From the president's desk
Greetings OELMA Members, A new year is here and there are many exciting things happening for OELMA. OELMA is now a totally volunteer organization. OELMA began this process two years ago with the end of our affiliation with a management company and now all this work is completed by OELMA volunteers.
I hope you were as excited as I was when the new dues were announced recently. The OELMA Board worked hard to lower the cost of membership, but at the same time increasing the value of being a member. Members are provided many benefits including the OELMA newsletter filled with association and industry news, access to a website designed for your professional needs with members-only materials, participation in NEO-RLS webinars and workshops at a 50% off rate, conference discounts, regional workshops at discounted rates, participation in OELMA’s listserv and blog, eligible for OELMA awards and scholarships, voting rights and participation on OELMA committees along with the ability to network throughout the state with other professionals. If you haven’t renewed your membership, please do so now and be sure to encourage fellow professionals to join OELMA. It’s convenient, 24/7 access by going to oelma.org, and click on the Membership tab link at the top of the page to complete the process.
One important piece of information which resulted from the reorganization process was the need for advocacy. OELMA has a Director for Advocacy, Karen Gedeon, and the Advocacy Committee is hosting its first workshop on April 1, 2023 at the Dublin Public Library. The workshop is entitled, “Getting a Seat in the Room Where it Happens”, beginning at 10 am. For more information or to register please click here. It is a free event for both members and non-members.
Finally, I just want to say that it is my honor to be your president for the next two years. I encourage you to contact me with any concern and/or questions you may have. My major goal in the next two years is to try to get to know as many OELMA members as possible. In addition, I want to recruit new members to our organization. Until next month, stay well, be happy in the knowledge that we (school librarians) are making a difference every day in our schools and district.
OELMA President, 2023/25
Thoughts from the vice president
by Lisa Barnes Prince, Vice President
I was with my adult book club last week when one of them said, “I wouldn’t want to be a librarian right now.” Startled, I thought about how I’ve said that same thing about being a classroom
teacher or a police officer. Unfortunately, our career is even more stressful now, due mostly to the large numbers of book challenges that schools and public libraries are facing.
We have all heard about the groups challenging school boards and trying to put their agendas
first. I didn’t realize that I would face a problem from my own administrator. This did happen to
me in my tiny district in December. I was scheduled to talk to a principal and my curriculum
director about a completely unrelated matter. When I walked into the office and the door was
shut I noticed two books on the desk. Needless to say, the majority of the meeting centered
around these titles. The main problem? LGBTQ and Social Justice. Of course, neither title had
been read by either of the administrators. The problem had started with a parent questioning the
title; not so much the content, but the idea of the subject matter. Evidently, her daughter had a
“friend” in an older grade that was encouraging her to question her gender. I learned a very
valuable lesson, one that I had been told several times by my union. If you are in a meeting and
something is discussed that you are not comfortable with, stop the meeting and ask for union
I am fortunate to have an extended contract in my district and do have a very good working
relationship with my administrators. I am also fortunate to be a member of OELMA, who backs
their members during times like we are facing now. OELMA also offers excellent FREE
professional development. I’ve signed up for the Saturday, April 1 “Getting a Seat in the Room
where it Happens.” It also includes lunch, but is limited to 30 participants. Sign up today so that
you don’t miss out.
by Sarah Thornbery, Treasurer
In this issue of OELMA’s newsletter. I would like to talk about our investment. Some years ago, OELMA made the decision to invest some of our assets with Merrill Lynch. In the attached graphy, we can see the longitudinal history of our investment. As you may know, we are currently in a bear market, which is a “term for when prices are trending downwards and/or investors are feeling pessimistic” (MoneyUnder30 article dated 9/23/22). As you can see, the investment has risen and fallen starting in 2017. After a discussion in December with our financial advisor & the Budget & Finance subcommittee, we are hoping this is just a cycle in which we will recover financially.
Additionally, we are looking for some new members on Budget & Finance. We meet 2-3 times per year & we meet virtually for usually less than an hour. If you are interested in serving on this subcommittee, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocacy committee news
by Karen Gedeon, Director of Advocacy
Mark your calendars for Saturday April 1st! The Advocacy Committee is hosting a FREE leadership workshop titled: Getting a Seat in the Room Where it Happens to be held from 10 am - 4 pm at the Dublin Public Library (75 North High Street, Dublin Ohio). We have a full day planned including:
Keynote Speaker Jim Mahoney - former teacher, administrator, and founding executive of Battelle for Kids. Mr. Mahoney will be speaking on developing leadership skills with a focus on school librarians advocating for students. All attendees will receive a copy of his book: To Lead is to Teach: Stories and Strategies from the Classroom to the Boardroom which we will be using later in the day.
A panel of leaders will discuss the most effective strategies and actions we can take to advocate for our students. Mary Pierce will represent the local level and Anders Miller will represent the national level (state level TBD).
Gale will be providing a Lunch & Learn where we will learn about some of their leadership resources.
An evidenced-based practice session will help attendees identify the most powerful data we can use to advocate for our students.
An interactive workshop will break attendees into small groups to combine all the information received during the day. Using information from Mr. Mahoney’s book, each attendee will create actionable goals for themselves to complete within the following 6-12 months.
We would like to thank the State Library of Ohio and the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for providing a grant for this program.
Registration is now open at OELMA.org and is limited to 30. We will maintain a wait list so if you are interested please sign up soon.
The other enormous initiative we are working on is updating the website with information on advocacy. This task has proven much larger and more intensive than first believed so please bear with us. We want to make sure this is done correctly rather than done quickly.
We are always looking for additional committee members and session/workshop ideas. If you would like to join our group or have an idea please contact Karen at email@example.com.
Looking forward to a New Year
by Jessica Dennison, Director of Membership
The beginning of the calendar year is upon us. It always seems that even though this falls mid school year for many of us, goals are still present on the mind. About this time a few years back one of my professional goals was to be more involved in OELMA. If you find yourself in similar shoes, there are many great opportunities coming up. In a few short months nominations will be opening up for open board positions. One of the great things about the OELMA board is that we all serve as mentors for one another. If you are looking for a way to get involved this might be a good opportunity for you!
One of my goals this year is to ensure that member voices are represented and members have more opportunities to connect with one another. Being able to connect with one another helps us to not feel alone in our roles. So many of us are the only one in our district and it helps being able to connect with others across the state who serve in a similar role. I look forward to the many great connections that will come to fruition through OELMA. Let me know if there is anything I can do to support you as a member!
OELMA Awards & Scholarships 2023
by Susan Yutzey, Awards Sub-Committee
Welcome to the 2023 OELMA Awards Season! The Awards Committee is pleased to announce its 2023 members: Casaundra Bronner, Gayle Brusk, Heidi Fletcher, Lisa Gallagher, Cheryl Lorson, and Susan Yutzey. The role of the Awards Committee, now coordinated by the Director of Communications, is to inform the OELMA membership about its various awards and scholarship, collect nominations, select recipients, publicize the names of the recipients and honor them at the annual conference. The 2023 awards season will begin in early February and end on March 22. Awards will be announced in early May. Information about awards can be found on the OELMA webpage, listserv, and social media.
Here are a list of OELMA’s awards and scholarships:
Ross J. Todd Collaborative School Library Award honors the work of Professor Todd and recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school library media specialists and the school community through joint planning of a program, project, or event in support of the curriculum, using school library resources, and incorporating the AASL Standards (2017).
Emerging Leader Award recognizes OELMA members who have recently assumed an OELMA leadership role for the first time. This Award honors members who demonstrate leadership potential and encourages members’ active participation in OELMA.
