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jHVfjd sjdjd May 2011 Volume 28, Issue 2

Hudson Valley Library Association

Spring Newsletter

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

What’s Inside: Graphic Novels in Libraries 2 Virtual Author Visit 2 Globalize Your Library 3 Teen Advisory Boards 3 Computers in Libraries 4 Hot or Not? Survey


Keyword Dos & Don’ts 5 HVLA Divisional Groups 6 HVLA Notes


A Letter from the HVLA President… It has been an honor to serve on the HVLA board of directors. Two years go fast! I would like to offer a few thoughts about the value of HVLA, followed by a plea. First, HVLA is all about its members. We learn by simply talking with each other in person and on the listserv, as much as from any meeting, program, or roundtable. It has become clear that we need and enjoy time socializing with each other – you have probably noticed that the Board has planned social events after our last two meetings. This is one popular and effective way to use our membership dues. Being a school librarian is daunting (and thrilling!) these days. Certainly that has always been the case, but the rate of change has increased of late. The support and commiseration, the sharing of new ideas and opinions, the giving and receiving of advice that we experience within our association is invaluable. Please remember that the Board welcomes your ideas. You might be surprised to know just how much we value your requests, interests, recommendations and feedback. Whether mentioned in person or over a quick e-mail, your suggestions are heard and appreciated. Your new board is full of librarians excited to strive to make the association even better. Half of the board turns over each year, so there is a great combination of continuity and fresh ideas in every new board of directors. We are working to encourage new membership in HVLA. At this spring’s meeting we are offering a low-cost visitor registration. Sacred Heart alone has invited four guests, including MLS students who have interned with us. We hope they will decide to join the association. New or upcoming librarians cannot possibly underestimate the importance of networking in finding a job in today’s environment. As staffing changes and people retire or move from school to school, HVLA is a terrific networking source, both via the listserv and in person. And finally, a plea. I ask that each of you consider finding an opportunity over the next few weeks to advocate for libraries. As a member of ALA Council and of YALSA’s Legislation Committee, as well as an active patron of NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library, it is impossible for me to ignore the urgent need for advocacy. With confident, intelligent voices, we can make sure that libraries survive for the millions of people who depend upon them. Here are a few resources that will make it as easy as possible to get involved: The New York Library Association has a link on their homepage for contacting elected officials: As does ALA: This link provides a list of library-related issues about which to write, and loads a pre-written letter. Any personal details you add to the letter will only increase its impact. ALA has an extensive Advocacy & Legislation page: And last but not least, the YALSA advocacy wiki targets young adult library services:

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm for librarianship and for HVLA! And my personal thanks to all of you who offered me encouragement, ideas, and support over the last two years. Angela Carstensen HVLA President & Director of Library Services at Convent of the Sacred Heart

Page 2 of 6 Graphic Novels in Libraries HVLA Winter Meeting Recap In February, the members of HVLA convened for our winter meeting at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights. There we met a distinguished and varied panel of guests who joined together to discuss the making and role of graphic novels in school libraries. For more pictures of our winter meeting visit our Picasa album: HVLA.Librarians

The panel included graphic novelists Tracy White—author and illustrator of the memoir How I Made It to Eighteen:

A Mostly True Story—and Sara Varon—author and illustrator of Robot Dreams—as well as editor, Calista Brill and marketing associate, Gina Gagliano, of First, Second Books. The panel welcomed their moderator for the evening NYPL Young Adult Librarian, Sarah Couri of Teen Central. HVLA enjoyed a lively discussion that touched on the making of graphic novels, controversies in the

world of graphic novels, and the “third idea” that the readers generate when stories are told using pictures and words. After a Question & Answer period with our guest panelists, members enjoyed a lively social at local restaurantpub, Eammon’s. For a list of graphic novel resources provided by our First, Second panelists go to the Meeting Notes section of

Virtual Author Visit: Adele Griffin My Skype-an-Author Experience by Helen Kostelas In April, an 8th grade Social Studies teacher and I hosted a Skype-anAuthor event with Adele Griffin. Ms. Griffin has written several popular books for young adults. We chose to read Picture the Dead, a historical fiction set during the Civil War. Ms. Griffin co-wrote this work with Lisa Brown. Visit for more information about the book at its authors

“The experience proved to be an easy way to have an author visit. It was a delight.”

