JCASL Newsletter

2020-21 * August/September

President's Message

by Tim Jones

Trinity High School


I am so humbled to serve this year as your JCASL President. This will be a year unlike any other we’ve experienced. From social unrest to economic anxieties to a global pandemic that shows no sign of disappearing any time soon, we have much on our plates, on our minds, in our homes and in our schools. But instead of drawing into ourselves, I would like to encourage you to press into those concerns with us, and utilize this association as a way for us to pull through together.


As president during these uncertain times, my main focus will be to promote positivity, inclusivity, and advocacy, add value to membership offerings, and harness our social media efforts to affect these goals. During the spring, many of you answered my JCASL survey, and your feedback greatly informed JCASL’s agenda for the year. To increase the value of everyone’s membership, while promoting inclusivity and advocacy, I have added several new board positions: Advocacy, Awards, Diversity, Events, Fall Program, NTI, and Professional Development. You’ll be seeing more from those board chairs on those various issues as well as the rest of us over the coming months, through social media and our newsletter. Make sure to follow JCASL on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ll follow back and amplify the awesome things you’re doing to help advocate for you.


JCASL is KASL’s largest and most diverse district, and this will be JCASL’s largest and most diverse board. In June, Past-President Heather Kirkman Hurst formed an Ad Hoc committee to draft a statement affirming JCASL’s commitment to Black Lives Matter. A statement was released via social media on June 14th, following KASL’s statement on June 10th. The statements are ambitious and there is a great deal of work to be done to ensure we’re all being leaders of inclusivity in our educational communities.


We also have a newly redesigned JCASL website with resources for new librarians and seasoned librarians alike, including a collaborative idea bank, essential NTI links, professional development opportunities, an events calendar, and more. As librarians, we are teachers, program administrators, information specialists, instructional leaders, collaborative partners, and voracious readers and innovators. Our monthly #JCASLKYChats are great opportunities for us to share what is working for us in these roles, as well as to network and uplift one another.

Numerous challenges await us this year as librarians, but the quality of those on our board - together with the passion and ingenuity of all of our members - instills in me abounding confidence that we’ll not only rise to the occasion, but mold these challenges into opportunities for significant, meaningful progress.


Join JCASL this year, and let’s be stronger together. Your PLN awaits!

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Meme-bership - Join the Club!!

by Emily Freeman

Blake Elementary


Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year. What a strange start!


I am the membership chair for JCASL once again this year. We were so close to breaking 100 members last year. This year, we've already made it to 108, and the school year hasn't even started.


This year, more than ever, we will have to find creative ways to network with other librarians. It's hard enough in a "normal" year, when there is generally only 1 librarian per school. Now, with COVID and social distancing, our opportunities to do in-person networking will be limited. JCASL can help fill that void. Our board is working hard to increase our social media presence and find creative and relevant ways to share information with one another.


JCASL is our local, professional organization. This includes ALL schools within the Jefferson County city limits. This is NOT just Jefferson County Public Schools. JCASL is for the catholic, private, non-parochial schools, too. What a great opportunity to learn from those around us, too.


We are currently sitting at 98 paid memberships. Please help us grow this to 125 and beyond!! If you have joined, THANK YOU!! Spread the word to other library folks you may know. We also have discounted memberships for retired librarians, as well as students who are pursuing their library certification. You may even win a $50 Carmichael's gift card if we reach 125 members. Join now!

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Virtual Back to School Bash

We are a little less than a month away from our Virtual Back to School Bash on Sat. Sep. 12!

While the particulars are still being ironed out, there will be LAID-BACK opportunities for socialization and meeting the board, fun breakout groups for grade bands, retirees, and library students, plus a very special guest or two. It’ll be the perfect way to de-stress and wind down from the beginning of this school year.


We will also have prizes and giveaways, with $100 in gift cards for local businesses and Black-owned businesses. But you MUST be a member to be eligible for those gift cards. If we reach 125 members by Sep. 1, we’ll also spin the wheel at the event for the winner of a whopping $50 gift card to Carmichael’s Bookstore. That’s $150 worth in possible giveaways! At least 10 of you will “walk away” a winner!


RSVP today to help us plan a FUN bash for everyone.

We Thank You!

Please, thank these amazing librarians for their JCASL leadership during 2019-20! We lost four, but gained many more!!

Welcome New Board Members!

  • We've added seven new JCASL board positions this year, including three Ad Hoc chairs so far. The four new permanent board positions are: Advocacy, Awards, Diversity, and Events. These positions will be analogous to ones found at the KASL, KLA, and ALA levels. The three Ad Hoc positions are: Fall Program, NTI, and Professional Development.
  • Board positions of Historian, Mentoring, and Retirees are being restructured, with the position of Retirees being amended to Students and Retirees to increase our outreach to those entering the profession.
  • JCASL is KASL’s largest and most diverse district, and this will be JCASL’s largest and most diverse board. Overall, we have 15 new faces who were not on the board last year.

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Creating Space During NTI 2.0?

by Sharonda Holmes

Semple Elementary


During this time of year, as library media specialists, we are accustomed to creating bulletin boards, book displays, makerspace activities, and instruction areas. Parents are also busy during this time of year. Stores would be bustling with eager parents buying school supplies and school clothes while sad students begrudgingly admit to themselves that summer is over. Feelings of exhaustion, unbelief, and trepidation replace excitement for the new school year.


All of our students may not experience these feelings, but a large segment of the population can not move past the beginning of 2020. From the pandemic to the deaths of Breonna Taylor (March 13), George Floyd (May 25), and David McAtee (June 1), our students have endured countless trauma. The pandemic has isolated our students. This isolation has forced some students to accept their inability to connect because they lack the necessary technology. Growing tensions toward the police department regarding the shooting deaths of African Americans while in police custody have spilled over to our children. Students live in Taylor and McAtee’s neighborhoods, and some see Taylor’s billboards and murals of Taylor and Floyd throughout the city. Students ride past the location of McAtee’s bar-b-que stand. Several of our students are on the front lines protesting, and they may be wondering, “Will my family or I be next?”.


These activities, coupled with the pandemic, have created students who are mentally and physically tired. Every time they see something on the news or the internet, their battle fatigue reignites. I know battle fatigue is an old phrase, but it applies to many of our students’ lives. What are they battling? They are raising their siblings while parents are trying to find work or working two or three jobs during this time. They are battling food scarcity, and fighting to live in crime-ridden neighborhoods. They are merely trying to survive.


So as we begin NTI 2.0, we can not forget that trying our best daily during NTI 2.0 can save students. What is the best? I taught middle school Language Arts for 12 years, and I have been an elementary librarian for two years. Even though the way we deliver instruction changed, we are still doing the same thing--getting to know our students, teaching, and cooperating with parents and community partners to help create successful students. Our virtual libraries are an excellent place for students to escape and just be a kid. Creating environments conducive to laughter, talking, and just having fun may not mean much to some. But we know it’s the difference between angry withdrawn students and happy students who are ready to learn. Making connections and collaborating is of the utmost importance as NTI 2.0 approaches.


One organization that is poised to help meet your needs as you navigate NTI 2.0 is the Jefferson County Association of School Librarians (JCASL). JCASL is a great way to gain support from library media specialists, learn new ideas, and gain practical advice that will empower you to meet challenges head-on. To further support you, JCASL created my board position as Chair of Diversity. In this position, I will, but am not limited to, promoting diversity in its many dimensions, encouraging and facilitating diversity in membership, and planning, supporting, and encouraging programs, activities, and special events.


Even though it may be difficult to believe we are entering into the 2020-2021 virtual school year, you are not alone. You have a fantastic organization that is poised to support you and advocate for you.

NTI Fall 2020

by Leah McMahan

Cochran Elementary


As we begin (again!) another journey into non-traditional instruction, some of us may be starting out with more “tools” compared to the spring. In the fall I had no clue at first how I was going to be a virtual librarian. Then a couple of fellow librarians shared some resources and ideas that they had compiled. I immediately felt supported and had a clearer vision of where I needed to start. Since I became a librarian that support has been graciously extended by our amazing network time and time again. JCASL is a large part of that community and hopes to be able to offer some more “tools” for you to add to your box of tips, tricks, and “must-haves” for NTI. Here are a few of some of my recent “faves!”


*Google Suite and App Tutorials- These documents are a wealth of information! I picked these up on the Bitmoji Craze for Educators group ( go check it out if you haven’t already!) on Facebook.


