Archive for July, 2012

I’m back!  I had a wonderful time presenting our poster at the Social Sciences section.  I was a little over ambitious, I came with 100 handouts and could have gotten by with 50 but I met many wonderful people and even ran into a librarian from Rutgers, so nice to see someone connected to my program.  My sister went with me to Chicago and we had a great time sight seeing before the conference began.  If you’re interested feel free to look through some photos of the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum (natural history), Adler Planetarium, and the Art Institute.   It was my first visit to Chicago and while the humidity was killing me, we were in a very walk-able part of the city.  The walk from the hotel to the convention center was about 2 miles, which is nice in the morning but in midday it could be problematic.  I also caught a terrible cold that would not go away!  I thought I was nearly immune to everything, but apparently that’s only for California bugs, Illinois bugs see me as fair game.  Add to that, when I came back to work our catalog and entire system were down and the ILL system was running slowly because of the file migration.  So I need to travel more to become immune to everything but I can’t travel because work will fall apart without me. 😀  I have finished typing up my notes and finally distributed them to my co-workers, which is how I have time to (finally) post this afternoon).

After going to both ALA and SLA, I’m not sure which one I prefer, they are very different.  I liked the size of SLA it felt much more intimate, there weren’t as many vendors and it was a little more formal.  I participated in the Twitter feeds more (look for the #SLAChicago  tweets for an idea of the conversation) which were either more lively or felt so to me because I’m still getting the hang of Twitter.  ALA has ARCs which are nice (review should be up for another book next week) and a greater variety of panels to attend.  However, I preferred the round table discussions at SLA to the ones at ALA.   Although both ALA and SLA have librarians coming from a highly diverse background I think many of the SLA attendees are in similar situations to each other – eg. many special libraries tend to be smaller so the librarian has to wear more hats and be highly specialized at the same time.   ALA was a little more difficult for me to navigate and network despite the fact that I had a mentor, but I think part of that may be that it was my first national professional conference.

Now that I’m getting a feel for professional development beyond coursework, I look forward to attending both conferences again next year.  I’m applying for the ALA’s Emerging Leader’s program, so please send good thoughts my way and cross your fingers.  SLA is going to be in San Diego.  I should be able to keep up with multiple conferences a year if they keep hosting things in California, but I suppose that wouldn’t be fair.  I am also writing up a presentation proposal for a small seminar in the fall.  I have signed up for a Coursea class on Internet Technology (I was going to take SiFi and Fantasy Lit and Listening to World music as well but I think I may just audit those since my MLIS classes start up again at the start of September and I want to enjoy my last month).  I’ve heard from the Generation Why Librarian that she will be submitting a poster proposal for ASIST and I’ll be helping with that since we’re happy with how our SLA poster turned out.  I spoke with several people about perhaps publishing an article at the poster session so I’ll start on abstracts for that as well.

Thanks for reading and waiting for me to recover.  Next week posts should resume as usual.  I have some great online tools from ALA to cover for you and a book review from one of the advanced readers.  I’ve also recently started chain listening to the History Chicks podcasts so I may have to do another quick picks review on podcasts as well.


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I just learned that there’s now an easier way to try to help patrons find books by color. They’d still need to know a little bit about the book but did you know that you can do a Google Images search and then sort the results by color?  I was vaguely aware of this feature but it never occurred to me to try to do it for a cover search.  Take a look at my screencast  for a quick demo on how it works.  My sample isn’t the most elegant so I’ve embedded the the actual Power Searching lesson below.

I found out about this through a free course distributed through the SLA listserv.  Power Searching with Google starts today and will run through July 23.  Classes are released at regular intervals and the course is self paced (and seems to come with a certificate of completion, I’ll post that on the blog somewhere later).  The first class covers some basic tips such as using ctrl + F to find text on a page and keyword strategy but it also included the color sort for images.  I recommend signing up the activities are painless and it looks like it will be useful!

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Generation Why Librarian and I are in the home stretch.  Our survey is now closed (thank you to everyone who helped us out by answering!) and I’ve gone through and pulled out our data.  Now we just need to polish it up for our poster and companion website and make everything pretty for the poster session.  I’m going to be busy with finishing this up and packing this week so I may not get in a full post but I will try.

LibrarySherpa. (2012, July 6). Yes to volcano! MT @MMichelleMoore: Explained poster sessions to coworker as like a science fair. Now she’s demanding a volcano #slachicago [Twitter post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/librarysherpa/status/221238421002268673


Have a great week, see you in Chicago!  Come back next week for SLA notes, pictures from Chicago and a copy of our poster companion site.  I will try to bring a volcano (not sure if I can fly with it, though).

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Rodman, S. (2011). Infiltration. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers.

Rodman, S. (2011). Infiltration. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers.

Infiltaration by Sean Rodman is one of the books I picked up at ALA in Anaheim.   As I was walking through the exhibit hall I was attracted to the Orca soundings booth by a large sign advertising “Teen fiction for reluctant readers.”  My sister works for a a high school that has a large number of students who cannot read at grade level.  I know she works closely with her school’s librarian and I got very excited about the book offerings and wanted to look for some books she could keep in her classroom for her kids and for some literature to pass on to the librarian so she could add books to the library.  One of the Orca representatives was kind enough to give me a copy of Infiltration to read and pass onto my sister for her students.

Orca sounding provides young adult books that are aimed at teenagers but are at a grade school reading level.  They have a great selection teachers’ guides on their website and each title includes the reading level (though this is a Canadian publisher and I think the grades are a year ahead? behind? what the US grade level is).  I did not see the Spanish books at the exhibitor booth but they have some Spanish titles listed in the website.  How exciting is that?  I know I’m going to have to look at a few of those when I finally start taking Spanish.  When I took French in high school our choices were Le petit prince and Petit Nicholas.  It would be much more appealing to have a contemporary character to entice me into second-language reading or improving my skills.

Bex likes to break into abandoned buildings and other urban architecture and post pictures of his daring endeavors on the internet.  He connects with other “urban exploration” enthusiasts but for the most part his preferred companions are his girlfriend, Asha and his best friend Jake.  Their adventures, while not exactly legal do not destroy any property and so there is little conflict.  However, when new boy Kieran finds out Bex’s online identity, he enlists Bex to help him break into his father’s workplace.  Bex needs agrees in exchange for money, which he thinks help him in his relationship with Asha.

The break in scenes are well paced and vivid.  The plot moves quickly, I can see where this would be an appealing read for a teenager.  There were some hints at a good b-story with Bex trying to interrupt his jealousies and insecurities of Asha’s summer job and preparations for college.  Kieran has a complex relationship with his father that could have been explored in greater detail.  I understand some of these details had to be sacrificed to keep the book short and at a low grade level but at 130 page I think an additional 10-20 could be added to flesh out some of the sub-plots instead of ending abruptly with no resolution.  Bex’s approach to relationships and his worldview seem convincing for such a short novel; this would be a good addition to any classroom with struggling readers.  The contemporary characters, fast paced adventure story and age-appropriate protagonist will help them develop an enjoyment of reading at their current reading level.

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