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Reading Round Up

25

Sep
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Late September

On 25, Sep 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

Since I have been plowing through all these novels lately I haven’t made much of an effort to read anything online. Now that I’m reading a bit less, though, I have come across a few articles I thought I would share here (both for others and to help me remember to refer back to them!).

First up is a blog post from Meredith Farkas about how important it is to understand where errors are coming from. I could not agree more with this and think it’s applicable to all levels of education and across all subjects. When I first started out after college I began tutoring and I had one student that was really struggling with math. She was trying to do pre-algebra and it just wasn’t clicking for her. She was bright and I was baffled. It took me awhile but I finally realized, based on some mistakes she made, that she didn’t have any basic math skills (like fourth and fifth grade math) or any understanding of how numbers worked. As soon as I discovered that, we went back and covered the basics. I even stopped working on her pre-algebra with her to get her up to speed, except to limp through her homework. After a few weeks and before we had even finished her crash course in basics she was already better understanding the harder mathematical concepts. That was a turning point for me. I realized how important it was not to just see that students make errors, but what those errors can tell you about gaps in their learning and understanding.

Last Friday I was listening to Science Friday and they had on some guests talking about science fairs. Personally I wish we did a lot more with science in our schools, but for those self-motivated enough these science fairs sounded amazing. One comment that was made that really stuck with me, though, was that working on science projects is a good way for kids to learn about failure. I think our current system of testing kids like crazy really doesn’t value failure and what it can teach us. It makes kids see failure as something to be afraid of and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Apparently David Truss also had failure on the brain, because I came across this post from his blog two days later. It’s short but has some great thoughts.

And I guess I’ll get on the Banned Books band wagon. I came across this post from Teen Librarian Toolbox about changing the discussion of banned books. It reminded me of one of my classes in library school. I can’t remember which one, but the professor gave us some tips for dealing with upset patrons that might object to a material in the library. The very first thing she told us to ask (after apologizing that they were offended) was, what was it you were looking for when you found this and can I help you locate what you were looking for? That always sounded to me like changing the subject to avoid conflict, but in light of this post from TLT I realized it can be more about redirecting the conversation and not validating their complaint. Not sure how I would actually handle this situation IRL, espeically if a patron was irate, but it’s definitely something to chew on.

Okay that’s it for the time being. I may have more in the next few weeks, but in the mean time enjoy the reviews. I have ton of them to write still!

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24

May
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Tweets Round Up

On 24, May 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

There wasn’t much this week:

Thank you Rita Meade for putting it so well.

Last week I participated in readers advisory chat on Twitter lead by Sophie and Kelly. It was a lot of fun and I got a few great ideas from some of the other participants.

 

Check out the awesome Pinterest board for movies to books! A really great use of a library’s Pinterest account.

 

I am so relieved to hear that Moonbird is still out there. I really loved this book that I read for The Hub Challenge.

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17

May
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Twitter

On 17, May 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I’ve decided to do something a little different with these posts for the future. Now that I’m feeling more on top of following blogs and librarians on Twitter, I want to start actually tweeting more. To that end I am going to start actually tweeting the links I would normally include here. Then every Friday, I’ll aggregate them here for anyone who missed them or isn’t on Twitter. I can also add a little more detail to my thoughts on the articles.

Since most of the links I find to share are in blogs I follow, I tend to come across them on Thursdays when I read my blogs. I found a service that allows me to set up tweets in advance (Twuffer, a Twitter buffer) so that I don’t inundate my tweeps. Without further ado:

I agree so much with the idea here that customer service in libraries needs to be top notch and of a type that is more than pointing to the bathroom. I know added value is an irritating buzzword, but I think it’s still a relevant and necessary concept.


I have mixed feelings about this piece. I agree in so many ways, but I also think that undergrads (and other patrons like the general public and younger students) do not always approach librarians. It’s true that the results they get from new fangled, improved search interfaces may not be the best, but are they better than what they got before? I don’t really know the answer to that. I think the issue lies more with marketing reference services and getting students to the reference desk (virtual, real or otherwise). However, I hadn’t really thought of those types of tools in regard to writing librarians out of reference. I think this underscores the importance of digital/information literacy skills.

I didn’t work with these types of teens, but as a new parent I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be a single, teen parent. The sentiment is really sweet and I think the ideas are really awesome.


I think a lot of people believe technology is some sort of silver bullet. That you can just take a new technology and use it the same way in every situation. But that just isn’t true. As with any program or tool you need to know your culture in order to know if it’s right and how it should be implemented. I’m going to address this topic in more depth next week.

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10

May
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Makers and School Libraries

On 10, May 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

Just a couple links this week. Two are related and the other is something I ran across through Pinterest.

