SAYL Mail for February 28, 2020

SAYL Mail School and Youth Librarians Newsletter

February 28, 2020

Covid-19 Updates: DEED now has its own website as a resources for schools and school districts. “We are working to keep this site relevant and up-to-date with the rapidly changing coronavirus situation. COVID-19 website

PD Grants from the Alaska State Library: For those school librarians who are considering attending the AKLA/PNLA conference in Juneau August 4-7 you should be applying for that grant NOW. Given the many shared experiences from other school librarians you need to understand that it can be a hassle to get your reimbursement through your district. Districts deal with grant refunds from a variety of sources including EED. Therefore call your finance office, identify who will be processing your reimbursement and give them a copy of your application and award notification AHEAD OF TIME. Make sure you save all pertinent receipts because we cannot just take your word for it. Again, if you are confused and need clarification call our grants librarian at (907) 465-1018.

BRAINPOP Update: Creative Coding in now included in the subscription. Many of you know that Alaska has a statewide license to BrainPOP, but did you know that your teachers can unlock additional features through individual accounts that can only be set up at the school level? At no additional charge to you? And now, BrainPOP is offering Creative Coding to teach coding and computer science to students and educators. Contact Martha Ketsdever, BrainPOP Account Manager for Alaska State Libraries, for more information at

Press Release: There will be a gathering to celebrate the release of a new children’s book, Anna Across the Arctic. Tuesday, March 3rd at Georgia Blue Gallery, 5:30-7 PM, 3555 Arctic Blvd, Anchorage, 99503.  Alaskan co-authors Liz O’Connell and Arin Underwood, illustrated by Arin Underwood, present an Arctic science story about a four-pound blue morph fox tracked by a satellite collar, in the longest, fastest fox journey ever recorded.  For more information from the author contact Liz O’Connell,, 907 202-6133,


April is School Library Month Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school libraries play in transforming learning. To begin planning the celebration, ask your school and elected officials to proclaim April School Library Month! Visit the AASL website for templates that can be downloaded and modified to fit your needs.


March 6-7 National Day of Unplugging: For programming ideas for March or any other time check out their website or a recent article from Teen Services Underground.

Outstanding Books for the College Bound: The newest list (2019) was recently released and is organized into five categories; general knowledge, arts and literature, history and cultures and science and technology.

Teen Series finishing up this year: Here’s a list with short series overviews if the series that are finishing up in 2020. Helpful for collection development to make sure you get the “last book”.

The First Body-Positive Children’s Book Just Came Out: Her Body Can by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke is geared to children ages 8 and under. The authors knew how important it is for girls to internalize positive messages about their body before the biases of mainstream culture set in. Read an interview with the authors.

You’re merchandising whether you know it or not. It’s a common misconception that putting non-circulating books on display might perk user’s interest. Also putting single books face out can create a message of scarcity and that a book may not be for check out. This and other misconceptions about marketing through displays are covered.  Read more

Smithsonian releases 2.8 million Images into Public Domain: An open access online platform containing high resolution two and three dimensional images from across its collections for patrons to peruse and download for free! The hope is to encourage use and creation of new objects and ideas. author-illustrator duo Jon Scieszka and Steven Weinberg will debut How to Make a Collagasaurus, a how-to booklet inviting kids to transform the Smithsonian collections into zany new art forms. Read more

Early reading resources for kids: 23 tools are the top picks of common sense education. Highlighted are a range of techniques within reading apps, games and websites which can be used to build phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary or comprehension. Tools are targeted to Preschool, kindergartners and early elementary. Try them out and share the list with colleagues.

Favorite ELA resources for teachers: a great list of resources from Again find some new tools you can use and share with your colleagues. Tools list


Help Them Fund Your Library: : In this free ISTE School Librarians / EveryLibrary webinar, learn easy to adapt techniques to frame the work you do and the program you run for budget success . Prerecorded

Tuesday, Mar 3 (8-9 am)

Supporting Teen Health Literacy: Resources and Programs (Washington State Library)

In this webinar, Aileen Luppert will present a program that teaches health literacy and supports the health and wellness of teens who are experiencing homelessness in Spokane County. Emily Hamstra will present free online resources for teens to use to find reliable information about their health and wellness.

For more information and to register, visit:



Tuesday, Mar 3 (10-11 am)

Springing Forward: Books for Young Readers (Booklist)

In this free, one-hour webinar moderated by Books for Youth senior editor Julia Smith, representatives from Albert Whitman & Company, Disney Publishing Worldwide, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, Running Press Kids, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing will introduce an array of exciting forthcoming releases for the younger set (approximately ages three through 10).

For more information and to register, visit:

Wednesday, Mar 4 (10am-12pm)

Women and Girls: Gender Equity in Computer Science Education (National Girls Collaborative Project)

In honor of National Women’s History month, Karen Peterson, Founder & CEO of the National Girls Collaborative Project will highlight the challenges and opportunities of encouraging more girls across the country to pursue STEM activities and careers, and the importance of CS education in this process. She will be joined by voices from the field who will share information about their programs: Toni Robinson, President of Digital Girls, Inc. and Cathy Law, Director of the STEM Academy @ OSU.

For more information and to register, visit:


Thursday, Mar 5 (11am-12 pm)

Serving Striving Readers (School Library Journal)

With the decline in reading scores among U.S. students, the librarian’s role toward enhancing literacy has never been more critical. Practitioners and literacy experts at the elementary, middle, and high school levels explore using graphic novels, street lit, and more to get students fired up about reading, bolstering skills along the way.

For more information and to register, visit:


Thursday, Mar 5 (12-2 pm)

Future Ready Librarians® Future-Proof Your School Library Budget: What to do if the cuts happen (Future Ready Librarians/Alliance for Excellent Education)

During this webinar, you will learn smart ways to engage the community in the face of crisis, and how to get organized across a district. Join John Chrastka from EveryLibrary as he discusses ways to prevent potential problems and to proactively position yourself if they come. If there is a threat to your position or budget – or to other school libraries or librarians across your district – know how to mobilize people to help you fight back. For more information and to register, visit:


Tuesday, Mar 10 (11am-12 pm)

When Teachers Collaborate: Bringing Extended Expertise to Your Classroom (Follett)

This session will highlight how collaboration works within Tracy Ferguson and Shannon McClintock Miller’s elementary school and the many ways they use it to enhance learning, creativity, student voice, develop empathy and kindness, and have a lot of fun along the way. These experienced educators will share the many different types of collaboration they use and ways you can bring these ideas back to their communities and professional networks.

For more information and to register, visit:


Thursday, Mar 12 (1-2 pm)

Asking Strong Research Questions Using Primary Sources (School Library Connection)


Compelling primary sources often have a bit of mystery and wonder about them. That makes them a perfect tool for middle and high school students developing their own research questions. In this webinar, librarian, author, and former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress Tom Bober shares strategies and tips to effectively utilize primary sources at the question-forming stage of research. See how students asking their own research questions based on their interactions with items from history can increase engagement and purpose as well as positively impact this critical point in the research process. For more information and to register, visit:


Tuesday, Mar 17 (10am-12 pm)

Stellar Series Nonfiction: Spring 2020 (Booklist)

What do series nonfiction publishers have in store for readers this spring? Join us for this free, one-hour webinar featuring representatives from Amicus Publishing, Bellwether Media, Black Rabbit Books, Rourke Educational Media, and Scholastic Library Publishing—and find out! Titles presented will range from grades K through 12.

For more information and to register, visit:


Thursday, Mar 19 (11am-12 pm)

Tech Balance: Family Engagement Tools to Talk Tech and Media Habits with Parents (

In this edWebinar, we will be sharing and brainstorming interactive exercises and discussions to use with parents of young children to promote a healthy balance of media and technology at home. Rocío López, the manager of community partnerships for the Common Sense Latino Program, shares best practices in leading workshops with lower-income and monolingual Spanish-speaking families and provides tools and resources.

For more information and to register, visit:








SAYL Mail is published twice monthly during the school year. You receive this because you are subscribed to the Google Group “Alaska School Libraries”. Back issues are archived at the Alaska Library Network website. Subscribe here

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