Easy to make Book Trailers

Embedding book trailers on your library web page is a great way to pique interest in your collection.  There are various software programs you could use to make your book trailer:  iMovie, Photostory, MovieMaker, Google Presentations, Prezi, and VoiceThread to name a few.

You don’t need any fancy photo editing software to make creative images for your presentation either.  I use all the creative features of PowerPoint to make slides with collages of images and then save the PowerPoint presentation as *.jpg.  It’s very easy to do and most people are already comfortable with the PowerPoint interface.  Make sure you use copyfriendly images by using a Creative Commons search .

I also write out a script for my book trailer and then record the audio using Audacity.  You can easily edit the recording then export it as a *.wav or *.mp3 file.

For this book trailer of 13 Little Blue Envelopes I assembled the PowerPoint jpgs and Audacity *.wav file in Windows MovieMaker.  I added a few titles, transitions and video effects.  I exported the movie to my computer or you can export it directly to YouTube.

Book Trailers are easy to make for both teacher librarians and students.  Try making 1 or 2 a month and put together a YouTube playlist and have the book trailers loop on a projector during the school day.  More ideas at:  https://sites.google.com/a/lshigh.org/gotbooks/book-trailers

OASL reflections

I attended the OASL 2010 conference in Bend, Oregon on October 8th and 9th.  I attended the afternoon pre-conference and several sessions on Saturday that have impacted my understanding and teaching as a teacher librarian.

On Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure to hear Jerene Battisti and Angelina Benedetti share newly published books at their session titled:  You’re Invited: A Feast of New Literature for Teens. These two women are extremely knowledgeable about Young Adult novels /non-fiction and shared a huge variety of books centered around the following themes:  Fantasy, Old Stories Made New, History in Fact & Fiction, Science Fiction, Lighter Fare, Nail biters, Poetry, Girls In Trouble, War Stories and Boys Boys Boys.  Their session reminded me how important it is for a librarian to stay on top of what has been newly published –which can be very challenging!  Luckily Battisti and Bernedetti review hundreds of books each year and provide attendees with a comprehensive list that will be of great assistance when purchasing new books for the library.  Not only did I receive a list of recommendations but they discussed the authors, previous works they had written, indicated whether the books were award winners and offered related works. Even though I may prefer a particular genre, it is essential as a librarian to read a variety of genres – including graphic novels – so you can recommend books to your students or suggest familiar authors or similar themes.  Attending this session was extremely helpful and I plan to attend future workshops they give.

I was quite impressive with Kristin Fontichiaro who was the Saturday morning keynote speaker.  Her talk, Extreme Makeover: Library Edition, gave practical examples of how a librarian in the 21st Century should adapt and modify their program and become more like a Cultural Anthropologist, Peace Corps Worker, Strategic Technologist, and Community Builder.

As a Cultural Anthropologist, Fontichiaro suggested that we should be “embedded” in the classroom – always be watching and observing the students.  We need to connect to our local needs.  Fontichiaro explained that if students aren’t coming to the library – then the library should come to them.  She reminded us that libraries are not museums and we need to move away from the idea that the entire collection needs to be housed in one area.  I really like the idea of creating classroom libraries to match the curriculum.  I’ve already discussed creating a mobile science library on a cart that could be wheeled between each of our science labs.  We subscribe to several science magazines and this would be a great way to increase circulation among those items. Coming into the classroom with the mobile library cart is another opportunity to book talk!  Fontichiaro also discussed creating a library webpage that provides students with information 24/7.  One way to meet the diversity of learning styles is to have pathfinders that include multimedia – not just text.  By adding YouTube videos, Google Books, links to audio files and International resources we can reach all of our students while providing a valuable service.

As a Peace Corp Worker, our goal is to make the staff independent users of information.  Success in our position is defined by what the staff can do without our mediation.  Getting the staff to this point may take some professional development and coaching along the way but empowering the staff makes a sustainable community.  Once again, having a webpage that patrons can easily access is essential –something I am currently working on!

