Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mass Moments

Each morning I look forward to an e-moments of Massachusetts history delivered to my in-box. Created by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, these e-moments serve as an almanac of the state's history. The stories are accompanied by primary source documents, images, further readings, and links. You can look at the event on a timeline and on a map. The database is also searchable so you can locate stories by regions, dates, or categories. And, of course, if you prefer, you can listen to each story as a podcast.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


At the last conference we attended, no one was exchanging business cards. Instead, MOO cards were flying! Intrigued, we Googled upon our return and found that we could upload images from our Flickr account into MOO, add six lines of text, and, for a nominal sum, create our own cards. We started with some images from our library tour set. In a week we had our cards and were amazed that they had come from the UK. We uploaded a picture of them into the Flickr MOO Card pool and had a request to exchange cards. Turns out the cards were going to and coming from Rome.

We became hooked on MOO. Surely we had an academic reason to create more? We did. Already working on fine tuning for next fall how we work with the Juniors on their thesis papers, we have decided to hand out bags of writing supplies during our American history topics fair. Each bag will have a MOO clipped to it with info on how to access the library's resources specific to the paper. Now, how can we apply MOO to the freshmen orientation?????

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blogging about Blogs

If you are looking for a better understanding of what a blog is or the impact it is having on how we seek and find information, check out the Bloggers Blog: Blogging the Blogosphere: reporting on blogging news and trends. It reports on all the new technologies and ways companies, organizations, and people are using not only blogs, but other applications.

Monday, January 22, 2007

“Happiness is all about your state of mind”

January 22, they call it “Blue Monday.” Scientists in England have dubbed this day “blue” by coming up with a mathematical equation as to why so many people feel particularly down on January 22 over any other. You can read more about their reasoning in the Portsmouth (UK) News. What better way to counteract gloom and melancholy than with a dose of happiness! For your reading pleasure the library has just acquired the book, Happiness: a history (170 MCM), where it states “happiness has been equated regularly with the highest human calling, the most perfect human state.” In addition, you will also find in the Pescosolido collection under “happiness”, Dahn Meditation: a spiritual exercise to perfect health and happiness (181.45 HEU), Authentic Happiness: using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment (158 SEL), The Art of Happiness: a handbook for living (294.3 LAM), and The Architecture of Happiness (720.103 DEB). Lastly, to help you fight the Monday blues, visit the Authentic Happiness website, or the Resources of the Happiness Foundation. Don’t worry this blue Monday will pass.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What's next?

Many of our Seniors have been accepted into college and of course, feel a big sense of relief. They have met a major goal of their prep school career. The anxiety that they have felt for the last year cannot be overestimated and they have been so proud to tell me of their plans for next year. As I have been congratulating them on their acceptance letters I have been offering a bit of librarian advice. Should they be wondering what to read once their senior class assignments are completed or if they find they have more free time, I have advised them to go to their new college’s web-site and find out what readings are required for their freshman year or even for their summer reading before school starts. Getting a head start on some of this required reading will make the transition from high school senior to college freshman a little easier. The amount of reading is often a big shock to new students. Right now the seniors are still too busy with school work to embrace my advice, but come Spring, they may be more receptive to my suggestion as they contemplate their futures.

New Technology Blog at the Academy

The newest Academy blog is Technology of the Month. Designed and written by the Technology Committee, the purpose is to introduce classroom teachers to new technologies as well as new ways to use “old” (or rather existing) technologies. The first post is on mobile blogging – ways that students can use the technologies in their pockets (PDA’s, cameras and phones) in their class work. Imagine a science field trip: “Students could snap pictures using their camera phones, use their fantastic text messaging ability to identify and describe the image, and then post it to the field journal in seconds. Back in the classroom or, even better as part of their homework, students could log into the blog and add to or edit the post, slowly building a comprehensive field journal which could also double as a study guide.” As we all know, the pace of technology growth outstrips our ability to keep up with it. The Committee hopes their blog will be informative on current educational technologies.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Governor's Academy Student

