Kindles in the Library

Last spring, I signed up for Whispercast with Amazon for our High School Library’s 5 Kindles.  Our Board of Education/Treasurer’s Office’s physical address, our Treasurer, and my building and position has changed.  I’m on the phone with Amazon trying to work through it because I can no longer access our Whispercast account.  I’m sure it is because of all of these changes.

I’m a big believer in using Overdrive in our K-12 Libraries.  It prepares students for what is out there when they graduate in both the real world (Public Libraries) and higher education (University Libraries). I am getting increasingly frustrated at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.  They are not making it easy for Librarians to manage their Kindles/Nooks, etc. to access material we have purchased in digital format.  The jury is still out on Kindle’s new Whispercast for managing our Kindles.  I’ll keep updating as we go through this process.


Well.  I think back on the embarassment and shame that I felt when I lost a book from the library.  Do we need to hold students accountable?  Yes.  Do we need to hold them accountable for their entire career as a student?  No.  So I don’t.  I give students another chance to redeem themselves.  I mean lets face it, if a student has not returned an item for over 2 years, chances are you are not getting that item back.  Chances are you are never seeing it again.  And what is the real damage?  A taxpayer’s funds go back to the taxpayers.  Or, depending on the age of the item, you could look at it like dispersing the older material.  Perhaps the real fine for not returning an item should be that you can only take out items that were published before 1990.  Pay up or read old material. . .

ALA in Chicago

I feel lucky that I was in a position to attend the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago this summer.  The sessions were terrific! 

Saturday 8-9am: Gregory Maguire

Abstract from ALA Program Guide:  

Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men.  Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts. Gregory Maguire is also a board member of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance a national not-for-profit that actively advocates for literacy, literature, and libraries.  Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire reinvented the Hans Christian Andersen classic The Little Match Girl for a new time and new audiences. When it was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, audiences likely interpreted the Little Match Girl’s dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven as metaphors of religious salvation. Maguire’s new piece, entitled Matchless, re-illuminates Andersen’s classic, using his storytelling magic to rekindle Andersen’s original intentions, and to suggest transcendence, the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead.

Saturday, 10:30 – 12:00 American Association of School Librarians: President’s Program:  Literacy Leadership and Librarian Flair:  Engagning 21st-Century Readers with Three Award-Winning young Adult and Children’s Authors

Abstract from ALA Program Guide:

Come hear how Laurie Halse Anderson, Jacqueline Woodson and Alan Lawrence Sitomer are connecting with librarians in order to better enthuse young readers. Discover how to inspire students to embrace books, improve competencies, and build lifelong bridges to reading and literacy in the 21st Century. Attendees will hear the “inside” strategies used to grasp, excite and engage today’s students. Speakers: Laurie Halse Anderson, Jacqueline Woodson and Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Saturday 1:30-3:00pm 

Abstract from the ALA Program Guide: Booklist/Booklist Online: Books and Blogs, Made for Each Other? Sponsored by ALA PUBLISHING

Librarians, readers, publishers, and authors have embraced blogs as a way to locate, learn about, and promote good books to read. Our diverse and distinguished panel of bloggers, including Mary Burkey (Audiobooker), John Green (Brotherhood 2.0), Nora Rawlinson (EarlyWord), and Kaite Mediatore Stover (Book Group Buzz), and moderated by Booklist Online Senior Editor Keir Graff (Likely Stories), will discuss how to use the power of the web—for the good of books. (They’ll talk about Twitter, too.)

Sunday 8-10am

Abstract from ALA Program Guide: AASL’s Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning: Categories, Criteria, and Collaborative Strategies

Do you know which are the best websites to support curriculum development and inquiry based learning? The new AASL 21st-Century Learning Standards promote inquiry learning, so wouldn’t it be a powerful strategy to have a handful of websites to entice your teachers to collaboratively develop inquiry-based curriculum? Join the AASL Teaching and Learning Task Force at this interactive session to learn about innovative, authoritative curriculum websites.  Speakers: Pam Berger, Nancy LeCrone, Elizabeth Deskins, Linda Friel

10:30-12:00 Exciting NASA Materials for Libraries

Abstract from ALA Program Guide: Find out about NASA educational materials for libraries, amazing Websites about astronomy (Amazing Space), and the traveling exhibit “Visions of the Universe,” funded by NASA and developed by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and the ALA Public Programs Office.

