Library Services Newsletter

December, 2017 Paralibrarian Edition

New Library System Feedback

Would you like to learn more about the new library system and provide input on policy decisions?

Do you want to make sure we schedule training during a time, day, method that works for you?

Please fill out our survey by December 8th (this also went out in email last week).

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Library Services Digital Resource of the Month: Culturegrams

As a librarian, teacher or student in DPS, you have a rich selection of digital resources, including databases, that is purchased and curated through Library Services' LION site. Go to and click on "online databases" or go directly to

Our Library Services team is also curating resources about our digital resources for you to learn more about their features and be able to use these overviews with your staff, students and families. Please let us know what would be helpful!

This month we are highlighting CULTUREGRAMS.

CultureGrams Online Database is a reference for cultural information on countries across the globe. It includes four editions: the World Edition (for junior high school and up) and the Kids, States, and Canadian Provinces editions (for upper elementary school students). The database includes the following features: images, slideshows, streaming videos, sortable data tables and graphs, interviews with natives from countries around the world, recipes for each country, and more. The World Edition includes 208 country-specific reports (every sovereign country recognized by the United Nations), plus several foreign dependencies.

Each World Edition report is written by a native or long-term resident of the country in coordination with a CultureGrams editor. Writers are selected for their education, knowledge of a national language, experience with different regions and socioeconomic groups, recent residency in the country, and access to current information.

Learn or share more with this presentation:

Celebrate Human Rights Day with Books

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being -- regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.

We have curated a collection of titles in honor of Human Rights Day on December 10th. These books seek to promote peace in the world by exploring issues of equality, justice, and freedom

As always, please let us know if you have additional titles to add to our curated collections!

Library Spotlight

This month we are turning the spotlight on Janell Hawkins, para-librarian at Dr. Martin Luther King Middle and High School. Janell has been with Denver Public Schools for 16 years! She has been managing the MLK library for the past 7 years and has done a fabulous job of creating an “open door” library that is beautiful and welcoming – it is truly a place where staff and students feel comfortable and love to visit.

Janell is passionate about getting students on board with reading! And it shows in all the myriad ways she makes the library fun and interesting for students. One promotion that the students LOVE is the monthly reading contest that Janell sponsors. (And talk about getting great participation!) Students are required to submit a short summary of a library book that they have read. The monthly winner is rewarded with a new book, a STEM kit, and much more – see a sample of all the great prizes in the photo below. (And there is a grand prize winner at the end of the school year who gets a new backpack loaded with school supplies in addition to all the other goodies!) She mentioned that she is thrilled to have the support of her principal in providing such awesome prizes. She also creates different themed interactive bulletin boards throughout the year that encourage critical thinking and writing skills. She writes fun questions on the bulletin board and students take the cut-outs provided and write an answer and then post it back to the bulletin board.

Janell is in tune with the books that her secondary students are most likely to checkout and read – especially popular YA series and graphic novels. She has especially given time and effort to providing books that boys are eager to read – like the CHERUB book series by Robert Muchamore which has become quite a hot read at MLK High School!

Janell’s advice to her fellow para-librarians: love and have fun with what you do and how you do it! And it’s essential to share the love of reading and to let students know how important it is.

Janell is truly enjoying her students and providing a library that is meeting the needs of middle and high school students. Congratulations to Janell Hawkins for “PUTTING KIDS FIRST” in the Dr. Martin Luther King Middle & High School library!

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RIF Champions

Congratulations to…

Stacy Distel Nishioka from Bradley International School, Donna Hensley from Force Elementary, and Sandy Devlin from Sabin World School for receiving the Books for Ownership Grant from Reading Is Fundamental!

The grant is a matching grant program which is RIF’s new funding model which stretches your dollars to enable more of your children to have the benefit of the RIF program. The RIF coordinators will provide two distributions per year, prepare engaging activities to get kids excited about books and reading, and will engage families and the community at large. Every participating student will have the opportunity to choose their own book (RIF's evidence demonstrates children are much more inclined to read the books they personally select). What a great opportunity to promote literacy and fun!

You can find more information about the matching grant, including how to plan your budget with the dollars your school needs to contribute, at this link: We will send out notification when the next grant period opens.

Makerspace Hub

We are highlighting three more of our new kits in this month's newsletter. Please contact us for more details. Our Makerspace website has great curriculum aligned ideas, as does our Makerspace course in Schoology (join with course code 4FSPF-Z43BD).

KEVA CONTRAPTIONS and KEVA STRUCTURES – Because of the popularity of our original KEVA Planks makerspace kits, we’ve expanded our KEVA collection to now include the Contraptions and Structures lines. Build endless structures with tunnels, funnels, ramps, and chutes. Each kit comes with a guidebook and a specially curated Tumblebooks title list. Recommended for Grades 1+.

K’NEX SIMPLE MACHINES – K'NEX Education's Maker Kit Simple Machines comes with 590+ K'NEX parts, including rods and connectors in classic scale. 22 unique simple machine models can be built from the kit - including gears, levers, pulleys, wheels & axles and more! 3 individual instructions books are included so students can build up to 3 models at the same time. Once they learn the basic principles of how each simple machine works, your budding makers can use the parts to design & create their own DIY contraptions! Recommended for Grades 3+.

LITTLEBITS STEAM STUDENT SET and ARDUINO CODING – littleBits makes a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small. Bits snap together with magnets, making it the simplest tool for powerful 21st-century STEAM learning. The electronic building blocks are color-coded and reusable. Students gain technical skills by exploring creative, collaborative solutions to real-world problems. The challenges in the littleBits STEAM Student Set link to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Engineering Design and Common Core. STEAM Set recommended for Grades 3-8.

OneBook4Colorado Voting Open!

The One Book 4 Colorado program is back for its 7th year! You and your students can vote for the picture book you think should be distributed to all 4-year-olds in Colorado. Go to to watch a local celebrity read each of the books. Voting ends December 31st. The book will be announced and distributed April 9th-23rd, 2018.

New AASL Standards Released

Interested in learning more about the new AASL Standards? School Library Journal is offering a free webinar on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. ET/12:30-1:30 p.m. ET

"In this hour-long webinar, members of American Association of School Librarians editorial and implementation teams will discuss the genesis, framework, and goals of the recently unveiled standards and what they mean for 21st-century learners, librarians, and school libraries."