Monday, October 23, 2017

Fire Relief Fund for victims of North Bay fires

In response to firestorms that ravaged communities in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, and Napa counties, a North Bay Fire Relief Fund has been created by Redwood Credit Union (RCU) Community Fund in partnership with the Press Democrat and California Senator Mike McGuire (District 2, North Bay).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

‘The Road Virus’ mobile bookstore

Bookmobile-style bus, black, with irregular white-spot design and spray-paint style logo on side, reading 'The Road Virus.' It is parked in front of a storefront with large yellow lettering on it that reads, 'Dimple.' A smaller sign on the storefront, next to the storefront's lettering reads, 'Buy - Sell - Trade.' The sign is done in red letters against a yellow background.
Image credit: The Road Virus on Facebook

I’ve long been intrigued by bookmobiles’ capability to expand a library’s physical reach — and so, The Road Virus was an especially memorable aspect of our stay in Sacramento.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Half of SRCS campuses to reopen next Friday

In the California fires’ aftermath: Classes resume Friday, Oct. 27, at 13 sites, Santa Rosa City Schools. The group of 13 schools serves approximately half of the district’s student population according to an article by Eloísa Ruano González in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

District officials will determine on Monday, the re-opening date for 11 more campuses, among them Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. This SRCS employee, while eager to get back to work, appreciates that student safety is at the forefront in back-to-school considerations.

Friday, October 20, 2017

During emergencies: Information is essential

Beige-skinned hand holding a smart phone, open to text-messaging application that displays messages to and from '888777.' The first message, from the user, reads, '12345.' Below it, a reply message reads, 'Town: You are now signed up to recieve [sic] text alerts and advisories from the local police department'
Image credit: Nixle

During the past two weeks, I’ve faced an ongoing need for up-to-date and credible information about the California fires. Compounding this issue, I haven’t always been in places that had access to the Internet.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Putting distance between ourselves and fires

Midweek found Jonathan and me, with Starfire, in the Sacramento area. After our evacuation Sunday night from fires in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties, we decided not to remain in the area where we’d resettled once it received an advisory to evacuate.

We knew that an advisory could, too-quickly, become the real thing and increasing our distance made a vital difference — not only for our physical safety, but for psychological peace of mind. Also, by being well away, the air we breathe is much healthier too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Walking Starfire at Woodland library

Cynthia M. Parkhill and her black cat Starfire, in a harness and leash, on the front steps outside Woodland Public Library.

As a paralibrarian, I appreciate the uniqueness of a historic Carnegie library, still used for that purpose today -- even if the circumstance behind our visit to Woodland Public Library was to remove ourselves from proximity to fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties.

With Starfire on her harness, the two of us explored the Woodland library exterior before continuing our journey with Jonathan. This writing finds us safely installed at a hotel in Sacramento.

Here's a description of the Woodland library from its Facebook page:

"Woodland Public Library is the oldest working Carnegie library in California. Built in 1905, the Mission Revival building continues to be an ideal place to pursue interests, learn, attend programs, and socialize, as well as borrow reading, viewing, and listening materials."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Evacuated, but safe

Jonathan and I were evacuated late Sunday night because of fires in the Sonoma and Napa County areas. Know that our precious cat Starfire is with us, and we are safe.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I’m a ‘Curriculum Librarian’

I’ve referred to myself as a “Textbook Librarian” to describe the similarities between my current work as Instructional Materials Technician, and my past job as Library Assistant — but the term, I’ve decided, doesn’t convey everything I do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Banned Books Week: 2016’s ‘Top 10’


Each year, the last week in September is observed as Banned Books Week, an annual expression of support for “the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SRCSA: New books to catalog and barcode

Two stacks of hardcover and large-paperback books on a counter-top, with plastic bags partially visible behind them that are also stuffed with books. To their right are two more stacks of trade-paperback books arranged one-behind-the-other on the counter-top.

Check out these wonderful new books for Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, delivered by Santa Rosa City Schools. Between cataloging, barcoding and delivery to classrooms, there are busy times ahead for this “textbook librarian” — and that’s exactly how I like it.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Children’s books for resistance to climate of empowered bigotry

The worst and longest-lasting legacy of having a “Bully-in-Chief” as president may be lessons in how-to-hate that adults are passing on to children. At Bustle, contributor Aisha Saeed describes taunts that her child had to endure because his skin was brown, and how she had to remove him from the school because “nothing was going to change.”

Saturday, September 23, 2017

‘Location’ enhances ability to track library resources

Lap-top computer, with single copy of a book next to it, 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. The screen displays a headline identifying the operation, 'Specify information to change and scan barcode.' Below it is an input field with a string of numbers in it, and, beneath that, a drop-down menu set to 'Home Location' with a second drop-down menu next to it specifying, 'LIBRARY (IMT 102).' The cursor arrow is poised over a button marked 'Update.' Additional copies of the book are stacked behind and to the right of the laptop computer.

Cataloging is essential to tracking a library’s resources — in this case, inventory of educational items among Santa Rosa City Schools. Bringing a librarian-mindset to my job as Instructional Materials Technician, I’m creating records for resources in-use at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Accession of new instructional materials at SRCSA

Cataloging is essential to tracking available resources

Friday was another active day for this Instructional Materials Technician, who regularly makes deliveries to classrooms at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Yarn Bombing at Your Library: Centereach, N.Y.

Tree wrapped with concentric crocheted circles, in shades of blue, red and teal, stitched together to mold to the contours of the tree's trunk and branches, in front of Middle Country Public Library in Centereach
Credit: MCPL on Facebook

At Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, N.Y., volunteers are yarn-bombing trees with thousands of crocheted circles created earlier in the year through the “Crochet It!” community project.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SSU Library, highlight of move back home

Exterior, Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center at Sonoma State University
Image credit: SSU Library

One of the highlights of our return to the Sonoma County area is the Sonoma State University Library. When I attended classes, the library was housed in the Ruben Salazar building — and it was easily one of the most significant places on the SSU campus for me.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

‘Schooled in Magic’ by Christopher G. Nuttall

Book cover, 'Schooled in Magic' by Christopher G. Nuttall. Beige-skinned, red-haired woman stands before an open book, gazing with a wondering expression at an orb of green light that is manifesting between the fingers of her hands. A hooded and robed figure stands behind her with a menacing expression on its face.
I’m a long-time enthusiast for fantasy, especially with female protagonists.

Schooled in Magic by Christopher G. Nuttall (Twilight Times Books, 2014) brings Emily, a girl from our modern world, into a world of magic, based on an interpretation by an evil sorcerer’s minions of a prophesied “Child of Destiny.”

Once arrived in this world, and rescued from the evil sorcerer by an enigmatic wizard named Void, Emily finds herself enrolled in a school for magicians.

An ongoing premise concerns the “modern” conveniences that Emily wishes she could have brought with her, including some ideas that she manages to introduce among this new world’s populace. These passages inspire taking a fresh look at conveniences often taken for granted.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

SRCS board to review ‘Summer School’ highlights

Among highlights of the Sept. 13 meeting of the Board of Trustees, Santa Rosa City Schools, is a summary of general data and highlights of Summer Extended Learning Programs.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

‘LearningExpress’ through Sonoma County Library

I wasn’t able to vote “Yes” for Measure Y in support of increased funding for Sonoma County Library; at the time I had not yet relocated back from Ashland, Oregon. But I encouraged area readers to cast their votes in support.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

FOSS Kits, special-delivery to SRCSA classrooms

Two-decker push cart, laden with two boxes in top compartment and one box in the bottom. The boxes are decorated with an all-over black and white marbling effect.

Active day for this “textbook librarian” at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, with a delivery of “Full Option Science System” Kits.The several-box Kits feature hands-on components for science education. I sorted boxes delivered from-district into complete sets and then delivered them to classrooms: two for second grade and two for sixth.

‘Asshole Survival Guide’ by Robert I. Sutton

Book cover, 'The Asshole Survival Guide, How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt.' Cover image depicts an antacid tablet fizzing in a glass of water, with other tablets arranged next to the glass.
Regular readers will know that I place ongoing importance upon the subject of bullying, which is not merely confined to childhood. Adults can be the targets and perpetrators too.

Since writing his book about “building civilized workplaces,” The No Asshole Rule, author Robert I. Sutton was besieged with questions by readers about what they should do to deal with abusive people at work. In The Asshole Survival Guide (Houghton Mifflin, September 2017), Sutton shares strategies and tips that he developed over the years.

Sutton cautions readers that there is no one strategy that will work for every type of jerk, nor easy and instant relief; his intention is for readers to decide for themselves, “which survival tricks and moves are best for navigating the particular ugliness you face.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Autism symbology: Puzzle connotations are negative

Blue puzzle piece with beveled edges, such as that used as a logo by Autism Speaks
A study finds that the puzzle-piece representation of autism creates associations that are overwhelmingly negative: “imperfection, incompletion, uncertainty, difficulty, the state of being unsolved, and, most poignantly, being missing” — all of which are regularly exploited by “Autism Speaks” propoganda.

The study asks, Is it time to ditch the puzzle piece as a symbol of autism?

