Monday, July 17, 2017


Still in my #Tayshaslist reading quest, I've managed to read a couple more this week.

The Dark Days Club, by Alison Goodman, is a fantasy set in the Regency era.  I happen to be a super-fan of this time in history, and love a good paranormal mystery.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the second book in the series to be available.

I'm still reading The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. Currently, I'm about half-way through it and am enjoying it so far.  The main character is on the young end for a typical YA, but it has been interesting to take a look at the time period (the story is set in 1911) and I'm quite fascinated as this book was inspired by the diary of the author's grandmother.

On Audible, I've got book Hush Now, Don't You Cry by Rhys Bowen, the 11th book in the Molly Murphy mystery series.  Weirdly, I've found I can enjoy cleaning and decluttering to this book better than anything else I've tried.  Whatever works, I guess!

What are YOU reading?

Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Monday! What are YOU reading?

I'm finding that much of my reading is falling into two distinct categories this summer.  Tayshas list books and books on hygge.  There are a few other books I'm reading here and there, but I'll put all of them into miscellaneous--a bit of leadership, a bit of pedagogy, a bit of non-fiction on non-hygge topics and a mystery or two--but for the most part I'm on a Tayshas/hygge roll here.

I took Lara Avery's The Memory Book with me to Austin this past weekend.  I was attending Texas Library Association's Annual Assembly and my meetings were staggered at weird intervals which meant I would have some reading time in-between.

This book.  Oh, my heart.  I loved it, so.  Written as journal entries into a book to help retain her memories, Sammie shows us what it is to be human.  I finished this book right before my last meeting of the day on Saturday and went in weepy.  This book is gorgeous and hard and requires tissues. Loved this #tayshaslist book.

I also took Jeff Zentner's The Serpent King with me.

I've just started reading this one, but am totally intrigued by the characters thus far.  Another #tayshaslist book.  If you didn't get a chance to listen to the #KidsDeserveIt podcast or watch it with Todd Nesloney interviewing Jeff Zentner, it is worth going back to watch. Lawyer by day, writer by night?  Dude, I need some lessons.  I have been working on book ideas for ages and find it exceedingly difficult to wrangle the time between my library work and my mama work.

My newest book purchase.  After my final meeting of the weekend, I just had to swing by Book People.  I should probably mention that it is one of my most favorite places on earth.  I could easily spend hours there.  Anyhow, I went in looking specifically for this book--it was only available through my public library on ebook, and truly I hate reading on my phone.  Also, it just doesn't seem very hygge to read on a phone to me, not to mention that it was checked out already anyway.  I started it last night and am enjoying it.  It is a beautiful little book and I feel more surrounded and filled by hygge just by reading it.

Have I mentioned that my goal is to have the most Book People-ish high school library in the world? #goals #hygge

What are YOU reading?

Monday, July 3, 2017

It's Monday, what are YOU reading?

Summertime, and the livin's easy!  One of the very best things about summer is the free time to read. It is just delicious, isn't it!

One of my main goals is to read all the Tayshas books---yes, there are a ton of them, but yes, I'm going to keep at it 'till I get it done.

Oh, but I enjoyed this one!  What a delightfully snarky main character!  I just felt like I knew him and his friends, you know?  Brilliant.  A delightful coming-of-age story with fun, quirky characters.

This is a lovely book.  Genuinely beautiful.  Lyrical writing that dances with your senses.  The 4 teens each have a story which intertwines beautifully in the end.

And in other reading--

I came across the perfect memoir for someone like me who is fairly obsessed with the idea of hygge. I am so enjoying reading about such a different culture and the author is both humorous and interesting.

And lastly, I'm listening to the Audible version of a wonderful cozy mystery series I enjoy--Bless the Bride by Rhys Bowen, the 1oth book in the Molly Murphy Mystery series. This is a fun series to listen to while I clean and attempt to achieve the homey-hygge I mentioned above.

What are YOU reading?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

looking ahead

I'm thinking about my goals for the coming school year.  What do I want to accomplish this year? What are my top priorities for moving the library forward? I'm really still in the brainstorming process here, and will continue to take a look at the space itself, at the new state standards (currently still in draft version, but available as we continue to work on them), the Future-Ready Library information, and the TEKS for my grade levels as I make a list of To-Do's and work to prioritize them.

Future-Ready is divided into 8 sections that center around personalized student learning.
So, here, in no particular order, is my current list of things I would like to accomplish this year.  As the summer moves forward, I'll look at prioritizing and plotting & planning. 
  • Thorough weeding of the Reference  and non-fiction sections.  I need the space to be put to better use.  I've farmed out a ton of books already to the art department.  I've put some up for adoption.  I've moved the green books into a storage location for future book-tree building opportunities. I bought a cat-shaped book to show my fabulous shop teachers what I want to have done to some of them.  I've saved some to rip pages out of for blackout poems and other artsy stuff, but there is only so much storage space I'm willing to give up.  I really, really hate to dumpster them, but yeah, I'll probably have to with some of them as there are JUST.SO.MANY.  ugh. 
  • Building some community partnerships.  I've been working with our local public librarians (who are seriously amazing, by the way), and now I'm looking to branch out to create some new partnerships, as well.  
  • Create a stunning new website.  Mine is seriously lacking. 
  • I need to up my social media game.  Why?  Because I need to reach my stakeholders with the great news of our library, and I need to do this more than every-once-in-a-while.  Consistency creates a presence. 
  • Create new signage.  Mine is no longer correct since I've genrefied. 
  • Collaborate with more teachers, building on what we've already done.  I'll have many new teachers at my campus next year and want to start them off knowing we can partner up and that it isn't an "extra" thing for them---that it will be curricularly based and not a waste of precious class time. 
  • I want to increase my Maker area, which is currently all low-tech, and add the tech portion to it. 
  • I want the library to be utilized in better ways---honed in to student's needs better.  Not just open and available as a place, but really more of a concierge atmosphere in a way. 
  • Teach my teachers and students how to use our digital resources effectively--particularly our TexQuest resources.
  • Teach my teachers and students how to use our newly updated Destiny resources.
  • increase our digital holdings and market them better.
What are YOUR goals for the coming school year? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


My friend is moving.
She's funny and kind and smart and we have the best time working together.
Yeah, she's my friend and she is also my lovely library assistant.
Which doesn't make the situation easier.

I'm really so happy for her and her husband to have the opportunity to live closer to their kids and grandbabies.  Truly.

I'm happy we'll stay in touch through the magic of social media--and because she is moving close to my old stompin' grounds so we visit on a semi-regular basis.

I'm so grateful that Paula has been with me all 3 years I've been at the high school.  She has rolled with the punches and handled all my crazy wild schemes with ease.  She has been up for dressing like pirates and superheroes. She has relived the 70's with me and celebrated Tiara Tuesday like a boss.  I came in and shifted just about everything at that library and never once was she not along for the ride. She made me feel welcomed and wanted in my new days and some of my best working memories are with her.

She is moving on to new adventures and I hope she has a ball attending grandbabies t-ball games and dance recitals.  She will sure be missed in my neck of the woods.

So now comes the part where I will be setting up interviews for a new assistant.  I'm grateful the powers that be are giving me the opportunity to have a say in it, but I'm nervous.  I need someone flippin' amazing, filled with a passion for working with high school kids, and having fun doing it. I'm starting the process today.  I can train someone to do the work, but I'm looking for someone with that certain je nais se quoi.  I need someone that just *clicks*, you know?

I'm wishing Paula luck in her new adventures.
I'm wishing myself luck in mine, as well.


Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Monday...what are YOU reading?

This summer I hope to read many of the new 2017 Tayshas list books.  I can always count on the list being full of amazing reads, and I love to be able to do reader's advisory with the newest and greatest out there.

First, I added a shelf to my Goodreads account that lists all the books in a want-to-read status.  Now I get the pleasure of reading all those that I haven't already read!

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum was a fun romance.  I enjoyed the cast of characters very much and the storyline has a nice meet-cute element.  This was a perfect choice for the first weekend of summer break---an easy, fun read that held my interest.

 I'm now reading The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry. You can see my makeshift bookmark there in the pic.  I'm about halfway done and would love to just sit down and ignore all my other responsibilities to get this one finished.  The kids & the hubs think they need to eat and have clean laundry, however, so I'm reading it a bit at a time.  This is a long one--and a deep subject matter--women Christian mystics during the time of the Inquisition.  I long for a day filled with thunderstorms and soup on the stove so I can delve into this world more fully.  I find that I am intrigued by all the voices in the novel, but especially those of the three sisters.  No spoilers, but this one is really good!

Saturday, June 10, 2017



Yesterday was my last official work day of the school year and I spent it in the most awesome way possible. I traveled up the road to White Oak Middle School and spent the day learning from the best at the TCEA Area 7 Conference, put on by my good friend and librarian extraordinaire, the ever-fabulous Michelle Cooper.

Our keynote speaker was Shannon Miller.  Um, yeah.  SHANNON MILLER!  Y'all.  May I just say that I left the keynote so inspired, so determined, and so ready to really champion for my kids to use their voice and left the first session more excited than ever to be a Future-Ready Librarian. While I've followed her on Twitter, read her blog, and have been involved in the Future-Ready Libraries Facebook group, I had never had the opportunity to meet Shannon until yesterday.  What a delightful person!  I feel like I gained a friend. She is so sincere and knowledgeable and real.

The breakout sessions were great, too.  I went to one that was a Future-Ready conversation, led by Shannon Miller, Mary Kay Wisener, and my friend & mentor Sharon Gullett. One of the things I really loved about this session was the feeling of camaraderie in the room and the support given to folks who are brand-new incoming librarians.

My second breakout session was also led by Shannon Miller and was a celebration of some her favorite innovative things going on in libraries. I left with a list of apps to try and was texting library friends with lists of things they need to try!

I went to a breakout session led by Marsha Edney (also a good friend and such a hoot!) about using green screens.  So, I've always thought green screens are cool and all, but I got ideas yesterday on how to use them with classes that could be game-changers for our students.  Inspiring! I think I have a place in mind that would be perfect for this in the library.  Now to convince the powers that be.

Even my lunch break was enjoyable.  I was the lone librarian from my district to attend, so I didn't go with ready-made lunch partners.  However, I made a new librarian friend (she is both a new librarian and new friend) and we enjoyed getting to know one another during this time.  We've connected on Twitter and I can't wait to see how her year goes.

My last breakout session was led by Andy Adams from Region 7, who was an engaging speaker and again, I left with lists of apps to play with both for creating my own videos and for having students create videos to use in innovative ways.

Our closing speaker was Jamie Donnally who began #globalmakerday  which I will totally be participating in from now on.  SO COOL.  Seriously, anytime a learning day ends with play-do and Bloxels, and 3-D pens you know you've had a good day.  This is something to remember in our own days-of-learning with students. Did I mention I came home with the cutest, coolest sphero ever? YAY! for door prizes!

What a day, y'all.  What a fabulous, learning-filled, FUN-filled, glorious day to end my school year on just the perfect note.