Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Graduation Bouquet

Graduation Bouquet 2011
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
The finals week is half over; only two exams remain. Besides seeing how hard library users are studying, we're delighted by these beautiful flowers. They were dropped off by Mrs. Doggett, the Headmaster's wife. She was kind enough to deliver them to us after this year's Commencement ceremonies.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Display

Memorial Day
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
According to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, the origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to Americans who have died in the nation’s wars:
“Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”
Stop by our Memorial Day display in the lobby.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Latest Reviews: June 2011

The Lace Reader
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Looking for relaxing reads for the summer break? Why not select a book reviewed by our staff!

The latest reviews linked to our "virtual collection" include Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas, Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible’s Harlot Queen by Lesley Hazleton, and The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s by Temple Grandin.

Also reviewed are The Map of True Places and The Lace Reader, both by Brunonia Barry, and, finally, The King’s Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi.

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

Happy summer!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Growing at a High School

"High school" and "gardening resources" is perhaps not an intuitive combination. We find that our collection of gardening books is in surprisingly high demand. In fact, one of our seniors grew herbs and documented the process as well as some common uses of the herbs for her senior project. Perhaps it's the beautiful Byfield countryside, thriftiness in the current economic situation, or the need to balance studies with something completely different; perhaps it's a yearning for concrete results nurtured by your own efforts.

Here is the latest addition to our growing collection (pun totally intended). Please stop by to look at our gardening and yard books. They are upstairs, in the 635s range.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Do You Spell... Successful Initiative?

How do you spell?
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
As a part of getting our end-of-the-year report together, we did a web search to see how our Web 2.0 social networking initiatives are faring. (We maintain an active presence in Flickr, LibraryThing, and Facebook, for example.)

It is a delight to see how often our Flickr images - under creative commons licensing - are used and re-used. We find them in personal blogs, informational web sites, association newsletters, and, occasionally, national news corporation blogs.

Screen capture from The Atlantic Wire blog post (April 19, 2011).

We are very excited to have earned a prime location in a post on The Atlantic Wire blog about the Western spelling of Gaddafi's name. They used a photo of our display from March 2011.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

100 Year Old Sweater May 19 2011

Fascinating pieces of school history destined for the Archives often walk in the front door. This amazing sweater was a recent donation, found in the attic of a long graduated alum. Two pictures accompanied it - one of a class in front of the little Red Schoolhouse from 1919 and one of the football team from 1918. The young man holding the football in the photo was wearing this sweater. The sweater looks to be hand knit with a homemade D on the front and is free of moth incursions.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Following Your Online Footsteps: The Button Issue

Earlier this spring we wrote about social networking issues to be aware of, namely malware and clickjacking, and the importance of managing your online presence. Another issue seems to have surfaced: using social networking widgets to track website visits. Your visits.

Everyone knows of the "Like" (for Facebook) and "Tweet" (for Twitter) buttons, which were created to make it easy to share content with friends. These buttons are called social widgets, and they can be found on various web sites. With them you can link a page (for example, news, articles, or even products) easily and effortlessly on your Facebook wall or in your Twitter feed.

According to a study done for The Wall Street Journal, these widgets notify Facebook and Twitter that you visited a site even when you don't click on the buttons during a visit. The study also found that once you've logged into your Facebook or Twitter account in the past month, the widgets will continue to collect browsing data. This happens even if you close your browser or turn off your computer. Only after you explicitly log out does data collecting stop.

As mentioned earlier in this blog, your online reputation is worth preserving. Peter Eckersley, a senior technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (a privacy-advocacy group), is quoted in the Wall Street Journal article mentioned above. He says, "Our reading habits online encompass everything we're thinking about, political and religious views, health and relationship problems." Awareness of our choices and their safely implications - including whether to log off or to leave yourself logged in - is as important as being aware of cars when crossing a road. And like exercising caution when crossing a road, caution online will soon become second nature.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Women's Firsts Display

May 20, 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, for Europe. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. This trip took place exactly five years after the first transatlantic solo flight by Charles Lindbergh.

To honor Amelia Earhart and other pioneer women, we pulled together facts and sources on some of the first achievements for women in western history.

Take a look at our display in the reference area!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lost and Found Table

Lost and Found Table
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
As the semester draws to an end, we want to reunite these lost items with their owners.

Are you missing a hat? Mittens? A shirt? Books? Math CD-ROMs?

Stop by the library lobby to have a look and pick up your property.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

School History and Traditions Highlighted

Do you ever wonder where the school traditions come from? Or what might lurk in the school's past? Our Archives Manager Ms. DiModica an the enviable position: our history is literally at her fingertips. Whenever she finds especially delicious nuggets, she lifts the veil in her Archives blog posts.

For example, in her latest post, Mrs. DiModica quotes a speech by Headmaster Doggett revealing the origins of two graduation traditions (jumping the Mansion House wall and marching around the Milestone). We also have records indicating Govs alumni involvement in the Civil War, and of various student building projects. Sports activities like fencing and the existence of a rifle club on campus are also described.

Ms. DiModica highlights some of the items held in the archives as well as papers, photographs, and paintings. There is a genuine antique sword from the 1800s that belonged to an officer in the Dummer Guard, a cherub weather vane, and a 1937 lacrosse stick, to name just a few.

Please have a look at the Archives blog. There really is such an unequaled wealth of history there. If nothing else, you have got to see the donkey basketball photos from the 1980s!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

McSweeney’s Display

Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
The end of the semester is drawing near. To offer a respite from finals cramming, we put together a display highlighting the quirky, unique McSweeney’s series.

McSweeney’s, or more properly, Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, is a journal unlike any other. It has been published quarterly by McSweeney’s publishing house and edited by Dave Eggers from 1998.

McSweeney’s Quarterly often plays around with both content and physical appearance. As Village Voice writer Matt Goldberg puts it, it’s a journal that “comprises killed articles and odd, obliquely humorous experiments”. Eggers himself describes it as “a weird, esoteric thing.” The issues can appear in a cigar box (Spring 2006), as an 8-volume set that sits in a tray (Summer 2008), or as a cubic human head (Winter 2010/2011), for example.

Inevitably, there’s also a web page. As a cheap and timely way to publish, Eggers uses the web to distribute “sarcastic, ephemeral rants about pop culture and the media,” to quote Goldberg. The web site is updated regularly in between issues, with jokes, columns, memories, humor, sarcasm, and more.

Visit our display in the Bragdon Reading Room!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Social Media Presence for College and for Life

Privacy and online profile are even more important nowadays than before. Credit card purchases have become ubiquitous, but online stores are no longer the only businesses hankering after your life's story. Some businesses go through your personal data and mine information they can exploit for their benefit. Writing of a 13-year old student, Cecilia Kang says:
"The games he plays know his location at any given moment through the phone’s GPS technology. He has entered his parents’ credit card number to buy apps, and iTunes has his family’s e-mail address and everyone’s full names. Facebook knows his birth date and the school he attends." (Boston Sunday Globe, May 15, 2011.)

If you play any online games, even on your cell phone or other mobile device, chances are that at least a part of your behavior is recorded and stored. At the least, you'll leave a track. At the worst, like Kang writes, you'll hand out personal information that can be reviewed by prospective employers, insurance companies, and colleges. Who would want to be rejected as a prospective student because of a Facebook photo, or fired because of online activities? (And this is not even getting into malware and phishing attempts.) In 2008, in 500 of the nation's top colleges, 80 % of admissions officers said they use social media to evaluate applicants. Furthermore, of the schools that did check social networking sites, 38 % said that what they saw negatively affected their view of the applicants.

Try googling yourself. If you're not happy with what you find, take action. The best time to start managing your online presence is now. When you sign up with a new service, take a minute right away to check your account settings. Go check the privacy settings for services you're already using. Many services turn information sharing on by default. Change those defaults. Very few media applications actually require you to share your personal details to work. Protect your online reputation as you would protect your real-life reputation. There are many how-to guides for managing your online presence, especially for college-bound students. The basics, however, are easy: be safe, use common sense, and create a positive message.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cultural Goings-On at Campus

It sure is a busy cultural week here at Governor's campus! Tonight, we have the Fine Arts Excellence Awards ceremony at 6:30 in the PAC. We are constantly amazed at the superb quality of our student work. Every incoming class seems to outdo the previous. This year's winners are sure to inspire their peers, too.

Collage made with images from the school website. 

In addition to the fine arts awards tonight, the winners of the Murphy-Mercer Short Story and Poetry Contest will be announced tomorrow (Friday) at the morning meeting. Also happening tomorrow is the release of this year's edition of our literary magazine, The Spire, followed by the release party at 6:30 in the Remis Library. (Student publications can be downloaded from the school website.) Finally, The Guild presents poets, writers, and other talents. Enjoy The Guild show from 7:30 to 9:00 in the PAC on Friday.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Research Help: NoodleTools

All of our students know NoodleTools through the application that helps them format their bibliographies (NoodleBib). However, few know that NoodleTools has many more resources to offer.

The Choose the Best Search page is definitely worth a look. This valuable NoodleTools page introduces a number of search engines besides the most commonly known ones. The search engines are broken down into groups according to broad types of information needs. The broad search categories include defining the topic, finding quality results, researching a specific discipline, timeliness of information, facts and opinions/perspectives, specific media, special search requirements (e.g. file type), and kinds of searchers. Each of these groups contains several suggested search engines to try, and lists the types of searches that each engine is best suited for.

