Monday, December 30, 2013

In American Libraries: Notice about my work at Bellview Elementary School

In an exciting and proud moment for this fledgling library professional, the January/February 2014 edition of American Libraries includes a notice about my employment at Bellview Elementary School.

In Currents, fourth column, page 66: “Cynthia Parkhill became educational assistant in the library media center at Bellview Elementary School in Ashland, Oregon.” View and download the complete issue at

World Book Night: Libraries play important role

Libraries play a special role in World Book Night on April 23, when 25,000 people will give out 20 copies of a book to complete strangers.

As explained by the American Libraries Association, between now and Jan. 5, libraries can apply to be a pick-up site for book givers in their area.

Participating libraries also agree to be advocates for World Book Night and literacy. And the ALA encourages library staffers to apply to be book givers themselves.

Monday, December 23, 2013

We Need Libraries: Cardholder photos wanted

Cynthia Parkhill holding library cards

For the We Need Libraries protest song video project, here’s a picture of me holding library cards from nearly every community where I have lived or worked.

The library systems represented include Lake County Library (an account first created through the Sonoma County Library), the George and Elsie Wood Public Library in Saint Helena, Calif., Napa County Library and Jackson County Library Services. I'm missing Marin County Free Library for a complete set.

Library lovers can submit photos to The deadline is Jan. 5, with the video scheduled for release on Feb. 8, 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

School library: closed for winter break

Stack of books on the counter at Bellview Elementary School library: True Things (Adults Don't Want Kids to Know) by Jimmy Gownley, Magyk by Angie Sage, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Animorphs: Visser by K.A. Applegate, Animorphs: The Capture by K.A. Applegate and The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

The stack of books I checked out Friday has to last the two weeks I won’t have access to the Bellview Elementary School library. (Fortunately, I can still check out books through Jackson County Library Services.) I hope that everyone has a safe and joyous winter break.

Here’s what came home with me on Friday: True Things (Adults Don’t Want Kids to Know), a graphic novel in Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules! series, Magyk, first book in the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Visser, a stand-alone novel in the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate, Animorphs #6: The Capture by K.A. Applegate and The Underneath by Kathi Appelt.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Students, teacher discuss why reading ‘sucks’

For School Library Journal, fifth-grade teacher Pernille Ripp relates that as one of her first lessons of the year, she asks her students how they feel about reading.
“While many of them share wonderful things about why they love books—memories of parents reading to them or of sneaking in a favorite novel after the lights were turned off—there is also usually one student brave enough to admit that, for him or her, reading is just not their thing.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Swope argues: MOOCs can be free and profitable

For EdTech Magazine, John Swope argues that massive open online courses can be free and profitable at the same time.
“Critics argue that the meteoric rise of MOOCs will eventually collapse under the weight of a few key weaknesses — namely, high attrition rates and a lack of participation from underprivileged students. These criticisms, however, ignore the market forces that led to the rise of MOOCs in the first place and will continue to support the movement going forward.”

Discussion to address improved accessibility of online employment tools

Cynthia M. Parkhill's Bitstrips comic avatar extends her hand to shake hands with another person who is shown from the partial back view. Nearby, three other people are shown on either side of her, also from  a partial back view. While her expression is one of smiling, two cartoon liquid drops of sweat depict the cartoon avatar's nervousness. The caption, centered in quotation marks, reads, 'You are unsure of what to say when you meet someone.'
Cartoon image created with Bitstrips and added April 4, 2015
The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy is hosting an online dialogue about ways to make job-related technology more accessible to applicants with intellectual disabilities, cognitive issues, traumatic brain injuries or similar disabilities.

The discussion could not be more timely, given the increased prevalence of “social suitability” questions as part of the application process. In my opinion, any discussion of accessibility needs to include deliberate barriers imposed against job candidates.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

‘Hereville’ by Barry Deutsch

Book cover for Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch. A young girl, holding a sword, balanced atop an enormous ball of yarn
Mirka’s stepmother Fruma insists that she learn to knit and continually challenges her to debates. All the while, Mirka dreams of killing dragons.

To do that she only needs a sword.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (Amulet Books, 2010) by Barry Deutsch is a wonderfully original graphic novel. Its independent and likeable 11-year-old girl protagonist is a fine addition to the graphic novel format.

The story is set in a modern-day Orthodox Jewish community (the Hereville of the title). In it, readers are introduced to Mirka, her family, community and traditions.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pew study shows ‘vast majority’ value libraries

The “vast majority,” 95 percent, of Americans age 16 and older, say that public libraries play an important role in their communities, according to findings released today by the Pew Research Center.

The findings indicate varying levels of support for different library services:

“Americans strongly value library services such as access to books and media; having a quiet, safe place to spend time, read, or study; and having librarians to help people find information. Other services, such as assistance finding and applying for jobs, are more important to particular groups, including those with lower levels of education or household income.”

Ashland School District closures: The ‘how’ and ‘why’

Mug shot: Jay W. Hummel, superintendent, Ashland School District
Jay W. Hummel
In keeping with my mandate as an information worker, to educate and inform, here’s a message from Ashland Public Schools superintendent Jay W. Hummel concerning the recent school closures and the deliberation that goes into canceling a school day.

These last several days have been quite difficult for all involved. I am sorry for the obvious inconvenience our school closures have caused for you. Providing safe and quality educational services to our community is my top priority, and I take this responsibility very seriously. So, the loss of learning time for our children, even a small amount, is a concern. When we do decide to cancel a school day, our supervisors have carefully assessed the safety and readiness of critical services for all students:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman

Book cover: Unsouled, book 3 in the Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman
Neal Shusterman’s Unwind dystology (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) is creepy science fiction that takes its inspiration from real-life social issues including abortion and organ donor shortages.

The story begins with Unwind (2007) and continues with UnWholly (2012) and UnSouled (2013). UnDivided, the fourth book in the series, is expected in 2014.

A “compromise” between pro-life and pro-choice forces — sides in a second U.S. civil war — created a process called “unwinding.” From ages 13 to 17, a child can be “unwound” by his or her parents or guardian. Unwound children supposedly continue to exist in a “divided state” with every part of their bodies harvested.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rogue Valley Transit: Snow affects Routes 10 and 60

Map showing temporary change to Rogue Valley Transit's Route 10 outbound from Medford toward Ashland, Oregon
Image credit: Rogue Valley Transportation District
Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) was not in service on Saturday because of inclement weather and dangerous conditions related to Friday’s snow. On Monday, RVTD made temporary changes to Route 10 between Medford and Ashland.

Ashland School District: Schools remain closed

Schools in the Ashland School District will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 10. In a post on Facebook, Ashland Public Schools stated that Friday’s snow storm was the largest to hit the Rogue Valley floor since 1980.

For the Medford Mail Tribune, Ryan Pfeil and Sam Wheeler related that 6 inches of snow was reported in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass as of 7 p.m. Friday.

Autism Speaks: Self-advocates, allies urge boycott

Organizations representing autistic and disability communities — including the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and Autism Women’s Network — are asking corporate sponsors to end support for Autism Speaks.

In a joint letter, they charge that Autism Speaks excludes adults on the autism spectrum from positions of leadership, has a history of supporting “dangerous fringe movements” that threaten people’s lives and safety and, through fundraising efforts, takes money away from needed services in local communities. Finally, through its advertising, it presents autistic people as burdens and their lives as “little more than tragedies.”

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ashland schools to be closed on Monday

All schools in the Ashland School District will be closed on Monday because of hazardous road conditions. The Emergency Information page on the district website was updated at 4:53 p.m. today.

Warnings were also distributed via the School Reach alert system.

To learn about closures or delayed starts, the school district recommends watching its website, listening to the radio or listening to television stations KDRV Newswatch 12, KOBI–TV 5 or KTVL News 10.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Study encourages second look at ‘unconventional’ job candidates

A study by Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University researchers indicates that social rejection can inspire imaginative thinking in people who already feel separate from the crowd.

(Arguing at that most people don’t actually like creativity despite their insistence otherwise, writer Jessica Olien highlights study findings as a “glimmer of hope in all of this rejection.”)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow closures today, snowman crafting tomorrow

Two snowmen made out of athletic socks and decorated with fabric scarves and buttons
Image credit: Ashland Teen Library Fans on Facebook
Teen Crafternoon on Saturday with the Ashland library teen program is all the more thematically appropriate with snow closures declared today for Ashland public schools. From noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, participants will make snowmen in the teen department at the Ashland Public Library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd. in Ashland, Oregon. For information, call 541-774-6994.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Arm knitting: Library crafting idea for teens

For the Wall Street Journal, Rachel Dodes reports that “Millennial Craft-Makers Embrace Arm Knitting,” an activity that makes use of the crafter’s forearms instead of knitting needles.
“The resulting scarves and blankets feature rows of loops that are 2.5 [inches] to 4 [inches] wide, depending on the diameter of a given knitter’s arm. Owing to the large, holey rows, an entire project can be completed in less than 30 minutes—a fraction of the time needed to whip up a scarf using knitting needles.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

‘Crunch’ by Leslie Connor

In Crunch by Leslie Connor (Katherine Tegan Books, 2010) a family’s bicycle repair business is the only thing keeping people on the road when gas supplies dry up.

A long-distance truck driver and his wife are stranded several hundred miles from home when gasoline supplies abruptly disappear. Fourteen-year-old Dewey and his siblings must manage the “Marriss Bike Barn” while meeting family responsibilities.

With no cars on the highway, cyclists take to the lanes. Suddenly, everyone is turning to the Marrisses for much-needed bicycle repairs.

