Thursday, December 14, 2006

Library collegiality

This semester has afforded us many collegial moments in the library. We had a student from the Salem State graduate program spend 25 hours observing our library program and our librarians in action. She is currently a teacher at the Landmark School which allowed us to talk more specifically about our roles in independent schools. In November the Greater Boston Cooperative Library Association held its November meeting here. We presented our Library 2.0 tools – how we are implementing, evaluating, and drafting policies and procedures. Last Friday, Linda Braun brought her class on Technology in the School Library Media Center from the Simmons Graduate School to look at how we use technology and how we are using the new 2.0 applications for programming. We did our 2-hour demonstration on a SmartBoard.
Presenting is a wonderful evaluation tool. As we decide what to share with our audience, we think about what we are doing and why we do it thusly. Also, questions from colleagues often get straight to the heart of librarianship. As we ponder and answer, we also wonder if there is a better way. Reflecting on your feet in front of colleagues can be illuminating (and challenging!) Earlier this week Jen wrote about sharing resources with other libraries. I count us fortunate that we have also had wonderful opportunities to share our profession.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Felice Navidad!

We welcomed carolers this morning. Felice Navidad rang through the halls, bringing students and faculty together in a Christmas moment!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

GEORGE - "A reader's best friend"

Do you wish that you could read faster? The December 11th, 2006 issue of Newsweek magazine reports that if you read to a dog your reading speed will increase substantially. There are currently 16,000 certified therapy dogs trained for reading assistance programs, and requests for these trained dogs are pouring in from schools and libraries. The dogs curl up with their student and cause the anxiety level of the readers to go way down. This process of reading the dog a story aloud has proven to increase the number of words a minute a reader can read.
GEORGE, our astute cover boy, is ready, willing and able to lay at anyone's feet.

We know how to share

One thing libraries do exceptionally well is sharing, we share information, we share our resources. We are receiving ILLs (Inter-Library Loans) from around the state, and also sending out materials to other libraries. The Pescosolido Library belongs to a number of different networks, including, CLASS (independent schools), MassCat (Massachusetts Virtual Catalog), through NMRLS (Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library Network), we can access MVLC(Merrimack Valley Library Consortium) and WorldCat. Late fall is a heavy ILL time for the library as students are on the home stretch for a variety of projects, including the Junior Thesis papers. Inter-Library Loan services open up the availability of resources to our students and can often times bring them information they would of otherwise missed. Sharing, it's a great thing...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Waiting for the white stuff!

Tis’ the season for snow! We are waiting for its arrival, and I am sure at some point Mother Nature will provide it. For those who are skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and sledders, young and old, the first sign of snow brings much anticipation and excitement. Ms. Toumayan has been busy creating intricate snowflakes for our bulletin board, bringing the exciting feel of the first snowfall into the library. Here you will find some new books including, The Little Book of Snowflakes (551.57 LIB), Ken Libbrecht’s Field Guide to Snowflakes (551.57 LIB), Snow in America (551.57 MER), and a display about snow cannot be without, Poems by Frost (811.52 FRO).
Staying with the “snow” theme, I read in one of my regular Bloglines feeds about the Orange County Library System’s Virtual Library where anyone can visit and create a virtual snowman (or lady.) This is strictly for fun, but shows how our world, via technology becomes smaller. All snow people created can be added to the Snowperson Gallery. I do admit to creating a virtual snowperson (Can you find it? She is gearing up for some some holiday time), visit the gallery, try it out for yourself. Even in Florida they are dreaming of snow!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Scarves, Ribbons, Paper

The gifts I treasure most are often those that are handmade, and took time rather than money to make. OK, maybe a little money too. For those of you who have a creative streak or those of you who wish to develop your creativity, there are many books in our library to help you make interesting and beautiful items that are sure to please the people on your holiday list. There is a wonderful display of arts and crafts books in the library right now to help you get started. Among the many titles are:
The New Paper Quilling 745.45 SMI
Embroidering with Silk Ribbon 745.59CIO
Celebrity Scarves 746.43 and
Fiber and Bead Jewelry 745.59

(Photo from: Edelman, Abra. Celebrity Scarves New York: Sixth & Spring Books, 2003.)

Flakey reads

Although the snow has fallen once this season, it was of the sleety and icy variety rather than the puffy and silent. No more perfect moment exists than when one stands, face uplifted, and watches the perfect flakes drift down in utter silence. The world stops and beauty reigns. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow captured it in “Snow Flakes”: Out of the bosom of the Air, Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken, Over the woodlands brown and bare, Over the harvest-fields forsaken, Silent, and soft, and slow Descends the snow.
Ken Libbrecht in his Field Guide to Snowflakes (551.57 LIB) provides a behind the flake science explanation accompanied by gorgeous microphotography of the different crystals. Snow, while wondrous, can also in drifting amounts provide challenges to us. Bernard Mergen in Snow in America (551.57) gives us three hundred years of cultural history from the settling days when snow forged our character to the present when it snarls our cities and challenges our environment with our wintry pastimes. If wintry pastimes are your passion, Jim Smith’s The Art of Snowboarding (796.93 SMI) might take your participation to a new level.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Santa or Brady?

