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Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES SLS

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ROARs are published several times a month during the school year and emailed to the library staff in our districts, who may then distribute them to their school communities. We maintain this archive for historical purposes, and these articles are not being updated. 

If you have an idea for a ROAR topic, please contact any of the SLS staff members

SLS ROARs 2019-2020



                                                                    New Ways to Break Out! 

Looking for a hands-on, creative experience for your students? Take another look at Breakout EDU! We have 7 circulating Breakout EDU kits for our school libraries, which come with full access* to the Breakout game platform

Breakout games have always supported the incredibly important 4Cs (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity). These skills are vital for students of all ages and are the foundation of the escape room-style experience. Read more about how Breakout can support the 4Cs as well as SEL (Social Emotional Learning):




But how can Breakout games relate to classroom learning, you ask? Well, Breakout has been working hard to revamp their game collection and add hundreds of games with clear alignment to curriculum. Don’t worry- the games are still (rigorous) fun- but you will now find more clear references to learning standards. This presents a perfect opportunity for collaboration between librarians and classroom teachers!




In addition to the physical Breakout kits, there are many digital games in the game library. While the digital games do not provide the same kind of immersive experience as the physical games, there are benefits to incorporating digital games. More students can participate when you are not limited by the number of physical lock boxes, there is no set-up involved, and it is easy to provide different experiences to students within the same room. You can also try a hybrid of physical and digital for the best of both worlds. Don’t forget, you can create your own custom games (physical and digital) within the Breakout platform!


With the power of the Breakout platform, you can also empower your students to be game creators. Breakout has resources to support your growing game designers (and you!), including a game design course made for students. Students can create games for each other to play, in groups or individually. Once students are experiencing games both as designers and players, watch the engagement and motivation grow!



Ready to play? Try this digital game:



If you have any questions about using Breakout, please contact Lindsay Neumire.


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.

*Access to the Breakout EDU platform is provided by SLS to librarians only. Feel free to share individual games with teachers as you collaborate, but please do not share the platform login. Thank you!




NBC Learn
The newest video streaming service from Monroe 2 BOCES

From the latest headlines (yesterday’s announcement of impeachment proceedings) to full episodes from the NBC news vault (a Meet the Press interview from 1960 with Dr. King about sit-in strikes), NBC Learn combines the best of their news coverage with video content geared to your curriculum.


To get to NBC Learn, log in to the BOCES Media Portal and click the NBC Learn logo. (You can also do a keyword search in the portal itself to see video results from all our providers in one place.)


Use the search function or browse the Collections on the left to find a topic you’re interested in. There are 3 primary kinds of content on NBC Learn.


Current Events: Content is added daily to this area and videos are sorted by month and year. These videos will also appear in their related curriculum areas.


Made for the Classroom: NBC partners with government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations to produce many of these series. The newest offerings include We the People, a tour of the Constitution; Discovering You, interviews with a diverse array of engineers about how they got started in their fields; and Science of NFL Football, which uses sports to teach concepts like the Pythagorean Theorem or Newton’s laws.


News Archives: There’s a wealth of historical footage on the site—both from early TV news broadcasts and pre-TV newsreels—and it’s embedded in the curriculum area collections. To find it, choose your subject area and drill down through the subtopics until you get to a screen with the menu option below. Select to view clips by air date in ascending order, and you’ll quickly uncover the oldest content.



With any video you can:

ü  Save it to a playlist. (These playlists live on NBC Learn. If you want to build a playlist that pulls titles from any of BOCES’ streaming services, you can do that in the Media Portal.)

ü  Write notes for yourself or your students about the video.

ü  Clip the video to make a customized version that focuses your students’ attention on only what you want them to see.

ü  Download it to a standalone NBC Video Offline app, which you’ll need to install on your computer. This eliminates any concern about playback speeds or buffering when you’re ready to show the video in class.

ü  View the standards your video is aligned to. Please note that Current Events videos may not be linked to the relevant standards for a couple of months after they’ve aired.

ü  Read a transcript of the video.

ü  Read related free articles from Newsela (where students can choose the reading level that’s best for them).

ü  Find a list of keywords linked to the video to help you easily find other related videos


All videos are captioned in English and come with a complete transcript. In addition, all Made for the Classroom videos created since 2015 have the option of captioning in Spanish.


Caveat: The Share button on the site won’t work for us. To share a video via an email link or to send it to Google Classroom or OneDrive, you’ll need to find the video in the Media Portal and do your sharing there.


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.


Regional Cooperation  

A Five Systems Refresher


As the new school year gets going and routines settle into place, it’s a good time to review best practices for resource sharing across the region.


1.      Check your account every day. You should be receiving email notifications whenever a request is made through the system, but it never hurts to quickly log in to Five Systems itself to see.

2.      We have updated user emails in Five Systems if there’s been a staff change at our schools, but you want to reconsider how your account is set up. Some schools have a generic, shared email address (cchs-ill) set up through the district or a site like Gmail, while others use that of a staff member. Contact the Library Automation Team if you’d like help changing your setup.

3.      When choosing a library to borrow from, please select a Monroe 2 school first, and then try one in Monroe 1. This will reduce transportation times and get your books to you more quickly.

4.      When you return a book to the lending library, be sure to mark its status as “Send Back” to complete your end of the transaction. We’ve seen a number of loans left hanging and it’s unclear to staff exactly where the book should be.

5.      When checking out an ILL to one of your patrons, you’ll need to create a temporary record in Destiny. Scan the lending library’s barcode and that will prompt the system to create the temporary record. Type in the book’s title in all caps; in the author field, enter the borrower’s name and the lending library. This will help you quickly distinguish between ILLs and local books on overdue notices and reports. (This tip comes from MaryAnne Walker in Gates Chili.)

6.      Contact the Library Automation Team to have Randy or Patti come out to your school for additional training on Five Systems or World Cat.


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.


Britannica LaunchPacks
Thematic content sets for the K-12 classroom



Britannica did it so you don’t have to.

Whether you’re looking for curriculum resources to lay the groundwork for a new unit or for an extension opportunity for students who have finished their assigned work and are hungry for more, LaunchPacks from Britannica are content bundles that deserve your attention.

These bundles offer topic-based collections of articles, videos, images, websites, and primary sources that have been curated by Britannica editors and are linked to curriculum standards.

To get started, click either of the subject area logos above, select your grade range and a topic you teach. A middle school search for scientific classification (sample results below) yields 8 different LaunchPacks with nearly 90 articles, videos and images. Articles are available in up to 3 reading levels, giving you an easy way to differentiate content for all learners. The articles have many of the same features as Britannica School’s online encyclopedia, including a read-aloud function, translation via Google Translate, and digital highlighting and note-taking.

Videos in the content sets can be viewed on the spot or downloaded for later use; and all resources include complete citations for students to use in their bibliographies.





If you find a LaunchPack that’s just okay but doesn’t suit all your needs … just customize it. Think of these as a jumping-off point; you can make them even better by adding or deleting content, including your own notes and directions. If you can’t find anything on a topic you teach, you can ask Britannica to create one for you. Under the site’s Help menu, a Request a New Pack link lets you give Britannica’s editors information about the topic and which standards you want to address, and they’ll create a custom pack for you within two business days.                                                        

                    Many articles are available in elementary, middle and high school reading levels. No matter which level is featured in the LaunchPack (here it’s middle school), readers can choose their own level once they open the article.           


You can export LaunchPacks to Google Classroom, or use Britannica’s own online learning environment. As a teacher you can create a personal account, create a class, and invite your students. This lets you assign activities and monitor their progress. Once you’ve got your personal account set up, you can also pull in any articles from Britannica Online and place them in a LaunchPack.

Britannica offers a wealth of supporting resources to make it easy to incorporate a LaunchPack into your curriculum. Their Help section provides detailed notes about setting up classes, scheduling and customizing LaunchPacks, and taking advantage of the site’s many tools. In addition, promotional and classroom materials like fact sheets and graphic organizers are available at

This year-long trial of Britannica LaunchPacks is available courtesy of the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES School Library System.

Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.


The Search for MARC Records

Using Alliance Plus and Z39.50 Sources



We’re all happiest when we type an ISBN into Destiny’s Add Title screen and up pops the perfect record. Even better when that record has a red house icon meaning that it already exists in your catalog and all you have to do is add the copy record.



When there’s no existing record, the next best thing is when there’s an Alliance Plus icon. It’s like seeing the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval (does anyone else still know what that is?) and knowing that you’re getting a detailed and vetted record. Click Save to add the title record to your catalog and then add your own copy details.



In the absence of a red house or an A+, you’ll find yourself facing the lightning bolt icon of the Z39.50 sources. A little explanation first: Z39.50 is a communications protocol that lets databases share information, in this case MARC records.

All of your Destiny catalogs have been linked to a number of different Z39.50 sources, including the Library of Congress, WorldCat, public libraries like NYPL, library consortia and a few others that specialize in Canadian titles or books in Spanish or French.

When you search for MARC records in Destiny, these are the ones it presents last—and for good reason. Any library can set up its catalog to be a Z39.50 site; that doesn’t mean their records are perfect, only that they’re willing to share. When you’ve struck out with the other icons and are looking at the Z-sources, you’ll likely have several to choose from. Compare the accuracy and completeness of the choices before downloading one. I would pay particular attention to the subject headings, making sure that they’ll provide good access points for your students’ and you hopefully won’t need to augment them on your own. If your only choice is a skimpy record with little more than author, title and publisher, you’ll need to enhance it so that it’s helpful for your students.


 Tips for creating records

Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.

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SLS ROARs 2018-2019

Destiny Spring Cleaning

A library catalog is a living, changing thing. And like all living things, Destiny can use a little extra attention from time to time. The following procedures will help you get rid of unwanted records and make the ones you want to keep more functional. I learned these tips by attending a recent webinar, “Cleaning Up Your Destiny Catalog.”


Remove titles without copies
No one cares what used to be in your collection.

If you want to keep track of these titles because you might replace them, assign them a hidden circulation type so students don't see books they can't get their hands on.

  1. Go to Catalog > Update Titles and select the Remove Titles subtab. ALWAYS make sure that the 3 checkboxes are checked, and then click Preview.

  2. The resulting report gives you a list of the non-ebook records without any copies. You can choose to delete them individually, or if you want the whole list to go away at once, go back to the Job Summary and click the Remove button.


Add cover images to books or other records
Everyone wants to know what the book looks like so they can find it on the shelf.

There are 2 ways to do this: by filling in the book's missing ISBN, or by uploading an image you find online.


  1. To create a list of books that don’t have standard numbers (ISBNs or LC numbers), go to Catalog > Update Titles and select the Standard #s subtab.
  2. Change the first drop-down menu to “No standard numbers”; specify a call number range or leave it blank to include your whole collection.
  3. Click Find Titles. Don't be alarmed if your list is long. It will include all of the Gutenberg Project ebooks (which have no standard numbers) as well as equipment, ILLs, and temporary circulations.
  4. Buried in among there will be book records that are missing ISBNs. For the print books on your list, search Amazon to see if you can find an ISBN for the edition on your shelves (or at least one with the same cover). Paste that ISBN into your title record (on the Brief Title subtab).
  5. If Syndetics (the company that provides cover images to Destiny) has an image for that ISBN, it may take a minute or so to show up.

Add images manually

  1. If Syndetics doesn’t have an image or if you want your non-book records to have an image, add them manually.
  2. Open another tab and do a Google image search for the item you want.
  3. Save the image file on to your desktop. Rename it so you can find it easily when uploading.
  4. Go back to your Destiny record and click the Update Image button.
  5. Select your downloaded image file and click Preview to check it out.
  6. When you’re satisfied with the way it looks, click Save.


Fix bad call numbers
This quick tweak won't change anyone's life but it will make your records tidier and more consistent.

In the rush to get new books onto the shelves, it’s easy to mistype a call number. Running this report will make some of those mistakes pop right to the surface.

  1. Go to Reports > Library Reports > Collection Statistics—Summary. The report lists all your call number prefixes in the left column. So if you’ve mistakenly typed FICDAV or FID instead of FIC, it will become glaringly obvious. This report is only able to spotlight errors that occur in the call number prefix, not the cutter.
  2. This report will also show you if you’re using 2 different versions of the same prefix, like F and FIC so you can fix them.


Merge duplicate author headings
This will link all of an author’s books together under one correct heading.

This will be a longer-term project than the fixes listed above, especially because you may need to do a little investigating before you merge author headings. But you can do them in small batches as time permits until you’ve made it all the way through the alphabet.

It can feel scary to make changes like this because they aren’t reversible. I am more than happy to walk you through the first few merges either on the phone or in person until you’re comfortable with the process.

  1. Go to Catalog > Update Titles.
  2. On the Update subtab, click the top Find Heading button. (Note: we’re doing this for author headings, but you can also change the drop-down menu to look for duplicated series or subject headings.)

  3. Now you’ll get a list of all the author headings used in your catalog. Scroll through the listings looking for possible duplicates like the one below, which also tells you how many records use each form of the name:

  4. Is this the same author? Check the records and/or the books themselves to be sure.
  5. When you are sure, choose a preferred heading and merge them together. Just complete the Update screen and click the Update button. Here, I’m changing the one title record to match the 5 others that include the author’s birth year:

  6. You don’t have to fill in the subfield information. Once you choose your preferred heading, Destiny will populate   those fields automatically. Now whenever someone clicks the “Books by: Karen Ackerman” link in a Destiny record, they’ll see all 6 of her titles.

Offline? Keep reading!

At long last, OverDrive has unveiled an offline reading feature. Now, once you’ve downloaded an ebook or audiobook onto your laptop, you can continue reading anytime, anywhere. Offline reading has always been available through the mobile app but now it works when you’re reading in a computer browser too (Chrome and Firefox only).

  1. Download a book to your Sora account when you have a wireless connection.
  2. A downloading icon will appear next to the title on your bookshelf. Sora will determine whether you have enough storage space on your device and download the book if you do.

    Sora downloading menu

  3. At this point, you should see a popup asking to install a Sora icon on your desktop. This step is critical: without the icon, you won’t be able to get to your book once you're offline.
  4. If you want to change your download preferences, go to the hamburger menu in the top right corner of your Sora shelf and select Download Settings. You can choose to have Sora automatically download everything, only download titles smaller than 20 MB, or require a manual download.

    Sora download settings

  5. If you didn't already install the Sora icon on your desktop from the pop-up mentioned above, you can do it while you're in Download Settings. At the bottom of the settings menu, tap the blue Add a Shortcut button and you're all set.
  6. While reading offline, you can continue to use Sora’s text annotation features (highlighting, note-taking) but not the dictionary. Any notes added offline will sync back up once you're back online.
Note: We've successfully tested this feature out at BOCES on both Windows computers and Chromebooks, but depending on the download settings configured by your district, this feature may not work as described above. Please contact the Library Automation Team if you have any questions about your particular situation.

Self-help for Sign-ins             

A Google Form lets everyone keep track of who’s in the library                 

This idea comes to us from Emily Rounding at the Odyssey Academy in Greece.

To solve the perennial problem of tracking who has signed into and out of the library—and when—Emily created a simple Google form. She sets three iPads out on the desk and students know to quickly sign in before they get to work. By sharing the live data in spreadsheet form, teachers are able to see for themselves the status of the students they’ve sent to the library.

You don’t need to be a Google school to do this. Anyone with a Google account can create this form.

Create the Form

            1.      In Google Drive, create a new form (New > More > Google Forms), and name the document.

            2.      Formulate the questions you want students to answer. You can choose from many question types, but you’ll probably want to stick with short answer, multiple choice, or checkboxes. Be sure to click the Required slider for each question so students are forced to answer before submitting.



      You can ask the basics—Name and In/Out--or you can include an additional question or two to give you some solid data on library use:

·         Whose class are you coming from? (multiple choice or drop-down menu of teacher names)

·         Grade level?

·         Purpose? (see a few of Emily’s sample options below)

       3.      When you’re finished setting up the form, click the Send button in the top right corner. Click the link icon and the shorten URL checkbox to get the link you’ll use to bring the survey up on your student sign-in devices, by making it a browser favorite or the default homepage.

     Share the Responses

       4.      Now you’re ready to share the response spreadsheet with your teachers. Back in your form, Click Responses at the top and then click the green spreadsheet icon. Because this is a link to a continuously changing document, teachers can hit the browser’s refresh button to see the latest data at any time.


 5.      With your spreadsheet open, click the Share button (top right corner) to see this menu:

Click the green link button to get the spreadsheet URL to share with teachers. (Make sure you give them

view-only access.) While this won’t entirely eliminate calls from teachers who want to follow up on their

students, it certainly will reduce the number of calls.

 See the Results

              6.      To get an idea of who is using your library and why, open up your Google form and click Responses at the

                     top.  Scroll down to the pie charts to get a snapshot of activity in your library.




Break Out of the Winter Blues with Breakout EDU!

breakout edu logo


The escape room model is an exciting approach to addressing standards and developing skills in the classroom. This highly engaging and immersive activity sets a series of clues, challenges and puzzles in front of students that require content knowledge, teamwork, critical thinking, and creative problem solving to complete. Breakout EDU is the company that took that model and created a school-friendly kit, complete with locks and boxes, along with a library of games designed for the classroom. The best thing about Breakout is that it is flexible and completely adaptable to your students and your environment.


The Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES SLS Makerspace Collection now has 7 circulating Breakout EDU kits. These kits can be borrowed by any of our school librarians and also come with access to the Breakout EDU platform. The platform includes hundreds of pre-made Breakout games that are ready to use with students. Games are organized by topic and by target age. There is something for just about every subject and grade level! The platform also includes a growing collection of digital games. Digital games are shared with just a link, require NO physical locks or boxes at all, and are unlimited simultaneous use.


 You can even create your own digital Breakout games! Check out this amazing example from Merton Williams*:


*(BIG thank you to Angela Boccuzzi-Reichert and Allie Edwards for creating this game and sharing it with me!)