Picture the Dead is about Jennie, a young girl, who loses not only her twin brother but also her fiancée in the battle between North and South. Jennie suspects something is not true about the story of her fiancée’s death and finds herself seeking truth and a way to communicate with her departed loved one. This book is a quick, easy read. The reading level is younger than 8th grade but we found it useful as an additional supplement to the curriculum. The book was brief enough and engaging enough for

the students to read over their Spring Break so that they were ready for a discussion with the author upon their return. The 8th grade students loved the mystery and little bit of romance that was in the book. Each student prepared three questions for the author beforehand. Ms. Griffin was both engaging and interesting to listen to—she answered the students’ questions, gave insight into her writing methods and told stories of her decision to become a writer. The students enjoyed seeing her in her own environment and particularly enjoyed when she rolled across the room in her chair to grab her latest book off of a bookshelf. Skyping with the author proved to be an easy convenient way to have an author visit. For my part, not having to do an assembly set-up, host a

visitor and stress about “things going wrong” was a delight. We simply set up a convenient class time with the author and the students came to their regular classroom. Of course, things CAN go wrong no matter the method of author visit. A few times the screen froze as Ms. Griffin was speaking but we could still hear her. Once, we did lose the connection and had to redial. These were minor glitches to an otherwise successful event. I would highly recommend this method of author visit and I would highly recommend a visit with Adele Griffin. For more information on how to host your own Virtual Author Visit go to: http://skypeanauthor.wet Helen Kostelas is a librarian at School of the Holy Child.

Page 3 of 6 Globalize Your Library! Tools to Keep Your Collection International by Constance Vidor As the trend of internationalization of our schools’ curricula increases, librarians need resources that can help us better support these changes. Here are some organizations, conferences, and learning opportunities that promote literature for young readers from around the globe: Peace the World Together with Children’s Books is the title of the 9th International Board on Books for the Young (IBBY) Regional Conference in Fresno, CA, taking place October 2123, 2011. This conference will feature international authors and illustrators, exhibits, and book discussion groups. IBBY and its United States division, USBBY, promotes and celebrates books by authors from around the globe. It publishes Bookbird, a quarterly journal, and sponsors conferences where librarians, teachers, and scholars can share ideas on how to widen young people’s horizons and promote peace through reading. USBBY also

creates the yearly Outstanding International Books List, which highlights notable books that have been translated into English. You can read more about USBBY at World of Words (WOW) is an international collection of literature for young people at the University of Arizona. WOW ( operates a blog that publicizes and shares information about books, programs, and ideas about international book topics. The International Children’s Digital Library (http://en.childrenslibrary.o rg/) provides full text and fully illustrated books from around the globe. Many are available in both the original language and in translation to English. This colorful and engaging site offers a unique insight into the literary worlds of other countries. The International Festival of Storytelling (www.aberystwythartscentr

The East Asian Story Finder by HVLA’s own Sharon Elswit is a landmark publication that provides summaries, citations, and subject indexing to folk tales from China, Korea, and Japan that are accessible in English translations. Noting that East Asia encompasses a vast number of cultures, traditions, and languages, the author makes her case for selecting stories that "make the leap beyond a country's borders"—stories that speak to audiences beyond a single locality. Stories are grouped by theme rather than by country. Some of these themes, such as "Kindness Rewarded and Lessons Learned" and "Tricksters and Fools," will be familiar to readers of Western folklore. Others, such as "Devotion," "The Power of Dreams," and "Cherishing the Earth and All Living Things" are distinctively Asian. Although brief, the summaries are redolent with emotion, humor, and imagery.

“The summaries are redolent with emotion, humor, and imagery.”

Librarians, storytellers, and teachers who recognize in the wonder tale a powerful form of human expression as well as a light that illuminates art, history, and authored literature will find the The East Asia Story Finder invaluable. Constance Vidor is the Director of Library Resources at Friends Seminary.

Teen Advisory Boards @ Your Library AISL 2011 Notes compiled by Maria Falgoust, Rachael Myers & Caroline Bartels The Association for Independent School Libraries (AISL) hosted its 24th annual conference in San Francisco, CA this year. Several HVLA members were in attendance. One session focused on the implementation of Teen Advisory Boards in the school library. These are notes from that session…

Where to Begin: • Start with a small group of students who are always excited to be in the library • Set up an application for “Library Leaders” around the same time other student groups begin (lends legitimacy) • Give Library Leaders a mission/focus (e.g. plan

events, displays, etc.) TAB Successes: • Book Parties—Library Leaders create displays right before a school break and host party • Read-Alikes Wiki for books in the curriculum maintained by students • Peer Book Promotions— Library Leaders filled

out shelf-talkers or bookmarks with each new checkout • Post-It Reviews—filled out by students and stuck on the shelves • 24-Hour Read-A-Thon— student sleepover where students were sponsored and raised funds • Increased circulation!

Page 4 of 6 Computers in Libraries 2011 Conference Reflections by Laura Pearle

“Research is not a straight line.”

The Computers in Libraries conference program is “filled with ideas, innovative practices, tips and techniques for identifying community needs and opportunities” (http://www.infotoday.c om/cil2011/). This March, the conference was held in Washington, D.C. with HVLA’s very own Laura Pearle in attendance. Laura’s blog, Venn Librarian, focuses specifically on the intersection of schools, libraries, and technology. In addition to her thoughts on the keynote panel discussion about ebooks she also blogged about some of the sessions she attended. Here are some of the highlights from her experience at #CIL11 excerpted from her blog:

For more of the Venn Librarian visit

“The big takeaway from [the Marketing Solutions and Homework Helpers] sessions was that you need to brand yourself as a Library Team – everyone in the space should be equally available to help students. Know your target audience and market to them (it’s not just students, it’s parents and administrators). Allow them to make suggestions/ask questions.”

Laura also attended a session focused on Research Tips & Tools. These are her observations:

• Off-line and on-line research are not the same thing – we need to rethink how we teach students to do each. • Search does not equal research, despite what students think (and we tell them) • Students need to learn the conventions of online reading and research • Non-fiction has become more visual, text becomes more like a “choose your own adventure” book thanks to the influence of web design (think DK books) • Students need to become savvier about what is an ad (a.k.a. “sponsored link”) – usually it’s in a nonstandard colored box, but not always

they often overwhelm students (they’ll often choose visuals over text when searching)

• Have students read the information aloud – does it make sense? If not, why not? • Remind them that research is a process, that the first search is not the final search (process = presearch, search, re-search), and they need to utilize all types of reading • Always be open to learning that your question may not be the right question – the clue is usual in the language of the site • Student’s biggest worry is being wrong, not ‘authority’ – that is your hook! Teach them to think and look around. Teach them this motto: research is not a straight line.

• Students need to read with an eye towards gathering information, and to get excited about/by information

To read Laura’s complete blog entry on Computers In Libraries 2011, visit http://lpearle.wordpress. com/2011/04/07/thought s-and-notes-from-cil11/

• Visuals influence decisions – students don’t “see” credibility the way we do – and

Laura Pearle is the Head/Upper School Librarian at Hackley School.

Page 5 of 6 Survey Results: What’s Hot in Your Library? With only a month left in the school year, the Librarians of HVLA have circulated hundreds of books. They know what's hot and what's not. The following are the most popular titles, series, and authors in their collections this school year: Children’s Picture Books • Anything by Lauren Child • Anything by Dr. Seuss • The Book That Eats People by John Perry Children’s Chapter Books • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series) by Jeff Kinney* Children’s Non-Fiction • Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide by Ryder Windham • Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary by Simon Beecroft • Sports & Drawing books

Middle Grade Fiction • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper* • The Hunger Games (trilogy) by Suzanne Collins • Anything by Sarah Dessen • The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow • Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine • Finally 12 by Wendy Mass • Missing Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix Middle Grade Non-Fiction • Guinness Book of World Records (series)* • Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton • Smile by Raina Telegmeir • The Good, The Bad, and The Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone • Weird But True (series) by NatGeo Kids

Young Adult Fiction • The Hunger Games (trilogy) by Suzanne Collins* • The Summer I Turned Pretty (series) by Jenny Han • I am Number 4 by Pittacus Lore • Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Alan Zadoff

Adult Fiction • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen • Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue • The Help by Kathryn Stockertt Adult Non-Fiction • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot • Decoded by Jay-Z • The Art of War by Sun Tzu In Your Words… We serve boys and they read all kinds of books—a lot of non-fiction [and they] also love fantasy and realistic fiction. One boy here just loves to come to early morning library and sit crosslegged and tell me, “I’m imagining!” --Joan Michie, Brunswick School

* = Most Popular Title reported!

Keyword Searching Dos & Don’ts A Lesson Plan from the Chapin School by Natasha Goldberg A few months ago I approached Barbara Lutz with the idea of having our students make instructional videos about how to use the catalog. Barbara agreed it was a good idea, but brilliantly suggested that in addition to focusing on catalog do's, I have them reflect upon some catalog - don'ts. Since my 4th grade class was nearing the conclusion of The Silver Crown (a read aloud, incidentally, which I learned about from St. Ann's librarians at last spring's HVLA meeting)

the timing was perfect. There was only one hitch. Would the 4th graders have the metacognition to reflect upon some of their typical mistakes when it came to using the catalog? Could they write a script around it and act it out? Answer: yes, yes and yes. To give you a sense of what they came up with, here are two scenarios that were shot this morning. #1 - "We want to learn how to become better spies. However, when we conduct a keyword search on the word 'spy'

we get too many fiction books. What if we did a power search for 'spy NOT fiction'? Better!" #2 - "Our parents say they won't buy us a bunny unless we know how to take care of it. We keyword search 'bunny care.' When this doesn't work, we replace 'bunny' with its more formal synonym 'rabbit'. Success!" So far, the film production process appears to be taking an average of four class sessions. During the first session, students sit at the catalog and construct one believable-but-

unsuccessful search, as well as one revised (and fruitful) search. The second session, they flesh out the back story that has led them to utilize the catalog. The third and fourth sessions are reserved for filming After school, I edit the films into two-minute long Quicktime movies to be screened in a mini-film festival at the end of the school year. Who on our flip cameras will take home the Palme d'OPAC? Stay tuned. Natasha Goldberg is the Middle School Librarian at The Chapin School.

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:

HVLA Divisional Groups 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 Communications Coordinator, Angela Ungaro, ( 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

 Thank you! The HVLA Board of Directors wishes to thank the following outgoing members for their dedicated terms of service: o Angela Carstensen, President o Amy Chow, Vice-President o Christina Kover, Membership Director o Angela Ungaro, Communications Coordinator  Our spring meeting at The Cathedral School was a great success! We shared ideas about how we use technology in the library and classroom and ended the evening with a lovely social hour at Bistro Ten 18. If you weren’t able to join us, you can view our notes at:  We’ve moved to Google Groups! After some consideration we’ve migrated our mailing lists to Google Groups. You can browse the archives and request permission to be added to our groups by visiting:  Call for Submissions: Have an article or essay you'd like to share? Contact the HVLA Communications Coordinator ( for more information.  Congratulations on another eventful and successful school year. We wish you a rejuvenating summer filled with lots of reading and learning!

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.

Spring 2011 Newsletter  

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

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