October 27, 2019

Easy Like Sunday Morning: The #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

As much as it seems like I have it all together, honestly I don’t. When one visits my library media center/Makerspace you will see books placed neatly in order on the shelves, displays, and a burst of colors that are pleasing to the eye.   What you don’t see is the frustration in developing a program, display, activity or de-escalating stereotypes or major ‘asks,’ from the principal/staff.  

If there’s one thing I am is a very creative person.  I come up with my best ideas in the morning and jot them down in the notes section of my iPhone.  This area of my phone is filled with tons of ideas.  Some I’ve implemented, others I’m still developing.   I can also create something on the fly and run with it. Sometimes it’s very successful and sometimes not.  Despite this, I continue to push the envelope of on-the-fly/creativity because those are usually examples of my best work.  

Yesterday morning, I saw a Twitter post from someone I follow that expressed their frustration with a patron that used a piece of gum in the book as a bookmark and left it in the book for the circulation desk librarian to remove....eeeew right???  I started thinking, school librarians have some pretty unique and funny things that we experience.  Some are highly relatable and represent a unique struggle that public, academic and special librarians don’t experience.  

I created the hashtag #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus on the fly yesterday morning and posted ten examples of it on Twitter.  The responses and DM’s I received were hilarious.  That said, I want to share them here along with a couple more that really describe our pain and downright funny situations we find ourselves in as school librarians.  Remember this is all in good fun, the posts are based on my current and past experiences (I have to say that because my co-workers follow me online) so enjoy and comment.

Until next time....

#dcpslibrariestransform #dcpslibraries #tlchat #schoollibrary #schoollibraries #schoollibrarians #LibraryMediaSpecialist 


How I look when visitors in my library media center say to my face, ‘Well, you don’t look like a librarian!’....*sigh #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

Eating way too much of your parent give-away candy for SLC Night. - #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

When my students are having an ‘off behavior’ day and you have to say this phrase after making an example out of one of them. #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

When your darling cat named Daisy Lee insists on destroying your Golden Pathos propagation project. - #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

When you are asked to watch students during your lunch break and the person asking clearly sees that you are eating and says, ‘Well they can sit over here on the side and they won’t bother you.šŸ˜¤ - #SchoolLibrarianStruggleBus

When a staff member is clearly trying to ‘unload’ students from their watch and they bring them to you stating, ‘The students can help you shelve books and do anything during the period!’ - 

October 20, 2019

Easy Like Sunday Morning: 'We’ve Always Done It This Way'

     This post is not a rant, just a reflection on many things I've seen over the course of this week:  Social media posts from librarians who are really struggling with staff/administrators, messages from my mentees who are frustrated with treatment at their schools, Chicago Public Schools Librarians who are fighting for full reinstatement of library positions throughout the district, and clueless comments about why do we need school librarians.  *Sigh....   Plus,  I'm an introvert and it's hard to really get me to verbally share my 'true' feelings when I'm not disrespected, angry or threatened.  I express myself best through writing because I learned a long time ago, people will forget what you have said, but will always refer to what you have written.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the above statement from staff and administration while serving as a library media specialist.  Often times this it is made from a unknowing perspective.  Sometimes it is a fear of trying something new and it can also be a blatant disregard that the school library program has changed and evolved over time.  The statement, "we've always done it this way," means to me people want to remain in a 'safe space' where they can predict outcomes and not work any harder/longer/more efficiently than they had in the past and a recorded excuse for not 'rocking the boat' with the staff.   

     While it is the job of the library media specialist to educate all within the learning community about our programming, skills and services we provide,  I am also critical of our partners in education.  I've worked with educators who initially refused to view or use the library program as it should.  Those who refused to, 'Move Their Cheese,' and trust the judgment of the library media specialist, viewing them as a 'second rate' or 'not a REAL teacher,' in the building.  Challenges ranging from programming, to curriculum support, lack of access to IEP's to properly support students, use of space and yes, professional babysitting services.  Yes I said it!   When I've reached my limit of the foolery, I get really quiet...that's when you should be concerned if you work with me.  

     I belong to a number of professional listserves and social media groups where the above is shared.  You can feel the frustration and sometimes anguish library media specialists tolerate daily.  Let me be clear, our challenges should not be viewed no less than a classroom teacher's challenges.  We share frustration, anger and sadly burnout, and our issues are different but the feelings are definitely mutual.   Respect is the important factor here, we may not understand exactly what everyone is experiencing, but we need to respect each other's roles and efforts.

  I have so many ideas to share and test out, but sometimes hesitant.  My fear is I won't be taken seriously and my efforts will be disregarded.  It's a fear that I will hear that statement, "we've always done it this way."   This is something I need to continually work on professionally because some of these ditched ideas could have a great and positive impact on the school community.  Change is essential.  It makes us better, it makes us stronger.  Change can be good, it can be productive and in education has the opportunity to reach the learner in ways we never imagined.  Continually reverting back to bad habits and practices of the past is detrimental and prevents all of us from moving past GO!  

   So this post was really loaded with allot of #KC_SaidIt - isms and is based off of over 20 years of observations.  So you nay-sayers, give me a break, you haven't walked in my shoes.  I'm coming up on my teaching anniversary on November 1st and you can't help but reflect on your practice.  I've experienced allot and seen allot, so that alone gives me the foundation on which I speak on today.  

Until next time!

Keep On Pushing

Cancel out the negative noise and continue to do YOU!

Day of the Dead Preparations

My students are busy preparing for Day of the Dead celebrations this year.  During the lunch/recess period, we have watched informative videos, movies and now completing a little artwork that will be posted very soon.  Check us out!

