in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

Archive for November, 2011

a cool idea.

something I picked up while listening to a favorite podcast of mine that *isn’t* library-focused at all. the husband is a fairly recent school library media specialist, though.

A QR-code Scavenger Hunt, for students in the middle and high school library. The librarian got approval from the school principal for students to use their smartphones, if they had them (and depending where the school is, there may be many) and worked in teams of 4 to find certain books, magazines, newspapers, and other physical objects in the library using clues. Each of the items in the scavenger hunt had a QR code, which the students then scanned.

I didn’t catch all the details (since it was just a sidenote of something fun in the podcast) but I really liked the idea. Especially if you give students clues to certain things that may or may not require using research skills to find… I like it.

And I don’t even have a smartphone!


Polling My Audience.

I know I’m not the only person in graduate school for library science that still reads YA fiction on a regular basis. I’m not going to force you to admit that you read it, but I’m curious, from those of you that will admit it – what are your go-to, top 3/top 5/top arbitrarynumber YA fiction books?

I was looking at my bookshelf and realized I was curious if there was overlap. Teen/YA/”mature YA” fiction has expanded in the last decade or so – from authors to topics explored – and I love soliciting other people’s opinions. So I’m asking. Let me know, if you will. 🙂

At least three books that would be in my TopArbitraryNumber:

Mini Book Reviews.

Because at least if I comment on the five novels I read this weekend, I’ll feel like I was productive, instead of being wracked with guilt over reading five novels. I don’t actually review books. I just…talk about them. That said, my mental health hasn’t been this good in a while, so apparently my guilt-inducing weekend has been good for something.

YA Novel — Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.
The rundown: there’s a girl, a boy, some other girls, some other boys, and some parents. Set in San Francisco. Modern, quirky characters, who are both likeable and annoying as hell as the case needs be. Very Sarah Dessen-like story. Easy read, but not a weak filler novel.

YA Novel — It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han. Follow-up to the oft-talked-about The Summer I Turned Pretty, which I read a while ago but didn’t find all that interesting. This was sitting on top of the bookshelf at Salina Library, however (as in, not enough room on the shelf) so I took it. This one I’d definitely chalk up as a filler read, but then again, I’m not exactly the targeted age bracket. Plotline moves slowly, somewhat predictable, and just feels…lacking. It successfully helped me avoid real life for a few hours, but wasn’t all that entertaining.

Adult Fiction Novel — Embrace Me, by Lisa Samson. I’ve read a few other novels by Samson in the past; they tend to fall under what many would consider ‘inspirational fiction’, but they’re not the overdone, driven-by-a-lack-of-plot usual fare under that banner. She creates rich, deep characters, and in this novel, flips between two characters in two different time frames to piece together a story. Overwhelming theme: redemption. Doesn’t work for everyone, but I found myself drawn in by the reality she interjected into her mostly-believable tale. In the interests of full disclosure, part of that was just self-identification.

Bunheads — by Sophie Flack. The first novel from this author, and one can assume semi-autobiographical, although she writes it as pure fiction. The author was a member of the corps of the New York City Ballet, and writes what she knows – and writes it rather well. Could be cliche in that “choose between your current life and what could be” way, but somehow manages not to be. Granted, will it change your life? Probably not. Will it serve as entertainment and perhaps even edification? Most likely.

Adult Fiction — Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. My mom told me to read this book more than a year ago, and in my terrible decision making I ignoring it, despite owning a paperback copy (I think I picked it up for 25 cents knowing that I’d want to read it one day). Seeing that they created a movie based on the book, I chose to read it now – before the potential of ruining it could come to pass. Fantastic. Slow at first, but became engrossing and I fully admit I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning last week simply because I had to get to the end. If you’re thinking of seeing the movie, but tend to be a reader, read it first. I can’t evaluate the movie for you, but engaging the imagination is rarely a poor choice.

this is not a rant.

If this was a few days ago, this would have been an angsty blogpost that would make you remember high school and want to listen to Linkin’ Park’s “Crawling”. and let’s face it, no one wants to do that.

But it’s not. I saved that post as a draft, and now I don’t want to revisit it. In the spirit of this week – as in, the week that precedes the feast we here in the United States refer to as Thanksgiving – I’m going to say a few things that most decidedly were not in the previous incoherent ramble.

I’m in library school.
It’s an adventure.
It’s frightening, at times, because it’s the unknown.
It’s fascinating, at times, because it’s the unknown.
It’s frustrating, at times, because it’s the unknown.
It’s flipping awesome, at times, because I know that we have the potential to flip this field on it’s head, over time, and do really fantastic things.

So with that in mind… I’m happy to be here, and I’m thankful for the opportunity.

And as a sidebar, I read five books (yes, books. those antiquated bound volumes of printed pages pieced together coherently) this weekend. Five. Perhaps a book review or two would be warranted.

Bird After Dark.

So this weekend, because I wasn’t at NYLA like many of my peers, I volunteered to help with the library lock-in on campus. What did I know about the event before volunteering? That it was held in the library, supposed to be fun, and went into the wee hours of the morning.

Well, all of those expectations turned out to be true! Undergraduate students signed up in teams of two to participate. Part of the event was a type of scavenger hunt where they were required to find answers to questions using *only* library resources – print or online. The other part involved playing skill games. I had the pleasure of running a game called “A Bit Dicey”. The student had 60 seconds to hold a popsicle stick in their mouth and stack six dice, vertically, on the popsicle stick. If they could keep them standing for at least 3 seconds, they got a sticker and “won” that game. I probably had one of the easiest games, judging by how many stickers I handed out (and for the record, I tested and did mange to do it myself). There were a variety of strategies employed… but on the whole, entertaining.

In between the two sessions of answer-finding and game-playing, we had breaks for food, caffeine (read: diet Coke, noms), sugar (read: Reese’s), and more games. The video game company that produces Just Dance 3 had brought equipment to set that up, and students played that during break. They had raffle tickets and students were winning a number of different prizes that had been donated to the event.

The event went from about 9:30 til after 1 AM. We stuck around and cleaned up the chaos that was the first floor of Bird Library. We, the volunteers, managed to snag a few of the extra swag bags. And then we ventured out into the incredibly chilly evening – well, it was morning – and left the library locked behind us.

I’m glad I ended up volunteering. I had my qualms (see also: chaotically caffeinated undergrads) and I did have to deal with someone who wanted to steal my dice (I got them back though! Nothing like straight-up asking “hey, did you steal one of my dice?”) but I also got to work with some of my fellow library students and some of the library staff at Bird. And most importantly, we took the whole idea that the library is a quiet space full of individuals and flipped it on its head, if only for a night.