 Getting creative with Breakout!


In addition to the standard Breakout tools, here are a few other websites that are on our radar right now for their clue creating potential: 

·        Twine


o   With the recent success of the Netflix special “Bandersnatch,” there is a renewed interest in choose-your-own-adventure style content. Twine is a web-based tool for creating your own interactive stories. Twine currently achieves the trifecta of free, web-based, and full of creative potential.

o   Twine tutorial: 

·        Telescopic Text


o   Telescopic text is text that expands to reveal additional detail with a click of your mouse. Students can use the telescopic writing tool to practice adding details and complexity to their writing. In addition to being expanded, text can also be replaced with the click of a mouse. The ability to create text that changes and expands makes this an awesome tool for creating your own Breakout clues!

o   More about Telescopic Text:  

Want to learn more about Breakout?


Upcoming content-specific Breakout PD (librarians are encouraged to attend with classroom teachers- collaboration time will be built in!):


       ·         Breakout EDU for ELA

o   Friday, February 8th

o   12:30-3:30PM at the BOCES 2 CaTS building on Buffalo Road



      ·         Breakout EDU for Social Studies

o   Tuesday, March 12th

o   12:30-3:30PM at the BOCES 2 CaTS building on Buffalo Road



      ·         Breakout for Libraries

o   Thursday, March 28th

o   12:30-3:30PM at the BOCES 2 CaTS building on Buffalo Road



      ·         Breakout for Science

o   Thursday, May 16th

o   12:30-3:30PM at the BOCES 2 CaTS building on Buffalo Road



Can’t make the PD at BOCES but want to know more? We can bring this training to YOU! We are happy to facilitate Breakout training for your staff at your location, in whatever format works for you. Whether it is a 45 minute overview during staff meeting time, an hour long PD after school, a workshop for a specific department or grade level, or a session during a conference day- we are very flexible! We recently did a full day of Breakout training for teachers at an elementary school in Brockport, with teachers rotating through in 2-hour blocks. Thinking about purchasing your own kit at the district, building, or department level? We can help you get started, from understanding the physical locks to game design!


The fine print…


Breakout EDU kits from the BOCES Makerspace Collection can only be booked and borrowed by school librarians via the Media Portal. Classroom teachers who wish to use Breakout kits with their students must do so in collaboration with their building librarian.


For more information about how internal BOCES programs can use Breakout EDU kits, please contact me directly!


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.


As always, thank you for all you do for your students each and every day!



Sora Offers Direct Links!

OverDrive circulation
passes 20,000 checkouts!


The folks at OverDrive have added a powerful new feature that we’ve been waiting for: direct linking. It is now possible to link to a specific title or a collection (OverDrive’s version of a Resource List). If a user isn’t already logged in, it will prompt them to do so before taking them to the resource you want to share.

It’s even possible now to get directly to the Monroe 2 BOCES login page without have to use the set up code. The new link to use for Sora is If your library uses LibGuides, that link has already been changed for you.

In practical terms, direct linking means you can now …

  •         Post links to simultaneous-use nonfiction titles on a research project page in Schoology or Google Classroom
  •             Share a link to our online Professional collection with your administration
  •             Create a Sora Spotlight in LibGuides that highlights a title and includes a link to an interview with the author in That resource can then be shared by any library using LibGuides.
  •            Learn how to curate your own collections (by author, genre, theme or topic) and then share them with your school community.

You can even refine and re-sort a collection before you share it. The version of the page that you see will be the one you share. So, if you want to recommend only the juvenile titles in the Great American Read, or a list of audiobooks sorted by popularity, you can do that.

The links you see in your browser are the ones to use—they don’t need to be edited or reformatted; a simple copy/paste and your work is done!


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.


The New Newsbank

Their redesigned interface makes finding current and historical news articles easier than ever

Newsbank’s two news databases--America’s Historical Newspapers (1690-2000) and Access World News—have separate content but are now integrated through a clean new interface that provides easy access to articles from nearly 11,000 sources. While the content is best suited to the secondary level, upper elementary teachers can also use it hand-pick primary source materials (news articles, political cartoons, charts, etc.) to share with their students.

You can conduct a basic search using one keyword or phrase, or you can use the advanced search option to create powerful and sophisticated searches that combine keywords, article length, Lexile level, date, geographical location of the source, and more.

Browsing options are better with the new, more visual interface and this is probably the point of entry that’s going to win students over. Here’s how browsing works in the different collections. 


America’s Historical Newspapers
Choose an era and then an issue or event

From Great Depression, click on Jesse Owens and the Berlin Olympics to see this overview and more than two dozen recommended articles and additional pre-formatted searches.

The articles themselves are presented in facsimile form with tools that let you save, resize, cite, email, clip or print a selection. There is unfortunately no tool to convert the article to plain text or have it read aloud. Citations are available in a number of formats and will be exportable to NoodleTools sometime after February.

Newsbank image 1

The articles themselves are presented in facsimile form with tools that let you save, resize, cite, email, clip or print a selection. There is unfortunately no tool to convert the article to plain text or have it read aloud. Citations are available in a number of formats and will be exportable to NoodleTools sometime after February.


Access World News
Choose a selected topic and then narrow by subtopic

Clicking on Health and narrowing the search to Bipolar Disorder takes you to the results screen below where you can …

  • further narrow your results using any of the filters on the left

  • get a preview of the beginning of the article by clicking Preview or placing your cursor on the article title

  • preview the search structure at the top of the screen and refine it to alter your results (a great tool for teaching research skills)

Newsbank image 2

Access World News articles are presented in a text format that can be downloaded as a pdf or uploaded to Google Drive. This makes them more compatible with accessibility tools like the Read&Write extension for Chrome.


Ask Newsbank

If you don’t see the event or topic that you want listed under suggested searches, ask Newsbank’s Sales Director, Matt Stawicki if it can be added. That process takes about a week with Access World News but up to a month for America’s Historical Newspapers because of all that’s involved in writing the summary and locating resources to explain a complex historical event.

Happy Holidays from School Library Services!



Click here for a Holiday Message from SLS


This week’s ROAR is a holiday mash-up of resources!



To make this video, I used:


·         LEGO pieces from our LEGO Story Starter kit:


o    LEGO Story Starter kits allow your students to tell their own stories in a hands-on, highly engaging format! Stop motion is an awesome way to use LEGOs, but it is far from the only way. Our LEGO kits are used across subject areas and grade levels for many different kinds of projects. We love LEGO!


·         Soundzabound for background music: “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy”


o    Soundzabound works across devices and is so easy to use! Simply search or browse for the song or sound effect you need, press the play button to hear a preview, and download an MP3 file. Safe, copyright-compliant music for all your media projects! Access to Soundzabound is provided by SLS to all students and staff in Monroe 2 schools.


·         Stop Motion app on my iPad:


o    Stop Motion is a free app that works great on an iPad. There are lots of options out there for creating stop motion videos.


·         Unsplash for copyright-free images:


o    Hello, digital citizen! Using images from resources like Unsplash, which offer their images for free without copyright restrictions, is a great way to demonstrate good digital citizenship for your students. Show them it is possible to find and use awesome images while still respecting content creators.


·         Camtasia for editing the video (note- this is paid software):


o    I use Camtasia because that’s what I have already, but you can use the video editor of your choice for the same effect!


·         Ensemble for uploading and sharing the video:


o    Ensemble is a powerful web-based platform for storing and sharing videos. With Ensemble, it’s easy and fast to upload your videos, generate a link that will work on any device, and share it out with email and/or social media. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

o    Ensemble is a paid service that is currently purchased by the following districts: Brockport, Churchville-Chili, Gates Chili, Hilton, Holley, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES (internal staff), Spencerport, and Wheatland-Chili.


If you would like more information about any of these resources and how they can be used in your school, I would be happy to help! I can even provide training at your location.


Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, a restful break, and a happy new year!






Understanding Holds in OverDrive

We’ve had a number of questions about the way that holds work in OverDrive—questions that have occasionally even stumped our contacts there. After numerous conversations back and forth, here is our current understanding of the holds process, along with our recommendations.

  1. A student places a book on hold. (They are limited to having 3 holds at any time.)

  2. The student will need to check their account every few days to find out the status of the hold. Unlike OverDrive’s other interfaces, there are NO notifications in Sora. At this point, OverDrive does not have a way to notify students about their holds without collecting “personally identifiable information,” which would be a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

  3. When a hold becomes available and a student …

    • has an available spot on their shelf, the book is automatically borrowed and put on the shelf. If they’re using a mobile device, the book is also automatically downloaded to the device. The book will remain on the student’s shelf for the 3-week circulation period unless it is returned earlier. (Both of these default settings—auto borrowing and auto downloads can be changed by the user.)

    •  is already at the 2-book circulation limit, the book will remain on hold for 3 days. The student will need to return another book to make room for the new book on their shelf. If they misses that 3-day window, the hold is deleted. If they still want to borrow the book, they will have to place another hold.

Recommendations for You

  1. When you introduce Sora to your students, please make them aware that Sora cannot tell them when the book becomes available. It is their responsibility to keep checking their account to know when it’s available.

  2. Show them how to check the waiting list status of a book, both before and after they’ve placed a hold.

    • Before placing a hold: Any title in the catalog that is not currently available will have a Place hold link instead of a Borrow link. Click the clock next to that link to get an estimate of how long the wait period will likely be and to see how many others are in line for the book.

    • After placing a hold: The student will now see a Wait list link on any title where they have placed a hold, along with the estimated wait time and their place in line. The same information is also available on the student’s shelf under the Holds link.

  3. Show them how to cancel a hold (go to Shelf > Holds and click Options).

  1. When they find a book they want to read someday, have them add it to their wish list. To review the titles are on their list, send them to Shelf > Lists. Each user has 4 lists: a Wish list, a Done list, Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down.

Recommendations for OverDrive

We’ve asked OverDrive to remove the default that sets all accounts to borrow holds automatically. Our concern is that students who are excited about placing holds—but not diligent about checking their status—will have high-interest books sitting unnoticed and unread on their shelves for 3 weeks when they could be circulating.

Manage Holds

As the librarian, you can find out what your students have on hold and manage those holds if you want. It’s definitely a cumbersome process so you wouldn’t want to do it often, but it can be helpful.

Identify what’s on hold: Log in to your Marketplace account and go to Insights > Reports. Click the Current Waiting List report. Click Run a new report, select your school and click Update. The resulting spreadsheet tells you which of your students has put which books on hold. (It’s also a good way to find out which are the high-demand titles in case you want to purchase extra copies for your Advantage account.)

Expand the first column so you can better see the book titles, and then locate the All Holds column.

Clicking on a number in the All Holds column will give you a list of users on the waiting list for that title. Depending on how your district constructs its users IDs, it may be easy to figure out the user’s real name. If not, you can search that ID in Destiny to find out who it belongs to. Once you know a title or a user with holds you want to edit or delete, continue to the next step.

Delete selected holds: Go to Support > Manage Holds. Enter a student’s user ID or a book title to see related holds. A search for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days brings up a list of these 8 holds:


Click the pencil icon next to any hold to delete it or to move the student to a different spot in line.



Teaching the skill of research

Throw out those rainbow-colored note cards you bought for your child’s research notes and ditch that shoebox you were saving to organize them. For schools with a NoodleTools subscription, the research process has moved online—everything from thesis statement and sources to note cards and outline. And it offers teachers a way to connect with and coach students at every step.

This site is often referred to as the paid alternative to the ad-supported citation-generator EasyBib, but it is so much more. NoodleTools is a true teaching tool: it guides students step-by-step through the research process by having them think critically about their sources and the information in those sources. Note-taking is a complex cluster of skills—reading, analyzing, questioning, organizing, summarizing—and NoodleTools is built to support them.

The site comes in three levels—Starter, Junior, Advanced. Upper elementary students get an easy introduction to the real world of research with 6 types of information sources to choose from, while Advanced level students get the full menu of more 70 source types. Users can independently move between levels at any time—even in the middle of a project. At every level, students create the source citation first by looking at details about format, age, authority, and original medium. They cannot begin to take notes without first citing their source. This stops the impulsive note-takers among us from rushing to jot down facts and attribute them later.

The note card structure all but requires students to go beyond the simple recording of facts. First they paste in original content (text or images) from their source and mark it up through highlighting and annotating. Then they interpret that information in the “In Your Own Words” section and record personal insights and conclusions under “Original Thinking”. Yes, anyone can stop at the copy/paste stage but their lack of effort and critical thinking will be obvious to their teacher, who has full access to all their note cards and sources.

Once students are ready to begin organizing their notes, they move to the NoodleTools Tabletop, an online version of the kitchen table approach many of us used back in the day. As students move from thesis statement to outline to supporting evidence, the flexible interface allows them to color-code, sort, group and arrange their information in order to build the strongest argument possible. As they do so, they can easily click on an individual note to recall important details, and convert their physically organized notes into the linear outline to guide their writing.

In addition to enabling teacher-student collaboration, NoodleTools allows students to collaborate on projects with one another. Each group member’s contributions are recorded (note cards, sources) so teachers can assess effort and success at both the individual and group level.

You can visit the NoodleTools website for a product overview. For more detailed information and a wealth of helpdesk-style resources, see the Churchville-Chili Senior High and Ninth Grade Academy’s terrific website, a guide that can be added to any school library site.

Districts with a NoodleTools subscription can set up their accounts to authenticate with ehtier Google or Microsoft 365. Please contact Jim Belair if you’d like to do this. If districts would like to arrange a professional development session for their teachers or librarians, please contact Randy Meyer.

Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.



A Thousand Words

Sites like Creative Commons offer a wealth of copyright-free images

Try this: Do an image search in Google for something your students often need for a project. Now limit the results to show only those labeled for reuse (under the Tools menu). Did the best pictures just disappear?

This is an excellent opportunity to talk about the rights and responsibilities of being a good digital citizen, one aspect of which calls for respecting copyright. But besides teaching your students how to filter Google image results for those that are copyright-free, you have other options for finding high-quality pictures. They are just as easy to use as Google and designed to automatically protect a creator’s copyright.

The nonprofit Creative Commons works with artists and photographers to help them determine how they will share their work with the public and under what conditions. To that end, they’ve created a media search tool that lets you easily try the same search for images in several different media sources.


While there is definitely overlap among these sources, each has its own specialty that make it unique.

            ·         Pixabay – A repository of the kind of colorful, high-quality images you usually see in advertising  

                 campaigns. Your search can be narrowed by image type (photo, graphic, illustration, video), and

                 you have several image sizes to choose from when you’re ready to download. With these kinds of

                 images, you can challenge students to think metaphorically rather than literally about how best to

                 present their information. 

            ·        Europeana Collections – An archive of more than 54 million images, videos, and other items from

                 European museums, galleries, and libraries. A particular strength of this collection is its wealth of

                 historical photographs.

            ·       Flickr – A division of Yahoo, the photo-sharing community of Flickr lets creators distribute their work

                 publicly or within groups.

            ·         Open Clip Art Library – While not exactly high art, Open Clip Art is a good source for the kind of icons

                 students can use to enhance maps, diagrams, and other infographics. An Edit Clipart button opens

                 the original image in ImageBot to let them add their own custom touches with drawing and text tools.


Unsplash started out on Tumblr offering 10 free images a day, and now, it’s a full-blown image library offering more than half a million high-quality photos. When you download an image, a message pops up to tell you that although crediting the photographer isn’t required, it is definitely encouraged; they give you a tagline to use and tell you how to add a “credit badge” to the image that brings people to all of the photographer’s work on the site. What I like most about a site like this is the way it can encourage metaphorical thinking. A search for the word challenge brings up wide-ranging options (below); results like these can help students uncover aspects of their topic they may not have considered. (An added bonus with Unsplash is that their images come with alt-text tags attached to them, so if you add them to a website they’ll automatically be ADA-compliant.)



 Several of the research databases on your school library’s website also let you focus your search on images.

            ·        America’s Historical Newspapers provides access to advertisements, cartoons, and illustrations

                 dating back to 1690. See your building librarian for a username and password.      

            ·         Gale’s Research in Context combines resources in social studies, science, and literature, and it’s

                 aimed at a middle school audience. Use the advanced search feature to limit your search by “content

                 type.” A search for hurricane returns satellite images of storms, weather system diagrams, scenes of

                 physical destruction, and even a shot of emptied supermarket shelves. Being able to choose between

                 these options lets students present information they way they want to. 

            ·        The BOCES Media Library includes images from PBS and Learning 360. Narrow your search results

                 to either of these vendors by source, or set Type of Material to Image to see all available photographs,

                 maps, charts, and illustrations. 

            ·         Finally, several schools in our region have a paid subscription to Britannica’s ImageQuest. This site

                 gives students access to millions of images that come with embedded contextual information and

                 keywords. Students can save their favorites to My Images and then share, cite, print or download

                 whatever they collect.



Be a role model

To reinforce the importance of respecting copyright, be sure to cite the source of any image you add to handouts, flyers, classroom signs and websites. (And while you’re at it, remember to cite any sound effects or music you borrow from Soundzabound and incorporate into media projects.) When students get used to seeing citations all around them, they’re more likely to develop the practice of attributing all the sources they use.

 Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.





In place of a ROAR this week, I would like to introduce you to our newest addition to the Makerspace Collection: the Sphero BOLT!


sphero bolt

The BOLT is the latest robot from Sphero and we are so excited about this addition to our Makerspace Collection!

 Like other versions of Sphero, the BOLTs are Bluetooth-enabled sphere-shaped robots that can be driven and programmed with two free apps. Students can learn both block-based and text coding with BOLT. Educators can create free teacher accounts on Sphero EDU to access student activities and create classes.

 BOLT has the speed and durability you expect from a Sphero robot, along with awesome new features: an LED matrix display, a magnetometer and advanced infrared sensors, along with increased battery power (play for over 2 hours at a time)!


We are starting out with 1 class set of BOLT, which includes 15 robots. Based on the initial interest, we are planning to purchase at least 1 more class set. If you are interested in reserving BOLT for your library, please contact me to get on the waiting list. Because BOLT is not quite ready to circulate yet, it will not appear in the Media Portal right now- but it will be there soon!


Please see the LibGuide (in progress) for more information, including device compatibility and additional resources as they become available:


See BOLT go!



If you haven’t checked out the resources in our Media Portal lately, now is a fantastic time to revisit! Within the last year, we’ve made lots of updates and improvements. Attached you will find a freshly revised handout with detailed instructions for accessing and navigating the Media Portal. The latest documents are also available on our LibGuide:


All of your school’s faculty and students can now log in with their district Google or Office credentials, making it easier than ever to access valuable resources. Within the portal, you can find all the digital resources in our Media Library, including streaming videos, images, interactives, sound effects and more.


Looking for videos that don’t come from YouTube? Check out our streaming video collection, including content from trusted sources such as Learn 360, CCC! and PBS. We are constantly expanding and refreshing our collection- new videos are being added every month! Many of our streaming videos can even be embedded directly into your existing digital classrooms, including Schoology and Google Classroom, and you can trust that our collection was curated with education in mind.


Do you need multiple copy audiobooks for your students? Check out our collection of audiobooks on iPod Shuffles. We have hundreds of titles available, from classics to contemporary fiction. If you’d like to browse all the available titles, we have a button for that!

All iPod audiobook reservations can be done by librarians and teachers within the Media Portal. Please see the attached handout for step-by-step directions for requesting audiobooks on iPods.


Wait, there’s more! The Media Library contains more than just our digital content. You can also find our collection of educational DVDs and our cameras (video and still) in the Media Portal. In addition, all of our Makerspace Collection items can now be booked (by librarians only) in the Portal.


We are here to help you get the most out of the resources available to you. Please contact us for additional training and support tailored to your needs. Whether it’s individual training, a guided tour of resources for a particular grade or topic at a department meeting, or a formal presentation for a faculty meeting, we are ready to help you dive in to all the resources at your fingertips!


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.


ThBOCES ebook library
has gone into Overdrive
sora logo

This summer, BOCES School Library System moved its ebook and audiobook collection to Overdrive, in

    order to take advantage of Sora, its new school library reader.

    Sora does what many ebook platforms do, but it offers extra features designed especially for the


  • No more sticky notes! Sora lets students highlight and take notes in their ebooks and it saves that information permanently, long after the book has been returned. And if they should check the ebook out again, the notes and highlights will reappear in the text. Also, their work can be exported as a text file, pdf or spreadsheet.

  • Every ebook reader has a built-in dictionary, but Sora automatically saves every word a student has looked up and adds it to a personal glossary that can be sorted (alphabetically or chronologically) or exported.

  • With this new app and website, Overdrive now gives schools the ability to purchase multiple copies of an ebook or audiobook and assign them directly to students, with the title automatically showing up on their shelves. Brockport High School is currently using this Sora feature for its all-school read, with audiobooks being assigned to select students who need modifications.

  • Sora tracks a student’s personal reading habits—average number of minutes read daily, number of consecutive reading days—and uses this to estimate how long it will take the student to finish the current book at that pace.

  • Students aren’t limited only to the titles in the BOCES library. They can link a public library card to their Sora account to borrow from either collection and house all their books on the same virtual bookshelf (shown below).


Sora screen diagram


Get Started

Give Sora a try by going to or downloading the app on any Apple or Android mobile device. Find your school district and log in with your Google or Office credentials.

To learn more about Overdrive and Sora, go to MyLearningPlan and register for either of these two workshops being offered by Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES at its CaTS building (3625 Buffalo Rd):


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.


Britannica LaunchPacks
Thematic content sets for the K-12 classroom

Science launch pack logo

Social studies launch pack logo

Britannica did it so you don’t have to.

Whether you’re looking for curriculum resources to lay the groundwork for a new unit or for an extension opportunity for students who have finished their work and are hungry for more, LaunchPacks from Britannica are content bundles that deserve your attention.

These bundles offer topic-based collections of articles, videos, images, websites, and primary sources that have been curated by Britannica editors and are linked to curriculum standards.

To get started, click one of the subject area logos above, select your grade range and a topic you teach. A middle school search for scientific classification (sample results below) yields 8 different LaunchPacks with nearly 90 articles, videos and images. Articles are available in up to 3 reading levels, giving you an easy way to differentiate or scaffold for all learners. The articles have many of the same features as Britannica School’s online encyclopedia, including a read-aloud function, translation via Google Translate, and digital highlighting and note-taking.

Videos in the content sets can be viewed on the spot or downloaded for later use; and all resources include complete citations for students to use in their bibliographies.

LaunchPack search results

If you find a LaunchPack that’s okay but doesn’t quite suit all your needs … just customize it. Think of these as a jumping-off point and make them even better by adding or deleting content, including your own notes and directions. Under the site’s Help menu, a Request a New Pack link lets you do just that—tell Britannica’s editors a topic you’re teaching and which standards you want to address, and they’ll create a custom pack for you within two business days.

You can export a LaunchPack to Google Classroom, or use Britannica’s own online learning environment. As a teacher you can create a personal account, create a class, and invite your students. This lets you assign resource activities and monitor their progress.

Britannica offers a wealth of supporting resources to make it easy to incorporate a LaunchPack into your curriculum. Their Help section provides detailed notes about setting up classes, scheduling and customizing LaunchPacks, and taking advantage of the site’s many tools. In addition, promotional and classroom materials like fact sheets and graphic organizers are available at

And finally, teachers who prefer a face-to-face session on LaunchPacks can go to MyLearningPlan and sign up for either of these two workshops:

This two-year trial of Britannica LaunchPacks is available courtesy of the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES School Library System.


Past issues of ROAR are archived on the School Library System website.

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SLS ROARs 2017-2018

Summer Reading at Your Fingertips with Axis 360

Devices compatible with Axis 360

Whether you have avid or reluctant readers at home, you can avoid the summertime struggle over finding enough books or that one right book. Take advantage of Axis 360, the online library from Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES that has nearly 3,000 ebooks and audiobooks for K-12 students.

Students can go to, select their school, and log in with their personal username and password either on a computer’s web browser or the mobile app. Once there, they can see what’s available, start a wish list, borrow a title or two, or put a hold on that popular book they’ve been dying to read.

Two important things to remember:

      ·        They can check out up to 2 items at a time

      ·        Books are checked out for 3 weeks, at which time they automatically disappear from 

           their account.

      ·        Books cannot be renewed but students can borrow them again if they’re available.

Browser interface

Axis 360 browser interface

Mobile Interface (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)
Axis 360 mobile interface  



Can you hear me now?
Royalty-free music and sound effects from Soundzabound


What is the sound of one hand clapping? I don’t know, but it’s one of the few sound effects not available in the Soundzabound music and sound effects database.

Teachers and students can enhance media projects with post-production sound effects and background music—all without worrying about violating copyright. Students especially have a difficult time understanding the complex issues around copyright, and Soundzabound avoids all that by giving them access to this enormous library of royalty-free sounds.

Separate volumes give you sounds associated with people, animals, transportation, sports, and horror movies, and individual sounds range from the adorable (a baby’s giggle) to the less-so (flatulence). In addition to these distinct sound effects, Soundzabound gives you plenty of ambient sound backgrounds (beach, parking garage, cafeteria, etc.) that students can lay beneath a dialogue track to give a scene a more realistic feel. Users can browse the thematic volumes or search by combining keywords and category names.

Music selections are available in a wide assortment of genres (see image below) and in recordings of various length. For example, Debussy’s Claire de Lune, is available in clips of 30 seconds, 1 minute and over 4 minutes, reducing the need for students to always have to edit music for length or select the most recognizable movement of a piece.

Showing students how to enrich their projects with sound has the added benefit of building their media literacy skills. Once they are sensitized to the emotional impact of sound and music, they’ll be better prepared to critically dissect and evaluate any piece of media, from political ads to blockbuster movies.

Use of Soundzabound is not limited to the library and classroom. Any school group can use it—PTA, sports teams, clubs, etc.—and it can be used for fundraising activities. But it cannot be used for any personal business ventures.

Soundzabound is provided to all Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES districts by the School Library System. Please see your librarian for your district’s username and password.


Round ‘em up!

The adventure of library inventory

James Warhola, Texas State Library

With the snow outside, it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea of wrapping up your library for the summer. But a little early planning can make an end-of-the-year chore go much more smoothly.

Regardless of whether you’re an inventory newbie or a pro, an extra scanner can go a long way to streamlining the process. All our wired and wireless scanners are available for booking in the new Insignia Media Library. (If you borrow one of the wireless models, don’t forget to plug it in to charge overnight before you start your inventory.)

Online Help
Follett has compiled several helpful handouts about inventory that are available on our Destiny support page. It’s a good idea to take a glance at the FAQ page to jog your memory before getting started.

We’re holding a one-hour afternoon class on Thursday, May 24, that will cover inventory basics for anyone who prefers a face-to-face refresher.

Best Practices
Here are a few things to keep in mind

  • Small bites are easier to chew. Choose a small section so you can master the inventory process before tackling an entire wall of fiction.

  • Not every section may need to be inventoried every year. Prioritize the high-traffic sections like fiction or graphic novels before worrying about the dustier shelves.

  • Regular check-ups are easier to manage. The more regularly you do inventory the easier it will be to finalize. If you haven’t touched the biographies in ten years, it may take longer to resolve the list of missing books.

  • Give yourself plenty of time to finalize the inventory. The scanning may be long and tedious, but you can spend even more time trying to round up a few stray books.

  • Keep your “lost” list from growing out of control. If you’ve got titles that were lost more than a year ago and you haven’t replaced them, consider deleting the records before you start a new inventory and add even more books to the list.


Good luck with your inventories and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any point during the process with questions or problems.


It’s Debatable
Opposing Viewpoints in Context Presents Hot Topics from Both Sides 


Opposing Viewpoints logo

Everyone’s got an opinion, but how many of them can they back it up with solid evidence?

Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints database takes more than 450 topics from abortion to zero tolerance policies and supports them with pro and con resources in a variety of formats. There are Viewpoint opinion pieces, statistics, background articles (from newspapers, magazines and reference sources), plus links to related organizations. Many of the Viewpoint essays are adapted by Gale editors from other sources; the original articles are identified both in the essay’s introductory paragraph and in the citation at the end.

Some of the topics also include a map section that offers a visual approach to an issue. For example in the article on childhood obesity, 6 maps show the size of the youth demographic and percentages of childhood obesity for three different years. The source of the data is well cited, and students can view the original study or download the data for further comparisons.


Screenshot from Opposing Viewpoints


Once students began to dig in to a topic, they can log in to personal accounts using their Google or Microsoft credentials to save articles, highlight text or take notes. Saved articles stay in the user’s account (MyFolder) in the database, but notes and highlights need to be exported to Google or Office 365 or they will disappear at logout.

Along with the typical database tools, there’s a translation utility (12 languages are available) and a citation maker that can export a citation directly into a NoodleTools bibliography.

Opposing Viewpoints is one of the databases provided through NOVELNY. Access the database through your school library’s website; no username or password is needed as long as you’re anywhere within New York State.


Arbordale eBooks
Picture Books Aligned to the Next Gen Science Standards
Arbordale logo

    “Travel stories teach geography; insect stories lead the child into natural science …” -- Maria Montessori

Arbordale understands that stories can provide the foundation and inspiration for additional learning, and they’ve built an online library of more than 140 picture books to do just that.

While some of their titles are straightforward nonfiction, many are blend of lightly fictionalized stories about science topics like plants, animals, and the environment. One example, A Day in the Salt Marsh takes readers through all the changes in that environment as the tides rise and fall. While there are a few activity ideas included at the end of the book, it’s really the publisher’s website where you’ll find the full-range of supplementary materials. In addition to a page that specifies which Next Gen Science Standards are addressed in the book, a separate 50-page document contains a host of options for classroom extensions: vocabulary, Mad-Libs, sentence strips, writing prompts, a word search, activities that explore animal classification, food webs, animal adaptations, and more. Some of these lesson plan documents even link together several titles in a text-set arrangement that give teachers multiple entry points into shared curriculum topics.

With this range of activity options, teachers can create stations, set up opportunities for small group work, and even help prepare students to lead some of the activities themselves.

Arbordale titles also offer helpful accessibility features. All titles are available in Spanish (plus a few in Chinese), and all have a built-in audiobook component that has the option to highlight the text as it’s being read.


You can access the Arbordale online library directly through the publisher’s website (password boces2) or through your library catalog. The basic ebooks (without read-aloud feature or supplementary materials) are also available in your school’s Axis 360 library.

When you search for Arbordale books in your library, you’ll see either a pair of links or buttons for each title:




Here’s how they work:

     ·        The URL takes you to the English-language ebook in Axis 360

     ·        The “Click here” link goes to the Arbordale site where you’ll find the read-aloud versions of each book in English and Spanish, along with supplementary materials like lesson plans, games and activities.


Ebooks and videos that teach about our holiday traditions

Christmas / Navidad

This bilingual ebook from the Celebrate with Me series, lets students see the variations of holiday traditions around the world that connect us. In the U.S. and China, stockings are hung on the fireplace mantle on Christmas Eve, but in much of Europe that tradition takes place on Saint Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) when children’s leave their shoes outside the door and find them filled with goodies in the morning. Not all international traditions have an American counterpart. Students may be surprised to see Santa arriving on a surfboard in Australia, sand sculptures in India, and holiday piñatas in Mexico.


Plymouth Colony: The Pilgrims Settle in New England

Fleeing religious persecution in England meant the Pilgrims had their own ideas about the holidays. Read about “The Law against Christmas” passed in Massachusetts in 1659, which required students to go to school on Christmas day. Although repealed in 1681, it morphed into the so-called “blue laws” that banned alcohol sales and forbid stores to open on Sundays.




Holidays and Celebrations in Colonial America

While the Puritans may have had a no-holiday approach to Christmas, other denominations in the colonies didn’t agree. Feasts, wassailing, evergreen decorations, and visits from Santa on horseback (in his pre-reindeer-and-sleigh days) were common in some colonies and unheard of in others.



In the Month of Kislev (12 min.)

The video version of this picture book by Nina Jaffe and Louise August briefly recounts the origin of Hanukkah before telling the story of a stingy Polish merchant who learns the true meaning of the holiday only after suing a poor family for enjoying the smell of his family’s delicious potato latkes. Variants of this tale of “stolen smells” exist in many cultures around the world.



Hanukkah (Holiday Facts and Fun; 15 min.)

An animated retelling of the Jews’ struggle against the Greeks sets the stage for this exploration of contemporary Hanukkah traditions in an American family.

These ebooks are available through your school’s Destiny library catalog; the streaming videos are in the BOCES SLS Media Library.

Britannica School
One Size Really Can Fit All

When is an encyclopedia not an encyclopedia? When it’s three English-language encyclopedias, two Spanish encyclopedias, an interactive atlas, a dictionary, plus a biography, magazine and primary source database in one.

There is a lot of content rolled into Britannica School, but its greatest strength is its ability to support differentiation. In this integrated suite of resources, students can easily move between the elementary, middle and high school articles depending on their reading level and the information they need. Secondary students may not find the depth of information needed to complete a research project, but this makes a solid launching pad.

Britannica Escolar, its Spanish-language offering, has Primaria (elementary) and Secundaria (middle school) has the same tools and many of the same features as its English-language counterparts, including a video library and atlas. While the two levels can be searched together, readers don’t have the ability to move up or down a level once they are inside an article. 

In addition to the search function, students can use a browse feature to access articles, media and biographies. It works like a “discovery engine” for biographies because students can select descriptors from drop-down menus—historical era, nationality, field, and gender—and see who meets the criteria.

Further expanding Britannica’s usefulness is the integration of Google Translate, which provides a machine-translation of any article into more than 100 languages. This is a nice support for ELL students who may need a bridge from their first language to acquiring concepts or vocabulary words in English.

The Britannica suite is free to schools as part of NOVELNY, the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library. See your librarian for your school’s username and password.

Not Just the News
Database of the Democrat & Chronicle and USA Today Offers a Year of Complete Coverage

The D&C news database strikes a nice balance between a traditional and online newspaper: it gives researchers access to the content in both an easy-to-read interface and a graphical version of the print newspaper itself. And along with the local news, you also get USA Today’s national coverage. (This resource is provided free to our schools through the Democrat and Chronicle Newspapers in Education program.)

Many databases give you just the text of the articles but here you get the context too; the inclusion of advertising, comics, obituaries, and even the daily crossword puzzle makes it a complete chronicle.

democrat and chronicle screenshot

Depending on your preference, you can find content by browsing or searching. The menu bar offers several action buttons:

  • Editions gives you browsing access to the last seven issues ,
  • Pages offers a grid of thumbnail images of each page in an issue, and
  • Search Archive takes you to a calendar where you can call up any issue from the past 365 days. That archive is also fully searchable by date, keyword and content category (editorial, table, graphic, etc.).

Individual articles can be downloaded, printed, or emailed, and you can also download a pdf of any section or of the day’s entire issue.

democrat and chronicle logo


Research in Context
Bridges the Gap for
Middle School Researchers

Research in Context logo

Gale’s Research in Context is an all-in-one database aimed at students in grades 5 through 8. It wraps rich, challenging resources inside a visual interface that is middle school friendly yet still appealing for use at the high school level.

It’s the perfect “next step” for students who are too old for Kids InfoBits but not yet ready for Gale’s higher-level subject databases.

The database brings together the most accessible resources from several of Gale’s subject databases, which makes it a good choice for projects in any subject area. Researchers can jump right in by doing a keyword search or they can use the topic structure to pick a curriculum area and then get an A-Z list of major topics. These topic pages (like the one on Syria, below) begin with a brief overview and “Quick Facts” box before sending researchers off to resources grouped by type (reference articles, images, videos, primary sources, etc.). A host of tools, listed below, is available in the interface to help students get the most out of each article.

