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News and Information

Please submit CTLA News and Info. to our Communications Secretary.

Our summer planning/strategy meeting is Friday, August 4 after Tech Talk/Googlepolooza event at 5:00. (Here are the Tech Talk/Googlepalooza event details.) Come by yourself if you're not attending the event. The event is at Walter Payton High School at 1034 N. Wells St., however, we may find another location for meeting. Please see our Schedule webpage for details.
Below are event photos from our recent meetings. To see highlights from our 2015-16 year and previous years, please view our Photos Pages.
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to jump down to our November, 2014 CTLA Position Statement for CPS libraries to be staffed with certified teacher-librarians. Comments are still welcome!

Below is our March 18 morning meeting at Peirce School of International Studies, 1423 W Bryn Mawr Ave. The Peirce teacher-librarian and CTLA member is Melanie Ferrand, and we met in her beautiful second floor library. Peirce has over 1000 students, so the library is well used and appreciated! Mel told us about her library flex schedule to best serve all classrooms on demand and how the school is one of few named for a woman. Tim Carlmark, Rainbow Books National Sales Manager, warmly welcomed us along with Linda Peterson, our Chicago Sales Rep. (Both are standing to the right.) Rainbow represents over 300 publishers, serves almost all 50 states with 68 reps, and is one of the top US distributors. They now stock 52 world languages and have their own binding equipment to reinforce paperbacks. They always provide free shelf-ready attached labels and shipping. Everyone received a goodie bag of four books in a tote bag. As shown, there was a delicious breakfast assortment with the flower arrangements raffled off. The guest author was Jeanette Joy (standing and facing audience), a naturalist with Morton Arboretum and local Park Districts. She read her book The Playground Tree with slides of each page. The book is also in spanish. Jeannette is working on another book about the joy of dandelions. She reminded us that kids love nature and want and need to be in it. Books can personify living things to help kids relate to their specialness. We need to remember their innocent and caring perspective. Conservation is about appreciation and preservation.
Follett September MeetingBelow is our February 25 morning meeting at Hanson Park Elementary School at 5411 W. Fullerton Ave. The Hanson Park teacher-librarians and CTLA members are Sandra Mesa and Alice Hadak, and their wonderful first floor library was our meeting spot. The meeting was graciously hosted by OverDrive and their two Chicago reps: Melissa Higey (standing) and Renee Lienhard (sitting to Melissa's left). They are pictured below giving a presentation on their extensive collection of ebooks and audiobooks. They focus only on this market and also serve Chicago Public Libraries. They spent plenty of time reviewing how to access their materials through SOAR at school and at home! Their contact info is located on our Schedule Page. Ordering is easy with the CPS Marketplace tool. They provided a full spread of Einstein Bros. Bagels treats and drinks! Dorsey Chambers came from the Dept. of Libraries to cover all the latest news and opportunities for libraries, such as the upcoming Battle of the Books competition.
Follett September MeetingBelow is our October 1 morning meeting (our kick-off September meeting) at Goethe Elementary School at 2236 N. Rockwell. The Goethe teacher-librarian and CTLA member is Marcia Mariscal, and her wonderful library was our meeting spot. The meeting was ably hosted by Follett School Solutions and their THREE Chicago reps: Tony Daniels (north section), Julie Zak (south section), and Kevin Weniger (central section)! They are all pictured below with Julie giving a presentation on ebooks. Follett offers over 300,000 ebooks from over 2,000 publishers, including many interactive features. Their new ebook product called Lightbox incorporates videos, Google Maps, worksheets, audio, quizzes, and approved links. Ebooks can be read aloud computer generated, digital audiobooks are also sold with professional narrators. They also showcased TitleWise, their free collection analysis tool with handy reports, and Titlewave, their comprehensive product portal including Curriculum Tags to explore a variety of genres, subjects and themes. Their contact info is located on our Schedule Page. Ordering is easy with the CPS Marketplace tool integrated with Titlewave carts. They provided a full spread of rolls plus cold and hot drinks along with tamales! In addition, everyone received some new Follett books plus some gently used books from Marge Fashing!
Follett September Meeting


February, 2015: We all mourn the very sad loss of Ann Adams, a very active and long-time CTLA member (Past President twice) and teacher-librarian at Christopher School and also Tilton School for almost 40 years. Ann was a tireless advocate of libraries and children. She has impacted thousands of children and many adults with her advocacy and passion for teaching and libraries. In addition, she was very active with the Girl Scouts and other organizations along with her beloved family. We paid tribute, shared remembrances, and honored the dear life of Ann at our meeting February 21 and her funeral on February 19. We love you Ann and will miss you forever!

