43 posts

Reimagining Library Spaces

Genesee Valley Educational Partnership is working on a program for the 5 systems region called “Reimagining Library Spaces”. This program will be led by Diana Rendina, a Library Media Specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 school in Tampa, Florida. She an author, and the creator of the Renovated Learning blog. This workshop will focus on transforming your library space.

Many school libraries still look like they did fifty years ago. But our libraries are no longer quiet dusty book repositories. Librarians are leading the way in technology use and modern pedagogy in our schools – now we need to update our spaces to match.

In this workshop, you will get ideas and inspiration for transforming the physical space of your libraries to make them innovative, student-friendly learning environments. We’ll talk about how to apply learning space design theory to renovate your library. You’ll learn how to survey your students, create a focus group, and use design thinking to brainstorm ideas for your space. We’ll spend time brainstorming our spaces and making plans for the future. Participants will be able to explain why changes to the physical space are needed and will learn strategies that they can apply immediately, no matter what their budget. This workshop will leave you feeling empowered to make the changes that are needed in our library spaces.

The date for this workshop is March 20, 2020.

Click to register


Media Literacy Week! (Day 5)

Friday, October 25th

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

This wraps up our week-long celebration of Media Literacy Education. We hope you’ve learned about Media Literacy, gained an understanding of how important it is for our students, and found some new activities or resources that are useful to you.

We encourage all of you to keep the momentum going. Media Literacy Education should be reinforced year round.

Use our Media Literacy LibGuide to help you find information for your teachers on a regular basis. This guide links out to information from:

This LibGuide will be updated periodically to add new resources as we find them.

Some excellent books to help you continue your learning are available in our Overdrive/SORA account:





(Ctrl-click the picture to open SORA. Select your school, and then log-in using your regular school credentials – as if you are logging into your school computer). Please take this Post-Assessment, and give it to your students to see if their thinking has changed over the course of this week. (Results will be sent out to our librarians next week. If you are not in our region, please contact Liesl.)

Lastly, if you feel strongly about this topic and its importance in schools, Media Literacy Now has put together this call to action. Click the image below to get to the website.




Please share this with those who are willing and able to support this federal legislation.


Thank you for participating in Media Literacy Week!

Media Literacy Week! (Day 3)

Wednesday, October 23rd

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

So far this week we have learned what Media Literacy is, examined our own media usage, and gained an understanding that all media messages are constructed. We also learned that the authors of those messages have a purpose for sending those messages and usually something to gain from them.

Today, we’ll discuss stereotypes in media messages and how to teach students to recognize them. We are all familiar with librarian stereotypes. Just type the word “librarian” into a Google Image search, and it returns a multitude of mostly white, mostly female, glasses-wearing, book-carrying, sometimes shushing images. Luckily librarians are trained to deal with this type of thing, and many of us have embraced this stereotype as a long-standing tradition. (See Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure, “With Amazing push-button Shushing Action!”). –>

Stereotypes are exaggerated beliefs about a person or group of people. By learning more about stereotyping and how to identify it in media messages, students will learn to understand their own exaggerated beliefs and perceptions.

Renee Hobbs, a professor and founder of the Media Education Lab, offered this activity idea in her twitter feed:

This activity can be adapted to have students re-design advertisements, reshoot commercials, or redevelop websites. Get creative! You can also use these resources compiled by Frank W. Baker’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse:

See if your students can identify a stereotype in a form of media and bring it in to you tomorrow.

Media Literacy Week! (Day 2)

Tuesday, October 22nd

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

Yesterday we discussed Media Literacy: what it is, why it is important, and how we would use this week to jump-start our understanding. We asked our educators and students to answer some questions about the media they are consuming on a daily basis. This was to help them gain an awareness of the media that is all around them and what choices they are making in how they are accessing it.

Today we will focus on media messaging. The first lesson in becoming media literate is always this


Let’s get your students to think about the messages they hear in the media. Show them an ad.

Have them think about who is sending the message. Is it a company? Is it a political party or candidate? Have them consider why they might be sending the message. Is there a chance of monetary gain? Who might gain from the message? Once they understand this, you can have them think about who the intended audience is. Are there any unintended consequences of a message like this?

Show this presentation (from Jaclyn Siegel) and have them answer the questions from slides 2 and 7:

After looking at a few different ads, websites or articles, ask them if they have seen a difference in their thinking when viewing media messages.

Media Literacy Week!

Monday, October 21st

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week, hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

We will help you celebrate this important set of skills by providing you with resources and lesson plans to help you educate your students on how to handle the flood of information that hits them every day. We will include information on advertisements, stereotypes, and truth and bias.

What is Media Literacy?

The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) defines media literacy as the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, CREATE, and ACT using all forms of communication.

At its most basic level, media literacy is the ability to read media messages, analyze the meaning behind it, who it is coming from, and why they are sending it out into the world.

The video below by Alicia Haywood helps to explain what Media Literacy is and why it is so important.

How can we celebrate this week and educate our students?

All week we will be sending activities and resources for you. Today, start by pre-assessing yourself and your students. Fill out this brief survey, and have your student fill it out too. This will give us some baseline data, and your students will think about what types and how much media they engage with on a daily basis.

We will send the results out to the librarians in our region tomorrow. If you are not located in our region, please contact Liesl.

*Click here for the Media Literacy Week Toolkit from NAMLE.

FYI – Individual membership to NAMLE is free. We encourage you to join!

Children’s Book Festival Author Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Check out Alyssa Satin Capucilli at the upcoming Children’s Book Festival held annually at MCC in Henrietta.









The books above are available in the Monroe One Overdrive account.

Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the author of over 100 books including Biscuit, the popular bestseller used to launch the My First I Can Read Series from HarperCollins. With over twenty-eight million books in print, Biscuit has been deemed a modern classic and has been translated into numerous languages worldwide. Other works include the Katy Duck series, the My First non-fiction photo series and numerous picture books.

There are lots of resources about Alyssa Satin Capucilli, including interviews, a book list, and audio excerpts on If you do not remember our password, please contact me.

Alyssa is available to schedule school visits November 1st (Primary Grades). For details contact Wendy Petry.



Reflections on RRLC’s “We Need Diverse Libraries”

“Imagine a world where everyone could see themselves in the pages of a book.”

These were the first words of the presentation last Tuesday by We Need Diverse Books. They then asked us to close our eyes for a minute and think about what that would look like. What would you see or hear, and what would that mean for everyone?

The responses from the audience were, “More possibilities would be open to people”; “There would be more avid readers”; “People would know that their narratives are important as well, regardless of their abilities, of what they looked like, or who they were”; “There would be more diversity in careers, in life in general”; “We would see an increase in overall well-being”. It sounds Utopian, doesn’t it? This is within reach.

It can still be difficult to find great books that tell diverse stories, but it is not impossible. The folks at We Need Diverse Books have made it their mission to help us accomplish this goal. If you know where to look it will make your life easier. Some publishers offering diverse reads are:

On their website is a listing of sites that provide diverse book lists. Under the Resources tab on their site, they also include a book talking kit.

Most helpfully, they have also created an app, currently accessible through your browser, called OurStory, which highlights books with diverse content and by content creators from marginalized communities. It is basically a database designed for you to find books for your libraries.

Look at our Libguide for more resources on diversifying your collection. *The page is currently under construction, so please continue to check back frequently.* Which reminds me: Diversifying your collection is an ongoing process. We live in a constant state of growth and change. Informally audit your collection and add to it frequently.

Children’s Book Festival Author Julie Berry

Check out Julie Berry at the upcoming Children’s Book Festival held annually at MCC in Henrietta.

Julie is the author of the 2017 Printz Honor and Los Angeles Times Book Prize shortlisted novel The Passion of Dolssa (available in the Monroe One Overdrive Collection as an ebook), the Carnegie and Edgar shortlisted All the Truth That’s In Me (available in the Monroe One Overdrive Collection as an ebook), The Odyssey Honor Title The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, and The Emperor’s Ostrich. Her new young adult novel, Lovely War, has received four starred reviews, and her first picture books will release in fall 2019.

There are lots of resources about Julie Berry, including interviews, book lists, and audio excerpts on If you do not remember our password, please contact me. She also published this video on YouTube outlining the historical backdrop for The Passion of Dolssa.

Julie is available to schedule school visits on October 31st and November 1st (Grades K-3 or 6-12). For details contact Wendy Petry.

Above, the trailer for The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place.

Children’s Book Festival Authors

The Rochester Children’s Book Festival is coming up on November 2nd, 2019. Some of the out-of-town authors are interested in doing local school visits.

These are:

  • Julie Berry (Available October 31 and November 1)
  • Laurie Calkhoven (Available October 31 and November 1)
  • Alyssa Satin Capucilli (Available November 1)
  • Peter Catalanotto (Available October 31 and November 1)
  • Matt Chandler (Available October 31, November 1, November 4 and  November 5)
  • Jerry Craft (Available November 4 and November 5)
  • Nikki Grimes (Available October 31)
  • London Ladd (Available October 31 and November 1)
  • Mark Shulman (Available October 31, November 1, November 4 and November 5)

Contact Wendy Petry for more information. A full list of authors with new releases is at the festival website: (We will feature some of these authors in future posts).

The festival will be held at Monroe Community College R. Thomas Flynn Campus Center, 1000 East Henrietta Road (Park in Lot M) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

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: