April 2023

Volume 4.3

Welcome to the North Carolina School Library Media Association's Monthly newsletter!

Questions? Contact kenishasmith@ncslma.org

In this edition:

NCSLMA Website



Jennifer Abel

NCSLMA President


President’s Corner April 2023

Happy National School Library Month!!!!!

Shout outs:

Congratulations to Julie Stivers for being named SLJ Media Coordinator of the year!!! SLJ Article. 

Conference News:

The Call to Present at this year's conference “Magic Happens Here” is open!!!
Make sure to put in your proposal to be a part of this amazing conference. 

Conference Webpage

The PR team for Conference 2023 is looking for stories of the magic happening in your library. We want to share on our social media outlets the great things NC School Librarians are doing in our libraries. But we need your help for that. Please consider submitting a photo or video that showcases your and/or your library's magic. It can be small magic, big magic, or anything in between. 

An example of this in my library is my aquarium. It has one fish and one snail. And that snail is a small magic. Students have named it all kinds of things, but whatever they name it makes it personal to them. Some students come in just to say hi to the snail. Some students say hi to the snail before they say hi to me. This small thing that I provided means a lot to them and helps make them feel more comfortable in the library.  

We will be taking these submissions until September 30, 2023. Our goal is to publish every submission. With almost 2000 members, we really hope to be overwhelmed with stories. :-)    https://forms.gle/NBADmwPYwUZyKaZw8

Open Volunteer Positions: 

Have you wanted to volunteer with NCSLMA, but didn’t know where to start? We’re making it easy because we would love to have your talents supporting our organization! Check out the new Open Volunteer Positions on our website for information about current open positions. This list does change as positions become available, so make sure to check it often. If you see something that sounds like it would be a great fit, please consider volunteering. Not only will it help NCSLMA, you will also be able to show leadership at the state level on the DPI School Librarian Evaluation Tool.

Current Openings:
Website Director
Awards Grants and Scholarships Director
National Board Coordinator
NCSLMA Store Coordinator
Advocacy Committee
Legislative Committee
Intellectual Freedom Committee

Upcoming events: 

The Page Turners Book club will meet April 15 to discuss this month's book “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt

April AM Brew Crew - Apr 8, 2023 9:00 am - 11:00 am
April PM Brew Crew - Apr 28, 20238:00 pm - 10:00 pm 

Make sure to follow the behind-the-scenes conference blog for updates on this year's conference!

Kristy Sartain
Conference Co-Chair

April is National School Library Month and I am grateful to be part of NCSLMA and to be able to know so many amazing school librarians across the state. Ours is a small world and I love the connections that allows us to make. 

Conference planning is still going on. We are definitely trying new things at this conference. I'm both excited and terrified to see how they turn out. Fingers crossed! I will put up a blog post this weekend about all the updates. I haven't been able to write one in a while and have a lot to put out there. One of the things I am hoping to add is an Author Alley. Instead of an Author Panel, we're hosting two Storyteller Panels, but we still want to show love to our authors. 

April 14 is the last day to submit a session proposal for the conference. We're up to 80 something proposals already. Thank you all so much for being so gracious about my technology snafu. I feel like we should add t-shirts to our NCSLMA store that say "Tech Happens". hahahahaha *sigh*

If there is anything we or I can do for you, please reach out. We know that several districts are going through some turmoil and we will do everything we can to help support you. 

Thank you,


(Announcements and Updates)


NCSLMA has a small blog on our website. If you would like to contribute to it, please send submissions to kristysartain@ncslma.org. We're looking for news items, stories about your library, fun events you have had, etc. Pictures can be included and are welcomed. There are no minimum or maximum length requirements. Share some of the great things going on in your library!

Share Your Magic!

The Conference PR Team wants to hear from you! Share the magic that is happening in your library so we can tell the world! Visit ncslma.org/magicinyourlibrary and fill out the form with your story.

Call to Present!

The Call to Present for Conference 2023 is open! Grab your grimoire to find the best spells, er, sessions you have that you want to share with others. We look forward to seeing those magical session titles!  The deadline to submit is April 14th!
Submit your proposal here: https://ncslma.wildapricot.org/event-5208915

NC Member Spotlights

Highlighting the hard work of our North Carolina librarians.

The Power of the Picture Book by Esther D. Glenn

The Power of the Picture Book

By Esther D. Glenn AKA Darlena Estelle, The Lady Starr G.

Media Coordinator, R.N. Harris Elementary, Durham, NC

I would guess there are thousands more picture books published per year than chapter books or novels by the simple fact that picture books have way less pages and text.  Picture books cover a wide variety of subjects and provide easily readable information in digestible chunks.  The art of the picture book provides images that invoke the imagination. Shapes, colors, lines, light, photography, collage, and sculpture are just a few of the varied techniques communicated through art in picture books.

