Books, a Super Librarian, and a…tent?

Meet Anna Teeple and become inspired. Anna has been honored with one of the AASL’s Outstanding School Libraries Award and shares her ideas and thoughts not only to our seasoned librarians, but our growing readership of first year librarians too. 

Name, School Name, State, and Web Address  or Blog.

Anna Teeple

North View International Baccalaureate World School, Minnesota

Tell us about your library?

Our media center is the hub of the school. We have comfy spaces for students to read and an IB (International Baccalaureate) corner teachers and students use as an interactive space. Our collection has books in over 10 languages, as we have many students from around the world. We are very fortunate to have desktop labs, PC and MAC laptops, iPads, webcams and creation stations (desktop, iPod, iPod microphone, digital still camera, Flip Video and WebCam) available for collaborative technology projects.

 How do you see technology and the school library blending in the next decade?

If we play our cards right, Library Media Specialists (LMS) can have a great impact on where and how technology is used in our schools.  As LMS, we need to make sure we’re staying on the cutting edge of technology integration so that we are seen as technology leaders in our field. I am fortunate to work in a district that supports LMS and technology and with the right support surrounding us, we are an invaluable resource. Our special training as collaborators and our knowledge in a variety of curricular areas primes us to be instructional leaders.  Armed with that knowledge and our tendency to be go getters, a school’s media center and technology will naturally blend together. It will only make the media center a more popular place to be and the tech savvy, instructional leader will also be the Library Media Specialist.

How do you add fun into your curriculum?

I use technology as much as possible! Its second nature to kids and it’s so fun to see them take it to the next level and to teach me how to use different tools. Collaborating with other teachers and Librarians is essential. One of my favorite activities after we read Memory Boy for book club and the Librarian from our county library brought her tent and all of her camping gear and we set it up in the media center. We learned about real survival skills. We all had a blast!

What inspires you and how do you keep your students inspired?

Getting kids who say, “I don’t read” excited about books inspires me. Having kids who say “I hate school” have fun while learning inspires me. I keep my students inspired by giving them access to books and tools they can use and I don’t allow them to give up! My team and I have created a warm, open space in the media center where all students are welcome, regardless of ability and all of us will work hard until we help students find the right book or teach them how to use the right tool. They know they have a place here.

What are some of your favorite library/technology sites or blogs?

I use Twitter to find technology and library tips. I follow Buffy Hamilton (of course), DanielPink, techlearning and local colleagues I’ve met along the way. It’s quick, easy and I can access it anywhere. Twitter never feels like work, which is the best part!

Do you have any words of wisdom and/or advice for first year media specialists?

Many LMS told me that it takes 5 years before you feel like you have a good handle on all the aspects of the job. I had 7 years of teaching experience under my belt before I became an LMS and when I started year 5, I finally understood what they meant. My piece of advice would be to admit that you don’t know it all. You can’t. People will ask you every question you can ever imagine. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know. I will find out and get back to you.”

 What books are flying off the shelves this year?  (The books your students like the most)

Anything and everything manga! Our Naruto and Dragon Ball Z series are the most popular. Yummy: The last days of a Southside shorty is another super popular graphic novel. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Hunger Games Series, Maximum Ride Series and anything with vampires is also flying off the shelves.

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