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  • 6 Jun 2022 7:02 AM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    The OELMA Board of Directors at its May meeting, approved the renaming of the OELMA Collaborative School Library Award to the OELMA/Ross J. Todd Collaborative School Library Award in memory of Dr. Ross J. Todd.  Todd, at the time of his death, was an  Associate Professor of Library and Information Science (LIS) at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University (N.J.).  He was a world-renowned expert on adolescent information seeking and use, inquiry learning in digital information environments, and the transformative role of school libraries in the 21st century.

    For those of us in Ohio, Professor Todd held a special place. As OELMA Past President Gayle Geitgey shared in a recent email He always held OELMA and Ohio school libraries near and dear.”  Todd and Carol Kuhlthau founded the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) at Rutgers.  CISSL researchers conducted three large studies in Delaware, Ohio, and New Jersey. “Student Learning through Ohio School Libraries” was the largest qualitative study of school libraries.  SLJ called it “the first comprehensive study based on students’ evaluation of their media centers.” In 2003 and 2004, Todd and his co-author, SC&I Distinguished Professor Emerita Carol Kuhlthau, received a “Certificate of Appreciation for Notable Service and Significant Service to Ohio’s School Libraries” from OELMA for their leading-edge study.  The article written by Ross and Kuhlthau was titled “13,000 Students of Ohio Tell Their Story” ‘Yeah, the School Library Rocks.”

    Beyond the ground-breaking study, I remember the evidence-based practice workshops he conducted with Ohio school librarians. Todd and co-facilitators Gayle Geitgey and Ann Tepe helped those of us who attended the workshops to understand the significance of collecting data as evidence of our daily practice and how it affected our students and us as information specialists.  I left those workshops feeling rejuvenated and eager to practice what we had learned.

    During his lifetime, Todd “was deeply committed to information literacy and inquiry-based learning, application of evidence-based practice to the profession of school librarianship, and the promotion of research in the school library field. He wrote that his research had three interrelated foci: understanding how children learn and build new knowledge from information, information utilization for learning, and evidence-based practice for school libraries.”

    The Collaborate School Library Award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school library media specialists and the school community through joint planning of a program, project, or event in support of the curriculum, using school library resources and incorporating the Ohio Library Guidelines for Librarians (2021).  Helping students learn and build new knowledge from the information they acquire using school library resources in joint planning with another educator in the school community is a fitting way to celebrate Professor Todd and his life’s work.

    Gordon, Carol A. “A Tribute to Ross Todd’s Scholarship” personal communication

    Geitgey, Gayle “Ross Todd” personal communication

    In Memoriam:Ross J. Todd, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science”

    Kenney, Brian. “Ross to the Rescue.” School Library Journal. April 1, 2006.

  • 26 Apr 2022 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    AUTHOR // Rob Kaminski

    Librarian, Woodbury Elementary School

    Shaker Heights City Schools

    Shaker Heights, Ohio


    An Inquiry Station in my library is a place where students can investigate an item on display and respond to a quick challenge about it. The item or topic on display can be anything that your students would find engaging and about which they can make educated guesses.

    I chose to call it an Inquiry Station because Woodbury Elementary is an International Baccalaureate School and “inquiry” is a foundational aspect of the IB learning cycle. However, you could call it a “Discovery Spot” or whatever catchy name fits your school community.

    Here is an example of an Inquiry Station with a display of different bird skulls and a handout showing different types of food sources for birds. The challenge called for students to match which food source they thought would be consumed by which bird.

    Why Have An Inquiry Station?

    I want the library to be an inviting space for everyone, which means hosting activities that go beyond reading. An Inquiry Station gives students another reason to enjoy visiting the library and to have something fun (and subtly educational) to do when they are there.

    It also could reinforce learning units, skills, or themes in your school by creating Inquiry Station activities that align with learning initiatives in your building.

    How Do I Create an Inquiry Station?

    My best piece of advice is to use what you already have access to, you don’t have to buy anything to set up an inquiry station. Imagination is your best resource, there is no need to spend much time or energy to create one that students will love.

