April 2021

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April President’s Message

NJASL Members,

When I received Bookmark Editor Casey Schaffer’s email reminder about the April issue’s deadline, I thought to myself “how can it be a month already?!” After my initial (typical) panic, I realized that even though the month of March has been flying by, there is no shortage of things to highlight since the March column.

First, I want to congratulate Members-at-Large Beth Raff and Steve Tetreault for organizing a phenomenal virtual PD event. This past weekend, I was able to hear keynotes from school library rockstars Amy Hermon and K.C. Boyd, attend sessions about mindfulness and drawing (presented by author Jarrett Lerner), personal narratives (presented by 2021 Printz award-winner Everything Sad is Untrue author Daniel Nayeri), NJ Student Learning Standards (presented by our own superstar Gab Casieri), and many others. So many relevant sessions, most of which were recorded, and the ability to watch them in sweats (and my swell #NJASLSpring21 t-shirt) made for an all-around excellent day of professional development!

And just as we are reflecting on this amazing PD event, the Fall 2021 annual conference is in the works. Conference Chair Ewa Dziedzic-Elliott and the Standing Conference Committee team are hard at work putting together a conference that promises to be the best one yet. With elements of in-person and remote experiences, I know that this conference can reach our biggest audience ever and I want you to mark your calendars for December 5-7. I hope those of you who are able to join us at The Hard Rock in Atlantic City. After the year we have had, I look forward to celebrating with my NJASL peeps!

Finally, as you all know, April is School Library Month. The NJASL PR Team is collecting member videos, photographs, infographics, etc. - anything that we could post that would best represent the important work happening in school libraries across the state. Don’t be shy - you are all the best PR for our profession. Please share your media with Lisa Manganello (, who has generously offered to curate. Deadline is April 23rd, but she can work with you if you need an extension. I also hope you continue to share the wonderful things you are doing via social media for #njasladvocacy #firstfriday. If you miss April’s First Friday make sure you mark your calendars for May 7th and June 4th.

Beth Thomas

NJASL President 2020-2021

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Don’t Get Left Out of Your School Budget

by Mary Moyer

Budget season is here for school districts. Below is some pertinent information that includes dates for school budgets along with tips for how to advocate for your school library. The deadlines for school budgets are quickly approaching.

Important School Budget Dates

April 1- Last Date to Approve School Budget for those school districts with April 20 School Board Elections

May 14 - Last Date to Approve School Budget for those school districts with November School Board Elections.

Click on link for full list of dates including public hearing dates

What can you do to ensure that school library positions and

services are included in the budget?

  • Have conversations with school administrators and school board members about the activities and events that are occurring in your school libraries

  • Post accomplishments and achievements to school webpage and other social media

  • Focus on school library contributions to the instructional program and student success

  • For more information, check the NJASL webpage, School Budgets and Library Programs.

Tips for How to Advocate for Your School Library

(From the March/April 2020 issue of AASL's Knowledge Quest)

  • Connect your school library to AASL Standards and NJ Student Learning Standards

  • Collaborate with teachers / Volunteer to serve on school committees

  • Articulate your impact using both data and stories

  • Listen to Administrators and Policy Makers / Build coalitions

  • Connect your school library to stakeholder goals

  • Make advocacy a daily part of your work

  • Your story is best told by you!

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December 5-7, Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City.

NJASL Fall Conference 2021

Don't miss it!!!!

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Battle of the Books Update!

Hooray! The volunteer committee has completed the 3 grade band lists for Battle of the Books competitions for the 2021-2022 school year. As always, they are available to "Members Only" on NJASL's page. Special thanks to Jessica Gottlieb from Mackin who does the extra work in checking on publisher availability for us. Stay tuned on the page for a special link and special offers from Mackin if you choose to order from them. Questions for the books will be available in the fall.

Great job Battle of the Books Committee!

Questions for the committee chairperson should be sent to

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Advocacy: A Call to Arms!

by Stefanie Freund

The Public Relations and Advocacy Committees Want You!

“Advocacy is solving other people’s problems.” I was first introduced to this concept last year by Dr. Joyce Valenza (name drop!), who really needs no introduction, distinguished librarian, and professor at Rutgers where I recently earned my MLIS. From her lectures and through our class discussions, we explored the idea that advocacy is most effective when done in the service of others, and it must start with solving the problems of those we interact with on a daily basis: our students, colleagues, administrators, and other stakeholders. They may not realize it, but they are all depending on us to help them navigate this era of seemingly limitless, often misleading, or even completely false information. They need a roadmap, and we are the educators uniquely trained to help them find it and learn how to use it. Regardless of the ever-increasing need for our services, school librarianship is in danger. We all face unique challenges particular to our districts and personal lives, but there are also many shared experiences in our profession now compounded and/or exacerbated by the Coronavirus Pandemic. We must remember that we are not alone in our struggles, whatever they may be. Through the unity of our organization, we can advocate the role of certified school librarians and well-funded programs in every school in NJ.

