Happy August! Welcome to a new year with TxASL Talks.

Happy August Everyone!
Welcome to a new year of the TxASL Talk blog.  We are excited to be joining you for a new year of sharing stories, information, and advocacy tips.  This year there are some changes coming to the TxASL Talk blog.  Since the TxASL Talks blog began in 2014 it has be run single-handedly by Dorcas Hand.  This year though, Dorcas will have an editorial board to help her.  The members of the editorial board include:

Dorcas Hand is a retired librarian of 38 years at all K-12 levels, 26 at her last school - plus 3 years as an elementary classroom teacher. Currently she works in advocacy efforts for AASL and TASL. As co-chair of the TASL Legislative and Advocacy Committee in 2014, she began to plan this TASLTalks blog which she has been editing ever since; she is thrilled to have an Editorial Team to join her now. She also co-leads Students Need Libraries in HISD, working to raise awareness on the HISD school board of what librarians could do for district student achievement. Check out her SNL Facebook page as well. Her personal advocacy website is StrongSchoolLibraries, and her Twitter handle is @handdtx.

Lucy Podmore is a high school librarian at Tom C. Clark High School in Northside ISD in San Antonio.  She is currently serving as secretary for TASL and has formerly served on the LoneStar Committee as both a reading member and administrative assistant. Lucy has presented at various district, state and national conferences on library tools and roles. She was named as TCEA’s Library Media Specialist of the Year for 2014-15. You can find Lucy on Twitter at @lupodmore where she co-moderates the Tuesday night Texas library chat #txlchat at 8pm central.

Sonja Schulz is a high school librarian at Nacogdoches High School in beautiful Nacogdoches, Texas. She is currently YART Councilor and Co-Chair for the Texas State Library Standards Revision Committee.  She has formerly served on many TLA committees, including the Lone Star Committee and the Spirit of Texas Middle School Committee, as well as serving as Secretary for District 8 and TASL Resolutions committee as both a member and Chair. She has presented at various district and state conferences on all things librarian and she is one of the moderators for the weekly librarian Twitter chat #txlchat.  You can find Sonja on Twitter @sonjaschulz.

Jacqueline Higginbotham is currently the media specialist at White Oak Middle School in New Caney ISD. She is the Incoming Chair for TALL Texans Round Table and serves on the TASL Legislative and Advocacy Committee. Jacqueline has been working in education since 2000 (and as a librarian since 2006) and is passionate about libraries and literacy. She knows that having a certified librarian on campus will lead to creating more lifelong readers, 21st century learners, and higher student achievement. You can find Jacqueline on Twitter @jhigg38.

Brooke King is the librarian at Atascocita Middle School in Humble ISD. She has been a librarian since 2008 and was an elementary language arts teacher for seven years before moving into the library. She is currently serving on the TASL Legislative and Advocacy Committee. Previously, she served as the webmaster/social media chair for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Program Committee. She has presented at local and state conferences on library programming. Brooke is a YA bookworm, library advocate, technology integrator, and passionate about personalized learning. Find her on Twitter @bookwormbrookek

Dr. Rebecca Novotny is currently the librarian at Hopper Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.  She has been a librarian for 10 years and before that she was a middle school English Language Arts teacher.  She is currently a Lead Middle School Librarian for the district.  She also is a Lead Librarian Mentor and participates on the district Destiny Training Team.  She has just completed her dissertation and has graduated with her Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University.  You can follow her on twitter at @msrnovotny.

Some other changes will include a renewed focus on advocacy for school librarians.  This year at the end of each post, there will be tips to help you incorporate advocacy into your practice.  We know that advocacy for our programs and professions is important, and we want to give you tools that will help you be the best advocate and leader that you can be.  We will also be grouping the blog posts into themes.  The themes will include:
-Campus and Good news
-Targeted Advocacy (Campus Admin, District Admin, School Board, and/or Elected Officials)
-Instructional Ideas
-Collaboration Ideas
-Legislative Information and/or Updates

This blog is for you and we want you to be a part of it.  We would love to hear your ideas for blog posts, who you would like to hear from, and what information you find most helpful.  As well as advocacy tips and probing questions with each of the blog posts, there will be a chance for you to comment.  We would like you to write posts for the blog as well.  Here is a link for the TxASL Talks Blog Submission form: http://tinyurl.com/TxASLTalks-submission   
We have created a set of guidelines for blog posts.  
Blog Guidelines:

-500-800 words long
-include a picture/graphic
-Ensure your article addresses one of the following topics:
  • Campus and Good news (Have you or your library been recognized? Have you been awarded a grant? Has an initiative been wildly successful?)
  • Targeted Advocacy (what ideas do you have or have used successfully to advocate your library to specific stakeholders: legislators, board members, principals, parents, teachers, students?)
  • Instructional/Programming ideas
  • Collaboration ideas (think campus based or community based)
  • Legislative information or updates

Everyone on the TxASL Talks blog editorial board is excited for the year and we hope that you like the changes that are coming to the blog.  We cannot wait for you to join us on this journey and we cannot wait to hear from you.

What topics would you like to see us discuss, even if you aren’t ready to write the post yourself?

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