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  • Friday, December 02, 2022 11:23 AM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)


    OUT Maine serves LGBTQ+ youth, supports parents and caregivers, and trains professionals in organizations and businesses around the state. OUT Maine works with many schools to improve school climate for LGBTQ+ kids, including in-service trainings with teachers and administrators, support for GSTAs (Gay/Straight Alliances), and more.

    We're sharing an excerpt of their recent post on book bans and challenges here in Maine, and what communities can do to push back. Please consider spreading the word through your social media networks and school communities — read the full text of the post here.

    BOOK BANS IN MAINE? REALLY?!

    YES — AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

    “Sorry this book is coming back late. It’s just — I never expected to read a book that was so close to my own life. Like. Never. With some weirdly similar and specific details! So I had to read it twice, then I made my dad, sister, and boyfriend read it.”

    The student was returning the book Gender Queer to their high school library somewhere here in Maine. This reader’s response is exactly why our LGBTQ+ youth need books in their libraries that reflect their lived experiences — as a reminder that they’re not alone, that they exist, and that their stories matter. 

    Gender Queer is a graphic novel memoir penned by Maia Kobabe about the process of discovering eir self-identity as a nonbinary and asexual person. 

    This award-winning book also happens to be the #1 most challenged book in 2021. What’s a challenge? Any attempt to remove or ban the book from a public or school library collection.

    In 2021 the number of challenged books reported to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom was higher than in the twenty years they’ve been documenting attempted bans, and 2022 is on target to exceed that number. This disturbing trend is a coordinated effort engineered by national groups with an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda. 

    First, a little background on what we’re seeing here in Maine, then some ways you can be part of the solution to support LGBTQ+ youth. 

    It’s about way more than banning books with LGBTQ+ content.

  • Friday, November 18, 2022 7:27 AM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)

    On October 27th, MASL tried something new with a Dine and Discuss format for professional development, with the support of several partner organizations — the Maine Council for English Language Arts (MCELA), Maine County and State Teachers of the Year Association (MCSTOYA), and Educate Maine.

    We hosted a dynamic and inspirational speaker, Lawrence Alexander, who presented virtually to 8 locations around the state. At each location, a host librarian or teacher facilitated refreshments (with the help of a small stipend from MASL), viewing Mr. Alexander, and discussion afterwards. We were hopeful that this format for professional learning would be fruitful because it would allow us to enjoy the benefits of an in-person experience without requiring people to travel great distances. We also hoped that this event would help to develop connections among educators that would be lasting and inspire further collaboration. 

    Responses such as these suggest that we're onto a good idea:

    “I loved the opportunity to connect with other librarians and look forward to more conversation in the future!”

    “Thank you for allowing non-librarians to join in!”

    “It was my first time attending a Dine and Discuss. It was informative, welcoming, intimate, and inspirational. I hope to do more in the future. Thank you!”

    “...appreciate how it allows people from all of Maine to participate!”

    Mr. Alexander spoke for about an hour and we all took notes furiously as he shared a great deal of useful information and thought-provoking questions. One participant said: “I thought the presentation was insightful, thought-provoking, and an important prompt for school librarians, as well as other teachers, to start thinking about how we make active choices to include and equitably celebrate all of our students in schools”

    Another added, “Lawrence was a great presenter. I have attended many, many DEI-focused talks and workshops and I still took away new information this time. I like how he framed things in a different way than a lot of other workshops (more action-oriented). I loved the prompting questions on the ‘Moment of Reflection’ slide (I'm still sitting with the ‘Will you protect me?’ question) and the monoculture/multicultural slide especially. Thanks for a great presentation!”

    After the presentation, the 77 librarians and other educators around the state took a break to enjoy some snacks (everything from pizza to homemade tacos were enjoyed), and then gathered together again to engage in some activities and discussion questions that MASL provided. As one participant said, “It was a great evening. Our discussion could have gone on for days after! Such important information.”

    If you missed it, or wish to revisit the content, the slide deck from the presentation can be accessed here. And if you’re a MASL member, you can access the recorded presentation on the members only section of our website.

    ~ Heather Perkinson, MASL President

  • Tuesday, November 08, 2022 4:54 PM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)


    Looking for ideas for parent-teacher conference day and ways to promote your library? Debra Butterfield, MASL member and Mentoring Chair, hosted Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) in the Gardiner Area High School Library. Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the nation.

    To support the campaign, the library hosted a Find Your Good event during parent-teacher conferences. Students enjoyed pizza, a variety of activities at stations run by community guests, and earned community service hours for participating. The eleven stations ranged from video production to fly-tying to felting.

    Butterfield partnered with a local community agency to help identify and invite some of the guests that matched student interests and requests for activities. Students were able to experience that they matter to members of the Gardiner community. One student noted, "It was amazing to see how much passion members of our community have for their interests and that they were willing to share it with us."

    Running a program like this on an evening when the school was already filled with parents and partnering with an outside organization to bring community members into the library to engage with students, adds up to a festive, fun atmosphere for the community and positive outcomes for students.

