The issues of the teacher librarians and para-professionals in California School Libraries. Please share your concerns, feedback and questions.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Southern Region's Board Retreat

CSLA's Southern Region met at the Pasadena Hilton on Saturday, August 22, for the annual board retreat. Five new board members joined the Southern Region board as Sondra Keckley passed the gavel to the new Southern Region President, Sharlene Paxton. Blair Carroll (Section 2 Rep.) Heather Gruenthal (Section 3 Rep.), Joanne Ladewig (Section 4 Rep.), Kathy Short (Section 4 Rep.), and Corie Julius (Section 5 Rep.) officially began their terms at the board retreat. Kathleen Sheppard is Southern Region's new President-Elect.
We had a great day planning for the Southern Region workshop, which will be held at the Pasadena Hilton on Saturday, October 3rd, from 8:30-4:00. In addition to our fall workshop, Southern Region has some exciting section events planned for our members this year, so stay tuned for more information on these upcoming events.

If you haven't registered for the SR fall workshop, don't delay! Early-bird registration ends September 5th, and the early-bird hotel discount ends September 4th. Deb Ford will be our keynote speaker, and we will be holding a raffle for one lucky attendee to win Deb for a Day and have Deb spend the day in the winner's library on Monday, October 5th. Additionally, we will have 16 breakout sessions, so you don't want to miss this great day of fun, networking, and learning with others in the school library world. Arrive early to decorate your name badge at our Bling Your Badge Makerspace! We'll also be giving away up to $2,500 in scholarships for teacher librarians and library paraprofessionals attending certification programs. Visit csla.net or http://cslasr.weebly.com/ for more information on the SR Fall Workshop and to register. We're also accepting speaker proposals until September 5th, so put in a proposal to share something at a breakout session--speakers receive free registration!

The Southern Region board is energized and looking forward to connecting with our members and offering a variety of great member benefits this year. 

Front row, left to right: Mindy Wilmot, Section 1 Rep.; Kathleen Sheppard, President-Elect; Sharlene Paxton, President; Sondra Keckley Past President; Heather Gruenthal, Section 3 Rep.; and Joanne Ladewig, Section 4 Rep.
Back row, left to right: Carolyn Gill, Treasurer; Marsha Barr, Section 1 Rep.; Regina Powers, Secretary; Erin Southam, Section 5 Rep.; Corie Julius, Section 5 Rep.; Victoria Waddle, Section 6 Rep.; Blair Carroll, Section 2 Rep.; and Kathy Short, Section 4 Rep.

Not pictured: Jane Brooks, Section 3 Rep., and Mark Williams, Section 6 Rep.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Exciting News about Membership Fees

July 1st is the first day of the new fiscal year for CSLA and we have some EXCITING news to share with you. After our yearly financial review, we have determined that we are fiscally solvent. As many of you may remember, it was only 3 years ago that our organization was in a situation that required us to borrow funds from one of our fund raising committees to stay afloat.  Due to the hard work and many volunteer hours of our state board members, above and beyond their normal positions, we were able to bring CSLA back to it’s previous financial position. Because of these facts, we are now in a position to pass on savings to our members through membership dues and conference fees this year (stay tuned for some exciting details in September). Please see the NEW membership fee structured below. This fee structure was approved by the state board on June 12th and will begin today, July 1st.
Membership Fee Structure
July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016

Membership Type
Professional Dues
Paraprofessional Dues
Associate Dues
Student Dues
Friends Dues
Commercial Dues
Institutional Dues
Sustaining Dues

Thank you once again for your support of the California School Library Association. It is your support that has helped us to weather the financial storm. We are so happy to be in a position to extend these savings to you.

The state and regional boards are here to serve you, our members, and appreciate your continued support. Please let us know how we are doing and share any concerns or issues. We appreciate hearing from you. Your comments and concerns help us to making our organization strong and to better serve your needs.

Your 2014-15 California School Library State Board

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Getting Ready for and Making the Most of Conferences

Cross-posted on Jane Lofton's Adventures in School Libraryland.

The annual American Library Association Conference is coming up in less than two weeks! Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a self-confessed conference "junkie." Ever since my first California School Library Association conference in 2002, I haven't been able to resist the chance to attend a professional conference. Why? ... Here are at least some of the reasons ...

  • Conferences take me away from the frequent isolation I often feel at work, being the only one who does what I do, and give me a chance to connect with peers who understand and have wisdom to share to help me past hurdles. The advent of Twitter and other social media in the last few years definitely helps to alleviate that isolation, but there is no substitute for frequent doses of live interaction. 
  • Conferences inspire me with new ideas and infuse me with the energy to try applying those ideas.
  • They give me a chance to contribute. Even if I am not presenting a session, I always make sure to volunteer and be an active participant in some way. 
  • And, then there's the fun ... I love getting to hang out with friends old and new, attend parties and special events, see new places, and enjoy any perks such as free books and other products.

So what can you do to best prepare for and take advantage of a conference? I have benefited in the past from a number of colleague's suggestions, especially Gwyneth Jones' packing posting.

Here's a few of my personal suggestions, both for what to do in advance and during the conference:

Follow the Conference Twitter Hashtag

Even if you aren't already a big Twitter user, you will want to create an account to at least follow Twitter postings about the conference. (And, if you aren't tweeting, make that a goal!) Find out what the hashtag is and start searching for it on Twitter to hear about sessions going on, people attending, etc. before you arrive at the conference, and live updates while you are there. The official ALA Conference hashtag for 2015 is #alaac15. One thing that makes me sad is that - other than one year - I always miss the ISTE conference, which happens almost simultaneously with ALA. The good news is, that by following its hashtag - #ISTE2015 - I will be able to take advantage of at least some of it virtually.

Clothes and More

Go for comfortable shoes, since you will be doing a lot of walking. As for clothes, I try to go for simple and easy-to-layer items. It often gets cold in convention centers and meeting rooms, but I don't want a lot of weight to carry when I want to take a sweater or jacket off. During the summer, I go for light-weight layer-able sweaters that won't crush if I wad them into my bag. I also try to stick with one, or at most two, color schemes, so that my clothes easily mix and match without needing a lot of different shoes, purses, and so on.


Make sure to bring all your computer and cell phone chargers. I also always carry a cell phone power booster and a Belkin min-travel charger with three charging outlets and two USB outlets. Thank you to Gwyneth for helping me discover this.)  It gives me additional outlets in my hotel room if I need them, and allows me to share the all-too-rare outlets in conference meeting rooms.

And, if you are a Mac person and you are presenting, don't forgot the most frequently-forgotten conference item: your dongle.

Business Cards

Plan to have plenty of business cards to give out to new colleagues you meet and to vendors in the exhibit hall you want to contact you and those who are having drawings. These days, at many conferences vendors may be able to scan your badge, but it is still a good idea to have cards. Cards can be either informal ones you make yourself or ones that your school or district supplies. I do have cards supplied by my district, but I still like also having my own, since I can include more of my own information on them. Here are my latest cards, made with MOO.com. I like the cool options, like rounded corners, that it MOO offers. Another thanks to Gwyneth Jones, the Daring Librarian, for sharing Moo with me several years ago. One side has all my work information; the other is my volunteer/personal professional information:


If you decide to use MOO, use this link if you would like a 10 percent discount on your first order. It will also give me a small credit on my next order.

Mailing Label Stickers

It's also a good idea to print out several sheets of mailing label sized stickers with your basic contact information (name, title, place of work, address, email, phone number) in case a vendor has slips for you to fill out for information or contests. Instead of writing out information, you can simply attach the sticker to save time writing anything out.

