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MSLA Podcast

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The official podcast of the Massachusetts School Library Asssociation.
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MSLA Conference '23

MSLA PodcastMay 22, 2023

MSLA Conference '23
May 22, 202346:02
Project SLIDE: The School Librarian Investigation—Decline or Evolution?

Project SLIDE: The School Librarian Investigation—Decline or Evolution?

“I think the dirty little secret here is that parents are assuming that kids have access to libraries and school librarians and districts are not telling them otherwise, but the data speaks for itself,” says Project SLIDE Director Debra E. Kachel, a faculty member at the School Library Media Endorsement Program at Antioch University Seattle. She joins us from Pennsylvania along with SLIDE Principal Investigator Dr. Keith Curry Lance, a consultant at the RSL Research Group, joining us from Colorado. Co-host Deeth Ellis is the Head Librarian at Boston Latin School and a doctoral student at Simmons University who volunteered on Project SLIDE. Deeth joins Luke for a look at data and possible avenues for addressing uneven development and equity around school librarians in Massachusetts. We begin with background and a discussion of the health of data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics, and move into Massachusetts-specific elements of the study and resources to access them, and, finally, possibilities for advocacy. We hope the episode provides some talking points for you in your district, and use the links below for additional context:

Project SLIDE website

Project SLIDE Massachusetts Data

Deeth's Academic Column on SLIDE (MSLA Forum)

National Center for Education Statistics 

Why school librarians matter: What years of research tell us: When schools have high-quality library programs and librarians who share their expertise with the entire school community, student achievement gets a boost Apr. 2018, Phi Delta Kappan (Vol. 99, Issue 7)

The Sower: Interview with Keith Curry Lance, 2007, SLJ

May 06, 202301:17:58
Triage: Libraries and School Refusal and Reluctance

Triage: Libraries and School Refusal and Reluctance

School is stressful for kids and adults and the phenomenon of school refusal, which is often caused by that stress, is nothing new. But has it been kicking up more dust in our post-lock down educational rebound? What can libraries do? Well, we discuss relationships and collaboration as a way forward with Ariel Dagan, from Tri County Regional Vocational Technical High school in Franklin; Bonnie McBride, Fenway High School in Boston; and Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School. What do we mean by triage? How can books help? How are libraries complicit in refusal? Listen and find the balance...


Sign up for the MSLA Conference here!

Sparks, Sarah D. "Addressing the Link Between Anxiety, Depression, and Student Attendance." Education Week, vol. 42, no. 11, 26 Oct. 2022, p. NA. Gale In Context: Biography, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition program (BRYT)

Laura’s Little Green News and here is the link to the October 2022 issue.

Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile.

The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America by Saket Soni

Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard

Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution by Uri Levine

24/6: Giving Up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection by Tiffany Shlain

Tiffany Schlain “Dear Student” (YouTube video)

Moonflower by Kacen Callender

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

Feb 23, 202301:02:51
Supporting Independent Reading

Supporting Independent Reading

For 2023’s first episode, we discuss independent reading and school library support. Joining the pod are Nancy Stenberg, who is the librarian at Dorman Elementary School in Springfield; Sarah Murphy, Kennedy Middle School librarian in Natick; and Laura Harrington, the high school librarian in North Andover. Independent reading and school libraries is a vast topic, connecting to many things we all do everyday, yet the culmination of Emily Hanford’s reporting into the Sold a Story podcast and Wayne D'Orio's recent SLJ article, which outlines the scope of the problem and how some libraries are responding, has put it back into the spotlight.

Media discussed:

Brian Selznick Wonderstruck Brian Selnick The Invention of Hugo Cabret Pam Smy, Thornhill Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate series Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X Jason Reynolds & Jason Griffin, Ain’t Burned all the Bright Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down Jason Reynolds & Danica Novgorodoff, Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel Laura's Article "Independent Reading: One Town's Process to Support Choice" Brenna Maloney, Buzzkill: A Wild Wander Through the Weird and Threatened World of Bugs Pierre Bayard, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read Deborah Moyer, The Readers’ Advisory Handbook

Laura is Reading:

Carolyn Hays, A Girlhood: A Letter to My Transgender Daughter Book by Carolyn Hays Tracy Deonn, Bloodmarked

Nancy is reading:

Kwame Alexander, illus. by Dare Coulter, An American Story

Sarah is reading:

Rebecca Caprara, Worst-Case Collin Christina Lauren, The Honey-Don't List

Jan 22, 202346:29
“How can we build this culture every day:” Ariel Dagan and Vocational Media Literacy

“How can we build this culture every day:” Ariel Dagan and Vocational Media Literacy

Nov 11, 202248:57
MCTBA Minicast 5: Friendship
Aug 26, 202216:38
“The space they deserve:” PA Shaw’s Summer Makespace

“The space they deserve:” PA Shaw’s Summer Makespace

Morgan Keohane secured a maker space for her library at PA Shaw Elementary in Dorchester. Heart of America provided the grant and the volunteer-led upgrades went in this June. Before it happened, Morgan came on to discuss the grant process, how she plans to apply the new resources to her Guided Inquiry Design curriculum next year, and what the maker space means for a culturally responsive educational institution.

Heart of America on Facebook (check the photos) 

PA Shaw Library

Books Discussed:

The Promise of Access, Daniel Greene

The Wild Robot, Peter Brown

Violet the Pilot, by Steve Breen

The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague, by Julia Finley Mosca, illus. by Daniel Rieley

How to Code a Sandcastle, by Josh Funk

Tek the Modern Caveboy, by Patrick McDonnell

Doll-E 2.0, by Shanda McCloskey

Unplugged, by Steve Antony

Minx, HBO comedy

The Sopranos, HBO drama

Normal People, Sally Rooney

Jul 20, 202251:02
MCTBA Minicast 4: Social Justice

MCTBA Minicast 4: Social Justice

Titles Discussed:

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, by Ibram X. Kendi & Jason Reynolds

Punching the Air, by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

Jul 04, 202215:02
MTCBA Minicast 3: Culturally Responsive History

MTCBA Minicast 3: Culturally Responsive History

Ella and Westwood Public Library Teen Services Librarian Felicia O’Keefe discuss two culturally relevant, timely books dealing with the mid-20th century.

Visit or email the 'cast at

Titles Discussed:

Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown, by Steve Sheinkin

We Are Not Free, by Traci Chee

Jul 01, 202217:00
MTCBA MiniCast 2: Family Culture

MTCBA MiniCast 2: Family Culture

Our second installment of the MA Teen Choice Book Award hype: Reba talks Elizabteth Acevedo and Bonnie, Jennifer de Leon. The theme of this ep is family culture. Enjoy!

Titles Discussed:

Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, by Jennifer de Leon

Jun 07, 202215:15
“They Don’t Call It The Library”: On Decentralization
Jun 01, 202254:26
MTCBA MiniCast 1: “Books like this can be such a lifeline…”

MTCBA MiniCast 1: “Books like this can be such a lifeline…”

Episode one of our MA Teen Choice Book Award previews features Suzanne Larson, committee chair and Seekonk High School Librarian; Joanna Correa, Haverhill Public Library Youth Services Department Head; and Wendy MacArthur, a recent SLIS Grad. The theme is "LGBTQ kids figuring out who they are" and each episode (there will be NINE more!) will focus on a different theme. Listen up, put em’ hold, and encourage your students to VOTE.

Visit the MA Teen Choice Book Award Site here.

Titles Discussed:

Cemetery Boys, by Aiden Thomas

The Magic Fish, by Trung Le Nguyen

Flamer, by Mike Curato

May 24, 202219:39
The Patsy-Cast: A Conversation With a Legend!

The Patsy-Cast: A Conversation With a Legend!

