What Books Do You Want in the Library?

Survey QR Code

The library club wants YOUR input on books to purchase for our library.  I have allocated the the book club with a portion of the school library materials budget to select and purchase books students want in their library.

Students, please complete the survey @bit.ly/mchsbooksurvey (or the embedded version here) by Friday, March 13 and let your voice for new library book purchases be heard!


Oct. 6 -17 at the Mira Costa Library

Research & Other Library Lessons

While the library is busy with all sorts of activities – reading, studying, using the computers for writing essays, accessing information, and more – research is always a dominant theme. Now that the Freshman Orientations are behind us, the library is booked for lots of research projects. During the last two weeks, I prepared resources and taught short lessons on research skills and sources with Ms. Vaughan’s 9th grade English class, Ms. Sieker’s and Ms. Cook’s 12th grade English classes, Mr. Timberlake’s Model UN students, and Mr. Davidson’s Biology students. I also taught several of these classes about plagiarism avoidance and respect for copyright. Here is some of the material I have shared when doing lessons on plagiarism and respect for copyright:

Over the last year or so, Google has been making it much easier to give credit to sources used in Google Presentations/Slides and Google Docs. For several classes working on online presentations, I shared how students can find images using the Research Tool in Google Slides and why it is important to give credit. Here is a screencast I prepared a while back that includes information I shared live with students:

For a number of the classes visiting these last two weeks, I also helped students use EasyBib.com, a great online tool for storing research sources, creating citations, taking notes, and evaluating sources. Mira Costa has a premium account for EasyBib, which gives us ad-free access, and adds the note taking and website evaluation tools. See this page on the library website for help with EasyBib.

Library Club All Our Yesterdays Discussion

Some Library Club members during our October 3 Hangout
Some Library Club members during our October 3 Hangout

The Mira Costa Library Club served as host for our monthly “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” Google+ hangout discussion of All Our Yesterdays on October 8. Author Cristin Terrill spent the entire hour with us, and was extremely generous in replying to all the students and librarians’ questions about the book, her writing craft, and her plans for future books. We also had four other schools attending. I was very proud of our students who served as the moderators of the discussion. Here’s the Google+ Hangout recording of the session:

We are looking forward to our next session with We Were Liars by E. Lockhart on November 5. Our Library Club also meets during lunch each Tuesday, and welcomes any new members.

I was also invited to participate in “Google Rocks! Hawaii,” a weekly Google+ Hangout for Hawaii educators led by Linda Lindsay, Teacher Librarian at Seabury Academy on the island of Maui, on October 14. The theme of the show that week was book clubs, and I shared about our “Somewhat Virtual Book Club.” Here’s a link to the recording.

The Geeks

Some of our Geek team

Our Geeks (formerly called the Geek Squad, now the Geeks) are ready to provide help to both students and staff with tech issues of any kind. Please take advantage of their services! You can get help during lunch Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday, after school Monday through Thursday, or by appointment. Contact me or fill out this form to request an appointment. The Geeks also hold club meetings on Thursdays, and welcome any new members.

Are you challenged by a tech issue-


Señora Rossell’s class visited the library again to work on their blogging project. See my last posting to learn about this activity.

Planning Work

As your librarian, I also do a lot of planning with teachers to get ready for class visits and other projects. During the last two weeks, I prepared resources for Ms. Yoon’s Biology classes, and met with Ms. Clarke, Ms. Rossell, Ms. Chen, and Mr. Marx to learn about their classes needs for upcoming visits. I am also a member of a group of teachers led by William Brown planning an interdisciplinary project we will launch in the Spring on the theme of water and the current water drought in California. In addition, Mira Costa is forming a new Curriculum Committee. We had our first meeting last week, and I volunteered to serve as Chair of this group.

Sept. 9 – 18 at the Mira Costa Library

The last two weeks at the Mira Costa Library have been non-stop busy! Here’s a summary of just some of the activities:

Freshman Orientations Continue

Freshman orientations Library orientation

I am continuing to teach Freshman Library Orientations. (See my previous post on this.) Between Sept. 9 – 18, I hosted Ms. Vaughan’s, Mr. Heideman’s, Ms. Clarke’s, Mr. Chow’s, and Ms. Chen’s classes for the two-day program, and Ms. Wachelle’s and Ms. Wiseman’s students for their first day. I’ve been heartened by the feedback the students have been giving me orally and in their Google Forms where they share something they learned or enjoyed. Here are a few sample comments:

  • “I enjoyed collaborating on the introductory project and using lots of Apple/Google technology.”
  • “That you can check out as many books as you want! :)”
  • “Looking around the library searching for things was fun.”
  • “I enjoyed the enthusiasm of using the library and the scavenger hunt.”
  • “I enjoyed learning about all the cool stuff the library has to offer.”
  • “Well, I learned that the library is a cool place that isn’t just for school and there are all types of books I like.”
  • “I enjoyed the scavenger hunt we completed today. I think it helped me get more familiar with where things so I will be able to use the library more often and become a regular user.”
  • “I have learned that the library has many fun activities and it can help you learn your passion.”
  • “I learned what a QR Code is.”
  • “I learned about my new MBUSD account and how to make a good password.”
  • “I liked making my own slide through Google Drive.”

The most popular part of the orientation for students has definitely been creating their own slides in the class Google Slides file. I am working on a display of some of the great slides they created. Come by to see it soon! Through this activity, they learned a tool they can use on their own and to collaborate with other students on presentations in other classes. They also learned about group work. In one class, a student accidentally deleted other students’s slides. We had a learning experience discussing how to avoid interfering with another student’s work in a group project. They also got to see a great feature of Google Slides: the history option, which allowed us to restore the lost slides.

Library Orientation Video

For 10th-12th graders and website visitors, I updated the library orientation video:

Other Library Lessons

While most of the library schedule was filled with the orientations, I also hosted Mr. Geczi’s World History class and Ms. Cabrera’s 9th Grade English class for lessons on research skills as they begin research projects. With Mr. Gezci’s class, we discussed how to avoid plagiarism, how to find and evaluate sources, and how to credit them in their Works Cited. Here’s a link to the slideshow that shows some of our discussion. For Ms. Cabrera’s class, we discussed research sources and also spent time on plagiarism and respect for copyright, and how they compare. Here’s a film I showed them for some background information and to launch our discussion:

I also shared this Venn diagram with them as part of our discussion:

Plagiarism & Copyright compared

We were then able to talk about examples that fall into each of the there areas in the Venn diagram. The students are creating presentations, so they will need to know about both plagiarism and copyright as important aspects of respecting intellectual property. I am looking forward on Monday to introducing them to the built-in Research Tool in Google Slides that will make it easy for them to find and credit copyright-friendly images.

I expect to be teaching the plagiarism and respect for copyright lesson to other English classes.

Library Club Kicks Off

SWVBC Hangout
Our #SWVBC Hangout to discuss The Fault in Our Stars

The library club is now meeting each Tuesday during lunch. We also participated in our first monthly virtual discussion of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars after school last Wednesday. We have a goal this year to use Google Hangouts, and to help our students take ownership of running the software, so that gain experience in a tool that they can leverage for distance communication in other contexts.

All Our Yesterdays

The next meeting of the “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” will be Wednesday, October 8, when we will be the moderators/hosts for All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. All MCHS students are welcome to join the club or simply to participate in the discussion of this fast-paced, time travel story taking place in a dystopian near future. Check our Google+ page for more information: bit.ly/SWVBC

The library also sponsors a second club, The Geek Squad. It will be starting up very soon, and will be selecting a new name. Stand by for more information on that group!

Your Librarian “On Air”

'Inspire Student Collaboration, Creativity, Copyright-Savvy with Slides, Search, & More' With or without GAFE, get tips on teaching students Slides/Presentations+Drive+embedded search and more to develop collaboration skills, creatively share knowledge mastered, and learn to find and cite copyright-friend images/video.

I had the opportunity during the last two weeks to be on air twice via Google+ hangouts. On September 6, I presented a session for the CUE Learning Revolution Online Summit Featuring Google for Education. As a Google Certified Teacher, I was invited to submit a presentation proposal. This event was a two-day, all-online conference conducted entirely using Google+ Hangouts. My topic was “Inspire Student Collaboration, Creativity, Copyright-Savvy with Slides, Search, & More.”
I talked about how I have become a big fan of using Google Slides with students to help them develop collaboration skills, creatively share knowledge mastered, and learn to find and cite copyright-friend images/video. A huge part of why I like Google Slides for student work is the built-in Research Tool that allows them to search for copyright-friendly  images and more and create an automatic credit for each source as they add them to their presentations. The recording of my session is available only to those who registered to attend the summit, but you can see my presentation slides here. I also post all my presentations on the library website on my Your Librarian Presents page.

GlobalTL Hangout

My second “on air” appearance was as a panel member for the Fall Kickoff Hangout for the recently-established #GlobalTL (teacher librarian) Google+ Community. This community was established by Joyce Valenza and Andy Plemmons, two teacher librarians, to facilitate Teacher Librarians connecting learners, classrooms, libraries and teachers to foster global connections and create meaningful collaboration and inquiry within and between schools. I was invited to participate on the panel to “pitch” greater participation across the U.S. and globally in the Somewhat Virtual Book Club. We had a wonderful discussion of a large variety of ways we can facilitate connections. I have also been engaging interest at Mira Costa in one of the projects Joyce Valenza is working on to connect students in environmental inquiry projects inspired by Sid Fleischman’s new book, Eyes Wide Open. I’m currently working with a group of my Mira Costa colleagues on developing an interdisciplinary curriculum project, and they may use this book as a part of launching it. I hope to have more to report about that soon.

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.


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.