June 4, 2017

Rally to Restore Illinois School Librarians!


Attending the American Library Association Conference in Chicago this month? 

School districts in Illinois are making the wrong choice by cutting school library budgets and laying off licensed school librarians.    Are you tired of hearing about school library closures?  Do you want to join the fight?  A victory in Illinois would mean a win in every state!

Please RSVP and attend the Rally to Restore Illinois School Librarians

When:        Friday, June 23rd at 12 noon CDT (Rain or Shine)
Where:      James R. Thompson Center (State of Illinois Building) Courtyard 

                   -100 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Why:         To demonstrate in support of licensed school librarian positions and 

                     school library program budgets in every school in Illinois
How:          RSVP here. And bring your voice, your heart and your hope! 

Click Here to RSVP for the Rally!

Update!!! It Was A Good Year!

Librarians in East St. Louis school district 189 circulated book until the last day of school!  Our new grant total of books checked out my K-12 students in the district is....
A post shared by KC Boyd (@boss_librarian) on

May 14, 2017

Webcast: School Library Journal and ISTE

Technology to Aid the Struggling Reader
Listen to this free, resource-rich program for tips on how to leverage technology to help new and struggling readers.   Learn about the best storytelling apps, digital sources of high-interest content for kids and teens, and more.

Register Here - Technology to Aid the Struggling Reader

Michele Haiken, English Teacher, Rye Middle School, Rye, NY; Adjunct Professor of Literacy, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY
K.C. Boyd, Lead Librarian, East St.Louis (IL) School District
Cynthia Merrill, Literacy Consultant
Kathy Ishizuka, Executive Editor, School Library Journal

Presented by: ISTE, Capstone, Amplify & School Library Journal
Event Date & Time: Thursday, May 18th, 2017, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT

Follow us on Twitter! @SLJournal #SLJISTE

It Was A Good Year!

Drum Roll Please.......The total number of books circulated for the eight, K-12 school libraries in the district for this school year was 14,418!!!

This means 14,418 books were checked out by the students, made it into their homes and read by them. You know I'm happy!!!😎   Check out my presentation showing the before and after pictures of the libraries. If you click on the presentation mode, you will be able to view the video at the end.

March 2, 2017

Resources That Help Us Represent!

Here's a recent presentation I gave to the Youth Librarians of Illinois.  "Resources that Help Us Represent," discusses how I have effectively used book vendors, publishing houses, websites, databases and books while working as a school librarian.  Enjoy!

February 20, 2017

Black History Month on Pinterest

Repost from School Library Journal online

School Library Journal recently contacted me to create a Black History Board for their Pinterest page.  The page is now live.....ENJOY!

February 14, 2017

'The Journey with Follett: From Chicago to East St. Louis, IL'

Here's a recent presentation I gave describing how Follett Libraries has been the #1 source of support for me when purchasing of multicultural books for my school library.

Follett Solutions Library Professional Development

Parkway School District - St. Louis County, Missouri

'The Journey with Follett:  
From Chicago to East St. Louis, IL'

February 5, 2017

Follett Webinar Archived Recording

Recently I served as a presenter for Follett Library's Webinar Series, "Promoting Promoting Inclusion, Social Equity and Diversity in Your Library." Presenting with Michelle Martin and Craig Seasholes was a treat and I have a deeper understanding and respect for the work that they are doing. Also, having the opportunity to give three of my favorite scholars (Drs. Keith Curry Lance, Elfreda Chatman & Stephen Krashen) public kudos, simply made my day.

If you would like to view the webinar or download the slide presentation, click the following link and you will be re-directed to a landing page where you can select the option of your choice.

Promoting Inclusion, Social Equity and Diversity in Your Library


New Books!

This video will never get old.  This is what happened when my Anime Club members received my message that their new books had arrived....

Librarian #Shero, Vivian Gordon Harsh

Described as “the historian who never wrote,” Vivian Gordon Harsh was the first African American librarian in the Chicago Public Library system and a significant contributor to Chicago's Black Renaissance. Vivian Gordon Harsh devoted her life to building one of the most important research collections on African-American history and literature in the country.

Image courtesy of BlackPast.org
Fresh out of high school, Vivian Harsh began work in 1909 as a junior clerk at the Chicago Public Library where she would remain during her 60-year career. In 1921, she received her B.A. in library science from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and later took advanced courses at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Library Science. 

In 1924 she became the city’s first black professional librarian. Through her involvement with The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History founded by Carter G. Woodson, Harsh recognized the need for library services on Chicago’s south side, the heart of the city’s African American community.

The library itself became a Mecca for literary and cultural icons of the period including Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Huston, and Gwendolyn Brooks, some of whom contributed manuscripts to the institution. The resources first accumulated by Harsh and Rollins in the 1920s have grown into the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, the largest of its kind in the Midwest and currently located at the city’s Carter G. Woodson Regional Library.

