JCASL Newsletter

2020-21 * October/November

President's Message

by Tim Jones

Trinity High School

It’s hard to believe, but we are one quarter of the way through the year. It’s hard to believe because it’s felt like ten years, right? I totally get it. This has been without a doubt one of the most trying months of my life, both personally and professionally. If you read no further, I just really want to encourage you that what you’re doing matters and that you matter. Please carve out moments for self-care. It might feel like we’re busier than ever with less to show for it (and we may be right), but keep hanging in there. We have each other, and we’ll get through this year.

JCASL has never offered so much benefit at such a critical time - and our association has never offered more members to lean on. We have 143 members on our current roster, and each of us have something to offer in terms of experience, expertise, knowledge, talent, or support. Our bonds are our greatest resource. More than a dozen of you have volunteered as mentors. Do you feel like you could use a mentor? Read on and find out how you can be connected with one.

Message from the JCASL President

JCASL continues to offer opportunities for its members to safely socialize. Gathering (even virtually) to share, vent, and connect is so important right now for our mental health. Please take a moment to click below on the link for JCASL Upcoming Events 2020 and save the date for the ones that most interest you. Already, we have hosted two highly enjoyable virtual events! Our Virtual Back to School Bash in September energized all attendees after a tough start to the year. JCASL gave away $750 in scholarships and prizes at the Bash. Last week, our Fall Program offered its members a FREE opportunity to virtually meet author and screenwriter W. Bruce Cameron and ask him questions for almost an hour. The virtual fall gathering concluded with even more fun and prizes.

At the Fall Program, I also proposed an amendment to JCASL’s constitution to add a new award - the Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is modeled on KASL’s own Barby Hardy Lifetime Achievement Award. JCASL members will vote on the amendment at an upcoming meeting - either at the Winter Program on Dec. 5, or the Spring Program in March. With nearly 150 librarians in our local association - including so many seasoned ones who have been mentors and influencers - I don’t think it will be a challenge finding worthy recipients for this proposed award. Read more about the language of the amendment at this link, and then make plans to attend a future JCASL “gathering.”

Finally, I want to encourage all of you to join both JCASL and KASL if you haven’t already. If JCASL reaches 150 paid members by the end of the year, we’ll do another special giveaway. KASL is offering incentives and prizes to join as well, and its professional learning community extends across the entire state. JCASL could not offer the support it does to its members without KASL, so please consider joining both associations today.

All of you are special and worthy. There is not an imposter AMONG US. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the reference.) But seriously, keep up the important work you’re all doing and keep hanging in there. There’s always someone a message, email, or phone call away.

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JCASL Membership Update: We Are Growing Faster than Ever!

by Sara Franks & Emily Freeman

Louisville Collegiate/Blake Elementary

JCASL is bigger (and better) than ever! We are now 134 Librarians strong, representing over 100 JCPS schools, and 24 students, retired, and non-public school librarians. With the power of all those voices, we can be sure that we're not alone in facing this unconventional teaching year, in implementing best practices to stay open and increase access during a pandemic, and in advocating at all levels for the incredible value of librarians and libraries. JCASL offers lots of opportunities to get connected and stay connected, through social media, virtual events, and like-minded librarians who are just a few clicks away. If you aren't yet a member, join today!

For more information, reach out to one of our membership chairs:

For JCPS Librarians: Emily Freeman, Blake Elementary, emily.freeman@jefferson.kyschools.us

For Non-public Schools: Sara Franks, Louisville Collegiate School, sfranks@louisvillecollegiate.org

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KASL Non-Public Meeting

by Lindsy Serrano

St. Francis School

KASL's Non-Public librarians met on Saturday for an afternoon of building community and sharing ideas. All of the librarians at the meeting are back in school (in-person) and talked about what has been working and what some of the challenges have been so far. We also talked about ways to incorporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives in the library this school year. Finally we shared some of our favorite online tools, especially our Virtual Classrooms!

