Free Databases for California Schools in 2018–19, AASL Social Media Superstars, And More | News Bites

Information database subscriptions can be prohibitively expensive for school districts, but next year in California, every school will have access for free.
School districts in California got good news about information databases, Penguin starts a new literacy service program with Kiwanis International, it's time to lobby for your favorite AASL Social Media Superstar finalist, and more education and industry news. 


California will provide three library databases to all of its schools for free beginning in August for the 2018–19 school year. The databases—Encyclopedia Britannica, ProQuest, and—provide full access to all California K–12 students and educational staff at school, at home, in libraries, and on mobile devices. These content resources provide teachers and students with an online library of books, scientific research, newspaper articles, photos, videos and more, all age appropriate and aligned with the school curriculum. About half of the state’s 1,000 school districts do not currently provide library databases and other online content to their students, according to the state's department of education. Districts that have them pay for subscriptions out of their budgets.

“Read and Lead” Program

Penguin Random House has partnered with Kiwanis International to launch Read and Lead, a literacy service program for the Kiwanis K-Kids club members. K-Kids Clubs are elementary aged students who organize and take part in community service activities. The Read and Lead program offers five literacy kits that focus on themes, including bullying, the environment, hunger, and literacy. Each kit has a selection of books from Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books, in addition to educational materials to help K-Kids club members create service projects based on each subject. Read and Lead kits start at $55. As part of the partnership, Penguin Random House will donate 500 books to Kiwanis to support the clubs’ efforts relating to literacy and early education.

Endorse your AASL social media superstar

The American Association of School Librarians has announced its Social Media Superstars finalists. The program highlights school library professionals who "enrich the profession and its work on behalf of students by sharing in social media circles. Their shared information, expertise, ideas, encouragement, dialog, and inspiration through a variety of social media channels have positively impacted many librarians." There are six categories: Advocacy AmbassadorLeadership Luminary, Program Pioneer, Sensational Student VoiceSocial Justice Defender, and Tech Troubadour. Through Saturday, April 14, people can send endorsements of their favorite superstar finalist. Those emails will only be seen by the Social Media Recognition Committee members, who will consider the testimonies, along with the original nominations, to select a Superstar for each category. The winners will be announced Monday, April 30.

Books of the YEar and CHILDREN'S Book Committee awards

The Children’s Book Committee released its 2018 Best Children Books of the Year (all published in 2017). The list contains more than 600 annotated titles divided by age and categories. The committee reviews more than 6000 titles each year for "accuracy and literary quality and considers their emotional impact on children." Published annually for more than a century, the compilation is meant to help parents, teachers, and librarians in their book choices for children from infants to 16. The complete list of recommended 2017 titles is available online. Print editions can be purchased by emailing The Children’s Book Committee also recently held the awards ceremony for the winners of its 2017 award winners. The Josette Frank Award for a "fiction book in which children or young people deal in a positive and realistic way with difficulties in their world and grow emotionally and morally" went to Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson. Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-Tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens by Kara Hagedorn won the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for "a nonfiction work that serves as an inspiration to young people." One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes won the Claudia Lewis Award given to the best poetry book of the year for young readers.

Gulfport library honored FOR WORK with lgbt community

The American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table named the Gulfport (FL) Public Library the recipient of the Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence in Serving the GLBT Community. The award honors "a library, librarian, library staff member, library board and/or library friends groups who serve the GLBT community. Nominees are judged based on innovation, impact, sustainability and advocacy."

AN MOU TOward 100 percent literacy

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), International Board on Books for Young People, and International Literacy Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together toward a goal of 100 percent literacy around the world. The MOU, which was signed at Bologna Children's Book Fair in March, “strengthens all three global organisations’ commitment and promise to share knowledge, work together, and participate in each other’s congresses to stress the importance of reading and access to information, and find practical ways of making this a reality,” according to the IFLA press release.

New publisher coming to Groundwood Books

Semareh Al-Hillal has been named publisher at Groundwood Books, starting May 7. Al-Hillal is associate publisher at Kids Can Press. Groundwood Books is an independent children’s publisher based in Toronto. Founded in 1978, the company is now part of House of Anansi Press.    

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