Tuesday, December 30, 2014

‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’ by Robin Sloan

There is something odd about the San Francisco bookstore where Clay Shannon clerks overnight.

From shelves filled floor-to-ceiling — the equivalent of three floors — Clay retrieves books not sold but loaned to members of a mysterious club. In addition to tracking each volume they take, he must document their appearance and behavior.

Inside the books, “a solid matrix of letters,” “an undifferentiated jumble.”

Clay stumbles ever deeper into a centuries-old pursuit to unlock a secret code, firmly placed in a modern world of online search, crowdsourcing and 3D-imaging.

Hand-made books during ‘Teen Crafternoon’

Handmade book, stood-up with front cover forward. Visible behind it are the spines of shelved books.

Having been exposed to the rewarding task of library book repair, I’ve long wanted to try hand-bookbinding. I got the opportunity during “Teen Crafternoon” with the Ashland library teen department.

Monday, December 29, 2014

‘The London Eye Mystery’ by Siobhan Dowd

Books show up in unexpected places in an actively-used library, as patrons remove items from shelves and then set them down.

Locating and reshelving out-of-place books leads to serendipitous discoveries.

On a list of books about characters with autism I’d seen The London Eye Mystery, and mentally filed it under want-to-read. So when I saw it perched atop a magazine rack while straightening in Bellview library, I seized my opportunity.

Later, a member of a library listserv also mentioned the book, saying she would love to hear my thoughts.

Knitting socks with Dreamz Symphonie Wood

Clear package of double-pointed, wooden knitting needles, separated in ascending sizes. Next to them is a sock in-progress on the largest-size double-pointed needles.

Until this Christmas, my sock-knitting pursuits involved “Boye” Size 3 double-pointed knitting needles that I found packaged in a tube with an original printed price of 45 cents. This morning I worked the socks onto my Christmas gift from Jonathan, Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Symphonie Wood needles.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Alan Turing: autistic in ‘The Imitation Game’

Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game.
Image courtesy of The Weinstein Company Publicity

For Christmas Day, Jonathan and I (joined by a neighbor, also named Jonathan) saw The Imitation Game at Varsity Theatre in downtown Ashland. This film dramatizes an effort by Alan Turing in England during World War II to create a machine able to crack the Germans’ “unbreakable” Enigma code.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Autism ‘expert’ status: Why so misplaced?

From Shannon Des Roches Rosa, writing at BlogHer.com, here’s a question that really must continually be asked: “Why Do Autism ‘Experts’ Say Such Awful Things?” (Or perhaps the question should be, when these so-called experts speak, why do so many award them credibility?)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Socks knit in teal stripes

Black work basket containing dark-and-light teal-striped sock, the leg of a second sock on double-pointed knitting needles with balls of dark and light teal yarn. With them is a book by Ann Budd, Getting Started Knitting Socks.

Winter break finds me more than halfway through my latest pair of hand-knit socks, once again worked from Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. This pair combines Ella Rae Classic Superwash in dark and light teal blue stripes.

Cross-posted to Ravelry

Sunday, December 21, 2014

‘Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism’

Book cover, Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. What You Really Need to Know About Autism: From Autistics, Parents, and Professionals.
The interested reader could easily fill a bookshelf addressing multiple facets of autism: behavioral therapies, sensory challenges, whether or not to medicate, K-12 educational policies. But this reader would have to buy one book first, and Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism would be an ideal place to start.

Published in 2011 by the Myers-Rosa Foundation, the book is edited by Shannon Des Roches Rosa, Jennifer Byde Myers, Liz Ditz, Emily Willingham and Carol Greenburg.

Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism provides an informative overview from a variety of contributors.

Friday, December 19, 2014

‘Gaby, Lost and Found’ by Angela Cervantes

Cover: Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes
Among third- to fifth-grade titles in this year’s Oregon Battle of the Books, Gaby, Lost and Found caught and held my interest as a longtime animal caregiver.

I couldn’t resist the cover image of a brown-tabby cat, poking her head and paw out of a girl’s backpack.

Written by Angela Cervantes (Scholastic, 2013), Gaby, Lost and Found centers around volunteer efforts by a young girl and her classmates to help abandoned animals find homes. But while Gaby’s animal profiles bring in adoptive caregivers, Gaby herself feels like a stray. Her mother was deported to Honduras and her father rarely has time for her.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

‘If I Ran the Dog Show’ in Jackson County school libraries

Ashland elementary librarian Lauren Hall reads ‘If I Ran the Dog Show’
to a group of first-grade students at Bellview Elementary School.
/ CYNTHIA M. PARKHILL
The Southern Oregon Kennel Club has donated a copy of “If I Ran the Dog Show” by Tish Rabe, featuring the Cat in the Hat, to every public elementary school and charter school library in Jackson County.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

‘Food Chaining’ by Cheryl Fraker, et al.

Book cover: 'Food Chaining' by Cheryl Fraker, et. al. Cover image combines a cartoon-like illustration of an apple, carrot, a meat, tomato, lettuce and cheese sandwich and a child gazing at a beverage in a cup with straw, with the photo of a child holding a slice of bread so that it obscures his or her face.
As validated as I felt learning that a book like this exists, I felt even more validated when reading Food Chaining by Cheryl Fraker, Mark Fishbein, Sibyl Cox and Laura Walbert.

Eating is easily the most difficult sensory task I face. In childhood, I easily fit the profile of a “problem eater,” as described in this book. I accepted few foods, had strong adverse reactions that included gagging and was reluctant to even touch new foods.

My difficulties didn’t have the benefit of a book like this, however. Instead, adults labeled me “picky,” “spoiled” and “bad” because I could not eat what was served to me.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Keep Autism Speaks out of library-service discussion

In my dual personal and professional capacities, I am a strong advocate for the success of any project like Targeting Autism, which focuses the efforts of Illinois libraries to provide services to people on the autism spectrum and their families.

I want to caution the Illinois libraries’ project, however, about having any relationship or appearing to endorse the group Autism Speaks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

‘Cat Champions’ by Rob Laidlaw

My beautiful cat Starfire examines
Rob Laidlaw’s book Cat Champions
My assignment this week for my online children’s literature class was to examine an informational picturebook against evaluation criteria in The Joy of Children’s Literature by Denise Johnson.
For the assignment, I couldn’t resist returning to a recent favorite.

Cat Champions, Caring For Our Feline Friends by Rob Laidlaw (2013) addresses issues related to the care of abandoned or feral cats. It places special emphasis upon young “cat champions” who care for these cats.

Monday, December 8, 2014

‘Crunch’ by Leslie Connor

I subscribe to various email lists related to library services to children, and in response to requests for recommendations on two very different topics, one book immediately came to mind.

I posted a review of Crunch by Leslie Connor (Katherine Tegan Books, 2010) in December 2013.

More recently, I recommended the book across one of the listservs I subscribe to. My recommendation was in response to a request for books with an environmental theme.

Set in present-day, Crunch depicts what happens when gasoline supplies abruptly disappear.

‘Hattitude’: Newsboy hats in plaid

Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in blue and burgundy plaid Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in green and brown plaid
Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in reddish-purple plaid Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in red and gold plaid
Muted or vibrant, there’s something so beautiful about the combinations of colors in plaid. Here are some recent plaid creations for Hat People in southern Oregon.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bellview Elementary School library ‘Top 10’

It came as no surprise to me that Oregon Battle of the Books featured titles occupy all 10 places this month on the Bellview library Top 10. Students have formed teams and are assigning responsibilities to read each title on the list. And in Bellview library, I am continually asked if I have this-or-that book.

‘Getting a Life with Asperger’s’ by Jesse A. Saperstein

Book cover: Getting a Life with Asperger's by Jesse A. Saperstein. Image depicts a computer-game figure attempting to leap from a beam to a higher-elevation point.
The greatest take-away message for me in Getting a Life with Asperger’s, Lessons Learned on the Bumpy Road to Adulthood (Perigee, 2014) is author Jesse A. Saperstein’s emphasis on people with autism being “role model[s] from day one.”

“Society is aware of us as having a disability, and the characteristics deemed to be negative have more lasting power. Let’s collectively step up to the plate to show that our positive characteristics may eventually overshadow any rocky moments.”

Saperstein envisions himself as a Catcher in the Rye for his younger peers, referencing a mission by J.D. Salinger’s character Holden Caulfield, to save young children from getting too close to a cliff. And Saperstein writes with direct, first-hand experience about that metaphorical cliff.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

One Man and His Beard: New library campaign song


Given my gratitude this Thanksgiving as a lifetime user of libraries, it seems fitting to pass along word about a new library video campaign from One Man and His Beard, a “Libraryfied” version of The Bee Gees’ “Tragedy.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

School librarians viewed as ‘extraneous’

My assignment this week for LIBT 210, School Library/Media Center Services, was to respond to the question, “Why are libraries experiencing a budget crisis?”

Official staff photo, Bellview school

Close-up head and shoulders photo of Cynthia M. Parkhill wearing eight-paneled, dark red hat with brin and button that says, 'Books Rock.'

My official staff photo for Bellview Elementary School is by Lifetouch School Portraits. I received an official ID badge, along with prints in several sizes.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Autism book list: Fiction divided by age

Stack of books on a table
Books out from the library
The growing roster of fiction on my list of books for people on the autism spectrum could easily stand as an independent list of autism “read-alikes” — except that entries vary as to age of target readership as reflected in the age of the main character. So this morning, I subdivided the fiction into juvenile, young adult and adult categories.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blogs by library professionals

Cynthia M. Parkhill's Bitstrips cartoon avatar stands at library table that is covered with books.
Cartoon avatar puts me in good standing among library bloggers
Comic avatars seem to be a frequent practice among public and school library bloggers that I examined for an assignment this week in LIBT 210, School Library/Media Center Operations. So with my Bitstrips comic avatar, I fit right in with the writers of these four blogs.

‘Rain Reign’ by Ann M. Martin

Book cover, Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Image shows the silhouettes of a girl and dog running through a field during an evening rain.
The people in Rose Howard’s life get angry with her sometimes for her insistence on following rules. Her tendency to point out every driving infraction got her kicked off the school bus.

Rose’s dog Rain provides consolation and solace in her lonely life. Rain’s name is extra special because it’s a double homonym; the words “Rain,” “Reign” and “Rain” all sound alike, but have different meanings.

Rose’s father lets Rain outside during a terrible storm, and the dog becomes lost. To find her beloved dog, Rose carefully executes a systematic and detailed plan.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Common Core: Emphasis on evidence

A broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered about Common Core State Standards points to a significant shift in how children are taught to engage with text.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bullying in children’s books by Ludwig and Keats

Photo of a book, Goggles! by Ezra Jack Keats, on top of a folded, crocheted green zig-zag afghan Photo of a book,Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Mikela Prevost, on top of a folded, crocheted green zig-zag afghan

Two very different portrayals of bullying emerge in Goggles!, written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats (1969) and in Trouble Talk, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Mikela Prevost (2008).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hattitude: Earflap cap with brim from sweater

Earflap cap with brim, constructed from repurposed sweaters. Outer layer is of boiled wool, patterned in shades of olive and brown, with the brim a solid olive ribbing. Inner layer is of light green ribbed material. With the hat is a pair of arm-warmers, cut from sleeves of the sweater that forms hat's outer layer. In background: a canvas tote holds thread and pieces of hats for sewing.

Teen Crafternoon on Monday with the Ashland library Teen Department presented a perfect opportunity to make a cap with earflaps from two repurposed sweaters.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Teen Crafternoon: Repurposing sweaters

Hands and forearms wearing "wristers" of black knit material, decorated with gray zig-zag pattern with red circular accent sewn on.
Ashland Teen Library on Facebook
Teen Crafternoon continues with the Ashland Public Library’s Teen Department at its new time, 3:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month.

