Thursday, December 17, 2009

Digital Comic Collection

Oh my, is this cool! Government comics collected, archived & cataloged by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln!

Here's an article about the project: 'Perfect storm' pushes librarian to compile government comics collection.

Friday, November 13, 2009

National Gaming Day @ Your Library

Okay, so we're not even open on National Gaming Day @ your library (it's Sat. the 14th of November), and our district Acceptable Use policy prohibits video games on our network, but I again feel compelled to note that I think it's really cool that libraries are promoting games & gaming and recognizing the fact that gaming is a great way to reach teens (especially boys).

So I was a bit disappointed to see that the official site  for the event doesn't actually address much about gaming, except in a Q & A format, and that it doesn't link to sites that people who like games might get into, such as Kotaku or Gametrailers or Joystiq. Perhaps that's because they didn't want kids looking at footage of Modern Warfare 2 linked from their ALA site, which is understandable. But at the same time, it kind of erodes their street cred. And no, I don't have a satisfactory answer, except possibly Destructoid, which I think it a bit tamer than Kotaku. And here's a terrific site for primary source research/graphics: The Arcade Flyer Archive.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street!! / How *not* to do a Reference Interview

To celebrate Sesame Street's 40th anniversary, I've posted an excellent clip of Cookie Monster visiting the library. And lest anyone think I'm being clever by doing so, this is a shameless ripoff of Andy W 's posting of it.

And for the record, I want to say that this is hopefully *not* indicative of the sort of service we give our fine patrons.

Monday, November 2, 2009

*Way* more than flaming melons & skateboarding accidents

I've been familiar with YouTubeEDU and the TED Talks for a while, but I've recently been exploring other educational streaming video offerings. I just discovered some really cool resources, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art's channel on YouTube.

In honor of Hello Kitty's 35th birthday, I've linked a talk by author Ben Belson called "Hello Kitty: The Global Brand with Nine Lives."

Hello Kitty, pop culture & global marketing--what could be a better way to spend 30 minutes?

Even if you're not a big Sanrio fan, the way institutions are starting to make their programming available to anyone with broadband access is really exciting. The Indianapolis Museum of Art's channel has several other offerings (including Japanese & Chinese calligraphy demonstrations and a video showing how a Renaissance piece is restored).

While you're on YouTube, check out these other great resources--so much more enriching than watching ideas *not* worth spreading.

ScienCentral ("Making sense of science. Check these videos out if you want to know more about the world around you. ")

BBCEarth Channel

The Smithsonian Channel

The Museum of Modern Art's MoMA Video

The Japanese Culture & History Channel

I barely watch TV anymore unless it's a sporting event (e.g., the World Series as I type)...and offerings like these will make TV an even less likely event for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Geeky & Cool: Periodic Table of Comic Books

Created by a couple of chemistry professors at the University of Kentucky.  Lots of fun, delightfully geeky and an excellent example of Fair Use. Thanks to Marie Slim from the Troy High School Library for sharing on Twitter.

Periodic Table of Comic Books

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fun avatar generators

Cool slideshow with fun avatar generators:

I am a sucker for avatar generators. I had a *really* good time using the Otaku avatar generator to make the little characters in the Information Literacy game. I also like using them for representational purposes online (as evidenced by my profile picture). Maybe if I photographed better I wouldn't enjoy playing with them as much as I do, but thank goodness that I have found a number of good ones that I can use to create more charming and attractive versions of myself.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Banned Books Week

This is Banned Books Week.  In light of the recent events surrounding author Ellen Hopkins, whose Manifesto   poem was written for this year's BBW, librarians have been made very aware of the importance of intellectual freedom in libraries and schools.

From the American Library Association website:
Banned Books Week (BBW): Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where the freedom to express oneself and the freedom to choose what opinions and viewpoints to consume are both met.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Awards

It's time to start selecting books for the 2010 Abraham Lincoln High School Readers' Choice Awards.  We have a display of the nominated titles up in the Library, so please stop by and check them out. If you read at least four of the books on the list, you are eligible to vote for your top pick in March.

Click here for an annotated list of the 2010 Abe Lincoln titles (PDF)
Here is a list of Abe Readalikes if you can't get enough of a particular book or genre :) (PDF)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Amazon, Yahoo & Microsoft Teaming Up Against Google

Not sure how I missed this (it was published 8/21), but these "tech giants" are teaming up with the non-profit Internet Archive's Open Book Alliance to stop Google from monopolizing the online book market. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is investigating whether Google's digitization project violates anti-trust laws. In addition, privacy advocates (including the American Library Association) are concerned that users' privacy might be negatively affected. Wow. So many issues:

Read the BBC article that explains all it all here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Burnham Plan 100

It's the centennial of Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago. Check out the fantastic website that commemorates it.

Burnham Plan Centennial

Friday, August 7, 2009

GBS Information Literacy Game is here

I finally finished adapting the game. I'm looking forward to using it with the Freshmen when the term starts (just a few weeks away).

Many thanks to John Casey for his help with some troublesome technical issues.

Also, a big thank-you to Scott Rice (one of the co-creators of the original Information Literacy Game) for taking the time to look at our game and write a script that makes the T/F questions look much cleaner (totally unsolicited--how kind was that?).

Here it is, if you want to give it a go:
GBS Information Literacy Game

Important note: It works *way* better in Firefox. Don't know why....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I found out about this from our fabulous reading specialist, Tara Braverman. BookGlutton lets you chat about books while reading them. It's like those little 3M tape flags & post-it notes to myself that I used to use when I was doing anthropology research--only you can share them with others. Unfortunately, it's still pretty limited in scope--essentially public domain stuff with a few exceptions, but I think it's a great idea. I saw some interesting comments on Alice in Wonderland and Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately for me, I did not enjoy the experience of reading Austen on a laptop as much as I would have hoped--I can't imagine reading the whole novel that way. Perhaps with Reader such as Kindle it would be different (not that this capability currently exists, but I can't imagine it will be too long in coming). I wonder how younger people would feel about this. Maybe it's just that I'm too Gen X :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blogging and the Future of Communication

Salon has just published an excerpt from a new book by it's co-founder, Scott Rosenberg on the transformational nature of the blogosphere [def. not *this* one in particular :)], Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters .

Looks like a winner.

Must put in my "to buy" cart.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Web 2.0 and the future of Journalism

Much has been made of the role of Twitter in Iran in the aftermath of the June 12th elections. Unquestionably, the use of Twitter & blogging has been essential in getting out information about what is happening in Tehran, as traditional media outlets are not able to cover the events. So traditional news outlets, such as the venerated New York Times are relying on these individuals who are blogging and tweeting to get information and disseminate it via their websites.

This reliance on bloggers and Twitter users to get news out of Tehran has coincided with my own discovery of an award winning independent news website, Truthdig, that has some very impressive journalism.

In the meantime, the Chicago Tribune & the Sun Times are in Chapter 11.

Where is all of this heading?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Reading

This is the second year of GBS' Summer Reading Program and I am very much looking forward to participating again. I had a really memorable discussion about Warriors Don't Cry with the students and faculty in our group last year. It's a very powerful, well-written memoir. I can't imagine reading it and not being moved by Melba Pattillo Beals' courage and strength, particularly given her youth. I'm looking forward to reading and discussing it again this year with a new group of students.

Speaking of powerful reads--another book I'm reading--which I got from the GBS Library's Paperback Exchange Cart, by the way--is War is a Force that Gives us Meaning by veteran war correspondent Chris Hedges. It's an incredibly profound book. I don't think I can do it justice, so I've included this review from the New York Times.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Viral Culture

*Fascinating* interview in Salon with Bill Wasik, the guy who created the flash mob (in addition to working as an editor at Harper's). He speaks of viral culture & it's impact on our society--how "nanostories" like the Susan Boyle phenomenon have affected our ability to view things in a broader context.

Read it here.

And he's got a book, too: And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture

Def. putting that one in my "to buy" pile!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave

Our Coordinator of Instructional Technology, David Jakes, very recently told us about Google Wave.

He's a *lot* more technically savvy than I am with this stuff, and he is *way* excited about it. Because I'm not anywhere near as knowledgeable about web 2.0 applications as he is, I have to admit, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. But Ryan Bretag, his counterpart at GBN has discovered a nice guide from Mashable to this innovative new tool, which I will share with you: Google Wave: a Complete Guide

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Young Adult Eating-Disorder Literature

I was really interested to read a blog post from Tara Parker-Pope on the New York Times website that talks about the inherent problem of literature that deals with eating disorders potentially (inadvertently) promoting it. I had heard about the "pro-ana" websites and chat rooms before, but I hadn't really thought about the impact of YA literature specifically.

Here's a link to Parker-Pope's blog post.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wikipedia 1 , Journalism 0

I was amused but not terribly surprised to see that an Irish student was able to dupe media outlets by altering a Wikipedia article on composer Maurice Jarre by inserting a really schlocky fake quotation from Jarre. The quotation was specifically crafted to attract media outlets reporting on his death. Wikipedia caught the fraudulent statement quickly, as it was made without attribution and done almost immediately after the composer's death. But not quickly enough to keep the Guardian and other sources from looking *really* stupid.

Here's a link to the story from Macleans.

Here's a link to the Guardian readers' editor, Siobhain Butterworth's take on the incident.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Free Movies from Canada & Elsewhere

Got this idea from Joyce Valenza, who linked to snagfilms, a free documentary resource. But after seeing an excellent documentary on professional wrestler Bret Hart, I wanted to share the National Film Board Of Canada's wonderful website, which is *full* of high-quality video.

Update 5/22/09: Joyce Valenza is the biz! She just blogged about PBS Video's new web site/ film database. Very cool!

Monday, April 20, 2009

NLW Favorite Books

We have our contest winners--I won't post their names here :) But they will be posted in the school announcements. However, this does provide an opportunity to highlight the books that students submitted as their favorites:

The Alchemist by Paolo Cohelo

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Demian by Herman Hesse

Eye of Horus by Carol Thurman

Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Watchmen by Alan Moore; illustrated by Dave Gibbons

Monday, April 13, 2009

National Library Week

It's National Library Week. Yay! The GBS Library is celebrating with our ever-popular jelly bean contest, favorite book contest, and a scavenger-hunt/trivia contest. Stop by the library and see what we have going on! You could win a Borders' gift certificate....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ready or Not--New MLA

I'm not really sure that I'm ready for new changes in the newest edition of the MLA Handbook. We're not implementing them until the next school year, so that gives me a little lead time :) .

Joyce Valenza has just blogged on this topic, so I won't bore anyone (myself included) with the details here, but it looks like a combination of some very positive changes (no longer requiring writers to document the library from which they access subscription databases--yay! That is *such* a drag) and some less impressive ones (optional URLs? Not very practical for high school students and teachers--but optional sure beats eliminated...).

Anyway, here's the Purdue OWL's overview of the upcoming changes.

It will be interesting to see how quickly the database vendors change their citation content to reflect these developments.....

Monday, March 2, 2009

Glenbrook Institute Day

The institute day is only 1/2 over, and I already feel like posting about it. David Warlick was the keynote speaker. Inventing the incredible useful Citation Machine would have made him cool enough, in my book, but in addition, he is a very fine speaker. I was very impressed with his approach to teaching in the 21st century--focusing on skills rather than technology, per se. I think a lot of other educators believe the same thing but perhaps aren't as articulate (or engaging).

And he had a really gorgeous, really effective power point presentation, which unfortunately is all too rare, even with experienced presenters.

As a librarian, I was particularly interested in his assertion that one of the major components of literacy has to be evaluation of information. I felt it really drove home what I've been trying to share with students & teachers (and why). Having said that, I wonder if anyone else noticed the obvious library/information literacy tie-in ;).

Here's a link to David Warlick's blog.

Also, I enjoyed seeing the teachers playing Rock Band in the (beautiful) GBN lobby. Nice to see one's colleagues as "people".

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Abe and Charles!

Have you happened to notice lots of newspaper and magazine articles about Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin recently? By coincidence these two influential men share the same birthday and February 12, 2009 is the bicentennial of their birth. Check out the Darwin Day Celebration website for a countdown to February 12th and an introduction to his ideas on evolution and natural selection.

On display in the GBS Library are a selection of books on Darwin and Lincoln. Included is a new illustrated edition of The Origin of Species. This year also marks the 150 year anniversary of the publication of this important work.

One book that I just finished reading is The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen. It is a short and very readable biography of Charles Darwin that begins with his life after Beagle voyages. In a witty and somewhat casual style, Quammen provides an understanding of Darwin as a family man and husband. He details the numerous scientific projects that Darwin worked on after he formulated his theory, but before publishing it in his land mark work, The Origin of Species. Also included is an overview of the content of The Origin of Species and the response to Darwin's ideas.

More books have been published about Lincoln than any other American. New books in the GBS Library include: Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on our Sixteenth President by Brian Lamb. Read a book or browse the Lincoln Bicentennial to learn more about our most famous Illinois politician.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gaming, Libraries and Acceptable Use

Lots of libraries are promoting gaming, especially public libraries. There are articles, blogs, wikis, and at least one annual symposium dedicated to this fairly recent phenomenon. But we at the GBS Library can't and don't permit gaming. All students & staff sign an Acceptable Use Policy that states that they will not use the school's network for "frivolous purposes", including gaming.

But I've just found the coolest thing. Librarians at University of North Carolina at Greensboro have designed a game that teaches Information Literacy.

And they allow, even encourage other libraries to modify and use the game in their own Information Literacy programs, which is even cooler.

But will this violate the AUP?

I hope not, because I think this could make Freshman Library Orientation a lot more fun....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How I learned to stop worrying and love (well, sort of) Wikipedia

Well, I don't exactly *love* it, but it can be a terrific resource for researching a lot of areas, especially popular culture. There are some topics that other conventional reference sources simply don't cover in that much detail, such as television programs and video games, among *many* others.

Certainly, the fact that anyone can edit the articles means that people with strong viewpoints on specific topics can and do use it as a platform for their agendas (see the Women in Islam article and the Scientology article, for example).

But as I mentioned above, it's a great resource for information on popular culture, as these very well-sourced and well written articles on the Montreal Screwjob incident (an event in professional wrestling in which the World Wrestling Federation defending champion was double crossed and lost his title) and the popular animal drama Meerkat Manor clearly demonstrate.

When using Wikipedia, it's always important to look at the discussion tab to help you assess the quality of the article, even if there are no obvious problems with it.

Avoid any articles with symbols like these in them:
This one shows that the article's neutrality is being assessed.

This one is used to signify a host of problems, including lack of citations or reading like a fan site.

Carleton College's library has created a guide to using Wikipedia that is very informative.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Reader, Revolutionary Road & Kate Winslet's awesomeness

This year's big Golden Globe winner was Kate Winslet. Interestingly, both of the roles she won for, Revolutionary Road (Best Actress) and The Reader (Best Supporting Actress), were in films that were adapted from books.

The Reader. Bernhard Schlink. Pantheon Books, 1997.

"Michael Berg, 15, is on his way home from high school in post-World War II Germany when he becomes ill and is befriended by a woman who takes him home. When he recovers from hepatitis many weeks later, he dutifully takes the 40-year-old Hanna flowers in appreciation, and the two become lovers. The relationship, at first purely physical, deepens when Hanna takes an interest in the young man's education, insisting that he study hard and attend classes. Soon, meetings take on a more meaningful routine in which after lovemaking Michael reads aloud from the German classics. There are hints of Hanna's darker side: one inexplicable moment of violence over a minor misunderstanding, and the fact that the boy knows nothing of her life other than that she collects tickets on the streetcar. Content with their arrangement, Michael is only too willing to overlook Hanna's secrets. She leaves the city abruptly and mysteriously, and he does not see her again until, as a law student, he sits in on her case when she is being tried as a Nazi criminal. Only then does it become clear that Hanna is illiterate and her inability to read and her false pride have contributed to her crime and will affect her sentencing. The theme of good versus evil and the question of moral responsibility are eloquently presented in this spare coming-of-age story that's sure to inspire questions and passionate discussion. " Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA.

Revolutionary Road. Richard Yates. Knopf. Reprint, 2000.

"So much nonsense has been written on suburban life and mores that it comes as a considerable shock to read a book by someone who seems to have his own ideas on the subject and who pursues them relentlessly to the bitter end," said Library Journal's reviewer (LJ 2/1/61) of this novel of unhappy life in the burbs. It is reminiscent of the popular film American Beauty in its depiction of white-collar life as fraught with discontent. Others have picked up on this theme since, but Yates remains a solid read.

Richard Ford has written a wonderful review of the book and its impact in the New York Times Book Review (2000).

The Reader is currently available at the GBS Library and Revolutionary Road will be arriving soon.