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Showing posts from September, 2011

Flagging Enthusiasm For Banned Books Week

How could I almost forget to blog about Banned Books Week? After National Library Week, it's probably the biggest holiday in Libraryland. I love Banned Books Week because it gives me a chance to talk about books I love because, let's face  it, some of the best books are the ones that cause controversy. As I used to do on my old book blog, here are the top 10 most challenged books from the last year according to the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom and the two I've actually gotten around to reading are in bold:

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age groupThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violenceBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicitCrank by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language,…

Fiction Is Good For You ... Oh Wait, Maybe It Isn't

I came across yet another study showing that reading fiction is good for developing empathy, and I love it.

First of all, I find it really humorous that the study they talk about was based on readers of Harry Potter and Twilight identifying themselves as wizards and vampires. Maybe not the best way to make your case to the people who need to hear it made, but I can see how you can easily extrapolate the results. If readers can identify with supernatural creatures just by reading a story about them, then it should be easy to identify with all sorts of real social outcasts and minorities by reading fiction.

Mostly I love it because I can feel how true this conclusion is in my own life. I've been a voracious fiction reader for as long as I've been able to read. While I occasionally enjoy narrative non-fiction and have found other non-fiction useful to me at various times throughout my life, I'm primarily a fiction reader. And the experiences I've read about in those books…

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

I've worn glasses since I was 4 1/2, so I've always been a bit of nerd, which led to me being okay with geeking out about things. Well, it turns out that last week was a great week to talk about all things geek. Unfortunately technically difficulties prevented me from posting this last week.

As a librarian, I get to interact with all kinds of geeks, and I have to say, it's wonderful being in a profession where I get to meet so many people who get so excited about their interests.
But I want to be selfish here and talk about the things that make me a geek. From my earliest years I could be identified as geek because of my passionate love of books and reading. Even before I could read, I loved being read to. Luckily I had parents willing to indulge (even if they were sometimes the ones to fall asleep while reading). One of my aunts is a librarian and every year for my birthday she would get me a new book and that book was always one of my favorite presents.
In high school I…

Stage Fright

I survived my first instruction session, and while it certainly wasn't perfect, I managed to cover everything in my outline and the students seemed to have kept up with me, so I'm going to call it a success.

The bigger deal to me was that I was barely nervous before or during the presentation. Many of my elementary and middle school teachers would be shocked at that statement because I was pretty well known for having nasty stage fright as a kid. I was also a cryer back in those days, so not only was I not able to do public speaking, I would generally end up a sobbing mess about it.

So how in the world did I become a teacher? I think it has something to do with my desire to help people being stronger than my fear of public speaking. Growing up, I was the oldest child and one of the oldest cousins, so I got used to explaining things to the younger ones. In school I tended to catch on quickly, so there too I ended up helping others. Helping people became second nature to me.


Preparing To Teach

As I prepare to teach my first class next week, I'm finding myself reading everything I can find on teaching styles and the state of information literacy instruction for inspiration. But instead of posting link spam to more articles than I could possibly give my two cents on and still keep you all interested, I'll just talk about my experiences a little bit.

After doing my first dry run in the classroom, I realize there is a lot left to figure out before I'll be confident teaching this presentation. For the first time I'll be using a smart board and clickers. While both pieces of technology seem to work well, it's still a new layer I'm getting used to. Then there are the issues of working off a script I have to stick to so that the instruction remains uniform across all the different sections. I still don't get how to make my point with some of the activities we're supposed to do. My transitions are still clunky, largely because I'm still having tro…

My Own Worst Enemy

While cleaning out my drafts folder I found this piece from when my job search wasn't going so well. While it seemed too self-defeating to post at the time, I think there's a little truth in this nugget. The longer you search for a job, the more you think the problem has to be you, even if you've landed wonderful jobs in the past and done amazing things in your previous jobs that would make anyone lucky to hire you.

Thing #1001 That Sucks About Job Hunting:

You tend to focus on everything you need to fix: "I didn't get this job because of X, so I need to fix X."

This is instead of focusing on the things that already make you a strong candidate: "I've done all these wonderful things in my career and I can't wait to join another organization to do even more wonderful things."

Reflections of a New Community College Librarian

After months of searching I finally found found a job and I have to say that I'm really surprised with both where I landed and how much I'm loving it.

After focusing primarily on the public library reference jobs that were similar to my most recent position, I stumbled onto a couple openings at nearby community colleges. When I'd first graduated from library school I heard somewhere that people who worked in community college libraries claimed they were this magical land where public meets academic, where you don't have to deal with spoiled rich kids and people are looking for things more stimulating than the latest James Patterson novel. But I went to library school so I could become a public librarian and I loved the public library job I eventually got, so I never really thought about that statement.

While I loved my public library job, one of things I discovered I loved most about it was teaching public computer classes. Eventually it clicked with me that academic l…