Ads 468x60px

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Genre-fying My School Library, Part Two

So...I made the decision to genre-fy the place.

First, I had to decide what genres I would do. A couple were obvious--Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Horror/Suspense. Those seem to fly off my shelves regardless of their placement. I also decided to pull Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, and what I deemed "Supernatural" (this is your Twilights, and other ghost/zombie/vampire type fiction.). Those worked for me. I didn't do a "chick lit" or "guys read" section because, as someone who reads anything and everything regardless of girl/boy tendencies, I don't want to box books in to a "boy" or "girl" section. The more available or accessible the name of the section, the more likely I'd be to get people reading it, boys and/or girls. I ordered genre stickers from Demco and then started the technical work.

My district has Follett Destiny for it's library software. My favorite upgrade over Follett's Circ/Cat (other than being able to access Destiny on any web-enabled computer) is the report functions. Many of the pre-fab or moderately editable reports are perfect for the job they were created to do. But there isn't one that searches only subject headings on its own.

Destiny has a "report builder" option for that need. My assistant and I went in and built one report that we altered in one of the steps for each genre. (If you want me to send you an export of my horror/suspense parameters, I'll be glad to.) Basically, we told it to give us a list by author with title, call number, and copy info on it. The key came in telling Destiny to limit the report to subject headings containing the genre I was looking for. At that point, Destiny searched in the 650 tags for "historical fiction" (on the first run through).

So...we pulled all the books on that list. My student workers were sent out with the list, book trucks, and highlighters (to mark off which ones they found). They came to hate the yellow historical fiction stickers that we taped onto every book spine. Each class period's slave workers would moan about the yellow stickers.

Then they found a new reason to hate me. I took each book, looked up the individual copy in Destiny and changed the call number for the copy. I DID NOT touch the MARC record, so the 082 tag was left alone. That meant changing the spine labels on all the copies. My students learned of a new kind of library hell--matching books and spine labels.

I changed the copy call numbers for 2 reasons. The first was because I really was going to shelve these books in a separate place than in the fiction section so leaving "FIC" on there didn't make sense. The second was because I'd never be able to find the book once it was shelved without a hint.

Then, we did it for the other 5 genres. There were several days that I sprung for pizza for the lunch class or brought donuts in the morning to make up for being so evil. I even made my famous breakfast casserole a time or two, trying to change their opinions of me.

Seriously, though, it was tedious and time-consuming. Once all the sections had been pulled, stickered, updated, and reshelved, we did a book by book walk through of what was left in general fiction, just to make sure we hadn't left anything behind. Typically, the ones that weren't caught the first time had been checked out or had incomplete MARC records (which I quickly, quickly fixed).

We did run into a few special cases. I can't remember which book it was that had 650 tags for science fiction when it rather clearly wasn't. So I edited that one. Other books, as we all know, fit really well into 2 different genres. And, of course, students who will not read fantasy books but love historical fiction would never even see books that crossed the genres. In those cases, I secretly hoped there were 2 copies in my collection so it could be in both places. For the books that didn't have a second copy, I added them to my shopping list.

I want to note here that I didn't touch my non-fiction section. I think it's important to still find things by their numbers and those numbers should start with 001 and travel over to 999 (with a separate 92 section). When I do displays on topics (sports, paranormal, classics) I pull from both parts of the library, but I never mix them on the shelves.

I have to admit, I was worried about that first fiction order after the shift. I completely thought I'd have to spend days on every order before I could shelve a single book from it. I've since learned that some vendors are willing to help you out, with a little extra leg work on the front end. If I'm willing to create separate lists (an historical fiction list, a fantasy list, etc.) when I place an order, they'll make sure that all the copy information AND the spine labels are to my new specs.

It took the entire spring semester to get it all sorted out, and I'm still finding books that aren't in the right genres. Just today, I discovered we'd completely skipped over H.G. Wells when looking for science fiction books. I'm looking at some other options for additional pull-outs, too--maybe a "Best Books for the College Bound" section or "adventure" books.

All the work, and the headaches, are totally worth it. My circulation is up. My students are talking about all these cool books we have and when did we get them (umm.....years ago). It's awesome.

Genre-fying My School Library, part one

Last year, the library team and I undertook two massive projects. The second (packing, moving, then unpacking the entire collection) could've been accomplished without the first and all the headaches it caused. But, as anyone who knows me will tell you, why make things easy on myself?

The first task was reorganizing the library collection. Really, just the fiction collection. I'd noticed that only the "popular" books were moving, the Twilights, the Uglies, the Hunger Games. All good in their own rights and ways, but my kids were missing older titles that were easily as good. All the displays and book talks in the world weren't going to move some of these books with my kids. Because the way to find them didn't make a lot of sense to them.

GASP! Oh the horror! The basic fiction shelving rules didn't make sense to them? They'd been taught these things from the beginning of time (or 1st grade, whichever came first) and they still didn't understand how to use it. I know, I know.....this made me a little sick to my librarian stomach.

So, I questioned some kids. "When you walk into a room full of books, how do you know where to find what you're looking for?"  Almost every student said "I look for the ___________ section." (Insert your favorite genre.) One kid (out of about 150 that I asked) told me he used the OPAC and then clarified his answer by telling me that was just for research projects. My tried and true method for finding books and understanding of how libraries worked didn't work for my students.

I'm teaching kids who rarely, if ever, set foot inside a library for reasons other than needing book test points until they get to high school. Then, it's because there is a research paper that requires lots of work in the non-fiction section. The majority don't appear to read for pleasure. I say "appear" because I don't know if they're getting books elsewhere, I just know they aren't getting them from me.

But they have been inside a book store. They know that if they walk into the major-named bookstore in the next city over and hang a left at the information counter, they'll hit the young adult section. They don't know what "young adult" means necessarily, but they know it's where they want to be. Except for my die hard graphic novel fans, who will make a right at the first aisle and go straight until they hit the back wall. Obviously, I've been there a few times.

Believe me, upending my fiction section wasn't an easy decision. I know it doesn't match our county library system's arrangement. I know it will clash with what they see in college, never mind that many (most?) colleges and universities are LC and not DDC. I know it doesn't match what they saw in kindergarten through eighth grade. I take comfort in the orderly arrangement of fiction shelves, from A to Z, with Mary Higgins Clark just a shelf away from Arthur C. Clarke. I feel better knowing my Westerfelds (Scott) are between my Weltys (Eudora) and my Wilders (Laura Ingalls) and not in 3 different sections. Part of the reason I'm a librarian is because of the consistent orderliness of the system.

But, this library and its arrangement isn't about what makes me happy or my ease of use. It's about my students. Sure, there are some staff members thrown into the mix, but my students outnumber my staff by nearly 12 to 1. This should've been a no-brainer, but it still took me 3 months to decide to do it. The why was easy, even if it left me with a little inner librarian conflict. Then I had to figure out the how.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Editing and Formatting

I've been noticing something lately. It's particularly frustrating me.

I've been reading a lot of books on my Kindle lately. I'll admit, I use it for my "fluff" reading more than anything else. Things I want to read but for enjoyment only or don't want to keep a print copy of for later use. And, I'll admit, quite a bit of what I've read on it the last few months are books that were offered for free on Amazon. Sometimes this means the book is from a small press.

Formatting discrepancies get to me. A sudden carriage return in the middle of a sentence. New paragraphs that make little or no sense (because of their spacing, not because the story doesn't flow).  Odd spacing in general. I've even noticed places where longer words have been hyphenated, presumably because in either the original print format or just in a smaller font size that I'm using on my Kindle those words needed to be hyphenated at the line break. And sometimes those hyphens are not used properly in the first place. (Yes, there are hyphen rules. See #s 5-8.)

Spelling really stands out to me as well--either out and out misspellings or multiple spellings of the same word/name/location used frequently in the story line. Sometimes it's almost forgivable, a simple typo. And one is always forgivable to me. Other times it is such a glaring error that it pulls me out of the story. Once I'm enthralled, it takes a lot to pull me out of the story, so if a misspelling does it, it must be unforgivable.

It makes me wonder if anyone looks at these things before they are approved or made available to the public. I realize that smaller presses (which often offer Kindle versions for free in order to boost publicity), may not have the editorial departments that a large publisher has. Random House, for instance.

I also come from a world that teaches us to proof read, proof read, and--oh yeah---proof read before handing over a "final" product. You don't hand in something that isn't your best work. And you certainly don't make it public unless it's done well. It doesn't speak well to me that a company selling the written word doesn't take time to check it. Then to reproduce a book in a digital format and not make sure it looks good in that format is, to me, just about unforgettable.

I've no doubt I'm not the only who notices this and is bothered. Even if I'm not paying anything for the Kindle format of many of the books I'm reading, that doesn't mean I should expect (or receive) lesser quality. This is a tacky metaphor, but I'm not at the factory outlet expecting seconds or that the seam on my Levi's may be a little off. I'm expecting a certain amount of quality, that doesn't look, well...not quality.

So, I'm going to make an offer...though I'm sure it'll be buried under a million other posts.

I'll proof your book. I'll work on the digital formatting. I won't charge you an arm and a leg. I won't even charge you by the hour, even though I could. Flat $50 and your publication will be better for it. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sites to See update

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.~~Samuel Johnson

Online YouTube Converter
There is some REALLY good stuff on YouTube, that hasn’t made it to TeacherTube yet. But since it’s blocked, the only way we can use a YouTube video is if we convert the videos to a different file type. This online, FREE (though you do have to register) converter will do that for you.

100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Teachers
Now it should be clear why I led with the Converter tool this time. In the list you’ll find channels from universities, nonprofits, museums, and plenty of other places. It’s a fount of amazing ways to add some media to your classroom lessons.

Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition
The online gallery for a competition that challenges photographers using a light microscope. The images are beautiful, and can often highlight lessons in biology, chemistry, and art.

100 Helpful Photography Tutorials for Beginners and Professionals
With the Digital Camera Learning Community offered by the Technology Department starting next week, and the already amazing photographs coming out of Kim Caskey’s class this year, I thought this one might be interesting to many of you.

Database Profile
Student Research Center, powered by EBSCOhost,cookie,uid&profile=SRC
Username & password: See Turney for this info.
This one of our “free” databases provided to all K-12 schools by the State. Like all good “free” things, if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. Take some time to take a look. From the main page you can search for articles (magazines, newspapers, academic journals), books (including encyclopedias and biographies), radio and TV transcripts, country reports, state/province reports, primary source documents, or images (photos, maps, flags) on nearly every topic you can think of. Titles and information are updated almost daily, and in several cases I’ve read an article via the database before the magazine is delivered in my mail. All-around, it’s a wonderful resource for just about anything you’re interested in.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


So, my brother is a partner in a web development/hosting company now. Well, he has been for a couple years now. His partner does the design work, and he does all the code work. We've tossed around the idea of them creating a hosted site for Mean Old Library Teacher.

I have finally taken the plunge, and we're working on it. Ed, his partner, has my (very simple, very limited) ideas for the look. My dear brother has registered my domain and set it up to work with Blogger until we move to the new site/server.

So....update your bookmarks.  will be the new home for me. Hopefully by the end of the year, we'll be there permanently.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm doing it....

I'm doing it. 

And I'm taking applications for cheerleaders.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Every few weeks, I put together a list of websites that I think my teachers may find interesting or useful in their classes. I call it my.

Global Rich List
Compare your income with the rest of the working world. You'll be surprised how well off you are, and what just a small amount of your income could do in other places around the world.
I'm the 59,029,289 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are!
"A compendium of the world's wonders, curiosities, and esoterica." This is just really interesting to browse. This month they are featuring Detroit, MI. There are some AMAZING pictures from the early 20th century as well as historical information. I was utterly entranced.
More study guides and study strategy information than I've ever seen in one place. I've even found some to help with my own projects.
I've always been fascinated by public works of art, on buildings and such. This site helps you find some truly beautiful images around the world. It'd be a great way to talk about the cultural of a region.
A non-profit honoring "people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good."  Basically, these are people of good character doing the right thing for the right reasons. Giraffes are spot-lighted frequently and there is curriculum for school-age children to teach them about being a Giraffe Hero.
Collection of clip-art originally found in DK books. This can be used by students and teachers alike, without fear of copyright infringement.

Hundreds of photographs from the Smithsonian Office of Imaging and Photographic Services which can be used by teachers and students.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's in your stack?

I imagine that all of us who read have a stack of books somewhere. It's the stack of upcoming titles in our reading adventures.

I'm probably a little crazy. There's a stack on my desk at work. There's a stack near my bed. And there's a "stack" in my Kindle. But you'd have to understand that I read constantly. 

No, seriously....I read ALL THE TIME. The other day, a friend caught me reading while doing the dishes. I just made sure that the book was not on the side of the sink that the dish rack was on. Easy enough. *grin*

So, in my stack currently...

Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal

Luke by John MacArthur

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Bayou by Jeremy Love

And about 40 others!

What's in your stack??

Thursday, September 16, 2010

REVIEW: Beasts of Burden, by Jill Thompson (Artist), Evan Dorkin

Interesting..odd...very different from my usual read. Even what I'd normally pick up in graphic novels.

From the publisher:

Welcome to Burden Hill -- a picturesque little town adorned with white picket fences and green, green grass, home to a unique team of paranormal investigators. Beneath this shiny exterior, Burden Hill harbors dark and sinister secrets, and it’s up to a heroic gang of dogs -- and one cat -- to protect the town from the evil forces at work. These are the Beasts of Burden Hill -- Pugs, Ace, Jack, Whitey, Red and the Orphan -- whose early experiences with the paranormal (including a haunted doghouse, a witches’ coven, and a pack of canine zombies) have led them to become members of the Wise Dog Society, official animal agents sworn to protect their town from evil. This turns out to be no easy task, as they soon encounter demonic cannibal frogs, tortured spirits, a secret rat society, and a bizarre and deadly resurrection in the Burden Hill cemetery -- events which lead to fear and heartbreak as our four-legged heroes discover that the evil within Burden Hill is growing and on the move. Can our heroes overcome these supernatural menaces? Can evil be bested by a paranormal team that doesn’t have hands? And even more importantly, will Pugs ever shut the hell up?
("Dark Horse Comics ")
I REALLY enjoyed this. I enjoy reading about the paranormal genre. The art is well done, to the point of being pretty in some of the quieter scenes. And the story line(s) is(are) great. The personalities of each animal are exactly what I'd pair with that breed. I love that the Doberman is the chicken and the Pug is a tough guy bully (that they all see through).

It's just stuff.

"Beasts of Burden: Animal Rights." Dark Horse Comics . Dark Horse Comics, Inc, n.d. Web. 16 Sep 2010. .
I received a copy of this book from Dark Horse Comics as part of my work with Texas Library Association's Maverick Graphic Novel Committee. No compensation was received or discussed.

Sites to See for Sept. 14

Free, online resources for students and teachers in a variety of subjects. I played with the Algebra modules and found the explanations to be good and the practice questions helpful—when you get the question wrong, it explains why. Several other subject areas are available. (This coming from someone who can do algebra but can’t explain to you how she got the answer!) If you feel so inclined, you can also create your own HippoCampus resources to share.

Making a Difference - Christian Science Monitor
If you feel like the news isn’t terribly uplifting, this series about people who make the world a better place should lift your spirits. Might be good stories to share with your students in those moments when you get to just talk.

Museum Blogs - Museum News and Blog Directory
As someone who’s insanely curious about things and gets sparked into finding out more very easily, this collection of art, history, and science museum blogs makes me happy. The people writing for these blogs are professional curious people.

Comics in the Classroom - 100 Tips, Tools and Resources for Teachers
Doing a something a little different and getting our kids’ attention is always a good thing. These sites offer lesson plans, recommendations of comics and graphic novels, and other teacher resources.

Zipcode Zoo
Helps you identify animals, plants, birds, butterflies and more in your area. Includes a "Critter ID Forum," slide shows, videos, an Ask a Biologist podcast, and more. Crowd-Powered Media
Where ordinary citizens can report the news—I’m always curious what other people call “news.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Am I a traitor?

I finally did what I've been holding out on doing for quite some time now.

And I feel like a traitor. It goes against my inner belief that I can't do it. Just can't. Or shouldn't, maybe.

I bought one of these.

And I'm torn. I mean, I'm BEYOND excited. BEYOND EXCITED. Anything that makes it easier for me to always have a book on hand is a win-win situation.'s not a book. It's a device. And while those are lovely, it's not a book. I know you know what I mean.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Banned Books Week is fast approaching. I say "fast" because the last 2 months have literally flown by for me, and I can't help but imagine that the next will move just as quickly.

Being in a high school library, in red, "Bible Belt" state, I frequently think about censorship. When my new principal and I talked this summer, it came up. It just does. Not about anything specific, but just my, and his, general thoughts about it. The books you may find in my collection that are "questionable" (at worst) are books that I know there's kid in my school needs to read. I may not make a big deal of having it, it may never make a display or be booktalked to a large group, but it's there.

Is this censorship? Maybe. Probably. Censorship by omission? I'll grant that I am being "actively inactive" about those books. It's my experience that, generally, the books that get challenged are the ones with a lot of hoopla attached before a challenge was filed. That's not to say those books should've been the subject of a challenge. I firmly believe that
Censorship, like charity, should begin in the home, but unlike charity it should end there.
(I don't know who said that, a quick Google search didn't turn up an answer. If you know, feel free to tell me in the comments.)

This morning, while reading about something completely unrelated on LM_Net, I came across this quote.
"Kids are living stories every day that we wouldn't let them read. "--Josh Westbrook
My gosh...isn't that the truth? I can't imagine telling a kid he can't read a book because the subject matter isn't appropriate in our school when he's living it everyday of his life.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The way it is..

I’m writing this from a netbook that’s fully functioning, connected to a network, and set up in a classroom watching 31 kids who have voluntarily given up summer free time to attend summer school. (Okay, I know “voluntarily” may be a bit of a stretch. Some of these kiddos were volunteered by their parents.) Some are making up credits, some are working to get a little ahead.


This morning, we’re sitting around staring at each other. Our Internet server is still asleep and we’re waiting on a tech to take care of us. Other than having a couple ask if they have to stay since they can’t work anyway, everyone’s entertaining themselves. We’ve got solitaire and pinball going on some computers. It’s kind of nice in here. Beats being in the summer heat.


But it’s bugging me that we’ve basically lost instruction time. In the interest of efficiency and expediency, and well..cost-effectiveness….we’ve eliminated teachers actually teaching credit classes. At least in summer school. I can’t help but think that if we’d put all the kids in similar subjects in a room with a teacher, that some teaching and learning could have been happening for the last 45 minutes, as opposed to honing our solitaire skills. (Which is important for life, you know?) I could come up with some throw-down activity, but I’m monitoring the learning of 31 students taking 11 different subjects. How exactly do I make the telephone game relevant to all of them? Might as well circle up for some duck-duck-goose.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about technology. Love it. I have more technology at my fingers—and know how to use it and implement its use in the classroom—than I ever imagined having. I love using it as a tool when working with my teachers and students. But what happened to just teaching? I still think that more often than the computer gurus would like, the best teaching comes from paper and pencil tasks and chalk on a chalkboard (or the equivalent). We depend on the technology so much we’re hamstrung when it fails us.


I’m not any better in my personal life. I mean, I own a regular laptop at home plus this netbook, plus an iPhone. Yesterday, I got a little frantic when I realized my phone was so completely out of juice that I actually had to wait 20 minutes for it to have enough to support my email checking and texting while plugged in to charge. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good Behavior (by Nathan L. Henry)

At age 16, Nathan Henry spent a year in county jail, most of it spent waiting on his trial for armed robbery.

He really wasn't a bad kid. Not the kind of kid whose parents just know when he's born that he's trouble. But he became the kind of kid nightmares are made of--drugs, violence, sex, and some seemingly psychotic tendencies (what do you call killing gophers because you can?). Add in a painfully rural small town childhood, a father forcing his own psychoses on Nate, and a mental health system that "healed him up, then shipped him out" without a second glance. But Nate's not a lost cause. And I think that's the real lesson for adults--that not every kid who seems to be really is unreachable and unredeemable. They can be salvaged, can be turned, even when we don't try.

Nate's story is gritty and compelling. This was not merely a page-turner, it was a page-gripping read that I didn't put down until I was finished. Nate's story, told in alternating chapters (the life that led to jail and the months he spent there reflecting), is reality. While some may think it an extreme case of teenage reality, I think it will be altogether too familiar to many

Nathan's story of his year in jail and the life that led him there combine to create a powerful portrait of an American youth gone bad—and a moving story of redemption.
(From the Bloomsbury site blurb.)

This title is not yet available for purchase. I received an ARC while at TLA this year. The book is due to be published in July 2010, from Bloomsbury Publishing. Because it has not yet been finalized and published, there is no cover art to share.

The Kid Table (by Andrea Seigel)

Thanksgiving and you're stuck at the kid table again? You know the rules:

1. You're a kid until the adults say you're not.* You can drive, but you still have to sit with a toddler.
2. Know your role: If the family thinks you're rebellious, rebel.
3. What happens at the kid table stays at the kid table. Talking to a cousin is like talking to a priest.
*The definition of kid does not have to be equal or fair; cousins may be upgraded to the adult table at any time.
(From the front cover of the ARC)

Just reading the blurb on the front of the ARC had me going---I remember my years at the kid table all too well. Ours even had varying sizes as the majority of us got older and couldn't fit at the little one anymore.

Ingrid and her teenage cousins are perpetually stuck at the kid table, until Brianne shows up for their 40-something uncle's "bar mitzvah" with her new boyfriend. Suddenly, everyone's anxious to be seen as an adult, except for maybe Ingrid.

Ingrid's long been a little on the outside--just as loved and close to all her cousins as the others, but somehow a little separate. She doesn't emote unless necessary and often comes across as cold to the family. Couple that with the odd fact that pets seem to die around her, suddenly and strangely, and well...maybe Brianne the psychology major is right about her "diagnosis" of Ingrid. The introduction of Brianne's boyfriend causes some serious turmoil for Ingrid, and just might crack her shell.

I love the characters in this book. Everyone is so vividly real that I felt that I could've been at my own family's kid table. All of them have a coming of age moment or two, but there's none of the requisite (and often overdone) teenage angstiness that so many YA novels have. In the end they all realize what the kid table has always meant for the whole family, and how they've all evolved.

This title is not yet available for purchase. I received an ARC at TLA this year. The book is due to be published September 2010, from Bloomsbury Children's Books. Because the book has not yet been finalized and published, there is no cover art to share.

Create your own video slideshow at

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More experimenting…bear with me

So I’m doing a little more experimenting. Found this Windows Live Writer software and I’m trying it out for blogging here. Not sure I’m going to like it, but we’ll see.


