Library Ties

“Tie”ing together my thoughts on school library media programs, technology, and education

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Ireland/Scotland – Day 1

July 9th, 2013 by Carl Harvey

The trip started off kind of like a previous adventure….our flight out of Indianapolis was delayed. We boarded the flight and then were told we had about a 30 minute delay before take off. We learned something new that if someone wants off the plane, they have to take them back to the gate. We had one gentlemen who wanted to do that. I’d like to think he had a really good reason, but who knows. Anyway, taking him back meant we were delayed even more. We finally took off and landed in Philadelphia just about the time we were to take off. So, running through another airport (just like I did in O’Hare when we went to China). Our flight landed in Terminal F and we had to get to Terminal A. It was a long haul including a shuttle ride. But, luckily they held the plane and we took off about 30 minutes later than scheduled. It made for quite a start, but it all worked out in the end.

We landed in Shannon, Ireland about 3:40am Indianapolis time, 8:40am Shannon time, so we’re off and ready to go for the first day. I did manage a little sleep on the flight, so hopefully that was enough to get me through the day.


We met our tour guide Brian at the airport. Brian teaches music during the winter months. I think he’s going to be a great tour guide. From Shannon, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher. Oh my….they were absolutely breathtaking. I believe Brian said they were 668 feet tall from the sea. Not sure the pictures will do them justice, but they were just breathtaking. The weather here today is not what we had expected. They are having bright sunshine and the high will reach the mid-80s.



We had lunch in the little cafe inside the visitor center which worked out pretty well. It was nice to get a cold coke since I had been sweating so much from walking along the cliffs. We spent about 2 hours at the Cliffs, but headed off next to Galway.

At Galway we met a teacher at Holy Trinity Girls National School named Niabh and she gave us a little bit of info. on the Irish Educational System. We had a lovely conversation comparing the two systems. They have no central offices or district set-up like we do. Each school is “sponsored” by the community or the church. All their funding comes from the Department of Education. Every child is guaranteed one free year of preschool before starting primary school. They have 2 hours a week on religion education. In most schools, that is connected to the patron or sponsor, but in what they call Education Together schools, they focus on all types of religions. They only do standardized testing every other year. After our conversation, I popped down to their library just to see what it looked liked. School was out for the year, so it was so nice of Niabh to be willing to talk with us.


From there we headed to Killarney. It is about a 3 hour bus ride from Galway, so most of us enjoyed the scenery as well as took a little nap. We are still pretty tired from the overnight flight over.

We ate a nice dinner in the hotel and are enjoying some beverages in the bar. Unfortunately there is no a/c in the hotel, so we’re all melting. I guess normally it is no big deal….but with their temps today it has been a little hot.

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July 7th, 2013 by Carl Harvey

This is the part of the summer I love most….for the last three summers I’ve been lucky enough to venture overseas as part of the C.L.A.S.S. professional development trips.  This summer we’re off to Ireland/Scotland tomorrow.  It should be a wonderful adventure and as always I hope to do a daily travelogue here.  Of course, whether it gets up each day will depend on wifi access in the hotels, but hopefully every day or two I’ll be able to get it load.  Looking forward to sharing the adventure.

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Catching Up…..Common Ground, Wrapping up AASL Past-President Term, and other Blogs…

July 7th, 2013 by Carl Harvey

This blog posts intention is to play a little catch-up.


Let’s see, since last I was on here it was February. Good grief…where does the time go?

I had one last AASL Presidential Visit to the Common Ground conference in Baltimore, Maryland in April. This is a group effort of lots of associations including the Maryland Association of School Librarians. I had the pleasure to talk about AASL and did a couple of sessions on professional development and elementary research.

Thanks to my pal, Jay Bansbach, I also got to take in a Baltimore Orioles baseball game which was a lot of fun.

It was a quick trip, but it was a great conference.


As of this week, I officially wrapped up my term on the AASL Board of Directors finishing out my term as Immediate Past-President. It was an amazing experience and one I will always treasure. I can’t even begin to describe all the opportunities I had for learning and growing over the last three years. Thanks you to the AASL membership for their trust in me and for all the many, many volunteers and AASL staff that were instrumental during my time at the helm. Susan Ballard now moves to my role as Immediate Past-President and Gail Dickinson is our new AASL President, so the association is in great hands. Here is a picture of some of the Past-Presidents (1 current and 1 future President, too!) who were at the inaugural brunch this year.

Cassandra Barnett, Terri Grief, Gail Dickinson, J. Linda Williams, Fran Roscello, Carl Harvey, Susan Ballard, Barbara Stripling, and Sara Kelly Johns

Cassandra Barnett, Terri Grief, Gail Dickinson, J. Linda Williams, Fran Roscello, Carl Harvey, Susan Ballard, Barbara Stripling, and Sara Kelly Johns


While I’ve been neglecting this blog, I have been posting. As I mentioned in February, I’ve been writing for the Follett Blog once a month. I had intended to post monthly links, but alas…..

Anyway, here were the posts since Feburary:

March – Memories
April – Is Anyone Available to Help in the Library?
May – Our EDU Breakfast Club
June – See you at ALA.

With it now being summer and my professional plate a little less empty, perhaps I’ll get back to writing more on here more often…..we’ll see! :)

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New Opportunities….

February 27th, 2013 by Carl Harvey

I’m going to be spending a little time blogging for Follett Software….about once a month is the current plan.  While I won’t replicate the posts on Library Ties, I will post a link for those that are interested.  You can read the February post here.

Happy Wednesday!

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February 25th, 2013 by Carl Harvey

This summer the C.L.A.S.S  Professional Development trip is schedule to go to Scotland/Ireland.  I’ve written posts on this blog about our past trips to China and Italy.   The registration deadline closes on Thursday, and we are still looking for 5 more friends to sign up.

You can click HERE to get all the details about costs, dates, etc.

The past trips have been amazing trips, so I have no doubt Scotland/Ireland will be just as wonderful.

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January 26th, 2013 by Carl Harvey

Where to begin…..I guess I’ve let this blog sit way too long without posting. I could give you a laundry list of excuses and reasons why I am behind on it, but really other things just got in the way. Currently I’m in the air writing this (but took me a couple of days to finish and get posted) flying somewhere over Montana on my way to Seattle and ALA Midwinter. So, stuck in an airplane with uninterrupted time to work/write/etc gives one a chance to catch up a bit. I’m pretty sure I’ll forget somethings and likely it will be when I get back home in Indiana before I am able to get the images in, but I thought I should at least try to get back into a routine.

So, let’s see….AASL Past-President.

As of July 1st, I am now the Immediate Past-President of AASL. I loved my experience as President and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but I have to admit now being Past-President for the last 6 months I’ve enjoyed a slightly slower pace.

My conference visits this fall have included: The Arkansas Association of School Librarian’s conference in Eureka Springs, AR and the Ohio Education Library Media Association in Sandusky, OH. Both were great conferences. In Arkansas I got a chance to meet author Kimberly Willis Holt who is just a riot, and Erin O’Shea who is the President-Elect of ArASL. We were talking so much on the drive to the hotel that we got lost! It is a wonderful group of librarians. In Ohio, it was much like old home week for me. While this was my first OELMA conference, it was great seeing so many friends and colleagues I had met while I was President of AIME (not AISLE) in Indiana. Not to mention one of their keynoters was the amazing Kristin Fontichario who I always learn something from every time I talk with her! :)

I also squeezed in the Indiana Library Federation conference as well as a quick trip to Chicago for the AASL Exec. Committee Meeting in October.

There have been a few other things, too….

The other highlight of being AASL Past-President was I got the opportunity to be on the I Love My Librarian selection committee. What a refreshing joy it was to read all the nominations by teachers, principals, patrons, trustees, faculty members, etc. who loved the librarian in their public, school, or academic librarian. In late December, I traveled to New York to the award ceremony where I met the 10 folks we selected and was just in awe of the amazing things they do.

I still have the first half of 2013 as Immediate Past-President, so I’m not done yet. I’ll be traveling to Maryland for a conference event and other little odds and ends before my term ends at the end of ALA Annual this summer.

The other major accomplishment professionally this fall has been the release of my 4th book – Adult Learners: Professional Development and School Librarians. It is alway so thrilling to see all the work you put into a project come together in the final product. I had thought there might be a lull before I start another project, but a colleague of mine are co-writing the next book and if we can keep on schedule, it might be out by the fall of 2013….so, keep your fingers crossed it all comes together.