Simple searches are more powerful with the (default) Search Assist turned on. It turns a single keyword into more targeted search recommendations for students. And the advance search feature lets you limit your search by resource date, content level (basic, intermediate, advanced) or by Lexile range.

A final feature—Educator Resources, located in the top menu bar--offers solid teaching tools to help classroom teachers and librarians deliver the necessary skills instruction to their students. Here you’ll find Tip Sheets and Worksheets on important research skills like How to Read a Graph or How to Build an Argument. 

Don’t Just Google It

First Try This Go-to Resource for Support Materials on Books and Authors

Teaching Books dot net logo


How did a U.S. congressman become an award-winning graphic novel author? Ask

From author interviews to lesson plans to audiobook excerpts, this site compiles some of the best resources on K-12 fiction, nonfiction and biography titles from around the web as well as creating their own.

The site includes the well-established curriculum titles you’d expect (The Giver or To Kill a Mockingbird) but they’re also constantly adding new titles to their offerings as well, like this year’s Rochester Reads selection, The Distance Between Us.

Sharing these quality resources with colleagues or students couldn’t be easier. A “Share this page” link at the bottom of the screen opens a pop-up window that lets you quickly email or text a link to the page, create a QR-code flyer or bookmark, add the resource to your Google classroom or personal calendar, or post it to Facebook or Twitter.

Teachers using the flipped classroom model can use this sharing feature to assign a print, audio or video resource as homework in advance of in-class book discussions.

The site’s best feature may be its custom lists, especially for those teachers who do literature circles. With a few clicks, they can pull together all the background materials on a number of titles and share them out. A handy annotation field is the perfect place for relevant assignment details, due dates, or vocabulary words to watch out for.

Access to is by domain name so any teacher in the Monroe 2 BOCES region can log in with his or her email address to set up an account.

K-12 eBook & Audiobook Collection Is Available on Axis 360

Axis 360 logo

There are more than 3,000 ebook and audiobook titles available in the shared Monroe 2 BOCES digital library on Axis 360. Students and staff can log in to their school’s individual library with their school username and password, either on a computer or a mobile device.

Once there, they can browse or search for content, start a wish list, borrow a title or two, or put a hold on that popular book they’ve been dying to read.

Many of the nonfiction titles in the library allow for unlimited, simultaneous use, so an entire class on laptops, Chromebooks or tablets can be reading the same book at the same time. This can eliminate the problem of resource sharing when multiple classes need to do the same unit at the same time.

To help students more easily find the content they want in Axis 360, librarians can create tailored book lists called “Staff Picks” to highlight popular titles or the resources for a class project.

Note: While most of the BOCES ebooks are in Axis 360, some publishers haven’t made their titles available on this platform. Where that’s the case, students can get those books directly through links on their library web site. 

America’s Historical Newspapers (1690-2000)

With its collection of hundreds of U.S. newspapers from all 50 states, this database offers a primary source treasury of the “first draft of history.”

It offers facsimiles of articles so students can dive into details of a particular event, or they can view entire newspaper pages to see the range of issues Americans were facing at any particular time.

It’s designed to let teachers create rich research and discussion opportunities for their students like:

  • Contrasting regional opinions of the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore
  • Analyzing political cartoons
  • Tracing changes in attitude toward an issue like racial segregation

While the content is best suited to the secondary level, elementary teachers can also use it hand-pick primary source materials to use with their classes.

Researchers by can browse by historical era to locate multiple articles on such political, military and cultural topics as the Alien and Sedition Acts, invention of radio, and the birth of vaudeville. There’s also a powerful search feature that let you create targeted searches by combining keywords, date, place of publication, and article type (news/opinion, advertisement, cartoon, etc.).

[Caveat: The dated interface may be looking a little historical itself, but they’re working on a redesign which should be rolled during the next school year.]

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SLS ROARs 2016-2017


Before you leave for the summer, here are some library automation tasks to complete:

  • VERY  IMPORTANT:  Turn off any automated email notices going to staff, students or ILL patrons.
  • Holds & Reserves - Decide if you need to delete them or leave active for the start of the next school year.
  • Please inform the Library Automation Team if the library will be open and/or circulating during the summer. This allows maintenance to be scheduled when it will not interrupt library operations. If the library will be used for summer school, please let us know.
  • Some libraries need to submit reports with statistical information at the end of year. Some common ones are listed below.

Popular END OF YEAR Reports:


  • To find items deleted/weeded: Reports>Library Reports> Weeding Log. Select the date ranges needed; by month, school year, calendar year.
  • Circulation statistics. Circulation>Library Information. Choose a date range.
  • BEDS’ type information: Reports>Library Reports>Statistics>Collection Statistics Summary


You can set up the library calendar for the next school year. Instructions and a tutorial are located on the "Back to School" help page.

Please contact the BOCES2 SLS Library Automation Team with any questions.


If you subscribe to Scholastic TrueFLIX or BookFLIX, you can now download MARC records from their site and upload them into your Destiny catalog.  It is quick and easy to do.  We have attached detailed instructions to this email. If you have any questions, please contact Karen Mitchell.

This is a copy of an email Angela Boccuzzi-Reichert from Hilton Merton William Middle School sent to her staff members…

The past few weeks have been overwhelming with the amount of information and news that has been tweeted, shared, broadcasted and read on line. As an adult, I find it hard to manage it all, I cannot imagine  what it must feel like to a student. 

How can we help figure all this out? One way, is the CRAP Test, no that doesn't mean to throw up your hands and say "oh crap, I am not going to hide under a rock and ignore all of this" It is a test with a catchy name to hook the kids and have them look at what they are reading or watching critically.



·         How recent is the info?

·         How recent has the website been update?

·         Is it current enough for the topic you are researching, reading about?


·         What kind of information is included in the resource?

·         Is the content primarily opinion? Is it balanced?

·         Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?


·         Who is the author?

·         What are their credentials?

·         Who is the publisher or sponsor?

·         Are they reputable?

Purpose/Point of View:

·         Is it fact or opinion?

·         Is it biased (this is a big one especially with everything in the news!)

·         Is the creator/author trying to sell something?


The CRAP test is used with websites but it can be applied across the board to other types of media. It is easy to react to what we are hearing and a little harder to consider the source and the content.


Destiny Library Manager provides an easy search mechanism to find books and materials that match student’s reading and comprehension levels. This is a wonderful feature to pass on to teachers, staff and parents as reading levels are provided for print materials and eBooks.

Reading Level filters can be applied if using the Classic catalog or the Destiny Discover interface.    If interested in searching by Fountas & Pinnell or Lexile Measure using the Classic catalog; first enter a term in the Find textbox and then choose Fountas & Pinnell or Lexile in the Reading Programs drop down list:

Search Results will display the Fountas & Pinnell Level and the Lexile Measure for print materials and eBooks.

If using the Destiny Discover interface, Reading Level filters may be applied after the initial search results page is displayed.    First enter a search term, click Enter and then choose the Reading Level filter to apply. 

The selected Reading Levels will be displayed in the search results.

Provided to you by NovelNY, GALE Kids InfoBits is a K-5 research database that includes images, magazine articles and news sources.  Major topics include geography, current events, arts, science, health, people, government, history and sports.  This is a wonderful introduction to database navigation for elementary school learners and lower level middle school students.  In addition to K-5 this is a great tool to use by secondary teachers/librarians to find articles and informational text written at a lower level on the topics that are needed.


  •          The responsive design includes a visual browse by topic feature, a search by keyword and an advanced search functions.  
  •          Google Classroom and Microsoft Office 365 integration for teachers and students to share content. 
  •          Text to Speak technology for read to me feature
  •          Translation to over 20 different languages
  •          Educator Resources available (from the More menu)


CCC! Streaming Media is an on-demand service that provides access to over 7,000 educational video programs that are aligned to state and Next Generation Science Standards.  

CCC! Streaming Media programs can be accessed on whiteboards, monitors, laptops, tablets - any video-capable device.    Programs include teacher's guides, discussion questions, student activities and comprehension quizzes. 

Each program is approximately 15-20 minutes long, comprised of 2-3 minute subject, specific clips.    Users who have a personal account have the ability to create bookmarks and playlists.   A playlist is a customized program that may include segments from different programs and can be shared with students and staff.   CCC! Streaming Media videos may also be embedded on a webpage, LibGuide or in a presentation.


Content providers include:


  • Disney Educational Productions

·         Nature

  • National Geographic

·         Weston Woods

  • BBC

·         Media 4 Math

  • National Science Foundation

·         SmartMath

To access content in CCC! Streaming Media:

1.      Go the to the BOCES2 SLS Media Portal (use your ebook username and password if you have not already setup an account) and search by title, subject or 'CCC'.    Clicking on the title hyperlink will redirect you to the CCC! Streaming Media database.  If you would like to create playlists and bookmarks in CCC! Streaming Media, then you will need to have a personal media portal account.    Just click on the link on the homepage of the BOCES2 SLS Media Portal:

2.       Follett Destiny users may also access CCC! Streaming Media via the OneSearch databases.  After entering a search term, click on the OneSearch tab in the Search results page.  Select the Show button under CCC! Streaming Media to display all programs associated with your search terms.  Selecting the Title hyperlink will launch the video in a new window.

