Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It's time for a blog holiday. I will be traveling over the next few weeks to visit with family and friends.

Be sure to read a good book or two taking time to sit curled up in your easy chair with a cup of hot chocolate between the hustle and bustle of the season.

Memories To Treasure

May the days until Christmas be full of sweet pleasure, And your holidays create joyful memories to treasure. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! - Joanna Fuchs, Christmas Poems

Wishing everyone a blessed and safe holiday season with family and friends; Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday books and more

A planned lunchtime blog post was happily interrupted by an invitation to dine at a local pizza parlor; one pepperoni pizza with extra cheese later with library cheer and gossip later and my lunch hour had expired. The remainder of my afternoon consisted of what could be classified as the old gigo theory. Instead of garbage in, garbage out, I was effectively reminded when I order materials and supplies for the resource center I have to put them away when they arrive (especially when there are no student workers in residence). It takes time to put away boxes of poster board, construction paper, and cases of copy paper.

This evening's post is a welcome respite from laboring over my 125 word speaker bio for ACRL and a mad search for a recent photograph. While I find it odd to submit these things for a poster presentation (as opposed to a session speaker), I finished the bio and submitted it, along with my smiling digital self-portrait, just a few moments ago. Now all I have to do cross my fingers funding is granted and register for the conference after the holiday hustle and bustle.

I was adding catalog links for Christmas LC subject headings into a children's literature LibGuide this afternoon. In the spirit of the approaching holiday season, here are a few non-traditional - titles:

And, last but certainly not least, a few favorites:

Merry Christmas ... and happy reading!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Janes in Love

Janes in Love, by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg is the second title featuring the P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods) Jane's. An art-loving high school girl "tribe" living in Metro City, the Janes are once again planning, practicing, and presenting artistic vandalism to the neighborhood. The girls grow weary, or possibly jaded, with the response from local authorities and face growing peer pressure as they try to balance growing social lives with their desire to remain non-conformist. As the girls struggle with issues of high school, friendship, and society, each takes steps to grow as individuals with diverse wants and needs; the central Jane determines to apply for an art grant.

Throughout the book more complicated familial issues are revealed, Jane's mother has become agoraphobic as a result of the terrorist attack in the first novel, and somewhat clutter the ensuing story line. Readers new to the series may not quite grasp the more subtle references to the terrorist attack in the previous novel. Regardless, this is cleanly illustrated and easy to read graphic novel that remains consistent in it's portrayal of adolescents. Those enjoying Janes in Love should treat themselves and read The Plain Janes.

Discussion guides are available for other titles, here's hoping one for Janes in Love is forthcoming. The first book in this series, The PLAIN Janes, was discussed here in May of 2007.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling, is a collection of wizarding tales brought to reader's attention in the final installment of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Transated by Hermonie Granger, the Beedle Bard collection provides Muggles with insight into traditional tales told to wizard children and includes stories of true love as well as those which are darker and dangerous ("Hairy Heart"). Accompanying each tale is insightful, and often pithy, commentary from Albus Dumbledore which provides readers with additional information regarding several series characters. Readers hoping for more Harry Potter adventure may be disappointed, but this is a nice collection that will undoubtedly find it's way in to many fan's personal libraries.

Scholastic is donating net proceeds of this book to the Children's High Level Group.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A picture's worth

A post this morning on LJ Insider reminded me that for some time now I have wanted to take a closer look at Wordle: Beautiful Word Clouds. Similar in nature to tag clouds, where the image is generated to illustrate the number of times a term is tagged in a blog or other application, Wordle creates a cloud from all of the words. They say it best:

"Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends."

I created two Wordle's. For the first, I entered this blog's URL and naturally played around with font, color, layout, and generally anything they would let me do because I could.

For the second Wordle I used yesterday's post with different results. When I used the persistent URL to the post it generated a picture almost identical to the whole blog. The second time I cut and pasted the text from the post and got this:

My guess is it was generating from the whole feed as opposed to a specific portion. Either way it is an interesting visual and could be an interesting tool for classroom use under controlled circumstance as they have a gallery freely accessible and no filters.

Below is one final image, because I have another ten minutes on my lunch break and wanted to play. This is the image of Wednesday's post with a little more color variation (I used mostly black on the others so it would show on the green blog background).
I found it interesting, or maybe telling is more appropriate, the words ACRL, accepted, conference, and national are very prominent (yes, yes, it works like tag clouds and the more a word is used the bigger it displays ... but still). Over all, it kind of looks like an acorn.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tidbits of interest to me

I spent time reading my Blogines feeds while finishing lunch (quesadillas, yum) and found two particular posts of interest. From the Wired Campus Blog is the article Consortium Releases New Guidelines for Web Accessibility; something I find ironic as just last month I finished updating the library web site to the university template. Luckily I worked with a webmaster who had understanding and respect for web standards and accessibility.

"The World Wide Web Consortium, an organization devoted to improving the interoperability of the Web, has released a new version of its Web-accessibility guidelines."

"With the release of the new version of the guidelines, W3C also released a suite of quick-reference documents — sort of guides to the guidelines. They include an overview, a guide on how to meet the new requirements, and a guide to understanding the new guidelines." -- Scott Carlson, 12/11/08.

The second item is from the Boston Globe, Recession? Not for College Presidents by Derrick Z Jackson. This article is an intriguing comparison between college presidents and corporation CEO's on Capitol Hill looking for funding.

"Having spent many years as a part-time college professor, I have often advocated for resources for these institutions that are complex villages and cities unto themselves. But too many universities are more the Roman empire than the laboratory for the 21st century, throwing scholarships at athletic specimens while bankrupting lunch-pail geniuses, spending lavishly at the administrative level while slashing the library." -- Jackson, Boston Globe, 12/6/08

As an academic librarian with full understanding of library budget cuts and reduction of salary, I admit it made interesting reading, as did the accompanying comments. Money, and who it is used in any business entity, is something people will never agree on.

