Interview With a Librarian: Pamela Thompson

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This blog post is a part of my Interview With a Librarian series.  I interview librarians who share the stories of their careers and the books they love.  You can see all my other interviews here!

This week I’m chatting with Pamela Thompson.  She’s the library media specialist, IT specialist, and webmaster for a school that serves grades 6-8.  Enjoy!

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Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

Career blogger, reviewer, YA librarian, columnist for The El Paso Times and a YA reader who reads hundreds of YA books each year!

Q. How long have you been working in libraries and how did you get your start?

10 years.  I’ve loved book since my first encounter probably in the womb…..Always read to as a child, thank goodness. I became a high school English teacher and librarianship was out of reach since I live in far west Texas and the nearest school was over 500 miles away…until the Internet! I went to University of North Texas and became a librarian…my dream job!

Q. What is your favorite thing about working in libraries?

Talking to the kids every day. They have opened my mind to a world of possibilities in learning, in technology, in life.

Q. What is the most challenging thing about working in libraries?

Having my time taken up by paperwork and inventory of tech and computers. My job has evolved into me being the go to person on campus for all things tech.

Q. What are some of your favorite books?

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Q. What are you currently reading?

Since I’m an active and voracious blogger, reviewer and reader, what am I NOT reading is a better question. Currently, I’m reading Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, Absolutely Truly, Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style, Wendig Blackbirds, and Willful Machines.

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Q. Tell us about something you’ve done in or for your library of which you’re very proud.

Our book fairs are epic! I always have a game tie-in or two. And I use 8th grade advanced stage production class to build my sets….sarcophagus for Egyptian theme, “monsters” with large mouths for bean bag monster toss for monster book fair, HUGE camel for Egypt, etc.

Also, this year I’ve begun a coding group during every lunch shift.  And our fantastic book clubs!

Q. If money was no object, what one thing would you do to improve your library now?

Cooler teen furniture and redesign spaces for teens. Also serve hot tea and cocoa in a “café” type setting

Q. What are your favorite professional development resources?

LM_NET for sure… and all the fab librarians I’ve met there….many contacts and friends

Also, Texas Library Association and its annual conferences!

Q. Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with new librarians?

SMILE…join LM_NET, go to state conferences, join Twitter groups with like interests, find cohorts to bounce ideas off of, ask kids for help.

Many thanks to Pamela for sharing her story with us.  Please leave her a comment below to let her know you appreciate her.  If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please fill out this form.

Title image courtesy of Aleksi Tappura via UnSplash. Head shot courtesy of Pamela Thompson.

5 New Books for School Librarians

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Each month I share a list of soon to-be-published and new books for school librarians.  I haven’t read these books so these aren’t recommendations; I just like to share what’s new! Enjoy!

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Popular Series Fiction: Popular Series Fiction for K-6 Readers: A Reading and Selection Guide, 3rd Edition  and Popular Series Fiction for Middle School and Teen Readers: A Reading and Selection Guide, 3rd Edition (Children’s and Young Adult Literature Reference) by Rebecca L. Thomas and Catherine Barr.

Amazon’s description: “Ideal for youth librarians at public libraries, school librarians, and teachers, this book enables you to direct young readers toward series titles that will help establish a lifelong love of reading.”

Adding Value to Libraries, Archives, and Museums: Harnessing the Force That Drives Your Organization’s Future by Joseph R. Matthews.

new books for school librariansAmazon’s description:  “This book explains the concept of adding value and shows staff at libraries and other organizations why they need to take steps now to ensure they are adding new value to their communities―whether it be a local town or neighborhood, a faculty and student body, or a school.”

Visual Literacy for Libraries: A Practical, Standards-based Guide by by Nicole E. Brown, Kaila Bussert, Denise Hattwig, and Ann Medaille.

new books for school librarians

Amazon’s description: “…this book provides librarians and instructors with the tools, strategies, and confidence to apply visual literacy in a library context. Readers will not only learn about ways to develop students’ visual literacy, but also how to use visual materials to make their instruction more engaging. Ideal for the busy librarian who needs ideas, activities, and teaching strategies that are ready to implement…”

3D Printing: A Practical Guide for Librarians (Practical Guides for Librarians) by Sara Russell Gonzalez and Denise Beaubien Bennett.

new books for school librarians

Amazon’s description: “Planning and implementing a 3D printing service in a library may seem like a daunting task. Based upon the authors’ experience as early adopters of 3D technology and running a successful 3D printing service at a large academic library, this guide provides the steps to follow when launching a service in any type of library.”

Do any of these books look good to you?  Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Interview With a Librarian: Tricia deWinter

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer here.

interview-with-a-librarian

This blog post is a part of my Interview With a Librarian series.  I interview librarians who share the stories of their careers and the books they love.  You can see all my other interviews here!

