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Our Library Sucks!

And ya know what?  The kid is absolutely RIGHT.  Our library DOES suck!  But I’m trying to improve things.  I would love to know more about e-books and what some of the best ones are.  I don’t think it would solve all our problems in my library, but it might help alleviate some of the ennui toward our current collection.  Once the rest of the SMARTBoards get installed, that might alleviate some of the problem, becasue then we’ll have room to weed again. 

I feel like I’ve been weeding since I got here, and I still haven’t gotten a chance to get to the 900s yet.  And we’re not just talking biographies and autobiographies, we’re talking the entire history section.  Other than the scant few titles I’ve been able to scrounge up via teacher recs and stuff I’ve just known to order because we need it, the entire history and geography section makes me want to cry.  Hopefully after CHristmas things will get better.  I’ll be unveiling the plan soon!

I’ve been working on my Masters degree in School Library and Information Technology through Mansfield University, in Mansfield, PA, for quite some time now, and I’ll be finished in December.  A classmate of mine, Elizabeth Walsh, posted an article from Dr. Jamie McKenzie’s blog and publishing company, From Now On, that brings up some good points about why we need libraries and certified professional librarians in our schools. 

This got me thinking–I’ve been slowly but surely trying to update and improve my library for my students and staff, but it’s been slow going.  This year, it came to a standstill when my library suddenly became the repository for 19 SMARTBoards and their accoutrements in September.  They were supposed to have been installed at some point near the end of last year, but that’s neither here nor there.  The SMARTBoards are almost all gone, but I’ve been doing lots of reading and research for my classwork, and it has inspired me even further.  I’ll be posting updates on this blog, as well as on my school library web page, but I think 2010-2011 will be a year filled with changes.  It already ahs been anyway.  But my static little library could use a shake-up, if not a total renovation, and it has to start with me.  I’ll post more of my plan here.  Thanks, Beth and Dr. McKenzie!

Sorry for the Delay

I’ll try and update more than every 2 years or so, I promise!  I have been quite busy with graduate school and working on my Masters.  I will be finished officially in December.  I will update more frequently upon graduation.  I have much to blog about, and much to say.  Thanks for still reading!

Olivia Bravo of Kanawha County Public Library mentioned an awesome link to a project she’s working on for the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s Raid in Harper’s Ferry.  It’s part of the West Virginia Memory Project and I’m sure it’s also someplace on the LOC’s American Memory site as well.  I’ve added it in on my school’s portal page for teachers, as well as linking up the two aforementioned pages.  For those of you who aren’t sure how to use the database, there’s even a handy, dandy “How to Use This Database” link at the bottom.  Here’s the link to the database:

http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvmemory/imlsintro.html

The pictures are great!  I’m so glad to see stuff like this going digital!  It’s going to make some 8th grade WV History teacher’s life so much easier!

Thanks, Olivia!

Happy Halloween!

Dias de Los Muertos links

Back in the day, when I was in elementary school, we looked forward to Halloween.  We looked forward to candy, class parties, dressing up in fun (and funny) costumes, candy, trick-or-treating, candy, scary stories, candy, scary movies, and of course–it’s all about the candy!  I still love Halloween!  I still love candy!  I am still totally down with all things creepy, scary, and done in memory of the dead. 

It wasn’t until I was in high school and had a rather confused substitute teacher for an English class (the teacher taught both Spanish and Junior and Senior English, but everyone wound up watching Spanish videos) that I found out about the Days of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico.  I still recall the opening sentence of the video, because many years later, substituting for a different Spanish teacher, I had to show it to some students when she was out on a personal day around Halloween (“Los Dias de los Muertos est el celebracion de muertos y vida. . .”).  Just as the video states, it is a celebration of both life and death, and I find it to be a really beautiful tradition, full of food, family, fun, celebration and reverential remembrance of those who have passed on.  In fact, the only tradition I can recall (which almost no one celebrates anymore, unless they are from an old, staunchly traditional European home) is the dumb supper, in which one sets out food and drink for the dead, then leaves it from midnight to morning so that the dead may feast.  Some Catholic churches may still hold masses for All Saints and All Souls Days, but if they do it around here, I’ve never been.  Sure would like to go, though. . .

Here are some links to some good, solid information on Days of the Dead festivities:

http://www.tomzap.com/muertos.html

http://www.holidays.net/dayofthedead/index.htm

http://artswork.asu.edu — Click on either Teachers or Students, then follow prompts for historical and art activities. 

If anyone out there knows of any stuff I missed, please send ‘em my way so I can run an addendum!

Enjoy

270 to Win

For all you Social Studies, American History, and Civics/Government instructors out there, one of my teachers has turned my attention to a rather nifty site called 270towin.com.  He has an entire worksheet that he made up to help his students with the assignment that involves this web site, but if you would like to peruse and possibly use this site yourselves, here’s the link:

http://www.270towin.com

And yes, as promised, I’ll be providing sweet, hot linkage to scary Halloween reads soon.  Until then, go out to my web site and check out what I linked up through Bartleby.com, or if you like, simply go to either Bartleby.com or Project Gutenberg and look for your own delightfully creepy titles.  But here’s my link (shameless self-promotion?  You better believe it!):

http://hheck.tripod.com

Going Virtual

I’ve updated my school library web site, and I invite any and all interested parties to have a look-see. It’s linked up below:

http://hheck.tripod.com

I have done this to help my kids, my teachers, and anyone else who may need help with research, current events, or other school library-related stuff. I’m going to try and post more stuff for Halloween, Dias de los Muertos, and scary movies later on today.

I have also decided that, what with all this budget-crunching and truly frightening economic state, going virtual may be everyone’s best bet. I just wish I could afford to get e-books and link them up. I also wish I could find my OPAC on my server. Since Le Grand Reinstall earlier this month, it has since mysteriously disappeared. Or perhaps it’s taken that wee soujourn to Jamaica without me? Damned OPAC! Always up and bailing on us when we need it most!

Feel free to send comments about the updated web site, and also feel free to bookmark it for your own use, should the need arise.

Happy Halloween, Boo-Rattle-a-rattle-a and all that!

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