Back in October of 2020, I decided it was time for me to do something about it, so after joining NJASL (and getting that student discount!) I decided to volunteer for one of the committees. Advocacy seemed the most appropriate, given my motivation for volunteering in the first place, and ever since I have been working on reaching out to my Rutgers classmates and alumni in the hopes of inspiring them to join our organization.

Please, join us, help out! Right now, NJASL’s Public Relations and Advocacy committees are currently working on increasing awareness of the following legislation; A248 and S3464 (requires information literacy as part of the k-12 curriculum) and S1586 (establishes minimum ratio requirements for school library media specialists to students). The committees have been meeting with local legislators virtually to build support for this legislation, from which we will all surely benefit. We are looking for volunteers to contact their local legislators to find support for this legislation. For advocacy resources you can use right now please visit NJASL-Advocacy. For more information on how you can get involved contact

How do You Make a Difference? Submit Videos of Your School Library Program!

by Pat Massey

Please take time to submit a video of your school library media program that can be shared with legislators, administrators, and other stakeholders. We need videos that introduce your library and the important work you do to our library community and beyond. We hope to create a collection of videos that we can share with library students, practicing librarians, and administrators. We’d love you to create a video that showcases the great work that is happening in your school library. When considering what to include, you might want to spotlight:

  • Evidence of collaboration with your teachers

  • How you support district and school wide initiatives

  • Special events that your students have shared (author visits, community reads, etc.)

  • The type of resources that you curate and how you share these with your teachers and students

  • What research looks like in your library

  • How you prepare your students for graduation and beyond

  • The important role that you play in your school community beyond the library

  • If you have a teacher or an administrator who would like to comment on the importance of a certified librarian in their school community that might be great to include as well.

  • How do you make a difference?

These are just ideas, but we hope you will create a video that highlights the important parts of your library and all that you do to support learning. There is no length requirement. We’d love to have your video by April 23 but let us know if you need additional time. Please contact Lisa Manganello at with related questions or to submit your video. Videos will be available on the Bus Tour tab of School Library NJ and on the NJASL website.

NJASL Legislative Highlights- April 2021

- Mary Moyer Stubbs

NJASL Advocacy Efforts

April 2021 Bookmark

School Library Legislation and Legislature Virtual Visits

NJASL has started to meet (virtually) with various legislators to speak about school libraries and to share information related to the two school library legislative bills and ask for their support as well as discuss ways to best move these two legislative bills forward. So far, NJASL has met with Senator Testa (LD#1) and Assemblywoman Stanfield (LD#8).

Good news from these visits. Senator Testa (LD#1) has sponsored a Senate version of A248. S3464 was introduced on Feb. 17 and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. If you live or work in LD#1, please email Senator Testa to thank him for his support (

If interested in participating in these virtual visits and you either live or work in one of those legislative districts, please email either Tricina Strong-Beebe, or Mary Moyer Stubbs,

A248 / S3464 (Information Literacy)

Assembly Sponsors: Assemblymen Daniel Benson and Wayne DeAngelo (LD 14)

Mila Jasey (LD 27) - Education Committee, Vice Chair, Higher Education

Co-Sponsors: Asw. Sumter (LD35), Asw. Carol Murphy (LD 7),

Asm. Robert Karabinchak (LD18)

Senate Sponsors: Senator Mike Testa (LD1), Senator Vin Gopal (LD11)

S1586 (Requires ratio of SLMS to students)

Sponsors - Senate: Jim Beach (LD6) - Education Committee, Linda Greenstein (14), Co-Sponsors: Shirley Turner (15) Education Committee

Updates on Education in NJ 2021

  1. State Aid - Under the proposed budget by Governor Murphy, a number of school districts will benefit from from increased state aid. However, there are 200 districts that will see less state aid including Jersey City.

