Horace Mann Elementary Library

IASL Outstanding Library Award Nomination

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  • Mann Elementary is a pre-K - 6th grade building in Iowa City, Iowa and part of the Iowa City Community School District
  • Mann Elementary has about 242 students
  • Mann Elementary has 24 teachers
  • Mann Elementary has a fixed library schedule seeing every class twice a week: once for a library lesson and once for a book check-out
  • 50% of Mann Elementary students' ethnicity classified as other than White
  • 52% of Mann Elementary students receive free and reduced lunch
  • Mann Elementary houses an ELL program for students where 23% of students are eligible for ELL services.
  • Mann Elementary students come from 22 different countries

Horace Mann Elementary School,
521 N. Dodge Street
Iowa City, IA 52245
(319) 688-1050

Qualifications of Staff

The school librarian is fully certified for all levels served.
  • I have a Master Educator License, with a K-12 School Teacher Librarian endorsement (see image below).

The school librarian is a member of IASL.
  • I am currently a member of IASL, and have been since 2014 (see image below).

Support staff is available to ensure access to the library and its resources throughout the school day and to facilitate the school librarian's delivery of the library's instructional program.
  • We have a 6 hr/day library secretary to assist with book and resource circulation and collection care to allow the teacher librarian the ability to focus on the library's instructional program.
  • The secretary and myself balance our hours to ensure maximum staffing of the library each school day.

The school librarian participates in professional development opportunities in the local school, district, AEA, state, or beyond.

I have attended various building, district, regional, and state PD opportunities including:
  • IASL conference in from 2014-2017
  • GWAEA workshops (Leveraging Librarian Leadership, Rigorous Reading, Behavior Basics, Virtual Reality training)
  • District-wide Teacher Librarian PD

There is adequate certified staff available.
  • With a school population under 250 students, I am a half-time teacher librarian for the building.

Teaching and Learning

The school librarian collaborates with many classroom teachers to integrate inquiry with classroom curriculum.
In the past 2 years, there have been various projects across grade levels:
  • 1st grade animal research
  • 2nd grade friendly letter writing
  • 3rd grade nocturnal animal research
  • 4th grade inquiry research projects of their choice
  • 5th grade National Park research
  • 6th grade women biography research and Ancient Civilization research
  • Virtual Reality kit use across all grade levels matching with classroom studies

Deep and authentic learning opportunities aligned with the Common Core are supported in the library's inquiry-based program.
  • I collaborated with the 5th grade teacher on research for National Parks last school year. Through the research process, I helped students locate and evaluate sources, practice note-taking skills, and citation skills. This lined up with the following from the Common Core:
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

  • I collaborated with the 6th grade teacher while researching famous females. After locating sources, taking notes, and creating a report, I assisted students in new presentation tools. Students took their information and created a first-person speech based on the research of their person. Students then recorded these speeches and presented it with an avatar they created for their person! Google Docs, Google Classroom, Voki, and avatarmaker were all used. This lined up with the following from Common Core:
  • Production and Distribution of Writing:

    Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others...

A library curriculum is in place and implemented across grades and disciplines.

The school library program supports the district's School Improvement Plan.

Part of the School Improvement Plan looks at closing the opportunity gap.
  • The school library provides a "Books of My Own" program at the end of each school year, getting free books into the hands of students before the start of summer break.
  • During the school year, students have unlimited checkout for library books, providing all students with the chance to consistently have a number of books available to them.
  • We have a school wide program right now called "100 Years 100 Books" which has all students read the same 100 notable children's books. The list of these books were carefully selected to represent a wide variety of topics/cultures for students to be exposed to.

The school library program provides leadership and support for integrating technology to enhance learning.
In my role, I lead and support technology in a variety of ways:
  • The library staff are the first level of tech support for the building.
  • I share and demonstrate a variety of technology tools for staff.
  • I integrate various tech tools during projects with each grade level during library classes.
  • Students also participate in an Hour of Code in December.

The school library program advances literacy.
  • We participate in a local Optimist Good Reader program encouraging students to read a variety of genres and be aware of current events.
  • All grade levels are instructed on a variety of literature including fiction/non-fiction, digital, and various genres.
  • I helped create and implement a school wide reading program 100 Books 100 Years (as mentioned previously, students read the same 100 carefully chosen children's books).
  • We have a growing foreign language section to match the home languages of our students.
  • I helped create a school wide March Madness Book Bracket
  • Classes participate in IASL book award voting.
  • Students read during their checkout time.

Student assessment measures include both formative and summative assessments that both monitor student performance and guide program development.
  • Formative assessments included the use of Kahoot! with 5th and 6th graders to monitor there knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System. Based on their responses, we would review and continue to practice certain skills.
  • After a lot of practice and reviewing, students completed a summative assessment on the Dewey Decimal System that they turned in for me to grade.

Library Management

Resources represent the diversity appropriate for preparing students for global citizenship.
  • Books are added to the collection based on the district Collection Development policies.
  • District teacher librarians create specific topic-based bibliographies each year of the latest "best" books.
  • Digital resources are organized on a building bookmarking site, Symbaloo, for students and staff to access easily.

The library's budget is sufficient to sustain a current collection of digital and print resources as indicated by the age and quality of physical resources and the range and quality of digital resources.
The yearly budget is around $3500. The library has also received all of the proceeds from Scholastic Book Fairs over the past few years. The principal has been supportive over the past 2 years to find funds for any library needs if the designated budget is used.

The district and local AEA provide various digital resources that are regularly used as well (Pebble Go, Britannica, CultureGrams, BookFlix, etc.).

The facilities are accessible to students and staff throughout the school day, before and after school.
The library is open for staff before and after school. If the teacher librarian and secretary are unavailable, staff have a checkout clipboard to take resources with them. Students are able to visit the library throughout the day, too, with permission from their teacher. Classes have one designated check-out session a week as well.

Circulation policies facilitate and encourage use of library resources.
  • Staff members have no limit on items to check out. There are no due dates for staff, either.
  • Students are allowed to checkout multiple items, as long as they show respect and responsibility in caring for the books and returning them.

A formal, board approved selection policy ensures intellectual access to diverse perspectives.

Policies and procedures have been adopted regarding confidentiality of library records and ethical use of information. These polices are regular reviewed.

The facilities are attractive and support a variety of learning experiences that engage student in information access via multiple formats.
  • There is a carpet area for students to sit and see a Smartboard.
  • There are also tables and chairs for desk activities.
  • There is a computer lab attached to the library with 27 laptops and a projector.

The library and its staff exhibit a welcoming atmosphere for students and staff.
The library secretary and myself have warm personalities that welcome students in the library. We continually work with students to find books of interest to them. The staff members know that we are here for support and assistance when needed. We have a good rapport among the staff in the building.

Bright decor has been added to the library in the past 2 years to liven up the space.

Administrative support

The school principal supports the library program explicitly through interactions with the school librarian; visits to the library; advocacy for the library program; and professional development opportunities by and for the school librarian.
Mann's principal, Julie Robinson, is a huge supporter of the library and library program. Over the past 2 years, she has found funding to provide substantial collection development and the BOMO program mentioned earlier. She has also always been supportive of my request to attend a variety of PD days during the school year. Julie has also posted pictures and descriptions of what we have been doing in library class; specifically, she made a post about our Virtual Reality "travels" earlier this year!

The administration sets expectations for teacher-school librarian collaboration and affords opportunities for planning to accomplish such collaborations.
  • The principal and I have a set weekly meeting to discuss latest happenings, planning, etc.
  • I am able to get time during staff meetings when needed to address the staff.
  • I am available after school during PLC time to meet with teachers to collaborate.
  • Example: for a 100 Years 100 Books planning session, the principal found a way for all classes to be covered during school one afternoon for the committee to meet.

Library Questions

Express what vision you hold for your library program and/or the relationship of the library with the school context (C-SIP)
The mission of the library program in the Iowa City Community School District is to provide an engaging, dynamic instructional program that equips students with life-long learning skills, delivered in an environment that optimizes services to support and enhance teaching, learning and literacy.

As I meet with students and collaborate with teachers throughout the year, I am focusing on building essential life-long skills to help students succeed. In a world filled with information, students need to know how to navigate it: how to locate it, how to evaluate it, how to use it/cite it, etc. While we focus on these skills, I aim to teach through engaging lessons and tools. Our library staff works continually to update and improve the collection and resources available to staff and students. This helps the school succeed and be the best learning environment it can be.

As a part of these life-long skills, we strive to create readers. We want students to find topics and genres that interest them. Our goal is to connect them with literature that they can find pleasure in, and give them access to it.

List the four things that you are most proud of in the last 2 years
  • Weeding and inventory project on the collection. When I started at the school in 2016, the collection was in dire need of a good weed. I spent the first year getting to know the needs of the students and staff before I made drastic decisions about the collection. This year, I have worked hard on creating circulation reports for our collection and going through the collection with the library secretary and a volunteer retired librarian. The project is still in process, however, we are in good shape to have this done before the school year is over.
  • 100 Books 100 Years. Our school building turned 100 years old last year. The principal, instructional coach, and I developed a list of 100 notable children's books which span the past 100 years. Teachers have been reading these same books to their classes so that at the end of this school year, all students will have read the same 100 books. It is wonderful to have students exposed to such enriching literature and to be able to have conversations with staff and students surrounding the ideas in these books.
  • Virtual Reality Kits. Last year I went through the process with our AEA to be able to check out their Virtual Reality kits. Last year it was a huge success and students and teachers loved the experience. I checked them out again this year and made sure every class had the opportunity to use them, and found a classroom curriculum tie-in for each group as well. We visited the White House, National Parks, Mt. Everest, Jupiter, Caribbean coral reefs, and more! It was another enriching and memorable educational opportunity for all.
  • Library Newsletter. Last year I started an online Mann Library Newsletter created with Smore. I have published a newsletter every 1-2 months and include updates and pictures for each grade level. I have shared it through the school's facebook page and through emails with parents, building colleagues, and district level administration. I have received positive feedback from a variety of these individuals, appreciative of a look into the thriving library program students are receiving at the school.

Explain how you demonstrate that what you are doing in the school library has had an effect on student learning.
Annual Report 2016-2017 -- Mann Library