Tech Innovation Award recognizes OELMA members who design, develop, and implement innovative uses of technology in instruction. This award spotlights the importance of emerging technologies in supporting student learning.
Intellectual Freedom Award recognizes Ohio school librarians and/or other Ohio educators who demonstrate support for the American Library Association’s principles of intellectual freedom.
Leadership-in-Action Award recognizes Ohio school librarians pursuing active leadership roles in local schools, in OELMA, and in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA). This award honors OELMA members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to leadership in the school library profession.
Literacy Leader Award recognizes community organizations for exemplary support of literacy. This award honors groups supporting literacy, which reinforces student learning.
OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award recognizes an Ohio licensed school librarian, who develops an exemplary school library program, collaborates with classroom teachers, implements technology-integrated instruction, and advocates for school libraries. The school librarian must have a minimum of three years of experience in that capacity.
OELMA-JLG Floyd Dickman Programming Grant honors the life and contributions of Floyd Dickman. In partnership with Junior Library Guild, this grant is awarded annually to one Ohio school library to help fund programs that inspire children to embrace the fun and the joy that reading offers. The grant continues the work that Floyd was so passionate about during his lifetime.
OELMA Service Award for School Administrators honors school administrator(s) whose leadership has made a significant contribution to the school library media program and services within their learning community.
Outstanding Contributor Award honors an Ohio licensed school librarian who has made outstanding contributions to school librarianship. The honoree has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the school library profession, while serving in OELMA leadership roles.
J. Allen Oakum Scholarship is a $500 stipend awarded to an Ohio resident enrolled in an accredited school library program pursuing licensure in school library media. The scholarship is intended to help defray educational costs for future library media specialists as they complete their studies.
OELMA Founders Scholarship This scholarship is up to a $1,000 stipend awarded to an Ohio resident enrolled in an accredited school library program pursuing licensure in school library media. The scholarship is intended to help defray educational costs for future library media specialists as they complete their studies.
Student Award Descriptions
READ ON, Ohio! Award for Children & Teens recognizes K-12 students who are enthusiastic readers and users of the school library. The student must be nominated by an Ohio school library media specialist or a public library staff member. Nominees must be enrolled in an Ohio K-12 school at the time of nomination.
by Amanda Brasfield, Director of Communications
Are you interested in being a part of OELMA, but taking on a leadership role or volunteering for a committee sounds like a lot? I have something you can do today in about 10 minutes or less with no additional commitment. All you have to do is like and share!
- See our new member rates on Instagram? Like and share to your story!
- See our awards announcements on Facebook? Like and share! Leaving a comment also helps keep our posts in the timeline.
- Are there librarians in your district who are not members? Share your experience and our new rate schedule.
- Join the OELMA group for your area of the state.
- Participate in the listserv.
- Every engagement with a post or any casual conversation with coworkers is helpful.
Another great way to contribute is to recognize another professional during awards season. Information is in the report from the awards sub-committee above. Please know it is 100% ok to nominate yourself or to ask a friend to nominate you. I know, I know, it might feel weird at first, but no one knows better than you what you've been doing to support student learning, to lead, and to move your district forward. Wrap up that slice of humble pie, and save it for later.
Clear the Digital Clutter free PD
Is your inbox a source of frustration for you? I know mine is. Angela Wojtecki, Past President of OELMA, is offering a free one-hour session on Wednesday, March 1, entitled "Clear the Digital Clutter." Angela has all kinds of simple tricks of the trade to help us organize our email. You can register using the QR code or https://tinyurl.com/oelmacleartheclutter
INFOhio at OETC
OETC 2023 is back and in person! Presented by the Ohio Department of Education, come celebrate and attend the 25th anniversary of OETC, February 14-16. INFOhio will be there and we hope to see you!
Registration is now open.
Add INFOhio's sessions to your conference schedule to listen and learn about INFOhio resources, digital content, high-quality instructional materials, and more. Explore this list of INFOhio’s sessions and descriptions to find topics of interest for your library. This year, OETC has added a Library and Media Specialist track that provides sessions geared specifically for library and media specialists. Topics focus on technology in collaborative spaces, literacy, family engagement, and more.
In addition to joining INFOhio and your library colleagues for sessions, stop by The Management Council booth. Talk to your Information Technology Center (ITC) staff to find out what they’re doing to support your district. Learn how Ohio Connectivity Champions can help your students and their families access affordable internet at home. And meet with INFOhio digital content partners as they showcase their resources. “Ask the Expert” mini-sessions include time for demos, discussions, and questions.The schedule for the “Ask the Expert” mini-sessions in the Management Council booth will be posted on the Teach With INFOhio Blog page soon..
For more information about OETC or if you need direct support from INFOhio, please contact us at support.infohio.org.
INFOhio is Optimized by the Management Council
January 18, 2023
We Survived the Holocaust: An interview with Frank W. Baker
Interview by Susan Yutzey, edited for length
1) What inspired you to write the story of Holocaust survivors Bluma and Felix Goldberg?
Mr. Goldberg before he passed away was the keynote speaker in 2000 at our synagogue. As he stepped off the stage he handed me that speech and said in this beautiful Polish accent, and I’ll never forget it – “Frankie do something with this, do something with this.” After a long while, I approached the family (their mother was still living at the time) and I said, “Your father gave me this charge to pass on his story and I feel this obligation. I would like to create a website for educators that tells his story and hers.
And so, I began to build this webpage (www.StoriesofSuvrival.org) and I knew immediately that it would be divided into three parts – before the war, during the war, and after the war. And I thought it what was important for teachers and students: what was life like for Polish Jews before the war and we go into that. And then during the war, what happened to him and what happened to her, those are two separate stories.
So I put all of my energy and my expertise just as an educator not just as a member of the Jewish community into that site. And I began to share the website at teacher conferences, such as the social studies and also a regular gathering of Holocaust educators.
Two years ago realized – the website is out there and being used, I asked myself: what have I done for young people? The evidence is clear, most of them lack essential knowledge about what the Holocaust was all about. How can I reach them? That’s when a colleague at the University of South Carolina said :”you must make this a graphic novel: and she guided me to an editor, publisher and an award winning illustrator.
2) School librarians are eager to share research strategies with their students. What can you tell me about the research strategies you employed for this book?
I knew the Goldbergs had been interviewed in the newspapers and in video but I also began researching well known Holocaust survivor websites where you could enter the name of someone and see how they were referenced. Information previously published was scattered all over the Internet. I saw it as my job to gather it all in one place.
Tim Ogline, our illustrator, was much more than an illustrator he also was fact checking and researching as I was writing. And I’ll just give you a small example here. In a previously recorded interview, Mr. Goldberg described going back to the camp where he worked in the coal mines and one night he and the other prisoners discovered that a portion of the camp had been bombed by the Americans. Well, Tim had researched that and found out that it was the Soviets that had bombed that camp. Again, we were fact checking making sure. I have to say that anyone who writes a book about Holocaust survivors is primarily interested in accuracy.
3) So, the book’s format is intriguing and you went into that in the first question. Why did you decide to use a timeline format? And how difficult was it to weave the Goldberg’s story into a timeline and provide the historical context as well?
Well, since we had previously done the website it just naturally flowed and we could tell this story using flashback which we do a little bit of. But mostly it’s chronological. I felt like that was the way to tell the story. And it’s divided into sections where a teacher could just use 8 or 10 pages of that particular section. I also like that in the historical context we mention things like the Treaty of Versailles or we mention things that were happening in history. When students read that, they may not be aware of what that was all about. So I think there are plenty of opportunities for a teacher to take students and dig a little bit deeper at the Treaty of Versailles, for example. Who was involved? What was the result? And there are lots of those elements in this book, we don’t want to assume students know everything that happened during the war.
I also told the publisher we cannot publish this book without a companion teacher’s guide and I went to a colleague of mine who I worked with for the past 15 years and she embraced this project. And so there is a free downloadable teacher guide with lesson plans and activities on our website which is www.WeSurvivedtheHolocaust.com
4) You mentioned the dialog, was that something you did in conjunction with the Goldberg family?
I asked myself what do you think they would have said under these circumstances? What do you think could have been happening In a particular circumstance? ( I felt a bit like a screenwriter—taking existing scenes and plugging dialog into them.)
There are a couple of scenes that are invented and I’ll tell you what they are. When I met with the Goldberg children I asked “Did you ever ask your father about his tattoo? And they could not ever recall – so I dropped that as a possible scene but I did have another scene in mind and it’s in the book – a younger Esther is sitting with her mother and says, “Mother why did you steal that apple?” And her mother says, “To survive.” And a younger Karl is sitting with his father, “Daddy why did you jump from the train?” And his father says, “To survive.” The word survival is critical to me.
I think it begs the questions of these survivors: did they ask themselves will I live to see another tomorrow? Where are they taking me on this train? Why are they doing it? What happened to mama and daddy? God do you hear my prayers? These are the things that I imagine the Goldbergs and millions of others might have asked themselves.
4) So you are a long time media literacy educator so what was the process like collaborating with an illustrator, you covered some of the things earlier – are there any other things that you would like to mention?
Well, Tim, the man’s already an award-winning illustrator himself. He educated me about this process more than anything in the world. So, he had this big flipboard chart which had sticky notes of scenes so he was creating scene notes and thinking ahead how many pages will it take to illustrate this particular scene and so some scenes had to drop out because we just couldn’t go as far as we wanted to go.
It has been a true collaboration, a true collaboration, involving the family members, my editor, John Shableski (of Imagine and Wonder) and Tim Ogline, our illustrator.
5) How do you see school librarians using We Survive the Holocaust : The Bluma and Felix Goldberg Story with their learners?
Honestly the Holocaust falls mostly in middle and high school standards. I know librarians acquire materials based on what is taught. So there could be our book on the shelf, there could be a set of books in a classroom. I also think visual literacy comes to play here: taking a page from the book and maybe enlarging it and having students do nothing but study that page
We all see graphic novels, we read them but not many of us know the process of how they are created. To me that is media literacy. How was this made? Who made it? For what purpose? This is a perfect opportunity. And I hope librarians will consider putting a copy in the library, have a student maybe write a review, publish a review, tell other students why this book is important. Why is this book different from The Diary of Anne Frank graphic novel? They are decidedly very different. And what’s the appeal? What makes you want to pick it up and read it? And then of course, what do you do with the information that you get there? What have you learned that you didn’t already know and if someone challenges that the Holocaust didn’t happen, well yes it did and here’s evidence, here is a graphic novel.
6) There are many cautionary tales in this book. What is the most important one to share with young adults?
Well it’s hard to pick just one but I’m going to choose antisemitism because it’s been in the news. And there are those today who are again targeting Jews with misinformation: the Jews control the media, the Jews control the banks, we’ve heard it all of our lives. Adolf Hitler said the Jews are the problem. And if you repeat a lie enough times people will tend to believe it. And we have people in this country who are using the bully pulpit, the media, especially social media, to spread anti-Semitic remarks and we cannot let that stand. President Biden in December came to the podium and said the Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demon. And those of you who are not speaking out, you’re part of the problem. And so I say to young people today, do not turn a blind eye to wrongs. It is up to all of us to recognize when people say things that are hurtful and take actions that are harmful. The Jewish communities here and elsewhere have been targets I can tell you that in my own synagogue we have law enforcement.
The mission of the Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA) is to be the responsive and forward-thinking hub of Ohio's school library profession, providing value to school librarians as they support the instructional needs and personal learning of all students and teachers.
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