This coming Monday, Nov. 10, teen librarian Esther Mortensen will guide us in upcycling sweaters into bracelets, arm and boot cuffs, hats and stuffed animals. Sweaters will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring one to upcycle if they’d like.

Friday, November 7, 2014

‘Informational’ materials in Bellview library

Sign bearing the word Informational and Dewey Decimal number range 000 to 596

I took down the “Non-fiction” directional signs today in Bellview Elementary School library. Where they’d originally designated Dewey Decimal System number ranges for materials shelved by subject, I put new signs that use the word “Informational.” With students being taught to identify and read “informational” text, I felt it was important that we use consistent language when communicating these concepts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

‘The Doubt Factory’ by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book cover: The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi. Gridded image of the left side of a woman's face in three-quarter view, her eyes looking upward to her left and the viewer's right. A tagline next to the top word in the book's title reads, "You Believe What They Want You to Believe."
Alix Banks thinks she knows what her dad does for a living. He works in public relations, making sure his clients get good publicity. Where’s the harm in that?

But then Alix’s luxurious private school becomes the target of a sophisticated prank. And a mysterious stranger makes contact with her and raises an unsettling possibility: that Alix Banks’ father isn’t just in public relations.

In a “four-story tagging job,” the numbers “2.0” drip red from a building’s windows, and “thousands and thousands and thousands of rats” swarm their way out of the building.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

‘The Tale of Despereaux’ by Kate DiCamillo

Cover: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Colored-line drawing image of a mouse running, carrying a needle "sword" with a piece of red thread tied through the needle's eye.
What struck me when reading The Tale of Despereaux by author Kate DiCamillo (for my Children’s Literature class), was her use of a narrator speaking directly to the reader, setting the scene, commenting on the action, and on the motives in the characters’ hearts.

To suspend disbelief, DiCamillo scrupulously honored the rules she had established for the world where the story is set. In a video interview produced by Wadsworth Cengage Learning, she talks about one such rule, that the rats, mice and humans can all understand each other. This rule is very consistently maintained throughout the story.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

‘The Lunar Chronicles’ by Marissa Meyer

Book cover: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The cover image is the side view of a woman's calf and foot in a high-heeled red shoe. A metallic structure, reminiscent of joints and bones, is faintly visible inside her leg.
Related to my class discussion of fairy tales (and their heroines) this week, I recommend reading The Lunar Chronicles, a series of Young Adult science fiction novels by author Marissa Meyer.

Each book in the series is modeled after a fairy tale, and centers upon a heroine and her “prince.”

With my longstanding interest in “fractured” fairy tales, reading this series was natural for me. And because my comments address the story mid-series, they may unavoidably contain “spoilers.”

Friday, October 31, 2014

For Halloween: ‘Harry Potter’ wizarding robes

Cynthia M. Parkhill, dressed in red bell-sleeved "wizarding robes" over gray cardigan and slacks, waves a "wand"  over library shelving cart with books on it. Colorful Halloween-themed poster-boards are shown in background; one says "Happy Halloween."

Dressed in my official Hogwarts robes for Halloween, I had my wand ready for shelving while at work in Bellview library. The colorful holiday-themed poster-boards behind me are the work of Traci Ordenez.

‘Little Free Libraries’ in Ashland, Oregon

Birdhouse-shaped outdoor cabinet-like structure filled with books
File photo/Little Free Library
What a wonderful surprise during our first year in Ashland, Oregon, to discover “Little Free Libraries” appearing on residential streets.

I love these little cabinet-like structures that are filled with free books. An article in the Ashland Daily Tidings profiles some library builders.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Disabilities should not be used as insults

As a person on the autism spectrum, I have unique gifts and challenges. My brain works differently from the majority of people and when I went to school, my classmates enforced a school-wide “norm” that I was to be bullied and shunned.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

‘Cinder Edna’ by Ellen Jackson

Photo of a book, Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson, propped against a cushion with a crocheted afghan folded next to it.
The slideshow that accompanied our reading in The Joy of Children’s Literature this week raised an intriguing question: Do “fractured” or feminist fairy tales make sense if children don’t have the context of the original story?

With Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson (1994), illustrated by Kevin O’Malley, children have a chance to compare and contrast the story of Cinderella with that of her next-door-neighbor. Both young women are similarly forced to work for a wicked stepmother and stepsisters.

‘Yeh-Shen’ by Ai-Ling Louie

Photo of a book, Yeh-Shen by Ai-Ling Louie, propped against a cushion with a crocheted afghan folded next to it.
Intrigued by the statement in our text for Children’s Literature, that a story from China “predates the earliest European version of Cinderella by 1,000 years” (Johnson 131), I chose the 1982 retelling of Yeh-Shen by Ai-Ling Louie, illustrated by Ed Young, as one of two different visual or literary interpretations of Cinderella.

One of the differences, as highlighted in our text, concerns the source of magical intervention that lets Cinderella “go to the ball.” Instead of a fairy godmother, Yeh-Shen is aided by the bones of her beloved pet fish.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Schneider Family Book Award

Schneider Family Book Award, a circular silver-on-blue logo depicting children holding hands circling a globe with the name of the award rimming the top of the circle. The name of the award is written in Braille beneath the emblem.
Given a class assignment to write about a school or library children’s book award, I decided to learn more about the Schneider Family Book Award, one among what are collectively referred to as the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards.

(With its emphasis upon portraying the experience of people with disabilities, the Schneider award uniquely piqued my interest as a woman on the autism spectrum.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Singer 247 for sewing hats

Sewing machine on table. In background are tabletop ironing board, hat on stand and canvas tote with sewing pieces inside it.

An industrial machine facilitates volume piecework of hat brims and crowns. I bought this old-time Singer Model 247 for $20 and, thanks to Singer customer support, was able to identify the model and locate an operating manual, as well as identify compatible bobbins and needles.

Oregon Battle of the Books: audio-format resources

Your reference librarian is on the job, tracking down audio-format resources for Oregon Battle of the Books, from the Talking Book and Braille Library.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

‘Year of the Book’ by Andrea Cheng

Book cover: Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng. A girl holding a book looks back toward a girl behind her who leans forward as if to see, from over her shoulder, what the first girl is reading.
Sometimes the connection between reader and character doesn’t have to be something as visible or “obvious” as race; if the reader of a book can view the character as being like him- or herself, then that book is serving as a “mirror.”

I deeply related to Anna Wang, main character in The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng. We don’t have a cultural heritage in common, but both of us are sewers/designers.

Anna has sewn a lunch bag out of repurposed fabric and she makes it the subject of a classroom essay on the subject of “Perseverance.”

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Continuing interest in information literacy

Learning to evaluate websites for credibility has been an ongoing subject for concern, revisited this week in response to an assignment for LIBT 210, School Library/Media Center Operations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

UUA Common Read: ‘Multigenerational’ suggestion

I’ve long promoted the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Common Read, most recently as administrative coordinator for Religious Explorations at a UU community in Southern Oregon. Before that, I promoted the Common Read as volunteer administrator of a small church lending library.

In email correspondence, I commented that the Common Read is promoted by the UUA as a “multigenerational” resource, and I recommended that the UUA select companion materials grouped around the themes in the Common Read: picture books for the youngest UUs, elementary- to middle-school level and so on upward.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Does multicultural literature get the details right?

In my online Children’s Literature class this week, I was asked to address the metaphors of multicultural literature as a “mirror” and a “window” (attributed in our text to Rudine Sims Bishop, a noted professor of children’s literature).

Teen Crafternoon begins new year at Ashland library

Elaborately painted skull-mask in green and purple designs
Source of image:
Ashland Teen Library Fans
Who else is looking forward to a new year of Teen Crafternoon with the Ashland library teen department, Jackson County Library Services?

First off, participants will paint masks for Day of the Dead, 4 p.m. today.

I found my niche volunteering at Ashland library through summer craft events, and am looking forward to another school-year volunteering each month with Teen Crafternoon.

The Ashland Branch Library is located at 410 Siskiyou Blvd. For more information, contact the library’s teen department, 541-774-6994.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bellview among top Oregon schools

My employer, Bellview Elementary School, is among the top 10 percent of schools statewide in Oregon, as reported in an article in the Medford Mail Tribune. Bellview has also been distinguished as a “model school,” in the top 10 percent of Oregon’s high-poverty schools.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Religious Explorations: Recent posts

Source of image: woodleywonderworks via Creative Commons/Flickr
Since May of this year, I’ve been employed part-time as Administrative Coordinator for the Religious Explorations program at a church in Ashland, Oregon, the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Here are recent posts to social media in my capacity as Administrative Coordinator. With these selections, as with earlier posts, I emphasize connecting people with information that benefits them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

‘Weird!’ by Erin Frankel for bullying awareness

Cover art for Weird! by Erin Frankel. In the right foreground, a girl looks sadly toward a girl who laughs and points at her. To the laughing girl's left, a girl with a hula hoop looks on uncomfortably.

With the universality of its devastating impact upon children’s self-esteem, I knew that when I selected a book with a culturally-neutral subject, I wanted the subject to be bullying. To commemorate October as National Bullying Prevention Month while examining cultural diversity, Weird!, written by Erin Frankel and illustrated by Paula Heaphy (Free Spirit Publishing, 2012), seemed the perfect choice.

‘My Brother Sammy’: Sibling’s concern about autism

Book cover, My Brother Sammy by Becky Edwards and David Armitage. At right, a larger boy looks benevolently down at his younger brother as the two of them sit together in a flower-filled landscape.

One of the diverse perspectives highlighted in our course readings this week in The Joy of Children’s Literature is what author Denise Johnson refers to as “exceptionalities,” physical, mental or behavioral challenges or giftedness. As a woman who learned in adulthood that she was on the autism continuum, I have a vested interest in autistic characters’ experiences validated and communicated through fiction.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Teens’ Top 10: Voting now open

Logo: Teens' Top Ten
With an emphasis on Teen Read Week (Oct. 12 to 18), voting is open for the Young Adult Library Services Association’s “Teens’ Top Ten.” Young people aged 12 to 18 can vote for up to three of their favorite titles among 25 nominated books.

Posted to the Southern Oregon Education Services District listserv for school library/media center personnel

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Self-striping socks with reinforced soles

Side view of two feet wearing socks hand-knit out of self-striping green and blue yarn. A reinforcing sole, cut from T-shirt fabric, is visible on one of the socks.
These beautiful creations, out of self-striping blue and green yarn, were knit with needles that were better suited to a thicker weight of yarn.

I couldn’t bear not wearing these somewhat loose-knit socks after the care I put into them, so I cut foot shapes out of jersey-knit fabric that was salvaged from a repurposed T-shirt.

I hand-stitched the foot-shapes to the bottom of the socks, effectively giving them soles.

Friday, October 3, 2014

National Bullying Prevention Month

Red circle with diagonal red line through the middle of it. Inside the circle are the words Rumors, Teasing, Gossiping, Insults, Cyber Bullying, Threats, Lies, Name-calling, Harassment and Mean words in black lettering against a white background.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
(Source of image: Southern Oregon Education Service District)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Importance of questions while reading aloud

Our textbook reading and videos this week about reading with and to children emphasize talking between teacher and students about the reading that takes place.

American Libraries digital supplement focuses on school libraries

Cover image, American Libraries digital supplement, Sept./Oct. 2014, School Libraries Transform Learning.
American Libraries (magazine of the American Library Association) has produced a digital supplement, “School Libraries Transform Learning.”

The subject simply can’t be timelier, given my course this semester in school library/media center operations, added to my working part-time in an elementary school library.

