JCASL Newsletter

2019-20 * September

Welcome to JCASL!

​Thank you to Past President, Sydney Travis, who has taken a position with KASL and has kept us in communication with what is happening at the state level and planning for the AASL conference to be held here in November. As this year’s president, I want to further our mission of connection to our parent organizations and encourage us to take a more united front at our county level.

With acknowledgement of the current KY budget crisis, I challenge you to increase your positive talk about all libraries. Being steeped in the research about the benefits of libraries, we can take it for granted that others understand our importance. The differences we have as teachers of our school library media programs are a strength that allow us to learn from one another. Let’s make a commitment to engage in positive talk about all of our libraries. If we don’t, the possibility that our communities will doubt our relevance and make it easy for cuts to happen is a real concern.

Libraries are the centers of STEM, information literacy, equity, and community connection within a school. Don’t be shy about sharing the great work that you do with your teachers, parents, and students on social media. Libraries are indispensable. We have your back 100%. There are many ways to serve your profession this year. Please join us and we will help provide you with that opportunity! Follow us @JCASLKY. Please join http://www.kasl.us/ and http://www.ala.org/aasl/ to strengthen our occupation.

Thank you for joining JCASL
Your Colleague,
Heather Kirkman Heather.kirkman@jefferson.kyschools.us

Contact JCASL Board Membershttp://jcasl.weebly.com/board-members.html
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Calendar of Events

  • Register to attend the AASL Conference, right here in Louisville, KY!! https://national.aasl.org/registration/
  • Register for the KLA/KASL Fall Conference, 10/24-25. This event is another opportunity to network and meet librarians from across the state.
  • Mark your calendars! Mingle with fellow librarians at the JCASL Holiday Gathering on December 5th from 4-8pm at Flanagan's. See more details below!

KASL Board Meeting

Saturday, Sep. 21st, 10:30am-4pm

4011 Shelbyville Road

Saint Matthews, KY

Trinity High School Library Media Center is proud to be hosting the fall KASL board meeting on Sat. Sep. 21 from 10:30am-4pm. JCASL President-Elect Tim Jones, librarian for Trinity, will say a few words about the library media center and their program at the start of the meeting.
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Keeping the Library Visible

by Brent Downs

We all know that our students and faculty are busy and have a lot on their mind...especially this time of year, and the library often drops off their radar as a place that can help them in many ways.

So, what to do?

Well, a number of librarians have expressed interest in creating a cohort focusing on keeping our libraries first and foremost in the minds of our students, staff, and community.

I am envisioning this project as a think tank/project based cohort where we would support one another in creating individualized works in engaging mediums each month. The kinds of things that I'm thinking of are:

  • Book displays.

  • A set number of Twitter, Instagram, or other social platform posts in a month.

  • Commercials/announcements to engage students/teachers in taking advantage of the library’s services.

  • Fun drop-in activities to encourage students/staff to connect with our libraries.

  • School-wide library-centered programs.

  • Anything else that might generate excitement or awareness about the library.

This cohort could provide a valuable opportunity to no matter what age group they serve, or whether they are JCPS or non-public school librarians.

If you're interested in being a part of this endeavor, please e-mail me and I can work to set up a time for folks to get together and discuss the logistics and expectations that everyone might have for this group.

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Our Community Libraries

by Lisa Phillips

Do you remember the first time you visited one of the branches of the Louisville Free Public Library? I was a four-year-old visiting Jeffersontown Library. My preschool coordinated a field trip to the library so we could listen to Mr. Brian read aloud two stories. One book was about a fictional dinosaur. I can’t remember the other story. I told my mom that I would like to go back to the library again to hear more stories and look at more books. Mom, my brother, and I would visit the library once every month or so for many years.

In June, 2019, our library community said farewell to Fern Creek Library and Middletown Library. According to a press release dated August 2, 2019, the Louisville Free Public Library stated the Middletown Library will reopen in September. The press release also mentions, "the continuation of the Middletown Branch Library is contingent upon securing a signed partnership agreement with the City of Middletown or another entity providing space at no cost or de minimis cost for the Library by December 31, 2019." Compared to the new Northeast Branch, Middletown Library is closer to the following schools: Eastern High School, Hite Elementary, St. Patrick School, Crosby Middle School, Middletown Elementary School, and Stopher Elementary School. If you are a school librarian at one of these schools, please let us know how the closure and temporary reopening of Middletown Library has affected your school.

Social Media: Strategies for Effectively Using It in Your Library Program

- by Tim Jones, Crystal Puryear, and Sydney Travis

Social media is a great way to connect with colleagues and grow your professional learning network (PLN). Used effectively, it’s an awesome tool that offers opportunities to build up your talent and knowledge base, advocate for your profession, and initiate conversations around important topics in your field. Twitter and Instagram are probably the two most important social media platforms for school librarians to learn how to master. Each of them are easily accessible with smartphones and other handheld devices. Learning what makes each of these social media platforms unique, as well as what benefits each offer, is not only wise, it’s increasingly essential.

Why use Twitter?

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms used by schools and educators today. In just 240 characters or less, users can communicate to their audience a surprising amount. There are opportunities to discuss ideas, pose questions, or post links to work or play. Effective tweets gain your library program attention. The idea is to promote your school library and market it to an audience that notices and likes what you tweet. Basically, you are building a “brand” with your tweets. Using Twitter as a social media platform requires consistency in usage - tweeting every day and building up your PLN.

Additionally, it is very important to connect with influencers (someone who has established credibility - in our case, school libraries). Two such influencers are Shannon Miller (@shannonmiller) and Joyce Valenza (@joycevalenza) - authentic, active, engaging, and experienced leaders in school libraries. Other influencers include popular authors. Most authors these days use Twitter; and sometimes they will like your tweet if you mention them.

Authors also tend to know “what’s up” in the world. Remember, you are trying to reach more of an online audience with your tweets. Tweeting allows you to gain “followers” and this in turn grows your PLN.

So, effective tweets need visuals, direct handle mentions, and hashtags to really get you noticed. Visuals do just what they are there for - catch the eye of your audience. But did you know there is a difference in the effectiveness of putting a handle on your tweet (@jcasl) and a hashtag (#jcasl)? When you use a handle in your tweet, think of it as a direct message. Yes, everyone who follows you will see your tweet, but now you are ensuring the handle of that person or that particular organization will see the tweet.

To learn more about what certain Twitter terminology means, check out their official glossary.

Why use Instagram?

School librarians can use Instagram to create excitement by promoting new books, displays, special events, and student activities. Many parents and most high school students prefer Instagram to Twitter because the visuals give them information that they can see in a hurry. In many ways, Instagram is also easier to master than Twitter. Once you have your account set up for your library, merely keep your eyes open for whenever something interesting or buzzworthy is happening in your library, take a few quick pics, and then upload them to Instagram. You can include a caption with the photos or - if you’re too busy to caption them - not. You don’t have to be a good writer or even have a lot of time to promote your library on Instagram; you only need to keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to capture how awesome your library actually is. Instagram offers some really neat filters too to give your photos different looks. For even more ideas on how to use Instagram in your school library, you can follow special library hashtags or other school libraries.

While most schools these days have a Twitter presence, fewer have a presence on Instagram. That means, unless you link it to your Twitter account, some important eyes might not see all of the awesome things you’re posting on Instagram. Here is the good news, though: linking your Instagram with your Twitter could not be any easier. From your Instagram app, just click on the settings icon at the top of the screen, scroll down to “Linked Accounts,” click on “Twitter” to share settings, and then enter your Twitter username and password. Now your Instagram and Twitter accounts are linked, and whatever you post on Instagram will now post on Twitter.

To learn more about how Instagram works, check out this article: “23 Common Instagram Terms & The Instagram Language.

Final Tips

To help you get started, or to help you improve on what you’re already doing, we have compiled a list of hashtags and accounts you might want to follow or mention in your tweets or posts. This is by no means a comprehensive list.


For increased reach and likes, feature two or more of the following in all of your tweets and retweets:

  • Mentions (i.e. including other usernames in a tweet)

  • Hashtags (allows others to follow if they are interested in a particular subject/topic, e.g. #readingislit)

  • Gifs (Twitter absolutely LOVES these)

  • Pics or video

  • Memes

Some specific hashtags and mentions are musts if you want your tweets to count in JCPS:



Who’s Who of Accounts to Follow/Mention (Jefferson County):


  • President - Heather Kirkman @AlexKLibrary

  • Past President/KASL Membership - Sydney Travis @ConwayMSLibrary

  • President-Elect - Tim Jones @MisterLibrary, @TrinityLMC

  • Secretary - Amy Baker @Amy_BakerLMS, @WilkersonTElem

  • Social Media Chair/KYVL Rep - Crystal Puryear @crystoannielib

  • Webmaster - Janet Lanham @lmsjanlan

  • KLA - Adele Koch @Koch_SHMS

  • Director of LMS for JCPS - Dr. Lynn Reynolds @JCPSLMSDrLynn

  • JCPS Library Media Services Dept. @JCPS_LMS

  • @JCPSForward

Who’s Who of Accounts to Follow/Mention (Kentucky):

