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Angie Jameson, Library Media Director at Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, is one of the 2021 OELMA Award recipients for The Collaborative School Library Annual Award.
The Collaborative School Library Award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school library media specialists and the school community through joint planning of a program, project, or event in support of the curriculum, using school library resources, and incorporating the AASL Standards (2017). Let’s take a moment and learn some fun facts about Angie!
Librarian: Year 5 Educator: Year 8
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: A Teacher
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: My cooperating teacher, Dr. Shannon Beach, has been an inspiration to me since the day I met her as my professor at Kent State. She's driven me to go above and beyond in my professional career. Most importantly, she's inspired me to focus on what's most important: the students.
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: Junie B. Jones. Barbara Park is one of the authors who cultivated my love for reading and comedy. My daughter takes my old Junie B. Jones plush doll with her everywhere we go, and it would be such a treat for us both to meet her.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Honeybaked Ham Sandwich Artist.
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Mexico
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry introduced me to learning history through literature. It was a powerful realization for me, as I struggled to stay engaged in textbook reading/traditional learning.
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: Sora!
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: Watching students grow as leaders and readers.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight? Share below!
A: I would like to applaud my teachers and staff for their willingness to take risks with me during the 2020-2021 school year. The cutting edge technology and combination of tools helped our students and parents stay as connected as possible during a year full of uncertainties. Partnering with the entire middle school staff to build a virtual curriculum night put many teachers outside their comfort zones, but without them, the success of this initiative would not have been possible. The success of our virtual curriculum night platform impacted many content areas, ranging from 8th-grade student Spanish Vlogs to Music Concert designs. Extended family members were invited into virtual classrooms and to our Performing Arts Center, even when our school doors were closed to visitors. I am so grateful for the opportunities and support Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools provides for our teaching staff, and I am so honored to work within this community.
Congratulations, Angie, and OELMA is so excited to honor you with this award! This award is a testament to your dedication, passion, and innovation which leads to the larger success of your learning community!

OELMA's Leadership in Action Award recognizes an Ohio school librarian pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA). This award honors OELMA members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to leadership in the school library profession. Today we wanted to give a shout-out to OELMA’s current Director of Operations, Rob Kaminski and congratulate him for this honor. Let’s get to know Rob a little better!
Rob is currently the Library Media Specialist at Woodbury Elementary for Shaker Heights Schools located in Northeast Ohio.


Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator?
A: 8 years
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: Writer
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: Librarians, both in Ohio, and nationally, leave me in awe. They are constantly adapting and creating new ways of engaging all of the members of the community they serve.
Q: Do you have a fun fact/unique talent you would like to share with us?
A: This summer my wife and I began a long-term pursuit of trying to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, by doing sections here and there as we can fit it in our lives.
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: Hatchet by Gary Paulson. I loved nature and the thrill of the survival story, along with the deeper questions Brian was facing. Those are themes that still draw me into books today. I picked it up one day during my teaching internship, began reading on a random page and I could picture the exact place I was when I read that book as a child.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: The students. My interactions with them cut through all the "stuff" that makes education challenging. I love seeing their eyes light up, whether that's from a booktalk, from showing them the Lego tables in the library, or from sharing that they can tell me what books we should order for the library.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight?
A:  I'm thankful that OELMA and its members empowered me to become a leader in my building and District. I learned to advocate for my library program and it has opened doors for me to make sure the library is respected as a hub of learning in my building.
Congrats, Rob on this honor and thank you for sharing your leadership skills and serving as OELMA’s Director of Operations! We are fortunate to have you on our team!

Today we are highlighting one of our 2021 OELMA Library Leadership Ohio's Scholarship recipients, Wendy Torrence. Wendy is currently a school librarian at Tippecanoe Middle School located in Tipp City. 
Since 2000, a number of OELMA members have participated in the Library Leadership Ohio Institute. Library Leadership Ohio is a collaboration of the State Library of Ohio and OhioNET. The 2021 cohort of Library Leadership met online in July and August 2021. The program is funded in part through a federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) LSTA grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio. 

“The innovative spirit of the Library Leadership Ohio Institute established in 1993 has been revitalized several times over since then. Recognizing the ongoing challenges faced by all Ohio libraries, we believe that developing the next generation of transformative library leaders is vital to ensure the continued depth, growth, and quality of library services for all. “The State Library of Ohio and OhioNET staff are proud of all the great leaders that have come out of this program in the past,” said Wendy Knapp, State Librarian. 
Here are some interesting things to know about Wendy: 
Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator?
A: I was an English teacher for 8 years. This is my 7th year as a school librarian. In between, I held several jobs in public libraries and schools.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: Years ago when my daughter was born, I was looking through books that my mother had saved for me. I was amazed to see how I had written my name and "due date" in my Little Golden Books. I flashed back to playing library in the corner of the living room. It's amazing how the things we love so passionately as a child stay with us and manifest at a later date. I thought I wanted to be a nurse and then an English teacher. Nothing has ever felt as right as being a librarian.
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: Deb Logan, Liz Deskins, and Jessica Klinker
Q: What book have you read more than once, if any? And why?
A: I have read many books in my lifetime more than once, mainly because I was teaching them or using them in my book clubs. I long for some calm days when I can leisurely reread Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Beloved.
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: I would love to meet Winn-Dixie from Because of Winn-Dixie because that is one amazing, miracle-working dog. (I'm a sucker for a dog story).
Q: What was your first job?
A: I was, of course, a babysitter. My first job that took withholding was as a telemarketer for a charity.
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: We don't travel much. St. Martin was a beautiful island, and I would love to return there.
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: I love FlipGrid for its many uses for students and teachers.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: Getting to spend time with young people is the most amazing part of my job. I love to hear them share their reaction to a book that I recommended. Sharing like that is intimate; you just don't do that with strangers on the street. It is a shared emotional, intellectual, and sometimes spiritual experience.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight? Share below!
A: Thank you, OELMA, for giving me the opportunity to attend Library Leadership Ohio. I reflected on my strengths and weaknesses and filled my tool belt. I walked away with more confidence in my abilities and new strategies to employ.

Congrats to Wendy and thank you for taking the time to focus on your professional leadership skills this past summer as part of the Library Leadership Ohio Institute! 

The Collaborative School Library Award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school library media specialists and the school community through joint planning of a program, project, or event in support of the curriculum, using school library resources, and incorporating the AASL Standards. This year, we are celebrating a few school library media specialists!
Today, let's get to know Chiquita Toure, School Librarian at Eastmoor Academy located at Columbus City Schools 

Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator? Or your current career?
A: 13 years
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: Educator
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: Teachers and professors in college
Q: What book have you read more than once, if any? And why?
A: Wake of the Wind, I love historical fiction and I can't get enough of the storyline. It's the legacy of one family that brings me joy.
Q: What was your first job?
A: A math tutor for 4th graders when I was a 9th grader.
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Dakar, Senegal
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: On Being podcast because the interviews are wonderful.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: Having the opportunity to impact young people and collaborate with my colleagues.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight?
A: It has been an honor and privilege to work with three outstanding women who love what they do and understand the concept of a shared vision.
 Congrats, Chiquita, on this OELMA award and all the work you do! OELMA is honored to award you this award this year! 

The Collaborative School Library Award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school library media specialists and the school community through joint planning of a program, project, or event in support of the curriculum, using school library resources, and incorporating the AASL Standards. This year, we are celebrating a few school library media specialists! Let's meet one of them: Grace Hammond, a Media Specialist at Delaware Area Career Center. 
Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator? 
A: I started working in libraries the day I turned 14! I've been a school librarian for 14 years but worked in public, academic, and special libraries before that.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: An explorer. (As a librarian, I feel like I got my wish.)
Q: What book have you read more than once, if any? And why?
A: My "go-to" book, which I usually have with me, is Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. I love this book for its fearless portrayal of human beings at their best and worst. The other book I read annually is Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan because I love the voice and I love the imperfect characters.
Q: Do you have a fun fact/unique talent you would like to share with us?
A: I lived in a yurt in Wyoming for almost 10 years and, during the pandemic, trained to be a doula. I love learning.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Shelver at the Oberlin Public Library.
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Probably South Africa.
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: Trello. 100%, Trello.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: I believe in libraries, at their root and heart. I believe our field has always been progressive, adaptable, and revolutionary. I care a lot about integrating social-emotional skills, metacognition, and reflection as part of supporting students as "whole learners." I think this is the moment to bring that all together in new and exciting ways.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight?
A: I'm so honored. I'm also excited to share the Work Smarter Boot Camp with other librarians because it's a true work in progress and always growing as my program grows. I love collaboration and this conference is another way to do that.

Congrats, Grace, and thanks for your hard work and dedication! 

OELMA's Leadership in Action Award recognizes an Ohio school librarian pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA). This award honors OELMA members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to leadership in the school library profession. This year, we have awarded Janie Kantner the 2021 OELMA Leadership-in-Action Award. Let's celebrate her award and also get to know Janie a little better! 

Q: What is your current career position and district/school?
A: Library Media Specialist, Canal Winchester Local Schools, Indian Trail Elementary
Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator?
A: This is my 21st year as a school librarian and I was a public librarian for 2 years before becoming a licensed school librarian
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: A sportscaster!
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: I would have to start with Liz Deskins who was one of my very first instructors at Ohio Dominican University, all the tremendous OELMA librarians that have served in leadership roles, presented at conferences, workshops, and webinars, and also the awesome librarians that I am honored to serve beside in Canal Winchester......Cassie Dickison, Heather Baugess, and Lydia Tokarz.
Q: What book have you read more than once, if any? And why?
A: Other than picture books, I rarely read a book more than once because I have such a long "to read" list that I am always onto the next great read!
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: Tie between Pippi Longstocking and Anne of Green Gables because they always make me smile
Q: Do you have a fun fact/unique talent you would like to share with us?
A: I once won a set of luggage on the old LIVE with Regis and Kathie Lee for answering the daily trivia question - the answer was "Throw Momma From the Trail"
Q: What was your first job?
A: I worked at the Bob Evans Sausage tent at the Ohio State Fair
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Rome, Italy
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner. I adored my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Kantner, and our read-aloud time at the end of each day was my absolute favorite. When she read The Boxcar Children - it just absolutely transported me and I was forevermore addicted to books and a reading life! Interestingly, I grew up and married her son and I became Mrs. Kantner!
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: Google Drive
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: Our tireless efforts to improve.

Congratulations to Janie Kantner for her continuous passion to lead by her actions at the local, state, and national levels, and thanks Janie for being a true champion for school libraries! 

Today, OELMA wants to celebrate one of our 2021 OELMA Award winners by featuring her as part of our Award Winners Spotlight series. This year’s Literacy Leader Award winner is Chrishawandra Matthews, founder of Literacy in the HOOD.
Literacy in the HOOD is a non-profit that pops up with free, donated books in book giveaway displays that attract young people wherever youth gather in and around Cleveland, Ohio.
Check out what this awesome organization is doing by visiting their site at:
Q: How many years have you been involved with Literacy in the HOOD
A: 6 years
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: Principal
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: My son, Derrick continues to inspire me. His passion for reading and community pushes me to go further and create a space were parents, children, and caregivers, can have access to free books!
Q: What book have you read more than once, if any? And why?
A: Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. It helps me with daily issues, feelings, and emotions. It encourages me to put my best foot forward no matter what!
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: Mo Williams - Pig ... These books encouraged a love for reading with my Son at a young age and he continues to love his books.
Q: Do you have a fun fact/unique talent you would like to share with us?
A: My unique talent is the ability to engage both parents & children.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Secretary
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Texas
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: My favorite books were "Babysitter Club." These books reminded me of my little sister & brother that were both younger than me.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: 2/3 CMSD students do not have any Books at all. Literacy in the HOOD gives Children access to Free Books to turn these statistics around.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about receiving the Literacy Leader Award?
A: Winning this award is a humbling accomplishment for our organization. When we started Literacy in the HOOD many people did not believe in the mission. During the pandemic alone we have passed out over 105,000 books. I am honored to receive such an award for the work we have done in the community.

Congrats to Chrishawandra and thank you for sharing your passion for literacy with the young people of Northeast Ohio! 


As an OELMA member and school librarian for over twenty years, our yearly conference has always been a highlight for me both personally and professionally.  The school librarian profession can be isolating and conference has always been a time of connection and renewal.
As we have all endured an unprecedented time of stress during the COVID pandemic, a time of renewal is deeply needed more than ever.
As we all look forward to our first in-person meeting in 2 years, here are some tips for getting the most out of the conference….
  1. Start the day with gratitude to those that have prepared to share their knowledge. Allow yourself to be inspired but not overwhelmed.
  2. Step into the unknown by choosing sessions that you know nothing about. Many times when choosing sessions we gravitate to familiar topics - challenge yourself!
  3. Be present in each session instead of desperately taking notes - just note each presenter's name, subject, and contact information. Keep this information so you can go back and do a deeper dive when you can apply it to your professional role.
  4. Smile and make new friends!  Fellowship is and will always be the most important takeaway from the 2021 OELMA Conference.

Looking forward to seeing you at the conference!
Janie Kantner
Canal Winchester Local Schools
Library Media Specialist


Today we spotlight the amazing Judith (Judy) Gawelek, recipient of the 2021 Floyd Dickman Programming Award. 
The Floyd Dickman Programming Grant honors the life and contributions of Floyd Dickman by partnering with Junior Library Guild to create the Floyd Dickman Programming Grant. This grant is awarded to one school library in Ohio each year to help fund programs that inspire children to embrace the joy of reading. The grant will continue the work that Floyd was so passionate about during his lifetime.
Judy will receive grant monies in the form of books for Huber Ridge Elementary School in the amount of $250 from Junior Library Guild. 

Judy is currently a Library Media Specialist in Westerville City Schools (Huber Ridge and Whittier Elementary Schools) 


Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator? 
A: 25 years if you count my 5 years in the Public Libraries.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: A doctor, an author, and an Olympic swimmer
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: A Wrinkle in Time. I was fascinated with the adventure, the way they moved through space and time, and the compelling characters. It was one of the first books I read with a book discussion group at our local public library.
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: Rhonda Kiefer and Flora Doraski. We worked together in the children's department at a small library in Cuyahoga county. They gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow. At that job, I learned the art of storytelling, perfected my writing and book review skills, learned to manage schedules and creating book displays. We are researchers, folk singers, literacy boosters, and therapists. If not for them, I would not be doing what I do right now.
Q: What book have you read more than once? And why?
A: Cold Mountain. I love the imagery and the wandering plot.
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: I can't answer this. The way I read, slowly, deliberately, I am meeting the character in the book. I usually carry them around with me until the next great book. If you pressed me, I might say, the Dog from "Go Dog Go", just to ride around to all those cool places or Odd from Gaiman's "Odd and the Frost Giants" to hear him tell of the adventures that didn't make the book.
Q: Do you have a fun fact/unique talent you would like to share with us?
A: I have 7 children and 8 grandchildren. Ethel, our youngest grandchild, was born this past July.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I was a McDonald's cashier for 9 months, then quickly changed careers to LifeGuard.
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Bangkok, Thailand
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: WeVideo and Safeshare: Both are easy ways to present safe video content to students. Wevideo for creating my own content, and Safeshare for using videos from YouTube.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: Kids are inspiring. Finding great new literature is still exciting. Delving into the past or problem solving for the future with students never gets old.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight?
A: Thank you for honoring me with this award. I know the students at Huber Ridge will appreciate the new books provided by this award.

OELMA wants to celebrate our new OELMA Award winners by featuring them as part of our 2021 OELMA Award Spotlight series.
Let’s get to know more about Amanda Brasfield, recipient of the 2021 OELMA Emerging Leader Award

Q: What is your current career position and district/school?
A: Librarian at Findlay High School and District Librarian for Findlay City Schools
Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator? Or your current career?
A: This is my 11th year as a librarian and my 16th year in education.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: Growing up I wanted to be a veterinarian.
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: Prior to being a school librarian, I was a Spanish teacher. As a new teacher and the only Spanish teacher at Walkertown Middle, the librarian, Gina Webster, was assigned to be my mentor. Her love of her students, creative programming, and innovative thinking inspired me to go back to school and get my MSLS, and her work continues to inspire me today.
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book, who would it be and why?
A: When I was 8, I would have loved to meet Ramona Quimby. She was loud, daring, and curious and would have helped me to find my voice sooner.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Server at Villa Romana, a tiny Italian restaurant
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: Dr. Goat by Georgiana Illustrated by Charles Clement. Dr. Goat is the story of a dedicated doctor who is also a goat. His animal patients band together to take care of him when he falls ill. I love the illustrations and I treasure the memories of my grandma reading it to me. I can still hear her say, "Three cheers for Dr. Goat!"

Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: Google Keep is my jam! It's like a portable Post-It, and you can share notes! I have my grocery list in there, and I can share it with my family who can add to it anytime. I jot down quotes, ideas, and recipes, and they are all ready when I am.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: It's the students. They are bright and fun and bring so many different experiences to the library. It sounds cliché, but coming to work last year when there were no students in the building was terribly sad and zapped all my energy and creativity. The students are the lifeblood of the work.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about receiving the Emerging Leader Award?
A: I completely fangirled when I was nominated for this award by Liz Deskins. I am honored to be recognized by someone I look to for learning and for deepening my practice.

Congratulations, Amanda on your Emerging Leader award! Your dedication and passion for leading OELMA as current Chair of the Communications Committee serve as an example of the amazing leadership skills you possess and will continue to build upon! 


OELMA Conference is on and in person!
For the first time in over a year, the librarians of Ohio are finally able to get back together for a day of exciting professional development opportunities! The date is set for October 9, 2021! It will be a one-day conference but we already have some great things lined up including graphic novelist Derf Backderf, the creator behind My Friend Dahmer, Trashed, and most recently Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio. In addition to several large sessions with some exciting speakers, there will be 16 concurrent sessions by librarians for librarians! These sessions have been really popular opportunities for professional development at the conference and we are excited to be able to hold them in person again! Proposals are now being accepted for exciting, meaningful concurrent session presentations. We are looking for proposals for 45-minute professional development presentations to be run in concurrent sessions. 

          -If you do something great in your library!

    -If you have awesome resources!

    -If you have the best book talks!

    -If you have an amazingly engaging lesson plan! 

If you have something great to share with your colleagues across the state please submit your proposal by June 5th, 2021!

Click here to submit your proposal!

The conference committees are so excited to be planning an in-person event and we hope you are as excited as we are to finally be back together and working toward building better school library programs in Ohio! 

Save the date and keep your eye out for more conference information coming soon!

By: Kaycee Hallett, OELMA Conference Director


School Librarian Perspective: Angela Maxwell

Casey Matthews is a forward-thinking teacher who thinks about the long-term impact her class is going to have on students’ thinking and learning. She’s always looking for ways to stretch her students. She’s a passionate English teacher who has just wrapped up her PhD., so she definitely doesn’t have a shortage of ideas or expertise. Still, she wants to collaborate. She’s full of great ideas, and just as importantly, she’s open to ideas. 

One of our best collaborations is continually evolving. It began from a discussion centered around graphic novels and book tasting. Since then, we’ve presented our collaboration and refined it. In March of 2021, Casey and I were honored to present at the Let's Talk Racism virtual conference based in North Carolina where we spoke with educators from around the country. My rule in the presentation was to talk about the role of the school librarian in curating graphic novels with diverse perspectives for teachers and students, some of the research incorporating graphic novels into the curriculum, and increasing student choice. 

 Our partnership begins with a student book tasting of graphic novels centered around diverse characters. Right from the start, student voice is important because they are making the choice.  I curate a selection with Casey’s recommendations and my own. A Goodreads shelf of the books is created, and then I design menus, a presentation, and our school library holds a book tasting event. Because of COVID-19,  innovation is required,  so I recently designed a fully online Would You Rather Read virtual activity that I love and am excited to implement. 

Starting a collaboration small and watching it grow is satisfying. Working with a teacher with as much expertise as Casey can be intimidating, but with her it’s fun and exciting. I know we’ve made a difference in our students’ educational experiences. I know there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to our students recognizing themselves and their history in our curriculum choices. Casey and I had a quick, natural connection, but as all school librarians know,  that’s not going to happen with all of our colleagues.

Collaboration on a continuum can’t be overlooked. Starting deliberately with small steps builds trust. Curating a book list, recommending a new approach, and all the times we say YES to something we might not have the answer to yet, are just some of the ways we build relationships. Innovation is fostered through those small steps. We are a profession full of challenges and opportunities. When I am able to work with someone like Casey to realize the full potential of our ideas and planning, it’s a good reminder why I became a school librarian. 

The collective creativity of our profession is always an inspiration to me, so if you are interested in connecting, I’m @angelajmax on Instagram and I’m happy to share the resources I discussed with my OELMA friends. 

English Teacher Perspective: Casey Matthews

Usually whenever I speak the words “I have an idea!” I am met with hesitation, caution, and in extreme cases, fear. 

It is not that I have bad ideas; I have no intention of doing anything that would cause bodily harm or property damage. My ideas are usually just big in scope, and because they may have never been done before in my department, they are daring in execution. Undeterred, I go to the one person who not only embraces my ideas but then provides the detailed steps to make them possible.  

Angela is not just the school librarian in the building; she is a visionary, a researcher, a program developer, and a mentor. Everything Angela does is solely for the benefit of the students and staff, and she and I have collaborated on many projects and presentations, the most recent being a presentation on graphic novels at the Let’s Talk Racism Conference. We work well together not just because our personalities are so similar but because we both believe that creative evolution is important in pedagogy. The “we’ve always done it this way” mentality is what leads to the cycle of systemic oppression of our historically marginalized students, and in order to create inclusive and empowering spaces, educators must be willing to push forward and dismantle the barriers. 

Collaboration is not always easy. Great ideas take time to plan and execute, and we, as educators, are stretched and stressed in this particular school year. Right now, many of us are just trying to survive. But it is also in these ambiguous times when new ideas are ripe for growth. The disruptions that we have experienced can provide reflection about the possibilities of the next school year, and for teachers who are looking to diversify their curriculum, there is no better advocate or resource than their school librarian. Whenever I decide to revamp units, the first person I go to is Angela for help. When I wanted to create a book choice unit with books that fit a specific theme, Angela provided me with a stack of books that fit the criteria. When I wanted students from my African American Literature class to read books and do a craft with our elementary school students; Angela made it happen. Whenever we moved to remote instruction, Angela built an entire ebook unit from her end to support my students. I texted her about two weeks ago and said, “So, I have this idea for my Honors class...,” and I know she is going to help me create the research-based unit I am envisioning. Angela will say that she’s just doing her job, but I know better. I know how much time and effort she puts into every project that she coordinates with me and with other teachers. 

If anyone knows the history of librarians in this country, then they know that librarians are always ready for a good fight. They will come out of the stacks swinging. In our current sociopolitical climate, our librarians are facing a battle of misinformation and interpreting media, and now, more than ever, we have the important task of teaching our students how to be critical thinkers. 

So, to my fellow teachers, lean on those school librarians in your building as frequently as you can. Collaborate with them, plan engaging and interesting activities with them, and let them show you all of the amazing things they know and can do for you and for your students. With our school librarians, we can begin the work of dismantling the institutional barriers that are harmful to many of our students and going forward, we can fight the good fight together.   

Meet Casey: 

Casey Matthews is a 20-year veteran of the English classroom. She is passionate about decolonizing the curriculum and recently defended her dissertation (Making sense of the gutters: How advanced-level English teachers use graphic novels) through Cleveland State University. She loves traveling to Maine in the summer with her husband and two boys, just to read books and drink coffee on the front porch. Drop a good book suggestion on Twitter (@CaseyPMatthews) because now that graduate school is over, she has time to read ALL the books for fun.

Meet Angela: 
Angela Maxwell  is a School Librarian at Beachwood High School in NE Ohio. With a broad background in Instructional Technology and Special Education, Angela helps teachers and school librarians use edtech  with less prep and more punch. She's a Google for Education Certified Trainer, reading advocate, and is passionate about providing a safe space for all students in the library.  Angela loves a good campfire, a good book, cooking a good meal, and a good chat. Connect with her on Instagram for library and tech tips, tricks, and the occasional cute dog and fam photo @angelajmax


We recently asked a few special guest bloggers to share with OELMA's Communication Committee what the school library means to them as part of National School Library Month. This is the third post of the month to showcase the impact of the school library from another one of our very own Ohio Educational Administrators. 

School Libraries: Facing Forward

By: Daniela Stuckey

Assistant Principal, Theodore Roosevelt High School

In pondering the question: What have you seen in regard to libraries facing forward? I can’t help but revisit my childhood memories of the school library and librarian (just a few short years ago, of course). Here’s a glimpse of the impressions through that elementary lens:

  • “ kids need to sit there quietly, or I will send you back.”

  • Me: “Where can I find “Amelia Bedelia” books? Librarian: “Go over there to that ridiculously long wooden monstrosity (might not be an exact quote, it’s a memory after all) and look it up!”

  • Me: Who is Dewey Decimal? And, why do I need to know he has a system? For the love, just tell me where to find “Amelia Bedelia” 

In fairness, there were also times when the library was a space for read alouds, book talks, and puppet shows. But, as I fast forward to 2021, I’m amazed at how libraries have evolved, particularly in schools. 

At THRS, under the leadership of an unbelievable specialist (Jennifer Flaherty), our library is the epitome of “Facing Forward.” So, back to the original question... here’s what I’ve seen in regard how our library is facing forward:

  • Flexible seating options like bistro tables, ergonomic chairs, and hybrid exercise study bikes.
  • A Makerspace stocked with all the fixins to inspire creativity and bring projects to life
  • Technology pods where searching and working can be collaborative or independent.
  • The home of our Read Woke Program, celebrating diversity and inclusivity for ALL students. 
  • Rough Riders Read… a summer traveling library committed to enhancing family engagement. Free books and fun activities are accessible in neighborhoods across the district. 
  • A flexible teaching space reserved by teachers for weekly book talks, community partner presentations, video productions in front of the green screen and collaborative student projects, to name a few. 

I could go on and on with examples, but I’ve been reminded a blog is not a dissertation. I will conclude by saying that at TRHS the library is the heart of our school community. It’s not just a place to go and check out resources, it’s a warm, inviting environment students truly enjoy. And, if it’s evidence you seek, just follow a mean assistant principal on the days she chases students out and escorts them back to their classroom:) 

Daniela Stuckey, MA Educational Leadership 

Daniela Stuckey is an Assistant Principal, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Kent, Ohio. Prior to joining the TRHS admin team, she served as Middle School Principal and High School Assistant Principal in Watertown, Wisconsin. During Ms. Stuckey’s 27-year career in education, she has taught a variety of adolescents in the secondary setting. Ms. Stuckey’s passion and focus is on equitable access for all students, through the Integrated Comprehensive Services delivery model. 

Daniela holds a Masters of Arts degree in Educational Leadership, with Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of Pupil Services licenses, from Edgewood College, Madison, WI. Daniela earned a BA from Cleveland State University, where she majored in English and minored in education. She is a member of Learning Forward and ASCD.
Ms. Stuckey enjoys running, reading, and spending time with husband, Scott, and dog, Francis.


Celebrating the Caldecott Award by Gayle Brusk

I am excited to share with you my project that happened at Big Creek Elementary Library in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. I was recently chosen to be the April 2021 recipient for the Rosen Publishing Ohio School Librarian of the Month. This award is an honor to receive and I am very appreciative to the committee for selecting my project.
The Rosen Publishing Ohio School Librarian of the Month Award focuses on one librarian who demonstrates a project/lesson that enriches student’s learning. This was achieved through my project/lesson titled: Celebrating the Caldecott Award.
At Big Creek Elementary Library, students in Kindergarten-3rd Grade participated in a 4-week series of activities focused on the Caldecott Medal and the importance of illustrations as a part of telling a story. Kindergarten students learned the history of the Caldecott Award and generated their own award while the other grade levels utilized resources such as BookFlix through INFOhio to read past Caldecott winners. Lastly, I collaborated with the Cuyahoga County Public Library children's librarians who created a series of videos of their nominations for the 2021 Caldecott Award.
This was a fun lesson to do with the elementary students. The ability to do an in-person and hands-on lesson with the students after being both Hybrid and Remote due to Covid was a welcome change of pace. Having the students physically see the illustrations and read the Caldecott books was very beneficial to this lesson. Furthermore, the students loved the book bins filled with Caldecott books and often checked them out for pleasure reading.
One of the major successes of this unit of study was that the students gained an appreciation of literature and learned that the illustrations are a critical part to the understanding of a story. Also, the students discovered new stories and checked out several Caldecott books. Furthermore, they went on to investigate more titles or sequels of Caldecott winners or other books by the same author/illustrator. Overall, the unit of study helped the students realize the importance of illustrations to a story.

To read more about this award and to nominate yourself or a fellow Ohio School Librarian, please visit: 

We recently asked a few special guest bloggers to share with OELMA's Communication Committee what the school library means to them as part of National School Library Month. This is the second post of the month to showcase the impact of the school library from another one of our very own Ohio K-12 students.

Diving into Library To-Go Bags 

By Fraya Brattebo, Chagrin Falls Middle School, 8th Grade
(with a special note from Angie Jameson, Chagrin Falls School Library Media Specialist)


    In an ever-changing world, libraries act as a constant, the corner piece of a puzzle on which to build. School libraries act as a meeting place, study area, and bookkeeper. Students can grab a fiction novel, research for a paper, or hang out with friends. Unfortunately, this year has made libraries’ place in the world shaky. As fomite transmission of Covid-19 is possible, if rare, it makes handing out books to students more challenging. Our school has created programming featuring personalized grab-and-go bags that allow students to obtain books and activities safely. 

    Chagrin Falls Schools have run three different learning models this year, so finding a flexible program was key. Our 7-12 Library Media Specialist, Angie Jameson, has been crucial in implementing and thinking of ideas that work for all students. Library To-Go bags are an inclusive and fun activity for all students. I have the personal experience of participating in all three learning models: hybrid, all online, and all in person. Library To-Go bags have worked for me in each model. This has been a great way to find a new read and feel connected to the library and my peers.

Each bag has crafts, baking supplies, a personalized book list and a handpicked book. The library sends out a Google Form to students which allows them to choose which activities they would like to receive. Then, each student provides which book genres and titles they have liked in the past. This allows for people in the library to match a book to their tastes. From there, students pick which crafts they would like and check a box with what learning model they attend. After forms are submitted, the information goes to library interns and staff to make the bags. To build the personalized book lists, Jameson and her team used NovelistPlus and Google Slides. They also include links to books available on our digital platform: Sora:

    In the past, bags have been filled with crafts including book planters, newspaper luggage tags, banners, and bookmarks. Students can ask for map activities and baking ingredients as well. Some bakes have included strawberry cupcakes and basketball-themed cake pops. Each activity comes with instructions and all the materials needed for completion. These crafts have components composed of recycled materials, Our library used old weeded books and magazines to repurpose and utilize them for the To-Go bags. In addition, our library media specialist films tutorial videos to help virtual academy students feel connected to the school community:

    In the fall, I attended school in a hybrid model. This model consisted of half-days of in-person and virtual learning. While in this model, bags were given to students as they left the building for the day to be completed at home. In the winter, our district transitioned to remote learning for just under a month. Library To-Go bags were especially helpful and fun in this model. I was not going to school and seeing my teachers and friends face to face. The bags really helped me feel connected. Our school set up material pick-up days for all virtual students, so parents would pick up the bags this way. Then at home, I could complete the crafts and enjoy the book I was given. This model is a harder way to learn for most students, so the Library To-Go program helped me feel included. It gave me the sense of community and familiarity I needed when I could not be at the school building.

This spring, I am going to school for the full day, all in-person, and I can grab my own To-Go bag at the end of the school day. Even though I am at school in a normal capacity, these activities help me relax. A good craft or reading time can help me forget any stresses of the day. Covid times can be hard because of social isolation or other outside stress with family members. Having a way to relax is very helpful. Library To-Go bags have activities that are perfect for just that.

    The Library To-Go program has been an innovative, enjoyable, and inclusive way to showcase our school library this year. Through all the learning models I have done, this program holds up. Crafts, books, and baking supplies are an amazing way to get students involved in the library and having fun. This program has widened the knowledge of our library’s resources among students. As the year comes to a close, I will most definitely miss this program. Our school has loved the Library To-Go bag program, and I hope that others will find joy in it too.

Note from Angie Jameson, School Library Media Specialist: 


While faced with various challenges at the start of the school year, I was eager to devise a plan to provide programming for students even while our libraries were not prepared to host visitors. The grab-and-go programming discussed in this blog has drawn the most interest from students/staff compared to any other program I’ve offered in my four years as a library media specialist. I encourage you to offer a grab-and-go program at your school, and I hope the resources provided will help you get started. 


October Program Plan:


November Program Plan:


December Program Plan:

Winter Break Program Plan:


February Program Plan:


Spring Break Program Plan:






We recently asked a few special guest bloggers to share with OELMA's Communication Committee what the school library means to them as part of National School Library Month. This is the first post to showcase the impact of the school library from one of our very own Ohio K-12 students.

My School Library is My Community
By: Madeline Ford, Current Nordonia High School Senior

    As a high-school senior, I feel like I speak for the majority of my fellow final-year students when I say that I went into my senior year ready to fly through it and forget it. I was so ready for the next step that I forgot to appreciate what I already had in front of me: the resources available to me for the past few years that I had been taking for granted. One of the most significant resources was Nordonia’s IMC, or library center, at the high school. To me, the school library provides me with an opportunity to succeed academically, mentally, and socially. With the latter items, Nordonia’s library helped me to redefine what a library means to me by acting as a community.

    It’s not surprising that the library is equipped with sources to help students succeed on an academic scale. I feel like that is pretty typical of any library or resource center. The IMC is a popular spot for tutors to give help and for the tutors to receive help. Additionally, I had also spent the majority of my freshman year in my school’s IMC. As a college-credit plus student, I had a pretty odd schedule that resulted in multiple open spots in my schedule I, then, filled by spending time studying in the IMC. The IMC provided me, then, with a quiet space for me to focus on the academic parts of my life. I was also able to print papers, utilize the computers, and look at books for research.

    That’s the standard stuff, though. I want to go into the more, I guess, unanticipated aspects of my school’s library. One of those unanticipated aspects was the mental and social resources available to me. The IMC also held yoga sessions during midterm and final week. As many know, mental, physical, and academic health are intertwined, so helping one can help others. While I hadn’t utilized the yoga sessions, just having them available to me through the IMC means a lot.

The IMC is also where the book club is held, which was one of the few clubs at my school I am a part of, and the only club I was a part of for reasons other than community service. Book club was an opportunity for me to expand my horizons in a social aspect and relate to people who liked something I also enjoyed. Book club also showed me that my school’s library houses a community of people. Whether that community is a book club or the staff that run the library, I learned to view the library as more than a few bookshelves and computers. My school’s library, to me, is a community that provides me with the support and resources to succeed academically, physically, and mentally. 





The OELMA Board of Directors at its February meeting approved offering two LLO scholarships to OELMA members who are selected to participate in the 2021 Library Leadership Ohio Institute.  The application deadline for the LLO scholarship is May 1. The deadline to apply for the Institute is March 14.  To apply for Library Leadership Ohio Institute 2021 click here.


The State Library of Ohio and OhioNET, together, are bringing the Institute to Ohio librarians this summer.  It is live, online on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons over the span of three weeks in July and August. The Institute’s mission is to develop: 


…..great libraries by developing great leaders. We offer exceptional programs focused on personal development and transferable leadership skills, while fostering connections and collaboration within Ohio’s diverse library community.


According to the State Library of Ohio’s website, this year’s LLO will feature guest speakers known nationally and statewide who will speak to important topics in librarianship and leadership.  The program welcomes any library employee working in public, school special, and academic libraries.  School library media specialist, Ashley Aldrich, received the Library Leadership Ohio Scholarship last year.  Here is what she has to say about the experience.


"Participating in LLO was such an amazing experience.  I felt truly inspired by the speakers and the opportunity to hear perspectives from librarians across the profession and not just school librarians.  One of our sessions involved identifying our strengths and how we can utilize them to improve our leadership. I've taken this activity and used it with my students in a college success course with much success.  I also feel that the ideas and motivation from this event made me more comfortable taking my ideas to my administration and being more confident as a leader.  I wish I could attend every year."


Once the selections have been made by LLO in mid-May, the Awards Sub-Committee, under the leadership of Gayle Schmuhl, will select the two scholarship recipients.  Each recipient will receive $200 to cover the cost of the Institute.  OELMA will announce the LLO scholarship recipients in late May.


Since 2000, a number of OELMA members have participated in the Library Leadership Ohio Institute. Most recently, Meagan Fowler (2018) and Ashley Aldrich (2020) have received the LLO Scholarship.


The applications to the Institute are due March 14.  Be sure and visit the State Library of Ohio website for the details and submit your application.  The form to complete for the OELMA LLO Scholarship is available here. The completed scholarship application is due May 1.


OELMA Awards Season is HERE! By Gayle Schmuhl 

This is an interesting blog piece for me to write as I now assume the Director of OELMA’s  Awards and Scholarships position.  I never envisioned that I would be the recipient of an award let alone become the director.  What does it mean to win such an award? First, it is indeed an honor to be selected by your peers for such an award. It means that you have accomplished something that has contributed in some small way positively to your profession. Somebody recognizes that contribution and believes in you enough to submit you for this honor. 

Secondly, it made me aware of my strengths as a school librarian. I am not the most creative, technologically adept, or even the best informed when it comes to the latest books, but I do love providing the best services to my staff and students. The students are what is my primary focus and I enjoy every day they step into the library. I want to ensure that they have a safe, and secure environment during the school day, but I also want the library to be someplace they remember long after they graduate from school. The way to achieve this I have always thought is to be the best school librarian I can be. I don’t have to be the best at everything but a kind face when a student is in crisis because their paper isn’t printed or they are afraid to tell me they may have misplaced their book is how I impact them each day they are in school.  

Finally, I find it easy to make the library relevant to the school including providing the types of service whether that is a class on plagiarism, the best resources, or a place where things happen, a club, activity, or special presentation.   I guess I like to say if there's anything interesting going on, it's happening in the school library.  Being the recipient of the Follett Solutions School Librarian of the Year in 2017 was a great honor and I hope that if you read this post will consider submitting yourself for this award and/or another worthy OELMA member.  

The award application/nomination window is Feb. 15 - March 29. All application materials for awards/scholarships must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 29. Go to  to get started on your application or to nominate another outstanding OELMA librarian.



Priorities, Projects, and a Pandemic by Angela Wojtecki 

It has been a while since I have written a blog posting for OELMA and while I may be a little rusty at this kind of thing, I also am excited to share with you a little about what is happening in my library at Nordonia High School in currently cold and snowy NE Ohio. I was recently selected to be the February (2021) Rosen Publishing Ohio School Librarian of the Month, which is truly an honor for me and I wanted to share a little about my project which was highlighted as part of this award.


If you were not aware, the Rosen Publishing Ohio School Librarian of the Month recognizes one school librarian a month who designs, develops, and implements a collaborative lesson plan and/or programming that empowers student learning. This is a wonderful example of how OELMA’s partnership can truly benefit and advocate for the important work that we do in our schools and communities. 


We all know that this year has probably been the toughest year of our careers due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and all the changes we have had to implement as a result. Some of us are teaching hybrid in our schools while some of us may not even be in our libraries this year-instead at home teaching and working via Zoom or Google Meet.  I have had to “pivot” by teaching remotely, hybrid classes, and daily with all students, and can really share with you that while it has been challenging at times, it has also been an opportunity to truly reflect on the work that I do and what priorities I need to make happen. For me, this meant that I needed to focus more on finding the time to update my nonfiction collection at my high school and enhance my collection to include more diverse authors and titles. I took a graduate class this summer and there were a few discussions on the importance of adding more diverse authors and topics in our school library collections and analyzing collections on a routine basis. There are so many great, new nonfiction titles by some amazing authors and I really wanted to focus more on bringing them into our library for students to hear their stories and learn new perspectives.


 I started the deselection/weeding process in September and found it to be a very “therapeutic” experience amidst all the Covid chaos making room for new nonfiction titles that our students would be interested in reading for enjoyment in addition to research topics. I was able to box up 80 boxes (yes, 80) filled with outdated, worn, and untouched/dusty nonfiction books and order some more diverse titles focused on nonfiction content and a few that students have requested too. We finished up in December. I had our high school library ambassador students help with this process and eventually we had the whole process down to a science which was helpful in saving some time. It was also so great to see the room on the shelves for our new nonfiction titles. 


Here are some of the titles that we added as part of this project which was either selected by my high school students or through my own collection development process:


This is What America Looks Like by Ilhan Omar


The Last Girl by Nadia Murad


Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings


Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin


It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah (YA Edition)


The ABC’s of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell 


Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant


African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song by Kevin Young 


Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton


To wrap this post up, let me say that I am so proud to be an Ohio School Librarian and an OELMA member in the year of 2021. Now, more than ever, networking and sharing ideas is critical for the work that we do in our schools and with our students. Keep doing what you are doing, OELMA, and we will all be stronger and wiser as a result! 

*If you would like information on how to nominate an Ohio school librarian for The Rosen Publishing Ohio School Librarian of the Month Award, please visit our page at:​ 


Written By: Janie Kantner (OELMA Director of Conference & Elementary Library Media Specialist - Canal Winchester Local Schools)
As we have navigated our personal and professional lives during the COVID-19 pandemic - the one constant theme has been change. Change has had to be made in every facet of our lives...sometimes we have had to change very quickly, but sometimes we have had an opportunity to be mindful about the changes we have had to make. Such mindfulness has indeed occurred as changes both big and small were considered by the 2020 OELMA Conference Planning Committee.

Written By: Deb Logan (OELMA Immediate Past President & Gifted Coordinator and Idea Lab Teacher - Pleasant Local Schools)

40% off! Two for the price of one! It’s July and hardly a day goes by without a seeing or hearing a commercial or reading an email offering a Christmas in July promotion. This year we are having OELMA’s Midwinter in October and this combined event is a bargain! OELMA is offering our two largest annual professional development events for one low price. OELMA members can virtually attend both Annual Conference and Midwinter for the single price of $60 and non-members can attend for $75. (Better still, you can attend in your favorite pj’s, loungewear or sweats!)

Written By: Angie Jameson (Library Media Specialist - Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools)

Research Across the Curriculum
As we focus educational efforts on promoting future-ready skills, including collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication, research units allow us to target all of these areas. Typically, we target specific content areas to co-teach research skills and strategies. Conversations with numerous school library media specialists (slms) tell me that the two most popular classes we work with include English and social studies. If we’re lucky, some science teachers will welcome us into their classrooms as well.


Written By: Karen Gedeon (OELMA Vice President & Middle School Media Specialist - Cuyahoga Falls City School District)

Well, here we are. It's July and your conference planning committee is well into planning our second conference of the year. We were running like a well oiled machine. All our subcommittees were doing their thing, even midwinter had their speakers lined up for a great day of professional development and well, we all know what happened in March.


Written By: Brandi Young (OELMA President & South High School Media Specialist - Westerville City Schools)

Happy summer vacation! What a crazy end to the school year. Many times as school librarians feel as though we are on an island. And with everything up in the air of what school (well, anything) will look like next year, I know many of us are scrambling trying to figure out how to create more of a virtual presence than we already have. Are we going to purchase eBooks and audiobooks? Are kids going to check out 20+ physical books? Are we delivering books to students? What does equal access look like? And the list goes on and on.


Written By: Andrew Robitaille (Media Specialist - Hudson High School)

Students at Hudson High School met with their principal a few years ago to propose the creation of a makerspace.  They wanted to establish a place where students could tinker, explore, create, and pursue passion projects.  The Makerspace Club started with a handful of engineer-minded students who gathered informally to tinker with electronics and play around with a variety of fabrication projects.



Written By: Susan Yutzey (Retired)

Among the many thoughtful and compassionate ideas and comments I heard at OELMA’s inaugural Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, April 29, it was “librarians make magic.”  I think it was Jessica Klinker who went further to suggest we use it as an OELMA t-shirt slogan.  In this unprecedented time of sheltering-in-place, I think we can count on school librarians to make magic for our learners whether it be our administrators, our teachers, our students. 

Written By: Angie Jameson (Library Media Specialist - Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools)

When I read Craft's 2019 Newbery Award-winning graphic novel, New Kid, featuring a middle school student who starts off the school year at a new school, I thought about how frequently students who are new to our school district gravitate to the library as a safe zone. Many new students become my best readers of the school year. I wanted to share the book with all of our middle school students, but I didn't want to add anything to the classroom teachers' plates. I decided to offer a book study with our new students in the fall.


In the spring of this year, right before my retirement, I was asked to work with the Communications Strategic Committee on advocacy.  Before getting started, I took some time to think about advocacy and what it means. For this I went to Merriam-Webster online and searched for the word “advocate” as I feel it is each individual that must be an advocate. Merriam-Webster has three different definitions, the third I found to best reflect our individual roles as an advocate: “one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group”. Yes, the definition uses the word, “one”. I believe that our organization must urge everyONE of our members to advocate. Be An Advocate
How do we go about this task? I think it starts with 
WHO we are. Why? I am convinced that WHO we are is still one of our biggest stumbling blocks. So, the first thing I suggest we do is to make it very CLEAR that we ARE licensedand certifiedby the Ohio Department of Education as Library Media Specialists K-12. How do we do this? Simple, frame your ODE license and hang it in your library. Better yet, make a nice copy (preferably in color, though our license isn’t very colorful!) and hang it in your library window (or door) as well. Why? Sadly, our school libraries are either NOT being sttaffed, or are now being staffed by non-certified personnel and too many of our parents and teachers do not know the difference. That’s just not acceptable. Along with proudly “hanging your shingle” always have  a copy of the course requirements for licensure as a School Library Media Specialist handy. Better yet, hang these documents alongside of your license! I sent a copy of the licensure requirements to one of our board members in the spring to promote better understanding of our educational training. Dr. Meghan Harper has graciously provided these documents from the SLIS program at Kent State University. There are three documents that define how to 1) obtain the MLIS degree, 2) obtain the SLMS certification (those who already have a Master’s might choose this option), and: 3) obtain a degree in education as well as, the MLIS. (These are attached.)
I hope this first step in becoming an advocate will be one that is easy to fulfill. I have other ideas that I will share in future posts. With everyONE participating I know we can make a difference by clearly defining who we are, what we do, and why we are so crucial to student achievement!
BeAnAdvocate: Suggestion #1: Frame and hang your Ohio Department of Education license in your school library. Keep the KSU course requirements close at hand or hang the document along with your license! Alsoin your email signature, why not add information about your license?
            5 Year Professional License OW1001103
            Kindergarten-Elementary (K-8) Library Media/Reading K-12
Read: SLJ March 2018 article by Keith Curry Lance “School Librarian, Where Art Thou?”This article should, I hope, embolden you and provide the impetus for you to Be An Advocate. (The charts in this article are telling, you might want to keep copies of these as well!)
Documents:  KSU_MLIS_Dual_Lic
Coming Next: Article by Thomas M. Hyland, Associate Professor, Librarian & Library Instruction Coordinator, Lakeland Community College

Thomas Hyland
Lakeland Community College
Associate Professor, Librarian and Library Instruction Coordinator 
The High School to College Transition: Supporting Our Students

The transition from high school to college compels first-year students to face numerous social, emotional, financial, and intellectual challenges.  That transition can be both exhilarating and intimidating for them.  

Each fall college campuses become whirlwinds of activity.  Tours, orientations, convocations, social gatherings, and club meetings are among the many events students have an opportunity to participate in.  Somewhere between the ice cream social and the first day of classes, students might even wander into the library as part of a campus tour.  The tour guides, in their breezy style, sum up the library’s resources and services in 5 minutes flat.  Then, they move on to the next attraction: the fitness center has a new rock wall, the student union has a Chipotle. 

First-year students get overwhelmed with all kinds of information before they ever set foot in a college classroom.  Between pondering the salutary advantages of rock climbing (are crampons required) and deciding what to order for lunch (burrito or bowl), they forget what little they heard in that succinct, if not entirely accurate, tour guide’s summary of how the library works and what the librarians do.  

When, finally, first-year students get an assignment that has a substantial research requirement, many do not even know how to begin the process.  Even if they recall that librarians are available to assist with the research process, they might forego seeking help simply because they do not want to appear less prepared or knowledgeable than their peers. 

​In Project Information Literacy’s research report “Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College,” Alison J. Head identified four factors that make conducting research in college different than high school:
1. The academic library collection increases in size and digital resources proliferate.
2. The research approach involves combining and using new and different sources.
3. Research calls for selecting quality research sources, evaluated for their credibility.
4. Assignments require independent choices and encourage intellectual exploration.
She also noted that “many freshmen felt at a disadvantage from the start because of the limited research skills they brought with them.”  The first-year students Head interviewed said they needed to learn:
  •   how the college library worked; 
  •   how to authenticate and log on for access to library resources; 
  •   who to ask for help with finding journals or books; ​
  • ​​​ how to navigate the library's online and on-site sources. 

She writes that the findings from the study “lead us to conclude that even though today’s freshmen may have grown up with the Internet, most may know little about how to best leverage formal channels of information that are available through high schools or college.”

According to Head, “A third of the freshmen that began US colleges and universities this fall will not return to campus next year.”  The National Information Center for Higher Education Policymaking and Analysis reports, “Students are more likely to drop out of postsecondary education during the first year than any other time.”  To support our student learners, librarians at elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions must continue to forge collaborative relationships with each other and with educators at their own institutions.  By working together, we can better support our students’ needs while promoting information literacy as an iterative process central to intellectual growth and the development of critical thinking skills. 

I often hear through OELMA events and other school librarian networking opportunities the many discussions regarding how we are being evaluated in our schools. Some are not being evaluated annually, others are being asked to use the OTES model to be evaluated. However you are being evaluated, one thing is certain: if we want to call ourselves teachers, and vital to our schools; we must be evaluated like we matter and make a difference.

Please consider joining us (a little “overdue”) for our Midwinter conference on Saturday, April 18th at Hilliard Bradley High School. Jessica Klinker, Midwinter Conference Chair, along with her planning committee, has been hard at work organizing an entire day’s events all around ways we can continue to show we do make a difference in student achievement-with ways to include our administrators and fellow teachers working with us! This day-long conference will include an administrator/librarian panel, as well as concurrent sessions such as tech skills for online testing, guided inquiry, digital age leadership, and powerful partnerships. We are also looking forward to a closing session presented by Jill Burket, Revere Local Schools Librarian, titled OTES and the School Librarian: Making it Work for You. Jill will be discussing her experience with her first year of OTES. She found it to be a positive one in many ways, and she will cover how the process can benefit you as a professional force in your building. As Library Media Specialists find their positions more and more endangered, OTES is a great way to reinforce your value to your building and strengthen your connection to both your administration and your staff. Jill will also discuss a brief overview of the SLO writing process.

 Please consider inviting an administrator to also attend with you-their registration is free if attending with their librarian!

For more information, and to register online, please visit: 


Spring breaks are upon us! OELMA Awards Season is more than half way through and we want you to nominate yourself or an OELMA member for an award. We’ve previewed most of the awards, but here’s one we know you’re excited about – the Outstanding Administrator Award. Why? Because OELMA has given this award since 1987 – that’s 30 administrators (not awarded in 2012)! That’s thirty administrators who have made significant contributions to the planning, implementation, and/or support of school library programs resulting in improved program quality and increased student learning. At least one of our 30 recipients continues to demonstrate his support of school libraries! John Miller (Superintendent of Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village, now retired) sits on the OELMA Board.

Many OELMA members contribute to the association in multiple ways and OELMA is proud to honor them with the Outstanding Contributor Award. This award honors an Ohio licensed school librarian who has made outstanding contributions to school librarianship. The honoree has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the school library profession while serving in OELMA leadership roles.

For more information on the awards and the rubrics, click on the Awards tab on the OELMA website. #OELMAwards19.
April 6th is the deadline, but don’t wait until the last minute! Start gathering your ideas and get those applications in!


Spring is in the air – and it’s time to get ready for Awards Season! The Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards – and the OELMA Awards! A trifecta of opportunities for you to nominate yourself or someone you know for one of the OELMA Awards.

Do you know an Ohio school librarian or Ohio educator who demonstrates support for the American Library Association’s principles of intellectual freedom? In 2018, Lori Lee (Zanesville City School District) nominated Amy Price (Princeton City School District) for this award for Amy’s leadership in bringing the “Driving Literacy Home,” a mobile book unit, to Princeton children and youth during the summer months.

Do you know an OELMA school librarian who has an exemplary school library program? Who collaborates with classroom teachers? Who implements technology-integrated instruction? If you do, then nominate her or him for the Outstanding School Librarian Award sponsored by Follett School Solutions.

READ On! Ohio is a youth award. Since its inception in 2016, OELMA has honored youth across the state for their love of reading and enthusiasm for the school library. Each recipient receives a certificate and gift card to Barnes and Noble at the OELMA Annual Conference. This year the deadline is April 6, 2019. Recipients must be enrolled in K-12 during the 2019-20 school year. #OELMAwards19


Rosen Ohio Librarian of the Month

Calling all OELMA Library Media Specialists!
New! New! New!
This Award is for YOU!
Starting Winter 2019!

We want to Spotlight YOU!
What are your students, your staff, and YOU doing each month in your Library Media Center?

Select this link to nominate yourself or another Library Media Specialist whom you would like to nominate. Tell us about a powerful lesson, program or collaboration that showcases what is happening in Media Centers across our state!

The Rosen Librarian of the Month will be awarded monthly. The recipient will be featured on our OELMA website, social media, listservs, and more. This recognition will allow us to develop an idea bank of best practices being demonstrated across Ohio!

There’s more!
Rosen Publishing is sponsoring this brand-new Librarian of the Month award. The Library Media Specialist selected each month will select a set of free books for his/her library which will be donated by Rosen Publishing. Since being established in 1950, the Rosen Publishing Group offers engaging print and digital books on a wide range of topics that are aligned with the curriculum. Rosen is also known for databases and interactive e-books.

Can you say Win-Win?
OELMA develops an idea bank of best practices for members, you receive new books and the spotlight! In addition, a letter of acknowledgment will be sent to each recipient’s principal and the recipient will receive a signature badge to use in his/her email.

1. OELMA members may nominate his/her own program or may nominate another OELMA member.
2. Nominations must be submitted by the 15th of each month.
3. Only one set of books per school will be awarded per school year.
4, A Library Media Specialist may be featured multiple times, winning multiple book collections, but only one award will be given per school. For example: If an LMS teaches in 3 buildings, s/he has the opportunity to submit 3 different forms within 1 school year as long as each submission represents work from different buildings.

If multiple submissions are made within one month, the Awards and Scholarships Committee will vote on the recipient considering best practices, standards, advocacy, and outreach.

For additional information, please contact Lorri Kingan, Director of Awards and Scholarships.


Picture Books Can Be…

By: Kathy Halsey

Yes, it’s still November, even though your holiday decorations may be up already. It’s still Picture Book Month, too. As librarians like to say, “Picture books are rated ‘E’ for everybody, ” but they can be even more. Read on to discover how picture books can be a STEAM resource or a mentor text for students and teachers.

The STEAM of Picture Books

Have you ever thought of the picture book as an “object?” If we examine a picture book with our students via the STEAM lens, we notice that a picture book is engineered, produced, and designed.

My own process in mining the picture book as object began with Megan Dowd Lambert’s groundbreaking professional title READING PICTURE BOOKS WITH CHILDREN, 2015, Charlesbridge. Megan created/field-tested “The Whole Book Approach,” during her tenure at the Carle Museum. (Peruse the SLJ article here.)

I have adapted her whole book approach and the technical language used in picture book design (See “Glossary of Book and Storytime Terminology” in Megan’s book.) to hook older readers based on visual thinking strategies.  

