School Libraries

Grant Opportunity for School Libraries

Are you in a school library in CA, NV or NY? Read on...

GlobeNewswire via COMTEX -- City National Bank today announced that it is now accepting applications for grants to support literacy-based projects at public and private elementary, middle and high schools in California, Nevada and New York.

Educators interested in applying for a literacy grant can access an online application by visiting Reading Is the Way Up. Any full-time teacher, librarian or administrator at schools in counties where City National has offices is eligible to apply. California counties include Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura. The Nevada counties are Carson City, Clark, Douglas and Washoe.

Approximately 100 grants totaling up to $75,000 may be awarded. Grants will provide up to $500 for the recipients to create, augment or expand literacy projects that are judged to be creative and engaging, and that may help improve student achievement. Awards can be used for books, videos, CDs, DVDs, computer software or hardware, or in other ways so long as the recipient shows that the project for which funds are sought will support literacy. -- Read More

Opinion: There is a time to ban books from school libraries

"Banned books are a sign of an oppressive regime. That said, forcing age-inappropriate reading materials on youngsters not ready to deal with the material -- and doing so just for the sake of a bigger principle -- is just as oppressive..." Read more at Yahoo News

How to Save School Libraries and Indie Bookstores and Prepare Our Kids for Standardized Tests

Melissa Stewart, award-winning author of over 100 non-fiction books for children writes in Celebrate Science:

Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

Let’s start with some background. About 80 percent of all children's nonfiction titles are sold to schools and libraries. This was great in the 1980s and 1990s when teachers were able to find lots of creative ways to integrate children’s literature into their lesson plans.

But then 2001 rolled around. That’s the year the No Child Left Behind Act was passed. And everything changed.

Suddenly educators had to teach to the test. They no longer had much time for creative teaching strategies, and they had to greatly reduce their use of trade books in the classroom.

The result is no surprise. Sales of nonfiction books have fallen significantly over the last decade. And in response, trade publishing houses have reduced their nonfiction lists on average 25 percent (and in some cases as much as 50 percent).

That’s a shame because trade nonfiction titles are meticulously researched and expertly crafted to delight as well as inform. They engage young readers in a way that text books and other standard teaching materials can’t.

Teachers know it.

Librarians know it.

We all know it.

HS Librarian Helps Solve Long Lost Class Ring Mystery

Ranee Ellefson-Jones, of Monroe, WI found a class ring recently while cleaning out her deceased mother’s jewelry box. It was in a bag with other rings, but the one with the big blue stone stood out. It was a class ring. The thing was, it wasn’t her mother’s class.

Her mother Joan Ellefson was a 1960 graduate of Monroe High School, and while Ranee at first thought the tiny date on the ring said 1960, the ring also had a big “S” in the middle of it.

“I thought maybe an old boyfriend had given it to her,” Ranee said this week. It was a week or two later, she said, when she got a chance to ask her dad about the ring. He didn’t recognize it, or have any idea where it came from. Still curious, Ellefson-Jones examined the ring more closely, eventually using a magnifying class.

The mystery continues to unravel in the pages of the Wisconsin State Journal.

Childrens Author Joan Steiner Dies

From SLJ: Joan Steiner, illustrator and creator of the "Look-Alikes" series (Little, Brown), died September 8 of cancer at her home in Claverack, NY.

Using everything from broccoli to razors to dominoes, Steiner painstakingly assembled three-dimensional collages that recreated everyday scenes such as a train station, city street, general store, park, and zoo. When asked to name the most unusual object used in her art, Steiner replied, "There is a hand grenade in the general store in the first book." The grenade became a potbelly stove in the scene.

Time magazine named "Look-Alikes" one of the best children's books, and it was one of the New York Times Book Review's Notable Children's Books of 1998. Steiner went on to create six other titles in the series, including Look-Alikes, Look-Alikes Jr., Look-Alikes Christmas, and Look-Alikes Around the World, which have sold more than a million copies worldwide and were translated into 16 languages.

Steiner served for many years as vice-president of New York's Claverack Free Library and as co-chair of its building committee. Steiner spent more than 10 years finding an affordable way to increase the size of the library and to expand its programs to better serve the community.

Using eBooks in School

With varying degrees of success, area schools and libraries have begun making use of ebooks like the Nook and similar devices. The hand-held devices can compactly replace a whole stack of textbooks, lightening the load for students.

In today’s technology-driven age, where children have grown up in front of computers and video games, challenging them to read a book has become more difficult.

Marian Parker, librarian at Seneca Grade School decided to test electronic books with students last school year in a pilot program to see how they would respond to getting their reading from a hand-held device.

“Last year’s pilot program had 18 Kindles, which were used by seventh- and eighth-grade students,” Parker said. “This year, we have 106, and have six more ordered.

Read more: Morris Daily Herald, Morris IL.

Stockton Book Ban Upheld 7-0 in Packed Public Forum

Stockton MO -- The Stockton Missouri school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to uphold its April decision to ban a book from the school curriculum. The 7-0 vote came after a public forum about the novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.

The board also voted, 7-2, against a proposal to return the book to the high school library with restrictions.

Board member Rod Tucker said his main concern was the book's language, that it had too much profanity to be of value. He rejected the argument that most kids are familiar with such language and use it regularly. [ed- note to Rod Tucker: don't forget you live in the 'show me' state]

Supporters of the book said it was chosen to get high school boys, particularly, interested in reading. Another board member said that was a mistake because the book's reading level is low for high school readers. "We're dumbing down our educational standards if we do that," Ken Spurgeon said.

Cheryl Marcum, a resident who had pushed the board to explain and reverse its decision, was disappointed by the vote. She said she's heard about the issue from young people who have left Stockton.

"They said, 'I left Stockton because stuff like that happens there,'" she said.

Some MA School Libraries to Open...Sans Librarians

The Bridgewater and Raynham (MA) middle school librarians won’t be getting their jobs back, but the schools’ libraries will remain open.

That was the word from school officials at the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School Committee meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 25. School Committee member Gordon Luciano said after the meeting the decision of the administration to use proctors instead of librarians at the middle schools this year is final and does not need a vote by the school board.

The school committee could have chosen to override the decision, he said. But there was no discussion of possible alternatives and there were no motions by committee members to take a different route.

The school committee meeting was the last before the beginning of school on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Last year, Bridgewater Middle School and Raynham Middle School each had one full-time librarian. But this year, the funding for those positions was eliminated. Story from the Bridgewater Independent.

Students, Respect That Book

For Jess deCourcy Hinds, a a school librarian and freelance writer from Long Island City, back to school means only one thing: handing out 3,500 textbooks and begging students to treat them kindly. She writes in the NYTimes Cityroom blog:

I am still in shock from June, when a parent returned his daughter’s 10th-grade English text. It looked just like its name: “Things Fall Apart.” Ripped and torn, its cover was splattered with tomato sauce, as if it had been shot in the heart. My horrified expression did not register with the student’s father. “Do we owe you anything?” he asked. Flummoxed, I just smiled and issued his daughter full credit for returning her books.

In late August, we educators should be thinking about how to spark students’ love of learning — not peeling bubble gum off books or scrubbing “Macbeth” with the obsessiveness of Lady M. herself.

Since the recession, library use — and book abuse — have skyrocketed. I’ve found younger generations to be avid readers, but as products of the digital age, they don’t always respect the physicality of books. They dog-ear pages with the impulsiveness of clicking a mouse, not realizing that their actions have permanent consequences. Kindle-reading parents may have also forgotten the basics of book care.

Accused School Librarian Still on the Job

A Redding (CA) School District librarian accused of embezzling and stealing from a school and parent club has not been placed on leave, an administration official said Wednesday.

Wanell Stolz is still working as an information specialist at Juniper Elementary and Cypress Elementary schools, district Superintendent Diane Kempley said before a special board meeting called to discuss “various employee evaluations” in closed session Wednesday.

Two parents who arrived at the meeting late and did not address the board said while the board was in closed session that they are concerned about having Stolz, who was arrested last week, working around their children.

“With everything that is going on with her case, I really don’t think she should be working with kids,” said Alisha Woodruff, who has two children who will be attending Juniper School when classes begin next week. The accused librarian is the wife of Redding School District Board of Trustees President Rein Stolz. Redding.com.

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