Finding Something to Read

Use the sites below to help your students find the next great book.


Maintained by BCCLS public librarians, BCCLSVisor gives unique suggestions and insight into a particular genre or theme.

Fantastic Fiction
If you have a favorite author, find out more about their other works, books they recommend, or similar authors.

Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion.

Supplying the English-speaking world with reviews, previews and other information about graphic novels since 2002.

Guys Read
Created by wacky author Jon Scieszka, this website is dedicated to listing the books which other guys have read and recommend. Book categories include “Outer space, but with aliens,” “Robots,” and “Realistic kids in realistic situations.”

Historical Fiction by Date
Looking for something specifically taking place in 1769? Look no further.

Hugo Awards Winners
Lists of all the Hugo Award winners for best achievement in science fiction- a great place to start if you are looking to pick up a sci-fi novel.

New York Times Bestsellers List
It has been around since 1942 and is still the go-to place for many readers.

Park Ridge Jr./Sr. High School’s Put Your FACE in a BOOK
Created and maintained by one of our very own BELS members!

Stop, You’re Killing Me!
A searchable database dedicated to mystery authors and characters.

Books in Series
Want to know the name of the next book in the series you are reading? How about the 16th? It’s all right here in this amazing searchable database maintained by the Mid-Continent Public Library.

YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
Through 2010, The Best Books for Young Adults committee each year selected and annotated a list of significant adult and young adult books, as well as chooses a list of top ten titles from the full list. It is a general list of fiction and nonfiction titles selected for their proven or potential appeal to the personal reading tastes of the young adult.

Tech Help

These guides can help you learn your computer basics, help you brush up on your skills, or teach you advanced computing.


General Computer Help

Basic Computer Skills- Learn to Use Your Computer
Help With PCs
Karbo’s Guide to Computers
Mac for Beginners
Mouse Program- How to Use the Mouse
NJ DoE CCCS Technology Toolbox


Operating System Help

Introduction to Windows 7
Introduction to Windows 8
Introduction to Mac OS X


Word Processing

Using Microsoft Word


Audio/Video Manipulation– Depository for thousands upon thousands of free and for-pay programs.
Audacity– Software for recording and editing audio.
CamStudio– Free, open source streaming video software equivalent to Camtasia.
FLVTO– Website which, among many other conversion capabilities, allows for the download of YouTube videos.
Zamzar – convert all types of files.


Other Helpful Utilities

Bullzip .PDF Tools– Convert anything which you can print into .PDF documents, and .PDF documents into Word documents.
Cam UnZip– Gain access to the contents of .zip files for free using this program.
Karen’s Directory Printer– Print directory and file information found on your computer.

Professional Development

The BELS Consortium considers professional development (PD) to be integral to a school librarian as it keeps everyone informed about changing technologies and trends, provides an open forum to learn from one another, and increases critical thinking.


21st Century Standards Boot Camp

Presentation Slides
Presentation Handouts


Local In-Person PD Opportunities & Programs

BELS Consortium Council meetings
BELS Committee volunteer work and committee meetings
BELS system training
LibraryLinkNJ Continuing Education (CE)
NJEA Professional Learning
NJSBA Training Programs
Rutgers University School of Communication and Information Events


Local Conferences

New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL)
New Jersey Library Association (NJLA)
New Jersey Education Association (NJEA)


Online PD Opportunities

U.S. Department of Education Continuing Education
Annenberg Learner
EDC Learning & Teaching Division
University of Wisconsin-Madison Distance Education PD

For Librarians and Educators

Explore these sites for classroom ideas and resources geared to librarians and educators.


ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of ALA) TechConnect
A moderated blog produced by a group of academic librarians covering innovative projects, emerging tech tools, computer programming, usability, design, and more.

Best Apps for Teaching & Learning
AASL (American Association of School Librarians, a division of ALA). The Best Apps for Teaching and Learning is a new recognition honoring apps of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.

Best Websites for Teaching & Learning
AASL (American Association of School Librarians, a division of ALA). See series of AASL Blog entries, Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites

College Library Web Site of the Month
Chosen approximately every month by the College Libraries Section of ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL, a division of ALA).

Internet & Technology
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC, a division of ALA). Resources about children and the Internet, educational technology.

Libraries and the Internet Toolkit: Tips and Guidance for Managing and Communicating about the Internet
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).

Library Reference, Research, and Resources: Tools for the Librarian and ALA Library Fact Sheet 29 – Links to Library Web Resources from the ALA Library

LITA (Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the ALA) Blog
Hosts original content by LITA members on information technologies and trends relevant to librarians.

