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Check It Out: October 14, 2015

Your weekly news from the OPS Library Services Staff


October 14-16: Laura, Stacy, and Courtney will be out of the office. Please email us as we will not be checking voice mail.  If you have an emergency, contact Gwen Jackson at 402-557-2520, and she will contact with one of us. 

October 16: First Quarter ends

October 22, 8:30-11:30 AM:  Elementary Librarian Meeting at Joslyn Art Museum 

New Annual Report Format! We loved your input and ideas for the annual report. Please see the "Annual Report Guidelines" tab above for your new requirements. We will take some time to discuss annual reports at your upcoming TEAM meetings.


Elementary TEAM Day at the Joslyn

Get Your ART ON!

Elementary Librarians’ TEAM Day

Thursday, October 22
8:30- 11:30 AM
Joslyn Art Museum
  • 8:15 - Atrium entrance open
  • 8:30 – Welcome in Abbott Lecture Hall
  • 8:40-9:10 – Joslyn programs and resources for schools (Laura Huntimer, Director of School Programs & Interactive Media)
  • Divide into two groups… 35 in each space, then switch:
    • 9:10-9:35 – Art Works: A Place for Curiosity (intro with Tom Simons, Youth & Families Program Manager)
    • 9:35-10 – Self–guided exploration in Joslyn's permanent collection galleries
  • 10:00 -11:30 – Big 6+ Work Groups/Cultural Relevance Article/Annual Report

Please bring your iPad Minis with you for the day.  We will have access to wi-fi during our 10:00-11:30 session.

We realize that some of you are scheduled for other activities in your buildings. Please let us know if you are unable to attend – Laura, Courtney, Stacy.

Common Sense Media

The teaching requirements for librarians for Common Sense Media Lessons are the same as last year.  For more information visit:

Grades K-8 should be teaching at least one of the lessons listed on the libguide to each grade level.  The lesson plan is a guideline and can be adapted to suit your building needs.  Contact your technology teacher, if you have one, to see if they are already covering this material. 

Display Ideas

Inquiry: The Big Picture

This article appeared as part of a series on inquiry instruction in School Library Monthly.  Here are just a few thought-provoking statements to whet your appetite.  I highly recommend this article to any librarian.

For me, inquiry boils down to four major criteria: authentic student questions; the possibility of open-ended conclusions; critical thinking and active comprehension; and synthesis. Each of these could be woven into a research project in different ways, at different points.

Real inquiry saves room for students to both discover and synthesize their idiosyncratic journey without shoehorning the results into identical presentation templates.

Cutand-paste—even with rephrasing of content into one’s own words—brought efficiency, but it also brought an unintended consequence: we denied students the time to think, sort, ponder, and sequence.

Squeezed grapes make juice, but it takes time for juice to become wine. Fact-finding is juice, inquiry is wine.

From August 19th Newsletter

Here are some examples of sample letters for librarians to share with parents.  This would be great to send home in weekly folders, to share at open house and/or conferences, post on your website etc.  One idea would be to have this letter on one side and the one page document with the database logins and passwords Stacy sent you on the other.  Please feel free to share other ideas on communicating to parents with Courtney!

  Library Welcome Letter to Parents "Back to School" FREE and editable


Dear Parents,

The library program has some exciting opportunities in store for your child this year:

  • Our program will be promoting the very best of children's literature to your child with activities designed to help student's enjoy the stories even more.
  • We will be doing our very best to get (or keep) your children "hooked on reading" by recommending specific reading materials to each individual.
  • We will add 100 or more new titles this year of the latest and most exciting new books for young readers, including quality non-fiction to help meet the Common Core requirements.
  • At each grade level, students will be learning research and computer skills specifically suited to their developmental needs.
  • We will be working with classroom teachers to help them find materials especially suited to the individual interests and abilities of your child.
  • Library lessons will stress good Digital Citizenship, helping your child make safe and ethical decisions when using the Internet.
  • The new iPads in the library will be available for reading e-books this year!
  • Our new "maker-space" is available to all children who want to edit a movie, create a podcast, or edit photographs - and the library staff will help them.
  • We have a lot of special events being planned, including author visits, a book fair, and reading contests.
  • If you would like to volunteer to help in the library, please let me know. We'd love to have you.
  • Our staff is ready and excited about this coming year and is committed to making the library your child's favorite place in the school!

Your librarian


Gearing up for Conferences

Conferences are just a few short weeks away.  Here are some tips on how to share the great things you do for students with the parents and family members visiting (even if they don't physically stop by the library). 

Send out information to parents about visiting the school library prior to conferences (perhaps in the school newsletter the week before) or provide an information sheet that can be handed out with the information packet parents receive when they enter the building or visit classrooms. 

Here are some excellent tips from the ALA Parent Advocate website:

  • Prop open the doors to the library as a signal that visitors are welcome.
  • Position yourself, a table of information, or both just outside the library doors so passers by can grab something as they move around or see that you have offerings for them as well.
  • If there is a schedule of suggested visits created by your building leadership, ask that the library is put onto that schedule.
  • If possible, offer to host sessions that would be of benefit to parents.  For example, how to download their free copies of Microsoft Office.  Or, if groups are setting up tables to offer information to parents, have the tables set up in the library and be sure to have one of those tables be yours!

And finally, check out the sample flyer attached below. If you have any great ideas on what you do during conferences, be sure to share them with us!  We will post a follow-up box of suggestions in the next newsletter if needed!


Introducing "Epic! for Educators." Available for FREE to all U.S. and Canada-based elementary school teachers and librarians. Our mission, like yours is to foster a life-long love of reading. Help us ignite young minds for a bright future by sharing Epic!

  • Completely free for all verified educators.
  • Unlimited access to thousands of high-quality titles.
  • Create up to 30 unique student profiles.
  • Track students reading progress.
  • Available on the iPad, iPhone and in any web browser.

We have posted this one before, but Anne Coffman at Ponca gave it a rave review, so we are sharing again!

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).