Sterling Jr. High and High School students visited the library this week where each student was able to choose a free book and was treated to a free cookie and hot drink. The “warm up with a good book” event encouraged students to “read a latte” and gave them time to select a book and spend some time leisure reading.
“For over a year, we’ve been collecting new and gently used middle school and young adult books with the goal of having enough to gift a book to every student in grades 7-12,” explained district librarian Amy Brownlee. The books had broad appeal ranging from sports, history, and science titles to fantasy, romance, and adventure. “Studies show that the more students read, the better their achievement in all subject areas,” Brownlee said. “Students are apt to read books they have easy access to and select themselves. An event like this is a fun way to encourage literacy and learning.”
Some books were donated, and others were purchased from discount sources like thrift stores and yard sales. Funding for the project came from Booster Club, a grant from the South Central Kansas Library System, and the school district. According to Brownlee, “it was a team effort.” Librarian Sherilyn McPherson created genre signage to help organize the giveaway books and coordinated the schedule so all students had the opportunity to select a book. Food services coordinator Sandy Skucius and her staff made homemade cookies for the event, and FACS teacher Carol Prather organized and staffed the hot drink bar with the assistance of her classes where they served coffee, cider, and hot chocolate.
In addition, English teachers were generous in giving their class time to bring students to the library for the event. Over 450 books were available in the giveaway. Extra books were offered for free to students and staff.
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon asked people to vote for a great summer read. They chose the YA fantasy Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
Jimmy Fallon is reading throughout the month of July and posting his thoughts on Twitter and Facebook. Find out more about it here.
Sync is offering free audiobooks for teens ages 13+. Two thematically-paired audiobooks per week will be available to download for free all summer long. They will be available for a week and then they will be replaced by two new titles. While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure.
Get the OverDrive App to access free SYNC audiobooks. The app is available for every major desktop and mobile platform. Visit the Sync website for more details. https://audiobooksync.com/
Amy Brownlee, District Librarian, was among the 60 school, public and academic librarians who participated in the “School Redesign and My Library” program. The school redesign training was organized by the South Central Kansas Library System (SCKLS) and held April 30 in Wichita. The theme of the five presentations was that libraries support student success and how school, public and academic librarians are engaged in Kansas school redesign projects.
Speakers included Brad Newenswander, Deputy Commissioner, Kansas Department of Education, Topeka; Amy Brownlee, District Librarian, USD 376, Sterling Public Schools, who presented the Digital Citizenship curriculum she has designed and implemented with students; and librarians from McPherson and Wichita.
After submitting a proposal and being selected as a presenter, Brownlee was awarded a $500 stipend to be spent on items for her district's libraries.
The presentation was recorded and has been posted online and made available to people throughout the state who would like to learn more about how their libraries can be a part of the school redesign process.
“The goal is that Kansas leads the world in the success of each student” said Newenswander whose job responsibilities include supervision of the statewide school design initiative. He noted five indicators of student success which are (1) Social and Emotional Growth, (2) Kindergarten Readiness, (3) Individual Plans of Study, (4) High School Graduation and (5) Postsecondary Success.
Amy Brownlee, District Librarian for USD 376, was awarded the 2017 President’s Distinguished Library Media Specialist Award by the Kansas Association of School Librarians (KASL) at the state library conference in Wichita on Friday, Oct. 27. The award is given annually “to recognize an individual who has developed an outstanding library media program for his/her district, and has made an outstanding contribution to school librarianship and school library media development in Kansas.”
Brownlee is a K-12 school librarian for Sterling Grade School and Sterling Jr./Sr. High School. She has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship as part of a study trip to Africa with the Ethiopia Reads organization, received the Beta Phi Mu Achievement Award from Emporia State University in 2002 for outstanding work in graduate studies, and has been a member of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award Selection Committee. She has presented numerous times at the KASL Annual Conference, KASL District workshops, for the South Central Kansas Regional Library System, and at the KAMLE (Kansas Association of Middle Level Educators) Symposium. Brownlee has also had several articles published in School Library Monthly.
Over her 20 years as an educator in the Sterling school system, she has written numerous grants and secured over $37,000 in funding for the district for technology, books, ebooks, continuing education, and special programs such as book discussions and all-school reading events. Brownlee’s library program, including curriculum, lessons, web site, special events and programs, has served as a model for librarians around the state.
In recent years, Brownlee has added a Battle of the Books program for 5th and 6th graders and hands-on S.T.E.M. activities such as circuit building, robotics, and stop-motion animation for elementary students.
Linda Glaze, a librarian in Oberlin, KS, nominated Brownlee for the honor after attending her presentations and getting to know her at various conferences. In her nomination, Glaze said, “I admire Amy as a person and as a Library Media Specialist. She has worked very hard to create a model library program."