The daily life of a Middle School Library Media Assistant.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tech Help

Today I got some marvelous techie help from Mr. R. It seemed he came by when I needed somthing. He helped me download a font (book geek yes, computer geek no) and then we had students turning off computers with messages and we talked that yes, there are kids that know how to do that and he is looking into it. We also discussed the options for people who come and need equipment for presentations, what is necessary to set up versus putting everything out there for them. Tore down the two Roland Smith bulletin boards out in the hallways and put up some National Poetry Month stuff on the one outside the workroom door. Took down the March calendar (Mr. W came by and looked at it before I took it down and called me the Queen of the Bulletin Boards) and got the April calendar all up except for embellishments. My aides helped with cutting out the numbers out of newspaper for me. Checked out The Bean Trees, and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, checked in Witness and assorted other texts. Processed magazines, had my aides put away books both text and the 'books to movies' I had on my shelf. Sent an email to Mrs. S that I now had enough Witness for a class set and she asked me to get them ready for her. Rounded up mystery books for the April bulletin board, put all the excess cash away for the night, and backed up the Trac-It program.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Roland Smith Pays a Visit

Today I go in early because author Roland Smith is coming to do a presentation for our school. We partnered up with Pringle Elementary to make it work and had a great turn out here at Sprague. He did a slide presentation and then fielded questions from the students on his life and the writing trade. Afterwards he came out to the commons and signed books for students and teachers. We also had him sign 4 hardback copies that we have on our shelves. A wonderful way to start back to school after spring break! Then, Mrs. H got a message that her son had reinjured his leg! Her hubby rushed over to get him while she finished up a few things and then went to her son and ended up being gone for the rest of the day. Back at the library, I pulled books for classes. Mr. C needed 2 class sets of To Kill a Mockingbird, and Ms. L requested 2 class sets of The Bean Trees. Mr. L on the math side brought in his geometry classes for Geometry Connections Volume 2 for 3 classes. Ms. C needed our set of 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens with their workbooks. Mrs. S came in to see how many Witness we had. I sorted the weeks worth of mail we had, helped out with Mrs. J's sub, answered a request for a title from South HS, processed magazines, helped out another librarian with some statistics, had our aides pull down all the Roland Smith flyers we had out, checked some of the repairs I had left over break and got the gynormous dictionary back on it's lecturn and some more books to be put away. Added up the book sales from the author visit, Mrs. H called to remind me to get the Infocus machine out of the Pantheon (our stage) so I sent an aide down to take care of that, helped a student find a new set of books she may enjoy, ran the front desk after the sub left, checked in and out books, had aides work on their shelf section, and finally shut down the library for the night.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Last Day Before Spring Break

Lots going on today. CIS for starters. I waited for my group to come in, and when they didn't I went to the teacher's room and they were all in the other computer lab with another class! So I stayed and helped them out. Then lots of repairing, setting books to glue for the next week and getting shelves cleared off. Cleaned up our teacher guides for our novels and got one to Mr. M. Had our aides do a bit of work then read a Roland Smith book for his visit on the 30th. I will come in early to attend and help out. Clicked a few freshmen out of games on the computers while they were supposed to be doing CIS stuff later in the day. Put a new page in a Calculus book. Cleared all the carts in the library and textbooks so all the books would be all shelved for the break. Put books out to sell again at lunch. We didn't have any students purchase any, but a couple of teachers did. We will keep these for Monday after his talk in case they want to buy one and have him sign it. Counted up the money with Mrs. H to get it put away for the break. Closed up everything, turned off everything we could and I even remembered to take my plant home (as well as check out some books for the break!).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snow Falling on Cedars

Repairs and more repairs today. Finished up most of the books that were glued yesterday. Started working on the 'repair' pile. Sat at the Roland Smith table to sell books for first lunch and read Peak. Mrs. H did second lunch. Brought up computers, put a new barcode in a book, tipped in pages, worked on gluing together the flag page on this wonderful gnarly old dictionary we have from the Charles A. Sprague collection. It was torn completely in half and I hope it turns out well. People had drawn on the tags on the spine so I erased the marks and then covered them. Processed some magazines, and that was about my day. Mostly repairs. Mr. M came in and wanted to know if we had the movie Snow Falling on Cedars for when he's done with reading the book in his class. We do!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book Selling

Today I walked in and nearly right out again as Mrs. H decided we both needed to go over to Pringle and pick up some books to sell for Roland Smith's appearance on the 30th. Then we came back and set up a table in the commons and put the books out to sell, had order forms and the forms for the students that want to attend his talk during both lunches. Then I checked out Great Gatsby's, and repaired my pile I had sitting on the shelf behind me. Tried to find a lit book with Cyrano de Bergerac in it. Talked to a teacher about our 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens book and the workbooks that go along with it. Talked with Mrs. A on an article in the paper and then told her I'd seen an article in Business News on the mock interviews, helped a student that needed to purchase a lost book. Talked with a mom who's son needed a second textbook. Wanted to get my German trading card, but it was too busy so I just went back to the library. Helped a student find an easier to read copy of Julius Caesar (by Shakepeare). Sent a thank you to Mr. Johnston for his bagpipe playing yesterday (and asked him if he'd come in on my birthday!), and registration ended today so our library will be back to normal tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Today is St. Patrick's Day and last year we had Mr. J (one of our science teachers) play in the library. Yesterday we hadn't heard from him, so I e-mailed to see if he would play and he said, yes, he would! So after school today he came in with one of our seniors who plays drums and they put on a wonderful performance. We had quite a few staff come down and listen and it was nice hearing the sound of the pipes swirling around. I spent most of the day working on repairs and have the cart full of books all done but one. Got ready some of our Permabound The Great Gatsby's for a teacher and checked a lot of those out. Mrs. H ended up going to pick up her broken-legged son who was having a bad day at school and Mrs. J left for an appointment. Ms. W came down with some CD's that had been ordered and we decided to leave them for Mrs. H tomorrow. Processed some magazines. But mostly gluing and taping books. My goal is to have all the books on the shelves all refurbished so we can cycle them out to students next year and refurbish the ones they currently have out. Thank you Mr. J for a wonderful mini concert!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Penny & a Gum Wrapper

I worked on the gluing I had left on Friday. There are sometimes so many steps you have to take when refurbishing these old texts. I usually start with the corners where the ends have torn through the outside cover, then the cardboard starts to fray and separate into layers. I put a little glue inbetween the layers, put wax paper around it, a few pieces of cardboard and a clamp to hold it. Then I look at the end papers. These are the papers glued to the inside of the cover and the glue does give out. Those also need gluing back together. They are the strength of the hinges that hold the main body of the book in the cover. Some of the spines have their covers ripped, so a lot of times I reinforce the tear with construction paper and glue and also glue the tear shut. Then after all that dries, I tape the outside spines and hinges (on the American Experience books I'm working on they are so thick they take three spans of tape), then color the dings in the book edges that are white where the red color has been rubbed or nicked off, tape them, then the corners with the fabric corners and the spine ends with the wings. Lastly (if I don't forget!) I check the book number, put it on the old barcode and tape over the barcode so it won't wear out (I've been using our cheap tape instead of the fancy expensive barcode covers - saving them for other uses). Today as I was smoothing tape down the spine, I could feel two lumps inside between the spine cover and the actual spine of the body. I had to get my little double bladed scalpel looking tool to push them out. One was a penny, the other was a waded up gum wrapper. Oh, my. Got books back on the shelf, always a good thing. Checked in and out a few books today, the library was still closed for registration and we also had mock interviews going on. Had a book dealer call with an encyclopedia of black history so I told that we were unable to even look at them since the budget is up in the air (we're hoping it will come back to earth). Checked on our Witness books for Mrs. S and we didn't have enough in, so I talked with Ms. O that has most of them out currently and she hopes to be done by the end of the week. I let Mrs. S know and she will start after spring break. Had Mr. D ask if we had a teacher's edition of the Physics book and took him straight to it and checked it out to him. Checked in a class set of The Martian Chronicles. It's a good time to furrow through repairs and I'll be finishing up this set tomorrow.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Announcements

We had a campaign speech assembly today and they didn't end on time so I didn't get to show our video announcements ~ The library was very quiet and I was the only one in there during assembly since seniors had their group photo taken out on the football field and everyone else was supposed to be at the assembly. I worked on the repairs that had sat for gluing from the night before and spent most of the day working more 'layers' of their repair. Gluing corners, then end papers, then taping and covering up bad tears. Each 'layer' requires gluing and a sit over night, but I did get the cart I had pulled emptied so every book has been looked at and is in the process of repair. I also did a copy of Twilight and a Sears Roebuck Catalogue 1897 that needed some gluing. I did check in and out some kids today, processed a couple of magazines, voted on the Manga debate of whether or not SKSD (Salem Keizer School District) should leave the graphic novels as 741.5(9....) or put them all into fiction. It's a real toss-up and other libraries are all over the board on how to classify them. I put our new books that our aide and our substitute librarian covered on the spinner rack we usually reserve for Ms. O to show them off. A good day of repairing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

100th Post!

Welcome to my 100th post! I worked with my aide this morning getting Roland Smith books out for our displays. I made sure that we had copies on the shelves for students to read before he comes and put a 'Roland Smith books' tag out for students to find his section easier. We had a box of books delivered to see if we wanted any for the school and we had to turn them all back in. I checked the instructions and called their 800 number, got the return code and followed their directions on sending it back. It should be picked up within 3-5 business days. I had my aide help me take it to the office and we had three boxes of books waiting from processing at LMSS to cover and get on our shelves. Huzzah! I had him unload all the boxes onto a cart for covering and I showed our sub for Mrs. H how to do the laminated covers. I helped the aides read shelves, showing them how it needs to be done. I laminated a ton of stuff that's been left the last couple of days and had Mrs. S ask if I could do hers she was just finishing up and Ms. R also snuck a poster in as well! I processed some magazines, repaired books, showed Ms. G how to run the DVD/Infocus machine for her presentation tonight. When Mr. A came to use it, I said 'No!' that's for someone else! So he and Mr. R got together our other set using the computer instead.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Word Art

In my car with me today, and sitting in the back were the two large posters that were used at my husband's calligraphy workshops with the artist Timothy Botts, so I brought them in and had them displayed all day back by my calendar. I sent an email to staff so they knew to come by or send students by to see his 'word art'. Several people did come by. I started the day helping a student with SK Online, our on-line course program. She needed help with Algebra so I pulled up my chair and we went through the sections together until she reached her quiz. I checked in class sets of Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Processed one magazine and put two others in the teacher mailboxes. Spent most of the day working on repairing The American Experience books. Mrs. H was gone, her son needed more surgery on his leg and she'll be gone the rest of the week. Mrs. J is doing a fantastic job on our main library bulletin board for Roland Smith coming and got the permission slips sent out for students that want to attend his talk. She is so awesome!

32 Days in Africa

March 10th: A student aide requested help this morning putting away some of the textbooks, so I did that for him. He's one of our special kids and feels better when a staff member is giving him some direction. Another student came and put 13 cents on his account for paying off a DVD on his account ($5) and so I marked it and gave it to Mrs. H. Roland Smith is coming to Sprague so I had my aides work on the outside bulletin boards for him today and we got the information up and the titles of some of his books. I worked on repairing our The American Experience books that are getting battered, checked out a class set of Witness and processed magazines. I had a student come in to pick up the Algebra Connections Volume 2 and she apologized that she hadn't been here since she'd just returned from 32 days in Africa! She had on a beautiful wrap and necklace and said she was still a bit jet lagged. I told her she should contact Mr. V and have someone do an article for The Gambit on her journey, she said she might!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Short Story

Came back to work to see our aides busily processing the books Mrs. H and I had selected during Friday's work. Very nice! We are having registration for next year in the library these next two weeks and so we are closed except for scheduled lab classes. Our printers have special paper in them for printing up the new classes (on one side is parent information for checking the schedules and changing if necessary) so Mrs. J had made signs for all the computers that they cannot print until the end of class. I announced to each class that if they wanted to print we needed to to wait until the end of the period and then change paper. I think it went well. Gave out two class sets of Witness and some Algebra Connections Volume 2 and a class set of Foundations of Algebra Year 1 Volume 2. Processed magazines, checked over the repair gluing I did last week and they had done well, both library and textbooks. I only needed to glue another for the corners and the rest were taped, checked and checked back into the inventory. Checked in and out individual students today, helped a teacher with her in-class set of books. She needs to occasionally let a student take a text home so she emails me on the book and the student that has it and I check out the book to the student. Mrs. H and Mrs. J ate lunch and called me, but I was busy with a student and didn't hear them! So I ended up eating lunch alone and reading a short story by Neil Gaiman from our collection :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Repairing ASVAB

The ASVAB test was going on when I got in today. Mr. J's class was right outside in the hallway working on sets for their play and being quite noisy, so I reminded him about the test and he shushed his students down immediately. I worked on repairing texts while we waited for the test to be over. Gluing and fixing new covers, checking out the texts waiting to see what they needed, doing some additional repairs on books that had gotten initial repairs. I now have a row of books waiting for glue to dry! When we got in I checked in and out the seemingly interminable Algebra Connections Volume 1 for the Volume 2, lots of individual students bringing things back and checking out. Several nice comments on my March bulletin board from staff. I worked with Mrs. H on our Baker and Taylor order since we got the all clear to add some new books to our collection. We pooled our resources and got a good list together. Since we seem to be shy on our Sci-Fi collection I also asked Mr. H & Mr. C to suggest titles they thought would be good. Processed magazines at the end of the day. I had requested a vacation day for tomorrow as we have an amazing guest coming to town and I got permission to go to the airport with my hubby to pick him and his wife up! Then Friday is an Inservice/Grading Day (I only work a half day - just under 3 hours) so Mrs. H is meeting me at the Borders Books and we will pick up some additional books! How lucky am I to work with such a great boss who orders me to work to pick out books for our collection! Huzzah!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Replacing Textbooks Help for Students

The first Tuesday of the month is our classified staff meeting. We discussed the current issues with the budget and I got to share with the team that there are other ways for students to pay for textbooks than just paying our price. We have a wonderful operation right here in town called Bookbyte that buys and sells used textbooks. Another option is Amazon, they also have a used textbook division. Our newer books are about the same price (sometimes more since we often get a school discount) but the older books can often be had for much less. One student I helped had $100 worth of texts she needed to pay for and through Bookbyte only paid $20 to replace them. We do need to make sure that when they do buy a textbook through another source that they use the correct ISBN number since many books have several editions out and we need to make sure that we are getting the same issue that we are using not to mention a book that is within a school usable condition. One of the staff asked that I send out a staff email with the information so I did that after we left. I pulled books for today and helped a student save a document to a flash drive. I processed magazines and had a DVD brought in to see if we could use it for announcements and it had an error message and was ejected. I let the staff announcement liason know that it wouldn't play before announcements were done. Checked in and out individual students, took in two class sets of Algebra Connections Volume 1 replacing that with Algebra Connections Volume 2. Tipped pages, ran the front desk after Mrs. J left, compiled the list of books that kids had requested during our winter book wish list, sent off Witness to Ms. C, got our aides working on reading shelves and they were pleased that they had found a "Z" in with the "L's" and put it where it belonged. I got approved today to take vacation on Thursday since we have a very special guest coming to town to work with my husband and the Capitol Calligraphers for a workshop. I'm excited! I ended the day sending out an email to two of our teachers that I had forgotten when we scheduled text pick-ups that the library would be closed 1st and 2nd period tomorrow while they run the ASVAB test, but I would have the window open as soon as the test was over and students could come by and pick up their texts anytime the rest of the day. We have a small fridge for our lunches in the back workroom, and the ice had built up so thick the door wouldn't close anymore, so I put the few things in there into Mrs. T's fridge and unplugged it, leaving in the bowl and lots of towels in case it spilled out. No sense in running the fridge when the door won't close, and not very cost effective either.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Books to Movies

Yeah! It's Read Across America Day! When they do announcements, mine is totally forgotten, so Lisa grabs a copy of it and reads it over the intercom a few minutes late! She goes to bat for me all the time - a great boss! We did have 5 kids that I know of bring me books that had been made into movies and they got a free book from Lisa's cart. I worked on Ms. A's request for class sets of Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Some of the Othello books were really old (75 cents a copy!) and not holding up very well, so I taped the spines before I sent them out. Processed a magazine, dealt with student requests all day, lots of individual books to check out and in. A student returned a lost copy of a book and I approved that he was clear and to send out his report card. I got ready books for tomorrow:
Witness and Algebra Connections 2, did some repairs, cleared a billed text, added in print accounts to student computers, worked with a student aide who did an excellent job reorganizing our library Shakespeare collection and also worked with him on some other duties around the library, added in more film to my calendar (thank you very much Ms. M!) and kept up the books on the tables (moving them back and resetting them up after lunches), putting money in print accounts and I never got time to read myself today, so I think I'll go do that now! Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! You made a great difference to a lot of readers!