Friday, January 30, 2009

PW Children's Bookshelf

Children's Bookshelf from Publisher's Weekly posted interviews with 2009 Caldecott Award Winner artist Beth Krommes and 2009 Newbery Award Winner author Neil Gaiman.

"During her 10-year career in children’s books, Krommes has received several awards for her artwork, including the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Houghton, 2001), the ASPCA Henry Bergh Award for Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman (Houghton, 2006), as well as a number of Best Book and ALA Notable commendations. But she never expected this. “I don’t think I’ve really taken it in,” she said. “I feel like a newcomer to the industry. I trained as a fine artist, and I never thought I’d be here doing this.” -- John A. Sellers, 1/29/09

"When asked how it felt to become the new Miss America of children’s literature, since the Newbery Medal comes with quite a good deal of responsibilities, invitations, and appearances, Gaiman laughed. “There is definitely this sense of responsibility, the sort of thing where I keep thinking I really mustn’t rob a bank this year. The news headline would inevitably be "Newbery Winner Robs Bank." I have to say away from Ponzi schemes too,” he added. “Though, to be honest, none of this has even started to sink in yet.” - Donna Freitas, 1/29/09

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Newbery Award

The ALA Youth Media Awards were announced yesterday at the ALA Midwinter Meetings in Denver. Interest is always high for featured awards the Caldecott and Newbery Medals and yesterday was no exception. This year there were technological resources abound as ALA's web site had a live web cast defaulting on the main page, the winners simulcast on Twitter and later posted results on Facebook; all before the official press release. At home with my personal dial-up relic, I had the best luck with Twitter and Facebook.

Most of the chatter today seems centered on the Newbery selection. I am pleased to report we have the title in our collection, I even remember seeing it go through technical services. Unfortunately, my web work during the summer and fall derailed my lunch-time reading. While I remember seeing the book (it's blue), I have not yet had opportunity to read it so I am only able to report (no comments). Our cataloging librarian, a fantasy aficionado, both read and enjoyed.

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book was selected as the 2009 Newbery Medal Award winner.

A delicious mix of murder, fantasy, humor and human longing, the tale of Nobody Owens is told in magical, haunting prose. A child marked for death by an ancient league of assassins escapes into an abandoned graveyard, where he is reared and protected by its spirit denizens.

"A child named Nobody, an assassin, a graveyard and the dead are the perfect combination in this deliciously creepy tale, which is sometimes humorous, sometimes haunting and sometimes surprising," said Newbery Committee Chair Rose V. TreviƱo. - ALA Newbery Medal Site, 1/26/09

As I was reading various news stories on the announcement, my favorite is Gaimans Blog entry from yesterday morning: Insert Amazed and Delighted Swearing Here. For more news and announcements:

A quick check shows ten libraries in OhioLINK currently have 59 copies of this book; in each instance it is due, on hold, in transit, or being held. Part of that is a testament to the popularity among readers for Gaiman's work, the rest is an indication of the power of the Newbery. Our second copy is on order and a hold has been placed on the copy currently a week overdue somewhere on campus.

Friday, January 23, 2009

ACRL Poster Session

Sara Klink, Kathryn Venditti, and I will be presenting a poster on LibGuides at ACRL in Seattle ... very soon. Our poster presentation, Guides to Go: Using LibGuides to Deliver Information, is scheduled for Saturday from 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM. With the hard part behind us, actually being accepted to present, we are now concentrating on creating the poster.

We recently received an email with poster size details; they are 4 feet high by 8 feet wide, as well as guidelines for preparing the presentation. Much of what is detailed is common sense, including specifications for font and heading sizing. Armed with content and guidelines, the most difficult decision we have to make at this point is the layout of our poster. Ashland has a quality printing service that does a great job with professional projects of this nature. However, a phone call to reveals their printer will accommodate items up to 38 inches wide; posters are to be 48 inches. The first of many meetings on Wednesday resulted in narrowing our configuration options.

Option one:
Two 8 foot sections, one 3 foot high with a 1 foot header

Option two:
Two 2 1/2 foot sections and a 3 foot section 4 foot high.

