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Anime Clubs ^_^

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I’ll admit, the thought of starting an Anime Club for my library branch was a little intimidating at first. The last time I had seriously watched any anime was when I was in high school, in the late 90’s. Needless to say, a lot has changed about the industry. New genres, styles, and new performance rights rules. Oy vei. I had no clue where to start.

Luckily, the collective brain over at the YALSA listserv YA-YAAC had lost of suggestions. My favorite resource so far is probably Operation Anime, a DVD request service from the Funimation studio. They send you 1 DVD a month to view at your leisure. They always send you the first disc of season 1 which has 6-7 episodes to hook in your viewers. The series selection is pretty impressive (considering you’re getting titles from only one studio) and runs across a good many genres. The series tend to be newly released (and probably unfamiliar to most of your teens) so one can imagine why Funimation might want feedback on these hot off the presses series. They also let you keep the DVD’s to start building your own in-house anime library.

And the best part?

It’s absolutely free! (My favorite price!) All you need is an e-mail address connected to a library or school. Funimation also asks for viewer feedback in the form of short surveys. While this may sound tedious, I was shocked to find out just how much my teens enjoyed telling Funimation exactly what they thought of the new series (oh the power!)

Another great resource, especially if you’re looking for inexpensive anime and manga goodies to use for prizes, is They’re an anime superstore and fairly frequently have great sales on all sorts of anime related merch.

I also highly recommend getting in touch with local anime enthusiast groups, especially ones that organize conventions in your area. About a year and a half ago I approached a group that put together a yearly convention in Southern Nevada with the idea of running an info table in their vendor room to spread the good word about libraries and FREE manga! Instead of a table in the vendor room, they asked me if I’d like to host a program during the convention. They also kindly asked if my library would be interested in hosting their monthly anime screenings. Screenings that draw between 60 and 80 people each month. Screenings where they would provide their own equipment and performance rights. Screenings that would cost the library nothing more than freeing up our large program room the second Saturday of each month. My reply was nothing short of “heck yes!” Moral of that story: It never, ever hurts to ask.

So now, with my little library’s anime club reaching it’s 2 year anniversary, we have 20-25 teens enjoy our anime club each month. Hooray! It’s probably one of my favorite programs because not only are the teens who attend fantastic (they always offer to clean up and put away chairs!) but once you get into a rhythm, it’s easy as pie. I’m in the process of planning a CosPlay contest to host later in the year, possibly a fan art contest too. I’ll keep you updated when it happens!


ISLMA Conference 2010

Over Halloween weekend, I attended the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) Conference at Pheasant Run in St. Charles, IL, and gave two presentations.

The first presentation was on the AMAZING International Children’s Digital Library. We presented an overview of the resource, handed out a sample worksheet tutorial for students and discussed ways to use the site in the classroom. The lesson ideas were based on my idea generated by talking up the site to a wide variety of people including a University linguistics professor, a high school World Cultures teacher, middle school LA teachers, foreign language teachers and clubs, culture clubs, ELL students, art teachers, elementary school teachers and special education teachers.  I facilitated several lessons in these areas while student teaching at the Middle school level and the students loved the site.  Visit our wiki for backgroundinformation on the site and its creators, our powerpoint (including a walk-through tutorial of the site and database), and sample lessons/handouts.


The second presentation was on K-12 games in the school library. Maggie Hommel discussed recent literature and research supporting the implementation of games and “play” in education. Then, I shared some of my favorite classroom games, adapted for use in the library. For more information on the resources and games presented, please visit our wiki and ppt.


Powerpoint: Power of Play: Games in the Library

Self Introduction…

Hi everyone,

My name is Corrie Ball and I’m an aspiring school librarian. This fall, I’ve been student teaching at a middle school (completed) and an elementary school (current). It has been really eye-opening, fun and busy!

Speaking of being busy, I’m sorry I’m so late on getting start with the blog!  This blog was intended to be a duo project that we had hoped to start last spring, but I’ve really been lagging behind. I hope to make it up to readers in the next few weeks, though!

My posting plan for November is to write about my middle school student teaching experience (fun displays, lots of Web 2.0 lessons, booktalks and reading incentive programs), recent presentations at the ISLMA conference, and ideas gleaned from elementary student teaching.

Happy reading!


Jack of all trades…

I was catching up on my google reader during today’s lunch break and absolutely loved this post (I’m a Doctor, Not an Escalator!)  from October 26th on YALSA’s blog.

I’ve added never having an “That’s not my job” moment to my list of professional goals. Part of the reason I became a librarian is because the position gives you so much flexibility. By stepping out of your comfort zone and reaching out to new groups you’re not only enriching yourself professionally and personally, you’re also giving people a new perspective on what the library is and does. And don’t you love those moments when you’re talking to non-library folks and you have one of those “I can’t believe I get paid to do this?” moments?

So what is Sarah’s job? 

  • Zombie dance insturctor (Thrill the World)
  • School librarian liason
  • Joining in on impormptu dance parties in the middle of TAG meetings (after business is settled of course)
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Cartooning enthusiast
  • Gamer extrordinaire
  • Interactive display creator
  • Teen Lit Magazine editor
  • SRP video editor
  • Blogger
  • General wrangler of teens


Teen programming this October is all about ZoMbIeS!*

Here’s some of what’s going on:

  • Quirk Books generously donated 50 copies of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Dawn of the Dreadfuls” to sponsor zombie-themed book clubs (We just e-mailed someone in PR and they said yes! Seriously. It never hurts to ask!)
  • We set up a reading challenge telling our teens that “If you read, we will DYE!” Basically we told teens that if they read 2,000 pages between October 1st and 15th, we teen librarians would dye our hair. The color? Whatever won the most votes on our library’s blog!  We got our inspiration for this from a September SLJ article. Thus far our teens have read over 15,000 pages and counting!
  • To tie in with Teen Read Week’s Books with Beat theme, a teen librarian from another branch and I are holding weekly workshops to learn Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” for “Thrill the World.” It’s the first time I’ve hosted the program at my branch and I’m super pumped! I’ll most definitely have some future postings on the program itself once it’s all done ^_^
  • Every month I hold a “Crafty Teens” program and this month we made zombie finger puppets! I saw a template on and let the teens design their own using felt, thread, sequins, and glue guns. Here’s the handout I made for my teens complete with traceable appendages and instructions. You can click on the thumbnail for a larger size. (Sorry it’s a bit squished. I haven’t figured out how to post PDF’s on wordpress yet so I uploaded it as an image instead.)


My teens were super excited about making their own zombie finger puppets. Here are some of their wonderful creations!


 This month might be packed but it is too much fun! I’ll be sure to fill you all in once things settle down ^_^

*My fiancé find this hilarious to no end because of all horror movie creatures, zombies terrify me the most. Seriously, I read Max Brook’s Zombie Survival Guide and had to sleep with the lights on.


Great googly moogly, it’s already October! Seriously, where does the time go? Between Halloween, Nevada Day, and Teen Read Week the public library is absolutely hopping with programs this month but I’ll save that for another post.

What I want to share with you right now is a nifty way to take advantage of your patron’s love of smartphones while promoting library programs. It’s called a QR code. QR codes are a specific kind of barcode that encodes text, URL, or phone numbers. It’s amazing how you can pack oodles of information in such a tiny square! 

And here’s the best part. Anyone with a smartphone can scan and read QR codes with the click of a camera, and anyone with access to a computer can generate QR codes themselves. I’m starting to put QR Codes on my teen program fliers. I realize that not too many of my teens have smartphones yet, but they’re always interested in new technology so hopefully it will generate some buzz ^_^

If you can cut-and-paste you canmake your own QR Code. Here’s the handy-dandy generator I use.

Banned Books Week Display

I heart how my job allows me to bust out my love for crafting every so often. One of my favorite things to do is to design creative/interactive displays for my library. I get lots of help from my teen volunteers with the construction and some have even helped me brainstorm themed displays! So with tomorrow being the start of Banned Books Week, I thought I’d share some photos of my display. (Click on the photos to enlarge)

Here’s the view outside of Teen Central. I printed the letters on cardstock using a funky font I downloaded online. Then I  taped the letters on some fishing wire and strung it across the window panes. This was partially to add visual interest but mostly so our view into Teen Central wouldn’t be completely obstructed.

Attempting to entice my teen patrons to go inside, I added extra information on one of the interior walls of Teen Central.  The book  flaps are probably my favorite part of the display. Patrons have to guess what books were banned/challenged based on the original “justification.” (information courtesy of ALA and Robert P. Doyle)

On the yellow flap is the reason why the book was banned or challenged …

And underneath is the cover of the book! Did you guess correctly?

I only put the display up a couple of days ago and already I’ve had quite a few patrons (teens and adults) talk to me about it. I tried to use a mix of books that are generating a lot of teen buzz right now (Vampire Academy, Looking for Alaska, How to Get Suspended and Influence People) as well as classics they’d be familliar with (The Lorax, Diary of Anne Frank, Lord of the Flies).

There’s another wonderful post on The Imaginary Librarian about her books display from last year. Sadly she has hung up her cardigan and is now in grad school for art history, but her blog is still a great source for inspiration.