Friday Focus

Friday, November 13, 2020, vol. 8, no. 19

Friday Focus is a quick digest of news and notes

for members of The Indianapolis Public Library Shared System.

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Happy Booksgiving Day!

Celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day, Booksgiving Day is a holiday for teachers in Palm Springs, and for Half Price Book shoppers in Dallas. So, it's not a national holiday or anything, but in this tumultuous time in your libraries, I hope you'll wish your patrons a Happy Booksgiving Day on their last day to check books out of your library.

We've gone through this once, so we're a little more prepared this time. Thank you to the 30+ people who responded immediately to my email yesterday about your school closing dates. Many of you asked whether you could continue to run your libraries since your teachers would be in the building. OF COURSE! Some of you asked whether you could offer curbside service to your students. OF COURSE! Some of you asked for an update on online databases. OF COURSE. It's attached - same one I sent you in August. Some of you asked for an update on Axis 360. OF COURSE! See below!

You should check with the powers that be at your place about all of the above, of course. We do need to know if you are going to keep your library open, whether you need delivery, whether we should suspend or cancel holds headed your way. I added new questions to the top of the survey I sent yesterday. Could you answer those new questions? Add any new info you may have received, or any new questions. Here's the survey (or start filling it in right now below).

We've Got Mail!

Please add to your Contact list. This email will go to both Kimberly Andersen and me. We are going to fight over who gets to answer you first. My money is on Kimberly.

Suspending or Moving Requests

If you are going virtual and your students will not be able to access your library until January, please address any requests with your school as the pick up location. Please ask students to change their pick up location or suspend their requests until you anticipate being back in school.

To find out who has active requests, look at Utilities in LEAP, choose Request Manager, and you can see what’s been shipped, what’s active, what's expired, etc. Active means the request has not yet been filled. Shipped means it's on its way to your pickup location. (Expired means you have it on your hold shelf and no one picked it up - check those in and send them back ASAP.) For the vast majority of you, the number of students with active requests will be less than 25.

STAR Delivery on the Go!

From Jackie Nytes, CEO of IndyPL in her newsletter this morning:

For the Community Involvement STAR this month we have Brian McWilliams from Shipping and Receiving. Brian has been juggling the schools of the Shared System since last spring and has had to deal with his customers being there and not being there with almost no notice—sometimes no notice at all! According to the nomination, he really owned the challenge and took all kinds of initiative to make things go smoothly for everyone!

Brian has his eyes and ears open and is on the alert for anything having to do with schools. Be sure to congratulate him next time you see him!

Brian wants to know if anyone needs extra totes for any returns before you go virtual. (Please fill out the form above!)

He also asked me to let you know that if you are staying open, we need to know that. (Please fill out the form above!) As of now, we anticipate that you will have the same delivery day. If you will be closed and discover you need totes picked up, please send an email to Use the words tote, totes, or delivery in the subject line.

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November 14 marks the 60th anniversary of Ruby Bridges’ first day of school at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, thereby becoming the first Black student at the school. Here are some resources for you to share:

NPR – 60 Years Later, Ruby Bridges Tells Her Story in This Is Your Time

Ruby Bridges’ new book, This is Your Time, is out tomorrow! (

And check out her TEDx talk:

Looking for a new Podcast to try? Ruby Bridges has one! Check it out at her website:

Ruby Bridges’ Influence

Contemporary Picture Books about Hearing Impairment with children and families of color

Thank you to Carrie Waterson for these links!:

Reading so Lit e-Library by Alvin Irby at Barbershop Books

“We are proud to announce that the Reading So Lit e-Library is live! We teamed up with authors of diverse children’s books to create an e-Library filled with e-books and video read alouds for all to enjoy.” Alvin Irby TEDTalk How to Inspire Every Child to Be a Lifelong Reader

From Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature: Tips for Teachers: Developing Instructional Materials about American Indians Applicable to librarians too. One pager of 10 tips.

Check out this Skype session Jason Reynolds did as part of the Global Read Aloud project. If you missed his talk for IndyPL, don't miss this recording from from MicrosoftEDU!

Some sites that I learned about in a recent training that I attended, “Muslim Representation: Identifying Stereotypes and Tropes in Literature” (this webinar was presented by Ariana Hussain, one of the founders of Hijabi Librarians; check her out on twitter!):

Hijabi Librarians

Girls of the Crescent – Empowering Muslim Girls Through Books

You have heard about books as Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors (Thank you Dr. Rudine Simms-Bishop!). Author Uma Krishnaswami suggests books as prisms.

Happy Reading!


Teen Book Club - Want In?

Axis 360 is sponsoring a Teen Book Club. I won a gift certificate that will let us join for about five months. Please let me know by email if you or your teachers or your students would be interested. The Teen Book Club allows multiple users to access the book simultaneously during the month and it includes a discussion guide and an online author event.


The Dark Tide

Jasinska, Alicia


What Kind of Girl

Sheinmel, Alyssa


Be Dazzled

LaSala, Ryan

Being published January 2021


Yesterday is History

Jackson, Kosoko

Being published February 2021 (#ownvoices)

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Lawrence North gives out buttons when students check out a book. See if your athletic department has a button maker laying around.

Christel House South had a class-by-class celebration of the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Hard to see the smiles through the masks...but they're there!

Taking Advantage of Art Class

Aly Schroeder, co-manager of the St. Joan of Arc School Library, got tapped to sub for the art teacher this week. She got the talented third graders to prepare publicity for their book fair. Got an update from Aly: We are hosting a book fair in what turns out to be our last week of in-person learning. We will work to keep the library operational in conjunction with our book fair so students can maximize their time left in the building.
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Axis 360 Resources

You can reconnect with Axis 360 information in the first two issues of Axis Connections below:

Axis Connections, August 19, 2020

Axis Connections, August 28, 2020

More questions? Let me know.

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Found in an Old Yearbook

Members of the Millionaire Readers Club at St. Joan of Arc showed off what they were reading nine years ago. Membership was for students who read more than a million words (as measured by their Accelerated Reader quizzing). At least one of these students is now in grad school. Note that the club advisor was reading an ebook.
Little Brown Books for Young Readers is hosting author talks your English/Language Arts teachers (and you) might be interested in hearing. Note that some of the author talks are available only LIVE. Mark your calendars!

From IndyPL's Training Calendar

Beginner Chapter Books and Middle Grade

Kevin Henkes

(Baker and Taylor CATS Title Talk)

11/17/2020 12:00 PM

120 minutes

School’s Out! Challenges and Solutions for School-Age Programs: Meaningful Activities

Dr. Tracy Galuski, Dr. Arlene Rider

11/18/2020 02:00 PM

60 minutes

Spring/Winter 2021 books for Young Adults

Sharon Flake

(Baker and Taylor CATS Title Talk)

12/01/2020 12:00 PM

120 minutes