Archive for category Reading
Readers advisory in my school this year, and last year too, has been all about finding books which are similar in style, or substance to The Hunger Games. I’m really feeling like I could move on from reading this type of book myself but my students are clearly not ready for that yet. So, as I firmly believe it is my job to keep up with what they want and not foist what I think they should want onto them, I am delighted that the Lawrence Public Library of Kansas in the USA, has done me a terrific favour. For a moment I thought this was the Lawrence in Central Otago, where I spent many happy teenage summers, sigh! This link will take you to a fantastic flowchart of Hunger Gamesish delight, and it helpfully includes some fabulous classic books which you may not have thought of sharing with your HG fans. I’ve only made a screenshot of a tiny part of the flowchart. You will have to go to their website to see the whole impressive thing. Enjoy!
Fabulous Flavourwire, makers of taste and purveyors of internet good taste have posted this list. The books are an interesting take on must read childrens classics. Would you have chosen them? It got me thinking, I wonder what would be on a similar list if it was made in New Zealand? Surely there’d be a Maurice Gee or a Joy Cowley, a Jack Lasenby or a David Elliot. There would also probably be some of the books on this list too. I know everyone else in the country would insert a Margaret Mahey but my kids never really loved those and I didn’t much love reading her books to them. My kids would have had Wombat Stew and Possum Magic and The Little Yellow Digger when really little and Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket and Matilda on their middle of their childhood lists. I guess everyone would have different titles but it is nice to have a think back and remember and also to think about the books which helped form you. Have they had an affect on your reading tastes in the long term? I wonder.
This fabulous cartoon came to me via Teacher Librarian Network on Facebook tonight.
What do you think? Is this the future? Swallow a pill and you’ve read a classic? Have the characters in a book step out and become a projected holograph on the wall in front of you? Robot library staff? Will we reach a time when paper books are just a fond memory?
I personally think not – at least not for a while. A quick pop quiz this week with a bunch of Year 10 classes as they passed through my booktalking clutches and quizzed them on their library usage – ours I know about, but I was interested in whether they used the public library. Most did not, and it certainly depended on the kind of class they were. Higher streams using it more than lower. Students seem to have had a range of experiences when they’ve been mixing it up in the public libraries. It seems staff there aren’t familiar with the kind of things they need, perhaps remembering from their school days what they required, or even more enthusiastically encouraging them to look at new things about which the particular librarian they approach is an expert. I think there is some room for public librarians to get familiar with the kind of things our students study, to find out what topics are taught and to make contact with school librarians to talk curriculum matters. What books work for subjects, what won’t work. That at least is the feedback I got from my guys. The quest for information to complete assignments often yields better results at school because we are working as a conduit between teaching staff and students, providing specific titles which match specific topics. We know the level of the resources the students need, and we can tailor our advice to the right level. (There is an exception to this though, one public library in our area is hugely popular with the students and has an ex school librarian manager, students report that they have loads of things that are useful and that they want to take home, that is awesome!) However I know that often the experiences of students at public libraries when on a quest for information are often less successful than if they took their query to their school library. The school library has purchased specifically for that curriculum area, we know the kind of information which will work for the student.
At school we are tailoring our stock specifically to our target audience, it is youth specific and responding to feedback from teachers and students. No robots can do what we do! In a school we are tailoring our services to our students, to the people we see in front of us every day. Micro tailoring if you will. This just isn’t possible when you are catering to a while town or city with a Public Library. They have more buying power than we do, are able to stock more copies of popular items but are more general in their approach because they have to be but in terms of having a specific focus on youth and the curriculum then the school library is where it is at. We should celebrate our specialness, and think about the students we have who are using the public library for homework and research and think about who is taking them there. That would in most cases be a parent. Do the parents think about the resources in the school library in the same way that they think about the public library? I think that perhaps parents are assuming that information is information and that the public library has a youth section and therefore will be able to cater to the needs of their kids. But that ain’t necessarily so bro!
Parents, your kids should use the school library as well as the public library, most times instead of the public library when it comes to resources for homework. This is our specialty area. Our whole library is a youth section! This again makes me wonder. How many parents ever set foot in a school library? Not many I’m thinking. There is scope for a parents information blitz here I think. Something to mull further on.
My summer break for 2012/2013 has come to an end, and it will be back to work as usual from Monday. I’ve had a lovely break away from school, spending time with family and friends, reading, getting things done around the house. For me, the school holidays over the last few years have also included doing a bunch of stuff for SLANZA, and this break is no different.
Soon we will be launching the next iteration of the SLANZA wiki – a new website that will stand alongside the recently redeveloped main site, so that’s been one of my holiday projects. Here’s a sneak preview of how it’s looking so far (click to embiggen):
The other project that’s taking shape is a new Professional Development programme for SLANZA members, urged on by our survey last year that showed 80% of respondents want PD around the use of online tools in school libraries. It’s a big project, and one that the SLANZA PD team are keen to deliver ASAP. As part of the programme design, we’ve been investigating the use of OpenBadges as a method of recognising and displaying the skills that participants will learn as they progress through the course. Here’s a diagram I’ve made (using Triptico’s ‘hexagonal thinking’ tool Think Link) to show my thoughts about how this PD might connect with ‘what school librarians do’.