Go Over the Program in Advance, Then Reassess As You Go

I rarely decide in advance on every session I want to attend at a conference. In fact, it would be foolish not to be flexible, since I always learn about sessions, demos, events, etc. while I am there and attending other sessions and networking. Nevertheless, it makes good sense to go over the online program in advance and schedule yourself for at least some of your time slots. That relieves some of the stress of deciding on sessions on the fly and helps you avoid missing something you will really regret not getting to. Then, once I am at the conference, I take a little time each day to reassess my schedule and add and delete items based on the final program and what I learn through networking with people there. When I go over the program, I go for sessions both by topic and by presenter, and often more by the names of presenters I know through my Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter, blogs, and other social media than topics. If one of my PLN rockstars like Joyce Valenza, for example, is presenting, I'm going to go to her session regardless of the topic, since I know I will get valuable content. 

I used to fill up my schedule with a session during every single concurrent session time slot. I have learned over the years that overbooking myself isn't always the best policy. Allow for some time in the exhibit hall, for networking with old and new friends, and simply for catching up with yourself if necessary. No matter what you do, you can't get to everything, so don't feel like you have to max out every hour or get stressed about the sessions you didn't get to. The good news is that, at every conference, you will have a chance to view some recordings, find session handouts, and read Tweets from many of the sessions you miss. 

When I say to go over the program, there is almost always a print and online option for doing that. I like taking advantage of the conference mobile app if there is one, but it also helps me to see a print program. It's a matter of style which works best for each person. I've found that I appreciate access to both, since - just like print versus ebooks - they both have advantages and disadvantages for searching and scanning. 

Lighten and Balance Your Load

Try, if you can, to resist picking up more books and/or brochures in the exhibit halls than you will really read. Vendors understand that you may prefer the online version of their brochures. Still, I always end up picking up a lot of materials, and it gets heavy quickly. Here's a few things I do to keep the weight down and handle what I am carrying as easily as possible:
  • I always bring one of my favorite cloth bags from a previous conference. Even though I know I will undoubtedly receive a bag at registration, I want to have one that works best for me. (I also am always happiest carrying around one of my favorite colors. :-)) I try to go for one that has at least one small compartment that I can use in place of a purse. 
  • To save weight, I leave my purse, and often even my wallet, behind and just carry my room key, some cash, credit card, and few essential items in my conference bag. If the conference gives you a nice badge holder with compartments, you can also opt to keep your credit card, room key, and cash in it. 
  • If I get carried away in collection things, as I often do with books at library conferences, I accept vendors offers for free bags to supplement my basic one. It always works best to balance my load with multiple lighter bags over both arms instead of one.
  •  If you end up with more than you can comfortably carry, its worth taking advantage of check stations or going back to your room to drop stuff off. Don't make yourself miserable carrying tons of stuff around all day. 

Don't Be Afraid to Leave a Session

If you get to a session and it isn't what you were hoping for, don't hesitate to leave. Time is too precious to waste it in a session you aren't benefiting from. Every presenter has to understand that some people will decide not to stay. 

Meet New People!

Even if you come to a conference with friends, make sure that you branch out and meet new people. Expanding your network of colleagues and friends is a lot of what makes conferences valuable. Don't spend all your time either being all by yourself or with people you already know. Balance your time between doing things on your own, with any old friends, and with making new friends.

Taking Notes

How you take notes at sessions is a matter of personal style. I used to have a notebook or note paper and would also often write my notes on the handouts provided by presenters. Then, once I started bringing a laptop with me, I started taking notes on it. To this day, I am more comfortable carrying my laptop with me despite its weight than doing extensive typing on my iPhone. But, I am always grateful that I have a smart phone when the wifi isn't working. And, even when I do have wifi, I typically now tweet in place of taking traditional notes. I search for the conference hashtag and the session hashtag if there is one, and watch and follow these during a session. I tweet out what strikes me as important. At the same time, I can see other people's tweets at the same session. That saves me from having to capture all the information myself. Afterwards, I can go back to the tweets to help me process my thoughts. 

