Archive for August 2009

September Bulletin Boards: 9/11

August 30, 2009


Every September for the past 9 years I have put up a bulletin board tribute to 9/11.  It has changed over the years in different ways, and although it is a quick board for me to put up…it is not an easy one.  There is a solemn feeling when I create this display, as well there should be.

The bulletin board I am using this year has a small bookcase underneath on which we’ll display 9/11 books such as the book by LIFE– ONE NATION America Remembers September 11, 2001 and Let’s Roll by Lisa Beamer, wife of 9/11 hero Todd Beamer.  If you remember, Todd Beamer was aboard United Flight 93 and he, with fellow passengers, prevented the aircraft from reaching yet another target.  We have quite a few books that were donated to the library over the years.  I also feature some books on terrorism and chemical warfare.  Not exactly topics that encourage light reading.  We have a small collection of Fiction books that I include as well; Scorpia by Anthony Horowitz and A Day at the Beach by Helen Schulman.

This particular bulletin board is made up completely of photos.  Some years, I have added a title, but it really seems unnecessary.  The students “get it” and will stand quietly looking at the photos as if we were in a museum.  Our incoming class of 2013 was between 5-6 years of age when the events of 9/11 happened.

I was a HotMommy not a HotLibraryTech when 9/11 happened.  My youngest was 4.  While he watched Winnie the Pooh on our family room’s TV, I was in the den, downloading photos from the Internet as the events unraveled. My students are dumbfounded at the photos that I have, and will often ask if I was in New York City that day.  Depending on the student,  I usually respond by saying, “We were all there that day.”

In doing more research for this post, I came upon this brief video that was released in 2006.  It is difficult to watch, but it is a view of the second impact that I don’t believe many of us ever saw.  It is not necessary for you to watch, I am merely including it here.

Although the school year has not started, I decided that I would put up the 9/11 bulletin board today.  I began with a background of black construction paper, although some years I have actually used acid free card stock 12×12 size.  I have also used black fabric, I bought on clearance at my favorite fabric store.  Fabric is great, it does not fade like paper and the texture gives an added dimension to the display.


This particular bulletin board is the size of twelve 12×12 scrapbook pages.  It helps me to have that visual in mind when I begin to lay everything out.  With some bulletin boards that use photos, I use one photo as the focal point and spread out from there.
Fo the 9/11 bulletin board, I lay the photos out chronologically.  Beginning in the upper left corner I start with a NYC fall morning…filled with smoke, fear and destruction.

I incorporate a technique I call “Going over the Edge” where I cover the ugly metal edge of the board with the photos, when I am finished, you see nothing of the board’s frame.  This can be seen in the photo above.
I also use the “flutter” technique on this board only.  This is where I loosely attach the photos (just use two staples) so with the slightest breeze, (perhaps when a student walks by) the photos flutter with movement.  I created this technique, because I still remember watching files, documents, contracts, reports, etc…fluttering in the September breeze as they floated down from the towers.  I would include a photo of this acutally happening, but I have none.  I just watched it happen as I walked between the den and the family room to check on my son.  Oh, to have been able to just sit with him all day and watch Winnie the Pooh, while the world as I knew it, was forever changed.


In this close-up photo you can see the overlapping and fluttering styles a little better.

Depending on the size of your board, you will be able to use roughly 30 photos.  Don’t be afraid to overlap them.  If you have laminated them or if they were printed on heavy photo paper from your printer, a small piece of tape on the back is not going to hurt them.  You can also utilize scrapbook adhesive.  This year, the board ends with memorials and funerals for the victims.  I have photos that range from a fall morning in September, to firefighters, to memorials to Ground Zero today.


The young fireman in this photo created a genuine concern across the world.  He never wanted the attention that he received after the events of that day.  If you want to read more about his story, you can go to the following link:

In checking www.snopes.comto be sure that the story quoted above is true, I found nothing listed on Fireman Kehoe.

I keep the bulletin board rated PG.  While it would be possible for me to include photos that are disturbing, I choose not to.  When I was capturing images on my computer as they happened, I did not censor any of them.  Many of us saw the photos/video of people frantically waving from broken windows; or falling to their deaths when they jumped. The high school setting does not seem an appropriate venue to show these photos.  I don’t feel that I am keeping the truth from students; they know 3,000 people died that day.  Some instantaneously, some when the buildings collapsed.


If you are concerned that senior administrative officials might question a 9/11 display, choose the simple photo that uses floodlights to represent the ghost images of the Twin Towers at night.  This can be set up on the circulation desk or counter that students can see as they check out their library books.
If nothing else, it gives you an opportunity for discussion between yourself and the student.  I have students ask me where I was on 9/11 and it has opened up many avenues between myself and the library patrons.


There are many sites that will let you print photos, if you do not already have an archive of photos of your own.  Before you begin printing, make sure that you have plenty of ink and good quality photo paper.  Clean your printer if necessary.


You can do a Google image search of 9/11
I am including a good link.

You can also just type “September 11, 2001” into Google images with Safe Search off.
I found these to be some of the best resources.
I hope this post will help you to create a memorable bulletin board that reminds students that –
We Will Never Forget 9/11/01.

Sincerely –


Furniture movers

August 29, 2009


Every year at the end of school I clean up the library. 
I take all my personal items and files home…you never know when your office will be used for some meeting. 
I get my student helpers to dust, sweep under the stacks and vacuum. 
You’d be surprised what they find….maybe you wouldn’t.

I remember my first year when I found this ‘object’ tucked behind a shelf in the 800’s of the Non Fiction section. 
I couldn’t tell what it was.  That was the year that I had three 14 year old girls on a summer work program…none of whom could alphabetize. 
We eventually decided that it was a dried up apple.  There was a high pitched chorus of “Gross!” 
(I wonder what they would have done the following year when I found a used condom?)

Every year I make sure that everything is put away and neat when I leave for vacation, and every year when I come back, nothing is where I left it.  The custodians come in and clean, and while I am grateful that they clean the carpeting and polish the floors, I would appreciate not having to search for my desk chair. 

This year I tried for a good attitude.  I really did. 
I was chanting the positive mantra….”Everything will be where I left it…”
I walked in and nothing was where I had left it. 
I found my desk chair in my boss’s office.  Her office chair had been carried upstairs….go figure. 
I finally found the plastic mat to go under my chair….unfortunately it had more cracks in the plastic. 
I priced these at Staples today.  Between $36 – $54.  Guess I’ll be living with the cracked plastic.

It it would have taken me 3 days, moving the furniture back by myself…fortunately, I called in some “Mom guilt” and got my sons to help. 
Boys, it’s amazing how much work they will do for brownies.

New Moon is Coming….

August 25, 2009

If you work at the high school level, half the population is waiting for New Moon (the movie) to be released. 
I plan to generate a little excitement by having several of the library’s computers set up with the latest New Moon screensavers. 
This year I also hope to have a computer set up with book review videos for the students to watch.  First I have to get past IS and the multitude of firewalls.  While I figure out that bit of advanced technology…enjoy these peeks into New Moon. 

The second video is supposedly “fan made”.  Looks pretty darn good if you ask me. 

Security Strips –

August 22, 2009

I noticed that last night someone used the search engine term “security strips” to find one of my posts. 

I had a past post where I talk about how discouraging it is when I find the security strip removed from a book on the floor.  We lost several books at the end of the school year this way.  I know, because I have gone through the Fiction collection and reorganized….Why is so hard to find student help that can alphabetize? 

Believe it or not, I managed to alphabetize and still work “Registration Hell.” 

I hate to say that my student helpers are telling their friends how the books are “armed” and then their friends remove the security strip and steal a book from the library.  But after finishing the Fiction section, there are too many books missing, to think otherwise.  I hope the culprits have not been my student helpers. 
I hate it when they steal the first copy in a series…obviously I hate that they think it’s okay to steal a book period.  At least if I have the first book a series, a student can get started reading while I arrange the purchase of the missing next book.  I’ll be going out this week to replace several copies that are gone.  It is sad when students come to the desk because the book they are looking for has “gotten up and walked away.” 

This year, even if I have to stay late, I will be the one to put the security strips in the books.  I have noticed that some of the student help put the security strips in the back of the books where it is easy to find.  Not this year.  I have to say though, there really isn’t a good place to insert the strip in graphic novels. 

I know what you’re saying…”Hey Mrs. Hot…we thought that this post was going to have book reviews!” 
Well, my friends, it does.  Here they are: 

My Top Picks for:  “Books Needing More Security”. 

Not a great acronym, is it?  I’ll work on that. 



My first recommendation is Swoon written by Nina Malkin.  I predict that I will need a sign up sheet for this ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.  This book gave me the feeling of New England in the fall, kind of an Ichabod Crane meets the 21st century.  The plot revolves around three characters, Dice, Penn and Sin. 
The text is rich, bringing to mind very colorful images.  It was hard to put down.  I think my students who will check out New Moon again, while they wait for the movie will be reading this one too. 
There’s a bit of a love triangle and many discussions of sex.  It is not a book for middle schoolers.  11th grade and up. 




My second place must read is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. 
I know my students are going to love it too.  I should pick up a few more copies before next week.   
The two main characters are Grace and Sam.  Sam saved Grace when she was a young child. 
Now it is up to Grace to save Sam, but can she? 
I was prepared to not have an “emotionally satisfying ending” but the twist surprised me. 
The following trailer was created by Maggie Stiefvater herself, using hundreds of paper cut-outs and multiple photographic frames per second.  The music was composed and performed by Maggie Stiefvater & Kate Hummel. 
I wonder if Maggie is into scrapbooking too?







(This trailer courtesy of Expanded Books)


This was by far my favorite of the three. 
I picked up for the cover art alone.  Isn’t it gorgeous

The story may sound remotely familiar….some reviewers have noted a “
Twilight DNA quality.”  
The plot focuses on the heroine,  Zara, as well as Nick, Ian, two more of Zara’s quirky new friends…and a stranger who leaves behind a trail of gold dust.  Do your students a favor and pick up a copy of Need





Getting Down with the Dewey Decimal System…..

August 21, 2009

One of my blog friends uses that title for when anyone hovers over my name on her blog roll listing. 
Sadly, I was without a title for this post and that seemed as good as any.

I know I’m not posting enough to get very many comments, but I am getting lots of Spam. 
One of my Spam offerings was from someone name John asking me to change his password. 
Sorry John, no can do. 

I would like to be sharing with you my next great bulletin board idea.
Instead I am in what some of us call “Registration Hell.” 
I am cross eyed from checking student accounts to make sure the “little darlings” don’t have any book fines or charges. 

I am amazed, daily at the number students who show up to register and are owing $280.00 – $400.00 in books. 
If taxpayers behind the Orange Curtain knew how much of their tax dollars were lost annually on missing textbooks…there’d be Tea Parties over that too. 

I know, I should lower my expectations for student behavior…I’d be much happier.  I just can’t seem to manage that.  My five year old was expected to act like he was 21….why can’t teenagers act like my son when he was 5? 
Here’s a typical example of the dialogue during registration.  Keep in mind the students had 2 months to return their late books. 

HotLibraryTech:  “Dick/Jane, you owe text books/library books.  Where are they?” 

Dick/Jane:  “They’re at home.” 

HotLibraryTech:  “Why didn’t you bring them?” 

Dick/Jane:  “I don’t know.” 

HotLibraryTech:  “You are going to go home and get them, I’ll be waiting.” 

Dick/Jane:  “Right now?” 

HotLibraryTech:  “Yes, right now.” 

Dick/Jane:  “But I have to walk/Can’t I bring them on the first day of school/It’s hot outside/my friend owes a book too”….(be sure to imagine this scene with the student, whinning.)

HotLibraryTech:  “Good exercise/No you can’t/You should have worn sunscreen/Good, your friend can stop at their house and get their book before you come back.”

When the student(s) would arrive back at registration with the missing book, my favorite line to say was “Ohh look, the book(s) are back!  Did they have a nice summer?” 
The student would sheepishly reply, “Yes.”   

I was watching some Catherine Tate videos on Youtube the other day and this one was so appropriate for nearing the first day of school.  Enjoy…or be thankful. 


Back To School: Bulletin Boards

August 10, 2009


You should know, that I started my blog for purely selfish reasons.  I had applied to be a presenter at a MAJOR librarian gathering.  I won’t give you the acronym…but let’s just say it’s really BIG.  Something similar to “March of The Librarians” on You tube. 
The seminar was to be on Bulletin Boards. 
Now you might say “ho-hum” but with budget cuts, students making out in the Fiction section and the occasional computer server crash…it’s nice to have some fun!  I LOVE putting together bulletin boards and sharing my ideas.  Unfortunately, there was not room for a Bulletin Board seminar this time around.  Perhaps in two years.  In the mean time, a blog seemed to be the perfect medium to present my ideas. 
I might reach many more fellow Hot library technicians this way.
First, look around your library. 
Do you have bulletin boards?  I hope you do.  I have 4 bulletin boards and LOTS of wall space. 
You can present information in an exciting ways and break the ice with students who might just trudge in, do their homework and leave with an eye catching BB. 
You don’t have any BB’s?  
Try requesting one.  Was that laughter I heard?  I can relate. 
You can also use a white board/chalk board or use your wall space.  Be careful of putting tape on your chalk boards.  In a later post I will talk about what I’ve done with all my wall space.  Or rather who I share my wall space with. 
Look at the bulletin board as a blank canvas hanging on your library wall…isn’t it inspiring? 
No?  Well, then that’s what I’m here for. 
Do any of you scrapbook?  Look at it as a giant scrapbook page if that will make it easier for your creative impulses to begin to flow. 
I will be posting bulletin board ideas each month.  At least two ideas, sometimes more.  I like to change BB’s frequently.  Believe it or not, I have seen some pretty uninspired bulletin boards  in my day (sorry) and I don’t mind being copied.  I don’t mind sharing creative things. Feel free to abscond with my ideas. If you give me some credit, great!  Muchas gracias. 

As a side note, I feel differently about sharing research and major projects….
So, it’s nearly time to get back to school.  That means it’s time to dust off the cobwebs and get creative….I mean you should get rid of the cobwebs, don’t just dust them. 

Welcome Back bulletin boards are always nice and fun to do. 
I found some fresh, new borders and posters at Michael’s Crafts.  They have the teacher section set up in July/August.  (It’s not called the HotLibraryTechnician section, but I forgive them.)

It’s nice to have one board that the students can refer to, for classroom/library rules, school information, dress code and attendance policies.  
A cute idea for the classroom or library is “What did you READ this summer?” 
The word READ can be cut out of bright colors.  Use a larger font to grab the student’s attention; utiylze your school district’s die cut machine ( if they have one) for a multitude of ideas. 

For a beach motif, I start with light blue paper as the background.  Free hand draw a sun, ocean waves, sand, star fish and sand pails.  Use die cuts if you have them available.  If you have a Cricut, or Cricut Expressions machine, you can have it do all the work.  If you aren’t an artist, (I know one HotLibraryTech who is) look on Google for outline images of of what you want to copy.  Even if you find one that is small, you can blow it up on the copier.  Then, I tuck color copies of  the book jackets, coming out of each sand pail tucked in the sand at the bottom of the board. 
Here are some examples for you:  These all can be found on Google. 

EMB_BeachThings_Emb1206576661733697671rygle_Sun_Outline_svg_med0439502918_bw668_xlgHere’s one of my favorite hints:  You can download book covers from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders or Novelist. 

I like getting book cover images straight from Google.  Beware of school site fire walls though.  You may have to do research at home and print them out, especially if you don’t have a color printer at school.  I am often able to find cover jackets of books not yet  released.  My students are excited to see the titles that will be released in the fall.  They know that Mrs. Hot will purchase these for the library. 

Sometimes for ideas, I check the Highsmith catalog; they have posters and inspirational themes. 
The UPstart catalog is great.  We have ordered so many cute things from them, and I have gotten great ideas for BB’s.  (More about those later.)
Their products are geared more toward elementary school boards, but there’s no reason that Kinder’s -6th graders should have all the fun.   
Check out the ALA Graphics catalog when it comes in the mail. 
The one I saved has Ewan (“You have done well my young Jedi”) Mc Gregor in it.  He is pretty darn cute and the teen age girls think so too.  Of course, there is the Twilight READ poster. 
Don’t even get me started on Twilight yet; there will be many BB and counter ideas for Twilight. 
Remember New Moon comes out Novemember 20, 2009…as if we could forget. 
Do you order books from MACKIN?  We do, when we have funding.  They used to include a READ poster in every catalog, I’m waiting for my copy of Fall/Winter 2009/2010.  I laminate the Mackin READ posters and switch them throughout the year to brighten up a dull corner. 
This should give you enough to start those ideas flowing.  If you’ve gotten some inspiration from this post, please comment. 
Coming soon:  September Board ideas!

March of the Librarians

August 7, 2009

One of my all time favorite videos is entitled “March of the Librarians”. 
It’s similar to March of the Penguins….only much more colorful. 
This video was made two years ago, but it is still as delightful as it was then. 
Besides, it was filmed in my favorite city/library.
The best line of the video…..”and possibly to mate”. 
Watch it for yourself.