From Sea to Shining Sea

This week has me feeling the national pride. Of course, there’s the 4th of July to celebrate! Plus, the Copa America just ended, Wimbledon is on right now, and the Olympics are coming up!

American Flag.jpg

Image Source: New York Times

As mentioned in my previous post, broadening the scope of my P.L.N. will help expose me to different perspectives, trends, and stories. Today I will be exploring the American Library Association (A.L.A.), a national organization, and seeing if it would make a good addition to my P.L.N.

I think the A.L.A. website is a great reserve of information. It is a site I plan on visiting regularly (and perhaps I’ll even set up an RSS feed). There are myriad of resources available including links to publications, professional tools, online learning opportunities, job lists, and community connections.

I am going to highlight two of the resources I find quite valuable. The first is the link to “Banned and Challenged Books” (accessible through the menu on the left-hand side). When creating my library displays each year, I like to include current information such as the top ten most challenged books in the last year. I put this information on bookmarks or on the board itself. This year, I may provide a QR link that connects to the following video.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 5.31.00 PM


They provide ideas and resources for how to promote Banned Books Week. Visit this page HERE and scroll through the options on the left-hand side (such as “Activity Ideas for Banned Books Week” and “Official Promotional Materials“). Last year, I printed out this poster to use in my displays:BBW15_518x800

Image Source: American Library Association

One of the display ideas that I’d like to reproduce is their promotion strategy of painting an entire display window black, with the exception of a small viewing hole. Over the black paint, paint the word “Caution” in big red letters. When curious patrons look through this peep hole, they will see a collection of banned or challenged books.

The other link I find extremely useful is their “ALA Online Learning” (accessible on the right-hand side of their homepage). They have a sizable list of webinars and eCourses, some free and some for a fee, on a variety of great topics. The School Libraries section offer such titles as “A 21st Century Approach to School Librarian Evaluation” (Free!), “Learn2Tweet: Build Your Twitter Talent 140 Characters at a Time” ($25 fee), and “Angry and Scared: Embracing the Concerned Parent” ($20/$25 member/nonmember fee). Many of these presentations include free resources that you can download, as well as links to related materials.

I decided to partake in the free webinar titled “A School Librarian’s Role in Preventing Sexting and Cyberbullying“. The teacher librarians in my district have decided that we want to collaborate on creating a parent presentation that concerns digital citizenship. Some of us plan to host a parent night, and some of us plan to deliver this instruction during school-planned meetings. For example, I have a parent group on my campus that meets once a month. I will be asking to be a presenter during one of these gatherings. The webinar was helpful in providing additional resources and inspiration. Laurie Nathan, the presenter, shared a relevant web resource: Netsmartz Workshop. This website offers information and presentations on all of the following issues:Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.13.41 PM.png

Image Source: Netsmartz Workshop

The issues I perused had videos (with accompanying speaking points), handouts, discussion starters, and statistics. One statistic that I plan to use in my parent presentation is that “About one-third of online teens (ages 12-17) have been cyberbullied. Girls are more likely to be targeted” (Lenhart, 2007).

When you have clicked into a specific issue, make sure you tour the links in the left-hand menu bar. Under the “Teach” tab, I would visit all of the provided pages. Under the “Watch” tab, I would recommend the “Real-Life Stories” tab. This website can be a resource for both educators and parents, as well as the students themselves. All material is age-appropriate.

The American Library Association provides many other ways of connecting with them, including their Facebook pagePinterest pageTwitter pageYouTube page. Their Facebook page alerted me to an upcoming webinar on advocacy I’d like to attend. If you’re interested too, click here. It’s a four-part series running in July and early August.


Lenhart A. Cyberbullying and Online Teens. Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2007.


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