Archive | November, 2010

Weekend Website

27 Nov

My husband and I seem to watch an inordinate number of shows about World War II. Our television seems to be constantly recording something on the History Network (a network that I think would be beneficial to Canadian teachers since most of its programs have a strong Canadian focus – check out Turning Points in History and WWII in HD).

While I know a lot about World War II, I don’t know very much about World War I. To remedy this, lately I have been doing some research about World War 1. Unfortunately, our library is  devoid of Canadian reference materials on this topic. We have American made encyclopedia sets on the topic but only a few non-fiction Canadian titles.

While researching a proposal to supplement this area I came across this stellar website: Canadian War Museum. The museum is far away, on the other side of Canada, but provides many wonderful online exhibits and links. The online exhibit Canada and the First World War is full of information and can act as the first supplement to our collection. This is a link that will definitely be getting sent on to teachers for this topic!

(As an aside, the Virtual Museum of Canada is another online museum gem with a variety of topics and virtual exhibits. It’s also worth checking out!)


Extreme Library Makeover: Fiction Edition

18 Nov

My husband and I watch Extreme Home Makeover every week. It is super cheesy but, like a car crash, I can’t help but watch. I like to see the (sometimes ridiculous) final design, learn about a family in need who is being helped and watch my husband tear up as I wrestle back my own tears (he didn’t even cry at our wedding so I will take his tears any way that I can get them).

Initially, we held all of the new books in a small display right near the circulation counter but after their short stay there, they would disappear into the spinners and may be lost forever. So, instead of maintaining this limited display area, we compressed the nonfiction section to give a whole bank of bookshelves to make a fiction display.

For a week I visited bookstores in the city and a few in the states (that’s right, I justified my weekend cross-border shopping as research for work). I focused on the way that books were displayed and tried to determine what drew me to look at certain areas or certain books. I realized that I spent most of my time at the new or recommended book displays and that the visuals and graphics surrounding these areas helped to make them welcoming and fun to peruse. For my new library display to have that same impact, it has to have some of these components.

Here are the before pictures…

A nice and clean non-fiction bookshelf.

But there is so much potential here....


It was alright before, however the new display allows us to highlight our fabulous collection of YA books. Move that book!


My beautiful fiction letters (that took hours to make but were so worth it!). I would like to thank Borders Books for this idea. It's in a bookstore - why not in a library?


Oh man, you know you're a happy librarian when you look at these makeover photos and the NERD song "Hot-n-Fun" starts playing in your head.

The bookshelf is displayed in sections, with magnet-backed signs that can be moved and replaced when we make a new display. And I can’t just be typical (ask my mom) so I had to come up with creative ways to say “books.” Here are a few:

Now I just need to get the word out about the makeover so I am not the only one enjoying it.

My plan for next week:

  • post the updates on our staff discussion online
  • create a window display to advertise the changes
  • get the library on Facebook and maybe even Twitter
  • create a witty advertisement for the daily school announcements
  • watch the kids stream in

Also, in a week and a half I go to training so I can learn how to create our new library website. Woot-woot! The library make-over continues.

I miss my library

16 Nov

I only work 2 days a week max. That is not very much. It’s kind of like my weekend days and my work days are flipped around. Now I’m not complaining but I seem to find that while the rest of the “normal” world looks forward to the weekend, I look forward to coming to work.

Today and tomorrow are work days! Yay! I will be setting up a new and beautiful display for our fiction books and I am so excited about it. I have been picturing different displays in my head and last night I created these gorgeous letters for the tops of the bookshelves.

My next undertaking is to finish my paper for the class that I’m in. I have been slowly plugging away at it but have had my butt kicked into high gear by checking out the University of Minnesota Assignment Calculator. According to this site, it is a good thing that my plans for tonight fell through because I have a lot to do! The assignment calculator is a great idea for students (or myself) because it breaks down the assignment into small, manageable, goal-oriented and measurable chunks. I just have a lot of these small, manageable, goal-oriented and measurable chunks to do tonight.

Weekend Website

14 Nov

I’m in the middle of my own personal version of Extreme Library Makeover: Fiction Edition and this website will help me create some great art for part of my new fiction display.

Wordle is an incredibly easy-to-use website which lets you create word clouds with words of your choice. This could make a great title page for a school project, art for the classroom wall or vocabulary stimulator. Students can personalize the art with their own font and colour choices.

Wordle: library16


11 Nov
Lest We Forget

The images surrounding the poem are photos of the Canadian soldiers who have died this year. I had a hard time printing them off, adding their names, ages, hometowns and date of death without crying the whole time. So many have sacrificed for our freedom.

Weekend Website

7 Nov

So, last week I watched one of our science VHS tapes about DNA replication. Then I felt the overwhelming need to send a note of apology to every one of the science teachers in our school. The video was not current, it was not engaging and it made no sense (and I have a degree in Biology!). As an olive branch I have sent them the information about X-Stream Science.

The X-Stream Science site offers a series of videos (à la Bill Nye) to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and is targeted at middle school students. Episodes are available for free online viewing or downloading. Lesson plans can also be downloaded.

The titles that they have available are:
    • “Air Pressure vs Altitude”
    • “2001 Space Weight Loss Plan”
    • “Convection Connection”
    • “Atmosphere Pie”
    • “States of Matter”
    • “Parts of an Airplane”
    • “Aerostatics vs Aerodynamics””
    • “The Montgolfier Brothers”

These are a series of vignettes designed to introduce students to the topics. I also sent teachers a link for Splicd so that they can choose the sections applicable to the learning outcomes of the lesson and only show those to their students. 

Unfortunately X-Stream Science does not have any biology topics available, but I will keep searching for that. 

Job Description of a School Librarian

5 Nov

The library technician at my school left this on my desk. I must admit, I was a little hurt when I glanced at the title, thinking this was a not-so-subtle hint that I wasn’t doing my job properly or working hard enough, but then she instructed me to read it.

Here is the first section, entitled “Literature Skills”:

“Must have memorized the plots, characters, themes, lengths, reading levels, and controversies of all books in the library as well as every popular new book that comes out. Must be able to produce lost of stolen books out of thin air on demand. Must know the exact volume and page number of every article in all encyclopedias plus Current Biography, and all abstracts. Must be able to help students and teachers extract information from all information sources without actually causing them to read anything. Must be able to identify any book ever published based only on a vague description of the cover art and perhaps equally vague hints of characters or plot.”

And people think our job is easy!