Fueled by record-breaking grants and the promise of more to come, APS media specialists gathered together to plot strategies, consider vendors and share best practices at the annual Media Specialists Kickoff held Wednesday at Atlanta Technical College. The librarians learned about Internet acceptable use from APS e-Learning Specialist Felicia Clark-Culbertson, studied a webinar from Teachingbooks.net, learned about new media services from Media Services Coordinator Warren Goetzel, found ways to broaden social studies learning from APS Social Studies Coordinator Keisha Nalty, and much more. They were also treated to educational CDs and DVDs by Atlanta musician Hamilton Bohannon.
The star of the show may have been famed Atlanta illustrator Michael P. White, whose collaboration with Carmen Agra Deedy, The Library Dragon, is a go-to book for media specialists. Sarah Smith Elementary Intermediate Campus media specialist Kelly McQueen invited the illustrator to come show her colleagues how easy it is for them and their students to draw. “He shows you that you don’t have to be perfect with your drawing,” noted McQueen. “I hope his appearance at a school will help the students with creative inspiration, making that creative connection to the books they’re reading. To have him come in is a very big deal.”
Even before Goetzel closed the day with a series of raffle prizes that include signed works by White (pictured, above), the media specialists were winners. Earlier this summer, a record 15 media centers were awarded treasured grants from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, to “expand, update and diversify” their book collections. Also over the summer, the department announced that, through the use of new software, had greatly improved the efficiency of tracking the number and value of textbooks throughout the district.
The department boasts another winner in Scott Elementary‘s Anja Tigges, who in her third year has scored a $2,000 grant from Target to identify reluctant readers and then help augment the media center’s book collection to address those readers’ interests. Scott says she got the idea from a similar grant won by a media specialist over in nearby Athens after reading about it on the Georgia Library Media Association blog. “It helps the students become more empowered and provide the input,” Tigges said.
Check out the video above to view their thoughts on the day.