Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Vendors and New Books

Book Vendors and New Books
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
We choose to purchase many books after reading what reviewers have to say. Vendors, however, bring the books to us for personal examination. Holding the book in our hands gives us a very good idea of whether or not a particular book will actually be used once it's in the collection. We can examine the table of contents and personally observe the reading level and how well it matches that of the students most likely to use the information. We can observe charts, graphs, and pictures and determine whether or not a particular volume complements our collection or overlaps what we already have. And once we've established a relationship with a vendor, they know which books are most likely to pique our interest.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Children's Books

Children's Books
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
As a prep school library, most of our services are tailored toward high school students. As a boarding school we have families on campus with needs and interests that are outside those of a normal high school library. We have a small collection of children's books for faculty families to check out. It's fun for the students and librarians alike to see young children entering the library with a sense of wonder and a desire to be read to.
We recently received a donation from a faculty family of once-loved books. We're anticipating lots of smiles when these books are discovered on our shelves.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Academic Honesty

On Wednesday, in place of our weekly chapel speech, the entire school community was treated to a presentation on academic honesty and plagiarism. Following the presentation, all students met with their advisors to make certain that the message presented was understood. Each student then signed an academic honesty agreement.

Academic honesty is taken seriously at the Governor’s Academy. As headmaster Doggett reminded us, our reputations will follow us throughout our lives. Once tarnished, a reputation for dishonesty is hard to refurbish.

One tool that we provide to help our students avoid unintentional plagiarism is Noodle Tools. This program connects a student’s online note cards with the information needed for their citations and bibliography. If they desire, they can copy and paste entire sections of an electronic source on one card and type the actual words they intend to use from that source on another card. These two cards will remain in a group with the source card so the student can easily locate and document their sources.

We remain committed to helping our students be ethical users of information. Noodle Tools is just one of the library’s tools for supporting our community.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Automation to the rescue

The juniors have started researching their history thesis papers. The library can help make this process easier. We offer many helpful books from how to formulate a topic to answering your thesis statement. Books are not the only resource the library has, however. There are links to electronic databases and various guides on the library Moodle site, Classrooms on Elmstreet.

One useful tool for collecting and formatting your citations is NoodleTools. You can access NoodleTools most easily through the U.S. History Thesis course; there is a link to it (and a video tutorial!) at the end of the page. Once you have created an account with NoodleTools, you can create a citations list for your paper and type in the information for every source (title, author, publication year, place of publication etc.). NoodleTools will format your list automatically according the bibliographic style that your professor specifies. You can then save that citations list in Word format and export it; incorporating the citations into your paper is as easy as cutting and pasting. And don’t be shy – you can always ask the librarians for help!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mail Call

Mail Call
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
A highlight of the afternoon is the delivery of new books and dvds!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Literary Mashups - Summer 2009

In the world of computer technology, mashups take one program’s functionality and combine it with another to create a new product that’s a combination of the two. Google maps has inspired a number of mashups that allow people to combine places with twitters, swine flu outbreaks, or even locating a book’s setting.

Writers have joined in the frenzy and are now creating mashups of books. In Woodsburner, John Pipkin takes the true story of how Henry David Thoreau started a wildfire and creates a novel of the life and philosophies that might have been inspired by that event.
In Vanessa and Virginia, Susan Sellers looks at the life of Virginia Woolf through her older sister’s eyes, inventing thoughts and ideas that may or may not have been true.

While these mashups are more the norm in historical fiction, with real lives being looked at through a fictional lens, other authors have taken the idea of combining two literary ideas a step further. In The Heroines, Eileen Favorite brings Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara, and other literary heroines together to find strength and solace in each other so they can continue the lives destined for them by their original authors. Caroline Cooney's Enter Three Witches, mashes Shakespeare’s Macbeth with a novel about a young woman raised in the court of the times. In Saving Juliet, a young actress from New York is transported into the world of Romeo and Juliet in a way somewhat reminiscent of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
Perhaps the most ambitious new mashup in our collection is Seth Grahame-Smith’s insertion of zombies into Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Selecting a topic

Selecting a topic
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
There's an intensity to the start of our year supplied by the junior curriculum. Each junior in American History writes a thesis paper on a topic of choice. They are now coming to explore possible ideas. Often a parent or grandparent will make a suggestion over the summer based on family history. Sometimes they are inspired by a novel or a movie or a current event. We give suggestions for overview and background readings. We have also placed many ideas in a course on Classrooms on Elm Street, our Moodle site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A reader.....

A reader.....
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Cushing Academy recently spent half a million dollars to transform their library into a “learning commons”/coffee house. See “Welcome to the library. Say goodbye to the books.” They’re giving away every book that wasn’t antiquarian or donated. Even if we had the money to give all our books away and buy electronic books, we wouldn’t do it. Here’s why...

Our students and faculty aren’t a homogeneous group. Some of them love the feel of a book in their hands. Some don’t want to keep another battery charged constantly. Others complain of eye-strain. Many like to take books to the beach or on vacation or on the team bus and don’t want to worry about losing a $500 e-reader.

Our students also have many different learning styles. Some are easily distracted by online materials and would have a difficult time staying on task if doing all their reading on the Internet. With email, twitter, and facebook messages popping up, reading an e-book can be difficult at best. When surrounded by electronic gadgets, some students will automatically begin searching YouTube or their favorite sports sites. For many, the ability to escape the electronic realm provides a quiet, calming, and focusing influence.

Perhaps more importantly, the use of a solid book for research gives the reader a type of order and organization not readily apparent in an electronic book. The table of contents is in the front; the index is in the back. The author has organized the material by chapters so that ideas are developed in depth. E-books can be searched for a particular word or a factual answer. However, having that ability invites the opportunity to skim and to avoid reading deeply. Research requires students to read long passages and absorb meaning and make inferences. The type of reading that is made possible by electronic books has its place; links can be followed to see how different threads of information are related. But the printed book teaches organization and understanding in a way the electronic book does not.

We also teach our students that not every book can be found by searching the catalog. Browsing a set of shelves often leads to serendipitous finds that wouldn’t occur if we searched online for a particular list of keywords. The way we arrange books on the shelves leads readers to find related ideas in proximity to each other.

At Governor’s Academy we will continue to make a variety of formats available for students to use. As we continue to add to the number of materials that we make available electronically, we won’t abandon the technology that has served us so well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flu Patrol!

By this time you have probably seen the library staff walking around with white cloths twice a day. Because of the H1N1 flu (swine flu) spreading, well, like a flu, we're cleaning keyboards, mice, and door handles with a disinfectant. We hope this helps in keeping everyone healthy.

Remember, there is hand sanitizer and tissues available at the front desk, should you feel the need to freshen up a bit. And check out the flu display on the main floor, across the front desk!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Evening Librarian Says Hi

Hello all, and welcome (back) to the Pesky Library!

I'm your new evening librarian. Although I'm only three days into the semester, I can already tell what a great community the Governor's Academy is, and how cool our students are. It is exciting to start the semester with you! Please don't hesitate to ask questions, or just come say hello.

Cheers! :D

Mrs. Eppu Jensen

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Freshman Class is Looking Up

A group of freshmen toured the library during Unity Days this past weekend. We are delighted to have students back on campus and clearly thrilled with the great smiles and positive attitudes we've seen from this years' new students. This good-looking tour group paused inside the front doors for a brief look up.
Unity Days gives each class an opportunity to spend some time together before classes begin. This year's freshman class played games on campus, toured Newburyport and the campus, and went out for ice cream. Sophomores participated in team and trust activities and went roller skating. Juniors devoted their weekend to community service including hosting a field day for students from Kipp Academy. The Senior class camped at Brantwood and hiked Mount Monadnock.
Everyone seems happy to be back together again. We're looking forward to a great year.