November, 2014 Press Release regarding updated CTLA Position Statement on the need for CPS libraries to be staffed with certified teacher-librarians. Comments are still welcome! This was prepared by CTLA Members Marie Szyman (Immediate Past President) and Michael Saelens and reviewed at our October, 2014 meeting:

Chicago Public Schools Teacher-Librarians are specifically trained to select and curate a wide range of resources that are designed to meet the academic, professional and personal information needs of students and instructional staff. We believe that nurturing readers and information consumers and publishers who are critical thinkers about a wide range of topics and issues builds student capacities, provides additional instructional support for classroom teachers, and encourages thoughtful and responsible participation in a democratic society.

We specialize in teaching information literacy; the efficient, safe and responsible use of technology, and research skills that are critical in the development of "college and career ready" students in the 21st century.

With more than half of CPS schools not having a certified teacher-librarian working in their libraries, we are concerned that many of our students’ right to access, read and evaluate accurate and up-to-date information is seriously compromised.

DLIS Logo

Please regularly check the CPS Dept. of Libraries and Info. Services' wikispace for Dept. news, events, calendars, and on-going services and programs. As of Sept., 2008, the Dept. created this wiki "as a means to communicate, collaborate, and share ideas and information with our schools, CPS librarians, and the broader community." Check it out! Due to the levels of central office bureaucracy for approval and editing the CPS Dept. website, this Wikispace offers better targeted services, especially their document repository. Wikispace webpages include: Matching Grants, Collaboration Mini-Grants, Battle of the Books (both Elementary and H. S.), calendar, and much more! In addition, there are links to their on-line, subscription-based "Library Databases", their "Professional Library" computer catalog (maintained by CPS Network Library Coordinator Lisa Perez), and the SOAR library automation project (maintained by CPS Project Manager Christie Thomas). Note: The old CPS Dept. of Libraries and Info. Services' website is only on CPS Intranet as of April, 2009 or at home via connect.cps.edu portal. On their "Professional Development" page is a link to our CTLA website!

The CPS Librarians Listserv facilitates collaboration between librarians to share successful pedagogical information, literature-based discussions, news of upcoming events, technology-based applications, and evaluation of resources. The listserv is hosted by the University of Chicago eCUIP. Click here to join the listserv using your CPSmail address. If you don't want to receive e-mail, you may still stay informed by reading the archives of all the threaded postings at: http://lists.lib.uchicago.edu/pipermail/cpslibraries!


Spring, 2013: CTLA mourns the recent loss of Melva Bryant-Samuels (retired CPS Regional Librarian and Dept. Administrator) and Audrey Newman-Miles (active Media Specialist at Charles Henderson Academy).

April, 2011: Member Ethel Philpott highlighted the organization "Retired Teachers Association of Chicago" and their website: www.rtac.org for information about issues and support for CPS retired teachers. Member Irish Leo-Bain informed us of a website monitoring current Chicago issues, including education, with the new Emanuel administration with options for comments at www.chicago2011.org.

Sept., 2010: At our first meeting of the year, children's author and writing/reading advocate Cynthea Liu was our guest speaker as shown above and on our Photos Page. In particular, she presented a list: Contemporary Children’s and Teen Fiction Books Featuring People of Color Recommended by Authors of Contemporary Children’s and Teen Fiction Books Featuring People of Color. This list is featured on her website: cynthealiu.com on the book list page.