If you have any questions on how to access any of the video streaming resources provided by Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES SLS, please contact Lindsay Neumire.


Are you incorporating video in your lessons?  How are you meeting the needs of “Generation M” (8-18 years old – the media generation)?     Using educational videos for teaching and learning has proven to increase student motivation, promote active cognitive processing and enhance retention.

Learn 360 is an interactive media-on-demand service provided to you by BOCES2 School Library System.  Learn360 has over 130,000 multimedia resources (video, images, audio files, maps, activities, worksheets and articles) that are K-12 educationally based.

You may search for Learn360 content via the SLS Media Library or Follett Destiny users may use Follett OneSearch to access the database (several years ago users were told to go directly to Learn 360 for streaming video.  This is no longer the case as we have several other content providers now).  Once logged into Learnn360, users may create playlists and folders, download videos and create custom video segments.  Media and playlists may be shared via email and Google Classroom.

One of the highlights of using Learn360 is that video segments or movie clips can be identified so that short, relevant targeted clips segments can be viewed.   These clips may be viewed individually or added to a playlist.

Recent enhancements include GAFE integration, enhanced Closed Captioning options, MLA8 citations, updated tutorials and the ability to save your search results.

If you have any questions about how to access Learn360 or for ideas on how to incorporate some video into your lessons, please contact Lindsay Neumire.  Librarians, please be sure to share this information with your staff and students – access is available to all BOCES2 school members.

As you may have seen in the recent SLS Update, we are continuing to add to the eBook collection.  New eBooks have just been purchased for Rosen.

BOCES2 SLS now provides these collections for you and your students:

  • Spotlight on American History
  • Spotlight on Ancient Civilizations: Egypt
  • Spotlight on Ancient Civilizations: Greece
  • Spotlight on Ancient Civilizations: Rome
  • Spotlight on Native Americans - Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) and Delaware (Lenape)
  • Spotlight on NY (see screen capture below)
  • Spotlights on the Rise and Fall of Ancient Chinese Civilization
  • Spotlight in the Rise and Fall of the Ancient Indian Civilization
  • Spotlight on the 13 Colonies: Birth of a Nation
  • Spotlight on the Rise and Fall of Ancient Mesopotamian Civilization*

* Collection is on Rosen book shelves and will be added to your Destiny catalog soon.

Rosen eBooks provide well researched, interactive K-12 eBooks focused on literary nonfiction.     Elements of these eBooks include:

  • Full color pages
  • Videos and photos
  • Actor-narrated audio
  • Curriculum connections
  • Planning guides, lesson plans, study guides and printable activities
  • Dynamic maps and timelines
  • Primary sources, images and key documents
  • Vocabulary definitions and audio pronunciation

If you aren’t familiar with the Rosen eBooks, consider these features:

  • Most of the Spotlight Series books have an alignment to the Information Fluency Continuum (IFC)
  • Many of the sets are aligned to the C3 Tool Kit for Social Studies
  • All eBooks are aligned to state, national, STEM and Common Core standards. 
  • Titles may be read on tablets, smart phones, laptops, Chromebooks, interactive whiteboards and flash-enabled eReaders (Kindle, Nook).    The responsive design automatically adjusts the screen display to work on any mobile device. 
  • All titles allow for unlimited simultaneous access for Monroe2-Orleans BOCES schools. 

You may access the Rosen eBooks in one of two ways:

  1.      Go to the BOCES2 SLS ebooks webpage and click on the Rosen Learning Center icon.     If accessing from a school site, you should be logged in and see your bookshelf.    Please use your school ebook username and password if accessing from off-site.  If you have not done so already, you may include a link to the eBooks from your library webpage.


  1.      Search for a book title in your Destiny library catalog and then Open the book from the Search Results page.

If you have any questions about accessing your eBook collection, please contact Lindsay Neumire.


Looking for a way to easily organize resources for teachers and students, showcase events in your library, and share information with your district/parents/community?

A LibGuide is a fantastic tool for organizing and sharing information. You can use a LibGuide to share pictures, videos, links, text, widgets, and more. Guides are easy to build and edit- you provide the awesome content and LibGuides will provide the structure.

Too good to be true? Nope! All librarians in our region have access to LibGuides. If you don’t have an account yet, contact Lindsay Neumire to get one.

And we don’t just advertise LibGuides- we use it ourselves!   Check out our home page to see all the guides we’ve created (and the ways other librarians are using LibGuides).                                 

Have questions? Need help? Contact Lindsay Neumire (and check out the LibGuide Help Guide).

EBSCO Library Literature & Information Science (H.W. Wilson)

This EBSCO database provides HTML and PDF page images of full text articles from more than 470 library journals and information science periodicals.    

Publications include (click here for a comprehensive list):

  • American Libraries
  • Booklist
  • Electronic Library
  • Information Today
  • Knowledge Quest
  • Library Media Connection
  • School Librarian
  • School Library Journal
  • School Library Monthly
  • Teacher Librarian
  • Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)


Use this database to access book reviews from SLJ and VOYA!  The URL access to this database is provided with your database access card.  For off-site access, use the same username and password that is used for eBooks.

Langhourst, Eric. “Election Resources.”  School Library Journal 62.10 (2016): 15. Library Literatrue & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 

               17 Oct. 2016.


Are you, your staff and students searching for and using audio clips?  Don’t keep a blind eye to music copyright laws.  Soundzabound  ( is a royalty free library of music and sound effects for grades K-12.  Soundzabound audio files are compliant with all copyright laws and may be used for:

  • Video production
  • Podcasting
  • Presentations
  • Web design
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Readers Theater
  • Public events – background music
  • Any educational multimedia form


IP Authentication will log district users into Soundzabound  (you will not need to login).  If accessing from outside of your district, use your school eBook username and password.    The attached file lists all available volumes/subjects areas.

For tutorials and more hands-on help, visit Soundzabound's Resources page. 

Interlibrary Loans  

Are you unable to find the materials you need in your library or Five Systems?   Try searching WorldCat to find the resource at a local college or public library.    When you find the book in Worldcat, please copy the link and email Diane Sciabbarrassi.   The BOCES2 SLS will coordinate borrowing and the transfer of the book to your library.  Go to our Destiny help site and click Interlibrary Loan for more information.   This is a free service for you, your students and staff.

Democrat & Chronicle Access


As part of an agreement between BOCES2 SLS and Gannett Newspapers, all BOCES2 school districts have access to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle E-Edition of the newspaper.    The E-Edition of the newspaper provides access for the last 7 days of circulation and may be accessed from any internet enabled device.  The E-Edition includes stories, photos and advertisements; you may even access the Sunday comics.  Articles may be printed, downloaded or emailed and there is a listen feature from the website.



To access the E-Edition of the newspaper, follow the link below.    You may include a link to the website from your library database page or LibGuide.  The login is the same username and password that is used for eBooks from your district:    


Older issues (text only) of the paper may be accessed using the ProQuest Gannett Newsstand (1999-today) database.  The link is included on your database access page – give us a call if you need us to resend the link. 

Please be sure to communicate the availability of this valuable resource to your students and school staff.   



ROAR – Revisiting Our Available Resources - is a weekly communication from the BOCES2 SLS & Instructional Media Department that highlights one of the many resources available to our district libraries as part of the BOCES2 CoSER service.   These updates will be posted on the BOCES2 SLS website for future reference (note: this is a searchable site).   If you are interested in learning more about any of the resources offered by the BOCES2 SLS, please contact Jim Belair at 585-349-9099 (




Jim Belair

Coordinator, School Library Services

585-349-9099 (w)

585-465-9906 (c)

Contact for:

  • School Library System questions
  • CoSER Service questions
  • Resource offerings
  • Professional Development
  • Assistance with developing your library program

Patti Rose

SLS Administrative Assistant


Contact for:

  • Database pricing and renewals
  • Database access issues
  • Database usage statistics
  • Professional Development registration

Diane Sciabbarrasi

Administrative Support Specialist


Contact for:

  • Media Portal accounts
  • iPod shuffle reservations
  • Camera/DVD loans
  • Off Air recording requests
  • ILL requests from Academic & Public libraries

Lindsay Neumire

LMS & Instructional Technology


Contact for:

  • Database use in your instruction
  • eBook use in your instruction
  • LibGuides support
  • Integrating Makerspaces with instruction
  • Professional Development for you and your staff
  • Video Streaming support
  • Medial Library support

Karen Mitchell

Library Automation OR


Contact for:

  • Follett Destiny Library Manager support
  • Follett Destiny Library Resource Manager support
  • Follett Destiny patron accounts
  • Follett Destiny server issues
  • Mitinet support
  • MARC record questions & assistance

Randy Meyer

Library Automation OR


Contact for:

  • Follett Destiny Library Manager support
  • Follett Destiny Library Resource Manager support
  • Follett Destiny patron accounts
  • Five Systems support
  • Destiny training
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