Sunday, September 30, 2007
1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?
Hardback because they are “real” books to me…do I practice what I prefer—no. Practicality does not allow me to do so…and many books are only available in paper now anyway. But if I could make a law…books would only be hardback with rich papers and beautiful tradtional covers…and they would not cost a gazillion dollars to be like this!
2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…
The Book End…had a newsletter of the same name several years ago because the library was at the end of the hall…would want the shop at the end of the street or row of shops in the shopping center!
3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
Can’t help it... 3–part answer!
A. The newest one from Gordon Korman’s recent book Born to Rock:
"There are two kinds of people in this world--those who have had a cavity search, and those who haven't. This is the story of how I wound up in the wrong category."
This is just so Korman…and so bizarre that it makes me laugh…a lot!
B. Another favorite from a few years ago…again humorous and made even more special because the author Gary Paulsen can NOT read these short stories from How Angel Petersen Got His Name without laughing out loud himself.
In talking about the extreme sports of his youth, he states:“I want you to remember two important facts— 1. We were quite a bit dumber then. 2. There wasn’t any safety gear.”
C. And one more that came from a life-changing book for me, The 7 Habits of Highly Efffective People where Covey states:
"We are free to choose our response in any situation, but in doing so, we choose the attendant consequence.”
A sort of “for every action, there is a reaction”…I have often thought about which set of consequences do I want to deal with when trying to make a decsion on which way to go.
4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be ….
Living: Frank McCourt…to talk with a “real” Irishman who also happens to be a teacher who tells such wonderful stories
Dead: Mark Twain and Louisa May Alcott and Harper Lee and…
5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be…
a laptop or gigantic I-pod type device full of all the books I would want around me…1 book—you gotta be kidding me—impossible mission!
6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that….
Can’t for the life of me think of anything I need unless it would be something even better to accomplish #6…and make the content “feel” like it was in a real book.
7. The smell of an old book reminds me of….
Wonderful memories reading books from my parents’ shelves, some which belonged to my grandmother. I know they are now considered unhealthy, but “old” books are like old friends.
8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be….
Josephine March of Little Women...or one of the children from the original Boxcar children stories. I thought would have been cool to live in a boxcar…or Atticus Finch
9. The most overestimated book of all times is….
This one will probably get me in trouble…it is SUCH a classic, but, hey, we are entitled to our opinions aren’t we…Gone with the Wind.
10. I hate it when a book….
takes 90% of a book to draw out the story with great descriptions, wonderful character development and lots of action, only to have the author realize he/she only has “X” number of pages (as set by the publisher or page police) to finish everything up and so zooms thru to the end, forgetting to continue the great descriptions, wonderful character development and action to the last page. Can I think of a title as an example? not at this moment, but it happened to me so often, I have almost given up fiction because of it.
I welcome anyone to respond...looking forward to your selections!
It amazes me that in this day of fighting the battle of access to the Internet and its resources riches, that we as librarians still need to be sure our patrons have that same access to the printed word! When reviewing the list of the most banned books over the years I always find some of my very favorite books (To Kill a Mockingbird, Fallen Angels, The Face on the Milk Carton, On My Honor, Huck Finn)…some long-time authors…and as always some new titles -- HP!
I have always had to deal with this issue within the framework of the school setting…a little different perspective than a public or academic librarian. I always tell school librarians—
1. KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY and select materials that go along with the curriculum where you can. Have choice available so that all concerned can find something that fits their parameters, whatever they may be.
2. KNOW YOUR BOOKS and be able to explain the good (and bad) points of the books and the authors who wrote them. Keep up with the recommendations, both from professional reviewers and colleagues in our business…a huge benefit of the blogging world!
3. ENCOURAGE CHOICE and make sure the teachers you work with understand that concept. No child should have to read one particular book…or be singled out as the only kid not reading the “class novel.” Multiple choice just makes sense…groups reading various books just makes sense…and the benefit…kids are exposed to even more books thru group discussions, projects, etc. (And advise a teacher to be sure and READ the book(s) he/she wants to "teach"--YES, I have had to advise more than one teacher of this!)
4. BE PREPARED and have a procedure in place for those time when parents and others may question one of the books in your collection. Careful reconsideration policies usually can defuse a situation and bring about a solution that pleases all.
Some other places to check information about the freedom to read…
Judy Blume Talks about Censorship
As If – YA Authors Support Intellectual Freedom (includes YouTube video)
ALA’s Banned Book Week in Cyberspace – some of these sites will be blocked, but hopefully the general info won’t be…guess we will see
Celebrate the Freedom to Read post from Google blog
Banned books and the Presidents
Chicken Spaghetti's short observation
Fahrenheit 451: Banned Books blog
Thursday, September 27, 2007
From the site:
Google opened its doors in September 1998. The exact date when we celebrate our birthday has moved around over the years, depending on when people feel like having cake.
I really don't remember BG (before Google!) I have certainly taken advantage of much of its growth and development. Here's the timeline from the site itself!
P.S. Don't you just love the clever artwork each and every time on special dates? I would love to know those creative people...bet they are fun!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
More background available at Wikipedia.
One field does indicate I do have some expertise/knowledge...duh, been studying it for 40+ years! Calls me a "cool geek"....hummmm?
If you are a "techie" or a big sci-fi fan, this is probably the test for you, for sure!
It was fun...and did make me think about some things!
Caution: it is a tad long, but not too time-consuming.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Make a movie out of your photos in less than five minutes...no kidding...with music and all kinds of flashy moves!
this link is the movie I made to learn the process using the only batch of pictures I had handy...hence the reason for it only being 26 seconds long.
If it doesn't play because of a password issue, try one of theirs...I saw a cool little movie about skateboarding in the preview pane. It is a simple 1 - 2 - 3 process.
Of course, at this moment, I am not sure it will be available inside my school district...guess I will find out tomorrow.
All the interesting techniques with the pictures, Animoto did that...it does ask you to highlight a few of the pictures for extra punch...and you can choose one of their music files...not too many to my taste, but, hey...it's free!! and it does all the work for you...so I am not complaining! (You can use your own music file--be sure you are not violating copyright!)
Go have some fun...it is E-A-S-Y.
P.S. It took me longer to create this post than it did my little movie...of course typing can be a bit of a problem when your space bar all of a sudden decides to stick! o, brother...technology is fickle, isn't it?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Recently, I worked on some career materials for some high schools and got to read a little about the post office and people who have had the job of postmaster for their community before becoming much more "famous" doing something else.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I know I read her most popular titles including Wrinkle in Time, but remember better my time with her stories like Meet the Austins and Camilla...more my style.
Although her most popular books were not on my personal favorites list, I have many fond memories of giving them to students and watching them devour the stories and come back wanting more. These books have stood the test of time and would even pass the muster even if the covers were a little less appealing than the "new" books...once hooked, readers don't much care for packaging if the story is good!
I am sure many of you will have special memories with her various offereings. I hope they bring you a smile as you think about them. Here is a list of her titles. She has touched readers for 6 decades!
Here is some of the reaction to the author's passing that you may want to read ...and maybe share with her newest readers!
Madeline L'Engle's Official Website
Chair, Fireplace, Tea Cozy blog
Amazon Bookstore blog
Friday, September 7, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I took these pictures of the newest wind farm in West Texas...just north of San Angelo and outside of Sterling City along Hiway 87. The turbines look closer than they really are...the first picture gives a better perspective as to how far from the double-lane, divided hiway they are.
And yes, I stopped the car to take the pictures! I was interested in taking a picture or two because I drive this road pretty regularly and NEVER saw the construction of these HUGE objects (see facts below) until July...and I was almost past them before I "saw" them. This time I was watching carefully... and when they were wrapped in a beautiful early morning ground fog like a bride in yards and yards of tulle, it took my breath away! Friends and family often wonder why I enjoy the rather lengthy drive from Houston to the area...well, wonder no more...this is just one reason! It was a beautiful late summer morning.
I saw my first wind farm years ago in Southern Cailfornia along I-10 as you cross from Arizona into Cailfornia and was pretty impressed then too. I have seen a couple of older locations in Texas, but no matter how often I see them, I am always impressed with the size of the turbines. From a recent San Angelo newspaper article:
- 415-foot turbines that stand taller than the Statue of Liberty, which is 305 feet tall from the ground to the tip of the flame.