State Aid Database Article 1

  1. Regionalization Study Bill - Legislation has been introduced to encourage the creation of K-12 regional and county-wide school districts in an effort to improve educational quality and efficiency. The bipartisan bill provides for an expedited preliminary approval process to enable districts losing Adjustment Aid to readjust their 2021-2022 school budgets to factor in the increased state aid they would receive for participating in regionalization studies in the first year. Additionally, the legislation would permit regionalization studies to be undertaken without a formal vote by all sending districts to participate. Districts looking at regionalization include: Salem County is currently exploring the possibility of creating New Jersey’s first countywide school district with a state-funded Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) grant, and both Pinelands Regional in Ocean and Burlington counties and Roosevelt in Monmouth County are using LEAP grants for K-12 regionalization studies. Introduced 2/22. Article 1

S3488 3/9 Approved by Senate Education Committee Artictle 2 Has support of number of education organizations including NJEA (with some amendments)

  1. School Budget Deadlines

April 1- Last Date to Approve School Budget for those school districts with April 20 School Board Elections

May 14 - Last Date to Approve School Budget for those school districts with November School Board Elections.

Click on link for full list of dates including public hearing dates

COVID Updates

  1. Student Reflections on Remote Learning: Short video that includes student reflections along with a clinical analysis of students' mental health. One striking comment: lasting effects could be up to 9 years for some students. View video.

  2. America's Rescue Plan funding (Click on link to read the full summary) - Summary of K-12 Funding from America’s Rescue Plan Act

20% of funding must address learning loss through evidencebased interventions that respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. Other uses:

• conducting activities to address the needs of students from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth;

• purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity as well as assistive technology or adaptive equipment);

• summer learning, and supplemental after-school programs;

• mental health services;

• addressing learning loss

Suggestions when speaking to administrators:

Ask administrators to include school libraries for receipt of CARES funds. Libraries have lost a lot of unreturned library books and other resources from last year and this year. CARES money should qualify as replacement funds for school library materials.

School libraries support technological needs and academic support of students under the Title IV-A of ESSA; provide targeted literacy training and materials to young students in high-poverty communities under the Innovative Approaches to Literacy; implement the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 Career and Technical Education State Grants; support the advancement of literacy skills through Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grants

School libraries offer e-books, audiobooks, online learning, and tutoring sites for homework help.

Look at ways to leverage new allocations for 21st Century Learning Centers and funding for Title I priorities.

Show your administrators and principals how your library programs can help halt or reverse the COVID slide and ask that your school programs, and your collections budgets are in the funding formula.

  1. NJEA, NJASA and NJPSA have sent a letter to the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona asking for a waiver for NJ regarding standardized testing. Article

Legislative Updates

A4454 was signed into law on March 1, P.L. 2021. c.32

This law provides for diversity and inclusion as listed below to be implemented beginning 2021-22 school year in grades kindergarten - 12 in an appropriate place in the curriculum. This is a great opportunity for school librarians to promote their resources and how they can assist in this implementation. Additionally, this is an opportunity to promote your school library as a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment.

News article View amended bill.

To continue reading click here.....

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A Few Thoughts from the Author of the Year on His Author of the Year Year

by Wil Mara

Well now, let’s see...2020. That was a doozy, huh? Looking back on it—with the inescapable pun of ‘20-20 hindsight’, I suppose—I think we’re all in agreement that it wasn’t exactly a weekend in Hobbiton. Mordor, maybe (although even they had exclusive fashion accessories, unique wildlife, and relatively warm weather). But definitely not Tolkien’s Hobbiton. Or, for that matter, Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, or Butler’s Erewhon. I think we would’ve even been fine with a slightly modified version of Golding’s Lord of the Flies. At least everyone ate well and got a good tan.

But The year that’s now shrinking fast in our rearview mirrors was one of the most horrific on record. And this from the generation that has had to endure numerous wars, the Kennedy assassination, 9/11, and that show where they rebuilt the house from The Brady Bunch. People can only take so much, right? Well...apparently not. To quote the narrator from the infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!” And then the I-knew-it-sounded-too-good-to-be-true followup—“If you act now, we’ll also include a global pandemic!” Wow...seriously?

If I sound like I’m ranting, it’s because I am. At times like this (although, in the interest of full disclosure, I have never experienced times like this) I try my level best to find the bright spots. The ‘silver lining,’ as the cliché insists. My late mother was a big one for that. She could see the ray of sunshine on the cloudiest days, and I suppose a bit of that rubbed off on me. For example, throughout 2020 we had fewer road accidents because there was less commuting. And from there, gas prices went down and air quality went up. People were also forced to spend more time indoors, which undoubtedly presented its own share of challenges. But it also reacquainted many of us with something that had begun to drift to the edge of our periphery—our families. In a world that previously ran at such a breathless pace that busy parents often forgot their children’s ages, and those same children never noticed that dad’s sideburns and mom’s roots had begun to silver, we rediscovered domestic delights like the dinner-table conversation and game night.