On a lighter note, seems Time Magazine has posted "The Top 10 Everything of 2008." There is a lot of everything and I particularly enjoyed the #10 Buzzword, Topless Meeting:

"A finalist for Oxford University Press' Word of the Year, this phrase refers to gatherings where laptops (as well as other mobile devices like iPhones) are banned. Coined in Silicon Valley, where meeting participants were often distracted by their handhelds, the term is attributed to author and web developer Dan Saffer." - Top 10 Buzzwords, Time Magazine

And in keeping with the theme of things, I also enjoyed (in no particular order):
  1. Top 10 Children's Books
  2. Top 10 Editorial Cartoons
  3. Top 10 Fashion Faux Pas
  4. Top 10 Movies
  5. Top 10 Olympic Moments
  6. Top 10 TV Series
  7. Top 10 Viral Videos
  8. Top 10 TV Ads
  9. Top 10 Scientific Discoveries
  10. Top 10 Awkward Moments

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ACRL, batting .500

I submitted two poster session abstracts to ACRL for the upcoming conference in Seattle; one with a friend and a second with co-workers. Today I learned that one was accepted and one rejected. I'm used to rejection from ACRL, it's a smaller conference than ALA and there are a fewer amount of posters accepted. Acceptance and rejection are all part of professional development, something which should be understood by anyone submitting articles, posters and/or presentations. That said, I found the content of each email interesting.

First, the acceptance. After the "congratulations your proposal has been accepted" and further information pertaining to particulars was:

"Thank you for submitting your proposal for the ACRL 14th National Conference. It is through the efforts of individuals such as yourself that ACRL is able to meet its strategic goal of being a national and international leader in creating, expanding, and transferring the body of knowledge of academic librarianship. "

Very nice. A bit PR heavy, but nice none the less (and I don't mean that in a snarky way, it is nice to be appreciated).

The non-acceptance message was twice as long:

"The Poster Session Committee has completed the review and selection process. It is with regret that let you know your proposal ... was not chosen for presentation. The selection process was an exceptionally difficult one this year. We received more than 300 proposal submissions for the 150 available slots and many fine proposals could not be accepted."

"Thank you for submitting your work to ACRL and your interest in the National Conference. Although you may be understandably disappointed that your proposal was not accepted for the conference, please do not consider this a negative evaluation of the quality of your work, but rather an indication of the volume and quality of the proposals submitted. We look forward to seeing your work published or presented in another forum and hope that you will still join us at the ACRL 14th National Conference in Seattle."

Wow! Again, as with the acceptance, this was a very nice email and I appreciated the prompt notification. I know there is often a great deal of vocal unhappiness when presentations are not accepted, but is it really necessary to have such a carefully worded rejection? I would have been satisfied with simple notice that my poster had not been selected. I am not unhappy with the longer message, but wonder why so much?

Now it's time to start saving money ...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New Janet Evanovich

I recently received the latest edition of The Plum News and was thrilled to learn a new Stephanie Plum between-the-numbers novel, Plum Spooky, will be on sale January 6th. Janet Evanovich's web site has three excerpts and Amazon has the first two chapters available in pdf.

Good news, looks like Plum Spooky features the return of Diesel! Below is the product description:

"The First Full Length Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers Novel from #1 Bestselling Author Janet Evanovich.Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey. According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground. Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel. Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an ├╝ber bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs. Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys." - Amazon Product Description

I think there is just enough time remaining on my lunch hour to read the excerpt. And the new numbers title? Finger Lickin Fifteen.

The difference a day, or two, makes

Friday was the last day of classes. The library and resource center were hives of activity with students finishing assignments, putting final touches on presentations, attending virtual class meetings (we have speakers and requisite headphones) and printing like there was no tomorrow. As an area that encourages group work, we don't enforce quiet (there are study rooms available elsewhere) and the sounds were an interesting cacophony of music, laughter, and conversation with overtones of quiet desperation that permeate each semesters end. It was equal parts exhilarating and exhausting.

Today is the second day of finals week. Outside the weather is overcast, cold, windy and raining (the meteorologist who said it would reach 50 degrees was mistaken). Inside, every computer is taken and study tables accommodate single students viciously claiming their spots with a variety of paraphernalia scattered over the surface; the almost deafening quiet is broken only by furious typing on keyboards and stray cell phone ring tones. There will be fewer students on campus tomorrow and residence halls close on Friday morning for winter break. The term has officially come to a close. For the first time I can honestly say, "Wow, that went fast."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Newbery Committee

I've been catching up with bloglines and found an interesting post on the ALSC Blog (Association for Library Services to Children): Have Suggestions for the 2009 Newbery Committee? It reads in part:

"2008 has been a great year filled with excellent books for youth and I’m sure you must have spent part of your Thanksgiving holiday reading. The 2009 Newbery Award Committee would like to hear from you. Please send suggestions to and I’ll share suggestions with the committee."

"The 2009 Newbery Committee will review books with a 2008 copyright. Thanks in advance for any suggestions sent!" - ALSC Blog

I don't recall any open call for suggestions before (yes, I know there are online forms). Not much has been added ... but it's an interesting way to garner more input.

Friday, December 05, 2008


It's that time of year; new children's literature book lists are being unveiled. One of the children's literature professors uses Choice lists, both Teacher and Children's, on reserves; I have already been through those tow lists pulling what exists in our collection and am considering ordering additional titles to flush out the collection. This morning I found the Horn Book Fanfare List 2008 and School Library Journal's Best Books of 2008 (not as worried about Booklist's best books list since it is often comprised of the past year's starred review titles). I will be spending some time checking my purchases against the Horn Book and SLJ 2008 lists and if necessary adding them to my current book cart.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A head start on spring

While finishing my lunch, a not especially nutritional chili-dog, I decided to start compiling my list of titles for the spring Mock Caldecott session. Recent library budgetary issues have narrowed the selection field somewhat (yes, less money = fewer books) so I have been tagging picture book possibilities fresh out of the box and still on the cart in technical services. It's an interesting group with old, new, and personal favorites:

The list does reflect collection efforts to increase folk tale titles, but there are a few interesting selections such as a picture book written by Karen Hesse and the mixed media illustrations done by Carin Berger (I'm waiting for a second look). I currently have sixteen titles and will undoubtedly need more; I like to have one book per student so everyone has something to look at during the session. With the December issue of Booklist awaiting my perusal, that should not be much of a problem.

