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A year ago, a series of bizarre, and fate ridden events changed my life. After working with my students on a Genius Hour project involving Zambia, an email on the NHSLMA list-serv came across my laptop looking for a elementary librarian in Lusaka, Zambia. My students had raised $3000.00 to support a circus school for extremely poor children located in Lusaka. Furthermore, this job had some connections to Plymouth State University, of which I was attending. Being a small town NH librarian for many years and working in education for thirty, had put me on a path of predictability, comfort, and stability. That all changed February 2017, when I applied and accepted the position of Primary Librarian at the American International School of Lusaka, Zambia.
If you had asked me two years ago if I thought I would be living in Africa, I would have laughed. If you had asked me a year and a half ago if I would choose to give up my position at my NH school and stay in Zambia for 2 more years, I would have thought you were delusional. So what made me, someone who had never traveled internationally and always worked in my small community, jump on a plane to fly over 7,000 miles away and work in a city with over 2.7 million people? Two words: challenge and growth.
I have always wanted my students to challenge themselves, become risk takers, and embrace change. I thought modeling this behavior was appropriate and overdue. Once I arrived in Zambia, I had no idea how very challenging the transition would be. Everything was new, and I mean everything. Aside from the personal and cultural challenges, every tech tool for documentation, all rules and protocols, the entire curriculum, and students from 42 different countries with names that were hard to pronounce were all unfamiliar to me. By far, the curriculum has been the most challenging component of this process.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) curriculum is intricate, intense, and involved. Although I took a course before arriving, I found myself drowning in a curriculum with new vocabulary that was embedded in a well laid out format, but was quite dense. I was expected to have weekly library classes with students in preschool through 5th grade. However, I also was expected to work with my Tech. Integrator on a brand new pilot program of teaching during the point of need during Units of Inquiry. Meaning, during specific units, we went into classrooms to support and teach with the grade teams. At this point, I was still struggling with the curriculum and trying to learn what prior knowledge my students already had. Furthermore being an International School, students frequently move around. It is not unusual for students to stay for 2-4 years and move to another country. A significant amount of students will move during the school year. Within all of this, I needed to learn and promote the IB Learner Profile. To say I was overwhelmed at times, is an understatement.
So why did I choose to stay? There are several reasons but the first is: Support. AISL values its teachers and staff and provides an amount of support I have never seen. With all the challenges, I knew that someone was always ready to assist me when I required it. Another reason is simply because this curriculum does inquiry right. Back in the States I was attempting to use student inquiry more in my lessons. Here, I am still wrapping my head around the process and have made some gains but there is still so much to learn. It has also given me perspective as a learner and acknowledging what a steep learning curve I am encountering makes me more empathic to the plight of students walking into a new classroom. I am constantly challenged, intrigued, and learning. These are things I want my students to do on a regular basis. I wish I had known about IB when I was developing my own program back in the States as implementing some if its techniques makes so much sense. Students engage in inquiry and problem solving like I have not witnessed before.
The beauty of all of this is that although I am an IB PYP Librarian in Zambia, I must maintain my NH license so I am still a NH Librarian, and proud of it. I will say the support of NHSLMA is something I still count on heavily to help me through the challenges. Lastly, as I enter a new decade of my life, I am proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Jill Canillas Daley
PYP Librarian American International School of Lusaka Zambia at AISL
NHSLMA is pleased to announce our 2018 Award winners:
School Librarian of the Year - Rachel Hopkins, Salem High School
Outstanding School Library Program - Hollis/Brookline High School
Outstanding Paraprofessional - Patti Bogert, Inter-Lakes High School
Elsie Domingo Service Award - Kristin Whitworth, Barnstead Elementary
Thank you to the Awards Committee and all who submitted nominations.
Karen Abraham, Awards Chair
Reflections from Franklin Pierce student, Brianna Bourque:
There is a course called Banned Books taught at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. I am a freshman here at the university and I decided to take the course during the school year 2017-2018. During the course, we read approximately a dozen banned books like Lysistrata, Witches, Looking for Alaska, and Fanny Hill. While reading the book, we would discuss the author's intention for creating it, why we think the book was banned, and why we think the story should be kept on the shelves in schools, and libraries. The reason I took the course was to see how society's views of inappropriate book topics have changed over time. After learning what I did in Banned Books, I can say that it was a very challenging and fascinating experience.
