Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Macho Man Randy Savage in the Library

For your holiday viewing pleasure, I bring you this Slim Jim commercial in which Macho Man Randy Savage visits a library.  It promotes the usual stereotypes of libraries (boring, full of dull-looking books) and librarians (frumpy). I was heartened to see that this 1993 library has at least one computer.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Access My Library

Get all of the *many*  Gale databases the GBS Library subscribes to on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Get the  Access My Library app by clicking here.

You'll need the GBS Library Password for the Gale resources for a one time authentication.  Click here for the password info (and you'll need to use your username & password--the same ones you use on the school's computers to access the document). 

Let us know if you have any questions. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make your own information literacy game--ISLMA conference presentation

John Casey, our esteemed lab manager and I are going to give a presentation at the ISLMA Conference next Friday on how to modify an existing open source software information literacy game designed by Scott Rice & Amy Harris to tailor it to your information literacy curriculum needs.  What's so cool about this is that it's free and you can modify it using basic Windows software (Paint, Notepad) and create a feedback survey using free online software (GoogleDocs).

We've set up a site on our LibGuides to provide all of the resources you'll need to create your own game.  We'll be putting up the slideshow, too, once we've finished it :)

Here is the link:

Friday, September 17, 2010

GBS Library's Virtual Reference is here!

Photo by JKonig. flickr. Used under creative commons license.
As of today, you can access the GBS Librarians from home if you're home from school or in another lab in the building.

If you're with your class in the social studies lab and you're not quite sure how to cite a source for your next paper, just go the the GBS Libguides and click in the GBS Reference chat box to ask a librarian for help. (Or you can access it from the box on the right). If the librarians are all teaching classes or are helping other students or teachers, leave your question & an email address. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Virtual Reference Desk hours are 7:30-4:15 on school days.

We're excited about this opportunity to further extend our services beyond the library's walls.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

QR codes in libraries

Prior to a recent conversation the librarians had with with our Instructional Technology Coordinator, David Jakes, I never thought about QR codes, much less their application to libraries.  But a lot of people have, and they are doing some pretty neat things.   I especially like the way ACU Library uses them to enhance displays and provide more information about the books.

                           QR Codes to enhance displays & provide more information to patrons at ACU Libraries

Other libraries, such as the University of Huddersfield,  are using them to provide text reference services, which I think is really cool, as I love the idea of extending reference beyond the desk/phone model.

Not sure at  this point whether the QR codes will catch on here as they have in Japan, or if it's more of a fad.  Either way, it seems like an easy & fun way to extend interest in the library resources, say, via book trailers tied to books on a display, or as a way to promote services, such as reference and research help.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Learning with Infographics

I've seen some really neat stuff on infographics lately. It's officially Infographics week on the New York Times Learning Network, so I'll be checking that out all week.

Today's entry on Teaching Social Studies, History, and Economics with Infographics has some great interactive maps (such as the one illustrated above, which shows immigration patterns in the United States) and some fun tools, such as one where you can compare your own opinions with those of the US Supreme Court.

Even more impressive is a tool from across the pond.  BBC Dimensions "takes important places, events and things, and overlays them onto a map of where you are." It's a great way to help students understand the geographical scale of current (Gulf oil spill, Pakistani floods)and historical (Beijing circa 1425, Constantinople) events and places. I often have a hard time trying to figure out "how big" something is based on mere numbers--23 square miles means nothing to me. But I know how big Glenview is, and how big Chicago is, so I found this tool to be very helpful in gaining a genuine perspective of the size of these places and events.

I think resources like this can be a very effective way to enhance student experiences and understanding.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Almost time.....

School starts again in just a few days. I'm almost ready to roll out the LibGuides. I think they look okay. Still a work in progress, obviously, but I'm really enjoying the ability to modify them so quickly and to be able to incorporate the kind of features we need to extend the library's services beyond the school walls. To that end, I'm desperately hoping we can get the Reference Chat feature working from on the campus. I think it will be such a great and convenient way for people to access our services.

I've added it to the big list-o-gadgets to the right :) We'll be "manning" it starting 8/24.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stephen Fry: What I Wish I'd Known When I Was 18

An insightful interview with a brilliant man. I would love to share it with all of our graduating seniors.

STEPHEN FRY: WHAT I WISH I'D KNOWN WHEN I WAS 18 from Peter Samuelson on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wikipedia FAQ for librarians

Wikimedia has put out a handy Wikipedia FAQ for librarians.

An important read for teachers and students as well.

Also, here is a snazzy new common craft video on how Wikipedia works that they don't seem to want me to embed [grrr....I guess you get what you pay for :)]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Data shows kids shouldn't multitask

A University of Virginia psychology professor disputes the claim that young people "learn differently" than the rest of us.

Data shows kids shouldn't multitask -- Willingham (Washington Post)

He's also made a delightful video (in the style of the Common Craft videos) to explain what his research shows about multitasking & the brain.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Study of Young Adults' Trust of Online Content

Hot off the presses--an article entitled "Trust Online: Young Adults' Evaluation of Web Content" from Northwestern University researchers Eszter Hargittai, Lindsay Fullerton, Ericka Menchen-Trevino, and Kristin Yates Thomas is in the International Journal of Communication, Vol 4 (2010).

Definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I can has new book?

The GBS Library welcomes your suggestions for book purchases. We have a new form for requests. It looks a little weird in the blog, so I'll also be posting it on our web site. Here it is:

Neil Gaiman on Libraries

Neil Gaiman is absolutely the coolest!: "Google can bring you back, you know, 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one." Check out this short video where he talks about the role of libraries in our society:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lincoln Award 2011

Check out this SlideShare Presentation from one of my favorite school librarians, Naomi Mellendorf of Maine South:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

National Library Week

It's National Library Week (April 11-17). Yay!  It's the GBS Library's biggest event of the year.  Please come down the the Library & help us celebrate.

We will have daily trivia contests & scavenger hunts, and the ever-popular annual jelly bean contest.  Try your hand--you could win gift certificates from Ben & Jerry's & Barnes and Noble!  And check out our new books while you're at it.  

Newbery Award-winning author Neil Gaiman not only writes books--he reads books, too!!  So even you if can't write well enough to win a coveted literary prize, you can still be like Neil --Read  :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Guys Read

After reading Nicholas Kristof's column about U.S. boys falling behind girls in school, I took another look at Guys Read, the web site with reading lists for boys that he mentions.

Kristof mentions the site's use of boy-appealing categories--and I agree, they're very well done.  I was especially delighted by the choice of Outer Space with or without aliens. Nice interface and design, too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Abe Lincoln Award Books (2011)

Yes, the race for Abe Lincoln Book Awards for 2011 has begun.

Want to start reading?  Here's an annotated list of books & related websites in PDF.

Want to learn more?  Check out this (ever-growing) playlist of book trailers of the 2011 nominees:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Texts Without Context

New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani has written an impressive piece that reviews and distills some of the more significant current  literature about digital media and its effect on our artists & writers, our thinking, & our culture.  Definitely worth a read, even if it isn't a super-quick one.

I have to admit that my reading/information gathering habits have been affected in the ways Kakutani describes--I found it a bit difficult to sit and read his entire article in one sitting--I kept trying to scan it quickly for a handful of salient points, but in the end, appropriately enough, I just stuck with it and am glad I did; I found it enriching & now have a few more books for my next order.

Texts Without Context

photo: Mashup. Meet the Chumbeques. Flickr. 9 Sep. 2009.

Friday, March 19, 2010

5 cool resources I found on Twitter recently

History Today Unfortunately, it's not all archived for free, but there is access to some of their excellent articles and some links to some really neat web resources that you can access by time period, theme or location.

Art and Images (British Museum). Stunning collection of online artifacts & exhibits including an amazing interactive timeline. Simply gorgeous & incredibly informative.

inudge Make your own music online. Fun! Cool!

SPIN via Google Books Search by keyword within issue or search the whole collection. Or browse by issue. Very cool.

UCSD Libraries anti-plagiarism tutorial This is really neat. I would *love* to do something like this, if only I knew how.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Green Day!

We're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Green Eggs and Ham.  To commemorate the occasion, here is a delightful video of Jesse Jackson reading the book on SNL.

