Blog Archives

So read me maybe…

We’ve probably all enjoyed some version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe.” (My favorite is probably Cookie Monster’s version.) But thanks to my Pinterest obsession I found this, and with the dedication of some hard-working library science students, we made this bulletin board. Students can scan the QR codes to watch the trailer and then check out the book of the one they like! Fun with a purpose is always a good thing.


Holly Frilot, Collins Hill High School

Unlimited E-Learning at Webjunction Georgia!

From the Georgia Public Library Service:

I’m writing to announce a couple of enhancements to Webjunction Georgia (WJGA). Effective immediately, WJGA members (you must be an employee of a public, academic, or school library in the state; an employee of GALILEO; a trustee of any Georgia library or library system; or a library science student at Valdosta State University) will be able to enroll in unlimited courses without charge. Here’s a short video promoting the changes that I encourage you to share with your colleagues throughout our library community.

The highlights of these enhancements include:

  • Free, unlimited access to 300+ courses available anytime, selected for relevance to libraries.
  • Simplified course enrollment process
  • All course prices are set to $0. You no longer need to apply for a free course scholarship and deal with the complexities of that process.
  • If you are already enrolled in a course, you will continue to have access to the course for 12 months from the date you enrolled.
  • You must be a WJGA member and logged into your account to see the course catalog on our page,

Also, Webjunction has enhanced how it handles its webinars. WJGA members will now receive advance registration notices for WJ webinars and attendance certificates that may qualify for continuing education credit. All members of the WJ community will continue to enjoy the free online webinar programming that WJ offers each month.

The Webjunction service provided by GPLS can be an invaluable resource in supporting your continuing education and learning needs. Please share this message or our promo video with your colleagues and encourage them to register for a WJGA account if they have not done so already and begin enjoying unlimited access to quality, online learning.

Feel free to shoot Jay an email or give him a call if you have any questions!

If you decide to sign up for a Webjunction account…please read this information:

  • Signing up for an account is easy and membership is free for your media specialists — there’s nothing that an individual, their school system, or individual school needs to purchase.
  • All that a media specialist will have to do is go to the Webjunction Georgia site, click “Create an Account,” and then complete a short application.   Accounts are typically approved within 72 hours.
  • Since there is a limit to the total number of active users I can have in the system at any given time, I ask that people to contact me if they try out WJGA and decide that they won’t actively use it. This will allow me to deactivate those accounts to free up space for other potential users.
  • In the event that we hit our cap, I will selectively reduce the number of non-public library user accounts in the system, which could result in some/all media specialists being booted from the system. I really don’t think this will happen, but I just want you to know in the interest of full disclosure (and I’d definitely communicate with you in advance if I suspected this would be necessary).

Jay Turner| Director, Continuing Education| Georgia Public Library Service

1800 Century Place, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30345-4304

404.235.7124 | 404.235.7201 fax | |

Yes You Can! Library Girl’s Tips for Getting That Grant!

With mandated library funding rapidly becoming a thing of the past, grant writing is no longer just a nice skill to have.  Rather, it is a necessary and important part of the school librarian’s job description.  While I certainly haven’t received every grant I’ve ever applied for, these strategies have helped me earn over $30,000 of supplemental funds for my school library over the last several years.  I hope they will help you too!

Think Locally: There are tons of great federal and corporate grants out there and some of them offer big pots of money.  However, with big pots come big competition and, sometimes, big strings attached.  Plus, local foundations, businesses and civic organizations have something the big boys don’t -and that’s a potential tie to your community.  You’ve got a better chance at making a personal connection with your application, if the folks reading it *know* your school or even just your community or region.  Regardless of the grant you’re applying for, it’s important to use the limited number of words you’ve been given to paint a picture for the team reading it. Taking a shot at winning some homegrown grant dollars, makes doing that a little bit easier.

It’s Okay to Put the Cart Before the Horse: While it may seem logical to identify a need in your library BEFORE hunting for grant monies, sometimes locating the grant first can yield better results.  Let’s face it, most organizations offer grants, at least in part, to further their own agendas.   In addition to whatever tax benefit an organization receives for giving you their money, publically aligning themselves with certain causes can also serve as a potential shot in the arm for the donor.  The reality is that grant committees consider more than just your needs when deciding which applications to fund, they also look at which proposals best meet their needs.  Therefore when you’re hunting for a grant, try to look at it from the donor’s perspective.  Do you have a need that furthers the mission of the funding organization?  Is there a programmatic match between your library and the company donating the money?  Besides the obvious boon of philanthropy, what does the donor get from giving their money to you?  In other words, ask yourself not what this grant can do for you, but what you can do for the grant provider.

There No Such Thing as One Stop Shopping:  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something akin to a grant supermarket out there?  A free money mega store, where you could simply stroll down the “grants for great libraries” aisle, read a few labels and then fill your cart with all the items on your list!  Alas, no such place exists in either the real or virtual world.  However, what we have is even better: we have each other!  When I was asked to write this post, I spent some time thinking about where I’d found grants over the years.  Through that reflection, I realized that all of the grants I have received were brought to my attention as a result of being involved with my professional community.  Whether stumbling across a grant in the pages of School Library Journal, in a post on a library listserv, posted on one of the blogs I subscribe to or while sharing resources on twitter, it’s that involvement with my colleagues that always leads me to the best stuff.

Put Those Research Skills to Work: As research specialists, grants provide us with the opportunity to follow the very advice that we give our students every day.  Regardless of the grant you are applying for, be sure to: proofread, (you only get one chance to make a first impression and spelling and grammar mistakes do not convey professionalism), follow the donor’s instructions to the letter, (a failure to follow instructions is often the first criteria used by the donor to eliminate applicants from consideration), and, if possible, cite research that supports the program for which you are requesting funding.

Be Prepared: Back in library school, Dr. Karen Lowe told me to begin each school year by preparing  an up to date personal statement – as though I was, at that moment, applying for a grant.  Although they are sometimes called different things, every grant requires this step:  a statement (usually a few pages) dedicated to telling the donor about your school.  Most of the information they require is statistical, but sometimes you are asked to describe your school or the types of learners you serve.  What Dr. Lowe suggested turned out to be some of the best grant related advice I’ve ever received.  Each year I update this personal statement with the most recent enrollment, demographic and socioeconomic information at my disposal.  Then I spend some time thinking about my school and our learners, tweaking each descriptive element as necessary.  Then, when the grants come along, I’m ready.  An aside:  this proved very true just last year when a $6,000 grant for art related library materials was brought to my attention only 2 days before the deadline.  Thanks to Dr. Lowe’s advice, I was able to submit an application on time – and what do you know?  We got it!

Be Fierce! Joyce Valenza recently declared 2011 the “Year to be Fierce,” encouraging all school librarians to “own power, clearly define our roles, [and] design our future.” When it comes to supplementing our dwindling budgets with grant monies, we must also be fierce.  Fierce librarians never say “I can’t.”  There’s no doubt, times are tough.  But we are tougher.   So… go get ‘em!

Jennifer LaGarde (aka Library Girl!) is the Lead Media Specialist for New Hanover County Schools as well as well as the Teacher Librarian at Myrtle Grove Middle School in Wilmington, North Carolina. After 10 years as a middle school Language Arts teacher, in 2007, Jennifer traded in her red pen for a classroom with a lot more books, when she began her career as a Media Specialist/Teacher Librarian. Jennifer is a confirmed gadget girl with a penchant for reading, learning and rabble rousing who believes the world would be a better place if only it were run by librarians. When she’s not blogging, tweeting or playing Words with Friends, Jennifer can be found making mischief with her husband and two dogs.

Invitation to Participate: School Library Media Specialists and Technology Integration Survey 

Survey via kwout

from Melissa Johnston via the aaslforum list-serv:

Posting on behalf of Dr. Nancy Everhart and Dr. Marcia Mardis. Please excuse cross postings.

We are gathering information from school librarians on how they are integrating technology in their schools. We hope this research will help to further define the role of the school librarian in technology integration efforts. Now is your chance to express your opinion!

The survey will only take about 15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary and there are no foreseeable risks associated with this project.  However, if you feel uncomfortable answering any questions, you can stop answering questions on the survey at any point without being penalized.

If you agree to participate in the study, you will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card. If you decide NOT to participate in this study, you will NOT be penalized. Research staff will only use your name and address (if provided by you) to send you additional information or for the drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card, if you indicate you are willing.

If you would like to participate in this research project, the survey can be accessed at Please complete the survey by December 1, 2010. We are sending this to a number of lists. Please excuse the cross posting.  Thank you for your help.

Nancy Everhart, Director, PALM Center
Marcia Mardis, Associate Director, PALM Center

Buffy Hamilton, Ed.S.
Creekview High School
GLMA Communications Chair

Is there still a box?

In a recent Voya online exclusive super school librarian Joyce Valenza shared her “Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians.” I knew right away that I wanted to share what she had to say on the GLMA blog so I started to read to look for her most thought-provoking statement to use as the subject line. I ended up choosing the last item on her list of things school librarians should unlearn. Is your practice at the point where you are doing so many things differently that you really can’t identify the box you’re thinking outside of? That is a powerful idea!

Joyce’s article is full of great links to examples of the kind of practice that she identifies as non-negotiable for 21st century learners. 

The creator of this image (creative commons attribution) says it is a tornado on a “squared sky afternoon.” That seemed like a perfect match for Joyce’s powerful ideas!

Judi Repman, Georgia Southern University