April Vlogging Challenge – #VEDA is on!

VEDA 2016

What’s VEDA, you ask? Well, it’s an acronym that stands for Vlog Every Day (in) April (or August – but for the purposes of this librarian and her blog, it’s April).

Why VEDA? Great question. Let’s talk it out:

  • Vlogging can be a great way to build dynamic relationships with your network of peers across the globe.
  • Vlogging is also an engaging way to hold an online conversation.
  • Video blogs can showcase your personality in a way that traditional blog posts just can’t.
  • A lot of people are interested in vlogging but held back by their own insecurity or discomfort being on camera – VEDA is a great way to crack through that initial awkwardness to make vlogging a regular, comfortable part of your digital life.
  • All skills are improved with practice. By the end of a month of vlogging, you’ll have your own style and workflow down to an exact science.
  • It’s fun!

So, are you in? Here’s what to do next:

  • Set up your YouTube account if you haven’t already
  • Reference the Google Calendar (below) for video ideas
  • Share your videos on twitter (#VEDA), facebook, or however you feel comfortable
  • Leave a comment here so I can check out your videos!

I’ve attempted VEDA in the past, and while I had fun, I didn’t complete the challenge – mainly due to laziness and lack of planning. So this time around, I’ve done what I can to set myself (and you) up for success.

Here’s a prompt list in Google Calendar form – all you have to do is add this to your own calendar (or just print it out) and you’ve got at least one suggestion for each day of VEDA. Knowing myself and knowing how my weekends tend to go, I’ve saved Saturday and Sunday for some low-key regular weekly features. I already (try to) post weekly Book of the Week videos on Fridays, so I left those in the rotation. I’ll add some brainstorming questions to each daily prompt to help you get started with what to focus on for each video.

The important thing is just to have fun and interact with your community online!

So, what’s the word? Are you in on VEDA this April?


Book of the Week: Salt to the Sea

So here’s what I’m thinking this week:

    • I’ve got a backlog of Book of the Week videos to vlog about, and Salt to the Sea was not my scheduled book for today…but once I finished it, I knew I needed to talk about it ASAP, so here we are.
    • We experienced a power outage at school this week, thanks to some strong weather in the area. With wifi down, we librarians had no choice but to find a spot of sunlight and do what we do best – read. By the end of the day, I was over halfway through Salt to the Sea and fully hooked. I had to leave at a VERY suspenseful part of the plot, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I thought about this book until I could get back to it the next day. I think you’ll be just as hooked if you pick this one up to read.
    • It felt good to record another video! I’ve been seeing the 25 Bookish Facts About Me videos going around, and I think I’ll probably record my own soon. I’ve really enjoyed the ones I’ve watched, and the “quiz” format reminds me of the AIM profile I spent so much time curating when I was in middle school. If you’ve written or vlogged your own 25 facts, leave me a link!
    • I was heartbroken to hear about Harper Lee’s passing last week. To Kill a Mockingbird is my all-time favorite book, and I think the wisdom left to us by Harper during her time here is a beautiful legacy. In her honor, I added a new quote to my office windows.
Harper Lee window quote

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think.”

That’s all for this week. The plan is to be back next week with another video. If you’re interested in seeing what I’ve been reading, you can always check out my Goodreads page. As always, thanks for reading!

Catching Up!

It’s been a while! Since I last posted, here’s what’s been going on:

  • I found out I’m pregnant! I’m due with a little boy in mid-June (perfect school timing, right?). I actually found out a couple of weeks before I went to Ohio for AASL – which should explain why I slept through all of the evening social activities and ordered the same meal for dinner three nights in a row. If you missed my AASL recap video, you can watch that here.
  • Winter break happened. Those two glorious weeks were full of family, food, and no work. Just the way it should be.
  • I came down with what can only be described as THE PLAGUE. It was horrible, it lasted forever, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I’m better now.
  • I ordered a bunch of the books from the 2015 Nerdies (thanks, Nerdy Book Club!) for our library. This blog is a great resource if you’re looking for a little inspiration in building your collection! I’m really looking forward to reading the books he lists in this post: Ten 2016 Books That I Think Are Pretty Great
  • Finally, at long last, I started filming Book of the Week again! You can check out the two most recent videos below:

I’m excited to be back in the swing of writing and recording for the new year. I’m hoping to continue to develop this blog into both a personal project and a professional sounding board – and I’m always open to suggestions!

