Welcome.  LibrarianArika began in 2013, with the first post going live the day after my birthday.  Blogging was something I wanted to do for years…and I was out of excuses.  There were books and lessons and ideas to share.  Audience or not, I was going to write – so I did.   And while I wish I’d have named the blog something different these days, I think the content is pretty valuable.

arika-hufflepuffProfessionally, librarian has been my title since 2003 – and that doesn’t include time as a classroom teacher and a children’s library assistant.  It’s the literature, lessons, and technologies that make up librarianship that have become parts of my everyday life and what this blog is designed to share. Finding free lessons for the elementary library isn’t always easy, nor is finding time to observe and learn from others in our field.  TpT, while useful, is a drain on already-lean funds. It’s my hope that this blog helps.

While my students call me Ms. Arika or “library teacher” or “Mrs Bookie” (I love that one), I also answer to mom (I’ve a daughter and son) and wife. 

For 13 years, I worked in the Pacific NW as an elementary (k-5) school librarian, where most of these lessons take place. In early 2017, our family relocated to London, where I worked as the lower-school librarian at an international American school.  In fall 2018, I repatriated back to the PNW and now work as a FT elementary librarian in a new-to-me school and district.

I love to read. I love to visit libraries and talk about books.  And I love to travel.  Thank you for being here, and thanks for reading.

Cheers, arika

Credentials: BA in Elementary Education, Masters in Library/Information Science, National Board Certification in School Library Media (initial & renewal), and a boatload of tech microcredentials (Seesaw, Flipgrid, Apple, etc)

22 thoughts on “About

  1. kateywrites

    Just discovered your blog through your WNDB post at Nerdy Book Club. And I’m very glad I did! The world needs more librarians as engaged and energized and in touch with motivating young readers as you are! Thanks for the great posts.

    1. ajdickens Post author

      And I miss y’all! You guys are some of my fav librarians (who am I kidding – y’all ARE my fav librarians!). Your passion and energy around kids and books is great. See you at WLMA?

    2. ajdickens Post author

      Hi David! I saw this on my phone on your meeting date, but the thing wouldn’t let me respond then. I miss you guys. A lot. But stepping down was a good choice (for now). One day I hope to be back 🙂

  2. Madame L.

    I went to your presentation at WLMA desperate for what to do with Kinders. I came away with immediately useful tools, e.g. Rhyme Time. A fellow Lib. forwarded a link to your blog a month ago. I just love it. Your explanations of your lessons are clear and the plans are realistic and manageable. I’m currently scouring and devouring your blog for more on Kinders. Thanks to you, after 9 years, I think I’m finally feeling comfortable with them and with my instruction.

    1. ajdickens Post author

      HI! Thanks for writing. Your comment made my day. Teaching the K’s is truly the best part of my week – they have such joy and love of everything! I’ll be back at WLMA this fall with a different presentation – Operation: Motivation! A year of enthusiasm in the elementary library. I hope to see you there!

  3. Alison

    Love your blog!

    I’m currently a media clerk (with a media specialist degree!!) and teach a kindergarten group everyday for 45 mins. I get the same group for one week, then they switch. It’s my first year in the school system and I’m finding it difficult to plan a week worth of 45 minute library lessons for Kindergarten.

    Any suggestions.

    1. ajdickens Post author

      Hi! I understand your situation all too well, having 2 classes of K’s for 40 minutes on Friday afternoons. This year’s group has kept me on my toes: they seem to do better when I change things up every few weeks. Maybe it’s the location where we read stories, maybe it’s how we walk from recess to the library, maybe it’s a new author focus, or maybe it’s having a Skype with another librarian or author. Their behavior is better when I watch their (not assigned) seating – separating children who aren’t working well that day (it’s usually obvious) and letting others sit in different places/spaces (in a chair, for example) around our story area is a lifesaver. But to be real, it is HARD. Pre-planning as much as possible helps (from knowing what questions I’m asking to knowing which students can/cannot check out that day). The number one thing my littles love is to listen to stories. Maybe read a short one, do a song, then read another before check-out. Good luck, and thank you for asking! Happy reading! –arika

  4. dmrueth

    Are you still in London? It’s my home town and I feel as though we have swapped places since I am living in the PNW. Thanks for your inspiration – I’m just starting my journey in the blogosphere but will be a far cry from your extensive and informative pages.

  5. Beth Medlin

    Hi! Love reading your blog. Fun, thoughtful lessons! What is the name song? When I click on the link, it doesn’t work.

  6. Aloha Library

    Thank you for your lovely blog…it is simple and helpful in so many ways. Any suggestions on how students can fill the time if they aren’t checking out a book and don’t want to read?

    1. ajdickens Post author

      Thanks so much for reading & commenting. Here are some ideas: let kids listen to books on Tumblebooks. Have them browse for the most fascinating fact in Guinness Book of World Records. Add a maker component, like creating origami. Add a STEM component, like building the setting for a famous story (i.e., build the bridge the goats cross in the Three Billy Goats Gruff out of blocks).
      Good luck!

  7. Sophie H

    Hi Mrs Arika!
    My mom told me about your blog and i just wanted to say hi and ask hows london?
    Miss you a lot at BP (actually not anymore)

    1. ajdickens Post author

      Hello SH!
      What a treat to hear from you. London is lovely…but I am ready to come home. How was BP this year? Will you be there next year, or at CMS (or somewhere else)? I don’t know what school I’ll be at yet next year (because we are coming back!). My fingers are crossed that things work out.
      Always your librarian, Ms. Arika

  8. Aloha Library

    Hi Arika,
    Can you please explain your book purchasing method? How do you determine which titles to purchase? Do you use specific resources or vendors to help you select newly published books?

    1. ajdickens Post author

      Hi! My apologies for not responding earlier. No excuses, but life was a bit chaotic in May 2018 (National Boards! Moving overseas!) This is a great question…though one that requires a lot of thought. I’ll write a separate post about this one, as there’s a LOT that goes into what I choose to purchase. I’ll start writing this post today. Cheers! arika

  9. mrsterrythomas

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and resources with us for free! I agree… TPT is a drain, and while I don’t mind spending $$$ on fun things I want or need, I would rather spend the money at Target or Michael’s… not on downloads! I’m moving to elementary this year and your blog has been a lifesaver. BTW, I’m in Utah now but I worked internationally for over 20 years. Qatar, Belgium, Venezuela, Colombia to name a few locales. Hope you are loving it over there! Thanks again for your generosity.

  10. Kerstin Rossel

    I love your work and appreciate you sharing your thinking and teaching. I would love to use your white board lesson plan template including the words to live by. If I make sure to credit you, do I have permission to use your format?
    Thank you so much,

  11. Katie Yu (@kakakates)

    Hi! I just discovered your blog on Pinterest! Thank you so much for all you’re sharing. I’ve been a librarian for 6 years but this is my first as an ES librarian. Reading through your blog has given me so many ideas!!


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