7 posts

The Power of Reading

Good morning! There’s one week left to go before February break. Let’s start our week by re-invigorating our love of librarianship with this beautifully written article by Maria Popova published on her blog, about the power of reading.

“We read to remember. We read to forget. We read to make ourselves and remake ourselves and save ourselves. … Most of all, we read to become selves.” Popova’s brief article contains some of the most beautiful language I have read about what it means to read and how it affects our human experience.


Support for NYS Libraries

Governor Cuomo’s Proposed Budget for FY19-20 includes cuts for the third straight year. If you are NYLA members, you have already received information about this from Kelsey Dorado. If you haven’t sent your letter of support for library funding yet, we encourage you to do so. Support from the people in New York State makes a difference.

Click here to send an electronic letter.

By filling out the form and you can send it to multiple legislators. You can choose to leave the letter as is and sign your name to it, or you can rewrite it however you like. Your letter can make a difference. Thank you.

The DIGIES Festival is Open for Submissions

Have your students been coding, creating podcasts or videos, or drawing digitally? Maybe they would want to submit their work to this years Digies Festival.

The DIGIES is entering its 13th year. The DIGIES is an annual digital media conference and festival run by the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. It recognizes student potential in an annual festival format. The festival celebrates student work in four categories: Audio, Graphic Arts, Interactive Media, and Video.

Submissions are open to school age children and young adults, from Pre-Kindergarten until 12th grade and are accepted through schools, arts councils or public libraries. All submissions are submitted digitally online by a teacher, librarian, arts council member or school staff member. Submissions are separated into four grade level areas: PK-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12.

All entries need to be submitted online through the Media Festival website:
• Requests for a login to submit work can be initiated by emailing Brian Mayer at
• Submission are accepted from educators, librarians or program supervisors.

For more information on the Digies, see their website at:

New Public Domain Titles

This year brought tons of books, films and other works of art into the Public Domain. This means that anyone can use these works in other projects without asking for permission.

See the following articles for more information:

A Landslide of Classic Art is About to Enter the Public Domain (from the Atlantic)

New Life for Old Classics, as Their Copyrights Run Out (from the New York Times)

12 Great Movies Just Added to the Public Domain (from

For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, Copyrighted Works Will Enter the Public Domain (from Smithsonian Magazine)

For a longer list of works, see this article from Lifehacker: These 1923 Copyrighted Works Enter the Public Domain in 2019

And for a pretty comprehensive list, check out the Wikipedia article for 2019 in public domain


Library Podcasts

Need something to listen to on your way to and from work? Try a library podcast!

Inspired by The Room of Requirement episode of This American Life, which aired December 28, 2018: Three stories of libraries around the U.S., we decided to post about library podcasts. Here’s a quick breakdown of some that may be of interest to school librarians:

Adventures in YA

This podcast is hosted by Sara (an avid reader) and Kristen (a librarian), who spent the time to read lots of YA books and then review them for us. Each episode lasts about 50-60 minutes and comes out sporadically. We like that its focus is on YA literature.

Book Talk

This is actually a radio show that airs every other Wednesday at 1pm and features one work of contemporary fiction. Episodes can be found online and in iTunes. Each episode contains a 25-minute interview with the author, and a 25-minute discussion of the book between the host (Cyd Oppenheimer) and two guest readers. They round out the show with a local librarian who recommends a middle-grade fiction book.

Booktalks Quick and Simple by Nancy Keene

Booktalks in 45 seconds! Although this podcast hasn’t aired since 2017, who doesn’t love a quick 45-second booktalk? Nancy J. Keane offers a daily booktalk on books for grades K-12. Listen to booktalks about some of the newest books published as well as some oldies but goodies. Instead of just reading Nancy Keane’s booktalks, tune in to hear the booktalks by booktalking expert, Nancy Keane, herself.

Documents that changed the world

In this podcast, Joe Janes, Associate Professor at the University of Washington Information school, takes a look at documents that have made a difference in the world. In less than 15 minutes, thought slightly awkward, Joe takes us through the history and background of different world documents, and weaves a tale that leaves you thinking. You can listen online at, however, you’ll find more episodes in iTunes.

Professional Book Nerds

Each episode of this podcast is about 50 minutes long, and is hosted by staff librarians who work for OverDrive. Hear their book recommendations, learn about new books coming out, and listen to author interviews. While this isn’t a podcast specific to schools or even the K-12 age group, these are all books that are available in OverDrive (for public libraries at least).

If you listen to a library podcast that you think other school librarians would like, let us know!

Submission Deadline for 90-Second Newbery Film Festival

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which young filmmakers create weird short movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about a minute and a half.

Every year, they show the best movies we receive at special-event screenings in Rochester New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Boston, Tacoma, and other cities—co-hosted by festival founder James Kennedy (author of the young-adult fantasy The Order of Odd-Fish) and other award-winning children’s authors. This year, James will be co-hosting with Bruce Coville.

The national deadline for the 8th Annual 90-Second Newbery is January 11.

Who can make movies for this film festival?

It’s a big range: elementary schoolers, junior high kids, high schoolers, even college students. Adult help OK!

This is a fun project that will get your students reading Newbery winners, give students an excuse to mess around with video equipment, and learn and/or practice everything from close reading to scriptwriting, storyboarding to directing, and cinematography to video editing!

If you can’t get a project done in time, start reading now for next year, and attend this year’s festival to see what it’s all about. The festival will be held in Rochester on March 17th at 2pm in the theater Eisenhart Auditorium of the Rochester Museum & Science Center (657 East Ave).

More information can be found under the reading tab of our SLS LibGuide, or at the 90-Second Newbery festival web site.

Three Apples Book Award Nominations

The finalists for the 2019 Three Apples Book Awards were announced. The list can be found here.

The Three Apples Book Awards were developed to encourage reading for pleasure by the Section for School Librarians and Youth Services Sections of the New York Library Association. The voting is open to students in grades UPK-12 and is broken into three categories: Young Readers – Grades PK-2; Children – Grades 3-6; and Teens – Grades 6-12.

Students nominate their favorite books in September and October. From this list, students are encouraged to READ! READ!! READ!!! and then vote for their favorites in April. Ballots will be available at school and public libraries. Only students who have read or listened to at least 3 titles from the list are eligible to vote.

For more information about the Three Apples Book Awards go to: