Collaborating on a Makerspace!

For those of you who think maybe you cannot have a great makerspace in your school library…. THINK AGAIN!

One of the outcomes for my branches requires me to partner with local schools in some way. This is something that could potentially be very time consuming for me as a single librarian serving two communities. I’ve made a strategic choice in deciding that my primary branch will offer more services to schools than my secondary one where I only spend one day a week. Ideally, I would love to treat both equally, but realistically, scheduling tours and offering even passive programs in a small branch where there’s typically only one person (and short hours) is too demanding on me and my team. Instead, my secondary branch will partner with local schools by helping media specialists with their goals and projects.

For now, I’m highlighting one way that I’ve begun working on this. When I was first hired, almost 10 months ago, one of the ways that I tried getting…

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OK – I just started a new alphabet book list of “Must Have’s” 🙂

Nonfiction Monday

Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! coverATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE!
written by Chris Barton, illustrated by Joey Spiotto
published by POW! Kids Books, October 2014
32 pages

From the publisher’s web page:

An ironic yet informative alphabet that defines the most important gaming terms that everyone needs to know, Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet is the ultimate crossover gift for our age, a book that can actually bring together video game-obsessed kids and their often perplexed parents.
If you can decipher the following sentence, you don’t need this book: “This open beta game is in third-person but first-person is unlockable if you know the cheat code or install your own mod, but either way, for the best attack on the boss on this level, try to grab that power-up!”
– See more at:

Okay, I know I’m showing my geeky gamer girl side, but I love, love, love this book, and I…

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Ghostly Evidence by Kelly Milner Halls

Found a great new blog today! Nonfiction Monday looks like a nice addition to any list covering non-fiction reviews and information on what’s new and what’s circulating in children’s and YA nonfic.
AND… as it happens… this review is for a book by my dear friend Kelly Milner Hall – an expert on all things paranormal and unexplained (which by definition is not necessarily FICtitious just because it cannot be proven!) Looking forward to some good stuff on this blog – and enjoying the scroll through this blog’s historical posts. 🙂

Nonfiction Monday


Exploring the Paranormal

by Kelly Milner Halls

Millbrook Press, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-0593-6

MG/YA Nonfiction

Grades 5 and up

Source: purchased

All opinions expressed are solely my own.


Do you believe in ghosts? Enter the realm of the paranormal with Kelly Milner Halls. Explore what ghosts are, where they’re found, and meet some famous ghost busters. Check out the high-tech equipment modern ghost hunters use, and see their most convincing evidence that ghosts are real. Finally, take a look at a few famous hoaxes. This book is a little bit spooky and a whole lot of fun!


Kelly Milner Halls specializes in high interest, well researched nonfiction for young readers. Her books include TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS, SAVING THE BAGHDAD ZOO, IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH and ALIEN INVESTIGATION. But she is also an avid YA fan and loves realistic fiction…

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Relevancy Trumps All for Reluctant Readers | YA Underground

What makes YA sexy to readers? Two things: great stories and powerful connections. Fantasy and science fiction can engulf with powerful stories. Dystopic stories of underdog teens who take on the establishment and win against the odds are always popular with young adult readers who are stretching their own wings and trying to overcome the odds with parents and teachers. Proving themselves as they grow into adults is a big part of the YA identity. Second only to real life stories and testimonials from the survivors of real YA stories. Nothing is more relevant than a story from someone who really did survive youth and lived to tell about it. Stories of failure and recovery, trial and victory in real life situations gives these stories “street cred” and for YA readers, particularly reluctant readers who may be part of a population that does not identify often with many YA fictional characters,these stories, often nonfiction, are relevant and immediately riveting.
As always, I will defer to the expert, Amy Cheney, who’s blog offers insight and expert analysis on the stories best suited for the YA Underground.

Juvenile Justice Literacy Project

Published in School Library Journal By Amy Cheney on October 14, 2014

As I read, and read, and read some more, I am always looking for the combination of elements that will make the book a hot read for reluctant readers and the kids I serve in the YA Underground.

The winning recipe, and I can’t say it enough, is this:

  1. A great cover.
  2. Lots of action and adventure—exterior action, not interior. Prose that shows, not tells.
  3. Relevant (and for my teens this means real).
  4. White space and a large type face.fromgodsmonster Relevancy Trumps All for Reluctant Readers | YA Underground

I wrote about Pacc Butler’s book From God’s Monster to the Devil’s Angel: Life of a Chicago Gang Member (Createspace, 2014) as my top pick in the last YA Underground, but I lamented the cover. Well, he’s changed it. I love the new cover, and it will surely have the book flying off the shelves.

Runaway Thoughts, an…

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The Best Dr Seuss Reading Apps for Your Kids ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Dr. Seuss In Your Pocket! Apps for school and home to engage kids and open the door to books through a shared digital experience.

The Best Dr Seuss Reading Apps for Your Kids ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Bookopolis = “Goodreads for kids”

Bookopolis – a social gathering place for kids to share book reviews and recommendations, earn digital badges for sharing their opinions about what they read, expand their own reading based on other recommendations, and find out more about the books they love as well as those they WILL love?! What could be better? About.

For teachers looking for ways to get kids to read more and collaborate, communicate and critically think about it – I highly recommend using Bookopolis with your students. It is a site for kids – grown-ups stay out (mostly – teachers can use the dashboard to see how things are going).

You just have to see it to believe it.

lauren hohls photography

lauren hohls photography

BayNet -San Francisco Bay Area Library & Information Network

San Francisco Bay Area Library & Information Network

ResearchBuzz: Firehose

Everything I post on RB and a bit more, in tagged individual posts.

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