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jHVfjd sjdjd November 2010 Volume 28, Issue 1

Hudson Valley Library Association

Fall Newsletter

Formed in 1959, HVLA brings together librarians from independent K-12 schools in the Hudson Valley area. Website: Twitter: @HVLA_Librarians

A Letter from the HVLA President… HVLA got off to a good start this year with an October meeting at Hackley School in Tarrytown. It was a lovely time of year, with abundant changing leaves. I enjoyed the beautiful MetroNorth ride along the Hudson River. There was a good turnout, especially considering it was an out-of-town, Saturday meeting. We toured the new Hackley library and filled both of its computer labs. Meeting time was spent sitting at computers with colleagues by our sides, exploring and chatting about Ebooks and databases. There was always someone nearby to ask a good question, answer a good question, or share ideas. Of course, now the vendors are ready to hear from us. How can we unite as a consortium to receive better pricing for digital products? Perhaps the next step should be a meeting to discuss our goals and find common ground. Meanwhile, Laura Pearle and Pam Starobin have formed a committee to explore alternatives to Nylink, such as Lyrasis or WALDO. I attended an inspiring conference this fall: “Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point,” a virtual summit sponsored by Library Journal and School Library Journal ( An entire, day-long conference from the comfort of my own desk. It was wonderful! I especially enjoyed the ability to move from program to program without physically running from room to room in a convention center. Just a few clicks between one panel and the next, or between the exhibit hall and the networking (chat) area.

What’s Inside: Database & eBook Roundup 2 Keep It Fresh in the Library


Diversify – YALSA Symposium 3 BookFest Returns!


Keep It Fresh (continued)


Spotlight on Professional Development


HVLA Divisional Groups 6 HVLA Notes


After 8 hours of listening and asking questions, I came away without a perfect solution for our library. But I did come away knowing what the options are, understanding the pros and cons, and seeing glimmers of what the future holds. I think of Ebooks in five categories: 1) Reference Ebook collections (i.e. Gale Virtual Reference Library and Oxford Reference Online); 2) Ebook collections (Questia, Ebrary and Netlibrary); 3) Free Ebooks online (I am working my way through Joyce Valenza’s Ebook pathfinder,; 4) Ebooks for pleasure reading on kindles, ipads, and other devices (Overdrive may have some competition on the way thanks to BLIO); and 5) Textbooks. In the Sacred Heart upper school library we have bought into Reference Ebook collections, and they are constantly in use. We have two kindles and one ipad that are barely used at all. I am loathe to buy into an Ebook collection such as Questia or Netlibrary until their new owners, Gale and Ebsco respectively, can describe exactly how they plan to integrate them into their suite of products. It sounds like Ebrary will stay as is. But I want to see what the others might become before I invest. It is less the monetary investment than the investment in time that it will take to teach students how to use (and cite!) the product we choose that concerns me. On the other hand, I cannot wait to get rid of carts of project books. We need to provide an online collection so that 20 students can use the same books overnight if need be. Much to think about. Fortunately, the folks at Library Journal and School Library Journal are busy planning another event for the spring! Angela Carstensen HVLA President & Director of Library Services at Convent of the Sacred Heart

Page 2 of 6 Database & eBook Roundup HVLA Fall Meeting Recap The HVLA fall meeting took place on Saturday, October 16th at Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY.

Goodhue Memorial Hall – The Heart of Hackley (pictured above); Inside Goodhue Library (pictured below)

The hands-on meeting gave HVLA librarians a chance to try out more than 50 databases and ebook platforms at all levels of interest. Ultimately, HVLA hopes to work towards consortium pricing for its members. If

you want to weigh in on this matter, contact HVLA members Laura Pearle ( and Pam Starobin (pamela_starobin@horace to get involved. They have started a committee to explore this very matter. In addition to a morning full of database trials and ebook discussions, many

of the librarians present met to chat about their Collection Development policies. The meeting ended with a tour of Hackley’s new library facilities. Be sure to visit for a closer look at the history and dramatic rebuilding of Goodhue Library at Hackley School.

Keeping it Fresh in the Library Change at Nightingale-Bamford by Diane Neary, Nora Lidell, & Lois Strell

 CHANGE AND BALANCE Over the course of the last ten years or so, library collections have become increasingly diverse. Since libraries are constantly evolving, keeping current is not only important, but also more interesting and complex.