Time to finish my mandarin oranges and get back to work.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lincoln books

With the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birthday approaching, the number of books available on the topic is staggering. I have been carefully picking and choosing (aka practicing responsible collection development) for several months now trying to get a mix of fiction and non-fiction juvenile titles that will be useful for the collection and the classroom. Here are a few recent selections:

This morning the December edition of Booklist was in my mailbox and I selected general titles for the circulating collection that will be of use to education majors student teaching in high school history and social studies, as well as students taking history courses at the college.

I have not finished juvenile selections, but there may be one or two to enhance what has already been added. So far, my personal favorites of the group are Lincoln Shot! A Presidents Life Remembered, it has a unique presentation, and Lincoln Through the Lens. As a result of casual book-talking in the library, both are currently checked out through the end of the term

Friday, November 21, 2008

A movie? Really?

A movie trailer/advertisement during Good Morning America caught my attention this morning; not Twilight, even though I noticed the actor who played Cedric Diggory of HP fame is a lead character, not Bolt, and not even Madagascar 2 (I like to move it, move it), but The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

I promised not to blog about this book again, though technically this post is about the movie and not the book and I am predisposed not to see the movie, I will abide by the essense of the promise and link to Elizabeth Bird's Horn Book review, From Page to Screen, Mark Herman's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Here's an excerpt from her review:

"While many children's books have sought to teach young readers about Hitler's greatest atrocity, few have been quite as divisive as John Boyne's 2006 novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This novel has caused some readers to sing its praises to the heavens while others desire nothing more than to rake out their own eyeballs after a chapter or two. The tale involves a preternaturally naive child who inadvertently discovers a concentration camp in his backyard and a new friend on the other side of the fence. Some find the book to be a heartwarming tale of innocence in the midst of horror, while others, like myself, have found it to be disingenuous, oppressively repetitive, infuriating, and unbelievable. Mark Herman serves as both director and screenwriter to this Miramax film and in doing so attempts to replace the novel’s more naively tweek elements with an honest-to-goodness story arc. That it isn’t effective is due less to Herman's clear labor of love than to the material he has to work with." - Elizabeth Bird, The Horn Book.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm not the only one down ...

With the new library web site successfully launched on Monday, a week later than planned with a few general qualifiers and necessary ammendments, I am looking forward to reading for pleasure at lunch and getting back to writing and posting book reviews.

The circles are pretty, but I kind of liked the Bloglines plumber fixing the pipes.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's coming ...

It is official! The new web site will be transferred to the live server (as opposed to the review server) Monday morning at 9:00 am. The process should take 30 minutes, but I have posted to our library news blog cautioning patrons it may not be finished until noon. This way I have some leeway to make any necessary changes and/or tweaks.

I am joyous and yet oddly indifferent; it has been such a long, involved process the actual roll-out is almost anti-climactic. I am sure most of those feelings will be over run with glee when everything is live and works. I'm proud of what has been accomplished - and - am sure we could have done more. That's often the case with this type of project, as soon as it is complete there are ten more things I wanted to do.

I will soon be confronted by my "to-do" list, full of things that have been cast aside in favor of time spent on the web site. I worry about the towering mass of lists, folders, catalogs, journals, and magazines, one good wind and my filing system is defunct.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cautiously optomistic

Barring any unforeseen circumstance such as the sky falling, the university server crashing, something I do not mention lightly as it is currently undergoing maintenance and I am unable to use it, or any other fickle whim of fate, the new library web site will be finished this week. I am not sure I have the words to express my unmitigated joy knowing it will be finished.

Yes, I know there will be bugs to work out.

Yes, I know we can not please everyone.

Yes, I know it will take time for the campus community to adjust to the new site (we are creatures of habit).

But the overall daily issues will be at an end. This has been an exhilarating and exhausting experience. I have learned so much more than additional web skills; specifically internal library employee structure and hierarchy. I may actually be able to face my computer in the evening and begin posting with regularity again. Regardless, I have two pages to complete and a site map to update this afternoon. I will look over everything again tomorrow and release it to the library director who will in turn determine when to contact the university web master to make the changes.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

A trip home this weekend will include Halloween birthday wishes for my younger sister who is a Halloween baby.

It also means birthday cake.

Thank heavens the neighborhood had trick-or-treat last weekend. After a week of Halloween treats for library patrons and treat-bags for student workers, the sugar content is bursting at the seams (in some cases literally).

What Your Love of M&M's Says About You

You are energetic and full of inspiration.

You never slow down, and you're constantly leaving people and ideas behind.

You are a true visionary. You are constantly thinking about the future.

You love living, and you stay flexible. You're open to going wherever life takes you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

J.D. Robb: Not one, but two!

Paying for my early morning snacking transgression, sampling candy while filling treat bags for student workers, means I am currently at my desk paying penance with a salad. This is exactly the reason why I buy candy I do not like for the trick-or-treaters. But, I digress.

A Nora's News email permeated my self-induced sugar for with information that two, count them, two new J.D. Robb titles will be released on November 4th; Salvation in Death and Suite 606 (a novella).

"As Salvation in Death opens, the priest at a Catholic funeral mass brings the chalice to his lips--and falls over dead. Eve is determined to solve the murder of Father Miguel Flores, despite her discomfort with her surroundings. It's not the bodegas and pawnshops of East Harlem that bother her, it's all that holiness flying around at St. Christobal's that makes her uneasy. The autopsy reveals that the priest may not have been the man his parishioners had thought. As Eve pieces together clues that hint at gang connections and a deeply personal act of revenge, she believes she's making progress on the case. Until a second murder--in front of an even larger crowd of worshippers--knocks the whole investigation sideways. And Eve is left to figure out who committed these unholy acts--and why."

"Ritual in Death" for Suite 606 was a great deal of fun to write because I worked again with my good pals Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Blayney and Mary Kay McComas. In this case, as with the ones in "Haunted in Death" and "Eternity in Death," pragmatic, practical Eve brushes up against the supernatural. This time she must pull together what appear to be some very disparate threads in the aftermath of a ritualistic murder." -- Nora's News, 10/27/08

For those who can not wait, myself included, there is a Salvation in Death excerpt on Nora Roberts web site.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Blackbox, by Julie Schumacher.

