January 19 – February 12 Highlights

We had just 19 days of school from January 19 to February 12, and several of those days included semester finals and semester textbook checkouts and returns. Even so, the library was packed with activity! Here are some of the highlights.


Some of the class research visits included Stacy Cabrera’s 11th Grade English students working on group research projects completing a collaborative dossier based on author genre/theme/style groupings and Laura Clarke’s 10th Grade English students exploring a research topic that will lend background to their study of the Romantic period in literature. The classes had short lessons in research and took advantage of our subscription databases, including our two new video databases from InfoBase and Alexander Street, as well as evaluating open web sources for quality.

3D Design

Mr. Braskin and Mr. Brenan’s Computer Science students finished their 3D chess piece projects and created some very original and attractive pieces while learning about 3D design using Tinkercad and becoming astute with measurements and understanding what types of designs are feasible to print on our printers. Here’s a link to the assignment. Here are just a few examples of their work:

3D chess pieces

3D chess pieces

Kate Martin and Amber Dixon’s Art 2 students also visited the library for three days and worked on 3D design projects. I introduced them to how 3D printers and Tinkercad work, and then they had the choice of creating a 3D design starting with a sharpie drawing, using these directions (bit.ly/2Dto3Dprint), or creating designs from scratch in Tinkercad. We will be printing out their designs next week, so stand by for some photos.

Marisa Reichardt Author Visit

The library was honored to host debut author Marisa Reichardt on February 10. She spoke to groups of students during both AM and PM office hours and to Shannon Vaughan’s Creative Writing class about her new novel, Underwater and how she became a writer. Here are a couple of photos of her with students.

Marisa Reichardt and Students

Marisa Reichardt and StudentsThe library has copies of Underwater for students to borrow, and copies can also be purchased from {pages}, our local independent bookstore, either at the store or online at bit.ly/orderunderwater.

CSLA Conference

Doorways to Diversity

Jane Lofton presenting how to Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Images Tools

I was in San Diego for California School Library Association’s annual conference on the theme of “Doorways to Diversity” February 3 – 7. I served as Social Media/Website chair for the conference, and I presented a workshop session on “Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Apps” and a concurrent session on “Make Twitter Your Number #1 Tool for Building Your Personal Learning Network.” I also coordinated CSLA’s third annual “Unconference,” at which participants chose their own topics to discuss and shared great ideas with each other.

Here are my Images Ninja session slides:


I also recorded the session using Google Hangouts on Air:


Here are my Twitter session slides:

And, my Twitter session recording:

I also encouraged other presenters at the conference to take advantage of Google Hangouts on Air to easily record their sessions. Here’s a link to my personal blog with information about how to do that. The information applies equally well to recording class lessons to make them “re-windable.”

I came away from the conference with many wonderful new ideas of ways to build diversity into our library program and collection and how I can better serve both our students and faculty. I’ll be sharing more about the conference soon.

Marisa Reichardt Author Visit

Marisa ReichardtThe library is delighted to be hosting author Marisa Reichardt on Wednesday, February 10. Ms. Reichardt, wife of Mira Costa Ceramics teacher and Water Polo coach Jon Reichardt, will be speaking about her first novel, Underwater, which was just published this month. Here is the publisher’s description of this YA realistic fiction book:

In the aftermath of a deadly high school shooting, seventeen-year-old Morgan is an agoraphobe trapped in the apartment she shares with her mother and brother. When surfer boy Evan moves in next door, she has to face the life she’s been missing.


Ms. Reichardt will be speaking to students during both AM and PM Office Hours on February 10. Students can choose to attend either in the morning or the afternoon. Following each session, we will also have books for sale and she will be signing books.

Do purchase a copy of this engaging, thought-provoking book. We have arranged with {pages} bookstore, a local Manhattan Beach independent book vendor, to provide the books at the discounted price of $16. To order in advance online, go to bit.ly/orderunderwater and {pages} will deliver the book to our library for you. You will also be able to purchase books on the day of the visit at each of the presentation sessions and during lunch, but we encourage pre-orders to guarantee availability.