UU World articles accessible as MP3 files

Don Hymel creates MP3 files of UU World articles for readers with print disabilities
Don Hymel
Readers with print disabilities can access UU World articles, recorded as MP3 files. Files are available for the current issue (as of this viewing, Winter 2013) through Fall 2012. Don Hymel, a Unitarian Universalist from San Antonia, Texas, reads and creates each MP3 file.

Author’s Note: The librarian may leave the library, but the library doesn’t leave the librarian — especially given my interest in promoting accessible collections and services. My first real “library job” was volunteer administrator for the UUCLC Lending Library in Lake County, Calif., and I couldn’t resist passing this along.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Repurposed: New York Public Library shirt

Cynthia Parkhill wearing garment repurposed from V-neck shirt, New York Public Library T-shirt and woven tunic. Her brimmed hat is of blue and green zigzag-on-stripe fabric, lined with solid green.

The New York Public Library logo is the focal point of this upcycled garment. Three shirts — a V-necked remnant left over from my “Man of Steel” movie tie-in shirts, the NYPL T-shirt and a woven tunic — become all the more fabulous when combined. (The hat is handmade too, re-purposed from another garment).

Interview subject’s body language is most fascinating part of news broadcast

A sign proclaiming liberation from “Comsumerism, Capitalism and Class Disparity” is the focal point of coverage by KDRV Newswatch 12 of the Ashland Festival of Light.

The annual celebration, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, proclaims the official lighting of Ashland, Oregon’s downtown for the winter holiday season.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Have a ‘super-powered’ Thanksgiving holiday

Superman and Wonder Woman serve Thanksgiving turkey. Seated to the left at the table are Robin, Batman, Martian Manhunter (?) and Green Arrow. Seated to the right at the table are Green Lantern, Aqua Man and Flash.
Image credit: Random House Library Marketing Team
I couldn’t resist this Justice League “Happy Thanksgiving” graphic, courtesy of the Random House Library Marketing Team, with its accompanying wish for a super-powered holiday to librarians everywhere. Have a blessed, safe holiday with your loved ones.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

‘Waiting for the Magic’ by Patricia MacLachlan

Book cover: Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan
Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan is a sweet-natured story that is sure to appeal to readers who love animals.

William’s father leaves at the beginning of the story, “to go off and do some writing.” And his mother takes William and his sister to the local animal shelter.

Shortly after bringing home four dogs and a cat, William and his sister Elinor discover that the animals can talk.

The story gently addresses concepts — like parents separating — that young readers may struggle with. I especially loved the interaction between the children and the animals.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ashland library supports Oregon Battle of the Books

Poster board displaying logos: Oregon Battle of the Books, third- to fifth-grade and sixth- to eighth-grade divisions, with cover reproductions of featured titles

The Ashland branch library, Jackson County Library Services, supports Ashland schools’ participation in Oregon Battle of the Books. In the library children’s room, a posterboard display by Denise Wilson, assistant to the children’s librarian, highlights titles in third- to fifth-grade and sixth- to eighth-grade OBOB divisions. Featured titles can be checked out as available.

S.F. city librarian: Libraries ‘more relevant than ever’

“Libraries are more relevant than ever,” according to San Francisco city librarian Luis Herrera, quoted in an essay by Frankie Rendon at

In “The Changing Landscape for Libraries and Librarians in the Digital Age,” Rendon argues that libraries “have kept pace with changing technologies and increased their relevancy even while traditional bookstores are still learning to navigate the digital era.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oregon Battle of the Books: Last titles arrive

From left to right, books in display stands: "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo, "Who was Neil Armstrong?" by Roberta Edwards and "Birchbark House" by Louise Erdrich
Photo credit: Suzanne Zapf
All 16 titles in the third- to fifth-grade division, Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB), are available for check-out from the Bellview Elementary School library.

OBOB volunteer Suzanne Zapf brought copies of the final three books — The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2004), Who was Neil Armstrong? by Roberta Edwards (2008) and Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich (1999) — to the library on Friday.

Through Zapf’s efforts, the books were barcoded, labeled and covered with protective laminate — just in time to be checked out and read during Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, November 22, 2013

‘Dear Mr. Henshaw’ by Beverly Cleary

Cover image: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
The story of a young writer’s growing maturity is told in a series of letters. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary is an Oregon Battle of the Books featured title in the third- to fifth-grade division.

Leigh Botts, a sixth-grader in a new school, has been assigned by his teacher to write a letter to an author (the “Mr. Henshaw” of the title). The author responds by posing several questions for Leigh to answer.

Through his letters and diary entries, Leigh offers readers a wider glimpse at his life. His parents are divorced and someone is stealing food out of Leigh’s lunch at school.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Library should be student researchers’ first stop

A report by Angela Hill for the San Jose Mercury News (republished Nov. 19 by the Ashland Daily Tidings) omits an important question.

Why, when history and English teacher Annie Hatch “often” sees students use inaccurate sources or “run wild” with a theory that they found presented as “fact,” doesn’t Hatch educate her students about resources available through their school and public libraries? Why isn’t her class making use of curated databases or eBooks available through libraries’ increasingly digital collections?

Monday, November 18, 2013

This is Autism (‘This is Autism’ flash blog)

Red background with pink and white letters that say: "THIS is AUTISM"
Image credit: This is Autism
I don’t typically wave the “Autism” flag when I talk about creative projects: about the Jedi Knight’s costume I crafted from a picture of Japanese field clothing in a pattern manufacturer’s catalog.

About my House of El, “Share the Road” and “No Bully” T-shirt appliques.

But maybe I ought to emphasize “This is Autism” the next time I embark upon a creative project and work from an inspired vision.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Friends of Ashland Public Library: two fundraisers

Friends of the Ashland Public Library is holding its annual Book Sale and Silent Auction this weekend. And Nov. 18 to 24 is “Friends of the Ashland Public Library Week” at Louie’s Restaurant and Bar.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fleecy vest proclaims me ‘Bellview Bobcat’

Cynthia Parkhill wearing "Bellview Bobcats" zip-up fleecy vest

Friday would have been awesome if the only thing that happened was being trained in cataloging books for the Bellview Elementary School library. But actually, events that preceded it were pretty awesome too. I was photographed for staff portraits and got an official school-wear vest proclaiming me a “Bellview Bobcat.”

Trained in cataloging

Spent an hour on Friday with a more experienced library assistant, learning how to create records for new books in Follett Learning’s “Destiny” online library catalog. This will really help me with my service to Bellview Elementary School in the Ashland School District, Ashland, Oregon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Oregon Battle of the Books heats up

Graphic logo for Oregon Battle of the Books: Covers of books arranged inside Oregon state boundary outline Featured selections in the third- to fifth-grade division, Oregon Battle of the Books, dominate a list of Top 10 Titles, books most frequently checked out in the last 30 days from the Bellview library media center.

Holding steady at No. 1, as of a Nov. 11 viewing, was Pie by Sarah Weeks.

The strong showing by OBOB titles is welcome news to this library assistant. As rapidly as library staff and volunteers prepare the books for use, as rapidly as students return finished titles, they are quickly checked out to readers.

K.C. Boyd: Motivate readers with freedom of choice

Freedom of choice is key to get students motivated and excited about reading, according to inner-city Chicago library media specialist K.C. Boyd.

During an ALA Booklist webinar, Struggling Readers and the Common Core: Improving Literacy in Changing Times, Boyd emphasized her personal motto: “Meet kids where they are so you can take them where they want to go.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jane Austen online game: Too much like real life

Screen capture: Female and male avatars in scene from Jane Austen online roleplaying game
Screen capture: Jane Austen online roleplaying game. Image source:
Grumpy Cat (a naturally-frowning, brown-and-cream seal point cat) with the caption "No" superimposedA Jane Austen-themed massive online role-playing game, with its emphasis on status-jockeying and using gossip to destroy one’s rivals, is rather more like real life than I care for in my escapism.

From an appeal for financing by Judy L. Tyrer on “Our quests are derived from player’s actions and stories. And we [use] gossip rather than swords and magic to demolish our enemies and aid our friends.”

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jackson County: More families than ever seek affordable housing

High joblessness and low wages have more families then ever seeking affordable housing, according to the Housing Authority of Jackson County. More than 5,000 people are on its waiting list and, as reported by KDRV NewsWatch 12, the only way the housing authority sees things getting better is if the economy improves or if more low-income units are built. “Neither are likely to happen anytime soon.”

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Friends of Ashland Public Library to hold annual sale

The Friends of the Ashland Public Library will hold its annual Book Sale and Silent Auction, noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 16 and noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 17 in the Ashland Branch Library’s Gresham Meeting Room, 410 Siskiyou Blvd.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

Book cover: Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
Elementary school science teacher “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith, author of Holmes on the Range, are writing a series of mystery and adventure books for young people.

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab combines exciting storytelling with hands-on experiments. With a release date of Nov. 5 from Quirk Books, the book is entertaining and educational.

The story opens as 11-year-old Tesla and Nick have been sent to live with their uncle “Newt,” an eccentric inventor (He misses his appointment to meet them at the airport because an experiment has glued him to the floor of his basement laboratory).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oregon Battle of the Books: Nominations sought

Graphic logo for Oregon Battle of the Books: Covers of books arranged inside Oregon state boundary outlineOregon Battle of the Books is inviting nominations of books for the 2014-15 school year list.

“We try for a balance of genres,” Elke H. Bruton, OBOB administrative chair, stated via email. “Each book needs to be detailed or long enough to support the writing of 80 quality questions and should have high appeal to kids all over Oregon.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

Common Core State Standards: Library contributions highlighted

The library media center should serve as a “watering hole” for teachers to glean what their students are interested in, according to Tustin High School assistant principal Troy Fresch.