    The components are simple:

    • Signage to draw attention to the Inquiry Station

    • The object or activity to display

    • A posted challenge about the display

    • A way for students to respond to the challenge 

    I am fortunate to have access to dioramas from a lending library at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. These displays are visually engaging and easily allow for inquiry. The dioramas I’ve used have included animal skeletons, fossils, animals that use camouflage, etc. When I use these for Inquiry Stations, both students and staff are drawn to them right away. These have allowed for challenges such as: 

    • What animals use camouflage and what for? 

    • What animal does this skeleton belong to?

    • What are the impacts of invasive species on an ecosystem?

    You may find that you are able to borrow interesting items and artifacts from area museums, historical societies or science centers.

    You also can find Inquiry Station items almost everywhere. One day when I was delivering an old overhead projector to a teacher, a student in the hallway asked me if it was a 3D printer. I immediately realized that old technology would make great inquiry subjects. 

    I currently have a Walkman on display, but just imagine the guesses you could receive for some of that old equipment gathering dust in the back rooms!

    Obviously the subjects of your Inquiry Stations will vary with age, the examples I’m sharing are for the upper elementary students that I serve. Here are some more ideas to show that you really could use anything for an inquiry station:

    • Unique tools or kitchen gadgets: Students make up a name and guess what the object is used for

    • A computer with a Nature Cam playing: Students could provide notes or guesses about the animal’s habitat, behavior, etc

    • A piece of origami in progress: Students have to guess what the final piece will be

    • Display only a small portion of a picture of a common object: Students have to guess what the object is

    • A photo of a historical event: Students could guess the time period, place, or actions related to the picture

    • Displaying an image of a work of art: Students could guess on a variety of aspects of the art: what the theme is, what materials it’s composed of, what time period it was created

    Sometimes I like to pick a display where students can use books from the library to inform their guesses. If your students have devices, you could also guide them to your databases or other reliable websites to reinforce research strategies.

    I usually have students respond on paper, because my library schedule requires that they interact with the Inquiry Stations in between other tasks. However, if you were using it as a class activity, you could use QR codes, Google Forms, etc., for students to respond to the challenge.

    When Do Students Visit the Inquiry Station?

    My library works on a flexible schedule, so students can visit the Inquiry Station anytime they have permission to be in the library. If they are here with their class, they can interact with it when there is free time before the period ends.

    I usually put my station where students can complete it while they are waiting in line to check out books. You may want to do the opposite and place it somewhere else in the library to relieve congestion. 

    I know many elementary librarians on fixed schedules use stations that students rotate through during class, Inquiry Stations are a perfect fit for that.

    Depending on your school community, you of course may need to establish rules for when students can complete an Inquiry Station challenge (after checking out, after completing work, etc.).

    You know your students best and that’s what should drive what your inquiry stations are like and how they function as a part of your library.

    What Do Students Get for Using the Inquiry Station?

    It is up to you whether students simply experience the Inquiry Station or if you provide an award. Our District sometimes receives gift books from publishers, so I use these as rewards when available.  

    Most times I gather all the responses that showed any true effort (whether the answer is correct or not) and randomly pick a few winners from those responses. 

    Other ideas for Inquiry Station rewards could include: special bookmarks, passes for special library access (lunch in the library, Makerspace), names read on announcements, pictures of winners posted in the library, etc. 

    Just like with Inquiry Station ideas, if you wish to provide an award, I recommend imagination over spending money.

    I also email teachers and administrators when students win so they are further encouraged and this also helps to make teachers and administrators aware that these activities are going on in the library.

    If you think an Inquiry Station might be a good fit in your library, have fun with it and start small, it will evolve over time. 

    If you have any questions, you can reach me at


    Rob Kaminski

    Librarian, Woodbury Elementary School

    Shaker Heights City Schools

    Shaker Heights, Ohio

  • 20 Apr 2022 10:41 AM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    AUTHOR // Sarah Mowery

    Advocating for your library has never been more important. Through numbers you can share the value of your library, sending a powerful message to your audience. However, just sharing the numbers without context can be confusing. As Len Bryan (2020) states in Data Informed Library Advocacy from #AASL19, "library numbers and statistics are pretty meaningless to anyone else unless they are connected to your school and/or district priorities."


    Start your data journey by beginning with your school district's goals, beliefs, or commitments. Does your school district have a Continuous Improvement Plan? How does your library support the goals to increase student outcomes? 

    Look at these areas of your library to determine how they align with district's goals: 

    • New and continuing library programs

    • Collaboration

    • Technology

    • Budget

    In the eBook, Say It With Data: A Concise Guide to Making Your Case and Getting Results, Dando (2014) states that "positive, proactive communication through evidence-based advocacy is a necessity for successful library programs." 

    Types of Data and Where to Find It

    Sharing your library's story through numbers is important. Counting and keeping track of the day-to-day operations in your library is a great place to start. If you don't already, begin keeping track of the number of technology items that you manage, the number of students who use the library space, and how many times you helped a student find that just right book. This can be done with a notebook that you keep at the circulation desk, or you can make a digital form, such as Google Forms to keep track of library activities and usage.


    Circulation and Catalog Reports

    If you are automated through INFOhio's library services platform you should be receiving your library's usage data on the 1st of every month through your school email. These usage reports provide you with the number of check-ins and check-outs. Reporting the number of check-ins and check-outs is a simple number that not only tells the number of books that circulated through your library, but the number of library students and staff that used your library resources. If you are not receiving these reports, contact your INFOhio ITC provider to be added to these emails. Here is an example of a report on Circulation Transactions from September 2019. 


    In addition, review the reports in the Report Favorites section of the WorkFlows Handbook. In particular, focus on the Promote Library and Statistics sections reports such as: 


    Digital Resource Use Data

    INFOhio is able to share use data for ISearch (if your school is automated with INFOhio) and for many digital resources. Details about which resources are available can be found on the INFOhio Resource Use Data page. This page has been created and updated to make it easier to find each school district or building’s usage of digital resources. 



    Clicking on any of these digital resources will provide search fields pictured below. 


    Follow these steps to fill in the search fields appropriately:

    1. Choose a digital resource from the drop-down menu.

    2. Fill in the date range.

    3. Click Additional Selection Options and type your county name and choose your ITC.

    4. Click the Show button.

    5. Your school's usage data will be listed in the table below the search fields.

    Sharing Your Library by the Numbers

    As the AASL Toolkit for Promoting School Library Programs says, “When it comes to getting your message across, how you share information can be as important as what you say” (p. 25). Sharing your usage data can be completed in eye-catching, engaging ways in the form of infographics, visual reports, and promotion on social media.

    Once you have the statistics and data collected, spend some time reviewing and understanding your data. Put your data in an infographic to give your audience a clearer picture of your library numbers. Check out some of the free infographic creation tools like Canva,, and Piktochart.


    Then share with your administrators, school district, and community how the numbers tell a story about the impact of your library on the community of learners in your school district.

    Also, promote awareness by sharing on social media. The OELMA Communications team recently developed a fill-in-the-blank document that can be used to advocate for your library on social media. Similar to Mad Libs, those silly, laugh-out-loud, fill-in-the-blank word games, in this Library Libs version simply, fill in the blanks with your facts and figures and share these pre-created posts to your social media accounts with your administration and staff. Adding a picture or infographic will help draw attention to your post. 


    To learn more about library advocacy, take INFOhio’s Advocacy: Sharing the Value of Your School Library class in the School Library Basics Learning Pathway. After completing the course and submitting the final quiz, you can earn a certificate for 2 contact hours. 

    INFOhio, Ohio’s PreK-12 Digital Library, is here to support you. If you have questions or need help with advocacy, please contact us at 

  • 6 Apr 2022 7:21 AM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    By: Susan Yutzey

    Welcome to Week 4 of Award Season. 

    This week we celebrate the Grammys - sort of.

