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PA Forward 2017 Presentation: “Making with Young Children” July 31, 2017

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Makerspace!, PSLA.
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PA Forward IL Summit 2017 - "Making with Young Children" presentation | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech

PA Forward Information Literacy Summit on July 19, 2017

Two weeks ago, I was honored to present at the 2017 PA Forward Information Literacy Summit.  The maker-themed summit was held at the Penn State University Libraries, where I presented an hour-long breakout session on makerspaces for elementary schools and public library children’s programs. Participants got to experiment and play with many of the materials that students use in our makerspace library centers, and it was just amazing to talk to both teacher-librarians and public children’s/YA librarians who came from all over Pennsylvania to learn from each other.

If you couldn’t make it to the Summit or were in another session, my “Making with Young Children” Google Slides presentation is embedded below.  You’ll need to click through to view the slide notes and links to all of my resources.

Disclaimer: This presentation below contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item after clicking on a link, I will receive a small commission.  See Disclosures & Disclaimers for more information.  


Also, if you’re looking for more makerspace activities and ideas to add to your library’s program, check out my “Makerspaces for Elementary Schools” Pinterest board.


Finally, in other news, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale on August 1st and 2nd!!!!  Everything in my store is 20% off, except for bundles which are already discounted.  Make sure to use the coupon code BTS2017  to get an extra 5% off, so you get a total of 25% off all of your back-to-school library instruction and management needs!

TL Blogging Challenge #15 – My Library Wish List June 17, 2014

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Library Space, Reflections.
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TL Blogging Challenge #15 – What would be one (or two) items on your library wish list?  Why?  How might you get this item?

I would love to get new furniture for the library.  Actually, I would love a total library makeover with steps for seating, an outdoor garden area accessible by sliding glass doors, lots of nooks for reading, and different areas for study/centers/makerspace…but I live in the reality of limited space, no renovation budget, traditional architecture, and a mostly fixed schedule.  What I have to work with are lots of traditional shelves (both along the outside walls and in the middle of the library), white concrete block walls, and large square tables that I’m always bumping into as I walk by.


Photo by Collette J.


Our current furniture is only 15 years old, though, and it’s still nice: high-quality, very heavy wooden tables and chairs.  There are no cushions on the seats; they are all hard wood.  While this does make them easy to clean, they are not very comfy or welcoming.  The tables are also hard to move.



DIY reading tent made from a quilting hoop, sheer curtains, lights, and sparkly “ribbon” from a craft store.  I eventually got a chair to put under the tent for seating. Photo by Collette J.

For the past few years, I’ve tried to “makeover” other parts of the library to be more cozy.  I’ve added beanbag chairs, colorful carpets, floor pillows, and even a DIY reading tent that lights up (on a timer).  But still, the instruction happens in the hard, uncomfortable seats.  Even if I can’t get new furniture, I’d love to upholster the existing chairs with vinyl wipe-off cushions.  I don’t know a think about upholstering though, so that’s a bigger project than I can commit brain power to at the moment.

One thing I can do that’s more within my reach is to add wheels to the bottoms of the chairs and tables.  I haven’t taken apart the table or chair legs, but I think a heavy-duty drill bit and some wheel casters should do it.  At least that would make the chairs and tables moveable and easier to rearrange if/when I can make more room for more flexible learning spaces.  Big ideas, small steps…

I love Diana Rendina‘s Pinterest board of ideas for library spaces, specifically for tech integration ideas.  If I could design the perfect 21st century library, I would love to work with the architect to make some of these ideas happen!

Until then, I’ll start the new school year with some (kind of) realistic goals, a cordless drill, and a few calls to our district operations.

The blogging challenge is from Cybrarian Jen at Where Books and Technology Meet.  I’m going to try it out, but instead of daily posts, I’m going to try for 1-2 posts a week.  Follow and learn with us!  The participating blogs are listed in the comments of her post.

The photos in this blog post were taken by me, Collette J.  They are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share-alike 4.0 International License.

New LibGuide for Nook Resources! October 23, 2012

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Ebooks, Nooks.
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Image from Carlos Porto on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/90819592@N00/775089650

I ❤ LibGuides!  I’ve come to realize that keeping the documents up-to-date on this blog is getting unwieldy, messy, and disorganized.  I hate that!  So I’ve updated and moved all the important documents and information from the “Documents for Librarians” page to my Nooks LibGuide located HERE or http://wilsonsd.libguides.com/SRNooks.

I’ll do my best to keep this LibGuide up-to-date with the current files, materials, and resources I’m using in our Nook Ereader lending program.  My goal is to make it as simple as possible for another elementary librarian / media specialist to duplicate our program without much fuss.