‘Gregor the Overlander’ by Suzanne Collins

Book cover: Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
Readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy have an underground world to explore. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins is among children’s titles highlighted this year in Oregon Battle of the Books.

Gregor the Overlander (Scholastic, 2003) was Collins’ debut novel. In it, Gregor and his sister Boots are swept through a portal in their laundry room to the Underland, a world beneath New York City.

Oregon Trail cardholders to see benefits redued

Oregon Trail card, which is the Oregon version of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("food stamps")The expiration of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act will leave Oregon Trail cardholders with 5 to 6 percent less each month in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Letters sent to SNAP recipients indicated that the reductions begin Nov. 1.

Friday, October 25, 2013

‘Pie’ by Sarah Weeks (Friday cat blogging)

Book cover: Pie by Sarah Weeks. A steaming pie above a white cat who is hungrily licking his lips
Of course, I couldn’t resist reading Pie by Sarah Weeks, with its premise that a cat has inherited a world-famous pie crust recipe. Not with Lardo, the cat in question, so endearingly pictured on the cover.

I have a weakness for cat books and would likely have read Pie even if it wasn’t one of the featured titles in Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB), third- to fifth-grade division, 2013-2014.

As Pie opens, Alice’s aunt Polly has died, leaving her pie crust recipe to Lardo and Lardo to her niece. Polly’s legacy — 13-time winner in an annual pie-making contest — is suddenly up for grabs. And someone is determined to do anything to be the next “Blueberry” winner.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Easier to walk when I shelve every day

For years I worked in a job that involved sitting at a desk. I really wanted the kind of job I have now: physically active at a library.

Study: Peers judge children with autism based on facial expression

A study released by SAGE Publications and the National Autistic Society, U.K., has found that slower development by children with autism in facial expressivity marks them out among their peers.

At Disability Scoop, Michelle Diament highlights the rate at which typically-developing children form impressions of children with autism: in as few as 30 seconds according to study findings.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Book cover: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Leading off with my reading of selected titles in Oregon Battle of the Books, The Tale of Despereaux came home with me this week from the Bellview library media center.

Written by Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux is the story of a mouse inspired by tales of chivalry to devote himself to a princess. Horror of horrors, he lets himself be seen by humans and even speaks to the princess and her father.

The council of mice sentences Despereaux to be cast into the palace dungeon. A rat and serving girl also yearn for something more than society dictates they must be.

The book struck a chord; like so many of the characters in this story, I did not fit in with the “norm.” I believe the book will be of solace to readers who feel misunderstood because they are different.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Teens’ Top Ten: Winning titles

Logo: "Teens' Top Ten"
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is the No. 1 title in the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Teens’ Top Ten. Between Aug. 15 through Teen Read Week, Oct. 13 to 19, more than 32,000 votes were cast among 28 nominees.

The nominees were chosen by Teens’ Top Ten book discussion groups in libraries. All of the books were published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. The remaining winners are:

2. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
4. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
5. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
7. Crewel by Gennifer Albin
8. Every Day by David Levithan
9. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross and
10. Butter by Erin Jode Lange

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cuesta College internship: letter for prospective sites

A letter from Cuesta College instructor Ellen Jagger introduces the Library and Information Technology internship to prospective site supervisors.
“The Library/Information Technology curriculum is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful vocational career in the organizing and managing of information.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

Patron check-out in Follett-Destiny library catalog

Patron search by homeroom

Writing detailed instructions is one of the ways that I commit a procedure to memory. The instructions that follow, address checking items out to patrons with the Follett-Destiny library management system. I first composed them in October 2013, and elaborated one year later with illustrations to accompany the procedure.

Oregon Battle of the Books

Graphic logo for Oregon Battle of the Books: Covers of books arranged inside Oregon state boundary outline

In the Bellview library media center this week I helped prepare for check-out, books selected by school librarians for Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

At CNN, brief history of Young Adult literature

“Monday marked the start of 2013’s Teen Read Week, but with young adult literature regularly burning up the bestseller lists, it’s clear many young adults don’t need an excuse to seek out the written word.”

At, Ashley Strickland traces the evolution of young adult literature. Its roots, according to Strickland, go back to World War II, when “teenagers” were given their own distinction as a social demographic. The Young Adult Library Services Association coined the term “Young Adult” during the 1960s to represent the 12 to 18 age range.

Social sharing credit goes to Epic Reads on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Safe, respectful, responsible

At Bellview Elementary School, students are honored for being “Safe,” “Respectful” and “Responsible.” From a recognition slip, given to students who display these values, I made a name tag to wear while I’m at work in the library media center.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Avoid that weeding ‘horror story’

Five questions can help guide library staff’s decisions to remove or not remove items from its collection, according to Rebecca Vnuk, reference and collection management editor with ALA Booklist.