Source: http://www.blackpast.org/
#schoollibraries #tlchat #boss_librarian #librariesofinstagram #shero #library #libraries #librarian #blackhistorymonth

Book Review: Dear Yvette by Ni-Ni Simone

"Dear Yvette" by Ni-Ni Simone
Dear Yvette

by Simone, Ni-Ni 
December 2016
256p. Kensington, paperback,
$9.95 (9780758287762)
Grades 9th-12th

In her latest, Simone (‘Throwback Series: Down by Law,”) tackles the topic of second generation families who are wounded by the 80’s drug epidemic within the African-American community.    

Yvette Lavonne Simmons is a sixteen year old mother of a two year old daughter and lives in the DaBricks, one of the toughest housing projects in the Brick City, New Jersey.  Yvette has no stable family, dismal homelife and lacks the guidance of her absentee drug addict parents.   After a street fight ended in a second degree murder charge, her case worker, Janette sends Yvette and her child to a professional parent home in Norfolk, Virginia.  It is here that she is given the opportunity to start over under the guidance of the stern and loving Aunt Glo.   It is Aunt Glo breaks through the teen’s angry and defensive walls and teaches her that she is worthy of a second chance and receiving love.   Other characters such as housemate, Tasha and romantic suitor Brooklyn also help Yvette through this journey of self-awakening.   

Simone cleverly uses the music and culture of the 80’s as a colorful backdrop for Yvette’s story.   High school teachers, librarians and social workers can effectively use “Dear Yvette,” as a cautionary tale for troubled teens.  Overall, this story is a must read for teen street literature fans and should not be missed.   
By K.C. Boyd, Lead Librarian-East St. Louis School District, East St. Louis, Illinois
Source:  Booklist Magazine.  December, 2016

February 3, 2017

My Man Krashen!

     I am a huge fan of Dr. Stephen Krashen's work.  Krashen is a linguist, education researcher and activist.  He is also the professor emeritus at the University of Southern California.  I have used his research when writing papers and projects for class.  Over the last five years, I've been using his research to effectively advocate for school libraries and librarians.  His work has greatly helped me when I have debated administrators and district officials on the importance funding equity for the school library.

This is my favorite Krashen quote:

This image was created by Chris Ridell.

In this video, Krashen advocates for school libraries in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

February 15, 2016

Meet Author, Ni-Ni Simone

She has been in love with writing since she was a child.  
Her affair with words resonates with teens and adult readers.
The stories she is privileged to tell are mixed with little humor and life lessons.

I had the pleasure of speaking with author Tu-Shonda Whitaker on a snowy Saturday morning in January.   The conversation that was supposed to last only :30 minutes instead lasted two hours.   We talked about the importance of family, her childhood, writing for teens and adults and her commitment  to continue to delivering the stories that we have fallen in love with.   The humor that is present in Whitaker’s books is a reflection  of the woman herself…..she’s naturally funny!  I truly believe that she missed her calling as a stand up comedian.  

Whitaker writes for teens under the pen name, Ni-Ni Simone.  The name ‘Ni-Ni’ has nothing to do with Jazz great, Nina Simone, instead the name has a much deeper meaning.  While she is a fan of Jazz music, she wanted to pen her books under a name that would capture the attention and sounded like the name of teen we would meet.   She also felt that her first name was too 70’s-ish and really wanted to choose a name that they could identify with.  Given that today’s teens drive off of nicknames, she decided to use her daughter’s nickname, Ni-Ni and the rest is history.  

Whitaker is from New Jersey and is the only child of two parents as she describes,  ‘have been together forever.’   She earned a degree in English from Kean University and has taken additional coursework in African-American History, Creative Writing and Fiction Writing.   Whitaker takes her work as a teen author seriously and understands the impact that she can make on their lives.    She believe that the art of simplicity is the skill that an author has to hone in on and master.  Whitaker credits ‘The Color Purple,’ by Alice Walker and ‘Jazz,’ by Toni Morrison as excellent examples examples of this skill that she tries to emulate in her books.

Her work with teens as a social worker was also a catalyst in jumpstarting her career for writing for teens.  She wrote her first teen novel, ‘Shorty Like Mine,’ in two weeks.  She loved the story and ten books later is now hooked on writing for teens.   One of Whitaker’s strengths as a writer is her ability to observe the challenges teens are faced with today and incorporate it into her stories.  Her new series,  the ‘Throwback Diaries,’ accurately describes what happens in the lives of second generation adults affected by the crack epidemic within the African-American community.  As Whitaker describes, this series will take the reader on a journey with teenagers who have nothing, no stable homelife, poor family life, and little  guidance from parents/grandparents who have personal issues.   

Some of her most popular books to date are, “Shorty Like Mine,”  “Upgrade You,”  and  best selling, “Teenage Love Affair.”  These stories carefully blend struggles, love and hip-hop music/social media for a memorable journey that leave teens wanting more.   It is these stories that keep Whitaker’s fans reading and their feedback provides her with the inner drive to continue to write.   Frequent comments she receives from her teen and adult fans are that the characters accurately reflect the struggle within their lives.  Based off of these responses, Whitaker is convinced that the top three challenges teens are faced with today are:
  • Teens are living in poverty and it affects their view of themselves and the world
  • Drug use, not just for themselves, generational use i.e. grandparents, parents etc.
  • Teens today suffer from not understanding their rich history as a people

Whitaker’s Facebook fan page is her favorite social media site to use when promoting her books and interacting with fans.    Some of her most memorable responses/comments from teens are:
  1. Can we hang out?  
  2. (After the kids see her picture on social media) OMG….I didn’t know you were that old!
  3. Can you write a book with me?
  4. This story is MY life!