NoodleQuest assists beginning researchers who have trouble figuring out where to start. Selecting as many pertinent choices as desired and submitting the selection will create a personalized searching strategy. The Teacher Resources list sources for 21st century literacies, curriculum collaboration, and the ethics of information use.

We recommend that you at least look at the Best Search page. There will certainly be something useful - and new - for anybody.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Way Cool May

Way Cool May
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
We have prepared an updated selection of new reads for the library lobby display.

These books are recent acquisitions, and are sure to entertain. Check back often - we do refill the display spots as books are checked out.

If you're looking for reading inspiration, don't forget to check out The Book Network and LibraryThing for reviews.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Finals Looming, Study Tips Blooming

Finals, dreaded finals, are barely a month away. We’ve collected some helpful tips for improving your brain performance. The key, of course, is to keep lots of oxygenated blood rushing up there! To this end exercise breaks are encouraged, along with using stress balls which stimulate pressure points in your palm thereby encouraging release of muscle tension in your arms and increased circulation.
Beware the dangers of multi-tasking! The consensus seems to be that this will only inhibit the brain’s power to draw up and retain information…this will be so perhaps until such time as the next generation’s brain is Darwinistically altered to adapt. In the meantime sign yourself up for one of the numerous web distraction blocker sites such as “SelfControl”,” Freedom”, or “Leechblock”. And don’t miss the article by our own Reed Kennedy in which he tests the impact of listening to music while you study – and it doesn’t look good!

Batch of New Books

The academic year is dwindling down. We are still buying books and DVDs, however.

Here is one of the latest books to hit our shelves. Check out the new books nook for this title - and more!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Freedom Riders Display

Freedom Riders
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Fifty years ago this week, on May 04, 1961, the first of many civil rights activists left Washington, D.C., for the segregated southern states on interstate buses. They were testing the Supreme Court decision Boynton vs. Virginia, which outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals for public transportation that crossed state lines.

The Freedom Riders set out to challenge the status quo by riding public transportation in the South to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation. Upon arrival, many Riders were arrested for trespassing, unlawful assembly, and violating state and local Jim Crow laws. Beatings and mob violence against the Riders eventually called federal attention to the issue.

Our display highlights a part of our collection on segregation and civil rights. Feel free to check our catalog for more.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

JFK: A Wealth of Virtual Materials

Boston area residents who are also history buffs will be glad to hear that the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has just opened a new wing. The JFK Library is one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The Library is dedicated to the memory of our nation's thirty-fifth president. Besides exhibits, library materials, and archives, it hosts a series of talks, Kennedy Library Forums, to foster public discussion on a range of historical, political and cultural topics that reflect the legacy of President Kennedy's White House years.

You do not have to visit the Library in person to benefit from its collection, though. Their Virtual Museum Tour offers excerpts of film and exhibit materials. The Library website offers ample materials: for example, there are short articles on JFK in history and the on Kennedy family. Also posted are a number of JFK's speeches (with both video and audio), and a fantastic media gallery with both color and black and white images. The website Research section covers all possible ways to research JFK, including a link to search the Digital Archives; the Ready Reference section offers speeches, quotations, and a chronology, links to databases, plus answers FAQs. They also participate in social networking; check out at least their YouTube materials and podcasts.

This resource should prove a great help for our juniors, or anyone else interested in the JFK era.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Govs Graduate Makes Quite an Impression

We recently discovered that John Leslie Breck grew up in the Boston area and, in fact, attended Governor's during the years 1868 and 1869. He was recognized in his day as the first American impressionist.

According to the academy’s records, Breck resided in Newton Lower Falls, a village of Newton, Massachusetts, through at least 1871. He would subsequently study in Munich, Germany, and in 1886, at the Academie Julian in Paris, France (1886). Later Breck would become one of the few Americans to enter the inner circle of Claude Monet.

Read more at the Governor's Archives blog and the City of Newton website!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Latest Reviews: May 2011

Bryson At Home
Originally uploaded by Pesky Library
Looking for something to read other than textbooks or assigned reading?

The latest reviews linked to our "virtual collection" include At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson, Scars by Cheryl Rainfield, and The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks.

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

Monday, May 02, 2011

Louise Gluck Poetry Reading

It is always interesting to hear a poet read their work. Last Thursday Louise Gluck did a wonderful job sharing her work with the students, faculty and other poetry lovers that came to her reading here at Governor's.

Ms. Gluck chose a variety of poems spanning her 11 books. She also talked about the time in between her books and how stressful it was to be stalled in the lag time between inspiration. I really enjoyed that Ms. Gluck talked about her difficulties with writing. It is comforting for all aspiring writers to know that it is even hard for the professionals.