Have students examine a mix of newer picture books, fiction and nonfiction, with you modeling the process. Take time to explore the material beyond art & main text before you read aloud. Walk through a picture book and explore its unique format together in a sophisticated form of “show & tell.”
  • How many pages do picture books have? Why? (Make them count the pages.)
  • If possible, show them an F&G, a picture book ARC with folded pages that is gathered into signatures (a bundle of 16 pages.)
  • Examine jackets/covers if not taped down as sometimes the cover has a different design.
  • Look at the variety of endpapers in the books the students have. Speculate on why color and illustrations were chosen
  • Check for front matter and back matter, especially in nonfiction and biographical picture books. Make a group list of all the types of back matter.
  • Discuss typography. Why are some words bigger, bolder than others in the text? How does typography lend meaning to a book? (Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a great one to share for this design element.
  • Check out the gutter. Why are some illustrations on the left side and the right side of a 2-page spread? (Use Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka. Placement of characters on opposite sides of the gutter and then on the same side of the gutter shows visually the progression of friendship.)
  • Finally, have students search their books for gatefolds, an oversized page folded to the same size as other pages but intended to be opened out for reading. How does the gatefold add to the story?

Picture Books as Mentor Texts

Did you know that picture book authors study other writer’s books for inspiration, ways to approach topics, and for unique ways to structure a book? During the month of March, an entire month is devoted to what we writers call ReFoReMo or Reading for Research Month. You can adapt this process with student writers or just use the plethora of lists to inform your own reading of picture books. 

ReFoReMo lists are grouped by topics and structures with over 45+ topics listed alphabetically. The lists are fluid, updated, and created
by those who work in the field. They are a gold mine for busy librarians hoping to keep current with their reading, yet they include classics, too.  Themes and topics include compassion, interactive books, character formation, and concept books for older readers. Structures include wordless, layered text, second person POV, and metafiction. Check out the Facebook group and website that includes a research tools page.

Their mission is “to help picture book writers reform writing by reading and researching mentor texts in the month of March. The challenge is supported by educators, authors, illustrators, editors, and literary agents in addition to a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction picture book recommendations. We welcome classrooms, educators, writers, illustrators, and publishing professionals to learn with us.”

The Payoff

When librarians and educators delve deeply into the myriad ways picture books can be used, students of all ages will appreciate them more. The idea that these books are for “little kids” or that they are easy to write will be dispelled. As Peter Reynolds reminds us from his NCTE 2018 session, “picture books are wisdom dipped in art and words. Picture books make big ideas transportable. Picture books are for all ages.” Pick up a stack of picture books and dip into the magic soon.

Kathy Halsey is a former K-12 school librarian, seventh grade English teacher, and Past President of the Ohio Educational Library Media Association. She writes picture books and nonfiction. Currently, she works part-time at Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers, Upper Arlington. She blogs about writing with other kid lit writers at, and speaks at educational and literary conferences.

Below are test forms for the READ On, Ohio! Award Application and the Floyd Dickman Application.


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Sorry. This form is no longer available.


By: Deb Logan, OELMA President

Missing school means doing paperwork, putting together sub plans, adjusting instructional times, and losing learning time. Anytime I contemplate missing school, I have to think about the cost versus the return on my investment of time and the use of my precious few professional development days. That means I need professional development opportunities that have a high return for my investment. Did attending the 2017 OELMA conference pay off? Yes, and the payoffs started immediately and they continue to roll in!

The return on my investment started as soon as I returned to school. My students wanted to know where I had been. Their guesses ranged from my being home sick to my going on a beach trip. I told my younger students about my meetings by sharing books by Charles R. Smith, Jr. They were excited to hear about a poet also being a professional photographer and an American Ninja Warrior. My older students were also intrigued and excited to hear about Charles R. Smith, Jr. There were gasps when I told them about meeting Serafina author, Robert Beatty. We talked about his career path and books before watching the video he made for his books. Anecdotes about these authors now join the countless others I have collected over the years and will be shared with students along with their autographed books. I ask authors to sign my books to Mrs. Logan and her library friends.

Within two weeks of attending conference, I was able to use a combination of ideas from conference to do a presentation in front of my new school board. For weeks before attending conference, I was actively searching for an idea to use during the board presentation about our new program. I knew I wanted to have a challenge activity that one of my advisory board students could introduce to groups consisting of other advisory board members (grades 3-5) and school board members. This all had to work in an extremely limited time frame and with the wide range of ages. At conference, I heard several ideas during sessions and from other attendees that I was able to pull together with what I had already planned. The ideas from conference rounded out a plan that worked perfectly for the participants and the school board’s time frame. The presentation was a success.

My takeaways were not limited to ideas and information I used in October. Listening to how others implement challenges and structure maker spaces impacted my thinking in myriad ways. In one session, small groups talked about basic things like how we arrange the maker space areas of our rooms. I also learned about different products and resources to use in my program. These conversations led me to the exhibitors where I could find out more about the resources I had heard about. The After Hours Task Party was fun and as colleagues played with materials and the making process, it made me think more deeply about how to ignite the same kind of excitement and passion in my students. What opportunities can I design? How can they be structured? Conference also helped with ideas for using resources that I already had. In August, I had ordered a breakout kit and began work on a breakout idea. Angela Wojtecki and Trent Robert’s preconference session on breakouts helped me with developing that first original breakout.

Finally, one of the least tangible, but most important things I take away from OELMA’s annual conference is time with “my library peeps.” Even though most of my career has been in a collaborative instructional program, I also typically work as the “only one of my kind” in schools where other teachers are parts of grade level and other teams. It is refreshing and invigorating to spend time with peers who are “kindred spirits” and who have shared mindsets. As a profession, we face similar opportunities and challenges. I thank each of you who planned, presented, shared and attended for the learning, ideas, and inspiration from this year’s conference.

Yes, attending OELMA meant that I had to miss school, do paperwork, justify attending,l and make lesson plans. It was also time away from my students. My students were upset that I was gone, but they are also excited and engaged by the ideas and information that I brought back. I came back to school recharged and with ideas that I immediately began to use and share. Those ideas continue to help me put together the best possible learning experiences I can for my students. OELMA 2017 was an excellent investment and I am looking forward to OELMA 2018!


Genrefying My Fiction Collection

By: Rob Kaminski, Woodbury Elementary, Shaker Heights Schools, OELMA Director to Operations Strategic Committee

I am labeling and physically organizing my fiction collection of approximately 9,000 books by genre. Within each genre, books will be organized alphabetically by author’s last name.

Quite simply and most importantly, genrefication suits my particular library community. Ninety-five percent of the book requests I get from students are, “Where are the (insert genre here) books?” My students naturally want to browse by genre, which is not surprising, given that it’s the method used in bookstores, and for finding content on Amazon, Netflix and similar outlets.

In addition, many literature teachers in my school regularly feature a particular genre with each unit taught.  A genrefied library makes it much easier for students to find a book they will enjoy from the assigned genre, especially if I am unable to assist them because I am working with another class when they visit.

If you are considering genrefying your library, I would start with the why. If you can’t answer that question with confidence, it might not be worth the work that lies ahead, or it simply might not be the best fit for the needs of your library. It is likely that genrefying will raise questions and could be met with resistance, so it is important that you have clear reasons why it will best serve your own library community.

I have been passively planning this change for several years, mentioning it as a possibility to my administrators and researching other libraries that have made the switch. Last summer, I formally proposed this project to my supervising administrator, including the timeline and plan that I detail below.


  • Summarize research and tips from other libraries who have switched to a genrefied collection
  • Choose the genres for my library
  • Communicate plan my to administrators


  • Order genre labels
  • Weed fiction collection
  • Begin labeling all new books


  • Begin labeling obvious books
  • Obtain Genre Helper Report from Follett

May 2018–Summer 2018

  • Label an overwhelming number of books and wish I had weeded more
  • Enter my designated genres in the Genre Helper spreadsheet
  • Determine the amount of space needed and location for each genre
  • Move books to their new location
  • Create lots of signage and other promotional materials for the beginning of the school year


I definitely recommend reading and learning from those who have taken on this project before. There are many blog posts on genrefying and Follet also has a guide on their website. With every single step of this process, you should listen to what others have to say, BUT ALWAYS MAKE CHOICES BASED ON YOUR SPECIFIC LIBRARY. Choosing genres is a great example of this. Many libraries include specialized genres such as Romance, Urban, Fairy Tales, and Paranormal and I have no doubt they are useful designations in certain libraries. However, in my library that serves students in grades 5-6, I wanted to keep it fairly simple and choose genres that would communicate the tone of the book to my target audience. My genres include: Fantasy/Science Fiction, Historical, Thriller, Graphic Novels, Sports, Realistic, Mystery, International, Humor, and Adventure. International Fiction is one that might not make sense at a lot of libraries, but it is a featured genre for our enriched language arts classes and we have a collection that merits its own category. I also reached out to teachers and students for help in choosing between Horror and Thriller; don’t forget to tap into the thoughts and ideas of your library community. Likewise, I purchased genre labels from Demco with symbols that I thought my students would identify each genre with the best. 

You should absolutely do a thorough weeding of your fiction collection before beginning to label your collection on a large scale. The genrefication  process is a lot of work and you don’t want to spend any time, energy, or money on labeling books that will not remain in your collection. Whatever your weeding criteria is, I would consider a more thorough than normal approach in advance of genrefying. Another strong recommendation I have is to begin a small-scale labeling system early in the year to work out any kinks. For me, it made sense to label all of the new books that came in throughout the year. This is a great way to work through small but important issues such as, if spine room is limited, do you cover up part of the title or the author’s name with the genre label? Chances are you will change your mind on some small details like this and it’s much better to work through that on a small quantity of books so that you have formalized the details of your system when you are labeling the bulk of your collection.

My next step was to begin labeling books where I could easily determine their genre. I already had some book lists by genre for classes, so I printed those for my library technician to begin labeling. We also labeled series or authors who specialize in certain genres and any books that could be assigned a genre with little or no thought. This will greatly help down the road when you are left with books you are not as familiar with and need to think about what their main genre might be.

When it came time to begin labeling books on a mass scale, I first tried to pull books that could fit into any under-represented genres, which in my library I thought were sports, humor, and adventure. I knew these would be some of the most frequented shelves, but I also believed we didn’t have as many of these books as we do fantasy and other major genres. I thought it would be good to try and seek out books that might otherwise be placed in a major genre by default. To do so, I searched our catalog for terms like sports, adventure, funny, etc. and also searched online for reading lists by genre.  I then pulled those books and examined them to see if they were a good fit for one of the smaller genres. For help in deciding genres in general, I often used Titlewave (Follett is our main book vendor) and Goodreads.

If you use Follett, they offer a free Genre Helper Report, which is a spreadsheet including every book in your library. You upload your collection to Titlewave, just as you do for a Collection Analysis. Your sales representative can then give you information on how to request this report. The spreadsheet provides many columns of data, including suggested genres. I only used it sparingly to select a genre for a book that I was unfamiliar with though because they usually suggest multiple genres. You will want to customize the spreadsheet to show only the information that you deem necessary. I added two columns, one for the genre that I selected for each book and another column where I tracked whether it was labeled yet. This was so that sometimes I could assign a genre to a book in the spreadsheet even if I didn’t have time to physically label it at that moment. 

However, the real value I see in this report is that it includes a column titled “Thickness” which provides, in millimeters, how much space a  book will take up on the shelf horizontally. Once the spreadsheet is completed, I will sort the data by genre and then have an idea of how much shelf space each genre will need total. In a large library, this is very helpful, if you have a smaller library, you may be able to just do this step physically. You’ll have to decide if the spreadsheet is useful to you, as it is definitely an extra step of work to enter the genre you have selected. Since I am not making cataloging changes to reflect the genres I’ve chosen (see below), this spreadsheet will come in handy if we’re having trouble figuring out which genre we chose for any given book.

This is where I’m at in this process today. I will finish labeling books in the next week (I think) and then will probably have to bring my kids in a few days throughout the summer to physically move the books to their new location. I will blog about this again when I have finished the project and include what the student and teacher reaction is to this new organizational system.

Changing the Catalog?

For the most part, I was supported in this endeavor by my administration, in large part because of the research I had put in and because I was able to communicate why it made sense at my particular building. The only resistance I met was in my plan to change the call numbers of the books to reflect the genre (Harry Potter would go from FIC ROW to FIC ROW FAN to show it is FANTASY). There was concern about making significant cataloging changes, both because of the amount of work involved and if for any reason the collection would revert back to its previous organizational system. I understood the concern and was at peace with that compromise because I was confident that physically organizing the collection by genre would solve 98% of the issues I had with the current organization. In other words, my students are much more likely to walk up to the Mystery section than they are to search the OPAC for Mystery books. Many librarians do indeed change cataloging when genrefying, which is another level of work. In my research, most librarians did this step on their own time in the summer, which is what I had planned to do when I first proposed this project.

Which Genre is This Book?

There are few books that fit neatly into just one genre and you will need to decide how to handle this at your library. Our middle school uses multiple genre labels for many books, but I wanted a simpler appearance for my younger students, so I stuck with choosing one. The only advice I have here is, once again, choose what you think will work best for your students. I picked each genre based on where I thought students would go to find that book, but there is definitely grey territory here. For example, I found myself sometimes choosing Humor over Realistic Fiction because I thought that book might gain more exposure in the Humor section. Sometimes this can be quite challenging. We have many popular series that could easily fall into Fantasy or Adventure. I decided early on that Fantasy would usually win that battle. I found myself using Adventure for a lot of books that walked the border of multiple genres. My students are particularly drawn to adventure books, so in my library that category will cover things ranging from outdoor survival (Hatchet) to books with some fantasy (Inquisitor’s Tale), to books that didn’t find an immediate home elsewhere (Mr. Lemoncello’s Library). This is definitely an area that you will have to ponder and your practice will likely evolve throughout the process and beyond. I plan on having a form out for students to propose changing the genre of specific books and making changes as warranted.

How Long Will This Take?

I am fortunate in that I have a full-time library technician who was able to assist me in this project. If you are a one-person show, you could spread out the genrefication process as long as needed by simply labeling books as you have time. Once you establish your labeling rules, you could generate piles of books by genre and use student or parent volunteers to label them. I have not tracked the hours spent on this project because our time on it has waxed and waned with the rhythm of our daily operations. I felt good about the timeline I had created before the year began and we have pretty much stayed on schedule. If you are set on launching your genrefied library at a specific time, I would block out the major steps and then commit to setting aside time to consistently chip away at it. Keep an eye on what percentage of your collection has been labeled (the spreadsheet can be useful for this) and set your pace according to your schedule.


By: Liz Deskins and Susan Yutzey

Pinterest Board Curated By: Cathie Cooper and Jody Casella

While May is Mental Health month, those of us in education realize that every month should be.

Facts about Adolescent Mental Health

From the National Center for Children in Poverty  here are some statistics:

Approximately 20% of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder

Many mental health disorders first present during adolescence.
  • Between 20% and 30% of adolescents have one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood.
  • For a quarter of individuals with mood disorders like depression, these first emerge during adolescence.
  • Between 50% and 75% of adolescents with anxiety disorders and impulse control disorders (such as conduct disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) develop these during adolescence.
These are staggering statistics, and those who work with teens know them to be true.

As school librarians, we have some advantages over other professionals in our buildings.  Our spaces are usually considered safe places and students spend time there for many reasons.  We don’t grade, we don’t judge, and we are happy to see them. This allows us to build long-term relationships; we have these students for several years and often see them longer than any classroom teacher.  We hear their stories, happy and sad, and we know their moods and behaviors. This means we are in the perfect spot to catch the warning signs. We can make a difference. We just need to learn how. Here are a few resources that will help.

NAMI The National Alliance on Mental Illness has some excellent articles to learn more.

OELMA Pinterest Board: YA Books that Get Real about Mental Health

YA Books that Get Real about Mental Health, created by Cathie Cooper, shows some excellent fiction titles that may help us open up about difficult topics.  The books may become mirrors, windows, or doors for our students.

And finally, BookRiot’s Powerful and Authentic Teen Books about Depression to Better Understand the Illness

As Kelly Jensen, author of this blog, states “ mental illness in teen books has become more abundant in the last few years, in part because of how discussion of mental illness has grown more mainstream culturally.  Teen books about depression, in particular, are offering a space for seeing the myriad shapes and forms the illness can take.”

We hope this blog makes you think and give you resources to support your students.

By: Jessica Klinker, Director of Conference and Teacher Librarian at Franklin Heights High School

Admit it–You still get a little bit swoony when you get the chance to meet published authors, right? I know I do! It’s the same for our students; Having the opportunity to meet authors is akin to meeting someone famous. Just imagine, then, what might happen if our students had the opportunity to actually write a story with their favorite author and that story could end up published in a book? Thanks to The Top Secret YA Story Box Project, my students were given a chance to find out this school year.

Over 40 published authors participated in The Top Secret YA Story Box project by contributing short story beginnings, which ranged from a paragraph to 30 pages in length. This story starts to travel to schools throughout the country, where students eagerly unveil the surprise: They get to write the endings to the stories and their endings will not only be added to the Story Box as it continues its journey across the country, but they just might be the ones selected to be published at the end of the project! They could be listed as co-authors with someone like Brendan Kiely, Mindy McGinnis, Margaret Peterson Haddix, or Mike Mullin!

Hosting The Top Secret YA Story Box at our school yielded so many opportunities for collaborating with the ELA teacher, for experimenting with BreakoutEdu, and for encouraging students to dive deeply into literature and the craft of writing, as they were given permission to unleash their voices and channel their creativity to add their unique flair to the stories. Shelly Mann, my colleague in the English department, approached me in September explaining how the box was coming and said, “I would like your help in making this amazing.” (Yes, she is awesome and I am totally blessed to work with her!) Having caught the BreakoutEdu bug at last year’s OELMA conference, she and I decided to have a launch party event where the students completed a Breakout challenge in the library to unlock boxes, which held the Top Secret story beginnings. This collaboration allowed Shelly and me to flex our own creative superpowers, developing clues, building in library search skills and highlighting the library collection. We invited other teachers in the building to come to observe the Breakout Launch parties, which motivated more of them to partner with me throughout the year on other Breakout challenges. The students left the events brimming with eagerness to embark on this writing extravaganza.

This kicked off a three-week writing adventure that resulted in students being more attentive to structure, mechanics, voice, tone, style, and other aspects of writing than we’ve ever experienced before. Suddenly, they weren’t writing just for the teacher’s eyes, they were writing for their favorite authors — and the chance to be published! The students in my building even added their own top-secret contribution to the story box: stories of their own, that were not started by the published authors! Their confidence in their craft had grown and their voices had been unleashed!

You will have the opportunity to learn more about The Top Secret YA Story Box project, including hearing some students who participated reading their stories along with the published authors who wrote the beginnings, when you attend the 2018 OELMA Pre-conference event, Student Voices Unleashed: Published Authors, Teacher Librarians, Untold Possibilities, on Wednesday, October 24th, from 4:30 – 7:30 pm at the Doubletree Hotel in Worthington, Ohio. Kevin Cordi, the Story Box creator, will share more information about the project and OELMA librarians who participated will explain how the project prompted creative collaborations with colleagues. The evening will feature a keynote presentation by Brendan Kiely, as well as presentations and speed dating opportunities with Mindy McGinnis, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Mike Mullin, all of whom contributed to the Story Box.

Watch for registration to open on the OELMA website in August and also look out for the opportunity to invite students to attend for a reduced rate and administrators to attend for free! Spark some excitement for how you can Unleash Student Voices for Untold Possibilities!


By: Dr. Christina Dorr

Books are mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.  Who coined this phrase?  Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, OSU professor emeritus, leading voice in the studies of diverse literature, award-winning professional, and one of my former committee members during my Ph.D. work at OSU.  She’s the one that helped me understand all those years ago, that children and teens need to first see themselves, second see others, and third learn to empathize with those whose life experiences are different from theirs.  And one of the most powerful avenues is through exceptional literature.

June is Pride month, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on your role in furthering understanding – or stifling it – when considering LGBTQAI+ books in your collections.  If you’re actively purchasing and making these titles available, Bravo!  If you’re not, here are a few thoughts to consider getting you pointed in a more inclusive direction:
  • Begin by taking a look at your collection, library or classroom. If you haven’t included LGBTQAI+ titles, as yourself why (and be honest about the answer).
  • Begin the discussion with children as questions and comments arise. Don’t think this is a form of diversity for teens only.  Very young children have diverse family structures, and experience gender dysphoria at a very young age.
  • Include outside stakeholders in the discussion when necessary.
  • Meet challenges head-on, and never be afraid to explain your reasoning and that it’s a matter of promoting basic human rights, as with any other form of diversity.
  • Solicit allies when needed.
A resource to get you started with a teen collection is this Pinterest Board by OELMA member Cathie Cooper:

And this new book published by ALA written by Liz Deskins and me includes books, questions, and other resources for children and teens of all ages:

By Deb Logan, OELMA President

You have a strategy that works. Maybe it is as simple as coming up with an engaging way to introduce a concept. Possibly you are having success with building collaborations. Perhaps you have faculty excited about using new technologies. Wonderful. Now, let it GROW! Send it out into the profession and be ready to celebrate when it grows into something new.

We need you! Your colleagues and peers need for you to share your ideas. Just like plants and gardens, good ideas come in various types and forms; there are also different options for sharing your ideas. Ideas can be shared at conferences. If you are not comfortable presenting alone, ask one of your collaborators or a colleague to present with you. If you don’t personally know someone who is interested in similar concepts, consider reaching out to someone in your online network. More than once, I have encountered another librarian online with a common interest. Some of these online encounters have been in other parts of Ohio or even other states. We have proposed, created and planned sessions without meeting in person until the day of the presentation. These have all been wonderful experiences. Panels are also great ways to present as part of a team. If presenting sounds a little intimidating, remind yourself that the attendees choose to be in your session because they are interested in the idea. The idea is center stage and is on display…not you. Your listeners will decide if they will plant your idea in their program. Just like no two daisies are alike, your idea will grow in new ways in another library.

Another way to share your good ideas is to write about them. Pick a place where you think your idea will fit and learn about the publication. If you are looking at a blog, read previous entries. If you want to “plant” your idea in a national publication, look for patterns in the articles and decide which publication is the best fit for what you want to share. What are the typical topics? Does the publication focus on “news you can use?” Is it a journal that features research-based articles? Is the tone conversational or formal? Dig into the publication’s website to see if the journal has a list of forthcoming themes. Does your idea match one of the planned themes? If not, submit it anyway. Typically, even if an issue has a theme, the issue will also include some “stray” articles that do not match the theme. Editors and blog managers are constantly looking for new articles and writers. They are looking for you. Want to start small? Share a practice in response to a request for help on a listserv. Maybe you have a whole “garden” of ideas. If that is the case, consider starting your own blog or writing a book.

Sharing a start from one of your plants with a friend is like sharing a great idea with colleagues. When the start is planted in their garden, it is still from your plant, but it takes on a whole new life in the new setting. Your great ideas can have new lives and can grow into incredible lessons, promotions, events, practices and more that are a joy and benefit to countless students and educators.

Still not sure where to start? Consider this an invitation to write a post on the OELMA blog. Contact Brandi Young at <b.nicole.young at gmail> to start posting and watch your ideas grow!


By Lorri Kingan, Director Liaison to Awards and Scholarship Committee

Do you know a Library Media Specialist who does an exemplary job implementing programs for students and staff?  Have you experienced an Administrator that values the library media program and the outreach offered within his/her school?  Have you witnessed a media center that is hustling and bustling and is filled with students engaging in learning?  Now is the time to seek recognition for these passionate professionals by nominating them for an OELMA award!

Also, there are two scholarships available to students enrolled in an accredited library media program within the state of Ohio.  The Allan Oakum Scholarship offers a $500 stipend to a resident of Ohio working toward School Library Media Licensure.  The OELMA Scholarship offers a $1,000 stipend to a resident of Ohio pursuing School Library Media Licensure.  Nominate yourself or an LMS student and help with the cost of these courses.

The deadline for nominations is April 9th, 2018.  Please visit the OELMA site for additional information on nominations for awards and scholarships.  Let us celebrate just some of the good that is occurring in our library world!

For additional information, please email


By: Kelly Silwani, OELMA Past President

2015. That’s the year I decided to run for OELMA Vice President. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years. What I can believe, however, and what I want to share with you, is that because of my various positions on the board, I have grown professionally and personally in ways I never could have imagined. If you are looking for ways to grow, consider joining the OELMA board.

Nominations are now open for board positions.  Please take a moment and look at the positions and the responsibilities that come with them.  You can nominate yourself or someone else. One of the advantages of being part of the community known as OELMA, is that there are constantly opportunities for growth and leadership.  Being on the board is just one more way. No matter the position, you will grow in leadership, writing, organizational, presenting, library, and teaching skills. You will meet librarians from around the state and work with our board liaisons who represent administrators, ODE, Kent State, and INFOhio. You will get a chance to shape the direction of our organization and create and support new PD opportunities for all of us. You will bring your special talents and skills to the board and trust me when I say… yes, you do have something unique to bring to the table…we all do.  

I truly believe that I am a much better librarian, teacher, and building leader as a result of being on the board as Central Region Director, Vice President, President, and now Past President.  I’ve gained more confidence as a presenter, and I will have published my first article, co-written with Liz Deskins and Susan Yutzey which stems directly from a board position. Definitely consider running. You won’t regret it.  

Please click on this link for the candidate profiles.  If you are interested in a position click on this link to fill out the candidate profile form. Nominations close on April 2, 2018.


By: Jennifer Seebauer, Librarian, Teays Valley Middle Schools

Designing a library space for preteens is definitely a challenge.  They are part child and part adult and these two sides fight for control of the brain and in turn their actions. A library space must support this transition from child to adult.  It also must function as a learning space that provides for student choice. These two aspects can sometimes be at odds.

My library is a highly trafficked area with each ELA class coming to the library at least one, if not 2 days a week.  The library must have spaces for small group, large group & individual work. This doesn’t include the traffic from the various groups & committees (both student & staff) that meet in the library before or after school.

After my second year in my brand new library, I realized that I needed to redesign the library.  It was impersonal and very institutional. Neither are very appealing, nor welcoming to preteens.  As I continued my plight to make all students readers, I needed to make the library a space they wanted to visit and felt like it was their space.  I also needed to not discourage teachers from using the library as a classroom as well.

Before talking about redesigning options, let’s talk about the non-negotiables of my space.  The wall configuration is a bit, well, wonky for lack of a quality construction term. The room is mostly a rectangle; mostly as the corners of the room are not 90 degrees.  It is wider at one end than the other. One wall is all exterior windows; two walls are bookshelves. The fourth wall is a mix of windows and shelves. There are also low shelves taking up nearly half the floor space.  The projector falls from the ceiling at the small end of the room. It’s not the ideal room.

Taking this all into consideration: the space physical limitations, the students’ needs & the demands of the space, I looked at the space and began slowly reconfiguring it.  If I wanted the library to feel like the teens’ space, it needed some work. It began small — two bean bag chairs and a carpet.   

This became one of the most popular spots in the library.  Students, no matter the age, wanted to sit there! They would sit or lay on the chairs and quietly work.  Truth be told, there were fewer disruptions from the students sitting here than at the conventional table & chairs.  This was the sign I needed to add more alternative seating options.

The next addition were the two recliners.  These were probably not my best purchases as they are not as durable as needed for pre-teens.  Nothing has broken but the fabric is definitely showing wear and the frame frequently needs the bolts tightened.  These recliners, like the bean bags & carpet, were purchased using my Scholastic Dollars. When taking this risk of changing the furniture, I needed to use monies I had earned.  This is why I was limited to Scholastic. The next few changes were thankfully free.

While students wanted to sit in these two areas, it was limited seating.  However, there was a bonus to the lack of alternative seating. It opened up the concept of sitting on the floor.  My students had previously been hesitant to sit on the floor — the library is fully carpeted — but with the space evolving to reflect them, the floor became an option. This was the best alternative seating option as it was free.

Some students struggled to work in these seats as there was not a desk surface.  An easy addition was the purchase of clipboards. The students all know where they are and help themselves if they would like one.  

The summer of 2016 was a big reconfiguration in the library.  With the addition of more Chromebooks, two of my computer tables were now tables, albeit tables with holes in them.  This provided an opportunity to remove some of the tables as the library now had too many tables. Thankfully my principal agreed to this (and thankfully a teacher wanted some of the tables I was removing).   I did add some traditional classroom desks when I removed the tables. If the goal was to give students a place they preferred, why not have traditional desks that some students prefer? Students group them but will also separate them to have an individual work area.  Again, this was wonderfully free options that made a huge difference in the space.  

Other furniture additions included a high top table, two rocking chairs and three tall stools and two short stools.  The library is now 50% traditional

seating (tables with chairs or student desks) and 50% non-traditional seating. These items were all purchased from Demco. While these items were costly, I knew they would be durable.  Funds were procured by sponsoring a school dance and grant writing to our Boosters and Educational Foundation.

The space is now open, inviting and cozy.  While the room is still a lopsided rectangle, the library has a spot for every student.  It has also increased student ownership of the library. They value this space and aren’t willing to have others make a mess of “their library”.  The biggest change has been the mind-shift for students and staff that the library seating is not permanent.  It can easily be moved and reconfigured. This was the hardest part of the remodel: nothing is permanently fixed and that was intentional. The space is meant to be lived in.   



By Lorri Kingan, LMS, Hudson City School District

Balancing the curricular demands in the elementary media center can be a challenge.  This is especially true as we aspire to embrace the latest in technology advances, as well as the amazing learning opportunities that the STEM curriculum has introduced.  Last year, I strived to generate a cohesive teaching plan that would allow for all of the literacies to be taught routinely, and on a set schedule.  

Looking at the library curriculum, I separated the lessons into 4 general categories: Reading and Language Skills, Library Skills, Informational Literacy and STEM-centered lessons.  I then created lessons that allowed for each of these disciplines to be taught one time per month, on a 4-week rotation.  For example, lessons might include a focus on the following:

Reading/Language Skills:  Read alouds, book talks, book trailers, peer dialogues about books, new book introductions, Buckeye Award reading/voting, series features, authors introduced, picture book stations

Library Skills:  Focus on the physical layout of media center and shelving, Dewey Decimal Classification System, call numbers, authors’ names,  genres, online catalog (Chromebooks used)

Informational Literacy Skills:  Introduction to usernames/passwords and their importance, digital citizenship, Google Drive, Google Classroom, educational databases, INFOhio, BookFlix, TumbleBooks, Hour of Code (Chromebooks used)

STEM Skills:  multiple stations created throughout the media center offering exposure to a variety of STEM-related tools such as K’Nex, Legos, Tinker Toys, Brain Flakes, puzzles, cup stacking, etc.  Activities range from “free build” days to “challenge” days where construction is done with purpose.

Creating a schedule that allows for all aspects of the curriculum to be taught on a continuum has truly helped in every aspect of planning, coordinating and teaching.  The students have also responded well to this routine, and have shared that they love the fact that, “you never know what you are going to learn when you come to the media center,” referencing their love of the variety of lessons that are offered.


By: Kristin Dages

We love lists. Here are two to grow the brain and get you going in 2018.

List #1: Powerful Professional Reads

If you’re looking for a read on growth mindset, leadership, or motivation, here are my top five professional reads from 2017.

The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros

Not all change and new directions are innovative. This book gives great perspective on what’s truly innovative in education and how to build that mindset and culture within a school. Couros walks us through the steps to starting with the mindset, rolling it out with staff or students and then how to build, reflect on and sustain that culture of innovation.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

A powerful lesson and self-reflection in leadership, this book is on my annual reading list. If you haven’t listened to or read anything by Simon Sinek, this is a must! Also, take a look at his video on Millenials here.

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

I’ve bought more copies of this book for gifts than any other book. It’s a phenomenal read in growth mindset and perseverance that transfers to any job or career. Think about how you react when met with an obstacle. Are you paralyzed or do you thrive? Holiday shows us how embracing certain principles will get us to the latter. Although we don’t control what happens to us, we can control how we react, leading us to see opportunity.

The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Sometimes it’s hard to push ourselves. People pay thousands of dollars for trainers, nutrition specialists, and life coaches each year to take them to the next level physically and mentally. What if we could do that on our own with a simple rule? Whenever you’re feeling unmotivated or need to rework some habits, open this read or listen to the audiobook read by Mel Robbins, and she’ll light a fire under you to 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Act. Her story of challenges and the use of this rule to tackle pretty much anything is a nice tool to have at the ready.  

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Passion and persistence, not talent, get you to your goals. This read speaks to why it’s so important to build grit within our students and ourselves. Her accessible and intriguing read made me reflect on where I am on the grit scale and how we can get students to show more of it. Afterall, grit correlates with achievement, so it’s worth a gander.  

List #2: The Incredible World of Podcasts

An amazing form of storytelling and way to make your drive, workout, cooking or any other solo activity even more productive, podcasts have taken the digital world by storm offering an amazing array of content in all genres. I’m hooked and here are some that got me there!
  1. How I Built This with Guy Raz – Link
  2. LeVar Burton Reads – Link
  3. NPR’s Up First – Link
  4. Serial – Link
  5. S-Town – Link
  6. Crimetown – Link
  7. Freakonomics Radio – Link
Over winter break, I was able to catch up with some old friends, and as we got into a discussion on podcasts, one of them bashfully spoke up and asked, “How would one actually play a podcast?” Such a valid question if you’re just discovering this world of digital content, so I’ll end with the go-to apps for easy listening from your phone. Just download the app and do a search for one of the above programs.

iOS Recommended App:

Overcast – Free and Premium Option

The Verge Review

Android Recommended Apps:

Pocket Casts – $4

Podcast Addict – Free

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and send me some suggestions of professional reads or podcasts that you’ve enjoyed as well for my 2018 list @KristinDages! Happy listening and happy new year!

Are you passionate about school libraries?  Are you excited about developing new leadership skills?  Do you want to broaden your input at the state and national level? Then perhaps you should run for a position on the OELMA Board.  The following positions are open for nomination:

Vice President – performs the duties of the President in the President’s absence or incapacity, serves as chair of the Annual Conference held in conjunction with the Annual Membership Meeting and performs such other duties as may be prescribed by the President or Board of Directors. This is a three-year term (Vice President, President, Immediate Past President) beginning in 2019.

Secretary – oversees and is responsible for preparing and submitting for publication the minutes of all membership meetings and of the meetings of the Board within the time frame stipulated in the By-laws and Policy and Procedures; serves on the Archives Sub-committee;  and performs such other duties as prescribed by the President or the Board of Directors. This is a two-year term beginning in 2019.

Director Liaison to Communications – oversees the Communications Strategic Committee. In that capacity, the Director, with Board approval, will be responsible for overseeing the message content and delivery of the Association. The Communications Strategic Committee oversees the work of these sub-committees: Technology, Library Promotions, Advocacy, and Publications. This is a two-year term beginning in 2019.

Director Liaison to Conferences – oversees the Conference Strategic Committee. In that capacity, the Director, with Board approval, will be responsible for the planning, management, and evaluation of the annual conference. The Conference Strategic Committee oversees the work of sub-committees to be determined by the Director. This a two-year term beginning in 2019.

Director Liaison to Awards – oversees the Awards Strategic Committee. In that capacity, the Director. with Board approval, will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the categories of awards, scholarships, and special recognition that the Association will grant. This is a two-year term beginning in 2019.

Nominations will open soon.  If you have any questions about the specific duties and responsibilities of these positions, please contact the Chair of the Nominations Sub-committee or the Director Liaison to Operations.

Laura Franck, Nominations Chair –

Rob Kaminski, Director Liaison to Operations –


By: Laurie Katusin Swallen

Collaboration with teachers is obviously something librarians aspire to do more of, and it has been one of my goals.  In my building, it has been difficult to collaborate with the science department, and I decided to see if I could find some way to show them what we could do as a team.  When I heard that the biology teacher, Mrs. Rowbotham, was teaching The Hot

 Zone in her anatomy class, I was extremely excited and asked if there was a way we could collaborate on the unit.  Having never taught a novel, she was hesitant to add it to her curriculum, so I offered my support, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our team teaching.

Anatomy learned about viruses, so the topic of the novel was relevant and of interest to the students.  We sat down to discuss what her learning goals were and talked about how I might support those goals.  We also did not want to teach the book as an English class might, so we decided to allow for more autonomy for the students in how and when they read the novel.

I spent several weeks researching both the novel and Ebola.  I found a plethora of resources and shared all of my findings with Mrs. Rowbotham, our biology teacher.  Her enthusiasm about our collaboration only had me more excited when I was able to have a guest speaker from the health department come to share with our class.  He brought “space suits” and discussed his training.  The students asked many questions and a few even had the chance to try out the equipment.

We began our unit with an introduction to the author and photos of some of the real-life characters in the book.  I presented the author’s bio, while Mrs. Rowbotham shared her photos of the Ebola virus.

We assigned each section of the book to have specific due dates and only had a few discussion days, where students could refer back to questions I had put together based on research on the novel, or they could just discuss what they enjoyed about the section or questions they might have about why things happened the way they did.  This led to some very spirited discussions about viruses, the transmission of viruses, and current events.

Within our unit, we assigned a comparison/contrast paper of the symptoms of Ebola and another virus of their choosing.  Students used our INFOhio/Gale databases to research, and many even used books that I had pulled on many different viruses.   Students shared what they learned during class, and it even lead to discussions about Ecoli and swimming pools.

Overall, our collaboration has been a wonderful experience for me.  I had the opportunity to learn things about viruses that I would not have known if I had not immersed myself both in the novel and in the research.  In class, the discussions were full of information, and I enjoyed seeing the students in a different environment.  Mrs. Rowbotham and I are already planning to collaborate again—hopefully, by trying out an escape room. I look forward to many

more days of learning, sharing, and researching! 


By: Susan Yutzey

Check your inbox, OELMA Facebook, and Twitter (@OELMA1) for updates on the 2018 scholarships and awards opportunities.  Each week the Awards Committee will focus on one or more OELMA awards and/or scholarships, including a comment about the award and how it’s affected the 2017 recipient both personally and professionally.

The Awards Committee is pleased to introduce our newest member – Janie Kantner. Janie is in her 17th year as the library media specialist at Indian Trail Elementary in Canal Winchester Local School District. Janie is a passionate reader and her goal every day is to empower her students with a love of reading and a knowledge of who they are as readers. Professionally, she is most proud of her work making a fully flexible, true library learning commons environment work within the framework of our k-2 building. She adds –“Personally, I spend my time reading everything! When I am not reading, I am traveling, following my beloved Buckeyes in football and basketball, or getting my interior design fix through shopping and endless watching of HGTV!”

Cheryl Lorson, entering her second year on the Committee, is now the Co-chair taking over from Marie Sabol who served as Co-chair for two years. Cheryl is in her 14th year at Westfall Local Schools as a teacher librarian – most recently at the high school. She wears many hats in her district – INFOhio D/B ICoach, an Ohio Resident Educator Mentor, the Westfall Education Association treasurer, and a member of various district and school committees. She initiated and advises Battle Over Books and Book Club in the district at both the high school and middle school levels. She received a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and its renewal to start and continue the high school book club. Also received was one of the 2016 “Patterson Pledge” School Library Grants from James Patterson and the Scholastic Reading Club. This Partnership Grant allowed the district to initiate and continue Westfall’s family community book study. Cheryl quite enjoys seeing students so engrossed in reading and discussing books as well as collaborating with her local public library! Cheryl resides with Mark, her husband of 37 years, who teaches chemistry and physics. They have three grown children (two sons and a daughter), a daughter-in-law, and two grand dogs. Cheryl enjoys being with family and friends and reading with one of her favorite books being Andy Anderson’s The Young Traveler’s Gift. She also enjoys helping in church and camping, including visiting the 48 contiguous states along with the Canadian provinces from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.


By: Lori Lee, Library Media Specialist at Zanesville City Schools, OELMA Director Liaison to Teaching & Learning Strategic Committee

This year Zanesville High School and Zane State College partnered to be part of a pilot study grant provided by Jobs for the Future called the 12th Grade Redesign program. It is a cohort of 25 high school seniors who fit in the middle third of the population, didn’t score particularly high on the entry exams and didn’t fall within the financial criteria for other programs. These students would take a prescribe coursework first semester at Zanesville High School. Then, second semester they would attend Zane State College with some additional supports.

During the first semester at ZHS these students took college developmental math and English classes. In addition to these courses, a developmental research class was created. I was thrilled to be asked to develop and teach this class. When coming up with the curriculum and the pacing guide I turned to INFOhio’s Research 4 Success modules.

The progression of these modules was the perfect guide for this semester-long class. The resources are well chosen and supported my students on their understanding of the research process. Even though Research 4 Success appears to be designed for students to independently work through the modules, it was very easy for me to adapt the modules into whole class lessons and/or individual lessons which could be used in a blended learning environment.

Each module is divided into three parts: Learn, Practice, Master. In the beginning, I took many of the lessons within these and created assignments to post in Google Classroom. Some of these might include watching a video and then practicing a skill, like developing good research questions. I would create a Google Doc with the instructions and post it in Google Classroom where each student had his own copy of the document. Students would complete and turn in the assignment and I would provide quick feedback. My goal was to have several assignments posted so that students could move at a more personalized pace.

As the semester continued, I began to think about the design of these modules as a hyperdoc. So, instead of creating multiple assignments in Google Classroom I created a larger hyperdoc with multiple assignments embedded within it. All of the resources from R4S were part of the hyperdoc and students could do tasks within it. I utilized Google Slides for my hyperdoc instead of Docs. This provided more of the “module experience.” I also incorporated other tech tools, like Padlet and Flipgrid which students could share and collaborate with classmates. The speaker notes in Slides were also used as a place for students to put responses to videos and such. Once students completed the entire hyperdoc it could then be turned in via Google Classroom; and because Classroom was used to push out the hyperdoc, I could monitor student work and provide immediate feedback as students were working.

Overall, I received positive feedback from students on this research experience. Students felt they were truly immersed in the research process and they felt much better prepared for their upcoming college research.
Moving into next year, Zanesville is planning on offering this research course to any senior. My plan is to adapt each R4S module into a hyperdoc with feedback from the INFOhio R4S team. If you are interested in more details on how I used R4S and hyperdocs please contact me at


By: Susan Mongold, OELMA Vice President

Last May, Woodridge High School received a grant from the G.A.R. Foundation to purchase a variety of STEAM-based materials for students to use and explore. Our vision was to build a makerspace in our high school library media center that supported teacher and student led projects in circuitry, programming, engineering, robotics, video production, 3D printing, and digital design. Additionally, teachers could checkout the new materials to use in their classrooms. We were all very excited!

Before the school year began, I had already ordered most of the requested materials. During September, as each new item arrived, we invited students to play and explore independently in our new makerspace (located behind the large circulation desk, where we could be close by, coach, guide, and attempt to keep the kits in order). We had many students begin projects. They were filled with enthusiasm and curiosity.

However, we quickly learned, independent/small group exploration often fell short when there was a tough problem to solve. Homework and (mostly) socializing took precedence over project completion, and by the end of the month, we had a collection of unfinished projects and robots waiting to be programmed. Additionally, we learned that students did not seem too interested in a dedicated space in the library. Students want to sit with their friends and would often choose that over making and building. We knew we needed to adjust our approach. After some discussion, our dedicated space was to become a dedicated day – Maker Mondays.

The library team spent the remainder of the first semester talking up Maker Mondays to our patrons, hoping to build excitement and prepare students for the program change. During October and November, we began sharing all the activities we were planning. In December, the student aids helped us build a few EV3 robots, a bridge and a simple, solar-powered machine with the K’Nex kits. We then grabbed related print materials and other fun tech gadgets to be displayed in the hall showcase with a prominent “Maker Mondays – WHS Library – January 2018.”

As with many high schools, students really like coming to the library during study hall to socialize. Not to mention, teachers with study hall duty count on the library to help with population control. Since our plan was to open for makers only, we were under a lot of pressure to attract students and get this right.

On Monday, January 22, 2018, the WHS Library had its first Maker Monday. We decided to begin with K’Nex kits. We had smaller kits that could be completed in one period and a few larger ones, like the bridges and a roller coaster, that took longer to build. For the larger kits, we planned to have each period continue where the other left off.

The day started slow — scary slow. I had just my two aids during first period. We started on the roller coaster. Only two study hall students stayed second period. They continued to build the roller coaster. Thoughts of flopping began to fill my head, and I started to feel nauseous. By the end of second period, the roller coaster started to take shape. It looked interesting enough to turn heads in the hall and by third period, we snagged fifteen participants. They worked in small groups to build (or begin to build) a variety of items – scissors, simple machines, wheel barrels, etc. Each period thereafter had great participation. We heard some awesome comments too, like “This is really relaxing,” and my favorite, “This takes me back to a time homework didn’t matter, and we could just play.” By the end of the day, multiple small kit projects were completed and so was the roller coaster. The problem was, it did not work!

The next day, we opened the library as usual, but students were not ready to call it quits. Some were not ready to stop building. Others were determined to get the roller coaster to work. Teachers were excited about all the projects on display and quickly began brainstorming ways they could be more prominently displayed. (We have a levy to pass. We want our community to see all this cool stuff we are doing.) By the end of the second day, two bridges were built, but the roller coaster still did not work. It had a motor and the car was to travel up the very large hill, drop, and do a loop-de-loop before it started the process over again. They just could not figure out how to get the car to complete the loop. It continued to fall short!

By Wednesday, we had a third bridge built, and for the remainder of the week, students persisted with problem-solving the stubborn coaster, so did teachers, custodians, and administrators. It was an amazing display of critical thinking, collaboration, all those wonderful soft skills we look to develop. By the end of the week, on Friday, the last period of the day, I get a text with a video. They did it! They solved the problem. What a great feeling!

I am looking forward to many other Makerspace adventures, and so are the students. We have plans for duct tape creations, stop-motion videos, green screen productions, and 3D printing. We are not ready for every Monday to be a maker day just yet, and we are not certain that would be the best approach. Right now, they are fun learning experiences that break up the monotony of the school year and hopefully continue to inspire students to explore independently. I am also in search of some great ideas, so if you have a makerspace in your school library, please consider sharing your experiences here on the OELMA blog.



(*with apologies to TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress)

By: Kelly Silwani, Past President, Olentangy Local Schools

Episode Date: Spring, 2016

My slightly afraid of social media brain: “So, are you saying yes to the new Twitter account?”

Me:  (with my finger paused over the enter button) “Ummmmmmm, YES!!!”

**Hit the “enter” key and loud cheering and applause erupts. . .in my mind, at least**

And with that, way back in 2016, I launched my Twitter account @silwani4scifi with some trepidation and much enthusiasm.

Twitter.  People seem to either love it or are not sure how they should feel about it.  I was the latter.  I knew librarians and teachers that used it, but I didn’t really understand it and I wasn’t sure there would be a benefit. Many of my friends assured me that I could do as little or as much as I wanted to, and if I made my password super secure and not the word “password” I would feel better about hacking. (which is always a huge fear for me)

In March of 2016, OELMA held a free webinar to go over the basics of Twitter.  I decided to at least create an account and learn the basics.  The webinar leaders had asked us to come to the meeting with an account already created, which I did. The account was easy to set up, the hard part was coming up with a twitter name.  For the record, I changed it at least once at the beginning.  I also made the decision, from the beginning, that my Twitter account would be professional only.  I would leave the personal stuff on Facebook.

**Please see Angela Wojtecki’s blog post from December 2016 for more Twitter tools. ** 

So now here I am over a year and a half later and exactly how do I feel about it?  I. LOVE. IT! No question it is a must have for me in the  teacher-librarian world.  I’m able to easily connect with other library professionals and groups; much easier than with Facebook.  Did you just read a book that you feel everyone should read?  Authors love it when you tweet your stamp of approval and include them in the tweet.  Many time they retweet your comment and you instantly gain more followers.  I’ve been in PD sessions and using a common hashtag, participants have expanded upon ideas that they just learned.  I’m not joking when I say I feel empowered.  I’ve been able to share activities happening in my library and school.  Slowly, over time, my list of followers and list of people I’m following has grown. I’ve encouraged and helped staff members in my building use Twitter.  They love seeing pictures I’ve tweeted of activities we have collaborated on together.

Don’t be afraid.  I started out slowly, even locking down my account as much as I could till I could get the hang of it.  I eventually opened my account so anyone could follow me.  Don’t worry if you choose to do this too.  Twitter gives you the option to block people if necessary.  Currently, I follow company presidents, authors, librarians from all over the world, education professionals, speakers, public library groups, Library of Congress, NASA and The National Archives, school administrators from many different school districts and more.  The best part is that many follow me. What a great way to instantly spread the word about what we do and what we CAN do for our students.

Now to conquer Instagram. . . stayed tuned.


By: Lori Lee, Library Media Specialist at Zanesville High School

As a school librarian, I embrace my collaboration with teachers by curating content and developing inquiry instruction. One new educational technology trend is a Hyperdoc. The three teachers, Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis developed the Hyperdoc model. They define a Hyperdoc as, a transformative, interactive Google Doc replacing the worksheet method of delivering instruction, is the ultimate change agent in the blended learning classroom. With strong educational philosophies built into each one, HyperDocs have the potential to shift the way you instruct with technology. They are created by teachers and given to students to engage, educate, and inspire learning. It’s not about teaching technology, it’s about using the technology to TEACH.

So, a Hyperdoc is really much more than a Google Doc with links. The focus is more on lesson design that allows for inquiry, collaboration, critical thinking, and creation. The Hyperdoc website offers great resources, samples, templates and ready-made Hyperdocs.

I have enjoyed creating Hyperdocs with fellow teachers. We typically begin by looking at the objective of the lesson and then choosing one of the templates. This helps to determine how students will learn. Part of this is also choosing which Google app will be used to bundle the Hyperdoc. Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Maps are the most commonly used. Each one has advantages, but the powerful part is that all can be pushed out to students through Google Classroom. I am then able to curate resources and suggest other tech tools, like Flipgrid, Padlet or Canva that the classroom teacher might not be familiar with.

According to the Hyperdoc website, good Hyperdocs have the following:

  • Creators deliberately choose web tools to give students opportunities to:
    • Engage
    • Explore
    • Explain
    • Apply
    • Share
    • Reflect
    • Extend the learning.
  • Digital collaboration is choreographed that give every student a voice and a chance to be heard by their classmates.
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills can be developed through linked tasks.
  • Students have an opportunity to create authentic digital artifacts to show what they know and connect with a wider audience.
  • And the good news is you really don’t need to start from scratch. Templates abound. They are kinda fabulous for scaffolding inquiry and knowledge production.

I would encourage you to check out the Hyperdoc website and find a teacher to collaborate with. I think you will be amazed by the student engagement and the endless possibilities that Hyperdocs offer!


Deadline to apply: December 29, 2017, 11:59 p.m.

In July 2018, thirty-two participants from libraries around Ohio will gather in Columbus to participate in the Library Leadership Ohio Institute.  Library Leadership Ohio believes that leaders come from all types of libraries and hold various positions in the libraries they serve.  The 3-day workshop, facilitated by the Ivy Group, will form leaders who will work together for the benefit of all Ohio libraries and the communities they serve. The dates for the Library Leadership Ohio Institute are July 17-20, 2018, at the Quest Conference Center, Columbus.  The application deadline is December 29, 2017 and recipients will be notified by March 31, 2018. The registration cost of the Library Leadership Ohio Institute is $500.

OELMA demonstrates its support of Library Leadership Ohio by providing two $500 scholarships.  In order to compete for the scholarship, the applicant must be an OELMA member who has been selected to attend the Library Leadership Ohio Institute and is a licensed school library media specialist, currently employed at an Ohio school. The applicant must personally be responsible for payment of Library Leadership Ohio registration.  To apply for the Library Leadership Ohio Scholarship, please complete the OELMA online application form, and submit a copy of the Library Leadership Ohio cover letter and by 11:59 p.m. December 29, 2017, either online, snail mail, or hand-delivered.

In addition to the registration fee for the Institute, the recipient(s) of the OELMA scholarship will receive a framed commemorative certificate and recognition at the 2018 OELMA Conference Awards program. Recipient(s) are also expected to present at an OELMA professional development event (annual conference, MidWinter, webinar).

Looking forward to receiving your application for the Library Leadership Ohio OELMA Scholarship!

Deadline to apply: December 29, 2017, 11:59 p.m.


 OELMA is pleased to announce that the “Make Leadership Your Superpower” Leadership Academy is the recipient of an LSTA Open Grant Proposal. Thanks to the LSTA Open Grand Proposal and the ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant, the “Make Leadership Your Superpower” will be a phenomenal opportunity for school librarians like you to #leadbeyondthelibrary. The day-and-a-half Leadership Academy held at the beautiful Deer Creek State Park (March 9-10, 2018) will focus on leadership from the perspective of the Highly Effective School Library Rubric (OELMA) and the Future Ready Librarian framework, specifically developing community partnerships, collaborative learning, and professional learning. Each participant will work with a mentor to develop a plan of action. Each participant will receive a stipend to help defray the cost of implementing the plan of action. Leading for School Librarians: There Is No Other Option (2017) by Hilda Weisburg is the required reading and is included. This all-expenses paid Leadership Academy is the opportunity of a school librarian’s professional lifetime. Opportunities to network, to learn, to grow abound. The OELMA Planning Team has moved the deadline to Tuesday, November 14, 2017 to accommodate the OELMA and AASL conference participants and presenters. Don’t put it off, talk to your administrator today about supporting this opportunity for you to #leadbeyondthelibrary.


5 Reasons I go to the OELMA conference every year…
By: Lisa Barnes Prince, OELMA Treasurer, District Media Specialist at Manchester Local Schools

It can be intimidating to get ready to leave my library for two days every October. I’ve never been fond of packing; hoping the library volunteers get the Chromebook carts out to the correct classrooms at the correct time. What kind of food am I going to leave for my husband (who doesn’t cook!) and son so they don’t starve while I’m gone? I know I’m going to miss my dog…These are just some reasons I might decide to save my sanity and not attend the OELMA conference. I never do that however and am always glad that I go…Here are some reasons:

1. Networking: We’re very lucky to work in our field and not so lucky at the same time. We all know that the job of a library professional can be a lonely one. Twice I have worked in districts that are so small that I am the only licensed librarian-the one I work for now included. It’s great to get out and meet my like-minded colleagues, authors, and exhibitors. All very important to a library media specialists’ position.

2. Professional Development: I have never attended a conference and not learned at least two things. I always find myself going back to my school and adopting something that I have learned either that year or past years. My fellow colleagues are very wise and are full of creative ideas. New this year at the conference is a live webinar hosted by INFOhio. This webinar will feature Elaine Fultz from Madison Local Schools as she talks about creating a reading culture in your school using INFOhio. I will definitely be attending this session and the best part is even the people that can’t be at the conference can attend as well!

3. Free Stuff: I admit…I love to get free stuff and there always seems to be a selection of great stuff on the exhibitor tables that I take back with me. Pens, pads of papers even candy. It’s all appreciated even if I carry it around and use it later in the future.

4. Friends: Again, we are so lucky to work in our field. I have colleagues that I also consider my friends and they are all over the state of Ohio. I only get to see some of them once a year, at the OELMA conference. Socializing with these people gives me a sense of belonging to a group. As Simon Sinek states it in his book Leaders Eat Last, being social releases our oxytocin or “chemical love.” This is the feeling that we get when we’re in the company of our most trusted colleagues or closest friends. My oxytocin levels are always at their highest at the OELMA conference.

5. Fun: Let’s face it we all love to have fun. This year’s conference is highlighting many fun events. From the pre-conference on BreakoutEDU by Angela Wojtecki and Trent Roberts to the fun librarian fashion show on Friday morning, there promises to be many wonderful memories made at this years’ conference!

See you all at conference!


By: Lorri Kingan

Join us Thursday, October 19th at 5:00 for the annual OELMA Awards Celebration!  

We will gather with the 2017 OELMA award recipients as well as the recipients from last year to celebrate the amazing learning connections that are stemming from connections made from strong Library Media Programs.  This is a lovely opportunity to network with Teacher Librarians, past and present affiliates of OELMA, and a plethora of literacy and library media supporters.  This is a free event, open to all OELMA members and will include light appetizers.

