Operation:: TEEN BOOK DROP


Join rgz, GuysLitWire, and YALSA as we celebrate Support Teen Literature Day on April 16th! We’ll be dropping 8,000 books into hospitals across the country for teens.

You can participate by dropping a YA book in your community on April 16th. Grab a label from our website. http://www.readergirlz.com Then join our TBD Post-Op Party at our blog at 6:00 pm, Pacific. http://readergirlz.blogspot.com

Come Rock the Drop and show your love of YA lit!

An Extreme Librarian


I’m not much of a fan of the show Extreme Makeover. I hate the way it brings me to tears every daggone time I watch. I’ll be watching this week in May, though! A local Indianapolis man, Bernard McFarland, has been selected to receive a new home. He works for the same school district as me. Inspired by a librarian at an age, this young man has founded “Pack House 2000,” a program dedicated to helping exercise the minds and expanding the dreams of these youngsters by forming reading groups and organizing field trips to libraries, museums and cultural events throughout the city despite Bernard having few resources.  And, he his currently participating in the Indiana Librarians Leading in Diversity Program which will ultimately lead to a Master in Library Science.  (Applircations are currently being accepted for the second group of fellows.)

For more about Bernard and progress on the new home:





Congratulations to the McFarland Family!

When I grow up I wanna be………….

librarianSomeone recently called me a ‘literati’. It was a wonderful, yet undeserved compliment. Literati, I am not. My undergrad degree is in economics, I entered education as a Social Studies teacher and stumbled in to the field of librarianship through a love of books and a program that funded my MLS. I’m a school media specialist (i.e., librarian). I don’t wear a bun (hair’s too short), don’t shush people (often) and don’t get to spend any of my time during my work day reading. I think that’s the most dominant perception of school media specialists, so few people know what we do, including principals and superintendents in whose school we work. I even had an administrator regrettably tell me that when working on his administrative certification, he was told the library was one of two areas in a school that could be cut and the school wouldn’t feel the pain. This is such a sad, antiquated way to feel about media centers in the 21st century!!

Sure, I work to build a lifelong love of reading. I cannot tell you the joy I have when I get a student, who has never read a book before, to read and enjoy one! But, this is becoming the least of what I do.

I actually have a curriculum and it’s called ‘information literacy’. I teach students how to locate, select, organize and present information. I’m the one who teaches students how to search the Internet, what a good site looks like, how to use encyclopedias, book indexes, dictionaries, databases and other print and non-print reference sources. I teach students and staff how to use Word, PowerPoint, and search engines besides Google. I teach students (and teachers) about the ethical use of information. Teachers often come to me to help them plan and teach research lessons. I order books and materials they might use to support lessons they teach, organize lists of resources for units and sometimes make presentations to classes to provide background information. When I’m not working, I’m reading professional information, books in my library and mastering new technology skills (forgot to mention I also supply and train the school with cameras, SmartBoards, recorders, televisions and DVD players as well).

My youngest son used to tease me about doing nothing but reading all day since I’m a librarian. I wish! In fact, if there is a librarian job where you get to read all day, please call me!! There are too many days when I’d be tempted to take it!

Even with all that school media specialists do to help students be successful beyond high school (And we do way more than I’ve listed. We also plan programs after school and often collaborate with community members to bring more resources into the school. And, it seems everyone in the school thinks we’re they’re personal resource.) Even with all this, schools are still quick to cut our positions, expecting teachers or volunteers to maintain the libraries. When the trained professional is gone, they’re no long media centers: they are simply repositories of books!

I originally wanted to write this post to kind of explain why I so often have posts that deviate from books and readings, but I soon saw it as an opportunity to explain what your local school librarian does. It’s easy to lapse into complaining about how misunderstood our job is, but I’d rather surprise people with what I do than to do something because it’s expected! It’s also easy to complain about the poor shape of my own media center where in a school of 1500+ I now work alone to do what three of us used to do. But, at least I still have a job. Too many school media specialists around the country are losing their jobs. How are students being prepared for the new global economy when…???

I love working in the media center. I never felt such satisfaction as a classroom teacher. I’m still teaching, though just in a much larger classroom!

book review: Blue Jasmine

title:  Blue Jasmine                                                                    0003kgsh

author: Kashmira Sheth

publisher: Hyperion, 2004

main character: Seema Trivedi

(award:  Paul Zindel First Novel Award; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award; IRA Children’s Book Award: Notable Book)

Seema’s dad’s job is transferring him to work in the US. So, Seema and her immediate family pack up to move to be with him. This is not easy when all family seems immediate! Seema has tight bonds with her cousin who feels more like a brother, with her grandparents (nanaji and nanima) and even her classmates and neighbors.

Seema immediately made friends in her new home in Iowa, as children often do. Luckily, her new friends are in her class at school and they support her as she makes a few faux pas in learning the new culture and language and also when a new girl enters their class and bullies Seema. Seema is also able to turn to a neighbor, Mrs. Milan, at times to learn about new words, flowers and other little things in life. After a particular discussion, Seema tells her mom that she feels “strange calling Mrs. Milan, Mrs. Milan. It feels so…distant.” How often do we give such notice to the way we address people?

While this is Seema’s story, told in her twelve year old voice, we do get a few insights into adjustments made by her mom and little sister as well. Author Sheth makes us realize that not all people adapt to new situations in the same manner. She does make us realize that it is not easy for most people to relocate because of those we leave behind. Probably the most affecting part of the story is Seema’s relationships with Mutka. Or, was it with Carrie?! Through both, we learn to be careful how we treat one another.

Kidlit has a short interview with Kashmira Sheth in which she discusses the autobiographical nature of Blue Jasmine and the road to getting it published.

Blue Jasmine will appeal most to middle through 9th grade readers.

themes: bullying; Indian American teens; assimilation; loyalty

Splash Award


Thank you so much for nominating me for the Splash Award, Susan! The Splash award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring blogs.  Upon receipt of the award, one must

1) Put the logo on your blog/post.
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom your received your Splash award.

My nominees are

1.  Who is this guy??  He amazes and amuses, blogging at Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse!  Hat’s off, sir!

2. Thinking aloud is an amazing blog that reveals such a gentle soul who really rocks in the classroom!

3. What can I say? No one does it like Rose-Ann! Some days, I identify so much with what she’s feeling, other days I’m living vicariously!  Her blog is Currents Between Shores.

4.  My dear friend Sandy has a wonderful blog that keeps me connected to my other home in Taiwan.

5. Afrobella is the haaardest working blogger in the blogosphere!  She’s gonna make me a diva one day!

6.  I’ve gotta recognize all the wonderful talent over at the Brown BookShelf that shows us all how well working together works!

7. Lotus Reads is another blog I’ve just found. She’s good.  She’s really, really good. Intelligent, informative and independent.  This is a well written blog that should be on the blog roll of everyone who selects books for young/teen readers.

8. Zetta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanna be like you when I grow up!! LOL I’m probably old enough to be your……..aunt!!LOL

How ’bout an MLS degree?

Indiana Librarians Leading in DiversityThe Indiana State Library last summer received a $1 million grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to recruit 30 ethnically diverse students for the Indiana Librarians Leading in Diversity (I-LLID) project. The first class of 10 students began classes January 12, 2009. Seven students currently attend SLIS – Indianapolis and three students attend SLIS – Bloomington.

Potential candidates for the second class must apply to the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science (IU SLIS) before April 24, 2009. Candidates whose undergrad GPA is below 3.0 should take GRE as soon as possible. Fellowship awardees also must be accepted to the SLIS MLS program by June 30, 2009.

The Fellowship Application process is now open until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2009. Applications and more information can be found on the Indiana’s Librarians Leading in Diversity (I-LLID) webpage.


Unlike many people, I can’t name a favorite movie or a favorite song. I can, however name my favorite historian, now and forever: John Hope Franklin. Let perpetual light shine upon him.


It is with deep sorrow that Fisk University announces the loss of one of the nation’s preeminent historians and humanitarians, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Class of 1935 and Chairman Emeritus of the Fisk University Board of Trustees.  Dr. Franklin died this morning in North Carolina.

He was preceded in death by his wife and professional associate, Aurelia W. Franklin, Fisk Class of 1935.  Dr. Franklin earned international honors for his humanitarian contributions, as well as, his distinguished career as a professor, historical researcher, author and editor.

After graduating from Fisk, Dr. Franklin matriculated to Harvard University, the first African-American graduate student to be admitted unconditionally to a graduate program.  In 1941, he earned his doctorate in history from Harvard.

The time and place of a memorial service at the Fisk Memorial Chapel will be announced next week.

On June 11, 2009 at 11:00am the family will celebrate the lives and achievements of Aurelia W. and John Hope Franklin in the Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

In lieu of flowers and other expressions of sympathy, the family has requested that contributions be made to Fisk University and directed to the Aurelia W. and John Hope Franklin Endowed Scholarship Fund at the following address:

Fisk University
Office of Institutional Advancement
Aurelia W. and John Hope Franklin Endowed Scholarship Fund
1000 Seventeenth Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37208

“You can’t have a high standard of scholarship without having a high standard of integrity, because the essence of scholarship is truth.”
Dr. John Hope Franklin
Winston-Salem Journal
Aug. 6, 1989


Hazel R. O’Leary