Friday Focus

Friday, May 22 2020, vol. 7, no. 35

Friday Focus is a quick digest of news and notes

for members of The Indianapolis Public Library Shared System.

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Building a Better Collection

High school and college librarians in Indianapolis are able to access collection development grant funds through the Library Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Many high school English teachers are discovering ebooks thanks to the extended school closure and uncertainty about the fall. There's a list (available by request) of books under consideration with some attention to numbers.


After several years of silence, Diane Rupert, school library manager at Warren Central HS has been asked to look for multiple copies of ebooks. She checked out the list noted above and said her teachers were looking at, among other titles:


"The Hunger Games: 50 copies

The Color Purple: 50 copies

The Road, Fahrenheit 451, and Go Tell it on the Mountain: 150 copies each

To Kill a Mockingbird, The Odyssey, Great Expectations, Romeo and Juliet (so 55-65 of those)


I would love to work with you and the other schools to purchase together! I'm looking to write my collection development grant from Indianapolis Foundation for ebooks for English classes. I'm still waiting to hear back from English department chair regarding "real" numbers. We usually have so many teachers (6 usually) teaching the same novel at the same time and then multiply that by 30 kids per each class (6) they teach so the numbers are staggering. I don't know how other high schools plan to spend their grant money but they are probably working on them currently as they are due June 30.


I'll try to get more information and please keep me in the loop if you think the other schools might be interested in collaborating!


It occurs to me that the Library Foundation might be willing to incorporate some suggestions from elementary school libraries in the application they will write for the Public Library. Elementary librarians, please ask your teachers (or fill out from your own knowledge) what titles, what formats, and what numbers they would like to see. Here's the form to use to suggest multiple copies of ebook titles for elementary schools. There are no guarantees that funding will be available, but having many suggestions would help strengthen the case!

What Open Looks Like...for Now

IndyPL opens for Curbside Pick Up on Monday. There's a page on our website that goes into detail about how to use the service at Central, East 38th, Glendale, Pike and Southport. You'll find out how to request books and pick them up. The five locations have all been quite busy!


IndyPL has suspended fines for late returns temporarily. We want our materials back, but we want even more for our patrons to feel safe.


See last week's issue to learn how to handle a hold for a patron at your school.

IndyPL may open on a limited basis (how limited is being determined) after June 1st, if conditions allow.


Wichita Public Library has a video for patrons on what their open looks like. IndyPL doesn't plan to do everything Wichita is doing, but there might be ideas for your opening in the fall. (Concierge service, anyone?)


Toledo Public Library published a thorough Safe Work Playbook and Social Distancing Branch Checklist that are both worthy of your review, no matter what kind of library you are in. Not everything will apply in all locations, nor, we hope, will it all be necessary longterm. But you might want to keep this information nearby in case you do need it in the fall.


IPS media specialists talked about this during a meeting yesterday. What will your libraries look like when school opens? Some of you don't have room to safely accommodate a full class with social distancing. This would be a great time to "pilot" flexible access/flexible scheduling for your library. Flexible access is a best practice in ordinary times. When extraordinary measures are warranted, that best practice may truly be the best way to get books into kids' hands safely. See this article in School Library Media Quarterly which provides an overview of why it's a best practice and how to achieve it.

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Axis 360 Update: The Tide is High

The tide is high but we're holdin' on
We're already the number one!


That's right, we now have the largest Axis 360 Community Share program as we welcomed 45 IPS schools yesterday. IPS added 23,300 some readers to the Axis 360 Community Share. Decatur Township added 5,000 new readers last week. Axis 360 now serves 53,473 readers. Said more truthfully, Axis 360 is available for 53,473 readers.


I'm not the kinda girl who gives up just like that, oh no!


Without your reminders at school, some students (AND their teachers AND their families) might need to be reminded that ebooks are at their fingertips in Axis 360. Frankly, some of you need to go look at your websites, too. Diane Rupert, school library manger at Warren Central High School wrote "AXIS 360 looks amazing with all of the books! It was so fresh and so many appealing titles! I even checked out one for me to read soon!" The nine IndyPL children's and teen librarians have put together some engaging lists for your potential ereaders! Visit the "Pick Your Library" page to see what Diane means!


