Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents Day - A Fine Day to Read About Past Presidents

Presidents' Day holiday is a good time to take a walk or read a book. Which President or White House Family is your favorite? 

What are you reading?

Library and Volunteer Valentines

Mark your calendars and be prepared for next Valentines Day. These library-loving characters send a library advocacy message along with their Valentines. Message reads: Strong Students Need Strong Libraries
The cards are available in two formats. They can be downloaded, printed, trimmed and given to library lovers of all ages.  The Valentines are also available on greeting cards (with envelopes), mugs, posters and more at the Library Advocacy Store's  "Holidays" section,

Don't forget all those volunteers! They come in all sizes and ages. Valentines for Volunteers can be found beneath the downloadable animal Valentines. We love Volunteers 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Season's Readings

Season's Readings greeting cards, mugs and more are now available from the California School Library Association's Library Advocacy Store at

Bears, cats, and dogs send holiday greetings. Other cards promote reading and libraries.

Visit the site, do you holiday and 2014 shopping, and invite your friends to do the same!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey - strong libraries build strong students

Thanksgiving time is a time to be thankful for what we have, remember the way things used to be and to think about the future. It is a time to sit around the table and talk. Conversations will run the gambit, from world events to how to make a difference. When conversation turns to education reform, it is a good time to "talk turkey" or say it simply: strong libraries build strong students, strong communities.    
Let's Talk Turkey* is available on downloadable bookmarks. Print out a page of mini bookmarks and decorate your holiday table. Why not use them to get a discussion started? Talk books. Talk library. Talk about reading, research skills, digital literacy and preparing students for 21st century skills. 

*Big Eye Readers (animal and career series) are available at the Library Advocacy Store at

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Library Advocacy Store Adds Products

Travel mugs,dog tags and more have been added to each of the 30+ Library Store sections, including the children's book illustrations, CSLA Logo, and my career and animal characters. You can either go directly to the design you like and open it, or "search" topics such as: mugs, jewelry, purse hangers, playing cards, note cards.

Visit the Library Store at to browse the art and items, develop strategies for library advocacy, make "wish lists" and place holiday orders.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Park Ranger Bear Promotes Reading

Do you know some future Park Rangers? 
New Ranger Bear promotes reading and reminds
us to take care of the environment. 

Several versions of this bear are available on free
downloadable bookmarks. Ranger Bear mugs and
more are at site.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Common Core Discussion: Krashen and Van Roekel

Here is a summary about the Common Core Standards and an argument from Dr. Stephen Krashen about why it would be much better to control for poverty, to invest in addressing key ways to reduce impact of poverty on student achievement: access to better nutrition, health care, and school libraries. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

International Literacy Day

A tweet from the U.S. Embassy in Vienna alerted me that today is International Literacy Day, September 8th. A quick search found a new Infographic created by the United Nations (UNESCO) especially for today. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Malala Yousafzai Opens New Birmingham Library (UK)

Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for advocating education for girls, gave a 7-minute speech during opening ceremonies of the opening a new public library in Birmingham, England. She said that "Pens and books are the weapons that defeat terrorism."


Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chicago Librarians in Beastie Boys Music Video Re-Make

Here is a "must see" remake of a Beastie Boys music video. It is a kick to see music videos based in libraries, let alone roles played by librarians. The eNewsletter "I Love Libraries" alerted me to this really fun music video called "Sabotage" -- Enjoy!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

California READS - a State of Mind

The California state flag is a popular design for t-shirts and sweatshirts, so it made sense to modify elements of the design by providing the grizzly bear a book to read. Instead of "California Republic" the flag now says "California READS".  

Note:  Of course there are no grizzly bears left in California, only black bears.  Early settlers made sport of hunting and publicly fighting, killing grizzly bears.
This image is available on shirts, mugs and more at

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

LIBRARY: Keep Doors Open

It goes without saying: 
Open libraries provide access to books, Internet-based resources, information specialists (librarians). 

Closed libraries keep out those who most need access, such as those who have no books, Internet, or quiet space at home.

Read more at or get this image as a poster at (see Kids Today images).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hugo the Dog Reads HUGO

Hugo the dog wants to read Brian Selznick's magical book, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret". What are you reading?

Many wonderful young adult (middle school) books are made into movies. This is one of them. The story takes place in Paris, and is about the early days of motion pictures. The book is mostly intricate drawings by Brian Selznick, as is his newest book "Wonderstruck".
As with other Big Eye Readers, Hugo appears on miniature bookmarks. These are handy as due date reminders, collectables, prizes, a part of a gift package for a fundraiser or appreciation event, a thank you card enclosure, or a hundred other uses. Keep a handful handy as conversation starters. 
Visit the bookmark page at

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ode to Librarians (video)

High School Jane Lofton shared this fun "Ode to Librarians" video from Flocabulary. It could be a fun way to introduce students and parents to the school library.

Here are the lyrics from Flocabulary's "We Heart Librarians" contest:

Whoa, look at all these books! Where am I? Maybe this is one of those... libraries. But if this is a
library, then... Hey, wait a second — Who are YOU?

This is the library, come in, have a seat,
Let’s take a trip, you won’t have to leave your feet.
So much media, all for you to see,
I’m a librarian, that’s my J-O-B.

You know us, the librarians at your school,
Media specialists, there’s so much we can do.
We recommend books, yeah, we know the best ones,
That’ll have you all hooked. Now listen, wait, umm...
Nonfiction, fiction, periodicals and sites,
Guide you to information, get you so hyped.
Dante had Virgil, and you’ve got us,
To guide you on that path when you look up.
Any information for a paper or research,
HEART librarians, that’s the T-shirt.
We pick media — no tweezer,
And the library just got cool — no freezer.
Whether book club, author reading or a lesson,
We make it happen, no stressing.
We don’t just run the library, we teach,
Search better than Google, come and find me.

This is the library, come in, have a seat,
Let’s take a trip, you won’t have to leave your feet.
So much media, all for you to see,
I’m a librarian, that’s my J-O-B.

Now before we move along with the lesson, 

There are a few misconceptions about our profession
We don’t read all day, our hair’s not in a bun,
We don’t all wear glassesdon’t always say “Shush.”

 We do love books, we’re the bosses at the internet,
We do provide the freedom to escape the room you’re sitting in
Do you want to know more about your favorite band?

The history of your family? Or your native land?

We’re on a quest to teach you how to find the data,
Thinking critically to help you now and later.
We have the books by the rack, look how they stack,
Huey, Louie, Dewey Decimal, we know about that.
Don’t crack the spine of a paperback,
And follow the rules, know how to act.
Bring your curiosity, the sky is the limit,
Grab a book and a friend, get with it — the library.

This is the library, come in, have a seat,
Let’s take a trip, you won’t have to leave your feet.
So much media, all for you to see,
I’m a librarian, that’s my J-O-B.

Pinterest Board for Big Eye Readers

Pinterest is like an online bulletin board. You create a "board" and start pinning images.  Here is a snapshot of the board created that features "Big Eye Readers"but also pins other fun book and reading images to the board.

Pinterest is most popular with women. Many educators use it to support lesson plans.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Vote for Libraries

It is that time of year, when candidates bombard us with reasons to vote for them. This is a good time to remind them to vote for libraries and why to do so. This image will get their attention. Items are available for sale at the Library Advocacy Store and mini bookmarks are free to download at

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wild and Crazy Dogs Love Adventure Books

When asked which dog book was her two tiny dogs' favorite, teacher librarian Connie immediately replied, "Call of the Wild" by Jack London.

The dog duo image is now on a tote bag with a "Support Strong School Libraries" message on the backside of the bag. See

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Big Dog and Little Friend Mini-BookMarks

Back-to-school time is around the corner. Several new characters have been added to the growing collection of mini bookmarks that promote strong libraries, strong students.  Visit the mini-bookmark page, download as many sets of bookmarks as you wish. Click on  FREE to download, print, and distribute.

Big Dog (Loki, a brindle-colored terrier) and Little Dog (Ivy, a miniature pincher-chihuahua mix) have joined their bookmark friends. Both love good books and enjoy nothing more than hearing a good story!