“No matter the format, we always consider the collection in context, considering the curriculum, student and faculty interest, and ease of discovery and access.”

Not so many years ago, a school library collection consisted of books, magazines, and newspapers. Eventually, records (remember those vinyl LP’s?) and filmstrips were added. These were followed by VHS videos, audio tapes, and magazine and newspaper collections that were delivered on microfiche and, later, on multiple CDs. Formats multiplied and networking allowed us to evaluate, develop, share, and refresh our varied holdings. The Joan S. McMenamin Library at NightingaleBamford School includes books, magazines, newspapers, audio books,

films, and various kinds of equipment. Our resources are in print as well as online. Video materials are on film, DVD or come to us through streaming video. Audio materials make up the smallest part of our collection. The library provides equipment to access our resources, including DVD and video players, computers, and Kindles. We phase out the old and bring in the new throughout the year. We aim to accomplish some of our major tasks during the summer. This summer, the librarians reviewed several parts of the collection. We included fiction for adults as well as young adult fiction, reference books, eBooks, and picture books. No matter the format, we always consider the collection in context, considering the curriculum, student and faculty interest, and ease of discovery and access. Another important aspect

to consider is whether or not the item is the most current available resource. These days, the attempt to find the most current available resources requires not only research, but also a fair amount of comparison-shopping and testing of equipment and software. The reference area is a prime candidate for updating with eBooks. As we discover electronic alternatives for many titles, we replace them with electronic copies. Not everything is available online or in an easily accessible format. Sometimes we remove the physical book and add the eBook version. Sometimes, we will keep both. Electronic editions can stretch our collection when many students need access to the same title; they can extend our reach for out-of-school use, and yet they are not for everyone. Some students (continued on page 4)

Page 3 of 6 Diversify! Diversify! Diversify! YALSA Symposium Review by Maria Falgoust When I attend a conference or symposium, I fall in love with my job all over again and feel inspired to work harder and read more! In general, the librarians that I meet are open, generous, enthusiastic and have a great sense of humor; making me proud of my career choice. Since I made my decision to become a librarian, I've been committed to trying a variety of conferences: ALA annual, ALA midwinter once, YALSA symposium, and American Independent School Librarians. Each has its share of strengths and weaknesses but all have been worthwhile experiences. Most recently, I attended YALSA's Diversity, Literature and Teens: Beyond Good Intentions symposium (held in Albuquerque, NM). The best part was the preconference: On Beyond Stonewall: The Uphill

Journey of Young Adult Fiction with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2010. Not only did I walk away with a fabulous reading list, but I also learned about the history of the GLBTQ characters in young adult literature. It's come a long way! Now we at Saint Ann's are working on enriching our collection to include more books that feature GLBTQ, multicultural, international and disabled characters. Here are some tidbits I learned:

• The first young adult

book featuring a gay character was I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan in 1969 and the publishing house was terrified that it was going to make waves, but it didn't.

• It wasn't until 1976 that the first lesbian novel,

Ruby by Guy Rosa appeared.

• It took a really long time

for the idea that a gay community even exists to appear in this literature.

• In mainstream comics,

gay characters are rarely portrayed as sexual beings.

Sometimes it is hard to imagine taking time off to attend a conference (because our work is never done!) but conferences are truly worth the time and effort. Maria Falgoust is a librarian at St. Ann’s School.

• Speaking of which, do

you know about yaoi manga? It focuses on male homosexual romantic relationships and is written for women!

• According to the

presenters: there have been approximately 385 GLBTQ young adult titles published between 19692010.

To access the lists and papers mentioned above, please visit: http://yalsayalitsymp10. http://www.yalsa.ala.or g/jrlya/

BookFest Returns…@BankStreet Or, the Literary Event that Could by Angela Ungaro At long last, the dark clouds have parted and the sun has come out: BookFest is back! BookFest is an “an event devoted to the celebration, discovery, and discussion of books for children and teens.” At this day-long event, authors, illustrators, editors, reviewers, and educators take part in panel discussions and breakout sessions. BookFest was originally founded over 40 years

ago by a faculty member at Columbia University. The event has been celebrated and hosted by several fine NYC institutions which most recently includes Bank Street College of Education.

literature luminaries including keynote speaker, Laurie Halse Anderson; “Funny Guy” panelists and authors, Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, and David Yoo; and children’s literature expert, Leonard Marcus.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of Bank Street librarian, Lisa Von Drasek, and event coordinator, Ellen Greene, members of the vibrant NYC literary community were able to enjoy children’s and YA

This event is not to be missed! Get on the new mailing list today ( Angela Ungaro is a Middle School Librarian at Brooklyn Friends School.

Featured Guests & Speakers (pictured above) For more pictures and information visit BookFest@BankStreet on Facebook!

Page 4 of 6 Keeping It Fresh In the Library (continued from page 2) prefer or rely on books in print. As we work towards a good balance of eBooks, databases, and physical copies, the librarians expect to be providing more instruction in the use of online resources.



The Joan S. McMenamin Library at NightingaleBamford School

“Censoring carries very strong emotions and negative connotations…there is always a lot of dialogue around this topic which is healthy and keeps us honest.”

Librarians read quite a bit – that is a given. Perhaps when you hear the word reading - books, magazines, newspapers, or even kindles come to mind. I doubt that shelves do, yet librarians depend on reading the shelves to keep the books in order, to see what has gone missing, and to help highlight any holes in the collection. Just a few years back you could make a librarian cringe by asking if it was time to begin this process because it meant she literally had to manually check every single volume in the library against a printout of the entire collection. It was a tedious process that took a great deal of time. That was then; this is now. Today we scan the collection with electronic guns that record every book and let you know what is missing, and what is misplaced. The scanner automatically crosschecks each item scanned against the catalog. This is a great improvement and saves many hours of physical labor. It is also more accurate. Once we have sorted out

what we have and do not have in the collection at the time of the scan, we can get to deciding whether to replace missing items, or not. The collection is always changing – just like the technology we use to track it. Deciding what materials to add to the collection is more involved. The curriculum drives the purchasing decisions for most non-fiction books. We read many professional publications with book reviews—our rule of thumb is to read three reviews for each book we choose to add. We often check the New York Public Library catalogs, the online catalogs of other schools, and talk with teachers and other librarians when we begin to select books in an academic area that requires building up. Selecting new fiction titles also requires that we read reviews but that’s just part of the equation. This is an area that calls on our knowledge of the girls [at Nightingale] and knowing something about their reading habits. Knowing how to match up content with reading levels is important too. We talk to the girls every day about what they are reading, have read and want to read. They are often our best reviewers. From time to time we use faculty to help us review certain books for the collection as well. Banned Book Week brings our selection choices into sharp focus as well. Is

book selection censorship? If you choose one book and do not choose another, are you censoring, in essence banning a book before it ever hits the shelves? The answer is yes, of course. There is no area in life where we do not make choices, selecting some things and not others. Do we think of these choices as censoring? Probably not. We think we are making choices. I know this is semantics but the words we choose are important. Censoring carries very strong emotions and negative connotations. I choose to say we are going through a selection process, and we have guidelines to help us do so. Fortunately, the girls are encouraged to question our selection choices and there is always a lot of dialogue around this topic which is healthy and keeps us honest.

KEEPING THE LIBRARY CURRENT Maintaining a collection is an everyday thing. All libraries need a core collection that most other school libraries have, but an individual library’s collection is very subjective and, ultimately, the librarian makes the final decisions. The decision-making process is not random and many tools are used to build a library that suits our needs. Each librarian must know the curriculum of each grade in order to (continued on page 5)

Page 5 of 6 Keeping It Fresh In the Library (continued from page 4) support each one with appropriate books, databases and other materials. To that end, we talk with teachers and students for book suggestions, attend conferences and library groups, and read review journals, newspapers, and online blogs. We also browse through book stores, public and museum libraries, read all the “Best Books of the Year” lists, attend author events and comb through the internet. In addition, we sign up for library listservs, join book groups and read everything in sight. And this is only the tip of the book selection iceberg! The books are ordered and processed by us throughout the year. But where to put all these new materials?

Each summer, on a rotating basis, we need to weed the collection and determine what is no longer used in the collection. Is that book on planets from 1998 obsolete? Has anyone written an update of an often-used book? Have any books been lost and need replacing? Did someone write another book in a popular series? Fortunately, times are changing and librarians are hitting the fast track. Not only is the book world we’ve known changing, but so are the tools to keep up with it. Armed and ready, the laser gun and computer have been combined to make shorter work of inventory and weeding. Today we brandish our

magic barcode-readerwands and with a click, an item is deleted. Need to reorder? Go online and click, it’s done. Need to catalog the book? Click, it’s done. This is not to say that hours are not spent looking at each book and deciding if it still deserves a spot on the shelf. The collection needs to be evaluated regularly and so each summer specific areas are targeted for renewal. It’s an ongoing process, like gardening. We add new items, we grow the collection, we weed it, and then we add something new again.