When Elena's older sister Dora is admitted to the hospital for treatment following an overdose, repercussions reverberate quickly through their small, close-knit family. "'She's okay Mom, it must have been a mistake" (p. 16). The Lindt's struggle to cope with this new reality while simultaneously searching for the best treatment. Elena has lost her sister and, in some ways, her parents as they maintain an everything-will-be-fine facade. Feeling adrift from family and friends, Elena is befriended by Jimmy, a school mate with first hand understanding of what depression can do. Family pressure to keep Dora's illness a secret expand and Elena must choose between honoring her sisterly bond and doing what is best for her sister; truths will out and everyone will need to live with the new reality Dora's illness presents.

I was originally drawn to this title because the author also wrote The Book of One Hundred Truths.While both titles focus on families and truth, Blackbox deals with a topic that is, in many cases, taboo, depression. Elena and her family are dealing with a complex situation to the best of their ability. Mistakes are made and there are no easy answers, but readers will be impressed with the honest, realistic dialogue and reactions of Schumacher’s well-rounded characters. Don't miss reading this one.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Shift, debut novel by author Jennifer Bradbury. Three weeks from high school graduation, a throwaway announcement made on a whim to avoid his mother’s summer job lecture, Chris announces he is going to ride across country with his best friend and fellow bicycle enthusiast Win. As graduation nears, word spreads amongst the senior class and what began as a lark snowballs, their purported trip the stuff of legend. Chris and Win make their metaphorical trip a reality and embark on their journey to Seattle, Washington. Simple in theory, their ride becomes increasingly complex when Win disappears and Chris is left to finish alone, return home, and face the consequences of his friends actions. Not charged in Win’s disappearance, Chris begins college dogged by an investigator searching for Win. Flashbacks reveal the boy’s journey and it becomes obvious, though best friends each has secrets to hide. Both are using the time to find themselves, whoever and where ever that may be.

This book is wonderfully realistic; readers are able to travel along the highway with Chris and Win, meeting interesting characters and locals. But this is not a typical "buddy book," these boys are refreshingly complex. When Win disappears, Chris is left to wonder if that is what he had planned all along and ultimately feels equal parts betrayal and worry. Delightfully crafted, there are many layered nuances and shades of truth, lies, and mystery to hold a reader’s attention until the last page.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brought to you by

Sporadic posting of the last few weeks is courtesy of the library web page, the first month of classes, working evening reference and a weekend shift, and serious disdain of dial-up Internet connection. After being chained to my computer at work, I was unable to face the prospect of turning on my dinosaur with dial-up to blog.

My new student workers have been trained with the basics and so far, so good. Being able to leave them in the resource center means I have been able to devote a bit of quality office time working on the library web page; on that front, after surviving a series of technical glitches (servers and firewalls and ftp permission - oh, my) hope shines brightly. The site might be completed and posted before the holiday break. Even the university webmaster has commented on progress made and wondered if it would be "live" soon.

I spent most of today working on a set of pages, one detailing available database resources and the other providing corresponding information. Translated? A lot of copy, paste, links, anchors, and decisions. My hopes of finishing it today, or at least finishing half of it today, were dashed by a difficult dose of reality. I have successfully completed the listing through "B." Realistically speaking, I could have this set of pages done at the week's end. Woo-hoo!

My supply chain of new children's books has a kink, our acquisitions librarian broke her shoulder and will be off work for at least six weeks. No new children's books, no new education orders, no new resource center supplies, and no one to gossip with on the way out the door each evening. Luckily, most importantly, she is resting comfortably at home. I do have a few books to discuss, but not the brain power to write a review that is not drivel.

Now? It's time for Dancing with the Stars, the results show.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Feast or famine, aka whining

I routinely have my television on, but really can not tell you what I am watching. Three of the programs I do follow with regularity, Eureka, Project Runway, and Dancing with the Stars, are time-slot annoyances for me this week.

Hence the whining ...

This evening is the mid-season finale of Eureka and the second night of the Dancing premiere. Sure, I can flip back and forth between the two shows or even simply tape (yes, tape and I have a love/hate relationship with my VCR) one of the two. But why is it that the shows I like are always on at the same time?

Tomorrow I work the last of my two reference evening shifts and I will get home in time to see the second half of both Project Runway and the Dancing results show (which has to be on at 9 instead of 8). Not as big of an issue because I usually boycott the annoying results show until the final fifteen minutes, but still. I will be watching for the red light to go out over one of the couples and anticipating Heidi saying "Auf wiedersehen" to one of the designers at the same time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My red purse

I recently organized the bottom of my closet and moved all of my purses out of a wicker laundry basket into a lovely new sterlite bin. Why? Well, while I really liked the look of the wicker basket, the container is clear with a lid (dust - I'm not the best of housekeepers) so I can see inside without opening. Guess it was karma today that a blogthings about handbags caught my attention.

What Your Handbag Says About You

You are concerned with how you appear. Projecting your high status is important to you.

You tend to be relaxed throughout the day. You are naturally at peace.

You are a low maintenance person. You can adapt to a variety of situations.

You are an organized and together person. You are competent and successful.

You are an outgoing and expressive person. You always speak your mind, and you're very approachable.

You are a very unique and special person. There's no one else who is anything like you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's my Saturday

Today is the first of my two weekends for the fall semester and business has been brisk in one regard, tours. One of the more inclement days we have seen for some time, it's raining cats and dogs, at last count there have been a dozen tour guides introducing prospective students and parents through the library on their campus tours. They come in the library valiently shaking rain from soaking umbrellas wearing inexpensive university rain ponchos reminiscent of throw-away rain gear available at football games and the Maid of the Mist at Niagra Falls and hear a variety of prepared comments from their guide.

