Join TLC: The Library Club and Our #SWVBC

Do you like to read? Do you enjoy discussing books with others? Would you like to contribute a little time and ideas to library program? Then, please consider joining TLC: The Library Club. TLC will be having its first organizational meeting of the year on Tuesday, September 18, during lunch. And, the library club isn’t just an ordinary club; we are also a “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” or #SWVBC on Twitter. Last year, we formed a partnership with several school library clubs from across the country, and have been having monthly online discussions with our partner clubs in addition to our live meetings at Costa.

Our first virtual discussion will be on October 17. We will be reading and discussing Tilt by Ellen Hopkins, AND we are honored that Author Ellen Hopkins herself is joining us! So, join in the fun; join TLC: The Library Club.


#SWVBC to Discuss Beauty Queens

Somewhat Virtual Book Club Map

On Wednesday, TLC: The Library Club is joining our cross-country group of other library book clubs in a “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” discussion of Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens.

This will be our fifth virtual book discussion. We have tried two different software platforms, Google + Hangouts and Skype, for previous meetings, and had both successes and challenges with them. Unfortunately, my aging computer has frozen at times, and, last time while we were discussing John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, the Skype options disappeared on us so we could neither control the mic nor read or write in the chat box! While problems like these are frustrating, they also offer us a real-world lesson in the opportunities and challenges of communicating online. For Wednesday’s discussion, we will be using Blackboard Collaborate, software I use regularly for California School Library Association Board business meetings and for webinars I have attended, and find to be very reliable. I’m optimistic that, with my brand new Mac Air and Blackboard, we will have good communication throughout our session. I am confident that Bray’s satirical book will inspire a lively discussion and the opportunity to explore parallels with one of our school curriculum novels, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies as well as many contemporary issues. Check out this preview of the book. Our club members invite any interested guests to join us at 3 PM on Wednesday. And, of course, we’ll have refreshments!

I have posted a map of the club before. If you compare the two, you will see that I have updated it since we have added two new members – Cathy Jo Nelson’s Domain HS in  South Carolina and Debbie Bobolin’s James Caldwell HS in New Jersey. Welcome! They join our “founding members” at Joyce Valenza’s Springfield Township HS Library in Pennsylvania, Shannon Miller’s Van Meter Community School in Iowa, Michelle Lahtala’s New Canaan HS in Connecticut, and Colette Cassinelli’s La Salle Catholic College Prep in Oregon. I left Amy Lott’s Deer Park MS in Texas on the map in case her group is able to rejoin us in the future.

P.S. If the map looks squished in on your screen, click on it to view it in a new window in better proportion.


Connecting Our Library Club Across the Country

virtual book club map & books

One great activity that has been occurring at the Mira Costa Library has been the growth and development of TLC: The Library Club, now in its second year. Last school year when we established the club, it was primarily a group to support library programs, and the club met every other week. I very much appreciated the help the students offered with our D.J. MacHale author visit, with library displays, contests, PR, and more. They also conducted a very successful book drive and sent the collected books to a shelter. This Fall, the students took the initiative to expand our club by meeting weekly and incorporating more discussions of books in addition to supporting the library.

Then, in October, we had the opportunity to expand our club beyond our school when I responded to a generous open invitation from Joyce Valenza, Teacher Librarian at Springfield Township High School in Pennsylvania, to join several school library clubs in a virtual book club discussion of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. Despite some technical difficulties with my computer and the challenges of time differences, our club members were able to join the group for approximately a half hour of a lively discussion of this engaging book. And, they are looking forward to “Round 2,” when we have revisit Hunger Games after the movie comes out in March.

photo of TLC Members discussing Blood and Chocolate
TLC Members discussing Blood and Chocolate

On December 1, we had our second virtual book discussion about Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Two of the other schools – Springfield Township HS in Pennsylvania, led by Teacher Librarian Joyce Valenza, and Van Meter in Iowa, led by Shannon Miller –  were able to attend this session, and one student who was ill even Skyped in from home. The students enjoyed a very lively debate about the different characters and clearly had very divergent views about how sympathetic they were. I was so impressed by their insightful comments and their ability to disagree with each other while always remaining polite and considerate.

Photo of TLC Members discussing Blood and Chocolate

We are now reading Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and plan to compare it to the new Hugo film in January.

To bring the groups together, we have been experimenting with different platforms, including Google + Hangouts and Skype. These are some of the tools that we teacher librarians have been using for webinars, virtual conferences, and professional organization meetings. Communicating across the miles in this way has also offered our students an opportunity to practice virtual meeting skills they are sure to be using in many other contexts.

I know that I have been enjoying the opportunity to communicate across the miles – and connect and plan with talented Teacher Librarians Joyce Valenza, Shannon Miller, Michelle Luhtala, Colette Cassinelli, and Amy Lott – at least as much as our students.


Valentines Day Display – And Book Returns

browning poemHappy Valentines Day from the Mira Costa High School Library! Come by the library this coming week to see the display of great stories organized by TLC: The Library Club. And, please have a heart: Return any overdue books NOW so that other students have a chance to borrow them. The library currently has a moratorium on fines; get your books in right away before the moratorium ends. Thank you!

P.S. If you like the heart, you can make your own heart at this site.

MCHS Library & TLC Featured in La Vista

la vistaMany thanks to La Vista and staff writer Diane Lee for the featuring the Mira Costa Library in the latest issue of the newspaper. You can read the article by picking up a copy of the paper at school, or on La Vista’s website. The article highlights some of the changes to the library this year and my plans for further changes to come. It also highlights our new library-support club – TLC: The Library Club. The library club is now officially chartered by ASB! Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 14.

Events This Week

Please come visit the library this week to view our exhibit of lovely student displays for Dỉa de los Muertos. The displays were created by students in their Spanish classes. We also have portraits on display from Ms. Martin and Mr. Reichardt’s Art classes.

This Tuesday, November 9, TLC (The Library Club) will meet during lunch. Everyone is welcome to join this new club for students who love books and would like to support library programs. We will be going over the charter for the club in preparation for presenting it for ASB approval. We will also talk about club activities.