Check out her books today!

January 20, 2016

A New Discovery: Aquarium Music

A New Discovery and Tip of the Week:  YouTube's Aquarium Music

     For the past two weeks I've been out of my office and working  at a school in my new school district.  The librarian is new and we are working side by side to manually import marc records and other books into her new Alexandria circulation system.   

     For music and relaxation for her students, she plays aquarium music found on YouTube.com.  In YouTube's search menu, type in 'aquarium music' and you will find several videos to choose from.
     Let me tell you it's addicting.  I've always used classical and gospel music in my libraries.   I've observed that the kids love it, and I have grown to love it too.  When you are sitting in her library, you can watch a beautiful array of tropical fish swim gracefully across the screen.  The music isn't over the top, it's soothing and best used when played at a low level.  

     View one of the videos below and enjoy!

January 18, 2016

Monday Memes: Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today's Monday's Memes is dedicated to the 'Prince of Peace', Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

New Pinterest Page

The beginning of a new adventure.  
Check out the East St. Louis Sr. High School Pinterest Page
Search:  East St. Louis Sr. High School

January 10, 2016

Monday Memes

Image courtesy of School Library Journal, January 2016

January 6, 2016

My Next Presentation

Using Technology to Engage the Reluctant Reader

Presented by: 
ISTE & School Library Journal

Event Date & Time: 
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT

January 4, 2016

Monday Memes

Here's a couple of memes that have provided me with some inspiration.  Hopefully they will inspire you too.

New Opportunity...

East St. Louis, Illinois:  City of Champions
     July 2015, I was presented with an opportunity that I couldn't turn down:  Serving as a district librarian.  I interviewed for the position and was offered the opportunity to serve in a hybrid administration/high school position that began in August of 2015.
     It was difficult saying goodbye to a great group of Phillips students, teachers and community members.  The blessing is:  I still have a relationship with the students, in particular my Anime/Manga Club Members.   I am now the Lead Library Media Specialist for East St. Louis School District #189 in East St. Louis, Illinois.  Previous posts from Wendell Phillips Academy High School can still be viewed.  Those experiences were valuable and are precious memories.  

     I hope that you will follow me as I rebuild the high school library, support a great group of librarians and help integrate print/technology resources into the district.  Most importantly:  Getting kids excited about reading is what I'm committed to executing.   I'm excited about this opportunity and I hope you will follow me as I begin a new journey in school librarianship.
My New Home!


December 21, 2015

The Clear Bookbag

Image Courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor
     There is something that a high school teen in a lower economic neighborhood  despises: A clear book bag.

     For some of these neighborhoods, these clear book bags are in response to crime that permeates into high schools and holds them hostage.  Over time, the clear book bags have become  common practice, and are now used in some elementary schools across the city.  Teens have reluctantly accepted this form of adult invasion of privacy.

     For some teens the use of the clear book bags frustrates them because their personal items of value are exposed to all making them a target for theft.  Teens that resale candy, chips and box drinks during school hours are also frustrated because their grocery items are exposed in these bags and often confiscated during the morning x-ray scan.  In a post-Columbine school age, many would argue that this type of added security will provide a safe environment where learning can take place.

Image Courtesy of K.C. Boyd
     Individuality is often times very difficult to celebrate in high school for teens who live in lower income, crime stricken communities.   Teens must adhere to strict policies that dictate the appearance of their uniform, accessories, hair, piercing and the use of the clear book bag.  There are some teens that have embraced this practice as so much that they decorate their book bags with markers, stickers and other symbols that celebrate their individuality.

     Another group of students who display a creative form of teen expression are those teens who enjoy reading Street Literature books.  Also known as Urban Fiction, these soft covered books with their undaunted hip hop inspired titles and eye catching cover art are easily identifiable.  Students enjoy placing the current book that they are reading in the back of the book bag so that it can been seen by others while they are walking down the hallway.  One may observe that this type of display as a walking advertisement, for teens it’s an outward expression of what they feel is hip to read.  Generation Z teens living in economically challenged neighborhoods have found direction, solace and pleasure reading through this often overlooked and misunderstood genre called Street Lit.

October 3, 2015

An Honor

This is truly an honor.  I'm featured in the September/October issue of American Libraries!


July 7, 2015

ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge
My view

I attended the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco. The trip was wonderful! I had the opportunity to meet a couple of authors that I have been wanting to meet for years. In addition, I participated on a very insightful panel discussion about PH.d candidates of color. The exhibit hall this year was so engaging and I purchased so many things. Here's a couple of pictures from the trip with captions. Enjoy!
One of the coolest displays on the exhibit floor
Jacqueline Woodson!
Christopher Myers
Nancy Pelosi!
So serene and quiet before the madness begins
The famous Lombard Street


ALA President, Courtney Young

My first ever panel selfie!

Pride parade #LoveWins