Category Archives: Old Books Posts

My Library On-line

Since January, I have been using the online book cataloguing system called Goodreads. It allows me to list all of my books, both for work and for pleasure reading, on different “shelves.” Because the shelves are more like tags, each book can be labeled with more then one, and there is no limit on the number of shelves or books you can have in your goodreads.

Some of the features I particularly like in Goodreads are the unlimited capabilities to add books and shelves (if the book you want to add isn’t in the system, you can add it there, the abilities to share my books with others and see their books (get lots of ideas for what to read next), and the opportunities to connect with other librarians and YS professionals across the city and the country. When I worked at UAPL, they used good reads all the time to provide reader’s advisory, by using the lists created by colleagues.

Here is a sample of the lists I’ve created:

One of picture books on opposites http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/828864?shelf=p-opposites

I’m still creating this one for a class I’m taking: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/828864?shelf=50-books-for-dickson

Here is a list of books for YA on volunteering: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/828864?shelf=ya-volunteering

In addition to these lists, I can share books on my blog, with an image of the cover and a link to good reads. One of my favorite board books:
Baby Cakes

One of my favorite YA books:
Life As We Knew It

One of my favorite books of all time:
Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, Book 1)

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Reading


My creation

Originally uploaded by swegene1

Even before my brother and his wife had their baby girl, I begun collecting board books for them to share with her. My brother told me that they didn’t have that kind of specialized thing in the college town where he lives. This still makes me laugh, both because he thought board books are specialized, and because that town has all kinds of places to buy specialized things even if they were that hard to find. This encouraged me to buy even more for them. I still have a stack on my book shelf waiting to be sent off, but the first thing I sent them was this little cloth book with a rattle. My sister-in-law uses it with the itty bitty baby girl to read to her while she is stretching her tummy. I think this is a great example of how books can be used even when babies are very young.

Library and Web 1.0

So over the next month CML will be launching an initiative to encourage library staff members to learn about the technologies that make up Web 2.0. This is ideally to help us become better able to help our customers, because we are largely not able to use these for our own promotion of the library. Since I would love to create a blog, flikr account, or use other technologies to promote and share information about my library, but since that is centralized, it is likely this is intended to help us answer technology questions for our customers. The question that runs through my mind, and that of some of my co-workers, is whether our customers are even ready for Web 1.0?

Case in point, over the past two days we helped a gentleman discover what the Internet is, sign up for a e-mail account (which he first needed to learn what it was), how to use e-mail, how to cut and paste, and basically how to use both the computer and Internet. This is not an unusual occurrence. The vast majority of technical questions I get have to do with the very basics of computer and Internet usage–the difference between the Internet and e-mail, the importance of placing all the periods and dashes in Internet addresses, and how to left and right click on a mouse. More savvy users ask about formatting on Microsoft word, or why our web page is down, or why the web page they want will not work.

All of this, and I work in an area where the majority of households own at least one computer with Internet access. They come to the library when theirs isn’t working, when they are bringing their children to the library, because there is something wrong with their Internet. So why spend the time and money to teach us all Web 2.0?

More thoughts later..

Underwear

Under here? Underwear? Yep! Today’s reading corner featured an assortment of books on every young child’s favorite topic. Undies! Socks and Pants–under pants! While Thursdays are usually sloooow days at our library, the 10 participants were enthralled with these tales of underwear and socks. I read the stories to two groups, since even a great topic like underwear can’t hold a 5 or 6 yr old still for more then 5 picture books. There were a bunch of kids on the game computers who barely even looked up when I asked them if they wanted to come hear stories. So I grabbed a bunch of kids who had just walked through the door, and they were the most enthusiastic crowd ever–even though they were pretty young, they listened to the entire story of Timothy Cox and also Dirty Joe. My boss came to check up on me at 2, when I was supposed to be done, but these kids were SO entranced that they didn’t even notice him come by.

So here are some of my favorite underwear tales:
A True Story This combines both Underpants and Socks!

Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks This is quite long, so definitely an elementary tale, but it is entrancing! What happens if you don’t change your socks for a month? In real life they’d probably fall apart before they could smell as stinky as Tim’s.

Pants This was actually more popular then Parr’s Underwear dos and don’ts, a British take on Pants!

Math Reference

One of the scariest parts of my new job is going to be providing homework help in math, since it has never been a strong subject for me. But in my quest to become as prepared as possible, and in my class assignment of creating a core-reference collection for the center, I have been examining a variety of math related reference materials. Since I don’t have a passion for math, I didn’t expect to be terribly excited about these reference materials, but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of math reference materials out there.

In particular, I found the book A Mathematics Handbook very colorful and informative on all kinds of math problems and concepts. It is aimed for middle school students, but could help younger children and even older ones.

Core Reference Collection

I’m currently taking a four week class called “Reference Services for Youth” and our main project is to create a core reference collection of about 30-34 works both print, electronic, and hopefully audio visual. Personally, I am not sure of what the professor means by “reference” as she sometimes seems to refer to all non-fiction books and other times to refer to a distinct sub-set of non-fiction. Regardless, I am finding this particular assignment to be very helpful, and am creating a core reference collection for the homework help center.

Since the homework help center is a distinct area within a larger branch, it doesn’t need a full complement of reference materials. Students can bring reference materials into the center from other parts of the library, and certainly if there was a project that all the students were working on that needed a specific set of books, we could move them temporarily into the center. This said, there are some basic print reference materials that we could keep in the center for use of the students.

In deciding which materials to include, I’m trying to select works that can be used by the broadest range of students in the largest amount of projects. Since the library system has a lot of amazing databases, I will work on marketing those as well.

Here is the tentative list:
Print
Dictionaries
Random House Webster’s unabridged dictionary 2005 423 R1948r2, 2005
Macmillan dictionary for children 2007 423 M16, 2007
The American heritage student thesaurus 2007 423.1 H477s, 2007
The Facts on File dictionary of mathematics 2005 510.3 F142f4
Larousse French-English, English-French dictionary 2007 443.21 L332, 2007
Bilingual visual dictionary – French 2005 443.21 B595
Collins Spanish dictionary 2006 463.21 C7123c3
Writing Aids
Grammar essentials 2006 428.2 G7451g3
Ready, set, write! :a student writer’s handbook for school and home 808.02 R287
Encyclopedias
The World Book Encyclopedia 2008 031 W92, 2008 Almanacs
The World almanac and book of facts 2008 031.02 W927
The world almanac for kids” 2008 031.02 W9273
Atlases
“School atlas–DK” 2007 912 S421s, 2007 Historical Works
Opposing viewpoints in American history 2007 973 OPP

This is just a start–I’m still thinking that I’d like a general science reference work, but I’m undecided on what would be general enough for the largest variety of students and assignments and not take up too much shelf space. In case you are wondering about the two French dictionaries, we have two French immersion schools in our service area, both k-8, so it seemed reasonable.

Reading Corner Themes!

This summer I will be reading Mon-Thursday for an hour to any kids in the library around 1pm. It promises to be enormously entertaining, and hopefully will give me the opportunity to read more picture books. Plus, picture books are fun and the smaller groups will allow more interaction.

To keep what books I’ve read straight, I plan on compiling lists of books for each day. Though I’m scheduled to read for an hour, most likely I will not be reading the whole time, so my goal is 10 books on each topic, for different age levels. A couple for toddlers, a couple for pre-schoolars, some for k-2 grades, and at least one for older kids.

Some of the themes I have lists for already–others I will be compiling as I go along based on what we have at the branch. I don’t want to track down too many books at other branches, so hopefully I’ll be able to find enough for each week.

Here are some of the topics I’ve brainstormed, any suggestions would be great–as well as recommendations of good books on these topics!
-Camping -Farm -Family
-Sports -Clothing -Fruit and Veggies
-Folktales -Colors -Ponds
-Birthday -Creativity -Transportation
-Bedtime -Beach -Alphabet
-Dinosaurs -Jungle -Friends
-Dogs -Emotions -America
-Cats -Ocean -School
-Zoo -Weather -Diversity/multi-cultural
-Bugs -Picnic -Vacation

Some of these I have a lot for, but lots of these I don’t have more then one or two–so I could use suggestions for any read-alouds!

Gearing up for Summer Reading Club!

Part of my new job will be to coordinate the summer reading activities for the new branch–our theme this summer is Game On. Read. and we have reading clubs for infants-pre k, children, teens, and adults, though most of our programing is aimed towards the first three groups. This summer we are also trying some new things with our registration of participants–which will be entirely electronic and progress can be tracked via bar code on the activity sheet and their library card. Our volunteens will be entering the registration, but all staff will have to be trained on the new computer system–so everyone can help.

The official kick off will be a week after I start work, so a lot of information to catch up on before we dive into the fun. Even though I have not started yet, I have a lot of ideas about fun activities. Though the calendar suggests that there wont be much time for any more activities, especially with a four day a week reading corner, where I and volunteens and others will read to any children.

Some of our planned activities:
**Tall Tales of North America
**Mad Science, Up, Up, and Away
**Author Visit: Margaret Peterson Haddix
**Manga & Cartooning
**Lunch Bunch (Every Thursday)
**Kitchen Concoctions: Extreme Cuisine
**Turtle Lady
**Color in Action
**Teen Gaming (Every Thursday)
**Library Bingo
**Jim Gill, Music and Fun
**Irish Dance
**Race on!
And that is just June!!

Right now I feel like I need to get more information on what they are planning before I can see how any ideas I might have would fit into the program. The only part I know for sure that I am responsible for is supervising volunteens and the reading corner.

Non-fiction Read Alouds for Kids

I’ve never been much of a non-fiction reader, at least not for enjoyment, though I’ve read more then my fair share for school. But since I begun working in youth services I have discovered some really enjoyable non-fiction, particularly aimed at younger readers. Many have stunning illustrations, interesting information, and quite a few are suitable for reading out loud to a group or together at home. Since I love picture books, it is not surprising that I would enjoy these so much. Today’s new book cart was chock full of delightful non-fiction, which I thought I would share!

The first is a hilarious book for pre-k and up that is PERFECT for reading aloud because it invites participation. It is Where Does Pepper Come From And Other Fun Facts and it includes a wide range of facts, from why flamingos are pink to the difference between whales and fish. First a silly statement is made explaining why these things are so, such as “Flamingos are pink because they are embarrassed!” Then a child says “No! Silly” and then the facts are explained. Children will love to say “No!” to the silly stories and pictures, and will not be confused by the facts explained.

Another fun book that came in today is Ape , the illustrations are stunning and the text is simple. The book presents the five great apes and provides a bit of information about each and where they live. It might not be for every family, as the ending presents the fifth ape as humans, and there is definite preservation angle. However, the images and lyrical simple text make this a book that is definitely worth recommending as a read aloud.

Continuing the theme of animals, this is an interesting story for a bedtime theme: Water Beds: Sleeping in the Ocean It pairs simple words with peaceful text that provides information about the sleeping habits of aquatic mammals. Another good themed storytime bookPumpkins –this time for a fall/harvest/pumpkin theme, this non-fiction book has incredible pictures, simple text, and good proportions for sharing with a group.

Oddly, one of the hardest categories for non-fiction read alouds is folk tales, which are particularly hard to find for younger readers. Most of the time a storyteller can modify them to keep attention using dramatics, props, or just voice modulation, but simple folk tales are excellent for sharing aloud. Today, I found The Ghost Catcher with the new books. It is a simple tale of trickery and humor, involving ghosts and generosity that will not frighten children. This is suitable for k-2 grades.

What I have really discovered is that there is a lot of non-fiction that can be incorporated into our story telling in the library, and that rather then just focusing on fiction picture books, we can introduce our children to the world around them from an early age. I hope to find even more amazing non-fiction books–so any suggestions would be appreciated!

New Books

There is just something cool about new books, just arrived at the library, and never circulated. A sense of discovery of something fresh–both the content and the actual physical book. I find this particularly the case with board books, pop-ups, and touch and feel books. Once they’ve circulated a few times they are missing parts, things are broken, and the corners of the board books are chewed. To me that is cool, because it means kids are enjoying the books, but at the same time I don’t feel like really spending a lot of time looking at them. Opening a pop-up book that has all its pieces still connected and seeing them the way they are meant to be seen adds something. The other day I was looking at an animal touch and feel and pull the tab book–it was very elaborate, but because it was on the new cart all the bits were there, and the sticky touch and feel part was still sticky and not completely germy.

When I used to work in circulation, I loved to help check in the new books when they arrived. Most of them were reserved to patrons, but it was great to see all the different titles that were coming out. It made it SO much easier to perform reader’s advisory, because I know what the latest books have just come out. Lots of times I have seen books that I want come in with the new books, and even more often books that I can recommend to someone else.

At one of my libraries, we have a cart that we keep new books on for the staff to look through, which is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. Recently I’ve been given the task to create a list of the top 25 new books that we’ve received each month–an even better excuse to spend time perusing the cart. There are so many books that I don’t normally think of browsing through–such as non-fiction, but this provides an awesome opportunity.