February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ’s Top Posts of 2015

From a controversial state bill and new ways to approach reading with teens, to Minecraft, our top posts of the year were an eclectic mix, reflective of the diverse needs and interests of our audience.

Our blogs are always popular, and while several of those posts were among our most visited pages, as a group, they’re excluded here. Outside of those intentional omissions, the following are the most popular posts of the year, representing news, features, and opinion pieces from SLJ.com.

While they didn’t crack the top 10, stories on library yoga and conservative teens garnered notable attention.

Elementary school librarian Tracey Wong leads a yoga session at P.S. 54 in the Bronx, NY. Photograph by Matt Carr

Elementary school librarian Tracey Wong leads a yoga session at P.S. 54 in the Bronx, NY. Photograph by Matt Carr

1-Kansas May Criminalize Educators for Distributing “Harmful Material”

A proposed bill in Kansas removes the protection of educators against prosecution for sharing so-called  “harmful material” in schools. Senate Bill 56 has sparked strong partisanship, and the American Library Association is closely monitoring its progress. Update: The bill passed the state Senate, then was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on February 26. As of the date of this post, it is still being reviewed by that committee.

2-Those Tired Summer Reading Lists. Here’s What to Do

Many librarians say it’s time to overhaul the whole idea of mandatory reading in June, July, and August.  Find out what they’re doing about it—and check out 10 tips to flip the experience.

3-SLJ’s Best of 2015 | Books, Apps, and More

From adult books for teens, books by and about Latin@s, and graphic novels, to audiobooks, and DVDs, School Library Journal covered the best of everything in 2015.

4-Teachers Find Many Reasons to Use Picture Books with Middle and High School Students

Picture books, say English language arts experts, provide excellent opportunities to teach higher-level skills while still providing an engaging experience for older students who think they don’t like to read.

5-A Curriculum Staple: Reading Aloud to Teens

Young people often listen at a higher comprehension level than they read, according to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook. Here are librarians’ suggestions for enhancing teen listening and literacy skills.

6-Creating a School Library Makerspace: The Beginning of a Journey

Makerspaces are a natural evolution for libraries. We need to make the resources available to our students that will help guide their inquiry and exploration. Who can predict what our students will create when given the space and tools necessary?

7-What’s Trending? Hot Themes in Kidlit and What We Want to See

Larger trends are more than mere coincidences. Where a coincidence may or may not say something about the times in which we live, larger trends are indicative of something grander at play. They reflect our current state of affairs, for better or for worse.

8-Emily Jenkins Apologizes for A Fine Dessert

“As the author of A Fine Dessert, I have read this discussion and the others with care and attention,” Jenkins writes. “I have come to understand that my book, while intended to be inclusive and truthful and hopeful, is racially insensitive. I own that and am very sorry.”

Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey

Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey

9- MinecraftEdu Takes Hold in Schools

Minecraft’s worlds and possibilities are truly endless—and increasingly, so are its educational adaptations for school use.

10-Takeaway Tips for a Library Maker Space | ISTE 2015

Maker was front and center at the 2015 ISTE conference—and that was a good thing for Jennifer Hanson, director of library services at Worcester (MA) Academy, who is planning a maker space at her school.


Diversity and Cultural Competency Training: Collections & RA

Do you want to ensure that your library’s collections are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and well-read?

Do you want to become a more culturally literate librarian and a more effective advocate for your community?

We've developed a foundational online course—with live sessions on February 28 & March 14—that will explore key concepts essential to cultivating and promoting inclusive and equitable collections.
Building Literacy-Rich Communities
Hosted by Library Journal and School Library JournalStronger Together is a national gathering of thought leaders and innovators from across the country who will share where and how partnerships between school districts and public libraries are having success. Join us May 10–12 at the University of Nebraska Omaha, as we explore the impact these collaborations are having on the institutions, communities, and kids they serve.