Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bullying: Arguments promote information literacy

Book cover, 'Matters of Opinion: Bullying' by Carla Mooney. Cropped image depicts the torsos and arms of two male-presenting teenagers. One has shoved the other against school lockers, and reaches to take money from his hand
In Matters of Opinion: Bullying (Norwood House Press, 2016), Carla Mooney presents pro and con arguments for three issues connected with bullying:

“Has the Internet Made Bullying Worse?”, “Are Schools Doing Enough to Stop Bullying?” and “Should Bullying Be a Criminal Offense?”

This brief volume encourages students to critically examine arguments, focused around a topic that bears direct relevance to their school-going experience.

‘Ignore,’ ‘Unfollow’ and ‘Unfriend’

Was that upsetting post in your newsfeed simply motivated by carelessness, or was it a “clear and intentional” message of hate from one of your connections on Facebook? Does this person regularly act in ways that conflict with your values? The Cyberbullying Research Center offers its recommendations for managing Facebook connections during conflicted times — specifically when it’s best to just “Ignore” or “Unfollow” irritating posts and when “Ignore” and “Unfollow” simply aren’t enough and it’s time to “Unfriend.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

‘Malice in Ovenland, Vol. 1’

Cover art, 'Malice in Ovenland' by Micheline Hess. Image shows a young girl, holding a burning torch aloft. A lizard-like creature holding a red, two-tined fork, cowers behind her. The pair are in a setting reminiscent of a cavern with small shadowy figures behind them. One giant shadow looms directly behind them and shadowy flying creatures flit against the cavern walls.
Lilly Brown, stuck at home for the summer while her friends are away on vacation, is left alone by her mother with a list of chores to get done over the weekend.

While trying to recover her earring from inside the oven, Lilly falls through a tunnel and arrives in an underground kingdom whose sentient beings, the “Oven Frites,” revere grease as a life-giving substance.

At the time of Lilly’s arrival, the kingdom is in crisis; its essential grease supply has ceased. (Above-ground, Lilly’s mother had replaced their fried-food diet with healthier fruits and vegetables.)

From start to finish, I had a lot of fun reading Malice in Ovenland, first volume in a graphic-novel series created by Micheline Hess (Rosarium Publishing, August 2016). It combines a fast-paced storyline, humorous details and entertaining characters.

I think young readers will be able to relate to Lilly as a strong and resourceful protagonist, and the icky, goopy details of a grease-revering kingdom seem sure to captivate their interest.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, July 25, 2016

Children’s books that support diversity, ‘connection’ and engaging in ‘the work’

Collages upon paper, arranged on a table. The collages, made from seeds, display flowers and peace symbols
Pictures from seeds, created by children in ‘Religious Explorations’
My work in library “Readers Advisory” can surface any time, in any capacity. At the church where I work part-time as administrative coordinator for Religious Explorations, I was asked to identify children’s books that reflect the church’s mission: to “Embrace Diversity, Empower Connection, Engage in the Work.”

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sonoma County voters consider tax for library

In northern California, the Sonoma County Library has my solidarity as voters consider a 1/8-percent sales tax in the November election. As related by Christi Warren writing for the Press Democrat, the library commission unanimously voted to place the tax on the November ballot. Citing figures from library director Brett W. Lear, the article states that if voters approve the measure, it could add about $10 million annually to the library’s $17 million budget. This library supporter, formerly a volunteer in a three-county cooperative system between Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino County libraries, wishes it every success.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

‘Very small library branch on wheels’

Book cabinet atop bicycle trailer, open to display cabinet shelves filled with books
Image credit: L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library
At Biking Librarians, a public Facebook group, Peter Rudrud posted news of what is essentially a “very small library branch on wheels,” a custom-built trailer pulled by a bicycle, holding about 100 items.

I would love to see more library systems create their own equivalents of the BookBike at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire, Wis.

“The BookBike gives librarians a new way to connect with residents of all ages, showcase the library’s digital content, provide an unexpected library experience, and give a fresh perspective of the public library.”

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

‘6Rs of Bullying Prevention’

Cover image, 'The 6Rs of Bullying Prevention' by Micele Borba, Ed.D. Images in circular cut-outs show children interacting with each other in friendly and inclusive ways
The latest reading in my ongoing focus upon resources to combat bullying is, 6Rs of Bullying Prevention by Michele Borba, Ed.D (Free Spirit Publishing, August 2016).

This book belongs in every school’s staff-resources collection. Its value is incalculable if it spares one child from bullying and years of post-trauma, but I actually believe it has the potential to transform entire schools.

The “6Rs of Bullying Prevention” are:

1. Rules -- Establish an anti-bullying policy and expectations for respect
2. Recognize -- Teach stakeholders how to recognize bullying
3. Report -- Create procedures to report bullying
4. Respond -- Teach student witnesses how to respond to bullying
5. Refuse -- Help targets refuse provocation and cope with victimization, and
6. Replace -- Help students replace aggression with acceptable skills

Borba describes the 6Rs as a “process,” not a “program,” moreover it’s ongoing and involves an entire school community. Because it’s not a program in itself, it can be integrated with programs already in place at the school.

Bullying prevention “aims to change a culture of cruelty to one of kindness” (location 417 in a digital advance reading copy). Success is measured by “positive and lasting change in student behavior and attitude” (417, 418).

As a person bullied in childhood who hopes to spare others from suffering the same trauma, I found much of practical benefit in The 6Rs of Bullying Prevention.

I’m especially grateful for insights it affords in my professional capacity: a school library paraprofessional who works directly with students and hopes to guide and model for them, respectful and inclusive behaviors. I will look with keen interest over this book’s several lists of books at varying levels of readership: great resources in themselves for building a library collection.

Personal reflection in response to this book:
Bullying and ‘zero tolerance’

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bullying and ‘zero tolerance’

Cartoon illustration: Adults direct types of bullying toward Cynthia Parkhill's Bitstrips avatar. A woman stares at her from around the corner. One man talks behind his hand to a listener, who has a shocked look on his face. A woman with a disbelieving expression looks at her computer while a woman in the desk next to her looks over. The caption reads, "Bullying survivor: What I imagine is happening."
Cartoon image created with Bitstrips
A keyword search on the phrase “zero tolerance,” performed July 22, 2016, returned 14 usages in reference to bullying among writings on my blog.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Support group for library workers on autism spectrum

A private email list and support group is being formed for librarians and library paraprofessionals on the autism spectrum who face(d) difficulty finding work.

Collection development vs. censorship

Critical analysis of a book’s suitability for a library is not censorship. At “Reading While White,” Megan Schliesman talks about the work and factors involved in selecting books. Schliesman emphasizes it isn’t “censorship” when a library worker challenges stereotypes in a book. One must consider the context, the variety of factors behind a decision to reject a book, instead of issuing blanket statements of “censorship.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

‘Collaborative’ summer reading programs at libraries

Books arranged in rows, covers facing upward, on carpet. They are 'Rogues' anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, 'The Hero and the Crown' by Robin McKinley, 'The Best American Short Stories of the Century' edited by John Updike, 'The Lost Art of Dress' by Linda Przybyszewski, 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' by Garth Stein, 'Quiet' by Susan Cain and 'Protector of the Small' by Tamora Pierce

What do these books have in common? For one thing, I selected each of them as a prize for turning in a reading log to Jackson County Library Services in Jackson County, Oregon.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Brother 1034D Serger


The Brother 1034D Serger will really streamline bill-assembly for “newsboy” touring caps. I want to credit Candice Ayala for starting me on a firm foundation with my overlock sewing machine. In her YouTube video, she explains the importance of labeling each pathway through the machine in the order that they should be threaded.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

‘Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice’

Parents may struggle with how to help children cope with recent incidents of violence, and even more with how to broach sensitive conversations about racism and justice in our society. Here are possible resources.

Pokémon Go brings people to libraries

‘Welcome to the library.’ Cartoon image created with Bitstrips
In the new Pokémon Go, libraries have been given a “huge gift of outreach,” according to “Teen Librarian, Huge Nerd.”

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Do-it-yourself public art studio

Cynthia M. Parkhill and Jonathan Donihue holding painted mug, angled so that painting of a black cat is facing outward toward viewer

To celebrate the resumption of Saturday bus services, we caught Rogue Valley Transit’s Route 10 from Ashland into Medford, then spent a few hours on-foot. During our ramblings, we discovered The Artist in You, a do-it-yourself creative space fronting E. McAndrews Road on the block between Poplar Drive and Biddle Road. (The studio is in Bear Creek Plaza with its address listed as 1110 Biddle Road.) I love the idea of a walk-in public art studio, and The Artist in You provides ceramic shapes, paintbrushes and a broad range of colors. Once people finish their projects, the projects are kiln-fired for later pick-up. Here we are with our mug, painted with a design that features our sweet cat Starfire.

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Friday, July 8, 2016

America’s parents face explaining recent violence

America’s parents face the difficult task of explaining this week’s violence to children — the shooting deaths by police of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile followed by the shooting of a dozen police officers in Dallas. For the Los Angeles Times, Sonali Kohli shares insights offered by Suzanne Silverstein, director of the Cedars-Sinai Psychological Trauma Center, for talking with children about this shocking week of violence. Kohli also shares approaches taken by parents Richard Milner, Antoinette Barrett and Tyrone Howard.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bike advocates offer free repairs at library

Via I Love Libraries, relating news reported by The Red and Black in Athens, Ga.: BikeAthens, a bicycle advocacy group, offered free bicycle repair, safety checks and helmets at the Athens-Clarke County Library. The news report relates that BikeAthens’ goal is to “promote walking, cycling and public transit as solutions to transportation needs in Athens through education, advocacy and community service.” This is a great melding of advocacy for bicycling with the importance of libraries.

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Facebook ‘lists’ override algorithm

Cynthia M. Parkhill's 'Bitstrips' cartoon avatar stands looking at the screen of a hand-held device
Cartoon image created with Bitstrips

I’ve been interested for awhile in sharing my thoughts about the Facebook “Echo Chamber,” the tendency for Facebook to more-often display things that readers’ friends “liked” or shared, or posts that are similar to those that the reader has already engaged with.

I want to promote actively shaping what you encounter in your Facebook timeline, instead of simply passively accepting whatever Facebook shows to you.