May 1, 2014

President's Message

Spring is finally here and the end of the school year is just around the corner. Between Spring Break, book fairs, Battle of the Books, and School Library Month activities the month of April snuck by without SMORE news from PWSLA. In order to make up for that our combined April/May SMORE is packed full of information and great ideas. Take a minute to "check it out."

Dates to Remember:

May 19th - Summer Reading Lists should be posted to your school website

May 22nd - Presentation of the Delta Kappa Gamma/PWSLA scholarship (Woodbridge HS)

June 3rd - Elementary Library Centers meeting at Montclair (if you signed up)

June 13th - Collection Development Summary Sheets due to your Principal and Ms. Agee

June 13th - Col Dev Updates and plans/Yearly Summary due to Principals and Ms. Agee

June 19th - Official last day of school/work

SYNC Free Audio Books All Summer!

Each summer SYNC offers pairings of free YA audio books. New titles are paired with classics. It's a great way to catch up with what you might have missed over the past months and to get back in touch with some old favorites.

The titles are all free, but you have to be timely. Show up a week late and you won't be able to get the previous weeks' releases. It's beneficial to add these to your calendar or set reminders on your phone.

Summer Professional Development with VaASL

Concerned about showing student growth with your school library program? Plan now to attend VaASL's Summer Professional Development workshop on Tuesday, July 22, at Gar-Field High School.

BJ McCracken, a trainer for AASL's professional development programs, will be leading the workshop "Meeting the Building Inspector: Portfolio Development to Pass Inspection." She promises to provide practical ideas for setting and meeting student growth goals to meet Standard 7 of the Professional Performance Process. Bring artifacts with you and walk away with ideas to implement in September.

Cost to attend the session is $30 for VaASL members, $35 for non-members. Lunch is included; you can use the day as a "flex" day, with your administrator's approval. For more information and to register online, click here.

Summer Reading List Ideas

This is the month to get your Summer Reading Lists edited! If you are in need of new titles to refresh your lists, here are a few great starting points.

Begin with some of the "Best of" Lists from recent years. There are a few gems on these lists that aren't so popular that everyone will be choosing them.

Outstanding Science Trade Book Best of Lists

Notable Social Studies Trade Books

SLJ Best of Lists

Check out what books are landing on the other states' Readers Choice Award Nominee lists. These books have been well reviewed and the lists from state to state vary quite a bit.

State Book Award lists

Search blogs of those librarians and teachers who are book-bloggers.

Nerdy Book Club

Watch. Read. Connect.

Teach Mentor Texts

Teaching Kids Books

Nonfiction Monday

If you are into social media or have a Twitter account you want to explore a bit further, follow #titletalk and #yalove hashtags for recommendations.

Battle of the Books

Prince William County School Librarians hosted the 2nd Annual Elementary Battle of the Books Competition on April 9th at Glenkirk Elementary. There were 11 competing schools including Alvey, T. Clay Wood, Victory, Nokesville, West Gate, Loch Lomond, Pennington, Porter, Springwoods, Rosa Parks, and Glenkirk. Each school brought two teams with a total of up to 12 students to compete in a head to head competition of their knowledge of 13 books. This year, Loch Lomond won first place, West Gate second and third place was Victory. The Battle of the Books committee has already started work on the 2014-2015 competition. If you are interested in participating or just learning more contact Debbi Ames of Nokesville ES ( or Wendy Felix of West Gate ES (, the co-chair of the Battle of the Books committee.

Investigating Infographics

I love infographics….how small but powerful bits of information can be packaged into quick, informative nuggets. And, I’ve wanted to play at creating infographics. I took the opportunity of National School Library Month to cut my teeth for making this kind of document. I’ll share what I learned along the way.

I couldn’t find a free infographic template that would get past our PWCS filters so I decided to use google draw. My data was easily collected from Library-Trac, a program that I purchased for our library. Library-Trac enables students to check into the library for individual visits via computer…..and keeps track of everything: names of students and teachers, times of check-in and out, reasons for check-in and more.

Staring at the blank screen when I was ready to begin was a bit intimidating….so I went to google images to peruse examples of infographics….and voila! The AASL sign-post with this year’s theme for National School Library month became my inspiration.

After deciding on a simple background, I used shapes from googledraw to create a post with multi-colored signs. Text boxes of information were easy to paste on top of each sign. Another text box announcing my library’s Amnesty Week as well as AASL’s theme for this year’s celebration…. was simple to design and add, completing the infographics. Now, when students see posters announcing our Library Amnesty Week, they are also seeing just how much our library is used.

My final challenge was learning how to save the infographics in a format I could use for posters in my school. In google, the “print” function is in the “file” dropdown box. In addition to printing, there is a function that allows the creator to “save as pdf”. I was able to save my infographics as a pdf, open it in photoshop and then save it as a jpg to share in this newsletter an on my library webpage, the PTA’s facebook page …or anywhere on the web.

As you can see, the infographics is very cartoon-ish. I haven’t yet tried playing with real images. I’ll be working on that next …if you can share information on that, I’m all ears.

Linda Mitchell
Stonewall Middle School Library

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Get Your Staff Involved in Summer Reading and VRC

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Bulletin Board Idea

This a quick but eye catching idea for a bulleting board. Cut the stars out of bulletin board paper in different colors. Outline the stars with electrical tape in a color that matches your letters and borders.
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School Library Month Idea

Challenge your students to "read the shelves empty " in a certain section of your Library. During the month of April the students at Ashland read almost 3000 books as they cleared the shelves of the Everybody section. It was a great reason to pass out extra checkout tickets, host reading buddies and gather classes for DEAR to reach our goal.

It also gave the Library Ladies a chance to do a little weeding and inventory that section as we put the books back on the shelves at the end.

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If you would like to share a picture, news, idea, etc. - please send it to Kathy Wick at .