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March 2012, Volume 4, Issue 3

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

Read Across America Day
March 2

Teen Tech Week
March 4-10

World Read Aloud Day
March 7

PLA Annual Conference
March 13-17

Month of the Military Child

School Library Month

National Library Week
April 8-14

Preservation Week
April 22-28

Money Smart Week
April 22-28

World Book Night
April 23

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Support Common Core literacy with electronic resources

School Libraries


Get ready for School Library Month with a video contest

April is School Library Month and here’s one way to get your students involved. The American Association of School Librarians and SchoolTube are sponsoring a student video contest You Belong @Your School Library. Videos are to show why the school library is the place to be either physically or virtually. The deadline for submission is March 29. Winners will be announced on April 17. For details go to


Book by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, The Christmas CoatVirginia Driving Hawk Sneve wins American Indian Youth Literature Award

South Dakota author Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve has been awarded the American Indian Youth Literature Award for her newest book The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood. For complete information about this and other award-winning titles go to


School Library Chats continue on March 15 and April 12

More than a dozen librarians from South Dakota schools and the State Library attended the first of a series of School Library Chats meant to provide a discussion forum for questions, issues and a variety of other topics on Feb. 9. The group brought together east and west as librarians tuned in for either one or both of the chat sessions which began at 4:00 CT and again at 4:00 MT.

Discussion focused on books for boys, graphic novels, grants for libraries, eBooks and eReaders, policies, school library standards, and weeding.

Some titles suggested for boys:

  • Beanball by Gene Fehler
  • Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan
  • Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Hardy Boys (updated new series)
  • Gym Candy and other sports books by Carl Deuker
  • Maximum Ride by James Patterson
  • Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Paralyzed by Jeff Rud
  • Life as We Know It by Susan Beth Pfeiffer
  • Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
  • Matt Christopher books
  • Biographies by Glenn Stout
  • Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld
  • Hunter books
  • Andrew Petersen books

Some graphic novels suggested for middle school:

  • Bone series by Jeff Smith
  • Lunch Lady series by Jarrett Krosoczka
  • Stickman Odyssey by Christopher Ford
  • On the Case with Holmes and Watson series by Murray Shaw and M. J. Cosson

For information on a variety of grants, please go to the State Library webpage and check out the material provided there,, or contact Brenda Hemmelman via email.

Join us for the upcoming School Library Chats on March 15 and April 12. They will again run at 4:00 CT and 4:00 MT. We hope to visit with you then!


Putting the new School Library Standards into action: Part 3
Using critical thinking to compare SIRS Discoverer to Google

Are your students critical thinkers? Do they know the advantages and disadvantages between using subscription databases and the Internet? Students at Douglas Middle School in Box Elder practice this 21st century skill in the library throughout the year.

Librarian Mavis Schipman says, “I like the ease of use when looking up information with SIRS Discoverer. I use this with middle school students even though it is intended for an elementary audience because it is easy to point out the differences between using a subscription database and using Google to search the entire Internet. My seventh graders recently used it for Martin Luther King, Jr. research but it could be used for any topic.”

Schipman also points out that the information about the source for the article in SIRS is very clear where it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the source when an article is found directly from the Internet. Comparing sources is a skill included in reading, writing and library standards. Schipman uses this lesson to help students develop their own logic to think about what they are doing and finding. They learn through practice and discussion that critical thinkers may identify differing advantages and disadvantages. Take a look at her complete lesson plan below.

SIRS Discoverer vs. Google Lesson Plan

SD Library Standards

  • 1.8.4 Locate resources appropriate for purpose using library tools.
  • 1.8.5 Evaluate resources for accuracy, currency, reliability, usefulness, validity, scope, purpose, and intended audience.

The computer will be used with a projector and will allow access to SIRS Discoverer and to the Internet using Google as a search engine. One four square comparison worksheet [pdf download] should be at each table. Tables will be numbered and students will draw numbers from a basket to be assigned seats.

Methods / Activities

  1. Students will be seated randomly by drawing numbers from the basket and sitting at the numbered table.
  2. Remind students that we will be celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. We are using this as an opportunity to review using SIRS Discoverer as a database of information and to compare it to using Google as a search engine. Students were introduced to SIRS Discoverer in the first quarter of the school year.
  3. We will be taking turns pointing out information on the screen. Choose a student to be the first in charge of the pointer. This person will hand off the pointer each time new information is presented. (relay style)
  4. Students at each table should choose one person to keep track of the advantages and disadvantages of each tool using the worksheet provided.
  5. Show students how to access SIRS Discoverer from the school website. Remind them that they will need a password to access this database from home. (They were given a password in first quarter.)
  6. Question students about how SIRS Discoverer is different from using Google to access the entire Internet.
    • It is a database that consists of articles that have been selected and approved
    • You don’t have to worry about whether or not to trust the information
    • It contains materials that are written at your reading level
    • It is not free. The State Library pays for us to be able to use it
  7. Demonstrate using SIRS Discoverer to find information about Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Do a basic search
    • Show how to sort articles (relevance, date, etc.)
  8. Students at each table should record on the worksheet their observations about the advantages and disadvantages of using SIRS Discoverer.
  9. Use Google to search for articles about Martin Luther King, Jr.
  10. Students at each table should record on the worksheet their observations about the advantages and disadvantages of using Google as a search engine.
    • It is more difficult to know which sources are reliable
    • Articles may be more current
    • You do not need a password (it is free if you have access to Internet)
    • It has advertisements
  11. Summarize the results allowing students to report from each table.

The librarian will observe that all students are attentive and show characteristics of understanding.




21st Century, Box Elder, electronic resources, Native American, school libraries, standards, webinars

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