Thanks for reading!

AASL 2015 Recap!

Last week, I made my way to Columbus, OH for the National American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Conference. I brought my camera along and made a vlog along the way – check it out below!

If you want a closer look at the sketchnotes I took, you can view them all on twitter. Did you attend the conference? What did you think?

Book of the Week: Young Man With Camera

In the moments after I finished Young Man With Camera by Emil Sher, I was pretty sure I didn’t like it. No justice? No moment of vindication? No settling of the score? What?! Incomplete, and therefore not satisfying.

After some reflection, though, I came around. Yes, the story ends on a dissonant chord, and I would have preferred that things line up harmoniously. But that’s not always life, is it? And while I did feel that the stakes in this book were a little (ok, astronomically) high compared to the typical middle-school social scene, I can appreciate that sometimes, the ending isn’t happy — or even really an ending at all.

I’m still adding people to my #AASL15 twitter list, so if you’re attending, be sure to drop me a line at @corleymay and I’ll make sure you’re included. I’m so exciting about meeting and learning from so many new people!

One thing I read and loved this week was the latest comic from Zen Pencils on Wonder and Excitement. Be sure to check it out here.

Have a great week, and remember that “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”


Book of the Week: Serafina and the Black Cloak

The triumphant return!

A few weeks ago, my camera (among other random things) was stolen from my car. I know! Such a bummer! So I apologize for the lag between BOTW videos, but I’ve got a new camera now and I’m back in the game. Woo!

In just a few short weeks, I’ll be en route to my very first ever Librarian conference – the American Association of School Librarians conference, to be exact. I’m so excited to dive in and meet new friends as I learn about my new job from the varied and valuable viewpoints of experts in the field. Two sessions I’m really looking forward to are the talk on Inspiring Heroes for Our World from the Harry Potter Alliance and the session on Community Literacy Outreach from the inspirational group at Books on Bikes. I’ve also heard rumors that there might be karaoke involved somewhere?  Always a bonus. Always.

In my total nerded-out enthusiasm, I’ve created an #AASL2015 twitter list where I’m following the people I’ve seen tweet about attending the conference. If you’re attending and want to follow the list, you can find it here. And if you’re attending and want to be added, send me a tweet (@corleymay) and we’ll make it happen!

Have a great week, and keep an eye out for any spooky, cloaked baddies skulking in basements and around corners.

Book of the Week: Lost in the Sun

Watch to find out what I thought of Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff. Here’s a spoiler-free emoji review:

A few other things I found interesting this week:

 • Like so many others, I was heartbroken and outraged to see the photos of the little boy who drowned trying to emigrate from Syria with his family. I also felt entirely helpless, until I saw Rainbow Rowell tweet this:

According to this Guardian article, “[author] Patrick Ness collected more than £60,000 in less than five hours after tweeting that he had to do “something to help this refugee crisis” and pledging to match the first £10,000 in donations to an appeal for the charity Save the Children.

Fellow authors John Green, Derek Landy and Jojo Moyes joined him, also pledging to match donations to the tune of £10,000 each.”

More authors have signed on to match donations as the day has gone on. I’m thankful to and inspired by these authors who are reflecting the light from their own spotlights onto this situation which so desperately deserves our attention. And I’m thankful to Rainbow Rowell for using the words “small” and “tangible,” which is exactly what I was searching for as I tried to think of ways that I could help.

• I really enjoyed this post about the dark side of nursery rhymes. It would be an interesting (and yes, admittedly bleak) project to have students right modern day rhymes for the tragedies, diseases, and injustices of this century.

• I can’t stop listening to the latest album from Natalie Prass. She’s like a folk-pop-Snow White, and she couldn’t be more up my alley if she tried.

That’s it for this week. Have a happy Friday! Interested in getting these weekly updates emailed straight to you? Sign up here!

Book of the Week: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

Watch the video above to hear what I thought of The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins. Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

On the buttoned-down island of Here, all is well. By which we mean: orderly, neat, contained and, moreover, beardless.

Or at least it is until one famous day, when Dave, bald but for a single hair, finds himself assailed by a terrifying, unstoppable… monster*!

Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what, most importantly, are they going to do with Dave?

The first book from a new leading light of UK comics, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is an off-beat fable worthy of Roald Dahl. It is about life, death and the meaning of beards.

(*We mean a gigantic beard, basically.)

A few other things I found interesting this week:

  • Kate Baer’s Curated Tweets [Volume 2] had me cracking up at my desk today. There are so many clever people in this world.
  • I’m Glad No One Tweeted My #PlaneBreakup Experience
    The world laughed along as Kelly Keegan tweeted out a couple’s disastrous uncoupling at 39,000 feet, but what does it say about us that we get so much joy from the public humiliation (and often public shaming) of others. I really appreciated this reminder from Bethany  Mandel to grant one another a little kindness when we happen to witness someone having a terrible day.
  • Librarians on Bikes Are Delivering Books and WiFi to Kids in “Book Deserts”
    This is just cool, and it makes me feel very proud of my fellow librarians. (I still get a thrill when I refer to myself as a librarian. Dream job all day.)

That’s it for this week. Have a happy Friday!

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Book of the Week: The Crossover

Watch the video above to hear what I thought of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

A few other things I found interesting this week:

  • Theft, Lies, and Facebook Video 
    Hank Green (of vlogbrothers fame) makes some very important points about Facebook as a video platform. It’s an important reminder to think about who created all of those videos that are autoplaying as you scroll through your feed – often, the person gaining likes and shares is NOT the person who worked hard to create the content. As the PDS Digital Compass reminds us, it’s important to Credit Others. (You can read more about our Digital Citizenship initiative on the One2World blog.)

This little review+roundup is going to be a weekly feature, so if you have a title you’d like to see reviewed or an article to share, please leave me a comment!

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Middle School Magic and Mystery


This morning, I officially started my first school year as a Middle School Librarian.

We’ve been working since last week, meeting as a whole faculty and in smaller teams, discussing protocol and personality.  I brainstormed with faculty members and set up my office. I met my Advisee students and put together Back to School goodie bags that 6th-grade-Corley would have FREAKED OUT over. I shelved books. I straightened my area.

I am totally prepared.

Also, not at all prepared.

There is such a crackling excitement in the air. I’ve been at PDS for three years now, so I’m used to the Back to School buzz. But this is my first year as a member of faculty, and everything is different on this side of the fence.

I always loved decorating my notebooks and book covers with white-out pens and inside-out paper bags. Last week, I tapped into those skills as I trimmed paper and used an expert combination of glue sticks, cotton balls, and the classic dye-cut paper letters to make my first bulletin board. I browsed the shelves to curate books to match my theme – Middle School Magic and Mystery.

This morning, as I wove my way through the suddenly crowded halls, protecting my coffee from backpacks and other hazards (priorities), I felt a sense of excitement and anticipation that I haven’t felt since my own first day of sixth grade (no need to say how many years ago). I can so clearly remember approaching my school with my new backpack and oversize Keroppi t-shirt (so cool), wondering if anyone would like me or beat me up or if everyone would ignore me entirely.

Middle School truly is a time of magic and mystery. By May, we will all have changed so much. We’ll spend this year learning, growing, and adapting as we grow into our new Middle School selves.

It’s the first day of Middle School all over again, and I know it’s going to be a great year.