Friday, May 29, 2009

And summer break begins.....

The laptops are in orderly stacks with neatly banded chargers (no more spaghetti!) The items on the lost and found display have mostly been reclaimed. Wishes for a good summer have been floating around since lunch. AND, I have probably chatted with the last student attempting the tangram puzzle. We at the library wish all a wonderful summer full of reading, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We've got a Monster!

The library monster
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
There's a monster in the library and he's showing up everywhere. His picture is in the copy room, in the magazine room, on the computer monitors and even on the ceiling!
So we asked
"Who is the library monster?
Why is he (or she) so angry?
Is there a story to tell?'

Here's what we learned...
"I came from the evil Boston Public library where I had been caged up for 15 years. My mother was brutally killed when a library cart sped out of control running her straight over. From then on I decided to get revenge by eating other books and scaring library goers. I wish I could be a normal book and be loved but the anger overwhelms me. So watch out. I will eat your books and assignments in fits of literary rage!
- Library Monster
P.S. The reference books taste the best."
"Such a sad tale. Would a little bibliotherapy help?"
"Probably, I eat books because I'm unhappy and I'm unhappy because I eat books. Your sympathy soothes me but I fell as if a tasty book is the only thing that can fill the void in my heart.
- Library Monster
P.S. I feel like I have a chance to start a new chapter in my life (pun alert)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time to say goodbye

Second Floor
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Well, everyone, my time here as the evening librarian is over. I have managed to finish my Ph.D. this year while working at Governor's Academy, and will take a position in the fall as a Faculty Fellow at Colby College. Luckily, I will have a few Governor's alum there to remind me of the wonderful community I was lucky to work in during this past year.

I will miss all of the library study hall regulars! Take care of yourselves and study hard!

Darla Linville

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Memorial Day 2009
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Steve Barton, Governor's Academy Class of 2008 and a student at The Citadel, spoke to the school during our Memorial Day service. He spoke of the sacrifices made by soldiers and asked if anyone was familiar with the name "Paul R. Smith." Sergeant First Class Smith saved his unit at the Baghdad airport in 2003, but gave his own life to see that his men would arrive home safely. Sergeant Smith was awarded a posthumous medal of honor.

Steve also asked us to each view one of the following war films during exam week and to consider the sacrifices made by the men who served in those battles as we watch. The films he recommended are We Were Soldiers, Saving Private Ryan, and Band of Brothers.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Summer Travel

Maybe you are going someplace exotic this summer. Maybe your plans are already made: to climb to the high peak or dive deep in the clear blue ocean or to explore that far-away city. However, if this summer you'll be in more familiar locations with some time on your hands, you can always get a taste of the excitement through travel literature. In these stories, intrepid travelers with a gift for storytelling have set their adventures to words.

In Beyond the Sky and the Earth, Jamie Zeppa decided to not go to graduate school, and instead to travel to Bhutan, a mostly closed Himalayan country with a need for English teachers, in 1989. She left her overly cautious grandfather and her very stable boyfriend to seek an unknown adventure with unexpected consequences. Through Jamie's eyes, we meet her students, we learn about the customs, and we see the incredible landscape of this mountainous, Buddhist country.

Annie Hawes takes on a different kind of adventure, into the flavors of northern Italy. With her sister, she signs up to graft roses for the winter in a small Northern Italian town. She doesn't know much about roses except that they smell nice, but figures she will catch on when she arrives. This account reveals Annie's experiences as she inadvertently breaks social customs and misunderstands communications. The funny mishaps of the British sisters and the delightful descriptions of their meals remind readers of their own experiences of learning to love a new place.

Happy travels!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Archives Researcher Publishes!

Rachel Hope Cleves, an assistant professor of American History at Northern Illinois University, spent time last spring in our archives researching Elijah Parish whom she describes as "the short, loud and morbid minister of Byfield, Massachusetts, who for two decades prior had been preaching passionate sermons against the depravity of democratic bloodshed." We have as part of a collection many of his sermons and letters. Our association with the Byfield Parish Church goes back to Moses Parsons who was tasked with the responsibilty of choosing the academy's first shoolmaster. Her book, with a nice bit of appreciation in the preface, arrived recently in the mail. We are happy to have been part of her research process and look forward to delving into the Byfield preacher's role in this period of history.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Final Exams

Seniors have completed their last exam at the Governor's Academy. The rest of the school will take exams next week. This year we were fortunate to have Ms. Brigitta Allen in the library to help students with study skills. She has offered several classes on exam preparation and created a Moodle space for students to access her handouts. All Governor's Academy students can use her handouts from anywhere they have access to the Internet.

Similarly, students can access library materials, class information and assignments, and any other information their teachers post for them. While only Governor's students, faculty and staff can access course materials, a look at our home page gives a quick snapshot of the many offerings we have at the Governor's Academy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Some things change, others never do

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Technology and global connectivity have changed the way we do business, yet there are still global truths that are timeless. While discovering an old Kurt Vonnegut title, I was reminded of the power of the printed word and the many ways books serve us in their various forms. In Fates Worse than Death, Vonnegut talks about his search for inner. personal peace through transcendental meditation. What he discovered was that he had already had experienced the same health benefits when absorbed in a book.