Last week while ESL teacher Karen Gold was at a writing seminar, Jen and I took over her class. The assignment was a Flickr essay on A Day in the Life of an Academy student. We wanted these international students to reflect on what they had observed and learned (sometimes the hard way!) these past few months. Each student had to take pictures in four categories: Academics, Afternoon Program, Residential Life, and American Culture. The pictures needed to reflect something that a new international student needed to know in order to be successful here at the Academy, something that would enable a new student to “hit the ground running” so to speak. Once the pictures were uploaded, the students needed to write informative commentaries. Take a peek! (Double click on a picture to read the commentary.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

BPL resources at your fingertips

Any Massachusetts resident can now access Boston Public Library electronic resources, audio, video and music resources as well as place holds on BPL materials with the BPL e-card. The library will issue a temporary e-card that will need to be upgraded within six months, simply apply online. Learn more by visiting the Boston Public Library webpage.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

The school held the Martin Luther King Day convocation with a number of presenters offering insight to the importance and significance of this day. Jerri Anne Boggis, Project Director for the Harriet Wilson Project, shared in the efforts to bring Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig (FIC WIL) to the forefront as a piece of black history in New Hampshire. She also described the efforts to construct a memorial to Harriet Wilson in Milford, NH.

The library has a Martin Luther King display in one of our cases that reflects the efforts to raise funds for the Martin Luther King Memorial. The Academy’s NEXO club which promotes cultural awareness, has held a fund raiser for this cause. In addition to this display other Martin Luther King materials are being displayed in the library. An inspiring day for all.

There can only be one winner...

Browsing School Library Journal for December 2006 led me to the “Word of the Year” for 2006. Carbon Neutral is the winner, urging us to live a greener way of life or off-setting the damage we may do to the environment by doing something environmentally positive. The winner for 2005 was podcast, a word that has changed how we gather and receive information. The runners up from both years provide insight to our culture and the cutting-edge technologies, concepts, or language we use (or may use in the future.) Maybe carbon neutral, (some argue promoted by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth,) will have a positive impact on how we live our lives. The word is having an impact in the blogging world, people are a buzz with this new word of the year! Makes you wonder what could be the winner for 2007, what will this year bring?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Whose blogging now?

We, the librarians at the Governor’s Academy, have been blogging for the past two years. It seems that we not alone. The Boston Sunday Globe (January 7, 2007) had an article in the “Career Development & Education Supplement” that stated that many colleges and universities now use blogs in their courses, in admissions departments, as well as department home pages. Blogs are different from online discussion forums. Greg Salyer, associate professor and chair of liberal studies at Boston University’s Metropolitan College explains the difference this way. “Forums are more like class participation. A blog is private, personal refection made public. It requires more thought and crafting, and is uniquely yours.” I really liked that definition. To visit some of the blogs from select Boston colleges and universities, go to:
Professor Salyer’s blog at BU
MIT Admissions blog
Harvard Student blog

Short Takes for Study Breaks

Hidden within the 813’s of the video collection was an assortment of short stories. We’ve moved them to the entertainment section where you can find them by title. Timed at 60 minutes or less, they provide some intriguing viewing. Who needs Snakes on a Plane when there’s Ambrose Bierce’s suspense laden “The Man and the Snake?” Owen Johnson’s funny Lawrenceville Stories (first published in the Saturday Evening Post) of high jinks in the famed prep school are represented by "The Prodigious Hickey" and "The Return of Hickey." Opening this weekend on the big screen is a movie about a murderous hitchhiker, but the Eudora Welty story’s point of view is from the driver who picked up a hitchhiker later found murdered (“Hitch-hikers.”) For those of you reading Gatsby and enjoying the period, try “Under the Biltmore Clock.” Kurt Vonnegut’s “Who Am I This Time” is one of my favorites. An endearing rather than creepy Christopher Walken stars with Susan Sarandon in a sweet romantic comedy. Ms. Pesky suggests that these are great study breaks as they are short but still brain-engaging!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Billy Collins

As Chapel speaker this morning, Headmaster Doggett spoke of this odd time when the New Year is just beginning yet we are gearing up toward the ending of the semester and its exam period. It was an interesting thought. Although we take stock of where we are personally at the year’s close and set ourselves resolutions for the year to come, we are probably not concentrating any longer on where we’ve been but rather on where we’re going. Seniors are either into colleges, anticipating graduation and the fall, or are anxiously awaiting letters while freshmen need to learn how to review the fall’s curriculum and demonstrate their mastery on an exam.

