Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This Friday is Dr. Seuss' birthday, Read Across America and the day the Westchester Fiction Committee announces this year's winners. Make sure to watch for the announcement.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Latest readings

Lately almost everything I read is for the Westchester Fiction Committee because we are posting our 10 winners of 2012 on March 2 as part of Read Across Amercia. here are a few of the titles I have read in the last month:
Brave Music from a Distant Drum
Born Ugly
Drummer Girl
The Faerie Ring
A long Long Sleep
the Lost Gate
Now is the Time for Running
the Scorpio Races
Strings Attached
Thirteen Hallows
What happened to Serenity
the Wolf Mark

I enjoy reading YA Literature and probably will be most excited when we get to take home and keep books for our school libraries after the final decisions have been made. I have a few stacks of books to read for fun that have been waiting since my birthday and Christmas because the WFC books got priority. I love getting new books for my kids and knowing which ones I can recommend to kids whose tastes are genre specific. new books are always so exciting!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

RIF Hearings

Tomorrow I report to the Reduction in Force hearings downtown, in hte basement of the California Market. I will try to defend my job as a teacher librarian from extinction in LAUSD. I will provide documentation for the lawyers and the judge that will decide if I and the other TLs deserve a right to be teachers when the district decides it does not need anyone to run their libraries.

When I went back to college for the second time to get a second credential so I could teach in hte library, I never thought that my additional credntial and my Masters in Education would actually keep me from being employable by my district. The only RIFed teachers who are not being allowed to return to the classrooms where they previously taught are the Teacher Libraians who left their old classrooms to teach in the library and effect the lives of hundreds of students per day through instructional technology and information literacy. Life is so ironic.

My district has decided that students and staff will check out and in hteir own books. No one is scheduled to shelve, repair, or replace the books. No one will teach students how to use databases or the brand nwe circulation system. No one will be responsible for the library collection or computers. Teachers will be expected to take their classes to the library and supervise circulation on a new system with no training whatsoever. Teachers who can also expect their class sizes to jump by 5 students per class next year.

I have worked in this library since my school opened. I have helped develop the collection, taught databases to teachers, staff and students, teach three classes per four period day, and have served as department chair for the electives department and member and secretary of the School Site Council. We have extended library hours to accomodate students and teachers before and after school and at lunch. I have served on the California Readers and the Westchester Fiction Committee to discover great books for my classes. I will be very sad to see everything I have worked for destroyed by short term planning. I love helping people find reading materials and research that means something to them. If the district proceeds with closing the libraries and leaving students no access, I am sure our reading and literacy scores will drop. If the doors are left open with no one accountable for the collection, I am sure that the materials will be missing, lost and a mess within weeks.

Every choice has natural consequences. If either of these things happen look for me at the local public library, working or volunteering in children's or YA literature.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Westchester Fiction Committee

I originally voluteered for the WFC because I was promised free books for my library and my students love new fiction as much as hot Cheetos. The committee is mostly school librarians and literacy coaches and we read all the submitted books and then eliminate the books that are too young, boring, simple, or unable to stand alone, without the other books in the series. The goal is to choose the ten outstanding new fiction books for 2010.
So far, I have probably read about 70-80 books. We try to make sure that at least four of us read every book that might make the awards list. The books range from SciFi to realistic, Fantasy to History. Some of the ones I really enjoyed are:
Blood Ninja by Nick Lake (Vampire ninjas, need I say more)
Beat the Band by Don Calame (made me laugh out loud)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (I cannot keep this on the shelf)
Draw the Dark by Ilsa Bick (still reading it, but it made the list)
Green Witch by Alice Hoffman (lyrical, interesting, lovely)
Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork (dealing w/ death)
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (alternate history of WWI)
Salt by Maurice Gee (adventure set in another world, compelling)
Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (teen angst in a NYC hotel w/ actors)
Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron (a band book for music lovers)
Sweet 15 by Emily Adler (biculturalism, humor, family life, skating)
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards (historical fiction, Johnstown Flood)
Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen (historical, Revolutionary War)

and of course I am still aiming for three to four more books per week until we make our selection. My students are loving Personal Demons, The Agency, Addicted to Her, Butterfly, Claire de Lune, The Complete History of why I hate her, Beautiful, Efrain's Secret, How to say Goddbye in Robot, Hushs, Hush, Legacies, Roses are Red, A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, Wish, and so on.

So, if you are looking for new fiction and needed some titles let me know what genre you are looking for and I will try to be helpful. In the meantime, I love free books!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

After Inventory

As I listen to the Graduation Rehearsal taking place right outside the library, I am cataloging donated materials from our first retiring teacher at East Valley high school. I have about three more boxes of video cassettes and dvds that were used to teach Economics, American History and American government. This is what I get to catch up on, after I complete a full inventory of our library.

Inventory is a long process. We completed the count on the Professional and Reference sections in May, but did not close to regular circulation until June. We had classes signed up every day, sometimes one per period, sometimes more. If I had not had help from my own children after they finished their college semesters, I do not know if we would have made it. But we finished the full inventory and ran a list of the lost or missing copies. Thus, if and when we get our fine and lost money back from district, we will know what materials need replacing. ;)

As the school year winds down, early, we try to prepare for next year by prepping all new materials and getting our hands on any available categorical funds to buy new requests for our teachers and students. We may be able to get about $10,000 of new books, dvds and playaways for next school year! Hallelujah!