Thursday, November 12, 2015

Perfect Websites for Booklovers and The Geek Tribe!

We live it.  We love it.  We are passionate about it.  And just what exactly is "it?"  The library, of course!  But it's beyond that.  Beyond books, beyond technology, beyond the due date stamp.  When it comes to librarians and their passions, let's just say we can be a tough crowd to buy gifts for.  But FEAR NOT!  Here is a list of 10 websites YOU can use (or tell someone who needs to know this!) to warm the heart of the most curmedgeonly, geekiest, book nerdiest, and alphabetically obsessed librarians out there!:

1. Mental Floss:
Not only does it have some pretty cool t-shirts, but some very unusual books which can't be found on booklists librarians use.

2. Klear Gear:
You can get a better clue about what type of person a librarian is just by looking at their desk.  Why not splurge on some very unique desk and office decor.  There are tons of other geek things we'd all love  to show off our love for all things nerdy!

3.   Paddywax:
It isn't enough we want to work in a library, but we love the smell too!  Nothing beats the smell of an old dead author and this website offers them all!  Edgar Allan Poe?  How about Jane Austen?  My personal favorite is John Steinbeck. Who knew he could smell so amazing?!?

4. Cafe Press:
If you've never visited Cafe Press and looked through their extreme collection of clothing for library lovers, well now's your chance.  Super librarian?  Check.  Library Humor? Check.  Quotes? Check!  Too many to choose from, and all what a librarian would love

5. Think Geek:
This site is great for the guybrarian you know as well as the girlbrarian too!  I chose this particular link because who else would carry a Death Star or Yoda charm to put on a Pandora bracelet?  Yeah, and this is just tapping into the geek waiting for you when you open this puppy up!

6. Demeter Fragrance:  (or try Amazon)
What exactly does an old paperback smell like?  Should we even go there?  Well, fear not!  For those who love the smell (not moldy book, no no!!) then go ahead a splurge!  You too, can smell like an old paperback book!!

7. Gone Reading:
Some of us have said we eat, drink, and breathe books.  Well, here's a site that could help your gastronomic endeavors.  Just put food on these book plates and let the eating begin! (check the clearance link...they're on sale!)

8. Out of Print:
Cool tees for ALL librarians!  From picture books to classics and other things, these are by far the best looking tees of the  bunch! They have some pretty cool coasters too, of all things sacred to libraries!

9. Zazzle.
This collection happens to be mugs.  Why a hot beverage, you ask?  Because nothing says I love books more than a hot cuppa and a good book.  NOTHING.... And for those of us who can't quite grasp drinking and books because of spillage, they have travel mugs with lids too.

10. American Library Association Store:
You call yourself a librarian? Yeah, well you're not a true librarian (or someone related to a true librarian) if you didn't put this store on the list! 

Happy Holidays Everyone!  Let the e-shopping BEGIN!!  *and if you happen to need my address for shipping purposes, just shoot me an email :)

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Sketchnoting a book review: Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

2015, Knopf

I've been delving into the fascinating world of sketchnoting, and have been practicing my skills (and trust me, you should see the very first one I created....practice does help!)  I've seen professor Karin Perry from Sam Houston State University do book reviews via sketchnotes and decided to try it out. 

What is NOT in the sketchnote is my personal review. So this is what I think of this book:

WOWOWOW!!!  This is 599 pages of intense plot, conflict, and survival all set in a science fiction thrillfest based on documents, journals, e-mails, imessages, and high security reports... and even concrete poetry.  The format itself is enough to draw the reader in and it reads fast because of this.  The characters are an excellent mix of adults and teens, which makes this science fiction novel so believable.  Adding diagrams of the ships adds a deeper dimension for the readers as well as their mode of travel through wormholes.  This is a deep space chase that will grab you to turn the next page to see what happens.  Huge twist at the end - VERY unexpected!  One of the top 10 best books I've read this year! 
Highly recommended for JH/HS. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

All The Rage by Courtney Summers

2015, St. Martin's Griffin

Romy wakes up on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere.  She vaguely remembers the night.  The only evidence something bad has happened is written on her stomach in bright red lipstick…

 She always thought Kellen was the most beautiful boy in town, and when her best friend Penny gets them together at a party one night, Romy is more than thrilled.  But the day after the party, Romy walks through the halls of school hearing the whispers and innuendos.   Kellen is no longer beautiful…she sees him for the monster he truly is.  But no one will believe her, especially because Kellen is the sheriff’s son - untouchable, likable, respected.

Living in a small town, everyone knows about Romy’s father.  He’s no longer around and she lives with her mom and her boyfriend (even more rumors there).  It’s different…there is no more screaming or her having to rescue her father again.  She and her mom make ends meet. 

School is tougher because there are sharks in the water.

There’s Tina, who has thinks she knows the truth and makes Romy’s life a living nightmare by constantly belittling and shaming her in public.

There’s Alec and Brock, who bump Romy in the halls, making snide remarks and sharing what happened with everyone they know.

There’s Penny, who was her best friend and now doesn’t even meet her eyes in the hallways.

And then there’s Leon….
Romy and Leon work together at the diner, and slowly, he lets Romy know how much he likes her.  He lives in the next town over, and has no idea what Romy is going through internally and externally.  She begins to think there can be life after rape, but she is careful to make sure he is separated from knowing what happened.  In time, they become closer and are trust begins to build. 

But one night will change that.  

Romy is found on that dusty road, trying to piece together what happened.  Penny, her former best friend, has disappeared and everyone is desperate to try and find such a beautiful girl.  Romy believes it should have been the other way around…it would make life easier for her and she doesn’t deserve to live.  Everyone has made it clear. 

What she hasn’t told anyone is when Penny showed up at the diner.  And she knows the truth about Kellen.  She wants Romy to press charges….and now Penny can’t be found…

Powerful.  Emotional. This novel is gritty to not only the core of what happened to Romy, but also the emotional whipping she takes herself through everyday because of it.  This is a book for a mature reader because it takes the reader not only through the rape, but the ugly aftermath as well.  The intensity is purposeful, and Courtney Summers delivers this slowly to a very unexpected ending which is both shocking and redemptive.  Highly recommended for high school.

Book pairs:
Fault Line by Christa Desir 

                                  Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Makerspaces and the Tentative Librarian

I admit it...I haven't jumped into the makerspace pool yet.  I told myself I wanted to test the waters before I started investing time, energy (and money!) into one for the library.  I've been parts of conversations, read some materials and decided to give excuses instead of getting results.  I admit it, the idea kind of scared the living daylights out of me (especially the coding part!) because I have NO CLUE about the whole thing.  Ask me about library programs, books, educational technology, I got it.  I know how to collaborate, advocate, and integrate.

I do NOT have a clue about makerspaces.  And in this case, ignorance is NOT bliss.

That all changed the other day.

A good friend of mine was talking about her simple makerspace at school and what confused me more than anything was there was little to no technology involved in hers.  So, is this a true makerspace or do you HAVE to have technology embedded into it?  Is there a place for arts and crafts in a makerspace or not?

We took this conversation to a wonderful group of high school librari-friends (I love this PLN!) and began to talk all about makerspaces.  I was hung up on the whole definition of it, and one brilliant friend said this:
     "Makerspaces don't have just one definition, they have lots of different definitions."

And sometimes that's all I need to hear to make a difference.  When approaching makerspaces as this finite thing having to be planned (helpful hint given to me: works better if it's organic). I built walls around it, scaring myself off from even approaching it.  But that one sentence made me see less boundaries and more ideas.  

First, I needed to have a time set out for students to make.  Before/after school, during the school day when they are finished in their classes, and during lunches were all common ideas.  I'm fortunate that our campus just adopted a 37 minute time for students to go anywhere and spend their time the way they want to (unless they have mandatory tutorials).  Wah-laa!!  Got the time!

Next, I needed to have a place to set up my makerspace.  I have space in the library rarely used, is small and contained, and best of all, is connected to a computer lab.  Check!!

Okay, now for the ideas...I like the idea of upcycling and am beginning to see a concept.  But before that-

I'm immersing myself in reading and preparing for it.  Drills and saws in the library?  Ummmm....not there yet. I'm making a date to look at a real live makerspace in action first.  In the interim, I'm reading up on it. Here are a couple of articles I am making time to really read and think about:

Makerspace Resources and Programming Ideas:   

Libraries as Makerspaces:

Ideas for Makerspaces in the Library:

Libraries & makerspaces: A revolution?


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