Tag Archives: library

The Creators Deserve Credit

Weeding is a necessary evil and I have a lot of it to do, especially in light of my planned project. Who isn’t bothered by the painful if necessary process of disposing of out-of-date or even severely damaged books? An alternative is book sculpting. I am tempted to try my hand at it, but it is  a temptation I’m determined to resist until I manage to give something up or clone myself. One can always look and dream. At the very least I could supply an art teacher who isn’t afraid of a room full of sharp knives in the hands of teenagers.

So with my tea in hand and little motivation to really start my day this Saturday morning, I Googled “book art” and came up with some wonderful results. The first click was to this blog post by Monique Trottier. There are some gorgeous examples there, one of which was this creative and evocative sculpture.


I tried to find the original artists of this image: sculptor and photographer. Tin Eye came up with 117 copies on the internet. (I still feel it is worth posting again even if only I get to see it when I want.) I only determined that it seems to be advertisement for Anagram Bookshop out of Prague but all attempts to find a site for even the bookshop failed. So this work and the image itself will go uncredited unless a reader more informed or more skilled at internet sleuthing comes by to enlighten me.

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Filed under Art & Design, What to Do With Discarded Books

The Challenges of Reorganizing Nonfiction

I’m trying not to steal too much time on the details of potentially converting my library to the book store model until I know whether or not it’s actually going to happen. My principal is for it, but several other things have to fall into place before it happens.

However, it is ever in the back of my mind and there’s nothing to be done when an idea is pushing you around, but to indulge it a little.

A first draft. Some popular areas are missing. Click to enlarge

I am concentrating on the primary nonfiction at the moment, since it is a little less daunting. Kindergarten to Grade 2 students are so certain about their reading desires and the curriculum is fairly cut-and-dry.

I’ve ‘stolen’ a little time from preparations from my impending Book Fair to attempt to mind-map the collection, marking curriculum connections and popular topics. In discussing the use of the Accelerated Readers, a teacher helpfully pointed out that the primary students browse more successfully in face out (or even piled) displays. As a result of that discussion, the early AR books will go into bins by level.

The low shelves under the window would be filled with plastic bins, tastefully labeled with bold word and picture guides.

That got me thinking about how the children use the nonfiction. Aesthetically, it’s not going to be ideal: plastic bins as opposed to books lined up on lovely wooden shelving is not my idea of attractive, but each bin could have bold word and picture guides on it and I know the kids would love it. And that, of course, is what it’s all about.

Curriculum topics and popular subjects would be gathered into single bins and books re-catalogued to reflect that. I can imagine the children pulling out a bin and pouring through the contents together. The process would be so much more fulfilling than carefully placing their spacers to keep the place of the books while they look at them one-by-one, or wait for their turn in the section. The Dewey numbers would not be eliminated, at least not during the first trial year or so, but they would be given new call letters based on the topic itself. The WordThink grid at Anythink gives some good connections. (I can’t thank Susan enough for directing me there.)

I’m not even sure that the primary nonfiction will remain on these shelves once the library is reorganized. It’s not ideal, extending as it does, rather distantly from the picture book area, which I call ‘Easy Street’. I am tempted to purchase the bins and give it a try without re-cataloguing, since once they are in clear subject bins shelving and retrieving should not be too much of a problem. The same does not hold true for the Grades 3-12 nonfiction. It will be much more complex.

Some important questions though: What colour and size should the bins be?…and Where am I going to find the time???

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Filed under Rethinking My Library

26 Checkouts Challenged

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Filed under Technology

No Decision Yet on e-Readers, but Required Features Determined

I had an exciting Saturday. I spent most of it trying to learn about e-readers and attempting to make a decision with regard to which model to buy for the school. I originally thought I’d be deciding between Kindle, Sony and Kobo, since those are the ones I have heard most about, but after nailing down the features I most wanted I was quite surprised at the outcome.