I was in a quandry. It was after 3:30 and the Pats were down. And, even though they were playing poorly, this was the time in a game when they'd pull out the magic and the win. Unfortunately, my husband was Santa for the lighting of the tree on the Newbury Green and would soon be arriving by fire engine. Santa won over Brady (although it was closer than I'll ever admit to) and I hotfooted it over to the Green. Fortunately, my son who was an elf for the afternoon texted Janet Hansen (both of them Class of '00) and she texted back that the magic had happened and the home team won.
I was happy that after watching the Santa magic, I could snuggle by the fire and read Moving the Chains: Tom Brady and the Pursuit of Everything by Charles Pierce (796.332 PIE.) Not only is it a fascinating read on the growth and development of Brady but it's also the growth of the Patriots into a team who during Super Bowl introductions ran on to the field en masse. It was that moment which kindled my growing devotion to the team. The book simply enhanced that devotion.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

That Holiday Feeling

The holiday spirit is filling the air at the library. One cannot help but be inspired when looking at the selection of materials on our Christmas display. Cookie books, favorite carols and Christmas stories from around the world fill the shelves. Our varied collection includes, Christmas Unwrapped: the history of Christmas (DVD 394.26 CHR), A Treasury of African-American Christmas Stories (SC TRE), The Physics of Christmas (394.26 HIG), The Autobiography of Santa Claus (FIC GUI), and Christmas Cookies: from the whimsical bake house (641.8 KAY). Just looking at the cookie recipes and pictures will get you inspired. (See the cookie theme I have going over my last two posts?) All we are missing is carolers, maybe in the next week and a half we will have some stop by to spread cheer.

Monday, December 04, 2006

How does your pyramid stack up?

This last month’s Library Media Collection (November/December 2006) had an interesting article titled, “Feed Your Brain!” by Tammy Failmezger. I copied the pyramid illustration as it intrigued me to think of what we read in the same context as the food pyramid we are all so familiar with. This pyramid was geared towards students, but is it something we can all benefit from to keep our minds alert, aware, healthy and growing? I have attempted to create this Brain Food Pyramid in the photo to the left. Failmezger suggests students have a healthy base to their pyramid with “Nonfiction reading” including, newspapers, magazines and nonfiction books, next “award winners”, followed by “inspirational reading”; biographies, character building stories, poems. This leads to the tip of the pyramid, with “pleasure reading” and, to be used sparingly, “mind candy.”
As I was considering my blog for today I was eating a delicious chocolate cookie from the dining hall (tempting dessert photo from today’s sweets table also below,) and thought about the last book I read and loved, Water for Elephants (FIC GRU). This may fall under the “pleasure reading”/ cookie category, but I must confess it makes for a great read without the cookie guilt. So find something at the tip of the pyramid once in awhile, it may even be better than the chocolate cookie.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Atlantic Monthly's List

December's Atlantic Monthly lists the top 100 list of influential Americans. In its 150th year of publication, the Atlantic asked 10 historians to submit their lists of those Americans who have had the greatest impact on the America of their time period and America as it is today. On the list are presidents, activists, authors, immigrants, theologians, scientists, athletes, and showmen. Walt Disney is at 26 before William LLoyd Garrison at 46 before Jonathan Edwards at 90. Debatable? Certainly and that is why the Atlantic encourages you to weigh in with your own lists and additions.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Books Make Great Gifts

Are you stymied as to what to buy for those special people during the holiday season? Let me suggest a gift that is sure to please. Gift certificates to book stores make wonderful gifts for everyone on your list. The New York Times has just made available on line their annual list of "100 Notable Books of the Year". You might want to give the list along with the gift certificate to help make choosing a little easier. Happy holidays from the Pesky Librarians!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Although a case can be made for whether or not one is artistic if one is crafty, I always think of myself as the latter, never the former. So I am grateful to the toys on the Web which allow me to try different "artistic" presentations. Today I looked at the Flickr Toys I have been reading about. The Warholizer allows you to upload a picture (either one in your Flickr account or on your computer) and give it a silkscreen effect. I took three from Flickr: our stairway, a reflective student, and Jen's cup of tea from Richmond Park.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Winter Season is Upon Us

You would never guess it from the weather we are having, but a new season of afternoon acivities has begun. The fields will rest during the coming months and the gym, field house, rink and PAC will be a-buzz with students taking part in their winter activities. We have received a new book for the hockey lover, Hockey: a people's history by Michael McKinley (796.962), that will gear up fans for another season. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs depicting the story of of hockey not so much from the pro viewpoint, but from those who love the game. Learn more about the book by visiting our online catalog or Library Thing page. If you are a fan of hockey, this is a wonderful title to have a look at.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No "turkeys" here!

How often do I hear students and staff saying they wish they had more time for pleasure reading? In our busy lives sometimes a long book just feels like a burden. My suggestion for these readers is a series of books that are “the best”: short stories, plays, science and nature writing, mystery stories, essays, travel writing, spiritual writing and non-required reading. Each “the best” book has many stories by many authors, and in this way the reader can enjoy excellent writing in areas of interest to him or her, without the need to spend too much time. Here is a list of some of our library’s “best” selection, but there are many more listed in the card catalog:
The Best American Spiritual Writing 230 ZAL
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 500 BES
The Best American Sports Writing 796 BES
The Best American Non-required Reading 810.08 BES
Best American Plays 812.08 BES
The Best American Essays 814.54 BES
The Best American Travel Writing 818.54
The Best American Mystery Stories SC BES

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Destined to be always Beta?

We are the Library Spotlight in the November Newsletter of the Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System! The article is about how we are using Web 2.0 here at the Academy. It includes our successes and our “modifications." I think that trying these new Web tools means being in a constant state of tweaking – trying, evaluating, tweaking, and repeating this process. I believe that as we go about tweaking, we should be sharing our learning with one another so that the collective wisdom helps us more easily create tools which fit our program.

This makes me feel, however, that I am always in Beta mode, never finished. This is hard for librarians. I think we always want to present a perfectly designed finished product to our users. But, I believe we need to let that go and step blindly forward. We are stepping forward again but this time with a wiki for staff training. We have a staff large in numbers but small in consecutive work hours. Trying to find time together to learn new things is hard. Hence, the wiki, a collaborative web document which any user can add to, update, or change. Jen and I signed up for a free pbwiki. Advertised as “As easy to make as a peanut butter sandwich,” the wiki format suggested we weren't expert sandwich chefs. Susan Babb of NMRLS came last Friday and gave us some insights. Tuesday, Jen and I were able to make the PB sandwich. I am excited to see how all of us at the library will use the wiki. It’s Beta once more but I believe we’ll learn how to use it as a tool to share with our users. We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Discover a great ancient treasure

It was on November 4, 1922 that the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered by the persistent archeologist Howard Carter with the financial backing of Lord Carnarvon. After years of searching this historical and archeological treasure was uncovered. Ms. Toumayan has created a display in honor of this anniversary and provides intriguing information from our Jackdaws collection. For further reading check out The Complete Tutankhamun (923.014 REE), The Murder of Tutankhamun (923 BRU), and Egypt: Quest for Eternity (VC 932 EGY).

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's new in DVD at the Pesky Library

The Pescosolido Library’s DVD collection is ever growing. There are displays throughout the library highlighting some of our new acquisitions. Some of the new entertainment titles include, V for Vendetta (DVD V), Capote (DVD CAP), and Memoirs of a Geisha (DVD MEM). Our new “Read the Book and Watch the Movie” Classics include, The Old Man and the Sea (DVD OLD), and Lawrence of Arabia (DVD LAW). In addition, many new titles from Films for the Humanities and PBS have been purchased, these include, A World Without Borders: what is happening with Globalization?(DVD 337 WOR), Martin Luther (DVD LUT), and The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (DVD 945.5 MED).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Are you ready for some football?

Football is the great American Fall pastime. ‘Tis the season, and it’s a good one. Our beloved Patriots until the other night were playing beautifully and our own Governors are having a terrific year falling for the first time last week in a hard fought match with Milton. Some of us even watch college ball with interest, looking for our Governor boys who have made the big time. Watching is a fun diversion and a long standing traditional part of Fall.
For those of you who would like to read about the game, our sports books can be found upstairs in 796 and those pertaining specifically to football are 796.332. A popular selection is David Halberstam’s, Education of a Coach 796.332 HAL, The which examines the amazing coaching life of Bill Belichick as he propelled his team to three Super Bowls in five years.

Welcome Clara A. Pesky

Welcome to the newest member of our staff, Clara A. Pesky! She arrived several weeks ago and has been busily learning the ins and outs of our library. In fact, she’s showing up in every corner of the library. (Check out the new library tour and see!) Because she’s a 2.0 librarian, she would like to introduce herself by sharing her librarian trading card, a 2.0 tool you can also see at the Pool of Cards. She invites you to stop by the library, check out a book for the upcoming holiday break (nothing better than curling up and reading while the pies are baking says she,) and make her acquaintance.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rotunda Gallery

Students in David Oxton's photography class have transformed the rotunda on the second floor of the library. Their framed photos now adorn the walls. Check back frequently for new additions to the gallery. All photos can also be seen online in the Rotunda Gallery.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Stolen Child

When I saw this tree at Richmond Park during our recent trip to London, I thought it would be the perfect hide out for any number of small creatures. Maybe the deer that roam this park make it their home when all is quiet, a small child could easily make this hide-a-way their own, or maybe something else, some other creature that is not seen, but lives in our imagination and the stories we read. This image lead me to the new and highly acclaimed novel, The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue (FIC DON). Keith Donohue has a wonderful Amazon site for this book, including a video interview in the Amazon Fishbowl, an author profile, and an insider’s look at the “story inside the story.” In this description Donohue writes, “The very first image that came to me when I began The Stolen Child was of a young boy hiding in a hollow tree, face pressed against its wooden ribs, determined not to be found by anyone.” The Stolen Child has been described as an “adult fairy tale” inspired by a poem by William Butler Yeats. In this novel seven year old Henry Day is taken by the changelings (think wild fairy children,) and they make him one of their own, living in the woods. In his place, a changeling takes on the life of Henry Day with his family in the modern world. To read more about this book take a look at the conversations people are having in Library Thing by finding it in the Pesky Library, Library Thing collection.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Keeping Warm

So far it has been a sparkling fall with the temperatures in the 50s nearly everyday. That is why I found it so funny when one of our new students from Thailand came into the library the other day hugging himself and telling me he was so-o-o cold. I laughed and tried to explain that this is only fall and it is going to get a lot colder. I told him he is going to have to get some nice warm mittens, a scarf and a stocking hat.
This little conversation led me to browse through our collection of knitting books. Our selections cover basic knitting instructions to Celebrity Scarves and Exquisite Little Knits. They can be found upstairs in 746.43.

Archives added to CQ Researcher!

When we learned that the Archives of our CQ Researcher database were on sale, we had to have them. Going back to 1923, the archives provide incredible support for the U.S. History thesis paper for our juniors. Researcher provides information on issues of the day. While researching the internment of Japanese-Americans, we found information from April of 1942 on "Enemy Aliens and the American War Effort." In looking at the politics of the Christian right we found that in 1928 there was a discussion of "American Churches and National Politics." That same year there was a discussion of why a declining number of Americans were casting ballots in national elections. It's a fascinating resource! Thanks to our parents' group, the Allies, whose financial support of the library allows us the flexibility to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Feeling Blue

While posting to Book Displays in Libraries, we noted that the Lansing Library had a display of red books. A library in Florida was inspired and did an orange display. We were, quite frankly, intrigued. Displays are usually thematic. What would happen if a color rather than an idea or genre supplied the parameters? First, we’re amazed at how many blue book jackets there were. Second, books came to light that had probably only before appeared in a new books display. Side-by-side are now Stephen Fair (Tim Wynne-Jones,) The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind (David Guterson,) A Strong West Wind (Gail Caldwell,) Sky in a Bottle (Peter Pesic,) and Fire Bringer ( David Clement-Davis.) Some really great reads are to be found here. Mrs. Healey, who arranged this display, is already considering the next color!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reference Divas: ready to dish up information

The librarians at the Pescosolido Library are putting on their best tiaras and are ready to take on any information challenge this Halloween Day. These reference divas are more accurate than any search engine, are able to bound heaps of information and retrieve results, and always serve with a smile. Do not underestimate their awesome powers. They are ready to share their knowledge and wisdom with you as you seek out information. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ghouls, ghosts, and other ghastly creatures

The Library is prepared for Halloween with witches, ghosts, ghouls and other ghastly creatures lurking in our foyer. Our Library Witch is displaying some of our newest and scariest titles on DVD: Poltergeist (DVD POL), The Sixth Sense (DVD SIX), Signs (DVD SIG), The Spiral Staircase (DVD SPI), The Innocents (DVD INN) (a movie Truman Capote assisted in writing the screenplay for and based on the Turning of the Screw by Henry James) and the classic, Psycho (DVD PSY). There is nothing like watching a film that makes you think twice about turning off the lights.

For the faint of heart (I would fall into this category,) there is always the absurd of the season that can be equally entertaining and not so frightening. The BBC was reporting on some ingenious boaters who have created floating vessels out of large pumpkins. After hollowing them out, they race these giant gourds in the river. Although I was unable to find the results from this particular race, it seems giant pumpkin racing is not so uncommon. To give you a taste of this phenomenon, take a look at the first annual Massachusetts Pumpkin Paddle being reported by Living on Earth. It offers a little bit of humor for the Halloween season.

Look at our Flickr page and our Halloween displays before they are taken down! We have two great bulletin boards and displays, Edgar Allen Poe and the Salem Witch Trials. Thank you Mrs. Healey and Ms. Toumayan for making our library suited for the season!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Not your ordinary Book Group

Our camera found three members of a newly formed book group chatting in the corner of the library recently. The gentlemen were discussing possible book choices for their first read. They were considering Jeffrey Deaver’s new Lincoln Rhyme mystery, Cold Moon (FIC DEA), and Jennifer Egan’s much acclaimed haunting novel, The Keep (FIC EGA). One of the participants was making an argument for, Ask Me No Questions (FIC BUD) by Marina Budhos hoping for some insight into the life of a Muslim woman. All the books being considered were in the “New Book” alcove in front of the circulation desk. Take a look at all the new fall selections of fiction and non-fiction.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A chance encounter

Rising early one gray London morning, Jen and I took a walk and ended at The Muffin Man for tea and scones before the day's conference sessions. We met by chance a delightful man. When he learned that we were at a conference focusing on the Internet, he shared how the Internet had expanded upon his 40 year love for cowboy music. In fact, he would be travelling to the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada before travelling through the Southwest and then down to cross the Sierra Madre. Serendipitous validation of how the 'Net connects us to our hobbies and also our passions for learning! (By the way, check out the Western and Cowboy Poetry at the Bar-D Ranch - an awesome collection.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

We flew back from our conference and landed smack in the middle of the Junior Thesis research crunch. All three of us are meeting one-on-one with the juniors guiding them on developing research strategies and resources specific to their chosen thesis topics. In our unscheduled moments we are bolstering our resources for the topics chosen this year - ordering second hand books through Amazon, full-text articles through document delivery at the Boston Public Library, and inter-library loan materials from either our regional library system or the CLASS shared system of school libraries in the Greater Boston Cooperative Library Association.
The intensity of the junior research process should mellow by Friday and develop a comfortable rhythm for the next few months. Jen and I shall be working through all we learned at the conference and applying it to our program. We did get our pictures posted (although the descriptions are sparse!) We both have notebooks with cryptic ideas to be deciphered and a few definite plans to be put in place. Coming back from a conference can be as wonderful as the anticipation of attending as we begin to put into practice what we learned!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

