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?”