An important aspect of the class, that was very challenging, was an individual project called the Library Censorship Report. For this we were required to contact one school library and one public library, and to request that they inform us their book challenging policy, the process if it were to occur, and any history they have of books being banned there. For this assignment, I decided to reach out to my old high school library (Merrimack Valley High School) and the New Hampshire State Library(NHSL). Upon contacting the two libraries via snail mail, I received word that neither had ever received a request to have a book banned, or even challenged. But after speaking with the librarian there, Rebecca Stockbridge, my contact information was then sent to four more people. I soon discovered by speaking with Jessica Gilcreast, the Bedford High School Librarian, that there was a book challenge at Bedford High School many years ago. The book was eventually pulled from the curriculum, but is still available in the school library.
After reading through the minutes and the process it takes to ban a book, I became very appreciative of my ability to read the twelve banned books during my course. I also became very thankful that no books had ever been challenged or banned in my high school, because I would have been missing out on learning opportunities. Through taking the course, I have also become more aware of how often books get banned or challenged in the U.S., and which states it is more likely to happen in. I intend to use this knowledge of book challenges and bans to prevent them so others can continue to learn, and I also would like to continue passing my knowledge of this onto others so they can hopefully prevent bans too.
It’s better to give than to receive.
We’ve all heard that one before. But during my service on the American Association of School Librarian’s Board of Directors as the Director of Region 1, I’ve received much, much more than I was able to give.
I was nominated to run for this national position after serving on the NHSLMA board for several years and volunteering for different committees at the national level. In order to be elected, I had to speak at the AASL Candidate Forum during the ALA Midwinter conference. If you have not yet attended an ALA conference you will one day find that the AASL events are filled with familiar and friendly faces. The speech was nerve-wracking - but fun.
The national election was held after the conference. in AASL, every member casts their vote for every elected position. If you have interest in running for a national position, good starting points include writing book reviews, blogging, serving at the state level or on AASL committees, or sharing ideas on social media so school librarians from other states will be familiar with your name. I was grateful to win the election - especially because nobody was running against me!
One of the first duties of a newly-elected board member is to attend ALA Annual. During each ALA conference the board meets three times. At the first board meeting, new members are assigned mentors and learn the board's policies and procedures. We took online quizzes in order understand all of the ALA and AASL policies and then received our first 100-page agenda. It was a bit overwhelming but helped new members keep up with the fast-paced meeting.
The meetings were interesting, as we were asked to consider updating long-standing policies, review budgets, and vote on the future of the organization. It was a thrilling time to be involved on the board as AASL was in the process of creating new national standards - and the ESSA legislation was being passed into law. We spent one meeting defining what an effective school library program means and that definition has since been added to the new legislation nationwide.
In addition to attending both ALA Annual and Midwinter each year (which does require some financial and logistical investments), I was also invited to attend many conferences and events at the state and regional levels. I was able to share information about ESSA and the new AASL standards with school librarians all over the region. Giving these presentations provided me with an opportunity to comprehensively understand the information I was presenting - and to meet school librarians all over New England.
You're probably already considering reasons why you can't volunteer: potential costs of travel, impacts on your personal and professional time, or the constant notifications of an inbox that's already overflowing. These demands are real, but I encourage you to consider the many benefits to volunteering. I believe school leaders are driven by an altruistic desire to help - whether that be their schools, their communities, or their profession.
The time I spent in building relationships, learning new skills, studying materials, and meeting school librarians from all over the country was an investment in myself. Here are some examples that may resonate with you.
In the words of Winston Churchill, "we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Serving school librarians at both the state and national level has helped me to make a joyful and satisfying life.
Program Coordinator, Library Media and Technology Education Programs
Faculty Member, Department of Educational Leadership, Learning and Curriculum
Plymouth State University
In November, I had the amazing opportunity to fly to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the American Association of School Libraries annual conference and Affiliate Assembly. The Affiliate Assembly was a ”train the trainer” event that was held so that two representatives from each state could have an immersive experience in unpacking the newly released standards for School Librarians, Library Learners, and School Library Programs. It was truly an experience of “drinking out of a firehose” for 1.5 days. The group was very fortunate to have the expertise of the librarians who worked in all areas of the new standards, from the creation of the task force to the structure of the strategic plan, to the drafting and evaluation of the standards, to the creation of the implementation plan.
We were broken into small groups and worked on different pieces of the Shared Foundations and analyzed how we currently apply them in our schools or classrooms as well as how we could advance and expand our implementation. There was a lot of moving around and members of the task force who were not leading the activity acted as participants in order to assist us “newbies” in making the connections between the abstract to the concrete. I left with a very strong understanding of the Inquire foundation, since that was the one I worked on with my group. The other foundations are Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage. The acronym ICE, ICE Baby was used in order to assist us in remembering the six Shared Foundations.
As board members of NHSLMA, Justine Thain and I will be working as a team in order to train our membership on these standards. We are currently in year one of AASL’s three-year implementation plan, which will provide us with more resources to share with you. I have included some links below for your reference.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Watch for announcements about upcoming virtual and in person trainings.
"Library Camp 2017 was an amazing experience. As a brand new LMS, I was able to network with librarians in my area and across the state. I quickly learned that librarians are a supportive, enthusiastic, and dynamic group of people. I was flooded with ideas, suggestions, inspirations and take-aways from the presenters at Library Camp, including key-note speaker, Laura Gardner. I came home with an address book full of contacts for librarians that I can look to for support as I embark on my journey as a LMS. Library Camp was a worthwhile experience and I look forward to going back next year." - Kerstin Rossel, Epping Elementary School
Thanks to ORHS librarian Kathy Pearce for sharing a recent student post reflecting on the impact that the Hack Shack has had over his high school career.
"The Hack Shack and all the Little Bits that have improved over my time with it" by Coleman Moore
Sign up to receive student posts throughout the year on the right side of the blog.
So many great reasons to attend CMTC this year! On Monday and Tuesday there will be sessions by David Loertscher, the "Learning Commons Guru" - these sessions will fill up quickly so register soon. The Keynote Speakers are Steve Dembo is a pioneer in the field of Educational Social Networking and Adam Bellow of Breakout EDU fame - they will both have a Keynote address and several sessions to attend. Thursday will be OUR day! We will start out recognizing our 2017 NHSLMA award winners and have a fabulous Lunch Session with Anita Cellucci presenting: THE EMPATHETIC LIBRARIAN: SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING IN THE LIBRARY. There will be many great sessions to attend on Thursday, many presented by our wonderful New Hampshire librarians.
If you are looking to attend CMTC and need some assistance funding, please go to the NHSLMA website for more info or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. See you all in November!
1. It’s my professional community. Are you the only school librarian in your school? In your district? When you are in need of peers to discuss library ideas, issues, challenges, problems and solutions, the NHSLMA community is here for you, with a wealth of knowledge to share.
2. Members are the experts! Each and every member of NHSLMA has something to offer, whether it is a successful program they implemented, a new way of looking at the library environment, or maybe just a great lesson. NHSLMA provides multiple opportunities to share your own expertise as well as learn from other experts.
3. It’s my go to resource.The NHSLMA website has information about everything from learning opportunities, to advocacy, to connecting with librarians throughout the state. If I have a question about librarianship, this is where I start my research.
4. The AASL connection - NHSLMA is an affiliate of AASL, and we have representation at both AASL and ALA national conferences. Our representatives share the latest and greatest from AASL with our entire membership.
5. I love getting together with our membership. Our conference, Library Camp, and regional PD groups are alway fun gatherings where we learn from experts in our field and each other. These events are constantly evolving to meet the needs and desires of our current members.
Are you a member? Now’s the time to login and make sure your account is active and up to date. If not, become a member today!
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NHSLMA Membership Chairperson
Salem School District Librarian
I hope your school year has gotten off to a great start! I’m excited to begin another year, not only as a school librarian, but as the president of NHSLMA. We have a terrific group of dedicated board members are looking forward to continuing to build upon the mission of our organization:
The board alone can not carry forward this charge; our objective is to create a framework to provide members with opportunities to share and grow professionally. As your opening days settle into a daily routine, I hope you will consider participating in one or more ways: