Category Archives: Schools

AASL Resource Guide for Underserved Student Populations

From the American Association of School Librarians

Today, many marginalized students face adversity inside and outside the classroom. School librarians are in a unique position to help these underserved student populations overcome these barriers by offering resources and support and advocating on their behalf. School librarians must recognize the particular needs of underserved students in order to develop effective library services and strategies to ensure that these students are academically successful.

A new toolkit from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), the Resource Guide for Underserved Student Populations, brings together a wealth of resources available to aid school librarians working with students in five underserved populations: children in foster care, homeless children, children of incarcerated parents, children of migrant workers, and children in non-traditional families.

Find this and other toolkits on the AASL website.

Archived Webinar: Personal Learning Networks

Just up in our training archive from WSL School Library Consultant Paige Bredenkamp, WSL School Library Consultant, is a newly archived webinar, Personal Learning Networks for the School Librarian.

Paige will take you through an overview of personal learning networks: what they are, why they are important, and how to build your own. She’s joined by special guest, Thomas Ivie, Statistics and Research Librarian at the Wyoming State Library.

Download the slides.

Find more archived database training in our webinars index and see upcoming events on our training calendar.

Wyoming Innovations in Learning: Call for Proposals

The Wyoming Innovations in Learning 2017 conference announces a call for proposals. Session proposals will be accepted through August 15, 2017.

This is a unique opportunity for educators to explore teaching and learning practices that can apply to classrooms and distance learning environments from kindergarten through higher education.

The Innovations planning committee is requesting presentation proposals that promote innovative practices across the K-20 spectrum. The broad conference tracks include open education resources, innovations in teaching, digital learning, student learning assessment, online and blended learning, educational technology tools, using a Learning Management System  (LMS), and Future Ready Schools.

Wyoming Innovations in Learning 2017 is a conference featuring innovative teaching and learning practices for all educators. The conference is hosted collectively by the Wyoming Department of Education, University of Wyoming, Wyoming’s community colleges, and school libraries.

For more for information Robin Grandpre at 307-777-5315 or

Brochures to Help School Librarians Advocate

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has an advocacy tool to help school librarians generate and guide discussion with stakeholders about quality school library programs. School Library Programs Improve Student Learning is a series of advocacy brochures each designed to speak to a specific stakeholder audience within the school library community, including administrators, policymakers, parents, and teachers. Each brochure outlines goals and key questions specific and important to that audience helping school librarians lead unique conversations, set goals and expectations for the program and the stakeholder, and maximize the potential of the school library program.

The brochures are available for download or ordering from AASL.

Developed and distributed through a grant from the Bound to Stay Bound Books Foundation, this publication complements the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs. (Empowering Learners is available in the Wyoming State Library collection.) 

Getting Websites Unblocked at Your School

By Doug Johnson, from Chapter 10 of The Indispensable Librarian, 2nd ed.
Reposted from the Blue Skunk Blog under a Creative Commons license

There are few situations more frustrating for a librarian than learning of an Internet resource or tool that would be of value to students but finding it blocked by the district. Here are some strategies for dealing with this problem:

  1. Know and be able to articulate the educational value of the blocked site.
  2. Be able to share examples of how librarians and teachers in other districts are using the resource.
  3. Ask to have the resource provided on a limited basis—for a certain period of time or on specific computers. Report at the end of the test period if any problems were encountered and what uses students made of the resource.
  4. Speak as a member of a group that wants the resource unblocked.
  5. Know exactly who makes the filtering decisions in your district and if there is a formal process for getting a site unblocked.
  6. Understand the abilities of your webfilter, knowing what categories, whitelists, blacklists, and groups are and how they impact the precision with which filtering can be done.
  7. Know local, state, and federal laws pertaining to filtering and student Internet access to avoid “hyper-compliance” by your district.
  8. Communicate in writing your requests and responses when seeking to get a site unblocked. Always copy the supervisor of the decision-maker on all communications.
  9. Seek to establish a formal review process for unblocking Internet resources or seek to have the reconsider policy in your district revised to cover online resources.
  10. File a challenge on the resource to start the due-diligence process on school materials. (Yes, you can do this as a staff member.)
  11. Don’t give up after the first denied request. Come back with other uses, examples, and partners. Sometime the squeaky wheel gets some grease.

Want to read more? The Indispensable Librarian is one of many great titles available in the Wyoming State Library collection. Search our catalog to check out our professional library science materials, or contact Paige Bredenkamp, or (307) 777-6331, for assistance. 

Come to Information Power 2017

InfoPower 17 Pre-Conference

Come for Information Power in Sheridan on August 9, then stay for the Wyoming Library Association conference! Information Power is a great learning and networking opportunity for school librarians, and this year, it’s offered as a WLA pre-conference. One trip, two fantastic events. Learn more and register on the WLA website.

The Case for Social Networks in Schools

By Doug Johnson
Reposted from the Blue Skunk Blog
under a Creative Commons license 

Some educational battles need to be continually re-fought, especially those surrounding intellectual freedom for young adults. I was reminded of this when a parent requested that our district block all social media sites recently*. It was a good nudge for me to think again why I fight for tools that can certainly  be used in both foolish and dangerous ways to remain a part of our educational toolbox. Maybe I needed to re-convince myself.

I have argued that students should have access to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram in many of my posts and articles. But here is the high level summary of why…

  1. Access to social media sites is an equity issue. Students whose only Internet access is through school resources—both computers and networks—are disenfranchised from social discourse were we to block these sites. For better or worse, social media has become the country’s go-to source for news, opinion, and discussion.
  2. Access to social media sites is necessary for students learning safe and appropriate Internet use. School is a place to learn from mistakes. Caring adults surrounding our kids can help rectify poor choices and turn the experience into a “teachable moment.” Were students to reach college or work prior to gaining instruction and practice in the use of social media, the mistakes would have greater ramifications, and the adult guidance less probable.
  3. Access to social media leads to greater care of school-owned devices. On a very pragmatic basis, students will take better care of devices that they find valuable to them. We can harness their love of online interactions and personal inquiry by keeping networks, including social media, as open as possible. The likelihood of students remembering to bring their devices to school, to charge their devices, and to take greater physical care of their devices improves when the device is simply more than a link to digital textbooks and worksheets.

I’ve called giving student access to social media “the neglected side of intellectual freedom.” The fight for human rights, it seems, must be won and then won again and again. I will keep fighting.

* I think we found a good solution for this parent—an extension that we can place on his child’s Chrome account that allows him to create his own set of filtering rules. We will see.

Wyoming Book Awards Nominees Announced

The nominees have been announced for the 2017-18 Buckaroo (grades K-3), Indian Paintbrush (grades 4-6), and Soaring Eagle (grades 7-12) book awards. Wyoming K-12 students will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites.

These award programs help children become acquainted with the best contemporary books and authors, learn what qualities make a good book, and set reading goals. These awards are a joint project of the Wyoming State Reading Council and the Wyoming Library Association.

See 2016-17 winners here and learn more about the awards.

2017-18 Buckaroo Book Award Nominees


  • The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
  • Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari
  • Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio
  • I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt
  • The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
  • Let Me Finish! by Minh Le
  • Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
  • A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
  • The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
  • Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue by Robert Burleigh

2017-18 Indian Paintbrush Book Award Nominees

  • Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
  • Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre
  • Old Wolf by Avi
  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  • Swing Sideways by Nancy Turner Steveson
  • Wish by Barbara O’Conner

2017-18 Soaring Eagle Book Award Nominees

  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  by Becky Albertalli
  • The Naturals (#1) by Jennifer Barnes
  • The Reader (Sea of Ink & Gold #1) by Traci Chee
  • My Lady Jane (the Janies #1)  by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
  • Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
  • The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Carve the Mark  (#1) by Veronica Roth
  • Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt
  • Scythe (Arc of the Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman