Monday, February 28, 2011

American Experience Online

Last week we introduced two online video sites. This week we'll bring you the American Experience Online by PBS.

This highly acclaimed site premiered in November 1995, and features over 200 films at the moment. The series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present. Films include the Presidents collection, videos on political events, natural phenomena and how they affect us (e.g. hurricanes, the Hoover Dam), professions and making a living (whaling, the gold rush), economics, wars and weaponry (D-Day, the atomic bomb, biological weapons), religions in America, and much, much more.

Below each video on the screen there are links for example to further information, people and events, a timeline, and maps. Browsing this amazing site will surely be worth your time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Raindrops Abound

Raindrops Feb 25 2011
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Last week's mild temperatures gave our students and staff a much-longed for taste of spring. Alas, snow and rain have returned. We were greeted with this vision in the reference area today.

Fortunately neither snow nor rain deter students when there are places to be. Lunch time in the library is as busy as ever, and the homework chatter is accompanied by the pitter-patter of rain. And by next week this time, spring break will have started!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

(Dis) Connect

Is your cell phone in your pocket right now?
How many times have you checked Facebook today?

 In only the last few years younger generations have become so connect that it is nearly impossible for them to disconnect. Often forgetting a cell phone or being without internet is almost unimaginable to middle school, high school and college kids. This constant need to feel connected is somewhat empty because it is cutting down on real social interaction in favor of technological interaction. News travels faster and is no longer quickly forgotten, there is a permanent record of status updates and texts on phone and online. How does this affect us? The trouble is it is such a new phenomenon that we do not know the full effects yet. However, we are starting to see kids needing more and more stimuli to stay engaged. Social interaction is changing and it is becoming in both easier and harder to escape your peers. Come check out the (Dis) Connect display here at the library and see the many ways that technology is affecting our lives both in positive and negative ways.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Video Sources for Self-Education

Are you interested in keeping up with the latest in science, but don't enjoy reading? Would you like to be up to date with developments in the academia, yet prefer visual sources over text? Below are two sites which lovers of visual media and intelligent content might find useful. is a video publisher which aggregates academic, think tank, and thought leadership conferences. In other words, they gather video clips and programs on people, issues, and ideas changing the world, and offer an easy access portal to them (either for free, pay per view, or with a membership). You can search their offerings by keyword, or browse topics. Other ways of discovering videos include a a tag cloud, a list of the week's most watched, commented or rated, and a list of recently featured clips. Below each video on the screen there are links to more information, a short biography of people involved (journalists, speakers, artists, etc.), a list of chapters, highlights, a link to download the file, and even read a relevant Encyclopedia Britannica article. All this information is available free. They also offer free previews of for-fee material.

Another interesting source is TED. TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to ideas worth spreading. The name TED stands for technology, education, and design, and their activities include two annual conferences. Probably the best known aspect of the organization is TEDTalks, a free video site through which TED shares the best talks and performances from themselves and their partners. All talks are subtitles in English, many also in other languages. Besides subtitles, translations are also available. You can search the clips by subtitle language, event and video length, or browse by theme or speaker. What's best, the TEDTalks videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be shared and reposted (as long as it's non-commercially, and the videos are unaltered with attribution to TED).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Books Everyone Should Read

Books Everyone Should Read
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
We asked the Faculty and Staff to share their thoughts on “Books Everyone Should Read…”. We were delighted with both the number and range of responses. The recommendations included everything from Children Make Terrible Pets to Freedom, Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, and everything in between. There are some classics, Dr. Zhivago, The Odyssey and Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, along with, perhaps, some surprises, such as The Devil’s Teeth about Great White Sharks in all their primeval and gorey glory. Humor is clearly an important part of our lives with a nod to David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day) and Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett (Good Omens). There’s something for everyone in this collection of books everyone should read!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Edward Gorey on Display

Edward Gorey Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
The Boston Globe featured the art of Edward Gorey in their supplement last weekend in honor of a Gorey exhibition at the Boston Athenaeum. We were inspired, too, to make a display.

The Boston Globe staffer Sebastian Smee writes:
"Some people have literary sensibilities. Others are more inclined to be visual. Edward Gorey, the magnificient illustrator who died on Cape Cod in 2000, was lucky enough to have the two faculties perfectly combined, and better yet, supplemented by a level of schadenfreude so shot through with innocent mirth as to make it seem almost magnanimous."

Visit the library to read the whole text, and to browse our Gorey collection.

(The Athenaeum exhibition runs through June 4. Visit the Boston Athenaeum for more information.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lobby Guest Trojan Horse

Lobby Guest Trojan Horse
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Oliver is the creation of Imogene Robinson who won "Best in Show 2011" with him in the juried student art show "Secrets and Lies." The plaque on his front reads:

“Oliver with a Twist”

Secrets and lies are the objects of the corrupted. However, horses are one of the only incorruptible beings on Earth. They are simple in composition, transparent in their emotions. Oliver, here, is composed of objects as simple as cardboard and as clear as plastic bottles. No secrets or lies lurk as shadows within Oliver; for light shines through him.

We are delighted to have him spend time with us!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Parents Weekend Winter 2011

The Governor’s Academy looks forward to seeing you at its Parents Weekend, February 18-19, 2011. The schedule of events includes two art shows, presentations by faculty, a wine & cheese reception for parents, athletics contests, and two performances of the musical Wedding Singer.

We in the library are busy making sure that the premises look neat and nice for everyone's enjoyment. You can find more information, including the weekend schedule, on the school web site.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Go Govs Students!

Governor’s Academy students entered the Boston Globe Scholastic Writing Awards for the first time last fall. Twelve students took part in the competition.

Out of 22 works submitted by our students, 10 won awards. The awarded works include poetry, short stories, and personal essays / memoirs. One of the students, Andrew Coleburn (class 2012), won four recognitions. It is a fantastic achievement considering that this was the first time Governor's students submitted written works to the contest.

You can read more in The Governor's Academy Blog. Congratulations to all the participants!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Roses are red
violets are blue
come visit the library
you have books over due
(just kidding, we love you!)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

How Many Kisses?

How many kisses?
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Four more days to go! How many kisses are there in the cube?

Come to the library and leave your guess (up to three) in the box! The approach is up to you: measuring and calculating the volume, visually estimating, throwing out a wild guess...

The winner will be announced on Valentine's Day, Monday 14th, at lunchtime. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Green Cup Challenge

Green Cup Challenge
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Members of the school’s G3 team created a display in the library to remind students of the Green Cup competition happening this month. They have also placed “tips” around the library to give each other ideas of ways to save energy and the environment. As part of our convocation series, the entire community met in the performing arts center today to listen to a presentation from the Alliance for Climate Education about climate change and what we can do to make a difference. Everyone was challenged to text D-O-T to 30644. DOT stands for “do one thing.” We were challenged to find one thing we don’t already do to save fossil fuels and to do it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Latest Reviews: February 2011

The Third Sister
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Looking for something to read to give your brain a break, and break up your routine?

The latest reviews linked to our "virtual collection" include The Third Sister by Julia Barrett, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach, and Jane Austen’s Novels: Social Change and Literary Form by Julia Prewitt Brown.

You can always find even more reviews through our LibraryThing profile.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Thomas Jefferson and sheep

Jefferson Display
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Thomas Jefferson was known for many things, both personal and political, but not so many people are aware of President Jefferson’s avid ovine interests. He actively pursued the acquisition and breeding of sheep that he hoped would both improve his crop fields when fallow, and satisfy a growing concern for improved wool and mutton. He collected sheep as gifts from all over the world and was particularly desirous of the Merino sheep. This highly coveted Spanish breed could only be acquired through various smuggling antics for many years. He started out with the “common country sheep” from the Virginia mountains, a breed most like the Southwest Churro. He also kept Tunis (hailing from Tunisia, North Africa), and Shetland (from the Shetland Islands of Scotland) sheep. Jefferson was instrumental in improving the quality of wool bred in the United States, and would keep a flock of sheep on the White House lawn, until one day an aggressive territorial ram actually killed a boy.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Counting Kisses

Counting Kisses
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
We're counting our blessings quite literally! Ms. Driscoll and Ms. Patten prepare for a chocolate kiss display.

We've filled a sealed, see-through cube with chocolates. Set beside it are paper slips for guessing how many chocolates there are in the cube. You can make up to three guesses. The person to get closest to the actual total wins the whole lot!

Come by the library to learn more!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

How high will it get?

How high will it get?
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
The library is open although there are no classes or afternoon activities today. We feel like Bill Murray endlessly reliving Groundhog Day - shovel, sleep, repeat! But, unlike poor Bill, we are having a better time with that pesky rodent. Today, Groundhog Day 2011, Punxsutawney Phil was not frightened by his shadow and an early spring is promised! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Polite Graffiti

Be Polite
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
One of the tasks here in the library is making sure that the premises stay clean and comfortable. Sometimes it means wiping scribbles and graffiti off the tables.

Most of the times we see pencil stripes that are clearly accidental. On occasion there are ambitious artistic works, calculations or other messages on our surfaces.

I was almost tempted to leave this graffiti alone for a day or two. Would you have? Why?