Following Up Afterwards

If you are like me, you will come home from your conference exhausted and in need of a vacation! Nevertheless, do yourself a favor and plan some time to process what you learned soon afterwards. Otherwise, it will be much harder to get back to the ideas and take advantage of them later. There are probably as many different ways to "process" conferences as people. Here's a few of the things I try to do:
  • Go through my piles of books, brochures, etc. and organize them by priority, discarding whatever I no longer need.
  • Storify my notes. I mentioned above that my "notetaking" tool of choice has become Twitter. Along with Twitter, I use Storify.com to assemble my Twitter "notes" and those of others to assemble a "story" of my experience. Once I do this, I always share my "story" on Twitter. Here's an example, my Storify from the CUE 2015 conference.
  • Set up a "to do" list with a few goals of activities, based on what I learned, to carry out:
    • within a week or two
    • within a month or two
    • within the year
  • Share my major takeaways and goals in a blog post. This forces me to reflect and set goals. I used to share reports with my administrators. Now, I do this as a public posting. 
  • Spend some time finding the presentation files and handouts for those sessions I didn't get to attend but want to learn from. Sometimes, these will be among my best takeaways!
  • Do my best to keep in touch with people I met. Twitter is probably the easiest way to do that. 
Enjoy the ALA Conference, ISTE Conference, or any other events you are attending, and please share!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Empowering California Young People to find Summer Jobs

EDD News Release

Contact: Loree Levy                                                           Date: June 3, 2015
    Patti Roberts
    (916) 654-9029                                           News Release No.: 15-20           

Empowering California’s youth to find summer jobs

New Employment Development Department web page offers
tips, tools and resources

SACRAMENTO – As part of its 2015 Summer Youth Employment campaign, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) introduces the Path to Summer Youth Employment, a new online resource that offers California’s youth the latest tips, tools and resources that will help guide them toward a summer job.

The new EDD resource web page features information about training workshops, enhancing skills like resume writing, and finding job openings, all designed to increase employment opportunities for the state’s youth and help them get a jump in their future care

ers. Path to Summer Youth Employment will help applicants assess their current skills, examine industry talent needs, target training sources, find open positions, and prepare for interviews.

“Every summer many young Californians set out in search of their first jobs or focus on building their career skills,” said EDD Director Patrick W. Henning, Jr. “Job hunting can be overwhelming, and EDD’s new Path to Summer Youth Employment web page will give young people access to valuable online tools designed to help them transition to independence or achieve their educational and career goals.”

This online resource is part of EDD’s continued efforts to promote greater employment among the state’s youth. Recently, the EDD conducted research that revealed 25‑30 percent of California’s nearly 2 million youth ages 16 through 19 years old would work if offered the opportunity. The research also found that entry‑level positions for youth are typically concentrated in retail sales, and the food and service industries.

In the effort to help bring young job seekers and employers together, EDD is also reaching out to businesses to encourage them to take advantage of available no-cost employment services designed to match them up with the right candidates for their vacancies. Employers that have partnered with the EDD to provide jobs or prepare youth for the workforce see the benefits both for their companies and for their young employees.

Several tips for youth on the Path to Summer Youth Employment web page include:

·      Add the link to Path to Summer Youth Employment page to your smartphone for easy one-stop access to important job search assistance.
·      Visit your local America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM (AJCC) to receive no-cost, one-on-one assistance with all of your job search activities, such as job referrals and interviewing techniques.

·      Register on CalJOBSSM, EDD’s online job system, which has the largest pool of job postings in California. And sign up to receive alerts and manage your job search while using the CalJOBSSM mobile app.

·      Attend job fairs to meet lots of employers in one location – and many are often ready to hire on the spot.

·      Sign-up for an Education and Training Program. A summer job can turn into a life-time career with the right training.

·      If you are under 18, get a work permit. California law requires minors to have a work permit before they can be hired. Ask your school about getting one.
·      “Like” EDD on Facebook and follow EDD on Twitter to stay on top of the latest news, such as workshops, job fairs and hiring events near you.

