Genre Shelving!

I’ve been planning to genre shelve for a while now. Last year I started the project of color coding books by genre. Over the summer and since the beginning of the school year, I finished up with the color coding. I ended up going back and breaking Mystery/Adventure into their own separate categories, which was definitely a good call.

I have a volunteer grandmother who is GREAT! She’s a retired teacher and she’s willing to work on those monotonous tasks that I never seem to get around to doing. Last week she started going through and changing books in the catalog so we’ll actually be able to find and track books by genre. I’ve decided not to change the spine labels since they’re color coded and that makes for VERY easy shelving. I do want them changed in Destiny, though, so students will know which section to search. So instead of FIC COO for Caroline Cooney’s books, it will be F M COO to signify that it’s in the mystery section.

I was planning to wait on re-arranging until the move this summer. I was going to go through and box up by genre. It all made sense. Alas, patience is not my virtue. Not by a long shot. Seeing all of my genre stickers just DYING to get together with their brothers and sisters made me impatient. So at the end of last week, I decided I couldn’t wait anymore and I started moving things around…


Movin’, movin’, movin’….


So I just started moving things around, because I’m a spastic nut. I decided it was time and I WENT! My BFF and wonderful 6th grade ELA teacher got a little nervous when I told her I just started moving things. She’s a planner and list maker. I make her anxious sometimes! So at dinner we did a napkin diagram to make plan for the arrangement…

She moved her classes to the library the next day (which was last Friday) and helped me stay sane and get things in place. We ROCKED it and everything is now arranged by color! SCORE!

It was EXTREMELY dusty, so I used my handy pink and zebra print duster.

This experience was not without its moments of overwhelming stress. A teacher snapped this picture of me having a minor panic attack in the middle of my crazy move!

In the end, though, it all worked out beautifully. BEAUTIFULLY! I even created these snazzy genre signs, which was an idea stolen from my pal Tamara Cox, who used Wordfoto to design her shelf signs as well.

Check ’em out! I’ll be posting them on my Flickr account very soon so you can grab and use them if you’d like!


So far, the students are LOVING this new arrangement! I think that it’s really going to enhance their browsing experience. I think it’s also going to help me tremendously with collection development — I’m already noticing what areas need more attention.

Now, to decide if I’m going to rearrange the nonfiction section, too…

What Hanson has taught me about passion…

So guess what I did last night? I went to my 5th Hanson concert 🙂

cc Photo by Rebecca Bollwitt

I love Hanson. I am a devoted fan and have been for about 15 years now. Everyone who knows me KNOWS that they are my favorite band and has been forced to listen to the million reasons that I love these guys. At a time when fame is fleeting and young celebrities often fall to addiction or scandal, Isaac, Taylor, and Zac are not cut from the same cloth. For one thing, they put out real, clean, inspired music. They are grounded and family oriented, devoted to their music and to philanthropic work with their organization Take the Walk. And on top of all of that awesomeness, they are incredibly talented. They are the whole package — singers, musicians, and songwriters. They just ooze creativity and originality…and yeah, hotness 🙂

So you might be thinking, “I didn’t even know those kids were still around? They’re actually still playing concerts and putting out albums?” UM, YES! They never stopped. And they still have a really strong fan base. I’m talking crazy devoted fans. And we are devoted because they are genuinely good guys that are incredibly passionate about what they do.

From last nights show…. so much <3 and greatness!

So what have the brothers of Hanson taught me about passion?

Do what you love; love what you do. Anyone who has seen Hanson perform live can feel their passion when they play their music. The music they play is their own creation and something that they are obviously proud of. They have fun and you can see it in their faces. I’m sure they have their bad days — we all do — but you can really tell that they are doing what they love and have followed their hearts to build their career.

Don’t sell out. The guys have managed to stay grounded and committed to their beliefs consistently throughout their career. There was a point early in their career where they could have sold out to try and follow the trends, but they didn’t. They stayed firm in their beliefs and stayed true to their music. In fact, they have become even more focused on their passion and goals as they grew up. They’ve found ways to use their music to partner with other groups working to bring relief to those who need it in Africa. If what others want from you is not the vision that you have for yourself, you’ll come to the point where you have to decide to stay true to your passion or sell out. It’s inspiring to see stories where people have stayed true and faithful to what they are passionate about.

Don’t give up. 15 years later and these guys are still making and playing music. In the music industry, that’s a long freakin’ time. Especially for a group whose oldest member is 30. And I have faith that they still have many years of beautiful music making ahead of them. Knowing what you’re passionate about at a young age is rare. Sticking with it even when it isn’t easy is seen even less. I consider myself blessed to have learned what I am truly passionate about so early in my career. I know that there are so many days where it would be easier if I could just let it go and just do what’s necessary, but I don’t think I could be content to just coast (and I hope I never find out!).

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and mix things up. Even though Hanson still embraces their past (and always play MmmBop at a concert), they are always trying new things and putting themselves out there. Taylor collaborated with an amazing group of artists and they put out an album as the band Tinted Windows (I had to travel to NYC to see them perform, but thats a whole different topic about obsession, not to be confused with passion). Hanson is currently on their Musical Ride Tour and they are crowd sourcing each performance, so to speak. Those attending at each venue have the chance to vote from three of their released albums to select which will make up the bulk of the songs played for that night. Talk about trying something a little off the wall! They have to be able to play basically off the cuff any song from their five major albums. They aren’t afraid to push themselves musically, and the results are always amazing.

These three brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma inspire me, as they have for many years. Their music has been known to perk me up on a bad day. Seeing them in concert evokes the crazy emotions of my crazy 13 year old self. But most importantly, they set the example of what it means to commit yourself to do what you love and follow your passion.

I also love and am inspired by my BFF Desti! We have shared our Hanson love since middle school! I wish I had pictures of us to post from all 5 of our shows, but this is from last night…such a great time!

Change is Hard

Beware of this post. It’s been building up for a while. It’s my honest thoughts that have been brewing inside me for weeks now.

No one told me that being a change agent and trying to make progress happen was going to be this hard. This is how I feel:

I feel like we really aren’t getting anywhere. I worry that I have a major philosophy difference with decision makers. I worry that the vision I have, what I want to see and experience in an education environment isn’t realistic. I worry that I live in a place that is too traditional for my way of thinking. I worry that I’ll never be at a place where I can feel “THIS is it” and that I won’t be content until I’m there. I’m consumed. I’m incensed. I’m exhausted. I know what I want for my students — I’ve seen it in what some of my colleagues are doing around the country. My kids deserve it. I try so hard to make it happen. Change is hard. Change is slow. Change doesn’t feel like it’s happening for me. I’m tired of having these thoughts so many times every day. I’m tired of feeling frustrated. I’m tired.

I need to disconnect, regroup, and re-prioritize. I’m going to take a break from fighting battles. But I can’t yet because I have too much in the works. I’m thinking the middle of next week would be a good time to schedule a break. And this fact alone probably sums up my issues pretty well.

So this is where I am right now. No easy solution, no resolution to my internal turmoil. Some reassurance that this is necessary or that it will lead to progress would be nice, but probably not a realistic hope. So I’m going to try to keep calm and carry on. I saw that on a poster somewhere, right? So first I’m going to try to find some calm and go from there.

Rambling over.


Reason 5731 Why I <3 Middle School

I just love when I am reminded why I love middle school. These kids are just so much fun and out the box!

As I’m working on getting textbooks distributed last week, one of my 8th grade girls tells me I HAVE to check out her fingernails. I adore nail polish. At that particular moment, I was rocking my new crackle polish — maroon base with silver crackle. Go Wildcats! I thought it was pretty much the best until this girl showed me her polish. There was print on her nails! The ultimate librarian fashion statement! Naturally, I ran home and tried this out:

How awesome is this?! Here’s how you do it:

Paint your nails in the base color and let it completely dry. If you don’t let it dry completely it will mess up the texture. After it’s dry, dip a finger in rubbing alcohol. Then press newsprint over that nail. Press the print over the nail for a few seconds, then peel it off. Don’t wait too long or the newspaper will stick. You have to do this pretty quickly and one nail at a time. Afterwards, apply a clear top coat. LOVE!

So to all of my trendy library grrlz, go fancy up your nails! Start a trend at your school 🙂



What I’ve been up to…

I’m relaxing after a busy first week back at school. This was a week full of meetings and ID making for me. Issuing IDs is one of my responsibilities in the library. I took advantage of this and made my own ID a little different…fun!

I’ve been on a hardcore mission these last few weeks to push for more opportunities for my teachers and students to use collaborative, creative tech tools. There’s been lots of talk about Missouri’s new law regulating teacher-student communication on social networks. Here in Louisiana, we have a law that regulates digital communication between teachers and students as well. The way I read it, it seems kind of vague and districts can interpret it and write their policies accordingly.

In my district’s policy, it’s interpreted in a strict way. Any communication by a teacher with a student in our district must be for educational purposes through a medium provided by the district. All communication not relating to educational services through any medium between teachers and students in the district is prohibited. The exception is for immediate family members — basically you can text and FB friend your child. You can text or friend your niece, nephew, cousin, etc. that is a child in the system IF you have written documentation on file with the school. You may not communicate electronically with your children’s friends or kids you mentor through your church youth group if you are a teacher and they are a student in the district. But one of our district initiatives is building relationships. Just not through digital communication, I guess.

Also, we are limited to using “district provided means and/or devices” for educational purposes only. Where do web 2.0 tools like Glogster, Voki, Animoto, Edublogs, and Edmodo fit into this? That’s where I’m trying to start my mission. Obviously, I think there is a lot of change that needs to happen. The first thing I think we need is the opportunity to use these tried and true tools that so many have found successful when used with their students. So that’s where I am right now. I am so incredibly lucky to work with some amazing, tech savvy teachers that are 100% about providing their students with the creative learning experiences they need. This is how I know we’ll get there.

Change is hard. It’s particularly hard to get people onboard when technology makes them feel uncomfortable or fearful. I’m putting together a presentation on understanding the importance of your digital footprint, because I think that’s something that most people just don’t get the importance of. Great things are going to happen this school year. It’s not going to be easy or comfortable, but it’s worth it if it is what’s right for the students.

Lessons learned from Harry Potter

I cannot believe that this weekend, so many of us got our final first taste of a new Harry Potter movie. It was really hard for me to bring myself to go out and see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 because that meant it was over. I didn’t go out and see it on opening night. Instead, I had a Harry Potter movie marathon and saw the new movie on Sunday night. I’ve been wallowing in my Harry Potter ending for days now. It’s been part of my life for so long! I could write a million posts on lessons learned from Harry Potter and why it’s so awesome. But instead I’m going to elaborate on three of the most important and meaningful lessons I’ve learned from the series.


The aversion that many have to the Harry Potter series is it’s length. It spans over seven years, for crying out loud! And Harry perseveres through it all. For seven years, he was constantly hit over and over with situations that required so much from him. Through all of his trials, he never gave up. He always managed to hold on to his faith and understanding of what is right. Things didn’t always turn out perfectly. Things sure weren’t easy. But despite all of the challenges Harry faced, he held on to what he truly believed and persevered.

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Dumbledore in the Goblet of Fire 

Dumbledore has so many powerful, thought provoking quotes throughout the books and movies. He’s the wise old owl and he knows what’s up. And I think this quote is probably my favorite from our favorite witty, powerful wizard. And he’s so right — we all have to decide if we are going to take the right path or the easy path. There’s always an easier way out of a situation. As educators, it’s so important that we put forth the time and effort to do what is right. That’s what we signed up for. To do what is right for our students, even if it isn’t the easy thing. Isn’t that what we try to teach our students to do? How can we expect them to do this if we don’t lead by example?

You can’t do it alone!

Would Harry have made it through a single one of the challenges he faced without the help of his friends? I’m thinking no! Harry surrounded himself with smart, brave, trustworthy friends. This didn’t happen by chance, it happened because Harry is a smart dude! We have to surround ourselves with good people that will support us and enrich our lives. Then we can accomplish great things together, just like Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

It’s so sad to know that there’s no new Harry Potter magic to look forward to. Thankfully, I have the books on my shelf and the movies in my DVD collection so I can visit with and feel empowered by my dear friends as often as I’d like.

ISTE11 Reflections

So I’m a week out from my incredible ISTE11 experience and my head is still spinning. I’m trying to take my experiences and decide how I want to apply them in the coming school year — plus I’m getting ready for EdCamp Louisiana this Saturday AND working on my grad courses. It’s no wonder my head is spinning, right??

ISTE10 was an eye opening experience for me. I was *sort of* of blogging and tweeting, so I knew some names and recognized some faces. That conference really opened up a whole new world for me. I was green in the area of Web 2.0 and that was where I got my roots. I was a sponge and I absorbed so much.

I was looking forward to a completely different experience this year. ISTE11 was all about the people. It was like I was deeply breathing in both excitement and comfort for five straight days. I was able to connect with people I follow, respect, and admire. But this year it wasn’t just me sitting there freaking out about meeting my library idols, it was a chance for me to meet and connect with people that I interact with and learn from constantly. It was refreshing.

I know I sound like a cheese ball, but it was totally awesome. TOTALLY. AWESOME.

I did attend some awesome sessions, learned about some fabulous tools, took away some great new ideas. I even got a FREAKING LIVESCRIBE PEN! But the way I learned at ISTE11 was completely different than how I learned at ISTE10. And for the place where I am professionally right now, it was exactly what I needed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I left with some sweet tools that I plan to use, including Evernote (why did I never try this before? do I use it to replace diigo?) and I’m excited to share Edmoto with some of my teachers. And, did I mention, I now have a Livescribe Pen? 🙂

I think the most important thing that I received from the conference was a renewed sense of passion about what I do (and need to do). And it was much needed affirmation that what I’m doing and my way of thinking is valid. It is my job to be a curator of resources. And an information and research ninja. And the creator of a place where students feel safe and welcome. And I love what I do. And I LOVE my people…you know who you are! ::MUAH::