For those of you in Axis 360 Community Share, thank you for your willingness to share your ebooks this summer. This is my new mantra: all students in Indianapolis really belong to all of us. A rising tide lifts all boats.


If you have colleagues in other schools who are interested in temporary (or permanent) participation in Axis 360, send them my way.


One of the kindest things you can do for families is send them your school's Axis 360 site (or ours) and the instructional video created just for us: https://my.nicheacademy.com/indypl/course/14709. Kids need something to do while they wait and it's a proven fact that the more time kids spend reading, the less they fight with their brothers and sisters.


Raise the tide! Keep it high! Don't give up just like that!

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Sending Things Back, Checking Things In, Returns, Checking Out, Reports

Sending Things Back: Please fill out this form ASAP so Shipping & Receiving can plan delivery and pick up of totes. We have not heard from everyone yet and our drivers need to plan their schedules. It's okay to fill out the form just partially - add the rest when you know it!


Checking In: If it is safe for you to do so, you may check in books that belong to your location. Your items have been set not to trap holds (unless the hold was placed by one of your patrons). You may now CHECK IN items that belong to other schools or to IndyPL!


Books returned from outside of your building should be quarantined for 72 hours before you check them in.


Shelving: If you have helpers who are not related to you, please think about quarantine, hand washing, or other means of keeping them safe. While it is beginning to sound like passage of the virus through solid surfaces as less likely, it's still early days in the research.


Checking Out: Lawrence North and Our Lady of Lourdes have both asked for the end of term due date that allows them to check items out to their patrons for the summer. If this works for your situation, let me know. Their books will be due August 17th.


Reports of Items Out: All reports were sent out last week. If you decide you want grad year/homeroom, get me those record sets ASAP.


After you have checked in as many items as you expect to, let me know and we will run a second report so you can follow up and/or bill students as appropriate.

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Sign Up, Get the App. Or Get the App and Sign Up.

The SRP webpage is up and has basic information - more will be added. You can download the reading log app now and register yourself or your own personal children. Look for Beanstack in your app store. If you can register for the Adult Summer Reading Program - the prize is a library book bag. (Library employees are quite jealous!)


Students who aren't able to register online should call their library to register after having read an hour. Branches will keep track as they reach hour milestones. There will be a book log in the rules brochure, or they can keep a log on a piece of paper at home.


It has been quite an undertaking to get together prizes this year. The traditional favorites of pool passes, State Fair passes and Haunted House passes are all so unsure of their schedules that we didn't want kids to be disappointed if they chose them and then couldn't use them. Meijer is my hero this spring. They are sponsoring a drawing for a free bike at each location. Thank you, Meijer!


A pdf of the Summer Reading Program flyer is at the bottom of this issue in Arabic, English, Spanish, French and Chin. Feel free to print or send the pages most appropriate for your populations. (If you need jpgs for your website or email attachments, remind me to put them on the extranet for you.) Please remember to send SRP flyers home electronically at the very least. I've already heard from one mom who hasn't received any information about it yet.

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From Deana Beecher, Decatur Central HS

When Decatur Township came in to IndyPL Axis 360 Community Share, I offered to work with the Decatur Middle School teachers so I could get their students up to speed before they arrived here in 9th grade. I sent out an email letting them know how and where to login and added this at the bottom:



Here is the Beecher Feature website where you can access the current volume (#14) as well as past volumes.

Students will develop a love/appreciation of reading when their teachers show their love and appreciation of reading. No matter the content area. To foster a culture of reading at the secondary level, it will take a village, people. (You are now singing YMCA in your heads now - you're welcome.) We have to start somewhere - but most importantly, we just have to start. I will do what I can to help support your efforts!

Editor's Note: You should ask Deana to be on her Beecher Feature mailing list!

From Sarah Woodruff, Children’s Librarian, Eagle Library

I was looking for some good preschool wash your hands songs and found this one and sharing :)

I am thinking about adding it to towards the end of storytimes and/or virtual storytimes.