This week I’m chatting with Tricia deWinter, Head Librarian for Pre-K through 12th Grade at The Oakridge School in Arlington, Texas.  Enjoy!

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

I have been a school librarian for 17 years and absolutely love it.

Q. How long have you been working in libraries and how did you get your start?

I taught third grade, fifth grade and sixth grade before working part-time as a high school English teacher two nights a week at a public school that serviced working students, young mothers and other students seeking an alternative to the traditional high school setting. My sons attended Catholic school, and when my older son entered Pre-K the librarian position came open. The school principal told me the job was mine if I got my library certification, which I did online through the University of North Texas.

Q. What is your favorite thing about working in libraries?

The students! They are so funny and excited about books, I wish the whole world loved books as much as first – fifth graders! I also love being around books all day. It’s a great job.

Q. What is the most challenging thing about working in libraries?

Managing my two full time aides; I find it much easier to work with students.

Q. What are some of your favorite books?

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak,  Holes by Louis Sachar, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and Life after Life by Kate Atkinson.

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Q. What are you currently reading?

Rook By Sharon Cameron

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Q. Tell us about something you’ve done in or for your library of which you’re very proud.

My students blogged last year about favorite books, and it went really well.  They shared such insightful observations about what they were reading. This blog was a huge success, but this year I have modified it. Students can “straight up blog” which means come in and share a review of a book they read recently, or they can “make” some sort of media, craft, artwork that showcases their passion about the book. I have gotten lots of funny and amazing book trailers, dioramas, posters, and crafts – it has been fun.

Q. If money was no object, what one thing would you do to improve your library now?

More Mac devices for the students to collaborate on trailers, interviews, promotional social media and use of tech tools to celebrate and share our love of books. The students are one-to-one here but I would like more Mac computers in the library for collaboration on projects.

Q. What are your favorite professional development resources?

TXLA, and I am a member of the Association of Independent School Librarians Association. I love School Library Journal and LMNet.

Q. Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with new librarians?

Read what your students are reading!

Many thanks to Tricia for sharing her story with us.  Please leave her a comment below to let her know you appreciate her!  If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please fill out this form.

Title image courtesy of Aleksi Tappura via UnSplash.

Interview With a Librarian: Leslie Sharbel

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer here.

interview-with-a-librarian

This blog post is a part of my Interview With a Librarian series. I interview librarians who share their career stories and the books they love. You can see all my other interviews here!

Today I’m chatting with Leslie Sharbel.  She’s a teacher librarian for a K-5 school near Birmingham, Alabama.  Enjoy her interview!

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Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Birmingham, AL and teach in one of the suburban areas. I have a BS in Home Economics, a law degree from the University of Alabama, and a Masters in Library and Information Services from the same university. I did not start out to be an elementary teacher, but am glad I ended up here! I am married, have three college-age children and two spoiled dogs. My hobbies include reading, cooking, yoga, and watching college football!

Q. How long have you been working in libraries and how did you get your start?

I’ve been working in a library for almost 10 years. I spent three years as an aide in another school library while I finished my Masters. Then the head librarian job opened up at the school where I am now. I got my start as a parent volunteer in the elementary school library where my children attended school. I loved being there and would show up every day. The librarian at the time was a wise, experienced woman who really took me under her wing and helped me along the way. I have the good fortune to have been able to follow my passion and work in a job that I really enjoy!

Q. What is your favorite thing about working in libraries?

I love books, I love reading, I love writing! I know the importance of being able to read well, and how successful one can be in school (including those dreaded tests) and in life if you are able to read and write well. I love being able to pass this passion on to children. There are so many wonderful children’s books out there and I love introducing students to these stories. There is a lot of wisdom to be found in children’s literature! I love to see a student’s face light up and get excited about something we’ve read.

Q. What is the most challenging thing about working in libraries?

What do I teach? My state has no library curriculum, so it is basically up to me to decide what to teach students. I see each class (grades K-5) once a week. I have lessons that I prepare for every class, every week. But do I teach literature, technology, Language Arts course of study, library skills, research skills??? And then there’s the whole Makerspace movement. I am one person (no Library Aide), teaching 22 classes a week, running a library and 2 Book Fairs (because I get no money to buy books), conducting the school Spelling Bee AND trying to be a source for books and other resources for classroom teachers. It is overwhelming at times, especially when “that” person says to me: “Oh, do you teach lessons in the library?”. There’s the other challenging part: people think we do nothing but sit around and read all day!

Q. What are some of your favorite books?

Picture books are my favorite books (because, as I said, there is a lot of wisdom to be found there), so I would list here some of my favorite authors of picture books: Patricia Polacco (all-time favorite), Cynthia Rylant, Mo Willems, Marc Brown, Jan Brett, Dr. Seuss, Kevin Henkes, Robert Munsch—too many to list. I especially like using historical fiction picture books with older grades (4-5) to make history come alive for them.

