TASL Librarians of the Month – September 2020

by Brandi Hartsell

Each month TASL recognizes three school librarians from across the state for their outstanding service to their school and community. Congratulations to the September 2020 Librarians of the Month.

East TN Librarian of the Month

Daniece McAmis

Name: Daniece McAmis

Hometown: Greeneville, TN

School: EastView Elementary

School District: Greeneville City School

Grades Served: PreK-5

Average # of Students Per Class: 20

What do you love most about being a school librarian?

I love reading to students! Students are NEVER to old to enjoy a read-aloud. There’s nothing better than hearing students beg to hear one more chapter.

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

If someone walked into the EastView library they would see me reading to students, students reading independently and in small groups, students reading online with digital platforms such as myON Reader, and students choosing the perfect book from the shelves. We are often finding books and online information for student research projects and interests. There are many conversations occurring about what books students have enjoyed or not enjoyed and what would be a great next read.

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

I am proud of the way I can supplement our classroom teachers’ curriculum through my library classes. I love being a part of what teachers are doing, extending their content into my class, supplementing their technology instruction, and helping them teach standards.

What advice would you give a new librarian?

Building relationships with your students is the most important part of being a school librarian. Books will always be lost and found, but your job is to make sure your readers are reading. Getting your READERS back is more important than getting your BOOKS back!

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

Helping our students to be savvy consumers of information is one of the most important skills I teach. One of my favorite activities I do in our library is teaching students to critically evaluate information they find online. I love using the Northwest Tree Octopus website to introduce this to my third graders. The website looks so real that they are believers at first, but as we explore the site they realize why they must look closely at online information to discover the authors’ motivations and biases.

Find Daniece’s lesson plan here.

Anything else you would like to share?

Being a school librarian is a job that’s full of benefits! We are privileged to share beautiful stories and watch these readers grow over several years. We hope to enable students to not just become consumers of content but creators as well. We also have the responsibility of teaching this generation the importance of evaluating information and using it ethically, and there’s never been a more important time for our society to do this.

Follow Daniece on Twitter @mcamisd

Middle TN Librarian of the Month

Nancy Hammons

Name: Nancy Hammons

Hometown: I have lived all around the United States, but point of origin is Decatur, Georgia. I consider myself a transplanted Nashvillian, now.

School: McGavock High School

School District: MNPS

Grades Served: 9-12

Average # of Students Per Class: 30

What do you love most about being a school librarian?

Helping a student who doesn’t usually read find a book that is loved so well, they come back asking for another.

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

Openness, light, plenty of seating.

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

Teaching kids how to find the RIGHT information.

What advice would you give a new librarian?

Be flexible, never stop learning, and advocate for yourself and your program

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

60 second book talks with book cafe. ~15 titles are described in 60 sec increments, and additional items of different genres are also pulled, cafe style. Allow students to check out at will after talks. Used successfully with classes full of reluctant readers.

Anything else you would like to share?

Virtual is hard, y’all!

Follow Nancy on Twitter @mcgavocklibrary on Instagram @mcgavocklibrary and on Facebook McGavock High School Library Media Center

West TN Librarian of the Month

Amy Balducci

Name: Amy Balducci

Hometown: Memphis, TN

School: Arlington High School

School District: Arlington Community Schools

Grades Served: 9-12

Average # of Students Per Class: 25

What do you love most about being a school librarian?

Besides being the best job in the school, I love helping students navigate their way through the research process and find solutions to their questions, but nothing compares to helping a student find just the right book to read.

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

If you walked into our library on a normal school day, you would see engaging displays that change frequently based on seasonal themes, monthly celebrations, or specific genre or author promotions. You would see students collaborating from an AP Research class or students from StudyHall working on a jigsaw puzzle. Our “Creative Commons” or makerspace would be bustling with students creating designs on the lego wall, constructing a Jenga tower, or just chilling out while coloring intricate designs. The library at AHS the hub of our school, and we love the activity and energy that students bring to the space.

What are you most proud of regarding your library program?

I am most proud of the culture that my coworker, LeAn and I have created within the walls of the library. Students feel that the library is a safe space, and we try to honor that by putting programs in place that encourage social-emotional learning.

What advice would you give a new librarian?

I would tell a new librarian to get involved in their state school library association like TASL. The wealth of resources and knowledge that you receive through conferences and professional development is invaluable. I would also tell them to connect with other local area school or district librarians. Having a network of professionals who do what you do and understand your day to day routines is so important for all school librarians, beginners to seasoned ones.

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

One of my favorite activities uses the app Flipgrid. I teamed up with our Creative Writing Teacher to use Flipgrid with her classes to create book reviews on a recent book that the students had read, but in a podcast-style format. Students were given a script template to use, and criteria for length was provided, but they could get as fancy as they wanted. I was blown away by the creativity that some of the students demonstrated through app smashing, music, and visuals. It was fun for all of us as the students presented their final products.

Anything else you would like to share?

Thank you for the honor of this award because there are so many librarians doing fantastic things with their library programs all over our state.

Follow Amy on Twitter @BalducciAmy and on Instagram @ahstigerlibrary

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: