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

Posts tagged ‘ist 511’

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.


This awesome tool helped me construct this. Anyone who has talked to me at length this week has understood that I’m at the stage of the semester where it feels like everyday is three-steps-from-a-mental-collapse. I realized I needed to re-center my focus. School has a way of dragging us into a bunch of different directions, and it’s easy to lose ourselves in the process. Thus…enter and this nifty little not-a-flowchart into which I managed to sort out my thoughts.

(ahem, also, the image won’t display fullsize/high-res so clicking on it to enlarge should help. kthx.)

thoughts and such.

We spent an incredible amount of time (read: three hour class) today discussing economics and how they apply to the information field as us, as information professionals. If this sounds like an incredibly boring topic to you, or even moreso, an incredibly useless topic, I beg you to think again. While I could easily play the nerd card and admit that I have always found economics fun to study – Marie plays the nerd card for +10 to a lack of street cred! – I’m re-evaluating what I already know and applying it to information and discovering all sorts of new things.

Information can be treated like a commodity or a public good. In this case, public good does not mean a good that’s supplied by the public, or owned by the public, or financed by the public per say but is defined by the non-rivalry inherent within. If I am reading a journal article online, I am not preventing you from also reading that journal article, and both of us are able to benefit from reading it. Thus the public good aspect of information.

For class, we had to read a book by Bruce Kingma entitled “The Economics of Information” that I would recommend everyone at the very least skim (also, if you’re taking 618 in the future, and you will be, it probably wouldn’t hurt, since it’ll probably be required again). Understanding how to effectively analyze and conduct a cost-benefit analysis *might* seem a bit complicated and overdone at first, but if you end up in a position of management in a library – or anywhere, for that matter – it’ll be ridiculously helpful. I’d by lying by omission if I didn’t admit that I CBA lots of things in my life. Making decisions based on opportunity cost and the time-value of money may not always work, but it certainly attempts to remove one from the situation and make a less emotion-based decision. And, well, I have no problems with that every once in a while.

And herein I apologize for how absolutely boring this blogpost is. And now I will shrug.

reinventing: not a bad idea.

It’s 3:11 in the morning and I’m creating a new blog post. Because sometimes inspiration strikes, and the best thing to do is acknowledge it so that you can work past it.

We, as human beings in this somewhat-crazy world we live in, are constantly reinventing ourselves. I had an interesting and introspective conversation with a friend tonight that forced me to acknowledge that though, over time, I’ve had to change and reinvent myself, that’s not all for the bad. And to think this all began because I mentioned, half-jokingly and half-seriously, “oh no, I’m becoming my mother!” It brought me to a realization that not only isn’t this a bad thing, but it’s something I could embrace – and should embrace – if I’m truly to move forward and not horizontally on this never-ending track that is life. (Editor’s note: my mom is freaking awesome. I talk about her all the time, with good reason.)

My oldest brother has held more than 30 jobs in his life. Continually seeking the next good thing.
My next brother went from being a college drop-out to a sergeant in military intelligence. Now he works as a citizen for a federal intelligence agency, and is such a proud dad and husband that it gives me hope for the world.
My next brother (ed’s note: yes, I have three) went from being a soldier – the path he’d always envisioned himself on – to being a war veteran who now works what most would consider a minimum-wage job so that he can solely afford to travel and adventure. He sends me pictures of the wild animals he encounters – last ones I got were of a herd of elk.
My sister, known as the music and drama queen of the family, went on to become a therapist and works with severely disabled clients. It’s a good day at work when she can say someone actually improved a skill, and yet every day she trucks off with a bit of optimism in the tank.

I graduated high school (ed’s note: in a small town in Ohio!) and headed off to college. Everyone knew my path: get a degree in chemistry, take over the world, in that order of course. Within a year, I’d had numerous career-counseling sessions, declared an abhorrence for laboratory work, though I loved the theoretical, and switched my major to history. History, the field that most consider “the study of the past with lots of memorization of names and dates.” Three years later I graduated with a BA in history and approximately zero plans to pursue a career path specifically linked to that field.

Now, here I am. In a new state, at a new school, with new professors and a new path. I’ve reinvented myself yet again. From chemist to confused to historian to student all over again, with the hopes of going on to the librarian path. And how does any of this (minus the last clause of the last sentence) apply to school?

As a field, librarianship is continually changing. Like we mentioned with medicine, it didn’t go out of style and fail to exist simply because of germ theory. The field took itself where it needed to go, established itself as relevant yet again, and flourished. Librarianship has been doing the same thing over the ages. While we may have originally been the hunchbacked scribes, creating transcripts and storing them in a logical order, we are now ‘information professionals’. We are people with answers, and people willing to take the necessary steps to procure an answer. We have reinvented ourselves and maintained our relevancy through yet another age. We’re learning how to be ‘new librarians’ and excited to take what we’ve learned into the field to continue to shape it, mold it, and reinvent it, for the modern day.

But medicine didn’t continue because doctors decided to catch up to germ theory and figure it out. They didn’t decide to start developing pharmaceuticals because it was a way to make money off a disease (not starting a political discussion here, just roll with me). They successfully integrated their knowledge, the information at their fingertips, their willingness to serve, and their tangible goods, and created modern medicine. One would not consider going to a doctor who announced he only served, but would not dole out a physical drug to treat an ailment. Likewise one would be hesitant to approach a physician who claimed to write prescriptions, but was unwilling to listen to your list of symptoms and diagnose you first. In the same way, we as librarians must take up the challenge of integrating our willingness to serve the public with information, and the goods we have at our disposal with which to do so.

We can learn from the past. We can witness the present and all that we’re doing right. But we must also look to the future – to spy that which has not yet come over the horizon – to perceive that which is still as yet indiscernible – and be prepared to reinvent ourselves. Constant vigilance, my friends! The future is ours, should we bolster ourselves with just enough confidence to continue offering goodly service and servicely goods to those who seek them.

(Ed’s note: it’s now 3:34 AM and I’m actually tired now. Keep this in mind as you re-read that last sentence. Thank you, and good night.)