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Springfield Township High School Library Annual Report—June 2013

Celebrating our library!

Highlights of 2012/2013 • Migrated all existing pathfinders to LibGuides platform • Planned and hosted two OneBook,OneSpringfield programs: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Unbroken • Initiated highly successful Poetry Slam events • Hosted virtual author visits from Cory Doctorow and Laurie Halse Anderson • Launched new Creative Commons media production space with students • Launched MackinVia app to provide a one-password access to subscription databases from home • Developed and launched new mobile STHS library app • Added EBSCO e-book collection of more than 115,00 e-books to our collection • Explored and launched EBSCO Discovery Search to search across all library holdings • Offered a series of Lunch & Learn professional development programs • Participated on YALSA/ConnectedLearningTV broadcast on Teens and the Future of Libraries • Engaged student participation in seasonal door art creation • Technology Department updated most of our library desktop computers • Selected for Bammy Awards--named a member of the Twitterati (September 2012) and selected as a School Librarian Bammy Nominee April 2013. • Keynoted at IASL (Doha, Qatar),Texas Library Association, and Georgia Conference on Information Literacy • Launched PSLA’s first Unconference • Library functioned as hub for research, production, presentation, and culture: a learning commons

2012/2013 was a year focused on participation, curation and digital shift.

This report is meant to be viewed online. Please visit our Virtual Library (http:// sdst.libguides.com/index)

for easy access to links.

Students visited our library physically and virtually, formally and informally to engage in inquiry projects, work in groups, explore digital storytelling and publishing strategies, search e-book and scholarly journal databases, discover search tools and strategies, document sources with online citation generators, present the results of their research, describe and critique each others’ newly installed art, conference with experts and authors, produce media, and collaborate.


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Curricular Highlights I continue to work with our students and faculty integrating the CCSS, AASL and ISTE NETS standards into our curriculum. This involves introducing learners to a broad toolkit of research and communication tools and coaching them through the research process--from questioning; through identifying and using the best sources; through creating and publishing their knowledge products. This year, I worked with teachers on planning instruction on close reading and text-based argument. I continued close working relationships with our ESL, Global Studies, Creative Writing, Life Skills classes, Sociology, English and History classes. Because communication is ideally the end product of successful research, we emphasize communicating effectively using traditional as well as emerging tools. As students prepare products for publication, we emphasize making use of the rich and growing Creative Commons movement, using images, video, and music from portals of liberally licensed intellectual property. We use the LibGuides platform for student research, instruction and for archiving student work. Our Guides allow me to push out and scale our investment in resources, as well as my own instructional voice. They also prepare learners for use of the Guides they will encounter in academic libraries. This year we created several new Guides, including a Guide on Common Core standards and resources. We continually receive requests from other librarians who want to use our Guides as templates for their own. Digital storytelling tools like Animoto, Smore, PopcornMaker and ToonDoo, were commonplace strategies for presenting the results of student research. Students used digital publishing tools to share art work and more traditional writing products. Whenever possible, we archived and shared the artifacts of student work on our Student Project Guide. Instructional highlights: Among the instructional highlights this school year: Using our databases, I worked with many teachers to select high-quality nonfiction readings for their Common Core close reading activities. I updated my talk with the junior class on addressing their e-reputations to address cleaning up their digital footprints to reflect use of new social media. We introduced poster-making and image editing tools to Nichole Schrage’s Life Skills students in a Do This/Not That project for interview preparation. Together with Mark Kobasz, I built lessons on visual notetaking, reading sculpture for critique, and building art vocabulary. With Theresa Hartey, I explored new strategies for communicating knowledge of Hamlet motifs. Becky Edelmayer and I worked on using digital magazine platforms with students as they explored their lit circle readings. Peggy Zehner, Jess Riley and I used the November election to deconstruct and construct political media messages. At the end of the school year, Theresa and I experimented with engaging seniors in reading with a book speed-dating experience. We introduced Mozilla’s PopcornMaker as a tool for creating video conversations--enhancing video with embedded text, links, maps, Wikipedia materials, web content, and thought and dialog bubbles. Kevin Martin’s German classes animated textbook units; Christine Settino’s ESL students added their research findings on rainforest to existing videos. Jess Riley and I worked closely on several major projects, including a refinement of last year’s Global Studies infographics analysis, an updated Middle East Peace simulation, and a new Presidents’ Bowl project in which latter 20th century leaders made a research-based case for owning the title, Best President.


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About the reading and literary culture Our student Book Club continues strong. We had several meetings with clubs across the country as the #swvbc (SomeWhat Virtual Book Club). On our own, we discussed books and met online with noted authors Cory Doctorow and Laurie Halse Anderson. Among the books discussed this year were Shine, Little Brother, Tilt, and Unwind. The May 29th meeting with Laurie Halse Anderson was a true highlight of the year. Though I’ve known Laurie for years, the visit was planned while we were together at the IASL Conference in Doha. Laurie read from the new book she’d just submitted to her editor and asked our group to help her select the cover art. She spent two hours listening to and advising our young readers and writers. They were spellbound! Inspired by a poetry analysis project for English class, junior Shannon Lawn invited poet Sonja Renee Taylor to Skype in for an exciting, well-attended after-school reading and conversation. We hosted two successful One Book, One Springfield events with the support of the Springfield Community Foundation. On December 12, Voices of Excellence students led a discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with Springfield resident, Dr. Paul Neumann of Chestnut Hill Hospital adding scientific background. On March 13, I led the a discussion of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. We hosted two hugely successful Poetry Slams, as well. The first, on March 13 filled the room with poets, musicians and listeners. Eric Gershman, Christine Settino and Zach Fuller helped out as judges and emcees. While we worried initially about participation, we found ourselves with more poems than we could fit in the two hours allotted. A second Slam on May 30 was even more successful. This time around we had students emcee. We also introduced the new practice of sketch-noting that has been part of major cultural events like TED talks and SXSW. (We introduced it more formally in our recent lesson on visual note-taking). At the Slam, we provided paper and markers and asked student artists to respond to the poems they heard by sketching memorable images, phrases, ideas. In addition, Lit Mag members decorated the Gallery with a garland of students' six words stars. Lauren, a senior, shared a reflection of her experience as a Slam emcee: In many ways this Slam felt like a perfect conclusion to this year. Everyone seemed even more comfortable sharing parts of themselves this time. People were writing poetry as they listened to others and got up to share it a moment later. Not everything was perfectly polished, but all of it was from the heart. It’s amazing what people are willing to share with you when you give them a chance to be heard. I loved the art being created to accompany the poetry. It gave such great insight not only into the poem but also the artist and the lens through which they saw the Poetry Slam. Our garland of six-words stars seemed to be the perfect bridge between poetry and art. A lot of people have said things to me about what you leave behind when you graduate. I’m just so incredibly proud to be leaving behind the Slam. Some students seemed to think the Slams were a long running Springfield tradition. (Which definitely made me feel better about the moments that felt awkward or last minute.) For a long time it felt like a nice idea but something we would never be able to pull together and it definitely seemed impossible to garner interest. But with a lot of time and planning we were able to make not only one but two Slams happen.