    As a school librarian, have you ever “Googled” movies that feature libraries or librarians?  Google returned over 13 million hits in .73 seconds. Dozens of movies such as The Music Man, ThePagemaster, The Breakfast Club, Beauty and the Beast, Clue, Party Girl, Storm Center to mention just a few appeared on my list. Some interesting articles such as “The Ten Best Librarians on Screen,” “5 Movies Featuring Reel Black Librarians in Major Roles,” appeared too. Many of these movies have soundtracks.  And so in honor of the Grammys I compiled a playlist entitled Librarian Mashup in Spotify to celebrate School Library Month and our fourth week of OELMA Award Season.

    This week we feature two awards:

    OELMA Leadership-in-Action Award

    The OELMA Leadership-in-Action Award recognizes an Ohio school library media specialist who pursues active leadership roles in their school district, in OELMA, and/or in national professional organizations (e.g. AASL, ALA). This Award honors OELMA members who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to leadership in the school library profession..  Multiple recipients may receive this award.

    OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award

    The OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award recognizes a licensed Ohio school library media specialist who has developed an exemplary school library program.  The school library media specialist must incorporate through their daily practice Ohio’s Library Guidelines for Librarians (2021) strands: equity, literacies, partnerships, and quality schools. The recipient also receives a $150 stipend from Follett School Solutions.

    In 2021, OELMA celebrated Kelly Silwani as the OELMA/Follett School Solutions Ooutstanding School Librarian and Rob Kaminski and Janie Kantner as the Leadership-in-Action Award recipients. The graphics this week feature the three award recipients and focus on what  receiving the awards meant to them: Acknowledgement, Dedication, Leaders, Mentors, Humbling, Keep Fighting the Good Fight, Hard Work, Credential, Empowering, Energizing, and Confidence.

    You may nominate yourself or a colleague.  The deadline to nominate is April 25.  Visit for more details or contact with questions.

  • 31 Mar 2022 8:55 PM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    So… you’ve decided it’s time to nominate yourself or a colleague for one of OELMA’s awards.

    What do you do next?

    Liz Deskins and Susan Yutzey created a video entitled “Awards 101” just for you. It can be found by clicking on the Awards tab on the OELMA website, as well as here.

    Liz and Susan, in an interview format with an accompanying PowerPoint, walk you through the awards process and address why nominating a colleague for an award matters both personally and professionally.  The text of their conversation can be found here.

    OELMA has many awards, scholarships, and grants.  Here is a list:

    • Collaborative School Library Award
    • Emerging Leader
    • Tech Innovation Award
    • Intellectual Freedom Award
    • Leadership-in-Action Award
    • Literacy Leader Award
    • OELMA/Follett School Solutions Outstanding School Librarian Award
    • Service Award for School Administrators (formerly Outstanding School Administrator)
    • Outstanding Contributor Award
    • J. Allen Oakum Scholarship
    • Founders Scholarship
    • OELMA/JLG Floyd Dickman Programming Grant
    • READ On! Ohio Award for Children & Teens

    As Liz and Susan explain, the checklists created for the majority of these awards are based on the Ohio Library Guidelines for Librarians.  In writing the narrative to accompany the application, the nominee has the flexibility to select specific guidelines within the strands and topics to showcase their individual talents.  Writing the narrative is an opportunity to reflect on your practice in 500 words.

    The deadline to submit nominations is April 25 at 11:59 p.m.  If you have questions, reach out to Gayle Schmuhl, Director of Awards, at

  • 17 Mar 2022 8:20 AM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    As school library media specialists we cherish our readers, don’t we?  The ones who love science fiction, the ones who have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the third time, the ones who cannot wait to tell you about the Children of Blood and Bone.

    Now it’s your turn to recognize these enthusiastic readers by nominating them for the READ On! Ohio Award for Children & Teens. Created in 2015, this award recognizes Ohio K-12 students who are enthusiastic readers and enjoy being in the school and/or public library using the many services available.  To assist you with promotion, the OELMA Awards Committee created a resource folder that includes a flyer, press release, directions, and graphics available here. Please note that there are two folders - one for public library staff and one for school librarians.  This is the first year we have opened up nominations to public library staff, so you may want to confer with your public library children and teen services librarians.

    Think about the students who visit the library - don’t they meet at least two of the criteria listed below?

    • Demonstrates an enthusiasm for reading

    • Exhibits an enthusiasm for sharing books with others

    • Uses books for a variety of purposes

    • Reads independently on a voluntary basis

    • Uses the school and/or public library frequently

    The applications are reviewed by the OELMA Awards Committee and up to sixteen recipients are selected according to grade band (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) and region (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest).  See the list of READ On! Counties by region.

    Each recipient receives a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, thanks to an anonymous donor, and  a commemorative certificate. Recipients are encouraged to attend the OELMA annual conference in October to be publicly recognized. Using the website, listserv, and social media, OELMA announces the recipient’s names in May. In addition, each recipient’s school's public information officer will be notified through a press release.

    To nominate a student, complete and upload the OELMA READ On! Ohio Award for Children & Teens application form which requires a 250-word rationale that speaks to how the student meets at least two of the following criteria: 1) demonstrates an enthusiasm for reading; 2) exhibits an enthusiasm for sharing books with others; 3) uses books for a variety of purposes; 4) reads independently on a voluntary basis; 5) uses the school and/or public library frequently. Nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. April 25, 2022.

    The nominator of each winning nominee will be notified by email about their nominee’s selection for the award. The nominator is expected to contact the winning nominee with the award selection results.

  • 15 Mar 2022 8:00 AM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    The OELMA awards and scholarship season kicks off on Tuesday, March 15. Nominating yourself or another OELMA member for an award leads to many rewards beyond the award itself. Let’s take a look at some of our 2021 award recipients and see what they have to say.

    Grace Hammond, recipient of the OELMA Collaborative School Library Award, shared that “I had a community of support. It was also a great piece of advocacy for the media center at my school because it was a way to share that what is happening in the media center is dynamic, innovating, and contemporary.  It led to increased support for my program and more connections with other librarians, and I could not appreciate it more.

    Talk about building powerful connections!

    Angie Jameson, recipient of the OELMA Collaborative School Library Award, explained that “sharing the recognition with the teachers and administrators who were willing to take risks with me in the 2020-2021 school year highlighted the nature of the library media specialist job in the current educational landscape. It's so important for librarians to help teachers understand how the job has changed and what services we offer, and this award gave me the spotlight to share all the wonderful opportunities our teachers have beyond book selection and promotion. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to involve my administrators in the process of the award, allowing them the chance to understand the scope of updated library standards and skills we need the time to hone and continuously improve upon.” 

    Talk about building powerful connections!

    To learn more about OELMA awards, scholarships, and grants visit the OELMA website. During your visit, notice the new layout.  Click on any award, scholarship or grant and it opens a new tab that features an award description, criteria, and application process.  

    Two features that the Awards Committee worked diligently to streamline include new checklists and applications.  The checklists replace the rubrics.  As you review the checklists, note that each checklist (except for the OELMA Literacy Leader Award) is based on the Ohio Library Guidelines for Librarians (2021).  For the application process, there is a Part A for the nominator and a Part B for the nominee.  As the nominator, be sure and notify the person you have nominated to complete Part B, including attachments.  If you are self-nominating, all you need to do is complete Part B, including attachments.

    The deadline to submit applications for awards, scholarships, and grants is April 25, 2022 by 11:59 p.m.  Throughout awards season, check out OELMA’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as the OELMA listserv.

    For questions, reach out to - Director of Awards, Gayle Schmuhl.

  • 7 Mar 2022 8:53 AM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    By: Annie Ruefle

    Lower School Librarian

    Columbus School for Girls

    I’ve been presenting at OELMA conferences for more than 30 years; it doesn’t matter how many times I present, or what my subject matter is,  presenting is always a positive and invigorating experience.  I've presented on reading programming,  literary initiatives,  the art of reading, book clubs, Harry Potter extravaganza,  collaborative projects,  an author of the month program, literary cake decorating contests, connecting with Middle School students, reading festivals, and schoolwide reading celebrations.  I love to share ideas, but more importantly,  I love to get ideas from so many extraordinary librarians from around Ohio -- librarians like YOU.