  • Kollabora is a maker community where people can post and find projects. It’s mostly sewing and knitting with a bit of crafting thrown in. I thought it would be a pretty cool site to promote in a library that has an active crafting/knitting/fabric arts community.
  • David Lankes gave a presentation at the Texas Library Association about school libraries. I thought he made some really great points. “The school library is about exploration, not regurgitation.” I wish that was also true about the classroom, but that’s my topic for Monday. You can see the presentation here.
  • Maureen Sullivan published a piece on the Huffington Post about the state of school libraries. In it she talks about how important school libraries are, but that they are on the chopping block due to budget cuts. It’s a short piece well worth the time to read it.

 

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03

May
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: MLIS Debate Updated: 5/8/2013

On 03, May 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I guess I’m hopelessly out of the debate loop in Libraryland, because I had no idea until this week that people were debating the need for librarians to have an MLS/MLIS. I don’t want to turn this into a lengthy opinion piece, but I wanted to add a couple thoughts and share three links to some good posts about the debate that I read this week. First the links:

As I said, I was totally clueless that this was even something up for debate. I always thought it made perfect sense to require an advanced degree to be a librarian if for no other reason that it shows some level of dedication. Plus I think it lends professional librarians an air of credibility and legitimacy outside the library community. Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is another conversation.

I agree with the Effing Librarian, because library school does give you a good philosophical foundation, just like getting a teaching credential would give you a good pedagogical foundation. Sure it’s expensive, but education is. Maybe we should discuss reducing the cost instead of no longer requiring the degree all together. Although I think Andy’s idea about a certification isn’t bad either, especially for people who already have professional degrees.

Update: While I really agree with most of the sentiments in the guest post on Agnostic, Maybe my own experience with the degree was different. I worked full time in a really poorly paid position. The economy had just tanked and jobs were disappearing. I didn’t have the option to quit my job and find a library job. San Jose State, where I was enrolled, had many internship opportunities but they were all unpaid and in the Bay Area, a good two hour drive from where I was living. Taking one of those just wasn’t an option. I also noticed that many of the other students enrolled were older than I was and married. They either already had a library job or had a second income that gave them the flexibility to take unpaid internships or low paid internships. I wish I had been that lucky. I tried to get library jobs while I was in school, but no one was hiring in my city. I used library school, even if it wasn’t perfect, to get a theoretical background, to get a sense of the directions I could go, and earn the necessary degree.

That isn’t to say only librarians with an MLS/MLIS are good librarians. There are bad librarians with the degree and there are good ones without it. But I ultimately agree with the Effing Librarian that without some sort of educational requirement/certification it potentially opens the field up to a lot of unqualified individuals and when the administration that does the hiring already thinks you just run a book museum, that’s a problem.

 

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26

Apr
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Rights Edition

On 26, Apr 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

Over the past couple months I’ve come across several blog posts that deal with the rights of the patron and of learners. I thought aggregated they made for interesting reading.

  • This is a post from Designing Better Libraries about the rights of a patron as pertains to quality of service and experience. They seem obvious, but aren’t. I would add to it this post from Agnostic, Maybe in which Andy talks about there truly not being a stupid question. I think this is important to remember, especially in school libraries, as discouraging students and patrons from asking questions, or simply instilling a fear of asking questions, can be incredibly detrimental to the purpose or mission of the library (or classroom).
  • This isn’t exactly a list of rights, but it is something students should expect to get from their education/library. From Blue Skunk Blog, a list of six skills, broken down into what they entail, that all students should have by the time they graduate EIGHTH grade. Doug Johnson broke them down into separate posts so here are links to them:

One
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six

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19

Apr
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Gadgets

On 19, Apr 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I recently came across a few things that I thought would be pretty cool integrations of technology. The first was this projector app for your smartphone. It projects an image into a storybook that actually interacts with whatever is on the page. Watch the video, it’s short and very neat. Just one more thing you could keep up your sleeve to enliven storytime from time to time.

The second isn’t really a gadget per se, but it sounds interesting. From Turnitin, a rubric that helps students evaluate online resources. “Turnitin worked closely with educators to design The Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER), which is built on five criteria: Authority, Educational Value, Intent, Originality, and Quality.” I haven’t had a chance to see how it works, but I am all for anything that will help students evaluate their sources. They are terrible at doing that.

Finally, via Walking Paper, the Escondido Library is offering Pop Up Podcast which is a space that: “…provide[s] a fun, creative environment for teens to engage with audio recording technology and explore their own self-expression and presentation skills.” I thought this was a very clever idea. Although they have a more elaborate set up I think that a lot of libraries could do something similar with some very simple equipment.

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08

Feb
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Miscellany

On 08, Feb 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

Just a few links this week to share.

This one from Stephen’s Lighthouse is a pyramid of learning showing how much students retain of a lesson depending on how you present it. I think this is informative and bears remembering when you are doing lesson planning. I think the point is not to discourage you from ever lecturing or stopping required reading so much as encouragement to be sure you are using a broad range of teaching methods.

While I am not a writer and never will be, I found this response to Philip Roth telling an aspiring writer not to bother very inspiring and humorous. I think the underlying message is good no matter what you do: you have to try and if it’s between giving up and doing something you are passionate about then go for the passion.

I came across this article in the class I’m taking through ALSC on information literacy. I thought it was very interesting that they used anthropologists to help create and execute the study. Their findings that students aren’t nearly as research savvy as we like to think is also very interesting. I can’t say I’m surprised having seen what skills high schools students in an elite prep school come away with (or don’t). The findings also remind me that kids always seem to be a lot more tech savvy than they really are.

 

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01

Feb
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Blog Post Edition

On 01, Feb 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I guess this week I was really drawn to some blog posts I read. Here’s a list of a few that I found particularly relevant and interesting:

From the Censored Genius on what Apple can teach libraries. Think customer service. It’s very tongue in cheek, but under it all there’s a good point that libraries are ultimately in customer service and should act like it.

Funny video about QR Codes. Because they suck and need to go away.

Excellent advice about creating good displays. Enough with the tschotskes. Found this one through Twitter.

I agree with Andy Woodworth about why blog. I also think that one of things he says, about wanting to say bold things even if others don’t agree, fits in with my desire to call people out on their shenanigans this year. I’m tired of putting up with not calling spades spades and I appreciate that Andy does that on his blog.

Just as a little added piece here at the end I found this through Sue Polanka (I think) about EasyBib adding a new learning module of sorts. It could be interesting/useful. I would like to come back to it and look at it more in depth, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Research Ready.

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25

Jan
2013

In Reading Round Up

By Elizabeth Wroten

Reading Round Up: Mixed Bag

On 25, Jan 2013 | In Reading Round Up | By Elizabeth Wroten

I’ve been collecting up links over the last two weeks, since last week I decided to go with a job hunting theme. Hope there’s something here for everyone.

Here’s a neat tool for augmenting videos. Popcorn from Mozilla allows you to add links, pop-up comments, Twitter feeds, definitions, etc. I could definitely see applicability with the flipped classroom and with library instruction that isn’t boring. On the other hand, if you have too much going on it gets to be distracting and detracts from actually watching the video. Less is more. Less is more.

From Walking Paper, a piece about getting out of the library to evaluate user experience. I think this is a great idea, not only because we can end up so engrossed in our own libraries and library land, but also because it makes us look at good experiences and see how they can apply to our situations. I should add that I love this blog. He always has great ideas about user experience, something I am particularly interested in and find important.

Corin the Librarian has a podcast called Library Chat. It is available through iTunes. It sounds very interesting and he kicks it off with Jenica Rogers. He is also going to interview Rivkah Sass of my hometown library, Sacramento Public Library.

I recently joined CUE (Computer Using Educators). They’re a great source for professional development including online webinars. The nice thing for me is that they hold a conference just over in American Canyon (near Napa). I like it when there is professional development that doesn’t involve major travel.

Here is a very interesting response to the second portion of Forbes’s articles on libraries and ebooks. This has less to do with ebooks and more to do with taking issue with what the author, David Vinjamuri, told librarians they should be doing. The really interesting thing here is that Vinjamuir actually commented and Kristi Chadwik then responded.

I really enjoyed this piece about school libraries becoming learning commons. I do think libraries need to think about making collaborative spaces more prominent. I also think it’s important to know your community’s culture before making  a leap like this. I also don’t think books need to go, but we offer a lot of other services besides books. And when it comes to book I prefer the “just in time” model to the “just in case” one. I may use this as a jumping off point for another post.

Here is a really interesting piece from the New York Times about “conditional stupidity”, or feeling smarter or dumber based on social situations and factors. I got the link from a tweet by The Unquiet Librarian (Buffy Hamilton) who made a good point asking if there are implications of this in education. I certainly think there are.

I wish I read faster. I think a lot of librarians wish they do. :) Here is a technique from Bill Cosby of all people to help with that. From Brain Pickings this week.

From The New York Review of Books, what will the Library of Congress do with all those tweets they are archiving? A good question.

And finally, for anyone who was a fan of Arrested Development (if you aren’t you need to be). It’s apparently The Brothers Karamazov updated and set in LA. I always knew there was something to that show. :)

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