February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for August 2010

What Every New Media Specialist Needs to Know

These 10 tips can help your career get off to a great start

Illustration by Steve Wacksman

It’s not easy being a media specialist, especially if you’re new to the profession or you’ve switched schools and you’re suddenly the new kid on the block. Let’s face it, many administrators and teachers don’t understand what we do. And like it or not, we’re still battling that age-old stereotype of the school librarian as a little old lady with a bun […]

Celebrating a Decade of Judy Moody

It’s been 10 years since Megan McDonald’s comically capricious and unfailingly endearing character first made her debut in Judy Moody (Candlewick, 2000), winning the hearts and loyalties of a wide spectrum of young readers. Since then, the forever-third-grader has taken center stage in eight more funny-bone-tickling adventures, including the latest, Judy Moody, Girl Detective (August 2010), and played a supporting role in several tales about her younger brother Stink, all humorously and heartwarmingly illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Judy Moody […]

The Last Battle: With ‘Mockingjay’ on its way, Suzanne Collins weighs in on Katniss and the Capitol

The suspense is killing us. Ever since Katniss Everdeen, the arrow-slinging heroine of Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy, was snatched from the cruel clutches of a ruthless government, we can’t stop thinking about the feisty 16-year-old from District 12. What sort of flesh-devouring, mutant killing machine awaits her next? How can she possibly lead a successful revolt against the technologically advanced Capitol? And what about her two teen suitors—Gale, a longtime hunting buddy, and Peeta Mellark, the baker’s selfless son? […]

That’s Entertainment! Can kids perform popular songs in a school talent show? | Carrie on Copyright

Every year, some of our schools schedule student talent shows as fund-raisers. Among other things, our students sing pop songs, play musical compositions, read poems, and perform skits. Do we need to obtain permission from the copyright holders before they perform these works?

—Jerilyn Van Leer, department supervisorWest Hartford (CT) Public Schools

Section 110(4) of the copyright law provides a specific exception to the exclusive right of public performance for many live performances. So it’s not […]

Everyday Advocacy: Making a case for libraries is easy with web tools. Here’s how to get started.

We should all be fighting mad. I’m tired of reading headlines about the obsolescence of libraries and cuts to school programs. Librarians, students, parents, teachers, and community members—all of us should be incensed because our students deserve better. Now more than ever, libraries have become dynamic learning spaces where students develop information literacy skills, conduct research, collaborate, create, and read. It’s time to use the tools at our disposal to demand equity for students in our own districts and […]

The Library Adventure Game: Using a web-based simulation to teach reference skills | Up for Discussion

Conducting a reference interview that results in locating the information that a patron wants can be difficult. In many instances, service desks are staffed with individuals who are not professional librarians. Teaching them how to conduct an effective reference interview is time-consuming. Scheduling this training becomes frustrating, and sometimes seems impossible due to time constraints and the demands of the workload.

In the Belk Library at Appalachian State University, Boon, NC, student worker and staff training is an […]

Dancing with the Stars: What’s Brian Floca doing illustrating a brand-new book about ballet? | Under Cover

Photograph by Matt Peyton/ Getty Images for SLJ.

Ballet for Martha, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, tells the story of how Martha Graham teamed up with composer Aaron Copland and sculptor Isamu Noguchi to create Appalachian Spring, a modern dance masterpiece. No offense, but it doesn’t seem like you’d be an obvious choice to work on this book.

I was obviously not obvious. [Laughs]

You excel at illustrating detailed, technical topics, like the Apollo 11 […]

It’s All About Text Appeal

Want readers’ advisory to make a difference? Teach your kids how to speak intelligently about books.

Pulling teeth. That’s how I’d describe my attempts to get my middle school students to talk about the kinds of books they liked to read. It was agonizing. And time consuming. But more importantly, since my students couldn’t pinpoint what attracted them to their favorite titles, I was limited in what I could recommend—and that meant they were missing out on some […]

Serious Fun: Readers’ advisory, young readers, and you

Readers’ advisory (RA) is one of the hottest topics in library services to adults. In fact, you could argue that public libraries are undergoing a renaissance in RA.

According to Joyce Saricks, whose Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library (ALA Editions, 2005) is pretty much the Bible on the topic, RA is “patron-oriented library service for adult leisure readers.” Over at Wikipedia, it’s “a service which involves suggesting fiction and nonfiction titles to a reader through direct […]

What’s New Pussycat? Should Edward Lear’s classic poem be banned from the classroom? | Scales on Censorship

I had a parent question why our public library has picture books on the Civil Rights Movement. He feels these books are inappropriate for young children, especially since our community is predominantly Caucasian. He wasn’t satisfied with my explanation and plans to take his complaint to the library board.

I hope you told him that children of all ages need to know our nation’s history, and that communities all across America, especially predominantly Caucasian ones, need to […]

Heard Any Good Books Lately?: Must-have audiobooks for tweens and teens

Audiobooks are excellent tools to help students build literacy skills as well as improve listening, writing, and vocabulary competencies. In many shared or independent reading situations, audiobooks offer support to reluctant and struggling readers, special-needs students, and English-language learners. They are also embraced by voracious readers.

The narration, whether by a single voice actor or a full cast, must capitalize on the humor, drama, pathos, and all the other emotions of the text. The narrator must interpret the author’s […]