Q. What are you currently reading?

I spend most of my time reading children’s literature, because I’ve found it’s hard to recommend a book to a student if I haven’t read it (they can’t be fooled). I’m reading Brian Selznick’s new book, The Marvels. But I can’t just read one thing at a time, so I’m also reading some adult books: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and Bikram Yoga by Bikram Choudhury.

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Q. If money was no object, what one thing would you do to improve your library now?

Get new shelves!!! The ones I have were donated by a book store and they are just not good for a school library. But I would then put those new shelves in a whole new space: one that is much larger and has defined areas (instruction area, reading nook, computer area, meeting area).

Q. What are your favorite professional development resources?

I don’t have a lot of money (ok, I have no money) to spend on PD. Our school district does a good job of providing PD, but most of it is based on technology. I would love to attend more seminars and conferences based on reading and librarianship. I’m thinking of Judy Freeman’s BER seminars or the University of Southern Mississippi’s annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival and things like that. I’ve never been to an ALA meeting but Would like to go one day.

Q. Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with new librarians?

Keep reading! Stay up to date on issues involving libraries. And remember, like the old saying goes: the goal is not to get all the books back (to the library), but all the readers.

Many thanks to Leslie for sharing a bit of her story with us.  Please leave her a comment below to let her know you appreciate her.  If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please fill out this form.

Title image courtesy of Aleksi Tappura via UnSplash. Headshot courtesy of Leslie Sharbel.

Interview With a Librarian: Naomi Bates

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer here.

naomi bates

This blog post is a part of my Interview With a Librarian series.  I interview librarians to find out more about their stories, their careers, and what they’re reading.  You can see all my other interviews here!

This week I’m honored to be chatting with Naomi Bates, Teacher Librarian from Northwest High School in Justin, Texas.  I’ve always appreciated what Naomi has to say on LM_Net and on Twitter, so I’m really excited to share her interview with you today.  Enjoy!

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Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

I received my MLIS from Sam Houston State University in 2003. Prior to that I was a high school English teacher who also taught speech and communications.

I’ve been married for 23 years and have a daughter who is attending Texas Tech University. I also have two shelties.  They say empty nesting is difficult…for about three months! I now have time to travel with my husband around the state and country.

Q. How long have you been working in libraries and how did you get your start?

I’ve been working in libraries for the past 12 years. What started my journey was a negative interaction with a school librarian while I was an English teacher, which prompted me to begin my masters and become the type of librarian I wanted when I was teaching.

Q. What is your favorite thing about working in libraries?

My favorite thing? As in one?! Oh no!! If I had to choose between interacting with students and teachers, educational technology, and books I’d have to say the first. Relationships are the foundation of a successful library, hands down.

Q. What is the most challenging thing about working in libraries?

The STEREOTYPE! I get so annoyed with people who think all I do is read at work. Yes, they see me doing that, but they may not see what I do with what I read. They also don’t see the other important things this teacher librarian does to ensure academic success with students.

Q. What are some of your favorite books?

My childhood favorite is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  My young adult favorite is The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.  My adult favorite is mostly anything I’ve read, usually YA, both fiction and non-fiction.

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Q. What are you currently reading?

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Q. Tell us about something you’ve done in or for your library of which you’re very proud.

Twelve years ago, I started booktalking with little to no interest from teachers because they’ve never had that experience. Through the years, I’ve built up not only an excellent booklist, but also an excellent list of teachers ready to bring their students for booktalks. It’s now a three day affair with over 1,000 students attending.

Q. If money was no object, what one thing would you do to improve your library now?

Have the library retrofitted with more electrical plugs in the ground!! When they renovated the library in 2003, I don’t think technology and the amount of technology was thought through. In today’s educational realm, electrical plugs are a MUST, especially for a BYOD and 1:1 campus

Q. What are your favorite professional development resources?

Twitter…love my virtual PLN!

A group of librarians who have no library coordinator meet once a month and we create our own PLN face-to-face. All the librarians in our NTXlib meetings are high school librarians, which is nice to have in common

ABSOLUTELY my state library association! Texas Library Association is the largest state association and their conferences, webinars, and face-to-face PD is bar none!

Q. Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with new librarians?

Go in excited, knowing everyday you walk through the doors, you’re walking into your passion. Create relationships not only through conversation, but silently as well through the use of space and social media.

Put the extra into the ordinary.

Many thanks to Naomi Bates for sharing a little bit of her story with us.  Please leave her a comment below to let her know you appreciate her.  If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please fill out this form.

Title image courtesy of Aleksi Tappura via UnSplash. Headshot courtesy of Naomi Bates.