MEMBER BRAGS: What Are the Great Librarians of Tennessee Up To Now? Let’s Find Out!

Written by: Ginger Kirchmyer

It’s that time again….  It’s time to find out about all the great things we’ve been dong around the state. Recently we sent out a call for all our good news, and we got some real doozies this time! It’s always so impressive to see what our group is up to! Please remember to keep your area reps apprised of any great achievements, awards, steps forward, aha moments, and the like. We sure can learn a lot by watching one another. Enjoy reading about our amazing TASL colleagues this edition of TASLTalks!

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 6.43.23 PM

Scot Smith

Scot Smith is currently serving on the Teacher Advisory Council for the National Humanities Center. Scot will play an active role in the development, evaluation, and promotion of NHC materials and projects during 2018 and 2019. He recently spent two days in Durham, NC at a retreat at the NHC and completed fifteen hours of professional development by taking an online course on digital literacy. To learn more about the National Humanities Center and the programs it offers, please visit this link:

Scot has also been selected to serve on the conference committee for next year’s YALSA Symposium. That event took place in Memphis on November 1-3, 2019 and featured many of today’s top young adult authors as well as numerous sessions from librarians from all over the US.

Scot Smith is the librarian at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge and also teaches classes in Young Adult Literature at the University of Tennessee. He has been the co-chair of Tennessee’s Volunteer State Award since 2010. In 2017, he served as a member of the Michael J. Printz committee and was named an Outstanding Educator by Humanities Tennessee. He lives in Oak Ridge in a house in the woods with his wife, daughter, and two cats. 

Sounds like Scot is continuing to stay plugged in; we appreciate hearing about your great work Scot!

 Screen Shot 2018-11-04 at 9.21.11 PM.png
 Alice Faye & her book

Alice Faye, a TASL librarian from Memphis, has just published a book for the holidays! It’s called 12 Days of Christmas in Tennessee. It was illustrated by Nashville artist Mary Uhles. The book is about two cousins dressed in “ugly Christmas sweaters” who travel the three grand sections of the state to learn about famous Tennesseans and visit famous land formations and tourist sites. It’s suited for kids ages 6-10. Find out more by visiting here.

How fun! Thanks for sharing your accomplishment with us Alice! We are so excited to stand with you and cheer!! Alice Faye Duncan serves as a school librarian at Middle College High in Memphis, TN. She earned her National Board Certificate in 2007 and wrote her first book for young readers in 1995. Her books have received star reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, and SLJ. Her website is


Vicki Hines’ new biographies

Vicki Hines from Lebanon, TN just released three biographies that will be published in January! They are biographies written on a 5th grade level and published by State Standards Publishing. She wrote these because she says there were no books written about these men, and when students studied them, she had nothing to hand them except the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.

Vicki says she had seen how a children’s biography of an individual could take a paragraph in a social studies book and bring the person to life, and she wanted to do that for individuals in our state’s history. If you’d like more info on how to order these materials, visit the publisher’s site here. The books will be available through Titlewave beginning in January.

What a great resource and an inspiration. Maybe more of us need to start writing the resources our kids need! Way to step out and take action Vicki! Vicki Hines is the Library Media Specialist at Coles Ferry Elementary School in Lebanon, TN. She has been an elementary school librarian for ten years. Her family were some of Tennessee’s earliest settlers. Her students and her love for Tennessee’s history inspire her to write.

Suzanne Costner

Librarian, Suzanne Costner

Suzanne Coster from Fairview Elementary School has been keeping busy with book reviewing. Not only does she review for TASLTalks (she’s featured this month too!), but she’s been reviewing for the School Library Journal since the spring of ’07 also reviewed the new science books for the SLJ 2018 Spring Series Made Simple issue (April 2018).

She was invited to moderate the SLJ webcast “Supercharge Your Collection with New Fall Nonfiction” on September 18, 2018, and she will serve as moderator for a panel of authors at the NCTE Annual Conference next month in Houston. (The group is made up of nonfiction writers for children: Laurie Ann Thompson, Heather L. Montgomery, Jennifer Swanson, Ana Maria Rodriguez, and Sneed B. Collard III.)

Suzanne Costner is the Library Media Specialist at Fairview Elementary School in Maryville, TN. She is a reviewer for School Library Journal and blogs about new titles at In 2016 Suzanne was the first librarian to be named an Outstanding Educator by Humanities Tennessee. Whew! She sounds busy.  Anyone hear mover and shaker in her future!? 

Karen Callis

Librarian, Karen Callis

Another incredible Tennessee librarian is Karen Callis. Karen has posted on the TASLTalks blog before, so you may recognize the name! She recently became a NatGeo Certified Educator and has since been able to engage her students in virtual live interviews with people like oceonagrapher Dr Jonathan Giddens via YouTube. This has led to her students’ writing a book about pollution in our ocean.

