SLS Newsletter

December 6, 2021

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Professional News

Upcoming Professional Development

Providing Support in the School Library (2nd Date Due to Popular Demand)

Wednesday, Dec. 15th, 8:30am-3pm

This is an online event.

This workshop is open to aides and assistants who work in the school library to support the library program. Our agenda will include items such as working with students, interlibrary loans, best practices, cataloging, and book repairs. Participants will leave with strategies to ensure successful implementation of the library program.

This is the same workshop as is being held on December 2nd. Register:

Library Policies: Creating Equity through Action (SERIES)

It is good practice to examine the policies and procedures for collection development and challenged materials periodically. Join us for this four part series that will examine the process for policy making/adopting within the school, look at current policies, and give librarians time to develop policies that can be advocated for use within their schools. Specifically, we will look at collection development and challenged materials policies. Sessions will not be recorded. The Zoom link will be shared with participants the day before the event.

This is a four part series that will take place from 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm each date:

January 5th

January 12th

January 19th

January 26th


Teaching for Truth - Librarians as Leaders for Media Literacy (Communication Coordinator Meeting #3)

Tuesday, March 22nd 2022 at 8:30am-3pm

900 Watervliet Shaker Road

Albany, NY

Given our already overloaded curriculum, how do we realistically teach all of our students to develop habits of critical thinking about the media messages they see, read and hear? This interactive conference will give librarians the inspiration, theory, models, resources - and some time - for planning how to integrate media analysis into your work with students and teachers. Cyndy Scheibe and Chris Sperry, the directors of Project Look Sharp, and authors of the upcoming book, Teaching Students to Decode the World, will engage participants in a practical model for media decoding that can be integrated at all grade levels and subjects. This question-based approach uses rich media documents 1/4 from blogs to books and films to Facebook 1/4 to motivate all students for life-long learning while addressing IFC and subject area standards. In the afternoon participants will review free classroom-ready lessons and PD materials, and work individually or in small groups to create plans for implementing this work.



Now available: Sora Carousel "Showcase"

If you are looking for an easy, eye-catching way to grab student interest in books, Sora has an app called Sora Showcase available. (Ask Karin to help you set it up for your school.) Here's what it can do:

  • Can set it up to be interactive, or just for show (so you can showcase it on TVs in the cafeteria and around the school)
  • Customizable (so you can showcase only elementary, or only secondary titles)
  • Interactive features allow the student to capture a QR code to a title for later
  • You can set it up on a tablet, kiosk, or share a link to it on your website


ILL steps and tutorials

If you need a refresher on ILL steps with regards to the union catalog, look on our LibGuides! If you need a login, or forgot it, just email SLS and we'll get that information to you.

ILL How-Tos and FAQs

Self-paced OPALS tutorials, tips, and tricks

Don't forget that we have an OPALS self-paced slide deck. Many of our frequently asked questions have answers here. We also have this information in our LibGuides. Check it out! OPALS PD Choice Board

Professional Book Collection

Reading Ladders: Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We'd Like Them to Be

Many of us are searching continually for that just-right book for each and every one of our students. It is my hope to help you find those books. More importantly, I hope to help you guide students to the next great book and the one after that. That is the purpose of Reading Ladders. Because it is not sufficient to find just one book for each reader.Teri Lesesne

"I finished the Twilight Series—now what?"

With Reading Ladders, the answer to a question like this can become the first rung on a student’s climb to greater engagement with books, to full independence, and beyond to a lifetime of passionate reading.

"The goal of reading ladders," writes Teri Lesesne, "is to slowly move students from where they are to where we would like them to be." With reading ladders you start with the authors, genres, or subjects your readers like then connect them to book after book—each a little more complex or challenging than the last. Teri not only shares ready-to-go ladders, but her suggestions will help you:

  • select books to create your own reading ladders
  • build a classroom library that supports every student’s needs
  • use reading ladders to bolster content-area knowledge and build independence
  • assess where students are at and how far they’ve climbed.

"If we are about creating lifetime readers and not just readers who can utilize phonological awareness and context clues to bubble in answers on a state test," writes Teri Lesesne, "then we need to help our students form lasting relationships with books and authors and genres and formats." Use Reading Ladders, help your students start their climb, and guide them to new heights in reading.

Available from our Professional Collection

Collection Development and Management for 21st Century Library Collections

Packed with discussion questions, activities, suggested additional references, selected readings, and many other features that speak directly to students and library professionals, Gregory's Collection Development and Management for 21st Century Library Collections is a comprehensive handbook that also shares myriad insightful ideas and approaches valuable to experienced practitioners. This new second edition brings an already stellar text fully up to date, presenting top-to-bottom coverage of the impact of new technologies and developments on the discipline, including discussion of ebooks, open access, globalization, self-publishing, and other trends; needs assessment, policies, and selection sources and processes; budgeting and fiscal management; collection assessment and evaluation; weeding, with special attention paid to electronic materials; collaborative collection development and resource sharing; marketing and outreach; self-censorship as a component of intellectual freedom, professional ethics, and other legal issues; diversity and ADA issues; preservation; and the future of the field. Additional features include updated vendor lists, samples of a needs assessment report, a collection development policy, an approval plan, and an electronic materials license. --OverDrive

Available on Sora

WSWHE "ROCKSTAR" School Librarian

Jennifer Duchaussee, Saratoga Springs High School

This week's Rockstar Librarian is Jennifer Duchaussee! She was chosen because of her leadership in the field of librarianship within our WSWHE BOCES region! Here's what she had to say about being the rockstar that she is:

I started my career as a librarian at SSHS in 2010 and I’m currently in my twelfth year.

As a kid, I inhaled books and loved research, but it never occurred to me to be a librarian until I was in my 30s. My undergrad degree is in biology and I was working as a veterinary assistant at the time. Pregnant with my third daughter, the physical challenges of the job proved to be a wakeup call to find another path. I didn’t want to be in my 50s and still wrestling dogs on the floor! I thought back to my love of reading and research and how fulfilling it would be to share these loves with kids. Within months, I was taking classes at UAlbany and on my way to becoming a school librarian.

There are so many reasons to love working each day in a school library: the students! the staff! the books! Working in a school is like a home away from home. I especially love how every day in a high school provides opportunities to learn something different. Students have introduced me to new cultures, ideas, and fascinating creatures like tardigrades!

With library staff changes (pre-covid) and staff shortages (during covid) leading to fundamental changes to our library program, it’s been hard to find something to be proud of over the past two years. To distract from the losses we’ve faced, I’m learning to refocus and find joy in the little things: connecting with students over books, helping a student find the perfect article for their research, appreciating student artwork in the library (see “Hot Yoga”). I'm also super grateful to have a Rock Star Co-Librarian in Kim Nemeth to work through the good and bad times!

Libraries and librarians are critical to helping others sift through misinformation that runs rampant in today’s social media and news platforms. I’m honored to be part of the school library community helping students navigate the digital world leading to educated and engaged future voters. I’m also thrilled with the development and direction of young adult literature. Representation matters and it’s a wonderful feeling when a student connects with and/or sees themselves in a book!

School Library System Staff

Kerrie Burch, Coordinator for School Library Systems

Karin Howansky, School Library Media Specialist

Amy Brennan-Strack, Databases, Budgets, General Information

Deb Massa, Information Processing Specialist