Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Helping Boys to Ask for Help

CLA fall meeting
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Yesterday, I attended the Cooperative Library Association fall meeting at Gann Academy. Lynn Grilli, Roxbury Latin’s school librarian, and Noel Foy, Roxbury Latin’s learning specialist, presented their findings on getting boys to ask for help. Boys, they said, have many cultural influences that cause them to exhibit help avoidance behaviors. Roxbury Latin’s program has attempted to overcome these behaviors by showing students that seeking help can make them individually stronger, rather than diminishing their personal power. One initiative that they felt had been highly effective was the transformation of their peer-tutoring program to a drop-in area where tutors are always available in a prominent area. This has taken the hidden shame from the act of asking for help and made working collaboratively an open act.

Both presenters stressed that collaboration is the way that college students and professionals are now conducting their lives. Being able to work with others, learning from each other and sharing strengths, is highly valued in today’s society. They suggested that educators would do well to understand that colleges and universities are now asking students to work much more cooperatively than in the past. They also stated that students “don’t know what they don’t know” and that they need to be taught to think about how they learn.

For those of us who wanted to read more they recommended the following books:
The Pressured Child by Michael Thompson
Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds by Richard J. Light
I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real
Strategic Help Seeking: Implications for Learning and Teaching by Stuart A. Karabenick
Teaching the Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel, and Learn in School by Abigail Norfleet James

The presenters also mentioned that they are available to bring their presentation to schools.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Will we ever blog again?

Things just keep piling up
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Two major projects - rearranging our DVD collection and re-barcoding our entire collection - have consumed our energies. While we try to continue to provide service, sometimes things just don't get done as neatly as we'd like them to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New fiction, including a great baseball story

Fiction - November 2008
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Imagine you are the kid who is different everywhere you go. In your prep school you are one of the few Mexican kids. In the neighborhood where your aunts, uncles and cousins live you are the only one who can't speak Spanish. And on the baseball field, you are better than almost anyone if no one else is around. But at team tryouts, you choke, your pitches go wild, and the coach suggests you work on your control and come back next year.

Danny is that kid. But by himself, or working out one on one with a friend, he throws every pitch perfectly, and fast. He has a ninety-mile-an-hour fastball. You'd never guess it to look at him. He's tall and skinny and looks like he has no muscles, but those long arms really allow him to throw the ball hard.

The summer before his junior year Danny goes to live with his cousins and aunt and uncle, to discover why his dad left, and to figure out how to control his pitches when other people are around.

This is a great baseball story, and a great story of a teen finding his identity.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

21st Century technology

Joining other 21st century libraries, the Pescosolido library is re-barcoding our entire collection with 14-digit barcodes. The industry standard for library barcodes uses 14 digits, wherein the first five digits identify the library. Our conversion to KOHA open source library automation this fall necessitated the change from our old four and five digit barcodes to the new 14-digit barcode. Joining the Masscat library system, we can identify books from other libraries automatically by their barcodes, just as libraries that borrow from us can easily identify our books.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Medal of Honor Recipient at Governor's Academy

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Today, retired Navy Captain Thomas G. Kelley spoke to the Governor's community. He discussed his military career, his present work with the Veteran's Administration, and his views on war. He encouraged everyone to find a way to serve one's country or community. When asked if his service was worth the price he paid in terms of his injuries, he replied that it was a very worthwhile time. He continued to serve theNavy for 22 years after he received the Medal of Honor.
After his talk, Captain Kelley signed the library's copy of Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day Display and the Academy's Archives

Armistice Day Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
While preparing our commemoration for Veteran’s Day, we turned to Laurie DiModica, our archivist, for ways World War I affected the academy. She found some wonderful items we included in an Armistice Day display. The August 23, 1917 minutes of the Dummer Allies (the academy’s parents group) written by Secretary Carrie S. Dummer reported “Dr. Ingham told us many interesting things about the boys, the uncertainty of the war had broken up the school at the end of the year, but for all of that the boys were doing nicely.” Her minutes of August 15, 1918 stated “Miss Noyes said Dr. Ingham wants encouragement this year, teachers are wanted in this school as in all schools, four having gone to war. He would be very grateful for any thing big or little that we may do.”

Laurie also found an Honor Roll of Dummer Academy for WWI the preface of which stated: “The following is a list of those who are in the service of their country. It is only a partial list but includes all the Dummer boys so far reported as in service and those members of the faculty who left their work here to fight for Democracy.”

The scrapbook of Waldo Thorne Worcester ’20 yielded headlines from the Boston Post, Newburyport Daily News and the Sunday Herald of November 11, 1918 proclaiming “Great War is Over” and “Nation Joins in One Glad Song of Victory.” He also had saved a receipt for a war savings stamp dated June 14, 1918. Most intriguing for me is the panoramic picture of the Dummer Battalion c.1918.

An Archon article from the time speaks of a service at “the little Byfield Church” where a service flag was dedicated “bearing stars representing the boys and men who have lived in old Byfield and attended its old church, and are now in the service of Uncle Sam.” Many of the stars were for Dummer boys who all attended the church. Later, Mr. R.H. Sherman gave the academy a service flag which hung in place of the Morse flag in front of the Schoolhouse. “May the fifty stars representing the fifty sons of Dummer who will risk their lives for their country, ever be a reminder of what we owe them and Dummer, and an inspiration to hard work.”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Giving Blood - Saving Lives

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Twilight isn't just about movies and vampires.

Today is the Governor’s Academy’s semi-annual blood drive. Some students will give their first pint of blood today, hopefully creating a lifelong habit of saving lives. Kudos are warranted for those students who answer the call to give blood. This is another way we learn to live out school motto, “not for self, but for others.”

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Twilight hits the theaters

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
on November 20, and vampires have been spotted in the Pescosolido library, too. Besides books by Stephenie Meyer, you might also find these stories about vampires in this display:
Vittorio by Anne Rice
The Cowboy and the Vampire by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde
Blood of Roses by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Violets are Blue by James Patterson
Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
Gothic by Deborah Noyes
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury
Thirsty by M. T. Anderson
Dark Banquet by Bill Schutt
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Friday, November 07, 2008

Proposed Massachusetts License Plate Benefits Libraries!

Usually, we only blog about what's happening in our library. BUT, we are so fortunate in Massachusetts that tax dollars are given to the six regional library systems which support service to all kinds of libraries in the state. We get access to databases, support for MassCat participation, Interlibrary-loan service and Document Delivery, Continuing Education opportunities, and Reference support. So today we are including an announcement about a new state liscence plate which will support Massachusetts libraries:

Library enthusiasts across the state will soon have an opportunity to show their support for libraries.
The Central Massachusetts Regional Library System (CMRLS) announces it is now accepting advance applications for a new specialty license plate celebrating libraries in Massachusetts.
Proceeds will benefit public, academic, special and school libraries across the state that belong to a Regional Library System. Equitable shares of the proceeds will be made available to qualifying libraries through an open grant process. Funds will not be used to supplant library budgets.
The idea for the plate emerged during a ‘promote libraries’ brainstorming activity at a CMRLS Executive board workshop. After a joint meeting with RMV officials in April and consultations with other library organizations, CMRLS decided to launch the drive to gather the required prepaid applications to produce the specialty plate.
The plate design process was a collaborative effort. Representatives from library boards across Massachusetts as well as library patrons were invited to offer design suggestions. The Library License Plate Task Force subcommittee formed by CMRLS included representatives from: Friends of Libraries; Library Trustee Association; School Library Association; each of the six Regional Library Systems; MA Library Association; and the MA Board of Library Commissioners.
Once the concept was agreed upon, local Illustrator David Desforges volunteered to turn the concept into reality.
The plate features a design logo of a silhouette of people above an open book displaying a globe all atop a keyboard. The website appears at the bottom. The letters M and L stands for Massachusetts Libraries.
Understanding how beneficial this endeavor will be to the statewide library community, well-known Massachusetts authors Lois Lowry and Gregory Maguire have teamed up with CMRLS to help promote the plate and expedite sales. Applicants who submit their prepaid applications to CMRLS by Nov. 30 will be entered into a drawing. The winners will be given the opportunity to communicate with Lois Lowry or Gregory Maguire, and to be named as a character in a work-in-progress by one of them or to help invent a name that suits the story. Two names will be selected.
Lois Lowry is best known as the author of the Newbery Medal winners THE GIVER and NUMBER THE STARS, and Gregory Maguire is best known as the author of WICKED, inspiration for the hit Broadway musical of the same name. Mr. Maguire states, "There can be few places that serve as both a temple and marketplace of ideas, or as both a respite for and a challenge to the mind and the spirit. The public library is all this, and more."
CMRLS must collect at least 3,000 applications each with a $40 check made payable to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) before the RMV will begin production of the plate.
The initial cost of the plate is $40 ($28 goes to the Library Grant Fund; $12 to the RMV for manufacturing costs). There is an additional $20 swap fee when the actual plate is picked up from the RMV. Renewals are $81 every two years ($41 RMV registration fee and $40 for the specialty plate fee that continues to go to the Library Grant Fund). An application can be downloaded at For more information contact CMRLS Headquarters at 508-757-4110.
Central Massachusetts Regional Library System (CMRLS), the lead organization of this statewide endeavor, promotes and supports resource sharing, professional development, collaboration, and innovation among all types of libraries in Central Massachusetts. Its seventy-two communities include 244 academic, public, school and special libraries. It is funded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tech support answers the call

Tech support at Governor's Academy keeps us humming. They're quick to answer the call whenever there's a problem. They keep our networks, laptops, desktop computers, printers, and all sorts of peripherals up and running so that students will have what they need when they need it. Arriving within hours after learning that a laptop is out of order, Mr. Mandel quickly righted the problem. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stars vs. Stripes

Mock Election
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Yesterday we held a mock election. Each member of the community was surveyed in advance to determine party placement and then assigned to both a party and a state delegation. We heard candidates make statements, debate one another, and then speak at their respective party conventions. We caucused and made signs and debated the views we heard. And finally, we voted and celebrated! Thanks to the history and fine arts departments for providing us all a way to experience democracy in action.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tomorrow is the Mock Election

Voting information
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Although the nation will not get to vote until Tuesday, students at The Governor's Academy will vote for their candidate on Monday, November 3. Seven students have taken on candidate roles and shaped positions for their peers vote on. The day will be spent in a convention type format, with all students acting as delegates.

It will be a great warm-up for the national race on Tuesday. Don't forget to vote!