Saturday, January 3, 2015


Congratulations to the 2014 I Love My Librarian award winners!  What an impressive bunch of colleagues!  Click HERE to read all about what they have been doing.  Kudos to all!
I Love My Librarian Award 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


This summer I finally visited the Socrates Sculpture Park.  As an outdoor sculpture enthusiast it's been on my bucket list for years.

In addition to seeing the fantastic sculptures (thank you founder and sculptor extraordinaire Mark di Suvero), I noticed this interesting mini-library at the park created by Urban Librarians Unite.

I had hear of other mini-libraries popping up nationally -- such as Little Free Library -- but didn't know about these.  So hats off to the Urban Librarians Unite organization for their work creating and maintaining these super in-communities outreach libraries, and for all the other outstanding advocacy work they do!

To learn more about their mini-libraries and the organization check out their website

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Every year the students at Sakai Intermediate School on Bainbridge Island in Washington State receive over 1,000 chum salmon eggs from the Suquamish fish hatchery, raise them in a tank in front of their library, and then release them into the stream behind the school. This annual salmon release event is a big highlight of the school year. Librarian Kathy Ellison (pictured, left) is instrumental to the success of this school-wide program.

Ellison facilitates excitement and learning as the 5th and 6th grade students in the school eggs in the tank and there is a black cloth draped over the tank to keep it dark, but kids can peek under the fabric.  Students help to load additional salmon eggs into in-stream salmon incubators that they call the "egg condos."  The salmon then return each fall swimming upstream to various areas surrounding Bainbridge Island.

For the past five years, teacher librarian Kathy Ellison has also run an annual "All School" program dubbed “Sakai Reads,” which is based on the "One Book, One Community" model. Since the students have varied interests in book selections, she developed a thematic approach to their All School read. In the 2013 – 2014 school year,  students read novels and non-fiction accounts with the theme of courage.  Throughout the Sakai Reads day, parent volunteers facilitate book discussion groups.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


George Gibson, owner of The Fitness Zone in Lugoff, SC,
presents Doby's Mill Elementary School Librarian, Betsy Long
(pictured with Cathy Peake's 4th graders) 
with a $300 check to assist in funding
some of the school's student health initiatives.
Avid runner and school librarian Betsy Long knows how to get kids moving.  You Go, Girls, a 4th & 5th grade running club for girls, Doby's Dashers or D2, a running club for boys, and morning exercise program Brain Sparks, are three health initiatives she created and runs at Doby's Mill Elementary School in Elgin, South Carolina. 

“Our children live in an age in which computers rule and obesity kills,” said Long. “Every step we can take to combat the negative effect of a sedentary lifestyle is meaningful.”  Her students live in a high-poverty area of South Carolina. There are not many opportunities for these children to exercise unless they are enrolled in after-school athletic activities, which can be pricey and cumbersome, if not impossible, for numerous single-parent families to manage. There are very few public walking or exercise facilities in the school's immediate vicinity, and roughly half of the students are classified as obese.

Betsy Long’s efforts have been well-received by the community.  Students rush to sign up for the clubs, and local stores such as The Fitness Zone have supported her efforts with donations.  Long is a creative problem solver.  She recently used Donors to raise funds to purchase ergonomic computer chairs.

Doby’s Mill Principal Virginia Catoe said, “BrainSparks helps students build self-confidence while providing them with regular cardiovascular exercise (running, yoga, pilates, etc.) each morning to prepare them mentally, physically, and emotionally for their day. Her mentorship has assisted our school by reducing tardiness, improving attendance, and promoting on task behavior for this at-risk student group!”

Long is the recipient of the 2011 I Love My Librarian Award, and was named the 2008 Media Specialist of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Librarians, 2006 Wal-mart Teacher of the Year, and 2006 Doby's Mill Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

Photo: Jennings, Tanessa. "The Fitness Zone donates $300 to Doby’s Mill Elementary School." Your Community Kershaw County. Web. 17 Dec 2013. <>.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Photo credit: Lake George Elementary School
How does school librarian Bridget Crossman get books to low-income children in Warren, Saratoga, and Washington counties in New York State?  First, she raises money by hosting an annual triathlon.  Those donations go to her nonprofit, BOOKS (Books Offer Opportunities for Kids to Succeed).  Next, she purchases books and distributes them in a variety of creative ways, including the Bright Red Bookshelf program in doctors’ offices; the Books at Birth program in Glens Falls Hospital; the Well Books program at the family health centers; and the Christmas with WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and the Moreau Community Center.  Crossman, who is the Lake George Elementary School librarian, is being recognized this fall for her unselfish efforts to promote literacy with the New York State Reading Association’s Library Media Specialist Award.
BOOKS was created in 2006, and, according to Crossman, distributes about 7,000 books annually.  “Reading is one of the most valuable tools we have for learning,” she said.  “I want every child to be able to read and find joy in reading.”  This unshelfish librarian’s story is poignant:  Crossman herself was a reluctant reader.  “I was in remedial reading.  It motivated me to want to help every child feel successful.  I want to help them feel excited about books.” 

Bridget Crossman also teaches her students to love reading at her K-6 school, through book talks and collaborative literacy lessons.  She is a member of the district’s Technology Committee, organizes the Reading Campout and two book fairs annually, and coaches students for the Battle of the Books.