Author Archives: bvrmiller

Not your average ebook…

Imagine reading a textbook with graphs;  not the basic two-dimensional graphs, but multi-touch interactive “info graphs”.   While reading, you can expand the graph, touch a legend on the graph and a visual representation of the legend is shown. As you touch each legend, the graph changes to visually show the data represented.  Some of these “info graphics” are interactive maps where, with touch of a finger, the reader can see on a map where a picture was taken.  On other pages there may be videos visually showing examples about the text or explaining in detail additional information.

These are all examples from a new interactive book publisher called “Push Pop Press”.  Push Pop Press is a start up company that has several prior Apple employees as their key team members.  The book is called “Our Choice” by Al Gore and it is the first book that they’ve published.  The book can be downloaded for $4.99 onto an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.  It is worth purchasing the book (even if you aren’t an Al Gore fan!) to see where future ebook technology may be heading.

I see many great possibilities for this type of book.  The digital photos were beautiful, the videos helped explain the text, and the info graphics are amazing (there is even a windmill video that the reader can start by blowing in the microphone) !  I’d love to hear everyone’s feedback – do you see this as a future possibility for a “new” ebook?

An example of the book can be seen by viewing a TED video ( ) or you can see the video and purchase the book on the Push Pop Press website (

Beth  Miller

Library Media Specialist

Crabapple  Middle School

Is Your Library Program Remarkable? defines remarkable as “worthy of notice or attention”.    In a 2003 TED video of Seth Godin  (“Seth Godin on Standing Out”), he describes remarkable as “worth making a remark about”.  Is your library program defined, is it worth making a remark about?  Have you been spreading your word, your programs, and your ideas; or do you feel stymied by management and teachers?

In this time of educational flux, library media specialists need to use marketing techniques to promote our efforts.  In the same TED video, Seth Godin talks about “idea diffusion” and I took this to mean, in library speak, “collaboration”.  It’s taking one good idea and spreading it so people will buy into the idea and want to purchase more.   As a media specialist, I have used collaborative successes to effectively market my programs to my principal and teachers.

Marketing Starts with Self Promotion

At the 2010 GLMA Summer Institute, colleague Martha Powell and I gave a presentation titled “Turn Your Desk Around”.  This title is descriptive about our media programs; if we are open, friendly, and visually show that we are willing to help (hence the outward desk) we have begun the first step in marketing ourselves.  We need to become self marketers and promote our programs and accomplishments to our patrons.  Furthermore, I’d suggest that we need to review and update our library programs regularly so we have new things to promote.

Change Perceptions – One Idea, One Program at a Time

As teachers we know the foundations of our lessons are based on a student’s prior knowledge of the subject.  Prior knowledge can also be the source of how our library programs are perceived by teachers, principals and our parent community.    Patrons who have been exposed to exemplary media programs are more likely to support our current endeavors.   Likewise, if their prior experiences of a library program were not positive, you may need to market your media programs in order to change their perceptions.

One way to self promote yourself and your program is through teaching.  Find a teacher or a team who you can share ideas (“collaborate”) with about a lesson that incorporates state standards.  Offer to teach the research skills of the lesson plan so you become an integral part of the class.  Market the collaborative process and the class success to other teachers.  Don’t be shy, ask the teacher(s) to give you positive recommendations.  Let your principal know about your accomplishments and add them to your newsletters.  Use these achievements as springboards for other collaborative lessons.

Other ideas for self promotion are to keep candy on your desk, observe and listen for ideas to help the staff and students in leadership meetings, and attend team/curriculum meetings.  I have an M&M dispenser  (the Statue of Liberty) and a bowl of Life Savers always available in my office.  Many of my lessons and library programs have begun from an idea that was garnered from a brief discussion as a teacher was picking up a Life Saver!

In addition to teaching lessons, I started another new concept for teachers this year.  After my media paraprofessional commented that staff morale was low (due to various reasons) we decided to see if we could modify the school atmosphere.  With the backing of my principal, we coordinated a monthly café with Publix donating sweets, the school providing the coffee and tea, and the media center staff hosting and providing the location.   Teachers smile as they walk through the media center looking for their cup of Joe and we have subtly marketed our library as being a sanctuary for their minds and body!

More ways of marketing your expertise include teaching a workshop on Web 2.0 topics (, Animoto, Movie Maker, etc), sponsoring a Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team, and volunteering to help in various capacities.  Media specialists may also want to review and revise reading programs each year.  Each time you put forth positive ideas and changes that demonstrate a willingness to support your patrons you are marketing yourself and your library program.  Once you get a few accomplishments promote them to your principal and ask their help in marketing your program to the teachers and community.

Let’s Be “Remarkable”

Let’s not let library programs become stagnant.  Continual revision of lesson plans, adding new displays to our libraries, partnering with new teachers for ideas, welcoming students to the media center, and being a leader in our schools are all ways to positively promote media programs.  Let’s be remarkable in our personal positions and for the overall promotion of our profession!

Beth Miller, Library Media Specialist

Crabapple Middle School