I know there are countless things I could have written about or posted this fall, but maybe a break was just what I needed. We’ll see how things go this semester and hope to continue to post on this blog — and hopefully a little more often. We shall see how it goes…..

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AASL President Update #4

July 2nd, 2012 by Carl Harvey

Fourth Quarter Report

This is my 4th and final update of my activities as AASL President.   My term officially ended on June 30, 2012.  It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as your President!   This last update covers May and June.


  • My last Presidential visit was to New York.  I visited the SLMS conference in Binghamton, NY on May 3rd-5th.   This was a great group to visit and I enjoyed their conference.  As always I met wonderful school librarians and loved several of the sessions I attended.
  • The main event for this time period was the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.  Much of the time was spent working on prepping for the conference – board agendas, program details, etc.  A summary of the Board’s actions will be out soon in “For the Record,” a special email newslettersent to every AASL member. Some other highlights:
    • AASL President’s Program – I had the opportunity to provide a brief update of the year’s activities to the members as well as enjoy Lori Takeuchi’s presentation about social media and young children.  You can check out some of what she shared from the Joan Cooney Center –
    • The release of the 2012 AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning which brought the total list in the last 4 years to 100 websites –
    • Our annual luncheon to recognize the AASL Award winners was an absolutely hit.  Author Carmen Agra Deedy had us all in stitches as she shared her new book.  The award winners were also amazing in telling their stories.  It is wonderful to have an event celebrating the great things happening in school libraries across the country.
    • I also enjoyed visiting AASL’s Affiliate Assembly meetings.  This group is something that makes AASL unique in our structure, and the connections between the national organization and our affiliates are an amazing opportunity for collaboration and communication.


Board Votes:

  • Prior to Midwinter:
    • Approved to sponsor a resolution at ALA Council written by the ALA School Library Task Force.
  • Approved to signing on to a letter to Congress by the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) regarding cuts to nondefense discretionary funds.
    • Approved supporting the concepts of Professional Learning Communities.
    • Approved the Position Statement on School Library Supervisors.
  • Items from the three Board meetings at ALA Annual Conference will be available in  “For the Record” which should be out soon.

Press Interviews:

  • I did not have any interviews during this time due to my travel out of the country, but Susan Ballard, AASL President-Elect, had a few interviews to comment about the FCC issue that arose in early in June.

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Italy Adventures – Day #7 & #8

June 13th, 2012 by Carl Harvey

This morning we got up a bit earlier than we had been as we had to be on the bus by 7:30am. Rome traffic can be something of a zoo. Not to mention I can’t even imagine trying to drive in it, but we had an 8:30am appointment at the Vatican, so we didn’t want to be late. We headed off and met our guide Francisco who gave us a very informative tour of the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

We started with the museum. Francisco led us out to a beautiful courtyard where he could tell us all about Michelangelo’s work. There is no talking in the Sistine Chapel, so the guides have to talk about it before you enter. The work was amazing and what is even more amazing about the ceiling is that was his first painting ever. He had worked mostly with other medium for art, carving, etc. The ceiling represents his impression of Genesis. The sides of the chapel were actually painted when the chapel opened originally as a private chapel for the Pope and I’ll have to look up when I get home who painted those. (Brain overload at this point!) Then 25+ years later he returned and painted the front with the last judgment. Apparently the lack of clothing on the virgin Mary and Jesus was quite scandalously at the time, but no one was willing to tell Michelangelo he had to change it. He did whatever he wanted. So, after his death clothing was added later. We weren’t allowed to take photos in the chapel either because a Japanese television station actually owns the copyright until 2020. This was the trade off for them paying for the complete cleaning of the room that took almost 18 years. During this process they discovered the images were much brighter than anyone amazing.

Following his talk, we walked through the Vatican to the chapel. Along the way we saw beautiful pieces of Roman art/sculpture. An entire room of amazing hand-made tapestries, and finally to the chapel. It was breathtaking. As Francisco said, he was a genius!