Here are some ways these bookmarks and promotions for strong libraries are used. How will you use them? Let us know.
  • Attach or insert seasonal bookmarks with holiday greetings, meeting reminders, thank you notes to donors and volunteers, or new library books.  
  • Offer a wide selection of mini bookmarks at each Back-to-school, Site Council, PTA, School Board Meeting, workshop and conference. Use the bookmarks to start a conversation and advocate for your library. 
  • Include a set or several sets of bookmarks in a book gift basket as a raffle or silent auction item.
  • Carry a small supply of mini bookmarks with you at all times -- you never know when you can use them as conversation starters!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Big Dogs are Big Readers

New police academy rookie Nika and her dog Loki love police detective stories, especially those based in San Francisco.  Here is Loki, looking at you!

Big Dogs are big listeners and faithful friends. Loki is looking fine and is now available online at

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Graphic Design: Little Red Riding Hood

Check out this creative graphic design that features Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

The lines for pages of the book have been turned into a forest for the characters!

Summer Reading Destination

School's out, but summer vacation can get old fast without classmates and planned activities. Make plans for the lazy, crazy days of summer. Walk or ride to the library.  

Make it a destination to:

meet friends
start a book club
attend a program

Challenge students to find a favorite reading spot, browse through the magazines and find ones that cover your hobbies or interests.

Invite students and parents to get to know the reference librarians and ask for book and website recommendations. 

Is there a summer reading program? Participate!

Is there a FRIENDS of the Library group, and if so, are they planning a book sale or fundraiser? Join! Become a library advocate.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sammy Squirrel Reads

For the past three years, I've been taking graphic design classes. In order to practice, I invite middle school students at Borel Middle School to recommend character ideas and which book the character will be reading. The characters were added to a collection of 1" x 4.25" bookmarks.  Kids could use the back of the bookmarks for jotting down due dates when borrowing a book. Or, they simply collected the characters. The bottom line is that my Adobe Illustrator skills improved thanks to those students!

There are now three types of characters: people with heads and books, animals with heads and books, and (most recently) whole body characters. One of the most challenging animal characters was Sammy Squirrel, requested by my friend who specified a question mark-shaped tail and glasses.

In addition to using the characters to practice my craft, they come in handy in two ways:
  • Free bookmarks that include the message "Strong Libraries, Strong Students". A carry a half dozen or so with me as conversation starters.
  • Images available on the Library Advocacy Store and DesignClass sites, thus providing a small revenue stream to the California School Library Foundation.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

KangaRoo Reader

Six years ago, the State Library of Western Australia contacted the California School Library Association web 2.0 team for permission to use the online tutorial, School Library Learning 2.0.  I came across this information when searching my correspondence for the word "Australia" because a friend's daughter moved there for a year and so the country and its animals have been on my mind.  

Knowing my friend likes to use a combination of online and postal service letters and care packages to stay in touch, I designed KangaRoo Reader for her.  Kanga bookmarks are available as free downloads at Kanga is also on a number of items at

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Readers' Advisory: The Librarian is IN

Time for a little fun, while making a point.  Librarians tend to shy away from self-promotion, but recommending books is a core part of the job. Get your library a large wall poster and supporting items. Get some attention for what you love to do -- read and recommend books and online resources.

See the simple image for "Readers' Advisory: The Librarian is IN" - add your own image or keep this reader who can't stop reading -- it must be a good book. Wall decal is fun to place behind or next to the reference desk. Design is by Jackie Siminitus, library advocate.

See and

Friday, April 12, 2013

Yellow Ducky Reads Dr. Seuss

Advocate for environment and reading with the newest design recommended by teen girls: a yellow ducky reading The LORAX.  

"Duck, Duck, Book" is available on mini bookmarks.  Just download, print on card stock, trim and hand out with each book checked out at the library. Bookmarks are available at no charge at Matching gift items are available at

Monday, November 12, 2012

Season's Readings: Dog and Cat Greetings

Now is the time to shop for holiday greeting cards and decorations. The California School Library Association's Library Advocacy Store has added a lot of new images and products. Here is a sampler of some of the fun items to brighten up the season. Mugs are ideal candy-cane holders, when you and your friends are not sipping hot cocoa.

Happy Learners with Technology

Do your students have access to the library before and after school? During the lunch period? Is the library open so students without technology at home have a safe, warm place to develop the digital literacy skills needed for school, work and life in the 21st century?

Here is a design that reflects what happens when students have regular access to technology and staff including teacher librarians.  The design is now available at the CSLA's Library Advocacy Store.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pirate and Witch Promote Reading

"Yo Ho Ho and a Book to Read" shouts this treasure-hunting pirate. Our Pirate Captain promotes reading on "Talk Like A Pirate Day" (September 19) and throughout the month of October, when Halloween is on the minds of kids of all ages. Yo Ho Ho!

Our popular Halloween witch looks right at you and says "Trick or Read!" Be careful! She may put a spell on you.

How do people use these characters? The first and primary use is for mini bookmarks for my local school students. I make a pdf of each set of bookmarks and make them available to librarians and friends at no cost -- each bookmark includes an advocacy message, "Strong School Libraries, Strong Students."  PDF download

The characters are also loaded onto the California School Library Foundation online store at and The two stores provide a small revenue stream for library advocacy. Support Strong School Libraries! To learn more about the crisis in school libraries, see and make some noise!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

School Librarian Crusader

Here's a school librarian worth following. Middle School Librarian Sara Stevenson of Austin, TX advocates clearly and is the recipient of the Loeb Award for online journalism.

See Lauren Barack's  School Library Journal article, "Sara Stevenson: School Librarian Crusader."
Follow her on twitter

Sunday, August 19, 2012

ALA Needs to Introduce Strong School Libraries to FCC

It is that time of year again.  School starts and thus it is time for school and library E-Rate plans and requests for discounts.  Since the start of the Federal E-Rate program, where $2.25 BILLION is given ANNUALLY to schools and libraries to fund telecommunications, Internet access and related equipment.  Most money goes to public schools, yet ALA/OITP's E-Rate committee has historically lacked school librarians.  Teacher Librarians need to be at the ALA/OITP table in order to have a voice, advocate for the important role of strong school libraries, and get ALA to advocate for strong school libraries as key to teaching digital literacy and cyber safety.  For info on e-rate, see

Public libraries are very important players in providing access to the Internet, but school librarians are tops for teaching digital literacy!  Schools (and thus school libraries) have a captive audience of MILLIONS of students and staff that can be introduced to digital literacy through school library curriculum standards.  It helps to have the library open and staffed by teacher librarians.  This message needs to be delivered to the FCC and repeated. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

For that matter, an image of a school library that includes both books and technology should be regularly shared with members of the FCC and the USAC (Universal Service Administrative Company).  Here is the image I designed due to lack of images that show both print and e-resources.

See the relevant discussion by the Unquiet Librarian on "Dear FCC and ALA: Do you really not get it?" at

Friday, August 10, 2012

Big Eye Reader Poll

How can the Big Eye Reader characters help libraries become more visible? Which characters or messages are best? What are the best ways to promote the characters and messages? Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Digital Literacy

In My Opinion...
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needs to hear from school teacher librarians.  No one else will advocate for a funding mechanism for specifically for teaching students digital literacy.  Schools that participate in the federal E-Rate program in order to purchase broadband and related equipment at discounts should be required to designate that the 20%-90% a year savings support school library programs in order to:
  1. provide or increase student access to computers and the broadband network. If a library is closed, there is no access. Keep the school libraries, including before and after school.  Summertime too!
  2. provide or increase student instruction in digital literacy, cybersafety, and online Research skills. If there is no teacher librarian or a shared teacher librarian for several schools, access to instruction and guidance is missing.  California has digital literacy standards but a growing absence of teacher librarians in the schools. At the national level, there is are digital literacy standards from the American Association of School Libraries, AALS Standards for 21st Century Learners.
  3. increase library staff and/or provide ongoing professional development in digital literacy to library team. 
Why? Here is a starter list:
  • Digital literacy is key to ensuring equal opportunity in the 21st century. 
  • School libraries are ideal for teaching digital literacy to students and classroom teachers.  
  • School students are a "captive audience" and thus can be required to get ongoing, grade-level appropriate instruction and opportunities.

School library advocates across the nation need to make noise.  It is hard to be heard when surrounded by the many voices of vendors, classroom instructors, athletic boosters, and others who each have their own priorities.