Reading, writing, speaking, listening are the introduction and foundation of communication skills which can be taught, practiced, and solidly groomed with picture books.  The intersection of history & art as an entry point for hard history and different points of view about history as well as stories of lesser-known events are conveyed through carefully crafted picture books.  Picture book biographies serve as the inspirational stories of gifted young people who overcame obstacles and difficulties to become their best selves, do great things with their lives, and make great contributions to society.  We belong to people groups, people move society, people are citizens of the earth.  Everything we accomplish as people can be succinctly conveyed in a picture book.

Furthermore, artists as illustrators where early learners view a picture book with imagination advances the skills of inferencing, sequence of events, drawing conclusions, identifying character traits and the plot. In a picture walk, young people learn how to read the pictures and are drawn into the book by the messages in the visual art. Artists put so much meaning into their creations. 

In February 2020, I had the opportunity to talk to award-winning author & illustrator, Bryan Collier. North Carolina Central University’s campus art museum featured Collier in a solo exhibit.  There were not many people there likely due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  I talked with Collier uninterrupted about his work for an hour or so.  I was so captivated, I purchased $80+ worth of books from him that Sunday afternoon after listening to him explain his artistic process and the creative story behind his published work.  I viewed the larger poster size paintings of the pages of some of his works.  Collier autographed all of my books and this was the day I developed a deeper love and appreciation for picture books.

 In October 2022, the North Carolina Museum of Art held a sneak-peak of the re-imagined Peoples Collection with wall commissioned art by JP Jermaine Powell.  The vivid colors, 3D images, the beauty of the subjects wowed me.  In the lobby in front of the giant wall art, there was a book on the table titled, “The Museum Lives in Me.”  The picture book fan that I am picked it up and started reading it.  JP was talking to different people nearby.  I was listening to his conversation, but I was exploring the book.  I was absolutely awed by the story and pictures mostly because I had visited the museum as a classroom teacher in prior years with students and took pictures that were portrayed in Powell’s art.  I immediately made a real-life connection and knew I had to share this book with the students in my role as librarian.  I walked away to go to the museum gift shop to see if the book was for sale there, but it was not.  I came back to the area where JP was talking, picked up the book again, and said to him something like, “I gotta have this book in my life!”  JP autographed the only copy he had and gave me the book.

 At the North Carolina Art Educators conference at the Cape Fear Community College, I attended a session with JP and he presented slide by slide his artistic process for the artwork in “The Museum Lives in Me.”  Victoria Scott-Miller, the author of the book, was the keynote speaker for the conference.  After her phenomenal talk, I waited in a long line to purchase more copies of the book for the school library and my sister. It was my second time meeting Scott-Miller and her husband.  I was overjoyed to be in their presence again.

The sheer joy that picture books give me as an adult must be magnified in the lives of children.  After all, the authors and illustrators were once children.  WE ALL were once children!  I always tell my students that there is a book for every interest, for every level of reading skill.  Anything you want to know is in a book.   Anything you are curious about is in a book.  Anything you want to explore is in a book.  Any life you want to live is in a picture book.

Don't You Wanna Know That You're Supposed to Exist?? by Kara Watson

“Don’t You Wanna Know That You’re Supposed to Exist?”

Kara Watson, Librarian

Lakewood Montessori Middle School, Durham, NC

Keeping student voices front and center is a priority when making decisions about the school library. Many of us are suffering from news fatigue, frustration and maybe even depression regarding book bans and challenged materials. To help us stay focused on our students, I asked the GQSA (Gay, Queer,  Straight Alliance) at my school why it’s important to have LGBTQ books in the school library. Here’s what they said. 

One student asks, “Don’t you wanna know that you’re supposed to exist?” Seeing ourselves in books confirms our existence and our value in the world. We can help students feel valued by confirming their existence in the books they see on the shelves. Keep up the good work NC school librarians! Our kids need us!

Reimagining the Book Fair by Madelyn Hughes

Reimagining the Book Fair

Madelyn Hughes, Media Coordinator

Cook Literacy Model School, Winston-Salem, NC

Traditional book fairs have historically been inaccessible to many students at Cook Literacy Model school. The books are too expensive and many of them do not reflect the diversity in our student body. In lieu of a traditional fair this year, we partnered with the Reynolda Rotary Club, a service organization, and Bookmarks, the local independent bookstore, to host a book giveaway called "The Greatest Books on Earth!" 

Students were able to self-select two free books from the event to take home and add to their personal libraries. Staff from Cook and Bookmarks worked to ensure the titles available were reflective of the student body and that every reader could find a book that appealed to them. 

We are very grateful to our partners, Reynolda Rotary Club and Bookmarks, who made this event possible! 

Read Across the "Ages" for Read Across America Week 2023

by Jane Hudson, Tina Platek, Tomi Black

"Read Across the “Ages” for Read Across America Week 2023 "

Jane Hudson, Charles E. Boger Elementary, Cabarrus County Schools 

 Tina Platek, Northwest High School, Cabarrus County Schools 

 Tomi Black, Royal Oaks Arts School, Cabarrus County Schools 


 If one thinks that Read Across America is just for little kids, please think again. On March 2nd, 2023, a busload of Northwest Cabarrus High students traveled both far and near and read to hundreds of elementary students in celebration of Read Across America. 

