Post #4 – Not exactly a blue-eyes white dragon, but…

It’s a far cry from my blue/green fairy snack deck, but…

Trading Card

Make your own! Follow me to Big Huge Labs


Post #3 – Shift to Gaming

I’m not sure how I missed it before, but since I attended the Gaming in Libraries program at Dominican, I have been enjoying Jenny Levine’s Shifted Librarian blog. She collects all the best ideas about using gaming and technology in libraries into one, easy to digest blog.

Here are a few of my favorite recent posts:

Dance your fines away

I love this idea. Not only is fine forgiveness a great way to encourage people to come back the library, this idea is a guaranteed publicity magnet. Any time we can draw positive attention to what we do, we are making our communities more aware of what the library provides the community. Not only that, but the library is publicizing its acceptance of gaming and gaming culture in the library. This is very important for changing the public’s impression of the library as a quiet, boring place.

What do games have to do with literacy?

I had a couple of run-ins with this question in my own library as we were questioned on our policy restricting gaming on public computers (which has since been lifted) and our purchase of a PS2, DDR and Guitar Hero. A new staff member was questioning why the games had been purchased and what they were being used for.

Besides the fact that video games fit perfectly with the iREAD Summer Reading Program theme, games are a fun way to teach. Take the article by Brian Mayer linking the New York State Curriculum standards to board games. Or Paul Waelchli’s article on teaching information literacy by playing fantasy football.

Barack Obama may be telling parents to turn off the video games in order to encourage learning for their children, but maybe they need to keep those games on in order to prepare kids for a Web 2.0 world.


More on Public vs. Private Life

This is a continuation of the question I asked in class about privacy and, to a certain extent, a segue from Laura’s post on Internet Privacy and Social Networking tools.

When Michael told us about imagechef I was immediately drawn to the campaign button. In this time of wall-to-wall primary coverage, I have found ways to make good use of it. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Last week I made a fun button with a message about a political party supporting a certain Harry Potter villain. I had it as my work desktop picture for about 24 hours before I decided to change it. Why?

First, I was tired of trying to cover it up every time one of my co-workers from the other side of the political spectrum came along. And second, I didn’t think it was very professional. I’m a librarian (in training) and I lead people to the information they need without personal agenda or bias.

So I joined Facebook the other day. My sister’s been bugging me to and seemed a good way to waste time experience Web 2.0 and social networking.

I’m filling out my profile, and they have a place for me to list my political and religious affiliations.

Normally, I’m not a person whose shy about sharing their opinion, even about these hot button topics. But as a future information specialist, I gave the questions pause.

Is it appropriate for me to post my personal and political beliefs where patrons may view them? Do the old rules of issue neutrality still apply in the Social Web?

I’m very new to Social Networking and don’t know the secret handshakes as yet. What do others think?

Happy… well… You know…


I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Normally, I would just let the obnoxious holiday pass with little more than an angst-filled avatar.

V-day av

But when one of my favorite fictional couples made Entertainment Weekly’s top 26, I had to acknowledge it. Congrats, Ron and Hermione!

Thanks to The Leaky Cauldron for the link.

Add a zombie

Okay, this post from Scott Westerfeld’s blog had me laughing out loud.

The only problem with that is I was working the reference desk at the time.

Oh well, most of my co-workers think I’m crazy anyway….

I am currently up to my eyeballs in Medieval Tortall, so my zombie juices aren’t really flowing. Maybe I’ll go watch Re:Your Brains on Youtube for some inspiration.

Happy Wednesday!

Post #2 – Growing Up Online

Someone on the Yalsa-bk listserv that I’m subscribed to sent a link to this Frontline episode called Growing Up Online. The whole program is interesting and relevant to our discussions on Web 2.0, Millennials and teaching technology.  The specific segment I want to talk about for this post, however, is the second segment: A Revolution in Classrooms and Social Life.

The piece is a profile of a high school that is working to embrace technology in order to engage students. There are two teachers featured in the piece and you can read the full interviews for each of the teachers here. In looking over the comments, I found many people (keep in mind, these are PBS watchers for the most part) who were objecting to the comment made by Steve Maher that we need to re-look at what constitutes cheating. Here’s another quote from Steve Maher that gets at my point on this issue:

“Remembering information isn’t as important; accessing it is important. And then, since there’s so much information out there, it’s judging the information that applies to your particular situation. What types of information do you need, and how can you trust it? How did you know what’s valid? …”

This has always been a major part of my beef with the current educational climate. Don’t tell kids what to think, teach them how to think. As a (future) library professional, I am very involved with the idea of information literacy.

Is it important to know that the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066? No. (and yes, I found that in a brain crevice somewhere… (history geek=me)) It’s more important that a student knows where to find credible information when they need it.

Is it important to read Heart of Darkness or Catcher in the Rye or Jane Eyre or (insert name of “important” literary work here)? Maybe. But to me, it is more important that they be able to read, reflect and discuss a narrative coherently, even if that narrative comes from a graphic novel or a work of series fiction. Better still, let the student choose their own reading…

So is using Sparks Notes cheating? In the full interview, Steve Maher goes on to say that the best way to prevent cheating is for teachers to create authentic assessment tools. Don’t have the students write an essay on the causes of the Cold War. Have a debate in which half the students prove that the US started the Cold War and the other half proves that the Soviets started it.

Don’t give a multiple choice test on the themes in Othello. Have students recast the roles of Othello, Desdemona and Iago to reflect today’s values and social prejudices. How would the story be the same; how would it be different? (Othella and Desdemona, anyone?) You won’t get the answers to that from Sparks Notes.

This has turned into sort of a novel, so I’ll quit. But I’m interested to see what others think, especially those who are currently/hope to be in education.

Thanks for indulging me,


What Awful Book are You?

Okay… I couldn’t resist.

Thanks to the Goddess of YA Literature for featuring this quiz on her blog.

While I’m a huge fan of LOTR, I *hated* the Hobbit. I do highly recommend the abridged audiobook done by the BBC. (I know… Library sin…)


take the WHAT BAD BOOK ARE YOU test.

and go to not as good as reading a good book, but way better than a bad one.

How do you cope?

Okay, I experienced this in undergraduate school, but it was different since I wasn’t actually working in the field while I was getting my degree.

When you’re in school, you learn an incredible amount. You get excited about the things that you are learning and you want to try to make your profession a better place. You have so many new ideas, and you want to try them out in a real world setting. That’s why it’s really nice to be working in a library while going to library school. You have all these guinea pigs co-workers and patrons around to test your theories.

Then you run into barriers. People in and outside the profession who aren’t interested in change. People who are comfortable in the status quo. People who have a very Library 1.0 view.

Is anyone else dealing with this? How do you cope? How do you get your message across when those around you dismiss you as “young and idealistic”? Any words of advice?