Also, it is not too early to begin thinking about the movers and shakers that you know in the library, media, technology, and literacy world!  Who do you know that deserves recognition for supporting students and staff?  Be thinking about who we can celebrate!  Nominations will open February 2018!

The Awards Celebration will be hosted in the Alder/Oak Room at the DoubleTree Hotel, 175 Hutchinson Avenue, Columbus, OH.  


By: Kristen Dages, District Media/Tech Coordinator at Hudson City Schools

As we build our middle school makerspace this year, a goal of mine has been to provide a resource library within the space as well. After receiving the GAR Educator Initiative Grant in the spring, this goal is currently being realized. I want to share with you my starter list, not only to spread the idea of having books next to your Spheros and Lego Mindstorms, but also, as a recommended list of titles that promote a growth mindset and inspire students of all ages. This list has titles for your staff as well as picture books for your younger students.

Besom, Mae and Kobi Yamada. What Do You Do With a Problem? – $10.21

Carey, Anne. STEAM Kids: 50+ Science / Technology / Engineering / Art / Math Hands-On Projects for Kids – $22.98

Ceceri, Kathy. Make: Paper Inventions: Machines that Move, Drawings that Light Up, and Wearables and Structures You Can Cut, Fold, and Roll – $13.97

Challoner, Jack. Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects: Build * Invent * Create * Discover – $13.24

Duckworth, Angela. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – $16.80

Furman, Robert L. Future Ready Challenge: Improve Student Outcomes in 18 Weeks (ISTE)- $21.95

Graves, Colleen. The Big Book of Makerspace Projects: Inspiring Makers to Experiment, Create, and Learn – $14.33

Gura, Mark. Getting Started with Lego Robotics (ISTE)- $40.95

Gura, Mark. Make, Learn, Succeed (ISTE)- $39.95

Harbo, Christopher. Flight School: Level 1 – $20.49

Martinez, Sylvia Libow & Gary S. Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. – $34.95

Pett, Mark and Gary Rubinstein. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes – $11.15

Spencer, John and AJ Juliani. Launch. Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student – $26.95

Spires, Angie. The Most Magnificent Thing – $11.58

Valk, Laurens. The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Discovery Book. – $34.95

Wilkerson, Karen. The Art of Tinkering – $23.58

Williams, Heidi. No Fear Coding (ISTE)- $37.95

The following articles from School Library Journal and AASL’s Knowledge Quest also offer great titles for your maker bookshelf. Hope this sparks some interest and discussion within your district as we continue to create libraries with diverse experiences and reading at the core.


By: Lorri Kingan, Media Specialist at Hudson City Schools

So, you are welcoming a new library staff member to your district this year…  Here is a list of 10 ways that you can make the transition for your new team member go smoother!

  1. Deliver a personalized, face-to-face welcome to set the tone for your new work relationship.  If funds permit, consider creating a small gift bag of a few office supplies, maybe some library/reading chachkies, maybe even include a couple of simple snacks and/or drinks.  A simple, kind gesture will go a long way to be sure that this new work relationship begins on a positive note!
  2. Help your new co-worker determine a list of go-to people and their contact information, including your own.  Include full names, job titles, emails, phone extensions and cell numbers, where appropriate.  (Members of the library media team, principals, secretaries, nurses, custodians, fellow teachers, etc.) Also, share what the procedure is for making calls using the school phones.
  3. If appropriate, introduce your new team member to other members of the staff before the year starts.  Just a nice way to alleviate the pressure of the new person having to introduce himself/herself and will allow you to do the honors of a quick introduction highlighting the library team.
  4. Assist in figuring out the physical layout of the building – closest exit, restroom, copier, clinic, fellow-teacher, how to gain access to the building after hours if necessary, etc.
  5. Determine the procedure for emergency situations – what to do for a fire drill, tornado drill, lockdown drill, medical emergency, etc.  Locate the AED’s throughout the building.
  6. If your new staff member is a certified media specialist, identify any specific curricular guidelines that he/she will be responsible for as well as any evaluation process that is in place for the district.  (The principal may have done this already, but it is always helpful to get insight from a co-worker.)  This would be a good time, too to discuss any district initiatives/goals that the media program has for the district.
  7. Share the procedure for the daily operation of the media center – how does scheduling occur, are aides or volunteers a part of the schedule, what does a day for students look like, what are the technology needs, etc.
  8. Determine account accessibility needs – which accounts will the new staff member need access to and who will help him/her set up usernames and passwords.  If this person is involved in purchasing, review these procedures, also.
  9. Review the procedure for an absence – creating a preferred substitute list, creating substitute plans, a substitute folder outlining emergency procedures.  (Again, a principal may have done this already, but any additional advice will be appreciated.)
  10. Lastly, be the resource that you would like to have.  Reassure your new team member that while he/she feels overwhelmed now, stay positive.  Working in a media center is truly an awesome opportunity!

My vision is to continue to facilitate the transformation of the Hiland Library Learning Commons into an active space that is a vital extension of the classroom, a collaborative learning space that ensures our students are future-ready innovators. Our Hiland Learning Commons is embracing a LifeSpace twist on the MakerSpace movement. A MakerSpace is a hands-on space with tools and resources to encourage students to design, experiment, build, and invent as they engage in engineering, tinkering, and creating. This is a space in which makers (students) can envision a project, find an expert, collaborate, engage in critical thinking, and use problem-solving skills while creating something. A MakerSpace is based on the concept of using STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) ideas to encourage students to develop the real-world skills they will need to become future-ready students for their careers.

Our Hiland Library LifeSpace takes the MakerSpace concept to a unique level. Last year, Hiland students experienced sewing, computer coding, and knitting LifeSpace experiences. I strive to align our Hiland Library LifeSpace experiences to academic content areas and Ohio’s Learning Standards, as well as help, meet the void of life skills our students no longer have access to due to the elimination of family and consumer science electives. Student and staff input will continue to drive the LifeSpace experiences we offer. This fall, our students, and staff completed a survey ( to help determine upcoming LifeSpace experiences (feel free to copy and adapt this survey to your library needs). Survey responses favored breakout challenges, cooking, photography, video production, coding, and sign making. We look forward to offering such experiences this school year. As classroom learning evolves through innovation and one-to-one technologies, the Hiland Library Learning Commons will continue to transform into an integral learning space that extends classroom discovery 24/7. Our Hiland LifeSpace experiences are an exciting component of our Hiland Library Learning Commons.


Are you an OELMA member with a minimum of three years’ experience as a licensed school library media specialist? Are you eager to examine your personal leadership style? Do you want to develop your leadership potential within the Future Ready Librarian framework and the Highly Effective School Library Rubric? Then the award-winning OELMA Leadership Academy entitled “Make Leadership Your Superpower” is an opportunity designed for you. The all-expenses-paid OELMA Leadership Academy will be held March 9-10, 2018, at Deer Creek State Park, Mt. Sterling (about 45 minutes south of Columbus).

The application is available now – The application deadline closes on October 2, 2017. Stay tuned for more information about the individual session opportunities.


“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is playing in my brain, complete with images of parents happily gliding through office supply stores. (Thank you for the earworm, Staples!) Yes, we are all getting ready for a new school year (a few of us are there already) and what is more fun than shopping for cool tools in an office supply store? Fun!

This is also the time of year I start thinking about our annual OELMA conference. Instead of tossing school supplies into my imaginary “conference cart,” I find myself thinking about the many fun things I can choose from to do at conference. As a member of the conference planning team, I have already started to plan out my schedule. I will start with OELMA’s Pre Conference on October 18th. I have not only told my administration and some coworkers about this exciting and inexpensive event, I have told friends who work in other districts about Angela Wojtecki and Trent Robert’s creative BreakoutEDU challenge! After pre-conference, I will be looking forward to a new addition to OELMA’s conference, UnWind Wednesday. The After Hours committee is planning a relaxing evening to help us all relax and unwind as we network.

As I shop for conference must haves, attending Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang’s keynote is next on my list. I know she will provide cutting edge information that will help me steer my new makerspace and efforts to integrate technology. All of Thursday will be filled with great sessions. After an always inspiring awards assembly, I will cap the day with another After Hours event. I can listen (or even tell stories) or I can get involved in the zany TASK Party.

After Annual Meeting on Friday, I am excited about hearing Robert Beatty’s keynote. My kids love his bestselling Seraphina series and it will be fun to take back information to them. In addition to selecting sessions for Friday, I can’t wait for the Demo Slam!

Just thinking about OELMA’s conference has me singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and my enthusiasm is contagious. I have talked to my administration and other teachers about our conference and several are going to attend. Registration is now open. Go to and decide how you are going to load your days at conference!


I love an adventure. Summer is a great time for new adventures and this summer I was able to be part of one the most exciting adventures of my career. OxBridge Teacher Seminars are part of OxBridge Academic Programs, which provide summer study programs to students in grades 8-12 in places such as Oxford, Cambridge, Spain, France, and the United States.

The OxBridge Teacher Seminar is geared for teachers in K-12 academic institutions around the world with the desire to dive into a new learning experience by studying on an educational focus topic for a one-week period. I was selected for a Fellowship to attend Oxford University this past July and spend one week learning about the role of the library in academic institutions. There were 30 teachers from all over the world at Oxford’s Mansfield University and aside from learning from guest speakers who are experts in their field, I was also able to network with teachers and gain a more global connection with other educators in a variety of disciplines. This opportunity was one I could not pass on, and I packed up for a week of learning more about history, libraries, and the evolving role of librarians in the world at Oxford University in England.

There are 99 libraries on Oxford’s campus and I had the privilege of visiting many of them in just one week. Our study group consisted of 5 other school librarians from all over the United States. Our group leader was Clive Hurst, former Head of Rare Materials at The Bodleian Library, which is one of the oldest and most famous libraries in the world. Clive was amazing and was able to show us some of the most rare book materials in the world. We were able to tour the Duke Humfrey’s Library, which was one of the first libraries in recorded history founded by Thomas Bodley. Our entire group was in awe of the history, stories, and management of the libraries at Oxford beginning over 700 years ago. We were even able to touch some of the rare materials, like a first edition Oliver Twist novel. You know you are a librarian when you squeal with delight at these materials! Some other memorable experiences included the following:

  • An illustrated talk on early children’s books
  • A guided tour of St. John’s College library
  • A tour of Trinity College and its libraries by their librarian
  • A practical printing course-I learned how to typeset and arrange on a printing press and print out a poem
  • A behind-the-scenes overview of some of the most rare materials in The Bodleian Library (including an Aesop’s Fable
  • book signed by Queen Victoria and given to her daughter, Princess Beatrice).
  • Attended a presentation on digital media and development by the Bodleian Curator of Digital Special Collections

Another exciting opportunity our study group had was to be part of a presentation at the Oxford University Press with the Oxford English Dictionary department which focused on the use they make of libraries in compiling the dictionary. This was one of the highlights of the week for me, as we were asked for input on making the OED more accessible for students and what we thought as school librarians of some of their new features. This was an awesome experience to hear about the research that goes into every entry in the OED and see some examples of challenges they have encountered in keeping up with technology.

There were some other more social activities included in our itinerary of the week including a punting experience (Google punting in England if you think this is referring to football), an evening Shakespeare play in a college garden and a visit to the pub where C.S. Lewis and Tolkien met and wrote their classics as part of The Inklings. Also, we had evening dinners in the Mansfield College Chapel that resembled the Harry Potter dining room. It was truly a week of memories I will cherish always and feel so blessed to be a part of. 

I have a much bigger picture view of the role of libraries from a historical and archival perspective. Libraries have always had the challenge of balancing its roles and still preserving the history that exists in every space they occupy. Librarians are the most important part of libraries-always have been, and always will be. They are the ones that maintain collections, share information, and promote the role of the library. We have a history of linking people and ideas and leading outward. This experience was one of the best learning experiences for me as a professional and also as a lover of all things libraries. The entire week never felt like work. It truly was a magical time and one I will never forget.


You are invited to participate in a TASK party as part of our OELMA Conference After Hours! Brooklyn based artist Oliver Herring, the inventor of TASK, defines TASK as “an improvisational event with a simple structure and very few rules.” He founded TASK to create an event where participants could meet new people and develop a sense of community through art and creativity. To learn more about TASK visit Oliver Herring’s website: or click HERE to watch a video about the process. 

You will not want to miss this great event! TASK is designed to be energetic, active, exciting, and fun. All you need to bring is your sense of wonder and willingness to try something new. During the TASK party, you will be challenged to practice divergent thinking by interpreting each unique task in your own way using available tools and materials. The flow and momentum of TASK depends on the tasks written and how they are interpreted by the participants. This open-ended event will develop creativity, promote risk-taking, build comfort with ambiguity, and incorporate many other essential skills. Please join us on Thursday, October 19th at 9:00 pm and be part of the fun!

We are also in need of many consumable items for our task party including: office supplies, paper products, recyclable materials, craft materials, and party supplies. If you are able to donate any of these supplies, please click on the survey linked HERE to sign up. These items can be dropped off at the OELMA registration desk anytime during the Preconference and Conference (until Thursday the 19th in the afternoon).

Thank you and we are looking forward to seeing you at the TASK party!


By: Susan Yutzey, OELMA Past President

On Friday, August 18, 2017, voting opens for the 50th time in OELMA’s history. At its May Board meeting, the OELMA Board of Directors approved the slate of candidates recommended by the Nominations Sub-committee. Voting is open until September 29, 2017. We urge you to Get Out and Vote! Although there are no contested positions, voting demonstrates to each candidate that you support them and will continue to support them throughout their term of office. Voting, whether it is at the national, state, or local level is a civic responsibility. Voting for your Association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee is a responsibility too. As American author and social critic, James Howard Kunster, once said “Human settlements are like living organisms. They must grow, and they will change. But we can decide on the nature of that growth – on the quality and the character of it – and where it ought to go…” OELMA has changed over the course of its 50-year history. It has changed because of the investment each of its members makes in determining the nature of the change – the quality, the character, the direction of the change. So when that e-ballot comes to your inbox this Friday, don’t cast it aside – open it, read the impressive candidate biographies, and vote. At OELMA’s Annual Meeting on Friday, October 20, 2017, each candidate will be introduced to the membership. Be sure and introduce yourself and show them your support!

By: Meagan Fowler, Instructional Librarian at Saint Joesph Academy 

As summer winds down, I am beginning to think about the upcoming school year. For many of us, our “New Year” does not begin in January, but rather when classes return in the Fall. In preparation for my “New Year” I am creating plans for how I can make this year even better than last.

One of my goals for this year is to increase and improve collaboration among our library and our teachers. It is often difficult to implement a plan when it is dependent on others, but collaboration is a cornerstone of a vibrant library programme. This is a goal that I work toward every year, but I have never gone about it in an intentional and deliberate manner. Typically, I just work in the moment, approaching teachers with whom I have worked before, or waiting for others to seek me out. This year, however, I have a plan of action. Here are some of the ideas I have come up with (or adapted from the experts in our library community) that will hopefully not only increase collaboration between the library and the school community, but also make that collaboration more meaningful and effective:

1. New teachers: For me, it has been a great asset to make connections with new faculty as soon as possible. When teachers come to a new school, they are often overwhelmed with their new surroundings and responsibilities; I try to be a friendly face that offers them assistance. Once you develop a relationship with someone (even if it is as innocuous as helping them figure out how the copy machine works) they remember you and feel more comfortable with you. This then allows you to offer assistance in their classrooms, paving the way for opportunities for meaningful, ongoing collaboration.

This year, I have taken a new step in my plan to win over the new teachers; I sent each of the new teachers a welcoming email with a quick introduction to what services and resources our library can provide them, tailored to their discipline or the classes they are teaching. In addition to a simple email, I am also “popping in” on their orientation day to introduce myself in person. I arranged with my administration for a few minutes of time on this day and they were quite pleased to accommodate me.

Sometimes it is easier to get new teachers on board than it is to change the behaviour of those who are veterans in your building.

2. New relationships: I sometimes feel like I work with the same teachers and same departments every year. I think that this is important; after all, it is evidence that what our library programme is doing is effective. And while it is important that we foster these existing relationships, we cannot forget to continue to develop new relationships with others in our building. This year, I hope to approach a few teachers with whom I have not had the opportunity to work and offer my assistance. I have worked with both the social studies and English departments extensively, but I feel like there is great potential for me to work with our Science department. Last year, I worked with one of the Science teachers on a research project. I came to this project late, after it had been planned and was ready to be implemented. I look forward to this year, approaching this teacher (and a different teacher who is also teaching the same class) and offering to help further develop the existing assignment. I will also plan on offering to help grade portions of the assessment that naturally fit with my expertise, namely the bibliography and evaluation of the sources. Offering to help grade has often helped me to get teachers who may otherwise be hesitant to work with me on board.

3. Old friends: It is not just important for librarians to build up the new — we also have to make sure that we nurture the relationships that we already have. I feel like sometimes this is the hardest step for me. It is so easy for me to get bogged down by the everyday demands of our profession; every time I turn around there is something new that I must do. It is so easy for tasks like following up or checking in with teachers to get lost in the shuffle. I will often work with a teacher, but fail to check in with them as the school year progresses to see how whatever we had worked on together played out. Or, I do not have the opportunity to see the final product that the students created. This leads to a disconnect between librarian and students and teachers.

I feel that successful collaboration should not stop once you have delivered a lesson to a class or created a stellar assessment with a teacher. Successful collaboration, ideally, should be more developed than that, and while we cannot force collaboration on teachers, we should ensure that whenever the opportunity does arise, we make it as fruitful as possible. Two ways this can be achieved are by checking in and following up with teachers. It is my goal to check in more with my teachers as they implement a research project. I may initially help them create an assessment or deliver a lesson, but ideally I should also make sure that I am available to brainstorm with them as problems arise, and offer my assistance as they and their students traverse the murky waters of a research project. I also feel like I need to ensure that I follow up with them after we collaborate on something. Following up will allow both the teacher and librarian the opportunity to reflect on what worked and what could be improved upon for next time, and also will hopefully allow the librarian to see the fruits of their labour, i.e. finished student work.

Three easy steps to better collaboration, right? Nothing about collaboration is easy. And while I hope that approaching the school year with a well thought-out plan will make my efforts of collaborating with my colleagues more effective, I have no illusions that this will be simple or easy. I will probably drop the ball many times throughout the year, but if by the end of the year I have a new connection with a teacher or an improved relationship with an old friend, I will be satisfied. Baby steps, right?


By: Susan Mongold, District Librarian at Woodridge Local Schools 

At the ALA’s Annual Conference (Chicago, June 22-27, 2017), the AASL revealed the 2017 Best Apps for Teaching and Learning (, and, like its predecessors, this year’s list is loaded with digital learning tools to help librarians and educators integrate technology into their classrooms.

Since 2013, AASL Best Apps Committee Members have looked for user-friendly apps that foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. Additionally, recognized apps should be engaging, cost-effective (with little or no advertising), and have a clear connection to K-12 curriculum. As apps are nominated, they are placed in a category. This year’s Best Apps categories include: Books, Humanities and Arts, STEM, Content Creation, and Organization and Management. One winning app, Google Expeditions by Google, Inc. ( did not fit well in one the five specific categories and was placed in the new “Off the Beaten Apps” category. 

The AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning lists are a great resource for Ohio educators required to integrate the new Learning Standards for Technology ( into their curriculums. For instance, apps in the Organization and Management category, such as Google Keep by Google, Inc. ( and Meister Task by MeisterLabs (, can be used to help students manage multiple projects (Ohio Learning Standards for Technology, Strand: Information and Communications Technology, Topic 1). Content Creation apps are excellent digital learning tools that students can use to construct knowledge (Ohio Learning Standards for Technology, Strand: Information and Communications Technology, Topic 3), communicate and disseminate information to multiple audiences (Ohio Learning Standards for Technology, Strand: Information and Communications Technology, Topic 4), and analyze the impact of communication and collaboration in both digital and physical environments (Ohio Learning Standards for Technology, Strand: Society and Technology, Topic 2.) For example, Bloxels by Pixel Press (, is a hands-on platform for students to “build, collaborate, and tell stories through video game creation.” CoSpaces by Delightex GmbH (, allows students to easily create their own virtual reality worlds from a collection of characters and objects which can be adapted and animated. Touchcast Studio by Touchcast (, allows students to create interactive “smart, live videos” that they can annotate and layer elements from the web or the cloud. Toontastic 3D by Google, Inc. (, allows students to create animated and narrated cartoons.

The examples above merely scratch the surface. Using the AASL’s Best Apps for Teaching and Learning website, librarians and educators can easily find apps to help students meet the Ohio Learning Standards for Technology. For more on the 2017 Best Apps for Teaching and Learning and to find a peer-reviewed app that is right for you and your students, visit There, you will find the complete list of 2017 winners and past lists, along with descriptions, recommended grade levels, platforms, and helpful tips for each of the chosen apps. To nominate your favorite app, go to


By: Annie Ruefle, Library Media Specialist at Columbus School for Girls 

In August of 2016, Columbus played host to IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations – the largest international association of librarians in the world. Though most of IFLA members are public or academic librarians, school librarians also are members of IFLA, and dozens arrived in Columbus last summer. Arrangements were made for two groups of school librarians to tour local school libraries, and my school, Columbus School for Girls, was part of the arranged tours. We hosted school librarians from places such as Singapore, Africa, Canada, Japan, South America, and the Philippines. In one of the groups were three school librarians from Kazakhstan . After the “official” tour ended, the librarians from Kazakhstan lingered behind to continue the conversations, and we all decided to ago out to dinner together. Despite the fact that there were obvious language differences, one of the Kazakh librarian’s English was so strong she easily moved us through English and Russian and we had a lovely evening together. At the end of the dinner, the librarians from Kazakhstan extended an invitation to my CSG library colleague, Dr. Linda Swarlis, to come to Kazakhstan in 2017 to share her expertise of research and spatial skills by presenting a workshop to school librarians from across Kazakhstan.

After Dr. Swarlis and our contacts in Kazakhstan waded through months of discussion and international red tape, I was also included in the invitation for the workshop, and from June 11-18, Linda Swarlis and I traveled across the world to give a three-day workshop entitled Creating a Culture of Literacy: the promotion of reading and spatial skills development in STEM Schools. We flew to Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, which is the 9th largest country in the world.

Our Kazakhstan colleagues requested that our workshop provide both theory and practice; they wanted as many hands-on activities as possible, and they were particularly interested in learning about reading promotions. We submitted our presentations via Google docs several weeks before our workshop so that the presentations and handouts could be translated into Russian.

We presented to a group of 40 librarians, all of whom work at Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS), a network of schools across the country that provide a rigorous curriculum to students who are accepted to the schools only after an intense application process. Instruction is trilingual, in Kazakh, Russian and English. By 12th grade, all instruction is in English. Each of the NIS school has a specific focus, such as physical science and mathematics, or biological sciences and chemistry. The schools are state of the art and the librarians receive extensive professional development opportunities.

The librarians traveled from across Kazakhstan to attend our workshop, some of them traveling more than 1,500 miles. As librarians in NIS, they work with reading promotion as well as developing information literacy and research skills in their students– much like the work of school librarians across America. In fact, our visit underscored the many similarities in our library programs. 70% of their collection is in English, and the Kazakh students love to read American favorites such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Hunger Games, and Harry Potter.

The librarians had varying degrees of English language skills, so we presented by speaking for a minute or two, and then an interpreter would translate into Russian. We also made use of two screens, one in Russian and one in English, so everyone could follow along both visually as well as orally. I admit I was nervous about this process, but within just a few minutes of beginning the workshop, the translator and I got into a rhythm and it felt quite natural to move between English and Russian.

Workshop participants enjoyed guessing titles of books, practicing spatial visualization with blocks and tangrams, creating art from discarded books, and writing blurbs for a Blind Date with a Book event. We also played several literary games during the workshop, and competition is the same in any language — these librarians wanted to win any game we played!

To say that it was an extraordinary experience is an understatement: everything about the trip was amazing. In addition to giving a three-day workshop, we had opportunities to tour various cultural and entertainments centers. The 2017 World Expo is currently being held in Kazakhstan, and visitors from all over the world are visiting to tour this remarkable Expo; we spent five hours at the Expo and barely made a dent in the seeing the exhibits. And every night we had a two to three hour feast for dinner – the food and the company were equally scrumptious.

Before we went to Kazakhstan, my colleague and I prepared for our visit by reading about the country (we are librarians, after all – we research!) Every source told us that hospitality is central to Kazakhstan culture, but neither of us has experienced anything quite like the graciousness, generosity, and attentiveness of the Kazakh people. Hospitality is not just a matter of being polite and offering food; it is truly the essence of their way of life, and we were overwhelmed by the warmth and friendship conveyed to us.

We hope to continue our connection with our new colleagues and friends in Kazakhstan by inviting a group of Kazakh librarians to Central Ohio next summer. We are hopeful some OELMA friends might offer to host a librarian from several continents away; I promise it will be an unforgettable way to connect with a library colleague whose world is not so very different from our own.


By: Susan Yutzey

“Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again”

With the lyrics of the Johnny Cash/Willie Nelson song “On the Road Again” playing in my head as

my companions and I headed north on 33 through Ohio’s farmland on the way to ALA, I hoped this third trip to an ALA  Conference in Chicago would not be marred by stolen wallets or two-foot high snow drifts and delayed flights home. Every conference has a story to tell and for me this time it was the road trip, the accompanying hotel stay with Liz Deskins, Christina Dorr, and Deb Logan, and the engaging array of authors. If you want lessons on how to attend an ALA Conference, just ask these three. While this ALA Conference for me

was akin to a leisurely stroll down the Magnificent Mile, for them the conference was akin to a 440 relay. Each had multiple committee meetings and exhibitor engagements while there but managed to squeeze in sessions as well.

Arriving on Wednesday evening and fighting the Chicago in-bound traffic we managed to find our hotel after looping around Wacker Drive and the Trump Tower more than once because there is no GPS underground! On Thursday morning bright and early we set out for the ReadingCon sponsored by Follett at Northern Illinois University in Naperville. Author Gen

e Luen Yang opened the event and he was followed by sessions on MakeSpaces, diverse books, visual literacy and more. Lauren Wolf, author of Wolf Hollow, Candace Fleming, Julie Berry, E. Lockhart, Neal Shusterman., and Kwame Alexander were among the authors presenting and signing books.

For me this year’s ALA was the year of the authors. On Friday, I attended the #PRHLibraryCon with Liz. DC’s Young Animal Planet Discussion with Gerard Way, Cecil Casterlllucci, Jon Rivera, Jody Houser, and Nick Derington kicked off the event. I was delighted to meet Jon Rivera, author of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye and fellow Mahwah High School (NJ) alum. At 11:30, Girl Power panelists Shea Fontana, Kim Swinell, Cecil Castellucci, Shantel LaRoque, Jody Houser, and Kel McDonald took the stage. After a delicious box lunch, Marc Thompson (Star Wars audiobook narrator) hosted a Jeopardy-style game show with authors Julie Berry, Peter Bognanni, and E. Lockhart and three audience members. Signings followed each panel.

On Saturday, Liz, Christina, and Deb joined me at the AASL Awards Ceremony. After opening remarks by AASL President Audrey Church, Dorcas Hand, Chair of the Awards Committee, introduced the award recipients and their sponsors. Touching stories from the recipients of the Disaster Recovery Grants, the Inspire Collection Development, and the Inspire Special Event Grant were the highlight of the ceremony. OELMA received the ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant and I was pleased to accept the award on behalf of OELMA.

The YALSA Koffee Klatch resembled a speed dating with authors. Sitting at a table with two public librarians and an author from Indiana, we listened to Deborah Heiligman, Meredith Russo, Julie Halpern, Melissa Albert, Rob Rufus, and Sharon Cameron. The 2017 Stonewall Book Awards on Tuesday was the most emotionally touching event of ALA. With heartfelt acceptance speeches by Chris McCormick (author of Desert Boys), Robin Stevenson (author of Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community), Meredith Russo (author of If I Was Your Girl), and Rick Riordan (author of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor), it was an opportunity for the audience to reflect on the meaning of the awards. Rick Riordan’s comment that “inaction is a choice” is still buzzing around my head as I watch what is happening in communities around the country. Proud to see that Dr. Christina Dorr will assume the leadership of the Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Subcommittee in 2018.

The closing session on Wednesday was the highlight of ALA. Up early we made our way by taxi to the Convention Center where the lines to enter the ballroom to see Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton stretched as far as the eye could see. Inspiring words that have been captured in the Chicago Tribune and CNN. Wednesday afternoon we hopped in the car to return to Cbus. After seven hours that included a stop at Granite City in Fort Wayne, IN, we unloaded suitcases and bags – no boxes of books! You know why? Because every librarian knows if you are on the road – you must send your books ahead. Mine arrived yesterday ahead of my arrival.

“On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again”

For me, this trip to #ALAAC17 was an opportunity to make music with my friends, not only Deb, Christina, and Liz but the friends I have made throughout my AASL career as a member of Affiliate Assembly.


By: Jessica Klinker, Head Librarian at Franklin Heights High School, OELMA Director Liaison to Conference Strategic Committee

The OELMA Conference Committee is excited to announce our speaker line-up for this year’s annual conference, which will be held October 18-20, 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel, Columbus-Worthington, Ohio.

To warm us up for conference, this year’s preconference speakers are OELMA’s own Angela Wojtecki and Trent Roberts, whom we know and love from their 100+ Best Tech Tools presentations each year. Angela and Trent will be presenting Mission BreakoutEdu: Tech Tools to the Rescue. During this fun, hands-on evening of learning, attendees will learn how to “Breakout” of the norm and create engaging learning experiences for all ages and content areas. Angela and Trent will demonstrate 4 new tech tools, Sphero, FlipGrid, Biteable Video Maker, and LittleBits, and introduce ways these tools can help educators differentiate instruction to meet learning standards. Then, attendees will get to participate in three different BreakoutEdu sessions, including one completely digital BreakoutEdu, demonstrating how these learning activities can be done with little to no expenses or special equipment. The tech tools learned throughout the evening will be the keys to unlocking the challenges in the BreakoutEdu rooms. This event is open to ALL educators and is only $25, so invite your colleagues to join you.

Then, on Thursday, Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang, a former middle school theater teacher and school librarian, who currently serves as a professor at the University of South Carolina in the School of Library and Information Science, will present our opening keynote address. Dr. Moorefield-Lang specializes in emerging technologies and her research focuses on how technology can be used to enhance instruction in classrooms and libraries. In addition to her keynote address, Dr. Moorefield-Lang will also present a concurrent session on Thursday afternoon titled, “Delivering the Message: Professional Development Using Technology in Librarianship.” For a special treat, she will also be showcasing her background in maker activities at the OELMA After Hours TASK party on Thursday night. You can learn more about Dr. Moorefield-Lang at her website,

On Thursday, we are also welcoming an incredible, highly acclaimed author, Charles R. Smith, Jr. Charles R. Smith, Jr., when he isn’t competing on American Ninja Warrior (Catch him in the July 10th Cleveland episode!), has written more than 20 books for readers of all ages. His most recent book is 28 Days: Moments of Black History That Changed the World. Charles will be our featured author during Thursday’s luncheon, which is a ticketed event, so be sure to add that to your registration (no on-site tickets will be available)! He will also present a concurrent session on Thursday morning. You can learn more about Charles on his website,

On Friday, OELMA is pleased to welcome authors, Robert Beatty and Meredith Russo. Robert is the author of the best-selling Serafina books, but in his past lives, he was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing and is very active in robotics. Robert will be presenting our Friday morning keynote address and will also present a concurrent session on Friday about making book trailers. You can learn more about Robert on his website, On Friday, we also welcome Meredith Russo, 2017 recipient of ALA’s Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award for her book, If I Was Your Girl. Meredith will be presenting two sessions on Friday, October 20. You can find out more about her at

We will have books by all of these authors for sale at a discounted rate at our conference bookstore, Fundamentals.

Be sure to register for this year’s OELMA Conference, so you can hear from all of our great speakers and authors.


By: Angela Wojtecki, District Library Media Specialist at Nordonia Hills City Schools

This past school year I had one goal for my high school library-to genre-fy my fiction collection for my students. The reason for this was simple: I was tired of playing “follow the leader” with my students. Whenever I was helping a student find a book, inevitably I would ask them what books they like to read and then we would take a walk around our fiction shelves, which was mainly me showing them various authors and series that may appeal to them while they followed me – often looking overwhelmed due to the layout of the books by author’s last name.

I remember some school librarians mentioned genre-fying their collections at previous OELMA conferences and workshops and I was just too new in my position to take on such an endeavor. Well, this was the year! To start things off, I attended an amazing Genre-fying session at the 2016 OELMA Conference in Columbus with the amazing Amanda Brasfield from Findlay High School (on Twitter she is @FHS_MC). I need to give major props to her and her library assistant for sharing step-by-step how to do this and not leaving me completely frantic and stressed. I walked out of that session feeling empowered with their system as something I could totally tackle with the help of my library student workers and my awesome library staff. We started the Monday I got back from OELMA, and we finished right before spring break in March – working a little but per day on the project. Here is how we genre-fied our fiction collection in just over five months:

1. Choose your genres based on your readers. We decided to use the following: scary, fantasy, mystery, dystopian, historical fiction, graphic novel, short story, science fiction, adventure, realistic fiction, sports, historical fiction, romance, and classic. Some may think this is a lot of genres, but we have a very large fiction collection and I didn’t think narrowing the genres would do it any justice. In the back of my mind, I thought I could change up the genres if needed down the road too.
2. Order spine labels for these genres or make them yourself if you are super-creative!
3. Begin at the start of your fiction collection-go book by book and begin sorting by genres. Put the spine labels on them. I aimed for one shelf per day due to time constraints. Use the Library of Congress CIP information in the beginning of the book for clues for what genre to pick. If you have problems picking (maybe there are two genres that would work) ask your students to help -where would they look? Weed as you go too! Because – why not?
4. Step 3 is by far the most difficult and time-consuming step. Stick with it! That is step 4.
5. Now begin to pull the genres into their own sections. Use book carts to help since a whole new spacing layout may be required. Books returned to your library in the meantime may not have a spine label, so this is a good indicator of books that need new genre stickers applied! This step was perhaps the most stressful for my OCD tendencies since the books were in an order, but not the best order for locating when needed.
6. After they are in their genres, it is time to fix them in the catalog so that you can find them in their proper genre. We have Workflows-so my library assistant, Regina, was a huge help in changing call numbers in the system. We made them all the same format: Fic + first 3 letters of author’s last name + Genre name (example Fic ROW FANTASY). Again, focus on one or two shelves per day for this step. Some days we tackled more, but our goal was always at least one shelf.
7. This step 6 also takes a lot of time and you will need to pay attention when books are returned that they are edited in your catalog. We went through a few sections manually again in the spring to make sure we didn’t miss any. I am sure we did, but we will catch them as the books get circulated.
8. Make signs for the genres-I had my students help with this! Make the signs fit into your collection – not too large and not too small!
9. Promote your genres! When you are book talking, tell the students and teachers about the new sections! Make sure to spread the word!

Looking back on this process, it was a labor of love for sure! However, I have noticed in the short amount of time we have genre-fied, that students are much more confident in their book selections. One student, in particular, an avid romance reader, said that the romance section has made her life “so much easier.” She now has set a goal to read at least 15 books from that section next school year! We do want our students to be able to use our library independently and find the books they want to read, right? I anticipate our circulation statistics will increase as a result of this, as well as many more satisfied library users as it has for many other school libraries. I know that genre-fying isn’t for everyone and his or her library, however, for ours – it was just what we needed in order to gain some new excitement and breathe some new life into our library collection.


By: Dr. Christina Dorr, Media Specialist at Hilliard Weaver Middle School

Earlier this spring, after some lively conversation with my 7th-grade social studies teachers about the state of news reporting with the onslaught of fake news, we decided a lesson was needed that involved the students actively in raising their awareness. So, ever ready to take on a challenge, I surveyed their ideas and attempting to take the planning “off their plates,” I set to work.
Over a 2-week period, I searched for ideas online, considered and discarded most of them, and finally decided to set up a court with 2 cases to try. The first was “summarize vs. plagiarize” and the second was “true information vs. false information.” But it was through several fits and starts, consulting with teachers, and changing plans before I came up with lessons that worked.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because you have an opportunity on Monday, June 19th to hear media literacy guru, Frank Baker, speak about just these topics at OELMAs summer workshop, “Popping the Fake News Bubble: Engaging Students in 21st Century Media and Information Literacy.” You can see ideas other Media Specialists have created, and work together to design the lessons that work for you and your students. With all these resources, it won’t take you 2 weeks to plan, like it did me. Don’t miss out! Register today!


By: Julie Seboe, District Librarian at Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted School District

When I accepted the job of Library Director at Loudonville-Perrysville School District four years ago, I decided I needed a way to communicate with the teachers on a regular basis. I knew I could visit their content based team meetings, but I also knew it was impossible to get to all of them each month. I was told that many of the teachers didn’t know what happened in the library and therefore didn’t use it. I needed to change that! I also desired to keep my job as Librarian, so I knew it was important to keep the principals and superintendent abreast of what I was doing and how the library was being used by students and teachers.

This is when my monthly “Library Links” newsletter was born. I researched many different ways to design it and get it into the hands of the teachers. I knew it couldn’t be delivered through their email because most teachers would delete it without even opening the attachment. Once I decided on putting it in their mailboxes each month, I knew it had to be catchy and colorful or it would get thrown into the recycling bin before they left the office. 

My first newsletter basically described to the teachers who I was, what the newsletter would be about, and how I could assist them with their teaching. From there, I began adding in technology tips, new Web 2.0 tools, new apps, new books we received, tips on using INFOhio, and things I have been doing with other teachers in the district. Soon after the first issue was out, I realized that I needed to make a different newsletter for each building so that it was geared specifically to the grades that those teachers taught. I am fortunate that I only have three buildings in my district, so the task isn’t too difficult. I also make sure to send a copy of all three newsletters to the superintendent each month and ask him to share them with the school board.

Do all the teachers read it each month? No. I’m sure most of them don’t read it. But, every once in awhile I will have a teacher come up to me and say things such as, “Hey, can you show me how to log into that website you had in your newsletter?” or, “I read that you are doing book talks, can you come to my classroom and do them?”, or even, “I have a great app you should put in your next monthly newsletter! I will email it to you.”.

So, even though I might only be reaching a few of the teachers, I still hold out hope that the other ones might see something that grabs their attention before they throw it into the recycling bin.


By: Deb Logan, Vice President

“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.”
*William Shakespeare from Macbeth

In May of 2011, Eli Pariser gave a TED talk raising both awareness of filter bubbles and a flag to their dangers. In his Beware Online “Filter Bubbles” TED Talk ( and his book, The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think, Pariser began a conversation that we need to intentionally reopen and connect to the current information landscape. More than simply reopening the conversation, we need to develop and share strategies for dealing with a world bubbling with “toil and trouble” due to filter bubbles.

With the changing political climate, many of us have noticed and remarked upon a decline in social discourse. I find myself thinking about the causes of this extreme shift. As I have spoken with individuals who think differently than I do, I frequently find myself stunned and at times shocked by their views. I also notice myself wondering how they can possibly hold the views they express. After pausing to reflect, I realize that they are in their own filter bubbles. These individuals are unintentionally creating their own realities through algorithms, and are probably unaware of both the algorithms and the ensuing artificial “realities” the algorithms create. At the same time, I am in my own algorithm-based reality. When I am online or accessing my preferred news sources, I not only find myself surrounded with information that aligns with my beliefs and allegiances, I find myself wanting to trust and believe the news that reinforces my beliefs, even when the information is less than credible.

The filter bubbles created by algorithms are not the clear iridescent bubbles that float through the air to the joy and delight of children. They are more like inverted mirror balls, where each individual is encased in a personalized bubble that is lined with mirrors reflecting his or her realities, preferences, and beliefs. While the Web is a thought of as a place of communication and networking, the mirror-lined filter bubbles are creating increasing distances between many people. These bubbles are more like the bubbles found in the witches’ caldron in Shakespeare’s Macbeth; they are boiling with toil and trouble.

In this new information landscape, information consumers need to be more than aware of how they are shaping the views and vistas they find in their personalized bubbles, they also need to know how to pop those bubbles and to see the bigger, clearer pictures. As teachers and information professionals, we need to know how to help our students develop the mindsets and skills that will enable them to burst these bubbles. Please, join us and share your thoughts and strategies at the OELMA and CMCIG of ALAO’s Popping the Fake News Bubble: Engaging Students in 21st Century Media and Information Literacy workshop on Monday, June 19, 2017, at the Ohio State -Newark Campus. Be part of the greater fake news discussion and then participate in the day’s concluding session and discussion on filter bubbles. Register at:


By: Gayle Schmuhl, District Library Media Specialist at Berea City Schools

The weather gets warmers, the days longer, and summer vacation begins. Research shows that summer vacation creates the “slide” in reading achievement for our students especially the ones who are struggling. What can a school librarian do to encourage students to read this summer?

Here are few top 10 tricks to try with your school community:

1. Visit ALA’s Summer Reading Programs website to learn about best practices, outreach and programming, summer reading lists and much more.

2. View the webinar, “Summer Reading Raves” from INFOhio presented by Elaine Fultz, District Library Media Specialist, Madison Local, describing up-to-date books to include on summer reading lists, or share with book clubs.

3. Investigate Biblionasium, this website allows school librarians to create another twist on summer reading by designing different types of reading challenges for students, track reading goals, award virtual prizes and create a library of books for students to read.

4. Consider teaming up with your local public librarians and get your students involved in their summer reading programs.

5. Write a short article for your school’s newsletter about the importance of summer reading for parents.

6. Tweet suggestions during the summer to your students and their parents to encourage reading.

7. Post reading ideas during the summer on Facebook or other social media sites.

8. Present a program to the PTA or parent’s group on the need for students to read during the summer include tips on how to encourage reading.

9. Send home a book list with students that parents can take with them to their local public libraries or book stores.

10. Develop a summer reading program for students. This can be a great way to extend the school library’s presence beyond the school year. Seek funds from local foundation or business for prizes.

Summer reading is very important in maintaining student’s reading achievement. Take the lead by preventing the summer slide, even the smallest steps can yield big results.

By: Laurie Katusin Swallen, Library Media Specialist at Tuslaw Local Schools

Since I became the librarian in our high school, I wondered what it would be like to have a book club in the library. I questioned if students would be interested and if they would participate. When could I have it and how could I make it fun? Would a book club be successful in our high school?

This year, I decided to jump in. I had to consider the logistics of making a book club work in our school—such as when to have it, where to meet, and how to get kids interested in coming. To start, I chose a book I thought would be popular (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), and I began to publicize the club through the morning announcements and flyers. I talked to my workers about it and asked other kids I knew were readers. The good news was that there was definitely interest. Before our meeting, students were to read the book and come prepared to talk.

In my district, we have four lunch periods, but often, students have a lunch in one of the first two lunch periods with a study hall the opposite period. In a forty–two minute block, they have a study hall and lunch. I decided to meet during those early lunch periods and to provide pizza and drinks.
I was worried about students being able to get the book because we only carried one copy in our high school. I did try to get copies through the public library, but unfortunately, because the book was being released as a movie, the books were not available quickly. What I soon discovered was the students were very resourceful. They would finish the book and share their own book with a peer. They worked around homework and who had more time to read. Never has a kid not participated because they have been unable to get a book—the kids checked with each other and somehow, all had access.

Before our first meeting, I did some research on the novel and pulled together some questions in case our conversation lagged. The only other preparation was ordering the pizza, reading the book, and the promotion (creation of flyers and an announcement). Students signed up in the library, and I sent a reminder through our school email.

The day of our first Book Club meeting, I was a bit nervous about how it would go. We have a separate room in the library with longer tables, and we pulled them all together so that we could sit in a group. We ate and had a spirited discussion on the characters, themes, and what students loved or disliked about the book. At the end of our meeting, I passed out a sheet with possible choices for books for our next Book Club. Students read the descriptions and voted on the next book. I am always surprised by the next book choice, as it never seems to be the one I think they will pick.
This year, we met four times—October, December, March, and May. I feel as if thisis the right amount for us because it takes time for students to read around schoolwork and their jobs. Also, as I mentioned earlier, students tend to share books, so this allows for time for the kids to read and pass on their copy. This year, we read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, The Vanishing Season by Jodi Anderson, Replica by Lauren Oliver, and This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.

As the year has progressed, Book Club provided many wonderful surprises. Students who do not usually come to the library are signing up. I started with about ten kids at our October meeting, and our May Book Club had 19 students and five teachers. Everyone is always excited to discuss, and some can barely stand to wait until our meeting. For our December and March meetings, students wanted to have a potluck. We have not only read good books and had awesome discussions, but we have also eaten extremely well while doing so! This experience has come to be one of my favorite parts of my job. I love the students’ excitement and enthusiasm, and I cannot wait to hear how they feel about what we are reading. Teachers are signing up to participate, and each meeting, more teachers attend. Our students love to see their teachers in this less formal setting. Book Club has been a wonderful addition to our high school library; it has brought together a community of readers and given us all something wonderful to look forward to throughout the school year.


By: Frank W Baker (, Twitter: @fbaker)

I’m honored that OELMA has invited me back to Columbus on Monday, June 19. By now, you’ve probably seen or heard the marketing for that day and I hope you will consider attending. Register here:

I am proud to be an OELMA member and to contribute to the conversation about the importance of teaching media literacy in the 21st century. As you know, I operate The Media Literacy Clearinghouse and have authored four books on the topic. I’m also writing a regular blog at
Media literacy has been recognized and recommended by a host of national organizations including the Partnership for 21st Century Skills; the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; the Horizon K12 Report, and Future Workskills 2020, just to name a few.

On a recent webinar at which I was a participant I declared: library media specialists are THE leaders in teaching information and media literacy. Never before has that been more important than today. The “fake news” controversy actually did us all a favor: it raised a “red flag” and elevated media literacy in the national dialogue. Many news stories quoted librarians, and other educators, who referenced specific teaching strategies to help today’s young people become more media literate.

In my keynote address on June 19, I plan to talk not only about fake news, and the problems it creates, but also some solutions. So I hope you’ll be there in person. In addition, I will be conducting a concurrent session on “close reading” of media messages. This session will cover visual literacy, advertising, and moving image literacy. All of this is designed to help you feel more comfortable teaching media literacy and supporting the teachers who will also plan to address it.

As a former consultant to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), I understand well how media literacy fits nicely into the ELA classroom, where informational texts already include many media examples. ELA teachers are also some of the largest users of film in the classroom and this gives them many opportunities to teach film as text. At the same time, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) recently adopted a new, revised resolution on media literacy, urging social studies educators to think about engaging students in critical thinking and viewing.

These are exciting and challenging times to be in education. I can’t wait to see you and to be part of what looks like a wonderful professional development opportunity.


By: Christina Van Dyke, OELMA Secretary and Teacher Librarian at Tolles Career & Technical Center

Christina Van Dyke, Terri Fredericka, and Melissa Higgs-Horwell at NLLD.

At the beginning of May, I attended National Library Legislative Days (NLLD) in Washington, DC. I joined Terri Fredericka from INFOhio as well as representatives from the State Library, Marietta and Miami Colleges, Columbus, Toledo and Cleveland Public Libraries, OPLIN, OhioLink, Overdrive and other library professionals. I was the only school librarian, and I felt privileged to be in such good company. As a team, we met with Senator Rob Portman’s and Senator Sherrod Brown’s offices. After the two meetings with senators, we divided into groups to visit Ohio members of congress.

Participating in NLLD gave me the opportunity to listen to Beverly Cain, State Librarian of Ohio, speak wonderfully about libraries in Ohio and Steve Potash, Overdrive CEO, expound on the respect that other states and countries have for Ohio libraries. Nikki Scarpitti, of Columbus Metropolitan Library, and other librarians from large public systems around Ohio talked about great programming that is being provided to their patrons. Terri, OPLIN and OhioLink representatives communicated the digital resource sharing that makes it possible for all patrons in our state to access quality databases.

As I listened to these professionals advocating for our Ohio libraries, I was grateful that we have such strong advocates for the citizens of Ohio. Along with being grateful for these advocates, I contemplated the importance of teacher-librarians around the state. When given the opportunity to speak, I drew attention to the vital role we play in setting our young patrons up for future library use. Students spend years in our buildings and our behavior toward them and our enthusiasm for our jobs will have a lasting impact.

As teacher-librarians:

  • We lay the foundation of confidence in libraries and librarians that students will draw on in their future;
  • As we help them find a good book to read, prepare a speech for a class presentation, search for colleges and scholarships, or research “boring” topics for assigned papers, we are teaching them that libraries are a reliable place to go for future information needs;
  • Helping a student find a quiet place to sit and get away from the stress of the cafeteria or classroom will form a memory that the library is a safe place;
  • As an adult, trying to learn a new skill, tomorrow’s patron will remember that in their youth the school librarian helped, without criticizing, when they needed assistance with their iPad or other device;
  • When they are looking for a book to read to their future children, they will remember the librarian who taught them to love Junie B. Jones and take their child to the library;
  • As a new college student panicking over college research, they will remember the patience of their high school librarian as they aided them in database use and citation creation;
  • When adults receive “fake news” in their inbox, they will remember the teacher-librarian who repeatedly preached: Check the source!
I am a link in a chain of resources; I need to manage my part of the chain well so that my patrons have confidence in their future college and community libraries. Among all of the tedious tasks that teacher-librarians are asked to do, let’s not forget that we are here to help students become lifelong learners and informed citizens, and hopefully, introduce them to some great books along the way. The library will forever be the greatest resource of information and learning that our citizenry has. Dark school libraries break the chain for many of Ohio’s students and they never receive the skills of those with an effectively functioning school library. We must advocate for all schools to have a library staffed by a licensed teacher-librarian.

Advocacy is hard. Advocacy is uncomfortable. Advocacy takes time. Our students are worth it. Advocate with a phone call, tweet, email or Facebook post. Talk libraries to everyone you meet. Practice your elevator speech. Let’s work together to ensure the chain of libraries remains strong for all Ohioans, regardless of their age, school district or community.


By Lori Y. Lee

ILEAD USA: Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply & Discover the 21st Century Technology and Leadership Skills Institute for the United States is a professional development for all types of librarians.  It is a program that teaches librarians to work with each other, develop their leadership skills and use participatory and emerging technologies to solve a clear problem in their community. ILEAD nurtures the development of a team project over a nine month period.  This year four teams of four to five individuals make up ILEAD Ohio.  Teams must have individuals representing at least two different library types and at least three different libraries.  ILEAD Ohio takes place every two years and began in 2013.  The program is supported in-part by the State Library of Ohio with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services with additional support provided by the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science.

My ILEAD team selected is comprised of Blair Tom, assistant director of Muskingum County Library System, Cory Roush, school-age literacy specialist, Muskingum County Library System, Jennifer Myers, elementary library tech, John McIntire Elementary School and myself, Lori Lee, district librarian, Zanesville City Schools.  Putting together this team was very easy because there are several smaller collaborations already happening between Zanesville City Schools and the Muskingum County Library System.  We didn’t realize how rich our team dynamics already were until we attended our first of three in-person retreats at Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center.

During our three days at Mohican, we were introduced to the other teams from around the state, the State Library facilitators, and our mentors.  The other teams were made up of public librarians and academic librarians that did not already have working relationships.  Many did not even work in the same cities.  We also discovered that Zanesville City Schools is the first public school library participating in ILEAD Ohio.  As school librarians, Jennifer and I contributed a different perspective to many of the conversations over the three days.

The focus of these first three days centers on two areas: developing the team dynamic and filming a promotional project video.  Our first day we went through the True ColorsTM personality training.  The core of the True Colors system identifies intrinsic values, communication styles, listening styles, and more.  This training provided us with an increased understanding of self and each other, thereby increasing trust and reducing conflict in team dynamics. Other sessions covered teamwork tendencies, mindful awareness exercises, the changing conditions of libraries and managing diversity and the future of libraries.  There was also a session on tips for creating great videos.  This also included the directions for making our project video.  The filming and editing of our 3-5 minute video took place during the evening hours.  

The culminating event was the viewing of each team project video and be presented with the grant check of $3000.  Here is our video introducing our collaborative project .

Our team is excited to begin planning and rolling out our project.  We will continue our team planning in June again at Mohican.  So far this has been a very unique professional development experience, because of the focus on collaboration and the longevity of the project.  The ILEAD experience wraps up next October, but I know that our efforts will impact the students, parents, and community of Zanesville for years to come.


“Popping the Fake News Bubble: Engaging Students in 21st Century Media and Information Literacy,” sponsored by OELMA and CMCIG of ALAO, will be held on Monday, June 19, 2017, at the OSU-Newark Campus, 1179 University Drive, Newark (43055). Featuring a hands-on keynote with media literacy expert, Frank W. Baker (, as well as concurrent sessions, poster sessions, maker stations for lesson plans, tech tools, assessment ideas as well as opportunities to network – this summer workshop will give you the tools to engage teachers and students come the fall. Register today –

To write this blog post (and for my own amusement), I typed “fake news” as a Google search. In 67 seconds, Google returned 169,000,000 results. “Fake news” has become the hot topic of 2016-17. Unfortunately, says Kathy Dempsey of Libraries are Essential, many people don’t understand what fake news is (intentionally leading articles, often published for profit or gain) and what it is not (any news that you don’t agree with). Dempsey, in the May 2017 Information Today “We the People” column entitled “What’s Behind Fake News and What Can We Do about It?” implores librarians to “get their hands dirty.”

Let’s get over the hype and start getting our hands dirty – after all, we are the information educators in our departments, in our schools, in our districts. When it comes to information, we know how to find it, how to verify it, how to use it, and how to cite it. As Dempsey says – “Why are you not at the forefront of this movement?” Are we creating portals of information? Are we sharing fact-checking advice on social media? Are we promoting our text- or chat- reference services for quick answers? Are we creating programs such as “How to Find the Truth” (Dempsey). Librarians are among the most trusted professionals and libraries the most trusted institutions, so in Dempsey’s words “why not use some of this clout to step up and start teaching how to separate fact from fiction.”

So consider this Summer Workshop, the first step in getting your hands dirty. We don’t have to use political examples we know there is plenty of fake news out there. Let’s bring our communities back to reality and prove the adage that our students (citizens) need libraries now more than ever.


By: Dana Wright

Lead beyond the Library – what is your superpower?  Do you like planning and implementing professional development opportunities in your building or district? Do you like networking with like-minded professionals?  Then check out the responsibilities of the Director Liaison to Regional Representation.  The third of the three new positions on the Board of Directors, the Director Liaison is a two-year term.  When OELMA restructured its governance, many OELMA members were concerned about keeping those open lines of communication among the regions.  The Director Liaison to RR does just that – promotes and maintains communication with regions within Ohio in accordance with Board-approved policies.  This position allows for lots of creativity.  Here are some of the responsibilities we’ve identified as being crucial to this position:         

  • Consults with the Vice President, President, and Executive Director to identify OELMA members to serve as representatives that correspond to the ITC regions (
  • Consults with INFOhio and ITCs to develop a plan for regional representation,
  • Maintains communication with regional representatives about such issues as membership, the status of school libraries and librarians in region’s districts, etc.
  • Consults with Director Liaison to Operations (membership) about developing and implementing surveys to determine the status of school libraries.
  • Uses school library data to inform Director Liaison to Communication and Executive Committee about impending retirements, layoffs, etc. that affect the quality of school library programs in Ohio

If you have questions, contact a member of the Nominations Subcommittee.  You’ll find the OELMA Candidate Profile Form -2017 here –


By: Lisa Barnes Prince, District Media Specialist/Manchester Local Schools

As the current OELMA treasurer, I have served two terms which means that it’s coming to an end December 2017. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Executive Board for OELMA, and encourage any of you future leaders to apply for the position. Don’t be nervous if you’re not a “numbers” person. I’m not either, I rely on Lisa Kirr to get the spreadsheet information to me and she does a fabulous job. I will miss the contact that I have with all of the OELMA folks when we go to our meetings in Columbus. They have truly energized my commitment to the profession and I always come away from the meetings with ideas to use in my library or with my staff.

