Sunday, September 30, 2007

Banned Books Week

It is the beginning of Banned Books Week, and while I plan to do a post or two during the course of this week, I can not think of a better way to start off than referring to the most recent Unshelved comic strip and blog entry Read Irresponsibly.

"Celebrate it yourself by reading something
appalling and offensive."

Visit Unshelved to view the strip, September 29, 2007.

Unshelved c. Overdue Media, LLC.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Cookies anyone?

Looking at my StatCounter information this evening (remember, slightly reformed stat-aholic) I am surprised to see how many searches in the last two weeks have been for wedding cookie tables. A little blog blathering in June 2006, also known as The Wedding Cookie Table, has garnered interest. There have been searches for:
  • wedding cookie table
  • cookie table Pittsburgh, PA
  • cookies for weddings Youngstown, OH
  • wedding cookies table
  • wedding cookie table pictures
  • cookie tables

There are only two links to information on that particular post, all of which are getting some heavy use. So because I'm a librarian and just can not seem to help myself, here is a bit more about the wedding cookie table tradition.

It's Time for Vows, Bows, and Cookie Table Wows - Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

"Wedding guests may not remember the maid of honor or the best man, but they'll remember the cookies. And the cookie table has established its presence at other spring and summer rituals, such as religious celebrations, graduations and bridal and baby showers."

NPR: What’s a wedding without cookies? - Mollie Cox Bryan

"Pennsylvania is not the only state with this tradition, her research showed. New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and New Jersey all share some version of the wedding cookie table."

"In general, the cookie table was known to Catholic Italians, Catholic Greeks, some Eastern Europeans — again generally Catholic — and a few Jewish individuals. Distribution definitely followed industrial areas that were settled by those ethnic groups," she said."

Wedding Cookie tables - WQED Multimedia: Pittsburgh Magazine, Chris Fennimore. Wedding cookie recipies!

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Hypothetical lunchtime blogging

Instead of reading a book for lunch I'm blogging. No, it's not a reflection on the children's books I have selected as of late, but it is of what has been occupying my time this week; collection development and technology. Yesterday I finished a folder full of orders for the acquisitions librarian. This afternoon I am attending the first of six three hour sessions on integrating technology into teaching (and in my case the library as well).

Beyond the juvenile/young adult (three boxes waiting to be processed in tech services) and education liaison collection development responsibilities I also purchase the boring every-day items necessary for keeping my little corner of the library running smoothly. Included in that particular group of unexciting items are color toner (budget hog), laminating film rolls (pays for itself), book kit folders (resulting from reorganization of materials kits), and cases of paper. Recent weeding and shelf shifting in the resource center resulted in an entire section of empty shelving allowing me to increase holdings in software, materials kits, and activity books.

I spent a great deal of time finding appropriate, both topic and technologically, educational software. Since there are teachers editions to software packages just as there are teachers editions to textbooks, I started my search with an old favorite, Tom Snyder. Many of the available titles have not yet caught up with the ever changing windows operating system. In that regard my biggest challenge at this point is to find something which will run on XP, our current university system, and potentially on vista. Though a secondary issue is always budgeting and cost of the software, I was able to order six titles for $400 (plus shipping & handling) that should meet our needs.

Materials kits and activity books were more, dare I say it, fun to order. Carson Dellosa, Carson Dellosa School Division, and MindWare were my vendors of choice. I was able to order materials kits with coin money, lacing cards, bi-lingual learning games, magnet coloring sets, a USA floor map puzzle, and a very cool set of puppets (they have teacher resources and audio cd's included!). As I was working students were perusing the catalogs and inquiring what was going to be added to the collection. Activity books and puppet sets were high on the list were high on their personal "yes" lists.

I am assisting the group facilitator, sheesh in about fifteen minutes, with today's technology topic of podcasting, desktop movies, TeacherTube, YouTube, and video. After remembering to charge the digital video camera, I spent a good portion of the morning re-learning how to use Camtasia Studio to make screencast movies. My topic of choice is the new resource center web site. At first the project was just for show and tell, but as I've worked on it steadily throughout the day I think it will be the first video I try to upload to a blog. Editing the recorded screen can be addicting, especially to an annoying perfectionist (understanding the problem is the first step). Time will tell, but at least now I have a project for the meeting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alumni stop in Eureka

Have you noticed? In the last several weeks, and even to some extent last season, Eureka has been an interesting stop for displaced Stargate SG-1 personnel. SciFi and USA are very loyal to their shows and actors; well, aside from that cancelling SG-1 problem. Case in point:

Two weeks ago, God is in the Details featured Stargate SG-1's Dr. Janet Fraiser, played by actress Teryl Rothery, was Diane Lancaster. Like everyone in Eureka even the church musical director is a brilliant scientist. Only this one was wreaking havoc trying to create a doorway to heaven.

Last week's episode, Maneater, included Stargate SG-1's Dr. Lam , played by actress Lexa Doig who was also General Landry's daughter and belated replacement for Dr. Janet Fraiser, was the biologist instructing Global Dynamics concerning issues of sexual harassment.

On an aside, the guy who played Dr. Stone, the mole, in this particular episode looked familiar as well ...

In the episode titled All that Glitters, Dr. Michael Jackson, actor Michael Shanks, portrayed Christopher Dactylos; a charming (sarcasm light is on) scientist who found a way to transmute metal to gold; with a twist. Naturally there was bacteria attached to the formula that after turning the item to gold destroyed it as well. Michael Shanks does indeed do snarky arrogance very well.

This is not to say these characters are taking over Eureka, far from it. The show remains fun, quirky, and well done. Seeing the SG-1 alumni just adds an element of fun to the watching for fans like myself who are still cranky at the SG-1 cancellation. If you were not a fan of SG-1, these actors would have just been interesting characters in the city of Eureka. Alas, next week is the season finale. At least that means I won't have to choose between Eureka and the Dancing with the Stars results show.

Update: 10/2/07

This evening Sci-Fi is running back-to-back episodes of Eureka. I watched the end of episode with Dr. Stone, the Mole (the one where Carter was irresistible) and finally remembered where I saw this character on SG-1. Stay with me here, it's a bit convoluted. This character played a scientist on the episode where SG-1 visits a planet, the team is captured and placed in cages by an enemy militia, T'ealc has his eyesight damaged, and a young scientist helps to cure T'ealc and save SG-1. They give the scientist in question sanctuary on earth and he's "helping" Daniel Jackson as a research student "deciphering" notes. The mole is the scientist.Clear as mud ... but it was making me nuts!

Now it's time for the season finale of Eureka.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Teens' Top Ten, YALSA

A post this morning from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) blog details the 2007 Teens' Top Ten. This list, "the only book award list that is recommended soley by teens," has been posted on both the YALSA blog and Teens' Top Ten web site. Bloggers are being asked to spread the word regarding nominated titles and the opportunity presented for teens to vote on their favorites during Teen Read Week.

Teen groups selected the twenty five books, all published in 2006 and 2007:

"Nominators are members of teen book groups in five school and public libraries around the country Connecticut, Kansas, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Utah selected for their experience in discussing books." - Teen Read Week, YALSA

The 25 Nominated titles are:
  1. Firegirl - Tony Abbott
  2. Clay - David Almond
  3. Road of the Dead - Kevin Brooks
  4. Secrets of My Hollywood Life: On Location - Jen Calonita
  5. The Loud Silence of Francine Green - Karen Cushman
  6. Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
  7. How to Ruin a Summer Vacation - Simone Elkeles
  8. In Search of Mockingbird - Loretta Ellsworth
  9. The Christopher Killer - Alane Ferguson
  10. What Happened to Cass McBride - Gail Giles
  11. Hello, Groin - Beth Gobbie
  12. River Secrets - Shannon Hale
  13. Shock Point - April Henry
  14. Bad Kitty - Michele Jaffe
  15. Born To Rock - Gordon Korman
  16. New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
  17. Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City - Kristen Miller
  18. Prom Anonymous - Blake Nelson
  19. Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever - James Patterson
  20. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
  21. Penelope Bailey Takes the Stage - Susanna Reich
  22. All Hallows Eve (13 Stories) - Vivian Vande Velde
  23. Skin - Adrienne Maria Vrettos
  24. The Unresolved - T.K. Walsh
  25. Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog - Ysabeau S. Wilce

I have posted about two of these titles; Firegirl and Life As We Knew It. I checked the catalog at work and we have 14 (56%) of the books nominated for the top ten list. This is when differences between public, school, and academic libraries are more pronounced. Public libraries are purchasing for their young adult patrons, academic libraries are purchasing to support the university curriculum and pre-services teachers of young adults, and school libraries are purchasing young adult titles for their curriculum and instructors. Generally speaking, a public library will have a wider variety of young adult novels to service their patrons wants and needs.