The most exciting part is the fact that these high schoolers asked their media coordinator, Mrs. Tina Platek, if they could visit these schools and read.  The reading fever spread like wildfire, and students in the Beta Club, JROTC, Football Team, Cheerleaders, and many more signed up for the field trip.  

The first stop was at Royal Oaks School of the Arts. Mrs. Tomi Black, media coordinator, communicated with Mrs. Platek’s high school students and they headed to the classrooms. Some high school students shared “First Chapters” as well as entire picture books to others. Some of the elementary students had heard these books before and recited the lines with the high school students…”my buttons, my buttons, my four groovy buttons!”  could be heard throughout the hallways. As the high school students finished with class time they headed to the halls where they popped in on dance classes and PE classes at Royal Oaks School of the Arts.  After the reading was completed, the high schoolers shared their love of reading, answered questions about JROTC uniforms, sports involvement, and best of all the “high school experience.”  The 5th graders absolutely loved this part.  After a morning of reading and a group photo with Mrs. Black, the high school students loaded the bus and headed to the next stop on the reading journey. 

The bus pulled into CE Boger around 9:30 AM. Community volunteers from Amazon, dressed in Seuss Character attire, met the students as they got off the bus.  There were 2 class greeters from each classroom standing along the sidewalk arranged from kindergarten to 5th grade.  The high school students knew the grade level to look for.  The elementary students presented them with a “Community Reader” lanyard and a small welcome sign with the classroom teacher’s name on it.  Once everyone was paired up, we entered the building and the excitement continued to spread.   

Around 10 AM the CE Boger office staff announced for our “guest readers” to make their way to the media center.   It was wonderful hearing these high school students share about how much they enjoyed reading to the younger students.  Many of them had a “reunion “with their former elementary teachers.  The classes had made little “Thank You” cards for these readers.  A few of the high school students were so touched by this kindness they cried tears of joy. The CE Boger Academic Goal Team had made Read Across America labels for the water bottles and stapled a “Seuss-themed “note to each bag of chips.  After snacking, laughing, and sharing, there was a large group photo with Mrs. Hudson.   Finally, the group headed to their bus, and we went on with their day.  The elementary staff were so thrilled they asked if we make this a yearly tradition.  I think the high school students probably feel the same.  


This momentous event, however, did not happen without a great deal of planning, collaboration, and communication.  Mrs. Tina Platek, high school media coordinator, reached out to the feeder schools, Charles E. Boger and Royal Oaks School of the Arts. Mrs. Platek, Mrs. Hudson, and Mrs. Black met via Teams several times during the planning process.  Mrs. Platek created a Google Form and matched high schoolers to elementary classrooms with the book titles.  Mrs. Black and Mrs. Hudson worked to communicate with teachers about the visit and paired students up with ambassadors at each school who escorted the high school students to the classrooms. Special thanks to Principal Dawn Raney, Principal Melody Marsh, and Principal Chris Myers. 

So, the next time you hear someone say that our teenagers never read because they are on their phones, please let them know that Mrs. Tina Platek has the students at Northwest Cabarrus High reading and sharing that love with all those around. 

NCSLMA Sections

Director: Faith Huff

Director: Lucy Wilcox

Awards, Grants, Scholarships
Director: Robin Rhodes

AASL Delegates

Laura Aldridge & Sarah Justice

Book Programs
Director: Stacy Hersey

Director: Vacant

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Michelle Burton & Ness Shortley

Regional Directors:
Lead: Lori Munroe

Social Media
Director: Alicia Luke

Director: Vacant


Just a quick reminder that it's crunch time for NCCBA!  Everything you need to help your kids participate can be found on the Librarian/Teacher Resources page of our website (http://nccba.blogspot.com/). Kids may vote for their favorite picture book and/or junior book either online or in your libraries.  Last day for kids to vote has been extended to Friday, April 21, 2023. 


  • kids can vote using the Google forms (Picture Books or Junior Books) on our website
  • kids can vote using the flyer with the book covers (that you provide and collect)
  • kids can vote using the bookmark-style list of nominees (that you provide and collect)  

If you collect votes, please tally all of the votes then submit a total for each title on the separate Google form for librarians: https://tinyurl.com/2p86r2xm


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Would you like to contribute to the next NCSLMA News & Notes?

We want to hear from you! Do you have an upcoming multi-school or district event, were you recognized in some way, are you involved in the coolest collaboration, or did you contribute in some other spectacular way that shows the value of school libraries and librarians? We know you did! So we want to share the fabulous things school librarians are doing across the state! Please submit links to articles, published materials, and/or graphics to Kenisha Smith (kenishasmith@ncslma.org). Materials should be "copy and paste" ready. Submissions will be edited and published at the discretion of the NCSLMA News & Updates Editorial Team.

Submission Guidelines Document

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