Speakers: Denise Smith, Manager, Special Projects, and Frank Summers, astrophysicist, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.;Susan Brandehoff, ALA Public Programs Office.

Sunday 1:30-3:00pm  AASL The Best of the Best from the University Presses: Books You Should Know About

Abstract from ALA Program Guide: 25-30 titles will be presented by a panel of PLA and AASL-member librarians. Titles represent those featured in the 2009 University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries, an annual collection development bibliography produced by the Association of American University Presses in coordination with the AASL’s American University Press Books committee. Book subjects include art, literature, history, multicultural studies, political science, and memoirs. A raffle of all books presented will be drawn at the end of the program.

Love this Toolkit for the Expert Websearcher maintained by Pat Ensor in association with LITA.  Excellent resource, Pat — thank you!

Sunday Evening — The Art Institute & Caldecott Winners exhibit — Millenium Park & then Digipalooza at the Chicago Public Library!

Monday 10:30-12:30 Gov Docs Kids Group: Learn and Have Fun with Government Resources

This program will help participants promote government information while engaging K-12 students in learning about history, culture, science and government. Games, interactive activities, teaching aids and lesson plans will be highlighted, along with exciting tools to enhance student learning. We will provide librarians with a collection of free government resources to advance their reference skills and aid in collection development decisions. We will focus on resources available at the Gov Docs Kids Group website, which includes primary source materials and links to U.S. Government Web sites for kids. Speakers: Mary Burtzloff, Archivist, National Archives and Records Administration,Central Plains Region; Arlene Wiler, Staff Member, Johnson County Library; Tom Adamich, Head of Metadata Services, Muskingum College Library;Cherie Bronkar, Head of User Services, Muskingum College Library

1:30-3:00pm Jumping, Jiving, Singing and Drama in the Elementary School Library

How can you make children’s literature come alive to address multiple intelligences? How can you assure that children will LOVE coming to library and associate these good feelings with books? Come join this experiential workshop and take home lots of ideas on how to infuse your library lessons with multi-sensory experiences for children. We will move, sing, draw, use puppets, learn story stretches and ways dramatic play can impact executive function (imagination, making choices, etc.). Speakers: Susan Stone

What a beautiful city!  The waterfront was most impressive, and the easy access to the museums, the aquarium, the Art Institute & outdoor evening concerts added a tremendous amount to the experience.

For future visits to Chicago, I highly recommend The Curry House on S. Plymouth Court — an excellent restaurant, that serves Indian and Nepalese Cuisine.  Every meal (yes — we went back twice!) left us full, but not stuffed. You can even order online from your hotel.

The Essex Hotel (Room 403 overlooks the pool’s patio) is within walking distance of the Field House, the Planetarium, the Aquarium, Millenium Park, and Navy Pier.  Also, two blocks away, you will enjoy wonderful Chicago blues music at Buddy Guy’s Legends

The Chicago SummerDance is “an eleven-week festival featuring one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors, followed by two hours of live music and dancing on a 4,600 square foot open-air dance floor in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park, 601 S. Michigan Ave. SummerDance events occur every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, 6 to 9:30 pm, and Sunday afternoon, 4 to 7 pm, weather-permitting. ”  We dropped in on 3 evenings of live music to relax after the conference sessions and really enjoyed the creole band from Louisiana, Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole.

Medical Illustrator

I saw the most incredible career choice yesterday. . . medical illustrator. . .

I taught summer camp one year with a girl who was going to be a medical illustrator.  She carried her colored pencils with her everywhere.  She drew hearts and livers and lungs and veins. . .but this is a different time.

Here is a wonderful example of how animation is changing the way we think and learn about cells.  This is 10 minutes long — you have to see the whole thing.

New year, new job

I am once again on the path to newness.  A new school year.  A new job.  A new bunch of wonderful people to meet and learn from. . .

I listened to an awesome and inspiring podcast today.  The original lecture took place last May when I was scrambling for a job in a school library as yet another levy in another district failed and I found myself riffed for the second time.  This portable librarian thing — it’s becoming a lifestyle.

 The podcast can be found here:

I am inspired to challenge all educators to try “23 new things”.  But, let’s create a customized list for the teaching world, and let’s localize it for Ohio. 

Here is the list that challenges us to learn a little about all the new Web 2.0 technologies:

1.  Create a separate email for learning new Web 2.0 technologies. 

Suggestion:  sign up for an email account with Yahoo.  Go to and click on the “my mail” button in the upper left corner of the page.  Follow the directions to sign up for a mail account.  You can use your new Yahoo address to sign up for all the following services on this list. 

2.  Create a Blog for your class 


3.  If you are blogging for your class, you will want to keep track of your bookmarks.  Create a social bookmark for yourself with delicious.


4.  Create a Wiki to share with and accept contributions from others.


*Don’t forget to add your wikispace to your bookmarks.

5 & 6.  Subscribe to an RSS feed.

First, you will need to create an account with Bloginess.

This page will act as the home where you receive your RSS feeds.

Second, search for “feeds” that interest you.  I searched for libraries and subscribe to several library feeds, such as Librarian’s Index to the Internet and The Shifted Librarian.

*Keep Bloginess in your bookmarks for easy access.

7. Create a site to keep original digital images.  You can use these images to create original content & assignments for your students.  


8.  Keep track of what you read.  Create your own online bookshelf with Librarything.


9.  Podcasting:  With very little equipment, creating online “radio” shows is a blast.  See what other schools are doing:

Here is a podcasting tutorial.

Two free downloads to try at home:  Search Google for Audacity and LAME — they work together.  Audacity is recording and editing software.  LAME acts and an encoder to change the Audacity file to an MP3. 

10.  Explore My Maps on Google Maps.  Create a map for your school and add a picture of it to the map.

more to come. . .

Air Conditioning.

It’s Friday, and I’m delivering materials to Senior Residences today.  I can’t tell you how hot and humid it’s been the last week.  News Flash — Here is the way we take care of our elderly population in this country — and if you’re a boomer, you’d better listen up, because I’m talking about the elderly in a “nice” suburb: if you have saved for retirement, or had the good fortune to have something left by the time life has had its way with you, then you live in a stylish complex with carpeted halls and pretty displays of china cups and dolls.  Occasionally there will be art shows in your great rooms.  Your hallways are air conditioned and wall-papered.  More than likely you’ve forked over everything you’ve got and you pray every night that the place doesn’t go out of business.  On the flip side, if you have had some misfortune or simply run out of cash because of one unforseen event, you will live with no air conditioning in your hallways that aren’t wall-papered, but are painted occasionally.  You’ll have a little efficiency apartment where you feel trapped because going out into that humid hallway is just not something you want to experiment with. . .it’s heartbreaking.

Unexpected Kindness

So, after work, and since it was Friday, my daughter and I were looking for something to do to relax.  She was cooped up all day, mending a twisted ankle that was feeling better and she really wanted to get out.  I had a few bucks in my pocket and it was a toss up between going downtown to a free concert in Cleveland, complete with fireworks and big booming 1812 overture cannons, or an Amish auction in the southwestern corner of the county.  Crowd or country. . . hmmmm. . .well, considering she was on the mend, I was swayed to go out to the auction. . . less crowds, less walking for her and we might find some nice produce to purchase.  After a ride towards the setting sun, enjoying the beautiful rolling hills, we arrived and spent most of our time, just learning how to walk together, using crutches, learning how to be together and among people with this new slowness about us.  We found beautiful varigated morning glories and wisteria to bid on, and because of our stubborness, probably paid a little too much for them.  –we just had to have them when all was said and done.  I had my eye on a peck of midget pickling cucumbers when the auctioneer mentioned that she would be auctioning an item by request.  It was a beautiful weeping cherry tree.  By the way, this auction is the only place I have ever seen classic, native trees for sale.  You know, your red oaks, silver maples . . . but I digress. . .the weeping cherry went quickly for $50.  The man who purchased it said that he wanted to donate the tree back to the auction.  The auctioneer thanked him for the donation.  The money he purchased the tree with was going to be used for one of the men who frequented the auction and had a buggy accident.  The weeping cherry went up for auction again.  Again, it went for $50 quickly.  Again, it was donated.  A third man bid and donated the weeping cherry, and then a fourth, fifth and sixth man.  Each time the tree was donated the crowd smiled and no one seemed irritated that we all stood there bidding on the same item over and over and over again.  In the end, the auction raised quite a bit for the man who had a buggy accident, and over $300 of it came from this one tree.  The act was so unexpected from this crowd of venders — on the outside they seem so ruthless about their business of buying produce for their companies — as a group they appear so hard — poker faced as they have to be — to the point of distaste — and here they were opening their hearts and wallets without hesitation.  It was a lovely thing to witness on a Friday after a week of work.