Beyond personal relevance is the dramatic drop in number among licensed school librarians. In Oregon, the figure is 82 percent, from 818 full-time equivalents in 1980 to 144 in 2013.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Library skills training: Best with real class assignments

Our textbook reading on “Information Skills” includes a statement that can be taken as rationale for “embedded” library skills training: that is, training that helps students complete actual course assignments (87). I find myself sharing the textbook’s preference for embedded library skills.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Autistic people on staff: Ways to optimize workplace

People with autism don’t always announce ourselves, but if you own or manage a decent-sized company, you have autistic people on staff. From OneQuarterMama.ca, here are seven ways companies can optimize their workplaces by “treating each individual as valuable and with respect.”

Social sharing credit: Autism Women's Network

Friday, September 26, 2014

‘C’ is for ‘Cat’ with cut-paper shelf marker

On a shelf-marker above a shelf-ful of books, a calico-patterned paper-cutout cat arches its back as it faces a letter C.

One of the highlights this week in Bellview library was the installation by Traci Ordenez of cut-paper shelf markers she made. For Friday cat blogging, here’s a photograph of the shelf marker she made for “C.”

Thursday, September 25, 2014

‘Stellaluna’ by Janell Cannon

Book cover: Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. Image depicts a bat clumsily tangled among tree branches while two birds fly by in the background.
Stellaluna, authored and illustrated by Janell Cannon, is the story of a bat who is separated from her mother. She is taken in by a family of birds, but her bat behaviors are at odds with what the baby birds need to learn.

She puts so much effort and suffers so much grief trying to act like something she’s not. And — spoiler alert — what a great image at the end, when the young birds and young bat behave according to their nature, but wholeheartedly love and accept each other.

Track laps at Bellview Elementary School

A foot-shaped, laminated card, with Miss Cynthia hand-written on it and X-marks through each of 20 smaller feet that are printed on the card. The laminated card is strung from a green beaded chain with two plastic foot medalions. They lie on a portion of my blue-fleece Bellview Bobcats vest.

Bellview track-laps, 40 and counting! A track-laps program is a recess option at Bellview Elementary. Students collect foot-shaped medallions each time they complete 20 laps around the Bellview track. I walk and jog the tracks during evening hours and weekends and keep track of my totals too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My family’s books, organized by Dewey system


Like living in a library: My project this week was to label and then shelve my family’s books in order according to the Dewey Decimal system of classification, with each book assigned a number based upon the book’s subject. Shown here, the books for my library studies are arranged in order numerically.

Feminist Library on Wheels, books on custom tricycle

A woman cuts a ribbon that is stretched across a bookshelf on the back of a tricycle.
A ribbon cutting for the Feminist Library on Wheels.
Image credit: Feminist Library on Wheels on Facebook
The Feminist Library on Wheels, consisting of donated books shelved on a custom-built tricycle, is an “eclectic mix of analytical texts and more leisurely reads.” As related by Aminka Khan for the LA Times, librarians Jean Witte and Dawn Finley said they love “the crowdsourced definition of feminism on the library’s weathered shelves.” This library assistant and cyclist loves the idea of library outreach atop a bicycle.

Social sharing credit: Women Bike/League of American Bicyclists

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

‘Extra Yarn’ by Mac Barnett

Book cover: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen. Image depicts a little girl knitting and sweater-wearing animals amid the letters of the title, which are textured with the V shapes of Stockinette knitting
In Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, a little girl finds a box of yarn with knitting needles. No matter how much knitting she does, the box magically never runs out.

From knitting a sweater for herself and her dog, Annabelle goes on to outfit classmates, neighbors, forest animals and — while this term isn’t used in the text — she even “yarn-bombs” buildings and trees.

Friday, September 19, 2014

‘Ella Sarah Gets Dressed’ by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

One of the highlights of of reading posts by classmates in my children’s literature class is being exposed to recommendations for intriguing books.

For our discussion of Caldecott Medal winners, a classmate posted a write-up of Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by author and illustrator Margaret Chodos-Irvine. In the story, Ella Sarah chooses an outfit in which none of the pieces match.

Each member of her family tries to convince her to wear something they picked out instead, but as the book ends, Ella Sarah goes to a playdate with friends who are wearing outfits that are as wildly-picked as hers.

I love the idea of Ella Sarah and her friends all wearing wildly-picked outfits. There’s a lot of pressure in society to conform in clothing choice and behavior, and it’s great that this book has a positive portrayal of being your own unique self.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Weeding important part of library maintenance

Weeding is an important part of a library’s collection management. As the needs of library users change, as our understanding of the world evolves, a library’s collection must stay current and up-to-date.

Monday, September 15, 2014

‘Kitten’s First Full Moon’ by Kevin Henkes

The picture book Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes is propped up, its front cover facing forward, with my black cat Starfire sitting behind it.
My cat Starfire with Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
For my course in children’s literature this week, we were to read and respond to a Caldecott Medal winner or Honor Book. The award is given annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

My selection was the 2005 medal winner, Kitten’s First Full Moon, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollinsPublishers). And a photo of Starfire wasn’t specifically part of the assignment, but I couldn’t resist propping the book in front of her and including her in a photo of the book that I was required to post with my response for the class.

Library card, ‘most important school supply of all’

At Jackson County Library Services’ Ashland Branch Library today, I picked up library card application forms and preschool storytime fliers for Library Card Sign-Up Month, observed each September to coincide with students’ return to school. I designed this sign to inform viewers that a library card is “the most important school supply of all.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hattitude: Medieval-style knit-swatch hood

Knit swatches in varying colors, assembled into a hood that is draped over a round candle-holder on base. The hood's lower corners have braided ties that are made out of a variety of yarns. Coins and bells are fastened to the ends of streamers that hang from the hood's upper point.

This Medieval-style hood is assembled from knit swatches from The Web-sters in Ashland, Oregon. Originally used in a banner for the store’s entry in this year’s Independence Day parade, I salvaged nearly all of the swatches plus the streamers that hung from my banner.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Phyllis C. Hunter declares reading ‘civil right’

In her Scholastic video, educator Phyllis C. Hunter declares reading to be an American civil right, and that teaching reading is the “first mission” of education. She has a “no-excuses” delivery that puts educators on-notice to teach their students how to read.

Unearned privilege, dextronormative and otherwise

I understand that when Nance Rosen writes about your left hand “hating” your right, she intends it as a metaphor for personality types and skills.

As a point of clarification, however, my left hand doesn’t have a problem with anyone else’s right hand. My difficulties as a left-hander stem from dextronormative bias on a systemic, social level.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Censorship has origin in instinct for survival

One of the biggest challenges regarding censorship in school libraries is that the urge to censor has its origin in a human instinct that has benefited our survival.

‘Ninja Knitters’ yarnbomb Fairfield, Conn. library

A group of women group around a tree that has been yarnbombed, covered with pieces of knitting. The women's faces are partially concealed by the colorful knitted swatches that they hold over their noses and mouths.

New to the timeline at Yarn Bombing @ Your Library, “Ninja Knitters” yarnbombed the Fairfield Woods Branch Library in Fairfield, Conn., to draw attention to the library’s 45th anniversary, which begins this month. Local media published a photo and press release submitted by the group.

Religious Explorations: Recent posts

Unlit candle sitting in a clear, shallow bowl filled with rocks. The bowl rests upon bark groundcover and a small log is in the background.
Image credit: Call and Response/UUA Blogs
Here are recent posts to social media in my capacity as Administrative Coordinator, Religious Explorations, for the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Oregon Battle of the Books in Bellview library

Five stacks of books in varying heights in diagonal/diamond shape. Clockwise from top left, the titles on the top of each stack are Swindle by Gordon Korman, Rules by Cynthia Lord, Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman, Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Hanel Watts and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
With the start of library check-out on Friday for the new school year, students are already selecting and reading titles for Oregon Battle of the Books.

Jackson County Library Services: new website

Image-capture of upper two-thirds of homepage, Jackson County Library Services website
Image source: Jackson County Library Services
A new website recently went live for Jackson County Library Services, at http://jcls.org/. Developed by iOR Consulting with the Wordpress blogging and website-hosting platform, the site employs a much more hierarchical approach that helps direct viewer attention, instead of confronting a jumble of information all competing to be noticed by the viewer.