Now for the main topic of this month’s blog: the role that I play in my school relating to technology. Although I have never really thought of myself as a technology expert, I was surprised at the knowledge that I do have when I started working for my district two years ago. I work for a very small, local school district and unfortunately, we are little behind when it comes to technology. This is the first school year that we are giving online AIR tests and most of the teachers and administrators are understandably nervous and apprehensive. The vice principal put together a group of teachers, including myself that are acting as test administrators and it appears to be going fine, thus far.

This is the time of the year that I start planning for next school year. I have tried to implement one to two new things in years past. I’ve been inspired for next school year to have monthly sessions for teachers in tech training. In the past, I thought this might be accomplished at monthly staff meetings but we have the quickest staff meetings they last approximately ten minutes. After considering my options, I have decided on the best time is during lunch hours. We have three of them and although I have been told by some teachers that they work through their lunch, I have decided to sweeten the pot by offering to provide desert if they will bring their lunch. I will let the teachers know approximately two weeks in advance what we will be talking about so that they can decide if it is worth their while to attend. I am also going to approach our curriculum director to see if I can possibly offer CEUs. We all know how frequently Google changes their tools and apps. INFOhio usually updates their site once or twice a school year as well. I also plan to showcase new books, ebooks and items that I bring into the library. In addition, I am exposed to a ton of new ideas that I am eager to share with teachers when I attend the OELMA conference, which by the way, will be held October 18-20 at the Doubletree-Columbus in Worthington. I hope to see a lot of you there! Meanwhile, if anybody out there in library land has any ideas for tech training sessions or would like to share what they do in their districts-I would appreciate the feedback.

Have a relaxing and happy summer everybody!


The proposal deadline for #oelma17 conference has been extended to April 30!

Submit your awesome idea for a session at:

Submission Deadline Extended!


By: Laura Franck

Lead beyond the Library – what is your superpower?   Do you like planning and implementing professional development opportunities in your building or district?  Are you a lifelong learner who wants to get involved at the regional and national level?  Do you like networking with like-minded professionals?  Do you see yourself as a school library advocate?  Then check out the responsibilities of the Vice-President.  

If you’ve served on the Executive Board as Secretary or Treasurer or as a Director then you may be ready to assume this three-year commitment to the Board. The VP assumes the duties of the President in the event of absence or incapacity.  The VP serves as the Chair of the Annual Conference held in conjunction with the Annual Membership meeting.  The VP works closely with the Director Liaison to Conference, the Conference Committee, and the Director of Services, Lisa Kirr.  

Among the responsibilities of the VP are: submitting Board reports at each meeting (6); submitting Newsletter articles (4); works with Director of Services, Treasurer, and Budget and Finance Subcommittee to develop a conference budget; coordinates with the Director Liaison to Teaching & Learning to determine SLMS Competencies; works with the Director of Services to check the adequacy of space for exhibits, large and small meetings, parking and other accommodations; works with Director of Services to determine charges for exhibits, rooms, meals, registration, and other fees; works with the Director of Services to develop the conference program and reports preliminary plans to the Board at all Board meetings; works with the Director of Services, to check with speakers regarding such items as arrival and departure times and hotel arrangements so that proper planning can be made for meals, lodging and transportation; works with Director of Services on information concerning the program, speakers, and photos needed.  Arranges for the printing of the conference program and its distribution to registrants at the conference; arranges for letters of acknowledgement to be sent after the conference to program speakers, conference committee members, hotel personnel, and others who contributed to the success of the conference; attends at the Association’s expense and as the budget permits, statewide meetings/conferences and national conferences where continuity of representation is desirable; serves as member of Operations Strategic Committee; appoints chairs for strategic committees and special committees prior to taking office and subject to Board approval at the first Board meeting of the year. 

Some past Vice Presidents include: Sue Subel, Susan Yutzey, Jen Flaherty, Sarah Thornbery, Marie Sabol. The current VP is Deb Logan.

If you have questions, contact a member of the Nominations Subcommittee.  You’ll find the OELMA Candidate Profile Form -2017 here –

By: Lori Pringle, District Library Media Specialist, East Holmes Local Schools

One of the ways we can encourage our students to develop a love of reading is to give them an opportunity to read some of the best, newly-published books and to get them talking and writing about them. Each fall, excitement builds at East Holmes for the annual Mock Caldecott program in which students read some of the best children’s books published that year, post reviews online, and eventually vote for their favorites.

You can find our East Holmes Mock Caldecott website at: The Mock Caldecott website includes some of the best picture books published each year. At our website, you will discover student reviews, past winners, and more.

Across our district, elementary library paraprofessionals partner with the Holmes County District Public Library to provide copies of the mock contenders for display within each of our libraries during November and December. The paraprofessionals share the picture books with the students during their weekly library visits through booktalks and read alouds. Students learn the ALA selection criteria during library lessons. After the students and staff experience the Mock Caldecott contenders, they are invited to submit a brief review, reflecting their reaction to the book using an embedded Google Form. Reviews are monitored and posted on the Mock Caldecott website under the corresponding book.

In January, East Holmes patrons revisit our website to cast their vote for their favorite Mock Caldecott using another embedded Google Form. Our East Holmes Mock Caldecott winner and honor books are announced just before the official Caldecott awards are presented by the American Library Association mid-January of each year.

For the past three years, I have been fortunate to collaborate with Mr. Dan McKey, Winesburg and Mt. Hope Elementary principal. Mr. McKey’s love of children’s literature is the heart of our Mock Caldecott and his grant writing expertise made it a reality. Each year, Mr. McKey scours blogs, book reviews, and websites to prepare our list of book contenders, while I maintain the website. Although Mr. McKey is retiring at the end of this school year, the Mock Caldecott will continue in his honor. I look forward to collaborating with our teachers and library paraprofessionals to select the contenders for our 2017 Mock Caldecott.


By: Kathy Aurigemma

Lead beyond the Library – what is your superpower? Do you like networking with people?  Do you like organizing things?  Are you detailed oriented?  Then check out the responsibilities of the Director Liaison to Operations.  This is the second of three new positions on the OELMA Board of Directors.  The Director Liaison to Operations serves a two-year term and works with the Archives, Budget and Finance, Bylaws and Policy, Membership, and Nominations sub-committees.  Operations is basically the nuts and bolts functions of the association and offers lots of opportunities to think outside the box – for example, now that OELMA stores all of its documents in the cloud – what implications does this have for our Archives?  What are the best practices for archives in the time of the cloud?  Other responsibilities include: 

By-laws, Archives, Budget and Finance

Maintain, monitor, and update the official records (Bylaws and policy), documents (archives, mission, vision, strategic plan), and financial health (budget and finance) associated with the governing of the Association.


Advises the Board on matters related to membership structure and dues; consults with Communication Strategic Committee to develop new member and promotional information about the Association (includes student website); consults with Regional Representation Strategic Committee about member promotion, concerns, etc.

Nominations/Leadership Development

Conducts nominations and elections in accordance with provisions in the By-laws of the Association; identifies and develops leadership within the Association

If you have questions, contact a member of the Nominations Sub-committee.  You’ll find the OELMA Candidate Profile Form -2017 here –

By: Nancy Boone, Librarian at Ohio School for the Deaf

You’re probably aware that March is National Women’s History Month, and April is not only National Poetry Month but also School Library Month. But did you know that overlapping March and April is Deaf History Month? Thanks to the efforts of deaf librarian Alice Hagemeyer, in 2006 the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and the American Library Association (ALA) announced March 13 – April 15 as Deaf History Month. Currently, Senate Bill 27 is working its way through the Ohio legislature to establish March 13 – April 15 as Ohio Deaf History Month. (Read more about the bill here).

Why such odd dates spanning two calendar months? This period of time encompasses three key dates in American Deaf history. March 13 marks the day in 1988 when the Deaf President Now protest culminated in the naming of Dr. I. King Jordan as the first deaf president of Gallaudet University. Gallaudet in Washington, DC, is the only liberal arts college for the deaf in the world. It was founded April 8, 1864, when Abraham Lincoln signed the charter for the college, then called Columbia Institution for Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind. The closing date of April 15 signifies the establishment of American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT as the first permanent public school for the deaf in 1817.

Following are some resources to support the observance of Deaf History Month: Picture Books
  • Max Learns Sign Language by Adria F. Klein (2007) -early reader
  • My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language by Emily Arnold McCully (2008)
  • Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman (1980)
  • Moses Goes to School by Isaac Millman (2000)
  • Moses Goes to the Circus by Isaac Millman (2003)
  • Moses Sees a Play by Isaac Millman (2004)
  • Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport, Matt Tavares (2012)
  • Deaf Musicians by Pete Seeger & Paul Dubois Jacobs (2006) -ALA honored book
  • Kami and the Yaks by Andrea Stenn Stryer (2007)
  • Flying over Brooklyn by Myron Uhlberg (1999)
  • The Printer by Myron Uhlberg (2003)
  • Dad, Jackie and Me by Myron Uhlberg (2005) -Schneider Family Book Award winner
  • The Sound of All Things by Myron Uhlberg (2016)
  • The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin (2016)
Novels (for middle grades through teen)
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell (2014) -Newbery Honor; graphic novel
  • The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk (2010)
  • You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (2017)
  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (2010) -Schneider Family Book Award winner
  • T4 by Ann Clare LeZotte (2008)
  • Deaf Child Crossing (Deaf Child Crossing #1) by Marlee Matlin (2004)
  • Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller (2007)
  • Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby (2006) -Schneider Family Book Award winner
  • Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2011) -Schneider Family Book Award winner
Nonfiction (for teens/adults)
  • Kicking up Dirt: ATrue Story of Determination, Deafness, and Daring by Ashely Fiolek with Caroline Ryder (2010)
  • Inside Deaf Culture by Carol Padden, Tom Humphries (2005)
  • Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love by Myron Uhlberg (2009)
Happy Deaf History Month!

By: Liz Deskins

Lead Beyond the Library – what is your superpower?  Do you like to plan and implement professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators in you building, in your district?  

The Director Liaison to Teaching & Learning is one of three new positions on the OELMA Board of Directors – so there is lots of opportunity for creativity.  The Director Liaison to T&L serves a two-year term and works with the Professional Development and Professional Standards sub-committees to establish and carry out teaching and learning planning and procedures in accordance with Board-approved policies. In addition, the Director Liaison oversees these functions: establishes, with Board approval, the competency focus for the year (see SLMS/Teacher Librarian Core Competencies); develops professional development centered on core competency; consults with Conference Strategic Committee (Conference), Immediate Past President (MidWinter); Director Liaison to Regional Representation about professional development; Director Liaison to Operations about leadership development; works with higher education institutions to establish graduate credit opportunities for OELMA professional development; develops plan, with Board approval, for delivering professional development such as face-to-face or online (webinars, courses, book discussions, blogs, etc.); develops plan, with Board approval, to certify completion of professional development (e.g., badging, certificates, etc.); consults with Communication Strategic Committee to promote OELMA professional development; informs OELMA members about professional development opportunities; reviews and revises, with Board approval, OELMA’s SLMS/Teacher Librarian Evaluation Rubric; reviews and revises, with Board approval, SLMS/Teacher Librarian Core Competencies; consults with the Kent State University SLIS liaison and the Ohio Department of Education liaison about updates related to licensure and academic and professional standards; Informs members about ESSA and school libraries; develops, with Board approval, strategy for defining Highly Effective School Library (AASL). 

If you have questions, contact a member of the Nominations Sub-committee.  You’ll find the OELMA Candidate Profile Form -2017 here –


By: Susan Yutzey

Lead Beyond the Library is the Nominations Sub-committee’s theme for this year. Sub-committee members are: Kathy Aurigemma, Liz Deskins, Laura Franck, Nellie Schmidt, and Dana Wright. Beginning March 22, 2017, nominations are open for OELMA Board of Directors positions.  The following positions are open:  Vice President, Treasurer, Director Liaison to Operations, Director Liaison to Regional Representation, and the Director Liaison to Teaching & Learning.  The OELMA Candidate Profile Form is available here.

Each week we will highlight one of the positions here, on the OELMA blog.  As you look at the range of responsibilities, we’d like you to examine the leadership skills you’ve acquired in your building and in your district and think seriously about leading from beyond the library to challenge yourself.

What superpowers can you bring to the OELMA Board of Directors?

What does the OELMA Treasurer do?  The Treasurer is a member of the Executive Committee along with the Vice-President, President, Immediate Past President, Secretary, and Director Representative to the Executive Committee.  The Treasurer serves a two-year term.  The Treasurer oversees and is responsible for the receipt, disbursement, and accounting of all funds of the Association; submits a written financial statement at each regular Board meeting and at the Annual Membership meeting (6 per year); chairs the Budget and Finance Sub-committee (sub-committee of the Operations Strategic Committee); presents the financial records for audit at least once a year; and performs such other duties as prescribed by the President and the Board of Directors.  

While understanding numbers and budgets is a strength, you work closely with our Director of Services, Lisa Kirr, who will help you every step of the way. Some past Treasurers of OELMA have included Jennifer Schwelik and Sue Subel.  Currently, Lisa Barnes Prince serves as the association’s Treasurer.  For more information contact a member of the Nominations Sub-committee.


Are you pursuing your licensure in school library/media? Do you know someone who is? Would $500 help toward tuition? If so- it’s time to nominate yourself, or a friend for one of our two scholarships- The J. Allen Oakum Scholarship, or the OELMA Scholarship.

And- it’s time to recognize an enthusiastic reader in your school who loves to share book titles and reads independently on a volunteer basis.  Nominate your student for a READ ON, OHIO! Award.  Student recipients will be honored at the 2017 OELMA Conference. Click on the Awards/Scholarship tab for more information.

Would you like some extra money to help with your reading program? Then the OELMA/JLG Floyd Dickman Programming Grant is the grant for you! During his lifetime, Floyd Dickman was passionate about children’s literature and reading.  To honor his achievements, Junior Library Guild in collaboration with OELMA created a grant to be awarded to one school library program to help fund programs that inspire children to embrace the joy of reading.  Deadline to apply is April 3, 2017.  Click on the Awards/Scholarship tab for more information about all of these awards.


OELMA Midwinter 2017 did not disappoint! Attendees had the benefit of learning specifics about continuing our journeys to become Future Ready Librarians while examining the characteristics of highly effective school libraries and deepening our understanding of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as it relates to school library programs. Under the dedicated guidance of Susan Yutzey and Liz Deskins, the day was filled with thoughtful, impactful learning!

As the morning opened with Laura Hicks sharing a detailed overview of ESSA, we gained a greater understanding of OELMA’s action in attempting to embed verbiage in the ESSA draft that would secure licensed media specialists in libraries throughout Ohio working with students to develop skills in the areas of reading/literacy, informational literacy, college readiness, and more. We learned the important aspects to include in dialogue as we advocate for our students and library media programs. The morning continued with a Skype session with Shannon McClintock Miller (@shannonmiller), and she shared ideas of what lessons a Future Ready Librarian is completing with students and modeled what a highly effective school library program looks like. She challenged us to identify actions and make connections to advocate for Future Ready Library programming. Her presentation was a perfect segue into our afternoon session which was spent examining the rubric (draft) that, once approved, will be used to evaluate the highly effective school library.

INFOhio! We had a powerful reminder from Terri Fredericka and Emily Rozmus about the importance of the resources that INFOhio offers to the students of Ohio and the danger of these resources being cut by 1.1 million dollars. Be sure to visit the INFOhio Advocacy page to use the ‘resource cost calculator’ to determine the cost of these resources to your school district should they become subscription-based, look up your legislators, and see a complete list of resources that will be cut. Contact your superintendent, principal, and school board members and urge them to get involved by contacting legislators to share how these resources are used by Ohio’s students.

Finally, a personal reflection on what a day at an OELMA conference means to me. I never fail to leave an OELMA conference feeling more inspired, encouraged, and determined to advocate for the role of a licensed library media specialist being available to ALL students. Thank you to the OELMA Midwinter and conference planning team! Your diligence in educating others about the power of the school library media program and its importance to students is to be continually commended. To learn more about how you can get involved, follow #futurereadylibs on Instagram, search #futurereadylibs on Twitter and request to join the group, “Future Ready Librarians” on Facebook, and visit the OELMA website. Lastly, given the opportunity, attend an OELMA conference!


Do you know your way around the School Library Bill of Rights? As an interpretation of ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, this document, revised last in 2014, spells out our responsibilities to our patrons – our students.  Find the statement at the following link:

Do you know a school librarian who “walks the talk” and has been a champion for intellectual freedom for their students by providing resources and services that create and sustain an atmosphere of free inquiry? Do you know a school librarian who, through resources, programming, and educational processes, enables students and teachers to experience the free and robust debate characteristic of a democratic society?

Then nominate them ASAP for OELMA’s Intellectual Freedom Award – see the description at the following link:

Deadline is April 3rd, so don’t wait!

The next award winner could be you, or someone you know! It’s time to think about nominating yourself or a colleague for the OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award. This award recognizes an Ohio licensed school librarian who develops an exemplary school library program, collaborates with classroom teachers, implements technology-integrated instruction, and advocates for school libraries. Apply for the award, or nominate someone today!

Click on the Awards tab for more information.


By: Jessica Klinker, Director Liaison to Conference Strategic Committee

The Call for Presentation Proposals for the 2017 Annual Conference has been posted to the OELMA Conference website.

We need YOU!

The strength and beauty of OELMA is the breadth of knowledge and experiences our members share. The OELMA annual conference is at its best when we have passionate educators step up to share best practices and innovative strategies.

I presented for the first time at an OELMA Conference almost 10 years ago exactly, and many times since, and here are some things I have learned over the years:

  • It’s always more fun with a friend! Presenting with a colleague helps lessen the nerves and the workload. Find a colleague, partner up, and create a powerful presentation!

  • You DO have something to offer! It’s always easy to tell yourself that you don’t have anything original to offer. It’s not true! Think about what you enjoy most about your job — that probably is the aspect where we could most learn from you!

  • The professional growth is amazing! From resume building to evaluations, from collaborations with teachers in my building and district to networking with librarians across Ohio, presenting helps me grow professionally.

  • The discount really helps! Professional development funds in my district are tight, as they are most places. As a primary presenter, you get a discounted rate for full conference, which makes it easier for administrators to say YES when you ask for time and funds to attend OELMA annual conference.

We look forward to seeing YOUR presentation proposal this year. Proposals are due by April 15, 2017. Details and submission forms are available here.


Media Center on Air – Big Walnut HS


Attend the Media Center on Air event here.


Is Your School Library Outstanding? How About All of Your District Libraries?

Of course they are!  And to demonstrate, apply for either OELMA’s Outstanding School Library District– or Individual School Library – Award.  Or nominate another library or district that exemplifies outstanding!

What does outstanding look like?
  • Collaboration with classroom teachers and other specialists
  • MakerSpace activities
  • Integrated technology use
  • Literacy and book promotion
  • Inquiry, inquiry, inquiry!
  • Physical and virtual Learning Commons
Yes, all this and more! Check out the OELMA Awards and Scholarships tab for more information – and download the rubric.

Application deadline is April 3rd – but start the process now!

This is an important message from your Trent Roberts and Angela Wojtecki. We have received a mysterious message from a group calling themselves THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF MIDI who are claiming to be OUR students from an alternate dimension. Their message states that somewhere in the early 21st century their ancestors failed to be educated in the tech tools they would need in order to prosper causing an irreparable decline in creativity, imagination, and many other vital traits needed for their future. Because of this, they believe today’s educators are their last hope in securing a new future where they have the ed tech tools needed in order to survive. They have since challenged us…YOU to prove that they are right and not all hope is lost. The challenge has been scheduled for OELMA Preconference, October 18, 2017, Doubletree Hotel, Worthington, Ohio. Details on how to accept this challenge and change the future of our students is coming as soon as we receive another transcript from this group. Finally, at the end of their message we received the strange piece of writing in the attached image:

We suggest you archive this message for comparison’s sake, should other messages be sent in the coming weeks.

If you should happen to discern any clues from this message, email Jessica Klinker at — The first one to detect something helpful will win something from the OELMA Prize Closet.


By: Marie Sabol

The Grammy Awards may be over – but you still have time to nominate a colleague for an OELMA Award! Think about nominating a leader you know, or yourself for one of the OELMA Leadership awards!

The Outstanding Administrator Award recognizes an Ohio school administrator who has made significant contributions to the planning, implementation, and/or support of school library programs, resulting in improved program quality and increased student learning.

The Outstanding Contributor Award honors an Ohio licensed school librarian who has made outstanding contributions to school librarianship. The honoree has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the school library profession while serving in OELMA leadership roles.

Click on the Awards tab for more information.

April 3rd is the deadline, but don’t wait until the last minute! Start gathering your ideas and get those applications in!


By: Susan Yutzey

That’s why OELMA offers awards to organizations and individuals in both arenas.  They are:

Literacy Leader Award  — recognizes community organizations for exemplary support. This award honors groups supporting literacy programs, which reinforce student learning.

Information Technology Innovation Award — recognizes school librarians who design, develop, and implement innovative uses of technology in instruction. This award spotlights the importance of emerging technologies in supporting student learning.

See the Awards/Scholarships tab on the OELMA website for more information on each, as well as Past Winners. Deadline for nominations is April 3, 2017 – but it’s not too early to start the process now!


By: Marie Sabol

Spring is in the air – and it’s time to get ready for Awards Season! The Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards – and the OELMA Awards! Think about nominating a leader you know, or yourself for one of the OELMA Leadership awards.

  1. The Emerging Leader Award recognizes OELMA members who have recently assumed an OELMA leadership role for the first time. This Award honors members who demonstrate leadership potential and encourages members’ active participation in the Association.
  2. OELMA’s Leadership in Action Award recognizes an Ohio school librarian pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA). This award honors OELMA members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to leadership in the school library profession.

For more information click on the Awards/Scholarships tab.

April 3rd is the deadline, but don’t wait until the last minute! Start gathering your ideas and get those applications in!


Happy February, OELMA!  Won’t you join us in helping to celebrate ALL OF THE GOOD that we have happening in our libraries with our students, teachers, administrators, and fellow media specialists?   

It is AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIP SEASON!  We need your help!  OELMA wants to celebrate individuals who are creating and/or supporting library programs that allow students to create, design, develop, and grow as readers and thinkers.

Thank you to Susan Yutzey and Marie Sabol for helping co-chair this committee. Together, we would like to recognize some of the amazing learning opportunities occurring in Ohio by featuring those involved in supporting and creating library media centers that encourage students to thrive!  There are awards to recognize many types of contributors.  Find a list of the awards and scholarships available on the OELMA website under Awards and Scholarships. There, you will also find nomination forms and rubrics that will guide you through the nomination process.

Please watch the OELMA blog, listserv, Facebook page, and Twitter account for additional information.  Help us get the word out by sharing award information on your social media accounts.  All nominations are due by April 3rd.  

Take a look at the list below. Is there an OELMA member you know that should be recognized for his/her dedication to library programming that supports students’ love of reading, making, tinkering or computing?  Let’s celebrate our movers and shakers!  Fill out the nomination form today!

  • Emerging Leader Award
    • This Award honors members who demonstrate leadership potential and encourages members’ active participation in the Association.
  • OELMA-JLG Floyd Dickman Programming Award
    • This grant will be awarded to one school library in Ohio each year to help fund programs that inspire children to embrace the joy of reading.
  • Information Technology Innovation Award
    • The Information Technology Innovation Award recognizes school librarians who design, develop, and implement innovative uses of technology in instruction.
  • Intellectual Freedom Award
    • The Intellectual Freedom Award recognizes Ohio school librarians and/or other Ohio educators who demonstrate support for the American Library Association’s principles of intellectual freedom.
  • Leadership-in-Action Award
    • OELMA’s Leadership-in-Action Award recognizes an Ohio school librarian pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA).
  • Literacy Leader Award
    • This award honors community organizations supporting literacy that reinforces student learning.
  • OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award
    • This award recognizes a licensed Ohio school librarian, who develops an exemplary school library program, collaborates with classroom teachers, implements technology-integrated instruction, and advocates for school libraries.
  • Outstanding Administrator Award
    • This award recognizes an Ohio school administrator who has made significant contributions to the planning, implementation, and/or support of school library programs, resulting in improved program quality and increased student learning.
  • Outstanding Contributor Award
    • The honoree has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the school library profession while serving in OELMA leadership roles.
  • Outstanding School Library District Award
    • Honorees demonstrate a distinct culture that advocates for the integral role of the school library program in student achievement at the building and district level.
  • Outstanding Individual School Library Award
    • The Outstanding Individual School Library Award recognizes an exceptional building-level library program that is integrated across the total curriculum, thus meeting the diverse needs of all learners.
  • J. Allen Oakum Scholarship
    • The J. Allen Oakum Scholarship is awarded to an Ohio resident enrolled in an accredited library school program, who is pursuing licensure in school library/media.
  • The OELMA Scholarship
    • The OELMA Scholarship is awarded to an Ohio resident enrolled in an accredited library school program,  who’s pursuing licensure in school library/media.
  • Read On, Ohio! Award
    • The Read On, Ohio! Award is awarded to K-12 students who demonstrate an enthusiasm for reading and for sharing books, use books for a variety of purposes, read independently on a voluntary basis, and use the school library.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 11th, and register for OELMA’s Midwinter event, Future Ready Librarians Meet Highly Effective School Libraries. It will be filled with information you need as an Ohio School Librarian.

When you attend you will learn about:

  • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – a federally funded act that replaces No Child Left Behind
    • what is being proposed in Ohio
    • how your school and library program can benefit
    • we will work with an AASL expert to develop a personalized plan for each of our schools
  • Future Ready Librarians
    • what they are
    • why it is important to know about
  • OELMA Highly Effective School Library Program Rubric draft
    • an Ohio piece of ESSA
    • this will directly impact us, so you will want to be in on the discussion of the draft
The cost for registration is only $25. A boxed lunch will be an additional $15.

Boxed lunches will be ordered from either Fresh Box Catering, whose mission is to help Columbus community members affected by poverty, employment barrier, and homelessness, or Freedom a la Cart, whose mission is to empower survivors of human trafficking to build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency.

There will be coffee, snacks, prizes, and materials from library vendors!

Get more information and register here.

One more thing, we will be offering CEUs. And will also be offering the event as a one-credit course through Ashland College. You will need to do some additional coursework for this, but who doesn’t want to engage in professional learning with Susan Yutzey?!

I hope to see you there!

Liz Deskins
Past President


Mark Your Calendars Now!

The 2017 OELMA Conference will be October 18-20 at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Worthington (Columbus area).

Our theme this year is “Teacher Librarians: Making All of the Connections,” highlighting the many roles we play in our buildings and the way OELMA’s outstanding professional development during our annual conferences helps us connect all of the pieces to create strong library programs for our students and stakeholders. The theme also highlights the personal and professional networking connections built and strengthened during conference. Meeting and collaborating with other experts doing outstanding work in our unique profession makes us all stronger.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the 2017 OELMA Conference on October 18 – 20, 2017.


By: Angela Wojtecki, OELMA Immediate Past President 

Twitter has become a professional learning tool for so many school librarians—SO are you on Twitter yet? If not—what are you waiting for?

I decided to put together some resources on this posting for both new and experienced OELMA Twitter users. Twitter has allowed me to network with not only school library media specialists all over the world-but also administrators, technology experts, authors, and just about any type of educator that exists!

Be sure to join OELMA as we host some upcoming #OELMAchats this winter—stay warm in the comfort of your own home with a cup of hot chocolate or tea, in your pajamas, and with your tablet or laptop—and join us for some exciting and innovative topics! Here is our schedule-please bookmark these dates and plan to join us for the live discussion (it is really fun)!

January 10th: INFOhio’s Book Nook

January 24th: Time Management: Tips and Tricks

February 7th: For the Love of Books

February 21st: Librarians Who Google

All #OELMAChat conversations begin live at 7pm EST

Follow @OELMA1 and join the conversation!

Twitter Resources by Angela:

Twitter Chat Apps Recommended by Angela-helps streamline the Chat live:


Article on getting started with Tweetdeck


Article on getting started with Hootsuite

Beginners’ Resources:

Intro to the Twitter Chat

Kathy Schrock’s wealth of information

Practical Tips for Beginners

Guide Book to Twitter


How to Make Twitter Lists (and appear Superhuman)

Using Advanced Search in Twitter

Who to Follow by content area…thanks to Alice Keeler for posting this massive list!


The Ohio Educational Library Media Association, Ohio’s preeminent professional association for highly effective school librarians and libraries, is pleased to announce that Susan Yutzey, Past President, is the recipient of the Presidential Award.  The Presidential Award honors individuals in the library field for their service to school libraries.  President Liz Deskins, in her opening remarks said “I feel sure that everyone in this room has been empowered by Susan Yutzey.  She inspires us to do our best, and to challenge ourselves.  Not only is she a great leader, but she is a true friend, a lifelong learner, and a grand adventurer who is always looking for ways to make Ohio school libraries and the librarians who run them even more effective and successful as they work with students and faculty.  I’m sure all of us have a story of some way Susan has supported, nurtured or inspired us, and for all those reasons and more Susan Yutzey is receiving the OELMA Presidential Award.”

Susan Yutzey was recognized at the 2016 OELMA Conference, October 12-14, 2016, at the Polaris Hilton, 8700 Lyra Drive, Columbus, OH. 

Susan Yutzey, Past President, OELMA, Retired School Library Media Specialist, Upper Arlington High School, Columbus (Ohio)


Navigate Your World!

Written by: Susan Mongold

Throughout the months of November and December, the Woodridge Local School District Libraries partnered with the Akron Summit County Public Library (ASCPL) in a campaign designed to encourage our students to get a public library card. We entitled the campaign, Navigate your World! Through library lessons, parent newsletters, and the local newspaper, we communicated to our students, parents and guardians how important it is to have a public library card, especially in today’s information age.  Each student in grades K-8, took home a library card application, plus an informational flyer highlighting the age appropriate resources available to them online through ASCPL. At the high school, each student received an email inviting them to stop down to the school library and pick up an application. All the parent/guardian needed to do was sign the form and return it to school. The WLSD Librarian then made weekly trips to the ASCPL to drop off signed applications and pick up library cards. So far, we have helped issue over 200 new library cards to our students. The campaign ends December 15, 2017.


Join #oelmachat on Thursday, 8/11, at 7pm EST to chat with Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe, authors of Your School Rocks…So Tell People and Ohio prinicpals, as we discuss ways to use social media to reach our stakeholders and promote all of the positives going on in our schools and libraries!


 On May 20, 2016, the Media Center Spotlight crew visited Walnut Springs Middle School with school library media specialist Jean Trimble.  Check out the blog post and photos of the Center for Inspiration found here  The Center for Inspiration was featured in the Columbus Dispatch in fall 2015.

In May, I visited Ford Intermediate School (Berea City Schools).  Visit the Media Center Spotlight page here to learn more about the library program at Ford Intermediate School.  Gayle Schmuhl, walks us through some of her reading programs, instructional stategies, and teacher collaborations.



 The OELMA Media Center Spotlight serves as a showcase for library media centers in Ohio as well as a virtual professional development tool. From the comfort of your own library media center, you are able to see what your colleagues around Ohio are doing and contact them to learn more about their resources, lesson plans, etc.

During a Media Center Spotlight visit, Susan Yutzey, Immediate Past President, will take photos of the space and then sit down with you for a one-on-one discussion that focuses on the topics addressed in the Sample Questions.  Prior to publishing the Media Center Spotlight blog and photos, you will receive a preview of the blog as well as the photos.

OELMA has created the Media Center Spotlight Toolkit to help you plan a visit. The Toolkit includes:
  • Schedule a Visit – complete this form and Susan will email you to schedule a visit. If you wish Susan to visit several schools in either your school district or geographic area, please note this on the form.
  • Release Form for Photographs – most schools require a district release form for each student. The OELMA Release Form for Photographs is in addition to the school district’s release form. If for example, there is a specific class activity that you wish Susan to observe and photograph please have students and their parents or guardians complete and sign the form ahead of time.
  • Letter to your Principal – a sample letter to your principal explaining the purpose of the visit. Susan will personalize the letter on OELMA letterhead and email it to you so thHilltopESRighttoReadcropFat you can give it to your principal.
  • Sample Press Release for OELMA visit – the sample press release may be used to promote OELMA’s visit.
  • Sample Questions – the sample questions can help give focus to the interview and help uncover some of the exciting things you are doing in your library media center.

The Gala Committee is looking for photos of OELMA members doing what you do best – teaching and helping students @your media center.  We have created a form for you to upload your photos and with it a brief description of your photo(s).  Here is the link:  It’s OELMA’s 40th year anniversary so we want to celebrate YOU and your unwavering support of OELMA through the decades.  On Thursday evening, October 13, 2016, at the Hilton Polaris, 8700 Lyra Drive, Columbus, we will hold the Gala.  As part of the festivities we will feature YOUR photos in a video, produced by Kenston High School students.  So browse your photos, Twitter, Facebook for the photos that capture life in your media center.


Are you looking to gain more leadership skills in your profession? Want to be part of a change-making network of school librarians? Now is the time to say YES to OELMA leadership! 
On behalf of the OELMA Nominations committee, we are currently seeking OELMA members interested in running for several OELMA Board positions beginning in January 2017. We are excited to bring you some brand new, interest-based Board positions which will allow you to focus on one one main aspect of library leadership! 
As most of you are aware, OELMA has brand new Board positions as a result of our Re-Envisioning committee. I have created a short (4 minute) Youtube video with the basics to catch everyone up to speed on the 3 new positions we have openings for, in addition to the open Executive Board positions of Secretary and Vice President. The link to read more information and apply is also below for you!
-I am aware some of you have Youtube blocked at school-please watch when able.
Candidate application: 
Once you apply, one of our Nominations Committee members will be in touch with you personally! 
General Information on open positions Doc: 
The deadline to apply is June 30th. If you have any questions, please contact Co-Chair Deb Logan or me at the email addresses below. 

I can tell you that for me saying YES to being on the OELMA Board has opened doors for me professionally that I didn’t know existed. I gained so much more than I ever thought from leading at the state level! With our new Board governance, being a Director can really be the catalyst for you to influence change and grow as a librarian (and we have a ton of fun too)! 
Thank you for your support of OELMA,
Angela Wojtecki (Co-Chair, Nominations Committee)
Deb Logan (Co-Chair, Nominations Committee) 
AND a VERY SPECIAL Thanks to our Nominations Committee Members:
Annie Ruefle, Joanna McNally, Dr. Meghan Harper 

In honor of OELMA’s 40th Anniversary– we wanted to showcase some of our current OELMA members doing some exciting things and being honored by others in their schools and communities. Please see our 1st edition of OELMA Celebrates! linked below for you. 
You will also find a link within the Smore with a link if YOU want to submit something for our next edition! 




Have you ever thought of assuming a leadership role in OELMA?  Since an overwhelming majority of OELMA members voted to restructure the board, three exciting new director positions will open up for 2017.  No longer will geographic regions define our organization.  Instead, new competency-based positions (as recommended in Coerver and Byers’ Race for Relevance) will breathe new life into OELMA.  

Over the next two years, the twelve regional director positions will be phased out and replaced by six new directors, each of whom will serve a two year term as a liaison to a strategic committee.  We are currently looking for enthusiastic, qualified candidates to run for director liaison to the Awards, Communication, and Conference strategic committees.

Are you interested in working with the Scholarship and Awards subcommittee?  Run for the Awards Strategic Committee Director position, and help establish and carry out awards and scholarship procedures.

Perhaps you would prefer to work with the Library Promotions and Advocacy, Publications, and Technology subcommittees as the director of the Communication Strategic Committee.  Here, you would help establish and carry out communications and procedures.

If helping plan the conference is more up your alley, consider running for director of the Conference Strategic Committee.  This director will work with the Vice President and be responsible for the conference.  Many staff members help plan the conference, so rest assured that if you run for this position, you will have a lot of support.

In addition to the new director positions, two executive positions will open up next year:  Vice President and Secretary.  

The Vice President will serve a three year term (a year as Vice President, then as President, then as Past President) and will perform the duties of the president in the president’s absence or incapacity.  If elected to this office, you would also chair the Annual Conference held in conjunction with the Annual Membership Meeting.

If you would prefer to keep the minutes of all membership meetings and board meetings, consider running for a two year term as Secretary.  If elected, you would prepare and submit summaries of the meeting minutes for publication (in separate books provided for that purpose).

Regardless of their position, all board members take an active role in shaping our professional organization. Attending face-to-face meetings in January, May, October, and December and virtual meetings in March and August, submitting reports prior to board meetings, writing newsletter articles four times a year and blog posts three times a year, and performing other necessary duties determined by the board empowers board members to work together to shape OELMA’s present and future.

In 2018, the Treasurer, Operations Strategic Committee Director, Teaching and Learning Strategic Committee Director, and Regional Representation Strategic Committee Director positions will open up, providing members with even more opportunities to run for office.

However involved you are, we urge you to kick it up a notch.  In this time of great change for libraries, we are excited to help shape the reputation and future of our profession.  We must support each other, advocate, and constantly seek out new learning and networking opportunities.  

Please consider running for office since we need enthusiastic candidates to keep OELMA strong.  Look for the OELMA Candidate Profile for Election on the listserv sometime before this July, or contact Kate Brunswick at for more information.  Voting will take place this August.  We hope to see you on the ballot!


Fifteen years ago, a hiring principal asked me where I saw myself in ten years. I said, “A Reading Recovery specialist”. Well, fifteen years later I am entering my fifth year as a licensed Library Media Specialist after having taught reading and math in the general classroom. And in a way, I have become that reading recovery specialist. I am probably like many of you, our educational visions shift but our overall goals of wanting students to be successful does not. One of the most struggling things to hear, as a teacher and or librarian, is that a child cannot find anything to read. Depending on the curriculum or class reading assignment, I often see children wandering the stacks looking at covers and their overwhelming number of pages for the perfect read. I decided to build a small collection of books called the Reader’s Cafe just for these students in its own section of the Media Center. This mini collection holds each section of Dewey that fit my building’s curriculum requirements as well as various fictional titles. This collection is geared toward the student that is not reading on grade level. I use a strategy that I used in my general classrooms at the start of the school year where I discuss how everyone has strengths and weaknesses and learning is different for everyone too. But now I take my new fifth graders to this section in the Media Center during our tour and point out my bumble bee stuffed animal. I proceed to discuss that this is special collection of library books and its “no buddies Bee-nize” what you read from this shelves or any other shelves in the library. Then as needed, I am able to guide students to this section to find a great read! I am happy to say that the Reader’s Cafe has been very successful. Not only do I have students selecting books with comfort and most importantly with something they CAN read, but teachers love this area too. They have found it very helpful to direct their specific students to this area when they assisting themselves or identify it on a pass for me to assist students. In addition, our MRD students now have an area that is easier for them to select books from too. And even though I am not an official Reading Recovery specialist, I know that I am a specialist in ensuring all my students can find something in their library that they can enjoy and READ. Kim Hamlin Little Miami Intermediate School





For more information and to register, please visit the LitCon 2016 website:

A special Thank You to our Lit Con 2016 Partners:  
INFOhio, NEO-RLS, Ohio Center for the Book, Lora Gray, Perry Public Library, Wickliffe Public Library, Mentor Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, Barnes & Noble and Perry High School.


It’s not too late!!

CBus LitCamp: Ignite Your Story Power is being held on Friday 4/22 at the State Library of Ohio — and it’s going to be Dynamite!

Patrick Jones, Shelly Pearsall, Carmella VanVleet, Jody Casella, Natalie Richards, Linda Stanek, and more!

Sessions for Elementary, Middle, and High School!

All day OR 1/2 day — at a very reasonable price — register NOW!


The deadline to apply for an OELMA award or scholarship is Friday, April 1 at 5:00 PM. I can’t wait to read about all of your great programs and ideas. If you haven’t done so already- now is the time to act! Let us know if you have any questions about the awards. Click on the Awards and Scholarships tab for more information.



Are you pursuing your licensure in school library/media? Do you know someone who is? Would $500 help toward tuition? If so- it’s time to nominate yourself, or a friend for one of our two scholarships- The J. Allen Oakum Scholarship, or the OELMA Scholarship. Please click on the Awards/Scholarships tab for more information.


On Friday, April 22, 2016, at the State Library of Ohio, 274 East First Avenue, OELMA holds Cbus LitCamp: Ignite Your Story Power.  From 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., converse with authors and network with librarians from across the state.  The Cbus LitCamp website contains more information about the day’s events as well as registration information. Go to   Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. followed by YA teen author, Patrick Jones at 9:30 a.m. who will discuss how to reach non-reading teens.  From 10:30 to 11:25 a.m. spark your interest with presenters Annie Ruefle, Jody Casella and Natalie Richards, and Christina Dorr.  From 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. ignite your story power with author Jessica Fry-Gaither, Karen Hildebrand, and Sarah Ressler.  At 1:00 p.m. join Ohio author Shelley Pearsall who will discuss her new book The Seventh Most Important Thing.  From 2:00 to 2:55 p.m. fan the reading flame with Nancy Boone and Belinda Boon, Betsy Carpenter, and an exciting author panel with Carmella VanVleet, Julie DeVillers, and Linda Stanek.  At 3:00 p.m. attendees will heat up the conversation with an opportunity to discuss burning issues in reading, literacy, and librarianship.  Spend the night at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capital Square so you can attend the Ohioana Book Festival.  OELMA is sponsoring the YA Lounge with lots of exciting things for teens and youth such as a makerspace, Pop-Up Battle Over Books, Poetry Slam, Speed Dating with Authors and much more.  Go here for more information on the Ohioana Book Festival  –


Do you know your way around the School Library Bill of Rights?

As an interpretation of ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, this document, revised last in 2014, spells out our responsibilities to our patrons – our students.  Find the statement at the following link:

Do you know someone who “walks the talk” and has been a champion for intellectual freedom for their students?

Then nominate them ASAP for OELMA’s Intellectual Freedom Award – see the description at the following link:

Deadline is April 1st, so don’t wait!


  The next award winner could be you, or someone you know! It’s time to think about nominating yourself or a colleague for the OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award. This award recognizes an Ohio licensed school librarian, who develops an exemplary school library program, collaborates with classroom teachers, implements technology-integrated instruction, and advocates for school libraries. Apply for the award, or nominate someone today!


Over three years ago I was introduced to the idea of genre-fying a library collection through the listserv and again from conversing with a colleague at a midwinter conference. The idea wasn’t completely far-fetched. I had already placed genre labels on some books based on teacher assignments. And for a while, this seemed to be enough. Students browse the shelves and still quickly identify books. The idea of genre-fying reached a tipping point when students (and teachers) began to ask for books based on genre and looking it up in the catalog weren’t enough. The switch was not taken lightly. Many thoughts came to mind…

  • Would students like it?
  • Would I be doing my job of teaching students how to access a library collection? 
  • How do I reflect the changes in my catalog?
  • What genres should I use?
  • What do I do for books that cross genre lines?
  • What if I (or someone else) would need to reverse this?

How much work would this be?

After discussing this with a colleague, I began to devise my plan in the spring of 2014 and informally surveyed my students and teachers for their opinions. The best advice serendipitously came from the listserv.

The 2014-15 was the school year that I took the plunge by labeling books, changing the book records and having student helpers design new genre labels for the shelves. None of this would have been possible without the extensive help from my student library helpers. Finally at the end of the 2014-15 school year, I arranged the books on the shelves by genre so that it would be ready for the new year. 

Was genre-fying my fiction collection worth the trouble? 
The short answer…YES! The students love it. The most frequent comment is that it is much easier to browse the shelves and find what they want. Not only did my circulation statistics improve by 26% as compared to the same period last year, but I also had 38% increase in holds placed. Shelving is a little more challenging, but in my opinion, the results were worth it.

Interested in genre-fying your library? You may want to consider attending the OELMA-sponsored “Genre-fy Your Library” workshop on March 8th. Registration information:


Of course they are!  And to demonstrate, apply for either OELMA’s Outstanding School Library District– or Individual School Library – Award.  Or nominate another library or district that exemplifies outstanding!

What does outstanding look like?
·      Collaboration with classroom teachers and other specialists
·      Maker space activities
·      Integrated technology use
·      Literacy and book promotion
·      Inquiry, inquiry, inquiry!
·      Physical and virtual Learning Commons
·      Yes, all this and more!

Check out the OELMA Awards and Scholarships tab for more information.  Application deadline is April 1st – but start the process now!​

The Grammy Awards may be over- but you still have time to nominate a colleague for an OELMA Award! Think about nominating a leader you know, or yourself for one of the OELMA Leadership awards!
The Outstanding Administrator Award recognizes an Ohio school administrator who has made significant contributions to the planning , implementation, and/or support of school library programs, resulting in improved program quality and increased student learning.

The Outstanding Contributor Award honors an Ohio licensed school librarian who has made outstanding contributions to school librarianship. The honoree has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the school library profession, while serving in OELMA leadership roles. 
Click on the Awards tab for more information.

April 1st is the deadline, but don’t wait until the last minute! Start gathering your ideas and get those applications in!


Librarians, teachers and students in grades 7-12 are invited to attend an author extravaganza and literary conference at LitCon 2016, held at Perry High School, Perry, Ohio on May 17, 2016.

LitCon 2016 will be a fabulous day to meet 9 amazing YA authors! Interact with LitCon authors throughout the day!  All authors will participate in author panel discussions, conduct workshops related to writing and getting published and will be available for meet-and-greet book signings. In addition to the authors, accomplished guests from the National Writing Project and public library world will also be on hand to conduct workshops.

Come and enjoy an educational and entertaining day celebrating teen and YA literature at LitCon 2016, presented by OELMA. To add to this YA occasion, we encourage you and your students to get in the ‘con’ spirit by coming to LitCon 2016 dressed as your favorite literary character! For more details and to register, please visit   

Follow us on Twitter #LitConOELMA.


That’s why OELMA offers awards to organizations and individuals in both arenas.  They are:

The Literacy Leader Award   — recognizing community organizations for  exemplary support .  This award honors groups supporting literacy programs, which reinforce student learning.

Information Technology Innovation Award  — recognizing school librarians who design, develop, and implement innovative uses of technology in instruction. This award spotlights the importance of emerging technologies in supporting student learning.

See the Awards/Scholarships Tab on the OELMA homepage for more information on each, as well as Past Winners.

Deadline for nominations is 4/1/16 – but it’s not too early to start the process now!

 Are you ready for Awards Season? The Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards- and the OELMA Awards! Think about nominating a leader you know, or yourself for one of the OELMA Leadership awards!
1. The Emerging Leader Award recognizes OELMA members who have recently assumed an OELMA leadership role for the first time. This Award honors members who demonstrate leadership potential and encourages members’ active participation in the Association.
2. OELMA’s Leadership-in-Action Award recognizes an Ohio school librarian pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA). This award honors OELMA members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to leadership in the school library profession.
For more information click on the Awards/Scholarships tab.
April 1st is the deadline, but don’t wait until the last minute! Start gathering your ideas and get those applications in!


We’re at the end of January already, and a new Awards and Scholarships season is taking shape!  Marie Sabol and I are co-chairing with some returning and some new members, and we’re ready to see the great talent we have in Ohio by seeing those applications start rolling in.  They are due April 1st (which will get here sooner than we think), and here’s a quick rundown of the many Awards & Scholarships OELMA offers.  See the Awards & Scholarships drop down tab above for more information — and stay tuned here on this blog for more detailed information on each:

Emerging Leader Award

Floyd Dickman Programming Award 

Information Technology Innovation Award

Intellectual Freedom Award

Leadership-in-Action Award

Literacy Leader Award

OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award

Outstanding Administrator Award

Outstanding Contributor Award

Outstanding School Library District Award

Outstanding Individual School Library Award

 J. Allen Oakum Scholarship

 The OELMA Scholarship

 Read On, Ohio! Award for Children and Teens 

This was one of the biggest debates when I was in library school.  I chose Shelfari for various reasons, mostly because I liked the look of it and my mentor used it also.  Goodreads social aspect didn’t (and still doesn’t) do much for me.  I have noticed over the years that more and more people seemed to be dropping the Goodreads name and not so much Shelfari anymore.  Even my library’s 50 Book Challenge moved to Goodreads this January!  So I began to ponder…Do I migrate to Goodreads?  I have close to 600 books stored in Shelfari – the process of moving them over is, let’s just say something I don’t even want to think about.

 Well, Amazon just made my decision for me.  Amazon is closing up Shelfari which it has owned since 2008 and moving on with Goodreads which it had acquired in 2013.   As I am writing this blog, my 580 books which currently are on my Shelfari shelf are being moved to my Goodreads shelf.  Now I won’t have to do it myself and I can rejoin my library’s 50 Book Challenge which is good since I have already read three books since the New Year started.

 Let’s meet on Goodreads – we’ll talk books.  It’s my favorite thing to do.

OELMA, State Library of Ohio, INFOhio, and the Ohio PTA formed a collaborative partnership two years ago to create Reading ‘Round the Clock.  As part of this powerful partnership, I have been privileged to work with Janet Ingraham-Dwyer (State Library of Ohio), Emily Rozmus (INFOhio), and Sue Owens (PTA) to create two dynamite products that you can share with your local PTA as well as teachers and administrators.  First, are the So You’re Parenting flyers available on the INFOhio website.  These handouts provide reading tips to help parents and caregivers of children pre-school through 3rd grade.  Second, are three videos entitled Reading on the Go, Reading for a Purpose, and Reading on the Screen.  The idea of these videos is to promote the idea that reading can happen anytime, anywhere!  Using local actors and locations, Janet, Emily, and I created the scripts and worked with TRUE Studio in Lewis Center to produce them.  The videos were made possible by a grant through the State Library of Ohio.  More information about these products will be sent out via the listserv in the coming weeks so stay tuned.


I am working on my New Year’s resolutions.  My cornerstone for the year is JOY.  This will be the thread that runs through all of my choices for 2016.  I believe joy and passion are often found hand in hand, so PASSION is my theme.  I am passionate about the school library profession; and all it has to offer. Why should this this of interest to members of OELMA?  Because I am challenging you to find your passion.  My passion is three-fold, professional development, literacy and building community.  All three of which I find in our OELMA profession.  Not only that, but I find opportunities to learn from others and share what I’ve learned while working within the OELMA community.  OELMA has committees that need people, opportunities to share, and chances to learn.  Please share your passion with your OELMA community, we need you.  Email me if you are ready to be involved and have a passion to share:  I have a perfect spot for you!


Here are two quotes I will be hanging above my desk this year.  Do you have a quote you keep where you can always see it?  Please share it on our OELMA listserv.


Librarians are almost always very helpful and often almost absurdly knowledgeable. Their skills are probably very underestimated and largely underemployed.

–Charles Medawar


Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities.

–R. David Lankes


 As I wrap up my Presidential year (which is so hard to believe), I began to reflect about the conversations I have had with many of our members regarding many topics which are affecting our profession. One school librarian brought up something that I still think about: other teachers can teach essentially the same content year after year and their content and expectations really never changes completely (even with testing and standards). School librarians do not have this “luxury.” Our content is always changing and we must change with it. We will never “master” our content, rather, we are learning new resources, technology, content, and we continue to just keep growing in order to give our students the best possible success we can give them for their futures. Sometimes it feels like we are drowning in new things required of us, sometimes it is less overwhelming, but we keep swimming nonetheless. Why? Because it is the profession we chose. 

         We chose and continue to say YES to this profession because we strive to always learn something new and then share it with others. Did we hear about a new tech tool and then try it? YES-maybe even a few times. Did we learn about a new app and then share it with our teachers after we tried it too? YES. Did we attend a conference or webinar and then share the notes with others? YES. Did we pay out of our own pocket and attend a workshop so that we could be better librarians? YES and YES. Do we consistently renew our OELMA membership annually? YES. My point in all this is that there is a cost to our profession-it may be monetary for many of you and it may push you to sometimes re-think why you said yes to going to library school. But if we aren’t the faces of the School Librarians 2.0, then who will be? Will there be a School Librarian 3.0 if the 2.0s say NO? If we wanted to be in a profession where we did not have to try new things and grow with the changing educational culture then maybe some serious reflection is needed.

This past year I have met many school librarians that are deeply concerned about our profession but I can tell you from where I am standing and especially after AASL in Columbus, our future is as bright as we are willing to make it. No one else is going to stand up for us and guarantee us anything without our sweat and determination. Many of our administrators and colleagues do not really get what we do-but one thing is certain: we are the face of school librarianship for today and we need to always remember this and break the sterotypes. And if we want a future where we can make an impact, we need to keep saying yes to whatever comes our way. Otherwise who will really need us? 

With the vote in, OELMA members support the changes to the OELMA governing structure.  For information on the changes visit the screencast prepared by Immediate Past President Susan Yutzey and Trent Roberts –

 After the first of the year, members of the Task Force will re-convene to examine the committee structure in more depth with a proposal to follow.  The Task Force will also work with Kate Brunswick to revise the OELMA By-laws to incorporate the changes to the governing board.  The By-laws will be presented to the Board of Directors at the Saturday, February 5, 2016, meeting.  Following the Board’s approval, OELMA members will vote to approve the By-law revisions.  The vote will be conducted online.

 Assuming the timeline can be met by mid-March, the Nominations Committee can begin working on the slate for 2017 with the new governing structure.

 Thank you to all who provided feedback during the Google Hangouts and the Annual Meeting (October 3, 2015).  We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the Task Force.

 Wishing you a happy holiday season.

Posted by OELMA on behalf of Kris Baker

Wouldn’t everyone love to learn something new? Between evaluations, testing and teaching the last thing most people want to see on their calendar is an after school PD session.  Last May the curriculum director in my district asked me to create a Google Form to survey the staff on the type of professional development offerings that they would find the most beneficial.  Not only did we find out what teachers wished to learn more about, we also found out how they wanted to learn it–asynchronously.  I love that word.  I love to say it.  I love how it sounds.  Weird, huh?  But, the idea seemed to be what the masses were asking for. 

After looking at some options, I assured my curriculum director that a Google Classroom would be a great way to conduct this professional development.  I collected some lists of resources like Infohio’s 21 Things, recorded Google webinars by Eric Curts (SPARCC), Infohio webinars and Google on Air’s virtual conference.  In order to receive credit (CEUs or workshop credit via Ashland University) the teachers would need to complete 10 hours of webinars and attend 3 face to face meetings and record a lesson that demonstrates their classroom use of resources learned in this PD.  During the first meeting we went over the requirements and got everyone signed into the Google Classroom.  The course was entitled Charting Your Own Course.  This will allow the teachers to choose from a list of webinars that will fit their classroom needs.  We used John Green’s TED Talk (The Nerd’s Guide to Learning Everything Online, Nov 2012) as an introduction to our personal learning community (PLC.)  The discussion revolved around trying to find what you need in a vast and seemingly endless sea of technology and resource tools. 

In the future meetings, we will have a Tech Slam to share new and exciting things that the teachers have discovered and finally a showcase of the videotaped lessons.  Overall, the learning will take place on their own schedule and at their own pace.  Within the Google Classroom a shared spreadsheet has been added for teachers to list new and exciting resources that they find.  So far, more than twenty items have been shared.  Everything from World Book Online’s Comparison tool to  Tools that can be used at multiple levels and in many different situations. 

The overall reaction for the teachers has been very positive.  They like the idea of finding what they think is relevant to their classrooms.  The curriculum director is pleased with the price–free.  I am happy that we’ve moved our PD ideas into an asynchronous environment.  Learn on, even if it is in your pajamas at 11:30 on a Saturday afternoon.   


With each new school year, teachers, parents, administrators and educational staff are bombarded with something new.  Often there are several new somethings:  curriculum, software, guidelines, processes, rules, systems.  Despite the many changes, there is one constant – something that never gets old, even when compared to the new.  Can you guess what that is?

