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).