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.