Any pointers?

Friday, January 22, 2010

And we have a winner...

Not a great picture (my iPhone camera isn't all that great), BUT..we do now have names for the P.R. staff in the Library.
Meet Little Foot and Ducky (on the right)

Today was a feeding day, so the newts spent the morning in a dish of warm water with a little bit of Mighty Newt to dine on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Relief for Haiti

The information coming out of Haiti this week is just heart-wrenching. The stories, the pictures, the fact that aid workers from the UK couldn't even land on the island, but had to land in the Dominican Republic (at least that's what Katie Couric said on the CBS The Early Show today.)

There is one thing that stood out to me this morning, watching Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this morning, talking on The Early Show. One positive thing, I should say.

We now have a way to text our desire to donate money to relief efforts. Who would've thought? How many people always have the best of intentions to hop online to a website or call an 800-number, but never actually do it? How many get frustrated because they don't have time to sit on hold when they do call the 800-number?

But how many people are willing to sacrifice 30 seconds to send a text?

So, I've been doing a little research this morning. If you're so inclined, here are some ways to donate, via text, to Haitian aid efforts:

American Red Cross
Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10. The amount will be billed on your next statement.
Read the press release here. The Baltimore Sun reported online this morning that more than $800,000 had been raised via text and online donations for this disaster. One person commented that the ARC's Facebook page listed the total at nearly $3 million already. You can also donate online through a secure website. (FYI..AT&T and Verizon have both stated that customers will NOT be charged any fee for the texts and 100% of the $10 will go to the Red Cross)

Yele Haiti (there should be an accent over the 1st e)
Text "yele" to 501501 to donate $5. The amount will be billed on your next statement.
Wyclef Jean, musician and native Haitian, formed this organization in 2005 as a "grassroots movement that builds global awareness for Haiti while helping to transform the country through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment" (from the website) They also help with mobilizing emergency aid measures. You can also donate online through a secure website

Just some ideas. If you know of any others, feel free to post them in the comments

Very cool video...

Certainly something to think about as educators. Our students are quickly outpacing us when it comes to technology--and we're still using overheads and showing VHS movies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Introducing--New Library Staff

Two North American Newts have been added to the AHS Library Staff. They're living in our bog habitat (aquarium) and have already grown a little in just a few days.

Currently, we're running a naming contest. The newts official job is PR for the library.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review: Mercury (Hope Larson, April 2010)

In 1859 French Hill, Nova Scotia, Josey Fraser has just met handsome Asa Curry -- a man with a mysterious and traveled past. While quickly winning young Josey's heart, Asa reveals a secret ability to locate gold on the Frasers' farm. But there is darkness in the woods...and in Asa.

In the same town one hundred fifty years later, Tara Fraser is dealing with the aftermath of her house burning down; a house that has been in her family -- and Josey's -- for generations, when Tara discovers a pendant that turns out to be much more than a simple heirloom. As Josey's story plunges into tragedy, Tara's emerges with the promise of gold.

Confession Time...

I've never picked up a graphic novel to read for pleasure. And yes, I'm now on a graphic novel committee so I should be reading lots of graphic novels, but I actually picked this one up for myself. The cover was pretty. What can I say? Ok, and the story sounded interesting.

Mercury captured my attention quickly. The story swaps back and forth between Josey and Tara's stories and times. Josey falls in love with a con artist who has a very real and uncanny ability. Tara is trying to fit in and find her way after losing her home, and in a real sense, her mom to a job in another city. Both are trying to determine who they are as individuals, in their families.

The stories could each, with some fleshing, stand alone. Tara's story is realistic to the point that YA readers will identify with her quickly. The main characters are well-developed and likeable. Josey's story will appeal to the supernatural/romantic interests. Again, these are characters are fleshed out well. The two stories mesh together, easily. The frequent skips between the two are executed easily. It made think of the scene changes in a soap opera--easy to follow and easy to jump back into the story line when you returned. Larson's story writing abilities are definitely a plus to this graphic novel. I feel like this is a mark of a well-written graphic novel--that the story can stand easily and very well without the illustrations.