“Times are changing and librarians are hitting the fast track.”

Diane Neary, Nora Lidell and Lois Strell are librarians at Nightingale-Bamford School.

Summer Seminar at the National Gallery of Art Spotlight on Professional Development by Constance Vidor I participated in the Teacher Summer Seminar on American Art at the National Gallery of Art this summer. This week-long program was an outstanding opportunity for educators from throughout the country to learn from curators and specialists in many eras and styles of American art. In addition to learning about the art and its historical and cultural context we also learned a variety of techniques for using visual arts to structure student learning and critical thinking. Many of our lectures took place in the galleries. A highlight of the program

for me was learning about the artist George Catlin, whose paintings give us a rare glimpse of how Native Americans lived during the mid nineteenth century. Another highlight was a visit to one of the conservation workshops to see drawings and other art works by American artists not currently on display in the galleries. We had ample opportunities to network and share ideas with the other educators in attendance and left with bags full of materials to teach and share American art. I created an interactive learning resource (see

Voicethread sidebar) on American Art and Values based on what I learned during the Teacher Seminar. It shows examples of portraits and asks students to look closely at the images for clues about the subject’s values and aspirations. You are welcome to share this Voicethread with other teachers for use with their classes. E-mail me ( if you would like a separate copy of the Voicethread as well. Constance Vidor is the Director of Library Resources at Friends Seminary.

You can view Constance’s Voicethread (pictured above) by visiting: /share/1284752/

HVLA Divisional Groups HVLA Board Members Angela Carstensen President Amy Chow Vice-President Kimberly Pallant Vice-President Kerry Roeder Recording Secretary Rachael Myers Treasurer Christina Kover Membership Director Angela Ungaro Communications Coordinator

We’re on the Web! Visit us at:

Connect with LS, MS, and US Division Leaders & Members Broaden your knowledge and practices as a library professional by exploring the divisional listservs and meetings. Contact our Membership Coordinator ( to be added to any of our divisional listservs.




Division Leaders:  Lois Strell  Laurie Norman

Division Leader:  Rhonda Rigrodsky

Division Leader:  Elizabeth Fernandez fernandeze@cshgreenwi

To post to listserv: 

HVLA Notes:

To post to listserv: 

To post to listserv: 

Upcoming Events & Announcements

 The Lower School division of HVLA will have their first meeting on Thursday, December 2nd at NightingaleBamford School. Contact the LS division leaders (see above) for more information.  The New York City School Librarians’ Association (NYCSLA) is hosting a Saturday workshop with Olga Nesi, “Going beyond ‘Interesting’: Giving Students Vocabulary to Talk about Reading” on Saturday, November 20th. Visit for more details.

 Biblioball 2010: Spellbound The Desk Set’s fabulous Biblioball returns Saturday, Dec. 4 th at The Bell House in Brooklyn. All proceeds from this magical gala filled with music, performance, dancing and glittery literati go to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT), and supports their programming for incarcerated and detained youth in NY. Visit for more details!

 New Blog Alert! HVLA’s very own President, Angela Carstensen, has recently started blogging for SLJ. Adult Books 4 Teens helps librarians find out about the best books published for adults that also have appeal to teen readers. Visit http://blog.schoollibraryj to learn more.  Call for Submissions: Have an article or essay you'd like to share? Contact the HVLA Communications Coordinator (aungaro@brooklynfrien for more information.

About the Hudson Valley Library Association… Formed in 1959, HVLA brings together librarians primarily from independent K-12 schools in the New York City, Long Island, Westchester and nearby New Jersey and Connecticut communities. With a minimum of formality and a maximum of benefit, members meet three times a year to discuss and consider a wide range of topics, including evaluation of books and reading programs, technology and libraries, information literacy, and professional development. An active listserv keeps us connected between meetings. In addition, divisional groups exist for lower, middle, and upper school librarians to discuss curricular and collection-related interests.

Fall 2010 Newsletter  

Formed in 1959, HVLA brings together librarians from independent K-12 schools in the Hudson Valley area.

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