Here is a flyer about the visit.

Parents and members of the community are welcome. Be sure to sign in in the office.

Library YA Author Panel Rocks!

YA Authors with Library Club members

Our Young Adult (YA) Author Panel on Wednesday was a great success! We hosted three wonderful authors – Robin Benway, Gretchen McNeil, and 2010 Costa Graduate Emily Wibberley. They all shared interesting and helpful tips about writing during the panel and were so willing to visit with our students, teachers, and community members before and afterwards. As a school librarian, authors are my rock stars. I am always star struck when I meet an author, and, over and over again, I am surprised and delighted that most of them treat me as a friend and colleague. Our three visiting authors were all incredibly friendly to everyone.

I was also very proud of our library club members who organized the event, and especially of Colette for leading the effort and moderating. We got rave reviews from the attendees, and a number of people purchased books from {pages} bookstore and got them signed. If you missed the event, I’m pleased that we were able to tape it using Google Hangouts On Air. Here is the recording:

Here are photos I uploaded to Flickr from the event:

Here is my tweet commentary during the event:

Many thanks to our authors for coming, our library club for organizing, {pages} for providing books for sale, and to everyone who attended. Don’t forget to buy or get copies of the authors books from the library. I’m also looking forward to new titles by all three authors in June:

  • Robin Benway’s Emmy & Oliver 
  • Gretchen McNeil’s Get Dirty, the sequel to Get Even
  • Emily Wibberley’s sequel to Sacrificed


Join Our #SWVBC Discussion with Author Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays

The Mira Costa Library Club is delighted to serve as host for this month’s “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” online book discussion. We will be discussing All Our Yesterdays. Here’s what I wrote about the book in my Goodreads summary after I finished last summer:

I really, really loved this book. I loved the time travel part and how it made me puzzle out how all that works. I loved gradually discovering how characters from one time and another are connected to each other. I loved the suspense. And I loved the romance.

I am especially excited that Christin Terrill, the author, has agreed to join us! If you are still a doubter as to the value of Twitter, please note that I was able to connect with her and extend the invitation via Twitter.

Many thanks, Christin, for agreeing to join us in our online Google + hangout! All the students and the librarians in the participating clubs are so jazzed that we will have the chance to talk to her live. All Mira Costa students are invited to join our club for the discussion in the library lunch room at 3 PM on Wednesday, and we also welcome any remote remote participants who would like to participate as well. The event will be viewable live by anyone at this link. If you want to join the Hangout room as a participant, please email me. Here’s a map of our current network of library clubs, created for us by Cathy Jo Nelson, Librarian at Dorman HS, in Roebuck, SC:


Len Vlahos Author Visit Review

len vlahosWe were delighted to have Author Len Vlahos visit our library February 25. His first book, The Scar Boys, was just published in January. He inspired our students and staff attending the assemblies Periods 5 and 6 with his love of music and his message of how it can transform lives. He also entertained us with one of his songs and invited students to come up and share their musical talents with us. And, we got to enjoy some incredible talent! Thanks to all the students who volunteered.

Vlahos also read the opening of his book, in which Harbinger (Harry) Jones starts a college admissions essay sharing some of his personal history, explaining “I played guitar in the greatest punk rock band you’ve never hear of.” The entire book is a continuation of this essay, explaining how he became scarred in an accident when he was very young making him a pariah due to his disfigurement, how he and his friend form a punk rock band; and what happens when a girl joins the band. Here is a video I recorded of the first session using Google+ Hangouts:

Visit our Flickr page for some photos from the visit.

To learn more about Len Vlahos, visit his website and his Flickr page.

Here is a link to his Scar Boys YouTube Channel

To enter his contest, visit this page on his website.

Many thanks to Len Vlahos for visiting us and to {pages} Bookstore for arranging it. Please come to the library to borrow copies of The Scar Boys, or visit {pages} to purchase a copy.

