Spring Book Fair and AMS Readathon 2016

AMS Spring Book Fair

Volunteers are needed for the Spring book fair from March 14th-18th between 7:45 AM and 3:15 PM.  Our busiest times of day will be from 8:00-8:30 in the morning and 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM during lunches, but classes will also be visiting throughout the day on Monday-Thursday. The book fair will coincide with this year’s Readathon, which will be held on March 15th, beginning during the school day and extending through the after school activity period and into the evening. Volunteers can sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b4ca5ac2babfc1-spring1

Our Fall book fair was a huge success, putting over 500 books in students’ hands and raising over $3,000 in Scholastic dollars to support our library program. The Spring book fair promises to be just as successful with some great titles for sale. We were extremely fortunate to have a wonderful group of parents help out with the fall Fair, and we thank you in advance for once again donating your time and energy. Again, click here to sign up to volunteer for the book fair: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b4ca5ac2babfc1-spring1 or email Ms. Buck, the AMS librarian, at mhbuck@aacps.org for more information.


AMS Readathon 2016

On March 15th we will hold our Readathon at Annapolis Middle School. What is a Readathon?, you may ask. It is a reading marathon in which students, parents, teachers, and community members are encouraged to come and read as long as they can! While at the event some serious participants will sit and read the entire time, there will be additional activities for the less-competitive, including Read Alouds, Book “Sales,” and a Reading Café. There will be representatives from community partners such as the Public Library and giveaways of books and more.

One of the highlights is the Read Aloud Room; this will be a great opportunity for all participants to hear selected stories shared by teachers, students, and community members. If you are interested in being a guest reader, please use this link to submit your contact information: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FLW7LCY.  

We are also in need of parent volunteers to help monitor students, serve food, and direct activities.  Interested in volunteering but not eager for the spotlight? Please use this link to submit your contact information: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FL5KKTB.  

Questions or concerns? Please email Ms. Buck, the AMS librarian, at mhbuck@aacps.org or our literacy coach, Ms. Lerro, at jlerro@aacps.org. Thank you for your support of this exciting  celebration of literacy and the joy our school community finds in reading!


Thanks for a great book fair! and some updates.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the end of the book fair, so we have our sales numbers. In spite of a delay in delivery of the fair, we sold almost as many books as last fall. This means we’ve got funds for some new furniture to replace worn-out bean bags and gamer chairs, and to buy some awesome new books! More importantly, it means great new books are in the hands of our students. I’ve been hearing about some of what you’re reading on Edmodo, but feel free to share in the comments here too!

Thanks so much to all the parents and students who volunteered. We keep the library open during the book fair, and that means there is a lot going on. We really couldn’t do it without everyone’s help! Special thanks to Amy, Niajay, Caron, Emma, Paris, Cece, and Mrs. Haynes’ 5th and 6th period students, who stepped in and helped with setup when we got thrown off schedule. We’re also grateful to our wonderful PTSA for all the help promoting and recruiting volunteers for the fair!

I’m also very excited to announce two things. First off, our school Makerspace (what’s that?) is now open and operating. It’s been so much fun to see students experimenting with the moldable plastic, Little Bits, and 3d printing pen! Students can use the Makerspace for school-related or independent projects. We’ve got craft supplies of all kinds – paper, fabric, yarn, cardboard, and duct tape as well as more high-tech stuff like Arduino and Raspberry Pi computers for our budding coders, filming and recording equipment, and lots more cool stuff. Another big thank you to Hadlee, who’s been the driving force behind getting things going!

Finally, you’re going to start hearing from some people other than me on this blog. We have some very talented writers who are going to be volunteering as student bloggers during the rest of the school year. Stay tuned to see what they have to say!


glasssentenceI hope everyone is enjoying a break from all that studying, and getting some leisure reading in!  I’ve been doing lots of hiking, taking advantage of the cooler weather before it heats up again.  I’ve also read a couple of great books.  One was Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, which was great but maybe not QUITE as great as the Raven Cycle.  If you enjoy series like Twilight, Halo, Fallen, etc, this is definitely not to be missed!  I also read The Glass Sentence, a first novel by S. E. Grove, which totally blew me away.  It’s an adventure through a world that’s been fractured across time, with maps made not just from paper but every imaginable substance – earth, glass, water, even onions.  One of the best books of the year by far!

But that’s not why I started this post.  I actually wanted to tell you two things.  First, we have a Twitter account now!  WHAT?!?  Yes, that’s right, the AMS library is on Twitter.  Get over there and click that follow button!

Second, I’m going to be doing some updates to the website over the summer, so if you’re looking for something and it’s  not where you left it… well, I probably moved it.  I’m not telling you where.  But you can always email me and ask.

That’s all for now, folks!  Enjoy your summer, and don’t forget to READ!  Remember – the AMS virtual library is still available through www.mackinvia.com!

So long, 2014-15! It’s been a great year!

On Tuesday, everyone piled into the cafeteria to celebrate our eighth graders’ milestone as they move on to high school next year.  Even though it’s what they should be doing, it’s always sad to say goodbye!  We here in the library will really miss our eighth grade students, and wish them the greatest of success in the future!

Although the library is closed all summer, we’ve got some great resources in our virtual collection that students and staff can continue to access.  See the ebook page for details, and visit www.mackinvia.com to log in!   Many of next year’s Black-Eyed Susan Award nominees are available as ebooks.  Speaking of which, if you want to get a head start on preparing for next year’s voting, here’s the list of next year’s nominees – also available from your public library!

2015-2016 nominees

Meanwhile, if you’re curious about what’s been going on in the library all year, here’s a nifty infographic with some figures for your perusal:

Last but not least, if you still need to return books, the AMS office will be open Monday through Thursday all summer.  We have a bin in there and will be accepting returned books whenever you can get them to us!  Our fantastic financial secretary will also be on hand, armed and ready with a list of students and the books they owe, so if you need to pay for something she’s the lady to see.

In my last post I mentioned a big announcement I had hoped to make this spring.  Due to some unanticipated facility issues, I’m postponing that until the fall, but stay tuned.  We have big news coming!

Until then, keep reading, and thank you all for an amazing, educational adventure of a school year.  I’ll leave you with a quote from the wonderful poet Pablo Neruda:

“The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.”

Book return

Oh my gosh!  So much has been going on that I’ve been falling behind on posting.  I wanted to first thank all our wonderful read-a-thon volunteers.  Students had a great time at the event and we’re getting lots of awesome feedback about how to make it even better next year!

I’ll post an end-of-the-year summary of all that’s happened in the next weeks, and I also have an important announcement I’m hoping to make next week.  But for now, I have to talk about returning library books!

All library materials are due back on this Thursday, June 4th.  We’re no longer able to hold report cards, so we’re really at the mercy of our patrons and their parents when it comes to getting books back.  The school team is doing a great job of reinforcing and reminding students to return library books, but we need our students and parents on board too!  The bottom line is, the more books are returned, the fewer we have to replace, and the more funds we have for new, exciting materials.

If students have lost a book, we have a ton of options for them.  This flyer details them (click to download) and I can give them prices on demand.  Please note that if they’re replacing a book it needs to be the same title, but we don’t care about the format (paperback, hardcover, etc).


So that’s all for now – bring back your books!  If you see a friend with library books, throw that friend over your shoulder, bring them to the library, and make them return their books!  No, don’t do that, keep your hands to yourself.  But you sure can help by reminding your friends!

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a video one librarian made to inspire her students to bring ’em back.  Like her, we’re all about the books here at AMS!


Book orders, and how reading can improve our lives

Well, it’s official – I have ordered new books for this school year.  We have a different focus for ordering each year, which corresponds to our schedule for removing damaged and outdated titles from the library.  So I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain that process.

It often shocks people to hear that we actually take books OUT of our school’s library.  This isn’t something we just do in schools – any kind of library has to periodically reassess its materials in order to respond to the changing needs of its population.  And certainly the 21st century has brought an increased rate of change, as more information is communicated digitally.  We also have to hunt down books that contain information that’s no longer accurate (for instance, books about Germany that talk about East and West Germany).  So each year I go through a section of the library book by book.  It’s  a supplement to our inventory process, in which we scan each book in the library each year to make sure we’ve got the books the computer thinks are there.  The weeding process is a lot more in-depth; I pick up each book, look it over, flip through it, and assess the content based on its currency, accuracy, reading level, and relevance to our curriculum.  I also look at how frequently and when it’s been checked out.  That way, I can cut dead weight out of our collection and make room for new, shiny, up-to-date books.  Something you notice, when you’re weeding, is how much the way we construct texts has changed.  Books from the 1970s and 1980s or before tend to have big blocks of small print, while new materials are broken into chunks and use pictures and text features to help the reader orient her/himself.  It’s amazing to see the contrast, and our readers are very tuned in to those visual cues when they choose a text.  But weeding also changes the overall feel of the library – gradually but surely, our shelves are starting to be brighter and more attractive.

Here’s a brief rundown on what we’ve got coming in the next few months:

  • 300+ new fiction books
  • 100+ new graphic novels
  • 100+ new high-interest non-fiction titles
  • 75+ new poetry collections
  • 100+ new materials on computing, religion, and philosophy
  • 100+ new picture books

Already available are over 100 new eBooks and eAudio books, including some of the novels we read for class.

As always, if you’re a member of the AMS community and there’s something you’d like to see on our shelves, email me!!

Last but not least, you may have seen this awesome article from the BBC earlier this month about the mental health benefits of reading.  It’s a quick but powerful read and I encourage you to check it out!  AMS teachers and students, it will validate the time you spend in your classrooms doing silent, sustained reading or read-alouds!