  • KASL @KASL_Librarians

  • President - Emily Northcutt @emilydnorthcutt

  • Past President/KASL Award Chair - Lori Hancock @LoriCHancock

  • President-Elect - Sam Northern @Sam_Northern

  • Secretary - Deidra Bowling-Meade @DBowlingMeade

  • KDE Information Resources Consultant - James Allen @TLJamesA

  • Advocacy - Tara Griffith @GriffithT

  • KBA Coordinator - Renee Hale @reneedhale, DrakesCreekMS

  • KASL Award Chair - Amanda Hurley @HCHSLibrarian

  • Intellectual Freedom - Donna Morris @DBE_Library

  • Heidi Neltner @heidinelt

  • Melissa Gardner @Melenggar

  • Janet Wells @JanetWellsKY

  • Heather Warrell @heatherwarrell

  • Terri Grief @terrigrief

  • Kelli Reno @FDHSBookJockey

  • Kathy Mansfield @akmansfield

  • Jen Gilbert @JenGilbert42

  • Dr. Marty Park @martypark

Who’s Who of Accounts to Follow/Mention (Miscellaneous):

  • Kentucky Academy of Technology Education @KATE_MSU

  • Influencers such as Shannon Miller (@shannonmiller) and Joyce Valenza (@joycevalenza)

  • Authors such as Stephen King (@StephenKing) and The Hate U Give’s Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas)

  • ANYONE you want to follow

  • ANYONE you want to mention in your tweet to make sure they see it






@JCPStrc (JCPS Teacher Resource Center/Professional Library - open to education institutions public/parochial/independent)





Don’t forget, mention important usernames at your school if you want your tweets to be seen by admin, etc.









Other Resources:















Who’s Who of Accounts to Follow in Jefferson County/Kentucky:

  • JCASL @jcaslky

  • JCASL President - Heather Kirkman @Rocknrollibrarian

  • JCASL Past President/KASL Membership - Sydney Travis @conwaymslibrary

  • JCASL President-Elect - Tim Jones @trinitylibraryrocks

  • JCASL Mentoring - Cindy Hundley @cindy_hundley

  • Director of LMS for JCPS - Dr. Lynn Reynolds @Lynnmrey

  • Louisville Free Public Library @louisvillefreepubliclibrary

  • JCPS Teen Reads @jcps_teen_reads

  • JCPS Forward @jcpsforward

  • Pam Coomer @pmcoomer

  • Debbie Martin @fctigerlibrary

  • Atherton High School Library @athertonhslibrary

  • Ballard High School @bruinslibrary

  • Butler High School Library @butler_library

  • Waggener High School Library @waggenerlibrary

  • KASL President - Emily Northcutt @emilydnorthcutt

  • KASL President-Elect - Sam Northern @themisterlibrarian

  • KDE Information Resources Consultant - James Allen @Tljamesa

  • KBA Coordinator - Renee Hale @Gatorsread, @Reneethelibrarian

  • KASL Award Chair - Amanda Hurley @hc_library

  • Melissa Gardner @ccmsreads

  • Kelli Reno @fdhslibrary

  • KyGoPlay @KyGoPlay

  • Danville High School Library @danville_hs_library

  • Eminence EdHub @eminence_edhub

  • McCracken County High School Library @mchslibrary

  • Paducah Tilgman High School Library @paducahtilgmanlibrary

  • Tates Creek High School Library @tchslib

Who’s Who of Accounts to Follow (Miscellaneous):

  • AASL @ala_aasl

  • ALA @americanlibraryassociation

  • Book Riot @bookriot

  • Colleen Graves @makercolleengraves

  • Donalyn Miller @donalynm

  • Epic Reads @epicreads

  • I Read YA @ireadya

  • Lego Librarian @lego_librarian_explores

  • Library of Congress @libraryof_congress

  • School Library Journal @sljournal

  • Shannon Miller @shannonmmiller

  • YA Buzz @ya.buzz

  • YA Insider @ya_insider

  • Your Books Are Showing @yourbooksareshowing

  • Book Riot’s “50 School Libraries to Follow on Instagram

















































Professional Development and Advocacy











#YourStoryIsntOver #KeepKeepingON #YouMatter #CyberBullying

Check out What’s Trending on Twitter?

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Holiday Fun - Mingle With Some Great People!!

by Teresa Gamble

Please, join fellow school librarians from across the county - both public and private - and talk, laugh, enjoy and relax at the JCASL Holiday Gathering!! Mark your calendar, and bring a librarian friend, on December 5th from 4-8pm at Flanagan's! Delicious appetizers, a cash bar, door prizes and fellowship are on the menu! If you have not joined JCASL - no problem - join at the party! We hope to see you there - always a wonderful time!


934 Baxter Ave

Louisville, KY 40204

Backpack Insights from dynamic duo, Cindy Hundley and Amy Rogers Baker

Contributed by Heather Kirkman

Describe one of your Digital Backpack projects that you are most passionate about:


The project I am most passionate about is a PBL activity completed last year with 5th graders. Students visited the library for one hour every week for approximately four months. The PBL question was “How can we assist students with completing their homework?” This question was selected because many students were not turning in homework. After much discussion, students decided to build lapdesks to help their school community.

A local inventor visited the students and discussed the steps in the design process. After this visit, students designed a lapdesk on paper and created a prototype using cardboard and glue. Students were required to use a budget, determine the type of materials, and the appropriate measurements. The principal provided funds to help us purchase supplies, and a carpenter was brought in to assist students with assembly. Students created a digital marketing tool used during the Lapdesk Showcase for students and families.

The PBL activity met every Backpack Skill. The majority of the students used this in their 5th grade Backpack defenses. This project provided the students the opportunity to apply math and ELA standards taught in the classroom, and I cannot say enough about the relationships built with the classroom teacher, her students, and community members as a result. The students were so proud of their products, and this will be an experience they are not soon to forget.


Working the JCPS Summer Backpack Adventure this summer with my sister, Amy Baker, was an amazing opportunity to implement the backpack skills in an authentic and engaging way. Amy and I created the Geocaching in the Ville backpack adventure which allowed our students the opportunity to participate as real-world geocachers. Students experienced field trips to Jefferson Memorial and Bernheim Forests, used GPS devices to locate caches placed by other geocachers, learned about nature and geography, collaborated on a Google My Maps project, created an iMovie of an original Minecraft geocaching game, and conducted research on global issues. While this adventure provided opportunities that may not be ideal during the school year, the ideas behind the adventure can be utilized every day in every library.

Last year, my students created narrative videos that included original drawings, narration, and coding using Scratch, Jr., they made Public Service Announcements on real-world issues using TouchCast Studio after conducting research, writing scripts, and recording (and re-recording as necessary). This year, students created YouTube videos of a recitation of their original “Where I’m From” poems and will add them to a collaborative Google My Map.

These are just a few of my favorites, and what’s even better is that I have no idea what backpack projects the upcoming year will bring. I can’t wait to find out!

How do you think expectations of student Backpack projects have changed since the initiation of our partnership with Google?


Partnering with Google, and the implementation of the Digital Backpack, has transformed instruction in the district. The Backpack Skills can not be addressed in a sit-and-get learning environment, which has provided librarians with a wonderful opportunity to transform the image of a traditional librarian and library program. The projects resulting from the Backpack initiative are providing real-world, impactful opportunities for students to apply their learning in a meaningful way which will carry beyond the classroom walls


Student expectations for the JCPS Digital Backpack have increased. After the first year of experimenting, it is obvious that the teaching necessary to create appropriate and engaging artifacts is an expectation for all teachers, including librarians. If we don’t rise to this challenge, we are doing our students a disservice. We must embrace our role in the Backpack initiative and be the literacy and technology leaders for our schools. We should use the Google for Ed partnership as an opportunity for students to become 21st century-ready learners, and an opportunity for us to become 21st century-ready leaders.

What do you think are some of the most important things for Librarians to keep in mind as they work to assist other teachers with uploads?


  • Always project a positive attitude about the Backpack
  • Use the backpack initiative as a means to promote yourself and your program
  • Be willing to do things differently than you have ever done them before
  • Have a brief understanding of classroom standards
  • Pool together PBL or deeper learning ideas, or activities, for all grade levels
  • Use social media and other LMS for new ideas
  • Promote collaboration and be open to the opinions and ideas of others
  • Remember everything we do is for the betterment of the students!!


  • Embrace backpack skills and teaching that supports them.
  • Keep the backpack skills in mind when planning all lessons.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Talk with other librarians.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Share the workload. Teach your teachers how to do what you do.
  • Be positive!
  • Know that your teachers and your students need you and appreciate the help you provide.
  • Remember that we have the best job ever and that the backpack skills help demonstrate all the great things we have to offer in the library.

JCASL Back-to-School Bash

Thank you for attending our JCASL Back to School Bash! It was awesome to see so many librarians out in support of each other. A big shout out goes to Tim Barnett, Regional Mgr. of Barnes & Noble for hosting us at the Paddock Shops once again!
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2019-20 JCASL Board Members

President - Heather Kirkman

Past President - Sydney Travis

President-Elect – Tim Jones

Secretary - Amy Baker

Treasurer - Jason Highley