. So our joint department numbers 9 strong with 6 of us holding MLS degrees. We are fortunate to work and play well together, but our sense from attending conferences and meetings was that we are a bit of a rarity. In the fall, we hosted the first #libtechcon14 where we invited librarians and tech folks to come in pairs or teams for an unconference style day that would touch on some of the hard questions about communication, working together and the future of libraries. The event sold out quickly and once it was over, we were asked to consider hosting the conference again….

Blogger Stacy Dillon

Summer Reading

  It is time for school librarians to dust off their summer reading lists and refresh them.  I know that the public librarians are wondering how we can possibly just start thinking about summer reading now, but in the school things are a bit different.  We tend to release the students to you all to fulfill their summer reading duties! Since the majority of librarians at my school came from the public systems, we are hyper sensitive to the look and feel of our summer lists.  We remember keenly the super long, out-of-print, completely off grade level lists that we had handed to us.  So we make sure not to contribute to that problem. My own lists are updated every year with award winners, books that will give students a running start in terms of curriculum, books that provide both mirror and window opportunities as well as some personal favorites….

Blogger Stacy Dillon

Spring Break

While I listen to the meteorologist telling me to expect snow tomorrow, and see the pictures of my friends’ vacations on Instagram, I find myself reflecting on my library year and the changes that I want to be making. When I first started in the school library, the culture shock was fresh and up front. I was used to working in a large public library with a population ranging from babies to teens in my section. We rarely saw parents. We rarely questioned book choices. We were always running. Finding books, readers’ advisory, RIF programs, lapsits, story-times, loads of programs and lots of desk time. When I started at school I had a full compliment of classes, but the collection I was working with was a fraction of the size.  Parents were always in the library.  This was different. Anyone who has worked both in school and public libraries understands that…

Blogger Stacy Dillon

Making the Bulletin Board Your Patrons’ First Stop

In our library we have a bulletin board just to the right as folks walk through the door.  We’ve always kept it looking “nice”.  Some timely book displays…occasionally some student work (our second graders’ tall tale characters are a favorite) graced the construction paper background.  But honestly?  I was getting bored looking at it all the time. So I did what any good librarian would do and I headed to Pinterest for some ideas.  Sure there were lovely book ad type of displays, but this is exactly what I wanted to get away from.  And I realized, what I wanted was for our students to have an interactive experience. We started with gratitude.  Modeled off the Gratitude Graffiti Project we seeded our bulletin board with post-its featuring things we are grateful for. Every time anyone (teacher, parent, student) walked through our doors they were invited to add something.  In no time…

Blogger Stacy Dillon

Changing up the Curriculum

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I was going to embark on a Coretta Scott King illustrator award study with my students.  I am lucky enough to be fully in charge of my own curriculum, so what I decided to do was to swap out the Caldecott study I had done in the past. So far we have read 5 honor and winning titles including Beautiful Blackbird, Mirandy and Brother Wind, Uptown, Ellington Was Not A Street, and Jazz on a Saturday Night.  We will continue reading until winter break. After break we will work on our ballot and vote for our favorite of the titles that we have read.  Luckily, one of these classes has library during the award announcements and we will be watching the live stream. The discussions about the art work have been rich and informed (“I think it’s collage”- “Wow…those pictures look so…

Blogger Stacy Dillon

Mindfulness in the Library

In our lives as busy and distracted librarians, it’s easy to get sucked into always keeping that running list in our minds.  You know the one.  It has all of those “to-do” tasks on it that have to get done in the next 2 hours, shift, day, week and month.  I know that I always have several balls in the air and am trying to stay ahead of the game.  It often leads to worrying about what’s next rather than being present in the task at hand. I was speaking with a teacher about this not so long ago, and she told me about a mindfulness workshop she had attended.  She told me that it had not only helped her practice as an educator, but she was using the techniques with her students and it was making a difference in their lives at school as well. I started looking around…