Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Build Community Connections

"Connect, Create, Collaborate: Think Locally, Act Locally" is an insightful blog about how important it is as a librarian to make connections with other librarians in the community.  There are many places to look at, rather than just the local public school.  As Gretchen Kolderup showed in the blog, there is the local boys and girls club, the private schools, and detention centers.  These are some I never even considered. 

Anywhere that kids and teens may be or hang out, try to make a connection with that place/lead person. 

Also, if you are relatively new to the position, be patient.  It takes time to build connections, but I'm sure it will eventually happen.

Read this blog.  I'm sure her experience is something that many of us will face, or have faced at one time or another.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Helpful Blog About What Librarians Should Know

The following website is for a Blog that is called "For the Future: What Today's Youth Services Librarians Want the Next Generation to Know."

It has different interviews with public and school librarians from various parts of the country.  The librarian first explains a little background about him/herself (education, experience, current position, etc.).  Then there is an "interview."  Questions are asked to the librarian, and the librarian answers them.  The questions are mostly different for each librarian. 

One important question that is asked is, "What's something you wish you had known when you started out in this profession?"

This is important for us, because it gives us a perspective of what we should be paying attention to while being educated, or working toward our career.

The Q & A is also a great example of a mock job interview; it gives good examples of how to answer potentially common interview questions.

I definitely recommend that you check this site out.


"DON'T TOUCH!"  You have to touch.  "DON'T SCRATCH!"  You have to scratch.  "DON'T READ!"  You have to read.

Censorship is a somewhat controversial concept, and pretty ridiculous.  If you tell someone they cannot read something, they are going to read it.

Back in the 90's, I had no interest in the Harry Potter series.  Then the whole controversy came out about how it is evil (so to speak) and you shouldn't read it.  I said to myself, "If it's worth all the fuss to fight against, it might be worth checking it out."  The controversy, the "DON'T", peaked my interest.  I'm glad it did because it was a wonderful series.  The only problem is, now I can't stop howling at the moon (HA! HA!).

I discovered a few things about selection vs. censorship that I did not know while reading the Jenkins article on censorship.  A library only has a limited budget.  When selecting materials, if a quality book is not selected because it might be challenged, that is censorship.  If a quality book is not selected because of constraints (ex. budget, space, etc.), this is selection.  There needs to be a set of guidelines set in place, in case a book is challenged. 

A set of guidelines is something I am pretty sure we do not have at my work.  A few years back, a teacher saw a student reading an anime graphic novel.  Those books can sometimes have nudity in them.  This particular book had black-line drawing of a girl in a shower.  It wasn't very graphic or anything, and as you're reading the story, the picture wasn't really important.  The joke was something about the brother running into the bathroom to use the toilet, and shocks the sister who is in the shower.  Anyway, the library coordinator really overreacted.

She took the book from the student's hand and tore the pages apart, then threw it in the garbage.  She took the rest of the series off the shelf and did the same.  She said, "I don't want anybody else complaining to me about this stuff."  She didn't even look at the books, just tore them up and threw them in the garbage.

People think that T.V. shows should be removed from the air.  That's terrible.  "If you don't like what's on, change the channel."  A fine example is the Jerry Springer Show.  I thought the show was O.K. but didn't pay much attention to it.  Then they said it should be taken off the air.  That made me watch the show, and like it even more.  "Change the channel or unplug the T.V."

If you want to censor something, censor yourself.  If you don't like a book, don't read it.  But don't ruin it for other people.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teen Space in Library

I commented on a YALSA Blog about the need for teen space in a library.  Here is the link.

Always Be There and Always Impart Some Knowledge

Library visitors can sometimes be intimidated or overwhelmed by the amount of material in the library.  They might not know how to find something, or if information on something exists.  Some people are too macho or too scared to approach a reference librarian for help.

We need to first be observant.  Look around and see if people look a little lost or confused.  Don't sit behind the desk.  Walk around the aisles and see that all the visitors' needs are met.  It is sometimes easier for someone to open a dialog if you start it first.  If you, the reference librarian, approach the visitor, and ask if he is finding everything he needs, he will sometimes feel more comfortable asking his question, rather than approaching "the desk."

You can then lead him to a catalog and "think out loud".  During this thinking process, you will actually be showing him the search process so he will know what to do for the next time.  Then show him the way to the materials he needed.  If he didn't pick up the research process, he may at least realize that you are not that intimidating and that he should have no problems approaching you in the future.

Where I work, I like to share with the students "Life Lessons."  This is wisdom and knowledge of the world that I have that I believe they should know too.  Many students leave their wallets sitting out on the table while they work, sleep, or step away to the computer or washroom.  I let them know how important it is to keep it on them at all times.  Then I tell them how I saw a guy get his wallet stolen while he was paying a bill, and I tell them how they should hold their wallet while they are paying.  Then to make sure they put their wallet away immediately.  I have yet to see a repeat offender.

Don't be afraid to let other people know what you know.  It may come in handy one day

Technology and the Young, Both a Blessing and a Curse

Is technology making our younger generation smarter than ever, or are they becoming a bunch of dummies?  The answer is "YES!"

Technology has it's benefits, as expressed in chapter 3 of Sex, Brains, and Video Games, but it also has its drawbacks.

Students that are more familiar with the many forms of electronic media are considered to be, in some ways, smarter or more advanced than their grownup counterparts.  They get it.  Young people accept the technology and roll with it, easily learn it and move on.  They are able to multitask.  Many of them at a very young age have already accomplished more on the computer or internet than many adults. 

Adults sticking to the old ways are being left behind.  Reading books no longer makes a person literate.  Literacy is being redefined for a new generation.  Kids consider themselves more literate than an adult who is not skilled in information communication technology.

Knowing the internet, blogs, web 2.0, etc. is important for both adults and children.  And as time and technology advances, the need to keep up will evermore increase.

However, there are a few things I like to say about technology that many people seem to forget. 

"You need to learn to walk before you can run." 

You need to know how to do math before you can learn to use a calculator; you need to understand the concept behind it.  You need to know the alphabet before you can spell; you need to learn to spell before you can rely on an undependable spellchecker.  You need concept, before design, before product.

Technology is a great tool as a helper, as a convenience, but...
What happens when the power goes out.  Technology is useless. 

There are so many kids right now, that don't know how to write or read script, and they barely know how to print either.  This is because they are so used to using a keyboard for all their writing needs.  They don't know how to read an analog clock.  I saw this one preschooler flipping the pages of a magazine like you would using a Kindle. 

I'm a lousy speller.  At work, kids will ask me how to spell something, so I will tell them that the dictionary is "right over there," and point to the dictionary stand about 15 feet away.  They will say, that takes too long.  Then they take out their phone, or netbook, and I walk over to the dictionary.  By the time I get back to the table, I already have the word looked up, and they just have the spelling program open.  Many of them don't even know how a dictionary works.

The youth of today are growing up at a great time.  Technology is amazing and to be able to grab hold and run with it the way many young people do today is a great thing.  We adults need to be able to be more like that.  But, the basics can not be forgotten.  Technology may not always be there when you need it, so make sure that knowledge is always there instead.