Category Archives: writing

The Liebster Award 2016


Cool. 🙂

Thank you to Transcribing Memory for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I love the blogger behind that blog, and I think she’s an archivist at heart (high praise!). Who else would think to find her Babu’s diaries from the 1930s, transcribe excerpts, and tell her readers what Babu remembers about those times? Go read some of her posts. I’ll wait.

What is the Liebster Award?



10 random facts about me:

  1. I haven’t seen my natural hair color for any length of time since 2001 (my favorite hair color is pink).
  2. I’ve lived in different 9 cities/towns, all on the east coast. I love being near water and history.
  3. I’m a fan of classic movies, especially musicals. I had a crush on Russ Tamblyn when I was younger.
  4. I’m completely hooked on Hamilton right now. I’m planning to read the book over the summer. If history was taught through music, I’d remember names and dates a lot better.
  5. I read almost exclusively Young Adult novels. I find the plots and characters more engaging. After all, reading is for fun, why force myself to read something I’m not interested in? It helps that I work in a high school; I get to shop for YA and YA-friendly titles.
  6. I balk at the idea of being considered an “adult.” I don’t know why. I feel like “adults” are those people who destroy the economy and tell kids to be quiet. I mean, I can mostly take care of myself: I can call the doctor to make an appointment; I can pay my bills on time; I have a job; I even pay attention to politics. But it is probably better that I’m not living alone or else I might forget to do things like buy groceries.
  7. I have trouble sitting still. I never have run-around-the-room type of energy, but I fidget.
  8. I have cats. I’ve tried having fish too, but they don’t last very long.
  9. I’m married to my best friend. We met in 2001 and we still argue over when we officially got together.
  10. I love working in an urban school district. I know my students can be demanding. I love having students ask me about my hair, tattoos, piercings, etc., and I don’t think suburbia would be as flexible. I love that students in Boston staged a walk-out to protest budget cuts. They’re passionate about their education, and that passion makes my job better.



Ukrainian Picnic: The author is my oldest friend. We met in nursery school, were close through elementary, drifted apart in junior high and high school, and reconnected after college. We’re not terribly close, but I love reading her blog; especially when she posts about her mom.

Mad Rabbit Couture: Amazing clothes and DIY stuff made by a dear friend of mine. She can see art in scraps of fabric, and actually make that art happen.

Read, Review, Repeat: Book review blog from a wicked smart former student of mine. I think he’s fallen behind in posting due to his senior year workload. I hope he’ll start posting again.

Valerie Cole Reads: Author, reader, blogger; Valerie does it all. I trust her taste in books.

Daily Geekette: I’m cheating here, since they have more than 1,000 followers, but they are worth sharing. Awesome geeky girls!


Liebster Award rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Write a short description about your favourite blog and include a link to it.
  • Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, and who have fewer than 1000 followers.
  • List these rules in your post.
  • Inform the blogger the happy news that you nominated them for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn more about it (they might not have even heard of it!)
  • Congratulations to the nominees and happy blogging!

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Thank you!

I don’t know where to start, dear readers. My blog has gotten over 10,000 views in the past two days (nearly 10,000 yesterday alone). Thank you to everyone who is now following me. Thank you to everyone who reblogged, Tweeted, posted to Facebook,and  emailed friends and coworkers. Please continue to share, especially once school starts back up, to anyone you think needs to or would like to read this. I hope to put a smile on my fellow library teachers’ faces and I hope to give classroom teachers something to think about. I am so lucky that I have classroom teachers who like to collaborate and appreciate me and my library.

I never expected one little post to reach this many people, let alone resonate with so many people.

Also, in honor of a theme of the Western MA Writing Project, I give you a meme (Socially Awkward Penguin) to sum up how I feel:



I hope I can keep posting things worth reading.

Again, thank you all .




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10 things classroom teachers need to know about modern school librarians

1)    We hate quiet.

Oh, sure, the typical view of a librarian is an older woman, in a cardigan and cat-eye glasses, with a tight bun, shushing everyone who dares to make a sound. That may have been the case a long time ago, and may still be the case with some dinosaur librarians (they still exist, sorry!), but generally, librarians don’t like quiet. Quiet means that no one is collaborating. We would rather have a loud library with tables of students and teachers talking about a book, project, essay, collectible card game, what-have-you, than a library with students just sitting there reading.

This isn’t to say we don’t appreciate students working alone or a student reading alone, but the library is a common place where everyone can work together and communicate. Work alone at home; work together in the library.

2)    We love collaboration.

We love to see students collaborating, but we also love to collaborate with you, our classroom teachers! Let us know what you’re doing in class. Bring classes to the library. Email us with your lesson plans so we can jump in and say “I have an article you can add” or “Bring the class down, I can show them this resource.” We can even build new lesson plans with teachers.  We might know a resource for 3rd graders that you can use for your struggling 7th graders (or a resource for 7th graders that you can use with your advanced 3rd graders). You’ll never know unless you ask.

3)    We are technology people at heart.

The printed page may die at some point (most of us hope it won’t). However, we love technology. We love eBooks, iPads, apps, electronic journals, Web 2.0; everything we can get our hands on to help students, we’ll at least try it out. We can try to troubleshoot whatever issue you have before you bother the people in the technology department. We can teach students how to do almost anything that has to do with basic computer skills, and we can teach teachers how to use productive tools to add to lessons, or new ways of having students show what they have learned (isn’t grading papers getting a little boring?).

If you have a new Web 2.0 tool that you want to try, ask us. Maybe we’ve already tried it and we can give you advice. Maybe we haven’t tried it, but we’d probably be happy to test it out with you.

4)    We don’t read all day.

We wish we did. Most of our time is taken up with helping students and teachers. If we’re lucky, we can read while eating lunch … unless, of course, that time is also for helping students and teachers. Some of us will just keep the library open during our lunchtime to allow students and teachers access to the library (just because we’re eating doesn’t mean you don’t need something). We do this without worrying about it; lunch isn’t as important as helping someone find the right resource.

5)    We don’t know everything.

Sadly true. But, we do know where we can FIND everything. Give us a little time and we can probably find you that article on some ancient philosopher that you learned about that year you thought you wanted to be a philosophy major before you switched to biology.

6)    We’re all passionate about something.

Some librarians are science fans, some read only classic literature, some read CNN daily, and some only read The Onion.  Most librarians will know something very geeky, so ask and you may find someone with a similar taste. It is pretty fair to assume that most of us know something about either Downton Abbey or Doctor Who (or both).

7)    We network like crazy.

We don’t just network with people, but we network with libraries too. Most librarians will have access to at least two libraries, possibly more. We’re in a small field, so there is camaraderie between librarians. We can send emails on the most obscure questions and get a reasonable response.

8)    We fight for your right to access information.

All librarians, not just school librarians, are fighters for free access. We love sharing resources. We fight to keep books from getting banned. We fight to keep information as free as possible.  We won’t limit a student to certain books based on reading level alone: students can read above or below level based on topic.

9)    We protect patron privacy.

A school librarian won’t tell you what books a student is reading, but they might let you know when a student loves a certain author or may be struggling with a personal problem, without going into detail. We also won’t tell parents what their child is reading, unless the child has said we can. School librarians walk a fine line between patron right to privacy and mandated reporter.

10)We’re in an ever-changing field.

Teaching is always changing, and librarianship is always changing. Do we invest in eBooks? Do our students even have access to computers at home, let along Kindles, Nooks, or iPads? How can we help support a 1-on-1 school environment? How do we handle this shift from physical books to digital? And how to we pay for it all? Many school libraries are under-funded. You think that teachers spend a lot on classroom supplies? Librarians will go out and buy books out of pocket because funding can be very hard to get. A library budget needs to cover not only books, but databases & journals (if the school is paying for them and not piggybacking on other libraries), audiobooks, computer software, and processing supplies (barcodes, spine labels, toner, due date slips, stamps, and more). Therefore, school librarians love free resources, even if it means we need to learn new ways of accessing information!

Bonus Reminder: We’re teachers too.

All school librarians, in order to be properly certified, need a Master’s degree and a license through the state. In MA, we are “Library Teacher, K-12.” All of us have done student teaching in an elementary school AND either a high school or middle school. We go through a lot of the same process that teachers do: MTEL, mentoring programs, student teaching. We may not have a classroom specialty, but that doesn’t mean we won’t do everything we can to help our classroom teachers out.


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Filed under library, school, teaching, writing

Write Into The Day

At the Western MA Writing Project, we do a Write Into The Day. Today’s was “What is the greatest gift you have ever received?”

When I was 9, my dad and I took our normal family vacation. It was our first summer without my mom. I’m sure I was horribly cranky and whiney, as I tended to be throughout childhood. We had flown into Rome where we were going to spend a week before going onto Florence and Naples. I remember being so tired and sweaty after landing. We took the subway into the neighborhood of our hotel. I was lugging my suitcase up the dark stairs, the bright sunlight in the doorways leading to the street. The staircase felt like it would never end.  I finally reached the top and suddenly, there it was, basking in the July sun: The Coliseum. I remember just staring at it in awe. I’d seen Paris the year before, but this was different. This was ancient. This was … colossal. My dad tells the story with me saying “It’s there, it’s really there,” over and over again. I think this moment is the moment I began to believe that it would really all be OK. I’m sure I was cranky and whiney on the trip, as I was on other trips (I have a very distinct memory of tears and yelling at the market in Nice a few years later, but it lead to some great food and an amazing view) and in regular life (honestly, I still am), but the moment of stepping into the sunlight in front of the Coliseum, my dad at my side, everything started to be OK once more.

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