For more information, please see EDD’s new Path to Summer Youth Employment online resource web page.
# # #

Saturday, May 2, 2015

CUE Free Membership

Join/Renew CSLA Membership During MAY


During the month of May 2015, we are offering you a very special bonus membership benefit:

  • Join or renew by May 30, 2015, and you will receive a code for a FREE CUE membership.
To be eligible for this offer, you must join CSLA or renew your CSLA membership by May 30, 2015. This offer applies to CSLA Professional and Paraprofessional memberships only. You will receive a coupon code for your CUE registration code within one week of submitting your membership/renewal.

CSLA Membership serves two very important goals:

  • It supports YOU as a professional, library support staff or school library supporter by;
    • providing the best of the best professional development opportunities,
    • networking,
    • and resources to support California school library professionals, paraprofessionals, and advocates.
  • It supports strong school library programs for California students. Your membership gives us strength in numbers!

In other words, you need us and we need you!

Here are some of the great benefits you receive as a CSLA member:

  • Discounted registration fees for our annual conference
  • Discounted or free registration at many local workshops and events throughout the year
  • Annual subscription to our bi-annual Journal and our monthly Newsletter
  • Supplementary membership information and news emails throughout the year
  • Eligibility for CSLA, Northern Region, and Southern Region Recognition Awards and Scholarships
  • Membership in either Southern Region or Northern Region and in your local section
  • Proactive advocacy services from Jeff Frost, our Sacramento-based Legislative Advocate
  • Access to our online membership directory for networking

You are urged to consider taking advantage of this membership join/renew option today!


What if I am already a current CSLA member, and not yet due to renew?

You can still take advantage of this offer if you renew your CSLA membership in advance by May 30, 2015, extending it an additional 12 months from your current expiration date.

Where do I do this?

REMEMBER to log in if you already have an account.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

CSLA’s Information Literacy Summit at CUE Conference

CSLA was pleased to partner with CUE at the recent CUE Annual Conference on a full-day summit within the conference. The March 21 summit focused on the theme of Information Literacy. Speakers included guest keynoter Kathy Schrock, and three CSLA members, Deborah Stanley, Janice Gilmore-See, and Glen Warren.

This was the second year that CSLA presented a summit during the CUE Conference. In 2014, CSLA’s summit theme was digital citizenship. Both years, the summits offered conference attendees the opportunity to learn about important topics on themes that are key areas of expertise of teacher librarians. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s summit:

Kathy Schrock on Information Literacy as The Common Thread
Kathy Schrock began her professional career as a school librarian before moving to the field of educational technology. She is nationally-recognized expert on educational technology and a popular speaker at national conferences. Her keynote for the CSLA Summit was on the topic, “The Common Thread: Weaving Information Literacy Skills to Engage Learners.”

Kathy Schrock opened her presentation with an excellent video from Semole State Library defining information literacy as the ability to identify, find, evaluate, apply, and acknowledge information, both in the academic setting and the real world. She then built her presentation around an image from the SHIFT Disruptive eLearning blog that highlights 10 things learners pay attention to: questions, contrast, problem-solving, comparisons, brevity, emotions, stories, lists, visuals, and controversy. For each of these attention-getting devices, she shared several examples of how they can be used to weave information literacy into content-area instruction in a way that will engage students, help them retain information, and process it into personal knowledge.

For example, as part of her discussion of problem-solving, she shared the importance of teaching students why catchy titles are important and how to problem-solve creating such titles. In another example, under brevity, she shared the value of having students develop infographics to demonstrate understanding in visually appealing and concise ways. Along with infographics, students need visuals, and she shared what Creative Commons licensing is and why we should be using Creative Commons-licensed materials. During her discussion of stories as a device, she shared that storytelling activates parts of the brain that cause students to retain content and make personal connections, so creating stories is valuable tool for student engagement and retention.

To access all the resources she shared beyond these few examples, visit her resource page.

Kathy Schrock’s session made it clear that teaching information literacy skills is vital for our students, and that librarians and classroom teachers can work together to weave them into content areas.

