May 2021

Volume 2.7

Welcome to the North Carolina School Library Media Association's Monthly newsletter!

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In this edition:


Cindy Sturdivant

NCSLMA President


Often during my career as a school librarian, I have turned to my PLN on Twitter for help or for ideas.  About a month ago, I came across a post by Kelsey Bogan, a high school librarian in Pennsylvania whom I follow, about  conducting a Diversity Audit in a school library. Intrigued, I went to her blog post to learn her process. Over the past few weeks, I revisited that post numerous times and discussed this concept with several of my colleagues.

While this is a daunting task, I decided to move ahead with it in hopes that it will be one tool I can utilize in my quest to make my library a place where students truly feel safe. In setting up the Diversity Audit, I decided to focus on diversity of author (gender, LGBTQ, neurodivergent, BIPOC, and disabled) and representation of main characters (BIPOC, disabled, LGBTQ, neurodivergent, religion, poverty, homelessness, mental health, foster care/adoption, addiction, learning disability, and illness).  As I complete sections of the Diversity Audit, I am updating the copy records in Destiny, adding sublocations (based on genres) and categories. Even though I am at the beginning of this rather large process, I like that it will not only help me find gaps of representation in my collection but also make the collection more accessible to students and staff through their ability to search our on-line catalog based on the new categories.

I realize that many librarians are not in a position where they can take on this process currently, but I do encourage everyone to think about how well your collection represents the diversity of your students and the larger community.


#NCSLMA2021: Reflect, Refocus, Reconnect, & Rejuvenate

There are just a couple of weeks left before the call to present for #NCSLMA2021 closes on May 14. As you consider submitting your proposals, I encourage you to think about this year’s conference theme: Reflect, Refocus, Reconnect, & Rejuvenate.

Reflect - This past year has been a time for reflection, both professionally and personally. From the pandemic and switch to remote learning, to the Black Lives Matter protests and fight against systemic racism in response to the murder of George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor, Aumaud Aurbery, and sadly so many others!), I know I’ve had a lot to ponder. How did, and do, these events impact you and your library services?

Refocus - This past year has also been a big blur at times--like looking at the world through a microscope that is way out of focus. Some days it feels like it has been years since things were “normal.” As we think about the next school year, it is time to turn that knob on the microscope and get things back into focus. What will you be changing about your practice as we move forward and look ahead?

Reconnect - I am so excited for the opportunity for us to reconnect face to face at the Benton Convention Center in October! But what are you planning to do to reconnect to your staff and students? And to reconnect them to the library and library services?

Rejuvenate - A verb meaning “give new energy or vigor to” or “to restore to an original or new state.” I think we can all agree that things will never be restored to the original state--and maybe that is a good thing. What does our new normal look like? How can we take the lessons learned over this past year to give new energy and vigor to our practice and our libraries?

We look forward to reviewing the applications for concurrent sessions and workshops! Remember to check the conference website frequently, as it will be updated regularly with additional information as it becomes available.

Jenny Umbarger

President-Elect and

2021 Conference Committee Chair

2021 Picture Book and Junior Book Winners

The NCCBA Committee collected almost 50,000 votes this year despite COVID restrictions and we are very happy to announce the winners of the 2021 North Carolina Children's Book Award!

Be Quiet!

written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins,

is the winner of the picture book category with 12,348 votes.


written by Jen Wang,

is the winner of the junior book category with 513 votes.




The May NCSLMA Commendation goes to

Holiday Book Drive

For the past six years, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County have partnered local businesses (Barnes & Noble, Webb Investment Services, Capstone Health Alliance) on a holiday book drive targeting middle school students in programs of need. Books are distributed at five local middle schools and through several local organizations.

Submit your commendation for an organization that supports reading and/or NC school libraries!


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School Library Media Program at UNC-Greensboro Received National Ranking

by Heather Moorefield-Lang, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Library and Information Science

The School Library Media specialty area in the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS) at UNC-Greensboro has been ranked 8th at the national level and 1st in North Carolina. The U.S. News & World Report released its 2022 ranking for Graduate Schools of Education on March 30, 2021. The Library and Information Science department is housed in the UNC Greensboro School of Education (SOE). The SOE has been ranked #73 nationally as a Graduate School of Education, the SOE’s highest ranking on record. More specifically, the SOE has been ranked the #3 Graduate School of Education in North Carolina and #5 nationally among Graduate Schools of Education in public R2 (high research) institutions.

The LIS department blends coursework from library and information science, computer science, geography, information systems, and education research methodology to prepare students to work in a variety of ever emerging fields. The Library and Information Science Department is the largest online program at UNC Greensboro.

This national level ranking is a direct reflection of the work from school library faculty which include April Dawkins, Tammy Gruer, Heather Moorefield-Lang and Lori Sands as well the support of the departments’ director, Lisa O’Connor. The School Library Media specialization takes students through a range of coursework that focuses on literacy, technology, program management, curriculum, as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion. UNC-Greensboro’s school librarians go into their schools ready to meet the needs of all students.

Ashley Greene-Media Coordinator at West Marion Elementary School in Marion, NC.

West Marion Elementary Schools received a Facebook grant for Google Expeditions Kits. This grant will support three Google Expedition kits. Teachers will be able to use the kits to create and upload their own Virtual Reality lessons, allowing their lessons to stretch beyond traditional methods of teaching.

STEM-Lit Kits for the Win!

By: Amanda McCall; Media Specialist; Morehead City Primary School
Instagram: @mcpslibrary  Twitter: @amccalleducates  Facebook: @MCPSsandcastle

If you’re like me, you are always wondering how you can do better. How can you improve your media program? How can we increase family engagement? 

This school year I’ve asked myself these questions frequently. If we’re being honest, COVID hasn’t allowed much normalcy to occur. After researching and thinking- lots of thinking- I applied for a local grant to help fund an idea: STEM-Lit Kits. The idea behind the kits was that students would be able to take home a book that connected to a STEM activity to do with their family. The ultimate goal was that ALL materials needed would be provided so that anyone in our building would have access if so desired.

In November, I was a lucky recipient of a grant valued at over $700. If you’ve ever won a grant, you know that your work really just begins after you’re awarded the funds. I worked on purchasing materials that would go into these STEM-Lit Kits. I chose five titles that I had either created or found a STEM activity to go along with. Using the funds, I purchased 25 books (five of each title) and all materials needed to complete an accompanying project. 

After Christmas break I prepared all the kits. I was sure to include the following in each kit: library processed book, directions with images for STEM project, all materials required for STEM project, and a QR code for families to provide feedback. We recorded a commercial explaining the kits. The commercial played on our morning news and was shared on social media for our school as well. 

Since the launch of this program, we have had over 80 STEM-Lit Kits checked out of the library! We made the check-out system virtual so both our virtual and face-to-face families had an opportunity to participate. Parents go to our website and click on an image that directs them to a Google Form. I am notified upon their completion of the form and then check the kit out to the family, usually the next day. The family can have the kit for up to two weeks and we encourage them to send us pictures for promotional purposes and to highlight on morning news. 

This program has been a success and we’ve gotten great feedback from parents who have loved reading a story and then working on the accompanying STEM activity together. One parent, Margot Dunning, commented, “Enjoyed that it was fun for the whole family.” Student Brody Ratcliffe stated, “I enjoyed reading the book and building a bear cage with my parents. It was fun thinking of ways to build a cage.  Our hope is to purchase more titles and materials over the summer to increase our current titles.

Reading Extravaganza: A celebration of reading across DPS Middle School

by Barbara Berry and Jenny Umbarger  Durham Public Schools

This year’s middle school BOB competition in Durham county had a special twist to the afternoon pulled together by Durham Public Schools Media Coordinators Barbara Berry from Githens Middle School and Kara Watson of Lakewood Middle Montessori.  Many of our media coordinators found it challenging to build teams and engage remote readers during the pandemic.  With the vision of creating a celebration for all readers in Durham county, this pair of media coordinators reached out to BOB authors and asked for help. in creating a celebration which would be open to all BOB team participants and other book club groups and students in the schools.   The dream was realized and it developed into a two hour extravaganza hosted by all the county Media Coordinators with prizes, art demonstrations, author talks, and opportunities to share out in breakout rooms with over 150 participants.  Through the generosity of their time, students at the extravaganza experienced live dropins and recorded video messages from the talented voices of  Pablo Cartaya,  Jerry Craft,  Jasmine Warga,  Alan Gratz, Ruta Sepetys, Lauren Wolk, and Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. The event was a hit and students were able to enjoy the speakers, connect with others from across the county and celebrate the amazing talents of the BOB authors. The event showed the amazing bridges that technology and books can make between people and places and it also shows the deep connections authors make with their readers. 

Pictures courtesy of Felicia Leggett, Shephard Middle School DPS

Durham County Middle School Media Coordinators

Zoom presentation Pablo Cartaya and Jerry Craft




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