Friday, April 30, 2010

Lunch Break

Lunch Break
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
When you're through with work, why not play a little! Our students have so many talents, and are not afraid to use them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Experimental Book Maintenance

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
One of the tasks performed at libraries is book repair. We try to repair minor issues (like torn pages) first here at the Pesky Library rather than outsource them to a professional.

These two books have discoloration on their covers. We wanted to try and rule out mold by placing the books in the sun for a while. (The brick is merely preventing the pages from being blown open, since it was an extremely windy day.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Word Play

The longest word in English is a topical one. Namely, if you were to inhale the microscopic volcanic dust spewed out by the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallaj√∂kull, you might get pneumonoultra­microscopico­silicovulcanoconiosis. It translates roughly as 'a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, causing inflammation in the lungs' (according to Wikipedia).

The word can be broken into seven parts which derive either from Latin or Greek roots. Pneumon(o)- means 'lung' (Gr.); ultra- 'outside, beyond; extreme' (Lat.); microscopic(o)- 'microscopical' (Gr.); silic(o)- 'stone' (Lat.); vulcan(o)- 'volcano' (Lat.); koni- 'dust' (Gr.); and -osis 'condition' (Gr.).

None of the works in our library are specialized enough to include medical terms this minute, but we do have a respectable collection of dictionaries. They can be found downstairs at REF 423, and upstairs on top of a small book case near the biographies.

Of course, we also have etymological dictionaries (REF 422 SKE and REF 422.03 CLA). Some intriguing special dictionaries include the Metaphors Dictionary (REF 423.1 SOM), The Dimwit's Dictionary (REF 423.1 FIS), and Words to Rhyme With, a rhyming dictionary (shelved at REF 423.1 ESP). My favorite, perhaps, is the Illustrated Reverse Dictionary (REF 423.1 ILL).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Earth Day Display

Earth Day Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Here's a glimpse of our Earth Day display in honor of the 40th Earth Day, April 22nd 2010. We have included some statistics on recycling in Massachusetts, air quality index charts, and inspiration on living green, for example.

P.S. Did you notice students walking around in green clothing that day?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Cleaning

In the past few weeks, you may have seen librarians busy moving books off the shelves, onto a cart, and back again. That's because we're doing spring cleaning.

The shelves need to be wiped periodically to protect the books from accumulating dirt and dust. We also take the opportunity to dust all the books. This way the dust won't 'burn' onto the books during the hot summer months. We do this to prolong the shelf life (pun totally intended!) of our materials.

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's Spring!

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
This young fellow seems to be enjoying the weather regardless of how wet it is. Spring has been gorgeous in Byfield: enough rain to make the flowers grow, and enough sunshine to keep us happy, too.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mark Twain Display

Mark Twain Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Yesterday marked one hundred years since Mark Twain passed away. We commemorate his keen wit and sharp insights with this display. Pop in to read some of his memorable quotes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gorgeous Weather for Freshman English Class

Scenes outside the library encourage us to go out and enjoy the delightful weather. Mr. Wann's class decided to work in the fresh air today. Spring is gorgeous in Byfield!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mind Magic at the Circ Desk

No one has yet to solve the newest puzzle at the circulation desk although many hands are trying!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Erupting volcanoes are events of wonder and awe, bringing to mind Pompeii and Herculaneum, places far away, and very long ago. But, as we have seen in the last week, volcanoes continue to erupt in our world today and affect us in very real and troubling ways. Thousands of people trying to get places will be taking weeks to sort out their travel plans. Not to mention the worry of air quality for those on the ground. The scariest part is that despite our cutting edge technologies in so many areas of our lives, predicting volcanic eruptions (and earthquakes!), continues to be an elusive endeavor. So, mankind watches and wonders, and continues to track these earth shattering events, in the hopes of one day making predictions.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Information Fluency

In his talk at the CIL 2010 conference David Schroeter, a strategic council member of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, said that we are no longer dealing with an information highway, but rather we are floating in an information ocean. He questioned whether our students can navigate the waters of the depths of the Internet. He also questioned if they will be ready to enter the work force when they leave school. According to Schroeter, employers are no longer looking for basic competencies; they assume that graduates have those. Employers are now looking for evidence that potential hires are critical thinkers, creative and innovative, excellent communicators,and fluent with information technology. Most non-routine jobs have been outsourced to countries where labor is cheaper, meaning that tomorrow’s employees need to be able to adapt and learn constantly.
Here at the Pescosolido library we teach students to do more than find their way around the information ocean. We teach them to analyze the validity and credibility of web pages so they can become critical thinkers, able to find not just information to answer the question posed, but to question the information they find and use what they learn to create new information. Our juniors recently finished a year-long thesis project designed to help them connect bits of information to create new understandings of our American past. Some of these papers may be published. Last year, junior Lyle Nelson won the Cum Laude Society Paper Contest for his thesis. We hope that each student's experience will lead them to see how they can be innovators and information creators, constantly discovering new ideas, making them valuable in tomorrow’s labor market.
A final gem that from the conference, shared by Mr. Schroeter and originally penned by John Dewey: “If we teach today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

McSweeney's No.33

That title, McSweeney's No.33, may not sound very exciting or enticing but 33 reflects the number of the current quarterly issue of the McSweeney's publication. And I say "publication" because each quarter it's a surprise to see in what format the topic at hand will arrive. The most recent issue took the form of the classic Sunday paper, with all the requisite sections, sports - including a special with Stephen King on the World Series - the magazine with an article on Sub-prime loans, and a section on Marijuana plantations in Mendocino County CA, and don't forget the "funnies"!

