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!

AMS Read-A-Thon

On May 28th 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! Leading up to the event, we have challenged students to read 1,400 books  in these 3 weeks. 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 our community partners such as the Public Library and giveaways.

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. We would love to have you as a guest reader for any 15 minute time slot from 2:00 until 5:30. Click here to sign up:

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?  Follow this link to sign up to volunteer:

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!