School Library System

September 5, 2014

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A Note From Jen and Jane

Welcome back to school. We know that 2014-2015 is going to be a fabulous year. Hopefully by now you have had a chance to look at the "Welcome Back" letter sent on Friday, August 29th. Inside you will find a few things to help you get the year started.

As always, contact us if you need anything! Email is the easiest way to get in touch since we check it constantly (even when away from the office), but you can always call if you prefer a more personal touch. Jen's phone number is 518-479-6976 and Jane's is 518-479-6978. We look forward to hearing from you.

Welcome Katelynn & Matthew

Welcome to the newest school librarians to join the Questar III School Library System! Katelynn Ingham is the new librarian at Columbia High School in East Greenbush. Matthew Pavloff is the new librarian at Robert C. Parker Elementary School. We all wish you a successful year!!!

OverDrive Updates Made in Early August

OverDrive is continuously enhancing service to our online catalog of eBooks and audiobooks. Below are a few changes that were made in August.

  • New mouse over options to the cover images allowing users to borrow or place a hold, sample, add to Wish List, share, and see title details all directly from the cover image.

  • Design updates to the format icons.

  • The default search behavior is changing from “OR” searching to “AND” searching. Previously, when users searched for an author like Veronica Roth, any title with Veronica or Roth in the title or author name were returned. The new search behavior will return titles only with Veronica Roth in the title or author name and provide more relevant searches.

OverDrive Updates Made in Late August

  • Important and beneficial changes were made to the process for placing holds on unavailable digital titles. Some changes were made in accordance with COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) laws, which apply to any US-based website that collects information from users ages 12 and under.

  • For new users age 13 and over, the process of placing a hold has not changed. The process for users age 12 and under who have never placed a hold before is now as follows:
    1. When placing a hold for the first time, users will be asked their date of birth.
    2. After entering a date of birth indicating the user is age 12 or under, the user is automatically placed on the waiting list.
    3. When a title becomes available, there is an alert within the digital library. The alert is in the form of a red circle appearing next to the “account” icon (see screenshot on right).

      • Users 12 and under will not have the option to enter an email address.
      • The auto checkout option (see below) is not available. When a user turns 13, they will be able to use their email address to receive holds notifications, as well as utilize the auto checkout feature.

  • Users can now set their preference to ‘auto-checkout’ a hold when the title becomes available. Users who select this option will receive an email notification when their title is available confirming that it has been checked out and can be found on their account’s bookshelf. Users who do not choose this option will follow the current hold notification process.

  • If a user is unable to borrow the title at the time it becomes available (because they have already reached their maximum checkout limit, for example) they will be sent the current hold notification email and will have the full hold pickup period to make their checkout.

  • When recommending a title, users (age 13 and over, and users 12 and under who had placed a hold previously) can now provide an email address to automatically place the title on hold (in order of request), should the requested title be purchased. Users 12 and under can view recommendations that have been purchased in their Account under the Lists section.

  • Users will now be able to suspend a hold on the waiting list for up to 90 days. The user’s position will continue to advance in the queue while their hold is suspended, but the hold will not be filled.

  • After the suspension ends, the title will continue to advance until the hold becomes available. If a user advances to the first position in the waiting list while the hold is suspended, the system will skip ahead to fill the next available hold.

East Greenbush Community Library

OPALS Users Group Meeting 9/26/14

Harry Chan will be joining us for a day of learning about OPALS on Friday, September 26th. Participants will discover effective ways to use OPALS with students and staff and hear about recent and upcoming enhancements to the system. This event will take place at the Comfort Inn & Suites located at 99 Miller Road in Castleton (across the street from Questar III's Main Office) and is free to all librarians and library staff in component districts that subscribe to our Library Automation Services. Please register on MyLearningPlan.

Art & Libraries

We have had a special request from Arlene Sampson, our Arts in Education Coordinator, to have our librarians work with their art teachers to develop some great library themed art to display at Questar III's main office. Let your imagination run wild and let's see what our students can create.

More ideas like the one pictured can be found at:

Copyright Flowchart

Are you looking for a good way to help students understand copyright? Visit for an easy to understand flow chart on copyright. This infographic is licensed under Creative Commons so you may share it with others.

PBS Learning Media New York - Formerly VitalNY

From WMHT's Newsletter:

New Year, New Look! PBS LearningMedia New York

Have you heard? VITAL New York is changing its name to PBS LearningMedia New York and has a brand new look! Educators will continue to have access to the same fantastic FREE digital media content, but with an all-new look and feel -- just in time for the new school year!

Wait - what if I'm already registered for VITAL New York? Don't be alarmed! No action is required and your existing log-in information will still continue to work.

When you go to, what you'll find is a bright, colorful and even easier-to-navigate website. In addition to the new design, the entire site has been optimized for mobile devices and tablets. More enhancements are coming this fall, when teachers will have the ability to create quizzes based off of PBS LearningMedia content AND a new student experience will arrive in late September.

Digital Science Online - Response Needed

The School Library System is considering the purchase of Digital Science Online for all of our schools. This resources offers short science videos that introduce students in elementary and middle school to new concepts. We would like feedback from you before we purchase this database. Feel free to share the log on information with your teachers.

Videos are just a few minutes long and include additional teacher resources such as suggested student activities, learning objectives, and a video script.

To access Digital Science Online through September 31st:

Please email Jen if you would like this database purchased on your behalf.

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TeenReaderCon Featured at Questar III's Opening Day

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TeenReaderCon - November 8th

TeenReaderCon is quickly approaching. Now is the time to share information with your middle and high school students. Please visit to find more information including bookmarks and flyers. Please let us know if you would like us to print colored flyers to display in your school.

The School Library System is willing to support you in your effort to bring students to TeenReaderCon. If you are interested in arranging a bus for this event, contact Jen. We can financially help your district provide transportation. If you have other ideas about how we can help you, just ask!

Questar III Opening Day

On Wednesday, September 3rd all Questar III employees came together for our orientation. There were many great presentations to inspire us for the year ahead. John Robinson, author of Get Off Your Knees, presented the keynote address. "Often times opportunities are disguised as challenges." Although we will each face many obstacles throughout the school year, let's work together to figure out how to find the opportunities that lie within.

Learn more about John at