Spring has sprung so ISTE 2016 is right around the corner!  But before we make the trip to Colorado, we must finish the 2015-2016 school year.  This is the time of year when standardized testing is rampant and schedules often change.  If your library is utilized during testing, think about alternate ways to connect with your students and offer services to them.  Visit classrooms with a cart full of books or even a cart full of makerspace activities!  Much of our testing is online so I’m constantly looking for ways to offer breaks to students without more screen time.  Many libraries are adding coloring to their list of relaxing and de-stressing activities.  With the many printable patterns available online, this is a low cost/no tech activity.  Take it to the next level by converting a library table into an actual coloring table with white board paint or white bulletin board paper if you prefer something less permanent.  

I am so excited to connect, learn, and enjoy our time together in Denver, Colorado.  We’re hard at work planning our ISTE Librarians Network events and can’t wait to see many of you there.

As you register and make plans for the conference, be sure and check out our highlighted ISTE Librarian PLN picks.  To see that list, though, go to the program search, click the More button on the right, click PLN Picks, then select Librarians Network.  We could only choose 20 so there are numerous other remarkable sessions and presenters.  It’s not too early to begin making a plan of sessions (and back up sessions) to attend.

I want to congratulate our ISTE Librarians Network award winners.  We had many amazing applicants with innovative, inspiring ideas and programs.  Jenny Lussier, the Library Media Specialist at Brewster and John Lyman Elementary Schools in Durham & Middlefield, CT is our Primary Award winner.  Jenn Hanson, the Director of Library Services at Worcester Academy is our Secondary Award winner.  We will be talking with both of them in May in a ISTE LIB webinar feature.  I know you’ll be inspired!  

I hope each of you finishes your school year strong. Be sure and follow our conversations and shares on Twitter not only via @ISTELIB but also with the hashtag #ISTELib.  Happy May to you.

Sherry Gick

President, ISTE Librarians Network

Library Centerscenters 5th.jpg

Anastasia Hanneken

School Library Media Specialist

School Lane Charter School

Bensalem, PA

Last year while looking for ideas for the library on Pinterest, I stumbled upon a new term - Library Centers.  As I researched further, I found that teacher-librarian Cari Young had written a book,  The Centered School Library, to help librarians get started with creating their own library centers.  I ordered the book right away, and read through Cari’s wonderful ideas in less than an hour.  I also discovered that Cari keeps a blog http://librarylearners.com/ with monthly updates.  Her blog has proven to be both informative and practical.  After looking through the extensive research on this topic, I pitched the idea to my Administration team and they were very supportive in beginning this for the next school year.

Over the summer I spent countless hours bookmarking ideas on Pinterest, Cari’s blog, Teachers Pay Teachers, and various other websites.  Prior to that summer I attended many workshops at the PSLA (Pennsylvania School Librarians Association) annual conference.  Most of the workshops focused on Centers or Makerspaces.  One workshop in particular, presented by Collette J. on Makerspaces/Library Centers gave me a lot of inspiration.  Collette uses booklets with her students and stamps these booklets, as students progress through the centers.  Her centers are broken into modules: 1. Digital Citizenship 2. Reading Promotion 3. Creation and Technology 4.  Research Skills.  As students work through a certain amount of centers, they earn a badge for completing a certain module.

As the school year drew closer, I developed a plan for incorporating these centers.  I decided that K-2 would be able to work on centers without booklets.  On a typical day, my K-2 students enter the library and sit in the story area.  After reading 1-2 picture books aloud,, students are given time to borrow books.  This was a perfect time to incorporate the centers.  Some of the centers I have included are:

  • Building (Legos, K’nex)
  • Drawing
  • Matching Games
  • Technology programs (electronic books, educational websites)
  • Bookmark making
  • Book Reviews
  • Puzzles

My 3rd - 5th grades borrow books on alternate weeks.  This is mostly because they only come to library for about 25 minutes.  On the weeks that they do not borrow books, they have instruction.  It was decided that this year in lieu of a formal instruction, students would work on individual centers.  Students were all given a center booklet to keep track of their progress.  As students enter the library, they check the library Smartboard for their biweekly center assignment.  Some librarians who have tried incorporating centers do not assign students to centers, but instead let them choose.  I felt this would take too much time out of class and create chaos.  As students find their centers, each area has a direction page which they must read prior to starting.  My role has become more of a facilitator.  I spend my time walking around and checking on students’ progress.  During this time, I also stamp students’ booklets and award sticker badges as students complete individual modules. They are working on completing 4 modules: Digital Citizenship (requires 1 center), Reading Promotion (requires 4 centers of this kind), Creation and Technology (requires 4 centers of this kind) , and Research skills (requires 4 centers of this kind)  Some of the activities I have included for their centers include:IMG_2052.JPG

  • Digital Citizenship
  • Watching several videos on tablets about being a good digital citizen and writing one thing they learned in Padlet.
  • Reading Promotion
  • Learning to use the online catalog (Destiny Quest)
  • Completing a library scavenger hunt
  • Creation and Technology
  • Coding with Tynker.com
  • Building an electrical circuit with Snap Circuits
  • Research Skills
  • Searching using the World Almanac for Kids
  • Writing a bibliography for both print and digital items


        Adding centers to my curriculum has proven to be an amazing change.  My students have enjoyed the hands-on environment and are no longer bored when they come to library.  They are highly engaged and look forward to their next library center time.  The centers have provided students with 21st century information literacy skills, a necessary tool for their future.


Cari, Y. (2011). The Centered School Library. Madison, WI: Upstart Books.

J., C. (n.d.). A Wrinkle in Tech. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from A Wrinkle in Tech: https://awrinkleintech.wordpress.com/

Young, C. (n.d.). Library Learners. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from Library Learners: http://librarylearners.com/

After School S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) ClubIMG_2068.JPG

Lisa Hillenburg

Teacher Librarian

Willard East Elementary

Willard, MO

Our K-4 elementary library has undergone many changes this year both with function and appearance.  But the mindset behind the use of the library has been the most impressive change. After school clubs are being offered for book clubs, Lego clubs and foreign language clubs. Students can’t wait to get into the library.  The newest and most popular club offered is our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) club.

We used our school social media accounts to advertise the club and an online ticketing platform for family sign up.  The 20 coveted openings filled in less than 20 minutes for the first session and less than 2 minutes for the second. “It’s easier to get tickets to an Adele concert” joked a parent. Club members were girls and boys from Kindergarten to fourth grade. Facilitators created five teams that included a mix of gender and ages. These teams worked together throughout the session to accomplish a variety of STEM challenges.  IMG_2063.JPG

Challenges were based on the following themes: construction (marshmallows and toothpicks), stop motion movie making (Lego bricks and Lego Movie Maker app), astronomy (making a nebula), construction (newspaper chairs), physics (building a catapult), physics (egg drop), chemistry (outdoor water exploration with chemical reactions), engineering (Solo cup building, craft stick building), physics (magnetism) and robotics (wigglebots and wobblebots).

Teams worked together to complete the task and meet the challenge.  Some challenges included specific introductions, examples and step by step directions (building the wigglebots and wobblebots) while other challenges were more vague only offering the materials and the goal (creating the tallest tower with marshmallows and toothpicks). Team members were encouraged to take into consideration their individual strengths and use their skills such as leadership and creativity to strengthen their group.  There were no prizes for the “best”.  Instead, teams gained inspiration from the success of their peers and made modifications.

Enriching the program, guest speakers from the astronomy department of Missouri State University not only spoke with the STEM club members but also and stayed late for our first ever astronomy night. Professors brought telescopes and sky maps to share with the entire school community. Additional activities included a “Power On” electrical safety presentation from the regional electric cooperative and a walking field trip to a local business where they demonstrated their use of 3D printers and casting equipment. Each session also allowed for some team building activities, tech gadget fun with the “Sphero” and “Osmo”, and a lot of controlled fun chaos!Centers 1st grade.jpg

STEM club has been the talk of the school.  Students are sharing what they are learning with classmates and taking their experiences home to experiment even more. A third grade club member’s parent shared, “I was super impressed when my 8-year-old told me about the formation of a nebula! We still have her “artistic rendering” of it on display.”

Each session lasted 6 weeks with students meeting one day a week after school. Three adult sponsors facilitated the group including a first grade teacher, a paraprofessional and the librarian. First grade teacher, Robin Kramer stated, “My students look forward to doing STEM projects and I love incorporating them into my curriculum.  I hope that I can give students new experiences and learning opportunities, while stretching their minds to work in new ways.”   The success and popularity of our after school STEM clubs have prompted us to consider opening more opportunities for science, technology, engineering and math in the library. Summer STEM as well as Family STEM nights are already in the planning stages for the next school year.

ISTE Librarians Network Leadership


Sherry Gick

Library & Instructional Technology Specialist

Rossville Consolidated Schools

Rossville, IN

President Elect

Jonathan Werner

Library and Instructional Technology Specialist

Cape Elizabeth Middle School and High School Library and Learning Commons

Cape Elizabeth, ME

Communications Chair

Kathy Schmidt


Harbins Elementary

Dacula, GA

Past President

Donna Macdonald

Library Media/Technology Specialist

Orchard School

South Burlington, VT

Professional Development Co-Chair

Okle Miller

School Librarian

John B. Gorrie Elementary School

Tampa, FL

Professional Development Co-Chair

Elissa Malespina

Supervisor of Technology

South Orange, NJ

Newsletter Editor

Jacqueline Liesch

Library Media Technology Specialist

Madison Metropolitan School District

Madison, WI

Newsletter Committee

Shelley Friesen

Elaine Lawrence

Jacqueline Liesch

Larnette Snow

Mary Carole Strother

Email: istelibrarians@gmail.com

The Scanner is the newsletter of ISTE's Librarians Network, a group of school, public, and academic librarians working to promote the use of instructional technologies to enhance student learning. This newsletter will feature Librarians Network business items, professional development news, member article submissions, personal success stories, and links to great resources. We will be publishing 3 newsletters this year.

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Proposals for feature and short articles should be 100 words or less and submitted through a Google Form.