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Book Club

Art critique

Working on Middle East Peace

with Laurie

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks discussion

Dr. Paul Neumann

Scenes from our reading culture


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Usage Patterns On- and Offline We are excited about our migration to Follett’s Destiny catalog mid-year, but the shift makes reporting on reading and borrowing statistics a challenge. Compounding the challenge is the fact that we added the EBSCO Academic e-book collection this year. Our collection now has multiple points of entry. We can tell that the heaviest months for borrowing were September, October, November and February and that 11th and 12th graders were our heaviest borrowers of print books. Among the most popular borrows were lit circle and summer prerequisites, civil war fiction and nonfiction (for Mrs. Zehner’s project), and anthologies of literary criticism. Steampunk and graphic novels are popular, as are titles by Ellen Hopkins, John Green, Sarah Dessen and Libba Bray. Library use and influence is no longer necessarily a physical or print event. Our website functions as a launch page for student inquiry. Students use it to access our many Guides, databases, media, tools for production and communication, news, e-books, our weekly calendar, our Flickr galleries, reading lists, and much more. Because it is used in and outside school, as well as in and out of the library, our website statistics are, perhaps, a more accurate metric of use and service. Students using classroom laptops continue to use library services through our collaboratively-developed units and Guides. Our Research Tools and our Database Guides received 49,651 and 47,065 visits respectively. I receive and answer frequent remote reference questions from students while they are at school and from home. Heaviest class use came from Social Studies and English classes. September, October, February, April, and May were our busiest months. A number of clubs call our library home, among them: Art Gallery, Gay/Straight Alliance, Book Club, and Literary Magazine. In addition to visiting classes, an average of 200 students visit the library each day on their own time--before and after school, and during lunch and study hall. Wednesday night usage continued steadily with students taking advantage of Honor Society tutoring and available library resources and technology. We are grateful to Patty Gee for taking over from Casey Arlen, staffing the library Wednesday evenings. Student interns Jordi Shuster and Amber Eustace helped create a new SpartanIndex, completely redesigned our library mobile site this year, and designed a one-page summary of our database list to simplify our offerings for our more experienced researchers. Among the major improvements this year were the MackinVia app which allowed students simplified, one-password access to nearly all of our databases. The EBSCO Discovery Service, tested in June, will be a game changer. The tool searches across all of our databases and offers contextual current events through newswires and social media. I cannot wait to introduce it to Fall semester classes! The Spartan Guide to Research Tools, offers guidance through the research process as well as information regarding copyright and fair use; search; thesis and question development; grammar; organizing and synthesizing materials; and writing. The Guides experiencing heaviest use this school year: • Research Tools 49,65 • Database Guides 47,065 • New Tools,27,333 views • Common Core Resources 8592 views • Spartan Index 6482 views • Current Events & Global News 6319 views • Student Projects 5653 views


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New app for one-password access

Cross-database, one-search discovery platform

New one-page pulldown database menu New mobile site

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LibGuides Use 2012/2013

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About our collection We added 902 items to the collection this year, making our total number of available physical items 34,319. We are grateful for the PTA mini-grant that allowed us to feed our three Kindles and to immediately meet demand for requested titles. Our notion of collection continues to expand. Our new Destiny catalog offers seamless access to more than 115,000 ebooks from EBSCO, Gale, Salem, ABC-CLIO and other publishers. The Destiny and MackinVia apps allow students access to our collection on the desktops, mobile phones and tablets. Headsets, cameras, tripods, and flash drives continue to fly across our circulation desk. We also lend supplies--lots of index cards, highlighters, and tissues. (Though we experience a serious tissue shortage during spring allergy season!) And I am beginning to consider that collection is what you use rather than what you own. New tools like the Web2MARC converter allow us to add MARC records for web content to our own catalog. The library is the go-to place when a student needs anything. Student work, both on- and offline are also part of what we consider collection. I continue to post student work on our LibGuides. Our library Flickr pages chronicle student life. Our shelves are graced by student art and class projects. This was the final year that STHS Library will serve as the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Young Adult Top Forty Committee. Over the past 15 years, we processed and shared hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of new titles with committee members around Pennsylvania and with our own students. This source of new books allowed us to focus spending on areas of critical need and to support our subscription database and e-book collections. Because of the mid-year catalog shift, it is difficult to report on circulation. We see significant informal action. Books supporting current projects fill our many carts to be reshelved daily and we frequently deliver carts of books to classrooms-most notably English and Art.

Database Use Our subscription databases support student research across grades and curricula, offering high quality sources in a variety of formats--journals, magazines, newspapers, e-books, video, etc. They prepare our learners for the type of energetic, academic research that will be required of them at the university level and they will be useful in meeting the complex text and critical argument requirements called for by the Common Core State Standards. JSTOR, our database of exclusively scholarly content, is another clear student favorite, particularly among our upperclassmen. Other heavily used databases, included our ProQuest databases, especially Historical Newspapers. This year, Shmoop expanded its test prep coverage to ALL high school exams, and our students made good use of it as they prepared for subject area AP, SAT, and other standardized tests. Over the past four years, budget cuts in Harrisburg have seriously limited the resources once provided by the Access PA POWER Library. It is important that our library continue to fund these resources that serve Springfield students across grades and disciplines. Through our Spartan Guides platform I embed relevant databases and e-books in subject area and student projects pages by discipline and by assignment. I am eager to expand use of all of these in the fall and the new EBSCO Discovery Service will be a major help.

Our Gale databases, for example were heavily used.


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Staff, student teachers, and volunteers! Sadly, our library team was a little smaller this year. Casey Arlen went on sick leave in November. Patty Gee and I did our best to maintain service and instruction. Patty continued to keep our library open on Wednesday nights. During these valuable two hours, National Honor Society students tutor any other students who sign up for help, clubs meet, and students stop by to work on projects independently and with groups. We were fortunate to host several student interns this school year. These students managed the desk, created media to promote library use and special events, created our new mobile site, updated our website and occasionally shelved books. Rhoda Gansler (former teacher and a STHS grandmother) continued to help process new materials and create displays and promotional items.. We redecorated a bit at the very end of last school year to make space for the Creative Commons Lab and we were grateful that Mrs. Schrage’s class help shift the entire reference collection early in September. The class also helped us straighten shelves in June.

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Our Creative Commons lab and equipment Our new student-planned Creative Commons lab, was highly popular for club meetings, small classes, professional development activities and informal use. We are grateful to the Altman Family for their generous gift last spring. We were grateful that nearly all of our desktop workstations were replaced with new, faster machines in April/May.

Other Services/Community Our library continues to serve as event central. We host many evening and after-school receptions, meetings, and showers. Our successful OneBookOneSpringfield events were co-sponsored by the Springfield Community Association who provided copies of books and refreshments. Student leaders from our Voices of Excellence club helped lead the fall discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I was honored to be asked to speak about library resources at a Rotary Club meeting in April. Dr. Mindy Cohen, an alumnus and local veterinarian, volunteered to help me sponsor the Gay Straight Alliance this year and has been a source of enormous support and help. I continue to update individual teachers and departments regarding new resources and emerging Web tools via regular email alerts. Much of my own current awareness comes from my extensive PLN (personal learning network). Our Google Doc Library Use Calendar, reminds teachers of sign-up times and allows them to check availability for spontaneous classroom visits. Our Library maintains a photographic record of everything Springfield through the Flickr feed on the Virtual Library homepage. Students are continually drawn to images of themselves at work and play on the Springfield Township High School gallery. We welcomed student collaboration on our display cases and this year the beautiful new window crayon murals that changed once a month on our front doors. The final mural included the special touch of Art Department faculty members, Chris and Mark. Locally, I serve on the Academic Integrity Committee, sponsor our Student Book Club and the Gay/Straight Alliance, and cosponsor the Student Art Gallery. This year, I presented professional development workshops during the fall inservices and launched a series of Lunch & Learn sessions.


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Professional Activities Over this school year, in addition to my blog posts for School Library Journal and VOYA, I participated in the following: July 2012 IFLA Keynote, San Juan, Puerto Rico Sept. 2012 Launched monthly #TLChat live hashtag chat Sept. 2012 Bammy! Awards, Washington, DC Sept. 2012 Georgia Conference on Information Literacy, Keynote, Savannah, GA Oct. 2012 Vendor panel, SLJ Summit, Washington, DC Nov. 2012 Speech at Rotary Club Nov. 2012 IASL, Keynote and Learning Tools Smackdown, Doha, Qatar April 2013 Keynote webinar Nordic Network Librarians (Norway) May 2013 Launched Unconference event at PSLA, Hershey, PA May 2013 PSLA YA Top Forty, Hershey, PA May 2013 ConnectedLearningTV/YALSA Webinar, Teens & the Future of Libraries I participated on the following state and national committees: PSLA YA Top Forty Committee, co-chair AASL Branding Task Force YALSA Research Committee (completed bibliography on youth information-seeking behavior) I was honored to be named as a member of the Bammy Twitterati at the inaugural red-carpet event in Washington, DC and to be selected as a finalist for a Bammy Award in the School Librarian category this spring. In May I was also honored to be selected as one of the top 50 K12 bloggers for 2013 by EdTech Magazine. This coming summer I will again present sessions at the national ISTE conference in San Antonio, ALA in Chicago, and the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston.

