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Reflections on the 2019 NYLA-SSL Conference

June 1st marked the start of Pride month, and a central theme around the NYLA-SSL conference fit the bill perfectly: “How can we represent a diversity of people in our school library collections?” Students come in all shapes, colors, sizes, sexes, genders, religions, ideals, backgrounds, thoughts, emotions, you-name-its. In 1990 Dr. Rudine Simms Bishop coined the phrase “Windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors” to refer to how children need to not only see themselves in books, but also learn about people who may be different than them. Developing a diverse collection that speaks to students in this way is an important part of our work.

Keynote speakers Dhonielle Clayton, author and COO of We Need Diverse Books; Newbery award winning author Matt de la Peña, and Knickerbocker award winning fantasy author Tamora Pierce, all spoke to this theme in their keynote speeches.

Out of all of them, Dhonielle Clayton gave us the most practical knowledge. She gives 5 main pieces of advice for diversifying your collection:

  1. Don’t rely only on big review outlets. Read the titles that they don’t highlight, and decide for yourself if the books are worth buying.
  2. Read widely. Read everything. Not just the titles that are pushed out to you.
  3. Seek balance! In displays don’t highlight just one story (and she didn’t mention this, but if you’ve never seen it, check out this amazing Ted talk “The danger of a single story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie).
  4. To help us in our selection process, We Need Diverse Books has developed an app called OurStory ( The app lists “diverse” books that have been reviewed and tagged by librarians.
  5. Finally, Dhonielle stressed one of the most important point in this discussion: when highlighting diverse books, don’t highlight them for their diversity. Putting together a collection of books to highlight diversity, only segregates them further. Focus on their themes and storylines. For example, at Valentines Day when you’re putting together a display of books on love, just make sure you include books about all kinds of love. If highlighting fantasy books, display books by all kinds of authors with all kinds of characters.

We Need Diverse Books will be brought to the Rochester area on September 24th (1pm-4pm) by RRLC and if you haven’t already registered, please do so. This event is filling up quickly.

Information and registration at:


Summer PD

Summer is just around the corner! We have some great workshops coming up. Check them out and get registered!


Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Create and Code Interactive Stories with Twine

Combine coding and writing with this interactive story-telling program. In Twine you can teach your students coding concepts, while writing an interactive story (similar to a choose your own adventure). Twine provides an avenue to build rich narratives, while learning accessible, natural-language based coding. This workshop will be hands-on, with participants practicing key coding concepts and learning the foundations of creating interactive story games. In the end, attendees will have created a playable Interactive Story game.

Attendees will learn:

  • Foundations of creating interactive story games, regardless of format.
  • Key coding concepts (conditionals, variables, amongst others).
  • How to create and code interactive story games using the Twine Platform, utilizing the Harlowe language.
  • Advice and ideas on how to utilize the tool with students in their libraries.

Register here:


Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Hands-on Circuits in the Library

Build your understanding of the role of circuitry in making, in computing, and in the invention/design process. In this workshop, we will thoroughly move through the basics of circuitry and binary computing. We will build circuits using various materials such as copper tape, LED bulbs, and circuit stickers. We will practice making circuits by sewing with conductive thread and we will build circuits using invention kits.

Once you have a thorough understanding of how circuitry is the foundation of the modern world, you’ll be better able to explain these concepts to your students. You’ll be a better problem-solver and be able to teach your students to be better problem-solvers too. On top of this you’ll have more confidence coming up with fun and interesting projects. This workshop will go from 9am to 3pm with an hour lunch break (lunch not provided). It is designed for librarians. Classroom teachers are welcome to join us if they attend in collaboration with their building librarian.

Register here:


Thursday, August 1, 2019, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

STEAM and Curriculum Integration with Makey Makey

Students are constantly consuming content and using inventions that are created by others. Makey Makey allows students to create their own content on Scratch and use design thinking to create their own inventions. During this workshop participants will learn the basics of Scratch and using the Makey Makey. Participants will also get hands on examples on how they can integrate Makey Makey into their curriculum. ***All who attend will receive a free Makey Makey***

Register here:


Thursday, August 8, 2019, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Creating Engaging Curriculum with iPad Apps

The iPad is full of engaging apps out of the box. Come to this workshop to learning how to create engaging projects aligned to curriculum. Apple Certified Educators will lead the day to provide a hands-on experience and attendees will walk away with products ready to use day 1.

Attendees will:

  • Become Apple Teachers
  • Interact with native Apple Apps
  • Plan projects for new school year
  • Create “Recipe Cards”

Register here:


Tuesday and Wednesday, August 13 and 14, 2019, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

ISTE Certification for Educators

ISTE is focused on pedagogy, not tools. It’s not about edtech per se, it’s about what you do with the tech to transform learning and improve student outcomes.

For Classroom Educators, Coaches and Library Media Specialists

ISTE Certification helps build a teacher’s professional profile and provides a digital credential to demonstrate mastery and earn recognition for his or her work in using technology to transform learning.

For School & District Leaders

ISTE Certification provides education leaders with a way to identify a school or district’s educators who are leading the way with digital age teaching practices. The certification also provides a vendor-neutral edtech credential that can be used in staff hiring decisions.

Certification Process

Through the ISTE Certification process, educators will participate in an eight week blended learning cohort based on the ISTE Standards and transformative pedagogy. After completing the blended learning course, participants will have six months to apply their learning and compile artifacts and reflections into a competency-based portfolio to earn ISTE Certification. Content will be taught in the following four modules: Designing For Diversity; Personalized Learning & Alternative Assessments; Digital Learning Environments: Design Thinking & Computational Thinking; and The New Digital Citizenship.