London bound

Our postings shall be erratic for the next week as Jen and I are off to London for the Internet Librarian International Conference. We shall be located in Kensington near the Gardens and the V&A Museum. Our plan is to start with literary walking tours in Kensington and Richmond while we battle jet lag. (As my youngest son, class of ’00, observed, can any two librarians be geekier?) Monday morning we’ll be ready to learn more about Library 2.0 with colleagues from around the globe. We are looking forward to sharing what we learn so keep checking in. If we find a convenient Internet cafĂ©, we may blog from London!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Still Life with Chickens

I have always been entranced by chickens. One of my favorite driving- back - roads-of-Maine memories is happening upon a small chicken processing plant bearing the sign “The cluck stops here!” My grandfather raised a backyard flock of chickens – Rhode Island Reds. (He had downsized from the family farm by the time I was born.) He referred to them as “the biddies.” A major treat was to be entrusted to gather the eggs although sometimes it took courage to slip my hand under the sitting hen. Once a year I would participate in a special overnight and get up early to accompany him to the Agway and pick up the carton of chicks which would peep gently beside me on the back seat while we got them home and under the warm lights.
I was deep into these memories as I meandered slowly through the Poultry House at the Topsfield Fair last weekend. Coming back to school I grabbed a copy of Still Life with Chickens: Starting Over in a House by the Sea by Catherine Goldhammer. It’s a lovely memoir chronicling the year following a divorce when the author needs to sell her home and start over somewhere smaller with her daughter. Her daughter refuses to move and is bribed with the promise of chickens at the new home. With the bargains and compromises which move family life forward, the chickens arrive much sooner into their lives. Not only are there wonderfully funny moments, but there are also inspirational ones as the author is empowered by learning how to raise these chicks. I definitely see chickens in my backyard’s future!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Exploring a new frontier: Podcasting

iPods and MP3 players, we see them all over campus connected to our adolescents and children. What are they listening to? What are these large play lists they hold in the palm of their hands? What is a podcast? I have decided to do a bit of research to learn more about this new format of information. Podcasts can offer serious information, such as newscasts and commentary on timely issues, or provide some comic relief, and even music not found in the mainstream. All of these things (and more,) can be downloaded onto an MP3 player and listened to when it best suits the user. To find out more about podcasts check out MyPods, podcasting for beginners (I would fall under this category!) Pluggd, offers a large list of podcast categories and tags to begin exploring what is out there and what people are creating . Enjoy discovering this new frontier.

Monday, October 09, 2006


October may be considered the month of the scary story, and although “scary stories” are not usually high on my preferences for reading, I recently read a book I could add to this category. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (FIC GAI), is not overly scary, but he does bring you to another dimension that is not at a pleasant place to be. Richard Mayhew works in London and one evening happens upon a stranger injured on the sidewalk. Richard cares for this injured stranger, Door, and his involvement with her determines his fate to leave the London he knows to the “London Below”. London Below is a place full of peril, unseemly creatures and a place Richard must navigate through before he can return to the London he knows. To find out more about Neverwhere or Neil Gaiman’s writing check out his webpage or journal. Happy Reading!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Developing a Thesis

Seniors in Mr. Werner's Comparative Religion class came to our themed fair the other day. We pulled books from our collection and grouped them: "the Great Awakening and Modern Evangelicalism," "the Founding of America and Early Religious Beliefs," "the Role of Mary in the Catholic Church," and "the Role of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust" among many other topics. The students were shown searching in the Academic One File database and general reference titles in the 200's. Each student left with a topic for a thesis and a stack of books and DVD's!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Room with a View

The Library can be a wonderful place even without books. Probably the prettiest room in the Library is the glass room at the rear of the building. Its circular shape entirely of glass allows for a panoramic view of the outside.
Since there is nothing more beautiful than a Fall day in New England, we often find a lone student or faculty member sitting quietly in one of our comfy chairs, looking out at the view of the trees in their colored glory. I always wonder what they are thinking about. They could be thinking about family and friends or just reflecting on the day. Maybe they are thinking about how lucky they are to be sitting in such a beautiful setting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

October 4, 1957

October 4, 1957. Was it really as long ago as 49 years? Leave it to Beaver was starting its run on prime time. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik. What a juxtaposition! The satellite, built by Valentin Glushko, weighed 184 pounds. It orbited the earth every 96 minutes at a height of 584 miles. America was suddenly jolted out of its post-war comfort zone and redefined. Education suddenly shifted to an emphasis on science. The arms race that became the Cold War began. NASA came into being and the space race began. Paul Dickson’s Sputnik, the shock of the century (629.1 DIC) is a fascinating history, starting with the weekend of “awe” through the changes the launch brought.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

Loving Library Thing

I have been a Library Thing user since last spring after attending MLA and hearing Steven Cohen speak about it at a Reader’s Advisory on the Web session. It has been invaluable to me for those times when someone is looking for a recommended read. Although I am always reading, I have a hard time remembering the last book I read, never mind any titles beyond that. With just mouse click I have my reading library at my fingertips and can offer titles from any genre and to any reader. My list displays with book titles, book covers and I am able to rate the book, tag, and connect with other people who are reading the same books.
As we continue to find ways to connect our users with books, the library has now created our own “Pesky Library”, Library Thing page where we will be putting selected new books on the list each month. You can view selected titles from our Library Thing page from our blog, (located under the links.) We have recently added some of our newest titles and look forward to having our Library Thing list grow. With all of the 2.0 tools out there on the web, Library Thing has been my all time favorite. I hope you have the chance to look at our page, and if you are a big reader, set up an account for yourself as well. You never know when you will be asked “Have you read anything good lately?”

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Carl A. Pescosolido Library

As the newest member of the library staff , I have been wondering who Carl A. Pescosolido was and why the Academy library is named for him. I have researched the man and found the answer for those of you who may also be curious. Carl A. Pescosolido was the parent of two Academy students, Carl A. Pescosolido, Jr., Class of ’55 and Richard J.V.C. Pescosolido, Class of ’57. While he did not attend the Academy himself, he contributed a very large bequest for the building of the library in honor of the quality education his sons received while they were students here. He was also the co-author of a book titled “The Proud Italians, our Great Civilizers”, published in 1991. His generosity also endowed a Chair in the Classics at Harvard University, his alma mater. Carl A. Pescosolido was a successful businessman who owned and operated one of New England’s largest oil companies. When you visit our library come see the plaque by the entrance which honors his memory, or check out his book, call number 945 PES.

We are so!

As we are becoming 2.0, we are exploring ways to use is a social bookmarking website. Here you can create an account (for free!) and save all your favorite links to places on the Web. You can then access them from any Web-enabled computer. You add tags to create order and an index format but the tags are your own words, not choices out of a rigid taxonomy (rather a “folksonomy”.) If you are doing research, you can store all your links and online articles here. Create an online cookbook or a vacation planning guide. Create a list of your favorite podcast sites for easy reference. Do any of these collaboratively with a group of like-minded people by sharing an account or creating your own organizational tags. You can share your favorites with family, friends, coworkers…. But more than just sharing with the people you know, you can share with the entire community. And, you get to look at all the other community’s favorites, finding things on your interests that you may have overlooked. You’ll see whether 5 people saved a link or five hundred people. (You can, however, choose to keep your bookmarks private and not share.)

Confused??? Take a look at our collection. We created a site which we are using to store our favorite Readers’ Advisory sources and research sites for writing guides and citations. The three of us are placing our favorite professional sites and librarian blogs here so that we can share professional development. We’ve only been at it for a week so it’s small and our “folksonomy” may need to be more standardized as there will be three of us adding. Social networking is exciting and learning from a community has real value. For us, seeing what other librarians have saved and tagged gives us insight into helping our students become adept 21st century library users. Try creating an account and see where the community takes you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Perfect Fit

Today is Jeans Day at the Academy. For a five dollar donation to the Walk for Hospice, we earn the right to wear jeans and be out of dress code for the day. Although I lived in jeans for my four years of college, it still seems odd to wear them to school. It wasn’t until 1970 that students were allowed to wear them to classes at Newburyport High School. Before that, I remember occasionally getting singled out at the front door to drop to my knees and have the length of my skirt measured! Once the jean restriction was lifted, girls went from mini skirts to denim clad legs. We haunted Newburyport’s head shop, Siddhartha’s, and bought our hip-huggers and bell bottoms.

Jeans have come far from those days when the brands were Levi, Lee, or Wranglers. They were inexpensive and had only several deviations in styles. The color was indigo and they were so stiff that they needed several washings before they were soft enough to wear. The rips and tears were genuine. Although still the choice of the masses to wear, jeans are now part of the global economy and manufactured off our shores in a variety of styles and colors. Jeans: a cultural history of an American icon (687.1 SUL) by James Sullivan is a fascinating look from their beginnings on the western frontier to their place in our wardrobes today.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Rival to Google?

For many of our students, searching for information involves a Google search, and for years now it has seemed Google has dominated Internet searching. There is a new, or not so new, engine on the web that has been getting some well deserved buzz and one we are pointing out to students every chance we can, (formally AskJeeves.) Recently, had the Top Ten Reasons to Use Ask over Google. Many of the features of Ask include a better image search, the ability to narrow and expand a search, and preview the web page. Try for yourself, you may be pleasantly surprised and will now have another strong and effective option when searching the web.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Discover your inner Sci-Fi

Next time you visit the library, take a look at the Sci Fi display Mrs. Healey has created. Science Fiction is sometimes an overlooked genre, but a genre that has a great deal to offer and has made a mark in literature. Some of the titles we have displayed are; Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys (FIC GAI), an ALA best book for young adults, Poison (FIC POL), the Jonathan Strous Bartimaeus Trilogy (FIC STR), and the Fantastic Four (DVD FAN). After I have read through numerous titles with characters struggling through the everyday troubles and turmoil our world seems to be abundant of, there is nothing like picking up a sci fi and completely escaping to another time and place. That’s not to say that sci-fi plots are not wrought with tribulations, you could be reading about genetic engineering, alien species, and other dimensions with characters fighting for their lives. Like a good movie, a good Science Fiction/Fantasy book will take you out of the world you are living in and offer a great escape. (Some of the most visually entertaining movies we see in the theatres are based on science fiction/fantasy writing, does it get any better than Lord of the Rings (DVD LOR)?) Where else can you read about befriending a dragon, (Eragon [FIC PAO]), live in a place where big brother is always watching (1984 [FIC WEL]), have a chip implanted in ones brain to control every move made (Feed [FIC AND]), or enter a world where books are forbidden (Fahrenheit 451 [FIC BRA] )?

So, as you can see I have a soft spot for the occasional sci-fi/fantasy title. Not sure where to begin on your own sci-fi journey? Check out the Award Web: Science Fiction Award News website for the latest and previous winners of numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy awards. Also, LOCUS magazine online offers reviews of the latest Science Fiction and Fantasy titles. The next best thing would be your local librarian, of course.
Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What do the books in this display have in common? They are among the 100 most frequently challenged books according to the American Library Association. “Challenged” means that these books have been objects of censorship and have been banned by various groups for a variety of reasons. Librarians strongly oppose any censorship of reading materials and protect your right to read. You can find the complete list of the 100 titles at
Libraries across the country are celebrating Banned Book Wee from September 23rd to the 30th, 2006. Join the celebration and READ freely.

Becoming 2.0

While we had our coffee with the Globe this morning, my husband read me a headline. “’To reach out, O’Malley turns to blogging’ You blog. Does everyone blog?” I thought about it as I drove into work. If the Cardinal of the Boston Archdiocese is blogging, does that mean Web 2.0 is actually mainstream? The headline writers expected readers to know what blogging meant. Does that mean the 2.0 vocabulary – blogs, wikis, tagging, folksonomies – are common terms? Sometimes I feel I’ve just got my understanding around them and here they’ve already become part of the Globe’s lexicon.
Simply stated, Web 2.0 refers to the social web where the users are identifying and giving subjective meaning to content. Users add comments and tags to information which help other users to find relevant content. If I find your tags to be really helpful, I might look at what else you’ve tagged. Your classification system might match my learning style better than an established taxonomy. All users become members of this enormous community where users interact with information, not just seek information. (Will this make members more critical users of information I wonder?)
And, as the Web morphs to 2.0, so do libraries. One of the librarians’ goals here is to see how 2.0 tools fit our mission. Our blog is one tool to give information about what’s happening with our library program. We have started a Flickr account to share pictures of what we’re doing. In our courses on Classrooms on Elm Street (our Moodle course management site) we are experimenting with using wikis as part of the research process. In fact Moodle embraces 2.0 with RSS feeds, comments on glossary entries, wikis, and discussion boards. It is an exciting shift in how we interact with information. Stay tuned as we comment on our exploration of 2.0 this year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Suspended Inspiration

I have always loved quotations. When faced with writer’s block, I Google quotes on my subject. Even if I choose not to use any of the results, I generally find inspiration for the direction my writing should take.

Quotations also jolt my wayward mind. They send me down highways and byways along which my thoughts may never have traveled on their own. So when I was given an ornament which had the message “She is too fond of books and it has addled her brain” (~Louisa May Alcott,) I knew the library needed some of these ornaments. So one Google search later, I had discovered Laini's Ladies Adornments. I hope your thoughts will take a wander when inspired by one of our Ladies.

"What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible" ~Theodore Roethke

"If there were to be a universal sound depicting PEACE, I would surely vote for the PURR. "~Barabara L. Diamond

"What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Junior History Research is underway!

This week marks the start of the library’s collaboration with the History Department as we work with the Juniors on their American History Thesis paper. Each year the library guides Juniors through their initial research by developing a topic and directing them through library resources. This year, each American History class will visit the library for a preliminary visit to show students how to use the library’s catalog and Infotrac's Academic OneFile and US History databases. These resources will provide students with an overview of their topic and will help them determine if there are adequate resources available for their topic of interest. Later this fall, each Junior will meet individually with one of the librarians, Ms. Chase, Mrs. Brown, or Mrs. Blondin, for a research interview to guide them through some of our additional databases and resources. Our photo for today is of one of the Junior History classes visiting the reference area looking at the books and DVD’s displayed for our History Fair. We have pulled together materials on a wide variety of topics for the students to browse. This is one of the highlights of our job, being able to collaborate with faculty and help students through a large research project such as the American History Thesis paper.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The World is Flat and other bits of wisdom

Along with all of the fun summer reading I did in July and August I decided to find some reading that would enlighten me as well. I chose to read the book our seniors had to read over the summer, The World is Flat (303.48 FRI). I had long heard that when I am seeking help with my computer, my call may go to another country, and that if I make my plane reservations with JetBlue, I could be talking to a stay-at-home mom is Salt Lake, but Friedman offers many reasons why our world has become flatter. Along with this idea of the world being flatter and globalization having an impact on the way many Americans live their lives, our world has also become smaller. Technology has created a world of instant information and shared ideas, people connecting in ways they were not doing even ten years ago.

Along with the World is Flat, I also read Class Matters (305.513 CLA) written by the correspondents of The New York Times. This team of reporters explores the idea of class in America and how we define class; is it by income, education, or occupation? Each story follows the experiences of different Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds. They investigate how different people receive healthcare, how people from different classes make marriage work, the impact of religion on class, and the power of a college degree and the ability to climb the class ladder. Finishing up my summer reading on world and social issues is Not Buying it: my year without shopping (658.8 LEV). Judith Levine, the books author, has maxed out her credit cards during her holiday shopping spree and decides to partake in an experiment with her partner, Paul, to relinquish any unnecessary shopping for a year. At times thoughtful and very humorous, (I was laughing out loud in many parts,) this book does not tell you NOT to shop, but makes you think of why you shop. Whether it is the impact of over consumption on the earth, wondering how the economy will survive if we do not buy, or questioning why we have a desire to buy the next new novelty, this book leaves you with much to think about.
So do I feel enlightened after reading these selections? In some ways yes, I cannot say I agreed with everything the authors of these books presented. The ideas in these books have stayed with me and made me ask questions of how we live our lives, connect with each other, whether a neighbor or a stanger from another part of the world, and the impact we have on the earth for the time we are here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Truman Capote and Harper Lee

Juniors read Capote’s In Cold Blood this summer. Capote called it a nonfiction novel, a new literary art form, and discussed it in an interview with George Plimpton in the New York Times. Rereading the novel brought me back to the first time. His description of Nancy’s last day is chilling and has always stayed with me – the lovely young woman helping others, baking a cherry pie. We know her happiness will soon turn to horror.

You may want to try some of his fiction, the short stories being my favorite (SC CAP.) Or, you may want to learn more of his life story (Capote: a biography by Gerald Clarke 921 CAP.) We also have Capote on DVD in which he is portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Did you know he was Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird (FIC LEE) by Harper Lee? Or that she inspired a character in his Other Voices, Other Rooms (FIC CAP?) She served as his research assistant in Holcombe, Kansas while he worked on In Cold Blood.

Mockingbird : a portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields (921 LEE) is an unauthorized biography. I found the details about her friendship with Capote to be the most interesting.

Harper Lee wrote a letter to Oprah’s magazine this July on how she became a reader. It’s worth seeking out the magazine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why we blog

Last year, all three of us were new to our positions in the library. As we slogged our way through establishing policies and procedures, we realized we needed to add some librarian fun to our days. Our GDA Library blog was born. It was fun in a haphazard sort of way but most of it fell on Jen’s shoulders. This year, we are more organized and shall each take on a day or two so you will hear 3 distinct voices each week. Our plan is to show you what’s happening in our library, what resources we are using, and what’s interesting to us in the information rich world we inhabit. We shall be supporting the new vision and mission statements we developed in the spring – to make our students adept seekers and critical users of information as well as readers who love reading for both pleasure and the acquisition of knowledge.

I love being in a library. I love the start of each school year – the constant whir of the pencil sharpener beside the circ desk and the smell of those new pencils ready to take on paper. I love the displays we plan so carefully to entice our community to read and the way the books disappear from their stands into student hands. I love seeing how our older students have matured over the summer, hearing their stories, sharing in their anticipation of a new school year. And I love meeting our new students, helping them navigate those first confusing days.

Schools wield enormous influence over the adults we become. My 7th grade English teacher at the Jackman Junior High handed me a copy of Pride and Prejudice from the classroom library (located on a windowsill.) He introduced me to a world that still inspires me. I was lucky to have him again my junior year at Newburyport High School. When I asked about the controversy surrounding who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays, he challenged me to reach my own conclusion and present it to my class. I dove into literary criticism and never looked back. How fortunate I was to have him as a mentor. Each year I hope that I will in some way inspire a student the way he serendipitously inspired me.

So from all of us, we are glad you found our blog. Please comment and let us know how we are doing. If you are a parent here at the Academy or an alum, stop by and greet us. You are extended special borrowing privileges. We are looking forward to another scintillating year at the library! (Susan)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Staff and Students' Favorite Section

A new area in the fiction section of the Library has been created to display favorites. These have been read and recommended by either staff, students or faculty. If you don't have a lot of time to choose a book, you might find this helpful. Lots of students and faculty have already discovered the area. We would love you to help us on the other end, too. When you read a book that you love, tell us and we will add it to the Favorites display.

Browsing in the Bragdon Reading Room

We are delighted to be offering new selections of periodicals for your browsing pleasure in the Bragdon Reading Room. The Bragdom Reading Room is chock full of a wide variety of magazines, with over twenty new titles and more to arrive in the coming months. Some of our new additions include: Backpacker, Fine Gardening, InStyle, ESPN, People, Hockey Journal, The New Republic, Slam, The Science Teacher and Utne. Stop by and browse our collection and display, who knows what you may find.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Welcome Back to The Governor’s Academy

As the 2006-2007 academic year begins the library has been bustling as students, old and new, get back to work. We look forward to another year of blogging and letting you know about the happenings in the library. There have been many new additions to the library’s collection of print materials, DVD’s, databases and more surprises as you look around. We will highlight these additions in the coming weeks along with other library news. It is nice to see students back in the library, immersing themselves in their studies and to see their smiling faces! (As you can see from our picture of the day.)

All the best for a successful year!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Moodlers Gather at The Academy

Seventy Moodlers registered this morning for MoodleMootNE 2006 in the Pescosolido Library. Moodle creator Martin Dougiamas came from Perth, Australia to speak and take part in the conference. Three groups of teachers spoke on various ways that they use Moodle. The collaboration that Moodle supports in the classroom was evident as teachers and developers asked questions and shared experiences. You can see more of our Moodling day on our Flickr page.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Names all Around

Welcome to The Pesky Library Blog, formally known as the GDA Library Blog. As our school name has changed, so has our blog name. We will be reporting on our Moodlemoot conference being held here on The Governor's Academy campus later in the month, and will be blogging up a storm as the new school year begins.

Stay tuned and Happy Reading!