He continued his talk by reading some poetry by the very accessible former Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Collins takes familiar moments and transforms them. He transforms how we view reading a book, writing, or even looking out a window. His “Aimless Love” in Nine Horses (811.54 COL) has rescued me many times when my mind is too full of forests and no trees. You can read more about Collins at, an interview on bringing poetry to the people, or his poetry 180 project.

Visitor from Kenya

Joseph Lekuton, member of the Kenyan Parliament visited The Governor’s Academy on Tuesday, January 9. Read more about his visit on the school’s webpage. One message Mr. Lekuton shared with the audience was to encourage young people to look outside their world, travel and discover places unlike their own. If teachers and students are unable to travel, the next best thing would be to READ; read about the world, read about what is happening in other countries, people and their experiences. You can learn more about Mr. Lekuton from his book, Facing the Lion: Growing up Masai on the African Savanna (967.62 LEK) which Ms. Chase blogged about last week.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh, what a year can bring

It is always interesting to stop and reflect when a new year has come and gone. I remember last year at this time, feeling baffled by all of the new technologies libraries, and young adults had been adopting. iPods, blogs, social networking, online gaming, cell phones that have everything but the kitchen sink and more innovative technologies.

Here at the library we have incorporated many of these new technologies into our program starting with the blog, flickr, Library Thing, (I love Library Thing – if you are a reader you must use it!) , and our library staff is using a wiki for professional development. As we look ahead to 2007 there are many new exciting technologies we look forward to diving into, when you make the dive once the rest becomes exciting new adventures. We hope you will stay turned and enjoy the adventures with us. Happy New Year!
Felice Anno Nuovo! (One of my New Year’s goals: to work on my Italian!)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Facing the Lion

Kenyan legislator Joseph Lekuton will speak at this Tuesday's convocation. We have available several copies of his book Facing the Lion: Growing up Masai on the African Savanna available in the library. When you come in to check out a copy, look at the display of Kenyon books in the hallway which Mrs. Healey put together. In March four of our students will be visiting a school in Kenya along with Mr. Nelson and Mr. Gerry. In April, two Kenyan students and their teacher will be coming to us. Let's welcome the visitors to our campus by learning about their country and culture.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Reading alums

One of the best parts of being a school librarian for me is connecting with an alum and once more talking about reading. I had lunch yesterday with Laura who is an English major at Williams. After the catching up on school news and old friends, we talked about her upcoming semester with three courses on the novel. She is currently reading Emma in preparation. After she had read Pride and Prejudice her freshman year, I got a wonderfully delirious e-mail: ”I knew I could count on you to truly understand. Imagine the emotion, excitement and absolute pleasure of a first-time reader. I felt guilty enjoying the book so much.” I imagineI babbled similarly to the teacher who first handed me the same novel.
I envy her the experience of Emma – meeting Miss Bates for the first time! Before I knew Kilpling was an Austen fan, I read the “Janeites” and was bemused when his soldiers assigned Austen characters and irony to the people they met: “I was past carin’. But [the grey-headed nursing Sister] went on talkin’ and talkin’ about the war, an’ her pa in Ladbroke Grove, an’ ’how strange for ’er at ’er time of life to be doin’ this work with a lot o’ men, an’ next war, ’ow the nurses ’ud ’ave to wear khaki breeches on account o’ the mud, like the Land Girls; an’ that reminded ’er, she’d boil me an egg if she could lay ’ands on one, for she’d run a chicken-farm once. You never ’eard anythin’ like it—outside o’ Jane. It set me off laughin’ again. Then a woman with a nose an’ teeth on ’er, marched up. ‘What’s all this?” she says. “What do you want?” “Nothing,” I says, “only make Miss Bates, there, stop talkin’ or I’ll die.”
In The History Boys, Hector responds to a student “The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.” Austen has given me some of my best moments in reading and is now doing the same for Laura. Our lunch chat was so satisfying. I wish this reading experience for all my students and that they return to talk about it!