Register here:


Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm

RRLC Annual Librarian Tech Camp

The day will open with a keynote from Project Look Sharp on news and media literacy. Participants will then attend breakout sessions focusing on: digital citizenship, escape rooms, genrefication, student data, school and public library collaboration, mindfulness in the library, diversity audits and diverse collections, library redesign, Social Emotional Learning, website design, coding for girls, library sustainability, ISTE Standards…plus much more! Note- lunch will be provided.

Register here:


We hope to see you there!

3 Apple Book Awards

The New York Library Association (NYLA) has announced the 2019 kids choice 3 Apples Book Award winners. This year, over 66 school and public libraries participated in the voting, with over 1,000 votes cast during the month of April by New York State youth.

The 2019 winners are:

Young Reader’s Category:
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

Children’s Category:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Teen Category:

The 3 Apples Book Award Joint Committee is comprised of members from NYLA’s two youth divisions: the Section of School Librarians (SSL) and the Youth Services Section (YSS). For more information visit

Tech Camp 2019 – Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals is open for 2019 Tech Camp. If you have a great idea, please put in a proposal to present by clicking: 

Tech Camp will be held at Monroe 2 BOCES ESC Building on August 21st. We are looking for sessions on various topics. All sessions will be 45 minutes long.

Example presentation topics:
· Creating Websites from Scratch (HTML, CSS, JavaScript)
· Digital Citizenship
· Escape Rooms / Mystery Boxes
· Student Data Privacy
· Genrefication
· Moving from a Fixed Schedule to a Flexible Schedule
· Schools and Public Libraries Working Together
· Mindfulness in the Library
· Diversity Audits / Creating Diverse Collections
· Library Redesign
· Creating Inclusive Libraries (LGBTQ, ELL, Students with Disabilities, etc.)
· Emotional Social Learning
· Coding for Girls
· Sustainable Libraries
· ISTE Standards in Libraries

Review of proposals will begin immediately, and the deadline to submit is FRIDAY JUNE 28TH.

Online Learning with Skillshare

Skillshare is an online learning platform with over 20,000 classes in design, fine arts, tech, personal crafts, and more. RRLC has subscribed to and has 5 individual user account licenses that RRLC members may request on a first-come first-served basis.

Accounts are active for two weeks, during which time you are free to access the videos on At the end of your access time, your account privileges will be deactivated, although your account will remain open on – so that you may request access again as you need more training.

Access the Skillshare library 24/7—even from your iPhone, iPad, Android device, or other mobile device—and watch an entire course or single tutorial video as you need them.

Certificates of completion are available by request; after a course has been completed, contact to request a certificate. Once your request has been processed and verified, we will email your certificate.

Accounts can be requested by submitting the form at this RRLC page.

We Need Diverse Libraries Event

This coming September, RRLC is hosting an event titled, “We Need Diverse Libraries: Diversifying Your Bookshelves for Young Readers…”. If you’re looking to diversify your collection, this is a can’t miss event. Presented by We Need Diverse Books (, the event will review why a diverse collection is important, what the benefits are, and what the studies show. They will provide a comprehensive title list from board books to YA titles, and they will organize a panel with local authors.

The event will be held Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Henrietta Public Library. Registration is free for RRLC members (this includes all of Monroe 1 and 2 BOCES districts, all Genesee Valley BOCES districts, and more).

Click here for more information and to register.

Connections: Historical Fiction

If you missed out on Thursday’s Connections with Evan Dawson, he spent the hour discussing Hamilton and the value and drawbacks of historical fiction as a genre. His guests included:

  • Michael Oberg, distinguished professor of history at SUNY Geneseo
  • LindaSue Park, award-winning author
  • Miriam Burstein, professor and associate chair of the Department of English at the College at Brockport

Listen here!


Tech Camp 2019: Teaching Students to Think in a Media-Saturated World

Registration for RRLC’s annual Library Tech Camp (August 21st) is open and it promises to be an interesting and engaging day of learning. The keynote will be “Analysis, Reason and Reflection: Teaching Students to Think in a Media-Saturated World” by Chris Sperry from Project Look Sharp.

Project Look Sharp is an outreach program at Ithaca College that provides training and materials for K-16 educators to integrate media literacy and critical thinking into their existing curriculum. They excel at not only getting educators to think through the information and messages that come from 24/7 media access, but also how to turn-key those media literacy skills to students.

Chris Sperry has taught middle and high school social studies, English and media studies for over 30 years. He is the author of numerous curriculum kits related to global studies and U.S. history and articles about integrating media literacy and critical thinking into the curriculum. He is the recipient of the National Council for the Social Studies 2008 Award for Global Understanding, and the 2005 National PTA and Cable Leaders in Learning Award for Media Literacy.

On top of the keynote, the RRLC Tech Camp will feature breakout sessions by local librarians and educators on technological trends and instructional practices. There will also be a vendor fair, which we encourage you to attend.

Register here

Census Action

A good Census is the first step to making sure we have good roads, good schools and good representation.

Laura Bierman, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New York State

During our last Council meeting, Katie discussed the importance of an accurate census. This article explains why and how it impacts funding and representation.

Public libraries are taking the lead in next year’s census count. This summer, reach out to your public libraries and see how you and your school communities might be able to help.

Library All Star Winner

Congratulations to Beth Puckett, Library Media Specialist at Johanna Perrin Middle School, on winning the RRLC 2019 Library All Star Award!

Beth will be recognized at the RRLC Annual membership Meeting on June 6th at Casa Larga. This is a well-deserved award!