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SLS NEWSLETTER March 2016: Welcome


Contact Information


131 N. Midland Avenue, Nyack, New York   10960     (845) 348-3500 ext. 3596   fax  348-3559

Spring is on our doorstep.  Thoughts turn to gardening and Spring cleaning.  It's the perfect time to weed you library collection.  Why not host a Garden Party in your library and turn a chore into an event?  Here's how.  Invite faculty members, administration and in the upper grades, students (yes, high school students are capable) to assist in weeding the shelves.  It's also a good way to build a sense of ownership and pride in the library.  Send out snappy invitations and lure in your volunteers with the promise of brownies or other baked goodies.  Volunteers with a subject specialty can be assigned to the Dewey areas that match their expertise (Science teachers, Science;  Global teachers, History etc.)  Provide them with parameters such as age of material (be sure to define what you consider too old, and review the location of the copyright date), condition or appearance.  Ask them to place items for your review on a book truck.   In keeping with the Garden Party theme, thank your volunteers with an easy to grow seedling or packet of seeds (marigolds are nearly foolproof).  Have a fun day!

A Message about the Open eBooks Initiative

DP.LA and Open e-books

Press release from DP.LA February 24, 2016

"Open eBooks, a new initiative and e-reader app that will make thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free, is launching today.  First Lady Michelle Obama is releasing a video today (see above) raising awareness of the new opportunity for children.  The initiative is designed to address the challenge of providing digital reading materials to children living in low-income households, and offers unprecedented access to quality digital content, including a catalog of eBooks valued at more than $250 million.

A coalition of literacy, library, publishing and technology partners joined together to make the Open eBooks program possible.  The initiative's partners --Digital Public Library of America (Dp.LA), First Book, and the New York Public Library (NYPL), with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor -- created the app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use.  They received financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and content contributions from major publishers.  National Geographic announced today that they will provide all of their age-appropriate content to the app, joining publishers Bloomsbury, Candlewick, Cricket Media, Hachette, HarperCollins, Lee & Low, MacMillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster, who made commitments providing thousands of popular and award winning titles last year."

News for School Library System Members

Communications coordinators are district representatives who assist with SLS planning and keep member librarians informed of school library system initiatives.  They meet 4 times per year.  All system members are welcome to attend the meetings.  The communications coordinators are:  Clarkstown-Susan Raul, East Ramapo-Emily Hernandez, Nanuet-Dana DeVita, North Rockland-Cynthia Zambri, Nyack-Carolyn Travers, Pearl River-Pamela Simboli, Ramapo-Dominick Martiniello, South Orangetown-Lois Parker-Hennion and Albertus Magnus-Doreen McAvoy.  Do not hesitate to contact your communications coordinators if you have information or a great idea to share with other members of the system.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Rockland BOCES School Library System is to serve the school libraries by supporting all library related services.  The school library system fosters the professional growth of county librarians and facilitates progress of staff and students towards achieving the educational goals defined by New York State.

Professional Development


Maker Spaces that Don't Bust Your Budget, March 11, 2016

OPALS Users Group Meeting, March 11, 2016

Using Infographics in Library Instruction, March 11, 2016

Fall Into Books 18th Annual Children's and Teen Literature Conference,  October 2016

ESIFC (Empire State Information Fluency Continuum) Moodle  (Developed by the Rockland and Ulster School Library Systems, multiple strands each offering 6 contact hours.  If interested contact the system office.)



Fall Into Books 2016

Celebrating its 18th year, the annual Fall Into Books Conference is tentatively set to take place on October  28, 2016.  Location will be confirmed shortly.  Be sure to register early if you plan to attend, and read your assigned books!  Registration materials will be available in May.  Our author speaker has been confirmed.  She is Thanhha Lai.  Read about Thanhha below and then enjoy listening to her read from one of her books.

Fall into Books 2016 Keynote Author:Thanhha Lai

The Inside Story: Thanhha Lai

It took Thanhha Lai 15 years to write her first novel, but it was well worth the wait.

Thanhha Lai was eating chocolate cake at Cipriani Wall Street in New York, nearly 9,000 miles from her birthplace. It was the evening of November 16, and she was about to be astonished.

“I thought surely I possess enough social grace to chew and clap simultaneously, so why not eat?” says the 46-year-old author, who never imagined that her debut novel would actually win one of our nation’s most prestigious literary prizes. But that was before author-historian Marc Aronson stood behind a lectern in the restaurant’s grand ballroom to announce the winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and began ticking off the list of nominees.


Professional Development Survey

Please use the link below to share your ideas for professional development workshops in 2016-2017.  Thank you.

Professional Development

System members will have many exciting opportunities for professional development in the coming months.  On March 11, 2016, library media specialists will be among the groups participating in a Countywide day of professional development.  Librarians will meet at Nyack Middle School for three workshops which will be offered in the morning and repeated in the afternoon, thus providing an opportunity to attend two exciting workshops.

OPALS Users Group:  Latest Software Enhancements  8:30-11:15 

OPALS has introduced many software enhancements in recent months.  During this session librarians and support staff from libraries using the OPALS software will have the opportunity to learn more about these enhancements and using them to their greatest advantage to support student learning.  Prior to this event, all OPALS sites will be solicited for any special areas of concern to be addressed by the presenters.  This session will be offered in the morning only.

 This is not a hands-on session, however,  participants are welcome and encouraged to bring their own devices.


Maker Spaces that Don't Bust Your Budget  8:30-11:15 and 12:15-3:00

There is a push to create maker spaces and introduce STEM programs into our schools and school libraries, but this does not have to be a big ticket item.  There are plenty of free and low cost resources available to include coding, robotics, computer science and digital literacy in your library.  During this hands-on session, cybrarian Pam McCluskey will share her experience in this area and introduce participants to some possibilities to bring maker spaces into their libraries.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own devices.

Register for all workshops on My Learning Plan.

Using Infographics in Library Instruction 8:30-11:15 and 12:15-3:00

Infographics convey information in easy to understand visual formats.  Maximize the impact of the data you collect about your library program by making it visually compelling and easy to grasp.  And when students create images to support their research, they learn to assess data and make choices about how best to present an argument.  In this hands-on workshop, participants will  look at what infographics are, tips on presenting data and review a range of infographic tools such as, Piktochart and more.  Participants will have time to explore several tools of their choosing during the hands-on work time.

Thank You

The School Library System would like to thank the Nyack School District, especially  Dr. James Montesano, Superintendent, Dr. Winsome Gregory, Asst. Superintendent, Mr. David Johnson, Principal-Nyack Middle School, Ms. Nora Quinn, Nyack Middle School Librarian-Teacher and Mrs. Rose Conetta, Nyack MS Library Assistant for their hospitality and assistance in hosting the County librarians on Superintendent's Conference Day,  March 11, 2016.

Plan of Service/Resource Sharing


Kamishibai is a storytelling method that originated in Japan.  It utilizes a small stage and storytelling cards.  Kamishibai is an engaging and excellent tool to meet State literacy standards such as "listening and reading for literary response"  and "speaking and writing (oral and print literacy)".  In addition, it addresses visual literacy.  To learn more about Kamishibai, The Kamishibai Classroom; Engaging Multiple Literacies Through the Art of "Paper Theater" by Tara McGowan is available for interlibrary loan from the School Library System.   Kamishibai for Kids is an excellent website with information and resources.  The creative librarian will also find uses for Kamishibai on the middle and high school levels.  Encourage students to use Kamishibai to write, illustrate and present a story.  You will be able to tie in creative writing, art and public performance standards.

The School Library System has a Kamishibai stage and many story card sets available for loan to member libraries.

See the video below for one teacher's use of Kamishibai.

Classroom Resources from the SLS

The school library system has a collection of Science Screen Reports and Science Screen Reports for Kids available for loan.  These are cataloged and included in the union catalog.  There is also a print catalog available.  Formats available include video, DVD and streaming video.

System members have access to the SLS Follett Shelf.  All EngageNY titles that were available in ebook format are included on the Follett Shelf.   TeachingBooks is another resource that has been purchased for member libraries.  Please be sure to include this resource on your library webpage and market it to your teachers.  Exploring Nature will be available in March to all elementary and middle schools.  The subscription, paid by the school library system, runs March 2016 through June 2017.  Passwords will be made available to the libraries included in this subscription.  All the above resources are available to students and teachers from school and home.  Be sure to market them in your school community and provide links from the library webpage.

Looking for professional development material?  The system office has a small collection of professional development materials.  All are included in the union catalog.   Please call if you are looking for something special.

"Ganondagan's House of Peace, a Teaching Guide for Seneca Nation and Iroquois Confederacy History" is also available for loan.

Union Catalog

The Rockland SLS union catalog has over 500,000 titles and over 1,000,000 holdings.  It is an excellent resource for that hard to find book, or temporary collection for a class project.  The union catalog is located at  The union catalog also shows the shelf status of materials held by OPALS buildings.  Know what is on the shelf at an OPALS library across the County from the comfort of your desk.  The OPALS districts are Clarkstown, Nanuet, East Ramapo, Nyack and South Orangetown along with Albertus Magnus HS, and St. Paul's ES.  Search, locate and request an interlibrary loan easily.  The union catalog automatically routes ILL requests.  Please be kind and respond to ILL requests even if you are unable to supply the item.  The supplying library should call or e-mail the SLS office to arrange courier pick-up and delivery of the ILL item.  

The union catalog also serves as a resource for librarians.   It tracks and displays links to articles on "Useful Tools for the Library Media Specialist", "The Common Core and School Librarians" and "Marketing the School Library Media Center".  It also provides a link to Education Week.

The school library system union catalog and all OPALS catalogs in Rockland County are now fully synched!  What does this mean for OPALS libraries?  Each time you add or delete material from your catalog, the union catalog is automatically updated.  OPALS libraries no longer need to post deletions to the union catalog or send MARC records for additions.    Non OPALS libraries must continue to post deletions to the union catalog and MARC records for new additions should be sent as an e-mail attachment to the SLS office. 

Interlibrary Loan

Easy as...



Click the title


Click the ILL Request button in the Record Information page

Select the libraries from which to request the loan

Send the request

Questions?  Call:  Rockland BOCES, School Library System,          

(845) 348-3500 ext. 3596


DP.LA, the Digital Public Library of America is a library.  It's public, and it's free.  All materials are in digital format.  The latest feature added to the site is theme sets for the K-12 school.   If you haven't visited DP.LA recently, why not try it today. Go to the main webpage of DP.LA.  Click on "Education" at the top of the page and then select "Primary Source Sets".   It is another great, free resource for students and teachers that is available from school or home,

Focus on Member Libraries

The LEGO Wall

Focus on...Chestnut Ridge Middle School

Chestnut Ridge Middle School Library is a hub of activity both academic and extra curricular.  Students can select from a knitting club, "Let's Move" club, cardmaking and a super heroes club.  Some clubs meet during lunch recess.  Once a week, the movie club meets after school.  Retired teachers work with students in the knitting club providing an opportunity to learn a new skill and chat.  The school nurse moderates the "Let's Move" club.  In addition, there is a related after school activity once a month where students learn yoga, nutrition and how to read food labels.  A master scrap booker volunteers time each week to help students prepare special event cards.  The Super Heroes Club meets after school.  Students watch a movie featuring a Super Hero, then read graphic novel adventures of the Super Hero.  This is a popular club with students who are reluctant readers and ELL.  Students have the opportunity to express their creativity and relax while working on the LEGO wall.  Indeed, Chestnut Ridge MS Library is helping students to become lifelong learners.

Thank you


Thank you for taking the time to read our system newsletter.  Please share your thoughts using this link: