School Libraries

Texas librarian organizes candy drop for reading achievers

In Longview, Texas, Pine Tree Middle School students who had read all 20 titles nominated for the state's Bluebonnet Award were treated to a reenactment of the 1949 Berlin candy drop. "This is something I did to honor them and spur them on," said Carolyn Basham, Pine Tree's librarian. A flight instructor from nearby LeTourneau University did the honors, dropping chocolate candy with white handkerchief parachutes over the school stadium, where over 120 student honorees watched and waited. One of the books on this year's Bluebonnet list, Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, by Margot Theis Raven, was based on the story of the "Berlin candy bomber," U.S. Air Force Lt. Gail Halvorsen. The Longview News-Journal has the whole story.

Kids, parents flock to school library for Tune Out TV Tuesdays

Lisa Cyprian, librarian at Santa Fe Elementary School, instituted a new tradition at the beginning of the school year: Tune Out TV Tuesdays. Once a month, she opens the school library on a Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 7:30, and hosts a night of reading, games, and other activities that get students and their families away from the tube for a while. Refreshments, drawings for free books, and the chance for parents to check out books add to the festivities. Find out more from the Arizona Republic about how this program has brought the school community into the library.

SBC returns unused e-rate money

First, there was the story about an Congressional investigation into fraud claims surrounding use of e-rate funds by the Chicago public school system.

With a public hearing looming in February, the probe is centering on approximately $5 million of equipment supplied by telecom carrier SBC to the Chicago school system that is still sitting in a warehouse.

SBC said in a statement that the company "voluntarily brought this matter to the attention of the FCC" and to the staff of the Oversight and Investigations Committee.

A favorite target of Republicans, Billy Tauzin began investigating the E-rate fund in March of last year following a January 2003 report by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit "public service journalism" organization that said the fund was "honeycombed" with fraud.

"We're not trying to kill the program, but clean it up," Ken Johnson, a spokesperson for the House Energy and Commerce Committee told "In the past it has been riddled with fraud, waste and abuse and we can already prove consumers have been ripped off for millions and millions of dollars. We want to put safeguards in place to avoid this in the future."

On the next day, there's another story about SBC returning almost $8 million in e-rate money.

School libraries may apply to receive free security products

2004 3M Salute to Schools
For the fifth consecutive year, 3M, in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), will donate $1.5 million in 3M Detection Systems and Tattle-Tape Security Strips to 100 middle and high school library media centers in the United States through the 2004 3M Salute to Schools program. Individual donations will vary depending upon specific needs of the library media center, such as the size of a collection and the physical layout. To be considered for the donation, a school must meet eligibility requirements and be able to demonstrate a need for a detection system. Applications must be postmarked by March 1, 2004. Details and application forms are available from AASL or from 3M.

FNO Journal Article - School Libraries and Books Are Back!

stevenb writes "The January 2004 issue of Jamie McKenzie's From Now On features an article on the resurgence of the school library after a period in which K-12 administrators were assuming libraries were obsolete in the Internet age. The article focuses on the impact of physical libraries and books on the quality of K-12 education. Read the article at:
See a good related cartoon from FNO"

Toxic mold in Guam school library blamed for illnesses, death

The buildup of toxic mold in the library of Jose Rios Middle School in Guam may have been the cause of one death and several cases of respiratory illness among staff members, according to the Guam Federation of Teachers. Administrators at the school and the Department of Education appear reluctant to discuss the issue, claiming only that they never received notice of any concerns regarding the mold. However, the school librarian reported the problem in a letter dated October 17. Officials say that school will reopen on schedule January 5. Get the whole story from KUAM TV-8 News.

Free Iraq War Book offer to America's schools

Daniel writes "The Center for Media and Democracy (The authors of "Toxic Sludge is good for you!" and "Trust us, we're experts" is offering teachers and students free classroom copies of Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq. This book may be useful for classes in current events, political science and communications classes.If you are a high school or college instructor who would like free classroom copies to use with your students, please email them the following information: Your name, title, and daytime phone number; your school's name and class title; the number of books you need, where to ship them, and the date you need them. These books are available on a first come, first serve basis.SOURCE: Center for Media & Democracy, December 17, 2003
      The full story can be read at PRWatch"

Challenges for Writers of Children's Science Books

Wordy1 writes "A story by the NY Times (registration required) discusses the challenges of writing children's books about science. While scientific accuracy is important, sometimes it can conflict with the need to make a book enticing or at least accessible. What's more, the way scientific matters change as time and technology race on reduces the likelihood for longevity of children's books about science. Lisa Von Drasek, a children's librarian at the Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan, points to the constant weeding out of outdated children's science books from school library collections. She says, "You don't want a book sitting on your shelf that says, 'Some day, man will walk on the Moon,'"

Despite all these challenges, authors & illustrators like Peter Sis, Steve Jenkins and David Macaulay spend hours, and even years, researching the subjects of their books. So, will there ever be a children's science book that retains popularity equivalent to, say, Charlotte's Web?"

Book banned in classes

Anonymous Patron tells us, via the Sacramento Bee, that the YA book Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey has been pulled from the supplemental reading lists of 7th-grade english classes in the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District.

Trustees voted 4-1 to stop the novel from being used for instructional purposes but will allow it to remain in libraries as long as students get parental permission to check it out. Trustee Susan Richardson cast the dissenting vote.
Superintendent Jeffrey Jennings said he did not feel the book was appropriate for seventh-graders.

"We should be able to have some discretion as to what our kids have to read," he said.

Information overload

Sad news Out of Indiana where they say finding a librarian in Indiana school libraries is getting more and more difficult.

As more information than ever is available to students via the Internet, fewer people are on staff at schools to help students make sense of it.

A shortage of both funding and personnel for school libraries is affecting the way students learn to find and use information, but it’s the lack of certified teacher librarians that has local library educators worried.


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