Author D.J. MacHale Visit December 4

DJ MacHale Read PosterSYLO

The Mira Costa Library is delighted to welcome D.J. MacHale, a local, acclaimed author, to our school on December 4, 2013. Mr. MacHale will be speaking at three sessions in the library, sharing about his craft. Mr. MacHale’s books include the 10-book Pendragon series, the Morpheus Road trilogy, and his newest title, SYLO, the first book of a trilogy, just released last June. Students will have the opportunity to sign up to attend one of the sessions on a lottery basis, and all students who have read one or more of his books before the visit will be guaranteed a spot in one of the sessions. Some teachers will also be signing up to bring their entire classes for these session.

The library has copies of his books to borrow, but I encourage you to also purchase one or more of his books to enjoy and keep. All students who purchase books will have the opportunity to meet Mr. MacHale and have their books signed during Period 6 of the visit day. We have arranged with {pages} bookstore, a local Manhattan Beach independent book vendor, to order his titles, and a portion of your purchases will also benefit our library. Please print and complete order form to order books as soon as possible so that you will have ample time to read before Mr. MacHale’s visit. You can also order online at this link: http://bit.ly/machalebooks

For more information, contact Jane Lofton, Teacher Librarian.

SCIBA Authors Dinner

SCIBA Dinner 2012 Books
Mrs. Lofton with her books from the SCIBA Dinner

Last Saturday I was delighted to attend the annual SCIBA (Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Children’s Book and Literacy Dinner, along with MBUSD Library Media Specialists Julie Jones, Heidi Snively, and Debby Kalenik. Here we are:MBUSD Group at SCIBA Dinner

This event features speeches by several great authors, an author at each table, and free books and book signings. Speakers this year included Michael Grant, Aaron Karo, Jennifer Nielsen, Lisa Loeb, and Cornelia Funke. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Author Lisa McMann and getting a copy of her newest book, Dead to You, for our library. Here I am with her: I came away with a wonderful assortment of other new books and pre-publication advanced reader copies to share with students. I also got another opportunity to see and visit with Andrea Cremer, who visited us at Mira Costa in January, and Margot Ferris, bookseller from our local {pages} the bookstore, who has been so terrific working with Mira Costa.

Come by the library to borrow one of our new books soon!

Andrea Cremer Enchants Mira Costa Students!

Author Andrea Cremer

Mira Costa students, staff, and library volunteers had a huge treat on January 13 meeting best-selling author Andrea Cremer when she visited our library. Ms. Cremer shared how she became a professional writer, where she gets her inspiration, the historical background she applies to her work, and the discipline required to complete a novel and get published.

As you can see above, she also posed for a READ poster, now featured to our Library READ wall.

Please visit the library to borrow Nightshade and its two sequels, Wolfsbane and Bloodrose. You can also see more photos from the visit on our library Flickr page.

Many thanks to {pages} bookstore for arranging the visit for us.

Andrea Cremer Author Visit

Andrea Cremer photo
Andrea Cremer

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luccacomicsandgames/6302130819/

The Mira Costa High School Library is pleased to announce that Andrea Cremer, a best-selling author of the Nightshade series and a History Professor at Macalester College, is visiting our school on January 13, 2012, and will be speaking about her craft during a session in the library from 2 PM – 3 PM. The third installment in the series is being released on January 3. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to hear an author speak in a small group session. Students are invited to sign up at the library to attend her talk. They must obtain permission from their Period 6 teachers to attend.

The library has some copies of Ms. Cremer’s first two books to borrow, but we encourage you to also consider purchasing one or more to enjoy and get autographed. All students who purchase books will have the opportunity to meet Ms. Cremer and have her books signed during the visit. This visit has been arranged for us by {pages} bookstore, a local Manhattan Beach independent book vendor. A portion of the profits for books purchased at Mira Costa before or during the visit will benefit our library. If you are interested in ordering books in advance, please complete the book order form and return it to the library. You can also purchase books on the day of the visit.

Ms. Cremer will also be visiting {pages} at 4:30 PM on January 13, and our library is grateful to {pages} for arranging our school visit.

You can learn more about Andrea Cremer and her books on her website.

Download an order flyer.