 INFOhio’s back-to-school goals are aligned closely to the changes happening in districts across the state.  Going 1:1?  Here are the digital resources you need to help, and here’s how you can add our resources’ widgets to your learning management system.  Switching to BYOD?  Our site is mobile friendly and you can create bookmarks on your mobile devices.  Maker spaces or STEM-driven?  Check out our tools to help you get the movement going.  Here at INFOhio, we are dedicated to making the task easier, the search shorter and the planning smoother.  Here are just a few tips to help you deal with everything new:

●     Use our Instructional Bags as sub plans or for blizzard bags.  They’re all aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards for maximum student learning.

●     Put the ISearch widget on your district website, and on teacher websites.  It will lead students to reliable sources from multiple databases.

●     Use Science Online’s virtual experiments for blended learning.  Students can do experiments from the safety of their own homes and discuss what they learned in class.

●     Hold a College and Career Readiness night at your school.  Use INFOhio’s Guides as a resource to get your students on the right path.

●     Tackle online testing skills with our helpful Pearltree.  Choose a different skill daily and let your students strengthen their digital literacy.

●     Use BookFlix in your literacy centers.  This fun reading interface will increase student engagement and enjoyment of reading.

 Have you figured out what stays the same no matter what changes?  Take a look at the tips above.  Who is the group mentioned every time?  Students!  More specifically – students’ learning.  No matter what learning management system your district chooses, no matter how staff is evaluated, no matter what devices your district uses, one thing stays the same:  We are here for students.  Period.  INFOhio is proud to provide you and your learners with the resources and tools that will enable all districts meet this goal.  Have a great year!

 INFOhio ILibrarian – Emily Rozmus on behalf of INFOhio

I started as the new district Library Media Specialist with Manchester Local Schools this fall. The high school library is a huge area and although I’m sure a number of you envy that, it sometimes comes with stress. The wall across from the circulation desk is one giant bulletin board. I wondered what I could do without having to cover the entire thing with paper. I resorted to borrowing someone else’s creativity. The YMCA in Cuyahoga Falls always has a very successful summer camp and some creative person made a tree, complete with leaves that they displayed during the camp. I thought about recreating it but realized that I probably wasn’t capable of making it look as good. I asked what they were going to do with it when camp ended…they were happy to give it someone that could use it! I think it turned out great. The custodian at Manchester High School gets credit for coming up with the wording.



The next thing I needed to tackle was the circulation desk. Like most of you, my library is very old and the desk has been there since the dawn of time…it seems! The bottom of the desk was peeling and it is a very light wood color…very boring.  Thank you to Pinterest. I found a wonderful, very modern looking white circulation desk that had what looked like a Wordle on the front of it. Not sure if it would work with my dated desk but I called up a friend that sells Simply Said and we decided to give it a go….I am very pleased with the results. Just goes to show you that you don’t need a lot of talent or money (I have neither) to update a space. Now to tackle my house….!!!


October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month.  President Obama issued the first national proclamation establishing National Information Literacy Awareness Month in 2009.  This was the first time that this important 21st century skill set received federal attention at the national level (National Forum for Information Literacy).  Since 2009, twenty-five states and one territory have issued Information Literacy Awareness Proclamations and Ohio is one of the twenty-five according to Professor Sharon Weiner, W. Wayne Booker Chair in Information Literacy at Purdue University Library.  In 2012, Governor Kasich in his proclamation set out to “remind all citizens of the importance of the role of all libraries and librarians – academic, public, school and special – in teaching information literacy, which fosters educational opportunities, economic prosperity, social cohesion, democracy, and quality of life.”  The upcoming 2016 presidential election certainly illuminates the importance of information literacy practice across the nation but what do you do as the information specialists in your building, in your district to help students and teachers? “Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College” (Head 2013) conducted by University of Washington’s Project Information Literacy illuminates that the Google-centric search skills that first year students bring from high school are insufficient and will only get them “so far with finding and using the trusted sources they need for fulfilling college research assignments” (Head 2013).  So this year, I want to know what YOU are doing in your building or district to help students identify the information that is needed, understand how the information is organized, identify the best sources of information for a given need, locate those sources, evaluate the sources critically, and then share the information?  I have created a Google Community at for you to post instructional videos, lesson plans, websites, etc. for the school librarian community as part of Information Literacy Awareness Month.  This is how school librarians roll!


Yes, you can, according to Joyce Valenza! How? You can sign up to participate in the late-night AASL (un)Conference. Check out this really cool event at and read more about it at  This sounds like an amazing social learning event. Could also be a great model for PD on a local level. #aaslunconf


I am really excited about the upcoming October 3rd day-long event.  I get to choose between learning about MakerSpaces or ideas on becoming an author, and as a bonus I get a tour of the Columbus School for Girls Beaton Library and one of the most innovative branches of the Columbus Public Library.  But more than any of those things I am excited about the items to be presented at our annual meeting.

 We need to be a viable, powerful organization that supports us as we do our best job every day at school.  In order for that to occur, we need to have our membership present and attentive at this meeting so we all listen, learn, and approve necessary changes to continue to be the organization we deserve.   We need to speak if we have concerns, praise if we are in agreement, and we need to support our OELMA Board as they work hard for us.  After which I get to applaud members of our OELMA organization as they receive awards, I love to support our own. 

Finally, I get to hear an amazing young award-winning author!  I don’t know about you, but students like Maya keep me going to work with a smile every day.   In her book she devotes countless paragraphs to her school library and her school librarian, which is one of the many reasons we selected her. “Our librarian, Ms. Corbeil, is one of a kind.  She welcomes all Social Outcasts and talks to us like we’re adults and worthy of her attention, something many of us don’t get very often.” (Vanwagenen, p.25)

This will be a wonderful day!  I plan to be there for the entire day enjoying every minute; I hope you will be, too.  But if you can’t make it all day, at least take the time to attend our annual meeting and stay for the amazing young author!  You will be glad you did.  Deadline to register is September25, 2015 and seating is limited.  If you live in the Columbus area, be sure to encourage your students to attend Maya’s event.


In 2016, OELMA will celebrate its 40th anniversary.  In those 40 years the school library landscape has undergone some dramatic changes, not to mention so has the role of the school librarian.  OELMA has been right there with you all the way.  Why?  Because it is your professional association governed by your colleagues who volunteer at least two years , in many cases longer, to make it happen.  Forty years ago our founders created the “By-Laws of the Ohio Educational Library Media Association” for YOU.  In those By-Laws, OELMA is required to hold an annual meeting.  “It shall be for the purpose of receiving reports, introducing officers, and conducting any other general business that may arise.”  This year the annual meeting is on Saturday, October 3, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Unicorn Theater, Columbus School for Girls, 56 S. Columbia Avenue, Columbus (43209).  At our annual meeting the Task Force on Re-envisioning OELMA’s Governance Structure will present its findings and its proposal, which was approved in principle by the OELMA Board at its August meeting.  You must be there to be part of the conversation, not only because we need a quorum as our founders stipulated in the By-Laws but also because it is YOUR association and its future is YOU.


School Library Journal recently published a fairly comprehensive article about the use of ebooks in school libraries. I found it particularly informative, if not reassuring, as I still grapple with how to best use, promote and purchase ebooks for my libraries.


Looking Back, Looking Forward. This was the title of an article written by Hilda Weisburg and Ruth Toor in the the June 2015 issue of American Libraries. The article was about a first-year school librarian’s assessment of the school year and how to close the library for summer. The title seemed applicable to starting a new school year in our library media centers, too.

Looking back, what truly awesome things did we do last year involving instructional strategies, technology, reading promotions or professional development? Will we repeat these things this year where they will have the greatest impact? We should! Tweaking is always in order to make what we do relevant, but I am a big believer in not reinventing the wheel when we have a good product. 

In contrast, what ‘new’ will we bring to the 2015-16 school year? What will we do to demonstrate that our library media programs are relevant and impact our students’ education? We’ve heard the words ‘reinventing’ and ‘evolving’ numerous times in our profession. ‘New’ can sometimes imply challenging or even overwhelming, but this does not have to be the case. 

One of my ‘new’ goals is about freshening up booktalks (looking back, looking forward!). As teachers find it more and more difficult to give up time with their students for booktalks, I will do ‘drop-in’ booktalks. These are five-minute booktalks. I’ll arrange with the teacher ahead of time the date and time for the drop-in booktalk. I’ll then drop in the classroom (saving travel time to the library for the students) and present one or two booktalks. It may seem like a soundbite situation, but I’ll have the kids’ attention. I plan to do these booktalks frequently, mostly when I have an aide or other adult to supervise the library for a brief period of time in my absence. Mixing it up a little bit more, I won’t be limiting the drop-in booktalks to just English or LA classes. Other content areas are ripe for booktalks –  The Disappearing Spoon in chemistry classes, All the Light You Cannot See in world history classes, for example. Be visible, and meet the students where they are – a constant in our profession.

What new goals will you set for this year? Will you look back and improve on a past item or will you look forward and tackle a brand new something? Good luck with your ‘new’ goals!


OH MY…the start of another year.  For me it means a new school.  I don’t know about you but the push to get a Library Media Center up and running (especially if you are new) is enough to make my head pop.  On the other hand it so exciting.  I always feel so accomplished when the tables are back in place, summer returns are back on the shelf, I can login to the circulation program.Then the students start coming and more excitement.  I try to step back and take a deep breathe then to remember that tomorrow will come and I’ll get another chance.  Seriously, I am a compulsive list maker.  It helps me keep track and cope with everything that needs to be done.  Feel free to jump in and add how you cope wth all the beginning of the year excitement.  


OELMA is representing again! On July 17th, OhioNET held their Dive into Data Conference and three of our OELMA members presented a session titled- Assessment Ready: Collaboration to Impact Student Achievement. The session focused on collaborative lessons and the kind of student data and evaluation they complete to demonstrate student learning. 
The school librarians that presented were: 
Deb Logan, school librarian, Mt. Gilead School District and Former OELMA President
Jessica Klinker, school librarian, South-Western City School District and OELMA Membership Committee Chair
Jamie Riley, school librarian, Dublin City School District and OELMA member
THANK YOU FOR REPRESENTING OELMA at the state level and sharing the impact school librarians make in our schools!
For more information regarding this conference please visit its official site at:


One of the things we all love about being school librarians is that we never know what is going to walk through the door.  The problem is we can’t be an expert at everything.  Some of us really love the book end of the job, others the tech.  Hopefully we are all in it for the kids and customer service otherwise we will some day end up being that old librarian shushing people in the corner who just needs to retire.

 If these last few years have taught me anything they have taught me to focus on the parts of the job I enjoy and learn the parts I am less knowledgeable in.  I personally love the book end of the job.  It has inspired me to genrefy not one, but two middle school libraries in two years and while the second school will come back to a newly organized media center, the first one loves the changes.  Now ask me if I’m friends with Google and that’s a different story.  Add the fact that my school is a Google school and sometimes we are not even on speaking terms.  But technology is a huge part of my job so I attend workshops and find assistance online to improve our relationship (honestly, I don’t work this hard on my marriage and I’ve been happily married for 25 years).

 On those days when Google gets me down, I think of all the good I have done with student literacy and that I do have technology knowledge to pass on with other programs and vendors.  So when friends are out there touting all the great things Google does, I’ve learned over time, not to point out what it can’t do.  I have learned, especially this year, my niche is somewhere else.  My niche is in my shelves and I am doing the best that I can on the shoe string budget that I have to build a dynamic collection for all of my students so their love of reading can spark and grow.  Reading is why I entered the field, it is my niche.



Recently, in NE Ohio an OELMA member, Michele Kuhar, announced that she was retiring. Soon she learned that her certified library position, along with two others, might not be replaced! Not wanting to be “shushed” Michele took action. Please read her statement and then peruse the handout and PowerPoint she created to address her Board of Education.

Michele: “Four years ago I was the district media coordinator. They discontinued that position. Three years ago I was transferred to a middle school after 12 years at the high school. They didn’t replace me there- it is managed by two paraprofessionals. This year the three of us who are certified media specialists at the middle schools decided to retire. I could see the writing on the wall (so to speak) so decided to organize some people to present the importance of certified LMS in the schools. Cherie Pandora and Holly Bunt agreed to help me, plus we had testimonials from a community member, a high school teacher and a former student. Our teachers’ union was very supportive and made some good suggestions as well.”


BOE-Word Document





Most of us are all (or close to) that glorious season we call: summer! I always think every year will get easier closing up my libraries at the end of the school year and getting ready for summer, but inevitably, there is never enough time to get done everything I aim to complete. “Well, there is always August and those extended days…” I think to myself. I am sure I am not alone in this lack of time as we close our libraries after another busy year of checkouts, trainings, lessons, activities, projects, collaborations, and never-ending technology troubleshooting.

 To kick-off summer, I thought I would make a comedic, yet semi-accurate, top 10 list—on the topic of:


 10.    Catch up on sleep-or at least try to! No more 5:30a.m. alarm going off, and is anything more wonderful than a leisurely cup of hot coffee to start the day?

 9.    Clean the home office. Let’s face it: our home offices looks like a tornado hit them by the time June rolls around. Stacks of post-its, notes, and lists cover my desk most of the school year. Summer is my time to get them all cleaned up and organized-just in time to start the paper disaster all over in August!

 8.    Professional development—conferences for school librarians such as ALA, ISTE, Summer Symposiums (NEO-RLS), INFOhio Bootcamp, and the OWL workshop (OELMA- created) are all opportunities to get in the KNOW and stay current with topics and trends. P.S. Did you register for AASL in November?

 7.    Clean out emails. Personally, I LOVE this activity because de-cluttering my email inbox and designated “work” folders is one of my favorite things to do! I love knowing that my inbox only contains what it needs to-and the work email is taking a much-needed vacation too-most of the time.

 6.    Travel. Many of us take our talents to other locations such as beaches, famous U.S. landmarks, Disney parks, other countries, and out-of-state family homes to visit and take some time to just breathe and relax. This is important for all of us-even a day trip where you don’t have to look at your phone or watch can be one of the best days all year!

 5.    Meeting up with those other school librarians friends. I love summer because it allows me to get together with my friends that are as equally, if not more, busy as me during the school year. Grab a lunch, spend the afternoon at a bookstore, or go swimming—any of these activities sound wonderful when you are able to catch up with those long-lost librarian friends and just talk about fun non-work related things!

 4.    Read just for FUN. We love reading all year round-yes, but being able to pick ANY book from the pile of “summer reading” and just sit and read is priceless. Reading a non-YA title (that’s my audience at school) while sipping on some lemonade in my sunroom on a lazy afternoon is basically my idea of a perfect vacation!

 3.    Binge watch television/movies. Maybe it is just me (sorry if you don’t do this), but I enjoy spending a few hours/days/weeks? (don’t judge) and totally unplug watching some television or movies via Netflix or other streaming service. I am able to get all caught up on certain shows that I cannot stay awake for during the school year (see #10 for reference on that). I like to also watch movies that others always talk about all school year long but due to TIME, am unable to watch/stay awake to finish. Also- I do need to re-watch those classics such as You’ve Got Mail and The Notebook. Be sure to ask Susan Yutzey about her recommendation of Hallmark movies if you are in the need of some exciting, new movies to watch!

 2.    Get ideas for the next school year. I am always thinking about ideas to get my library the place to be for my students. Whether I am on Pinterest, Etsy, or just reading some online articles-there are great ideas out there when leisurely surfing the web. Even though we aren’t working officially—we really always are thinking about work (or is it just me)?

 1.     Re-charge those mental batteries with some laughter, fun, and relaxation! Let’s face it-all school year we are non-stop working, planning, and working some more. Summer is our time to unwind and relax a little-and have some out of school FUN! I am really looking forward to no one interrupting me asking a “quick question” which then turns into an all-day quest for assistance. I love not having a to-do list a mile long.  I also look forward to those lazy summer days of not having to rush home to take care of something around the house or join after-school webinar. I am sure all of us will do some form of “library work” over the summer, but at least we know we have several weeks of summer to sit back, read a book or two or ten, and just be. Enjoy your summer school librarians-you definitely deserve it!


With the conclusion of the February 2015 Board meeting, regional directors and members of the Executive Committee broke into groups based on the 2015 OELMA Strategic Plan.  President Angela Wojtecki asked me to lead the Education/Professional Development team.  The team includes dedicated regional directors:  Lori Guerrini, Lisa Garrison, Kris Baker, Connie Carnicom, Michelle Smart, Brandi Young, and Karen Gedeon.  In February, we discussed developing an OELMA Education/PD Framework that would help guide the association in the creation and delivery of professional development to meet the changing landscape of school librarianship.  At May’s Board meeting we discussed the idea of developing core competencies using the SLMS/Teacher Librarian Evaluation Rubric as a guide.  Our conference call in late May helped us to solidify the core competencies and by our August Board meeting we will have defined the core competencies we identified.  Now here is what is intriguing about the world of “professional development.”  Is this what we as professionals want?  Recently I had occasion to read a blog entitled “Moving from professional development to personal learning” by Fred Ende on the SmartBlog for Education (  “Development is something that happens to you; learning is something that you make happen. “Learning” puts the work in the hands of those directly involved (as opposed to “development,” which often happens whether we want it to or not), and we can only truly learn when we have a personal stake in what is being explored” says Ende.  So what does this mean for OELMA?  What does it mean for you, as the school librarian in your building or in your district who is often times tapped to lead professional development?  As an association we will continue to press on with this intriguing question and invite you to join the conversation through our OELMA1 Twitter #OELMAplj (OELMA Personal Learning Journey).


Okay maybe not on the “official” weather calendar summer, but on our school calendars.  I’m sure you’re first thought is, finally …. closely followed by, time to sleep in!  But once those initially thoughts are over, what are you really going to do?  Most of us will do some kind of professional development. We are professionals and we know the value of gaining new knowledge, and this is when we have the time.

Just in case you haven’t planned everything for your all too short summer, here are a few suggestions:  OWL (Ohio Writer’s League) date Monday, June 15, 2015 or Monday, June 22, is a great choice if you want to develop your inner writer (  As librarians, I know each of us has a story to tell.  Time2Make, Tuesday, June 9th, join in at Eli Pinney Elementary School for an un-makerspace event.  As a participant, you decide the direction you would like the event to take.  Bring your own lunch and enjoy this informal time for conversation and ideas about Maker Spaces. Designing and implementing a space for students to express their creativity would add spark to any library space.  The Mazza Summer Conference, authors and illustrators, July 13-17, ( enough said! INFOhio’s Virtual bootcamp, Training to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, held online August 4-5,   and here’s one you might not know about, the ILE, Ohio Innovative Learning Environment (, August 5-7, at my high school, Bradley High School, Hilliard, Ohio. This small, but energizing conference is a great way to get energized for the new school year.

There are so many great opportunities out there for us, so dive on in and enjoy!! 

Also, join our OELMA hashtag #OELMAreads and tell us what you are reading this summer.

Learn With INFOhio!

INFOhio’s FREE Professional Development offerings are an easy way to meet your required CEUs while learning about great resources and tools you can use for yourself and with your students! 

August 4-5, 2015

INFOhio’s 4th Annual Virtual Boot Camp


 Register now to attend
… before it’s too late!   


Session 1 – Tuesday, August 4, 2015  9:00-10:00

Adventures of an App-Smashing Librarian  

One App is great, but this session will show you how App-Smashing, combining 2 or more apps, can make presentations, tutorials and learning experiences deeper and more versatile. This session will focus on how combining the video app Tellagami with iMovie and the Explain Everything app allows teachers and students to create engaging lessons, tutorials, and integrated presentations.


Amy Gibson, Library Media Specialist


Writing and Researching Online with Google Drive 

Learn how to use Google Drive to monitor student progress, provide feedback, encourage collaboration, and improve your instruction of the research and/or writing processes.

Don’t require a lot of writing or research? Attend anyway to find of creative and inventive ways to use Google documents, sheets, and forms.


Ryan Novak, English teacher

Session 2 – Tuesday, August 4, 2015  10:15-11:15  

Capes or No Capes: Graphic Novels to Make Your Brain Bigger  

Join graphic novel-aholics public youth librarian Laura Perenic and middle school language arts teacher Emily Donner as they share reasons why kids like graphic novels, their importance to reading comprehension, and the ideal titles to have in your library or classroom.  Gather authentic student reactions to graphic novels and  their “general awesomeness.” Don’t miss this presentation about the vital and necessary role graphic novels play in readers advisory, lesson plans and library services.  Build your zombie apocalypse survival kit with graphic novels!  POW! BAM! WHAP!


Emily Donner, English Language Arts teacher 

Laura Perenic, Children’s and Teen Librarian


A Graphic Novel Digital Kit for the Digital Librarian  

This presentation will focus on the components of a graphic novel digital kit developed by Stow-Munroe Falls Public Librarian Kristin Casale. The kit includes numerous tools needed to develop a graphic novel collection, plan comic-based programs, work with comics in the classroom, and more. This kit primarily serves school-age children up through 6th grade, though some aspects can be utilized in the middle school classroom.


Kristin Casale, Children’s Librarian

Session 3 – Tuesday, August 4, 2015  12:15-1:15

Turning Zombies into Zombie Hunters: Flipping Library Instruction

The Instructional Librarians from Saint Joseph Academy will share with you how they have successfully “flipped” instruction in their 9th grade information literacy unit, turning their formally passive zombie-like students into zombie hunters of information. Information literacy content and tools  will be demonstrated using the “flipped” instructional model. In addition, tips and pitfalls will be discussed. Participants will be able to share their own related experiences and ask questions.


Meagan Fowler, Adjunct Librarian 

Rebecca Synk, Head Instructional Librarian

Session 4 – Keynote – Tuesday, August 4, 2015  1:30-3:00

Co-Teaching and Collaboration: Path to Excellence in the Learning Commons

We’ve always known that co-teaching has a positive impact on learning and now there is a simple measure to demonstrate effectiveness. When teacher librarians work collaboratively with teaching partners to co-design, co-teach and co-assess excellent learning experiences they move the school library from the fringes of education to the center of teaching and learning dynamics. Learn about this simple but powerfulmeasure to demonstrate the impact of co-teaching at any school.  We will also enlarge upon the major approaches to create powerful learning experiences in rich information and technological environments as well as explore with participants the defining characteristics of a successful learning commons. This will be an interactive presentation, so be prepared to talk, share, and collaborate.


Carol Koechlin, Education Consultant and author 

David Loertcher, Professor, School of Library and Information Science at San José State University and President of Hi Willow Research & Publishing

Session 5 – Wednesday, August 5, 2015  9:00-10:00 

Supporting Writing across the Curriculum

Ohio’s Learning Standards stress the critical role that reading and writing play  in the learning process regardless of the content area. This session will focus on using writing as a strategy to learn content across disciplines. Argument and explanatory writing require evidence gleaned from research. Library staff have a role to support this approach which not only increases literacy capabilities but also increases knowledge-building.


Marcia Barnhart, Education Consultant, vice president of the Ohio Association for Supervision and Curriculum (OASCD), curriculum liaison for the Ohio Teachers of English Language Arts (OCTELA) and ELA Consultant for the Educational Service Center of Lorain

Session 6 – Wednesday, August 5, 2015  10:15-11:15

Library Thing As a Visual Guide to Your Collection 

For many students, the first thing they notice about a book is its cover. Realistically, we can’t display all of our books in this manner. Using “Library Thing,” we can create a virtual display of all of our book covers.  By the end of the webinar you will be able to create a cover view of your collection, which can be displayed on your school library website.


Todd Duncan, Youth Services Supervisor


Free Resources To Make You A Marketing Genius 

Join Deborah B. Ford for a fast-paced look at the mostly free resources that  she creates for marketing and see how you can use them to promote your library. From curating with tools like LiveBinders and Symbaloo, to using Pinterest and other social media, you can easily reach your community beyond the bricks and mortar.


Deb Ford, Directory of Outreach

Session 7 – Wednesday, August 5, 2015  12:15-1:15

Classifying a High School Fiction Collection Into Genres 

One high school librarian discusses the decisions, challenges and processes involved with classifying the library’s fiction collection into genres.  The library serves about 600 students, grades 9 – 12, in a rural Upstate New York public school district.  The reorganization project included about 4000 titles. This project was the subject of an article in a recent LMC journal by Nancy.


Nancy Glodblatt, Library Media Specialist


Don’t Become a Library Zombie–Use Your ILS to Survive the Genrefication 

Have you ever wondered why so many librarians who consider genrefying their collections ultimately don’t?  It’s because library genrefication can be a scary, overwhelming process.  But have no fear!  In this 30-minute presentation, Tracy Varner will show you how to streamline the process of organizing your books into genres, making them shelf-ready by taking advantage of your Integrated Library System’s collection customization tools.   Example processes will focus on INFOhio’s SirsiDynix Symphony and Follett Destiny, but many of the strategies apply to other ILS’s.  With this ammunition, you CAN and WILL survive genrefication!


Tracy Varner, INFOhio Coordinator and ICoach

Session 8 – Keynote – Wednesday, August 5, 2015  1:30-2:30  

Be the Change You Want to See

We live in a world that is constantly changing and connecting through creative and collaborative new technologies, media, and communications. This has changed the way we teach and learn. It has changed our spaces within libraries and schools. And it has changed the way we, as learners, makers and teachers, connect with each other and the world. As such, it is increasingly necessary to give our young people a voice through  digital literacy. Shannon McClintock Miller will explore these changes in education and within the library and give participants a foundation to bring creative, collaborative, and new experiences and learning to their school community while connecting outside of the walls to the world. You will be inspired and motivated to Be The Change and become a connected, creative, and collaborative educator.


Shannon Miller (McClintock), Teacher Librarian and Technology Integration Specialist

Session 9 –Wednesday, August 5, 2015  2:45-3:45
5 Tech Hack Weapons for Your Zombie Fighting Arsenal

Description coming soon


Angela Maxwell, Library Media Specialist 

Christie Sanderman, Media Specialist 

Jennie Zacharyasz, AV Media Specialist 

Morgan Nickolai, Library Media Specialist


Register to Attend 

Come Prepared Review the following short presentations to understand how to participate in one of our webinars and to learn about badging.  Questions?


Email us:


Upcoming Webinars and Recording Archive


Upon the recommendation of the 2015 Scholarship and Awards Committee, the OELMA Board of Directors approved the list of award recipients at its May 9, 2015 meeting. Congratulations to the following scholarship and award recipients:

Outstanding Administrator Award:

Andy Jados, Building Principal, Franklin Heights High School, Southwestern City Schools, Columbus, Ohio


Literacy Leader Award:

              United Way of Delaware County, Delaware, Ohio for the  “Dolly Parton

              Imagination Library.”  Contact:  Brande Urban, Director of Community 

Leadership-in-Action Award-2 Recipients:

Susan Ridgeway, Librarian, Miller South School for the Performing Arts, Akron Public Schools, Akron, Ohio


Trent Roberts, District Librarian, Circleville City Schools, Circleville, Ohio


Information Technology Innovation Award:

Angela Maxwell, Media Specialist, Hilltop Elementary School, Beachwood City Schools, Beachwood, Ohio


Outstanding School Library District Award:

Beachwood City Schools, Nominee: Jen Flaherty, Media Specialist, Beachwood High School, Beachwood, Ohio


Outstanding Contributor Award:

Lizabeth Deskins, Media Specialist, Hilliard Bradley High School, Hilliard City School District


OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award:

Sarah Thornbery, Teacher-Librarian, Springboro Junior High School, Springboro Community City Schools, Springboro, Ohio


OELMA Scholarship:

Bryn Dean, English 9/Title I, Southeastern Local Schools, South Charleston, Ohio


J. Allen Oakum Scholarship:

Laurie Katusin Swallen, Tuslaw High School, Tuslaw Local Schools, Massillon, Ohio


The Board would like to thank those who nominated OELMA members for the above-mentioned scholarships and awards. As you can well imagine, it is an extremely challenging decision selecting recipients from among the many outstanding school librarians in Ohio.

The Board would also like to thank the members of the OELMA Scholarship and Awards Committee for their enthusiasm and dedication to the task of selecting from the many nominees.


Members of the 2015 Scholarship & Awards Committee were:

 Michelle Lombardi and Christina Dorr (Co-chairs),

Susan Yutzey (Immediate Past President),

Cheryl Lorsen (Central),

Betsey Lee (Northeast),

Jill Burkett (East),

Ann Obringer (West),

Lisa Campbell (South)

and Cynthia VanWey  (Northwest)


To learn more about the individual awards and scholarships,
please visit:  


Did you know that Ohio, until Saturday, May 7, 2015, had only one Literary Landmark in our great state? Considering the many authors from Ohio, that number is far too small! On Saturday May 7th author Robert McCloskey became the second author (the first is Harvey Pekar, Cleveland Heights-University Heights) to receive such an honor. I felt especially privileged to attend the Literary Landmark dedication in Hamilton Ohio at the Hamilton Lane Library. It was a perfect day, a perfect event and an enjoyable time with some interesting authors, friends of the Hamilton Lane Library and proud residents.

Toward the end of last year, I became aware of the Literary Landmark program sponsored by United for Libraries, American Library Association. I immediately went to their site to see what landmarks were in Ohio. It was then I discovered Ohio had only one! So, I sent an email to inquire about the program and was directed to contact Hamilton Lane librarian Gratia Banta, Youth Services. When I connected with Gratia, I learned she had already started to work on acquiring a plaque to honor the work of local author, Robert McC1loskey. I asked how OELMA could help and a collaborative effort began. The name of the Ohio Educational Library Media Association is on the plaque for perpetuity as OELMA made a donation (funded with the help of an anonymous donor). If you are in Hamilton, Ohio, you should stop by the Hamilton Lane library, built in 1866, and wander through this architectural beauty!

Finally, I would like to include some links sent to me by Gratia Banta in regard to the event. Gratia planned some awesome events to coincide with the plaque dedication, that included a read Lentil day in the schools, dinner with author Peter Roop (who did a delightful reading of Lentil), a McCloskey walking tour and the dedication, to name a few.


·         Heritage Hall


·         Hamilton Lane library   


·         Early picture of Hamilton Lane library


If you are ever in Hamilton, stop at the Heritage Hall museum to browse through the Robert McCloskey Musuem. Heritage Hall President, Nancy Follmer, is proud of hometown author, Robert McCloskey and eager to share the many artifacts collected there (even the doughnut machine!). The included picture shows Heritage Hall President , Nancy Follmer, Youth Services librarian, Gratia Banta and myself with a replica of the plaque. It was a great pleasure to represent OELMA at this event.


Finally, I think these words from an email sent to me by Gratia Banta summarize why an event such as this is so meaningful, “It is so important to me to celebrate our local History and model our love for it for future generations!  Yes, I am very proud of the team work of Heritage Hall, Viking, OELMA, the Lane Libraries, and the Hamilton Lane Library who made this event possible…Your mention that the Landmark was one of only 2 in the state, caught the attention of everyone! I especially like how the landmarks celebrate the places Children’s author’s called “Home.” 

At some point in your teaching life have you ever asked the question – “What would it take to write a book?” Have you wanted to take pen to paper, let your creative juices flow and write a picture book, chapter book, short story or novel? But as your hectic life unfolds – when do you have time?

Now is your time.  On Monday, June 15, 2015 or Monday, June 22, 2015 join the OELMA Writers League (OWL) for its inaugural meeting.  Michele Jakubowski, author of the Sidney & Sydney and Perfectly Poppy and Jody Casella, author of Thin Space, will be our facilitators.

Topics covered during the 6-hour workshop focus on: purpose and goal of story; character and setting development; word count and pacing or How to Tell a Big Story Using a Small Amount of Words.

The schedule for the day is flexible so that you will have an opportunity to work by yourself or in small groups; share out ideas; and receive feedback.

Here is a sample schedule:

9:00             Welcome and introductions

9:30             Who are we writing about?  (Character development) – Michele & Jody

9:50             Breakout  (small groups/individual)

10:15            Confab

10:35            Where is it happening? (Setting development) – Michele & Jody

11:00            Breakout (small groups/individual)

11:20            Confab

11:45            Lunch break – lunch is provided

1:00             Word Count and Pacing/How to Tell a Big Story Using a Small Amount of Words – Michele & Jody

1:40             What is the goal? (Goal of story) – Michele & Jody

2:00             Breakout

2:20             Confab

3:00             Next steps


As a participant in the OWL Workshop you will receive an OWL canvas bag to use for your manuscript.


Sessions are limited to 30 attendees, so register early!  Click here to register.


AASL Region 3 Reps from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri met in Cleveland at the end of April. We were able to get a “behind the scenes” tour of Cleveland Public Library with Youth Services Manager Annisha Jeffries as our tour guide. This photo was taken on the 11th Floor (highest floor of CPL).

This past weekend Liz Deskins (OELMA VP) and I had the opportunity to represent OELMA and Ohio school librarians at the AASL Region 3 Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. OELMA typically sends the President and President-Elect to the annual AASL Region 3 meeting, along with the state representatives from Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. I also was the person in charge of all the local arrangements, since Cleveland is only about 25 minutes from my home in Akron.
After flying into town on Friday night, we had a social event where we met the other state representatives at a restaurant and we were able to have a relaxed conversation on what was on many of our minds-STATE TESTING! It was very interesting to hear about how all the states are handling the testing this year, and how the school library appears to be the central location for most of it.

We then met after dinner and headed back to the hotel’s meeting room- where we had formal introductions and shared what was going on with our state’s school library organizations in terms of conferences and accomplishments. On Saturday morning, we talked about each state’s issues and concerns, and then worked on creating commendations for AASL. These commendations recognize non-profit organizations within our Region 3 states that go above and beyond their mission to help promote the goals and standards of AASL. We also discussed ongoing concerns within our states such as advocacy and collaboration with public and academic librarians. It was overall very informative and I will take some ideas and suggestions back to the OELMA Board at our May meeting.

On Saturday afternoon, we concluded the formal meeting at the hotel, and headed to a field trip to Cleveland Public Library, where we were able to get a great “librarians” tour which lasted about 2 hours! We were able to see somethings that the general public cannot see, including traveling to the highest floor (the home of CPL’s human resources) for a scenic view of downtown Cleveland! We then had dinner at the local hot-spot-The Chocolate Bar. And as many of you guessed, Liz and I dove right in to the chocolate fondue dessert (and we never looked back)! This Cleveland restaurant was a huge hit for the attendees and the conversations continued to center around how we can advocate for our profession (amongst the chocolate pasta and frozen hot chocolates).

OELMA leaders get so much more from our organization than what we put into it, and I have to say this weekend was one to remember for years to come for me!

 Networking with other school librarians in other states is invaluable to us as an organization and the relationships we build will last for years and years. It also demonstrates to us that we are certainly not alone in the library challenges. Politics play such a huge role in our careers and the discussions were focused on ways we can advocate for our professions with the help of other libraries, parents, and our community. It was a fun, educational, and invigorating weekend and Liz and I were blessed to be able to represent Ohio school librarians.

Next year’s AASL Region 3 Meeting will be held in…WISCONSIN! Time to get our cheese-head hats ready!

Last night, I enjoyed a wonderful evening with OELMA member Angela Maxwell at the KSU SLIS Annual Celebration of Student Success. I was particularly interested in being there to see Dr. Carolyn Brodie receive the Friends Award for her contributions to the SLIS program at Kent State. I was very fortunate to have Carolyn as one of my professors. I know many OELMA members have either had a class with Carolyn or heard her speak at our conference. She is one of my favorite people, one of my favorite professors, and a friend! I always loved being in her class for the wealth of knowledge she so easily shared with her sweet southern drawl! Please join me in congratulating Dr. Brodie for all she has done for the Kent SLIS program, for being an OELMA friend and for being such an advocate for school libraries and librarians. I “heart”  <3 Carolyn Brodie!! 


Continue to make yourself indispensible. Attend the ITIP Ohio Google Summit. Maybe you are presenting this year. If so, thank you for representing school librarians at this conference. Feel free to share your topic in the comments. I am excited to co-present Google Apps: It’s Elementary, a program that includes teacher and student uses of Google Apps K-5.  It might be a bit of a drive to Sandusky, but consider attending even if you are not a Google Apps school. this might be the perfect time to master a Google App and present about it next year. 

Although, as much as I love Google, I have to admit that the librarian rebel in me thinks about how I am training a generation of Google alcolytes…so Google can eventually dominate the world. Food for thought…


Submit nominations for OELMA’s awards by Tuesday, April 15th

Don’t miss this opportunity to…

Commend an exemplary school library program.

Say “Thanks!” to an administrator whose support makes a real difference.

Encourage colleagues pursuing library/media certification.

Recognize an outstanding school librarian who’s developed an innovative technology program.

Salute an Ohio educator who’s successfully defended a book challenge.

Honor a colleague who is dedicated to OELMA and the school library profession.

Nominate talented colleagues for OELMA’s 2014 scholarships & awards:

Emerging Leader Award

Information Technology Innovation Award

Intellectual Freedom Award

Leadership-in-Action Award

Literacy Leader Award

OELMA/Follett Library Resources Outstanding School Librarian Award

Outstanding Administrator Award

Outstanding Contributor Award

J. Allen Oakum Scholarship

OELMA Scholarship

Check out the application form and complete award descriptions at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 15th


Today we hear from Krista Taracuk, the 2014 OELMA Outstanding Contributor Award winner, about why she loves OELMA and is a proud Ohio School Librarian: 

I think it is fitting during School Library Month to reflect, as Krista does in her video, on how libraries are evolving and on how we are moving beyond the four walls of our library, both in the services we provide and in the way we interact with our colleagues.  For that reason, OELMA is joining the Twitterverse! 

OELMA has teamed with #OHedChat to focus the April 20th Twitter chat on the evolving role of school libraries. Be sure to tune into #OHedChat on 4/20/15 at 9pm to join the discussion with other Ohio educators and show off OELMA strong!

Then, we are hosting our very own #OELMAchat on Friday, April 24th at 7 pm with our brand new “Librarians Who Tweet!” We will be discussing what is new and notable in the world of K-12 literature. 

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for these chats and opportunities to connect with other school librarians and other educators in Ohio and beyond.  We can learn from each other and show off all of the unique things going on in school libraries today.  We’ll show the world #OELMAstrong!

Happy School Library Month!


Jessica Klinker

OELMA Membership Committee Chair


On Friday, May 1, 2015, join Gary Greenberg, CET Learning, Brandi Young, INFOhio, and a host of other exciting makers and shakers for the 2nd Innovative Learning Spaces EduCon.  Here’s the link –

Giveaways galore.


Can you hear that?  Its way off in the distance but it sounds like it’s getting closer.  It sounds like its saying “I Need You to Place Your Name on the OELMA Ballot”.  Yep, I think that’s what its saying.  What should we do?  If you answered that last question with anything other than, “I need to place my name on the OELMA Board Ballot” then your answer is wrong!  You can’t blame it on the lack of knowledge on  how to Drag and Drop or the inability to use an equation editor…this isn’t the PARCC test.  This is cut and dry folks!  There’s no gray area.  Having served on the board myself, I now know the benefits of serving!  Networking and connecting with others, opportunities to speak up on different topics and issues relevant to the profession in Ohio, and growing as a leader in the field to just name a few.  Now it’s your turn to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity especially when OELMA needs its greatest minds the most!  I wouldn’t say we are in the darkest of times but I also wouldn’t say that we are in the best of times either…by a long shot.  I would say, and I imagine many of you would agree, that we are actually closer to the dark than the light unfortunately.  In order for our profession to stay relevant in the state we need OUR professional Organization (OELMA) to be strong.  In order for OELMA to be strong and meaningful we need our greatest minds, you, to put in a little extra work and serve.  It is not like I’m asking you to go all Bruce Willis on us and fly to a human splattering meteor and blow yourself to smithereens because you didn’t think of making an app for your phone to self-detonate the nuke from afar.  No, I’m asking you to go Billy Bob Thornton (pre or post Angelina Jolie…doesn’t matter) on us, serve on the board, and use your mind to come up with the best solutions to keep our profession relevant here in the great state of Ohio.  The good news is there’s a ton of you out there!  I see you all every time I attend conferences, a workshop, or on our listserv.  I see and hear about you folks all the time and everywhere!  Now we just need you to take the next step and be willing to put your great mind and ideas to use by placing your name the ballot.  Trust me, you will be glad you did and so will the rest us OELMA folks out here in libraryland! Oh, and don’t forget Uncle Sam too! 

Hello! My name is Brandi Young and I currently serve as one of your Central Regional Directors. I just took office this past January, so being a member of the OELMA board is very new to me. Throughout my career, I have been a high school English teacher and drama director, a middle school librarian, an elementary school librarian, and now work for INFOhio as an ILibrarian. 

Since elementary school, I have always liked holding leadership positions. When doing group work, I was always the person who organized, came up with the timeline, and also kept everyone on task. I was a squad leader in my high school marching band, responsible for six fellow students and their well-being. In college, I took on the same role in group work that I always had held, but then branched out and joined several organizations on campus. I served as the treasurer for a music service organization, Tau Beta Sigma. I also served as treasurer for the Ohio University chapter of National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and was the vice president for the English honors society, Sigma Tau Delta. 

I greatly enjoyed my time serving on various executive boards in college, and when I graduated and had a few years of teaching under my belt, my love of service came through yet again. For the past three years I have served on the board for the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (OCTELA) as their NCTE Literary Magazine coordinator, and, more recently, took on the position of library liaison, since librarians and English Language Arts teachers collaborate so well together. 

Though I have only been a librarian and an OELMA member for a couple of years, I am extremely passionate about being a school librarian and advocating for school librarians. I love the power that a perfect book can bring for a student, the way technology can change lives, and the knowledge that a librarian can share with students and staff. I knew that I wanted to have a leadership role outside of the workplace and decided to run for Central Regional Director of OELMA. It is my hope that my passion and creative thinking can be utilized on the board while I serve in this position for the next two years. After this, I would like to continue to serve on the board and in other capacities. My goal is to help motivate school librarians to be advocates of their profession and to always seek resources that will aid in further developing their craft. 


This week’s “I Heart OELMA” comes from Karen Mossing, the 2014 Recipient of the OELMA Scholarship: 

As Karen and many others have mentioned, one of the greatest benefits that comes from OELMA membership is the listserv, which provides many opportunities for conversations and professional development.


Here are some of the other opportunities OELMA has scheduled over the next month for some in-person conversations, professional development, and support:

·        April 10 – 6:00 – 8:00 pm – Library, Computer, and Research Skills for College Success– Jerome Library, Bowling Green State University

·        April 18 – 9 am – 3:45 pm – Assessment Ready: Collaborations to Impact Student Achievement– Hilliard Bradley High School, Hilliard, Ohio

·        Become an OELMA Mentor – We’re looking for “seasoned” librarians who are willing to be available, by phone or email, to offer support and encouragement to some of our newest members. If you are interested, please email me at

Have a great day!

Don’t forget to submit nominations for OELMA’s awards by Wednesday, April 1st!  
Don’t miss this opportunity to…
Commend an exemplary school library program.
Say “Thanks!” to an administrator whose support makes a real difference.
Encourage colleagues pursuing library/media certification.
Recognize an outstanding school librarian who’s developed an innovative technology program.
Salute an Ohio educator who’s successfully defended a book challenge.
Honor a colleague who is dedicated to OELMA and the school library profession.
Nominate talented colleagues for OELMA’s 2015 scholarships & awards:
Emerging Leader Award
Information Technology Innovation Award
Intellectual Freedom Award
Leadership-in-Action Award
Literacy Leader Award
OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award
Outstanding Administrator Award
Outstanding Contributor Award
Outstanding Individual School Library Award
Outstanding District School Library Award
J. Allen Oakum Scholarship
OELMA Scholarship
Check out the application form and complete award descriptions at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:
Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Wednesday, April 1st

Which means it’s not too late to nominate a worthy Media Specialist, Administrator, Library Student, Building Program, District, or Friend of the Library for one of the Awards and Scholarships that OELMA offers!  See the above drop down tab titled Awards/Scholarships for a listing of the categories and a link to the submission form.  It’s simple and easy, so nominate today!


This week, Laurie Katusin Swallen, the 2014 J. Allen Oakum Scholarship recipient, tells us why she “hearts” OELMA:

 As Laurie points out in her video, being a school librarian can sometimes feel isolating, which is why the networking, support, and professional development provided to members of OELMA is so critical. 


Here are some of the opportunities for networking, support, and professional development OELMA has scheduled for the next month:

·        April 10 – 6:00 – 8:00 pm – Library, Computer, and Research Skills for College Success – Jerome Library, Bowling Green State University

·        April 18 – 9 am – 3:45 pm – Assessment Ready: Collaborations to Impact Student Achievement – Hilliard Bradley High School, Hilliard, Ohio

·        Become an OELMA Mentor – We’re looking for “seasoned” librarians who are willing to be available, by phone or email, to offer support and encouragement to some of our newest members. If you are interested, please email me at


Happy Spring, OELMA, and Thanks for Everything!


Our featured “I HEART OELMA” video this week is of Sarah Thornbery, a 2014 Leadership in Action Award winner:

As I listen to Sarah, I am again impressed by how OELMA role models reached out to her and encouraged her when she was starting out in library leadership, which helped inspire her to become the strong advocate for school librarians at the local, state, and national levels that she is today (Sarah is our current chair of OELMA Advocacy Committee and is also currently serving as the AASL Region 3 Director!).

 My challenge for each of you is to think about a school librarian you know who might just need that gentle nudge of encouragement to take on a new leadership role and let their talents shine! Consider nominating them to serve on the 2016 Board of Directors or nominating them for an award to honor their talents! Nominations for Board Members are open until April 10, 2015 and can be submitted to Kate Brunswick at  Award nominations are open until April 1, 2015. Find more information at


**Other 2014 award winners will continue to be featured over the next several weeks.**

Do you know a library school student who is committed to pursuing a career in school librarianship? Help her or him achieve their goals with a nomination for an OELMA scholarship!
The J. Allen Oakum Scholarship and the OELMA Scholarship are awarded to Ohio residents pursuing certification in school library/media in an accredited library school program. The scholarships provide cash stipends intended to help defray educational costs for future library media specialists as they complete their studies.
Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?
Check out the complete scholarship descriptions and application forms at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:


This time of year it is easy to get caught up in dreary weather and the testing schedules that are filling February and March.  Recently, I had a ray of sunshine in the unlikeliest of all places–a high school elective class.  Last year I was excited when I saw Popular Fiction in the course catalog.  I thought this would be a great way to get students to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading and break the cycle of only reading required texts.  I emailed the teacher and started a dialogue about book selection, projects and the other logistics of the class.  I told her that I hoped that the students in her class could help to boost my library circulation numbers.  She invited me to join the 8th period class whenever I was at the high school.             

Fast forward to the start of the second semester.  The teacher included a library revitalization project in her syllabus.  I gathered my facts and headed to 8th period.  I met with the class and presented my dismal circulation stats–89 checkouts in the month of January.  Next, I gave them a brief title analysis of the collection.  Most the collection was older than the students.  They looked at the stats in disbelief.  I explained the tight budget that I was given and the cost of the average book.  They all agreed that something needed to be done to breathe new life into our aging library.  

Could fifteen high school students change the culture and attitude of our high school?  It seems that the answer is yes.  The students have planned ways to draw the student body into our library.  Monday morning the students will be in the library wrapping books for the new Blind Date with a Book display.  Some students are working on commercials and book trailers that will play in the front lobby.  Plans are in the works for a fundraiser to buy new books.  They have made suggestions like a display of graphic novels, books that have been recently made into movies and even a book club.  One student has even asked if I still had any of the old card catalog cards–thank you Pinterest.  

Now I have to admit that I have thought of these same ideas to generate interest in the library–this time the difference is that the advocacy came directly from the students.  Since this campaign is in its infancy I can only imagine where it will go.  I’ll share our successes in a future blog post! 


Let’s see what the criteria for the Outstanding Individual School Library Award states:

 The Outstanding Individual School Library Award recognizes an exceptional building-level library program that is integrated across the total curriculum, thus meeting the diverse needs of all learners.

And how about the criteria for the Outstanding School Library District Award:

The Outstanding School Library District Award recognizes an exceptional district library program. Honorees demonstrate a district culture that advocates for the integral role of the school library program in student achievement at the building and district level.

Here’s some parts of the wording that particularly jump out at me:

  1. Integrated into the curriculum
  2. Meeting the educational needs of diverse learners
  3. Culture that advocates for the integral role of the school library

I’ve been a school library media specialist for 25 years, in three districts, and have seen and heard about phenomenal programs, cutting edge teaching and learning, and integration of 21st century skills and tools over all of that time.  If you have — or you know some one who has — an outstanding program that meets the criteria, either as a school or district, please nominate them for the proper award.  

Deadline is April 1st!  Don’t delay!


In this week’s video clip, the 2014 Follett School Solutions Award winner, Cheryl Cartwright, explains why she “Hearts” OELMA and how OELMA members have influenced her throughout her career:

 As you can see in Cheryl’s video, in the videos of other award winners we’ve seen so far, and in the ones we will be seeing in coming weeks, OELMA mentors have played a big role in inspiring these library leaders.  

 In its efforts to serve new members and reach out to colleagues just starting out in the profession, the OELMA Board and Membership Committee have decided to develop a list of OELMA members who are willing to be mentors to new members.  Sometimes, the listserv can be intimidating for a newbie, so having one person to reach out to first when you have a question can ease some anxiety while you’re trying new things and building your confidence. OELMA mentors will offer advice and encouragement to help our newest members during that transition.

 Our first step in starting these mentorship connections is creating a list of our experts who are willing to be mentors.  WE NEED YOU! If you are willing to be connected with a new member as a mentor, please email me at  Please include your name, school(s), grade levels you work with, your OELMA region, and contact information. 

 Thank you in advance for being willing to inspire out next generation of Library Leaders!


I was sure that this winter couldn’t possibly be as cold as the last one…wrong! At least I’ve had time to indulge in my favorite pastime- reading. I thought I would share some of my favorites that I have recently had the pleasure of reading. The first is If I Stay by  Gayle Forman. This is my first by this author and has definitely been one of my favorite young adult titles of late. It’s my policy to never watch the movie until I read the book so up next…the movie! Next I highly recommend Smoke Gets  in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. This is definitely not for the faint of heart but is a very interesting memoir about a 20 something in Los Angeles who takes a job in a crematorium. The last book that I want to share with you is The Auschwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg. This is a book that I wouldn’t normally read but was a 2014 readers choice finalist from the Goodreads site of which I am a huge fan. I am so glad I read it. It is a story of some unlikely holocaust prisoners that definitely leaves the reader with hope-unusual I think for a book of that time period. This concludes my book review hope you have time to read one of more of these. Spring’s right around the corner!


Do you know a library media specialist who excels in all aspects of school librarianship? Take this opportunity to acknowledge your deserving colleague.
This award, sponsored by Follett School Solutions, recognizes an Ohio library media specialist who develops an exemplary school library program, collaborates with classroom teachers, implements technology-integrated instruction, demonstrates educational leadership, and advocates for school libraries. 
Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?  Check out the complete award description and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:
Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Wednesday, April 1st

Our featured “I HEART OELMA” video this week is of Michelle Lombardi, a 2014 Emerging Leader Award winner:
In addition to managing her library in two languages (she works at a bilingual school!), Michelle is also co-chairing this year’s Awards and Scholarship Committee.  Do you know someone who is doing amazing work for school libraries in Ohio? Consider nominating them for one of this year’s many awards and scholarships.  Applications are due April 1st.

Why do YOU “Heart” OELMA?  Send your short video or typed comments to  We are using your ideas to refresh and update our promotional materials.

**Watch for other 2014 award winners to be featured throughout the coming weeks.**

OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page has been re-vamped to include new and revised awards, along with profiles of past recipients and rubrics to help guide nominators throughout the application process. This year’s scholarships and awards include:

Emerging Leader Award

Information Technology Innovation Award

Intellectual Freedom Award

Leadership-in-Action Award

Literacy Leader Award

OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award

Outstanding School Library Award — School and District Categories

Outstanding Administrator Award

Outstanding Contributor Award

J. Allen Oakum Scholarship

OELMA Scholarship


The Scholarship & Awards Committee is looking forward to receiving nominations for the many talented school librarians, administrators, and library school students throughout Ohio. Take the time to nominate a deserving colleague today.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out complete award descriptions and rubrics and the application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

 Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Wednesday, April 1st


Please consider attending and sharing this collaborative library experience:


All for Un: Ohio’s Interlibrary Unconference

Join Librarians from around the State to share and develop engaging learning experiences for fellow library professionals and library patrons
Join academic, public, school, and special librarians and share programming ideas and practices at All for Un: Ohio’s Interlibrary Unconference on Wednesday, April 15th at 1:30 p.m. at the State Library of Ohio’s Boardroom, 274 East First Avenue, Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio.  Registration is open at  The Unconference is a free event.

An “unconference” is a participant-guided learning opportunity that encourages peer networking and audience participation.  Ohio librarians in different sectors don’t have frequent opportunities to collaborate on meeting the learning needs of their patrons. The unconference will serve as an opportunity to peer teach among library colleagues, providing a forum for librarians to collaborate on creating engaging and empowering learning experiences for their users.

All for Un will be directly followed by an optional social starting at at the Little Rock Bar, 944 North 4th Street, Columbus, Ohio. 

All for Un: Ohio’s Interlibrary Unconference is a project of the Empowering and Engaging Learning Experiences committee of 2014’s Library Leadership Ohio, a leadership institute sponsored by the State Library of Ohio and OHIONET, and the Ohio Library Council. 

If you are able, please consider joining us!  If at all possible, please forward to other interested parties.  Thanks in advance for your support!  Like us on Facebook, too

 Thanks to OELMA Member and UnConference planning team member Gail Greenberg for this news! 


One who truly understands your role, and supports you as the valuable teacher/resource/curriculum expert that you are?  If so, please consider nominating him/her for OELMA’s Outstanding Administrator Award for 2015.  The description of an outstanding administrator is:


“The Outstanding Administrator Award recognizes an Ohio school administrator, who has made significant contributions to the planning, implementation, and/or support of school library programs, resulting in improved program quality and increased student learning.


Find out more from the Awards & Scholarships drop down tab — the deadline is April 1st, so get started soon!


This week, we will hear from Dr. Christina Dorr, winner of the 2014 Leadership in Action Award about why she loves being a member of OELMA.

I am inspired by Christina’s video to think: “Do I know a school librarian that might benefit from the friendships and professional networking OELMA offers?” If your answer is YES, consider inviting that person to one of our upcoming events:

·        Innovative Learning Spaces EduConference– March 14, 2015, Rootstown, Ohio

·        Assessment Ready: Collaborations to Increase Student Achievement –  April 18, 2015 – Hilliard, Ohio

·        Any of your Regional meetings (check for updated offerings)

 Also, remember to submit your own short video telling us Why You HEART OELMA!  We are going to use submissions to create membership and advocacy materials. Send your videos to

*Not Ready to be a Movie Star?  E-mail your comments in writing, so that they can be used in our print promotional items.

Thanks for everything, OELMA,

 Jessica Klinker

Proud Member Since 2006


Nominate him/her OR yourself for one of the OELMA Leadership Awards!  There’s three levels:

 1.  The Emerging Leader Award recognizes OELMA members who have recently assumed an OELMA leadership role for the first time. This Award honors members who demonstrate leadership potential and encourages members’ active participation in the Association. 

 2.  OELMA’s Leadership-in-Action Awardrecognizes an Ohio school librarian pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA).  This award honors OELMA members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to  leadership in the school library profession. 

 3.  OELMA’s Outstanding Contributor Award recognizes an Ohio licensed school librarian who has made  outstanding contributions to school librarianship.  The honoree has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the school library profession, while serving in OELMA leadership roles.

 Find out more about each on the Awards/Scholarships dropdown tab.  April 1st is the deadline, but don’t wait until the last minute!  Start gathering your ideas and get those applications in!


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a segment of a video, made for the 2014 OELMA Awards Ceremony, in which I was asked to describe what I love about OELMA.

 Recently, I was asked to chair the OELMA Membership Committee and I was inspired to ask all of you to also answer:

 Why Do You “Heart” OELMA?

 Create a short video and email it to me at  We are going to use what is shared in some of our new membership materials.