Jesse Jackson Reads Seuss - Click here for more home videos

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not Just for Kids! Dr. Seuss as Political Cartoonist

Though he is primarily known for books he published for children, Dr. Seuss also published for adult audiences. He drew over 400 political cartoons for the New York publication, PM between 1940 and 1948 and was the chief editorial cartoonist of that publication from 1941-1943.  The Mandeville Special Collections Library at the University of California at San Diego has an online collection of many of them entitled Dr. Seuss Went to War. 
**Note: These are wartime propaganda cartoons, and his depictions of the Japanese are very unflattering**

 His books for children often contain political ideas and themes, some more explicit than others.  The Lorax  explicitly promotes environmental awareness and conservation, "The Sneetches" clearly addresses issues of discrimination and anti-Semitism, and the tyrannical Yertle the Turtle was even depicted with a Hitler-esque mustache in early editions of the book, and Seuss himself stated:
'I couldn't draw Hitler as a turtle ... So I drew him as King ... of the Pond ... He wanted to be king as far as he could see. So he kept piling them up. He conquered Central Europe and France, and there it was.' ("Dr. Seuss at 75: Grinch, Cat in Hat, Wocket and Generations of Kids in His Pocket". The Washington Post May 21,1979,  qtd. in Wikipedia). 

There are many more examples of Seuss' use of political and social themes. Sarah Milroy's article "Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Subversion" (Globe and Mail November 22, 2003) provides a concise review of some of the major themes in his work.

His opposition to racism, environmental degradation and Cold War politics (see The Butter Battle Book) are admirable and his use of Freudian concepts of Id, Ego and Superego in the Cat in the Hat books is appealing and clever. However, critics have noted that his work is also marked by seeming lack of interest in women or girls.  Alison Lurie notes in her essay, "The Cabinet of Doctor Seuss", the "typical Seuss hero is a small boy or male animal; when girls appear, they play silent, secondary roles." Lurie also points out that when female characters are fleshed out, it is often in a negative context, such as the bird Mayzie, who traps Horton into sitting on her egg while she flies off to Palm Beach, and the greedy and vain Gertrude McFuzz, who eats so many magic berries to increase the size of her tail that she renders herself unable to walk (New York Review of Books, December 20, 1990 ).

If you're interested in finding out more about Seuss' writing and art from a cultural or educational perspective, you might enjoy one of the following articles. ***Username & password needed for home access.  See a friendly GBS Librarian for details.***

Ingalls, Zoe. "The Cat in the Hat, The Butter Battle Book, and other Soupcons of Seuss!" The Chronicle of Higher Education. 28 Jul 1993. Platinum Periodicals. ProQuest. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.

Juchartz, Larry R. "Team Teaching with Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein in the College Basic Reading   Classroom." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 47. 4 (Dec. 2003 - Jan. 2004): 336-341. JSTOR. Web. 25 Feb. 2010

Wolosky, Shira. "Democracy in America: By Dr. Seuss." Southwest Review 85.2 (2000): 167-183. Platinum Periodicals. Web.  25 Feb. 2010.

 Other interesting websites:

Art of Dr. Seuss

Advertising Artwork of Dr. Seuss

The Political Doctor Seuss (PBS Independent Lens)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seuss Week Cometh!

Seuss Week is coming to GBS!  Help the GBS Library & the Titan Learning Center celebrate literacy from March 2- March 5 by participating in the the events and Dress-Up-Days we have planned:

Tuesday: Crazy Socks Day for Fox in Sox

Wednesday: Green Day for Green Eggs and Ham

Thursday: Who Hair Day for Horton Hears a Who

Friday: Hat Day for Cat in the Hat

We will be having trivia and prizes throughout the week.

Friday, March 5 is also DEAR Day--Drop Everything And Read.  All of GBS will be taking 16 minutes out of our day to read for the fun of it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

LibGuides are here (sort of)

The GBS LibGuides are here (in a very embryonic sense of "here").

 I am not especially looking forward to the onerous task of migrating virtually the entire GBS Library Web Site to the LibGuides--but I am looking forward to introducing the class resources to students, as well as having the ability to reorganize our resources and modify the way we deliver information.  And I can work on them off-site. I love the tagging function & am looking forward to linking them to delicious & getting student feedback*.  Which should be very instructive, and hopefully won't require much moderation :)


*Unfortunately, this cannot take the form of a smiley scale.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Free Book/Author Selection Tools

Register & provide an email, put in a list of books you've read & liked and What Should I Read Next? will help you find other books & authors that you might also like.

Whichbook uses a set of sliding scales between opposing concepts that allows you to indicate how much of a given quality you wish to have (happy/sad, gentle/violent, easy/demanding) in your reading and provides a list of books which contain the element(s) you have chosen.

Book Army is a social networking tool for readers.  You can write reviews, share book lists and communicate with other book lovers.

