Monday, April 27, 2015

2015-16 Sunshine State Young Readers Award Nominees

Congratulations to the 15 nominated titles for the SSYRA Grades 3-5 list:

and the 15 nominated titles for the SSYRA Grades 6-8 list:

Happy reading, everyone!

Sunshine State Young Readers Award Winners 2014-15!

The winner of the SSYRA Award for Grades 3-5 is...

The winner of the SSYRA Award for Grades 6-8 is...


Friday, April 17, 2015

SSYRA Fun! 2015 Edition

Voting booths ready to go!

This past year I've been honored to chair the Sunshine State Young Reader's Award Committee for the Florida Association for Media in Education and the Florida Department of Education. It has been a fun, rewarding experience that is also a lot of hard work. (What rewarding experience ISN'T hard work, though?!)

My mom volunteering!
Our school participates in the SSYRA program every year.  For the last several years, I've thrown a Pizza Voting Party for the students who read at least 3 of the SSYRA books. They come to the library during their lunchtime to vote for their favorite SSYRA book, have some pizza and cookies, and have fun with their friends.  (Did you know it is SO FUN to EAT in the library??) 
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office ROCKS!

The Leon County Supervisor of Elections brings a voting machine and privacy booths so that the students can vote on official election equipment - just like their parents do!  They vote, they get an I Voted sticker, and then they party. 
Our voting machine
Custom ballots and I Voted stickers
Our voters doing their civic duty
Lined up and ready to vote!

Students who read all 15 SSYRA books are awarded with a special t-shirt at the party.  It's quite a remarkable accomplishment.  This year, we had over 200 voters and 10 students who read all 15 books.  I'm so proud of them, and so pleased they liked this year's books.

We love Dominos! They make 2 deliveries so the pizza is fresh and hot!

SSYRA books and Capri Suns - a great combination
I have the best colleagues!

Book Tastings with Sixth Grade

I had wanted to have a Book Tasting session with students for a long time, but just hadn't had the time or opportunity.  I finally had the opportunity to host a book tasting for the sixth grade reading classes at the end of January.

There are many different ways to host Book Tastings.  I think one of the best things about it is that you can really tailor your lesson to meet the needs of the age group, the project, or the purpose.  For this tasting, we just wanted the students to find books that they would want to read for pleasure.

We started by pulling hundreds of books from the Young Adult Fiction section, as well as from non-fiction, graphic novels, and biography.  We grabbed titles with high interest in a variety of reading levels and a variety of formats.  Books were set up on several book carts and placed around the library.

After explaining the process, students were allowed to browse any of the carts to select a book. We encouraged them to taste one book at a time for a few reasons: to avoid "hogging" of the "good" books; to ensure they browsed several different titles and carts; to be open to taking recommendations from classmates; and to encourage movement throughout the lesson so they weren't just stationary.

Students made notes on their Book Tasting Menus while they worked.  We used the menus as an assessment tool as well as so that they had a record of the books they tasted for future reference.

Students were allowed to check out books that day, and as books were chosen from the carts we replenished them with others.  Throughout the lesson I circulated and talked to the kids about their choices, made recommendations, and kept them on task.  It was as fun for me as it was for them.

The feedback I got from the students was about what I expected: many students said they loved the exercise and asked when we could do it again; some students said they didn't enjoy it and don't plan to check out any of the books they tasted; and many students said they don't normally read for pleasure, but had discovered at least one book that interested them.

Next Monday, one of the high school reading teachers will be hosting a Poetry Tasting in the library for the students to peruse poetry anthologies in preparation for a project they'll be doing over the next few weeks.  I adapted the Book Tasting Menu to suit her project.  I'm excited to see how it goes and how the students enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Almost too busy

It's been a really busy week.  I feel like I am juggling several different things this week, and doing a poor job at all of them.  I've been frustrated because it has been difficult to prioritize my projects and tasks, and the many interruptions (which are normal) have been more irritating this week. I keep reminding myself that none of the projects on my To Do list are life-or-death matters.  Everything is going to be fine. Everything IS fine.  But as someone with a Type A personality, who gives 200% to everything, that's hard to remember sometimes.

Yesterday, I was working at my desk on a project.  I was really focused.  I had tuned out everything else in the library - the noise, the commotion, my assistants, the kids.  I had been interrupted a grillion times (an exaggeration, of course, but it felt real), when a third grade boy walked into my office to show me the books he had picked to check out.  I was frustrated and close to snapping at him, but before I did I quickly reminded myself that HE was not the reason I was stressed out.  HE was not the reason I was frustrated.  HE was not the reason I was low on patience.  But, in fact, HE (and the other kids, of course) was the reason that I get up every day, and go to work, and LOVE my job.  So I pushed my chair away from my desk, turned, and listened to him.