Here is the song if you want to use as well:

https://youtu.be/mBD1njKp7Cw


Editor's Note: Be sure to checkout IndyPL's YouTube channel to see all the storytimes available. You'll also find some how-to videos, and some board meetings. Fun!

From Steve Bridge, Retired Children's Librarian

Teen Librarians --


I recently read the following book so I could discuss it with my daughter. She had it for a college Sociology class. It was so thoughtful that it will change the way I interact with the tough-seeming teen boys. I have the one library copy checked out and I just received a copy of my own I ordered from Amazon. If you want to borrow either one, I can mail it to you and have you pass it along.


*Punished; Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys* by Victor M. Rios. New York University Press, 2011.


A surprising sociological study about teenage boys that would actually change lives and make cities safer – if anyone in charge would read this and pay attention. It has already made a difference in the way I see the teenage young men who come into the library and will change how I deal with them in the future.


Rios had been a gang member in Oakland, California as a teenager; but with the shooting death of his best friend and a criminal future ahead, he was fortunate to be offered help by a police officer and a teacher. He *chose* to take advantage of that and, out of 68 gang friends he could name, he was one of the two who graduated from high school. Rios actually got a Ph.D. in Sociology at UC-Berkeley. But this isn’t his story. This is a rewritten version of his Ph.D. thesis, for which he spent three years following and studying 40 young men from Black and Latino families on the very hard streets of Oakland. He took great care to make this study about those young men, not about himself.


Rios’s thesis is that, in spite of intentions to the contrary, the police, teachers, probation officers, and even families of these young men actually *caused* these young men to be formally labeled as “criminals” from a young age, often as young as 9 years old. One of the main ways this was done was through the use of a city computer database by placing a label of “gang-related” or “gang member” on any young Black or Latino male for the flimsiest of excuses. Placing a name in the database was permanent and it legally (by State law) allowed the police officers to search, question, observe, and invade the privacy of anyone on the list. Children would be placed on the list for talking back to teachers or police officers or for being seen in the company of other young men in the database (usually relatives or apartment neighbors). An especially cruel method was getting placed on the list because the young man was a VICTIM of a gang shooting or beating. And when this occurred, the boys’ teachers began treating the young men as criminals.


Rios observed several beatings of his subjects by police officers. Reporting the officers to authorities did no good. The city administration had it in their values that the only way to stop crime was through punishment. As soon as the young men were labeled as criminals, their ability to get jobs (especially in an already depressed job market) disappeared, and eventually they were forced to actually become criminals in order to eat and to have a role in the community.


Another toxic approach that was taken by police, parole officers, and teachers – who thought they were being helpful – was to emphasize that “growing up and being a man” meant avoiding criminal behavior, getting good grades in school, and getting a good job. But at the same time their very criminalization prevented them from accomplishing any of those goals. The authority figures had no plan for how a young man in this situation could actually succeed. The additional barrier was that “being a man” on the streets of the poor sections of Oakland required an entirely different set of morals and actions from that of the middle class sensibilities pushed by those authorities.


Even though this was rewritten for a more public readership than a sociological text, there are still places where the jargon takes over, so reading this takes some persistence. But it is worth the trouble if you want to understand what Rios calls the “youth control complex” that fails to “control youths” and instead fills prisons. This is an eye-opening book which deserves a lot more attention. Buy a copy for your mayor and district attorney.


(Rios’s book has already caused some changes in California law.)


Editor's Note: Steve Bridge was a well-loved, well-respected children's librarian at a number of library locations. Because of his encyclopedic knowledge of children's literature, he served as a reader's advisory mentor to many IndyPL employees.

From Nichelle Hayes, Special Collections Librarian, Center for Black Literature and Culture

I wanted to forward this email to you because as school librarians, I'm sure you're familiar with these two prestigious awards. The email is from Jené Watson, Coretta Scott King Book Award Technology Committee Chair, 2019-2021




As you all know, this year is marks special anniversaries for the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement and the John Steptoe Award for New Talent. From now through summer, we will run a series of blog posts written by members of the CSK Marketing Committee to celebrate these milestones.


The first in the series is a lovely profile of Virginia Hamilton titled "Ten Years of Celebrating the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010-2011)," written by Rodney Fierce available here.