Monday, September 30, 2013

Scholarship Update

HVLA awarded two scholarships last year to promote professional development among our members. Shana Hitt was one of the recipients and shares her experience below. 

For years my desire was to become an “official” school librarian. Although I have several years of experience working at a public, academic, and school library, I lack the credentials necessary to work in a public school as a certified Library Media Specialist. While making my list of both professional and personal goals at the close of 2012, “becoming a certified school librarian” was included. I applied for the HVLA scholarship and was thrilled, delighted, and ecstatic when I received the news that I was a winner of the award. I was so overwhelmed by the many positive emotions that hit me at once, I am sure that I used at least ten adjectives in one sentence when e-mailing my thank you note to Kerry Roeder.

Today I am even more thankful for the award because it has come at a time when I need it most. Although at this current time I am not a school librarian, I am studying for numerous exams, taking a course in school librarianship at Queens College and expecting to begin a special education course in the coming months. That is a total of two courses and six exams! After taking workshops and other courses over the years I am halfway to reaching my goal to become a certified Library Media Specialist. I would like to once again thank HVLA for helping me reach this goal.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Strength in Numbers: When One Book Club is Not Enough

This week's post is a guest blog by one of our favorite HVLA members, Angie Ungaro. 

It’s no secret that most librarians love a book club. It’s probably true that the majority of HVLA member schools have at least one book club operating to satisfy their dedicated readers and sometimes it may feel like you’re on an island--albeit a cozy one--with your small group. If you’re like me, you may wonder what other book clubs and readers are doing and if there’s something more that you as a librarian could be offering. I’d been having these thoughts for a while when fellow HVLA librarian and Brooklynite, Rebecca Duvall, approached me and asked if I’d be interested in getting our middle school book clubs together. Rebecca was dealing with some of the same questions and thoughts I had and decided to turn an idea for collaboration into action. This created the perfect opportunity to connect our students with other students who shared the same passion for reading.

With Brooklyn Friends School and Brooklyn Heights Montessori committed to getting our readers together, we decided to reach out to two more HVLA schools in the area: Packer Collegiate Institute and Saint Ann’s School. We soon had their MS librarians--Hannah Mermelstein and Kristyn Dorfman--on board. While we acted as the point people for organizing our joint group, we certainly would not have thrived and flourished as we did without the support of our fellow librarians at our respective schools.

How We Did It
Start small - All participating schools maintained their regular book groups throughout the collaboration.
Get bigger - We introduced the idea of connecting to other readers in the area using Edmodo as a safe social network for our students and teachers. Edmodo allowed us to create conversation threads, take surveys and polls, award students badges for the books they read, and share media specific to the books we were reading.
Find a common read - Most of the participating schools already had a Mock Newbery component in place so we used that as our starting point. Together we decided on a selection of 12 books that students read on their own time, at their own pace, and discussed online before voting for their favorites at their own schools. The Newbery also offers a culminating event that generates a lot of excitement. Keep it real - While the majority of our multi-school collaboration took place online, it was important to us to give the students an opportunity to meet in person and make connections with other students who love reading like they do! Also, it gave us a chance to celebrate all our reading accomplishments and play some Mock Newbery Jeopardy.

Benefits of a Book Club Collaboration Students get to socialize with and feel more connected to other students their age with similar interests in neighboring schools. We, their librarians, get to work with each other and feel more connected, too! Our in person meet-ups allow students to meet new people and see different schools and libraries. Readers advisory by students for students! Book and author recommendations are a natural part of the conversations that take place online among students. Even if you have just two students from one school, together they get to feel like a part of something larger and that’s pretty great.

Looking Ahead
More Meet-ups - Our in person meet-up was such a success that we added an extra meeting to kick off our Fall book club collaboration. One of our participating librarians even managed to get a former Newbery Committee member attend as our special guest! Spring component - Last year, we attempted to keep our group going in the Spring by using Brooklyn-themed books as our common read. While we still had participation, we all felt like it was possible to make our Spring semester collaboration as strong as the one in the Fall. We’re working on it and ideas are always welcome. More HVLA schools - We love what we have going with our book club collaboration in downtown Brooklyn and think other HVLA schools might love it, too. Can you imagine the cross-CROSS collaboration we would have if we got other HVLA book groups involved?

Are you interested in collaborating with other book clubs at HVLA schools in your area? If so, stay tuned for a survey coming soon. 