He showed me two books he had picked out: one about electricity, and one called Weird-But-True Facts About Science.  Since kindergarten, this child has loved non-fiction books and especially books about science.  Last year, he read a book about the water cycle, and then stood and explained the phases of the water cycle to his teacher and me.

Yesterday he said, "I just love books about science." I told him I was so glad he did.  He then told me that the reason he NEEDED these books was because he and his friend (another 3rd grade boy) had a plan for when they are adults.  When they turn 20 years old, and they're adults, they're going to create the X-Box 2000.  And it's going to be a band that wraps around your head and you're going to use brainwaves to control it with your mind.  He said that in order to be able to create this game, he needs to know all about electricity and science.  So he's reading books now so that he can learn everything he needs to know in order to create this game.

He was 100% sincere about this.  He was 100% serious.  I 100% believe he will do this if he puts his mind to it.

I can only hope that the library books he's checking out as an elementary student will play a role in this grand plan of his.  I hope that his love of reading, and books, will contribute to his becoming a lifelong learner and reader.  For a librarian, that's the dream, right?

I was instantly so glad that he interrupted me. Honestly, I feel honored that he told me about his plan.  I can't believe I almost missed out on this super cool moment because I was *busy* working. 

Happy Holidays!

Woops! I started this post months ago, and didn't realize I never posted it!  

We went all out for the holidays this year in the FSUS Library.  The library elves, Ms. Massey and Mrs. Beck, decked all the halls.  I won't name any names (elementary PE Coach Sam Hamilton) claimed the icicles looked like shark teeth. But what does he know?  It looked like a winter wonderland! :)

The Grinch encouraged random notes of kindness.

Stole this idea from another library. Got a few laughs.
Buddy the Elf encouraged everyone to read!
Stole this cute idea from Buffy Hamilton, the Unquiet Librarian.
More holiday cuteness inspired by Buffy Hamilton.
Do you want to build a snowman??  Elsa, snowmen, and icicles (aka "shark teeth.")  :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

London's Calling!

Learn about digital media in London this summer!

An exciting opportunity to earn six graduate LIS credits while living in central London is being offered by the Florida State University School of Information.  Two courses, focused on digital and social media, taught by Dr. Nancy Everhart from July 3 to July 24, 2015 at the FSU London Centre, will use this dynamic city and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for creating projects and determining their impact via social media management. Projects include podcasts, social networking sites, blogs, short films, infographics, digital photography and new media of your choice. No prior experience with these media is required. All classes will be field trip based. There are online requirements before and after the time in London.

Other pertinent information:
  • The two courses are: LIS 5313 -Digital Media: Concepts and Production and LIS 5385 – Social Media Management. Participants must take both courses and they will be focused on application of digital media to libraries and other organizations and managing social media sites. Students will have the opportunity to apply course material to their current work situation if desired, or to build a professional portfolio.
  • The FSU London Centre is housed in a 17th century building that FSU owns in the heart of 'literary London' and within walking distance to the shopping district and to the West End theater district.  It is less that one block from the British Museum and a tube stop.  Students are housed in flats at the Centre or in nearby Bloomsbury.
  • Day trips to Oxford, and the Warner Brothers “Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour” in Leavesdon are included. 
  • Two theatre shows are included.
  • Many field trips are tied to settings of children’s stories like Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Mary Poppins.  Visits to famous landmarks including Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Kensington Palace, Hyde and Regent’s Parks, the British Library and numerous museums form the backdrop for media projects.
  • Cost is $5515 for both in-state and out-of-state participants.  The fee includes all registration and instructional costs for 6 graduate credit hours; travel venues outside of London; all admissions to program social/cultural activities; welcome and farewell meals; breakfasts, health insurance; international student ID card; T-shirt; full-time academic and administrative support.  
  • Airfare, other meals, books and supplies are not included in the cost. 
  • Credits earned in this program may be later transferred into the master’s degree program at FSU for students who may be accepted at a future date.  These offerings are regularly offered graduate courses.
  • Extra time is budgeted for travel on your own. 
  • This program is open to media specialists and teachers who are interested in this exciting summer opportunity for professional development continuing education credits. 
  • If you can improve your current work skills through this coursework, the total cost of the program, along with your travel costs, are tax deductible.  

For more information and to apply online, visit the website:  Contact:  Dr. Nancy Everhart, ( with any questions.  Please feel free to distribute widely.