From the Chapel we headed out into St. Peter’s Basilica. This is a beautiful church and the largest Catholic Church in the world (by decree of the Pope!). It is built on the burial place of St. Peter who is buried under the church along with many other Popes. Apparently that is very hard to get to them as they only allow 100 down to the crypt a day. However, there are many buried on the church level as well such as John Paul II. There was amazing art work, a wedding going on, and it was full of people. From there, we headed out to St. Peter’s Square. We met at the obelisk which was taken from Egypt and marks the place where St. Peter was killed. We found out the light we saw on in the apartment of the Pope was his dining room and so meant he was just up and working or eating or meeting! :)

From there it was time for lunch and shopping. We found some more treasures and had a nice relaxing lunch. It was good to have some extra free time.

After lunch, there were options. Many of us went to see the Catacombs, while others went off to do their own thing. I opted for the catacombs. They were just amazing to think hundreds of years ago this was how the Christians were laid to rest. There were 4 levels underground. Many Popes and other important people as well as countless slaves, etc. were buried in this particular catacomb. At the time of its rediscovery in the 1800s, 90% of them had been broken into….assuming the people were buried with treasures, which of course was not the case. The Pope’s and other important people were moved to other places and 90% of the tombs are now empty. There are fragments of the marble or stones that covered them, so you can figure out some of names and what they did, but most have been ruined. This was another place we couldn’t take pictures.

From here, we headed the Pantheon. This is the oldest structure left in Rome. We saw it the other night, but we didn’t have time to go inside. So, we headed inside where we say the graves of the first Kings of Rome as well as the artist Raphael. Then we spent a little more time shopping, wandering around, and just taking in the city. It was amazing. Dinner was down a little road where we got some pizza, some appetizer (that I admit I didn’t know what they were and didn’t try) and ended with our last bit of gelato. Our leader Jim had made our tour guide Anna a beautiful neckless on a domino and we all signed a card of thanks for leading us on. It was a wonderful way to end the evening.

Back to the hotel, packing up (whew….it all fit!), and then we chatted in the lobby for a while. Went to bed as we had to be up early for the drive to the airport. We went through a ton of security lines only to find our plane was delayed an hour or so, which means we’ll be back to Indy later than we thought. But, it was an amazing trip. I loved every second of if….wonder where we might go next???

Waiting to board the last flight home (just had a Burger King cheeseburger! Yum!). No time to get pictures in, so will add those maybe tomorrow!

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Italy Adventures – Day #6

June 11th, 2012 by Carl Harvey

I woke up a bit early today, so going to try and catch up with the blog post about yesterday that I missed.

We got up a bit later which was nice for the extra sleep. After breakfast (I’m really missing an American type breakfast at this point!), we boarded the bus and headed to the University.

(again apologies for the tilting picture)

Rome has three public universities and we were at the 3rd one. They are so named based on when they were started. We spent the morning with a professor and talked about the American and Italian education systems. We noted that we experienced many of the same problems. The pressures of standardized testing, student engagement, parental involvement, etc. Students talked about the difficulties in landing jobs and the very low salaries that teachers make in Italy. In their high schools instead of the students moving classes, the teachers move from room to room. They only teach for about 18-20 hours a week….usually just in the morning. School is out in the afternoon. They go about 20 more days that we do in the U.S. so about 200 days a year. It was a wonderful discussion and we appreciated all their time and the tour of the university.

(picture of their library)

From there we boarded the bus and headed to lunch. We stopped near the Colosseum for lunch. It was a breathtaking view from our restaurant….although we had to “rush” so we could get to our guided tour on time. I had another cheeseburger which tasted pretty good….the french fries were the best!


We took this group shot out side the Colosseum before our tour. Then we headed in the Colosseum. Build in 79 BC, it is one of the oldest surviving structures. It was amazing to hear the story and the amount of thought that went into building and designing it. We heard stories of the gladiators and the slaves and all the people and animals that worked and fought in the Colosseum. It obviously was not a happy place for those doing all that work, but provided entertainment for the masses. The morning was scheduled with animal fights, the mid-day was scheduled with executions, and the the afternoon (when more people could come) was the gladiators. It was very bloody and very violent.

I can’t tell you how many pictures I took, but it was a lot. Here are just a few.




From there we got a guided tour of the Forum which was the main part of the town. We saw where they cremated the remains of Julius Ceasar and got a glimpse into the early houses and what life was like in the early Roman era. They are obviously still digging and looking for more information, but it was amazing to think how long some of these fragments of marble and columns had lasted.


After that we headed to the spanish step area for a break. I didn’t get any pictures because at that point I was wiped out. We got a Coca-Cola and some water and that helped. I ate a little dinner (turkey, salad, and terra massou (got to remember to check the spelling on that one)), but I was not feeling well for a bit. I seem to kind of snap out of it after dinner, although my stomach is still not completely normal….I don’t think. Anyway, following dinner we headed out on a little walk to see some of Rome lighted up at night. It was much cooler, so that helped. (Although the weather has been beautiful our entire trip – upper 70s to right around 80). We walked to the Roman Pantheon which is the oldest structure in Roman. Amazing!


Then we went to the fountain (whose name escapes me at the moment) where we threw a coin over our left shoulder with our right hand as a guarantee we return to Rome someday.



After that we got back on the bus and we drove around looking at more of Rome lighted up. It is just amazing that around every corner and every turn there was so much to see and these ancient piece and parts just showed up in the most interesting places. Our last stop was a chance to get off the bus and take a few pictures of St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. We are visiting it tomorrow for the tour of the Sistine Chapel and the museum. But, the nighttime views were amazing. We think the light on the window signifies the Pope is home.



We got back to the hotel and just crashed. We had an early wake-up call to be ready to head to the Vatican and be there on time. So, guess I better finish getting ready and head down to breakfast. Ciao!

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Italy Adventures – Day #5

June 10th, 2012 by Carl Harvey

Today we got up at a decent time, ate breakfast in Florence, and then headed to the bus. A good part of our day today was bus riding. Something my stomach has not enjoyed, but nevertheless we had to get to Rome! It is about 6 hours from Florence to Rome, but we stopped halfway through in Assisi – home to the patron saint of Italy, St. Francis.

First stop was a ceramic factory which is the craft they are famous for in this area along with their olive oils. I’ll be honest, I didn’t quiet understand most of the demonstration. It was fun wandering through the shop, but I refrained from any purchases this time around.


From there were drove to the center of the city. It was a beautiful area. High up on a hill, we had a breathtaking view of the countryside. The winding streets were just beautiful and we all commented how much we liked this Italian city. We started out with a couple of hours for free time which was marvelous. We stopped at a little restaurant and I got a cheeseburger. Not quite what I would have at home, but still it was nice for some from home. My stomach needed a little break.


Following lunch, we had a little time for some shopping as we wandered the streets. We loved all the alleys and alcoves we found, too.


From there we headed as a group to go through St. Francis’s Basilica. Prior to that we got a brief history from Michael (who originally was from Pennsylvania) on St. Francis and the church. St. Francis died in 1226. In 1230, he was buried on the mountain 15 feet into the heavy stone mountain. The lower church was built on top of his grave with the alter set right above it. Following that, the upper church was built on top of it and that, too, has the alter in the exact spot of St. Francis’s grave. Many centuries later, they began to dig under the lower church and built the crypt so that visitors today can see the stone sarcophagus of St. Francis. All of the rooms were filled with ancient frescos which were just amazing to see. Obviously, photos weren’t allowed and they enforced a strict silence in all three levels of the church. Below is a picture of me outside the church.


After about 4 hours total in Assisi, we had to board the bus for the rest of the journey to Rome, but many of us would have been happy if we had more time. Maybe a reason to come back someday?
For the rest of the bus ride, Anna, played the movie Roman Holiday. With the sun/glare and my heavy eyelids, I didn’t see all of it. So, may need to rent that one once I get home.

We checked into the hotel and headed to dinner. We had a great time, sharing, laughing, and talking as always. Even the chef came out to party with us a bit as I think he liked being the center of attention. I had some pork chops with some prishutto (spelling – ?) on top of it which was good and the teramasso (spelling -?) was amazing.


Originally we were going to do a night tour of Rome, but everyone was worn out. So, we’ve pushed that back until tomorrow night. We see the University, Coliseum, and Forum tomorrow! Should be a lot of fun!

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