- Each generates 2.3 megawatts of electricity. A megawatt, or 1 million watts, can power 400 homes at any given moment.
- The housing for the turbine atop the pylon, called a nacelle, is the size of a school bus.
- The generating equipment inside the nacelle weighs 25 tons.
- Each blade weighs 14 tons. Its tip speed of 220 mph powers a drive shaft through the three-stage gear box that produces 18,000 revolutions per minute.
If you would like some more information about wind farms and wind power, check out this site. It includes a video clip, a powerpoint presentation, and lots of photos from another wind farm site near Abilene, Texas. Found this slide interesting!
Ironically, as I was making three return trips from the Dallas area going south on I-45 in August, coming north on the freeway were oversized trucks carrying these huge blades. I wondered at first what in the world these items could be and then the light bulb came on...blades for these turbines headed somewhere north...not sure where, since they were travelling up I-45, but anyway, figured they must have come by ship from somewhere and were off-loaded at the Houston port. According to the article, it looks like my theory was correct...and they are constructed in Denmark.
ANOTHER reason I love my various road trips that I take! I just get to see all kinds of interesting things and learn "new stuff"...did you know the Texas rest stops have wireless internet? !!!
Anyway... do you need some new books on wind power for your renewable energy collection?Wind power of the future : new ways of turning wind into energy / Tecco c2003
Wind / Naff, ed. c2007
Wind power / Petersen c2004 Children's Press
Generating wind power / Walker c2007 Crabtree
Wind power / Morris c2006 Smart Apple Media
Wind power / Sherman c2004 Capstone
Key words/Subjects: wind power, wind farms, wind power plants. Other call #s 621.31, 621.45
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
There is nothing wrong with using the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system in your average every day school library (and the above average ones, too!) Although I have an opinion about the effectiveness of this system in small public libraries and of the LC system in other libraries, I won’t speak to them in this essay because I am only formally trained and many-years experienced in school librarianship.
All of the news stories and articles that have come out about libraries that have abandoned (or are planning to abandon) this tried-and-true method of locating materials in the library are missing the point….IN MY OPINION.
As far as I am concerned the DDC system is merely a system of markers, or addresses if you will, to WHERE the items are in the library with some organizational pattern behind it. The Dewey numbers are no more significant in one way than such markers as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 90210, or 36°30'.
Do the Dewey numbers mean more to a librarian than to a patron? Probably. Most library patrons do not know the significance of 398.2, 597.8, 636.7, 796.33, and 976.4 (and librarians outside of the great state of Texas might not recognize the last one!) But if the patrons use these numbers as addresses or markers, once they get to the spot, they certain will know that they have found what they wanted and/or asked for.
And I will agree with the nay-sayers, there in lies the rub…the REAL problem at hand. Can the patrons take this well-established set of DDC numbers and find what they desire. They can. ..if and ONLY IF…the librarian has provided signage.
I don’t really care if the librarian chooses to make lots of signs with the actual Dewey numbers and lots of appropriately placed arrows. Or if librarians choose to use key words or subjects related to the Dewey numbers on their many signs with appropriately placed arrows. And I will even admit that most elementary librarians probably should use pictures or symbols to represent the addresses of their books, etc.…with appropriately placed arrows. Symbols and pictures go for big kids and grown-ups as well. After all, even our own profession has a visual representation!
Another issue involved with the many discussions about the DDC system is that it is dated. Huh? The newest technologies have a classification. Yes, we fumbled around in the latter portion of the 20th century trying to decide whether computers should be in the 600s until the powers that be took unused numbers in the 000s and assigned them there. In the school library where I worked during this time, it was far MORE traumatic when dinosaurs changed DDC numbers than where to find computer-related materials! The DDC system has handled all the inventions, the space race, and catastrophes and disasters. I remember during the terrible time of September 2001 that the folks responsible had a “marker” for us to carefully place all of our information ready and waiting almost instantly. The DDC system grows with the times as far as I can see.
And the last point I want to cover is that of wanting to “be more like a bookstore.” Have you ever tried to find something specific in a bookstore if it didn’t start with the words “Harry Potter…” or make the NY Times best seller list. Even the people that work there can’t always follow their arrangement…even after repeated trips to the computer to see where it should be. And signs…???
[Folks reading this don’t despair—I am not talking about the small, intimate privately owned and operated neighborhood book “shops” like we are lucky enough to have in our area…my problems lie in the big box bookstores that try to be all things to all people…if you have time to browse.]
Yes, bookstores have displays placing the covers out, but we have been promoting displays in our libraries for a number of years…and we have an advantage…if a patron picks up a library book on display and wants more, he or she need only look at the spine label to know where other related books are. Not possible in the bookstore! You are left to your browsing prowess once again.
As for browsing in the school library being stunted due to Dewey…I really don’t get that argument at all. Kids are experts at browsing…just ask any harried teacher on a tight time schedule. And any school librarian who is “smart” makes it easy…all the good stuff is out and about!
Am I against change? No, I have learned to adapt. Am I afraid of change? Only of change for change’s sake. Do I think the school librarians of today need to add to their never-ending list of things to do, the undoing of a perfectly good system of finding materials. NO!
Yes, I know there are people who dream of new things and new ways of doing old things and I am glad. If not, we would be cooking on open fires, using handcarts to carry our belongings as we walk beside them, doing business with an abacus, and listening to people tell their stories (o,wait we do that now…but that is another post entirely!) I just choose not to embrace this idea for change at this time.
Ok, I have had my say on something that has bugged me for awhile. And I feel better. Do I hear the unmistakable sound of a saw against the nice thick limb I have ventured out onto? Hummmmmmmmmmmmm…guess we will have to wait and see!
I do issue a challenge to the librarians in my sphere of influence…have you taken a HARD look at your library signage? Can your patrons maneuver around your library using the DDC information given for each book or item? Can they take that address and go to the “place” for the information they want? If not, then that IS a change that is needed…and I will help you!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
1. Library Stuff written by Stephen Cohen who came to the Texas Library Association annual conference a couple of years ago and really hooked me into the fun of the blogging world with his talks. I had not read any of his blog before hearing him talk about it and all of his other adventures related to this thing called blogging. I had some limited blog experience (mostly teen angst) and was ripe to see the bigger picture. His blog posts are short and sweet and to the point...they take you to all aspects of the library world and points beyond. Thanks Stephen!
2. American Presidents Blog is my favorite blog for trivia type info. I look forward to any and all of the interesting facts (and stuff) the team comes up with, but I am kinda of a history nerd anyway so this might not appeal to you. But if you have ANY reason to want to delve into all things presidential, this is the blog for you! (one the blog writers also blogs at History is Elementary, another one of the first blogs I found and devour on a regular basis)
3. Karbon Kounty Moos is written by a Montana ranch/farm woman who includes the most incredible photos of the area that I can actually feel like I'm standing in her pasture looking at a horizon full of mountains that bring back such fond memories of my own high country experiences. Her posts are full of things totally foreign to my daily life, but I can so easily escape into her world for a few moments of reading. Those adventures are some of the greatest mini-vacations I have ever had. I found this blog thru my friend and colleague over at
4. Of Life, Education, Travel, E-Bay & Books who started her blog as a means of recording a special trip and by doing so let me go along for the incredible ride she had during that adventure. She has gone to write about kinds of things, especially in the world of books and school libraries from her very unique and in-depth level of understanding. She entertains me, but more importantly she makes me think. Thanks G!
5. My last entry for this post is a "group" of bloggers made up of 2 former teachers turned stay-at-home moms and one former teacher turned librarian who write about their lives and make me laugh out loud EVERY time I read them. I am not linking to them here as they are a little more personal & private in what they write than what I like to include on my professionally-based blog. Their almost-daily expressions of life itself are like reading chapters in a good book and wanting the experience to go on and on...luckily it does...one of the grandest values of blogging. If you would like to have a peek at these blogs, let me know.
And I also must pay a small tribute to my own two daughters who used this social networking tool many years ago and introduced their mom to it in an interesting way. Neither write presently, but I look forward to their grown-up adventures if they ever do and I cherish the opportunity I had in seeing the world through their adolescent/YA eyes.
Blogging is a unique way to find yourself a way thru many venues of your choice. You don't have to write, but I do hope you experience some of the adventures in reading... and learning that are out there.
P.S. Although my blog roll is long and my bookmarks even longer...share something you think I'd like! I am always looking for something to new to "read"!