Vonnegut says he shared his experience because so many people nowadays (1990) regard printed material as "nothing more than obsolescent technology...practical schemes for transmitting or storing information." Vonnegut's experiences with transcendental meditation, however, led him to see that "the feel and appearance of a book when combined with a literate person in a straight chair can create a spiritual condition of priceless depth and meaning" (page 188). His similarities of experience (between reading and TM) include the world dropping away, pulse and respiration rate slowing, and the gaining of wisdom.

Whether or not the future generations will be able to find this same inner peace with the e-book is yet to be seen. I, however, find these things in Vonnegut's writings and recommend both his fiction and non-fiction to anyone who has the ability to laugh at human foibles and wishes to experience inner peace and tranquility.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mr. Robertson's final projects in Children's Literature

A spring senior English elective has as its final project the creation of an original children's book. We love when they come over to be displayed in the library. The creativity of the authors simply shines. The Little Tadpoles is handsewn from felt with growing tadpoles page-by-page seeking their mother. A Ride to the Beach employs real sea shells and flaps that lift with Spanish translations. Stop by and see them in the next few days.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Formal Gowns Everywhere!

Gown Collection
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Do you love formal gowns, tiaras, high heels and the excitement of dances? Love to anticipate the drama, the secrets, the hopes and the disasters?

Luckily, formal season is here, and at The Governor's Academy students are participating in a variety of ways!

Some girls are donating formal dresses they've previously worn to the Fairy Godmother Project, an organization that collects dresses to make sure that every girl in the North Shore has a dress to wear to her formal dance.

Some students are buying tickets and formal wear for themselves in preparation for the big night.

And some students are reading stories about prom from our "All Dressed Up..." display, looking forward to the year they will have a chance to attend the formal dance.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Slideroll trial

Last week's MLA conference gave us lots of new ideas to try in the library. One that I couldn't wait to get my hands on is Slideroll, a free software application that works with flickr to make a slideshow to post on your webpage. Here's my first slideshow, with pictures from the conference.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Last week, we attended the Massachusetts Library Association conference. One of the highlights was an evening program with Michael Cunningham. He entertained us with stories of his writing and his novels, but his most memorable statements (to me) were those about writing in general. In particular, he said that a novel is “a dream the writer and the reader are having together.” In other words, the writer isn’t necessarily the last word on the story. Each reader brings their own experiences and feelings to a story, and therefore may see things in the story that the writer never intended or considered. His comments were made in reference to questions about interpretation of his works, and made me think about literary criticism in a new way. I had been taught to read the published critics to gain insight into stories, but didn’t necessarily think that my own insights might have the same value. Understanding the world an author grew up in gives insight only into the part of the story the author intended. The reader’s insights complete the story each time it is read. As Mr. Cunningham stated, an author "doesn't know everything" written into his or her own books.

Stories survive to be reread only because we relate to them, not because there is something that can stand alone without the reader. Classics, then, are those stories that relate to what is human inside us regardless of setting or historical era.

Monday, May 11, 2009

MLA 2009 Public Relations Award

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
The 19th Biennial Public Relations Awards of the Massachusetts Library Conference are announced at the annual conference. This year they added a social networking category which we entered. We created a scrapbook of the ways we use Flickr to promote what's happening in our library - teaching and learning, reading, acquisitions, displays, special programs - to students, faculty, alums, parents, and prospective students. Posting pictures to Flickr lets us tell our story in a different way. We highlighted the 365 Day Library Project in which we participated last year. We received a first place blue ribbon and a lovely, frameable certificate!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Robespierre Reaching Readers

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
In days gone by reaching readers required nothing more than having a book with words printed on the page sequentially. In our current digital age it can be a real challenge to get a student to pick up a BOOK. Publishers are tackling the task admirably as seen in these two volumes on Robespierre. The earlier edition, and I’m sure you can tell which one that is(!) was published in 1953; the other, 55 years later in 2008.

We’d like to think there will always be some redeeming features to books, which will allow them an existence of 50, a 100, or more, years into the future. It is not just their pictures, and eye catching scripts, but by virtue of their depth of content, ease of use and continued universal access, that we hope to see such longevity.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

These boots were made for walking display

The weather is turning warm and we've been getting outside more. Thoughts of summer vacation also has us searching for places to hike. Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is a wonderful travelogue for anyone considering an Appalachian trail hike. My adventures on short sections of the trail were far less adventurous than Mr. Bryson's, but his narrative gives one a sense of the "flavor" of the trail. He encountered some interesting characters and shared some memorable moments with his hiking companion that make this book one of the most enjoyable hiking stories I've come across. For more hiking book suggestions, visit our Flickr page.

Monday, May 04, 2009

H1N1 display

H1N1 display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
For current information on the H1N1 virus, visit the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website. For background information on epidemics and viruses you might enjoy one of the books in our display. Titles can be found on our Flickr page.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Allies Book Sale for Grandparents' Day

We welcome grandparents to campus today. Already we have had many visitors to the library and have been busily handing out newspapers and books for grandparents to read while their grandchildren are preparing for class. The Allies are hosting an Adopt-a-Book table in the Arena where a lovely lunch for the families is being held.