 Not ready to be a movie star? We’d love for you to still email your favorite things about OELMA, so that we can add them to some of our other marketing campaigns.  

 **Watch for the “Why I Love OELMA” clips from our other 2014 award winners over the next couple of weeks!**

 Happy Valentine’s Day, OELMA!

Jessica Klinker

Proud Member of OELMA since 2006



Do you know a librarian who excels at teaching technology skills? How about a colleague who incorporates original technology lessons into instruction? Nominate him or her for OELMA’s Information Technology Innovation Award. This is your opportunity to showcase the many different ways you and your colleagues use technology to enhance your teaching.  
The Information Technology Innovation Award recognizes school librarians who design, develop, and implement innovative uses of technology in instruction. This award spotlights the importance of emerging technologies in supporting student learning. Nominees will submit a digital video file that demonstrates an innovative technology lesson plan in action. 
Don’t forget to be on the lookout for community organizations that support literacy programs to reinforce student learning. These organizations are eligible for OELMA’s Literacy Leader Award. This award honors community members or organizations that demonstrate a strong, ongoing commitment to developing literacy through educational programming and/or grassroots literacy program implementation. Nominate deserving candidates today.
Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process? 
Check out complete award descriptions and the application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 1st


Your 2015 OELMA Board of Directors with Kent State University’s Liaison Dr. Meghan Harper

At OELMA’s December meeting, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to create a Kent State University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) liaison position on the OELMA Board.  The liaison will be appointed annually by the Director of Kent State University’s SLIS Program. 

A KSU SLIS liaison to OELMA will serve many purposes, among them would be to strengthen the connection between the Kent State SLIS students pursuing library media licensure and their professional association; ensure that as school librarians we are knowledgeable about best practices; and that our professional development reflects best practice.  

The KSU SLIS liaison will serve an important role on the Board of Directors, a role that will evolve over time but initially we see the liaison:

·         sharing information from KSU SLIS, specifically the school library program;

·         sharing OELMA concerns with the KSU SLIS;

·         advocating to stakeholders about the importance of strong school library programs in Ohio;

·         recruiting graduate students in the SLIS programs to become involved in OELMA (we offer a student membership); and

·         being invited to attend/present at Board meetings, the Annual Conference, MidWinter and any other events as needed.

Now for the really exciting news!

At our February Board Meeting on Saturday, we welcomed Dr. Meghan Harper, Associate Professor at Kent State’s SLIS as our Kent State SLIS liaison. She was appointed by Professor and Interim Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science Director Jeff Fruit. We are excited to see what our collaboration efforts will welcome in the future and we are fortunate to have Dr. Harper on our team! Most of us have either had Dr. Harper for a class at Kent State, or worked with her to some degree with OELMA’s workshops, conferences, and events!

Dr. Harper has been working at SLIS since 2001. She has a B.S. in Education from KSU as well as an MLIS and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to being the advisor for all SLIS School Library Graduate students, she currently teaches three courses at Kent State:

-School Library Media Center

-Cataloging for School Library Media Specialists

-Reference Sources and Services for Youth


She also shared with us at our meeting she is working on several publications and planning to write a reference resource for school librarians in the future, using some popular OELMA list-serv topics as a starting point!


The picture above was taken on Saturday with Dr. Harper and the 2015 OELMA Board of Directors. Please join me in welcoming her to the 2015 Board and we are thrilled to have her working with us as a liaison! 


Tomorrow I will be headed off to OETC at the Columbus Convention Center.  I discovered at our most recent Board meeting that a number of OELMA Board and committee members will be presenting at OETC.  Check out the list of presenters:

Sue Subel
Reach Across the Gap:  Collaborations that Improve the Student Transition from High School to College,  from 12 p.m.-1 p.m.  on Wednesday, February 11, in Rooms C 220-222.  From 11-11:45 in Room D144-145, Wednesday, February 11, Sue will also be participating in a panel on college and career readiness.

Trent Roberts
Connecting Your 21st Century Learner through Collaboration!, from  12:30 p.m. -1:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, in Booth 942.

Lori Guerini
Teaching Students How to Be Accountable for Credible Online Research Information, from 3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, February 12.

Angela Wojtecki
Transforming Professional Development through Technology at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, in room C226

Brandi Young
Tech Skills for Online Testing from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, in room E 171.

INFOhio has a many excellent presentations – be sure and attend!


We had our first OELMA Board Meeting of the year yesterday and announced our upcoming committee members as part of the meeting. It is important to have active committees in order to help OELMA sustain a membership community as well as a professional network of learning and growth. We were fortunate to have Sarah Thornbery, Advocacy Committee Chair, Jessica Klinker, Membership Chair, and Sue Subel, Budget and Finance Committee Chair present at the meeting to help our Board integrate our Strategic Plan with each of the committees. In addition to these committees (which any OELMA member is welcome to volunteer with), we also announced our 2015 Nominating Committee and Scholarship Awards Committee. Please see their names below and if you happen to see them at an upcoming OELMA or school library-related event, please thank them for their service to the organization. Their sacrifice of time help OELMA remain a constant in the world of changing school libraries in Ohio. 

Nominating Committee:The role of the Nominating Committee is to prepare a slate of candidates for each office to be filled.  The Nominating Committee is composed of one OELMA member from each geographic region, including a Chair. The OELMA President appoints the Nominating Committee. 

Members of the 2015 Nominating Committee are: 

Stephanie Raub (East) and Chair of Committee

Ashley Lambacher (Central)

Jen Flaherty (Northeast)

Nanette Wingrove (West)

Melissa Higgs-Horwell (South)

Connie Carnicom (Northwest)

Scholarship and Awards Committee: 

The role of the Scholarship and Awards Committee is to implement the criteria for awarding scholarships and other awards of the Association; to oversee the number and dollar amounts of the scholarships and awards to be presented as approved by the Board; and to submit a budget to cover the Committee’s expenses.

Members of the 2015 Scholarship & Awards Committee are:  

Michelle Lombardi (Co-Chair)

Christina Dorr(Co-chair)

Susan Yutzey (Immediate Past President)

Cheryl Lorsen(Central)

Betsey Lee  (Northeast)

Jill Burkett (East), 

Lisa Campbell (South)

and Cynthia VanWey  (Northwest)

Also, meet our 2015 OELMA Board-we had a photo-op at the meeting (because we just had to)! If you are interested in serving on any committees int he future, please let any member of our Board or Committees know-we need you and welcome you! 


As you may have heard, OELMA will not be hosting an Annual Conference in 2015, due to the AASL Conference coming to Columbus, Ohio, in November.  Instead, we’ve got several EduConferences planned to take place throughout the year.  EduConferences are designed for OELMA members in order to provide opportunities throughout Ohio for professional development and networking. 

Here’s what we’ve planned so far:

 March 14, 2015

Innovative Learning Spaces EduConference

BioMed Science Academy, Rootstown, Ohio


April 18, 2015

Overdue Midwinter

Hilliard Bradley High School, Hilliard, Ohio


June 16, 2015 (tentative)

Summer Workshop:  OELMA Writers League

Location TBD, Columbus, Ohio


Week of September 21, 2015

Blended Learning EduConference

Multiple Locations, TBD


April 16, 2016


Location TBD


Plan now to attend these wonderful educational opportunities designed for YOU!


OELMA’s “Overdue” MidWinter Conference:  Assessment Ready: Collaborations to Increase Student Achievement” is designed specifically for school library media specialists and school administrators.  Scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Hilliard Bradley High School, 2800 Walker Road, Hilliard, this “Overdue” MidWinter will focus on teacher librarian evaluation; assessing students; and creating powerful partnerships.  We are currently accepting proposals for concurrent 45-minute sessions aligned with the above mentioned foci.  Special consideration will be given to sessions in which participants will engage in hands-on learning activities and/or leave with tools or products for immediate application of the learning.  Proposal deadline is February 1, 2015.  Click here for the form that includes more details on the topics.


Here’s information on the updated version of the Survivor activity that uses INFOhio’s resources.





I have been hearing many advertisements lately about “a new year, new you” and with a new year comes a new OELMA Board of Directors, which the OELMA membership has elected. I would like to take a moment and thank our new leadership in OELMA for rising to the challenge and making the effort to step up and take action as a leader at the state level. It is not an easy task to say YES when asked to take a leadership role but we need librarians who are willing to be the voice of their regions and step up to help us all work together, as one. We are all stretched very thin in our schools and time is something we never enough of, but thanks to those serving on this year’s OELMA Board, we hope to help make school librarians’ lives a little more insightful, innovative, and resourceful. We are all in this together and if we all use our voices, we have one mighty sound!

The following OELMA leaders will be stepping up this year to help plan professional development, advocate for the profession (we need it now more than ever), as well as be your voice at the state level at our Board Meetings. Please be sure to thank them personally if you see them at our upcoming EduConferences this year, local professional development, or just out and about! Without them and their sacrifices of time and energy, OELMA would not be OELMA!

Executive Committee:

Liz Deskins, Hilliary City Schools-Vice President

Susan Yutzey, “Retired”-Past President

Karen Gedeon, Cuyahoga Falls City School-Secretary

Lisa Barnes Prince, Akron Public Schools-Treasurer


Central Region:

Liz Bode, South-Western City Schools

Brandi Young, INFOhio


East Region:

Kris Baker, Field Local Schools

Lisa Garrison, Seton Catholic School


Northeast Region:

Lori Guerrini, Chagrin Falls High School

Michelle Smart, Hudson City Schools


Northwest Region:

Connie Carnicom, Fostoria High School

Cynthia Van Wey, Anthony Wayne Schools


South Region:

Rebecca Vasilakis, Eastland/Fairfield Career and Technical Center

Karen George, Pickerington HS Central


West Region:

Winnie Milner, Warren Career Center

Krista Guy, Dayton Public Schools


Spectrum Editor-Mark Tuel, Mount Vernon City Schools




Register now for a unique professional development opportunity on March 14, 2015. Spend the day immersed in active learning. Begin with a make-and-take Keynote by Leslie Preddy, 2015 AASL president where we will delve into makerspaces and the school library. Then, spend some time networking and exploring our interactive exhbitis that include a technology petting zoo, Bio-Med Science Academy students demonstrating engineering projects, librarians and teachers implementing high and low-tech ways to embed the maker mentality into your library space, and so much more. Have lunch with us, and then spend some more time exploring the interactive exhibits. In the afternoon dive into sessions on action research, Next generation assessments, Google Classroom, Research Commons at The Ohio State University, 3D printing, STEM learning, just to name a handful. Learn more and register now by on the the Educonference Tab at the top of the page or go to this link:


As outgoing president of OELMA, I wish to say thank you to all library media specialists across the Buckeye state.  Serving as president for two years has been a learning experience.  The journey  created some opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.  I undertook some things that took me way out of my comfort zone, as many of you know, but I was able to do it because of the support I received from so many library media specialists across the state – whether it was through personal e-mails, letters, and phone calls.  Despite the State Board of Education outcome that will be decided in March, we had many triumphs this year and I would like to call your attention to those.  With special thanks to Joanne McNally, Susie Ridgeway, Brandi Young for testifying before the State Board of Education last March – it took guts.  Thank you to Liz Deskins for attending State Board of Education meetings in March and July.  Sarah Thornbery who rallied her parents and as a result some testified at the November public hearing. Dyann Taylor, ES/MS library media specialist for Columbus City Schools, testified before the State Board of Education on December 8, 2014.  During her public testimony, Dyann remarked to the SBOE members – “The reasoning that you have suggested for rescinding this rule,” said Taylor, “is that it would give district boards of education more flexibility in providing services for the students in their district. I would argue that you are correct-it would give districts more flexibility to cut all of the programs included in [the standards]”  (

The Information Literacy Awareness Campaign that received national recognition and enabled OELMA to further its conversations with Professor Sharon Weiner, Vice President of NAMLE – Ellen Williams, Sue Subel, and Michele Kuhar for their letters to the editor and to Kathy Fredrick and Sue Subel who helped compose the letter templates.  To the OELMA Conference Committee, Angela Wojtecki (chair), thank you for a terrific conference filled with lots of new ideas.

Special thanks to Diane Christensen , library media specialist at Sheridan High School in Thornville, who met with State Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd on September 18, 2014, while Dodd and State Superintendent Richard Ross visited Sheridan High School. Diane found Dodd to be very receptive as she shared with Dodd the importance of libraries, the changing and yet vitalrole of library media specialist and the precarious position we find the whole structure.  Thanks to Diane, we now have an opening to invite our State Board of Education members to our schools and to our EduCons so that they can see firsthand what a licensed library media specialist does – and it’s not sitting behind a desk checking out books! 

The Model Curriculum of Ohio includes information, media and technology literacies.  Digital citizenship as part of those literacies is integral to what library media specialists do every day through our work with children, teachers, and administrators.  So a special thanks to Lori Pringle, East Holmes Local Schools, for devising a GoogleForm entitled “Online Safety Book List and Resources” that will enable library media specialists to submit the titles of books, videos and other resources.  It is a shared resource that all Ohio library media specialists can build together and use with teachers and administrators.  Here is the link

We have much to be thankful for as we enter 2015.  With heartfelt thanks to all Ohio library media specialists, I look forward to our continued journey.  


I was on Facebook recently and came across this quote above on one of the librarian pages I follow. I loved it. I loved it so much I am blogging about this amazing quote from Allen Smith (thanks, Allen wherever you are).

I am very fortunate to have found a career where everything I do is work-related. For example, when I went to England two summers ago, I soaked up as much knowledge and history as I possibly could for two weeks and share information with others all the time about the trip and how it was one of the best experiences. My husband often laughs at me when I want to stop and take pictures of public libraries when visiting his brother in Colorado (they have very cool, log-cabin looking libraries).  I even visited a working prison library this summer in Las Vegas (talk about experiences) simply to know how they compare to other libraries. I know many other librarians who would prefer visiting a bookstore or library instead of a taking a tour of a city or museum. This phenomenon I have termed “a librarian geek-out trip, or LGOT for short” We geek-out about books, places that house books, all things literature, author histories, world histories involving books, books famous historians have touched, and even big and small bookstores!

When going on a librarian geek-out trip (LGOT), I always make a point to share with those working that I am a school librarian…and PROUD of it! You see, many of those working in these places really LIKE librarians of all kinds, and sometime there are perks of the job when you tell people what you do for a career. An example of this is when I wore a librarian-themed t-shirt (yes, we all have them) in a hotel at Put-in-Bay last summer and as I was checking out and the man behind the counter asked if I really was a librarian-to which I said, yes-I am a school librarian! He then said “wait just a minute”…and came back with a photocopied comic strip of a librarian that he said is one of his all-time favorites. He wanted me to keep it since I was a real librarian. He added, “just know that I totally appreciate all the things librarians like you do for us.” I still have that comic hanging in my office at school and think kindly about the man who eagerly gave it to me.

As we enter 2015, I wanted to share with you this quote and offer this advice for the new year. Experiences make us better librarians, teachers, and even leaders. Every experience has a lesson that we can take with us and can help transform our students and library environments if you let it. Be open to experiences and you never know what you will walk away with. It may be a comic strip, a few pictures you posted on Instagram, a memory you will cherish, or it may even be more important-it may just help make you a better person. Now who wants to join me on a LGOT?!

 On behalf of OELMA’s Board of Directors–HAVE A WONDERFUL 2015! 


At our recent OELMA conference at the Quest Center in Columbus one of our Bronze Sponsors, Junior Library Guild, offered a book giveaway to any participant that signed up at their booth.  The winner of this year’s giveaway was Dianne Mohn, who is located at Tuslaw Elementary School in Massillon.  Upon making the announcement, Junior Library Guild drove to Tuslaw Elementary School and hand delivered the books to Diane and her students.  Pictured below are Dianne and a few students accepting the books.  Congratulations again to Dianne and the students of Tuslaw Elementary school in Massillon, Ohio. 


School libraries are all about educating, creating, reading and technology. Show your ‘geek’ side and take the lead in your school by promoting, hosting, teaching and creating with Hour of Code. Do Hour of Code with your classes. Work with other teachers and their classes to do Hour of Code activities. You don’t have to be a computer science teacher at all to have your students have fun with and learn basic coding. You can do this! Just go to and check out all the great resouces to help you get your students involved in Hour of Code. The official week for Hour of Code activities is Dec. 8-14. Why not join the global fun of coding?!


INFOhio has made available the materials from the Survivor Activity that has been talked about quite a bit on the OELMA listserv.  Click on the links below for access to the materials. 


Click below for access to photos from the 2014 OELMA Conference, Oct. 23-25 at the Quest Conference Center. Many thanks to Mark Tuel for making these photos available!


January seem far away??  Well, it isn’t!!  I’m gearing up for the holidays, and after they slide by, it’s time for the next Central/South Region workshop.  On Saturday, January 10th at 9:00, we’ll be meeting at Junior Library Guild in Plain City to talk about collections — paper and electronic — and how to maximize and market what you have and what you can borrow from others.  We’ll have elementary, middle, and high school speakers, and have some time to browse and purchase from JLG’s stock.  Then just maybe those interested can gather at Der Dutchman for lunch (just what my waist line is going to need after the holidays…haha!).  Join us no matter what Region you call home!


Want to use social media to advance your library mission? 
Want to get more students in the door?
Then join the Central/South Regions at our November workshop: Turn Your Library into the Social Buzz! 
Librarians Annette Lang and Brandi Young will discuss the types of social media they use with their libraries, why they use social media, what kind of information they post, how to run tracking data and tools to help with time management of managing all the various accounts. Please bring your own device (BYOD) to fully participate in the workshop. If you are already using social media in your library, come to learn new ideas and to share your ideas. 
To register, click on the Eventbrite link below:
Cost is $20 and you can pay by cash or check at the workshop. 
We hope to see you there!
Trent Roberts–
Liz Bode– 


1.  To attend great PD sessions

2.  To hear many great Ohio authors speak and get books autographed

3.  To learn how I can make an even greater impact in my building and district

4.  To be exposed to new technology tools

5.  To network and trade ideas

6.  To congratulate award winners

7.  To find out what OELMA has accomplished for me this year

8.  To learn how to best connect with and teach the new Ohio Learning Standards

9.  To discover more about the changes in testing and how I can make a difference

10.  To peruse the vendors and what they have to offer

11.  To see how others are changing their Media Center spaces

12.  And of course to see friends and colleagues that are moving and shaking the Ohio Media Center World!


Gale Cengage is our Platinum Sponsor for conference this year-because of this, we are able to have Dr. Steven L, Layne, author of Igniting a Passion for Reading as our keynote on Friday, October 24th. In addition to sponsoring Dr. Layne, Gale Cengage is presenting an awesome session on Friday about your library’s virtual space. This session will offer you tips and tricks to help make your virtual library just as innovative as your actual library. They are even offering you one-on-one help during the conference (bring your laptop if you can) to get you on your way to an awesome, updated website for your school library! 

Read below for an important update from the session presenter, Elizabeth Kopy, from Gale: 

Attracting students to your library website is only half the problem.  The other half is engaging those visitors once they arrive and transforming them into confident researchers. To best prepare them for college, it is vital to structure a digital research experience students feel comfortable visiting. During OELMA, Gale’s web design experts will dedicate session time going over key elements to explore webpage best practices; sharing ways to visually appeal and entice students to regularly visit your library digital resources, make it simple for your teachers and students to find your media center products, boost your usage statistics, and learn new techniques for classroom integration in the process. 


It doesn’t have to end with a session. During the OELMA conference, at the Gale booth, you will be offered hands-on involvement to create a free research focused library webpage that will be ready to use by the end of the conference(be sure to bring your laptop)! Leave OELMA with a webpage that is customized to your school and your resources, that is accessible, easy to navigate, and aesthetically appealing and comprehensible.

Do you know that October is Information Literacy Awareness Month?  In 2012, Governor Kasich proclaimed October as Information Literacy Month and Ohio joined 18 other states in an endeavor to raise awareness about what it means to be information literate.  His proclamation set out to “remind all citizens of the importance of the role of all libraries and librarians – academic, public, school and special – in teaching information literacy, which fosters educational opportunities, economic prosperity, social cohesion, democracy, and quality of life.”  Okay, so it’s Information Literacy Month – just one more month on the calendar.  Well, OELMA is making it easy for you to spread the word about Information Literacy Awareness Month to your community and in so doing informing them about the role of the school librarian.  Here’s how it works – Sue Subel and I have crafted five editorials one for each week in October.  Feel free to edit them and sign your name, position and school.  Now here’s the cool part…. If your local newspaper publishes the editorial or perhaps your local television news channel or radio station gets wind of your information literacy awareness campaign, we want to hear about it!  Send the link to me at .  When your editorial gets published, you get to pick a prize from the books, t-shirts, and makerspace items I’ve displayed on Glogster –

No excuses!  It’s a win win as they say.  Watch for more information in your e-mail.



There’s a lot of things school librarians are saying about the OELMA 2014 conference but I can guarantee you they are not saying any of the ones mentioned in the video below. 
Things School Librarians Never Say About the OELMA 2014 Conference 
Don’t be like these clueless people! Get yourself registered for the OELMA 2014 Conference here.  Its going to be the best one yet!  
Happy Friday Libraryland and enjoy the video…

I recently had a conversation with a fellow OELMA member who seemed very depressed over her current school library situation. While keeping her name and location completely anonymous, let’s just say after the conversation I thought to myself that there has to be a way to advocate for what we do through our daily work with students so that we are utilized as teachers and leaders as well as respected and supported as teacher librarians who are teachers first, then librarians.

 A few days later I picked up the August/September (2014) issue of Library Media Connection (LMC) and found an awesome infographic poster by Naomi Bates, teacher librarian at Northwest HS in Justin, Texas. On page 45, I became enlightened. It is titled TL Tasklist: What We Do with the subheading of “Our profession does many things, both seen and unseen, that impact education and campuses across the nation. Here is a sampling of what an effective teacher librarian does.” There are MANY tasks on this tasklist Naomi provided, so I present to you another challenge (because I love this)—think about your tasks every day and start sharing them with teachers, principals, Board members, community members, parents, PTA groups, and local media. We do SO much—let’s start sharing with those stakeholders who may have little to no knowledge what we really DO! Build those relationships and keep building them with student achievement as the foundation!

 This “sampling” is awesome. I encourage all of you to check out this infographic and post in your library. If you are planning to attend our annual conference on October 23-25th, LMC is donating a copy of the magazine for every registrant-so you will have a copy if they donate the August/September issue at conference! 


Let’s get together and inspire one another. On September 29th you are invited to Hudson to take part in a workshop led by librarian Jennifer Holt. Jennifer will discuss how she turned her library into an innovative learning space physically and virtually. Stay for some refreshments, and a goodies provided by NEO-RLS. Then, learn how Stow-Monroe falls library transformed their children’s space. Register online at



Dear Fellow OELMA Knights and Princesses,

The Central and South Region would like to welcome you to their first Professional Development session of the 2014-2015 Academic Year.

Our first Professional Development will be:

What OELMA means to me!

Thursday Sept. 25 at 4:30 at Weaver MS 

4600 Avery Road Hilliard, OH 43026

Cost: FREE!

This session will consist of any OELMA members present having the opportunity to articulate to fellow attendees “What OELMA means to me” and how the organization helps them prepare for the rigors of being an Ohio School Librarian.  We also plan to offer time to “Meet & Greet” with other attendees to gather ideas on how to better serve our clientele and to simply socialize.  At this time  tours of the facility will be available if anyone is interested. Finally, for all you late night squires who would like to continue to network with your fellow colleagues, dinner reservations have been made at Old Bag of Nails in downtown Hilliard following the PD session.      

Whether you are a current OELMA member or not, we want you to come enjoy some snacks and fellowship while gaining an understanding of what OELMA is and what being a member can mean for you. Please plan on attending, we would love to see you!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the Central or South Region Directors! 

OELMA is pleased to announce that Homeport’s Bright Ideas Book Bank is the recipient of an AASL Commendation.  Nominated by Krista Taracuk and Angela Wojtecki at the AASL Region 3 meeting in Minneapolis in May 2014, the Bright Ideas Book Bank was recognized at the national level during the Annual Conference of the American Library Association as an outstanding program deserving of recognition.  Homeport believes in the positive effect that access to books can have on a child’s development.  In the winter of 2013, Bright Ideas Book Bank provided nearly 1,000 books to 436 children, with plans to provide multiple books to over 600 low-income students living in Homeport’s communities.  Homeport is optimistic that as word spreads about the program over the next few years, it will get closer to reading all 2,500 children who call Homeport community their home.  Homeport’s Bright Ideas Book Bank is this year’s Literacy Leader Award recipient and will be honored at the 2014 OELMA Conference in Columbus.


It’s all in how you ask the question!  Read about two differing results in two polls trying to assess how the public feels about Common Core State Standards.  Poll Number One, a joint effort between Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa found that 60% of respondents oppose the Common Core;   Poll Number Two, a joint effort by Education Next, a journal sponsored by Harvard’s Kennedy school, the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Thomas B. FordhamInstitute, found 53% supported the Common Core.  The differing results came from the different ways in which the question was asked.  For more details, visit NPR ED: How Learning Happens Blog at  

I invite you to join my Research Ready Edmodo group. Do you use a learning management system- Blackboard, Moodle, Schoology, Edmodo?

Are you on a fixed schedule? Are you on a flexible schedule? Is research important to you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider creating a course on the topic in your LMS. As part of a graduate school course, I created a group of resources for third through fifth grade students and teachers to help teach the research process. I plan to use it in collaborative lessons with teachers and in my own fixed schedule lessons. 

Even though some of the resources are elementary specific, most of the resources apply to any grade level.  Go to and join my group as a teacher with the code 5eadg5. I welcome your feedback and suggestions. While you are there, check out the Common Core aligned and ready made “snapshots” that Edmodo has created. 

I encourage you to give it a try, because as a previous post mentioned, Edmodo will be used to house materials for our annual conference! Let’s share!


“Taking Charge of Change” is the OELMA theme for this October conference and our conference coordinator Angela Wojtecki, is putting this motto to work!  This year we are using two excellent Web 2.0 tools all found and then implemented by Angela.  -Both tools are excellent examples of using the power of the web to make and curate content.  

Yapp is a free mobile App development tool.  Angela used the Yapp to enter in the conference schedule. The site show several other ideas for apps including book talks, conferences, fundraisers, fairs  and classes just to name a few!   How cool would it be if your next book fair had an app? 

The next tool that is being implemented for the conference is Edmodo.  While Edmodo has been around for a few years, I feel we are seeing it used more and more to help develop professional learning communities.  The communities we make and join on Edmodo are an excellent way to fulfill OTES requirements.    The conference Edmodo (search OELMA 2014 Annual Conference) will allow attendees to view handouts, post comments and ask questions during and after the conference. The website does not go away so all the great content from the conference is already curated and just a click away. 

Before the rush of back to school begins, I hope you take a few minutes to to join the Edmodo conference websites and check out the Yapp and conference schedule 

 I have made the following videos to help you get started! 


If you’ve wondered how you as a professional school librarian taking charge of change could use the concept of speed dating in your library program – be prepared to learn at this year’s OELMA Conference.  On Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Quest Conference Center you will have an opportunity to speed date with authors Robin Yocum, Jody Casella, Chris Crutcher, Mindy McGinnis, Colleen Clayton, Jason Tharp and Michele Jakubowski.  Here’s how it works: participants will have 12 minutes with each of the above-mentioned authors and then a 3 minute transition time.  The bell will ring and then participants will move to the next author’s room for their “date.”   It will be exciting – I can already envision the energy building at the Quest Center – can’t you?  Hats off to Angela Wojtecki, Conference Chair, and the entire Conference Committee for their creativity in making this the best conference ever.  Registration for the 2014 Conference is now open.  Take charge of change, take charge of your professional development and join us at the Quest.  Here is the link to the registration form –


I have recently returned from Library Leadership Ohio (LLO) and cannot say enough positive things about my experience. It was held for two and a half days in Worthington and there were 50 librarians in attendance total. I was fortunate to receive an OELMA Scholarship to attend (THANK YOU OELMA) and I was one of two school librarians present. Most of the participants are public librarians; however, there were a few other academic and special librarians there as well. I would love to see more school librarians at this event in the future, as I feel we have much to offer and the lessons and ideas learned and shared here will make us better leaders in the library world. One of the first things we did was take a Strengthfinder quiz with speaker Paul Hilt as part of the book, Strengthfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. We then shared our top 5 strengths and did a series of exercises to focus on what these strengths have to do with our daily work in libraries. Interestingly, many librarians’ strengths were achiever and learner—makes sense, right?

We also heard from the Deputy Library Director from Chatanooga, Tennessee-Nate Hill. He focused on how libraries need to think about the customer experience not solely customer service and we need to be designing new services and creating value for new library users. He shared how he has helped transform his library into more of a maker space and focused on the idea of “Experience Design” to bring new users into their libraries. We heard from Paul Hilt the 2nd day as well-and he spoke to us about how we need to “Innovate or Die.” We did some exercises in looking at library sub-experiences patrons have, and how we need to sell the experience of using a library more and more. He also mentioned that we have an advantage to being innovative because we can find things! This rings very true for us in school libraries!  We also heard a special presentation from Past ALA President Barbara Stripling on the future of libraries and I was happy to see school libraries and research about school libraries in her presentation!  

Another key speaker we heard from was State Library of Ohio Board President Steve Wood. He gave us a breakdown of do’s and don’ts when working with Boards and it was very interesting to hear him, as he has been a Board Member as well as a Library Director-so he has seen both sides and worked in both positions! I was also lucky enough to see OELMA’s own Krista Taracuk at LLO-as she is on the State Library of Ohio Board and they were all in attendance to meet with us as well.

Some other interesting things we did was work with a small group of 10 librarians on an upcoming project for LLO14. I was assigned to work with the Staffing for the Future Team, and we are currently working on putting together a sample of a Change Management Toolkit for librarians who make hiring decisions and train other librarians. We pitched this idea to a librarian panel the last days of LLO, and the panel enjoyed this idea a lot! We will be working on this as a team virtually the next few months. Other teams have projects as well on various library topics and we made sure to focus on making them open to ALL libraries and relevant to the work we ALL do.

There were so many interesting speakers and moments-I could blog on and on (but I won’t)! I will say that for me, the best thing I walked away with was a better perspective on libraries and the impact being a leader can have not only for one’s own professional development, but also for the library you work in. Networking with other librarians was an invaluable experience for me and we need to always remember that our public and special librarian friends may not fully understand what school librarians really do—so educate them when you see one! One attendee even told me he had never had a deep and meaningful conversation with a school librarian about our career before LLO! That is just wrong! 

I would like to express my thanks again for the LLO Scholarship so that I could attend. Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to attend. We are all leaders whether we like it or not-as we have many management and leadership job duties each and every day in our schools. The more we lead, the more we can articulate how we add value to our students’ successes and as Paul Hilt said-“The best leaders tell the best stories.” LLO was an amazing experience and I am grateful for the opportunity. I will end this long blog (thanks for sticking with this if you did) with this quote that was shared on LLO day one:

“Leadership is the ability to align strengths toward a goal or vision in such a way that weaknesses are irrelevant.” ~Peter Drucker 

Library Leadership Ohio Class of 2014! 



The Common Core has the attention of academic librarians!  In the July 2014 issue of Library Journal, read Steven Bell’s article “Common Core 101 for Academic Librarians.”  He writes that now is the time for academic librarians to tune in to the Common Core.  Bell gives credit to “Our school librarian colleagues, who see it as a great opportunity for librarianship, [and] have invested considerable energy in preparing for the launch of the standards.” 


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an ardent supporter of the Common Core, is now urging states to delay decision ” based on assessment tests aligned to the standards.”  NPR’s Here and Now interviewed Melinda Gates who talked about her concerns about the common core.  You can hear the discussion on the NPR Here and Now website at  Some interesting comments have been posted.  Post your own! 


I attended the 2014 Annual American Library Association Conference held this past week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Temperatures soared well into the 110 degrees, but it was an amazing experience nonetheless. I wanted to recap a few of the things I did while at ALA that I think you may enjoy (I will refrain from talking about delictable meals and desserts Vegas had to offer-but WOW)! Here are some take-aways I think you may be interested in: 

· Attended sessions/booktalks on new YA and children’s literature…if you have not read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart read it ASAP!  HUGE APPLAUDS from us about this one!

· Attended AASL Region 3 Affiliate Assembly meetings (two total) and discussed AASL concerns and commendations in order to share with ALA as a whole.

· Attended the AASL President’s Program and heard from Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer. She was AMAZING and has some innovative ideas to get students reading and stay reading! If you have not read her two books yet-do so! Her 3rd is due out here next Winter/Spring and focuses on leadership in education.

· Attended the 2014 Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Session-great experience and sat seats away from Joyce Velenza (librarian celebrity moment). For the list of apps, visit:

· Attended a session with OELMA President Susan Yutzey on Project Connect…an iniative Follett Learning is launching which focuses on leadership and stresses the importance of certified school library media specialists in EVERY SCHOOL! Awesome to hear from Mooresville, NC Superintendent Dr. Mark A. Edwards. He believes the two most important people in a school are 1. The Principal and 2. The library media specialist. Yes, we loved hearing him speak and had to speak to him afterwards and say THANK YOU! He really does GET WHAT WE DO!  

To learn more about him, check out this link:

To learn more about Project Connect visit:

·Spent some time in the exhibit hall…I met and had books signed by Maggie Stiefvater, Holly Black, Jay Asher, and Christopher Paul Curtis. Major author celebrity excitement was had by all in attendance! There were SO many authors there…and the lines were crazy. It was clear YA librarians LOVE their YA authors judging by the lines and excitement!

·Attended the ALA President’s Program which hosted author Lois Lowry and actor Jeff Bridges. They spoke about the filming of The Giver (out August 15) as well as comparing writing to filming the movie and the impact of the book on the movie. It was really interesting to hear how when Jeff read the book as an adult he instantly thought it NEEDED to be a movie. And many screenwriters later…it is one!

· Went on a field trip to a youth correctional facility library just outside of Las Vegas. They are still in the process of planning the library/computer space and wanted our “expert” librarian input. It was a unique experience to hear from another area of librarianship and offer our thoughts and ideas to them based on our own school library experiences.

I know this was a lot of information, but this is just a portion of what I will implement and use in the future from conference! If you are able to attend ALA conferences, I highly suggest it-and we need more OHIO school library media specialists there! A few of us met for lunch at Serendipty 3’s and it was great to network with Christina Dorr, Liz Deskins, and Susan Yutzey for a little. I also met some other SLMS from other states and plan to connect with them in the future for ideas and networking. Next June, ALA Annual will be held in San Francisco. Looks like we are heading back West for another amazing national conference! 

Media Literacy Now provides policy and advocacy information, expertise, and resources to develop state laws to implement media literacy education in schools.  Media Literacy Now ( featured an article in its blog about OELMA’s Hands-On Media Literacy Summer Workshop last week.  “Engaging Educators in Drafting New “Media Literacy” Lesson Plans,” written by Frank Baker.  Read the blog article at


This article written by Sarah  Darer Littman and retweeted by Stephen Krashen is a good one to keep in your “hip-pocket” for advocacy. The article comes complete  with recent research.

Several email services have recently changed policies that may affect your listing on the OELMA listserv.  Specifically, this currently affects anyone with a Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL account, but others may follow.  The new policy means that although you will continue to receive listserv messages for the time being, each one will generate a “bounce-back” message to the list.  After 50 bounce-back messages, the list automatically removes an email address from the listserv (you will receive a message from the listserv when/if this happens).

There are a couple of ways to work around this.  You can submit a different email address to us for the listserv.  Gmail accounts don’t seem to be affectedso far, or if your school doesn’t filter listserv messages, we can use your school email address.  A second fix would be to switch your settings to digest mode, which would mean you would we receive one message a day, with links to all of the messages sent over the listserv that day.  To take either of these actions, simply complete our online form at


On June 17, Frank Baker joined school librarians and teachers at Hilliard Horizon Elementary School.  At the full-day workshop, Frank provided us with tons of resources that participants could then use as they created their media literacy lesson plans.  Liz Deskins was on hand to guide us through the AASL Lesson Plan Database and the template that participants will use to create the lesson plans.  Since the lesson plans are vetted, teachers can be assured that they are of high quality.   Quite a feather in a librarians’ cap to have a lesson plan approved for the database!  Deborah Ford from Junior Library Guild was also available as a facilitator and provided help with Ohio’s Learning Standards.  Brandi Young, ILibrarian, walked us through INFOhio’s Digital Video Collection (   Here are five things I connected with:

The Critical Thinking Consortium (  A Canadian-based consortium with tons of resources ready to embed in your lesson plans.

NMC Horizon Project (  This project, available for K-12 and higher education, charts emerging technologies for teaching, learning and research.

Edutopia (  This online journal is chock full of media literacy articles.  Check out the one on social media as media literacy.

Partnership for 21st Century (  Ohio is a partner state.  There is a media literacy page in each subject area.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy ( Edorigami includes a summary table of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy; however, Kathy Schrock’s Bloomin Apps page ( includes additional resources, including apps that support the new taxonomy.  Frank pointed out that creativity is at the top of the new Bloom’s taxonomy.  If you remember media literacy involves both analysis and creation of media.


Be sure and check out Frank’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse ( for a ton of resources!  MLC will be undergoing a facelift soon.


The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has released a study that  reports that just 17 percent of college programs “prepare students to teach reading using  “fundamental components of reading instruction.”  Are teaching colleges too lenient in their admissions criteria and graduating teachers ill prepared to teach subjects like reading, math and science?  Read about the study on the NPR Education blog.  The article entitled “Study Delivers Failing Grades for Many Programs Training Teachers” by Claudio Sanchez and Juana Summers can be found at  The Teacher Prep Review 2014 is the second edition of NCTQ’s annual assessment of the nation’s 2,400 teacher prep programs and can be viewed and/or downloaded at


From noon on Thursday, June 12 through noon, Friday, June 13, members of the OELMA Board and guests will meet in Cincinnati to re-examine the OELMA strategic plan (  The most common definition of strategic planning is “a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them (Business   OELMA re-examines its strategic plan every four years.  This year, we will look at OELMA’s accomplishments and then develop a strategic plan that focuses on how OELMA can ensure sustainability, build capacity, and innovate.


The NPR Education Blog , How Education Happens, featured an article called “The Common Core Curriculum Void” by Cory Turner. Pofessor William Schmidt runs Michigan State’s Center for the Study of Curriculum. His team has analyzed some 700 math books — many with that gold seal — to see just how well they line up with the Common Core Standards. The verdict?   “Virtually none of them” line up “straight on to the Common Core.”  Professor Schmidt says his team has reviewed several brand new textbooks, and says they’re much better, “but the landscape, in general, is still pretty bad.”

This story is Part One of a two-part series on Common Core implementation. In Part Two: how teachers, districts and states are working together to build new Common Core classroom materials from the ground up.


As the school year unwinds, and we begin to make plans for a sunny and hopefully relaxing summer, I wanted to take a minute and give a quick conference update! The conference committee has been working hard to plan a conference that you DO NOT want to miss! Our theme is Ohio School Libraries: Taking Charge of Change and it will be held October 23-25, 2014 at the Quest Conference Center in Columbus. 

The deadline for session proposals has come and gone, and I am beyond excited for the sessions at conference. We will be having some awesome OELMA members and other presenters hosting relevant, interesting, and fun sessions! Also, we have over 19 authors (most from Ohio) coming to conference this year, and we also are excited to host Dr. Stephen Layne as our keynote this year! Cengage Learning has very generously sponsored to host him this year for us! Our conference website continues to be updated with news and events so be sure to check often for new postings and links.

In terms of tech at conference…we will be using Edmodo as well as the app YAPP for this year’s conference handouts and overall schedule, so if you are unfamiliar with these tools, perhaps spend some time this summer trying them out (they are easy, I promise)!

One more thing: be sure to book your hotel room for conference as soon as possible and OELMA has blocked a section of rooms at each of these four, very nearby hotels ( For more information on Conference, including registration costs, and exhibitor information, please visit our page at: Thank you again and remember as you relax this summer–wear your sunscreen!  

lImage from:

Upon the recommendation of the 2013 Scholarship and Awards Committee, the OELMA Board of Directors approved the list of award recipients at its May 17, 2014 meeting. Congratulations to the following scholarship and award recipients:

Outstanding Administrator Award – Dan Girard, Principal, Brookside Elementary School, Worthingon City Schools, Worthington, OH

Literacy Leader Award – Bright Ideas Book Bank, Columbus Housing Partnership, Homeport, Columbus, OH

Emerging Leader Award – Jessica Klinker, LMS, Franklin Heights HS, South-Western City Schools, Columbus, OH and Michelle Lombardi, LMS, Columbus North International School, Columbus City Schools, Columbus, OH

Leadership in Action – Sarah Thornbery, LMS, Springboro Middle School, Springboro Community City Schools, Springboro, OH and Christina Dorr, LMS, Horizon Elementary School & Alton Darby Elementary School, Hilliard City Schools, Hilliard, OH

Outstanding Contributor Award – Krista Taracuk, School Library Representative, State Library Board of Ohio Board, LMS – Retired, Thomas Worthington HS, Worthington City Schools, Worthington, OH

OELMA/Follett Library Resources Outstanding School Librarian Award – Cheryl Cartwright, LMS/District Library Coordinator, Greensview Elementary School, Upper Arlington City Schools, Upper Arlington, OH

OELMA Scholarship – Karen Mossing, LMS, Southeastern Junior/Senior HS, Southeastern Local Schools, Chillicothe, OH

J. Allen Oakum Scholarship – Laurie Katusin-Swallen – Teacher Librarian, Tuslaw HS, Tuslaw Local Schools, Massillon, OH

The Board would like to thank those who nominated OELMA members for the above-mentioned scholarships and awards. As you can well imagine, it is a very difficult decision selecting recipients from among the many outstanding school librarians in Ohio.

The Board would also like to thank the members of the OELMA Scholarship and Awards Committee for their enthusiasm and dedication to the task of selecting from the many onominees.
To learn more about the individual awards and scholarships, please go to the OELMA website


On Tuesday, May 13, I attended the Google Conference at Kalahari Convention Center.  As an exhibitor I met and talked with school librarians from across the state including: Angela Maxwell, Jen Flaherty, Julie Ungier, Shahnyn Moody-Benedict, Ellen Barnhizer, and Sarah Mowery.  I attended several sessions including one entitled Google Apps It’s Elementary.  Presenters Angela Maxwell and Shahnyn Moody-Benedict spoke to a full room of teachers, librarians and administrators about Google applications that can be adapted for teacher and librarian use in the school setting such as: reading records, technology requests, parent-teacher scheduling requests, behavior documentation, IEP data, exit slips and Google books.  In the second half of their presentation Maxwell described all the ways in which elementary-aged students can use Google applications for presentations, 4th grade historical mystery project, Native American history and pottery project, and much more.  It was a great session as well as a great opportunity for 

administrators and teachers to see how school librarians are leaders in their school districts in the application of Google in instruction and administration.


This year’s author list for the OELMA conference includes 14 authors of all levels and genres. If you don’t know these names, the conference will give you a chance to share with your students and staff your familiarity of a variety of authors.

Authors Jody Casella and Mindy McGinnis were highlighted at the Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, May 10th.  They presented a panel discussion entitled “First Editions: Young Adult.”  

Jody Casella’s debut book, Thin Space, is a paranormal fantasy that has received rave reviews from SLJ, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist.  Mindy McGinnis’s book Not a Drop to Drink has been tapped for the 2015-2016 Choose to Read Ohio program. Her second book (a companion to the first book), In A Handful of Dust, will be forthcoming in September of this year.

Authors and illustrators for the conference include: on Friday = Emma Carlson Berne, Barbara Binns, Jenette and Christopher Canyon, Mary Kay Carson, Jody Casella, Susan Levine, and Marilyn Peterson Haddix.  On Saturday = Colleen Clayton, Chris Crutcher, Michele Jakubowski, Mindy McGinnis, Paul Orshoski, Jason Tharp, and Robin Yocum.  

Krista Taracuk, Conference Author Chair

Pictured below are: Mindy McGinnis (on left) with Not a Drop to Drink and Jody Casella (on right) with Thin Space


OELMA is in the finishing stages of creating a new Google website specifically for new and future school librarians in the state.  This website was created by OELMA members for the purpose of offering new Ohio teacher librarians, new members, and future librarians a one-stop shop for information and links related to the field. We hope at OELMA this site will come in handy for individuals new to our wonderful profession!  Those first couple of years, as we know, can be overwhelming! The website will consist of pages pertaining to job postings in Ohio, links to places for lesson plans, a link to the OELMA conference page, patron behavior management, interviewing tips, continuing education, common core material, and others.  Those who helped create this new Google Website were Jennifer Flaherty, Sarah Ross Mowery, Erica Mackley, Karen Gedeon, Krista Taracuk, and Trent Roberts.   The website should be going live sometime the summer of 2014 and will be linked from the current OELMA website.  If you are a new or budding school librarian be sure to keep your eye out for this helpful tool. 


For those of you that do not know me, I am the Region 3 Director and serve on the governing board of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).  In my regular day job, I serve as teacher-librarian at Springboro Jr. High School in Springboro, OH, which is in southwestern Ohio.  I am also a Past-President of OELMA.  


What is AASL?

AASL, of which OELMA is an affiliate, is a division of the American Library Association (ALA).  AASL’s mission is to “advocate excellence, facilitate change, and develop leaders in the school library field” (located at AASL is the only national organization that dedicated to the needs of professional school librarians. 


Why Join?

As AASL is a division of ALA, you receive all the benefits of being a member of ALA, which is the largest library association in the world.  Benefits include the following:

·         Professional standards that include learning standards for students (Standards forthe 21st Century Learner),

          program guidelines, & standards for preparation of school librarians

·         Creation of statistics and research studies (School Libraries Count!)

·         Lobbying benefits of the ALA Washington Office & power of ALA to advocate for school librarians

·         Intellectual freedom support for material challenges

·         Advocacy tools such toolkits, position statements, & white papers

·         Subscription to Knowledge Quest, which is the peer-reviewed journal of AASL

·         Access to members-only webinars on eCollab, AASL listerv, & Hotlinks (AASL’s newsletter)

·         Discounts on professional development sessions & publications

·         Networking opportunities


What is the cost?

Membership to AASL is costly as you are required to join ALA and AASL. However, it is prorated for the first three years of membership.  You can also make payments on the dues and/or write a portion off of your taxes.  The membership fee for both of these for the first year is $115 and can be reduced if you are currently a library school student. 



ALA conferences with AASL programing are held every midwinter & summer.  This year’s ALA conference is in Las Vegas & next year’s is in San Francisco.  AASL National Conference is held every other year and the next one is in 2015 in our very own Columbus!


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time at

AASL Region 3 Reps from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri met in Minneapolis this past weekend. Aren’t we a great looking group? 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to represent OELMA and Ohio school librarians at the AASL Region 3 Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now I would be totally lying if I told you we did not make a little time to do a tiny bit of shopping at the largest mall in the USA—The Mall of America, which was minutes from our hotel, however, we did also get much work accomplished too! OELMA typically sends the President and President-Elect to the annual AASL Region 3 meeting, along with the state representatives from Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. This year I attended and Susan had a family conflict, therefore OELMA Past-President Krista Taracuk also attended with me for the trip to also represent OELMA.  

After flying into town on Friday night, we had a social event where we met the other state representatives at a restaurant at the Mall of America. On Saturday, it was all business: we talked about each state’s issues and concerns, and then worked on creating commendations for AASL. These commendations recognize non-profit organizations within our Region 3 states that go above and beyond their mission to help promote the goals and standards of AASL. We also discussed ongoing concerns within our states such as advocacy and collaboration with public and academic librarians. There was also time for us to share ideas for technology-what was working and what we need to work on among each state and our region. It was overall very informative and I will take some ideas and suggestions back to the OELMA Board at our May meeting as well as our upcoming conference this October.

On Saturday night, we coincidentally were in town the same weekend as the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture at the University of Minnesota sponsored by ALSC. We attended this as a group and were able to have an introduction with Kate DiCamillo, followed by featured speaker, award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney. She gave an amazing performance and speech-followed with a book signing with her husband- also award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney.

I know it has been said before that our OELMA members get so much more from our organization than what we put into it, and I have to say this weekend was wonderful for me professionally. Networking with other school librarians in other states is invaluable to us as an organization and the relationships we build will last for years and years. It also demonstrates to us that we are not alone in the library challenges. We also are all very dedicated, motivated, and making changes every day to impact student learning in our schools across our country! It was a fun, educational, and invigorating weekend and I am very fortunate to attend and represent OELMA!


Also, we learned this weekend some exciting news: Ohio will be the host state for next year’s 2015 AASL Region 3 meeting!

Congratulations Morgan Nickolai, Sidney High School LMS.  PBS LearningMedia announced its Digital Innovator for 2014 and Morgan was one of 100 recipents to receive this coveted honor. Visit the website to learn more about the award. “After a nationwide search, this impressive group of 100 diverse educators from across the country was selected for their passion and commitment to innovative teaching practices that integrate digital media and technology in the classroom. This group represents a cross section of educators in America: rural and urban communities; public, private and charter schools; classroom teachers, school librarians, and specialist in curriculum, media and technology in grades K-12. This yearlong professional development program will foster and grow a community of tech-savvy educators that will serve as ambassadors for integrating best practices in digital learning in classrooms across the country. This program runs from June 2014 to the end of the 2014-15 school year.”


S’more Hot Summer Reads

Green High School
Monday, May 12th at 4:30-6:30pm.


Do you have a hunger for s’more great summer reads? Join OELMA East Region  at Green High School on Monday, May 12th at 4:30-6:30pm. Sarah Rosenberger, Assistant Youth Services Coordinator Akron-Summit County Public Library and Mary Tanner, Teen Librarian–Green Branch of the Akron-Summit County Library will be presenting the hottest titles to help your students beat the summer heat. 

Next, Annette Lang, technology educator at Bio-Med Science Academy, will demonstrate how to create an online flyer using S’more. Angela Wojecki, library media specialist at Nordonia City Schools, will demonstrate a new online advocacy and promotional tool, Tackk. At the conclusion of this hands-on session you will leave with your own personalized technology based flyer to promote summer reading with your students. 

Register today!


Please consider attending AND presenting at the 2014 OELMA Conference at Quest Conference Center October 23-25, 2014! The call for proposals is OPEN and we are READY  for YOU to share your experience and knowledge at this year’s conference! One major benefit of presenting, aside from the professional accolades is a discounted registration price for the entire conference! 

The link to submit your proposal is HERE

 The theme is Ohio School Libraries: Taking Charge of Change and we are focusing on sessions which offer one or more of the following focuses in terms of what we are taking charge of: 

1. Literature-we are literacy experts!

     -Literacy and literature topics for K-12 students

2. Research-we are providing students with skills needed to succeed!

     -How we help teach research skills, lesson plans, etc.

3. Technology-We are 24/7 Librarians!

     -All technology related sessions (websites, Google Apps, etc.)

4. Change-We are engaged and embedded into the changes in education!

     -Covers changes in PARCC, testing, 3rd grade reading, Common Core, blended learning, assessment data, etc.

The more strands you can cover in your session, the better!

All programs should be submitted by April 30, 2014.  Call for Program Proposal submissions will be reviewed by the Conference Committee and will be accepted on the basis of their appropriateness to the theme as well as their interest to educators, school library/media personnel, and technology staff.  

Please email me personally if you have any questions! 


Congratulations to the following authors who have been tapped for the 2015-2016 Choose to Read Ohio program and who will be presenting at the 2014 OELMA conference: Mary Kay Carson, Colleen Clayton, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Mindy McGinnis.

The books on the CTRO 2015 & 2016 list will be showcased at the Ohioana Book Festival, Saturday, May 10 from 10:00 a.m. –  4:00 p.m. at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus.  Free and open to the public, the Festival offers author discussion panels, book signings, children’s activities, food trucks, and a book fair featuring nearly 100 authors. 


On May 20th, School Librarians are invited to join us at the newly constructed Beachwood High School Library in Northeast Ohio, for a professional development workshop that includes annual report writing, interactive book talks, and speed dating with books. Register here. First, gather ideas for your library during a tour of the brand-new library space designed for digital natives.

Walk through  Joanna McNally’s (Orange School District) process for annual reports. See examples of a variety of year end reports from other elementary, high school, and district libraries. Start creating your report with one of our templates. Then, get physical with booktalks! Lori Guerrini of Chagrin Falls Schools will whip your ordinary booktalks into interactive booktalks that include active, physical participation by students .Finally, help students find their perfect book match with speed dating with books. Hope to see you there! 


At my elementary building, I am just beginning to gear up for Right to Read Week 2014. A little behind, I know… We are so excited to host Shelley Pearsall for a day on May27th and we will build a week around her visit along with our field day. To begin the organization and promotion, I started using Canva, which bills itself as “amazingly simple graphic design”. It lived up to its name, allowing me to design an invitation in minutes. I can save as a .jpg, .pdf and more. This is my new favorite tool for print and web marketing. Check out a simple design that took me less than 10minutes. 


Do you know a library school student who is committed to pursuing a career in school librarianship? Help him or her achieve their goals with a nomination for an OELMA scholarship!


The J. Allen Oakum Scholarship and the OELMA Scholarship are awarded to Ohio residents pursuing certification in school library/media in an accredited library school program. The scholarships provide cash stipends intended to help defray educational costs for future library media specialists as they complete their studies.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out the complete scholarship descriptions and application forms at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 15th


Nominations for OELMA’s Scholarships and Awards are due Tuesday, April 15th 


Don’t miss your chance to acknowledge an exceptional colleague, administrator, or library school student. Submit applications for OELMA’s Scholarships and Awards by Tuesday, April 15th. This year’s awards include:


Emerging Leader Award

Information Technology Innovation Award

Intellectual Freedom Award

Leadership-in-Action Award

Literacy Leader Award

OELMA/Follett Library Resources Outstanding School Librarian Award

Outstanding Administrator Award

Outstanding Contributor Award

J. Allen Oakum Scholarship

OELMA Scholarship


Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out the complete award descriptions and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 15th

We are privileged and lucky to have the Ohio Educational Library Media Association looking out for the best interests of school librarians and the students they serve. Ideas and opportunities abound from OELMA to help school librarians continually energize their programs and meaningfully contribute to supporting academic requirements.

OELMA members are recipients of the collective wisdom of fellow school librarians through the listserv receive outstanding professional development at discounted rates and have a voice at national and state-level advocacy hearings, to name just a few member benefits.

Speaking of membership, how would you like to WIN A 2015 OELMA MEMBERSHIP? You may be the lucky winner if you enter the OELMA membership raffle!

Raffle tickets are $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00. Raffle tickets are available from Regional Directors or contact Lori Guerrini, Northeast Region, to purchase your tickets! The raffle will be held October 23, 2014 at pre-conference. Winner need not be present to win. 
Good Luck!


Join us for the workshop “Creating Annual Reports in LiveBinder” on Thursday, April 17th 4:30-6:30 p.m. Media Specialist, Sarah Mowery, from Elgin Local Schools, will be sharing how to put this web 2.0 tool to use to show your contributions to student achievement.
Location: Hilliard Horizon Elementary School, 6000 Renner Road, Columbus, Ohio 43228
Mark Your Calendars, Central/South Region Members!


Do you know a school administrator whose support of school libraries has improved library programs and increased student learning? Nominate him or her for OELMA’s Administrator-of-the-Year Award.


This is a great opportunity to recognize the importance administrators play in contributing to the planning, implementation and support of school library programs. Don’t miss your chance to bring some recognition to your school library’s program and the administrator who supports it.


Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?


Check out the complete award description and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:


Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 15th

Angela M. Wojtecki, Director of Library Media Services at Nordonia Hills City Schools, is the 2014 recipient of OELMA’s Library Leadership Ohio Scholarship. This award recognizes an OELMA member who demonstrates leadership potential and encourages development of leadership skills. To be considered for this prestigious award, Angela had to be selected to participate in the Library Leadership Ohio Institute. The 3-day Institute will be held in July and fifty participants from all types of libraries across Ohio will congregate in Columbus. The Institute is designed to create leaders who will guide Ohio libraries into the twenty-first century and solve the issues facing our libraries and communities. Angela received her Master of Arts, Library and Information Science from Kent State University. She is President-elect of OELMA after having served two years as East Region Director. She is the 2012 recipient of OELMA’s Emerging Leader Award.


