February 2020 Librarians of the Month

Each month, TASL recognizes school librarians across the state for their significant contributions to their school community. These individuals are nominated by their peers based on their dedication to their school and library. Below you will find information about the February 2020 Librarians of the Month. We appreciate all you do and would like to thank you for sharing your stories.

East TN Librarian of the Month

IMG_8148 - Jennifer Spengler

Name: Jennifer Spengler

Hometown: Dayton, TN

School: Dayton City School

Grades Taught: Pre-K-8

Average # of Students Per Class: 20

What do you love most about being a school librarian?

I love connecting students with books that they are interested in reading, and I enjoy when students talk to me about books that they loved reading!

What would someone see if they were to walk in your library?

When people enter the library, they may see me and my assistant helping students with book selections or find me teaching a class. I try to make the environment welcoming and relaxing!

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

I am proud of the changes that have been made since I took the librarian position 5 years ago after being a classroom teacher. We try to plan things regularly to encourage students to read and we do fun things for teachers, too, to try to encourage them to use resources that the library has to offer. I have made changes to the layout of the library (genrefied fiction chapter books) and we’ve made changes to many procedures and policies, like library fines, that just didn’t make sense for our student population. I am always trying to find new things to try and different ways to promote literacy to our school community. I promote student choice in the library and will always take a stand for that over students choosing a book based on the reading level!

What advice would you give a new librarian?

Be part of a PLN, even if it’s all through social media! My school is a 1 school district in the city limits, and there are no other PreK-8 librarians in my district or the county district! I am always finding new ideas by being part of many online communities of school librarians.

Middle TN Librarian of the Month

me - Julie Potter

Name: Julie Potter

Hometown: Dickson, TN

School: Dickson Middle School

Grades Taught: 6th Grade-8th Grade

Average # of Students Per Class: 30

What do you love most about being a school librarian?

Getting to know my students and hearing their perspectives on various books. I especially love having them give me reviews over the Project Lit books that address the social issues they face in day to day settings.

What would someone see if they were to walk in your library?

My creative writing six classes, the tech carts I manage and a clean, welcoming library setting.

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

My connections with my students and their perspectives.

What advice would you give a new librarian?

In order to create a warm, welcoming environment that middle school students will enjoy take the time to talk to them about the things that interest them. Tell them good morning, asking them how try-outs went, etc. Getting to know your students and showing them you care will help build relationships and create an environment your students will enjoy.

If you are willing, please provide us with a favorite activity description that we can share with other professionals. 

Our inspiration unit has got to be my favorite. After defining inspiration and providing examples of the various places we can gain it, I have my students create a 10 slide google presentation over their own inspiration. They then present it to the class. This unit is such a rewarding experience for everyone. It builds relationships and respect through the entire culture.

Find a copy of Julie’s presentation here.

Anything else you would like to share?

Thank you for this honor. I look to improve my library services more with each coming year. I am blessed to work in a caring, supportive culture the cultivates both student and staff growth.

Follow Julie on Twitter @JuliePotterTN.

 

West TN Librarian of the Month

Librarian of the month Author's Desk - REBECCA DODD

Name: Becky Dodd

Hometown: Henderson, TN

School: Whiteville Elementary School

Grades Taught: Pre-K through 8th Grade

Average # of Students Per Class: 17

What do you love most about being a school librarian?

Sharing and reading good books with students!

What would someone see if they were to walk in your library?

A visitor would most likely see students reading comfortably on the furniture, searching for a book in the online card catalogue, working together as a group on a project at their table, completing a writing project at the Author’s desk or checking out books at the self checkout station. In our library students often move freely while on task.

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

I am most proud of orienting our library toward student use. Students have access to book shelves, self checkout stations, card catalogue, and materials at the Author’s desk. In addition, students have a comfortable seating area in which to read. Students utilize every inch of our library!

What advice would you give a new librarian?

Where to begin?! Create rules and procedures for your library and teach them the first weeks of school. Read the books on your shelves so you can recommend them. Occasionally allow students to see you physically reading a book! When you read silently with them, they see you prioritizing reading and that creates a culture of reading. TALK to other librarians! Best place to do that….? TASL conference!

If you are willing, please provide us with an activity we can share with other professionals. 

This year I have added the Author’s Desk. I wanted to create an answer to the maker space trend, in our library. I pulled in a couple of abandoned teacher desk, covered some boxes with contact paper and created the Author’s Desk. I collected colored paper, colored ink pens, scissors and glue for students to write and publish an informative, persuasive, narrative or opinion paragraph. From brainstorming to publishing, students experience the full writing process at the Author’s Desk.

Check out Rebecca’s library website here. You can also follow Rebecca’s school Facebook page here.

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