I’d love to get your feedback on this, so please leave a comment with any thoughts or suggestions that you think could be incorporated. I tend to get a bit tunnel-vision-y at times, so if there are glaringly obvious omissions please help me fill them in!
Watch The Vlog Brothers perform a live concert at Carnegie Hall. It is great! the music is lovely and the sentiments in the songs resonate! Lovers of the Green Brothers will be in heaven!
And I don’t mean who’s been naughty or nice, though anyone who works in a school library surely has a mental list of those…
But I digress. It’s that time of year when various book-related peeps put together lists of the best books of the year that’s nearly over.
Open in my browser tabs lately are these “Best of 2012″ beauties. Why don’t you start making your own “to-read” list for the summer now! Or make notes of titles to buy for your school library in 2013.
- GoodReads Choice Awards 2012
- Huffington Post
- RT’s 2012 YA award nominees
- CILILP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards long list
- Publishers Weekly Best Books
- YALSA 2012 best fiction for YA
- Tor 2012 World Fantasy Award winners
- New York Times best illustrated children’s books
- Amazon best books of 2012 (Teens)
- Kirkus Reviews best children’s books of 2012 (Teens list announced Nov 26th)
Get your buying list notebooks or apps out to take notes for when your budget is all filled up again, cos there are some things you’ll want to buy/read on this list folks. This is a list of the new cool stuff hitting the shops in the States this winter. Books for every level are here. Some are out already here, a couple are in my ‘I’m taking this home for the holidays box’ right now. Here is the link to the list. And look at that, here is a link to the downloadable shelf talkers. Oh how I love shelf talkers.
Link from 100 Scope Notes – full of the power of awesome.
The other day I came across this blog written by two Australian librarians, about their QPLA scholarship-funded research into Readers Advisory: “Embedding readers advisory in professional practice as a key collaborative strategy in Queensland public libraries”.
The blog has loads of links to all sorts of useful RA sites, and also a survey the researchers have opened up for Australian and NZ librarians, particularly public librarians. As I looked through the survey, it seemed to me that along with containing loads of excellent ideas for services and programmes your school library might offer, it also had some good ideas for collecting and sharing various data about the impact of what you do.
Do take a few minutes to help the researchers with their survey, and have a think about the possibilities it suggests. These are a few of the ideas that particularly struck me, I’m sure you’ll find more to get you thinking.
A few ideas for actions/tasks:
- Living room or genre layout for non-fiction
- Readers Advisory posts on social media
- Recommended Reads or genre booklet
- Shelf-talkers (book reviews on display)
- Staff picks displays (staff recommendations).
- Staff recommended packs (bundle of 2 or more books for fast issue)
- Anecdotal evidence of community connections with reading
- Collection issues of specific collections (e.g. Hot Reads, Fastbacks, new books)
- Collection performance (borrowing rate of each resource)
- Number of reading related interactions on Facebook or other social media
- Number of reservations placed
- Number of reviews added online to the library catalogue
I stumbled upon this interesting story via a Storify link. There are three parts to Linda W Braun’s Young People, Reading and Libraries. You will need to delve into it yourselves and pick out the gems but there are certainly some gems for secondary school librarians in the report but also in Linda’s storify which has plenty to mull over without even leaving the first page.
Items which I found particularly interesting were the ebook readership, interesting stats. I’m interested in these figures as I decide whether to delve into the ebook platform and these stats make me feel rather better about delaying my decision. Go look at the figures there.
Also interested in the graph on where teenagers get their book recommendations from. I wonder if these stats would be the same here in New Zealand. Probably the same. And what would happen if they surveyed younger students, I think in my school it would be quite different statistics with many of them relying on my recommendations – possibly equal to those of their peers. I do like the idea of students recommending books to each other. That is my ideal world, a sharing of reading joy the “I loved this book, you should read it too!” which happens all the time with adults who read.
Science Fiction author Gareth L Powell presented this marvellous speech three years ago, The Role of Science Fiction in our Understanding of the Future, yet it is just as relevant today.
Powell refutes the role of the science fiction writer as a predictor of the future, rather suggesting that their aim is to dream up plausible futures, to model a vast range of possible outlooks. By assessing the sociological and technological trends, they show us what may happen if man continues on their current path.Good science fiction looks at the world we know and asks, “What happens if?”
- What happens if the ice caps melt and sea levels rise by fifty feet?
- What happens if we discover a way to halt the ageing process and everyone lives for 1000 years?
- What happens if the government puts a CCTV camera on every street corner?
“This is my job as a science fiction writer: to speculate and imagine, and tell stories. The future is truly an undiscovered country. Futurology and philosophy can give us a map of the terrain. But if we want to know what it’s going to feel like to live and work and love there, one of the best tools we have is science fiction.”
He says that futurologists and philosophers can tell us the possible outcomes but that the science fiction writers make the future human by creating characters that must adapt and survive in, generally, these dystopian worlds. The author must take the reader on a journey to really understand what living through such a scenario would be like, to experience such an event, and so the reader asks themselves, “What would I do?”
Gareth Powell’s speech is well worth reading – it puts a clear voice to what science fiction is all about.