McSweeney's publications take on and share out a variety of topical issues, along with cutting edge fiction from nationally and internationally recognized authors of every stripe. Recent issues have taken the form of a graphic novel, a book on "Where to Invade Next" and the "Joke Book of Book Jokes". If you are looking for something a little different to read this could be just what you're looking for.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day two of the Computers in Libraries 2010 and Internet@Schools conference was packed with information and ideas I’ll be bringing back to school to implement. Gary Price of The Reference Shelf showed us many new Internet resources. Cheryl Lederle-Ensign and Erika White of the Library of Congress introduced us to their newly updated website and the myriad new resources for teachers. Paul Barron, director of library and archives for the George C, Marshall Foundation, talked about Google’s ranking system and how important it is for students to understand why the top three results may not be the best results. He said “bad decision making is usually the result of an inability to locate information.” For this reason, it’s imperative that school libraries teach students to locate the best information available so that they will be able to make informed decisions now and throughout their lives.

Krista Godrey, liaison librarian at McMaster University demonstrated how open-source applications like Libx and Zotero can assist students in searching, collecting, citing, and sharing their research source materials. Rebecca Jones (Dysart and Jones) and Deb Wallace (Harvard Business School) were exceptionally persuasive when they discussed how we can use critical thinking skills to make the decisions that will help us to progress inside our organizations.

The evening program was a lighthearted look at “hot” and “not” technologies. Sorry, ipad users, but that one’s a “not.” Html5 and anything that helps people to work better collaboratively came out with high marks in the “hot” category. The highlight of my day, however, was hearing the archivist of the United States and "Collector-in-Chief" share that the book he's presently reading is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Computers in Libraries and Internet @ Schools 2010

Day one of the Computers in Libraries and Internet @ Schools conferences began with a keynote speech by Lee Rainie of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. He updated us with facts gleaned from their research about people’s online behaviors. He explained that many use online social websites like facebook and youtube to “build friendships, network with friends, create learning opportunities, and build reputational capital.” He said that librarians should become “nodes in people's social networks” as they seek information to help them both solve problems and meet their informational needs. Seven literacies that he mentioned as necessary for people to thrive in a digital world are among the many things we attempt to empower students with whenever we work with them. The literacies he focused on are:
• Screen literacy – understanding graphics and symbols
• Navigational literacy – giving students tools to understand where (in virtual space) they happen to be and to determine where they need to be and how to get there
• Connections and Context literacy – because web pages break everything into snippets of information linked to each other, students must learn to understand the context in which the information they are viewing is presented
• Skepticism – learning to look for accuracy and authority in the sites they visit
• Value of Contemplative Time – helping them to understand that it’s not enough to find a piece of information, but we must spend time with it and think about it to make connections with our world and determine what best to do with that information
• Content Creation – how to become publishers and creators of digital information; creating rather than collecting information
• Ethical behavior in this new world

Monday, April 12, 2010

Library of Congress North Side

I arrived early for the Computers in Libraries 2010 conference and decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather to visit the capital's museums and stroll around the mall. While the cherry trees are no longer blossoming, it is definitely spring here in Washington, D.C. This shot of the side of the Library of Congress gave me a glimpse of what we have in store for us in Byfield in a week or two.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Visual Poetry

Visual Poetry
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Mrs. Gold's sophomores created visual interpretations of poems and shared them in the library today. We were delighted to see the creativity and talent displayed by our students. No two interpretations were alike.Mr. Mandel had previously instructed the students in video techniques and software. Each student created a film and uploaded it to YouTube so they could be shown in front of a large group.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Entertainment DVDs

A few days ago we mentioned our new DVDs shelf for the most recent movie purchases. Here is a selection of the newest of the new. Note the bright stickies on the cover. They tell you to look for the movie on the new DVDs shelf, rather than among the rest of the collection.

The new movies are incredibly popular. As I'm writing this, only one of the titles in the picture can be found on the shelf. Come in to get yours while you can!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

April is Poetry

April is Poetry
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Pictured is just one of our five poetry displays in honor of the National Poetry Month.

"The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring."

The quotation above is from p. 77 of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (811 DIC - at the moment on this display, though). Fitting for today's gorgeous spring weather, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

What's in Your Cellphone?

What's in Your Cellphone?
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
This month’s display touches off by taking a look at the ingredients of the iphone. A Bad Apple, there’s one in every barrel, is there one in every pocket? Taking a look at the actual mineral and metals content of our cell phones (not to mention computers, and electronics galore) it seems we are awash in “conflict minerals”. And these conflict minerals are disguised via layers of corporate greed. Who knew that Tungsten and Tantalum – critical to our electronic devices’ vibration motors and batteries – are mined in the Congo? That the Congo is rife with worker rights violations, which are really human rights violations! It’s good to be green and here’s a way to get closer to your green side, by checking the Guide to Greener Electronics before the next shopping trip.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Celebration of Chinese Culture

The performing arts center was packed with students Friday night. Ms. Qian had arranged for a presentation by the Chinese Folk Art Workshop, Inc.
Hands-on activities in the foyer included calligraphy and making Chinese hacky-sacks, dragonflies, and clay figures.
The outstanding performance that followed included many forms of Chinese dance and folkdance, drumming performances, lion and dragon dances, and Chinese yo-yo demonstrations. While the Chinese Fold Art Workshop claims that its members range in age from 12 to 18, their performances were professional and exceptionally entertaining. Small children in the audience, high school students, and adults alike broke into spontaneous applause throughout the performance as we were delighted and transfixed by the myriad talents of these young people.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

How Sweet It Is!

How Sweet It Is!
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
The spherical puzzle on the circulation desk has befuddled, baffled, confounded, and flustered students for the past month. One persevering student has finally completed it and can now reassemble it in less than a minute. Congratulations - hard work does pay off!