Both options have inherent pros and cons for display and preparation purposes, especially taking into consideration the collaborative nature of the project. Option one allows for the header to be highlighted and a more seamless poster, option two will be automatically the correct height and theoretically provide each of us a section and both options will present a minor challenge affixing the poster to the board. As we consider the possibilities, both options have been created in Publisher and saved on a network drive. We can work both individually and collaboratively; with a healthy dose of brainstorming added to the mix I have high hopes for the end product.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Not so early birds

Did you register? Are you going to ACRL in Seattle? Along with many fellow ACRL members, I waited until last Friday to register for the 14th National Conference and take advantage of the $70 early bird pricing. Though a not-so-early-bird, registration was a breeze and even remembered to select volunteer and the All Conference Reception on my form. Thanks to my conference and flight buddy, fellow Library Cloud contributor Betsy, I already had a hotel reservation; a big change from ALA when I never seem to register soon enough to book a hotel room through the conference site. All that remained were our airline reservations from Columbus to Seattle, in my experience something that though usually costly is mostly a straightforward process. At least it was until this time.

I began with the usual suspects, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and AAA. It soon became apparent I was not to only late-bird who registered and began pursuing the airlines. Flights were available, but had only single seats remaining or were exorbitant in price ($450+) and flight time (upwards of 10 hours & some overnight). After twice selecting a flight only to receive a message indicating the price had increased between the time I first viewed it and clicked "select," something I have never seen before (false advertising?), I determined availability and demand were in fine form and abandoned my quest for the afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon I returned to the scene of the crime garnering the same results. A few more options, but most included flights via Georgia with extensive lay-overs. I finally went directly to the airlines and with Continental was able to book a reasonably priced trip with timely departures and limited layovers. Since our flight was verified later Tuesday afternoon, I can now say I am attending the ACRL conference, will not have to walk to get there, and will have somewhere to lay my head after a day full of conference activities.

Now, all I have to do is finish working with my poster session partners designing our LibGuides poster presentation. It's our first at ACRL and we are very excited!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

If it's not one thing

Technology is great, technology allows us to reach users/patrons/students both in-house and over distances with regularity, technology facilitates classrooms around the globe, and most importantly technology is not infallible. I do not mean simple, or even complex, user error which happens. I do mean the times when severs are down, systems hiccup, and software updates to make things better make them, well, temporarily worse. That doesn't mean my love affair with technology is over; it does mean the relationship is complicated at times.

The library and resource center use Meebo chat/IM services on the library web site, IRC web site, and within many of our LibGuides (See Children's Literature Resources). All are strategically placed to allow patrons the opportunity to choose this mode of communication if they desire. This morning Meebo mysteriously went off-line for several hours. There are so many other ways to get help from a librarian that waiting for the problems to be resolved was only a minor inconvenience. Interestingly enough, the Meebo Blog post updating users was dated Tuesday and our service had been working all week.

We have been using LibGuides at AU since late summer. I am a BIG fan of the content management system and, along with other librarians on staff, have worked to create several education guides for a wide variety of topics. In fact, three AU librarians, me included, will be presenting a poster session at ACRL in Seattle, Washington and a session at the 2009 Learning, Libraries, and Technology Conference in Columbus in March. Since LibGuides has instituted updates the end of last year, there have been a few technology glitches to overcome. We have had issues with guides not displaying in IE (fixed for users, but still a problem with administrators), tags and the tag cloud functioning improperly, and our library header style sheet continues to not function within the LibGuide environment. Customer service is great at LibGuides and I am confident these problems will be resolved. But they are part and parcel with using web 2.0 technology.

This week was fraught with course management system "glitches." I am teaching two educational technology courses using Angel, both had serious glitches to start the week. Last week I set target dates to start (ie open to students) on Friday morning. Monday morning a quiz for one class and several discussion boards for another mysteriously set themselves back to the fall semester dates rendering them unavailable to students. Luckily, eagle-eyed students brought them to my attention and it was something that could be easily fixed. While I feel it is imperative when working with an online course the technology work the first time, part of using the technology is being able to trouble-shoot when things go wrong; because they will.

Before lunch I began editing a Content Cafe screen capture video created to highlight it's capabilities to students. I need to insert a few finishing touches before producing it for use. Ultimately, it will be posted on one the Book Reviews section of my Children's Literature LibGuide. I have registered for a Springshare webinar this afternoon and am looking forward to the session. As with any complicated relationship, there is always more to learn.

Friday, January 09, 2009

ACRL Web Survey

ACRL is redesigning their web site, conforming to the new ALA template. A second call for member opinions is being sought via a web survey:

Dear ACRL Member,

We are redesigning the ACRL web site and need your opinions to inform our work. If you have not yet completed the web survey (available at
), please take our 10-minute survey by 4:30 p.m. CDT, Friday, January 16, 2009.

We thank you for your time and appreciate your opinion regarding the proposed ACRL web site changes (viewable at

Jon Stahler, Web Services Manager
Association of College and Research Libraries

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Like Diane, I enjoyed escaping the workplace as much as possible over the holiday. I admit it was very difficult to return on Monday, especially with the weather turning so yucky so quickly the last two days.

Ever feel like you have nothing to say? I've felt that way recently; hence I have not posted for awhile. Maybe the holiday season had me down a little.

Anyway, I resolve to post more often and so today, I noticed that Booklist has published their Editor's Choice for 2008 lists nicely divided into categories: Adult Books, Books for Youth, Adult Books for Young Adults, Media and Reference Sources. So check them out and fill those wintery nights with some cool titles to read. A fuzzy blanket, fuzzy slippers, a warm drink and a good book ... what a combo!!!

I actually got to read the book Dewey over the holiday. What a cat! And kudos to the library and director for recogizing the special qualities of him. He lived for 19 years and embued the public library with a wonderful sense of purpose and community.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A great philosophy

A two-week holiday hiatus from work results in a backlog of necessary tasks and duties well beyond email (220+), blog feeds (1300+), blog posts, and library web site updates. Yesterday was devoted to scheduling graduate assistants and student workers for the spring semester in the IRC and making preparations necessary to begin the semester smoothly (including new stacks signage and update the wall collage).

Today, I've whittled the pile of journals perched in my mailbox down to two, the December 15, 2008 issue of Booklist and the December 2008 issue of School Library Journal. Since both of these are fun, I get to order juvenile books and the SLJ TechKnowledge sections never fail to have a great idea or two, in fact the December issue highlights Ohio Opens Schoolrooms, it is pretty much win-win for me.

But, I digress.

Taking Care of Business, an article by Christopher Harris, discusses how collection development policies and plans may help inform people what libraries have to offer students. What caught my attention was the accompanying photograph of Tracey Reed, a librarian at Clearwater Public Library, featuring a great sign:

Bother Me!
I'm here to help you ...

Bravo! Everyone is busy, but we are here to help.

Interested in the photograph? Use Academic Search Complete, or any other database that features SJL, the article is available in full text html and pdf with picture. Unfortunately, it is not available on the SLJ website.

SPARC Open Access Newsletter (January)

The January issue (#129) of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter is now available online. Topics in this issue include:

Monday, January 05, 2009

A New Year with 99 Things

I am not a big fan of email forwards or blog meme's, but this one from Walt at Random (though he refer's to it as a blogchain) via Ruminations caught my attention and is an interesting way to start the new year.

The 99 Things Meme

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
Several, it's fun.

2. Slept under the stars.
Camping when I was a child, it's fabulous.

3. Played in a band.
A serious band geek ... I played several instruments, but not always well.

4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland/world.
I was in Disney World the first year it opened, again as a senior in high school when our band marched down Main Street (very cool), and once more as a grown-up. I love amusement parks, so I can't say which was best. Last summer I had dinner in Disneyland while at ALA.

8. Climbed a mountain.

9. Held a praying mantis.
Lot's of fun with the neighborhood kids.

10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight.
... on more than one on those camping trips.

22. Hitch hiked (not going to happen).

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
More of a mental health day ... sometimes I miss those college days.

24. Built a snow fort.
Though it was more of an igloo, it took forever and I had help.

25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
Especially beautiful over the ocean.

31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
An awesome sight, from either side of the border.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.

35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
During summer and winter, it's somehow more peaceful during the winter.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.
Ties in with #78 broken bone, I have never been particularly graceful

47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistene chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
We used to go as kids in the back of the family station wagon.

55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
Many, many, girl scout cookies ... once we were the pick-up house for cookies.

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
The best reason to get flowers is for no reason at all.

64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving (why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a cheque.
68. Flown in a helicopter.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
I had a doll named Velvet, if you pushed her belly-button you could "grow" her hair. She had a knob at her back that pulled the hair back inside. My grandmother used to make her clothes.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
Several times, including a seventh grade trip to Washington, DC.

71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.

77. Broken a bone.
Several, many, whatever word is more appropriate (sigh).

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.

82. Bought a brand new car.
Once, many moons ago, and I drove it until the engine fell out. Loved that car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House.
On those same family vacations mentioned previously (back when you were allowed inside).

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.

88. Had chickenpox.
Along with my sisters.

89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous.
I met author Susan Elizabeth Phillips at ALA last summer, she was very gracious.

92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby.

95. Seen the Alamo in person.
Traveling with family and - wait for it - at ALA midwinter several years ago.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.

98. Owned a cell phone.
Still own, though it's not my favorite toy.

99. Been stung by a bee.