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Issues Incidents of plagiarism continued this year. We hope that the draft of an Academic Integrity Policy, initially developed about three years ago, will be finalized and implemented as a guide for teachers and students. I also hope to get more teachers signed up for our Turnitin.com subscription. The loss of Casey Arlen due to medical leave in November, changed the dynamics of library staffing. Casey did much of the troubleshooting for our 80+ computers, printers, copy machines, and cameras. She guided students through their individual technology issues. She managed our statewide book committee and effectively monitored student traffic and behavior. My job and my focus have changed significantly as a result of her absence. While I appreciate the extension of Patty Gee’s hours, we will feel the significant loss of our para-professional position. Study Hall is a concern. It is natural that Study Hall students prefer the more open, more comfortable, social atmosphere here to that in a study hall classroom. Though we encourage students to come to the library when they have work to do, we often have large numbers of visitors who spend 90 minutes socializing. It is hard to separate the workers from the hangers out. Ninety minutes is a very long period of time for most teens to be working seriously and independently. Perhaps we simply have too many students in too many study halls. The Common Core Standards, will focus instruction on identifying and using complex text, on developing arguments based on evidence, and on research-based writing. With laptops in classrooms, I do not see every class working on research. I hope we can renew our school-wide focus on research skills. Many members of our current faculty were not around for the wholeschool research initiative implemented several years back. I hope to be able to visit department meetings in the fall to discuss the wide range of resources available and how the library can help. We need to initiate conversations regarding the importance of inquiry and inspiring challenging, original student work. At the librarians’ Summer Academy, I hope we can plan new strategies around the new Model Curriculum for Pennsylvania School Library Program Based on Common Core Standards posted on PDE’s SAS portal.

Plans and goals The fall semester will be my last at Springfield. In January 2014 I join the faculty at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. Over the course of the coming 2013/2014 school year, I will continue to encourage a Springfield reading culture, by further growing the student Book Club, by planning at least one One Book One Springfield event, and by exploring new reading promotion ideas with our Language Arts Department. I look forward to working closely with Eric Gershman and his students when he assumes Senior Thesis classes this fall. Beginning with our Summer Academy Librarians’ Retreat, I hope to work with my colleagues to integrate the new PA Library Model Curriculum into the District program. This new curriculum is based on the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, Reading and Writing in Science & Technology/Technical Subjects, Reading and Writing in Social Studies and History and the Pennsylvania Academic Standards in Business, Computer and Information Technology and recognizes the role of the library program in delivering standards-aligned learning. In the Fall semester I plan to launch a campaign to maximize use of our high quality digital resources. The addition of the EBSCO Discovery Service will simplify access to our rich databases through a one-entry portal. Combined with the new MackinVia app, our students should be far better able to discover and use our rich e-book, journal, magazine, video and news content at home and at school. Over the summer I will be reorganizing our LibGuides with prominent links to both services and will submit links to be added to the High School home page as well. I plan to visit with the individual departments in the fall. and to encourage teachers links as well. I plan also to continue our informal Lunch & Learn professional development opportunities in the Creative Commons Lab. This fall I plan to continue to encourage visits by departments underrepresented in our statistics, by supporting CCSS learning goals and suggesting new ideas for inquiry-based projects As I watch our students and teachers use our Virtual Library, and imagine the use I cannot see--at all hours of the day, wherever our students are working and creating--it is also clear to me that our users enter our space through both its front doors. Library at Springfield Township High School is a dynamic, hybrid experience. I have been honored to play a role in developing it for the past 15 years. Respectfully submitted,

Joyce Kasman Valenza

Springfield Township High School Library Annual Report 2013  
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