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   Highlighted School Libraries
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Library Media Services is delighted to share some of the wonderful adventures students are having in libraries throughout the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Every month we highlight several elementary and/or secondary school libraries. This provides an opportunity for each to share some of the exciting activities occurring throughout the school year.

For the month of January Library, Media Services is pleased to announce that we have chosen to highlight the libraries at Ladd Elementary and West Valley High Schools.  Please scroll down and enjoy a brief look into these wonderful libraries. Afterwards, we invite you to peruse some of the helpful tools that Library Media Services has to offer, such as  Learning Links or Homework Help.

Please select a school:




Library Media Services would like to introduce the Library Associate at Ladd Elementary School, Joy Wohlman Boyce, and the library’s two aides, Laurie Kramer and Christina Martinez.  We will let Mrs. Boyce introduce herself and her library staff:

Hello! My name is Joy Wohlman Boyce and this is my second year at Ladd Elementary. I am very excited to announce that I just earned my MLIS from the University of Illinois this month (December 2016). I've been in school most of my life, so now I'm not sure what to do with myself. I think I'm going to join the Peace Choir with my daughter! Just like everyone else in Alaska, I love my dogs. I have a new pup-- a four-year-old Karelian Bear Dog named "Pakak." It means "one who gets into everything" in the Inupiat language. It's fitting. I spent the day after Christmas running through Freddie's parking lot after her. She jumped over my husband's shoulder and out the door. I think she will keep us very busy. Keats, my Karelian mix, is a little more mellow and works for food. I look forward to an exercise-filled new year with them! (And my husband.)

Laurie Kramer and Christina Martinez-- Ladd is so lucky to have these two ladies as part of its community. Both Laurie and Christina work as Aides, as well as Library Aides. They are well-loved throughout the school. They are very well-loved by me. Without them, the library would not be quite as neat or well organized. Laurie and Christina are both military wives with kids. They are incredible ladies!

Ladd Bulletin Board  

December Features

December was a an exciting month at Ladd.  During their visits to the library, students learned about Rosa Parks, Snow, and saying Thank you.  They also spent several days in the gym preparing for the school’s Winter Concert.  

Sixth graders at Ladd enjoy helping Mrs. Boyce and often volunteer to work in the library.  They decorate the bulletin boards, straightening up the library, and help prepare crafts for the younger children.

The Library Club has certainly taken off this year! Almost thirty children join Mrs. Boyce in the library during lunch. Many of them enjoy reading to the younger children, so Mrs. Boyce breaks them up into groups.  Some of the club members read, some sit at tables to help with crafts, some help check out, while others help put away books.

Ladd Students  

Ladd also had its Barnes & Noble Bookfair. It was an excellent event! The Library Club kids volunteered to do crafts, face paint, read stories, and wrap presents. These students and their families were fantastic! Mrs. Boyce feels very grateful to have such great families at Ladd!

Barnes & Noble Bookfair  

January Features

January is a busy month at Ladd Elementary School! Some of the world's best poets and authors were born the first week of January, so Mrs. Boyce is planning to do a mix of several fun activities.  J.R.R. Tolkien was born on the 2nd, and Jakob Grimm and Louis Braille were both born on January 4th.  Mrs. Boyce will read appropriate stories for each age group to go along with each of these dates. For Tolkien, she plans to have the older kids (5th and 6th graders) write sentences in the Rune alphabet from the story and/or create their own adventure map. Third and fourth graders will read Seven Blind Mice and make a bookmark with their names in braille. K-2nd grade will read the retelling of the Three Little Pigs, and then create a "What would you do to trick the wolf/pig?" poster.

The first hot air balloon in North America took flight on January 9th, 1793.  So, on January 7 each grade at Ladd took part in STEAM activities and read air balloon related stories.

The third week will celebrate the birth of A.A. Milne, so each grade will have age appropriate stories and activities.

The fourth week of January celebrates the first Winter Olympics in 1924, so each grade will partake in an activity or craft regarding ice skating, skiing, etc.

Finally, the fifth week begins with National Puzzle Day.

Upcoming Events

Ladd Library will be holding a Read-a-Thon fundraiser in conjunction with Read Across America and all of the sled dog races. Last year Hugh Neff, the 2016 winner of the Yukon Quest, visited Ladd Elementary. Mrs. Boyce is also going to try to make arrangements for another musher to visit the school this year and meet students.  

Ladd Students  

Ongoing Activities

Every week Library Club meets for various activities. This is a volunteer program that teaches children how to work in a library, but also how to do community services.