Angie Ungaro is the middle school librarian at BFS. She had help writing this blog post using the meeting notes and emails shared with her by fellow collaborators and library friends Rebecca Duvall at BHM, Hannah Mermelstein at Saint Ann’s and Kristyn Dorfman at Packer.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Global Read Aloud 2013

"One book to connect the world." It's a pretty lofty goal that 5th grade teacher Pernille Ripp set forth in 2010. Now having established 30,000 connections, the Global Read Aloud is about to start it's fourth year and it's not too late to join!

I discovered this project last year and absolutely loved participating in it with my 6th graders. For a month we read The One and Only Ivan together in class and found ways to make connections with the world. We started a class blog, which we wound up using all year long for responses, text connections, research, and more. We also connected with other classes using edmodo and skype. At the end, the kids created an edmodo of their experience. The kids loved the story and the idea that they were sharing this experience with so many different kids. There were connections to be made with the story itself, as well as with where all the other students came from. They enjoyed getting to meet other kids from all over and hearing not only how they felt about the story, but also what it was like to live somewhere outside of NYC.

This year the middle grade pick is Out of My Mind (there are picks for elementary and high school, as well). Everyone is set to begin reading on September 30th and I have already connected with three classes - one in Ontario, one in North Carolina, and a special ed class in upstate New York. With the NC class we are going to be using edmodo exclusively and having the students responding to discussion questions, among other things. With the upstate NY class, we are going to have them use Voicethread as a means of introducing themselves and then using our kidblogs to connect and respond to each other. Personally, I like connecting with multiple classrooms and experimenting with lots of different tools, but the project can be just as meaningful if you connect with one classroom and use one tool. Below is a slideshow of a presentation I gave at Teaching With Technology last year that gives examples of some of the tools I used.

I am very fortunate that I get to see my 6th grade students twice a week and even so, it's difficult to keep up with the rest of the world reading the book. I generally start about a week early to make sure that I can keep up and also have time to do activities connected to the book. I know that a lot of people only see their kids once a week or not at all, in which case I would recommend partnering with a language arts teacher. This is a great opportunity for collaboration.
You can find out more information on the Global Read Aloud website and on the GRA wiki. There you will find ways to make connections, resource ideas, a map of what schools are participating, and of course, how to sign up. I also am more than happy to answer any questions that you might have. Happy reading!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Literary Events for September

Hope everyone is easing back into the school year. If you have some free time in the upcoming month, here are some bookish events happening around the city. Feel free to post additional ones that you know of in the comments. Enjoy!

Nerd Jeopardy
@ BookCourt
Tuesday, September 17
Everyone's favorite literary trivia night returns as a special Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event. Modeled off of a certain popular game show, three teams of three contestants will test their knowledge of literature and pop culture for modest prizes and immodest glory. 

Book Launch: Art Spiegelman presents Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps  
@ Greenlight Bookstore
Wednesday, September 18
Greenlight is exceedingly proud to host Art Spiegelman, the only cartoonist to win a Pulitzer for his work, for the bookstore launch of his new book Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps. Spiegelman has been a leader of, and an inspiration for, alternative comics artists throughout the past three decades, long before Raw magazine and Maus.

Brooklyn Book Festival
@ Brooklyn Borough Hall
Sunday, September 22
The largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace. 

Books and Boards: Greenpoint Game Night
Friday, September 27
Who doesn’t love games? Join us for a community mixer, open to all. Declare your favorite (or least favorite) book, play a few rounds of Bananagrams, Menu Mash-Up, and Battleship (to name a few), and get to know your literary neighbors!  

Pop-Up Paper Engineering Basics and Beyond Workshop

@ Center for Book Arts
Saturday & Sunday, September 28 & 29
The magic of pop-up is discovered in a two-day workshop taking participants from beginner's lessons through more advanced mechanisms. This is a hands-on tour that will explain the V-fold, Step, Spinner, and beyond!

The Moth Storytelling

@ The Bitter End
Monday, September 30
Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.

Getting Published: Non Fiction Book Proposals

@ Brooklyn Brainery
Tuesday, October 1
So, you’ve found a killer true story and you want to write a book about it. How do you start? This class is an introduction to putting together a non-fiction book proposal.

NYPL Children's Literary Salon
@ Stephen A Schwartzman Building
Saturday, October 12
Join Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature, Interim Director Jenny Brown as she interviews historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus and his assistant Patrick Kiley about their current NYPL exhibit and the importance of children’s literature as a whole.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


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