Thursday, 31 December 2009

A Reading Challenge for the New Year

I'm starting my first reading challenge, thanks to my friend Colleen's posting about J. Kaye's Book Blog. The gist is to read 100 books starting on January 1, 2010 until December 31, 2010 (check out the site for all the details). I've been devouring books anyway this year, so why not jump into a challenge?

The idea of recording all the books one reads makes me think of my very treasured book journals. For many years--15 to be exact--I have kept a journal of every book I have read. I write down passages that spoke to me and how I felt about the book at the time. When I finish a new book, I love to go back and read what I wrote about other books. A dear friend who was my inspiration to be a librarian started hers in 1975 (!) and looking through hers made me want to start my own. Of course, I always look to see how many books I read a year, but it's never been a challenge before. I've also never made it to 100 prior to adding kid lit to the pot, but I love the idea!

I'm thinking of modifying it a bit for kids at school and seeing if any of them want to join. Say 40 books? I'll invite teachers to participate as well. I know you'll be game, Chrissy!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Reading Over the Vaca

I have a gorgeous pile of books (how I love how they look all piled up...) ready to be read over the upcoming vacation. When I organized the pile last night to take a picture, I realized that all but one book are recommendations from either kids or teachers. There is such power in having kids put a book on my desk and tell me I have to read it.

I'm a bit late in doing this, but I posted my picture of the books this morning on the last day before break, encouraging kids to take a picture of their own reading pile over the break. If there are enough photos, I'd love to make a Voicethread of them. If not, I'll put them up on a bulletin board outside the Hub.

Next year, I'll definitely do this before the last day when things are crazy. But I still see kids gathered around the door looking at the picture, which is making me smile.

Happy Reading! p.s. I'm always open to recommendations...

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Twitter, Take Two

It took me so long to fully digest the benefits of Twitter. At first, it was hard for me to sift through all the tweets and make sense of what was pertinent to my own learning. So I took a break from it and thought it was simply a tool that wasn't for me.

Enter the lovely Lesley Edwards who oh-so-gently posted about the benefits of Twitter every now and then (smart move to not just do it once, Lesley!), which was just enough to get me thinking about diving back in.

And dive back in I have, and I can now truly say that I am loving Twitter. Why the change? Well, I've narrowed down my field of who I follow to librarians and tech teachers and just a few extras for good measure. In essence, now I'm learning from the people I wish were in the same room as me many times. It feels a bit like that feeling of sitting across from someone while working and one of you says, "Wow! you should check this out. Let me send you the link." Whether you choose to tweet or just be a lurker on Twitter, there is enough great stuff being shared out there that it's worth the leap.

One more reason Twitter is better for me is having a Tweetdeck. This is a site that arranges the new tweets to come up all the time on your computer screen (kind of like a ping for an email) so I'm not actually going to the twitter website.

And if there is anyone wanting to get Twitter a try, I found this little nugget on Twitter today from Librareanne out of Tokyo: a list of librarians on Twitter. I just added a bunch to my account. Plus, you can't beat how cute the Twitter bird is. I've added a "Follow Me" button on the side. Jump on in the Twitter pool!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Lighter Side of Weeding

Get ready to bust a gut on this one! I was recently turned onto a hilarious blog called Awful Library Books, which is a list of archaic and hilarious titles found by librarians while weeding books. These two ladies, Mary and Holly, give librarians such a good rep as being funny and witty while doing the somewhat tedious task of weeding.

This year, I have added something new to my own weeding. To help deepen teacher's understanding of the process, I wrote up a detailed and lighthearted rationale of why I weed and how hard it really is for me to get rid of some books. My hope is that it helped a bit.

I came across this gem from a pile of donated books. Printed in 1985 and still in pristine condition, Read About Computers seemed a perfect choice to submit to the Awful Library Books website. Even if it's not chosen, it cracked me up.

It's worthy of a mention that this book was donated to a center for children in downtown Bangkok where I was working. I find it so strange that a book so old could not just be thrown away. Do poor people not need current reading material? I'm just saying...

Ok, that last part was worth digging through all the dusty boxes of donated books. I was in my junior year of high school when this book was published. Egads!