Deborah Stanley on Research Teaching
Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.05.04 PM.png
The second session of the day was Deborah Stanley’s on “The Importance of Research Teaching in a Common Core Digital World.” Deborah, a Past CSLA VP of Organization, is the author of three books on research, Practical Steps to the Research Process for High School, Practical Steps to the Research Process for Middle School, and Practical Steps to the Research Process for Elementary School, and through her books and presentations over the years, she has guided many teacher librarians in their teaching of the research process. For the summit presentation, she created a brand new website, The Research Process in a Digital World, which brings the research teaching process up to date with the availability of digital tools for each of the research steps, which include defining the topic; defining subtopics; selecting and using sources; reading, thinking, and selecting information; note taking; sorting notes; and writing. For each step, she shared techniques and digital tools. Her site provides a gold mine of information and tools for teaching research. As a bonus, the site has links to digital tools to help with writing, creating presentations, and more, which could be used as part of research or other project-based learning activities.

Some of the important messages from Deborah Stanley’s session were that research, like writing, is a process. It takes time to teach and learn. It is also a process that must be scaffolded from grade to grade. Deborah urged us to build choices into the research process, which allows for differentiation and accessibility for all students. She also emphasized that students need to understand why they are doing the research. Unless they buy into the why, they have no purpose for learning. We need to make sure they buy into the why. Another take away was the value of good note taking: when information changes forms - from reading, to notes, to the students’ paper -, learning occurs. When students simply cut and paste, they learn nothing because the material never changes form or gets processed in their brains.

Janice Gilmore-See on Depth of Knowledge
Our next presenter was Janice Gilmore-See, CSLA’s Immediate Past President and author of the book Simply Indispensable. In her presentation on “Getting to DOK 4: Depth of Knowledge and Information Literacy,” she shared how Depth of Knowledge (DOK), in conjunction with information literacy, can serve to raise and promote rigor in our curriculum and classrooms. Greater rigor, she explained, is important to better prepare students to be college and career ready.

Here is the visual Janice used to explain levels of depth of knowledge:
Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.08.56 PM.png
Here is one of a number of examples she gave of how activities can be moved to higher DOK levels:
  • DOK1: Identify the Democratic and Republican party platforms by searching their official websites.
  • DOK2: Explain four issues where the Democratic and Republican candidates disagreed identified by viewing a series of debates.
  • DOK3: Verify that candidates espoused the same views as the official Democratic and/or Republican platforms expressed in a series of debates.
  • DOK4: Create your own party and party platform. Include three to five issues and be prepared to present and debate those issues.

She explained that DOK3 and 4 activities usually take more time and it is not necessary to teach everything at these levels. However, all students need some DOK3 and 4 activities, not just the high end students. Janice shared a wide range of ideas for higher level activities. These are available in her presentation slides.

Glen Warren on the Uncommon Core
Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.32.13 AM.png

The final Information Literacy Summit session of the day was Glen Warren’s on “The Uncommon Core: Advancing Student Centered Learning through Gaming and Information Literacy.” Glen is current CSLA VP of Government Relations. He was Orange County Teacher of the Year and a California Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist in 2014.

Glen shared that way too much time in school is devoted to content-driven teaching, in which we  send students the message that learning is all about required content and that their personal interests don’t matter. We need, he explained, to begin adopting a process-driven model, which allows students to explore their personal interests and to ask, and answer, their own questions. “When we connect kids with what they love,” he shared, “they become better learners.” In fact, the Model School Libraries for California Public Schools, which serve as a “how to” for implementing Common Core, highlight personal interest as part of integrating information, as he showed in this visual:
Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.37.18 AM.png
Information literacy serves as a cross-curricular anchor that ties together all the different disciplines as well as personal interest:
Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.46.14 AM.png

Glen had two of his students with him who shared how they were able to the work on their personal interest - using Minecraft to design a computer - by asking their own questions, doing research, and finding the solutions they needed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 8.21.09 AM.png

Glen’s slides are available at this link.

For links to all the Information Literacy Summit materials, visit the CSLA website summit page: csla.net/ils

Jane Lofton and Pam Oehlman, both CSLA Past Presidents, served as coordinators for the summit.