    It’s also a great example of advocacy in action: every adult who was part of the event, as well as the parents wandering by, witnessed a thriving, engaging school library environment. A few months from now when it’s time to vote on the school budget, those voting adults will know the value of what the library offers the young people in their community. Kudos, Debra!

  • Monday, October 24, 2022 8:15 AM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)

    Did you know that MASL is an affiliate member of the New England School Library Association? NESLA celebrated one hundred years as an organization in 2018. The website was recently updated, and the revised constitution was approved at the meeting on October 19.

    It was incredible to come together with retired and practicing school librarians dedicated to the growth of school librarianship, and hear reports from each member of the association. We even had a special guest from Australia who shared about the association activities there, plus a presentation from a NESLA grant recipient who reported on how the funding has been put into action.

    Our MASL board provides representation at the fall and spring meetings. An executive board continues to work throughout the year on key initiatives that are of mutual concern for affiliate organizations. MASL brought forward the idea of featuring events and professional development happening in neighboring states on the NESLA website. The feedback was embraced, so please watch for this added element. You can explore other affiliates and partners’ websites and learn about what’s happening in school libraries in other New England states. This connection strengthens our MASL voice in the American Association of School Libraries, and with legislation.

    ~ Debra Butterfield, MASL's NESLA representative and Mentoring Chair

  • Friday, October 14, 2022 2:19 PM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)


    MASL is full of many outstanding, dedicated members! Let’s get to know some of the amazing people who make up our organization. This month, our member spotlight is on Liz Guillemette!


    Where do you work? 

    Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, ME

    What grades do you work with? 

    9-12

    How long have you been in your position? 

    This is my second year as the librarian at Maranacook. Before moving into this role, I taught English for 17 years, the last ten at Maranacook. 

    What do you like being about a MASL member? 

    MASL was a welcoming network for me as a new librarian. Changing roles meant that I went from being in a department to being a department of one, and MASL provided the resources and support I was missing. MASL has been a wonderful resource for connecting with librarians from across the state, staying current on issues (especially Intellectual Freedom), and navigating certification. 

    Thank you Liz, for being our first member spotlight!   

    ~ Regan Parker, MASL Membership Chair 

  • Friday, October 07, 2022 4:50 PM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)



    Growth Agents

    Become involved as a MASL mentor and be an agent for growth by offering support and expanding professional vision. A mentor can provide support through a one-time message or develop an ongoing relationship. Mentoring is a reflective practice for both the mentor and mentee. Expanding connections through mentoring helps strengthen our profession and Maine libraries. 

    Mentoring Form

    Please fill out this form to indicate your interest in being involved in our mentoring program this year. 

    Support

    The MASL mentoring chair will help connect mentors and mentees. The mentoring chair, Debra Butterfield, can be contacted at dbutterfield@msad11.org for support. 

    Certificate Hours

    reflection log can be submitted by mentor and/or mentee to the mentoring chair to earn up to five certificate hours per school year. 

    MASL Mentors in Action: 

    • Supports goal setting, planning, learning,  decision making,  problem solving, and reflecting.

    • Provides confidentiality, emotional support and encouragement. 

    • Offers resources or helps identify those related to identified needs. 

    • Models best practices for a professional learning journey.

    • Counsels, collaborates, and coaches. 

    • Draws upon MASL resources and standards in librarianship as a foundation for mentoring. 

    • Develops a mutually agreeable contact schedule and seeks support from the mentor chair as needed. 

    • Reminds mentee of the opportunity to submit the reflection log for certificate hours.

    Resources

    Mentoring Matters: A Practical Guide to Learning-Focused Relationships by Laura Lipton and Bruce Wellman. 

    Mentorship Matters 

    Nine New Teacher Librarians: An Effective Onboarding Model 

    The Just-Right Mentoring Balance

    ~ Debra Butterfield, MASL Mentoring Chair
  • Friday, September 30, 2022 6:15 PM | Heather Perkinson (Administrator)


    Make it Private

    With the recent uptick in personal attacks on educators and librarians, MASL strongly recommends that everyone take a minute to do a privacy audit. Here are three quick actions you can take to protect your – and your students’ – privacy:

    Turn off checkout history in your library management system.

    ALA’s Library Bill of Rights states that, “All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.”

    Per the ALA Library Privacy Checklist for Students in K-12 Schools, a priority action should be to “configure circulation software to delete students’ borrowing history and retain only necessary records.”

    In addition to the important protection of patron privacy, this will protect checkout history and keep it private even in the event of a Freedom of Information Act request. This will also give librarians an opportunity to help students find creative ways to help students keep track of their own reading via a book diary or reading log. Students might enjoy keeping a google slides reading log (courtesy York Middle School Library).

    If you have Destiny, you will have to have administrator access to Destiny or ask an administrator to make this change for you. This brief video explains how to make this quick fix.

    Per the Maine State Library, Minerva network libraries all use Sierra for circulation, which does not allow for keeping a checkout history.

    For Alexandria users, this video (skip to 5:55) will show you how to make sure “keep history for all patrons” is turned off.

    Strip personal information from your school/work website.

    To avoid personal attacks, consider deleting your photograph on your school library website. If you must list a phone number, delete your private/internal extension and only list the main school number.

    If you have an “about me” section on your library website, it is better to only list things you like, e.g., I love to read historical fiction and I love to garden, and skip the personal information. Don’t list where you live or details about your family. 

    Do a privacy update on all your social media accounts

    Check your social media accounts – facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. and tighten up your privacy settings. Make it harder for non-friends to find you.

    Simple Online Security for Social Media Accounts

    Privacy on Social Media | This is How You Protect Your Socials

    Tips for protecting your social media privacy | Norton

    -MASL Intellectual Freedom Committee: Karen Silverman, Abigail Thompson, Kerrie Lattari



  • Friday, September 23, 2022 6:17 PM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)


    One of the best benefits of MASL membership is that you’re eligible for scholarships. These could be for coursework towards a degree or certificate, or attendance at professional conferences like ALA, AASL, MASL, Reading RoundUp, ACTEM, etc.

    And speaking of ACTEM…

    The ACTEM 2022 Fall Conference is coming right up! It will take place in-person this year on October 13th and 14th at the Augusta Civic Center. Click here to see the schedule of events. 

    To qualify for a MASL Scholarship, you must have been a MASL member for at least 12 months and be a Maine resident or employed by a Maine school. For the application and more information go to the MASL Scholarship page.

    For only $25 and a year's membership, MASL scholarships are here to support your professional learning. Please join us for these, and so many more perks!

    ~ Beth Andersen, President-Elect

    ~ Ellen Spring, Scholarship Committee

  • Sunday, September 18, 2022 8:44 PM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)

    Since the start of our new membership cycle, we have welcomed several new members to MASL!  We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new members: Jessi Allaire, Ashley Austin, Kerry Brenner, Sandi Brawn, Dana Dowling, Jessie Goodwin, Therese O’Hara, Samuel Huertas, Cynthia Moloney, Dianna Pomerleau, Matthew Reutershan, and Debra Tanguay. We are very happy to have you as part of MASL!         

    Please help spread the word of our organization. If you know of any new library staff, please encourage them to join us. 

    By being a part of  the MASL community, you are gaining many benefits that come with your membership. These perks include reduced rates on our professional development opportunities (including virtual and in-person events), advocacy tools, intellectual freedom resources, scholarships, and eligibility for MASL awards. We hope that you are able to utilize the many resources that your MASL membership provides! 

    As mentioned above, as part of your MASL membership, you receive a discount for our professional development opportunities. Please consider taking advantage of this perk and register for our upcoming event — Lawrence Alexander Dine and Discuss: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in Your School Library. This event will be held on October 27th at 4:30pm. While Mr. Alexander’s presentation is virtual, you can watch it live and in person with other educators at sites around the state. After the presentation, you’ll have a chance to debrief and discuss (with snacks!) with your small group. If you’d rather watch the presentation from home, there’s that option as well. Register today at the MASL member rate of $15!

    We hope your year is off to a great start! We are incredibly fortunate to have so many dedicated school library staff members, and we greatly appreciate all that you do for your school communities!   

    ~ Regan Parker, MASL Membership Chair

  • Wednesday, September 14, 2022 11:00 AM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)


    How are you celebrating Banned Books Week (running September 18-24) this year?

    Here’s a simple suggestion: share these infographics — bit.ly/FReadomME —with your colleagues, administrators, school board, and community members. It could be a great addition to your school’s newsletter!

    MASL members collaborated with multiple education organizations around the state to create this series of infographics for educational stakeholders last spring.

    Here is a suggested note you could include with the link to the infographics, adapted from MASL’s Intellectual Freedom page :

    Many school districts in Maine and across the country are seeing a rise in book challenges of library and classroom books, leaving educators and administrators to “defend” the books on the shelves. These challenges are about more than the content of the texts; they are attempts to silence and erase the truths and humanity of the books’ characters and creators. 

    The Maine Learning Results, approved by the Maine Legislature, articulate goals for all Maine students to be “a responsible and informed citizen” and “an integrated and informed thinker.” Access to, and choice of a wide range of reading material, are vital to developing perspectives and insights that prepare students for participation in a global society. All Americans, specifically young people in our educational institutions, are guaranteed access to information and ideas from various points of view under the Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment. Censorship is a danger to the ideals of our state and our nation.

    In response to the attacks on intellectual freedom and the rights of Maine students to freely access information, this joint statement and series of Intellectual Freedom Matters infographics were designed to support educational stakeholders in responding to book challenges and combating censorship. Access the complete statement, infographics, and other resources on Educate Maine’s website.

    ~ submitted by Karen Silverman, MASL Intellectual Freedom Board Chair

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