Kansas Association of School Librarians

Teacher Appreciation

Celebrate teachers by sharing positive stories and anecdotes on social media using the hashtag #ThankATeacher!


Did you know that there’s only "one book for every 300 kids living in underserved communities in the U.S."? RIF (Reading is Fundamental) is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing support for childhood literacy. May is celebrated as RIF month to draw attention to illiteracy across the nation and around the world. RIF lesson plans and calendars are filled with engaging reading and writing activities. Take RIF's Book People Unite pledge and add your name to countless others who put literacy first.

Making a Difference

Evidence of teacher librarians being the catalyst for change can be found in K-12 Librarians' Roles Shift to Meet Digital Demands - Education Week April 15, 2015 by Carol Brzozowski.

A school district in Vancouver, Wash., has recast the duties of librarians to serve as experts in technology and blended learning strategies, capable of training peers on the use of digital tools.

KASL Proudly Announces New Officers, Scholarship, and Award Recipients

  • June 1, 2015, welcomes President Elect Martha House. Martha is currently serving as the KASL Webmaster and Council Grove High School Librarian.
  • Congratulations to Secretary Rachel Yoder! Rachel works as the Hesston Middle School and the Hesston High School Librarian.
  • Brenda Lemon will continue as Treasurer. Brenda is the Chapman Middle School and Chapman High School Librarian and Chapman School District Librarian.
  • The Summer Semester Ruth Garver Gagliardo School Library Scholarship and the Spring Founders Scholarship are both being awarded to Grace Kastens from Atwood. Her current position is that of Gifted Coordinator for five school districts in Rawlins County. In the letter that accompanied her application she compares a library and its role in a school to a hub on a wheel. From that hub comes all the different spokes of the ideals that a school library should strive to achieve. She sees a librarian as a lead explorer on the great adventures of children. Grace will continue studies at Fort Hays State University.
  • The Fall Founders Scholarship recipient is Tonya Foster, who is currently employed at Meadows Elementary School in Topeka as a first year librarian. Prior to this job she was a literacy coach at Shaner Elementary School in Topeka.
  • Former teacher and librarian Beverley Olson Buller is this year’s recipient of the Vision Award. As an author, William Allen White Children’s Book Award Selection Committee Chairperson, and Practicum Supervisor for the Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management, Bev fosters a love of reading and learning. Her research has resulted in publication of three books featuring famous Kansans bringing attention to Kansas.
  • The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Kim Clark, Principal at Garfield Elementary School in Augusta. This Home of the Grizzlies is 2006 NCLB Blue Ribbon School and a 2008 Panasonic National School Change Award-Winning School! Children learn at high levels, and every person who enters is part of the Garfield culture of learning!
  • The Library Media Specialist Award will be given to Ruth McCauley who has served as a District Director and Promotions Chair. As Lowell and County View librarian in Winfield, her dedication to the profession is admirable due to her positive energy and love of learning.
  • The AASL National Conference Award presented by KASL will enable school library media specialist Rachel Yoder to attend the American Association of School Librarians National Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Congratulations to these winners!

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National Library Week

Did you know there are more public libraries (16,766 branches, in fact) in the United States there are McDonald's? Join us this month as we observe National Library Week! The theme this year is Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library.

Praise and Thanks

Please thank Martha House for continued edits on the KASL website and Desiree Moore for updating the Intellectual Freedom Manual located under the What We Offer tab. Applause for all members who contribute photos, successful strategies, and stories.
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Kansas Learning First Alliance Supports Game On for Schools!

"Rural Majority: Education System in Rural Areas Undergoing Big Change"

The Topeka Capitol Journal featured a daily series of articles about rural Kansas education. Although the stories are lengthy, they capture the essence of smaller districts experiencing challenges. The articles are linked by the day of the week they appeared in the printed newspaper: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

National Poetry Month

Since April 1996, the Academy of American Poets has dedicated the month of April to celebrate poetry and poets around the globe. The Academy also has information about the Poem in Your Pocket project, as well as the Dear Poet initiative.

Celebrate Earth

"Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand." - Carl Sagan

Celebrate Earth Day's 45th Anniversary with "green" fiction and neat Makerspace activities, including recycled art, in the library! We suggest browsing the Earth Day Network for events and simple ways to help protect and preserve our planet. NASA's Earth Right Now project also provides information concerning our ever changing planet.

Financial Literacy Month and Money Smart Week

It's never too early to start learning about finances and managing your money well. MyMoney.gov provides tips, activities, and materials concerning investing, saving, and spending money wisely. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers information about paying for college, safe student banking, and credit cards.

Money Smart Week was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to raise awareness and guide consumers handle their personal finances. Although the week is celebrated April 18-15, resources are available throughout the year.

Save the Date

College Readiness Dialogue - Kauffman Foundation Center, Kansas City, MO, April 10

Summer Institute for School Librarians June 10-11

ALA San Francisco June 25-30

AASL National Conference, Columbus, OH, November 5-8

KASL Fall Conference September 30-October 2, Manhattan

Information Relief: Plug in, Discover, Share, Refresh, Recharge

District Workshops:

March 7 - District V, Cimarron Jr./Sr. High School, Cimarron

March 7 - District VI, Eisenhower Elementary School, Norton

March 28 - District III, Hesston Middle School, Hesston

April 11 - District I, Southwest Middle School, Lawrence

April 18 - District II, Sedan schools, Sedan

April 18 - District IV, Eisenhower Elementary School, Junction City

School Librarians Transform Learning

AASL demonstrates learning in all arenas and frequently updates infographics.
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Year of the Learning Commons

Celebrate the transformation of school libraries, makerspaces, and computer labs into a learning commons! The library is the hub of participatory learning and school improvement.

Read across America

Celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss March 2, 2015, with NEA's Read across America Day. This year's signature book is the classic, Oh, The Places You'll Go. The National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its program, NEA’s Read across America. Now in its eighteenth year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. Enjoy Dr. Seuss stories online! The World War II Museum even has a lesson plan centered around Seuss and his war-time contributions.

Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month recognizing accomplished females. The National Women's History Project offers free resources. The National Constitution Center also provides amazing activities and lesson plans.

Teen Tech Week

During Teen Tech Week libraries make the time to showcase great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare them for college and careers. Celebrate with the “Libraries are for Making...” theme during YALSA’s Teen Tech Week March 9-13, 2015.

Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning Day actively spreads innovative practices and "techquity," an ideal that supports digital learning for all students, no matter their location or socioeconomic status. Free resources and lesson plans are available on the website. Take advantage of free eBooks and audio books through the Kansas State Library.

Innovative Makerspaces - Make and Take!

The internet is full of makerspace ideas and projects. Palo Alto Public Library and the MakeX program offer amazing mobile programming, as well as the HYPE program at Detroit Public Library. ALA offers a wealth of Makerspace projects.

Build Something Bold

School Library Journal’s (SLJ) Build Something Bold Award, sponsored by LEGO® Education, will honor creativity in programming and lesson plans that incorporate hands-on learning and its meaningful infusion in the library or classroom as led by the librarian or media specialist. The grand prize includes $2,500 and a LEGO Education Classroom Pack. Submit your applications!

Tech Finds: Google Keep, Build with Chrome, and ShowWorld

Listmakers, rejoice! Google Keep allows any gmail user a free-form, easy-to-use tool to manage lists and notes. Tied only to an email account, your lists are now accessible on any device, anywhere.

Born from a partnership between Google and LEGO, Build with Chrome brings all the fun of LEGOs to the web. Users can build with the blocks with real-time locations using Google Maps.

Maps are helpful. Maps that illustrate demographics, education, religion, energy sources, conflict, migration, etc., are even more helpful. Show/World collects data from organizations like Amnesty International, UNICEF, the World Bank, and more. Countries on the map grow smaller or larger corresponding to the topic selected.

The Global, History Teacher

Teaching, Historical Thinking, Professional Development, and Online Education hosted by Craig J. Perrier features Six Tools that Engage and Build your Students' Literacy, Developing 21st Century Critical Thinkers, Genius, Thinglink, Sentence Starters, Word Walls, and much more.


AASL's Learning4Life Lesson Plan Database connects library standards to curricular benchmarks. Although AASL is not accepting new lesson plans, the existing plans provide a wealth of resources supporting Common Core, College and Career Readiness, Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics goals.

Presidents' Day

Presidents' day was Monday, February 16! Enjoy resources and activities from the National Education Association. The History Channel also provides speeches, video, and galleries featuring past Presidents.
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Celebrate Black History Month

Our nation celebrates the African American experience during the month of February. This year's theme, "A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture" reflects on the contributions of black Americans. The book The Selma Campaign: Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmie Lee Jackson, and the Defining Struggle of the Civil Rights Era by Craig Swanson and the movieSelma address the earlier days of Dr. King.

The federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only holiday to be recognized as a national day of service. Statistics show that only one in four adults volunteer nationwide; however, 36 percent of Kansas residents volunteer (placing the state fourth among all fifty states). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. strongly believed in a better tomorrow; volunteering is a wonderful way putting King's ideas into action. Take the pledge and visit Volunteer Kansas for ideas and volunteer opportunities.

Resolve to Read and Change the World

The American Library Association offers countless free resources and can aid librarians in changing their communities for the better. Through professional development, conferences, and volunteer and leadership opportunities, librarians can gain the skills necessary to effect change.

STEM Activities and Lessons

HowToSmile.org provides "learning activities, tools, and services" aligned with the Common Core curriculum. Topics include everything from chemistry and life sciences to cooking and ocean literacy.

National Readathon Day

Book lovers united! Random House Publishing, along with the National Book Foundation, Goodreads, and Mashable, sponsored National Readathon Day Saturday, January 24. Readers who dedicated the four solid hours from noon to 4pm "celebrated literacy and raised funds for non-profit programming benefiting underserved communities. Participate on social media used the hashtag #timetoread and encouraged donations to the National Readathon Day campaign on FirstGiving.
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Our wonderful state celebrated its birthday January 29. What better time to brush up on Kansas history! The state's capitol launched a website full of coupons to local businesses, along with facts about the state. Recommendations can be found on the Kansas Reading Association website.

The Power of Introverts

Susan Cain has reached international fame with her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Her TED Talkpresentation, which describes Cain's early recognition of the vast differences between the social extroverted majority and the quieter introverts, has over 3,000,000 views. Visit her webpage to find extra content, reading group questions, teaching guides, and much more.
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Need some literary recommendations? Guys Read is a "web-based literacy program for boys" founded by author Jon Scieszka. The website is filled with downloads, including bookmarks, recommendations, reviews, and great national resources offering information and statistics. For more information and resources, follow them on Twitter @Jon_Scieszka.

Literacy programs aren't just for boys, though! The organization Get Lit promotes reading through classic and spoken word poetry. "Somewhere in America," preformed by Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen, is one such example of the power of learning. Enjoy the interview with Queen Latifah.

Changing the World, One Word at a Time! | The Queen Latifah Show

James Patterson, Literacy Advocate

For those students interested in attending Emporia State University to pursue a career in education, the James Patterson Teaching Education Scholarship provides $6,000 to eight students. The well-known author also developed a website, ReadKiddoRead, which provides lesson plans concerning Middle Grade/Young Adult books and book recommendations.

Free NEA Resources

The National Education Association tracks the best of the web with free apps, videos, and activities on their 10 Free Things webpage. Bookmark your favorite resources, because the webpage updates monthly with ten new finds.

Kansas Learning First Alliance

Kansas Learning First Alliance - KLFA’s mission is "To unite the education community to improve our outstanding public education system, pre-K through higher education, to empower each Kansan to succeed in the diverse, interdependent world of the 21st century.” Details are available @ http://www.klfa.org. The videos and websites present data proving the value of high school graduation along with the KLFA advocacy powerpoint.The GameOn Kansas originators, Judith Deedy and Karen Wagner, showed two videos and gave a history of their three year progress @http://gameonforkansasschools.com
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