Three categories of tour guides were in the library; newbies, regular library users, and those who have never darkened the door before the tour. New guides present a quick overview and often move their groups in and out in record speed. One of the new guides today asked me to introduce the library to their group (nice) saving me from having to gently correct errors. Guides who are library users add a bit of flair to their spiel and often point out help is available and mention more than available computers. Other guides, sadly, have obviously never darkened the library door and often present misinformation. I usually mind my own business (though it is difficult when this is a great opportunity to speak with groups) and never want to embarrass anyone or interrupt, but during one tour today I had to step in and correct a student who said our instruction classroom was an open lab available to all students at all times (sigh). I mentioned while this room is periodically made available during extended hours before and during finals, it is mainly for instruction. The young man was a bit chagrined, but the parents were reassured (they nodded happily) that the main function meant their students would be provided instruction for library use.

Morning tours seem to be at an end and the rain has subsided somewhat. I am going to order children's books and other necessities for the resource center.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mom always liked me better

Like many siblings, my sister's and I often tortured each other with the time honored phrase, "that's okay, mom likes me better." Doing undergraduate work, education professors routinely cautioned us not to play favorites with students in our classrooms. Working as an education librarian, I joke with "my" professors assuring each in turn that they are indeed my favorite (call me fickle). All kidding aside, today I was reminded why one professor in particular is an all-time favorite.

I know I have posted/blogged about this professor previously, but it deserves repeating. He is vocally supportive of everything I do for the library and resource center, and has been since day one. He routinely brings his junior block students to the resource center for a tour at the beginning of each semester and boasts how the juvenile collection has improved during my tenure. We have a friendly competition concerning the Caldecott selection each year; several years running he had the book and we did not (gasp!). And yes, he brags about it to his students. Every time he requests a collection purchase, I get a thank you email after I notify him the selection has arrived.

Personally and professionally, this professor has graciously agreed to be on my reference list for the last five years. I know the high quality glowing recommendation he presents to potential employers on my behalf, hiring teams have shared his comments during interviews.

Today I got a thank-you note via campus mail from this professor. I was not surprised at the concept of the note itself, he routinely sets a professional example having each of his students sign the note. It would be easy to take the thank-you for granted, but each time I open it there's a small thrill of satisfaction. Here's a glimpse of why he's a favorite:
"You continue to help us understand the abundance of available resources, if we but use them! Thanks!"

The note made me smile (I'm smiling even now as I discuss the note here). So while I may find it challenging not to play the favorites game, I guarantee this professor was at the top of my list today.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Here we go

In many ways tomorrow is the real beginning of the fall term; last week could be termed the "getting to know you" phase. Students have been to each class at least once, my student workers have worked a shift and some will even get their first paycheck on Friday (if they turned in paperwork as instructed), and almost everyone in my class has an active login for the course management software.

On the library front, training will continue in the resource center throughout the month of September before I am able to have office hours and return to the library web page. That is only to be expected with a newly minted staff and I have prepared the web committee for this delay. I already have a scheduled evening and weekend shift for next week, something I like to get out of the way while our business is a bit slower. And, I have had an opportunity to begin ordering for the library by placing two carts of juvenile books into Baker & Taylor. There are several other items on my ordering agenda that need to be addressed, specifically requests that arrived after the money was spent last fiscal year and consumable items (Ellison cutting pads and laminating film) that will be needed shortly.

Though unwilling to go as far as saying hit me with your best shot (I'm not crazy), I'm ready to move with the business at hand ... fall term.

NOLA: Praying for the best

Watching television this morning I found myself looking for familiar scenes and streets while praying for the best outcome possible as hurricane Gustov loomed in the gulf preparing to make landfall. Returning home this afternoon the news being reported now is guardedly optimistic, but time will tell. The photo here is from my trip to New Orleans attending the ALA conference in 2006; inside Cafe Beniet on Royal Street.

Be safe.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Running the gauntlet

Not as harsh as the post title suggests (see The Phrase Finder), this was a long, stressful, and yet somehow exciting first week. I feel a definite sense of accomplishment. My resource center schedule now includes two graduate assistants and eight student workers, seven of them new hires that will require training. As the applications literally poured into the resource center, I was able to hire a freshman, three sophomores, a junior, and two seniors. The level of library experience displayed by the newbies varies significantly. However, I am pleased as early indications are I have a nice group of students. An added bonus? The coverage for the resource center is superior. Once I am able to accomplish a bit of basic training, I should be able to devote time to completing the library web page.

Yes, the library web page - always a task uppermost in my mind.

Technology remains an issue, but the students are adapting well to the new system and it's many vagaries and annoyances.

The library closed an hour early today in honor of the holiday weekend. Traditionally celebrated to honor the working man (and women!), this weekend has become the summer's last hurrah. Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Overheard: choosing a library book

It is always interesting listening to students in the stacks looking for books. Sometimes there are incoherent muttering because the book has been mis-shelved. Often there charming expletives when the book is in the catalog, but the patron did not check to see if it was available (or on reserves). More often than not students bring a friend and it's a tag team event with accompanying diatribe (often increasingly vocal) about a professor sending them on an impossible mission. Leaving my office on the way to lunch this afternoon I heard an interesting theory on choosing a book, I believe it was on the topic of philosophy.

Student one: "I need to pick one, it probably should be old."
Reply from student two: "Just grab it off the shelf, if it smells bad it's old enough."

Monday, August 25, 2008

You should be dancing … yeah!

I missed the official announcement on Good Morning America this morning, a quick search at lunch after three people asked me what I thought of the new season's stars garnered the cast list posted below. I have to admit there are several new cast members I have never heard of before today, but there you go (smile). No big surprise to see another ABC soap star on the list, nor a several athletes, a Disney channel star, or singer/musicians; it's a formula that works for DWTS. Anyway, in alphabetical order (I am a librarian after all):

Lance Bass
Toni Braxton
Brooke Burke
Rocco DiSpirito
Maurice Greene
Kim Kardashian
Cloris Leachman
Cody Linley
Susan Lucci
Misty May-Treanor
Ted McGinley
Jeffrey Ross
Warren Sapp

A few random thoughts ... Should I be concerned so many of the stars had only Wikipedia sites? Should we worry about someone dropping Cloris Leachman (bless her heart)? Does Susan Lucci remind anyone but me of Jane Semore? Time will tell.