Do you know a librarian who excels at teaching technology skills? How about a colleague who incorporates original technology lessons into instruction?  This is your opportunity to showcase the many different ways you and your colleagues use technology to enhance your teaching.  

The Information Technology Innovation Award recognizes school librarians who design, develop, and implement innovative uses of technology in instruction. This award spotlights the importance of emerging technologies in supporting student learning. Nominees will submit a digital video file that demonstrates an innovative technology lesson plan-in-action.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out complete award descriptions and the application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 15th


We are pleased to announce that OELMA is now offering a new sequence of awards that are designed to recognize librarians at all stages of their careers.

The Emerging Leader award recognizes OELMA members who have recently assumed an OELMA leadership role for the first time. This Award honors members who demonstrate leadership potential and encourages members’ active participation in the Association. 

The Leadership-in-Action award recognizes an Ohio school librarian pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA). This award honors OELMA members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to leadership in the school library profession.

The Outstanding Contributor award recognizes an Ohio licensed school librarian who has made outstanding contributions to school librarianship.  The honoree has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the school library profession, while serving in OELMA leadership roles.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out complete award descriptions and the application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:
Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 15th

Nominate an exceptional colleague, administrator, or library school student for one of OELMA’s scholarships and awards. This year’s new awards address the many varied aspects of the school library profession. Best of all, the application process is simpler than ever, so take the time to nominate a deserving colleague today!

This year’s scholarships and awards include:

Emerging Leader Award

Information Technology Innovation Award

Intellectual Freedom Award

Leadership-in-Action Award

Literacy Leader Award

OELMA/Follett Library Resources Outstanding School Librarian Award

Outstanding Administrator Award

Outstanding Contributor Award

J. Allen Oakum Scholarship

OELMA Scholarship

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out complete award descriptions and the application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Tuesday, April 15th


Read Susan Yutzey’s letter to the ediotr of the Columbus Dispatch on the value of librarians in the research process.


There’s still time to register for Strengthen Your Core, a professional development and networking event on March 18, 2014. Join a mixed crowd of school and public youth services librarians for an evening of Common Core projects and programming, hot teen reads, and CCELA aligned middle grades titles. Bring your own device, if possible. Check out the NE region page for more information We hope to see you there!


I was asked to post a professional development activity that I recently did with the staff from the Kenston Local Schools. I titled the session, “SPA INFOhio – For All Your Curricular Needs”! It was really a fun session to conduct and the teachers enjoyed the SPA atmosphere, comraderie and useful information. I have included a link to all of the details (pictures included) and I am providing the description of the session here:


Relax, sit back and find out about all of the FREE resources to help you luxuriate in your classroom! This is better than a bubble bath. In fact, you can be in a bubble bath and get CEU’s for your IPDP with INFOhio! Need to massage your curriculum with new ideas and resources? SPA-INFOhio to the rescue. CCSS got you down? Look for the INFOhio curriculum toolboxes. This and so much more awaits at SPA-INFOhio! Join us! You’ll be glad you did!

Here is a link to all of the details from the session. (Hatnote, Listen to Wikipedia, is linked on this document.)


I want to share one of my favorite resources that is available to everyone here in Ohio, because we are so fortunate that INFOhio provides it to us free of charge. This resource is Learning Express Library, I think of it as the jack of all trades when it comes to electronic resources and it just got even better. In conjunction with the break apart of the outstanding Job and Career Accelerator and Skills for the Workplace, that are now stand alone sites, Learning Express just released version 3.0 which has a totally revamped interface, offering even more support and help than was available in the 2.0 version. Learning Express offers a variety of ways to prepare for everything from the PSAT to the ACT to the GRE and everything in between. It also offers prep for the GED, the ASVAB and many other work place examinations.There are skill building tutorials for all ages from elementary to adult learners and they have added a whole section offered in Spanish. Whether you need help with your elementary student’s homework or prep for a new job for yourself you can get it, all with one log in. Learning Express Library allows a learner track their progress by making a log in and password, giving each learner a personal account. For learners who are unsure of what they want to be when they grow whether they are 14 or 44 or older, the Job and Career Accelerator allows them to take a test that evaluates their interests and recommends job and careers based on the amount of education they have or want to obtain. Then the Accelerator can help the learner look and apply for a job, write a resume, cover letter and even prepare for an interview. I have used Job and Career Accelerator to teach research and I show students how to use Learning Express Library several times a week, it is that valuable of a tool and resource. If you haven’t already, check it out, I think you will be happy that you did!


Please join me in congratulating the following OELMA members who have volunteered to serve on the 2014 Nominating Committee: Holly Bunt (E), Julie Ungier (NE), Rebecca Tabor Pollock (C); Debbie Reynolds (NW), Amber Hadley (W), and Nona Lindquist (S). The Nominating Committee is charged with preparing a slate of not more than two (2) candidates for each office to be filled. For 2015, we are looking for OELMA members willing to run for Secretary (2-year term), Vice-President (3-year term), and Regional Directors from each region (2-year term). If you are interested in running for office, please contact Kate Brunswick at


Just had to pay homage to Dr. Seuss with a Happy Birthday wish and a link to this wonderful article!


Congratulations Rebecca Tabor Pollack, former Central Region Director and now member of the OELMA Nominations Committee, on your recent article in AdLit: Advancing Adolescent Literacy Instruction Together published by the Ohio Resource Center. Pollack, licensed school library media specialist at St. Matthew School in Gahanna, describes her experience with graphic novels in her school library. What first began as an experiment with the purchase of a few graphic novels became a blossoming collection within a very short time as her students gravitated to the 740s. The article includes lists of references as well as suggested readings. The entire issue is devoted to graphic novels. The link to the online article is found here


Can you believe it?  It’s already time to nominate books for the Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Awards. Remember, for this award books are both nominated and voted on by children in the state of Ohio.  The nominations will be open until March 10th so start talking with your students and patrons now and encourage them to nominate books that have been published in the last two years, 2012 and 2013 (original publishing date, not just paperback copyright date).  The grade level categories are: K – 2, 3 – 5, 6 – 8, and Teen.  What a great way to encourage ownership in reading choices!  Can’t wait to see what our students put forward this year!

Again, the website is:

Facebook page:


Any questions, feel free to email me: or your Buckeye Book Award representative:  Nancy Boone, 


…and his presentation is fantastic! Dr. Krashen clearly and concisely gets his point across about school libraries. I love it. This is a video you will want to have in your advocacy bag of tricks!


Just wanted to repost a message I had sent a couple weeks ago:

In Keeping with our theme of “Wearing Many Hats” our February workshop is “Reader.”  The date has been changed to Thursday, February 20th 5:00-7:00p.m.  It will be dinner and a book talk, lead by Susan Yutzey, OELMA President.  We will be discussing two books: Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath AND Every Child Everyday by Mark Edwards.  Read one — or read both — and come join the conversation at Panera, 3625 Fishinger Road, Hilliard, Ohio.


I’m constantly coming up with contests to keep my students interested in reading and try to tie them into current events. I started a contest for 3-5th grades that ties in to the 2014 Winter Sochi Olympics. This is a collaboration with the PE teachers as the students are logging their daily reading and activity minutes.

Each class was given a country that they represent in the contest. We have not given USA but instead they have Canada, Italy, Australia, Peru, South Africa and Japan. In addition to the kids learning more about the Olympics some of the teachers are tying in learning about the different countries.

The students were told that the top class in each building would get a pizza party (I have three buildings!) and the top three individuals in each building will get medals. Of course some are trying to exaggerate their minutes and that is where the aides in my libraries are a wonderful source as they know that students’ better than I and they are able to monitor this.

Before each library lesson I ask my 3-5th graders if they have been watching the olympics. We have had some great discussions about different events and athletes. This also gets the other kids excited about watching especially if they have not watched or been exposed to the Olympics. The contest ends this Friday and I am anxious to see which classes come out on top.

Last year I was in a middle school and getting kids excited about reading is especially challenging. I tied a reading contest to March Madness basketball and using School Library Journal’s model we had brackets that the kids voted on. Of course instead of basketball teams the brackets had popular books. Surprisingly, Hunger Games did not come out on top! 
I encourage you to come up with fun ways to use reading incentives as a way to get students’ excited about reading!


Have you had a chance to look at the recently released PARCC online sample questions? I looked around at my colleagues after a recent staff meeting where these online questions had been shared. To be honest a lot of people looked overwhelmed and stressed. Sure, you already have to teach your content and a host of other things that aren’t directly written in your curriculum. Now, let’s add another piece to the already teetering pile. 
                This is an area that I feel I can work with my teachers to help lighten their load and lift the anxieties of the less-tech savvy. One of the most important things to remember is that all of these skills shouldn’t be in addition to your lesson, but incorporated into it. I have started collecting resources to share with the staff. I have been using a Google Doc to keep a running list of web sites and activities that will help expose students to the skills and experiences that will make them successful when navigating the PARCC assessments. The list includes simulations, types of online calculators, activities that allow students to drag/drop answers and manipulate data within graphs. 
              In addition to keeping the updated list of resources, I have been working with my curriculum director on some after school professional development sessions for our teachers. At the start of the session I share this list with them (Tech Skills List.) This tool from the University of Kentucky helps teachers determine the preparation level of their students prior to taking the assessment. It covers five areas—but one area is specific to a text-reader which may or may not be available to your students. These areas include: Basic Computer Skills, Keyboarding, Word Processing, Text-Reader/Screen Reader and Interaction with Online Assessment Skills. I found that this list was a great discussion starter for our professional development session. Can your students open multiple windows, choose multiple answers or highlight multiple items? Do they know how to scroll within a text box or click/drag items?

                The East Region will be offering a PD session where I will be sharing more resources and Jeanne Steele will be discussing Infohio resources and The Third Grade Reading Guarantee. There is still time to sign up for PARCC and 3rd Grade Guarantee resource training being held: Feb 19th at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson Ohio from 4:30 to 6:30. Stop by to see how you can support your school.



Midwinter will also address these topics–don’t forget to register!


The Climate Change Environmental Education POLCA (Project-based Online Learning Community Alliance) was formed in the spring of 2013 as part of the U.S. EPA-funded EECapacity project. The Alliance has just released the materials produced by nine working groups and are making these materials available to all at 

Formal and informal educators and professional developers will find research findings, standards, and teaching suggestions appropriate for social studies, language arts, science, and interdisciplinary teaching/learning—and links to valuable resources for working with learners from kindergarten to adult ages.  


NOTE: The site will ask you for an email address to download each PDF so you may want to download the whole file instead of individual parts.


The Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA), Kent State University, and State Library of Ohio welcome you to participate in this one-day meeting that focuses on the collaboration between school and public libraries to build reading success.  Cherie Pandora and Stacey Hayman, co-authors of Better Serving Teens through School Library-Public Library Collaboration(Libraries Unlimited, 2013) are the keynote speakers.  Break-out sessions will focus on aspects of reading and literacy that are relevant to both public and school libraries and give attendees the background knowledge and tools to support student reading and build collaborations between school and public librarians.  Sessions include a round-up of new and noteworthy books for children and young adults; hands-on text complexity, PARCC, collaborating to build successful teen services and much more.  This Midwinter meetingwill be held simultaneously at two locations – Kent State University and the State Library of Ohio, Columbus with some videoconferencing. Cost is only $75 and includes lunch.  Registration is required and space is limited.  Click here to register today! Deadline to register isMarch 1, 2014.


With the help of Polar Vortex, I love the way that rolls off the tongue, I have been able to get caught up slightly on my professional reading for the month.  Each snow day I set aside a little bit of time to scour my favorite bloggers for relevant articles, links, and ideas to take back with me once we actually got back to school on a regular basis.  By the way, we are already well past our calamity day limit…EEK!  Let’s not talk about that though.  Let’s talk a little bit about some blog postings that I think could be of interest to my fellow school librarians!

Mobile Apps for Teacher Librarians…HEY THAT’S ME!

Often times we are searching for apps and websites that would be good for our students/teachers/administrators in the educational realm but often forget about ourselves.  Sure, some of these would be good for your students or teachers but what hit home for me is that they work great for someone like myself…a school librarian!  Some of these you might have heard of such as Dragon Dictation, Feedly, and Easy Bib but some of them you might not have such as Free Books-23,469 classics to go or WordFoto.  Check out the article!  See if there is anything you don’t have!

Article can be found here 

Listen to the Sounds of Nature from All Over the World with Nature Sound Map Website

I think this website could be used in many different grades.  It can obviously be used at the primary level to introduce the different nature sounds from around the world.  It could also be used in a Science class as a way to hear, for example, what a volcano might sound like when it is erupting.  Finally, it could be used as background music in-between periods and what not.  The real question here is does this solve the age old question of…if a tree falls in the forest does it make sound?

Article can be found here

i Visual info Touch app for the iPad allows you to create Infographics on the iPad

For the past two years I’ve collaborated with my 7th grade Language Arts classes to help them create their own Infographics for a project they are assigned.  We have been using primarily web tools such as,, and so on that all have their strengths and weaknesses.   I’ve been looking for an iPad app for this purpose and this might be it.  What I really like is that fact that the kids don’t have to make an account.  The infographic simply gets saved to the camera roll on the iPad.  The downfall is if you want to insert your own images you have to go with the paid version that cost $2.99.  Compared to the paid versions of some web tools that is not that bad. 

Article can be found here

Google Images and Usage Rights more easily accessible for searchers

This has been a thorn in my clavicle for a while now. No matter how many times I’ve shown my students creative commons images websites, I’m still going to have a good amount of students use Google images for their pictures.  In the past, the usage rights option in the advanced search has been too cumbersome for students to use and many just take their chances.  Now that it is in the tool bar above the search results ,I’m hoping I can get my students to use it more often. 

Article can be found here      

Websites for Free Public Domain Images

So before it was a thorn in my clavicle it was a thorn in my femur.  Well, to get it out of my femur I linked some of these nice free public domain image sites to our school media center webpage.  This really helped some kids find safe images to use and also made them more aware of copyright issues.  Some of these are common knowledge but a few others, such as morgueFile which I really like, might not be.  Before you go and unblock all of these, because I’m sure your filter has blacklisted some of them, I would check them out and make sure they fit the needs of your clientele.   

Article can be found here

February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day but also International Book Giving Day!

I had no clue that February 14th is also International Book Giving Day.  I feel bad I didn’t know this…maybe you didn’t know it either and can feel bad with me?!?  Well, not only will I be giving my wife something special but also something special to someone who wants to read!  The brief article has links to the International Book Giving Day website and to a place where you can donate to an organization that gives books to kids in need. 

Article can be found here

The Option to Get Paid to take College Courses

I found this article very interesting to say the least.  Harvard University is planning on offering the opportunity to get paid to take certain classes, looks most likely to be MOOCs classes right now, as another incentive for students.  The payment received for taking a class can then be used towards another course.  I don’t know how successful it will be or if I would do it because you don’t get course credit.  It might be a nice option if I didn’t feel like I was prepared for a higher level course and needed an introductory class that I wasn’t going to get credit for anyways.  The real question is could we see a hybrid of some sort coming in the future at our level of education?  Some way to make college more affordable for those who plan to attend a higher education institution?

Article can be found here

My favorite Infographic of the Month Says E-Books Will Not Kill the Book  

I get ants in my pants, frozen ones during the POLAR VORTEX, when people say books are going to be extinct in the very near future.  Come on people, really?!?  Books are not going to be totally E-Books in the near future.  Look towards the history of media for proof of that.  Radio was supposed to die when TVs were invented.  Don’t get me wrong, E-Books are definitely becoming a big part of the market, but to say books WILL be obsolete in the near future is a bit much.  Heck, I have an e-reader and enjoy reading on it but I still buy print too.  As this infographic hints to, it’s more likely the two will “co-exist”.   

Article can be found here

Reading Changes Your Brain

I’m not surprised at the study conducted in this article or the findings, but it does make me want to come home and read a book.  We all knew that books and/or reading can help change our outlook on different things, but did you know that it can also alter your brain?    Now if I could just find another job that will allow me to go home and do that more often. J    

Article can be found here

Governor Kasich and the Calamity Days

So in the end I ended up talking about snow days and the fact that my district has already exceeded the maximum amount of days.  The following article should give those of you like me some hope. J

Article can be found here


In Keeping with our theme of “Wearing Many Hats” our February workshop is “Reader.”  The date has been changed to Thursday, February 20th 5:00-7:00p.m.  It will be dinner and a book talk, lead by Susan Yutzey, OELMA President.  We will be discussing two books: Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath AND Every Child Everyday by Mark Edwards.  Read one — or read both — and come join the conversation at Panera, 3625 Fishinger Road, Hilliard, Ohio.


In case you haven’t seen this yet, just thought I would pass along the release of the PARCC sample test questions for computer practice. Should be interesting and something you might want to pass along to your administration.


As president of OELMA, I am pleased to announce that Mark Tuel, library media specialist at Mount Vernon High School, will be the new Editor of OELMA’s peer-reviewed journal, Spectrum. Mark has a B.A. in English from Mount Vernon Nazarene University, an M.A. in Special Education with an emphasis on Gifted and Talented and licensure in School Library Media from The Ohio State University. Mark brings to this position a rich background as an English/Language Arts teacher for thirteen years, a school library media specialist for fifteen years as well as a consultant librarian for Mount Vernon Academy and as a consultant for talented and gifted programming at the Knox County ESC. As an adjunct instructor for several years, Mark taught an English/Language Arts methods course at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Mark has been a member of OELMA for many years and presented with his principal at the 2011 Annual Conference on virtual instruction using Moodle. He is very active in the Mount Vernon Education Association both as an officer and as a negotiator in which he helped bargain four negotiated agreements. His professional involvement also includes serving as president of the Kokosing Valley Chapter of the International Reading Association as well as presenting at the National Association for Gifted Children’s Conference. Mark is married to Crystal who has taught Spanish for 34 years grades 7 through university. As of January 1, 2014, Sheila Campbell stepped down as Editor of Spectrum after 8 years of dedicated service. The Spectrum is a peer-reviewed online journal that serves as a forum for discussing important issues and highlighting best practices in school librarianship.   The Spectrum is published annually in September. The next issue will focus on collaboration among school, public, academic, and special libraries.


As we get settled into 2014, I would like to share some exciting information regarding the 2014 Annual OELMA Conference. I am this year’s OELMA Conference Committee Chairperson and have been busy planning already! The conference will be held October 23-25 at the Quest Conference Center in Columbus. The theme for this year will be School Libraries: Taking Charge of Change. This theme will focus on how Ohio school librarians are taking charge of all the changes in education and how we are impacting student learning on a daily basis through these many changes. 

 In keeping with a theme of change, this year’s conference will be held on Friday and Saturday, with a Thursday night preconference session. Please make sure to bookmark your planners and calendars now and plan to attend! This is a conference you will not want to miss.


As conference committee chair, I am pleased to announce my Conference Committee who will help design and organize a conference for OELMA that allows for an innovative and exciting professional development that will directly help you in your daily work with your students and staff. They have all generously offered to help volunteer and I am grateful to network with such awesome, dedicated school librarians all across the state! 

The committee members for the 2014 OELMA conference are:

Annette Lang, Biomed Science Academy

Trent Roberts, Circleville City Schools

Jennifer Flaherty, Beachwood City Schools

Lisa Barnes-Prince, Kent City Schools

Lisa Garrison, Seton Catholic School

Karen Gedeon, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools

Nancy Boone, Ohio School for the Deaf

Kris Baker, Field Local Schools

Krista Taracuk, Retired School Librarian

Jennifer Holt, Willoughby Eastlake City Schools

And a VERY Special thanks to OELMA Executive Board Members Susan Yutzey and Sue Subel for their time, talents, and constant guidance!


Stay tuned on the OELMA website, blog, as well as the newly developed 2014 OELMA Conference Scoop.It account and Facebook Page (be sure Like it)! If you would like access to our conference committee’s planning google site, please send me an email (see address below) and I will gladly add you to the list of viewers!

Call for conference proposals will open at the beginning of March, so please think about what you can share with us through a session and consider submitting a proposal! If you have any questions or comments regarding this year’s conference, please send me an email at 

 Thanks for all you do and for your consistent support of OELMA!

**And a VERY SPECIAL THANKS: The 2014 OELMA Conference logo was created by Mr. Dave Stofka from Stofka Creative Ltd. Anyone in need of a logo or graphic designer, please check out his site at:  



Though the title of this article link is not, “Print Books Reign Supreme” you will want to read this informative piece about a PEW research study showing that although eBooks are popular, print is still King! This holds true even for our “digital natives”! But, we knew that already, didn’t we?


Video contest created just for K-12 students, and finalists will have their work shown at the White House. Finalist videos may also be featured on the White House website, YouTube channel, and social media pages.The White House is looking for student-created videos that highlight the power of technology in schools and that address:(1) how you currently use technology in your classroom or school and (2) the role technology will play in education in the future. Details and to apply:


In a few weeks, I will be headed to Philadelphia for ALA MidWinter 2014. I am looking forward to joining my colleagues from around the country as Ohio’s delegate to Affiliate Assembly. The purposes of the Affiliate Assembly are to “provide a channel of communication for reporting concerns of the affiliated organizations and their membership to the AASL Board of Directors; to facilitate discussion of activities and concerns of AASL as reported by the AASL President, Executive Director, and Board of Directors; and to report the actions of AASL to the Affiliates “ [AASL Bylaws. Adopted June 1997; revised May 2003]. As a delegate, what responsibilities do I hold? First, I must attend all Affiliate Assembly meetings (ALA MidWinter, AASL Region III, and ALA). I must identify issues of mutual concern and benefit to the affiliate and to AASL, study proposed issues, and be informed sufficiently either to participate in discussion or to raise pertinent questions. Delegates are responsible for sharing information about the AASL and Affiliate Assembly with affiliate leaders and members. In addition, delegates are encouraged to seek input from their state association about issues of concern as well as commendation. Last year, OELMA delegates put forth two commendations to recognize literacy leaders 2nd and 7 Foundation and the Cleveland Plain Dealer that were selected by AASL to be honored nationally. As president of OELMA, I carefully monitor the OELMA listserv to determine what issues are most pressing to Ohio’s school librarians. I also welcome e-mails about those matters that concern you. AASL is our national voice to advocate for school librarians and Affiliate Assembly is the key to that voice.  Have a great new year!


Central and South Region Media Specialists,

Join us for a hands-on workshop coming up quickly after the holidays…

Marketer: Saturday, January 11, 2014, 9:30 – 12:30

Showing How Our Contributions Make an Impact 
Presenter: Debra Logan, Mt. Gilead School District
Location: Olentangy Orange Middle School. 2680 E. Orange Road.

Whether collecting evidence for an OTES evaluation or as part of your ongoing documentation of how the library aligns with educational goals, this hands-on workshop is packed with ideas that you will be able to start implementing immediately. Using the most recent draft of OELMA’s School Librarian Evaluation rubric’s Evidence Toolkit, participants will begin documenting how their programs impact student learning in their buildings, while aligning with local, state and national goals.


 I had a few more emails over the last few weeks with some titles that I could not wait to post! With this busy time of year, and all the baking, wrapping, and shopping-let’s take a moment and say goodbye to the year 2013 as well as some of these books that Ohio school libraries no longer own: 


Sent from a school librarian in Ohio-this book can no longer be called “new” with a copyright of 1986! 

book of tap

The same school librarian shared this gem: copyright 1977. It is also listed for sale on Amazon for a steal of only $1.09! But the only review it has says, “Think before you buy.” 

Now we get into the Holiday genre: 
I know what I am doing over Winter break! How about you?

And of course, school librarians NEED this one in their personal library collection: 

With two long-haired cats living with me (Penelope and Lola May), I have plenty of supplies if anyone needs some! 

And just because a student emailed me recently asking me if I could purchase this unique title for our high school, I had to pass it on since it was so appropriate for this blog. And I do think the student was being serious by the way! 

And on behalf of OELMA’s regional directors and bloggers extraordinaires–we wish you and yours a VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY season…see you in 2014! 

2523 original 1
Keep your weeded titles coming to keep this blog alive-email me at! You and your school library will remain anonymous!

Looking for professional articles to read over the holiday break? How about checking out the latest Teacher Librarian issue? Turn to page 23 and read “INFOhio: Filling the Gap by Connecting Common Core State Standards and the School Library.” The authors examine the results of the 2010 Project Information Literacy survey and then speak to KSU’s TRAILS, as well as IMatrix, Go! INFOhio, and R4S. Other articles in this issue include those by Ross Todd, Melissa Jacobs-Israel and Heather Moorefield-Lang, Carol Doll, Christina A. Bentheim, Matthew Winner and Sherry Gick, and Jess Cloutier and Austin Taylor (9th grade students at Nokomis Regional High School). While you’re reading this issue check out page 7, the editors of Teacher Librarian welcome original manuscripts on any aspect of library services for children and young adults. Check you for information about author guidelines and submissions.


Thank you to all of you who facilitated voting with your students! The winning titles are:

K-2: Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds & Peter Brown
3-5: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
6-8: The Death Cure by James Dashner
Teen: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Check out more information about the award and Nominating procedures at


The TRAILS project to establish validity of the general assessments at each of the TRAILS grade levels is moving into a final phase. We now need school librarians to participate in a focus group to discuss how the scores from the validated assessments should be reported to provide the most useful information.

We are planning a series of online focus groups with 5 to 10 school librarians to be held in February. These will be scheduled to begin at 3:30 EST and are expected to last for about 1 hour. 

There is no cost to participate. Technical requirements are modest. You will need a computer with web browser and either a computer microphone or a phone to receive audio on. Each participant will be contacted before their session to establish their connection needs.

These are the scheduled dates for the online focus groups:

Tuesday, February 11
Thursday, February 13
Monday, February 17
Wednesday, February 19

If you are willing to participate, please complete this form to let us know your preference for date:

by Friday, January 10. You will be contacted later in January with details.

This is an important step in creating validated TRAILS assessments. We are very grateful for any consideration you can give to participating in a focus group.

AASL commended the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, the College Board, and the National Writing Project for the recently published report, How Teens Do Research in the Digital World. The report shares findings on a survey of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers about their students’ research habits and the impact of technology on their studies. AASL president Susan Ballard called the report a “must read” noting “the report points out both explicit and implied rationale related to the importance of the need for qualified school librarians to be at the forefront of collaborative instructional design, delivery, and assessment related to the development of effective student researchers.” Go here to see the full report


AASL commended the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, the College Board, and the National Writing Project for the recently published report, How Teens Do Research in the Digital World. The report shares findings on a survey of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers about their students’ research habits and the impact of technology on their studies. AASL president Susan Ballard called the report a “must read” noting “the report points out both explicit and implied rationale related to the importance of the need for qualified school librarians to be at the forefront of collaborative instructional design, delivery, and assessment related to the development of effective student researchers.” Go here to see the full report


What can we learn from this article from Seth Godin’s blog? Even though he refers to public libraries this does have implications for us. Will Tweet this blog post, too. Comments always welcomed!
This comment is one to ponder: “…librarian as producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario”!


I put out a call on the OELMA blog for those books that you weed from your collection that make you say HUH?!

Here are two of the submissions to keep you coming back from more. These are from a school librarian in Ohio:


the mechanical baby

Copyright 1979 (and appears to be worth some big money on Amazon)!  

…Because nothing says child raising like this awesome cover! 

color for men

Copyright 1987

From the inside flap:

Based on the same system that has already worked for millions of women, COLOR FOR MEN is foolproof and scientific and works for every part of a man’s wardrobe, from his business suit to his jogging suit. Using basic principles to understand the subtleties of skin, hair, and eye color, you match yourself to one of four seasonal palettes. Then you’ll discover which shades of color in clothes complement your natural coloring. COLOR FOR MEN is the complete wardrobe system no man afford to miss.
Need I say more?! 
If you have a book that you are weeding from your collection that makes you laugh, smile, or just plain say HUH?!-email me the image cover at and I will post to a future blog. You will remain 100% anonymous. Come on awesome Ohio school librarians: let’s spread the joy and laughter. 
Until next time…


An excellent article by Belle Boggs called “The Science of Literacy” can be found in the November/December 2013 issue of Orion Magazine. In it, Boggs writes about “why skimping on science is bad for an engaged and informed citizenship.” Boggs uses Rebecca Skloot’s book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks , her own experience as a Brooklyn classroom teacher, as well as more recent teaching experience working with dedicated science teachers in North Carolina, to document her article. She writes about the re-emergence of the debate about teaching creation and evolution in public education that has made the science classroom a political topic. 
She writes: 
The “average fifth-grade student will not become professional scientists or engineers. Every one of them, however, will need to understand skills and ideas connected to the principles of science—what a plant needs to grow, how to read nutrition and medication labels, what it means when their state considers hydraulic fracturing or offshore drilling. Their understanding of these principles will determine how long they live, and how well.” You can read this article online at

Have you ever been pressed to add “creation science” books to your library? The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a not-for-profit, membership organization providing information and resources for schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education. “Equal Time” In School Libraries?,” an article on their website discusses collection development that “avoids censorship without sacrificing quality, and common-sense application of the criteria suggested here helps assure that your school’s students will have access to the best science books available.” You can read this article online at


Thought I would take a peek and see what’s happening at the AASL 2013 conference. Here is a link to Paige Jaeger’s Saturday morning session designed to “repackage resesarch for the common core”! You will find some excellent documents that she shared in her session….almost (?) like being there??!!


Want to know what is going on at the AASL conference in Hartford? Well, find out by following #aasl2013 on Twitter! I have already found links to some of the great conference sessions! I have also followed the opening session with Tony Wagner, Harvard “education innovator and thought leader”! You can read some of the session participants’ “take-aways” and follow their links. So, join the discussion and follow #aasl2013! Looks like The Daring Librarian is “rockin’ the house” with her sessions! (“A Library in Every Pocket”???!!!)


OELMA is pleased to announce that it will offer one scholarship to an OELMA member selected to attend Library Leadership Ohio Institute, July 22-25, 2014.  A description of the program and the application are available on the Library Leadership Ohio website.  The application deadline for the program is 12 midnight, December 16, 2013.  OELMA’s Library Leadership of Ohio scholarship recipient receives registration fees for the Institute; a framed commemorative certificate; and recognition at the OELMA Conference Awards program in October 2014. 

To be eligible for the scholarship the applicant: 
1) must be an OELMA member selected to attend Library Leadership Ohio; and 
2) must be a licensed library media specialist, currently employed at an Ohio school, who’s personally responsible for payment of Library Leadership Ohio registration. 

The application must include: 
1) completed OELMA 2014 Library Leadership Ohio Scholarship Application Form; and 
2) Copy of cover letter originally submitted with Library Leadership Ohio Application.  

All application materials must be submitted to the OELMA office, c/o Scholarships and Awards Committee, 17 South High Street, Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43215 in a single packet or .pdf file in one of three ways: 
1) Hand-deliver to the OELMA office by 5 p.m., December 31, 2013; 
2) Mail to the OELMA office, postmarked by 5 p.m., December 31, 2013; or 
3) Submit application materials online at by 5 p.m., December 31, 2013 (all supporting materials can be uploaded to the online form). 


Please take your time completing the application, be thorough, as only fifty applicants are accepted to this prestigious Institute.


The Orangutan Conservation Education Center is a portal designed to aid educators in accessing constructive and engaging education materials from one centralized interface. It is a compilation of information about the collaborative efforts of the AZA-accredited zoos (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) that are participants in the AZA Orangutan Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The toolbox of materials provided here are suitable for incorporation into a variety of educational settings. Resources are not grade specific, but they are labeled for grade congruence when applicable. The activities encompass videos and a variety of lesson plans that will encourage students to examine, question, and analyze the pressing matter of orangutan conservation. Resources in the “Teachers’ Lounge” area of the website have been created specifically for teachers to use in their classrooms. Anything may be reproduced but please credit the site whenever appropriate. Creators of the site hope to continually add teacher resources for all education levels, so please check back frequently. If you are a teacher who has created orangutan education curriculum pieces (only copyright free material) that you would be willing to share on this site, please send them to Visit the site at


OELMA is a proud member of the Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award (BCTBA) Committee.  In that capacity we, along with OCIRA, OCTELA, State Library, OLC, and KSU, advise and help manage the children’s submissions and votes.  The Award can boast about one of the few true children’s choice awards in the country — both nominations and voting is done solely by children of Ohio.  The deadline for voting is fast approaching — November 10.  Encourage your students to participate!


After an AMAZING 2013 OELMA Conference, and then taking all my notes, handouts, and other trinkets home and analyzing them all, I have come to the conclusion we are an AMAZING state of school librarians, all doing AMAZING THINGS! This got me thinking- we need to do more sharing and more often! And we need more laughter too!

OELMA is planning some great new local and state professional development opportunities, but I know we are all busy and may not be able to attend as often as we would hope! So, let’s take a break from all this Common Core, OTES, and technology news and have some fun and laughter at our very own bookshelves’ expense.

As often happens when left to my own devices—I had an epiphany. Well, kind of. It is based on the blog Awful Library Books at If you do not follow this blog, it takes librarians’ recent weeding attempts and documents the worst of the worst that are found on our bookshelves (and hopefully then said items are immediately removed). How about we have school librarians from the state (or any library in any state for that matter) send OELMA pictures of your AWFUL library books?! We can share, laugh, and even shake our heads in disbelief (we are at a computer, no one will know). I will document them in upcoming blogs on Only a few conditions:

1. Weed your books. Feel free to also peruse your local public library and make a donation to them by buying one of their awful books to share with us for the greater good!

2. Please cover up or cross out your library name on the book (we want you and your library to remain anonymous).

3. Please email me at a picture (or pictures) of books you find as you weed or clean that are simply AWFUL…and I will post them to the OELMA blog with 100% anonymity. I will only mention what state (if not OHIO) to show that our awesome OELMA blog has readers across the country. Need examples? Scroll down to see a few from a school librarian in Ohio…also check out for many!

Need some laughter and also some motivation to weed some books? Check the blog often, you never know what you might see!

This was found while weeding an Ohio HS Library…copyright 1988

teenage marriage

What about this slick title…? Copyright 1957 found in an Ohio school library in 2013.


And last but not least, this GEM was hidden in the back office of a school library in Ohio…now it’s time to shine!


Copyright 1983.

On October 8, 2013, Sue Subel and I presented the 2013 Literacy Leader Award to Margaret Bernstein in Cleveland. While a columnist with the Cleveland Plain Dealer,” Bernstein wrote powerful columns about building relationships through reading. “Tapping into Parent Power” and “Dad’s, Books and Kids: A Family Affair” are two such examples. At the AASL Affiliate meeting in Indianapolis last April, Sue Subel nominated the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Bernstein’s columns for an AASL Statement of Commendation. At ALA in Chicago, we found out that the Cleveland Plain Dealer was one of 10 recipients of the AASL Statement of Commendation. The Literacy Leader Award’s purpose is to recognize individuals or organizations within the community that support literacy for student learning. The 2nd and Seven Foundation also received a Literacy Leader Award on September 30, 2013 and was profiled in the OELMA Blog earlier. Both will be recognized at the 2013 OELMA Conference at the Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 17, 2013.

Please join me in congratulating the OELMA members who will take office in 2014: Angela Wojtecki, President-elect; Lisa Prince Barnes (Treasurer); Liz Bode (Central Region); Kris Baker (East Region); Lori Guerrini (Northeast Region); Connie Carnicom (Northwest Region); Rebecca Vasilakis (South Region); Winnie Milner (West Region). Taking a leadership role in a professional organization enables you to build invaluable contacts at the state and national association level; learn to work in committees and chair meetings; and learn leadership skills (Glendenning & Gordon). In the high-pressure school environments in which we work, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine how we can “do one more thing.” How can we volunteer for our state association? How can we volunteer for that district curriculum committee? How can we volunteer for the school technology committee? I don’t profess to know the answer because for every person that “one more thing” is different. Just know that it is because of all those who volunteered before us, we have a professional association that we can be proud of. Thank you all for the work you do each and every day with students, teachers, administrators, and parents.


On Wednesday, October 3, Kent State's SLIS Department hosted a Career Exploration in the Information and Library Professions.  The evening's program began with a panel discussion which included Sarah Ray from Denison University, Stevo Roksandic from Mount CArmel Health Services Library, Rachel Rubin from  Bexley Public Library, Elizabeth Schlueter from OCLC, and Lindsey Smith from The Ohio State University.    Over 30 different institutions, businesses, libraries, and organizations provided exhibits and information for over 70 future librarians. 


This past weekend, Susan and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the SLJ Leadership Summit in Austin, Texas. We put our own “pennies” together and said, “Yes! Let’s go”! It was well worth it. The theme for the session was Transformation Through Effective Collaboration. Our husbands will be glad to know that our money was well spent as we were in constant amazement from Saturday morning until Sunday at noon when we had to leave! Here is just but a small portion of the stimulation our brains received:


**Speaking of brains, our keynote speaker was Annie Murphy Paul author of a book that will be published in April, Brilliant, The New Science of Smart. Her keynote focused on the cognitive science of “interest” and the huge role it plays in learning. According to Paul, “New reserach in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience is revealing simple and surprising techniques that can help us learn to be smarter.” Here is a link to the website for her new book:


**Members of the Vancouver, Washington schools find teacher librarians at “…the core of school and district leadership”! Administrators of this district shared how teacher librarians can bring their expertise to district initiatives. One principal even compared the role of the school librarian to her own. Both deal with all of the students, all of the staff, have a budget, direct a program and more! Wouldn’t you like to work for that principal??


**Storytelling in Transition blew our minds away. From the author of Chopsticks to the creative minds behind Moonbot studios our adventure in visual storytelling was amazing. If you haven’t checked out the book, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and the accompanying app, Imag.N.O.Tron you have missed something special. This book and app take storytelling to a new level. A new book soon to be published, The Numberlys, already has an app available. These apps make the book incredibly interactive. Check for Moonbot apps in the App Store and find Moonbot at this link:


I hope that this gives you somewhat of the flavor of the SLJ Summit. It is a very unique experience. Yes, we did have conversations about the future of libraries…think library in a pocket! And, there was also a time to sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries. Susan and I are “saving” our signatures for the signing at conference 2014!!





The 2nd and 7 Foundation received OELMA’s first Literacy Leader Award for its efforts in Ohio and across the nation for their work promoting literacy among economically disadvantaged children and their communities. The Tackle Illiteracy program in which student-athletes from universities and high schools visit schools each week, reading to kids, handing out books, and reminding the 2nd graders why reading is so important. They also use the themes in the Hog Mollies books to reiterate valuable life lessons. Thanks to the efforts of sponsors, volunteers, and the people out reading in the schools, the 2nd and 7 Foundation reaches thousands of students each year. In April 2013, Susan Yutzey and Sue Subel worked with AASL Region 3 Affiliate Assembly to nominate the 2nd and 7 Foundation for its contribution to literacy. In June at ALA, Susan and Sue learned that the 2nd and 7 Foundation was one of ten organizations to receive an AASL Statement of Commendation. Visit the OELMA Facebook page to see a photo of the presentation to Ryan Miller, co-founder of the Foundation, and Amy Hoying, Program Director of the Foundation and co-author of the Hog Mollies books.


 As I began this 2013-2014 school year a few weeks back, I went to our teacher meetings and in-services like many of you did. We were given new procedures, new standards, new evaluation guidelines and procedure, new technology assessments, new acronyms, new state report cards, and yes, even new parking passes. Wow is all I can say. Teachers are all in agreement that this year the state of Ohio is experiencing more change in our education system than probably any year in recent times. I began to be thankful that as a librarian who is active in OELMA and other state organizations, these changes were slowly introduced and networking allowed me to really be on the cusp of the changes before this school year began and it all was unloaded on us by our administrators. Some teachers looked like a deer in headlights to be honest. I think all teachers across the state can sympathize with the current situation.

             I decided to embrace this change and instead of complaining like so many other educators I spoke with, I used this change to reach out to teachers. I quickly offered some new resources-online and print, that would be easy lesson plan ideas for teachers on my new wiki site. I also offered to help collaborate with those teachers who felt as if their world was falling apart. I even volunteered to help be a building trainer for our new reading and math online assessments which all students have to take three times per year per ODE and our curriculum department. I saw these changes as my time to step up and be the teacher-librarian that would prove I am a vital librarian by embracing change, and helping others I work with embrace it. I see many teachers negative and bitter over all the change, but if we want our students to embrace change and be prepared for the future, we must set the example for them by our own actions. Change happens. It is part of life. In all fields, in all our lives, and we need to be that one person sometimes that says, “Hey, it is going to happen, let’s just work together and make it work.” Be that person your teachers and administrators can go to if they need a positive jolt and a resource to help them in their endeavors.

             If we want to continue to advocate for our profession, instead of wishing all this would just go away (who knows, it may), let’s embrace it with a new attitude and be the leader we all are in our schools. Let’s step up, put on some Journey music (it can be empowering like no other music), and lead the change. One step at a time, one day at a time!

P.S. On that note, have you registered for our 2013 annual OELMA conference? If not, please do so today! I can only tell you that we will be offering you resources and ideas that will no doubt help your school and your teachers find a new attitude! Please see our Conference link for more information and to register online. 


How can we adapt our school libraries to the digital age? What should our spaces look like and how do we make our space a place where kids want to be? Find out in Doug Johnson’s article in Educational Leadership, “Power Up!/The New School Library”. Take special note of the bullet points at the end of the article for school leaders! Thanks, Doug!


As part of ALA’s The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities initiative Ohio welcomed Richard Harwood, Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and ALA Past President Maureen Sullivan for Libraries Turn Outward sponsored by the State Library of Ohio and NEO-RLS.  The September 24, event provided the perfect opportunity for public and school libraries to join forces for success. Melissa Latanzi of NEO-RLS, Beverly Cain, State Librarian of Ohio, and Maureen Sullivan welcomed the nearly 100 public and school librarians in attendance.  Richard Harwood opened his keynote with these words “Communities need libraries more than any other time.”  He laid out the three essential values and discussed how libraries can turn outward to their communities.  Following Harwood’s presentation, Sullivan interviewed Anne Liller, Manager of Urban Branches of the Public Library of Youngstown, about the Youngstown Experience.  Later in the day, Ohio’s school librarians and public librarians worked in small teams and pairs to discuss ways in which they can turn outward together and create strategy, goals, and sustainability with Sullivan facilitating. Visit ALA for more information on this initiative  To see photos of the event go to OELMA’s Facebook page.


Here are some very useful tips from Paige Jaeger on the use of “mentor texts” to teach vocabulary. This quote at the end of her blog seems worth highlighting, “We have to carefully craft our lessons to embrace a learning target. We cannot just have “library time” reading cute books.  We have to know why we are reading books to kids and where we are going”. Here is the link:


Doing the same thing this school year and expecting different results? Take my challenge!

     In my last OELMA blog posting, I shared the challenges of all the changes to Ohio Education’s system this year and how it affects all of us in the education system. As I reflected back, I realized I was thankfully able to “roll with the changing tide” as a direct result of OELMA. I don’t know about you-but being part of OELMA’s list-serve is one of the best parts of being part of this organization. The list-serv continues to have a growing list of questions posed (and a variety of answers) as well as book subject lists, tips and tricks, and so much more that can directly help me become a better librarian. So many times I see questions on the list-serv and think—“Wow, I was JUST thinking about this the other day.” It can be difficult being the only certified librarian in our districts (as many of us are), however, the list-serv, and OELMA as an organization, helps bridge that gap that we often times do not even see until the question is put before us via the OELMA emails.

     On this note, I must continue to stress the critical state school libraries are currently in across our country. We need to show we are relevant, open to change, and willing to step outside comfort zones to impact student learning like we never have had to before. This is where the OELMA professional development piece comes in. I for one, know that many times getting out of our libraries is very difficult for conferences and PD, however it is critical to stay in touch with the technology, networking, and general changes happening in our field. If we stay in our libraries, doing the same routines, the same way, there is no way we can show our value considering the evolution our education system is undergoing. And ultimately, we are doing our students and ourselves a disservice. I fear that our administrators may then see our libraries as something not worth funding anymore (and we have seen this so many times already).

      I realize many times money and cost to attend forms of professional development is the issue but I for one find that the lessons, ideas, and networks I take away with me at conference and other events is worth much more than I paid in cash value. We spend our money on so many other items-look at a family visit to the local movie theater for that new movie everyone is talking about, or a weekend trip shopping in Columbus and tell me that the cost for attending a two day conference is just “too much.” I have made a commitment to be part of OELMA not only to better myself as a school librarian, but to also help school librarians in OHIO see that we CAN do better and advocate for our field, yet we MUST take the steps to do this-which includes more networking and staying more relevant.

And that means YOU reading this now—ask yourself if there is just one thing you can do differently this school year to better yourself as a school librarian. JUST ONE THING can make all the difference.

     For those of you who have made the commitment (and sacrifice of time and money) to attend conference this year-THANK YOU and I know you will not be disappointed! Jennifer Flaherty, the OELMA conference chair and Vice President, has spent much of her time this year planning a conference with amazing ideas and sessions across the library and educational technology spectrum. If you cannot attend conference this year for one reason or another-I ask that you make a commitment this school year to try one new idea, lesson, or professional development event as a school librarian that will impact your daily work in your library. Your students and teachers will thank you. And those very helpful OELMA list-serv emails will keep on coming too-so check back often!

Have an idea or suggestion on how OELMA can help you with this challenge? Email me at:! 


On November 5, 2013, OELMA Northwest Region and NORWELD join forces to offer a PD opportunity at the NORWELD office, 181 S. Main Street, Bowling Green.  From 6 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. INFOhio’s Instructional Integration Specialist, Gayle Geitgey, will present “Rigorous Learning: An Introduction to the Ohio Learning Standards and 21st Century Skills” AND “Future Ready: Preparing for the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee and College Readiness with INFOhio Resources.”  To read more about each of these great sessions go here  To register contact Melinda Vance at


Central and South Region Directors, Rebecca Pollack, Christina Dorr, Trent Roberts, and Becky Vasilakis, have put together an absolutely fabulous 2013-2014 OELMA Workshop Series.  Tonight was the kick-off with Professor Vanessa Earp from Kent State University who delivered an excellent presentation on “Using TRAILS Data to Measure Our Impact.”  School librarians wear many hats and one of those hats is as an “assessor” of information literacy skills.  Professor Earp walked us through some assessment basics and posed the question “Think about a lesson that you are already teaching – how could you assess the student learning?”  She then provided some background on TRAILS and discussed the 2013 changes to TRAILS such as the inclusion of the Common Core and graphics for the Third Grade TRAILS.  To increase TRAILS’s robustness, work is being done to establish its reliability and validity.  Once this is done, TRAILS will investigate its availability on state-approved test listings.  Situating TRAILS in the scholarly literature is another avenue they are exploring.  Great session, lots of assessment ideas.  Please join us for the next session of “Wearing Many Hats – Marketer” with Deb Logan on Saturday, November 9, 2013, beginning at 9:30 a.m.  Deb will show how our contributions make an impact.  Go here for more information on OELMA professional development opportunities.


Take a look at all these great CC lesson plan ideas for teacher librarians in the “Common Core Toolkit, 2013” from PublishersWkly:


I was going through my Evernote account last night and thought this piece from Joyce Valenza’s Never Ending Search was worth repeating. There are some great inforgraphics here!

Are you excited about the 2013 OELMA Conference?  OELMA Conference Chair, Jen Flaherty, and her Conference Committee have put together a terrific array of authors, speakers and presenters.  Be sure and register today on the OELMA website.  Since my first OELMA Conference in 1995, I’ve always enjoyed visiting with the exhibitors – in many ways they are the backbone of Conference for they provide the products and services that help our students succeed.  We are partners in building strong learners through strong school libraries.  Given these tough economic times, we are fortunate to have so many wonderful exhibitors, many of whom have supported us for at least a decade.  Our Silver Sponsor is OverDrive and our Bronze Sponsors are RACO Industries, KAPCO, Mackin, and OHIONET.  We are still contacting potential exhibitors, but as of today we have the following exhibitors joining us at Conference: Ohio Historical Society, KnowITNow, Baker & Taylor, Brad Butler & Associates, Bound to Stay Bound, Britannica, Children’s Plus, Cleveland Playhouse, Delaney Educational Enterprises, EBSCO, Follett, and Gale Cengage Learning, Garrett Books, Junior Library Guild, Kent State University School of Library and Information Science, Lerner/Crabtree Publishing, Lincoln Library Press, Mango Languages, Mansfield University School Library and Information Technologies, NEO-RLS, PBS, ProQuest, Rainbow Book Company, State Library of Ohio, World Book, Stop Falling Productions, and the Mazza Museum.  This year, we’ve created a Virtual Vendor Conference Bag available here  Exhibitors have been asked to upload their resources here so that you have easy access to them.  Looking forward to seeing you at Conference!


Just this week one of the library paraprofessionals in my district gave me a copy of this Correlation Guide from Perma-Bound for grades K-6. I thought it was pretty helpful and thought I would include a link to it for our OELMA membership.


This is a really great infographic giving ways to demonstrate the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom. Each level has an example of in-class instruction and assessment. I think your classroom teachers will find it very useful.


Paige Jaeger writes a blog called the Library Door. It is interesting to follow as she has so many great ideas about teaching the Common Core Standards. This blog post deals with “…self-assessment tools for measuring how well you have crafted a CCSS-aligned lesson”.  I think you will find this and other of her blogs to be very useful.


Central and Southern Region members are teaming resources this school year with some of our PD opportunities!  Our overall theme is “Wearing Many Hats.”  If you are a Media Specialist in either region, you are invited to our first workshop of the year addressing our role as Assessor: “Using TRAILS Data to Measure Our Impact” on Tuesday 9/17 from 4:30-6:30.  The workshop is being taught by Vanessa Earp from KSU, is and being held at Hilliard Horizon Elementary School, 6000 Renner Rd., Columbus, 43228.  Please come join us!!  Any questions??  Email me at


It’s that time of year again when I want to pull my hair out!  It’s the beginning of the academic school year, by far the busiest most nerve-racking part of my year.  Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to getting back, trying out new things, interacting with the students, but it’s those other things that make me want to bang my head against the wall.  I don’t need to give examples; you know what I’m talking about.  This part of the year is when I learn the art of patience and  control that makes me good to go for the rest of the year.  I know that if I can get thru these first couple of weeks then rest of the year will, hypothetically, feel like a breeze.

One strategy I’ve learned from my first year that helps me stay cool and collective is to read a funny, thought provoking, inspiring, or what I call “That happens to me too!” school librarian article on either a blog I follow or from one posted by Subel/Yutzey/etc. on the OELMA listserv.  Whether it be after school, during my theoretical lunch break, on the weekend, or whenever,  taking the time to do this allows me those few minutes to take a deep breath, smile, and then get right back into it with the attitude and energy I need! 


So with all this in mind, I decided to use this posting to hopefully provide you a “That happens to me too!” article.  It’s a small writing that will provide you with a few minutes to take a deep breath, smile, and then have the right attitude and energy to get right back out there and be the best that you can be.   


I’m going to try and set this up in categories…and yes, these are REAL! Feel free to use it to support the Common Core and the push towards Non-Fiction. (Prompts to the first to give it a lexile level or rigorously try to figure out the text complexity of it!!!)


Interesting Statistic:  
Did you know that 22.34% of classrooms will implode on the first couple of days of school?  Yes, it’s a fact!  If you don’t get that equipment, list of passwords, name placed on calendar as first priority for orientation, and/or books to a staff member that very first day their classroom will collapse from within and will forever be nevermore.  At least that is the impression I get from the emails all written in capital letters or containing 35 exclamation points.  Another clue is the big darting eyes, flared nostrils, and dropped jaw look when I tell them I have to do another request first, or someone else beat them to the chase. Don’t forget the dazzling theatrical scene, mind you I don’t normally do drama in the theatre but in this case it’s free, of two staff members explaining to the other why their situation is more important than the other.   Yep, 22.34%.


Hmmm….Um you…with your hand down:
Never ever call on the kid who hurls his hand in the air immediately after you ask a question…especially on the day you are getting evaluated. It is a sure sign that something bad or awkward is going to happen to you!  Let’s say for example, you’re doing a lesson that involves using last names to describe what job each student is predestined to occupy when they get older.  For instance,  if your last name is Baker then you are going to bake pies or something like that.  DO NOT call on the gunslinger to provide an example to the rest of the class.  Chances are his/her last name has a negative connotation tied to it. Now you’re stuck, on the spot, trying to think of something appropriate as an occupation for that last name.  Call on the kid who has their hand down…their last name is probably Baker or Carpenter. 


Did you know?:
Did you know that G stands for Ground (mostly likely anyways) when you are riding in an elevator in a school?  Neither did one of my new teachers for the first couple of days.  To her, the first couple of days it stood for Garage.  You’ve got to take advantage of situations like these for multiple reasons.  First off, it lightens the mood and environment.  These teachers have their heads on a swivel with the things they need to do and are often stressed out beyond belief. These moments  can provide some much needed humor.  Second, it’s kind of funny.  I wish I would have known what kind of car she drives so I could have watched her from the media center back windows that overlook the parking lot, in the morning looking for a way down into covered parking.  Third, if you do it the correct way with an obvious lack of malicious intentions, then maybe you can make a new work friend.  A work friend that is now willing to collaborate in a couple of weeks simply from your effort to reach out to them.  In this case, in my effort to lighten the mood,  she’s now on the schedule for September. 


Have you ever: 
Have you ever done pretty much the same thing every year such as handed out brochures about the different databases, such as INFOhio, that are available in your district?  Yeah, me neither.  (Smirk) Have you ever responded the same way to the same question asked by the same person every year?  Yeah, me neither. (Double Smirk) Ex: “Wow, are these new resources that you decided to offer our district this year on top of what we already get?” My response, “Um, no we had these last year.  There are just a few changes I wanted you all to be aware of…remind you to share them with your students.” Next year I am going to respond to the question with an accountability question of my own, “Now which ones have you used in the past?” 


Sometimes we are given more credit than we deserve:
I know what you are thinking, “Yeah, when Monkeys fly out of the zoo.” or however that saying goes.  Seriously though, I’m sure you can think of an instance where this has occurred.  I know I can.  So apparently I have the capability to change the layout, design, and overall functionality of a world-wide program. Yes, a program that thousands of schools across the USA use for educational purposes.  So when this company decided to change their program’s look and feel, I was given full credit for it.  My staff were not happy with the changes I supposedly made.  I was flattered to think that others thought  have such capability. It was an ego popper when I had to tell them that if I had that power I would probably be driving something a little nicer than a 2003 Ford Taurus with a broken air conditioner.  I did learn an important lesson here though.  If you receive notice that a change is going to be made make sure you tell everyone even if the change is highlighted/bolded by the creator for weeks before it happens.  Then provide instruction no matter how simple it might seem to you. 


Really?  Is that considered a Freudian slip?:
I hate this one!  A teacher and a student came up to me and asked the following question, “______ is planning on reading Fifty Shades of Gray over the Christmas break and was wondering if it was in her book level?  No stop there for a second!  We should probably all assume at this moment that the teacher had not heard or read this book.  At least I hope. Now before I give you my response, I want to put out an exclaimer that I use this response in accordance with many different situations where it wouldn’t have the same impact as it could’ve here.  I by no means intended to say it and had not realized what was said until sometime later.  I will say I had known what the premise of the book was though.   So I responded, “Hmmmm…I’m a little tied up at the moment and I’ll have to get back to you in a bit.”  Yep, enter foot into mouth!  Darn you Sigmund Freud.  I WAS a little tied up at that moment!  I was a little tied up on the phone with a parent AND the awkwardness of such a question.  I couldn’t think fast enough on how to respond so my normal response came fluttering out.  


So what are some of your finest moments?  Do any of these make you say, “Wow that has happened to me too!”?  If so, please respond!  After reliving that final one I could use a little bit of a smile myself, a chance to take a deep breath.  I mean really…who wouldn’t after that!


  As I began this 2013-2014 school year a few weeks back, I went to our teacher meetings and in-services like many of you did. We were given new procedures, new standards, new evaluation guidelines and procedure, new technology assessments, new acronyms, new state report cards, and yes, even new parking passes. Wow is all I can say. Teachers are all in agreement that this year the state of Ohio is experiencing more change in our education system than probably any year in recent times. I began to be thankful that as a librarian who is active in OELMA and other state organizations, these changes were slowly introduced and networking allowed me to really be on the cusp of the changes before this school year began and it all was unloaded on us by our administrators. Some teachers looked like a deer in headlights to be honest. I think all teachers across the state can sympathize with the current situation.

             I decided to embrace this change and instead of complaining like so many other educators I spoke with, I used this change to reach out to teachers. I quickly offered some new resources-online and print, that would be easy lesson plan ideas for teachers on my new wiki site. I also offered to help collaborate with those teachers who felt as if their world was falling apart. I even volunteered to help be a building trainer for our new reading and math online assessments which all students have to take three times per year per ODE and our curriculum department. I saw these changes as my time to step up and be the teacher-librarian that would prove I am a vital librarian by embracing change, and helping others I work with embrace it. I see many teachers negative and bitter over all the change, but if we want our students to embrace change and be prepared for the future, we must set the example for them by our own actions. Change happens. It is part of life. In all fields, in all our lives, and we need to be that one person sometimes that says, “Hey, it is going to happen, let’s just work together and make it work.” Be that person your teachers and administrators can go to if they need a positive jolt and a resource to help them in their endeavors.

             If we want to continue to advocate for our profession, instead of wishing all this would just go away (who knows, it may), let’s embrace it with a new attitude and be the leader we all are in our schools. Let’s step up, put on some Journey music (it can be empowering like no other music), and lead the change. One step at a time, one day at a time!

P.S. On that note, have you registered for our 2013 annual OELMA conference? If not, please do so today! I can only tell you that we will be offering you resources and ideas that will no doubt help your school and your teachers find a new attitude! Please see our Conference link for more information and to register online. 


Are databases too complicated for our students to use? Is anything beyond three clicks too many? This is a very interesting blog. When you finish this topic, click on the article under “Next” to read the blog post for today!


This article gets into some depth on the analysis of one question from the third grade ELA research simulation task. You be the judge!


Just in time for school to start! PARCC has realeased some sample items for the ELA/literacy portion of the assessment. As stated on their webpage, “The primary purpose of sharing samples of PARCC items is to provide information about the assessment system and support educators as they transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the PARCC tests.”


Thank you Frank Baker for sharing Cable in the Classroom’s free standards-based lesson that can be used to teach such key concepts as cyberbullying, media literacy, ethics/copyright, information literacy, privacy, communication and collaboration.  Reading Frank’s e-mail begs the question: Who should teach digital citizenship? When should it be taught?  The fact is digital citizenship is not a one time discussion nor should it be taught solely by the school librarian.  The digital world is changing so rapidly that it is difficult for everyone to keep up to date with the trends; however, that does not mean that we can hide our head in the sand and expect it to go away.  Digital citizenship is an ongoing process that needs to be taught by all grade levels and to all stakeholders.  As Holly Clark of Edudemic said “Our students are like cowboys living in the wild wild west.  Without any guidelines or structure they can get in a lot of trouble.”  Her article includes five ways you can guide your students to become better digital citizens, who will learn how to build their digital presence in a positive and productive way.  Here is the link to the article – How to Tackle Digital Citzenship During the First 5 Days of School.


Recently, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences released its report, “The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a vibrant, competitive, and secure nation.” The report calls for new commitments to the humanities in higher education. In the extensive emphasis that has been placed on the need for the U.S. to nurture more graduates specializing in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM), the report’s authors feel that we have forgotten that actually the problem requires a balanced solution. The final segments of the report talk about how essential it is for us to have a good sense of other cultures and foreign languages in order to be able to function in the global world in which we live. Read the report and view a brief film at

For a comprehensive look at the state of humanities in the United States, explore the Academy of Arts & Sciences Humanities Indicators, statistical data on the condition of the humanities available at


What wonderful things reporter Margaret Bernstein of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is doing for literacy and the children of Cleveland. This is not the first event she has planned. Just thought you would enjoy reading what was done here in Cleveland on August 3, 2013.


Ohio Ready to Read is an excellent source for school librarians. If you work with PreK-3, it’s collection of resources contains early literacy resources, activities, storytime plans, book suggestion lists for all areas of beginning reading (letter name recognition, phonological skills, etc.). Check out the Student Learning page, even if you work with older students, for a compilation of Common Core resources!


With each new school year, I make three professional goals. Nearly every year I think I am going to “stay on top of news specific to the library media profession.” And I do that through attending OELMA Conference, MidWinter Conference, and additional OELMA regional professional development workshops. But my reading of quality trade journals often starts to slip in a matter of weeks. They start to build up in my basket and I look at them regretfully. While I have taken some home and kept them in my car to read at traffic lights (both hands are on the wheel and both eyes are on the road when I drive) or while waiting for appointments, it is not easy to follow-up on some of the inspirational ideas that pop into my head. 
This past spring, however, I decided to join Twitter. I started to follow some of the bigger names in our world: School Library Journal, Frank W. Baker, NPR Books, Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and of course, OELMA. It is terrific! While I refrain from reading them while stopped at traffic lights, I have the perfect means to stay on top of things in short bursts of time. Additionally, I can go back and easily search for that link Frank Baker tweeted that inspired me to create a great lesson or to look back for the title of a book when I am bored with my current sky-scraping stack. Sometimes, I even find humorous tweets that make me feel lighter in mood. 
What’s more, I have no guilt. None. No subscriptions that I did not devour in a timely manner. And I am practically up to the minute with currency – another good feeling!
So, while my Twitter account may reveal that I am “all work,” I still walk away feeling as if I am meeting my goal. As I mentioned earlier, I keep the groups I follow to a minimum, but I am open to a few more suggestions, especially the kind that make you smile or laugh — I would like to “play” as well.


 The 2013 OELMA Conference will occur Wednesday, October 16th-18th at Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, OH.  Our pre-conference sessions include “Showcasing Connections and Competencies with Action Research in the School Library” with Dr. Meghan Harper and “Ohio’s New Learning Standards: Online Resources for Mobile Devices” with Roger Minier.

 We are pleased to announce several amazing keynote speakers and authors.  Buffy Hamilton, the “Unquiet Librarian” and Judi Moreillon, author of Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Elementary School Libraries: Mazimizing Your Impact and Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Secondary School Libraries: Mazimizing Your Impact, will be speaking as keynote and offering a smaller session on Friday. M.T. Anderson (Feed, the Octavian Nothing series), Patrick Carman (Dark Eden series), Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost, The Lincolns, The Great and Only Barnum), Eric Rohman (My Friend Rabbit) and Shelley Pearsall (Trouble Don’t Last, Jump Into the Sky) are among our outstanding authors and illustrators that will be attending the 2013 conference. 


  One change for the 2013 conference is the addition of 80-minute sessions.  These sessions will provide a greater amount of time to create materials for use in your schools.  Just a few of the sessions include how to create a library website, elementary multimedia research projects, stop motion animation, and instructional shifts for the  Common Core.  We are very pleased to have the Director of the Kent State School of Library and Information Science, Dr. Tomas Lipinski, to be presenting on “Quick and Easy Copyright: Works, Rights, Frights & Bites”.  Among our traditional 45-minute sessions, we will continue to have quality sessions created and presented by colleagues, such as a Tech Petting Zoo, and “New Trail for TRAILS” by the TRAILS team. Ken Burhanna, Kent State Libraries Assistant Dean for Engagement and Outreach and author of Informed Transitions: Libraries Supporting the High School to College Transition, will be presenting on college readiness.

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  In response to the fabulous summer workshop on “Media Literacy Meets New Literacies”, we will be hosting a Media Literacy Slam during a session on Friday, October 18th.  Each participant will have no more than 3 minutes to share a media literacy lesson they have used in their school.  Prior to the session, participants will be asked to fill out a slide template to be used in the presentation.  A “recorder” will be present in the session to record all of the fabulous ideas.
 These are just a few of the many reasons to attend the 2013 OELMA Conference! Stay tuned for more information on registration!
 Please contact me with any questions or comments.

Findaway World is a librarian’s dream- a business where people are passionate about reading and learning. And it looks like I imagine Google would- fun colors, workplace graffiti on the walls, hipster staff…  Now in my third year developing an elementary library collection, I am devoting more focus to ebooks and audiobooks. Our district is launcing Overdrive this month! After a focus group visit to Findaway World (a local business, just like Overdrive- Go Ohio!), I will be adding some Playaways (no more lost or damaged CDs, or struggling to find a CD player) and new Playaway Book Packs (books and playaways packaged together and aligned to the Common Core). My hope is that listening centers will be updated, mulitple formats will appeal to multiple intelligences, and the formats will increase differentiation and enrichment opportunities for staff and students. Arrgh…now to make the right collection choices within a limited budget.


Recently, I created a PowerPoint presentation for use at a NEO-RLS workshop on August 12. The focus is the CCSS and resesarch, or “Research to Build and Present Knowledge”! You will find a K-12 checklist included in the PPT that focuses on this standard in the Common Core Writing Standards. On every page, where there is a screen shot, you will find that you can click on the screen shot and go to the source. Angela Maxwell, NE Regional Director, and Jen Flaherty, President-Elect,  of OELMA will be presenting as this workshop, “Book Look +Plus”.  Unfortunately, I will be back at school and could not attend, hence I created this for them to use. I hope you will find it useful as well. Here is the link:


Ahhh…a summer of relaxation…in my dreams I suppose. These past couple months, I spent a couple hours once a week, discussing the Common Core State Standards with my colleagues. ICK, YUCK, NO WAY, you might say. But, thankfully I’m a librarian, and we love to learn. We make geek chic, no? Our elementary teachers were all invited to participate in a book discussion for Pathways to the Common Core by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman. At each meeting, we signed up to teach a chapter to the group. I learned a three important things. 


First, we can sell the library anywhere! I signed up to teach the chapter on informational writing to highlight the resources the library offers such as our INFOhio databases, nonfiction print sources, periodicals, computer lab, and me! Selling the library isn’t just about showing your worth as a staff member, but truly enriching and adding to the knowledge of students and teachers. Libraries really do offer a world beyond the school walls. A few of my colleagues walked away saying, ” I was so wrapped up in this resource that I missed the rest of the discussion.”  Second, (many of you know this) Lucy Calkins has a wealth of free online resources. Her website for the Reading and Writing Project is full of tools we can all use, but her video clips on Vimeo are fantastic for professional development, similar to OELMA’s new YouTube channel. Third, we can’t stay static and survive in education (guess I knew that one already). Society evolves, and the legislators would never let us, even if we found something that “worked” for every student. What I admired the most was the veteran teachers digesting the new content, explaining what they already do that works well, and then reworking something to make it even better, even deeper, even more effective. 


Thank goodness for those summer learning opportunities that inspire! Now, off to Destination: Spa, the INFOhio Bootcamp next week. 


What’s your Aura? 

Looking to add some life to your book displays? Now images and book covers can come to life! 


Using a new app called Aurasma, students can use their smart devices (hold their smart  phones over a picture or book cover) and “see a video” over the image! The picture triggers a video to play.  The new technology is a free to use tool and blows students away! 


I recently used Aura’s in my students end of the year “Apex” poster project. The task for the students was to create a poster that represented all that they learned over the year. Students had created many interactive online portfolios, videos and animations. Students used a screenshot of their project and then created an “Aurasma” When visitors arrived to view their posters, they used ipods and smart phones and people could see their videos! It was a bit of a “wow that is just like Harry Potter” moment!  


Uses I can see for the Aurasmas in the classroom:


  • A get to know me – a photo of yourself or staff member, can launch a short video introduction. 

  • Book reviews – you can create short book trailers that can be launched by scanning the cover. 

  • Help Screens – constantly reminding staff or students on a procedure for using an item? Create a video tutorial. 

  • Some Math / Science teachers are creating short training videos based on images or sample problems in text book or on a worksheet. 

  • Add a video version of directions to a worksheet. 

  • Please share your ideas in our comments below1 

Add some “wow” factor to your media center! Create an aurasma today! 

*note in order to view your aurasmas, students must download the  free Aurasma app and then “follow” your channel. I created a generic account that all my students used to log in and create Aurasma’s on – then people only had to “follow” our 1 student account. 


If you would like to try my sample Aurasma above, please download the Aurasma app to a smart device (android or apple).  After installing the app, search for “Bio-Med Student’s Channel” (look this up via the search magnifying icon) – you will then be able to hold your phone over the image to launch the video  (note does not work on all monitor screens – works better in print)  Also we learned the images work better if in color. 


Ted video :,d.aWc


Aurasma Studio – an online tool to create Auramsa (do not need to do on computer can be made 100% on mobile device.

Great tutorials and more information from Two Guys and some ipads.


Happy creating! 
Annette Lang

Bio-Med Science Academy 




This was the overriding theme voiced by Frank Baker and Bill Kist during their “full house” workshop last Wednesday titled “Media Literacies Meet New Literacies.”  Participants were treated to a day packed with both theory and practice on the changing face of literacies, the changing modes of learning, and how we, as media specialists, can meet the challenges with students every day as we all navigate the muddy waters of media.  Just a few of the definitions I walked away with are:

media literacy — both the analysis and CREATION of all types of media

transliteracy — ability to read, write, and think across multiple literacies

close reading — includes both observation and evidence collecting in all types of media

Both Frank and Bill shared many tools and strategies that can be found on their websites:

Frank’s slide share:

Bill’s website:


Saw this on LinkedIn and thought it might be useful:

Congratulations to OELMA Past President Sarah Thornbery. After serving as Director-Elect for AASL Region 3, Sarah now becomes the Regional Director! Here is a link to the AASL Board of Directors and Executive Committee for 2013:


Here’s one to ponder during your “spare time” this summer! An interesting article with some great video clips. Read on! (Note the use of the term “labrary” in this article!)


With the passage of Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee there has been a rash of articles in the Columbus Dispatch about school district’s plans to help students meet the demands of this high stakes test.  “Many Local Reading Scores Miss New 3rd Grade Mark” (July 5) and “Summer Spotlight on Reading” (July 9) describe both the issue and some of the solutions.  Can you imagine an elementary-age child spending six weeks taking reading lessons and three weeks of accompanying homework?  In my opinion piece to the Columbus Dispatch I highlighted that literacy is not a skill that develops in isolation but in the context of a literature- and media-rich environment – the library!  INFOhio’s newest resource, BookFLIX, brings an engaging online literacy resource that pairs classic fictional storybooks from Weston Woods with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic to your school library. The 100-plus fiction-nonfiction pairs are arranged in nine kid-appeal categories: animals & nature; earth & sky; people & places; ABC’s & 1,2,3’s; family & community; music & rhyme; adventure; celebrations; and imagination.  Your children can watch animated versions of classic books such as Goodnight Gorilla and The Snowy Day and then read a related nonfiction eBook.  In addition each fiction-nonfiction pair features additional activities such as Puzzlers, Meet the Author, and Explore the Web.  Educator Tools are also provided such as detailed lesson plans and curriculum correlations.  BookFLIX can be accessed in the school library, in the classroom and by remote access at home or at the public library. Stay tuned for more information from INFOhio.


Susie Ridgeway, OELMA’s Advocacy Co-chair, brought school librarians and school libraries into the limelight at the National Education Association’s RA earlier this week with the New Business Item 54 regarding passage of Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2, Improving Literacy and College and Career Readiness Through Effective School Library Programs, under the Strengthening America’s School Act. It passed unanimously.  Listen to her impassioned presentation about the importance of certified/licensed school librarians and school libraries on the nation’s children.


Look for more information coming from the OELMA Advocacy Team in the coming months.  Each member of the Ohio Senate and House Education Committee received a letter and copy of OELMA’s White Paper entitled “An Ohio Educational Library Media Association White Paper: Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee and the Library Media Specialist.”  You can download this White Paper with its accompanying videos from the OELMA website – Professional Resources tab. Contact your legislator, send them a copy of the White Paper with a letter explaining the role you play in reading in your school, in your school district.  Now is the time Team OELMA!


According to Purdue OWL, a “white paper is a certain type of report that is distinctive in terms of purpose, audience, and organization.” It’s official in nature and argues a specific position or proposes a solution to a problem.  The problem as I see it is that regardless of your position on high stakes testing, licensed library media specialists and literature- and media-rich school libraries are the missing piece of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and each child’s success in developing reading strategies that will last a lifetime.  The creation of the White Paper could not have been done without the diligence and thoughtfulness of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee Writing Team – Christina Dorr and Liz Deskins.  Special thanks to INFOhio’s Gayle Geitgey and SLO’s Janet Ingraham Dwyer who collaborated with us every step of the way.  The vision to include short video clips of a library media specialist in action is thanks to OELMA’s Advocacy Team – Sue Subel and Susie Ridgeway.  OELMA’s Communication Team – Angela Maxwell and Annette Lang – created the OELMA Webit on YouTube so that you can watch library media specialist Christina Dorr as she demonstrates how she helps her students make meaning from text. Go here to see one of the short video clips


As the volume of the media coverage heats up over Ohio’s Education Standards, don’t confuse the real issues. Standards are not laws: 1. Standards should be used as a reference point for planning teaching and learning programs, and for assessing student progress. 2. Standards should help teachers set targets and monitor achievement and develop programs that support and improve student learning. 3. Students use their current understanding to discover, develop and incorporate new knowledge, understanding and skills. It helps teachers and students to know if that current understanding is a suitable basis for future learning. In the end, it’s all about helping the individual student develop his/her full intellectual potential; it’s about helping teachers be the best educator that they can be. So take a deep breath, relax and do what you do best– help ALL students to be information literate; assist ALL students in becoming active and creative locators, evaluators, and users of information to solve problems, to think critically, and to satisfy their own curiosity through research and reading experiences. The political rhetoric is just hot air–let the breeze blow over you.   


Keep up with the debate at  NPR  State Impact Ohio: Eye on Education


Ohio Education Daily News Summary  (ODE) 


NEWS from the
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540
(202) 707-2905
June 4, 2013

Local Teacher Librarian to Participate in National Education Program
Victoria Karakasis, a teacher librarian at St. Peter Chanel High School in Bedford, Ohio, has been selected from a pool of more than 500 applicants to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute for a week in June, 2013.

Each year, the Library of Congress provides the opportunity for a carefully chosen group of K-12 educators to attend one of its five teacher institutes in Washington, D.C.

During the five-day program, participants work with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library’s website.

Educators attending the teacher institutes develop primary-source-based teaching strategies that they can take back to their school districts, apply in the classroom and pass along to colleagues. Teaching with primary sources is a powerful way to help students ask engaged, probing questions, develop critical-thinking skills, and construct knowledge. All educators can access classroom materials, teaching tools and strategies for teaching with primary sources from the Library’s site for teachers at

Applicants to the Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes reflect the diversity of the world of K-12 education. Participants in a teacher institute session typically include school library media specialists and school administrators, in addition to classroom teachers. Those selected come from many different states, representing large metropolitan school districts and smaller, rural school districts. The expertise provided by the Library of Congress during the institutes can benefit every level of K-12 education.

Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects that were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience. Students working with primary sources become engaged learners while building critical-thinking skills and constructing new knowledge. Teachers working in the Library’s collections will explore the largest online collection of historical artifacts with access to millions of unique primary sources for use in instruction.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staffs—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website at

# # #
Contact: John Sayers, Office of Communications (202) 707-9216,
Meg Steele, Educational Outreach (202) 707-4661,

PR 13-112b09
ISSN 0731-3527


In May 2013, OELMA unveiled Media Center Spotlight.  What is Media Center Spotlight?  It is a blog featured on the OELMA website that focuses on library media specialists and school library media centers around the state. Susan Yutzey, President of OELMA, visited Gayle Dill at Fairview Park High School, Jen Flaherty at Beachwood High School, Angela Maxwell at Hilltop Elementary School, and Yvonne Morbitzer at Rocky River High School.  Rocky River High School’s renovated Media Center is the focus of May’s Media Center Spotlight. See photos in the Gallery, learn about Yvonne’s ideas to “break all Dewey rules” and her upcoming collaboration for the Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War ExhibitMedia Center Spotlight is intended to serve as a showcase for library/media centers in Ohio as well as a virtual professional development tool. From the comfort of your library/media center, you will be able to see what your colleagues around Ohio are doing and contact them to learn more about their resources, lesson plans, etc.  Visit the Media Center Toolkit to learn learn more about it.  Stay-tuned for the online Request a School Visit that will enable you to submit a request for a visit beginning this fall.  Have a great summer!


I have always loved field trips and am often disappointed to hear that when budgets get tight, field trips go away. As part of my library curriculum, I have a class of 26 Nordonia High School students who work in the library (we call it the IMC) and earn one course credit for the school year. I wanted to take a field trip with them to help expose them to other libraries besides the local ones they may visit with their families. I also wanted to include my Knight Reader Book Club members (I have about 15 of them) in order to give them the exposure as well, and I knew they would have a great time!

I applied for a local grant sponsored by the Nordonia Schools Foundation, a wonderful non-profit organization which provides mini-grants for school projects not funded through the district. I was only in need of funding for transportation, which they did agree to fund for us! Again, the Nordonia Schools Foundation is AMAZING!


I have a library connection with Cleveland Public Library (Rollie Welch) who put me in contact with CPL’s Youth Services Director Annisha Jeffries and she was awesome! She had an entire tour planned at CPL’s Downtown Cleveland buildings and even customized her tour for the library students (we were able to get a peek at the shelving room where all materials are returned). We were able to see the World’s Smallest Book (yes it is at CPL) and also the 3D printer. CPL also houses the world’s largest chess collection and we were able to see them…along with an old-fashioned card catalog (our students had no idea what this even looked like before our trip).


 I also got in touch with Librarian at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, Laura Moody, who also welcomed us and organized a little presentation on what a special library is all about (including the many rules of archives and the importance of maintaining security and copyright).  This is a relatively new building, and it was very interesting to see the collections housed there-and one-of-a-kind archival materials around the genres of Rock and Roll music!

We spent the morning at CPL and then had lunch (students paid for their own lunch) at The Hard Rock Café. After lunch, we headed over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives which is on the Cleveland Community College (Tri C) campus.

*The image below is our group picture outside the Cleveland Public Library’s Main Campus (known as the Historic building). 

It was a wonderful field trip and the students learned many new things about libraries, and also took away with them a first-hand encounter to help broaden their knowledge on other libraries that are in and around their communities. We hope to take more field trips because first-hand experience really IS the best way to learn new things and experience new places! If you are planning a library field trip, I highly recommend it-it is a great form of advocacy as well as shows your students the various library environments that they can experience beyond what they are used to in their own communities! 


Multimedia tools are really evolving into invaluable tools for students, teachers, and business professionals alike. View this article by Mercedes Bell on digital story telling


The State Library of Ohio is hosting an event that will focus on ways in which  school libraries, public libraries, and communities can work together to build  learning communities that foster high levels of student achievement. Rich  Harwood from the Harwood Institute and Maureen Sullivan, Library Consultant and  current ALA president, will lead this event.    This FREE event will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2013, at the DoubleTree  Hotel at 175 Hutchison Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, (near the Route 270 and 23  interchange) from 9:30 AM—3:30 PM and even includes a FREE lunch. Register  immediately at as the program is limited to 100 attendees.    You may be interested in knowing the consultants from the Harwood Institute  recently worked with community leaders in Newtown, CT to determine what to do  with Sandy Hook Elementary School. They have also done extensive work here in  Ohio with Youngstown City Schools. Each attendee will receive a copy of the  Richard Harwood's most recent book, The Work of Hope.    For more details, please see the SLO website. Hope to see you there. 


What’s $16.95 times 5?  Can you do the math quickly in your head?  No? Let me help with my calculator.  That equals $84.75.

Now, what is $84.75 times 6?  $508.50.

Every two months, I drive about an hour to attend Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Material Review Group, fondly called SOYAMRG by its members.  This review group has been around for over 30 years and was started by Wright State University Professor of Education Dr. Mary Lou White and Mrs. Diane Ball, Media Specialist  at Oakwood Junior-Senior High.   Since its early days, SOYAMRG has been dedicated to reviewing books, audiobooks and other media for young adults.  Though the group’s members have changed a bit over the years, the mission remains the same:  to provide a local perspective on the book selection process for school and public librarians and for other professionals who work with young adults.  Reviewers receive an average of 5 books at each meeting (though at times, I have left with as many as 12!) that I read, review and then keep for my library.  Publishers send both published copies and advanced readers’ copies of books.  

The savings that come with the membership are enough to inspire librarians to join.  In the past 8 years that I have been a member, I have been able to bring in over $4,000 worth of books to my school library at no cost to the district.  We all know that budgets are tight, and I know some libraries do not even have money in their budget for new books.   Being a member of SOYAMRG has been an excellent way for me to supplement my library when times are tough.  

Savings are one reason to join, but much more can be said for the fellowship of the group.  Through my membership I have developed many new contacts for my network – both public and school librarians, and I am lucky enough to call some of them friends.  Members of SOYAMRG share a meal and share reviews of books at each meeting.  We have congratulated members who have retired, gotten married, and have had babies. We have seen new members come and familiar faces leave. We have quite a few OELMA members in the group already, and we welcome new members at any time during the year; membership is just $10 per year.

There are certainly many benefits to joining a review group, but perhaps most important are the books.  Most of us became librarians because we love books – reading them, smelling them, holding them, talking about them.  I have discovered many titles I would not have known about without SOYAMRG – books that aren’t starred in School Library Journal or included in the latest shipment for the Scholastic Book Fair.  Because of SOYAMRG, I get to see the passion in the eyes of a librarian as she reviews a book she loves and will highly recommend.  I get to read a little gem of a book that didn’t get the publishers’ top billing.  I always wanted a job where I would get paid to read books.  Now, I can tell people I do.  

Currently, SOYAMRG meets in the Dayton area and our next meeting will be in July on the third Tuesday.  For more information, please visit our website or feel free to email me at


I’m teaching a new 1-credit class through Ashland in the Columbus area!  June 11, 12, & 14 from 9:00-1:00.


Participants will focus study on the Common Core English Language Arts informational text research standards grades K-8, explore various models of inquiry, be exposed to new nonfiction trade books useful for inquiry, explore technology tools, and, as a project, modify a current, or write a new, inquiry unit.   There will be guest speakers and a field trip to Cover to Cover Book Store!  Enroll at 


This August I began my first year as a certified library media specialist.  I oversee the Learning Commons library and media center at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon (Stark County).  One of the priorities of my administration was to modernize the library and to integrate technology and 21st century skills into teaching and learning.  I had previously served as a teacher of intructional technology in my school, so I was excited to step up to the challenge.  

 DiigoOne of my first orders of business was to create an online repository of digital resources for my faculty and students. I established a Diigo account, which allowed me to bookmark resources online as I came across them.  Diigo is handy because it allows me to create categories for my resources, and it generates a public URL that I can share with my faculty and students.  I have embedded my Diigo feed onto my school website and have also included a link for anyone to browse through my resources.  Additionally, Diigo offers extensions for web browsers that allow you to quickly bookmark resources with the click of a button.  Whenever I am surfing the web on Google Chrome, I’ve got a handy Diigo button at the top of the browser by the address bar.  I click it and instantly add the resource to my Diigo library.

Rather than keeping my Diigo feed a secret in my school district, I thought I would throw it out there and share it with the wider community.  Feel free to bookmark it yourself or follow me in your Diigo network.  There are resources for all subject areas.  They can be found on the right side of my Diigo page, under my Public Lists.  The largest category by far is Information and Communication Technology, which showcases the latest and greatest resources for instructional technology.  I hope you find it useful.  Here is my Diigo link:

Feel free to contact me if you would like to follow up on this blog entry if you’d like to discuss digital resources for education.

Andrew Robitaille

Information and Media Specialist

Jackson Memorial Middle School

Massillon, Ohio

Twitter:  jmmsrobitaille


Librarians know that picture books contain some amazing art and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is no exception. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote “Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art” ( could be talking about Keat’s The Snowy Day, the book which featured the first African American protagonist in a full color picture book.

Librarians who attended the OELMA East/NE professional development offering at the Akron Art Museum last week were treated to a tour of over 80 original works by Keats, including Peter’s Chair and Whistle for Willie. Courtesy of the de Grummond Children’s Literary Collection of The University of Southern Mississippi, museum rooms were filled with Keats art work, personal letters and a glassed display of contrasting picture books prior to 1962. Keats advocacy of civil rights, depiction of gritty city street scenes and his extraordinary art all had a major influence on American culture. After the tour, the museum offered an extension activity students would enjoy – how to create simple collage paper using the following: shaving cream, water color spatters, and paper. The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats at the Akron Art Museum is the first to pay tribute to this author/illustrator and will be available through June 30, 2013.

More information is available at


This is a post from Paige Yaeger’s blog, “Librarydoor”. She has some very interesting blogs, this one is very relevant so I thought I would pass along! The post is comprised of handouts she provided at an AASL webinar.


  We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Even in our own profession…there are some things that we are better at than others. I found out pretty quickly my first year that one of my weaker strengths (like how I worded that for my ego) is doing a book talk. I have a lot of information floating around up there but for some reason when it comes time to put it all together it doesn’t work as well as it should. I believe it runs in the family because my father has the same problem. He either doesn’t remember a thing or remembers too much. I practice, I really do but the way my information is stored doesn’t relate well to giving a fascinating book talk. Luckily for me I live in the age of technology. With the help of some well made book trailers by publishers, authors, librarians, teachers, and students I’m able to combat one of my lower developed skills to make sure that I get my kids interested in the titles we have to offer at our schools. There truly are some wonderful book trailers out there to help struggling book talkers like myself persuade kids to find books that interest them. Don’t get me wrong …there are some bad trailers too. With the help of my students evaluating the effectiveness of the book trailer, can you say media literacy skills lesson opportunity here, I have come up with what WE think are the best high school book trailers out there in terms of grabbing a perspective readers interest. The influx of reserves I have for these books after the book trailer session also lends itself to the effectiveness of the trailers. Without further adieu here is our top eight list in no particular order. (Yep, eight, because everyone else is doing ten)


1. Ten by Gretchen McNeil

CREEPY! To me it sounds like a lot of books out there so the book trailer does an excellent job of making it stand out. I usually have a couple of names wanting to check it out after showing the clip. I even want read it now.


2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Every time I show this one I have at least half, if not more, of each class wanting to check it out. The trailer is just that good. I personally would like to see these actors used in the movie if one is ever created.


3. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

At first this isn’t one of the students picks for best book trailers but after we evaluate it and we talk about some of the techniques used to persuade the audience the students pick it as one of the best. Great book trailer to use to teach media literacy skills! Why the silence and what does it do to the audience? Why use green as a color for the slides? What about the wording? Just a really good book trailer for evaluating and figuring out the purpose.


4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I try to sell this book to students who like this kind of stuff all the time but have minimal success. As soon as those same students see the trailer they go for it. I don’t get it? Maybe it could be that Neil Gaiman has one of the most intriguing narrator voices I can think of. Well, I imagine it doesn’t hurt.


5. Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

This one is sort of a unique selection. I really don’t think its so much the trailer as it is the premise of the book and the part where a zombie gruesomely latches on to a unicorn and I instinctively scream at the top of my lungs in the library when it happens. You should see how many of the students jump after that one. Watch the trailer. You’ll know what I’m talking about. Feel free to steal my weirdness.


6. Num8ers by Rachel Ward

Another one that I couldn’t get in the hands of the students as fast as I thought it should with such an interesting plotline. Not an amazing piece of cinematography but great questions asked by the producers to put the audience in the shoes of the character in the book.


7. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

This one gets the female students all up in a tizzy. Fallen angels, forbidden love, and a shirtless, toned angel falling from the sky. Another great opportunity to hit up some media literacy skills and talk about how the media will often use scenes such as this to invoke interest in their product.


8. Fallen by Lauren Kate

I can see why this was a book video award finalist. Does a great job of telling what the book is about but at the same time leaving the audience asking “What is this book really about?” with quick images of different things that only someone who has read the book would understand.


Bonus Picks! (And you thought I was really going to do a top eight list…sheesh!)


One might say that I added these two because I am infatuated with Lauren Oliver. After meeting her at last year’s OELMA conference one would have a strong argument towards that but honestly that is not the case.


9. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

This book is geared towards younger students but it does have a unique feature to it that is worth mentioning in this post. The song used in this trailer was apparently created for the trailer, which I find extremely interesting and a possible trend we might see in the future. The song and video are awesome and the lyrics appear to do a decent job of telling what the book is about. I sometimes serenade to my wife this song when we go on road trips. She loves it. ☺


10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Maybe its just Lauren, because she’s awesome, but here again we have a unique feature to a book trailer for one of her titles. This book is about Love being a disease and society wanting to rid themselves of it. Interesting premise to say the least. The book trailer though takes it a step further to entice its viewers. At the end of the trailer it asks the audience whether or not they would take a cure for love if it was available. The audience then has the option to click on Yes or No. From there it takes you to the final part of the trailer based on what you choose. If that doesn’t pique some interest I don’t know what will.


If you have some of these books in your library I definitely advise you to show the students the book trailers for them. If you are a BYOT school or have mobile devices in your library maybe you can even attach QR codes to the back of the books for the trailers so that the students can watch them at their leisure. There really are some good book trailers to get students reading what you have on your shelves. Or even go double your money as I have by incorporating some media literacy skills in your showing. Either way take advantage of what technology and Al Gore has brought to us. Your 21st century kids will love you for it!


Librarians in Northeast Ohio got together to form the OELMA N.E. Book Discussion Group. We met on a sunny afternoon at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on Chagrin Blvd. With Cleveland weather luckily cooperating, outdoor tables provided a perfect setting to take an hour after school to meet friends and discuss The Great Gatsby, timely with the movie version of the book opening in May. However, the discussion soon digressed into sharing other recent reads: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Ten by Gretchen MNeil, Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys , Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan; Miss Pergrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; City of Women by David Gillham; Heist Society by Ally Carter . All different, but all enjoyed, and interesting to hear a little about the various books from another perspective. The next meeting is planned for September and if you are in the area, please plan to join us!


This is an interesting article about the common core and students ability to write research papers. Seems that the Northwest Local Schools are creating a new course called the Fifth Core to get students researching and writing papers. Good news! The bad news, however, there is no mention of a school librarian!


If you use at your school, you probably received an email about “Plagiarism Education Week”. The following link describes the webcasts that are available this week and also has links to some excellent infographics. The first webcast was today, Monday, April 22nd.


One of our many tasks as school librarians is to arrange author and illustrator visits. While these visits may look seamless from the outside, only we know how much effort goes into one – from selecting and inviting an author or illustrator to making the arrangements for rooms and needed equipment, and making out (and revising!) schedules for the presentations. Add to that managing book orders for the students so that they have the opportunity to get signed copies of books which have now moved to the top of their favorites list because of this newly-formed connection between reader and the creator.


Just last Friday I had such a visit. The job of find potential guests may seem daunting, but OELMA provides its members many sources for finding the right guest. One place is the listserv. Not only can we share which authors or illustrators do school visits, we can also find other schools in the area willing to share the cost of bringing them in by making it a two to three school stop. Another source is the annual OELMA conference held each October. Authorpalooza allows us to meet the artists and find potential matches for our schools. In fact, that is where I had the opportunity to volunteer to introduce and “preview” this year’s guest illustrator to my school: Richard Cowdrey.



My school is K-8 and finding a speaker who can adjust his/her presentation to suit the audience is not an easy task. Mr. Cowdrey did that and more. Cowdrey not only discussed and showed the creative process involved in illustrating picture books and invited the students to “draw-along,” he also talked about his career path and the people who were instrumental in finding his way. It is evident that Cowdrey is a very skilled and talented artist, but it was his underlying message that resonated with my school.


Students and teachers and administration are speaking very highly of his visit. In fact, I have heard nothing but an enthusiastic response. No one knew what little glitches went on behind the scenes; they only took away a positive and inspiring message.


I have had other positive author/illustrator visits, too, but it became clearer to me last week that we have the powerful ability to be conduits to connect readers to books and their creators. In the midst of negative turmoil, what a satisfying way to look at one of the roles of school librarians.


On April 12, 2013, over fifty high school students from across three Ohio counties assembled at the Pickaway County Library to compete in the annual Battle of the Books – Hilliard Bradley, Circleville, Logan, Logan Elm, Teays Valley, and Westfall.  This year’s Battle of the Books required students to read and analyze 18 books.  Among this year’s selections were: 1984, The Things They Carried, The Fault in Our Stars, Jasper Jones, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  Each year, students and school librarians develop the list and Lisa Campbell, Teays Valley school librarian, compiles the questions submitted by each school’s coach, often a school librarian, and develops a master list of over 450 questions that will be used in the competition.  Michelle Callahan, Public Relations Coordinator at the Pickaway County Library, coordinated the volunteers to ask the questions, score, and keep time.  The buzzer lent authenticity to the Battle as questions and answers were fired back and forth to each competing team in multiple rounds.  The lightning round was the most exciting to watch as students rang in with their respective buzzers.  In the end, says one Circleville student, “it’s not about who wins as much as it is to get a chance to talk to other students who like to read.”  Visit the OELMA Facebook page to see pictures


Don’t miss your chance to acknowledge an exceptional colleague, administrator, or library school student. Submit applications for OELMA’s Scholarships and Awards by Monday, April 15th.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out the complete award descriptions and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

 Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Monday, April 15th


  Last year I was approached with the opportunity to run for the South Region Director position for the upcoming academic year.  At first I was a hesitant to the idea for obvious reasons.  Being the only certified librarian in my district, did I really want to take on another responsibility?  Did I have the time to undertake, what I assume, are numerous tasks affiliated with the position?  After considering the opportunity and the pros/cons, I reluctantly said “yes” to placing my name on the ballot.  Looking back upon my imaginary list titled, That Was a Good Call, I find that it falls squarely between my red suede pants purchase from Express (nothing can top those) and watching TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress with my wife.  Don’t judge, after watching about a dozen of them one starts to become addicted.  In all seriousness, serving on the OELMA Board was one of the better things I decided to do this past year.  Why you ask? Well, here is why to name a few:

1.     Opportunity to have my voice heard on topics and issues that I’m passionate about concerning our profession.  There are numerous subcommittees within the organization for which I’m able to become affiliated.  

2.      Networking and connecting with some of the top librarians throughout the state.  I love to hear what others are doing and see how my district can either imitate or interconnect with others.

3.     Serving on the board is a great way for me to grow as a leader.  Our profession demands us to be leaders, not only in our libraries, but within our school environment as technology specialists, information literacy extraordinaire, and so on.  On top of that, the new teacher evaluations have elements of professional development for which I will be evaluated on and I want make it abundantly clear that I am pushing myself to be the best I can be!

4.     Chance to channel my creative ideas with others.  It seems like I have lots of ideas and often they fall on deaf ears or require more than just my two arms and legs.  Serving on the board I’m able to communicate these ideas with others with the possibility of bringing them to fruition! 

5.     To help serve the needs of others in our profession throughout the state.  Our profession is built on the idea of customer service, evident by all the different hats we wear (or red suede pants in my case) to serve the needs of our districts. It only makes sense that I take that need to serve and apply it to you…my fellow librarians by serving on the OELMA board committee!

     Now if any of these reasons above apply to you I urge you to contact your current Region Board member and tell them that you want to have your name placed on the board committee nomination ballot!  I know there are still directors positions open for the Northeast, Northwest, East, and West regions so if your district is located in one of these areas I double dog dare you to submit your name for consideration.  That’s right…I just DARED you!  Again, it has been one of the best things I’ve agreed to in the past year and I know that many of you have the same passion that I have for our amazing profession.  So why not put your name in the running?  Why not have something new to add to your That Was a Good Call list or whatever you call it?  Express no longer has those red suede pants in stock so go for the next best thing…serving on the OELMA board committee!   

Today I met with my principal to review the library’s proposed budget for next year. I prepared a sample budget, brought usage reports for  the services we offer, and used Follett’s Titlewise Analysis to easily create graphs (much prettier than my SIRSI reports…).  My boss is an experienced administrator, but new to our school, so the budgeting meeting was new to her. She was appreciate of the rationales I offered, and thanked me for taking the initiative to plan the meeting. I left with full confidence that at the district level, she would support the budget I proposed, because she understood it. I am lucky to be in only one building, with the time to build a relationship with one administrator, but I wonder about all of our varied expereinces. This meeting did wonders to advocate for the needs of the library and the students and staff that utilize it. Now, we have a meeting scheduled for mid May to review an annual report I will create. She suggested that I invite our curriculum director! I am curious about your experiences and the processes you use for budgeting/ reporting to your administrator. 


Do you know a library school student who is committed to pursuing a career in school librarianship? Help him or her achieve their goals with a nomination for an OELMA scholarship!

The J. Allen Oakum Scholarship and the OELMA Scholarship are awarded to Ohio residents pursuing certification in school library/media in an accredited library school program. The scholarships provide cash stipends intended to help defray educational costs for future library media specialists as they complete their studies.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out the complete scholarship descriptions and application forms at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Monday, April 15th


Save the date!  Thursday May 2nd  Akron Art Museum 4:30 to 6:00 

Discover “ The Snowy Day and Art of Ezra Jack Keats” exhibit.

Explore methods of “reading” pictures with your students and experiment “hands on” with collage and marbling techniques utilized by Keats. Please see attachment or link for full details and sign up form. 

The Akron Museum is requiring that all guests must be preregistered.  Full payment and form must be mailed by April 25th to OELMA. Sorry, payments and reservations can not be accepted at the door.  Cost is $20 OELMA members $25.00 for nonmembers.  Space is limited! 

See link to download registration form today! 

Or register online with link bleow (May 2nd East/Northeast Region Workhop)

 Sponsored by the East/NorthEast Regional OELMA division. Committed to bring you relevant, convenient and affordable professional development. 


Submit nominations for OELMA’s awards by Monday, April 15th

Don’t miss this opportunity to…

Commend an exemplary school library program.

Say “Thanks!” to an administrator whose support makes a real difference.

Encourage colleagues pursuing library/media certification.

Recognize an outstanding school librarian who’s developed a strong instructional program.

Salute an Ohio educator who’s successfully defended a book challenge.

Honor a colleague who’s dedicated to OELMA and the school library profession.


Nominate talented colleagues for OELMA’s 2013 scholarships & awards:

OELMA Scholarship

J. Allen Oakum Scholarship

Administrator-of-the-Year Award

Award of Merit

Intellectual Freedom Award

Library of Distinction Award – District Category

Library of Distinction Award – School Category

OELMA Emerging Leader Award

OELMA/Follett Library Resources School Librarian-of-the-Year Award

Check out the application form and complete award descriptions at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

 Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Monday, April 15th


I was able to attend the Thursday evening session of the 29th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth at Kent State University on April 4th. It was a wonderful evening with a few new changes. There was a pasta dinner for all attendees, which is new to the Thursday evening session (and the price to attend did not increase due to this). Many people remarked how much they enjoyed the dinner and hope it continues next year as well. The theme this year was Dreams and Promises: Multicultural Literature and the Common Core. 

The first presentation was by award-winning author Angela Johnson who shared in a poetic speech some information about her childhood and her journey as a writer. She said, “It is easy to call yourself a writer, it is much harder to actually be one.” Another new feature of the session is that each author/illustrator being honored speaks on Thursday night (briefly). We were able to hear from Yuyi Morales, award-winning author/illustrator. She shared some stories about being an immigrant, what that means to her, as well as how the public library changed her life (she had never been in one until she moved to America). She found her path by reading children’s book in her local public library and met authors by reading their works. Children’s author Gary Schmidt also shared briefly how he found his path to becoming a writer and teacher. He grew up being scared of books and there was one teacher who believed in him, showed him the power of books, and changed his life for the better. He also mentioned that we remember books of our childhood much more than adulthood which I found to be very true (and interesting to think about). 

The last portion of the evening was presented by Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center. Local students presented their poetry as well as a special presentation of the I Have a Dream speech by Dr. Martin Luther King by some local North Canton high school students. This portion of the program was led by Kim Jacoby, who happens to be OELMA’s own Dr. Meghan Harper’s husband!  He also sang some multicultural songs as well which everyone enjoyed. 

It was a great evening and there were a handful of OELMA members present as well (shout out to Liz Deskins, Christina Dorr, Maureen Popa, Jan Warden, and those others I may have missed)! Next year’s Virginia Hamilton Conference will be held April 3rd and 4th so if you cannot make the entire Friday session, please try to attend the Thursday session in the evening-you will not be disappointed! 

For more information, please visit: 

There is increasing pressure on teachers and school librarians to become “paperless.” School libraries have been joining public libraries in transforming themselves into digital collections. Does a bookless library better suit the needs and research habits of 21st-century students? What has your experience been?

The Editor of the Ohio Media Spectrum Journal is currently accepting previously unpublished submissions to the spring 2013 issue from librarians, graduate and professional students, faculty and practitioners involved with, or of interest to, Ohio school libraries on this topic. We are looking for articles about the philosophy of the paperless classroom/library at your school; how digital resources are integrated into your curriculum; what digital resources are being used; and the pros and cons of a paperless classroom/library.

Ohio Media Spectrum is a peer-reviewed publication of the Ohio Education Library Media Association (OELMA), the professional organization dedicated to educational and technological excellence in library/media services in Ohio’s schools.


The Ohio Media Spectrum seeks articles detailing ongoing research that serve to inform the learning community about projects and encourage collaboration. Authors may also respond to articles published in the Ohio Media Spectrum or other publications, share observations and ephemera, or detail innovative programs or original research.


Article Submission Information
If you are interested in submitting an article for the upcoming issue, contact me via e-mail and include the following information in your email:

Author(s) name(s)
Affiliation/Organization Name
Contact Information
Title of Article
Brief abstract
Proposed length


Final submissions should include a photograph (jpeg format, if possible) of the author and a brief biographical sketch and can be sent via email to (Please also copy/paste the article from MSWord in the text of your e-mail as backup). Any article accepted will be edited/proofed by the OELMA editorial staff and peer reviewed by members of the OELMA Peer Review Committee.

The Editor works cooperatively with authors to plan and develop each issue, so early notification of your interest in participating in an issue of the journal will help facilitate the process. All submissions are peer-reviewed and the peer review committee will have the permission to select, edit, and format the articles. A deadline for submission has been set to insure ample time for discussion of revision and layout issues before final publication. Ohio Media Spectrum is published online once a year and is accessible to OELMA members on the OELMA website. Deadline for the fall 2013 issue is August 1, 2013.


Please note that manuscripts are accepted with the understanding that:

  • They are not concurrently under consideration by another publication nor have they already been printed, in part or whole, elsewhere;
  • The author(s) understands that the manuscript will be subjected to a “blind” referee process and that it will be selected based on the importance of the topic, the relevance to the OELMA readership, the applicability to library/media professionals and situations, and its clarity;
  • The author(s) is responsible for all information presented, including citations which give proper credit to other sources of ideas and information presented;
  • Quotes of 50 words or more and other reproductions from published material must be accompanied by a letter of permission from the original author and publisher;
  • The author(s) agrees that the editor has the right to edit the manuscript as may be necessary as long as the author’s original intent is not altered;
  • The decision of the editor is final;
  • The author(s) of an accepted manuscript assigns all rights for its publication to the Ohio Media Spectrum;
  • Manuscripts become the property of the Ohio Media Spectrum and will not be returned.


If you have any questions, please contact:
Sheila Campbell, Editor
Ohio Media Spectrum
Library Media Specialist
Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
9990 Riverside Drive
Powell, OH 43065-0400
Phone: 614-724-3610
Fax: 614-724-3653


The deadline for conference program proposals has been extended to May 10th.  While the conference theme is “Connecting to the Common Core – Ohio’s Learning Standards”, there are many different topics that fit within the theme.  Consider presenting a session on research skills throughout the curriculum, new technologies, professional development or literacy in the library.  There are so many things we do to support staff and students, share your experiences and strengths!

Hello All!
You should check with your cipro pill markings doctor or clinic about risks..
    The 2013 OELMA Conference has been planned around the theme “Connecting to the Common Core – Ohio’s New Learning Standards” that will include keynote presentations by Buffy Hamilton, the Unquiet Librarian, and Judi Moreillon, author of Collaborative Strategies for Teaching Reading Comprehension: Maximizing Your Impact, and two special Pre-conference sessions: 1) Action Research in the School Library with Dr. Meghan Harper, and 2) TBD.
  Be a part of “Connecting to the Common Core – Ohio’s New Learning Standards” and help us share, create and illustrate how libraries and school librarians are preparing for the shift to Ohio’s new Learning Standards.  This year, we are accepting proposals for 45-minute and 80-minute sessions. The 80-minute sessions are designed to be hands-on sessions, where participants will make and take examples of lesson plans, professional development plans or collection development policies.  Your participation in the 2013 OELMA conference is vital to our organization and profession.  Showcase and share your innovative programs and practices!

Submit your session proposal by clicking here! (
Check the OELMA Conference Page for frequently updated information!

Drawing on their work with school districts and organizations across Ohio and the country noted media literacy educator Frank Baker and new literacies expert William Kist will demonstrate effective methods for facilitating your curriculum and instruction transition into the 21st century.  What does it look like when teachers allow for all the new kinds of media available in their classrooms?  Frank and Bill will demonstrate that embracing new media is supported and encouraged by the Common Core State Standards, the Partnership for the 21st Century Skills, and the ACT College Readiness Standards.  Participants will be provided with a large collection of assignments and assessments that are ready to use immediately, helping to bridge the transition from the 2001 Ohio Standards to the Core and the PARCC assessments that will be in place by the 2014-15 school year.  Click here to register today! 


A great new infographic has been created by a sophomore in high school, thanks to ALA/AASL member Connie Williams in California.

Check it out:

Do you know a library media specialist who excels in all aspects of school librarianship? This is a great opportunity to acknowledge a deserving colleague.

This award, sponsored by Follett Library Resources, recognizes an Ohio library media specialist who develops an exemplary school library program, collaborates with classroom teachers, implements technology-integrated instruction, demonstrates educational leadership, and advocates for school libraries.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out the complete award description and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Monday, April 15th


I have been following the many discussions about MOOCs (massive open online courses) in the university setting. I am following this because I feel it may have implications at the high school level. In particular, is the problem with offering library services to students taking the online courses. At Duke, enrolled students have a global representation. Many are not students enrolled at Duke so technically do not have access to library databases. There are many interesting dilemmas here. What will this mean in public schools where (at my school anyway) many students are taking online AP courses. These students do not have access to databases through their online courses. (Nor are they required to use them!) How will their education in the online AP course differ from those taken in school where databases are readily available? I have heard a few students say “All we do is read articles from the web or watch movies from the web and answer questions!” Just thought that in your “spare time” (!) you might be interested in reading this!


School Library Month is the American Association of School Librarians’ celebration of school librarians and their programs. Every April school librarians are encouraged to create activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs plan in a student’s educational career. The 2013 theme is Communities matter@your library. Check out the AASL homepage for some activities and resources to help you celebrate. Just announced: Communities matter@your library Video Contest plus ideas for contacting your local elected officials, making a proclamation, decorating your library or library’s website. Check the AASL website often for new materials.


Do you know a school librarian who exhibits dedication by serving actively in OELMA leadership roles? Nominate him or her for OELMA’s Award of Merit.

This honor recognizes a library media specialist who has made outstanding contributions to school librarianship by demonstrating a long-term commitment to the school library profession and serving in OELMA leadership roles.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out the complete award description and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

 Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Monday, April 15th


Through a collaborative effort between the library and the music department, our music students took an educational field trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum today. The students learned quite a bit about music and technology through their one hour interactive class and had the opportunity to engage in a question and answer period as well as tour the many engaging musical examples, video excerpts and multimedia presentations. The students thoroughly enjoyed the day. The Rock Hall of Fame’s on-site programs offer a unique interdisciplinary experience. Rockin’ the Schools engages students in actively exploring the history of rock and roll, while meeting and exceeding Ohio Academic Content Standards for learning in subject areas such as music, language arts, social studies, science, technology and financial literacy. The programs are varied for subject area and grade levels. The Core Programs are offered Tuesday – Friday at 10:00 am and 11:30 am from October 9, 2012 through June 14, 2013. There is still room to attend through June. 
For those schools located within zip codes that begin with 440, 441, 442, or 443, the programming is free. Regional groups can participate in Rockin’ the Schools for a discounted rate. For more information on scheduling a visit, the group sales department can be contacted at 216.515.1228.


Do you know a school librarian who has faced a book challenge? How about a teacher who opposes removing “objectionable” titles from class reading lists? Or an administrator who supports intellectual freedom? Nominate him or her for OELMA’s Intellectual Freedom Award.

This award recognizes Ohio educators who demonstrate a strong committment to ALA’s principles of intellectual freedom by resisting censorship and actively supporting students’ right to read.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out the complete award description and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online by Monday, April 15th



Embrace the rapid changes in eReaders and the eBooks landscape – mark your calendars for July 17 at the Holiday Inn Worthington. Registration opens May 1 for this daylong conference designed to give a well-rounded picture of the current state of Ebooks and eReaders in libraries. Program will include opportunities to listen to other professionals share best practices and network with colleagues about their successes and challenges; discuss “big picture” topics in the eBook world such as legal issues, digital rights management, and publisher relations; improve skills to better assist patrons through the hands-on eReader lab.
Brought to you by the partnership of SLO, OLC, and OHIONET. This event is funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA grant awarded by SLO.


This award honors the achievements of Ohio’s exemplary building-level school libraries and district library programs.

Nominations for your school library – or your district library program – are welcomed and encouraged.

Want to find out more? Have questions about the application process?

Check out award description and application form at OELMA’s Scholarship & Awards page:

Submit applications to OELMA’s office or online

by Monday, April 15


A recent thread on the OELMA listserv highlights the popularity of creating paperless classrooms. Students e-mail homework to teachers and save their papers in “the cloud” for group projects; teachers are grading digitally, using iPads and tablet computers; administrators are cutting spending on sets of books for English classes and other disciplines, demanding that classrooms become completely digital; Granted, cloud computing allows teachers and learners to access applications and other useful tools for free, but is a completely paperless classroom an effective learning environment? And how secure is student data in “the cloud?” How do parents respond to this trend? Some intriguing articles about this are: How Does ‘The Cloud’ Affect Student Privacy Compliance? ( and Going Paperless in the Classroom. Grades 9-12. Scholastic. What are your favorite paperless tools? What problems have you encountered?


Marcia Barnhart, former Assistant Director of Professional Development/Stakeholder Outreach at the Ohio Department of Education and now Teacher2Teacher Director of Organization Learning, will present ideas and resources to demonstrate how librarians can support all content area teachers in their use of the literacy standards to build content knowledge. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literacy standards and discover ways librarians can support an integrated model of literacy across the content areas. When: Monday, April 15, 2013 from 9-3:30 Where? 1220 Bethel Rd. Columbus, OH 43220. Contact (877) 874-6504 ext 103 for more information.


Have you received your April 2013 issue of School Library Monthly? If so, you will see that OELMA is well-represented in this edition. First of all, Kathy Fredrick, Director of Libraries and Instructional Technology for the Shaker Heights City Schools, has written an article titled, “Virtual Pathfinders: LiveBinders and LibGuides”. Kathy is a regular contributor to School Library Monthly and her articles are always well-written and very informative. Her article appears on page 24.

The feature article by Kristin Fontichiaro and the Michigan Makers team features information about the badging experience at our fall 2012 OELMA conference. As you may know, the OELMA conference was the Michigan Makers inaugural event for badging at a professional conference. In their article the team from Michigan shares their experience and lessons learned. The article, “Badging a Conference” appears on page 5.

Finally, Susan and I were asked to write an additional article about the badging experience at our confe