Library Services Newsletter

January, 2018 ParaLibrarian Edition

Library Services Digital Resource of the Month: NetTrekker

As a librarian, teacher or student in DPS, you have a rich selection of digital resources, including databases, that is purchased and curated through Library Services' LION site. Go to and click on "online databases" or go directly to

Our Library Services team is also curating resources about our digital resources for you to learn more about their features and be able to use these overviews with your staff, students and families. Please let us know what would be helpful!

This month we are highlighting NETTREKKER.

Ed Tech and Library Services purchases NetTrekker for grades 3rd-5th. It is an excellent introduction to website research, providing a safe environment with educator curated open education resources. It provides students with examples of high quality websites. One of the most powerful features of this tool is that it measures the reading level of the website, and allows the user to sort by this feature. Each website is also tagged, organized and aligned to standards. NetTrekker can save librarians and teachers time when trying to curate grade-level appropriate resources.

NetTrekker has a feature that converts text to speech on websites which can be helpful for English Language Learners and students that need additional supports. Students can use their image search for multimedia products. Their famous person tool (under "Tools") allows students to search for someone by time period, profession or cultural heritage (or all three).

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Library Spotlight

This month we are turning the spotlight on Noriyo Kaluza, para-librarian at Lincoln Elementary School. Noriyo has been with DPS for a total of 15 years! Noriyo is approaching her 5th year of managing the Lincoln library and has done a fabulous job of creating a cozy and fun atmosphere for kids. In the library you will find beanbag cushions, rocking chairs, and stuffed animals – see photo below of students enjoying the welcoming comforts of their library!

Noriyo enjoys collecting unique and fun objects to make her library environment more colorful and interesting. She feels that the library should be a place where kids meet new cultures and new concepts and some of her items offer that exposure to different cultures – and some are just plain fun! She also likes keeping some amusing items on the circulation desk, like origami toys and liquid timers, for the students to play with while they wait to check out books.

Many of the Lincoln Elementary Montessori teachers like reading world folktales to their students and because of this Noriyo provides folktale books in her collection including Japanese folktales. Tanuki, a Japanese raccoon, is a popular character in Japanese folktales. Noriyo brought back a Tanuki figurine from Japan (she visits her family in Japan every other year.) She keeps Tanuki on the circulation desk and the students love it when she dresses him up for various holidays and events – the students especially love to rub his tummy for good luck!

When asked what accomplishment she is most proud of, Noriyo related that when she first took over the library position the collection contained an extremely high number of aged books. She thoroughly weeded her collection and with the help of a boost grant was able to purchase a variety of new books. As a first year para-librarian, she transformed the space into an up-to-date, attractive library where she continues to offer current titles to her school community. She believes that weeding on a regular basis makes a big difference in her overall library management, and after the initial huge weed, she had the opportunity to know her collection very well – which is always a big plus!

Two of her favorite books for read-alouds are Elmer by David Mckee and Zen Ghosts by Jon J. Muth. She likes Elmer because the story teaches kids that it’s ok to be different and unique. Also, the character Elmer is funny and everybody loves him – including the students! She likes Zen Ghosts because it’s a mildly spooky love story - but not too scary! She really likes the author’s other “Zen” titles as she feels his illustrations are beautiful and his writing is very philosophical but gives enough connection to kids so that they can understand the concepts more easily. In her “pre-DPS” life, Noriyo actually worked with the author, Jon J. Muth! At that time, Mr. Muth was not yet a children’s book author, but was submitting his manga to a publishing company. Noriyo handled the communications between Mr. Muth and the editors. Now that is an interesting anecdote!

Noriyo really enjoys their annual holiday book fair. It’s a big event at Lincoln Elementary and they raise a fairly good amount of funds for the library. Noriyo said that a fun part of the book fair for her is inviting students to offer suggestions as to which books they want to see in the collection. See photo below of Noriyo and a happy student enjoying the holiday book fair.

Noriyo said that she loves watching children “so zoned into their library books” that they don’t even notice when the bell rings! She said that she likes to see children discover all the powers that books can bring into their lives: imagination, creativity, inspiration, adventure, empathy, joy, sorrow, curiosity, learning, and wisdom!

We celebrate Noriyo Kaluza for PUTTING KIDS FIRST in the Lincoln Elementary library!