Teacher version- https://bit.ly/33HVSx8


Student/Family version- https://bit.ly/3a93km1


**WiFi Boost- Is your WiFi slow? Are you dreading those Google Meet and Zoom meetings where everyone's face freezes? If so, a mesh router may be an option for you. According to one JCPS librarian he was able to get a significant boost without altering his current internet plan. There are several brands available online.

**Idea courtesy of Victor Darrigrandi, JCPS


* Google Meet updates- shared via Twitter

* Google Meet updates- shared via Twitter

The Great Professional Learning Network of JCASL

This summer has seen a flurry of activity from JCASL members presenting professional development on various topics. In all, nine JCASL members presented at the 2020 KASL Virtual Summer Refresher on July 14.


Here is a list of all sessions presented by JCASL members at #KASLSR20 this summer:


  • Teaching the K-2 KBA Nominees - Adele Koch, co-presenter.

  • An Inside Look at the High School KBA 2020-2021 Master List - Laura Younkin, co-presenter.

  • Procreate - James Allen.

  • Google Earth - James Allen.

  • Promoting Independent Reading in Middle School - Lindsy Serrano.

  • Social Media Can Be Your Social Distancing Friend - Tim Jones and Sydney Travis.

  • Global Read Aloud - Adele Koch, co-presenter.

  • Update on the Kentucky Library Media Standards - James Allen, co-presenter.

  • Ain’t No Cure for the COVID Time Blues: De-Stressing Yourself to Better Serve Your Students and Your Staff - Tim Jones and Karen Pruitt, co-presenters.

  • What’s New? What’s You? 2020 - Janet Lanham.

  • We Are Not Our Stereotypes: The Face of Students in JCPS - Heather Waters, co-presenter.


This is just a snapshot of the PLN available to you every year when you join JCASL.

In addition, JCASL President Tim Jones virtually presented to the American Women’s Literary Club (AWLC) in Peru via Zoom on July 6. AWLC hosts a monthly speaker, and Tim was AWLC’s first international speaker since its founding in 1922. Tim spoke on Media Literacy in a Post-Truth World. It was Tim’s first presentation internationally, after having spoken on the topic at state and national levels.


Tim’s next presentation will be on graphic novels for the New Mexico Library Association.


Finally, Adele Koch has presented several Zoom sessions to ArchLou librarians on COVID-related topics since July. They’ve been well-attended, with librarians coming away with useful insight and resources.


If you have PD ideas or presentations you’d like to share with our association, or you want to be a larger part of JCASL’s PLN, please contact Tim Jones and JCASL PD Chair Dr. Mary Jamey Herdelin.

How can you tell what is fake news and real news? Teaser for presentation with the AWLC in July

Check It Out: The New JCASL Website

by Cindy Hundley

Gutermuth Elementary


Are you looking for a cool example of a bitmoji library? Are you wishing you had saved the session recording links for KyGoDigital or TeachMeetKY? Are you hoping to learn some new tips and strategies to use in your teaching? Are you looking for KBA resources? Well, look no further than the new JCASL website!


The new website offers more than just basic information about JCASL (scholarship/award applications & winners, board members’ info, and policies), but now provides links to presentations made by and for librarians, social media links (a great way to network, share ideas and connect with other librarians), and relevant, current resources related to equity, advocacy, and teaching during COVID.


Please visit the JCASL website regularly as updates and resources will be added as they become available. Additionally, if you have resources you’d like to share or ideas for new links or pages, please feel free to email me at: cindy.hundley@jefferson.kyschools.us. Enjoy!

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Twitter Chatting

by Amy Baker

LMS Wilkerson Elementary


Are you new to Twitter chats? Do you want to join, but are unsure of how chats work? Well, the JCASL Twitter chat is a great way to dive into the world of Twitter chats.

Chats normally last about an hour and are very relaxed. You can be late, you can lurk, you can comment, you can participate for a bit then leave, or you can even volunteer to moderate a chat. When you are starting it can be intimidating, but remember no one is judging!


The #JCASLKYchat is all about building your PLN and sharing ideas and resources.There is absolutely nothing to lose! We hope to see you on September 2 at 8 pm for the next #JCASLKYchat!


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An Ode to Social Media

by Donna Johnson

Coral Ridge Elementary


Your JCASL friends will be there for you,

On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too.


We’re there for support, info, and fun,

And, of course, the occasional really bad pun.


With tagging, retweets, and even a chat,

You’ll get more friendship from us than your cat.


So follow us today on our accounts three,

To make your NTI year the best it can be.