Until then, here's more on DWTS: You should be dancing (yeah)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ready or not

Friday has come and gone; things are as ready as I could make them for the students return.

In the resource center, scheduling was not nearly the headache anticipated. Only one student contacted me with a problem and it was quickly resolved. The first week of school routinely brings students to the library looking for work-study positions. I am anticipating the opportunity to hire at least two more students. Now all I have to do is stop the circulation desk from saying there are no library jobs available!

With the exception of reserving a computer lab for week one introductions and a few expected quirks, my course is ready. Every student enrolled (all 145 of them) received an email welcome with general information, contacts, and web links. Luckily only one email came back with a basic "does not exist" message. The new GA needs to be added to the course software on Monday as for some unknown reason she does not exist in the great realm of technology; an easy fix if someone will answer the phone. Even a course welcome blog post, reiterating the email message, was successfully connected to the course calendar!

Signs for the library door are in place, library and resource center hours have moved from the staging server to the live page, and a blog post announcing fall hours information is scheduled for tomorrow morning. I did not finish my planned children's book collection list (still need to go through the newest SLJ) and place the book order, but this week is soon enough.

There is a palpable sense of purpose on campus reserved for the first day. Students are arriving overflowing with emotion; excitement for a new adventure, elation seeing friends, fear of the unknown, a bit of confusion with the whole process, and an underlying joy for the new school year. Not something that can or should be ignored, it can only be reveled. It makes the stress of the previous week worthwhile. Welcome back!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The endless week

These last few days have been an endless loop of tasks to be done. Until now I did not fully realize how much time the library web page project had taken from my summer. Yes I whined about my loss of time, consistently and quite eloquently in some cases, but as this week progressed the number of things I would have traditionally already accomplished grew longer.

Added to that, I have spent four days whining about my work load.

Luckily things have a way of coming together if I just work hard and persevere. One GA turned down a job offer, my second offer was accepted this afternoon.

Scheduling for the semester will commence tomorrow ... and I even had another applicant in this afternoon interested in one of the remaining job openings.

Blog posts have been completed for both the resource center and library, web pages are ready for the start of the new academic year, and marketing tools are in place for library and classroom visits.

My favorite tech from IT was in the library this afternoon working on my floor's computers. She promised they will be ready for Monday morning. I believe her, she's never let me down.

Tomorrow excited freshman will be moving in to the dorms. We will all be ecstatic the new term is about to begin. It is literally a blank page waiting for great things to be written.

No power, no post

My first clue should have been the garage door opener not working; I smacked the button with bit of relish, tried again (twice) and gave fleeting thought to going to the nearest store for a new battery. Instead I parked the car and went in through my front door, an actual first for me as I usually use the garage and back door, to open the garage from the inside. It was then I noticed my phone and answering machine were dark, as were the vcr, microwave, stove clock, and my refridgerator was suspiciously silent.

Several phone calls and estimated time repairs later, it was midnight and I still had no power. I rummaged through drawers and located a battery operated alarm clock, opened the windows (praise be it was a wonderfully cool evening), and finished reading a book by candle light and flash light. What a shame I could not do laundry or run the sweeper (tee-hee).

Unfortunately, it meant I could not watch Project Runway or Shear Genius either. In retrospect, I am glad it was Wednesday evening and not Tuesday evening, I would have missed a new Eureka - Episode: I Do Over.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Freeing my mind

Today I did a lot of annoying to-do lists tasks working with the oft motivating theory that if I finish all of the little things I have to do I will have cleared my mind to move forward with what I should be doing (free your mind, and the rest will follow). Plus, if I finish the pesky detail items I will have no choice but to do the big important tasks and projects.

What? Things like schedules for my students and GA's and setting up grading for the new term.

So, today I did the fall hour schedule for the library web page and the resource center web page. They are basically the same, but there are times when I must close and the library remains open. Doing this process once at the beginning of the year in calendar format makes the year run a bit more smoothly. Of course, I had to do both of the hours pages twice, once for the live web and once for the new web page. I still need to finish up the second copy of the library hours.

I laminated the resource center marketing book marks (will punch holes and attach to our cool new pens) and the course book marks. Both have the new library logo as well as a listing of library web page and resource center web page links. I am really pleased with this little project and hope it works well. My first class visit is next Friday and I hope to get into classrooms next week. Of course I did not cut out the book marks after laminating; a nice chore for my student workers on Monday.

I went through my most recent months of Choice reviews and ordered education books. I have the newest copy of Booklist and School Library Journal to peruse after making the schedules on Friday. I have to wait until Friday because .....

I offered the GA position on Tuesday, even with an inkling she would probably not accept the offer. When the feeling came to fruition on Wednesday, I was able to offer the position to another applicant and must wait for an acceptance on Thursday before doing schedules.

Lets see, I posted a big ole pile of juvenile books to the resource center blog. And to wrap things up, I chose a group of posters from ALA graphics I hope to purchase for the resource center. My unending need to "beautify" this dated space conintues. The collage looks great, but I do not think it should take over the entire floor. Hence, the poster option. I'll need to check pricing for poster frames and consider how much of a chunk it will take from my budget - and then determine if the cost is worth the end result.

My morning feeds

Truth be told I like green or brown colored "sunglasses," but I suppose blue works. I have succombed to yet one more blogthings quiz. This one I am willing to share (some over the last few weeks, not so much).

You See the World Through
Blue Colored Glasses

You live your life with tranquility. You have faith that things will work themselves out with time.

You judge all your interactions through the lens of hope. You try to get all the facts before forming your opinion.

You face challenges with wisdom. You know that all bad things pass, and you have the confidence to see problems through.

You see love as the utmost expression of trust. Your relationships tend to be peaceful and stable.

At your worst, you can be cool, melancholy, and detached. You sometimes have to step back from emotionally charged situations.

You are at your happiest when you are able to reflect and relax.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Panel preparations

Instead of posting about the throngs of shiny, happy, people in the resource center today creating bulletin boards, laminating, color printing, and making a joyful noise, something that would be fulfilling but self-indulgent, I decided to share the Mock Caldecott selections for the fall 08 panel. It is always fun to select books for this session. My goals are to not only choose books with different styles of illustrations as well as varied artistic mediums, but also to make sure they meet Caldecott criteria and are recently purchased juvenile titles that have yet to circulate. This group of picture books includes fiction and non-fiction titles; the selection has award winning illustrators and artists that are new ... at least new to me.

Mock Caldecott Book List:
Alphabetical by author last name & illustrator

Billingsley, Franny & Karas, G. Brian [illus]
Big Bad Bunny

Cyrus, Kurt
Tadpole Rex

Diaz, David
De Colores = Bright with Colors

Field, Eugene W. & Potter, Giselle [illus]
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Fleming, Denise
Buster Goes to Cowboy Camp

Garland, Michael
Americana Adventure

Giovanni, Nikki & Raschka, Chris [illus]
The Grasshopper's Song: An Aesop's Fable Revisited

Haseley, Dennis & Young, Ed [illus]
Twenty Heartbeats

Jackson, Alison & Pedersen, Janet [illus]
Thea's Tree

Lehman, Barbara

Lyon, George Ella & Gammell, Stephen [illus]
My Friend, the Starfinder

Parker, Robert Andrew
Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum

Shea, Bob & Smith, Lane [illus]
Big Plans

Shulevitz, Uri
How I Learned Geography

Wells, Rosemary
Otto Runs for President

Winter, Jonah & Widener, Terry [illus]
Steel Town

Naturally the list is peppered with a few personal favorites, that is only to be expected since I have autonomy over the selection! One title that caught my attention quickly was Trainstop. A second title I enjoyed was Big Plans. The best part is listening to the students discuss and evaluate their selections, they always find something intriguing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday, Monday (one day down)

I am never quite sure which type of accumulated mail is worse, snail mail, email, or voice mail; but today I had a large dose of each waiting patiently for my undivided attention. They were all doomed ... today was the first day of the last week of summer break (aka Monday) and no single form of communication receives undivided attention. The first wave of students have arrived, all of the sports teams, many football players in the library today, and the resident assistants, creating bulletin boards and laminating in between meetings, are now on campus. Continuing the countdown, freshmen arrive Saturday and everyone else moves into the dorms Sunday.

Today I scheduled library and resource center tours for children's literature classes, found eight more books to use with the Mock Caldecott session that will most likely scheduled sometime after Labor Day, and began a fun project geared toward beautification. Really. I have a hideous wall outside the resource center that was previously used for projecting transparencies. It is an unsightly combination of pencil marks, fingerprints, and residual tape pulls. Requests have been made to paint it (sigh), but after two years I have come to the belated and obvious conclusion it will not be happening any time soon. I have decided to create a picture book cover wall collage.

As new picture books arrive and are processed, often we take off the book cover. I use these on bulletin boards to highlight new books and ultimately discard them. My plan is to laminate selected covers, protecting them from aforementioned pencil marks and graffiti, and affixing them to the wall updating my unsightly space. Discussing the concept with an artistic member of the serials staff, she mentioned I should consider incorporating foam board (putting covers on it as well) to create some visual depth and interest to the project. A very cool idea I am hoping to incorporate. I envision the collage as a fluid art project; once the wall is full I will be able to change out covers making it continuously new. With a growing list of things needing my immediate attention this week, the last thing I should have been doing today was starting this project. But after gaining permission, I was excited to proceed and am thrilled with the progess thus far.

Alas was unable to spend the entire day luxuriating in my artistic side. I interviewed a graduate assistant candidate for my course, solved a potentially horrific problem with a paniced phone call (my course disappeared), and made a few last minute changes to the course adding a section on educational video evaluation, using YouTube, Teacher Tube, and Google Video, to an internet assignment. All I have to do tomorrow is create the grade book, verify students have been loaded, check my course rosters, and create email welcomes for each student enrolled in the course. Oh, and hopefully hire one of the graduate assistant candidates.

On the list for tomorrow I have to schedule GA's and Student workers; place help wanted signs in the resource center for next week; finish the Mock Caldecott book selection; work on the Mock Caldecott web page; create, print, laminate and affix informational book marks or "business cards" to the new resource center pens for tours; nag the boss and reference team for the fall library hours schedule; and attend various meetings. I might even get a chance to order supplies, select picture books for the juvenile collection, and peruse reviews for the education collection.

Other than that, tomorrow is smooth sailing. Piece of cake.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Next year for the Half-Blood Prince

Even with strictly enforced time away from the computer during vacation, the news regarding Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie release date managed to infiltrate my little world away. Seems as if the Warner Brother's Batman movie made enough money for the fiscal year 2008 and they need a guaranteed cash cow for 2009. Unfortunately for Potter movie fans their favorite boy wizard was named the sacrificial lamb; the release date has been pushed from November 2008 to July 2009.

Half-Blood Prince Release Pushed Back
Hollywood Reporter- 8/14/08

"In a surprise move, Warner Bros. has moved the release date of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" from Nov. 21 to July 17. Warners president Alan Horn blame last winter's 100-day WGA strike in large part for the shift, suggesting all the major studios have been hurt in the development of new tentpole films for next summer."

Half-Blood Prince Release Date Pushed Back to Summer
MTV Movie News

"Horn added that "like every other studio," Warner Bros. was still "feeling the repercussions of the writers' strike," which had affected scripts for other films, and changed "the competitive landscape for 2009." Because of this, the studio felt next summer was a "new window of opportunity" for the franchise. The film's producer, David Heyman, concurred, saying that this would allow them to "reach the widest possible audience.""

There is already a grass-roots online-effort underway petitioning Warner Brothers to use the oringinal release date. As of this evening, there are 452 signatures affixed to the web page.

Change the Half-Blood Prince Release Date Back to November 21, 2008

To: Warner Brother's Studios
"Harry Potter fandom is angered to discover that the Half-Blood Prince release date has been moved back nearly a year even after production has been completed to simply make more money in the summer vs a release in the fall. The first release date was November 21, 2008 and has now been moved back to July 17, 2009. As a fan base we need to fix this problem so please sign and let WB know we mean business."