I’m still going to post on this blog about my reflections, frustrations, and successes with the program, so the only thing that’s really changing is the format of the resources I want to offer.

Waiting for the Nooks – Part 1 October 23, 2011

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Nooks.
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Now that the Nooks are ordered, and on their way, courtesy of the Spring Ridge HSA’s generous donation, I’ve been a very busy bee getting ready.  If you’re a teacher-librarian or media specialist who is piloting a lending program, there is a LOT of preparation to be done once the order is placed.

nook coverFor starters, I ordered 2 cases.  One is the standard cover/case that many consumers buy to protect their Nook device.  It has pockets for paperwork and a title list.

With elementary students, though, a cover and the extended 2-year warranty doesn’t assuage my worries about accidental damage.  I startednetbook case looking on forums for a handled bag to slip the Nook into while also in the cover, providing two layers of protection.  Many, many librarians have discovered the e-ink screens are susceptible to damage when placed in backpacks or pressed against another books/objects, so my students would need to carry it outside their backpack.  Again, for elementary students, this is a problem with only a cover as protection.  It wasn’t easy finding a handled Nook case, and in fact what I ended up with was a 10″ neoprene netbook case.

I haven’t received either the cover or the case yet, but I’ll review them when I do.

More to come soon on the rest of my pre-Nook delivery preparations…

Ereader Madness – Nook vs. Kindle for elementary schools September 23, 2011

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Reflections, Reviews.
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In the two years since I last posted, I hadn’t given this blog much thought.  This week, however, I really wanted to write and comment about the insanity that is ereaders and ebooks at this moment.  One can hardly read a single library-related blog without being confronted by “ebook issues.”  For many librarians, this drastic shift from print to print-and-electronic, and perhaps eventually all-electronic materials is fraught with drama, frustration, excitement, and a large dose of crazy.

Many, many librarians and teachers have written about the pros, cons, and concerns they have with our professional values and the current ebook models.  That’s all well and good, and we NEED those voices in the ebook discussion.  My point in writing today, though, is that all of those discussions aren’t always helpful for actually making ebook/ereader decisions for your library.

I’ve been seeking practical advice and best practices for how to implement ereaders in an elementary library.  Frankly, I’ve come up short.  Very few elementary school libraries seem to be doing this.  And while much of the blog articles and shared policies for high school and middle school libraries is certainly transferable to elementary schools, some of it is not.

Thanks to generous donations from our parent association, I’ve been toying with the idea of buying ereaders for a few months now.  But the GIANT question remains: Which ereader should I invest our library donation dollars in?

I’m torn between the Kindle and Nook.  Yes, I realize there are many other decent ereaders, but I’m looking for sustainability.  And these two seem to be the most likely to stick around a few years. The following are my biggest pros and concerns for each.

The Nook
Pros –

  • Touchscreens are easier to clean (because elementary students aren’t nearly as hygienic as secondary students, IMO) and no keys for some intrepid student to pop off.
  • Support in bookstores (because face-to-face communication almost always trumps online/phone support in terms of customer service).
  • ePub format – generally accepted standard among ebooks, somewhat more open than Amazon’s proprietary AZ file format.

Concerns –

  • Social features (LendMe, Nook Friends, sharing to social networks, etc.) cannot be disabled according to the online support (MAJOR safety concern).  They don’t work with Wi-fi turned off, but the ability is still there.  I will have no control if a student wants to “friend” someone through this function.  Sort-of solution: Students/parents sign a contract to keep wi-fi off.
  • BN.com requires a credit card on file, which I’m working though with the finance department of my district.  Possible solutions: pre-paid credit card or gift cards?

The Kindle
Pros –

  • No social networking (and thus, a safer tool for students)
  • Allows you to read the first chapter for free (which would be great for previewing books and for student suggestions)
  • Integrated mp3 player for audiobooks/music
  • Read-to-me feature reads books aloud (albeit in a computer voice)

Cons –

  • Keyboard keys are bound to get popped off by some intrepid student, also harder to clean
  • Storage space isn’t expandable
  • Proprietary format (which goes against my librarian-belief in “free access”)

In the end, I’m 90% sure I’m going to decide on Nooks.  The main reason being, I’d rather handle the management issues of sharing than the more likely issues of hardware damage.  And real people as customer support goes a long way with me.  With that said, BN.com should get to work on that read-aloud or audiobook feature and add a 3mm audio jack.  It may not be an essential right now, but for K-12 schools that struggle to provide access for those with disabilities, that feature would be invaluable.

Do you disagree?  Tell me why in the comments if you like.

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