(adapted from Kevin Purdy's Top 10 Tools for Better Reading Online & Off )

Friday, January 22, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Award Book Trailers

Our new Head Librarian Christi Shaner and a few other High School librarians (including former GBS Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pamela Pleviak) have made some really cool book trailers for some of the Abe Lincoln Award titles with animoto (which I have just started to play with--easy & fun).

Check them out--they're really cool.

And there's more (and even more to come):


Look Me in the Eye

Pride of Baghdad


Saturday, January 9, 2010

I <3 the National Film Board of Canada on Twitter

I can't tell you how much I'm loving the wide array of wonderful free resources that I'm finding online.  The National Film Board of Canada's website (which I posted about in May) just keeps getting better and better. Because I follow them on Twitter, I was introduced to this delightful gem of a short film about literacy and reading.  It's a pleasure to watch and because the NFB gives everyone access to their wonderful collection for free (and have an incredibly well-reviewed iPhone app), I could see it being used very effectively by both public & school libraries.
  I can attest to the fact that my 4 & 6 year old children *loved* it and were particularly excited about the Indian music used for the soundtrack.

Yeah, I know it's not exactly for a HS audience (though fun for any age, imo), but I think it's a great example of the kind of stuff that I hope educators and librarians are taking advantage of (both the NFB page and using Twitter to enhance their work).

The Girl Who Hated Books: This animated short about literacy introduces us to Meena, a young girl who hates book even though her parents love to read. Books are everywhere in Meena's house, in cupboards, drawers and even piled up on the stairs. Still, she refuses to even open one up. But when her cat Max accidentally knocks down a huge stack, pandemonium ensues and nothing is ever the same again...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why are bad reviews so much more fun to read than good ones?

Librarians often advise readers on books--most often, we tend to recommend books we ourselves have read and enjoyed and think patrons will like, or that we find on book lists compiled by professional organizations, or have read favorable reviews about in professional resources.  We sometimes even make out own lists of the recommended books. However, I often find negative reviews of books (and film, for that matter) more fun to read than positive ones.  It's a pleasure to read a very well-written pan of a piece of overblown literature, especially if it's written by a well-known author.  Having found Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love    an especially irritating read, I found Janet Maslin's scathingly funny review of Gilbert's newest book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage in the New York Times particularly enjoyable.  Even if you enjoy Gilbert's earlier work, it is a very funny, well-written piece. 

Seriously.  Read it.  You'll like it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

5 cool resources I learned about via Twitter

Kitchen God and His Wives (Upper Section),
with Prosperity God (Lower Section)
, Qing dynasty
Unidentified printshop in Shandong Province
Woodblock print on paper
35 x 28 cm
© A. E. Maia do Amara 

I know that twitter is sometimes associated with marketing campaigns and Ashton Kutcher, but I've found it to be an incredibly helpful resource for finding out about terrific resources for students and teachers, as well as a powerful professional development tool.  So, for my first post of 2010, I'd like to share 5 really great learning resources I've used in 2009 and have shared with others that I only found out about because I'm on Twitter.

The BBC Archive
"Take a trip through our collective past with the BBC archives and discover themed collections of radio and TV programmes, documents and photographs.
Explore who we are and see how attitudes have changed over the years through selections from an archive which began over 70 years ago."

Open Thinking Wiki: Digital Storytelling (compiled by Alec Couros)
A thorough overview of the uses digital storytelling and a fantastic list of digital storytelling resources.

Asia for Educators: Columbia University
"An initiative of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, Asia for Educators (AFE) is designed to serve faculty and students in world history, culture, geography, art, and literature at the undergraduate and pre-college levels." This site really rocks!

Top Ten Psychology Videos (compiled by Psych Central)
"Cognitive to clinical to social, the many applications of psychology reveal profound thoughts, human frailties and strengths. These are some of the best results, framed in video players."

Trailblazing: Three and a Half Centuries of  Royal Society Publishing
"Welcome to Trailblazing, an interactive timeline for everybody with an interest in science. Compiled by scientists, science communicators and historians – and co-ordinated by Professor Michael Thompson FRS – it celebrates three and a half centuries of scientific endeavour and has been launched to commemorate the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary in 2010.
Trailblazing is a user-friendly, ‘explore-at-your-own-pace’, virtual journey through science. It showcases sixty fascinating and inspiring articles selected from an archive of more than 60,000 published by the Royal Society between 1665 and 2010."