#ReadYAlit discusses LGBTQ books for teens

LGBTQ Annotated Bibliography

I’m moderating #ReadYALit this Sunday at 8 pm CST where we’re discussing LGBTQ books for teens.

I don’t consider myself to be an expert in this genre- but know that’s important to add these titles to school library collections because I believe in the power of literature and connecting the right book with the right student (of any age)

Please join us to participate or to follow along live. Naomi Bates (@yabooksandmore) will post a storify of this chat here: http://yalovechat.wikispaces.com/

You can also sign-up to join be reminded through remind101 of this chat and all other #ReadYALit chats.

Q1 Why is it important to purchase/promote LGBTQ books in our schools/libraries?

Q2 What LGBTQ FICTION titles have your purchased/promoted?

Q3 What LGBTQ NON-FICTION titles have you purchased/promoted?

Q4 In what ways have your promoted LGBTQ books among teens?

Q5 When booktalking LGBTQ books, how do you feel about identifying LGBTQ characters or themes?

Q6 LGBTQ books continue to populate ALA’s Banned Books list. What can librarians do to prepare for/prevent a book challenge?

Q7 Any participants have any questions for the group?

Summer Book Club – #ReadYAlit -July 5


  #readYAlit  chat participants voted in a poll on June 7 and selected Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything for the first Summer Book Club title.

“Saint Anything is a poignant, honest story about how we might suffer the misfortune of someone else’s bad choices, how people who love us can become family when we desperately need it, and how starting over might – miraculously – mean taking a solid leap forward.” —Jodi Picoult

Read it and mark your calendars for July 5 at 8 PM CST. We look forward to a lively discussion and to choosing our August book!

YA Summer Book Club on Twitter – Kick-Off Sunday #readYAlit

Sunday, June 7
8 pm – 9 pm CST
Join Dayna Hart (@BookFin), Naomi Bates (@yabooksandmore) & Me (@DianeMankowski)

yalitchat summer

Question Preview
Take some photos of your summer stack and let’s talk YA summer reads!

Q1  What 1-2 books have you read recently that you would suggest to others as a “must” summer read?

Q2 Are there 1-2 books that you have been saving/looking forward to reading this summer?

Q3 What does your ideal spot to read a summer book like look?

Q4 What book would you take along to the beach?

Q5 What book would you take along on a road trip?

Q6 How have you encouraged summer reading among your students?

Which of these four Summer 2015 New Releases would you like to discuss on Sunday, July 5?

Please vote for our first Twitter YA Book Club Title!

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Links to Goodreads
A Court of Thrones & Roses by Sarah J. Maas
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

MakerSpace Planning Experiences – For Chicago Area H.S./M.S. Librarians

Tuesday, July 7 – 10 am – 2 pm RSVP (Link at top of post)

Glenbard South High School
23W200 Butterfield Rd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137


  • Google Hangout with MakerSpace Expert – Colleen Graves (TX) “How to Start MakerSpace Programing”
  • UpCycling Mini-Lesson with Erin Wyatt – Highland M.S. Libertyville
  • MakerSpace Model Lesson – TBD

COMPLETED: Tuesday, June 23 – 10 am – 2 pm  (RSVP Link at top of post)
Glenbard South High School LIBRARY
23W200 Butterfield Rd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Park in big lot by football field. Enter through Main Entrance (clearly marked by football field)

MakerSpaces –  Best Practices for Starting Out
Google Hangout- MakerSpace Expert – Laura Fleming, New Milford H.S. (10:30-11:15)

Google Hangout – MakerSpace Expert Diana Rendina-Stewart Middle Magnet School, Tampa, FL (11:15-12:00)

MakerSpace Start-Up – Interactive Experiences with these:  (12-2)

  • 3-D Printer
  • LittleBits
  • MakeyMakey
  • Sphero
  • Arduino Board

Summer MakerSpace Planning Experiences for MS/HS Librarians – Chicago Area –
Mark your Calendars  – DATES & AGENDAS ANNOUNCED
Come when you can! RSVP Here

Summer is such a great time to read, learn, think and plan.
Over 45 Chicago Area Teacher Librarians are currently signed up and interested in learning more about planning a  MakerSpace for their school library and with sharing ideas

Thursday, June 25  –  1 pm to 3 pm RSVP (Link at top of post)
Maker Lab Tour
There’s Room for 9 MORE People!
Check this confirmation spreadsheet to see if space is available!

Harold Washington Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605

Sign-up Here if you want to be added to my MakerSpace Planners email group for reminders.** Optional Read: Best Practices in Establishing a MakerSpace for Your School by Laura Fleming
$18.70 (Direct from Corwin Publishing w shipping to Chicago area

Summer Reading 2.0- Read What You Want & Tweet





In the library,  I’m celebrating and supporting my school’s READERS and using Twitter!*

Read What Your Want – Share on Twitter

I’m encouraging my Glenbard South H.S.  students to Tweet  their Reading Selfies and reviews to our library at

Students who don’t have or want a Twitter account can email me their reading selfies and mini-reviews to participate.

The first 100 students who check-out books for the summer will be given a summer reading tote bag. I ordered these online from 4imprint


Selected student/staff reviews will be posted in the stacks this Fall using these Shelfwiz Shelftalkers.

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Summer Library Hours- Summer Check-Out

For the first year, ever, I’m opening the library during the summer for check-out and I’m celebrating with a Summer Reading Tote Bag gift.

Summer check-out for current students begins Monday, June 1.
Current students can check-out up to 10 books at a time.

Special night for 8th grade graduates  enrolling at Glenbard South occurs on Tuesday, June 16 (3-7 pm) – after school is out
New students can check-out up to 5 books at a time.

I’m also planning on opening the library for all students several days throughout the summer to exchange their reading stash.

Teachers & Staff  can Tweet Too!

I’ll host a celebratory event with prizes for students and staff who tweet or email reviews, during the first week of school.

*Students enrolled in Honors/AP English courses still have summer work from the English Department.


Summer Reading 1.0

I loved the Summer Reading Program that our Summer Reading Committee ran for 6 years.

It gave each grade level a choice of 10 books.
Here’s a link to an OLD Summer Reading Page
It promoted YA Literature.
It culminated in small group discussions and not grades. After all, isn’t that what lifelong readers do? Talk about books.

Small groups of 15 or fewer students participated in 30 minute discussions during a Summer Reading Convo in August during the first week of school. What’s not to love about a special school schedule to promote reading?

Teachers from all curricular areas helped lead these reading discussions. Many volunteered…some I convinced.

A few parents, a few district administrators and local librarians volunteered too.

The last two  years, senior students volunteered to serve as discussion leaders.

Book List Selection Began in December
The 10 book list for each grade level was created using a grid that included a mystery, science-fiction, fantasy, chick-lit, sports, adult read, non-fiction, classic and we tried to include one lighter read. We also tried to find titles of varying reading abilities.

But, the rest of the administrative side was unwieldy and time-consuming.
Essentially, we organized a one period, one day master schedule for each student and the process began in early May.

Every English class received a 10 book booktalk in early May and English teachers collected choices for us.

8th Grade Visits
We’re not a unit district, so we visited our main sender school: Glen Crest Middle School and delivered booktalks. Their 8th grade teachers and school librarian graciously collected student choices for us.

Another middle school sent just 20% of their students to my high school. The 8th grade counselor helped us out there!

We contacted all ll other students by mail.

The Dreaded Spreadsheet
All these choices led to the 1400 student Excel Spreadsheet  For 5 years, Steph Wallace @librarianerd managed this spreadsheet and made it look easy. It wasn’t. When her job morphed into the Director of Instructional Technology and she had to focus on teacher tech. training, I took over this piece. Wow-it made me nervous. One wrong sort or added cell in the wrong spot and I might never recover the data. Fortunately, nothing went wrong, but it easily could have.

Discussion Questions Created & Emailed
We created or found discussion questions for every book and emailed them to each leader.

Student leaders were trained.

Summer Contact
We contacted students that enrolled in the summer or those that were absent in May needed by phone and again by mail.

When School Began
The spreadsheet was merged with current student data that incorporated their updated course schedule.

Any student missing a selection was assigned to a group, even if he/she hadn’t read.

Then, the 30 minute simultaneous book discussions could happen.


Letter to Penguin/Random House- Despise eBook Library Model

Dear Penguin/Random House Marketing Leadership,

 $15,000 spent on Overdrive eBooks at my High School in 2 1/2 years
$400 spent on Penguin/Random House ebook titles

I thought you might want to know that I (and others like me) despise the lending model that you have created at Overdrive.

I refuse to spend dollars on Penguin/Random House titles unless I know they will circulate heavily. So, I have purchased John Green titles and books that have been made into recent movies.

I tested a few titles last year and as they expired recently several circulated 1-3 times.

So, Harper Collins and publishers with the One Book/One User model that never expire, priced under $25,  get nearly all of my eBook Budget – $4K a year, plus.

As more schools roll out 1:1 and every student gets an iPad or laptop you can expect other schools with big eBook budgets to spend their money just like me.

I thought you might want to know and hope that you’ll make a change soon! Then, I’d gladly shift a large portion of my budget to your titles.

Also, please note that as a high school, I purchase as many Adult books as I do YA/Children’s Titles.


Diane Mankowski
Library Director
National Board Certified Teacher
Glenbard South High School, Glen Ellyn, IL

Blog: http://www.flippinglibrarian.com/
Twitter: @DianeMankowski

Currently Reading
Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton (ARC)
Brown Girl, Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodsen
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Updating a 1970’s Library – The 5 Year Plan

Most librarians will never experience a complete gut job, re-design of their library space. This post documents my library’s physical space updates over the past 5 years.


1970’s faded orange, bright orange and dark brown carpet squares covered the floors at Glenbard South for over 30 years, except for the three bright orange ones that were added after red punch stained during open house. I had been hoping for 10 years that new library carpeting would make it to the summer work list and finally, it did.


The administration needed to carve a resource room for lunch time tutoring out of a corner of the library and that was the decision that made new carpeting possible. Yay! Best of all, the library staff could choose from a wide range of samples. We chose a new carpet cut (rectangles instead of squares) and had them lay it in a herringbone pattern. This carpet was a blend of colors (navy, teal light teal, sandy brown). The summer project architect pushed for bordering areas. He wanted to box out areas of the library to match-up with the lighting he’d installed the year before. He said if we didn’t frame some areas out the library that it would look like a Vegas ballroom. We held firm with our “No” decision, feeling that all the library furniture and shelving would work better at creating spaces. I am ever so thankful that our Assistant Principal let us weigh-in and didn’t follow the architect’s recommendation. Our library spaces don’t correspond with the overhead lighting. Borders would have ridiculous and the randomized woven carpet fibers create enough of a pattern.


I also began ordering comfy armless vinyl chairs. I know some of you are remembering the red plastic shiny vinyl used in restaurants long ago. This vinyl is more like pleather- it’s soft, leather like, durable and easy to clean. I’ve added 8 chairs over 3 years, but I can’t take the credit for finding them. I must give a shout out to Kathy Krepps at Hinsdale Central High School because I saw and sat in these chairs when I visited her school. Though she had purchased the fully loaded version of the chairs with arms and a stowable desktop surface. I opted for the more cost effective option- no arms, no stowable desk-top surface. My plan was to order 8 more with arms this year to complete our comfy fiction seating, but those will have to wait, because different seating became a priority.

Jasper (JSI) Encore Lounge Chairs in Navy Laredo Vinyl.

D04714D7_1936X2592   TECH BAR

Our school launched 1:1 for our freshmen with iPads. So this summer I asked if our maintenance department could build a tech bar with charging stations right in the front of the library. I emptied low bookshelves to make way for it. Instead my Assistant Principal hired the same cabinet craftsman that built our updated circulation desk to build the tech bar because we loved the modern design with the new carpet. It looks AMAZING!


So, If your library looks like it was designed during the Brady Bunch era, my advice to you is to get ready.  Have a student centered vision, make a list, visit area libraries and think about what you could do over time. Then, start making requests and sharing your vision with building and district administrators. Your plan just might fit into a summertime construction project.


So, now that the library has new lighting, new carpeting, comfy seating, the fiction collection has been genre-fyed, and a tech bar has been installed, it’s time to sit-back and enjoy it, but not for too long. My big hope is that we can create a coffee shop in the library in the next 2 years and it’s time to organize and create a maker space!


YA Book Recs and a Cool Poster Making Tool

In just a few days, we’ll host our first Author Fest. Thank-you Anderson’s Bookshop! Here’s our line-up and these books are worth checking out!

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Lex Thomas – Quarantine Series
Lex  Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies write together as Lex Thomas.

When a teen test subject infected with a bio-terrorism virus escapes from the government’s testing facility, he takes refuge in a high school. That virus kills anyone past puberty and within 48 hours all the adults are dead and the school is on permanent lock-down by the national guard.

Good readers and reluctant readers will both LOVE this series!



Madeleine Kuderick
Kiss of Broken Glass

After a friend turns Kenna in for cutting herself in the bathroom at school, she is sent to a mandatory 72 hour psych hold at a facility where she must confront her illness. Told in free verse.

Fans of Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins will enjoy this dark, realistic tale.



Len Vlahos
The Scar Boys

At age 8, Harry is tied to a tree by bullies and left out during a storm. When the tree is struck by lightening, he’s burned, disfigured and winds up addicted to pain medication. Life gets better in middle school when he and a friend form a band-The Scar Boys. An amazing coming-of-age story with its heart in music that so deserved its starred SLJ review and all the other accolades. Read it!



Frank Portman
King Dork

This one has been out for a while, but re-read it because its sequel King Dork, Approximately will hit the shelves in November.

Hard to describe because so much happens…but it made me laugh and so in my new genre-fyed collection, it’s housed in HUMOR because students will find this book above all else, funny!

“When Tom discovers his deceased father’s copy of the Salinger classic, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll.”  -from the publisher


I also made this poster to promote the event using Canva.
It’s free and web-based. Check it out!

Thanks to @ MaryYockey at Crone Middle School for sharing this site with me.



Illinois’ Teen Readers Choice Book Award (Abe)

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Looking for some great YA reads?

I have chaired Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award Program for the past three years and volunteered on the selection committee several other years. This readers’ choice award is sponsored by the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA).

I am a YA Lit Lover and Book Pusher, a term I was introduced to by my friends at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville.

Some of my favorites are on this list and though Divergent and Fault in Our Stars were likely list toppers from last year’s list, I’m  not so sure when all the student votes are tallied which of these will be at the top of the heap come March 2015.

Here’s the 2015 Abe Lincoln High School Book Award List

Here’s a link to a PDF of all the author’s  and titles for this year’s list.

  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
  • The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • DJ Rising by Love Maia
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Hardin
  • Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
  • The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Sheperd
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Stolen by Lucy Christopher
  • Swim the Fly by Don Calame
  • The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • Unbroken by Laura Hildenbrand
  • Winger by Andrew Smith