It will be interesting to see what ten titles win.

c. YALSA image property of ALA & YALSA

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything

In Elise Broach's book, When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, it's Friday afternoon, the perfect time for mom and her young son to run errands. Only this time things are a bit different. This Friday, dinosaurs come with everything; a dozen doughnuts? Need a shot at the doctor's office? Don't forget the dinosaur! From the young boy's glee, to his mother's increasing exasperation, David Small's watercolor and ink illustrations are a perfect compliment to this larger-than-life tale. Dinosaurs running amok in the city are highlighted bold strokes and add both subtle and outright humor to the landscape; readers will be excited to find their favorite dinosaur drawn into the pages. There is much offered to capture attention in this lively selection and the mother's solution to her home over-run with creatures shows family does indeed come in all shapes and sizes, even their pets.

I have a lengthy list of juvenile books ready for purchase that will be added to a cart later this evening. It has been a good beginning of the term for juvenile books, all but a dozen of the books ordered since July have arrived and are either on the shelf or cataloged and awaiting processing (well, with the exception of a couple that arrived Friday afternoon). It is not often the billing and receiving end of ordering is "caught up" with the ordering, even with the excellent job done by the technical services department at the library. There is often a book or three back ordered, out of stock, or not available for purchase. Even better, the new book shelves are not overflowing due to student, and professor, interest in checking out new titles. Ordering for the juvenile collection is a definite plus on the job satisfaction meter.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Knock, Knock

Fourteen well known children's illustrators collaborated to present their personal answer to the classic joke, "Knock, Knock ... Who's there?" The result is Knock, Knock, a hilarious picture book guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Each artist is given a knock knock set up and page turning answer, perfect for reading aloud in the classroom or for story time. Beautifully illustrated, jokes contain not only the artist's personal humor, but their individual style and art medium. All the classics are here, presented with a fresh style; from Dan Yaccarino's peek-a-boo alien, to Henry Cole's Esther Bunny; from Chris Raschka's classic Vild Things to David Small's sweet proactive toddler, the jokes are definitely on us.

Taken straight from the technical services cart this morning, I was thrilled to see this book living up to it's predecessor, "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road." I particularly enjoyed Peter H. Reynolds: "Knock Knock! Who's there? Lionel. Lionel who? Lion-el eat me if you don't open up that door!" The hungry lion licking his chops and the frantic young boy trying to get in the door are priceless. My particular favorite was David Small's precocious blond toddler and her subsequent reaction to, "Knock! Knock! Who's There? Ivan. Ivan Who? I van to drink your blood!" Blondie jumps out of bed, stomps on the bat, kicks him out to the cold, dark, evening, and settles down for a peaceful night's sleep. As with Chickens, Knock Knock ends with self portraits by each illustrator who then answers the question, "Who do these artists want knocking at their doors?"

Bravo to Sophie Blackall who answers, "Anyone bearing cake."

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Fire From the Rock

Fire from the Rock is a fictionalized account of the Little Rock Nine; nine courageous black students who braved integration into Central High School in 1957. Sharon Draper's book introduces readers to Sylvia Patterson, a middle school student looking forward to attending high school with her friends. When the order to segregate Central High School is enforced, a direct result of Brown vs the Board of Education, teachers are encouraged to submit names of exemplary students for consideration.

Sylvia must decide if she wants to attend Central High School. If chosen and accepted she will be prohibited from participating in any extra-curricular activities, social events, and will be an outcast in her new school and her neighborhood. But more than that, she will have to survive the racial taunts and threats of violence from those who do not want integration to move forward; black and white alike. Her new boyfriend wants her to stay at their school, her brother wishes he were going in her stead, and her friends do not understand why she feels the need to be different. In the end, Sylvia must make the choice that is right for her.

This is a very compelling work; accounts of violence and racial tension are brutally honest and characters are not painted as right or wrong. Shades of gray are presented as each person struggles with questions, feelings, and personal motivation brought to the surface by "the Nine." One of the more poignant vignettes is that of Sylvia and her white friend Rachel. Both girls struggle with racism and violence; Rachel is Jewish and Sylvia's boyfriend Reggie sets fire to their family business. As the deadline for Sylvia's decision approaches, she wonders secretly if Rachel would openly be her friend in the all white school. Sylvia's parents worry about their daughter's safety in the school and neighborhood. Her brother Gary and boyfriend Reggie provide a strong young male voice, impatient with the process of integration. History details what happened, but Draper opens a window for readers to know and understand the feelings of people involved.

A quote on the dust jacket from author Walter Dean Myers:

"There are real people in Fire from the Rock with real emotions, fears, and frustrations during a period of crisis. All of America saw the front story on television and in the newsreels of the day. Draper tells the backstory, what was happening in the hearts and homes of the courageous families, and incredibly brave children who put themselves on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement. This is a story that needed to be told, and Sharon Draper has told it remarkably well."

An author's note provides additional information concerning the nine students and the terror they faced as well as a selected list of web sites. Sharon Draper's Bio is available on her web site.

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My Mother the Cheerleader

Author Robert Sharenow's, My Mother the Cheerleader, is an introspective first novel told from adult Louise Collin's recollection of her thirteenth year. The year her mother became a cheerleader; not the kind that sit on the sidelines cheering for football, but a group of white women, housewives and mothers, in 1960 New Orleans whose goal was to verbally harass a six year old black student named Ruby Bridges as she attended the first integrated school in the ninth ward.

Louise's mother runs a boarding house in New Orleans. A difficult woman who is an alcoholic, Pauline Collins regards her daughter more as inexpensive labor than a loving child. One afternoon a gentleman from New York arrives to stay at the "Rooms on Desire" who ultimately is a catalyst for change. Morgan Miller is a successful editor visiting New Orleans to make amends with his estranged brother. While his efforts in that regard are rebuffed, he soon has the romantic interest of both mother and daughter. Giddy with importance, Pauline prepares for her anticipated first date, bragging with importance to her friends, when Morgan arrives at the Ninth Ward school to view the Cheerleaders and is both physically and verbally assaulted by the crowd. What follows is a frightening series of events highlighting the fear and hatred prevalent with whites and blacks during the Civil Rights Era.

Louise is not sure why her mother is adamant she not attend school when her first "reaction to the news that William Frantz was to be integrated was to wonder why the Negro kids wanted to go to such a crummy school" (p. 10). Deeply rooted prejudice, including instances of the Klan, are presented in a matter-of-fact manner that is chilling. When Pauline is attacked in her home, beaten and raped by the men who assaulted Morgan, it is viewed as common occurrence. Fear of the Klan keeps the women from reporting the incident and it is not without irony that Louise runs to their housekeeper Charlotte for help when her mother is hurt; Charlotte is black.

This book does not white-wash the era, but the first person narrative does present a different perspective, that of a thirteen year old girl. There is no happily ever after, it would be inappropriate and disrespectful. However readers are left with the impression these characters have been challenged to look at their long held beliefs. Not an easy title to read and digest, it does present opportunity for discussion. For more information, an author interview is available on the Harper Collins web site: Robert Sharenow on My Mother the Cheerleader.

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Ruminations from the road

Driving to Columbus for a meeting I observed the usual and some interesting things; the drive itself, using I-71 south, is very monotonous and I need something beside a loud Montgomery-Gentry CD (their newest) to keep me occupied. Mostly a three lanes highway, leaving shortly after eight in the morning means clusters of trucks during the trip. That in itself is not a problem, sure one almost ran me off the road as it was crossing from the far right lane of an entrance ramp while entering 270 west, but that's a normal occurrance. I'm just a little blue two door Ford; "sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug."

But, I digress. While passing a large SUV I noticed the driver using one hand to talk on the phone and the other hand to fix his hair. Yes, his hair. I had a fleeting moment of interest wondering not only how he was steering his big ole vehicle, but also if he was the only one in the car. I passed quickly and went on my merry way. Arriving at my destination without further problem, I was even happier business was finished early and I was able to start the trip home shortly after 2:30, thus missing the Friday rush-hour exodus beginning at 3:00 pm. Merging from 270, near the Budwiser plant, to I-71 north there was construction. Fabulous. However, the construction was good!

The configuation for merging from 270 to 71 North has changed! No longer must everyone take their life in their hands and exit to 71 using the same ramp as those entering 270. Cleveland and Columbus traffic is separate and equal, each with it's own lane far away from the entrance ramp. What usually takes fifteen to twenty minuts took less than five. As a result, I was able to get home early enough to make a quick stop for some confectionary goodies at a local store. Chocolate covered toffee, double-dipped malted milk balls, and a chocolate covered marshmallow on a stick. Yum.

With the same extra half hour I did a bit of DVD shopping and purchased Garth Brooks: The Entertainer. While typing this post, I am listening/watching the HBO Special, Garth Brooks: Live at Central Park DVD. Now? It's time for "Friends in Low Places." A secondary, though no less important purchase for my collection, was Stargate SG-1 season four. Several of my favorite all-time episodes are part of Season four; "Window of Opportunity," "2010," and "Chain Reaction." I know, "Chain Reaction" is an odd choice of favorite. But it has one of the best lines from O'Neill (two L's): "Have you heard of Ikea? " and brings into play the nefarious, but fun, Harry Maybourne. Next up? I must have season twp and three respectively with "1969" and "Urgo."

As I was finishing links for this post, Garth was singing "We Shall Be Free" - one of the bonus cuts on the Central Park DVD. There is a poignent scene near the end, a large red, white, and blue banner is unfurled between the World Trade Center twin towers ... it says Freedom. I can't add the screenshot here (copyright issues, librarian....), but someone has posted the video on YouTube. Here it is, YouTube-Garth Brooks-We Shall be Free.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ahoy, mateys!

It's that time again, September 19, 2007 ... Talk Like a Pirate Day!

This just in from the Blogthings pirate name generator:

Your Pirate Name Is...

Lieutenant-Colonel Sweet Waters

Interested in learning more about "Talk Like a Pirate Day?"

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mock Caldecott Panel

Today’s Mock Caldecott panel consisted of eighteen pre-service teachers enrolled in a junior block literature class studying children’s books, particularly picture books and picture book art. There were enough books on each table to facilitate one book per student and plenty of time given for discussion amongst individual groups. Handouts accompanying the books included Caldecott medal criteria from ALSC, the Association of Library Services to Children, a listing of each book being considered detailing a webliography of illustrator sites, and a library pathfinder of previous Caldecott winners. Additionally, every book presented met basic criteria of being published in 2007 and having an illustrator who are residents of the United States.

The class arrived in the library mid-morning and were seated at tables in four groups, two groups of four and two groups of five, charged with the task of selecting one of the books on their table as their choice for best picture book. Eighteen titles (see Mock Caldecott early choices and Mock Caldecott part 2), each published in 2007, were considered as possible contenders for the award. The original field was narrowed to five; one selected the winner with others awarded honor distinction.

Selected by the panel were:

Catching the Moon - Top vote
Stick & How Many Mice - Tied for second

Discussions concerning individual selections were increasingly in-depth; students were very involved with the type of medium used, if there were any computer-generated elements within the illustration, and the various textures created by use of multiple mediums within the book. A short synopsis of comments regarding each title follows:

  • Catching the Moon - Illustrated by Chris Sheban
    Illustrations were captivating; use of the moon as a character within the book was charming; facial features of the fisherwoman and the moon were revealing and emotional; the moon "glowed" within each illustration, even his footsteps when leaving the fisherwoman's house glowed; the fantasy elements during the night time visits were especially moving; and most thought even though the story may have been less than steller, the illustrations moved worked beautifully within the confines of the tale.

  • Stick - Illustrated by Steven Breen
    This almost wordless picture book followed somewhat of a graphic novel, comic book format; humor was wonderfully depicted throughout; sense of wonder little "Stick" had throughout his adventure was apparant; details such as seeing reflections of Stick's lunch in his eyes and the characters he meets along the way were astonishing; the illustrator did not "miss a step" when adding to each pane as the story progressed; colors were great; and the ending "glowed."

  • How Many Mice - Illustrated by Michael Garland
    Illustrations had great depth; different textures were detailed within various pages, specifically the corn and the fish; choice and use of color was astonishing; and each individual mouse had it's own personality. Additionally, as pre-service teachers the panel was impressed with math elements woven into the story making it both visually appealing and useful for the classroom.

This is the first time in the five years I have been facilitating a Mock Caldecott discussion that the student panel selected books that were personal favorites of mine. I also found it interesting that they did not choose books by some of the more well-known illustrators such as David Diaz, Betsy Lewin, Jerry Pinkney, E.B. Lewis, or Jan Spivey-Gilchrist(I was disappointed hers did not make the cut). To me this means they were looking at the project as a whole, as opposed to making safe selections. Time will tell if any of our books are even contenders.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Again with the downtime?

I have been lax with posting here over the last week. And now it seems I am only posting to complain (though I do have posts in draft format patiently awaiting their turn for publication). It's lunchtime and I wanted to check my Bloglines account to read my updated rss feeds.

Yet again, no luck in IE 7, the world simply spun and spun.

This time, no luck with Mozilla, just the "Service Temporarily Unavailable" notice:

"The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later."

I remain annoyed and wondering.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thinking, writing, blogging

This has been one of the most hectic back to school sessions I can remember; it probably has something to do with the sheer volume of things unaccomplished over the summer for one reason or another. Shelf shifting in the resource center is complete and did result in one glorious and completely empty section of shelving (time to hunt catalogs and buy new materials kits). With luck, we will all be finished sniffling and sneezing when at work. Cleaning while shifting is necessary, but it makes for a dusty environment. Especially when the carpet is 30 years old and sheds fiber day in and day out.

Sorry ... I digress.

Hectic at work translates to very little patience with the computer and blogging at home. It also means a lack of blog focus mixed in with some blogger's block. I am a bit dissatisfied with blogs I am reading, as well as with the one's I am writing. Instead of posting drivel - well aside from now - I chose not to blog.

On the other hand, lunch in my new office has meant lovely quiet time to read and digest (both books and food). I have read two really wonderful juvenile fiction titles in the last week, both set during the era of Civil Rights. I have hesitated writing about them to be sure I take the time to do the discussion justice. This week is the scheduled Mock Caldecott session with one of the children's literature classes. I will definitely report on the conclusion of the session.

Right now, I'm going to watch the end of Men in Black II and look at the new drapes/panels in my bedroom.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Anyone but me?

A quick break from collection shifting, complete with dirty shelves, missing items, and opportunity to condense and weed, led me to my Bloglines account for a blog update.

Well, I tried to read updated blogs.

Is there anyone else a bit disenchanted with Bloglines? In the last several weeks it has been down at least three times, I have been unable to connect to my account a half dozen times, and I begin to wonder if developing "Bloglines Beta," something that has a more graphical interface but that I was unable to navigate with ease, is taking time away from the usefulness of the current product. For the last five minutes my browser has been trying to connect. Not happening. I would not be worried if the connection issues happened when I was using my dinosaur at home, but this is a university network connection - usually immediate.

Bloglines was the first feed-reader I found that (a) was easy to use, and (b) I actually liked. Though generally pretty brand/technology loyal, if the technology is not working to my specifications and expectations, is it time to look at other options?

Later that afternoon ... continuous frustration had me checking other computers and browsers. I was finally able to access Bloglines with Mozilla (not IE 7).

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2001

We Remember ...
Our prayers continue.

Photo c. Wikimedia Commons 2004 (public domain)

Post-it note tagging books

It's that time again, this afternoon there was a lovely cart of new books in technical services; and while they were not all mine, perish the thought, several were. During lunch this afternoon, stretched out with my feet propped on a chair in my office, I perused the titles, placing lovely blue post-it note strips inside the covers of titles that caught my interest.
Yes, there were more than seven titles on the cart. Yes, there were picture books, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and juvenile literature. No, I do not want to read everything I order for the library. I am building a collection to support the curriculum, not greedily purchasing what I want to read.

Interesting timing ... a cart has arrived to be cataloged and I have been going through the most recent copies of Booklist, Book Links, and School Library Journal making selections for September and October.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

... After Labor Day

Labor Day is the only fall holiday in our academic school calendar until Thanksgiving; after the newness of the first week of school fades, a three-day weekend arrives. Freshman are often discouraged from going home, fear they will not return lurking in the background, everyone else on campus celebrates the last glorious weekend of summer. Everything is still fresh and new and pretty and fun. But before we can settle into the humdrum rhythm of the fall semester it is necessary to survive the week after Labor Day, the longest four-day week on record.

I used to think it was just me ... but on Friday three of my student workers mentioned the week felt more like three weeks; homework was abominable, the weather too nice to be indoors, and expectations for the term were overwhelming in their early intensity. Reading, actually re-reading, Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie over the weekend, I found a quote that sums things up nicely. Even taken out of the context of the book, it fits:

"It's all in that expectation. Everybody wants to live in a Norman Rockwell painting, and everybody's really living in The Scream" (Fast Women, p. 193).

My week ended with two new hires, bringing the total to four and a graduate assistant, four resource center tours, three for the WebCT course and one for resource center information and database handouts, and a mad dash to finish my conference report/article submission.

The queen of procrastination, I feel the tiniest bit hypocritical when beating the "start early" drum for the course. There is no doubt in my mind I would be the student starting this project the week before Thanksgiving break. After the three classes, sixty plus students, left the resource center I was relatively sure they would at least start this week. Really. The children's literature class touring the resource center got the quick fifteen-minute overview and had opportunity to peruse the available curriculum materials. Many of them were familiar faces and they are the same group who will return next week to do the Mock Caldecott exercise. A few glassy eyes looked back at me after looking at the database information. Luckily since they were familiar faces I know they will come to me with questions regarding their assignment.

Finishing my article was another story. I wrote, printed, re-wrote, printed again, and finally put it aside for an evening. The morning it was due I edited it for the last time, checked my usage of Harvard style for web page endnotes and resource page, and begged the boss to do a final read before I submitted it via email to the journal editor/assistant editor. Why? The more I edited and rewrote, the more I was convinced the work was drivel. I knew my boss would tell me if it was drivel, politely but tell me nonetheless, and I would have a last chance to change glaring errors. He said it wasn't, drivel that is, and I sent it along before the deadline. I received confirmation of the submission this morning (praise be). An invitation to submit is not a guarantee of publication, but it is better than not getting the invitation at all. When finished I was glad it read well, even if it was not brilliant I did not embarrass myself. A fine goal.

Today was the first day of the humdrum remainder of the semester. It is still exciting, new, and fun.

Before I forget, this blathering entry is post number 400! Another blog milestone celebrated by hypothetical musings about one topic or another. Blog on ...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

It's appropriate

I have been furiously working on completing my article, an invited conference report based upon one of my ALA poster sessions for a journal, before tomorrow. Several days of dragging my computer home from work (it's easier to plop in front of the television than barricade myself in my home office) and not working - as well as several evenings of dragging my computer home and accomplishing a paragraph or two have resulted in, consertively speaking, completing half of my article. What's causing issue today is learning how to use Harvard Style; the journal requires citations in this format.

I have learned that Harvard Style is also referred to as author-date style and "widely accepted in academic publications, although you may see a number of variations in the way it is used" (Monash University Library). Interestingly enough, most of the sites I found with tutorials and examples were from Australian and United Kingdom libraries.

I have been able to decipher the language differences (spelling, etc) and complete my bibliography. However, I must admit to being a bit stymied with the in publication citation method and have printed out several different handouts for assistance; praise be for libraries and their citation tutorials. With the writing deadline, my procrastination, and my obsession with having things be "just write" before submission, I chuckled this morning seeing a Blogthings quiz on grammar.

You Scored an A

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.

If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.

As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.

And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

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