AASL Award Winners Announced

May 22nd, 2015


The American Association of School Librarians has announced its 2015 award recipients, including the School Library Program of the Year Award, which was earned by Blue Valley High School (Stilwell, Kansas).

If you’ll be heading to ALA Annual in San Francisco next month, be sure to attend the AASL Awards Ceremony. At last year’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas, I had the pleasure of introducing the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Debra Kachel. The event was an exciting, inspirational, and even emotional gathering of librarians, advocates, and leaders.

From the Knowledge Quest website, here are the details of the Awards Ceremony:

“The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. The ceremony will be held from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 27. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event taking place prior to the AASL President’s Program.”

Read the full list of award winners here: http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/aasl-announces-2015-award-recipients/

Image: trophy 1 | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczyk by julie rybarczyk on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

–Rebecca Morris

Take a Vacation

May 11th, 2015


Carolyn Brodie writes in the May/June School Library Monthly about one of my favorite things– summer reading. The topic is picture books in the article, “Pack a Summer Suitcase: Vacation with Picture Books!”, available full-text online at the SLM website. This is a great article to access online (whether or not you have the print magazine version), because of the great collection of links to reading resources, including book lists, ideas for activities, blog entries, and other special features related to the picture books.

The titles range in publication date from 2003 (Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona Takes a Vacation) to several from 2014 (including Archie’s Vacation by Domenica More Gordon and S Is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet, written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Doris Ettlinger.)

A 2013 selection, Charlotte Moundlic’s The Bathing Costume: or the Worst Vacation of My Life, is the 2014 recipient of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award. Brodie suggests this title as a way to introduce children to this award, given for the “most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States” (http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/batchelderaward).

Whether your students are planning road trips or looking forward to stay-cations, these titles are a fun way to get excited about summer. Don’t miss the end of the article, with an “All-Time Best” List of books for a summer suitcase!

Reference: Brodie, Carolyn. “Pack a Summer Suitcase: Vacation with Picture Books!” School Library Monthly 31, no. 7 (May-June 2015): 43-45.

Image: pacific coast highway, by Rian Costillo on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

–Rebecca Morris

Next time . . .

May 6th, 2015


It’s May, and if you’re like me, May is the time of the school year when we know that weeks of class may still remain, but we can’t help to look ahead to “next time.” In the spirits of wrapping up the school year, every May as a teacher or school librarian, I couldn’t help but think about “next times.” (Teachers and librarians are always on a path of ongoing improvement, of course, but the urge to look ahead seems to ramp up when we’re approaching the end of the year.)

Next-time thinking might be about the next time I teach this unit, next year when we set the library schedule, or the next time we have a chance to read that poem, order from that catalog, have that meeting . . .  It’s almost like New Year’s resolutions all over again! Considering what we want to do “next time” is a process of professional reflection and self-assessment.

If you’re a reader of this blog, you probably know that I’m into reflection. I think it was my elementary student teaching experience years ago that engrained the practice into my work. For myself, for my K-12 students, my graduate-level school library candidates– reflection is an ongoing focus. And the end of the year is another great moment for reflection. Here are three ways to organize your thinking about “next time.”


1. This is an easy one! Record your ideas and questions while the moment is fresh. Maybe do some sorting– ideas for managing the space; ideas for interacting with children and literature; questions for yourself and teaching colleagues about designing and implementing instruction.

2. Next, pick at least one of your “next times,” and tell someone. For many of us, we tend to be more accountable when the plans are out there, and not just in our minds.

3. Finally, give yourself reasonable check points or benchmarks to follow up with a few goals that come from your reflection process.


At the risk of overwhelming yourself (and not attaining any of your goals for next time), allow your self to focus in on just a few. (A while back, I called this “focus on one fish and follow it.”) If you work through your goals, congratulate yourself! Tell your person from #2. Move on to another goal, or allow yourself to keep going and experience the day-to-day for awhile, before gearing up again.

For more on making reflecting part of your teaching practice, this is a go-to article: “Getting into the Habit of Reflection,” by Arthur Costa and Bena Callick in Educational Leadership. In the article, the authors offer this quotation:

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. —Søren Kierkegaard

Here’s to next time!


Image: Adding a little shoe spice to the stacks … by Enokson on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

–Rebecca Morris