Kids and Reading


This is why my two book rule is so important.

October 13, 2019

Easy Like Sunday Morning: Busy-Busy-Busy

I've been so busy over the last month.  Between shelving books, locating lost boxes of books from the move, student orientation, lunch periods and now opening Jefferson's first library media center Makerspace, I still can't believe we've made it to the second quarter.  

The following posts represents just a taste of activities that have taken place in the library media center since I've last posted.  The students and I have been having so much fun and my prayer is that they will continue to be engaged and participate throughout the school year.  Just continue to scroll down and read the trailing posts about the #JAReaders activities.

Getting Parent Involved:  I was thinking how could I generate more traffic in the library media center on SLC (Student Lead Conference) Day?   I strongly believe that parents need to be aware that the library media center and Makerspace is a FREE resource that their child can enjoy and use everyday at Jefferson. 

As a staff, we are trying to instill the love of lifetime reading within our students.  I firmly believe that when this seed is planted, students will enjoy reading and their academic achievement will definitely improve.  We want our students to visit the library independently (outside of class scheduled time) to check out a book for leisure reading.   In terms of the SLC's, I know many of my colleagues will advise the parents of their students that they should be reading independently daily for at least 30 minutes.   

I created the flyer above as a means of encouraging parents to visit.  I also took it a step further to speak to the teachers during their weekly afterschool professional development meeting and solicit their support in handing out the flyer at the end of the SLC.   All of this of course was approved by the principal prior to me speaking to the teachers.  

I started off the day with two bags full of candy packs and I ended with this. 

I also gave the parents a little thank you card with my contact information and a reminder of the general services offered.  Many thanks to my co-workers who supported this effort.   I had a very nice turn out of parents who visited/learned more about students services offered by the library media center and new Makerspace.  For that alone, I'm grateful.  Until next time!

Our First Green Screen Activity

When I say this was a activity done on the fly, it was done on the fly.  Our first green screen activity was the bomb!

My 6th grade students took pictures/video of themselves in front of the green screen, then I demonstrated through the Green Screen App by Do Ink how they could add layers of backgrounds, imagery and video.  The end result was a good first project out of the gate.  There will be more projects to come in the near future and I will provide a more step-by-step tutorials on how you can create it.  The app is super easy to use and the kids will enjoy all of the templates and images that appear in the menus.


Here's a couple of pictures describing what my library media center looked like pre-construction, during construction and after.



Our First Makerspace Activity

I've been juggling over the last month.  Shelving books, searching for lost boxes of books from the move, decorating, hosting classes...it's allot.  Despite this, I was able to squeeze in our first Makerspace activity.  It served as a tester for a couple of ideas I have for the near future.  The students for the most part caught on to making a 3-minute butterfly.  There were students who had far more experience than their peers and me (I've never been good at making origami artifacts) These experienced origami creators jumped in and helped their classmates.  It was a fun to watch the students and we have so many butterflies, we can decorate in other areas of the library media center and school building.

I like this video because the pacing is perfect for following along while making the butterfly.

Canva Is My New Friend!

Adding the Canva app to my suite of resources has been the best investment I've made this year.  I use Canva for EVERYTHING:  Social media posts, flyers, posters, graphics for presentations and announcements, you name it.  

Here's just a couple of examples of my use of Canva.  P.S.  I create my template then head over to Instagram stories to add a layers of gif/animations to make the post pop.

Neewer RING Light

Highly recommended!

My hair stylist uses a Neewer Ring Light to post pictures of her work online.  I've been eyeing this light for quite sometime when I would visit the salon:  quality of images produced, durability and ease of use.  Especially ease of use since my students will be charged with set-up and use.  I purchased it from Amazon and upon unboxing all of the parts, got it up and operational within 20 minutes.  Big plus:  The Camera 360 app works well with the light and it's remote control.  


Follow us on social media at #TrojanLMCMakerspace and see what my students and I create this year.

Good News!

I was surprised by this report.  I knew that I had a steady flow of classes and students coming to the library during the month of September. 

My memory is horrible these days and I rely on aides.  I'm thankful that I post on social media in real time, so I'm using the timestamp of previous posts to help me.  
- My lunchtime library crew didn't begin coming to the library until September 9th
- I didn't begin receiving classes until September 16th.  
- For two weeks in the month of September I was watching a class during 6th period.  Essentially, there was still a percentage of classes I had not seen.

This is why I can say, this has been the BEST September for circulation since working at Jefferson.  Pretty good given that I was dealing with books, boxes and dust since the beginning of the school year!

Check out the meme at the end of this post from Literacy Specialist, Jen Jones

My Favorite Picture of the Year....So Far!

This picture warms my heart every time I look at it.  


One of My Plants

Overall, my plants are doing well.  They are adjusting to the new library environment and water supply in the school.  I'll post more pictures when I have the desired growth.  My students appreciate the plants and are helping me take care of them.  In some cases, they will whisper in my ear, 'Ms Boyd, some of your plants need a little attention!'

I bought this little guy and didn't even know what was the name or how to care for it.   After a quick post on social media, I learned that it is from the Peperomia plant family.  It requires constant moist soil to thrive and I water it three times a week.  Love it!

From the Peperomia Plant Family

October 7, 2019

What Drives Me Nuts!

Outside of straightening up my Anime and Graphic Novels section (sometimes four times a day), this drives me nuts!

September 15, 2019

Banned Books Week 2019

Banned Books Week 2019 will be held September 22nd – 28th, 2019. The theme of this year’s event proclaims  “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.” 

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read.  The celebration was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. 

Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Source: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks