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1. Picture Books in Information Literacy Survey

Come one, come all!

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=IE2DFUiTHzSfwsnZcMy8vQ_3d_3d

I am a UTKnoxville graduate student researching picture books as an instructional tool in information literacy curricula. Long title, short survey! If you are currently or ever have been a school librarian, please follow this SurveyMonkey link for a brief survey regarding your practices with picture books. If you know a school librarian, please forward them this! Below is all the necessary legal information. As it says in the introduction one of my goals is to compile "best practices" for using picture books as an instructional tool in information literacy curricula. I'm very excited and can't wait to hear what you all think.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=IE2DFUiTHzSfwsnZcMy8vQ_3d_3d

Thanks!
~bryn

Bryn Samuels, M.Ed.
Nashville, TN
School Library Information Specialist student, UTKnoxville

Picture Books as Instructional Tools in Information Literacy Curricula

INTRODUCTION

You are invited to participate in a research study. The purpose of this study is to examine how picture books are currently used in K-12 information literacy curricula. One goal of this study is to compile “best practices” for using picture books as an instructional tool in information literacy curricula.

INFORMATION ABOUT PARTICIPANTS' INVOLVEMENT IN THE STUDY

You will be asked to follow a weblink to an online survey created using SurveyMonkey. Most questions require checking one or more boxes to answer the question. A few questions require short answer responses. The last question of the survey will ask your interest in a follow-up interview to be conducted via email or phone. All contact information will be kept confidential and will be destroyed upon completion of this study.

The online survey includes 20 questions and should take 15 minutes to complete. It will be open from September 21, 2009 to November 21, 2009. Follow-up interviews include three questions and should take 10-30 minutes to complete depending on the interview method – email or phone.

RISKS

There are minimal foreseeable risks in this study. All surveys are anonymous. SurveyMonkey does record the IP address of your computer but all this information will be kept confidential with the researcher. At no time will the survey answers or other data be transferred to another computer or any other online source. If you provide your contact information as a follow-up interview volunteer, that information will be kept confidential and will be destroyed upon completion of this study. The researcher will use SurveyMonkey’s report features to create reports but at no time will these reports include names, contact information or IP addresses of survey participants.

BENEFITS

As one goal of this study is to compile “best practices” for using picture books as an instructional tool in information literacy curricula, and as all participants should be within the school library field, all participants will be positively impacted by this study’s data and outcome. The researcher plans to seek publication of findings. This can help extend the body of knowledge to other researchers and practitioners. By participating in this study you acknowledge that findings may be published. Published findings will not identify you in any way unless you give permission to the researcher. The researcher will seek permission before identifying anyone in future publications of data.

CONFIDENTIALITY

The information in the study records will be kept confidential. Data will be stored securely and will be made available only to the researcher unless participants specifically give permission in writing to do otherwise. No reference will be made in oral or written reports which could link participants to the study.

INFORMED CONSENT

By participating in this survey you are giving your informed consent, advised of the risks and benefits and confidentiality arrangements. You also confirm that you are age 18 or older. If you do not wish to participate, and/or if you are not age 18 or older, simply ignore this email request.

PARTICIPATION

Your participation in this study is voluntary; you may decline to participate without penalty. If you decide to participate, you may withdraw from the study at anytime without penalty and without loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled. If you withdraw from the study before data collection is completed your data will be returned to you or destroyed. Completion of the online survey (questionnaire) constitutes your consent to participate.


CONTACT

If you have questions at any time about the study or the procedures, you may contact the researcher, Bryn Samuels at [email protected] or 615.476.7882 or Dr. Cindy Welch at [email protected]. If you have questions about your rights as a participant, contact the Office of Research
Compliance Officer at (865) 974-3466.



http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=IE2DFUiTHzSfwsnZcMy8vQ_3d_3d

1 Comments on Picture Books in Information Literacy Survey, last added: 9/25/2009
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2. Save Reading Rainbow

Don't know who, if anyone, reads this anymore, but in the spirit of serendipitous stumblings...

Sad, sad day today. As many of you are aware PBS stopped producing new episodes in 2006, and as of today Reading Rainbow will no longer be broadcast - new, reruns, nothing. NPR reports: "The show's run is ending, Grant explains, because no one — not the station, not PBS, not the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — will put up the several hundred thousand dollars needed to renew the show's broadcast rights." (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112312561) There must be millions of us who watched and benefited from this show. Surely if we all pitched in a couple dollars...

These are a few efforts floating around out there:
petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/return-reading-rainbow-to-the-air
facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=144192794133&ref=search&sid=4715610.1865791473..1

And, I guess this is my conversation starter... I know all good things must come to an end, but is there an equally amazing alternative for early literacy learners via this TV/entertainment medium? The NPR article talks about "back to basics" and testing contributing to the show's downfall and lack of interested funding. Sesame Street is still going strong. I know very little about Between the Lions, but know it to be quite good. But is there anything else like Reading Rainbow? I've been suddenly thrown into quite a lot of discussions and reflections today. From everything I ever knew about booktalks ("but you don't have to take my word for it") to crosscurricular content awareness between and within books and so much more - I can trace a substantial portion of it back to Reading Rainbow.

Also, is it really only "several hundred thousand dollars"? How does such a legend not have any advocates, or enough advocates with enough cash? Am I just naive about the big world of operating costs and funding?

2 Comments on Save Reading Rainbow, last added: 8/31/2009
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3. Little Cricket by Jackie Brown

Little Cricket won one of the first Paul Zindel First Novel Awards, created by Hyperion Books to promote "stories that reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of our country" (jacket flap). I'm pleased that such an award exists and I might have similarly awarded this first attempt were it not for the award specifically honoring stories of ethnic and cultural diversity. This story of a young Hmong girl and her family's emigration from Laos during the Vietnam War follows their culture shock and struggles in 1970s Minnesota. Basically, a great first attempt at a novel, but not the cultural content. (This analysis is of the ARC.)

Kia, her artistic older brother Xigi, parents and grandparents all lived in the same village, farming and peacefully coexisting until the communists came and forced most of their village's men, Kia's father included, into the military. Soon, the rest of Kia's family find a way to Thailand where they live as refugees until Kia, Xigi and their grandfather emigrate to America. A typo leaves their mother and grandmother behind for now.

Once in America, they are confused and surprised by everything. Apparently they're too ashamed to ask how to make the lights go off or how to regulate the temperature, so they freeze at night with the lights on. This is one of the first things I don't buy. Maybe I don't understand severe culture shock or the residual fear of being a refugee, but these first few "intro to America" incidents make Kia and her family look foolish. In fact, while still in the refugee camp, Kia was confused that sick people were not going to her grandfather, a shaman, and instead seeing the American doctor. Her mother tells her, "If the Americans see our people going to see a shaman instead of one of their doctors, they may not take us to America. They do not understand our ways. They think our beliefs are foolish. We must pretend to be as they are so they will accept us." Maybe this is true or was true. Maybe I've lived too long in a trying-to-be-color-blind society that I forget how far we've come, but this seems much too didactic a message for so early in the story. And by message I mean the message for me, the white reader, who hears this Hmong mother tell her daughter I think she's foolish and that they need to pretend to be like me so I'll accept them, wherein I resolve to never again make someone feel like that. That message isn't for a Hmong reader wondering if she's in this book. I don't know. Maybe it's a message a Hmong reader will resonate with with her own experiences of discrimination.

There are also too many stereotyped situations for these new immigrants fumbling their way around. There is the church that keeps pushing the grandfather to take English classes and the wise, old grandfather refuses, preferring to stick with the old ways. "If you can't speak English, life will be difficult and no one will hire you." Ouch. Thanks. There are the "American" clothes that they are uncomfortable to start wearing. There is Xigi, the teenager, eager to shed his Hmong identity and revered artistry instead preferring to run away all hours of the day with his new American friends. There is the "high-heeled" woman that visibly distances herself from Kia and her grandfather at the bus stop. There are the two pretty blond girls, Kia and her grandfather's "competition" at the farmer's market, that shun them. There's the whole farmer's market that shuns Kia and her grandfather's vegetable table because "they're different." I mean, really? Am I that clueless about how different the 1970s were or does this all seem like forced discriminatory incidences for the purpose of the moral of the story.

Speaking of the moral of the story...there seem to be a few lessons here. There are a few times where Kia and her grandfather are offered help and they refuse because they will make it on their own, besides they don't have anything to offer in return. Xigi has also completely ditched the family and doesn't participate at all. And then, of course, they all feel like outsiders. These three directions come to a head in one or two climactic events. Warning - spoilers. When Kia and her grandfather go the first day to sell their vegetables, they load up with their produce, a white tablecloth from the quirky neighbor (that Kia reluctantly accepted) but they have no luck. Grandfather falls sick, but Kia is determined to go and try again. This time after she sets up shop a loud, expensive-looking woman comes to her table exclaiming how glad she is that Kia is there and that "chef" would die if she didn't get all their vegetables from Kia, and then she proceeded to buy almost the whole table. She totally put on a show, a fake show as it was Kia's quirky neighbor, so that the surrounding shunners would be enticed to now buy from Kia. Which they did. White woman saves the day and Kia's lesson was to be grateful for help from strangers, that not all foreigners are bad. What?! Disappointing.

Xigi, it turns out, was good at gambling rooster fights as a refugee in Thailand and thought he could make a go of his luck at poker in America. This 11-year-old (!) got himself a grocery delivery job to get money for bets and to pay off debts. He actually stole the money Kia had made selling vegetables, and when Xigi's whole story unravels one day, he suddenly is very open and honest and remorseful. He and grandfather make up, go speak with the shop owner, get his job back, and all is well. It's just not believable.

There were parts of this novel that I enjoyed and that started to get good for me. One redeeming aspect I found, which intrigues me enough to read another novel by this author, was her third person voice. The third person voice in this novel is almost first-person from the protagonist's voice. I found myself so wrapped up in Kia's head and thoughts that I forgot she wasn't the one telling the story. I liked that style. I also liked the sideline of the quirky neighbor, Hank (Henriettea) and her dwarf/little person son, Sam. It was an interesting aspect of "being different" that didn't feel forced and felt like a natural learning for Kia. I even liked where I think the author was trying to go with Sam's mom: "Nobody was going to tell me my kid wasn't perfect. I thought I coule make him perfect by just pretending that he was. Except I couldn't...By the time I realized that I couldn't make him perfect, Sam was so used to my making excuses for the way he looked he never even got a chance to like himself. He was convinced I didn't want him the way he was." That's hard insight for a mom.

Some other great sections of this book are the Author's Note, Hmong Pronunciation Guide and Suggested Further Reading at the back of the book. Clearly the novel was researched and the author was passionate about her topic; it just didn't translate as well into fiction as it needed to. I just think this novel bit off more than it could chew, unfortunately.

0 Comments on Little Cricket by Jackie Brown as of 7/11/2009 3:53:00 PM
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4. Roberto Walks Home by Janice Harrington

I was looking forward to reading more books by Ezra Jack Keats. I'm in the middle of researching about Keats's characters as simply "colored white kids" (Shepard in Henderson, 2005). I should have paid more attention as I started, though, as Roberto Walks Home is "based on the characters created by" Ezra Jack Keats. Doh!

The story, written by Janice Harrington and illustrated in Keats's style by Jody Wheeler, follows Roberto as he waits for his big brother Miguel to pick him up after school only to eventually walk home and see his brother playing basketball, forgetting all about Roberto. Roberto, understandably upset, ditches the green leather jacket his brother gave him at the basketball court, goes home to pout and destroy his brother's side of the room. When Miguel does finally come home and apologize Roberto is not sure if he wants to forgive him. I could definitely tell I wasn't in a genuine Keats story, but I did enjoy myself in Harrington's story and Wheeler's illustrations.

Roberto is visibly upset when he feels his big brother has abandoned him. Harrington does do a good job of keeping us in Roberto's point of view. His brother's friends are "the big boys." He throws a temper tantrum and knocks down his brother's blocks and chair. One interesting part of the story is a picture Roberto draws showing his anger at the situation.
"He drew pictures of Miguel being chased by a yellow dog and a basketball monster. The dog wanted to bite him. The monster wanted to eat him." I like this exposure to kids of alternate ways of dealing with anger and frustration - draw!

We are square in a Keats world with bright oil paints and cityscapes. The first few pages are a little busier than the rest, but they soon give way to a solo Roberto as he copes with being left behind and having to walk home alone. Besides oil paints, Wheeler uses very minimal collage - newsprint for newspaper, a wood stain for Roberto's bed, quilting for his bedspread, and crayon for Roberto's drawings. The mixed media is interesting, although not as cohesive as Keats . It seems thrown in when the page needed something different.

The Latino elements include characters' names - Roberto and Miguel. They live with their abuela; she calls from downstairs at one point. We never see her, but her presence indicates an extended family typical of Latino culture. We are told Miguel's nickname for his little brother is Habichuelita, which means Little Bean. With "beaner" being a common derogatory name for Latinos, I feel like a different choice could have been made.

Some other elements present are typical to Keats's kids-in-urban-communities stories, however, they may also be a statement of this cultural group's statistically lower socioeconomic status. Roberto attends a public school with nearby graffiti and walks home via an alley with an angry barking dog and homeless man. Interestingly, the story points out these things as "the yellow dog that growled" and "the man pushing a grocery cart" as if these sightings are everyday occurrences. He lives in a city apartment with a fire escape and shares a room with his teenage brother.

All in all, an okay story. A few things sent up red flags for me. On the title page is a stuffed white rat with pink nose, toes and tail. When we are in Roberto and Miguel's room we see this is a small stuffed toy of theirs that sits on the windowsill and watches everything. I later found out, as this is based on previous Keats stories with Roberto, that this is a mouse puppet. So, Wheeler is just following Keats here. So, it's Keats I must admonish this time. Isn't this is another slightly derogatory comparison? Aren't all the Speedy Gonzalez cartoon characters mice? Why is a rat chosen to be the boys' stuffed animal pal? On a similar note, the only other animals in this story are an angry dog, an alleycat and a city pigeon - all urban, filthy animals. When Roberto daydreams he has wings and can fly, a potentially inspirational passage, but the wings he's grown are pigeon wings! Again, some of these comparisons may be more a reflection of city life and not a culture, but it's a little too unclear for me to be comfortable with the choices.

Lastly, this could be a discussion of just youthful perspective or non-member voices (Harrington is AfricanAmerican, Wheeler is Caucasian). The story seems to have chosen some of the more negative identifiable elements - Roberto was forgotten at school. He walks home via graffiti walls and a dark alley. When he's rowdy upstairs his grandmother scolds him, not a parent. Although Roberto and Miguel appear to be the only siblings in this family, a teenager has to share a bedroom with his little brother, implying that they live in a very small apartment with abuela and probably a parent or two. I go back and forth whether this is just presenting stereotypes or creating an identifiable world with a universal story. If it's presenting stereotypes - are they just following Keats? I may have my filter on too strong.

Henderson, Darwin L., and Jill P. May. Exploring Culturally Diverse Literature for Children and Adolescents: Learning to Listen in New Ways. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon, 2005, p. 270.

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5. Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy bordered on too cutesy for me, so while I was looking forward to reading Elijah of Buxton because of its rave reviews I was still a tad skeptical. Elijah is an historical fiction piece of a young African-American boy and his learnings about himself, his history and his future. It's written in first-person with a similar lilting dialect as Buddy. But after having read both it's easy to see why Elijah stands out and why Curtis continues to be an educator's dream for presenting historically thoughtful characters and stories.

Elijah is the first child born in Buxton, Canada, a settlement established by freed and escaped slaves. He has spent the past eleven years knowing nothing but freedom and living in community with loved ones. He goes to school, does his chores at the barn and runs the woods with his best friend Cooter. Elijah is incredibly gullible and his mother is constantly accusing him of being fra-gile; she's all but given up hope that he will learn how to act growned-up. Each chapter, then, is like a little vignette in which Eljiah slowly learns the ropes of life. He really wants to understand this language of adults and fortunately he has no shortage of opportunities.

What stands out to me the most is how I felt like I was learning about the overt and hidden struggles of slavery all over again. Fresh. Don't we all grow up studying slavery, the Underground Railroad, being "sold down the river", plantation mentalities, etc. You of course have empathy, but it still feels like a history lesson and not a reality. Perhaps it's desensitization or perhaps it takes more stories like "Elijah" to truly put you in the reality of that history lesson. The book's messages are clear, but theydon't beat you over the head, don't manipulate your emotions, don't make you feel anything but like a human being having compassion for another human being.

Elijah is not without its emotion-provoking moments, though. The reader truly runs the gamut, but in bits and pieces. Numerous literary elements unique to slavery are there - abolitionism, Underground Railroad, slaves' scars/burns from whipping, slavecatchers, the N-word, slave families being separated, chains, fear, freedom, "Massa", wrongful deaths - but these experiences are embedded in context without the reminder that we're supposed to be sympathetic. It's assumed that we're sympathetic, or we're not, whatever. This isn't one little boy's first realization that he's different and here's his struggle to overcome adversity. This is life. And it's damn fine storytelling.

Questions: I do wonder, however, if it's a cop-out that we get these reflections second-hand from a "freeborn". Can we really find out about the experience of slavery from someone who never went through it? Is it a story about slavery...or freedom? Maybe, like the Author's Note implies, it's just about Buxton and Elijah. I also wonder how this story would have been received if it was not written by Curtis. Would the dialect seem offensive if it was written by a non-African American author? Or the church scenes or the women comforting Mrs. Holton scenes stereotypical?

I had a small issue with the consistency of intensity; it grew in intensity in the last six chapters, a very short distance from the end. Once I got a taste of those last six chapters I wanted more! One of the most incredible scenes I've ever read in children's literature was of Elijah stealthily entering a barn and finding five captured slaves in chains. Because he doesn't know what he's looking at in the dark, Elijah describes them as "haints" and demons scared to death that they'll notice him there. He berates himself for being fra-gile. Slowly he realizes they're chained slaves, humans in thick shackles and eventually all he can think about is trying to save them but knowing what an impossibility that is. What a metaphor for a youth's introduction into the usually protected, too-scary adult world. It wasn't Amistad, it wasn't Uncle Tom's Cabin, rather it was Elijah's fears working themselves out as best he knew how. Such complexity in a dynamic character is enticing and, like I said, I wanted more.

This book is recommended for ages 9-12. With the happy-go-lucky Scholastic Press hardback cover I can see that; however, with the darker creepy woods paperback cover I think you could entice more middle schoolers. I also think that this book should absolutely be encouraged with third/fourth grade advanced readers, especially as a companion to learning about slavery and the Civil War. The storytelling feels contemporary, meaning a 21st-century student who has been spoonfed "love everybody, we're all equal" would be able to relate to the mood of the book and vignettes, but would be receiving great insights of what they're reading in their history text. I would have loved to have this book be one of my early associations with learning about the experiences of slaves and slavery and freedom.

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6. Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse


Nine months later...no, not a baby. A post! I am currently taking a valuing diversity in children's literature class. Part of our assignment is to critique eight books from various "ethnic groupings." Here is my first one regarding the American Indian experience in children's literature.

I can’t believe I’ve discovered Karen Hesse so late in life, but am glad she’s part of my favorites now. I really enjoyed her Depression-era novel Out of the Dust and Aleutian Sparrow holds a similar charm.

Set in the months and years after the Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor this story follows Vera, an Aleut, and her people as they are evacuated from the Aleutian Islands to southeast Alaska. Vera’s account is told in prose informing us of how she and her people used to live and how they now struggle to survive in the government camps. The U.S. relocates all five villages of Aleut to Ketchikan hundreds of miles away in southeast Alaska. While the Aleut are comfortable in high winds, high seas and high spirits, Ketchikan and their camp at Ward Lake feels landlocked; they cannot see water anywhere through their rainforest home. The government makes them build their own sparse cabins, launder using four faucets and use an open trough for a latrine. Vera observes that a nearby German POW camp is better off than they are. Yet they are required to stay there and find their own subsistence for the next three years.

I was interested to read a “Native American” story that wasn’t set in the lower 48. Especially living in the south schools get inundated with Cherokee and Algonquian Thanksgiving stories. I still found some interesting stereotypes, however. A doctor from the Outside comes to provide check ups and is surprised at their dress. He asks, “Where are your reindeer skins?” The nearby village doesn’t like the Aleut being “forced” on them. They Aleut find themselves being arrested and jailed constantly for unknown reasons. When they finally return to their village in 1945 they find it ransacked, not by the Japanese but by bored and depressed American soldiers, “even the seal-gut pants. What does a soldier from Arkansas want with seal-gut pants?” Probably the novelty of something “exotic” from a culture he doesn’t even realize possess U.S. citizenship.

What struck me was how effective Hesse is at eliciting sympathy and rage without melodrama. The non-rhyming prose is beautiful and captivating. There is a love story but it’s secondary. There is quite a lot of death but it’s not manipulated to pull at your heart strings. What it is is a story of identity – “We never thought who we were was so dependent on where we were” – and retaining that identity after betrayal – “Worldwide our government spends large sums of money to piece lives back together. No money is spent here.”

I also found a few surprises. The villages were quite religious, and not in the way I would have expected. They practiced a version Russian Orthodoxy! This makes sense being so close to Russia, and added (or removed) an interesting layer to all the assumptions a reader could be making while enjoying this story. I appreciated how this story doesn’t attempt to tell you everything you wanted to know about the Aleut. This is one part of their more contemporary history. We are reminded that they have dealt with years of similar heavy-handedness – “How many times can a people lose their way before they are lost forever?” – but they are referring to first the Russians, then the Americans and now the Japanese, not just the proverbial White Man. This adds a thoughtful perspective not present (or able to be present) in other Native American struggles.

I highly recommend this book for 4th – 9th graders. A big range, I know. It’s an easy read and would provide historic food for thought for younger readers, while older readers will be able to relate to the aging main character and explore identity more in-depth.

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7. My Scholarly Debut

Finally, I post something that (if you squint just right) remotely resembles something scholarly about my Library World experience...


A quick search for articles on open access and scholarly communication in the K-12 school library world reveals very few articles and even fewer full-text links. Either the conversation is not happening or I just can't get to it.

Rick Kopak in his abstract to his article Open Access and the Open Journal Systems: Making Sense All Over states,
At a time when students are increasingly turning to the Web as their primary source of information it is well worth continuing to consider ways and means of taking advantage of this trend, and to perhaps relocate attention to traditional information sources presented in new ways. This paper makes the case that Open Access to electronic scholarly journals creates an opportunity for schools and school libraries to benefit from use of these journals.
The source, a biannual journal School Libraries Worldwide, is only available online at a membership fee. Neither UTK nor my more local Vanderbilt library had this journal in their database. Is this UTK's or Vandy's responsibility to purchase yet another e-journal? Is it the journal's to find a way to make itself accessible, especially after publishing an article that makes a case for open access? Editor-in-Chief of School Library Journal, Brian Kenney, wrote an editorial on September 1, 2008 bemoaning "the lack of online availability of professional literature published by the American Library Association (ALA). He notes that while librarians advocate for open access to journal content, their professional association has failed to make its own content freely accessible." September 2, 2008 8:00am American Libraries Editor-in-Chief, Leonard Kniffel, posted this comment to Kenney's editorial,
The ALA Membership, Publishing, and American Libraries Advisory Committees all discussed this issue at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. A proposal to open up all the content of American Libraries, as well as subscriptions to American Libraries Direct, received virtually unanimous support, and we will be doing so this fall, after the launch of the new ALA website.
It's just fascinating to me that this new knowledge - this post, this comment - is out there for me, an ordinary web searcher, to find because the source chose to make it free and online and accessible. They enabled the conversation to continue. It seems scholarly communication concepts are crawling into to K-12 conversations. Hopefully they are successful and next lead to best practices.

UPDATE (25 September 2008):

Since posting last week I've been engaged in a wonderful email discussion with Gavin Baker of Open Access News. What began as a simple, generous offer of where I could find the article I said I couldn't find evolved into an interesting (for me!) examination of my assumptions about OA. 

Whereas, like Mr. Baker mentioned, conventional wisdom observes students google first and then "resort" to databases second, I began and restricted my search in my university's databases. Here was my first assumption (or perhaps misconception) - OA should resemble institutional repositories. If the information/article is somewhere in the bowels of the university - library catalog, department website - it, in its full-text form, should be available. Clearly a library's paid database subscriptions believe differently, which is most likely the reason for my second assumption - the responsibility of making information accessible is the publisher's. When I was unsuccessful in accessing the full-text in the databases I googled the publication hoping to find it on their site.

The article wasn't available at my university, so I went to the publisher. It wasn't available (for free) from the publisher, so I stopped my search. I stopped my search at the "golden road," where journals are the ones responsible for providing OA to the articles they publish (Harnad, 2004). What I didn't consider were the other two roads - "green" where authors provide the OA or [insert-favorite-color-here] where a third party provides the OA nor necessarily with the author's not the publishing journal's permission. It is because of this third road that a simple Google search of my elusive article's title returned at least a few avenues for me to follow, complete with full-text.


The most fascinating part of this examination happened this morning as I retraced my steps. School Libraries Worldwide, where I stopped my search because I had to pay to receive full-text access, hosts three blogs - one that is exclusive to Volume 14, Number 2, July 2008 themed New Learners, New Literacies, New Libraries. Here guest editors Marlene Asselini and Ray Doiron have included "the abstracts and links to all the articles in this special issue of School Libraries Worldwide." They have also created a wiki (linked from the blog) for this important discussion. It is through this wiki that one is able to download a .pdf of the Kopak article.


So. Turns out the publisher does provide open access to this article. Kind of. One must leave the publisher's main site to travel to the blog, and then access the article via the wiki. But this is the only issue with its own blog, still leaving all other articles published by School Library Worldwide unavailable via their site. Should it be so convoluted? Yes, one Google search will get me the article, but for the sake of quality control, I guess I remain convinced that the golden road should be more...golden? As well as perhaps being encouraged to assist those trudging along the green road.


Thanks to Gavin Baker for the discussion and thanks to open access for my name and this humble post popping up on a Google search more times than I ever thought possible.


~bryn samuels




Hee hee!


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8. when did the movie come first?

I have to come out of hiding to report on probably the most disappointing thing I've heard yet while working at a library:

Kid: Look! Bridge to Terabithia.
Parent: That wasn't a very good movie, probably won't be a very good book...

I'm a little speechless and a lot pissed.

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9. life meets library

Here's a little taste of when real life meets you at the library. I was training some more in Special Collections this morning. Apparently one of the tasks is to go through the morning's obituaries and enter them into an ever-growing database of Williamson County deaths. I'm scanning along and see a name I recognize, read more and it's the obituary of the woman who used to sit behind me at church. Sue Barnes. I knew she'd passed, but it was so bizarre to experience her as part of my "daily chores." Sue was a fabulous, vibrant lady who struggled miserably with cancer this past year. From what I understand (and entered into the database) she was surrounded by love and passed peacefully.


At the end of my training, the Assistant Director happened to mentioned two part-time positions soon to open in the Children's Department. Um. Yay.

(totally unrelated sidenote: New Kids on the Block are getting back together!)

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10. SuperSub!

Bryn is back in the saddle.

Today I spent a few hours training to be a substitute librarian for Williamson County. I sat at the Reference Desk, Special Collections and Children's Department. Everyone was super friendly and helpful and clearly excited that I'm their next ticket to vacation time.

I'm curious to see the difference between a school library and a public library environment. I'm used to schools and know how that all jives. But I'm finding myself more and more drawn to the community gathering point that is a public library. The wonderful woman who showed me around Reference even solicited my help for the Single program at the library. Really? Singles program? At the library? Okay...I'm sorry. But. I just. Who's going to a Singles program at a library? *shudders* Hey, all the more reason for me to spice it up, I guess.

I think my favorite was Special Collections - a quiet, sweet room that I highly recommend to anyone in the area at all interested in genealogy, Civil War, Tennessee history. There's a whole series of volumes there titled "The War of the Rebellion." In fact, I noticed quite a few series of references books that were titled everything but The Civil War. Hilarious. And in the Manuscript Room there's hundreds of boxes donated by a local woman who was a genealogist for, like, 50 years. Each box has notebooks full of historical information on a particular local surname. So cool. Would be cooler if there was a "Samuels" box, but no such luck. I think one day I might take all my ancestry.com info up there and use their online databases...

The Children's Department will definitely be fun. I really like the gal who showed me around and I got my first taste of old school vs. new school. Those I interviewed last year, USN, Peabody - they were all pretty new school. Today was actually the first time I'd run across someone experiencing resistance to the new, up and coming theories and applications I'm currently being taught in my coursework. Interesting.

So...I'm excited. Not jumping up and down, but pleased that I'm working, I'm in libraries, I'm happy and I still have my flexibility that I've truly come to cherish. Life and Times at Info. Sciences High continues. My first year is almost behind me and I'm still looking forward to calling myself a librarian.

p.s. I'm also looking forward to identifying more with these kids...

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11. Objection to SB3974/HB3915

They meet tomorrow. I know it's late notice, but write some peeps and let them know this is ridiculous and doesn't solve the problem they're after.

Full bill is here:
http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/currentga/BILL/SB3974.pdf

Senators involved are here:
[email protected]re.state.tn.us

[email protected]ure.state.tn.us
[email protected]e.state.tn.us

Some other info is here:
http://copy-shop.org/knoxville/archives/74
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080304/NEWS0201/803040367/1009/NEWS02

My plea:

Dear Senators,

I am sure you have already received communications from and met with concerned constituents about this proposed bill. I could easily copy/paste any of a few prewritten pleas that have been circulating through friends, blogs, professors, but I want you to know how personal this is for me. As a distance education student living in Franklin, TN working on a M.S. in Information Sciences through UT Knoxville, the approval of this bill could easily interfere if not kill my degree. I understand the impetus coming from illegal music downloading, but this bill is much more encompassing and would block tools and resources I use daily. It could also potentially expel me. In my studies and research I access copyrighted articles and scholarly materials. I am able to do this thanks to the library's subscriptions to databases. When I cannot physically go to a library to study I am able to find what I need thanks to the UT library's fabulous digital collection, an entity that my tuition helps to fund. If you are wanting to curb illegal downloading which damages the integrity of musicianship, then do that. SB3974/HB3915 goes beyond those music concerns and directly affects my continued education.

Again, please, please reconsider approving SB3974/HB3915.

Thank you.

~bryn

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12. not quite like a phoenix but ...

Obviously there be changes afoot. I just read an interesting article for (Stephens, M. (2006). Blogs. Library Technology Reports, 42(4), 15-3 ) one of my classes about blogging libraries. The two most important things I learned were
1) to keep it short and
2) blog when you actually have something to blog about
.
Lo and behold, two things I definitely wasn't doing before. My job situation has changed and I've been afforded a greater balance of work, school, life and those little spots where ALL converges. I'm going to revamp the site a bit; I can't dedicate it to school librarianship. But what I can do is attempt to reflect my thinking about this whole gig. It would be especially awesome to get some of my classmates to drop by and chat.
In the meantime I loved checking out the article's top recommendations of libraries blogging it up right: Ann Arbor District Library, for one.

Until next time...

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13. not quite like a phoenix but ...

Obviously there be changes afoot. I just read an interesting article for (Stephens, M. (2006). Blogs. Library Technology Reports, 42(4), 15-3 ) one of my classes about blogging libraries. The two most important things I learned were
1) to keep it short and
2) blog when you actually have something to blog about
.
Lo and behold, two things I definitely wasn't doing before. My job situation has changed and I've been afforded a greater balance of work, school, life and those little spots where ALL converges. I'm going to revamp the site a bit; I can't dedicate it to school librarianship. But what I can do is attempt to reflect my thinking about this whole gig. It would be especially awesome to get some of my classmates to drop by and chat.
In the meantime I loved checking out the article's top recommendations of libraries blogging it up right: Ann Arbor District Library, for one.

Until next time...

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14. "High school libraries offer coffee shops"

Here's a fun article in which Middle Tennessee represents. It mentions Centennial High School in Franklin as one of many schools jumping on the library coffeehouse bandwagon. I find it interesting that the angle in this article is not so much the changing face of sacred and quiet libraries but whether or not the schools should be supporting students' caffeine habits.

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15. "High school libraries offer coffee shops"

Here's a fun article in which Middle Tennessee represents. It mentions Centennial High School in Franklin as one of many schools jumping on the library coffeehouse bandwagon. I find it interesting that the angle in this article is not so much the changing face of sacred and quiet libraries but whether or not the schools should be supporting students' caffeine habits.

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16. logoff hold

A month. Over a month! I would say I'm slacking but this is Bryn's Busy Face. I'm working in a school library. I'm in library school. Life is fantastic. Especially since I've discovered I love cataloging. Ahhh the finality and organization of it all.

I've also read tons of wonderful new and new-to-me books. Unfortunately it looks like even my weekly commitment to update is too much. I find myself wanting to unleash about how Life is going and not draft a discourse of school or literature. So for my faithful readers (Mom) I'm going have to suspend this blog or at least let it be known that it will not be regularly updated. I know you're all crushed (Mom, maybe Dad). In the meantime, please visit the fabulous, regularly-updated blogs from my blogroll to your left.

Until next time, kids.



(but i will leave you with my new favorite book ...)

Leaves, by David Ezra Stein



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17. logoff hold

A month. Over a month! I would say I'm slacking but this is Bryn's Busy Face. I'm working in a school library. I'm in library school. Life is fantastic. Especially since I've discovered I love cataloging. Ahhh the finality and organization of it all.

I've also read tons of wonderful new and new-to-me books. Unfortunately it looks like even my weekly commitment to update is too much. I find myself wanting to unleash about how Life is going and not draft a discourse of school or literature. So for my faithful readers (Mom) I'm going have to suspend this blog or at least let it be known that it will not be regularly updated. I know you're all crushed (Mom, maybe Dad). In the meantime, please visit the fabulous, regularly-updated blogs from my blogroll to your left.

Until next time, kids.



(but i will leave you with my new favorite book ...)

Leaves, by David Ezra Stein



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18. Blogging for a Cure

I was sitting in church yesterday as our pastor was reading names of prayer concerns. Recently there seems to be quite a few names of those who are battling cancer, battling its vicious spread despite even amputations, miraculously recovering and, for some, miraculously passing. I suddenly had a memory of the first person I ever knew to die of cancer. Her name was Sherry Nicholson and she was our church's youth music director. She died when I was maybe 7 or 8. I remember watching her husband and her two kids, my friends, at the "Celebration of Life" party we had at church in her memory. We, the kids, sang a song, and I have never felt so helpless and guilty for wanting to "celebrate" a life while her kids just stared at the floor. As is the way with this disease, Mrs. Nicholson would be the first of many victims and survivors with which I had/have a personal connection.

The fantastic and fervent duo at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast sent out an All Points Bulletin to bloggers to rally in spreading the word for fundraising efforts for Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure. This is headed by author Grace Lin whose husband recently died due to cancer. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute published a book in 2005 with beautiful illustrator-designed snowflakes. The proceeds from auctioning these snowflakes went directly to the Institute and they are ready to do it again. As a thanks and getting the word out on the contributing snowflake-illustrators, 7-Imp will be compiling a massive list (there's over 200 illustrators!) of illustrator interviews hosted in the kidlitblogsophere. Stay tuned for the run-down over at 7-Imp. I'm still deciding if I can commit to an interview. Anyone want to tag team with me?

In the meantime, please visit 7-Imp, read, learn, share, buy snowflakes, change the world.

1 Comments on Blogging for a Cure, last added: 9/17/2007
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19. Of cows and ...

Thank God some of my texts have a sense of humor. This from a list of communication patterns between librarians and users:


"It is harder and harder for experts to understand even what other experts are saying. Using a scale from plus 50 to minus 50, the vocabulary of the more technical fields rank close to 50. Popular magazines and newspapers would be between 0 and 10. A boy chatting with a cow would be about minus 50. Some laypeople feel more at home with the cow. Reference librarians must be comfortable with cows and with vocabularies in the plus 50 bracket ... "
-Katz, W.A. (2002). Introduction to reference work: Basic information services, vol II, 8th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.


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20. Life Update

I have (officially) been (finally) a part of Library (freakin' fabulous) World for one month. I am a library aide at University School of Nashville, a K-12 independent school a whisper's throw from Vanderbilt. I am learning so much. The most important thing I'm learning is how to simply learn. I so easily turn on "must-be-doing-something-out-of-the-box-to-show-my-worth" mode. They know my worth. They hired me. I think I'm all thrown off because I technically just completed a Master's and full-time employment is usually what follows. Instead, I have three part-time jobs and two grad courses because, oh yeah! I'm back for another Master's. My "career brain" is confused. I'm back working at a school full-time. Every other time I've been at a school I was a teacher. I had my own class. I ran the show. Um, I am not in charge of this library. I'm in charge of Bryn working to make the library productive and effective, and asking questions to learn everything there is to know about running a stellar library program.

Meanwhile, I adore the kids. Even the freshmen that have to check-in sometimes twice a day! I love the little bits that get so fired up about what they're reading or what might be coming soon in the next shipment (Warriors, Rainbow Magic anyone? More to come on the discrepencies between what I've been dying to recommend to the kiddos because it's all over Horn Book and the blogs, etc. and what they actually are dying to read.) I love being a part of this school family and history. And with over 30,000 titles how could I ever be bored?

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21. Missing Madeleine

It was yesterday morning, Saturday. I had just turned on my computer, walked out to the kitchen to start the coffee and got my Madonna mic out of my desk drawer to begin my IS 520 distance course. I started deleting a bunch of emails, mostly from listservs, that I just don't have the time to soak up when I noticed a few subject lines - Madeleine L'Engle, L'Engle Remebered, CNN great article about Madeleine L'Engle. I panicked. It got worse when one email revealed she'd passed Thursday. Thursday! And it was Saturday! I lived my life like nothing happened, like one of my favorite authors hadn't left Life for After for two whole days!

And then I actually cried.

I was minutes from logging in to my course, minutes from having to be somewhat coherent and I was torn between sorrow at her passing, interested surprise that this was actually affecting me and anger that my world has been so annoyingly busy that I hadn't found out until Saturday. Of course the anger at my busyness turned into anxiety about my busyness and general resentment that this is my lot in life for the next few months, if not year. And then, stupidly, it turned to shame that my thoughts turned selfish and away from Madeleine.

I dressed up as her once. No, wait. I dressed up like Mrs. Whatsit. In my undergrad children's literature course we were supposed to give author study presentations and I chose to dress up in a white turbany thing and whirl around the room feeling simultaneously loony and twinklingly wise talking about "my creator/author."

What's crazy is I think I fell in love with her name more than her books. When I was younger I always identified more with the author and the status of "that came out of my head." And with a name like Bryn, I was a sucker for different names - L'Engle, Roald Dahl, Prelutsky, Shel, Beverly Cleary, Sachar. Yes, I was biased toward Madeleine. But the world and characters she created kept me there.

R.I.P.

Check this blog out, AmoXcalli, for a compilation of L'Engle Links.


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22. Blogging for a Cure

I was sitting in church yesterday as our pastor was reading names of prayer concerns. Recently there seems to be quite a few names of those who are battling cancer, battling its vicious spread despite even amputations, miraculously recovering and, for some, miraculously passing. I suddenly had a memory of the first person I ever knew to die of cancer. Her name was Sherry Nicholson and she was our church's youth music director. She died when I was maybe 7 or 8. I remember watching her husband and her two kids, my friends, at the "Celebration of Life" party we had at church in her memory. We, the kids, sang a song, and I have never felt so helpless and guilty for wanting to "celebrate" a life while her kids just stared at the floor. As is the way with this disease, Mrs. Nicholson would be the first of many victims and survivors with which I had/have a personal connection.

The fantastic and fervent duo at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast sent out an All Points Bulletin to bloggers to rally in spreading the word for fundraising efforts for Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure. This is headed by author Grace Lin whose husband recently died due to cancer. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute published a book in 2005 with beautiful illustrator-designed snowflakes. The proceeds from auctioning these snowflakes went directly to the Institute and they are ready to do it again. As a thanks and getting the word out on the contributing snowflake-illustrators, 7-Imp will be compiling a massive list (there's over 200 illustrators!) of illustrator interviews hosted in the kidlitblogsophere. Stay tuned for the run-down over at 7-Imp. I'm still deciding if I can commit to an interview. Anyone want to tag team with me?

In the meantime, please visit 7-Imp, read, learn, share, buy snowflakes, change the world.

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23. Missing Madeleine

It was yesterday morning, Saturday. I had just turned on my computer, walked out to the kitchen to start the coffee and got my Madonna mic out of my desk drawer to begin my IS 520 distance course. I started deleting a bunch of emails, mostly from listservs, that I just don't have the time to soak up when I noticed a few subject lines - Madeleine L'Engle, L'Engle Remebered, CNN great article about Madeleine L'Engle. I panicked. It got worse when one email revealed she'd passed Thursday. Thursday! And it was Saturday! I lived my life like nothing happened, like one of my favorite authors hadn't left Life for After for two whole days!

And then I actually cried.

I was minutes from logging in to my course, minutes from having to be somewhat coherent and I was torn between sorrow at her passing, interested surprise that this was actually affecting me and anger that my world has been so annoyingly busy that I hadn't found out until Saturday. Of course the anger at my busyness turned into anxiety about my busyness and general resentment that this is my lot in life for the next few months, if not year. And then, stupidly, it turned to shame that my thoughts turned selfish and away from Madeleine.

I dressed up as her once. No, wait. I dressed up like Mrs. Whatsit. In my undergrad children's literature course we were supposed to give author study presentations and I chose to dress up in a white turbany thing and whirl around the room feeling simultaneously loony and twinklingly wise talking about "my creator/author."

What's crazy is I think I fell in love with her name more than her books. When I was younger I always identified more with the author and the status of "that came out of my head." And with a name like Bryn, I was a sucker for different names - L'Engle, Roald Dahl, Prelutsky, Shel, Beverly Cleary, Sachar. Yes, I was biased toward Madeleine. But the world and characters she created kept me there.

R.I.P.

Check this blog out, AmoXcalli, for a compilation of L'Engle Links.


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24. Life Update

I have (officially) been (finally) a part of Library (freakin' fabulous) World for one month. I am a library aide at University School of Nashville, a K-12 independent school a whisper's throw from Vanderbilt. I am learning so much. The most important thing I'm learning is how to simply learn. I so easily turn on "must-be-doing-something-out-of-the-box-to-show-my-worth" mode. They know my worth. They hired me. I think I'm all thrown off because I technically just completed a Master's and full-time employment is usually what follows. Instead, I have three part-time jobs and two grad courses because, oh yeah! I'm back for another Master's. My "career brain" is confused. I'm back working at a school full-time. Every other time I've been at a school I was a teacher. I had my own class. I ran the show. Um, I am not in charge of this library. I'm in charge of Bryn working to make the library productive and effective, and asking questions to learn everything there is to know about running a stellar library program.

Meanwhile, I adore the kids. Even the freshmen that have to check-in sometimes twice a day! I love the little bits that get so fired up about what they're reading or what might be coming soon in the next shipment (Warriors, Rainbow Magic anyone? More to come on the discrepencies between what I've been dying to recommend to the kiddos because it's all over Horn Book and the blogs, etc. and what they actually are dying to read.) I love being a part of this school family and history. And with over 30,000 titles how could I ever be bored?

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25. Of cows and ...

Thank God some of my texts have a sense of humor. This from a list of communication patterns between librarians and users:


"It is harder and harder for experts to understand even what other experts are saying. Using a scale from plus 50 to minus 50, the vocabulary of the more technical fields rank close to 50. Popular magazines and newspapers would be between 0 and 10. A boy chatting with a cow would be about minus 50. Some laypeople feel more at home with the cow. Reference librarians must be comfortable with cows and with vocabularies in the plus 50 bracket ... "
-Katz, W.A. (2002). Introduction to reference work: Basic information services, vol II, 8th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.


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