I will be thankful for these things—and quite a few others that have arisen from the mire of Covid—because I do believe in focusing on the good. And because the best way to deny Fate its inherent drive to break us down is to maximize our advantages no matter what the circumstances. And, very simply, because now that we’ve been reminded once again how delicate and fleeting life truly is, being thankful takes on profound importance.

The call I received informing me that I was your choice for Author of the Year had an impact that’s hard to fully articulate (which, I suppose, is an example of irony in its purest form). Those closest to me know that I contracted Covid right at the beginning of the nightmare—mid-March of 2020, which resulted in a high fever, two days spent horizontal, and a dry cough that, like the proverbial irritating party guest, refused to leave long after it had worn out its welcome. I didn’t realize what it was at the time—just another stupid flu-like thing, right?—but I later came to understand how fortunate I had been. Then other people in our sphere of influence came down with it. Most reached the other side, but not all. Soon it was spreading to other states. Then other countries. Then it gripped the whole planet like a demon hand, and it refused to let go.

So when I got that call from Karen Brill, the first thing I did was breathe. A lot of bad went out, and a lot of good came in. Most of us want to be acknowledged by our peers, particularly those we steadfastly admire. But this had something more to it. It was a resonant note of normalcy, an echo from better times. I don’t go a day without thinking about my NJASL friends at some point, but at the time I viewed the Association, along with numerous other things, as being suspended in a kind of stasis. News of the forthcoming award, however, also carried a forward-motion element that I desperately needed. Things were still happening, still developing, still evolving. At a reduced rate of speed, perhaps, but not altogether halted. Because nothing stops the New Jersey Association of School Librarians....

So I will say now what I’d planned to say in person at our annual conference last year. Thank you for choosing me for this truly amazing honor. Thank you for your faith in me as an author and your ongoing support for my books. Thank you for all the memories past, those we have yet to forge, and the friendships that make them possible. And above all else, thank you for sending a ray of light through some of the darkest times any of us will ever know. My gratitude to all of you is boundless.

The Largest Small Community

by Donna Swift

It was a Saturday in March. The Pandemic was still in force so restrictions were still in place. The NJASL Spring Meeting was virtual so I was in my house anxiously awaiting the meeting to start. I knew from past meetings that school librarians from all over New Jersey would be in attendance, but there were guests from all over the United States, including BOTH keynote speakers. But, there’s more. There were guests from Canada, our neighbors to the North. That is cool and probably not possible pre-pandemic.

Podcaster and School Librarian, Amy Hermon, delivered her keynote presentation from Michigan. She launched the meeting on a very high note. She talked a lot about professional learning and how it is essential to join the larger community of School Librarians. The 50 poster sessions were fast paced but full of great information. The day ended with a call to arms from K.C. Boyd from Washington, D.C. K.C. really hit the advocacy bell for us all. We can get fatigued with all the advocating we have to do for ourselves, but knowing we are not alone does help to keep up stamina. The whole day was like that. Tons of ideas and insights, connections and challenges. Phew! So much to take away in such a short time.

As a result of my time spent watching and listening on this Saturday morning I am now a subscriber to Amy Hermon’s podcast. Each week I am privileged to hear from School Librarians from across the country, many of whom are the best of the best, school librarians of the year in their states. They come from Michigan, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia and Amy’s listeners include school librarians from Estonia. I am not even really sure where that is, but I know it is not near New Jersey. All because I took a couple of hours to join NJASL’s Spring Meeting.

Most of us school librarians are the only one of our kind in our building. Many of us feel isolated, misunderstood and under-appreciated. We are tired of fighting to keep our positions and find ourselves doing so many other things to prove our value and worth. We work tirelessly for our own school communities everyday. It is meetings like this one that recharge us. We can connect with others of our kind and know that we are NOT alone. We are part of a national, and international community of people who are doing what we are doing for their small communities.

Here we are no longer alone. Here we are no longer isolated. Here we are understood fully. Here we are appreciated for all we do. Here we can connect with the best of the best- around the world.

Thank you NJASL. Thank you hard working School Librarians everywhere. I am so grateful to be a member of this largest, small community in the world. Let’s keep joining together to encourage, support, inspire and advocate for each other. There is strength in numbers.

Some 7th graders choosing books as our mobile library visited their classroom...thanks for sharing Esther Schnaidman

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Check out our very own...

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Retired and Rewired: a library media specialist repurposed

I was dreaming of retiring someday but NOT NOW! April 2020’s circulation statistics said it all - no activity in the media center or in it’s classroom, reading area, computer lab, or makerspace. Even Daniel Kirk’s Library Mouse would have been lonely. When it looked like my library world of 23 years would be mostly uninhabited in the fall and with a concern for my own compromised respiratory system, I was fortunate to be able to retire in June of 2020. Fortunate and grateful but not necessarily happy or fulfilled.

I am a lifelong learner and I think I proved that by getting my doctorate in educational technology leadership in 2016 at the age of 64! I like to think of myself as an innovator who brought Makerspace to the elementary scene in my district, promoted Project Based Learning (PBL) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in conference presentations, and assisted teachers in honing their tech skills in my Tech Thursday professional development sessions. I was also a Google certified educator. But most of all, I missed the students. How could I think of retiring; and at a time like no other in education!

Well, I couldn’t and so along with members of my nonprofit organization - WHIM (Women’s Hands in Mission) we began creating STEM workshops to be delivered virtually to the students who participated in Oasis - A Haven for Women and Children’s after school program in Paterson, NJ. We had heard that some elementary students were not receiving regular science lessons during virtual instruction and hopefully our projects could fill in some of the gaps. Our activity at Oasis includes identifying resources for STEM activities that can be done at home with instruction over Zoom. Along with my friend and co-founder, we deconstruct the projects and instruct WHIM volunteers to create TO GO bags with all the materials the students will need. I then deliver them with the help of my assistant (husband) to The Oasis’ community center in Paterson for distribution to students. During the Zoom sessions, we have volunteers who man the chat room for questions or pan the student screens to look for those who might need assistance. We also have a lead person who provides a hands on demonstration of the activity. One of our volunteers is a native Spanish speaker and can effectively bridge the gap for our ELLs (English Language Learners).

WHIM, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010, promotes social justice. In the past, WHIM has served the children of Puerto Rico and Guatemala in educational equity projects. Our partnership with Oasis and STEM education fulfills our mission to be active in providing equity in education. We are using the monies collected through 2019-2020 fundraisers to purchase the supplies needed to assemble the grab and go maker/STEM kits. Together with the students of the Oasis after school program, we have built a rubber band race car, used simple circuitry to engineer a lightsaber, constructed a working windmill, and completed many other engaging projects. Each workshop introduces a literature connection by reading or booktalking a theme-related read aloud. Basic science vocabulary and principles are promoted in as fun and interactive a setting as our Zoom sessions will allow.

We’re always on the search for STEM/STEAM/STREAM To Go ideas for our kits. We hope to return to in person workshops in Oasis’ Rise and Shine Saturday program. I’m settling into semi retirement now and still learning - that librarians never retire, they just reinvent themselves! If you have an idea to share or question about maker-to-go, please contact Charlene at

Submitted by Dr. Charlene Mason

Digital Bulletin Boards Market Library Resources and Services

Going digital with library bulletin boards is an innovative way to connect library recommended resources with your patron community. School libraries, public libraries, and academic libraries can reach out to their patron community virtually and connect the patrons they serve with digital resources to meet their information needs. In an effort to share virtual resources with the William Paterson University community in Wayne, New Jersey and PK-12 teachers in northern New Jersey in a creative way, the Curriculum Materials Center (CMC) started creating monthly Smore digital bulletin boards. This was done in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as a way of sharing resources virtually with the community which the library serves. The creation of the Smore digital bulletin boards is an activity done monthly by Patricia Moore, Curriculum Materials Center, Technical Library Assistant. This is in addition to creating an in-house bulletin board display within the CMC. The bulletin boards feature a monthly theme which is showcased in the Smore digital bulletin board. Once the Smore digital bulletin board is completed it is shared through the Cheng Library’s social media channels.

Here are two recent examples of smore digital bulletin boards:

For further information in the use of Smore library newsletters or creation of digital bulletin boards using Smore, feel free to reach out to me, or Patricia Moore,

Neil Grimes, Education and Curriculum Materials Librarian, William Paterson University

Real Men Read

Real Men Read is a national program that started in 2006 in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the 3rd largest school system in America, in an effort to bring male mentorship and encourage literacy efforts with boys.

The Real Men Read program was started in March, 2020. The mission of the Real Men Read Program at William Paterson University is to show early childhood and elementary students (P-6) that men have a love of reading and learning to increase the literacy efforts of students, especially boys. Real Men Read participants provided virtual readings to classes of students in our Professional Development Network with the focus on elementary schools in the Paterson Public Schools. This year, 28 William Paterson faculty, staff, and students participated in Real Men Read which was done in conjunction with NEA's Read Across America week (March 1-5). Nancy Norris Bauer and Cindy Genneralli placed all 28 Real Men Read participants in P-6 schools in the 60+ schools that are a part of the Professional Development Network. Additionally, Professor Betsy Golden assisted with many of the placements in the Paterson Public Schools.

I was able to get an article published on Real Men Read in the peer-reviewed journal College & undergraduate libraries. I would encourage all of you to read more about my efforts with Real Men Read at William Paterson University by requesting the article through your local public library.

Here is the citation for the article:

Grimes, N. (2021). Real Men Read - A library led reading initiative program. College & undergraduate libraries, 21(8), 1-14. doi: 10.1080/10691316.2021.1895018.

If you are interested in starting a Real Men Read Program in your school or community, read the article that I wrote on Real Men Read and feel free to reach out to me directly. I would encourage you also to use the supporting facts below as evidence to gain the necessary support of principals, librarians, teachers, and community members.

Facts supporting Real Men Read Program

•One-fourth of America’s children live in mother-only families.

•Of those children living with their mothers, 35 percent never see their father and 24 percent see their fathers less than once a month.

•About 77 percent of teachers are women—up slightly from 76 percent in 2012. In primary schools, nearly 9 in 10 teachers are women. In high schools, less than two-thirds are.


Kreber, Monica. “Real Men Read: Positive Male Role Models Helping in Local Schools,” February 10,2020.

For further information and support for Real Men Read, contact Neil Grimes,

Neil Grimes, Education and Curriculum Materials Librarian, William Paterson University

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Rethinking, Refreshing, and Rebooting the PD Committee in 2021

by Caroline Geck, PD Committee Co-chair

Rethink! Refresh! Reboot! was the name of NJASL Spring 2021 Virtual Mini-Conference, and this name fits perfectly with the work of the PD Committee in 2021. The PD committee is renewing itself by rethinking, refreshing, and rebooting its goals and offerings. The PD committee continues to offer PD learning that supports the many important roles of library media specialists and the diverse populations that they serve.

The NJASL Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) says that: “Two of NJASL’s guiding principles are a commitment to diversity in the profession and organization, and transparency in its relationships with members; we foster open discussion and active participation among our members.” The PD committee supports these guiding principles and plans to offer relevant and timely professional development learning about EDI. PD learning will include topics, such as:

  • Anti-racism
  • Black Lives Matter Movement
  • Black Lives Matter Movement in Schools
  • Disabilities
  • Diversity Audits and Awareness.
  • Equity and Equality
  • Gender Roles
  • Justice Versus Tolerance
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Social justice

The first PD Committee sponsored swap meet for 2021, is being planned for April 2021. Please watch for further announcements. As the committee continues to renew itself and to work on offering PD opportunities, we welcome your expertise, requests, and suggestions. Please feel free to contact any member of the Professional Development committee or email

PD On the Go!

by Lisa Straubinger

Looking for some PD opportunities while on the go? Look no further than the School Librarians United Podcast with Amy Herman. Amy chats with librarians in the trenches, living the library life every day. Topics include Fighting Fake News, Media Literacy Essentials, #GoodTrouble and Advocacy, OER’s and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only are the topics and discussions engaging and timely, but the show notes are invaluable. Be prepared to go down a rabbit hole and come out with the tools you need to take the next step. Listen while you are driving, cleaning, cooking or out for a walk then download your PD certificate that is available for each podcast.

Amy Herman was the keynote speaker at NJASL’s Spring Conference: REthink, REfresh, REboot. Previous guests on the podcast, Amanda Jones (4 episodes) and KC Boyd (3 episodes), also presented. And don’t miss our own Steve Tetreault’s two episodes: Let’s End Literacy Shaming and Using Wikipedia Wisely. What are you waiting for? Go download your first episode today!
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An Incredible Opportunity for New Jersey School Librarians

The EQuIP (Educational Quality through Instructional Partnerships) Research Team is recruiting a cohort of fifteen outstanding school librarians from the States of New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Texas, who would like to be a part of this groundbreaking project. If you are a fulltime K-12 public school librarian and you are interested in helping measure the school librarian’s impact on student learning, then join the EQuIP project! School librarians who are chosen to participate will receive a scholarship to complete the fully online 2022 GID summer institute taught by none other than Dr. Leslie Maniotes, GID co-designer and teacher trainer. You will also receive a stipend, and financial support to attend NJASL at the end of the grant project, along with additional opportunities to present with the research team. The best part is that all participation activities are already part of your daily school library practice!

To secure your place follow the steps below:

  1. Watch this brief, 4-minute introduction video explaining EQuIP’s research goals, expectations, and why it’s a great opportunity for you and your students.

  1. Email Dr. Green at to express your interest. You’ll receive instructions on how to obtain permission from your school system and school administrator to participate.

  1. Build your school team and submit signed letters of agreement.

The EQuIP Website includes detailed information to help you become familiar with the project, and advocate with your administration. You can also access the How to Participate page for quick videos that explain the study, how to select your school team, and answer other frequently asked questions. Join the EQuIP team today and help measure the impact of school library and classroom instructional partnerships on K-12 student learning. More than ever, it is vital that we not only make sweeping declarations about the school library being the heart of the school, but that we take time to investigate our own practice to see the specific decisions we’re making that most benefit our students and are most worthy of our time! Commitment applications must be finalized by April 26, 2021.

Need to know more about Guided Inquiry?

Examining the Impact of School Librarians

Rebekah Friedman, Communications Manager, College of Information and Communications, University of South Carolina

Dr. Lucy Santos Green, Professor of Information Science, University of South Carolina

Ask Lucy Santos Green to explain Guided Inquiry Design and she’ll tell you about roller coaster engineers and toy cars. Three years ago, Green — now a full professor in the School of Information Science at the University of South Carolina— co-taught a unit on force and motion to a class of teachers-in-training. Instead of assigning textbook chapters or drawing diagrams on the board, she brought in a roller coaster engineer. The students made models with toy cars and tracks. And they even created videos to illustrate what they’d learned. “They were able to come out of that unit with a strong understanding of what force and motion are and how those concepts are used by an engineer when designing a rollercoaster,” Green says. GID units like these — inquiry-based collaborations between school librarians and classroom teachers — have gained momentum in K-12 education. But what type of time and support do teachers need? And how critical are librarians to their success? The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Green a $376,000 grant to explore these questions. Her findings could boost support for librarians to work side-by-side with classroom teachers and potentially prevent school librarian jobs from being cut.

What is Guided Inquiry Design?

The GID model brings together librarians, teachers and even local professionals to design and implement educational units as a team. The inclusion of outside experts underscores how concepts like force and motion can translate into day-to-day life. “More than ever, our students need to understand that what they’re doing in the classroom has real-world application,” Green says. Students review a broad range of information sources on the topic to formulate research questions that pique their interest, a technique intended to promote a better understanding of the subject matter. That doesn’t mean they can skip over the hard parts. GID-trained educators provide enough structure throughout the unit to keep participants on track, and they set rigorous criteria for the final projects. Participants come away more engaged and better prepared to think critically beyond the classroom. “It’s not just about delivering content to your students and having them regurgitate it like a computer,” Green says. “It’s about helping them navigate the information landscape and come to strong conclusions.”

Proving the Value of Librarians

From bolstering research skills to promoting digital literacy, the scope of what modern librarians do has seen a rapid expansion since the rise of the internet. Yet between 2009 and 2016, about 15 percent of the nation’s full-time school librarian positions were eliminated, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Previous studies have suggested that school librarians have a powerful impact on student success rates, but Green hopes hers — which will span up to 6,000 students over three years — will be exhaustive enough to prove it.

“The existing data isn’t always used by systems when evaluating their librarians and allocating resources,” she says. “We need to continue collecting hard data to advocate for our profession.”

Research team members are GID co-creator Leslie Maniotes, associate professor Melissa Johnston from the University of West Georgia and assistant professor Ismahan Arslan-Ari from South Carolina’s College of Education.

Teachers from 60 schools comprising a diverse range of ages, geographical areas and socioeconomic classes will independently teach units in a traditional way for the study’s control data. Then, a GID-trained librarian and classroom teacher will lead the same unit to a different group within the same school. Both groups will be scored on their mastery of the content. Green will also observe instruction and gather feedback. Once completed, the study’s data will be made publicly accessible, fueling additional research for years to come.

Kristin Fontichiaro, a clinical associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, says the school library community is buzzing with excitement about the questions the project may answer. “Dr. Green’s research is poised to fill a critical gap in our understanding of how our aspirations — for students to engage in deep and thoughtful research — play out in the real-world constraints of school libraries,” Fontichiaro says. “Her analysis will help reveal how skilled librarians navigate the inquiry learning process with students, where they struggle and where there are opportunity gaps. These insights will help library educators better target instruction for aspiring librarians and open new avenues for future research and inquiry for the profession.”


Thank you for considering supporting this great research opportunity.

Lisa Bakanas

Past NJASL President

End of Book Deserts

The End Book Deserts 2021 Event virtually brings together people and programs from across the country, united in the belief that all children – regardless of zip code – deserve access to books and reading culture. As a community, we are dedicated to eradicating book deserts, low-income areas where children have little to no access to books. And for the first time, we are gathering to discuss our hard-fought successes and conquerable challenges. Through conversation and collaboration, we aim to create a national network of literacy activists working to #endbookdeserts. The conference features a two-day line-up of notable children’s book authors, publishers, reading researchers, literacy activists, and a surprise or two. Registration is open, and free to all at
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AASL – More Resources for You

by Hilda Weisburg

My February column pointed you to the Standards portal which always has a wealth of resources including many that are free downloads. However, there is so much more on the AASL website. I hope you make some time to explore it, but to encourage you, here are two you should know about.

The Pandemic Resources for School Librarians is a one-stop shop for all the information you need on the topic. The first is a slide deck presenting the School Librarians Role in Pandemic Learning Conditions. The opening slide colorfully highlights what you do in each of your five roles (Instructional Partner, Teacher, Leader, Information Specialist, and Program Administrator) in the three current educational environments (Face-to-Face, hybrid, distance). Share and discuss this with your principal.

It goes on to discuss the challenges raised and opportunities these conditions provide. The conclusion shows how to plan and gives links to resources to do so. (Our own Steve Tetreault is one of them.)

Looking for the latest guidance from CDC? It’s here. The REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) are here as well with tests results 1 through 8. There’s also a link to the AASL Town Halls on the topic. (Do try to attend them or check the archived ones.)

The page also has the all the Snapshot Surveys and the free resources at AASL’s Learning Library. A few more helpful sources are here as well. Explore it yourself.

If Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is important to you see what AASL has available at the Learning Library. There are a number, including one from K. C. Boyd, the closing speaker at our Spring Meeting. All these are free to members and non-members.

ALA Annual is June 23-29,2021 – and it’s virtual. If you have never attended ALA Annual this is your chance. The cost is much less, and you have no traveling expenses. Take advantage of the opportunity.

Although AASL offers all these free resources for the school library community, do consider joining if you haven’t. We are definitely stronger to together, and we need that strength.

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The AECT Election results are in!

The President –Elect is David Wiley. David is the Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning. This company’s main objective is to increase student success through using a combination of open educational resources, continuous improvement and professional development. His academic mission is in focusing work on problems rather than things. He loves translating research and theory into practice that will have real impact. He has been a member of AECT since 1998, when he was a graduate student. He served on the AECT Board as an at-large member. He is an author, teacher, and a visionary. David will be the AECT 2022 Convention Chair in Las Vegas and become President at the end of that Convention.

Technology Integrated Learning Division -TIL (the Division we are most associated) election results are that John Curry will be President–Elect beginning in November, 2021 and President in 2022. Bruce DuBoff becomes President in November, 2021. I will be on the TIL Board as Member-at-Large. Donna Swift and Beth Willoughby will also be on the Board as Members–at- Large. At the AECT Convention the next NJASL Villy will also officially become a member of the TIL Board.

I am also the NJASL Planner for the AECT Conventions. As of now the proposals are still being submitted, I know of one tentative proposal submissions under the NJASL name and we may have more but as happens with ALL Conferences, most of the proposals are submitted within the last 24 hours! We are still the most active and longest affiliated State organization in AECT.

In other news, AECT will be having its Summer Leadership as a virtual event this July. Also, for the November Convention it is being discussed to be a Hybrid event. The hotel location is being moved to a smaller location. With a large number of International people not sure if they can travel, AECT feels there may be a problem of meeting their commitments to the Hotel. The Convention chair, Ali Carr-Chellman and AECT Executive Director Phil Harris are working on a new location.

That’s it for now. If you have any questions about AECT, please contact me!

Leslie Blatt

NJASL Liaison to AECT

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Important and Helpful Resources from NJASL

Remote Resources for SLMS and Staff

In this time or crisis there have been a multitude of resources shared for educators. Here are a few that may help you or your staff.

Paying for your NJASL Membership Just Got Easier!

Did you know, when you subscribe to Bookmark, the official newsletter of NJASL, a one-year membership to NJASL is included? If you are getting ready to renew periodicals through EBSCO, now is the time to add your Bookmark subscription (and 2020-2021 membership).

Here's how it works:

  • Call EBSCO at 1-800-633-4604, or email April Harrison:
  • Request Bookmark: Subscription #625-904-701
  • April will generate an updated renewal pro forma
  • Your Bookmark subscription is $80/year (EBSCO adds a processing fee)
  • NJASL Membership is included!
  • The term will be from August 1, 2020 - July 31, 2021

THANK YOU! Looking for submissions...

Don't forget that we are always looking for entries from ALL membership. Deadlines for the year are on the 15th of every month. Check out more information about our deadlines here. Please share articles with me at the email address by sharing a Google Document or PDF.

Check out more information about deadlines and submissions on the Smore linked below!!

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