In the authors’ words: “If an organization’s intention for using puzzle-piece imagery is to evoke negative associations, our results suggest the organization’s use of puzzle-piece imagery is apt. However, if the organization’s intention is to evoke positive associations, our results suggest that puzzle-piece imagery should probably be avoided.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

SRCSA: Cataloging textbooks

Laptop computer open to library-catalog listing of individual items associated with a title. Piles of barcoded textbooks are next to the laptop.

This librarian is mobile! At Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts this week, I began cataloging textbooks in our resource-management system. Portable set-up lets me bring my work after-school into classrooms, where I can create item records and then check items out to educators.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

RVUUF hires new developmental minister

Among my professional commitments, I serve as web content editor for Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ashland, Oregon. This morning I updated its website to reflect the recent hiring of Rev. Sean Parker Dennison as developmental minister for RVUUF. Welcome, Rev. Sean!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

JOANN’s ‘Cut Above’ customer-service award

Silver-colored scissors pin bearing the words 'A Cut Above' on its upper-blade and 'JAS' on its lower. The pin is attached to resist-dyed, patterned fabric in shades of blue, purple and black
I wear my newsboy hat out of resist-dyed fabric with my JOANN uniform
Recently earned “A Cut Above” award working as a Team Member at JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores. This silver scissors-pin is awarded for providing good customer service — and as this is something I strive to do in all of my professional relationships, it really means a lot to me, to have earned this recognition.

Back-to-school prep in SRCSA library

Finished out a busy week preparing for the new school year at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. By the end of my shift on Friday in SRCSA Library, I’d successfully located boxes of curriculum from a large go-through pile. I compared these resources against a check-list of items that had been requested by teachers. Then I loaded items onto a book-cart, and delivered them to classrooms. The “other side of the coin,” of course, is clearing away out-of-date items. With a book-truck and cart, I removed items from a classroom in preparation to send them back-to-district.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Escondido considering outsourced library management

For the San Diego Union Tribune, reporter J. Harry Jones relates that the Escondido Library Board of Trustees unanimously decided to recommend that the City Council not outsource library operations to Library Systems and Services.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bicycle in SRCSA library

My blue Specialized Sirrus Sport bicycle with yellow and multi-striped bicycle helmet clipped to the trunkbag, parked in front of cupboards and counter-tops in an office-type setting

Brought my bicycle to work with me on Wednesday in the library at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Once we’ve fully effected our move, this workplace scene will be a daily reality. I’ll be able to commute every day on foot, via public transportation, or on bicycle.

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

‘The Blue Girl’ by Charles de Lint

Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors, for his infusion of magic and fantasy into everyday modern cityscapes.

Having recently read and enjoyed The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, it was an unexpected treat to discover an uncorrected bound proof of The Blue Girl (Firebird, 2006) in my favorite second-hand bookstore.

This book is ideally positioned for inclusion in a Young Adult library collection. The protagonists, Imogene and Maxine, face bullying from the “popular” kids, plus having to deal with their growing independence while living under a parent’s rules.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sorting textbooks in SRCSA library

Stacked clear bins with white lids, containing miscellaneous items, along with books in stacks or upright inside lidless boxes covering a large table-top surface

I returned this week, for the new school year, to Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, where I work as a “textbook librarian.” (My official job title is “Instructional Materials Technician.”) Feels great to be at the renovated campus and in SRCSA Library, where I’m wading through math curriculum. I just feel so at-home when I am working in a library, and I’m grateful for this opportunity that allowed my family to return to northern California.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

‘In Real Life’ by Cory Doctorow

Anda, a teen girl who has just moved to a new school, is inspired to join a guild in a massive multiplayer role-playing game, at the invitation of the guild’s organizer, who came to speak to her high-school computer class.

A more experienced player soon invites Anda on missions with real-world earning potential: money will be deposited in her PayPal account if she kills “gold farmers” in the game.

At first, Anda is excited by the opportunity to earn easy money; she dispatches gold farmers, and has money to buy snacks for her Sci-Fi Club at school.

But Anda discovers that the gold farmers she is killing are not game-generated “bots,” but people who make a living under grueling conditions: during 12-hour shifts at computers, they direct their in-game avatars to collect artifacts. Their employer sells these resources to players who want to “level up” or acquire online possessions without putting in their own effort.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Xian Yeagan, arts council web master, dies

Head and shoulders view of Xian Yeagan wearing a straw hat and jacket against a backdrop of trees with a rock wall behind them
Source of image: Xian Yeagan’s Facebook timeline

Sad loss to the arts community in Lake County, Calif.: Xian Yeagan died at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, in San Francisco (according to posts on his Facebook timeline).

I knew Xian as an artist, and also worked with him through the Lake County Arts Council. He was its web editor, and I edited “ArtNotes,” the arts council’s quarterly members’ newsletter, from 2006 to 2010. I greatly valued his prolific contributions of photos and informative articles.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Diverse book collections begin with honest assessment

Image credit: The Children’s Chalice. Books showing diversity of language

In Olympia, Wash., a church’s director of religious education took an unflinching look with her students at how diverse the program’s book collection was — discovering that while they had many books showing people with diverse skin colors, there was still “a very tall pile of books” that only had white people in them, without “anywhere near enough books that feature diversity in ability, sexual orientation, or gender.” Honest assessments like this are a great starting place for determining whether every child in a library’s (or a classroom’s) population will find books that speak to their personal experiences and validate their cultural identities. My appreciation to “DRESara” for sharing this process with her readership.

‘Cat Zero’ by Jennifer L. Rohn

Cover image, 'Cat Zero' by Jennifer L. Rohn. Image depicts head of a white and gray-black-spotted cat, with concentric green circles centered on an axis superimposed over the cat's head. The green figures include longitude-latitude coordinate notations
I found Cat Zero by Jennifer L. Rohn (Biting Duck Press, January 2018) to be very suspenseful in its treatment of a virus outbreak, and could emotionally relate to the urgency of keeping the virus contained.

The story was well-done, with characters who seemed like real people, complete with preconceptions and biases that affected the work at-hand. I foresee this book especially appealing to people who like medical thrillers.

The best parts of the story, for me, were when Artie and the other researchers attempted to piece together information and solve the mystery of the virus, and I kept waiting for the moment when someone would connect the lethal virus affecting cats, to the contagion spreading among humans. (That link was depicted in the story’s opening pages, so I don’t think this insight is a spoiler.)

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.”

‘The Blue Cat of Castle Town’

Book, 'The Blue Cat of Castle Town' by Catherine Cate Coblentz. Image depicts a dark-blue cat with yellow eyes, against a light-blue background. Gray medallion on cover identifies the book as a Newbery Award Honor Book.
One of the consistent joys of my life is reading fantasy stories involving cats.

The Blue Cat of Castle Town is a delightful story by Catherine Cate Coblentz, illustrated by Janice Holland. Originally published in 1949 by the Countryman Press, it was released by Dover in 2017 as an unabridged reproduction.

Blue cats are born with a rare ability to learn the song of the river — and one such cat is born near a small town in Vermont, during the 19th Century.

The blue cat faces a unique challenge beyond those of ordinary cats. “Not only must the kitten who sings the river’s song find a hearth to fit that song, but he must teach the keeper of that hearth to sing the same song. ... For if the river’s song rise no longer from the hearthside, then it is said, the very days of the land itself are numbered.”

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trump’s speech to Boy Scouts ‘toxic beyond rhetoric’

Bullying takes on especially-high priority with a U.S. President in office who’s been dubbed “Bully in Chief.” One recent incident concerns interjection of “political rhetoric” by U.S. President Donald Trump into a speech that he delivered during Boy Scouts of America’s 20th National Jamboree. An invitation to the current president to visit has been a long-standing Jamboree tradition according to “ScoutingWire.”

Bullying: How far does parents’ influence extend?

Comic strip in three left-to-right panels. In the first panel, a caption reads,'Remembering ... a play-date that ended badly.' A man points at a little girl and tells her, 'You are NEVER allowed to play at my child's house again!' The second panel is a close-up of the man, with a hostile, sneering expression on his face. The caption reads, 'I don't remember WHY he acted this way toward me ... but I can't help but wonder.' The third panel is a close-up of the girl. The caption reads, 'How far did his influence spread: From his child to other children at my school who rejected me?'
Comic strip created with Pixton online interface

In The No Asshole Rule, a book about workplace bullying (Warner Business Books, 2007), Robert I. Sutton discusses research by Dan Olweus into bullying among children in Norway, which included long-term, follow-up studies of bullies and their victims.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Library resources aid in fight against bullying

Among member libraries, the summer-reading theme this year for the Collaborative Summer Library Program was “Building a Better World.” In Scottsbluff, Neb., the Gering and Lied Scottsbluff Public Libraries wrapped up their summer reading programs with a bullying-prevention presentation by ventriloquist Kevin Horner.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bullying: Young age comes as no surprise

Close-up of Cynthia M. Parkhill, wearing a yellow-crocheted hat with a 'No Bully' pin, the word 'Bully' in black letters on yellow with a red circle and red-line diagonal strike-through
My ‘No Bully’ mugshot
In a piece for the Wall Street Journal (summarized by A Mighty Girl), Laura Barbour observes that children as young as 2 1/2 engage in relational aggression.

That is, they deliberately shun or withhold friendship in order to punish another child.

This revelation came as zero-surprise to me, as I was a school-wide outcast. I remember my first day of kindergarten at Calistoga Elementary; I felt completely awkward and alone, like an absolute alien — a visitor marooned on an unfamiliar planet with no guidelines to relate to its inhabitants.

This feeling of separation continued through my time at Calistoga Junior-Senior High. If friendship was offered to me, I had difficulty recognizing it; I have too-vivid memories of playground taunts, of being shoved in hallways, and of being told by one classmate that she would only be my friend in-secret, when no one else was around.

I could only react with suspicion when classmates showed interest in me — for example, inviting me to talk about a subject I cared about. I was convinced they were only doing it, so they could laugh about it behind my back.

With its summary of Laura Barbour’s article, A Mighty Girl recommends several excellent books about bullying; some (by Tracy Ludwig) were already familiar to me, but I look forward to reading some of the others through my crusade to speak out against bullying.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Yarn Bombing: ‘Maker Day’ at Bill Library

Artisans, crafters and hobbyists demostrated their skills during a Maker Day event at the Bill Library, Saturday, July 22, in Ledyard, Conn. The library started its maker program about two years ago and holds monthly hands-on classes.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sandra Wade, former poet laureate, dies

From 2006: Sandra Wade (center) inaugurated as Lake County Poet Laureate

Sandra Wade, a former Poet Laureate of Lake County, Calif., died Tuesday, July 18. Sandra was a staunch advocate for local culture as Lake County Poet Laureate, so supportive and nurturing of other Lake County writers. I always enjoyed learning about the different places she’d gone to read and represent Lake County to a broader artistic community.

The photo above is from the Summer 2006 ArtNotes, a quarterly newsletter of the Lake County Arts Council. Photographed by Xian Yeagan, the image shows Sandra, center, being inaugurated as Lake County Poet Laureate for 2006-2008. Flanking her are finalists Janet Riehl, left, and Fran Ransley, right.

Sandra’s obituary, published in the Lake County Record-Bee, relates:

“Former poet laureate of Lake County and local radio show host, Sandra Wade, passed away Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Sandra had returned to her native England where she lived in Halisham. She was surrounded by her loving family. She enriched the lives of many with her work as a massage therapist, a yoga teacher and a weaver of words. She is greatly missed.”

‘From Bully to Bull’s Eye’ by Andrew Faas

Book cover, 'From Bully to Bull's Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire' by Andrew Faas. Image depicts a seated man, his head pressed between his knees and his hands grasping the top of his head, with concentric-circle bull's-eye outlines superimposed on top of him
Many people, according to Andrew Faas, relate the word “bullying” to what happens in schools; they don’t associate workplace behaviors with bullying until, Faas says, he describes the dynamics of bullying with words like “abuse,” “coercion,” “exploitation,” “extortion,” “harassment,” and “threats.”

In From Bully to Bull’s Eye (RCJ Press, 2016), Faas argues that workplace bullying extends beyond an incident or conflict between a bully and target at work. According to Faas, “entire workplace cultures in many organizations are built on foundational principles that guarantee a toxic environment for all, not just a few select victims of particularly vitriolic harassment.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Medford ‘Friends’ giant book-clearance event

Southern Oregon readers, note: Friends of the Medford Library​ is holding a “giant” book-clearance event, its “largest event ever,” noon to 4 p.m. Friday, July 28, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at the central library in Medford, Jackson County Library Services - Oregon​. The latest “Friends” newsletter features details of this event, as well as other news of interest. During the “sale,” you can take whatever — and however many — books you like, and leave a donation of your choice. Three rooms of books will include large selections of science fiction, fiction and other categories, including record albums and other audio/visual materials.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Starfire has shared our home for six years


Six years ago, our precious cat Starfire joined our household. Every day since then, she has been a perpetual delight.

Jonathan brought Starfire home on July 15, 2011. Here she is, peering out from beneath a dresser during her first night at home with us.

Starfire’s name evokes her color, which is nearly all black. She has white “stars” on her chest and belly. On her right hind foot, Starfire has a broken or deformed toe and she limps on hard ground or during cold weather. Her personality is full of zeal for exploration and play.

Starfire joined us shortly after the death of our 13-year-old cat Elizabeth. Starfire had been fending for herself after her former caregiver suffered a severe stroke.

Her arrival in our home was a case of us needing her as badly as she needed us. The place felt lonely without the presence of a cat and Starfire was in need of a caregiver.

Once over the stress of an unfamiliar environment, Starfire brought so much life and energy to our home; she continues to bless us daily.

Interim director at Sonoma County Library

Tracy Gray has been named interim director at Sonoma County Library. Gray, formerly manager of SCL’s Central Library, has been serving as acting director since the departure of Brett Lear in May (via Christi Warren, Press Democrat).

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

‘Bicycling Rules of the Road’

Book cover, 'Bicycling Rules of the Road' by Kelly Pulley. Image depicts boy in helmet on his bicycle, shown from the rear view, paused in a roadway next to a stop sign. The boy's head is turned right, looking down a side street that intersects the road he is on. The road is lined with green landscaping, a single blue house and trees. A dog stands in the road next to the boy, looking ahead.
Devin's mother gives him rules for safely riding his bicycle, but once on his bike, he tries but fails to remember what he should and should not do.

He agrees to give his friend Betsy a ride on his handlebars — with immediate loss of visibility and bicycle maneuverability.

Things go from bad to worse as, one by one, Devin acts counter to another bicycling safety rule and soon an entire basketball team, their goat mascot and a rescued cat are all precariously balanced with him and Betsy on his bicycle.

Kelly Pulley relates an entertaining story that carries a serious message in Bicycling Rules of the Road (Schiffer Publishing, November 2017). Brightly colored illustrations, rhyming text and humorous storyline make this book ideal when reinforcing for children, the importance of safely riding a bicycle.

The rules can all be found in a note to Devin from his mother, making them easy to reference and reinforce with children when reading the story aloud. Nothing is ambiguous; each choice by Devin has a consequence and the text makes cause-and-effect clear.

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.”

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Friday, June 30, 2017

‘Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard’

Among books I’m reading, The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan is the second in his series featuring heroes and gods of Norse mythology, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.

Like Riordan’s series that center around Egyptian and Greek and Roman mythology, Magnus Chase combines trademark action with wry first-person storytelling.

The protagonist, Magnus, was a seemingly ordinary teen, who was living homeless at the time of the series’ opening.

Magnus died early in the series’ first book, but he was transported to Valhalla by a Valkyrie, Samirah al-Abbas. The Valkyries gather the souls of people who have died a hero’s death, and Samirah’s judgement was critically challenged on the basis of her choosing Magnus.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

SRCSA library, books and shelves moved-in

Source of image: SRCSA Library on Facebook

Posts to Facebook by Library Technician Shannon Williams afford glimpses of the library at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts (SRCSA) — of interest to me as my eventual work-site as Instructional Materials Technician, as well as through my “geekishness” for libraries.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friends of the Santa Rosa Libraries, summer sale

Cynthia M. Parkhill, holding a book in her right arm, looks over a sale table of other books. A sign displayed above the table of books designates their category as 'Literature.'
Spring 2017 Book Sale, Friends of the Santa Rosa Libraries

I have long donated special outreach efforts for “Friends of the Library” book-sale events and this weekend, Friends of the Santa Rosa Libraries is hosting its summer sale in the Forum Room at Sonoma County Library’s Central Library.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Library customer-service priorities reflected in posts to RVUUF blog

Black-and-white image of people browsing and reading in bookstore
Image credit: inSpirit/UU Book and Gift Shop

I’ve left Ashland, Oregon, but continue to work as web content editor for Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Recent posts to the RVUUF blog are aligned with my passion for library customer-service; they draw attention to informational resources that enhance the church community.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Yarn-storm commemorates ‘Friends’ group anniversary

Close-up view of hands cutting thread on piece of crochet that has been stitched around the handle of a library book-drop. The words 'Yarn Bombing at Your Library' have been superimposed on the image.
In Orange, Conn.: Case Memorial Library was “yarn stormed” with a colorful, hands-on, knitted and crocheted exhibit depicting the four seasons, in the library’s second-floor rotunda.

As reported and photographed by Pam McLoughlin for the New Haven Register, the exhibit — created by Friends of the Case Memorial Library — “has visitors talking, touching, teaching and marveling at the uniqueness and detail.”

The Friends group installed the exhibit in May, to celebrate the group’s 25th anniversary. “The exhibit was originally slated to stay up through June, but Library Director Meryl Farber loved it so much she requested to keep it up at least until November. Farber said, in her book, it can stay up forever.”

Posted to Yarn Bombing at Your Library on Facebook

‘Whose reviews’ influence libraries’ purchasing decisions?

When library staff utilize reviews to determine books’ suitability, “whose voices are privileged and whose go unheard” among the reviews that they read? At Reading While White, Megan Schliesman addresses concern about library collection-development policies that emphasize “professional” reviews. Schliesman argues that professional review journals lean toward “traditional” publishing, which in turn has a bias toward “whiteness” in children’s and young adult literature. She highlights sources of critical discourse beyond the traditional outlets, which can help to foster the diversity of viewpoints that a library will ideally strive for.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

El desayuno y el almuerzo gratis para niños este verano

(In Spanish)
Vía Santa Rosa escuelas de la ciudad: ​Los niños, 18 años y menores, comen el desayuno y el almuerzo gratis este verano.

(En inglés)
Via Santa Rosa City Schools: Children, ages 18 and younger, eat free breakfast and lunch this summer.

Summer ‘Lunch at the Library’


For the third year in a row, Sonoma County Library (SCL) will host free meals for youth this summer, every weekday at six library locations.

Summer reading at Sonoma County Library

Infographic showing that access to books during the summer prevents loss of reading skills among students. The caption proclaims, 'Kids Who Read Beat Summer Slide. Studies show that access to books during the summer prevents a drastic loss in reading skill - especially for kids in need.' Three figures of children are shown on the left of the graphic, with angled lines representing their gain or loss of reading ability as measured by reading test scores: a gain of 24.15 among students from low-income households with access to books, a gain of 15.51 among students from high-income households with access to books and a loss of 9.77 among students from low-income households without access to books.
Image source: First Book. Used with permission
Early-childhood and school-age BINGO cards are available at Sonoma County Library as part of this year’s Summer Reading program.

By reading a minimum of six books over the summer, children are being encouraged to defeat “Summer Slide,” that drop in students’ abilities in reading and math when they don’t engage in educational activities.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Brother sewing machine


What an amazing gift! One of my colleagues at Bellview school gave me a Brother sewing machine as a goodbye present. The timing was perfect, as I’d just disposed of two machines no longer fit for service.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Plenty of school spirit with this newsboy hat


I managed to create one final hat before packing up my sewing supplies for the move back to northern California. With the black-and-white brocade patterning of its brim and quartered panels, this newsboy hat is just the thing to wear with the school colors for Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. And as is often the case with my unique constructions, this hat is entirely assembled from repurposed garments. The patterned pieces come from a thrift-store jacket. The green solid was repurposed from a man's work shirt and the blue comes from a skirt.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Volunteer library-book courier

Walked downtown to return a book after work, to the Sonoma County Library. The book had been in Lost-and-Found at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

I regularly brought back public-library books when I worked in Bellview Elementary School library. I also retrieved books brought in error to the public library. With both systems automated and relying on book barcoding, the chief difference was a matter of barcode placement when telling each system's books apart.

My one request to patrons was to tell me right away, without embarrassment, if a book was brought to the wrong library.

As part of my ongoing customer-service commitment to the people who rely on our libraries, I gladly volunteer to take on the role of school-to-library courier.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts

Logo for Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Image depicts two narwhals shown in profile with crossed horns
SRCSA’s ‘Narwhal’ logo
On May 12, 2017, I began work at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Its mission is to provide K-8 students from Santa Rosa, California and beyond with “an innovative, high quality education that focuses on the arts through a challenging, integrated, standards-based academic program.”

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tarjeta de la biblioteca del condado de Sonoma

Mi tarjeta de la biblioteca del condado de Sonoma
(In Spanish)
Tengo una tarjeta de la biblioteca del condado de Sonoma. Puedo usar la tarjeta en cualquier biblioteca de la condado. Puedo pedir libros en el catálogo automatizado y tenerlos en la biblioteca para mí, y puedo descargar libros digitales.

(En inglés)
I have a Sonoma County Library card. I can use the card at any county library. I can request books in the automated catalog and have them held at the library for me, and I can download digital books.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Last day of work in Bellview library


This assortment of cards make wonderful keepsakes for my time in Bellview Elementary School library. During my final day at work, groups of students, individuals and classes, gave me these beautiful hand-made cards. Many of them depict scenes in the library: reading, finding and checking out books, while hand-written notes address what I hope have been positive contributions. School staff also signed a copy of teacher-librarian Matt Damon's book, The Fall of General Custard, or, The Overthrow of a Leftover. I will bring wonderful memories with me to the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lear resigns as Sonoma County Library director

Brett Lear announced Monday he is stepping down as director of Sonoma County Library. For the Press Democrat, Derek Moore relates: Lear's notice came on the same day the library was celebrating the reopening of branches on Mondays.

Sonoma County Libraries to reopen Mondays

I’ll arrive back in Santa Rosa just in time to be able to go on Mondays to Sonoma County Library. Thanks to Measure Y, libraries across the system will be open again on Mondays for the first time in six years (as reported by Christi Warren for the Press Democrat).

Monday, May 1, 2017

Oregon Reader’s Choice Award winner is El Deafo

Winning titles in the 2017 Oregon Reader’s Choice Award were announced during the Oregon Library Association/Oregon Association of School Libraries conference in Salem.

I’ve promoted reader’s choice awards every year that I have been in Bellview Elementary School library, and wanted to report this final election result before leaving to begin my new position.

In the upper-elementary category, the winner was El Deafo by Cece Bell. Here’s the publisher’s summary for a book I read and enjoyed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts

I’ve accepted an offer of employment at the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts in Sonoma County, Calif. I’m intrigued by the emphasis on the arts at this charter school, having devoted much professional effort toward advocating for the arts.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bellview library reshelving project

Book range, made up of sections of shelving in Bellview library

Among my efforts to provide outstanding service to customers in Bellview library, I recently completed a major reshelving project amidst the library’s daily routines.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sonoma County, Calif.: Seeking professional opportunities

I have significant news to share with network contacts. My family is in the process of relocating to Sonoma County, Calif., and today I submitted the “Intent to Return” document that, in this case, communicates that I will not return this fall to Bellview Elementary School.

Quinny & Hopper wins Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award

Results are in: Quinny & Hopper by Adriana Brad Schanen is the 2017 winner of the Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award, and was also top vote-getter among Bellview Elementary School students.

The Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award (BCCCA) is sponsored by the Oregon Association of School Libraries (OASL), formerly the Oregon Educational Media Association (OEMA). The award is named in honor of Beverly Cleary, the Oregon-born children’s book author.

According to a description on the BCCCA website, children of all ages vote each spring for their favorite title from the list of nominated books. Nominations include books targeted to the reading ability of second- and third-graders or transitional readers.

The idea behind the BCCCA began in the summer of 2001 when Jann Tankersley invited some OEMA friends to discuss the possibilities of creating a children’s choice award. Tankersley is a long-time OASL member and library teacher at Dayton Elementary School.

The group of friends decided to name the award after Beverly Cleary, who wrote for the age group that was being targeted. With Cleary’s permission, the award was created.

Suggestions are currently being accepted for the next award cycle.

Nominated books can be fiction or informational, but should be quality literature, published three years prior to the nomination year, and at a second-grade or third-grade reading level (taking into account vocabulary, graphic support and physical layout of the books).

The purpose of the contest is to encourage reading of books that students may not otherwise find on their own and are not necessarily the popular best sellers. Please send ideas to BCCCA Chair Libby Hamler-Dupras, at elfgirl@Q.com.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rogue Commute Challenge: will Ashland schools win again?

Photo-montage clipart of people traveling. Left to right, two women standing in front of a car, a helmeted woman pedaling a bicycle, a woman walking while carrying a shoulder bag and a man with shoulder bag standing at the entrance to a bus
Image credit: Rogue Commute Challenge

In Ashland School District (ASD), the Health Promotions Committee is getting ready for the Rogue Commute Challenge, a competition among teams to log the most miles by bicycling, walking, carpooling, etc. -- any trip taken by not driving a car alone.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Presentation: Navigating to RVUUF Board Minutes landing page

Screen capture, RVUUF home page

As readers may know, I serve in many professional capacities: including part-time work as Web Content Editor for Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

From time to time my work involves presentations to the public, and Thursday evening I gave an overview on how to navigate from the church’s WordPress site to the landing page for archived Board Minutes.

Friday, April 7, 2017

What was role of ‘culture fit’ in church’s hiring controversy?

Three senior-level staff have resigned from a religious denomination, following an outcry over its hiring practices and a lack of diversity among its senior leadership.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Schools recognized as Bicycle Friendly Businesses

Among the League of American Bicyclists’ latest round of “Bicycle Friendly Business” awardees, two elementary schools are the first to successfully apply. They are Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington, Va (a new Silver BFB) and Oceano Elementary School in Oceano, Calif. (a new Gold). As someone who hopes to model bicycle-commuting to the children I come in contact with, I share pride for these schools’ accomplishments. I hope that many more schools (and businesses) follow their example.

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Monday, April 3, 2017

Kiwanis Club purchases books for Bellview library

Books standing upright on library counter, various titles in the Oregon Reader's Choice Awards: 'Under the Egg' by Laura Marx Fitzgerald, 'Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle' by George Hagin, 'By the Grace of Todd' by Louise Galveston and 'The Madman of Piney Woods' by Christopher Paul Curtis. Lying face-up on counter in front of them are Patricia Gallagher Picture Book Award nominees: 'A Rock is Lively' by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long, 'Dolphin Baby!' by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Brita Granström, and 'On a Beam of Light' by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky; and Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award nominees: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass, Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord and 'Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door' by Hilary McKay

To punctuate Ashland schools’ return from spring break, here’s an “attitude of gratitude.” The books shown here -- nominees in various “reader’s choice” awards that Oregon students can vote on -- were purchased for Bellview Elementary School library using money that was donated by the Kiwanis Club of Ashland, Oregon. Local groups and volunteers enrich our schools so much, and I am deeply appreciative.