    Why should YOU consider submitting a proposal to present at Conference? 

    Here are my Top Five Reasons to present at OELMA:

    1. Individual Professional Development Plans:  On the most practical level, presenting is a surefire way to add to your IPDP.  Educators across Ohio are required to maintain an individual professional development consisting of coursework, CEUs, or “equivalent activities.”   Presenting at a state-level conference is typically considered an equivalent activity according to Ohio Department of Education guidelines,  and can be added to an IPDP.  You get credit for attending and presenting at the same conference.  Bonus!  

    2. Fine tuning your own teaching:  As you are planning your session, deciding what you will share with your attendees, you think carefully about what you are doing as an educator.   It forces you to consider what you are teaching, how you are interacting with colleagues and students, and the ways in which you will present your material at the conference. Though you are sharing a stellar aspect of your teaching, you also continue to improve your own work as a teacher-librarian.  We all wish for our students to be lifelong learners and leaders; presenting at Conference models that kind of learning and leadership. 

    3. Engagement with the Conference:   As a presenter, you feel an added sense of engagement with the entire conference which only serves to ameliorate your entire experience.  Research tells us that when students are engaged in multiple aspects of  school  (clubs, athletics, drama, service, etc., ), they feel more connected to their overall school experience.  Being a presenter at an OELMA conference mirrors that same sort of experience; you feel a connection to the overall conference. Plus -- you never have to worry about finding a seat at your session: you ARE the front row. 

    4. Self Advocacy: We all know how fabulous  and necessary school librarians are; alas, not everyone in our school communities recognizes this fact.   We also know the painful statistics of school librarians experiencing unprecedented loss of jobs.  Though presenting a conference can’t guarantee anyone’s job, making sure that you are engaged and active in statewide conferences -- not only as an attendee but as a presenter -- is yet another way to let your administrators know that you are a valid, contributing member of the larger educational community.  We know you’re amazing; presenting at Conference is another way to highlight your library program and YOU. 

    5. Networking : Every time I present, I meet new people.  People ask questions after the session, or stop you in the hallways to talk about the ideas you’ve shared, or email you after the conference to continue the conversation. Each conversation or question is a stepping stone to another idea-exchange, partnership, collaboration, or friendship.  Friendships and connections aren’t included in the cost of the conference, but they really are an unexpected and priceless benefit. 

    Note: OELMA has extended our call for conference proposals until 4/15/22. Please consider submitting a proposal-we learn best when we learn from one another! 

  • 4 Mar 2022 10:47 AM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    By: Kristin Dages,

    District Media Technology Coordinator

    Hudson City Schools

    Hudson, Ohio

    Image result for Censorship book Images

    With the current “trend” nationwide toward school library book banning, some days it feels like we’re in some darker version of the 1984 movie, Footloose. With that said, we’ve never been in a better place to combat the ever-looming attempt of censorship regardless of how massive the effort is to create barriers of access. 

    Below are a few resources that our school library department has relied heavily on to combat censorship in the past six months. 

    A Little Background

    In September, our department fielded challenges on Gender Queer and Lawn Boy (both Alex Award winners). After an investigation about whether board policy was followed in purchasing these materials and having administration and a committee discuss the titles, we're currently looking at being one of the few districts in the state to keep both of them on our shelves.  We've been working hard over the past years to update our collections to focus on DEI and create inclusive collections K-12 while also updating our selection policies to reflect and support that initiative. We feel that fighting these challenges is crucial to that work, and we want to make sure that we're even more prepared for the next one. 

    Preparation is Key

    The Selection Policy

    One of the most important resources we have as school librarians is the Selection Policy which speaks to “the why” for every title on our shelf. It also speaks to how library material selection is far different from classroom instructional material selection. We updated our selection policy in 2018 to include more diverse language, promote an inclusive collection and list resources we use to choose library materials. We used the ALA toolkit to assist us in the updated version and, although we still plan to revise and improve it even more, we know that having an updated policy helped in our current challenges. Add your district’s policy to this form, and gain access to one another’s policies around the state. 

