12 Days of Technology begins 12/3!

The 12 Days of Technology is something I started with my staff last year. It introduces them to technology that they may consider implementing into their classroom. I also include some kind of activity/holiday trivia for staff members to participate in that increases their chances to win “bookish” holiday crafts made by the Tompkins Library Staff.

Here’s how it works:
1. Click on a different tag each day and read about the highlighted technology.
2. Follow the directions at the bottom of each daily slide to enter the drawing for your chance to win a “bookish” holiday craft!
3. Winners will be announced on Friday, December 18th!

Bring on the 12 Days of Technology!!

Book Fair is coming to Tompkins!

Book Fair!

The library is teaming up with Katy Budget Books to give students and faculty an opportunity to purchase the perfect gifts for friends and family this holiday season…books!

Stop by 12/1 from noon – 3:00pm or 12/2 from 7:00am – 3:00pm in the library. See a complete list of titles that will be available at the book fair HERE! There will also be other great gift ideas, so mark your calendars and don’t miss this annual event!


And the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature goes to…

Neal Shusterman for his book, Challenger Deep!

national book award

Image courtesy of Neal Shusterman’s instagram.

I was one of those eager to know people that listened to the live feed of the National Book Awards on Wednesday, November 8th. While the rest of my family was watching TV, my eyes were glued to my computer screen waiting for the announcement on the Young People’s Literature winner.

I read Challenger Deep in April after I waited in line to have it signed by both Neal Shusterman and his son Brendan. I’m a huge fan of Neal anyway, but when I heard him announce at an author visit at Seven Lakes JH in October 2014 that the book was coming, I knew I had to read it. The book takes an honest look at mental illness and the challenges it presents to those with it and their families. Neal was inspired to write the book from his son, Brendan’s, experience with mental illness. You can read my review from April 2015 HERE.


Getting “Challenger Deep” signed by Neal and Brendan Shusterman!

I’m so thrilled that this book is receiving the attention is deserves! Congratulations to Neal Shusterman and his son, Brendan!

Watch Neal’s acceptance speech!

Saving Gale articles to Google Drive!


Organizing research articles can be challenging. Printing articles or saving them in various locations gets confusing for students and are often lost or forgotten. To make research easier, Gale has teamed with Google to allow students to save Gale database articles straight to their Google Drive…including the citation information! *happy dance*

Our dual credit English class learned about this new tool last week and was very excited about how easy it was to use. I’ve never seen so much excitement about research before! 🙂

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign into Google within a Gale database.
  2. Find an interesting article.
  3. Highlight important information or add notes.
  4. Select download from the tools menu and save to Google Drive.
  5. You will find your document in your Google Drive under the folder of the database you were using.
  6. Now you can edit the document, share it with others, and take advantage of all Google Drive features!

Gale to Google Drive Tip Sheet

“Finding Joy” in author visits!

joy-PrebleI absolutely love author visits! They are so engaging and provide students an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with published authors.

Author Joy Preble visited Tompkins HS on Thursday, November 12th and spoke about her writer’s journey and her latest novel, Finding Paris. The students really enjoyed hearing about her experiences as a writer and asked very thoughtful questions. We have some serious writers in our school that are trying to learn as much as they can about the writing world. They inspire me!

One of my favorite quotes that Joy Preble told the students was, “No one can tell your story except you.” As young writers, students hesitate to write because they don’t know what to write about or feel their story is not original. She stressed to the students that their story is unique.


We ended the author visit with a drawing for some free signed books and Starbuck’s gift cards. Finding Paris is about a road trip (among other things) – and no road trip is complete with a stop at Starbucks. 🙂


Be on the lookout for Joy’s next book, It Wasn’t Always Like This, coming out in 2016! It’s about a girl, a boy, a fountain of youth, and what happens when you’re stuck at 17. Definitely adding it to my 2016 MUST READ list!

Teen Read Week – in review

TRW_logo_Teen Read Week was a success! The library checked out over 230 books to students throughout the week and held lots of fun activities.

The library displayed the Teens’ Top Ten finalists books and encouraged students to vote for their favorite books during the week. The votes were tallied and the winners are…

  1. The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic)
  2.  I Become Shadow by Joe Shine. (Soho Teen)
  3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. (Simon & Schuster)
  4. My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak. (Sourcebooks)
  5. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. (Bloomsbury)
  6. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
  7. The Young Elites by Marie Lu. (Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  8. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. (Macmillan/ Henry Holt & Company)
  9. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. (Simon & Schuster)
  10. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. (Hachette/Poppy)

View a list of the winners with annotations here. (PDF)


We gave away lots of great prizes with our Library Trivia and “If YA Characters Were on Twitter” contests.



We also celebrated our Top 25 patrons with a donut party in the library before school. The students loved this! We even had one student come in a day early in anticipation! hahaha!


Thank you, Falcons, for helping us celebrate reading for fun all week!

Weekend Reading

There has been a lot of buzz around Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely‘s new book, All American Boys. It’s a story about two teenage boys – one black, one white – and the realization that racism and prejudice are still prevalent in our country. It’s a story about stereotypes and police brutality. And it’s a story about the strength of these boys and the risks they take to make the world a better place.

I’m only about 75 pages into the book, but I can already feel the importance of the story being told. This is a timely book and will provide many opportunities for meaningful conversations.

Check out this audiobook excerpt!

Teen Read Week – Read for the fun of it!



The Tompkins Library will celebrate Teen Read Week (October 18-24, 2015) with special events at encouraging teens to read for the fun of it.

Teen Read Week is a time to celebrate reading for fun while encouraging teens to take advantage of reading in all its forms —books, magazines, e-books, audiobooks and more! It is also a great opportunity to encourage teens to become regular library users.

Strong reading skills are more critical than ever because they translate into better performance at school and better preparedness for careers. This is why it is important to take advantage of Teen Read Week and show teens that reading is a fun and relaxing activity they can do for free.

The Tompkins Library invites teens to participate in several special events during Teen Read Week.


Teen Read Week is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. It is held annually during the third week of October. For more information, visit www.ala.org/teenread.