Makerspace Hub

We are highlighting three more of our new kits in this month's newsletter. Please contact us for more details. Our Makerspace website has great curriculum aligned ideas, as does our Makerspace course in Schoology (join with course code 4FSPF-Z43BD).


This kit provides an introduction to programming, allowing novice tinkerers to create and code inventions without breadboarding, soldering, or wiring. Arduino recommended for Grades 9+.


Osmo enables the iPad to merge the power of physical play with the digital advantages of real-time feedback. Playing beyond the screen invites students to collaborate on tables or floors while manipulating tangible game pieces such as number tiles, letter tiles, and coding blocks. Comes with a teacher’s guide. Recommended for Grades Kinder+.


Playmags are 3D magnetic building blocks that attract on all sides and even when flipped around. Children will effortlessly learn through creative play about geometric shapes, symmetry, architecture and basic math concepts such as counting, addition, and subtraction through manipulation of the colorful pieces. Comes with two books. Recommended for Grades ECE+.

Students Tackle Robot Coding Challenge

Students at three Denver schools recently tackled a makerspace coding challenge. The daring pupils eagerly took on the tasks with teamwork, programming and trial-and-error. By using Sphero robots, block programming and iPads, the upper elementary and middle school students worked under strict timelines to complete two robot challenges. Place Bridge Academy teachers reported the activity was “a great learning experience.” A big thank-you to these educators for “making space” for this activity: Ian Yates, CMS Community School; James Wilkerson, Place Bridge Academy; and Hunter Taff and Elizabeth Babowice, High Tech Elementary.

  • To schedule a student Sphero programming challenge, contact Ed Tech:

  • To reserve and check out a makerspace kit for your school from Library Services (they have Spheros and much more!), visit here.

Another RIF Grant Kudos!

Last month we reported that 3 schools received the Books for Ownership grant from Reading Is Fundamental. We would also like to congratulate Kathleen Boyd from Trevista at Horace Mann for applying and receiving the grant for her school! A big congratulations and thank you to all library staff who take the time to apply for grants that contribute to student success.

DIA Grants for Celebrations with an African American Focus

If you are interested in planning a Dia celebration this year with an African American focus and you would like to increase your library multicultural collection - then read on!

The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL) has announced that they will award a $500 grant in selected multicultural children’s book for your library to organizations that plan to serve children and families by having a Dia library program/celebration with the event held on or about April 30, 2018.

The grant information sheet and the grant application are attached.

· The application must be received by February 26, 2018

· The award will be announced on or about March 1, 2018

· Visit the CSMCL website for more information:

Basic info:

· Libraries (elementary, middle, and high) that serve children and families that are celebrating Dia (El Dia de Los Ninos/El Dia de Los Libros, Children’s Day/Book Day) with an African American focus are eligible to apply.

· The selection criteria will be based on creativity and originality of the implementation of the Dia celebration.

· You will not receive a check for $500, but rather $500 worth of preselected multicultural books. Library Services does not know what the titles are, but you can view the CSMCL Best Books of 2017 on their website.

· The winning library will need to submit to CSMCL 15 digital photos of the event via email or mail the 15 photos on a flash drive no later than one week after the Dia event. (See attached grant information for details.)

· At this time CSMCL has not determined the number of grants they will award.

What is Dia?

Día is a nationally recognized initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. It is a daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures.”

Pat Mora, award-winning poet and author, was inspired to start Dia more than 20 years ago. Goals of Dia: 1) to celebrate children and connect them to the world of learning through books, stories and libraries; 2) to recognize and respect culture, heritage and language as powerful tools for strengthening families and communities.

More Information

Visit the Dia website:

Visit the Pat More website:

Schools interested in applying for the grant will be working directly with CSMCL. We would love to know who applied – so keep us posted!

Deb Romero - Library Services

Inspiring Displays!

We would love to share out displays that inspire kids to read and try new genres, topics, etc. Please email us your photos so we can put them in our newsletters for everyone's enjoyment!

Below are some of the latest from Kathy Boyd at Trevista. We love your enthusiasm!

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Diverse Books Reading Lists

As part of our Diverse Books Initiative, we are sharing out themed booklists with some of the latest and greatest titles for students. Earlier this month we shared out one in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Feel free to share these out with your staff and parents!

Please let us know if there are events, topics, genres that you would like us to highlight, and please do share titles that you know and love.

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