Patsy Divver, Millis Middle School-High School Library Teacher, who was awarded the Judy Paradis Memorial Service Grant this year, talks about her beginnings in libraries, her philosophies and approach, and what she’s leaving behind for the students at her school. Anyone who has talked to Patsy knows she's a dedicated, empathetic colleague, and Ella and I had a good time talking with her.

Books mentioned:

Things You Save in a Fire: A Novel by Katherine Center

Out of My Mind, Out of My Heart, and Blended by Sharon Draper

Other Words for Home, Jasmine Warga

You Should See Me in a Crown Novel by Leah Johnson

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Unnatural Resources by Mindy Uhrlaub

May 16, 202254:07
Live at the MSLA Conference, 2022

Live at the MSLA Conference, 2022

with Rachel Bouhanda.

Apr 08, 202251:13
MASS Teen Choice Book Award
Mar 16, 202240:06
“We’re the Only Us”: Year Two of the Virtual Conference
Mar 04, 202230:04
Discussing Dewey
Nov 20, 202101:02:57
Climate Prep Week

Climate Prep Week

In sharing our conversation with Gardner, Ella and I hope to dispel some of the anxiety you might be feeling about... well... climate anxiety. But also, anxiety about scheduling something around Climate Preparedness Week, which runs annually from Sept. 24th to 30th. Gardner is a tireless advocate for this issue, and she discusses resources, programming ideas, and how climate change is, for some, still discussed as an abstract concept. With her students at Dartmouth Middle School, Gardner uses the curriculum to move past concepts into action and service.

Initiatives discussed:

CREW and Climate Prep Week, Climate Reality, 10 Questions for Young Changemakers, the Democratic Knowledge Project, Climate Cafes, Break Free from Plastic, Sunrise Movement, Cli-Fi, “State AG settles with New Bedford bus company over allegations of excessive idling at schools”

Books discussed:

How to Change Everything: A Young Human's Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other, Naomi Klein Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field Series), Loree Griffin Burns The Wisdom of Tress, Lita Judge One Small Hop, Madelyn Rosenberg Life As We Knew It, Susan Beth Pfeffer Dry by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline Ashfall, Mike Mullin Good Neighbors, Sarah Langan Lights out in Lincoln Woods, Geoff Rodkey The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin Octavia Butler
Sep 20, 202139:41
Getting Graphic with Liza

Getting Graphic with Liza

Liza Halley is Library Teacher at Plympton Elementary School in Waltham, MA, who not only believes graphic novels are great-- but essential. In collaboration with Plympton Elementary’s visual art teachers, Liza is developing an “Art of the Comic'' class. Join us for a conversation about how literacy is-- crucially-- more than just about words on the page.

Liza on Twitter: @LizaLitDiva

Liza on Insta: lizahalley08

Media discussed:

Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz Go with the Flow by Lily Williams, Karen Schneemann Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed Run: Book One (Run #1) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, L. Fury Beowulf by Santiago García, David Rubín, Javier Olivares The Tempest by William Shakespeare Erin Hunter’s Warriors series adaptations of Clifford the Big Red Dog and The Magic Treehouse Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Margarita Engle Gareth Hinds The Flintstones by Mark Russell Howard the Duck by Chip Zdarsky Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto Yotsuba by Kiyohiko Azuma Yuzu the Pet Vet by Mingo Ito Under the Cottonwood Tree: El Susto de la Curandera by Paul Meyer, Carlos Meyer, Margaret Hardy Factory Summers by Guy DeLisle Vanni: A Family's Struggle Through the Sri Lankan Conflict by Benjamin Dix, Lindsay Pollock Agatha Christie's Poirot (ITV show) One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston How the Word is Passed by Clint Hill The Runaway Princess by Johan Troïanowski Pity Party by Kathleen Lane

Sep 09, 202151:19
Hey Barb.
Jun 08, 202148:07
In Conversation: MSLA President Elect Jen Varney
Jun 01, 202142:23