School Libraries


Buchanan Elementary challenges students to read for 1 million minutes

Buchanan Elementary School's Million Minutes Program, in Pierre, SD, is a school-wide reading program through which all students are challenged to read a 1 million minutes, collectively, between November 1, 2013 and May 9, 2014. Students and teachers may count any reading done during school hours or at home. Minutes are "tracked" or documented in some manner and verified by parents and/or teachers.

Go for the goal chart at Buchanan Elementary School in Pierre

The school principal, Kurt Swanson, issues the challenge to the students; students track the minutes and turn them into their teacher, who send their class totals to Deb Rumrill, librarian, at the end of every month. Using a spreadsheet Deb Rumrill tracks the total minutes read as a school. A wall display reflecting the reading theme is posted outside the teacher's lounge to show reading progress for Team Buchanan.

This year's theme is "Racing to Read a Million Minutes." Near the end of October each classroom received a blank, cardstock pennant that the class decorated in some way to reflect their team of students. Pennants hang in the hallway above the schoolwide reading display. Reading calendars for students to use to track their reading minutes are available in the teachers' lounge each month.

Number of laps chart at Buchanan Elementary School in Pierre

If the million minutes goal is reached by May 9, a lunch cookout is held in lieu of the regular school lunch, the week before school ends. In addition, the class that covers the most racetrack distance by May, based on a scale (e.g. for Jr. KG through 3rd grade, every 500 minutes of reading equals moving 1 space on the wall display; for 4th and 5th grade every 1,000 minutes of reading equals moving 1 space on the wall display), will get to choose a consequence for Kurt Swanson, such as sleeping on the roof or shaving his head.


2013-14 School Library Survey opens April 1

The 2013-14 School Library Survey will open on April 1 and close May 13. It is on a new platform that will make it even easier to complete. We've added a few questions and deleted some others. The 100 percent completion rate of the survey in the past two years is a strong message in support of school libraries across the state. Let's make it three years!

There will be a webinar offered on March 18 to go over the basics of the survey and the new platform. Shawn Behrends, our data coordinator, will join us to share her expertise. For registration details, go to

Between now and April you may want to look for your login and password information. It did not change. It is the same information you used last year. Contact Joan Upell, email, or Marta Stirling, email, if you have any questions.


April is School Library Month: "Lives change @ your library"

Jeff Kinney, bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, is the national spokesman for School Library Month 2014. Take a look at some celebration ideas and video contest details at

This is a great opportunity to showcase your school library as a 24/7 resource for learning and teaching. Libraries change lives but libraries themselves have changed too. Make sure parents and other community members are informed. The new report "Leading In and Beyond the School Library" by the Alliance for Excellence in Education is full of information you can use for this purpose.


Boot Camp 2014: ShaZam! The 4Cs in the 21st Century School Library

Check your summer calendars, school librarians! The third annual School Library Boot Camp will be held July 20-23 at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Bring a classroom teacher along to partner with you on a project you can co-teach in the 2014-15 school year.

Boot Camp instructors will present on the theme, "ShaZam! The 4Cs in the 21st Century School Library." They will guide students in taking a look at creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication under the lens of ethical participation. Topics covered will include print and online copyright, digital citizenship, flipped classrooms, new titles, collection policies and more.

Registration deadline is June 2. Boot Camp is a USD course. Students must elect to register for two credits at either the undergraduate or graduate level. On the final day of the course the last activity will be the third School Library Summit, co-hosted by State Librarian, Daria Bossman and South Dakota Library Association President, Scott Ahola.

The dorm will be air conditioned and the meals will be ordered just for Boot Camp, no dining in the cafeteria! Class time will include evening hours.

Please pre-register with the State Library at

If you have any questions, contact Kathleen Slocum, email, or call 800-423-6665.


Let the Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque Voting End March 31

South Dakota's Prairie Bud/Prairie Pasque Book Award contest voting survey is now open. Voting is online and concludes March 31. All SD students in grades K-5 who have read or have had read to them at least five of the titles on the list appropriate for their grade level are eligible to vote. Winning titles will be announced in April during National Library Week.

Click here to submit all Prairie Bud/Prairie Pasque votes by the end of March.


ALA, bootcamp, Pierre, school libraries, survey




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