Many thanks to all who attended. If you are in a non-public school and would like to connect with more librarians, get in touch with Lindsy Serrano (lserrano@stfrancisschool.org) or Sara Franks (sfranks@loucol.com )!

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With Gratitude

by Erin Byrd

Ballard High School

I am so very grateful to be chosen as the Lucy Marx scholarship recipient this year. This scholarship will help bridge financial barriers for me in pursuing my librarianship and tech ed degree at WKU. In this program, we learn about how to bring literacy to our communities and help foster 21st century skills in our students. It is a true blessing to be able to pursue a career that allows me to incorporate my love of technology, reading, and children! It is an honor to be given that opportunity, and I want to say THANK YOU to the Jefferson County Association of School Librarians for helping me realize this dream. I look forward to the day I can help pay it forward.

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Congratulate and thank these amazing professionals in receiving awards during the 2019-20 JCASL Spring Program

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Book Suggestions to Spark Conversations

by Sharonda Holmes

Semple Elementary



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JCASL Fall Program

by Heather Kirkman

Alex R Kennedy Elementary

On Thursday October 22nd we had a fall event that was rescheduled from our spring dinner in March. W. Bruce Cameron met with us courtesy of Barnes & Noble. He shared news of his recently released book, A Dog’s Perfect Christmas, which is available now and promises an uplifting story for our distressed times.

Mr. Cameron provided entertaining insights into his writing process, revealing that he is a plotter instead of a pantser, one who flies by the seat of their pants. He had a particular teacher, Mrs. Brown, whom he credits with encouraging him to become a great writer, even though he was a mediocre student. The author and screenwriter shared revelations from his celebrity life in LA in the answer to which star he most respects. Mr. Cameron talked about working with John Ritter on the set of 8 Simple Rules based on his novel, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Ritter was completely down to earth and a nice all-around human being. JCASL found that to be true of Mr. W. Bruce Cameron as well. We hope that you investigate his massive body of work and find comfort and humor through the lives of his numerous animal characters.

Congratulations to all award winners and thank you for attending. While, being in person would had been preferred, fun was had by all.

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NTI Helpful Tips

by Leah McMahan

Cochran Elementary

As many of us enter into our 9th week of virtual/hybrid teaching, it definitely has its pros and cons. We are trying to adapt what our job title looks like virtually, while also trying to retain the details we love about librarianship. NTI comes with barriers, but I am still amazed at how much librarians learn and grow in any situation we find ourselves. I attribute this, in part, to the idea and tip sharing via social media. It has been a life-saver for me! The following “tips” are some of my recent faves that have made NTI better for me and my students.

#1. Split Screen on Chromebook - During live meets you can split your screen by using two buttons: Alt + [ or] So simple yet blew my mind at how much it helped me and my students during live instruction! *

#2 Nearpod and Pear Deck- Need to up engagement during live lessons? This is a great way to make activities more interactive! I admit I was late to the Nearpod and Pear Deck game, but I love it. I usually just use a couple “activities” with whatever we are doing in the Library. My favorite is the “Draw It” and “Memory Test” options. Great way to compile data too!

#3 Osmo Red Reflector- Have an Osmo set? That little red mirror does double time as a document camera! Just slide it over your camera on your computer! Game changer for me and teachers in my school.

#4 Read Alouds- This is probably obvious, but it has been so rewarding to students and myself. I hate reading out loud virtually. I feel awkward, sound weird, etc. I did mostly voice recordings in the spring for those reasons. But “library” was missing something. Read alouds! I let students choose the books and read at least a chapter a week. Now they are asking me to read more past our scheduled time! It has been an awesome reminder of what I already knew but had put on the back burner amid all of the technology; It all starts with the books!

*tip courtesy of Emilee Beecham

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New to JCASL? Need to chat? Contact a mentor by clicking below. Mentors are happy to help new and current librarians as we muddle through this new learning environment together. Reach out today!
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Join KASL!!!

To join KASL, complete the application for membership on the KLA website by clicking the button above and choose Kentucky Association of School Librarians as your section.

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