We regret to share the loss of Dr. June G. Pembroke, past President of CTLA 1992-1993 and adored member.  June passed on May 1, 2010 and was laid to rest on May 7.  June was retired as the librarian at Beasley and previously McCorkle. We dearly remember her for exemplary and superior service as a teacher-librarian. Please read her Sun-Times obituary stating: She was born in Springfield, OH the second daughter of Otis and Dorothy E. (Valentine) Greene. Dr. Pembroke was an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Women's Board of Bronzeville Children's Museum, and the Chicago Chapter Philander Smith Alumni. Dr. Pembroke was preceded in death by her husband, the late Rev. Dr. Maceo D. Pembroke Sr., former Senior Pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church (Chicago, IL).

Cards may be sent to the Pembroke Family:
c/o Maceo Pembroke
5300 S. Shore Dr., #62
Chicago, IL 60652

May her soul rest in heavenly and eternal peace!


K. C. Boyd, DLIS area librarian, gave us Dept. updates at our Sept. 26, 2009 meeting. The Professional Library materials catalog is on-line, along with all participating school libraries at: library.cps.k12.il.us... click on the "Professional Library" link on the left panel. Lisa Perez is the CPS Professional Librarian at 773-553-6212. The Professional Library is open 8:30-4:30 M-F and located in Room 218 at Medill Pro. Training Center. Please check out their website for details along with a copy of their brochure. Materials may be checked out for 30 working days, and extensions may be granted by Gerald Battle, Pro. Lib. Asst. Librarian. In addition, Gerald can send and receive materials through G. S. R. (mail run).

K. C. also mentioned CPS University, which tracks all professional development records and CPS PD Central, which lists all professional development courses. To sign on, use your regular user ID and password.

Finally, K. C. said that the Dept. will charter a free bus if there is enough interest to the ISLMA annual conference in Springfield leaving on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 29 and returning on Saturday evening, Oct. 31. Please reserve a space with DLIS administrative assistant Armando Reddick as soon as possiblie and put "Springfield" in the subject line or call 773-553-6210.


We mourn the loss of wonderful CTLA member Donna Kelly who died unexpectantly. She was a long-time librarian from Walt Disney Magnet School who retired just two years ago. As noted above, there will be a memorial celebration for the life of Donna at Sabatino's Restaurant at 4441 W. Irving Park Rd on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 from 4 to 7pm. There will be a designated time to share a fond memory, a gratitude, or a special quality of Donna. Individuals and groups are welcome to stay and make dinner arrangements downstairs at the restaurant. For more information, please call Kori Kubitz at 773-202-0955, who is graciously hosting this gathering. Thanks also to Rochelle Wooding for her coordination.


The Society of School Librarians International (SSLI) had its annual conference on October 14-16, 2009 in San Diego, California at the Hilton Gaslight Quarter. SSLI was organized as a national, independent school library association in October, 1985. "Its major goal is to speak singularly and forcefully for the unique needs of school librarians in the educational community" and to present annual book awards in seven categories. Members may join the corresponding seven Book Awards sub-committees and receive free book samples. Besides the SSLI website, CTLA members Lois Waiters at LWait61464@aol.com and Trudi Harris at kipepeo2@sbcglobal.net has been long-time SSLI ambassadors and may be contacted for details and arrangements. SSLI is located in Charleston, South Carolina, and their executive director is Jeannie Schwartz: 843-577-5351. Membership is $45 per year or $400 for lifetime.


We are very sad to report that Maude Muhammad, our Recording Secretary for the last six years and dear member for the last ten years, passed away on Friday, December 26, 2008. Maude had attended our December 13 meeting, as pictured at left, faithfully reading the minutes from the November meeting and then recording the December minutes. Her niece, Bonnie Hill, is a member and had assisted Maude this fall with taking minutes. Maude was especially close to Ann Adams, long-time member and past president, who together had grand plans to go to Barack Obama's January 20 inauguration festivities in Washington, D. C. Maude had retired in 2006 from Los Ninos Heros School as their teacher-librarian and previously worked at Dunne School.

Her funeral was Wednesday, December 31 at Cedar Park Cemetery Chapel at 12540 S. Halsted St., Calumet Park, IL. Visitation was at 11:00 am and the service at 12:00 noon. CTLA sent a flower arrangement, and President Annie Culverson attended the service joined by other members. Condolences may be sent to: 8301 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago, 60619-6505. Maude is survived by her husband Clifton Muhammad along with many extended family members. At our January meeting, we will have a tribute and moment of silence to remember and honor Maude's life and service.

May Maude's soul rest in heavenly peace with our gratitude and with prayers of eternal comfort.


Oct. 2008: Special Guest Speaker W. Nikola-Lisa informed us about Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator websites: www.scbwi.org and www.scbwi-illinois.org (Illinois chapter) Note: these sites have been added to our Links column to the left.

Sept. 2008: CPS Dept. of Libraries was awarded a major grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities last spring to provide every school with the "Picturing America" series. Delivery was scheduled by early September. As First Lady Laura Bush describes:

"Picturing America is composed of forty, carefully selected works of art spanning several centuries—all by American painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects. The NEH will distribute large, high-quality reproductions of these images, along with a teachers resource book, lesson plans, and materials, to schools and libraries nationwide. Including the newly unveiled website, PicturingAmerica.neh.gov, Picturing America's resources unlock the potential in each work of art to enhance the study of American history, social studies, language arts, literature, and civics.

Irish Leo-Bain (Librarian at Crane) found a supplemental website through ALA that matches a set of 22 books with this theme called "We The People Bookshelf". As a bonus, 4000 schools that apply (one-page) will be selected to receive this collection. Otherwise, please seek out these books from local sources.


Chicago Public Library - Teacher in the Library Program: The Teacher in the Library (TIL) program makes available after school homework help and guidance provided by caring, trained, accredited teachers who can address each child's individual needs. Serving children ages five and up, the Teacher in the Library program provides high quality, professional after-school homework help to Chicago's at-risk children and youth a half million times each school year. TILs explain homework assignments, suggest strategies for completing assignments, contact teachers, speak to parents and collaborate with Library staff. The TIL program currently operates in 38 branch libraries throughout the city. For more information, please contact the Branch Manager or Children’s Librarian.


CTLA mourns the loss on June 4, 2008 of our active and beloved member Nancy Volkman, teacher-librarian at Norwood Park Elementary School. Nancy served as an officer of CTLA in the past and also hosted a monthly meeting at her school library. Nancy had just renewed her membership for two years to show her enduring support of our association and her vocation. She had just attended our March and April meetings in good spirits as a tribute to her courageous will to keep learning and growing with her colleagues. We will dearly miss you Nancy! We bid you eternal peace and comfort! Thank you for being such a wonderful colleague, friend, and true professional through the years! Dr. William Meuer, principal of Norwood Park Elementary School, lovingly expressed his school's sorrow and gratitude with a note to his school community on June 4 (from their homepage's "Dr. Meuer's Notes..."):

It is with sadness that I share the news of the death of Mrs. Nancy Volkman, our school librarian. Mrs. Volkman passed away this morning after a courageous battle with brain cancer... Nancy Volkman was an outstanding librarian and was held in high regard by all of us, including the staff of the Department of Libraries for the Chicago Public Schools. During her fourteen-year tenure at Norwood Park, she was credited with building an exemplary library with a vast collection for students, staff and parents. Mrs. Volkman's particular talent was in matching each student's reading interests with "that perfect book" which would inspire and advance the student's love of reading. As a voracious reader herself, she possessed an invaluable knowledge of literature for both adults and children. As a school community, we owe Mrs. Volkman a huge debt of gratitude for our modern, up-to-date library which she created for all of us. Services for Mrs. Volkman were held at Piser Funeral Home, 9200 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, Illinois, on Friday, June 6th at 2:00 PM. The family invites students and parents to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to ENH [Evanston Northwestern Healthcare] Foundation, 1033 University Place, Suite 450, Evanston, Illinois 60201.


Ann Adams mentioned the Digital Wish website at the March 1, 2008 meeting where you can qualify to win up to 43 grants, plus the CPS "Free Things" website at our December 15 meeting. In addition, check out the CPS "Competitive Grants" website.

Marge Fashing, our Historian officer, related many wonderful information websites and a special poem during her "History Moment" at a past meeting-- click here to check it out. In tribute to our CHICAGO BEARS and their 2007 Super Bowl effort, Marge also compiled a reference sheet... check it out and GO BEARS!