Karen also has also begun a TED-Ed club at her school where her students research environmental topics, collaborate with other TED-Ed clubs around the globe, record the talks, and upload the videos to TED Talks YouTube channel.

Wow! We love hearing about cutting-edge ways that our librarians are connecting with our 21st century students. Karen Callis is the Librarian and Reading Enrichment Teacher for Chester County Middle School in Henderson, TN. She has presented the concept of going WILD in the library at TASL Road Trip West for the past two years. Follow her on twitter @KarenCLibrarian.


Jennifer Caudle and her eBook cover

TASL member Julie Caudle has recently been collaborating with her 8thgrade science team; she’s been needed mostly with the research elements, so she created a Research Tips eBook using Google slides.  She considered a video but felt the interactive eBook would be more practical since it has video clips and links to resources that students can refer back to any time.  It also enables other teachers in other classes to use this as well.

Students can download the ebook as a PDF on their phones or computers at home and access it that way so they aren’t required to access their school account.  All of the sources used in the ebook are her district’s approved softwares and programs and teachers can also share it in their Google Classrooms.

Take a look and consider modeling a similar resource after this incredible teaching tool. Amazing job, and thanks so much for sharing Julie! Julie Caudle is the Library Media Specialist at Page Middle School in Franklin, TN, where she also coaches the girls cross-country team, and is the sponsor of the Battle of the Books team, Project Lit Book Club and the Bag It and Book It Book Club. She is also a board member of the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival, and serves on the VSBA Committee for Middle and High School. She counts meeting her lifelong idol, Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter), as one of the main highlights of her life. You can follow Julie on Twitter @wonderlibrarian and on her blog, Wonder Librarian, where she shares more lesson and library programming ideas.

Also, don’t forget, we want to recognize our members all year long. One way is through our TASL Librarian of the Month award. We need your recommendations of librarians to recognize in order to make this happen.  Each month the TASL officers select the winning librarian. Once you recommend a librarian, you do not have to fill the form out again. Here’s that link.

As of January 1st, 2019 regions will be changing, so get to know your new region by using the map featured at the very bottom of this post! Until then, don’t hesitate to reach out to your current TASL Area Rep if you have any questions, concerns, and definitely if you have some brags!! We love hearing from you!! If you would be interested in being an Area Rep for our one of our new areas, please reach out to our President-Elect, Jennifer Sharp @

This current list is good through December 31, 2018. Scroll down for the new regions map.

Mississippi River Region Representative

Katherine Cozzens

Lake, Obion, Dyer, Lauderdale, Crockett, Tipton, Haywood, Shelby, Fayette

Western Plains  Representative

Sherry Copeland

Weakley, Henry, Gibson, Carroll, Madison, Henderson, Chester, Hardeman, McNairy

West Tennessee River Region Representative

Cindy Martin

Stewart, Houston, Benton, Humphreys, Decatur, Perry, Hickman, Lewis, Hardin, Wayne, Lawrence

Highland Rim Region Representative

Jackie Gregory

Montgomery, Robertson, Sumner, Macon, Dickson, Cheatham, Davidson, Wilson,Trousdale, Smith

Walking Horse Region Representative

Shannon Minner

Williamson, Rutherford, Cannon, Maury, Marshall, Bedford, Coffee, Giles,Lincoln, Moore, Franklin

Cumberland Region Representative

Julie Stepp

Clay, Pickett, Jackson, Overton, Fentress, Putnam, DeKalb, White, Cumberland, Warren, Van Buren, Grundy

Appalachian Region

Cathy Sanders

Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, Sullivan, Johnson, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Cocke, Greene, Washington, Unicoi, Carter

Volunteer Region Representative

Raina Scoggins

Scott, Campbell, Morgan, Anderson, Union, Knox, Roane, Loudon, Blount, Sevier

East Tennessee River Region Representative


Marion, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn, Monroe, Polk, Bradley, Hamilton


Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 5.33.36 PM.png

Here are our new area reps beginning January 1, 2019:
Buffalo River Region – pending
Clinch River Region – Cathy Sanders
Davidson County Region – Katelyn Jernigan
Falling Water River Region – Julie Stepp
Hamilton County Region – (seeking – let me know if you have any suggestions)
Hatchie River Region – Sherry Copeland
Holston River Region – Johnnie Sue Hawley
Knox County Region – Raina Scoggins
Obion River Region – Sandi Walden
Ocoee River Region – Martha Harris
Red River Region – Ginny Britt
Shelby County Region – Katie Cozzens
Stones River Region – Liz Hicks
Ginger Kirchmyer is a National Board Certified Teacher and the librarian at DuPont Hadley Middle Prep in Nashville, TN; she taught English in the classroom for 18 years before becoming a school librarian. In 2014 she proudly earned her MLIS from the University of Alabama. She currently serves as the TASLTalks Editor. She manages her own library website and posts her own blog as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: