Upcoming Talks

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference
Boston, MA
March 6-9, 2013
Friday, March 8 at 1:30 pm
Room 109, Plaza Level

F197. Poetry & Librarianship: Collection Challenges. Panel. (Jessica Smith, Judah Steadicam Rubin, Dan Coffey, Elise Ficarra, Melissa Eleftherion Carr) Poet-Librarians will discuss the challenges of collecting, archiving, and digitizing literary texts and recordings, including the barriers to collecting small press materials, and propose solutions that will allow libraries to continue to collect literary objects regardless of medium. Of particular interest to small press publishers, book artists, archivists, and librarians.

Alabama Library Association Annual Convention
Montgomery, AL
April 23-26, 2013
Thursday, April 25 at 10:30 am

K-12 – Using Curricular Programming to Increase Circulation. Poster. Programming that specifically relates to the collection can increase circulation. K-12 libraries have the advantage of orchestrating Reader Advisory, Curricular support, and Programming to concurrently increase traffic, educational value and circulation. The poster will present a case study of the Visiting Writers Series at Indian Springs School, which has increased circulation of related titles by incorporating books into English classes and programming the authors’ talks in class and after hours in the library.


ISSVWS in The Nation


Our library’s major programming efforts are toward The Indian Springs Visiting Writers Series (FB), which I started with my colleague Douglas Ray shortly after starting here. Douglas and I are both poets and our intention was to raise awareness of contemporary poetry by combining curricular poetry (poetry that Douglas, an English teacher, assigns in his classes) with an extracurricular poetry reading series (although we have also had many non-poets).  The series and its ties to Douglas’s curriculum have increased circulation of 811.54 and 811.6 dramatically. 

Our most recent Visiting Writer was Nona Willis Aronowitz, whose book Girldrive we read in my Feminist Literature class. A recording of her reading and my students’ Q&A with her can be found at the ISS Visiting Writers Series Soundcloud. She wrote about her experience with us for The Nation.

What do librarians do at work?

Monday: Transferred files to my new computer, cataloged, researched new releases

Tuesday: Finished Google Power Searching class, substituted for a math class

Wednesday: Guest-taught basic research skills to 10th grade Art History electives, cataloged, tried to help assistant load new plastic into the laminator (how do people do this??),

Thursday: Prepared P.O. for new acquisitions, submitted it, placed order for 50+ new books, faculty meeting

Friday: Subbed for history, graded

Every day: help students with the catalog, copier, or in finding a book; grade; class prep; teach World Lit; try to pry information about upcoming assignments out of teachers so I can be better prepared to help students find what they need; check books in, check mail

Things I’m supposed to be doing: developing a curriculum for information literacy for 8-12th grades; cataloging backlog of donated materials; taking donated materials we don’t want to secondhand bookstore; recataloging a shelf full of “problem” books I found while doing inventory last spring….

What do librarians do at work?

I’m a high school librarian. It’s a boarding school, so our collection also serves as a mini public library for everyone who lives on campus. We also have an Archives which is managed by an emeritus faculty member who I advise on protocol.

Thursday: Got to work about 5 minutes late (the baby didn’t want to go to school). Helped a faculty member with the laminating machine. Had a bagel. Checked email and snail mail. Put out new newspapers. Called customer service about the library software acting up. Talked to our IT guy, got it worked out. Answered archives questions. Helped with the xerox machine. Helped a faculty member track down a book. Checked in books. Found “loose” books left out by students. Shelved those books. Ate lunch. Had a tech meeting about the use of iPads in the classrooms. Helped a student with research. Helped a student edit a paper. Picked new carpet for the reading room. Checked the mail. More archives questions. Directed one of the student employees. Cataloged about 30 books.

I’m weeding

This is a great blog post about weeding, especially when one needs to defend one’s reasons for doing it.

The first two months

I started working at my current job as a high school librarian last March.  After the first six weeks, I wrote up a list of what I’d done.

Library Maintenance

  • Acquainted myself with our current holdings
  • Ran reports to ascertain what sections were old, getting used the least, etc.
  • Researched current fiction and nonfiction and selected titles based on our needs
  • Made a survey form to poll faculty about the topics they teach
  • Ordered key books for the fields mentioned as classroom/research project topics
  • Ordered specific books/DVDs based on faculty and student requests
  • Bought hardback used books in good condition to fill gaps in collection
  • Bought style guides and pedagogical tools for “6 Traits Writing” for teachers and the writing center
  • Increased library holdings by between 1-2% with significant increases in poetry, classic fiction, banned books, medieval history, Middle Eastern history, economics, and Russian history


  • Cataloged hundreds of books on the cataloging shelf that were backlogged from the previous librarian’s departure
  • Cataloged incoming materials
  • Original cataloging (this entails making the Dewey call number for a book) for about 5% of acquisitions


  • Cleaned up the magazine section so that only issues from the past few months were out
  • Ascertained which magazines were getting read to shift our subscriptions
  • Subscribed to Concord Review


  • Weeded roughly 200 outdated science and social science books


  • Created themed displays with books and visual aids to draw attention to books in our collection to increase circulation:
    • Earth Day
    • National Poetry Month
    • Poetry post-1970 (for Douglas’s class)
    • National Poetry Writing Month
    • Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham (for D-Day)
    • Arab-American Heritage Month
  • Created displays to commemorate books that have served in our collection but are now outdated/broken (“Weeded Books” display in glass cabinet)


  • Got quotes for JSTOR and OverDrive
  • Assessed current database usage to determine what to renew

Social Media


  • Developed 2011-12 Library Budget

General Maintenance

  • Dusted shelves (D-Day)
  • Exercised books (D-Day)


  • Supervised the student assistant in book processing
    • Processing
    • Shelving
    • Circulation

Ex Libris
Writing Center

  • Met with Commissioners of Education to determine the course of the writing center for next year
  • Acquired materials for the writing center as well as about running writing centers

Faculty/Curriculum Support

  • (See Acquisitions)
  • Discussed writing curriculum with 8th and 9th grade teachers
  • Helped sub for teachers when away


  • Met with Academic, 8th/9th Grade Planning, and Tech Committees
  • Developed plan to marry library with tech in the classrooms (OverDrive/iPad plan)
  • Developing 10-point Information Literacy instruction plan to incorporate research education in grades 8-12

Goals for May-June

  • Inventory
  • Continue acquisition-cataloging
  • Retrieve copies currently in circulation and collect outstanding fees

Pre-August Goals

  • 10-point Info Literacy plan
  • Writing Center
    • Editing/revision worksheets
    • Tutorial/training for tutors
    • Acquire rubrics/sample essays
    • Develop orientation procedure for new tutors

Devills in the Archives

I work at a high school library. It’s not a straightforward high school library– it’s a boarding prep school, so the kids are smart, and the library is used as a combination reference library and reading/public library by the students, the faculty, and the families that live on campus.  One of my tasks is overseeing the Archives, which is managed by an emeritus faculty member (he is an amazing guy– he fought in WWII and has taught here for over 50 years). Although the Archives contain some interesting items, it’s mostly photographs of students and alumni gatherings, which I am very slowly digitizing and putting on Flickr.  That’s all fine and good, but I went to library school to think about how to digitally archive unique materials, especially artists’ books, especially 3-dimensional artists’ books.

Well, today the Book Arts Gods smiled on me, and my archivist unearthed, unwrapped, and bestowed upon me this insane little book. Apologies for the picture quality– I only have my iPad with me. The text is about the evils the Devill [sic] has brought upon the author:

I don’t know anything about this book except the recipient listed on the address label used to be employed here. The archivist contacted him to see if he wanted the book back, and he doesn’t.