Interested in more information?
Don't forget ...
Random musings? I do not particularly care about the writers strike and studio issues, it was a problem of their own making. I can say I wonder about the quality of the movies WB may have in their house planned for release in 2009. Is it not odd they do not have enough faith in the films slated for release next year and as a result HP is being delayed.

I can only begin to imagine the domino effect this decision will have on retailers merchandising for Halloween (costumes) or Christmas (toys, action figures, DVD's, and books). My dad has been looking for HP accessories for his train layout (he has two different Hogwarts train sets). I recently purchased the Weasley Car (it came with Harry and Ron, very cute) and the Knights Bus for him and we were waiting until November to expand the search since we believed more would be available in conjunction with the movie release. Now it seems I was lucky to get the two pieces.

Guess two books I read over summer vacation?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Blog Holiday: Summer is kaput

It's here, my last week of vacation before the start of the fall term. I am headed to the 'burgh tomorrow for a birthday party, back-to-school shopping, and a bit of genealogy research. The Kennywood photo is from a sunny day in June, but appropriate as the summer went by just as quickly as the Phantom's Revenge.

Redding up

If you ever had any doubts I am from Pittsburgh, the title of this post should clarify things greatly as it is a bit of Pittsburghese. I rarely use the term "red up" without remembering a college room mate asking me why I wanted to paint the room red. Sure I use gum bands with regularity, but I refuse to say younz. Trust me.

Today was clean my office and resource center day of piles before vacation. Upon return, I have one week before the students arrive. During that week I need to interview, hire and train a graduate assistant, hire and train at least four student workers, prepare the resource center, and create work schedules for GA's and students. To make those tasks less daunting, today I finished my "before school" technology related to-do list ... and got rid of those piles.

Now I know that the university web master will update the library template so the links are external as opposed to internal. I will then be able to apply said template to library web pages that may live on other servers; the catalog and library faculty web pages, including my course pages, reside in different locations. Everything will look pretty together when the page goes live later this term.

I emailed furiously throughout the late afternoon contacting authors submitting articles for a special issue of a journal I am editing, setting up interviews with graduate assistants, verifying student workers who had applied early for job openings still wanted to work and had federal work study hours, updated the web committee team members, and assured another course facilitator she could look at my stuff to update her information. Everything in my in-box was answered and anyone on my list was checked.

I'll not mention the amount of inter-library gossip I indulged in during the late afternoon. Best to leave some things alone.

With one last glance inside the resource center to assure myself the roll-top laminator was unplugged, I gleefully locked the doors and left the library.

If only I had checked out a book.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dumb luck? Okay

Yesterday I determined the remaining three days of this week would be sufficient to transfer my course from the old management system platform to the new one (Angel). The plan? I do love a great step-by-step plan. Prepare by saving and exporting existing course information to a zip file and at a later date simply un-zip, copy, and paste my way to completion. To finalize the plan, a cherry on top of my personal sundae, I would have sufficient time to update assignment tutorials for the course and my student workers, prepare updates and tweak the course web page, and create lovely new handouts for class visits.

It would have been great had I only zipped the most recent files.

Still liking that plan? Not so much.

This morning I was resigned to entering text for each assignment when, on a whim, I decided to see if I could ... perhaps ... log in to the old course management system. The system was to be off line beginning July 1st, the first day of our current academic fiscal year. A message on distance learning portal link claimed the old system was gone, anyone wanting to create course materials had to request set up with the new. But, the link was still live. I checked. My login still worked. I waited and waited and waited and waited for the system to load. Viola! Spring 2008's course materials were at my fingertips. I gleefully spent the day copying and pasting and updating and chortling to myself.

As of the end of today's work day, I had only two short pages to create and two items to be transferred by a qualified IT person (a-hem).

Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Some day's dumb luck wins.

I'll take it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Cruel (cruel) summer

Two weeks from this coming Monday, August 25th to be precise, is the first day of the fall 2008 semester. Like many teachers, I am helplessly looking back over the summer months wondering how it got away from me. My "to do" list is as long now as it was in May. Among other things, my regularly scheduled summer weeding projects of checking activity books, curriculum textbooks, materials kits, and adjusting the shelves on the back half of the juvenile collection, remains untouched. The one thing I had high hopes of completing, the thing I put everything else on the back burner for, is far from done. Yes, I am referring to the library web site -- still screaming "get me content" -- on the inside.

This afternoon the song Cruel Summer by Bananarama kept running through my head. It was one of those things, like the smurf song (la, la, la la la la, la, la la, la laaa), it just refused to go away.

Soooo, here's the video link to YouTube - Cruel Summer, Bananarama. At least I refrained from posting yet another embedded video here.

My summer has been a technology challenge of web site building, learning a new "2.0 content management and information sharing system designed specifically for library's" - LibGuides, and moving my course over to Angel Learning Management System recently adopted by the university. Don't get me wrong, these are great tools for the library and I am thrilled to be using them. But right now I'm 2.0 tired of my computer, hence the sparing posts through the summer months.

I have, with no exaggeration, spent entire eight-hour days that have rolled into weeks, and possibly months, building the new web site from scratch; learning how to use Dreamweaver templates, creating spry widget menus, and managing the web committee with sometimes less tact than I should have displayed. These have been great tools for me to learn and the end will be worthwhile. Progress has been made, but the site will not debut at the beginning of this fall term.

LibGuides is great; you should have seen the line of interested librarians for their booth at ALA. The system is pretty much idiot proof, it's a drop, drag, click environment, with a wonderfully professional end product. Currently, librarians are responsible for content in their liaison area. I took a short break, a breather really, from web site work and in the last several days have created several guides. Yep, it's fun. Check out a listing of libraries, public and academic, using LibGuides. As to Angel, I started that today. It is replacing our previous course management system WebCT / Blackboard. Seems straightforward, time will tell.

On that note, time to chill out with Project Runway ("make it work") and then Shear Genius (my attention is wandering with the same old hair each week). Yesterday was another new episode of Eureka! And the new cast for Dancing with the Stars is to be announced at the end of the month. Rumor has it that a few of the names have been leaked ... gasp!