  • Would I be embarrassed if the library didn’t own it?
  • If I put this on display, would it go out?
  • Does the book fit the needs of my community?
  • Does it have local interest?
  • Is the author still living and writing?

New life for weeded books

At Baltimore County Public Library, decommissioned books have a second chance at life through a partnership with CollectionHQ and BetterWorld Books. The partnership was showcased during an ALA Booklist webinar, What Not to Weed: Best Practices in Weeding Library Collections.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Library Assistant at Bellview Elementary School

Interior: Bellview Elementary School Library Media Center
Bellview Elementary School Library Media Center

I’ve been hired as Library Assistant at Bellview Elementary School in the Ashland School District. Doug Werner works in the library during the earliest part of the school day and I arrive after him to work a three-hour shift.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fiction enhances readers’ empathy

Scientists have demonstrated the short-term effects of reading on people’s social abilities. As reported on NPR: people did better on a test of social perception, “Reading the Mind in the Eyes,” after reading from literary fiction than people who were assigned to read from non-fiction or popular fiction books.

Jackson County libraries: Special district could bring in $9 mil

A proposed special district to fund Jackson County Library Services could bring in an estimated $9 million a year, according to Ryan Pfeil reporting for the Medford Mail Tribune. The district would eliminate a need for county general fund support and bring library hours back to pre-shutdown levels.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Library degree: Application for internship

The final step toward earning certification and an Associate’s degree in the Cuesta College Library/Information Technology Program: Complete an internship.

I formally applied this week and between now and the end of the year, Cuesta faculty will place me at a site. The internship will take place this spring.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autism headlines: Lisa Jo Rudy urges caution

Mug shot: Lisa Jo Rudy
Lisa Jo Rudy
One of the most important responsibilities of an information professional is to empower clients to evaluate the credibility of information for themselves.

At Autism Spectrum Disorders, Lisa Jo Rudy offers suggestions about what to watch out for when reading stories in the media about “cures” or “causes” of autism.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Daryl Hannah raises attention for women on autism spectrum

On Facebook, sharing a link to an essay about actress Daryl Hannah, Autism At relates, “I feel a certain obligation to post this sort of celebrity news, though I personally don’t find it especially compelling ... do you guys enjoy reading about ‘celebrity autistics?’”

My response is that the main focus of the essay (by the consistently informative Emily Willingham) seems less to do with Daryl Hannah and more to do with misdiagnosis or under-diagnosis of women and girls. As a woman diagnosed in adulthood, I feel this is a legitimate issue that vitally needs more attention.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bookmobile transformations mirror those in libraries

Mendocino County Library’s “Traveling Branch Library”
The National Center for Educational Statistics lists 864 library bookmobiles in operation in the United States, with an average annual cost of $200,000 to keep them on the road. For Library Journal, Bob Warburton argues that bookmobiles are in a state of transformation, much like the libraries they serve.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jackson County: countwide library district proposed

Library card for Jackson County Library Services. Silhouette of hiker against wooded mountain background bearing caption "Explore"Ryan Pfeil reported this week for the Medford Mail Tribune that Jackson County officials may put a countywide library district on the May 2014 ballot.
“The decision comes on the heels of a survey that polled 500 likely voters — those who have voted in at least two of the last four elections — in Jackson County. Of those surveyed, 52 percent supported creating a special district to fund libraries with a tax rate of 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, survey results show. That’s $120 for a $200,000 home.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chrastka: Take library card sign-ups door-to-door

Mug shot: John Chrastka
John Chrastka
At Library Journal, John Chrastka has a great idea to energize library card sign-ups: going door-to-door or tabling. His commentary is a valuable resource during Library Card Sign-Up Month.
“To shake a person’s hand, look them in the eye, and introduce yourself as their librarian is powerful. The library is one part of civil society where people don’t laugh when you say ‘I am from the government and I am here to help.’ For staff, friends, trustees, and volunteers, this is a powerful opportunity to say to someone ‘I am here as your neighbor. Let me tell you about our library.’”

Monday, September 23, 2013

‘Invisible’ disabilities pose job hunting challenges

People with “invisible” disabilities face a quandary when seeking work: to conceal or reveal the disability, each with potential consequences for finding and keeping employment? For the New York Times, Katherine Bouton provides an excellent, in-depth, report.

Oregon libraries: Per-capita circulation

A Library Data Visualization tool, designed by the Connecticut State Library, shows circulation per capita in Oregon. In Jackson County, circulation per capita is 7.84.

Data came from the 2011 Public Library Survey, collected by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Circulation per capita was determined by dividing total circulation per year, 1,594,623, by the service area’s population. Total circulation per year included circulation of all library materials of all types, including renewals.

Use the graphic’s filters to view circulation rates for other states or the entire U.S. or to limit libraries by the size of the communities they serve.

Autism: Letters help shape perceptions in media

At, M. Kelter offers perceptive analysis of autism coverage in the media, arguing that a wider range of stories are conveyed through the “new media” of blogs and social posts, but are limited to fragmented audiences.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Banned Books Week 2013: Sept. 22 to 28

Banned Books Week is being observed this week, Sept. 22 to 28. According to the American Library Association, “Banned Books Week stresses the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book, no matter how unorthodox or unpopular.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Largest city in Oregon is ‘Poverty’

Oregon Center for Public Policy infographic: More Live in Poverty (668,359) Than in the City of Portland: (668,359 versus 587,865)
Image credit: Oregon Center for Public Policy
“If poverty were a city in Oregon, it would be the state’s largest city,” according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

The policy center released a fact sheet on Thursday, the same day the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to cut funding and tighten eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. One in five Oregon residents received “Oregon Trail” benefits last month, according to KDRV Newswatch 12 reporter Rob Scott.

Friday cat blogging: Cat wears bow tie, works as assistant librarian

One of the coolest things I saw this week: Kuzya wears a bow tie and works as assistant librarian at the Novorossiysk Library in Russia. Ryan Broderick on Buzzfeed has summed it up so well, there’s really nothing more for me to say.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How does social media affect your credit score?

U.S. and international lenders are examining Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles of potential borrowers. As related by Erika Eichelberger on
“Companies like Neo and LendUp seized an opening in the market to provide low-income borrowers, who may lack bank accounts or have bad credit, an alternative to payday loans. Though credit-worthiness is typically based on factors like employment, finances, and whether you make your credit card payments on time, these companies argue that they are able to serve borrowers that traditional banks deem risky because they are able to evaluate credit risk based on more subtle social media-based indicators.
“The problem, consumer advocates say, is that because there are few regulations governing this new way of grading borrowers’ trustworthiness, applicants can be subject to unfair and discriminatory decisions by lenders.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Biblio Tech book-less library: Sign of things to come?

Computer stations at the new BiblioTech bookless public library in Bexar County, Texas.
Artist’s rendering courtesy of Bexar County, Texas
Is this a sign of things to come in public library service? Biblio Tech, a book-less public library, opened this week in Bexar County, Texas.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

EqUUal Access, UUA launch test of accessibility certification

The Accessibility Banner consists of a dancing chalice surrounded by six accessibility symbols: a wheelchair, signing hands, a brain, an ear, a Braille symbol and a person walking with a cane. The dancing figure was chosen because it symbolizes how we could all 'dance' if there were full accessibility for all. The surrounding double circles symbolize Unitarianism and Universalism. The heading words 'Accessible and Welcoming to All' are in an italic font to suggest or hint at the dancing theme.
EqUUal Access, in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association, is embarking on a two-year field test of accessibility certification for member congregations.

“The program helps congregations learn about accessibility issues through worship, workshops, and other means. When the certification program has been completed a congregation can vote to be recognized by EqUUal Access.”

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Books in dumpster distract from greater issue

Talk about a buried lead: A proposal to change education requirements and eliminate specialization of staff at Fairfax County Public Library in northern Virginia receives only a brief mention by NBC reporter Jackie Benson in a video report from a meeting of the Library Board of Trustees.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No respect for journalists who condone child murder

At, writer Tommy Christopher calls for a complete retraction and discipline for everyone involved in a CBS This Morning report that excused the murder of Alex Spourdalakis, a 14-year-old child with autism.
“On Friday’s CBS This Morning, reporter Sharyl Attkisson delivered a report that was fatally flawed on several levels, but I hesitate to even mention the reporting itself, because even if everything in the report was 100% above-board and true, it would not support the sick conclusion that permeates it: that Alex Spourdalakis’ mother had no choice but to murder him. This sounds like an exaggeration, surely, but it is not. This was the explicit message of CBS News’ report.”
Christopher offers a lengthy analysis of omissions and distortions in the CBS report. I won’t duplicate his efforts. Suffice to say the choice of footage and commentary suggests a no-win, hopeless situation in which child murder was the only way out.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Solved: that DRM issue in OverDrive

A Library2Go workshop at the Ashland library provided me with the necessary final step to perform a Digital Rights Management (DRM) upgrade to use my OverDrive Media Console. At No. 2 among 60 ways to use a library card for Library Card Sign-Up Month, library workshops explain how to access eBooks on patrons’ personal gadgets.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

60 Ways to Use Your Library Card

Just in time for Library Card Sign-Up Month, an American Library Association slideshow identifies 60 ways to use a library card. How may of them have you tried?

Library Card Sign-up Month is celebrated each September at the beginning of the school year. Its purpose is to emphasize that a library card is “the most important school supply of all.” In promotional resources, Honorary Chairman Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls declares that a library card is “The smartest card in my wallet.”

“A library card is a key resource in achieving academic success,” according to the ALA, “and the library is the perfect place to spend quality family time together.”

‘I am a social librarian’

Infographic: I am a Social Librarian. I am a curator, creator, and promotor. I am an educator. I am a facilitator and experimenter. I am a beacon. I am ready. Never underestimate the power of the {social} librarian.

Elsevier’s Library Connect newsletter and Joe Murphy, librarian and technology analyst, offer up a visual portrait of The Social Librarian.

“Social today means so much more than sending a tweet or posting to Facebook. The social librarian is enmeshed in the fabric of the Internet of Things as curator, educator, filter and beacon. In this complex, dynamic and demanding environment, librarians are extending themselves and empowering library users.”

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Yes, I ride a bicycle. Yes, I use a cane

Cynthia M. Parkhill with yarnbombed bicycle
My bicycle gives me mobility
(and it’s yarn-bombed too).
I can relate to the sentiments of Shannon Des Roches Rosa when she says her vehicle’s disabled parking pass is none of disapproving strangers’ business.
“Folks don’t have the passes if they don’t need them, and as they go through an official process of applications and approvals to get that pass, your opinion is irrelevant -- even if you can’t tell what the person’s disability is.”
The situation I encountered this week wasn’t entirely the same, but it involved a stranger’s unsolicited judgement about my supposed disability.

I parked my bicycle Tuesday evening outside the Ashland library and retrieved my cane (which was secured across my back by a really cool, over-the-shoulder, upcycled-T-shirt braided strap).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Jackson County libraries: Interview highlights ‘Champion’ status

Kim Wolfe, director of Jackson County Library Services; and Eric Molinsky tech support for the online lending platform Library2Go, were recent guests on Five on 5 at KOBI in Medford.

The discussion focused on JCLS being named a Digital Library Champion for its YouTube video highlighting the Library2Go redesign.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

You offered me the ‘awesomeness’ discount, right?

I appreciate you asking if I qualify for “the discount” if it’s the “awesomeness” discount you’re referring to. ’Cause you didn’t just add 10 years to my age because I’m walking with a cane. You wouldn’t do that, right?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mr. Library Dude builds Lego public library

Lego public library constructed by Joe Hardenbrook (Mr. Library Dude)
Image credit: Mr. Library Dude
“People love Lego blocks. People love librarians. When you combine the two, you get an irresistible cultural mash-up,” according to Mr. Library Dude (Joe Hardenbrook).

Hardenbrook created an awesome Lego public library to house the official Lego librarian. “Just like the real library, there’s something for everyone, he promises: “books, periodicals, technology, events.”

Proposed: South Valley Library District

A proposed South Valley Library District would approximately follow the boundaries of House District 5, which includes Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Applegate, Ruch and Jacksonville in Jackson County, Oregon. Its area was chosen based on voting patterns in previous library elections.

As outlined during a special meeting of the Library Advisory Committee, a special district could either be funded by asking for a permanent tax rate or by an operating levy for a specified number of years. The district would be governed by its own elected board.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Next Big Library Read: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth

Book cover: Nancy Clancy: Super SleuthJust in time for back to school, the next Big Library Read selection is geared toward juvenile readers.

OverDrive announced this week that Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor (HarperCollins Publishers) will be available in eBook and audiobook formats for simultaneous use, Sept. 16 to 30 through participating OverDrive-powered digital collections.

Afterward, libraries may purchase the title for one copy/one user lending.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Caturday project: Starfire ‘helps’ with Sharrow jacket

Cat with her face shoved into sleeve of T-shirt
Starfire ‘helps’ me work
Assisted by my “helper” Starfire, I upcycled T-shirts into a “Sharrow” Share-the-road bicycle design on a hoodie jacket.

My first step, with a paper template, was to cut out the sharrow pattern. Starfire was highly interested in the proceedings and I had to watch her carefully lest, when batting at the sharrow template, she end up with a pawful of pins.

Jacket back: Share-the-road "Sharrow" design on hoodie jacket
Back view: The finished jacket
As I began assembling pieces for the sharrow design on the back, Starfire burrowed into the discarded T-shirt.

Starfire managed to shove her entire face into the sleeve. She reared up and was surprised by the effect.

Once free from the shirt, she was oh-so-dignified as I continued with my work.

The back of the jacket features an appliqued sharrow design against a floral background. I also attached a floral sharrow motif to one side on the jacket front.

Starfire and I wish you Black Cat Appreciation Day

My black cat Starfire pummeling a ball of yarn
Every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day when you share your home with a cat as wonderfully loving and intelligent as Starfire.

Born April 6, 2009, Starfire joined our home in July 2011. She brought an essential feline life and energy to our lives.

This sleek, healthy, 4-year-old cat is a very different creature from the half-starved adolescent of two years ago.

When she looked at me with her enormous round eyes, I imagined Starfire pleading with me to help her.