The illustrations are wonderful and just lend so much to the story, which is to be expected, but would also stand alone. The raw emotions and the characterization on each face is simple beautiful. The people from each of the eras actually look different--as if those without modern conveniences are drawn to show the harder life of the gold rush era. The detail, the transitions. I was simply wowed and can easily understand Hope Larsen being an Eisner award winner.

All in all, for my first "by my own choosing" graphic novel, I'm very impressed. I don't do stars or what have you, but this is definitely toward the top of my list.

For more information visit the Simon & Schuster page.

Review: In the Woods (Robin Stevenson, 2009)

It's a bundle of blankets. I pull back the top layer cautiously, and there it is. Not a raccoon or a cougar or anything that belongs in the woods.
It's a baby.
pg. 16)

It sounds like a problem novel (and there's more than one addressed in this story) when you read the blurb on the back. But it's really more than that. It's a coming of age story and one filled with facts and realistic dealings with mature issues. A quick, but compelling read good for the Hi-Lo kiddo or discussion with a small group.

More book info

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

So, in perusing the web and "shopping" for new blogs and links, I found the 2010 YA Reading Challenge. This one is EASY for me, so I decided to get in on it. I will obviously be going for the "Super Size Me" Challenge!

The specifics:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. There are four levels:
--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
--Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.
--Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.
--Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, re-reads all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

6. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your post where your Young Adult novels will be listed. Include the URL so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

For more info, visit J. Kaye's Book Blog: New Reading Challenge

****You do NOT need to review your books. That is optional.****

1. In the Woods by Robin Stevenson
2. Mercury by Hope Larson
3. The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel
4. Good Behavior by Nathan L. Henry
5. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (sequel to Shiver)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mailbox Monday...Just a quick spattering of what's new at the library...

A new box arrived from Junior Library Guild last week. There are several interesting titles and I can't wait to  get them all processed and out on the shelves.

In the Woods by Robin Stevenson (Orca Soundings, 2009)
When Cameron rescues a baby abandoned in teh woods, everyone says it is a miracle. A stroke of luck that he just happnend to be there, riding his bike along that trail, and heard the baby's cry. But Cameron has a secret: it wasn't just luck. He was there because his twin sister Katie begged him to go. Did Katie know about the baby? Is she covering for someone? At first Cameron just wants some answers...but once he knows the truth, he has to decide what to do with it. (from the back of the book)

The Omnivore's Dilemma: the Secrets Behind What You Eat (Young Reader's Edition) by Michael Pollan (Dial Books, 2009)
"What 's for dinner?" seemed like a simple question—until journalist and supermarket detective Michael Pollan delved behind the scenes. From fast food and big organic to small farms and old-fashioned hunting and gathering, this young readers' adaptation of Pollan's famous food-chain exploration encourages kids to consider the personal and global health implications of their food choices. In a smart, compelling format with updated facts, plenty of photos, graphs, and visuals, as well as a new afterword and backmatter, The Omnivore's Dilemma serves up a bold message to the generation that needs it most: It's time to take charge of our national eating habits—and it starts with you.  (From the publisher)

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block (HarperTeen, 2009)
Something is happening to Charlotte Emerson. Like the fires that are ravaging the hills of Los Angeles, it consumes her from the inside out. But whether it is her eternal loneliness, the memory of her brother, the return of her first love, or the brooding, magnetic Jared-she cannot say. What if it's something more...
Something to do with the sudden tear in her perfect nails. The heat she feels when she's with Jared. The blood rushing once again to her cheeks and throughout her veins.
For Charlotte is a vampire, witness to almost a century's worth of death and destruction. But not since she was a human girl has mortality touched her.
In what way will you be transformed?
Until now.
(from the front cover flap)

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed by Jennifer Turney under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips