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.

Madam Librarian...

And now for something completely different

This is going to be a post about a significant life change, so I’ll give you a second to buckle your seatbelt/put on your goggles/brace yourself in whatever manner you see fit. Just go ahead and continue reading when you’re ready.

Ready? OK. Here we go.

A long, long time ago, when Josh and I were wee college graduates just dipping our toes into the world of marriage and adulthood and career tracks, we talked about going to graduate school. Josh was confident in his plan – he wanted to get his Masters in Literature before he started teaching, and he had his acceptance letter in hand. I was considering different programs, mainly Literature and Library Science (and, for a hot minute, the Center for Cartoon Studies). Because I didn’t have a plan, and because we were broke newlyweds, we decided that I would work full-time while Josh was in school, and then I would take my turn after he finished.

look at those sweet, baby newlyweds
Just look at those sweet, baby newlyweds. Photo: The Schultzes

We moved to Asheville, and I hopped around to a couple of different jobs before landing at Earth Fare. Within three months, I was promoted from store employee to Web Manager – starting me in the direction of a career in web strategy, content, and digital marketing. I started out working for a great company, and each move I have made since signing on at Earth Fare has felt right and good – and yet there was always this mystery in my rearview mirror, the what if that I just couldn’t shake.

I’ve been at Providence Day School for three years, and I love it. Seriously. I’m young, but I was a serial job-hopper before I landed here, and now I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. I love the campus, I am amazed by the students, I seriously like the people I work with. And this spring, I posted a job to the school website that brought the mystery in my rearview mirror back into clear focus.

The job? Middle School Librarian.

As soon as I saw the request to post the job, I felt a pang of preemptive jealousy toward whoever landed in that position. My reaction honestly surprised me – I didn’t know how badly I wanted this until I saw the faintest glimmer of a chance that it might be available. After some serious soul-searching, sleep-losing, and talking with Josh, I decided to go for it. I put together a tumblr with a few of my initial ideas, submitted my letter of interest, and went through the interview process.

And I got the job.

Madam Librarian...
photo via

So, yes. Things are changing around here. Starting in August, I’m officially a librarian. I do want to start blogging again – but my content will probably have a more academic focus – think lesson ideas, book reviews, general commentary on libraries and librarian-y things, and reflection on my life as I finally pursue that Masters degree. Some things will stay the same – I’ll never stop posting Henry pictures. Some things will hopefully be brought back to life – looking at you, #ukulelewednesday. 

And mostly, I’ll be figuring things out as I go.

So I hope you’re with me! I think it’s going to be a fun ride. And if you or someone you know are a Charlotte local looking for work in the digital marketing field, drop me a line. I know a great place that’s hiring.

(PS – Just a housekeeping note – I’ve changed my blog URL to just www.corleymay.com, so if you’re following via feedly, bloglovin, or some other aggregator, you may need to adjust your feed settings. xoxo.)