    The Reconsideration Procedure

    Along with the selection policy in place, it is worth the time and preparation to ensure your district has a  challenge procedure that removes any initial layers of possible censorship. This would include an administrator being able to make the decision after an initial review like our’s does (something we hope to change in the future).  Luckily, we currently have extremely supportive administrators who see the value in challenged library titles going to a committee for a larger discussion with all stakeholders rather than immediately banning a book. We hope to update this on our end in the future though as that could always change. Also, be sure to have the specific breakdown of the challenge committee that will be formed as a result of a materials challenge so there’s little confusion when beginning the important process of choosing who is a part of the committee. 


    • One librarian

    • Two teachers

    • Three parents

    • Curriculum Director

    Helpful Forms

    Challenge Form: Essential to help the district understand the concerns 

    Challenge Committee Member form: Helpful to committee members in understanding their role and guiding productive dialogue

    ALA’s OIF

    Any time we have a challenge, I immediately reach out to ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom and submit the title/s being challenged. They are an invaluable resource for support that we, as librarians, should support each year. If you don’t read anything else from this blog, read this post that they recently put out in response to the current influx of challenges around the nation. 

    Although certain titles are trendy targets now, book challenges will be an issue for the long run. That’s because, ultimately, no book is the perfect fit for every reader, especially works that tackle difficult topics reflecting real-world circumstances. But one reader’s objection is not a license to restrict all other readers from the book.”

    ALA reiterated that we’re far from alone in this #FReadom Fight, as our fellow Texas librarians have called it. After updating ALA on our district’s current challenges, they sent the aforementioned blog post and a letter of support to our administration and board of education members. We as the trained school librarians are the best resource to prepare our administrators in case concerns arise regarding our curated collections. The more we’re involved, the more our students will benefit. After all, having the books on our shelves is not about us. It’s about our students who need access to these titles. Let me say that again…having the books on our shelves is not about us. It’s about the students! #CheckYourBiases

    One other resource I want to call to your attention, especially if you need a refresher on best practices in collection development, is INFOhio’s collection development course. It offers three hours of professional development within their Library Pathway. Our department did this together to stay current and spark great discussions about meeting the needs of our students and staff K-12. 

    Who knows where this national flood of attempted censorship will take us. As a department we’ve discussed the fear of the underlying effects, such as librarians being too afraid to purchase certain titles because they see them as controversial or hot topics. It is hard work but picture one student each day who needs these titles on the shelf…they’re why we do what we do. It’s not about us. It’s about them. With libraries offering voluntary choice in reading, we know that not every book is for everyone; we must build libraries for all and overcome the challenges and fear that seek to destroy inclusive collections. Hopefully, the policies you have in place will allow you to do just that!

    Don’t forget! Submit your district policies here, and let’s build a resource from which all of us can learn.

    If you’ve read this far and want some more resources, check out Martha Hickson's SLJ article. Absolutely worth the time!

    Please reach out with any questions, and keep fighting the good fight for our students’ right to read. 


    Kristin Dages

    District Media Technology Coordinator

    Hudson City Schools

    Hudson, Ohio

  • 16 Feb 2022 1:49 PM | Angela Wojtecki (Administrator)

    By: Dana Wright

     Presenting to others is a wonderful and fulfilling way to give back to the library community.  I have been supported and encouraged over the years by the leaders of OELMA. If you are asked to present or if you have something in your wheelhouse that you would like to share, I encourage you to step up!

    Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to share one of my passions with other librarians.  That passion is sketchnoting.  Sketchnoting is a wonderful and creative way to engage students.  Not only does it engage, it helps students remember facts and concepts along with being relaxing and calming.  I think in these stressful times, anything we can do to help alleviate the stress is appreciated.

    I simply stepped in front of my classroom of Ohio librarians and treated them as the creative group of excited students they proved to be!  I had fun and they learned the foundations of sketchnoting.  In the past few months, many have reached out for lesson plans and resources.

    OELMA, thank you for the opportunity!.

Ohio Educational Library Media Association                                                                                     Contact Us | Website:

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© 2022 Ohio Educational Library Media Association

2022 Ohio Educational Library Media Association

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