Veteran's Letter  

Additional Information

Sometime in the near future Mrs. Boyce would like to organize a "Human Checkout Day." This would be a fun experience where different people from the community, with various backgrounds, would spend the day at Ladd Elementary.  Students could then “check them out” like a book and listen to their stories.

For more information visit Ladd Library’s website. 



Library Media Services would like to introduce West Valley High’s Librarian, Cindy Apodaca, and the library’s two assistants, Cheryl Benedix and Kari Lovett.  Here is what they have to say:

Cindy Apodaca:

I am a non-military transplant to Alaska. My husband and I are originally from Alabama. He is a civil engineer who has worked in a multitude of places across the globe. We have grown children, while cats and dogs round out our household.

I have two degrees from the University of Alabama: a BS in Secondary Education with concentrations in English and history, and a Master's in Library Science. I began teaching in the classroom in 1987, and after 1991 I was primarily a school librarian, although I did go back to the classroom to teach English again. As a librarian, I have worked from PreK-college. High school is my preferred area. I have tutored athletes, worked with service clubs, sponsored the yearbook, and used my years working with high school students to push beyond my comfort levels.

My favorite activity is traveling. At one time I was fairly accomplished in crochet, but having three cats ended that hobby. When I start cooking, I remember how much I enjoyed it in the past. However, I don't enjoy it enough to start cooking on a regular basis once again.

I am a former member of the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama and avidly follow the Crimson Tide. I love my SEC TV and watching football games each fall. There is nothing better than meeting fellow Southerners and talking about growing up in the South.

This is my second year at West Valley High School. Each day I wake up thinking, "I get to go to work today," and never does it pass my mind that "I have to go to work today." I stay thrilled at the prospect of working with such a great student body, faculty, and administration.

Cheryl Benedix:

My family and I moved to Fairbanks in 2000 with the military. I began working for the school district doing part-time jobs until 2003, when a full-time opening at Arctic Light Elementary School became available. Much of my background education and experience had been in the areas of finance/accounting and early childhood development, so going into the library seemed a little odd at the time, but it was a foot in the door to something else, or so I thought.With both of my children in grade school at the time, I thought I would do this for a couple of years and move on. Well, 13 years later, I'm still here doing something I found I truly enjoy most of the time.

During the time I have been in Alaska, I have managed to finish my AA degree in General Business and earned a BBA degree in Business Management. These were two accomplishments or life choices I knew I needed to do later in life. A friend asked me why I wanted these degrees now that I was older and only had a few more years until retirement. I replied, "For me, to prove to myself that I could do it!" Although I love working in the library with all the staff and kiddos, finances, accounting, and taxes are awesome.

Some of the things I like to do when I am not in school or working are: woodworking, snow machining, taking time off to chill at our cabin in Central, Alaska, gardening, and my latest hobby...acrylic painting. I come from a family of painters. My grandfather, father, and oldest brother paint beautiful landscapes while my mother, little brother, daughters, and I love to draw. A year ago, a friend invited me to a painting class and I was hooked!

Kari Lovett:

I was born and raised in Anchorage, and lived off and on in Fairbanks for nearly a decade. Most recently I’ve spent two years in the village of Noorvik, in Northwest Alaska. I enjoy most outdoor activities including skiing, running, hiking, and berry picking. I have a strong background in math and science. I am excited to be in the library surrounded by a wide range of books and learning how to operate our technology systems. I have been impressed at the welcoming and knowledgeable library staff. I am looking forward to a great second semester.

West Valley was fortunate to have a library intern the first semester of school: Mrs. Michelle Proper. She completed an internship as part of her Master's in Library Media Services degree (MLS.)

WVH Library  

First Semester in the West Valley Library

The first semester was a very busy time at the WVHS Library.  There were many visitors and each day brought new questions and tasks. Throughout the school year library staff provide support in a multitude of areas: technology troubleshooting, Bring Your Own Device, and maintaining the calendar for tech carts and labs.  They also help with Reader’s Advisor, LibGuides, databases, resource lists, research skills, and often collaborate with staff on classroom and library lessons.  

Mrs. Benedix and Ms. Lovett supervise several Distance Delivery classes throughout the week, and Mrs. Apodaca is coaching the Academic Decathlon team this school year.  Mrs. Apodaca also enjoys visiting classrooms as a guest speaker and doing lessons on mental health, specific psychological disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome or other single gene diseases, author studies, and global studies on such topics as POW/MIAs, 9/11, World War I and II, and politics/political figures.  She is also available to lead literature discussions and assists with writing lessons.  Library staff can help teachers discover new resources or plan a lesson, as well as provide ideas for presenting material and helping with research topics.  Mrs. Apodaca encourages teachers to bring their classes to the library to take advantage of all the wonderful resources it has to offer. 

WVH Dr. Jangles  

The WVHS library also has a new television with cable access, which is a wonderful addition the already numerous resources that WVHS has to offer.  Students can now watch the news and special presentations.  Staff can also connect their computers to show PowerPoint presentations, student-produced media, and YouTube or Discovery Channel videos.  Mrs. Apodaca invites students and staff to visit the library and explore ways to use this new learning corner.

The last week of September was Banned Book Week and the American Library Association encourages all of its members to commemorate the right to read.  This year, WVHS Library placed titles in the glass case with quotes on the front covers.  The case was then “chained and padlocked.”  A jail was also created for the library’s mascot, Dr. Jangles, who was placed under arrest for reading banned books!  West Valley’s display drew much student attention and was written about in the Alaska School Library Association’s newsletter, The Puffin.

WVH Banned Books Display  

The WVHS Library hosted the Kids Vote event in November, a national voter education program committed to creating lifelong voting habits in children, increasing family communication about citizenship, and encouraging greater adult voter turnout. This event was a huge success thanks in large part to the school’s Global Studies department.

WVH Kids Voting poster   WVH Kids Voting Student
WVH Voting   WVH Voting poster

In celebration of Thanksgiving, the library had a "Thankfulness Tree."  Students and faculty were encouraged to attached leaves to the tree to share their blessings.

More information about West Valley Library’s first semester can be found in the following monthly newsletters:

WVH Christmas Tree
WVH Card Catalog   WVH Holiday Decore
WVH Hannukah display  

December Features

For the month of December the WVHS Library was decorated in themes of winter wonderlands, Christmas, and Hannukah. In previous years the library built a “Christmas tree” made entirely out of books, but this year the library staff decided to organize the books in such a way as to create a fireplace.  Then, a contest was held for students to judge the number of books that are in the display.  The two students who came closest to the actual number won gift cards.

WVH contest   WVH Book Fireplace
WVH fireplace  
December was a busy month with students completing projects and studying for their exams. The library received two shipments of new books and West Valley’s library intern, Michelle Proper, created a library book nook in the commons area during lunch so students could review new titles or be enticed by books that were easily available.
WVH staff  

Mrs. Apodaca also conducted a number of classes in December on databases, smart internet searching, and differentiating between real and fake news.  This is what Mrs. Apodaca has to say on the topic of fake news:

"Fake news is the story of the moment. News outlets have denounced the proliferation of outrageous 'news' primarily found on social media. It falls squarely on our shoulders to teach our students the difference between 'false' and 'real' news, the steps to differentiate between them, and how to investigate websites for legitimacy. Studies have shown that many Americans (not just teens or college students) cannot tell the difference between ads that appear within a Google search and websites related to their search term.

Databases and different search engines, not just Google, will provide other and frequently better information. The next time you need information, try Sweet Search as your search engine. It is designed for students in conjunction with Google, but it has fewer ads and far less 'rabbit holes' for you to chase."

WVH Bulletin Board  
WVH Holiday Decore WVH Dr. Jangles

January Features

As the second semester begins, the library will continue to add new books to the collection. Mrs. Apodaca is also expanding the number of activity spaces in the library. Students have access to exploration areas that have puzzles and brain teasers, chess, Chinese checkers, puzzles, tangrams and Osmo games.

WVH Students  

There are plans for the library to continue working with teachers on 21st century information skills, practicing the use of different search engines, how to conduct an advanced search, using databases more effectively, and learning software such as Canvas and Weebly.

WVH Students  

New Books

The West Valley Library is focusing on growing the hottest part of the collection: manga and graphic novels. This genre is approachable to students who struggle to read and it's just plain fun!

For the English department, a technology teaching tool, called Lightbox, has been obtained to assist in the study of some of our frequently assigned novels. This is a TitleWave product and more books of genres beyond literature are published every day. Students access LightBox resources through their phone or tablet and it provides additional information about the setting, characters, tone, and shows primary source material that backs up the plot.

WVH Dr. Jangles  

Additional Information

The cornerstone of a successful library program at West Valley is flexibility. The library staff’s goal is to support the students, teachers, and administration in the day to day operations of the school. Mrs. Apodaca, Mrs. Benedix, and Ms. Lovett often step into the breech to assist with teacher's and student's technology needs, provide supervision for students on free periods, and to encourage and guide students in their academic endeavors.

WVH Students  
Technology aides fall under the responsibility of the library. These are students who know about basic technology or are wanting to understand more about the school’s technology. Tech aides are available to provide assistance to teachers and students.
For more information visit West Valley Library’s website