Our role as a Strategic Technologist suggests that we carefully evaluate technology and be strategic with planning.  Fontichiaro recommended that we get over “toolishness” and focus on effective ways to integrate technology.  I was please that Fontichiaro discussed technology as part of her extreme makeover.  I think the message that librarians today need to see themselves as instructional technologists is essential and I’m not sure many really know what that actually looks like.  Especially at the high school level, a good portion of my time working with students involves accessing electronic databases, recommending eBooks, teaching effective search strategies, assisting with MLA formatting – but at the same time being able to recommend a new novel for a patron.  We must be users and creators of technology ourselves so we can work with faculty and students when the opportunity arises.

Finally, Fontichiaro recommends that teacher librarians become Community Builders.  She suggests that we should build our learning networks online and at our school.  We need to feed ourselves so we stay current and know what others are reading and discussing.  This can happen through sites like Ning, Facebook, and Twitter but it’s not meant to replace the community you are working with – just enhance it. Participating in these networks is like a daily dose of professional development.  As a Community Builder we can encourage meaningful work such as a book study with the faculty or comment on articles from educational leadership magazines.  We can share instructional strategies with our staff and share resources we learn from our network.

Fontichiaro asked, “What kind of leader will you be?” and encouraged us to stay current on educational research, inform ourselves on current practices and participate in networks with other librarians who are emerging as leaders. Her message reinforced the path that I have taken and inspired me to reach out and invite others to join my journey.

Another influential session I attended at OASL was given by Cassandra Barnett, Past-President of AASL.  Her session, Empowering Your Learners – Implementing the AASL National Standards for the 21st Century Learning helped me to understand how each of the four standards are organized the difference between each of the strands:  skills, dispositions, responsibilities and self-assessment strategies.  The standards provide a framework for academic and personal learning.  Students have an unque opportunity in a library media center to develop their skills, hone their attitudes, independently practice their responsibilities and further their own learning.  Additional Indicators provide action items of what this might look like and finally Benchmarks offer specific skills that students can be expected to achieve by different grade levels.

Barnett provided us with a handout that we could use with our faculty about identifying partners among the faculty who can provide evidence of commons beliefs.  The goal of this activity is document what is happening in your school in a variety of classes or departments related to these beliefs: Reading is a window to the world, Inquiry provides a framework for learning, Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught, Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs, Equitable access is a key component of education, The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changes, The continuing expansion of information demands all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own, Learning has a social context, and School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills.  Once the documentation is complete, you can determine areas that need attention and define action items and make plans for successful implementation.  I think that its essential to get the faculty working towards a common vision any time your planning a new initiative or curriculum implementation.  All teachers want their students to be informational literate and if we can find commonalities between our goals, we will have a greater chance at success. Additional Resources:   AASL, NETS & Partnership for 21st Century Comparision Resources for Librarians

These and the other workshops I attended at OASL gave me much to think about.  The time and opportunity to network with other teacher librarians was so beneficial to my growth as a newly returning librarian.  I am a true believer in professional development and am glad that my school library association does a good job of filling that role.

Using QR codes in the classroom

Tom Barrett has another “Interesting Ways” collaborative presentation in the works.  This one is about using QR codes in the classroom.  Mine is tip is #5:  Using QR codes to promote school events.  View the presentation at:  https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_765hsdw5xcr or help out and add your own idea.

1.  Create QR code (http://qrcode.kaywa.com) that will go to a URL promoting a school event.

2.  Create a simple web page (ie, Google Sites) to promote that event.  I made one for my high school book club to promote good book recommendations for Teen Read Week.

3.  Print small notes with the title: What’s happening in school this week??? Scan this code with your mobile device to find out! and tape them in the bathroom stalls, mirrors, or areas where mobile devices are allowed at your school.

4.  Trust me, your tech savvy kids will know what to do — and it will peek the interest of other students too!

Submitted by Colette Cassinelli

Got books? Promoting YA literature using Technology

Reach your teen audience with creative ways that promote reading and Young Adult literature using free or open-source technology tools.

1.  READ Posters: Following the format of READ posters create by the American Library Association, take photos of staff members and students dressed in costumes holding a companion book.  Add the words READ and a quote. Use free editing software (GIMP, Open office, Picasa, Big Huge Labs, Aviary) to make the posters. You can also use ALA’s READ generator:  http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/publishing/graphics/READ_Mini_Posters.cfm

2.  Book Trailers: Create short book trailers using free video editing software (iMovie, MovieMaker, Photostory) to promote new books that are being released.  Include images, titles, narration and audio music. Embed the movies on your library home page.

3.  Wall Wisher for Read Alikes! Set up a wallwisher page (www.wallwisher.com) to have students suggest books for read alikes.  For example:  If you liked “The Hunger Games” then read …  Students can add their own suggestions and images of book cover to the wall.

4.  Bathroom Graffiti with QR codes: Entice students to learn about new books in the Library using QR codes.  Create fun posters and place them in the bathroom stalls.  Include a QR code on the poster. When the student scans the QR code with their mobile device, the code reveals information about the new book.  Great for scavenger hunts too!

5.  Teen Book Video Awards: Have students nominate their favorite novels all year long.  Get your book club to be the “Academy” and narrow down the nominations to 3 in different genres.  Create a short videos or large posters for each genre and have students vote on their favorite.  Hold your own Teen Book Award ceremony in the Library (include a red carpet and paparazzi!)

6.  Digital frames for book promotions: Using free photo editing software (or even PowerPoint) make 5×7 photos of book covers and titles that say “recommended by …”.  Select books with a theme (author studies, Graphic Novels, Banned Books, a specific genre) and display the photos of those books in a digital picture frame.  Place on circulation desk for students to watch during check-out.

7.  Genre PSA: Have students create short 15/30 second audio Public Service Announcements (using Audacity, Garageband, etc) to be played over the school PA system during announcements.  Great for Teen Read or Banned Books Week.

8. Blogging with Book Buddies: Set up a blog with another book club to discuss the novels they are reading or recommend new titles.  Use free blog software like Blogger, EduBlogs, or Class Blogmeister.

9.  Guess the book: Display a colorful Wordle that includes words like: character names, locations, words that describe events or characters of a book along with a title “Guess the Book”.  Another idea is to make a Wordle Advertisement for a book.

10.  Author Labels: Use online forums like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, author blogs, and online book groups to help get your students excited about reading. Compile a brief list of links with additional info about an author or topic and print them on an address label. Stick the label in the books in a highly visible place–on the last page, or opposite the first page. Encourage your students to explore reading in their own territory (Thanks to Reading 2.o).

11.  Poetry break: Have students record themselves reading their own poetry or a published poem and save it onto a Mp3 player.  Create listening station with headphones in your Library for students to sit and listen.

Other great technology tools you can use: VoiceTread, Animoto, Toon Doo, Google Presentations, Blabberize, Google Maps and more!


  1. Book Trailers:  http://www.book-trailers.net/
  2. Literacy on the Web:  https://literacyontheweb.wikispaces.com/
  3. Reading 2.0 – Using Technology to Promote Books – not Replace them:  http://readingtech.wikispaces.com/

Directions for the projects will be posted at: http://sites.google.com/a/lshigh.org/gotbooks/

Nominate your TOP TEN Young Adult books by 10-10-10

Join a collaborative project.  Go to: http://10-10-10.wikispaces.com/

Get Involved:

This wiki is open to anyone who loves YA books. You don’t have to be a teacher-librarian to share your love of reading!

Choose a theme:

You can recommend your TOP TEN YA books of all time, TOP TEN YA fantasy books or even your TOP TEN YA paranormal romance books (you know who you are!) or any genre you want — and you get to decide how to organize your list!

Create your own page:

Add a new page (click link on upper left hand side) to the wiki with your name and then list your YA books in any order. Write a short summary of the book and give a short explanation of why it is included in your TOP TEN. If you use summaries from Amazon or TeenReads – please be considerate and cite your sources. Feel free to share your blog URL or Twitter name on your page. Please keep the listing of pages in alphabetical order.

Get your students involved!

Do you teach Middle or High school students? Do you have a book club? Have your class vote and nominate their TOP TEN list.


Take time during the week of October 10-16 to look over the recommended lists and do something special to celebrate reading. This is perfect way to get teens excited for ALA Teen Read Week the following week: October 17-23.