In a recent New York Times column novelist Cathleen Schine explains how her adolescent reading was waylaid by a chance encounter with Dostoyevsky. In seventh grade, she picked up The Idiot â€œthinking it would be a funny book about a stupid personâ€. From there she moved through an idiosyncratic list of classics, and found herself as an adult without the modern literary context of her peers.
Like many high and middle school librarians, I am a member of both YALSA and AASL. For this year’s Midwinter Conference, I was fortunate to attend the AASL Pre-Institute Bringing ‘Em On: 21st Century Skills Aligning with Standards. Led by Pam Berger, the hands-on workshop taught participants about both the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and the new AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner.
Whether you’re in a school or public library, you may be interested in checking out the standards, which focus on giving our patrons the skills they will need to thrive in the world that awaits them.
The idea started last year in an eleventh grade classroom with a teacher joking that there should be a school version of the television show Dancing with the Stars. Some members of the class took the idea and ran with it. This fall, the seniors presented Dancing With the Staff.
The basics: teachers were put into dancing pairs. The first week they danced ballroom. Three of the ten couples were eliminated, and the seven remaining danced freestyle the following week. Three teachers served as judges, serving up snarky commentary much like the judges on the show. Charging $5 a head, the senior class earned $3900.
While it was a financially successful fundraiser, there were a number of other benefits as well.
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With budgets being frozen and cut, it can be hard to find the money to host a traditional author visit. Here are six tips to connect with authors â€“ virtually and in person â€“ for little to no money.
1. Piggyback: When you book an author, you don’t just have speaker fees. You also need to pay for travel, lodging, and other expenses. One way to cut costs is to piggy back on book tours. When Jeff Kinney came to our local Border’s, one of our elementary librarians contacted his publisher who put her in touch with his agent. She was able’ to schedule a school visit between his other engagements. While this visit was not exactly cheap, it was cheaper than it might have been.
2. Buy Local: Another way to avoid travel fees is to book a local author. YALSA has a wiki which lists YA authors by state. Local authors may be more willing to work with your budget constraints since it is a way for them to support their community.