Online Social Networks
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)

PRIMO; Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online
PRIMO, a committee of the ACRL (Association opf College and Research Libraries, a division of ALA) Instruction Section, promotes and shares peer-reviewed instructional materials created by librarians to teach people about discovering, accessing and evaluating information in networked environments. The PRIMO Committee hopes that publicizing selective, high quality resources will help librarians to respond to the educational challenges posed by still emerging digital technologies.

PRIMO Database
The database of instructional resources reviewed and selected by the PRIMO Committee. PRIMO is a means to promote and share peer-reviewed instructional materials created by librarians to teach people about discovering, accessing and evaluating information in networked environments. The Committee hopes that publicizing selective, high quality resources will help librarians to respond to the educational challenges posed by still emerging digital technologies.

Site of the Month
Monthly series of in-depth profiles of projects recently added into the PRIMO database. Each Site of the Month interview offers insights and ideas from the creators and developers of those projects.

Technology Made Simple: An Improvement Guide for Small and Medium Libraries Web Extra by Kimberly Bolan and Rob Cullin 
This companion website to the Technology Made Simple: An Improvement Guide for Small and Medium Libraries publication by Kimberly Bolan and Rob Cullin has been created to supplement the book and to help increase its usability and effectiveness.

Teens & Social Media in School & Public Libraries: A Toolkit for Librarians & Library Workers (PDF) 
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA, a division of ALA).

Websites and Web Accessibility pages at the ALA Professional Tips Wiki, compiled by the ALA Library


Countless scientific studies have confirmed that the quality of school libraries and their staff directly correlate with academic achievement, critical thinking skills, and standardized testing scores. Learn more about advocating for your school library.


NJASL School Libraries Video
In two minutes, this video communicates everything one needs to understand about why school libraries are important.


School Libraries Work! (3rd Edition, 2008)
“This research foundation paper brings together position statements from a variety of organizations and findings from nearly two decades of empirical studies that cite the measurable impact school libraries and library media specialists have on student achievement. It includes excerpts from a Congressional presentation made by the National Committee on Libraries and Information Science in June 2007; the results of new studies from Delaware… as well as new data, statistics, resources, and strategies to help principals, school board members, teachers, and library media specialists support and improve their library media centers.”


AASL’s School Libraries Count! (2012)
“AASL sponsors a longitudinal survey to provide data on the health of the nation’s school library programs. The annual survey is open to library centers at all schools teaching at the primary and secondary levels. The first survey was conducted in 2007 and results from each year are available for review . Most of the questions are tracking questions, though, each year the survey includes a short series of topical questions. In 2012, the topical questions were focused on filtering and online access.”


NJASL Advocacy Webpage
“The resources, in the Advocacy Wiki, were developed to help school library media specialists and others, who are interested in advocating for strong school library programs in all New Jersey schools. This Wiki provides information on:

  • laws and regulations;
  • steps to follow and people to contact in case that part of the program is threatened;
  • responses to frequently asked questions;
  • templates and examples to help you create your own advocacy materials (letters to the editor, ways to solicit input from stakeholders, etc.);
  • testimonials;
  • links to additional resources to help you advocate.

Library Research Service (LRS) School Library Information
“The Library Research Service generates library statistics and research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media. LRS reports and analyzes statistics on school, public, and academic libraries, and conducts studies on major library issues that are reported in the Fast Facts and Closer Look series. Topics of continuing interest to the LRS and its clients are theimpact of school librarians on student achievement, public libraries and the use of web technologies, and the changing library workforce. LRS is a unit of the Colorado State Library.”


School Libraries Impact Studies Project (Mansfield University, PA)
“A major goal of the project was to select significant findings and index them in a chart by components of a school library program, such as staffing, collections, budgets, etc. School librarians and stakeholders can now easily find which studies support specific aspects of school library programs and use the research to validate programs, positions, and budgets. Although School Libraries Work! and other similar works have done an impressive job in presenting the research, none has indexed the studies in this way. Shortly after the website was launched on February 5, 2011, I received many emails telling me how this information was immediately being used at school board presentations, in budget justification reports, and in efforts to save school library positions being recommended for elimination.


One Common Goal: Student Learning
“The New Jersey Study of School Libraries is a two-year study by the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL). It was commissioned by NJASL to determine the effectiveness of library programs in New Jersey’s K-12 schools. Phase 1 was completed in 2010 and Phase II in 2011. Principal Investgators were Drs. Ross Todd, Carol Gordon, and Ya-Ling Lu of Rutgers University.”


American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Advocacy Toolkit
Various documents and other tools to help implement advocacy programs.