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September 3, 2015

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Lauren Barack

About Lauren Barack

School Library Journal contributing editor Lauren Barack writes about the connection between media and education, business, and technology. A recipient of the Loeb Award for online journalism, she can be found at www.laurenbarack.com.

Philadelphia Launches $30 Million Literacy Push

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The School District of Philadelphia has launched a $30 million early literacy initiative intended to make sure that by 2020, all students are reading on grade level when they reach fourth grade.

Kansas Suffers a School Librarian Slide

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A proposed revision to a Kansas law may help protect school librarians’ jobs, but it will be hard to reverse the slow drain of certified school librarian positions in the state during the past decade.

NBA’s Pistons Give Detroit High School Library a Makeover

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A Detroit high school has scored a slam dunk—a renovation of its school library—by winning the Detroit Pistons’ “Reading Room Makeover” for 2015–16. More than 30 Michigan schools from 24 cities applied for the makeover, which supplies new carpeting, paint, and furniture.

October 3 Picture Book Summit Offers Workshop for Aspiring Authors

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Do you have a children’s story itching to be told, but you’re not sure how to begin? You might consider the Picture Book Summit, a live, online workshop on October 3.

School Librarians Want More Tech—and Bandwidth | SLJ 2015 Tech Survey

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IPads, maker spaces, 3-D printers, and coding skills top the tech wish lists for 1,259 school librarians across the country, according to School Library Journal’s 2015 Technology Survey.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Game Design-Based Lessons can Help Shrink the Digital Divide, Says Study

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Daily technology-based lessons, specifically those around game design that are taken for school credit, can help bridge the digital divide among students—particularly that between boys and girls, according to a new study.

NYC School Tech Summit: Green Screens, Digital Tools, and, Above All, Innovation

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During the jam-packed event on July 29, nearly 2,000 educators, principals, and superintendents from across New York City’s five boroughs were encouraged to rethink their teaching with new practices and digital tools this fall—and beyond.

New PTA President: Educating the Whole Child Includes School Libraries

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National PTA president Laura Bay wants to create opportunities for learning throughout communities, whether in the school library, at home, or in the neighborhood.

CA College Says “No” to Trigger Warnings About Graphic Novels

The college reversed an earlier decision to add a warning to the description of an English course teaching “Persepolis” and three other graphic novels after a student objected to graphic language in the books.

Follett to Offer Classroom Library Sets to Educators

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School librarians and teachers can now access classroom library sets through a new partnership between Follett and the Classroom Library Company.

Updated: Hearing for LGBTQ-Themed Books Challenged 52 Times

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The Hood County (TX) Commissioners’ Court will host a hearing regarding “My Princess Boy” by Cheryl Kilodavis and “This Day in June” by Gayle Pitman, despite a Texas public library director’s decision to keep them in its collection following patron challenges.

Chicago High School Hosts Citywide Maker Faire, Coproduced by the School’s Library Director   

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Can you imagine having a Maker Faire at your school? That’s the case at Schurz High School in Chicago, where students are helping host the annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, which draws 2,000 attendees.

NEA Approves National School Library Study

The National Education Association (NEA) is set to launch a study to measure student access to school librarians and libraries. The project was approved by its Representative Assembly at the organization’s annual meeting that just ended in Orlando, FL.

LAUSD Lays Off 22 Library Aides While Green-lighting Pay Raises

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A total of 22 library aides have lost their jobs in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for the 2015–16 school year even as the district increased its budget by $850,000 from last year.

ALA Addresses its Challenged Book List After Questioning by FiveThirtyEight

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ALA explains the process behind the Frequently Challenged Books list, following a pointed story on the site FiveThirtyEight.

James Patterson and Scholastic Name First Winners of School Library Grants

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Patterson and the Scholastic Reading Club revealed the names of the first 127 schools to win Pledge to Libraries Grants, bestowed by the author and publisher. Patterson has also increased the pledge amount from $1.5 million to $1.75 million.

MyLibraryNYC Brings Public Library Services to City Schools, 500,000+ Students

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A unique partnership between New York’s Department of Education and the city’s three public library systems, MyLibraryNYC has made its way into 488 pre-K–12 schools across the city this past school year, serving more than half a million students and over 60,000 educators.

STEM-Themed Library Backpacks Encourage Outdoor Exploration

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Binoculars, star charts, fishing nets, and other items in backpacks for checkout encourage Massachusetts kids to get out and follow their curiosity.

Beaverton (OR) Green-Lights 15 New Teacher Librarian Positions

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Thanks to the determination of three Oregon parents and a school district superintendent, Beaverton schools will have approximately $1.5 million for 15 new library instructional technology teacher positions in 2015–2016.

Early “Sesame Street” Boosted Kids’ Learning—If They Had Good TV Reception

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A new study on the historic impact of the series also shows that watching “Sesame Street” may still be one of the most cost-effective ways to help kids, particularly those who start out economically disadvantaged, succeed later in school.