Overheard in the Library

20 May

“But I’m the one who did the cutting and pasting so it’s my own work.”

And here’s a link to the Prezi that I’ve created for the lesson I will be doing with this class on plagiarism. http://prezi.com/lmlgwu8widat/avoiding-plagiarism/


I’m in love…with a man with a beard

18 May

I have a new love. It’s an older man with a massive, scraggly beard. But please don’t tell my husband. You can tell him about my new love, but not about the beard. Every November my husband grows a beard for Mo-vember at his office and I hate it!! I am constantly beggin him to shave his face.

However, on my new love, a beard works.

My love’s name is Mr. Seer, Book Seer. We have only just met but it was love at first sight. He likes all the same things I do – simplicity, straightforwardness and, of course, books. And not only that, but he wants to talk about books! I told him what books I’ve read and he suggested so many more wonderful books that I might want to read. What a great conversationalist.

The best part is that he has come into my life just in time to be a summer fling. While I have time away from the library, I will have so much more free time to spend time with Mr. Seer, talking about all the books that I should read next.

You should meet him too! I may become jealous of your relationship with him, but I can’t keep him all to myself. It’s worth checking him out!

Isn't he dreamy?!?

Science on the Simpsons

12 May

I am not a fan of the Simpsons (unlike my best friend who has been a life long fan) but I do appreciate some of their social commentary and integration of themes. Surprisingly, one theme that the Simpsons seems to play around with is science. I’m not sure how, but today I stumbled upon a site that is dedicated to science processes, theories and laws as explained by video clips of the Simpsons. The site Science on the Simpsons has a glaring yellow background, but don’t let that detract from the quality that is here. Each video has a clear title and small description of what you can expect to see. This collection is a great resource to keep in mind for lesson hooks or small intros to new theories.

My very own QR codes

10 May

I have been wanting to use QR codes in the library for a while now. I’ve been ruminating over them. Chewing my proverbial library cud, if you will. I wanted to use them in a way that would make sense, but not make more work for myself. Enter the New and Hot display.

We have two bulletin boards to highlight new books in the library. One of them is inside the library area in front of a study desk and the other is in the big glass window facing into the main atrium of the school. I decided to do some scientific observation of the logistics and use of each display.

BOARD #1: Library Area

Hypothesis: Students will see books and will check out books because they look so awesome.

Observations: The in-library display is in a quiet area where people are moving slowly and often sitting right in front of the board. During that time, students often take brain breaks and look (sometimes blankly) at the board in front of them. We have even had requests based on the books currently posted on the board.  

Conclusion: This board is successful.

BOARD #2: Library Window

Hypothesis: Students will crowd around the window, excited and bubbling over with enthusiasm about the new books we have for them to enjoy.

Observations: Window display? What window display?

Nuff said.

Conclusion: Maybe I shouldn’t have paragraphs of information for students to read in an area where students are rushing quickly past. Hmmm.

After this objective and extensive study of student bulletin board behaviour, I decided to keep Board #1 inside the library the same (i.e. with words to read) and change Board #2 in the library window so that it is word free. After all, who would think that a library would want to encourage reading. That’s just crazy talk.

One way that I want to encourage students to pick up books is by highlighting book trailers (like movie trailers, but for books). Some publishers make awesome book trailers for their new releases and others make some not so great trailers. Teenagers are a fickle brood so I try to link to only the great book trailers (even I have been turned off by some really poorly done ones – I mean, if you’re going to make one, I would think that you would actually want to encourage people to read the book, not make it look so lame that no one would want to try it). One of my favourite trailers is Fallen by Lauren Kate.

It is simple, clear and, while the book isn’t the best I’ve ever read, this makes me think maybe it was better than I thought.

Another great one is Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (which actually is also a good book for those who like dystopian fiction).

The Maze Runner by James Dashner has a trailer that looks super creepy. I haven’t read this one yet, but it is on my list of summer reads and the students love it.

Anyways, I have linked some of the book trailers that I have found to our library Facebook page, but they were not being viewed by our students. I decided that this would be the perfect way to try to introduce QR codes into the library.

Before I created my first QR codes, I thought the process would be difficult, but it was actually incredibly easy!

1. Using bit.ly, I shortened the URL of the video that I wanted to share.

2. I used Kawya QR Generator, plugged the shortened URL in, and saved the resulting QR code to my computer.

3. Next, I simply printed an image of the QR code and posted it in the new display.

Here it is:

(I even included a QR code for our library Facebook page. I’m desperate to get more than 4 followers. Dare I even hope for double digits?!)

It is somewhat ironic that I’m so excited about using QR codes in the library since my phone is so old that I can’t even access them. Oh well, I’ve seen some of the technology hardware that these kids tote around and none of them have a tracking ball held in place with medical tape. Now I will just have to wait and see if the QR codes are used.

Meanwhile, here are some other ways to use QR codes:

1. Record a lab or other special event that occurs in your class. Upload it to the internet, create a QR code, and post it where absent students can easily link to what they missed.

2. Post a QR code of the class blog or class Facebook page for easy access.

3. Create QR codes that have supplemental material or extra practice that students can make use of before a test or the end of a unit.

4. Assign QR codes to each online photo album that you create. Parents can capture the QR code and print off the photos that they want to add to their child’s memory book or photo album.

You complete me

3 May

I’m creating art for the library again. It appears that I just can’t get enough. Either that, or I have so many old books sitting around that I have to find some way to use them so they aren’t sent to a farm where they can play with the other books and enjoy a long, happy life.

Enter ModPodge.

Using the old books, I tore out a bunch of pages to created a large collage on a canvas that I had sitting in my house (I’m a bit of an art supply hoarder). It looks best if you have books with slightly varied text type and size. Once I had an arrangement that I like, I slapped some ModPodge on there and glued the pages down to the canvas. And I liked what I had… but it was missing something.

That is…until some beautiful paper butterflies came to land on its corner. It was a match made in heaven. To give the butterflies some definition, I used heat embossing to lightly emboss the edges with gold and silver embossing powder.

But when I hung it up, I noticed that the colour of the paper was not significantly different from the wall. To give it some more definition from the similarly painted walls (Benjamin Moore Aged Book), I added a thick piece of ribbon tied in a bow.

Books, a bow and butterflies. What could be more perfect than that?

Fly away with me

30 Apr

I tend to come up with ideas while I sleep. I used to proofread essays while I slept and I would wake up and head straight to the computer to make the changes I had dreamed about. I have come up with crafts and lesson units, but now I come up with ideas for the library. This past week I dreamed of butterflies. Paper butterflies.

So I made them.

They were really simple to make and are almost as beautiful as the real thing. Here’s how I made them…


  • an old book
  • scissors
  • floral wire
  • tacky glue
  • butterfly picture

1. Tear two pages out of the old book.

2. Place those two sheets with a rough cut butterfly on top.

3. Cut around the butterfly, through both sheets of book paper. Make sure that the two sheets don’t shift so that they end up being exactly the same shape.

4. lay both of the butterflies down with the same side up (i.e. top side).

5. Measure and cut two pieces of floral wire so that it can cross in the centre of the butterfly and reach all the way to the tips of the wings.


6. Cover one butterfly with tacky glue. Make sure you get right to the edges.

8. Place the wire across the butterfly in the shape of an “x” and place the second butterfly directly on top of the first. Try to ensure that the two butterflies are perfectly lined up. Press down along all of the edges.

9. Use the wire to lift the wings into a shape that you enjoy.

You can make a series of butterflies for the edge of a bookshelf, perch one on the corner of your computer, hang a collection of them as a mobile or attach them to magnets to hold papers on your fridge. If you want them to last longer (or if they are going to be handled), try covering them in Modpodge to harden them.

I will be making a collection of these to put on a baby mobile for a friend. This is so simple as easy that I’m also thinking of using it this summer when I do arts and crafts with 5-10 year old kids. I could use simple butterfly shapes with the younger kids and more detailed shapes with the older kids. These would look great with a light paint wash as well. The possibilities are endless!

Yes, books were harmed in the making of this display

29 Apr

I will admit, we have heard a few cries of shock over the books that were sacrificed for this window display, but since none of the books had been read in the past decade, I find it hard to feel too upset about it. Especially when the outcome of five measly books being torn apart is something like this that makes a strong statement (also, Perry Mason mysteries don’t have vampires or fallen angels, so teenagers aren’t really gobbling them up).

Oh, the irony. That a book would have to die to create art only suggesting what it used to be. Or something like that. So far, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on the display. I’ve been asked where I get my inspiration, and, though I have to bite my tongue, I’ve been able to resist blurting out, “I just didn’t want to paint anymore!” I like the way this new display looks, from the outside and the inside. It is visually interesting, while remaining neutral, and symmetrical in nature, both of which agree nicely with my OCD tendencies.

I’m hoping that the law in advertising that the more you see a product, the more you want it, will work in this case. Every time kids walk past, I want the word and the pages to burrow into their brains like parasites causing them to become totally overrun with the desire to open a book. The power of suggestion can be a powerful thing.