SAYL Mail February 14, 2020

SAYL Mail   School and Youth Librarian Newsletter

February 14

Around the State

The combined public/school library at the Harold Kaveolook School suffered major fire damage early Friday morning February 7. The portion of the building housing teachers and the elementary school was not damaged, with the middle and high school, gym, and library were destroyed. Many of you have heard and are asking in what ways you can help. Given the weather conditions and lack of storage space it will be awhile before it’s time to consider donations for the library. Staff are busy addressing more immediate needs and will let everyone know when the time to address library needs arrives.


AkASL Battle of the Books is looking for moderators for the state level competitions coming up.

The dates are:

  • Tuesday February 25,  High School Battles
  • Wednesday February 26 , Middle School Battles
  • Thursday February 27, 5th/6th grade Battles
  • Friday February 28, 3rd/4th grade battles

Please let Shelly know if you can help.


Through YALSA’s Connected Learning and Computational Thinking Grant we now have two librarians who are looking for opportunities to provide training for both school and public librarians. If you are interested and want to know more, please contact me.


Alaska/AASL Library Standards Update

The standards will be addressed at the March 25-6th Alaska Board of Education Meeting. This is the next step before there is a public comment period and formal adoption. Details forthcoming.


Professional Opportunities

AkASL (Alaska Association of School Librarians) is looking for individuals who may be interested in joining the organization and helping out.

We are looking for someone who is interested in the Membership Coordinator Position. This person works with AKLA to make sure our membership database is up to date. They keep the information updated on the website by letting the webmaster know what needs to be changed. This new position works with librarians and library staff around the state communicating about the membership of AKASL.

We are also looking for members who are interested in working with the Media Manager and furthering the social media presence of AkASL. Helping to managing Facebook, twitter and making sure the person doing the website gets the information that needs updating or help with the website.

If you are interested or know someone please contact Pam Verfailie, President elect at or


Librarians and #akreads

Alaska Reads Act: EED website

The Nonnegotiable Role of School Librarians 

Nicely summarizes what we do and provides reflections questions. Great article for conversation starters to share with your administrator and coworkers    Link to article

Great Strides: Building Confident Readers.

How two SL’s in Vancouver Washington have responded to the NAEP report in their school.  Reasserts the role of school librarians in working with youth who are reluctant or striving readers and how we provide “the supports kids need to clear whatever hurdle is in their way of loving reading” Link to article

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Jennifer Gonzalez (Cult of Pedagogy blog) addresses 4 misconceptions of CRT. She interviews Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. Hammonds book offers a “neuroscience based teaching framework that goes beyond surface changes to really build cognitive capacity in our students from diverse backgrounds.” Wherever you are on this topic, take some time to reflect on these misconceptions.  Interview/article


Award and Grants

 K-8 school libraries invited to apply for $5,000 award recognizing outstanding humanities programming. Nominations for the Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award due May4, 2020.  More information

The Snapdragon Book Foundation offers Grants for Books for Schools

The Snapdragon Foundation was established to provide funds to improve school libraries for disadvantaged children. Schools that serve PreK through grades 12 are eligible to apply. Applications are due February 16.

ALSC announces 2020 Notable Children’s Recordings

The list includes recordings for children 14 years of age and younger of especially commendable quality that demonstrate respect for young people’s intelligence and imagination; exhibit venturesome creativity and reflect and encourage the interests of children and young adolescents in exemplary ways.  The list

Upcoming and Ongoing

Feb 27                   Digital Learning Day   activities      lessons       online resources

March 2020        Women’s History Month     National Women’s History Alliance    Library of Congress

Census 2020       Census in Schools resources

SAYL mail is published twice monthly during the school year. You received this because you are subscribed to the Google Group ‘Alaska School Libraries”. Back issues are archived at the Alaska Library Network website.

Janet Madsen, School Library Coordinator, Alaska State Library (907) 465-8187,