Evolution of Readers

Image by John Blyberg

Since our initial purchases will be for struggling readers, I felt it was important that they had text-to-speech, font-size selection and an integrated dictionary. I also wanted an open source format so that we would not be tied to a particular e-book supplier and could access the plethora of free material available through our library system and on the Web.

In addition, I looked at the type of screen: eInk or ePaper, versus LCD. I have not had a chance to borrow a reader to check out the difference, but I find it difficult to read a lot of text on my computer screens and will need to discover if vision comfort is a make-or-break factor. Most dedicated e-readers have an eInk screen and most tablets are LCD.

A replaceable battery seems like an economically sensible feature so that one does not have to replace the entire unit if the battery fails. I considered a strong web browser more of a liability than an asset, in fact any internet access or games could be a distraction for reluctant readers, our target group. Almost all of those I looked at had some Internet applications and all had Wi-Fi.

Like several other brands I had not previously heard of, Sony, Nook & Kobo were eliminated early because they do not have text-to-speech capability: a must-have feature as I mentioned above. I took the Kindle off the list because books must be purchased through Amazon only, it is not library compatible and there is no replaceable battery.

The two that met all criteria were PocketBooks from the Ukraine and Pandigital. I still have to pin down Canadian suppliers and support. I may have to go back to my reject list! There is a decent, sortable comparison chart here Wikipedia. Pandigital is not even on it though. I found it first at Best-Buy.

So, no decision made as yet. I really want to hold a few in my hands and read from them. Hopefully then I’ll feel a little more confident.

Cartoon from Rhymes With Orange


Filed under eReaders in the School Library, Technology

Library Bathroom Tiles

Isn’t this awesome?

"Library Bathroom in Garden Flat 2"

Now if only Katy didn’t live in the U.K. …

Clicking on the image will take you to Katy’s Flickr page for this image. She also has a website for her mosaics here and here is the Garden Flat.


Filed under Art & Design

I Did Say Transformation

From Unshelved. I subscribe to the cartoon for a daily giggle. Luckily I don’t actually believe that a library has to go that far to attract young adults!

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Filed under Humour

Sharing Knowledge

When I think of the number of years I spent fumbling about on my own, I very much appreciate the networks I’ve discovered in the past few years, the newest of which is the potential of this blog. Many thanks to Susan for all the feedback and great links. You’ve encouraged me to stick with this blog and motivated me to keep working towards a challenge that seems somewhat overambitious. The ‘revolutionary’ Anythink library site has a wealth of resources that I’m just beginning to understand, thanks to her.

Another relatively new network that has been highly beneficial, is the group of 13 librarians in my district. We have been getting together three times a year for a few years now. Yesterday was our final meeting for this year. We rotate our meetings through each others’ libraries, an idea that has really consolidated the group. We share ideas, knowledge, concerns and frustrations, and I always come away feeling positive and motivated.

Although we all belong to the same Regional Library System and School District, we are a very diverse group. Working hours range from 6 hours per week to full-time, and many of us split our duties between the library and in classes as program assistants. About a third of the libraries are combined school and public.

From a couple of brief discussions yesterday, I took away a few ideas and opinions with regard to my project. I didn’t feel ready to present a full-on discussion about the potential implementation of the book store concept, but I hope some of my colleagues will follow me here and offer their advice.

We did, however, discuss e-book readers. I discovered that a least one other library is looking into them as well. With the group’s help, I managed to pin down several brand options (including iPad, which my computer technician generously let me borrow this week), as well as some questions I need to answer before purchase is made. Topping the list is the issue of e-book availability. Apparently some brands are affiliated with specific suppliers and formats are not universal. Will I have to decide on a supplier before I decide on a reader?

An autumn morning welcomes me to my library

A priority for me and a function I couldn’t find on the iPad is read-aloud, or text-to-speech capability. This is an essential feature for struggling readers and one of the prime reasons to buy e-readers for the Special Needs department. According to the most recent chart I have so far found, Amazon’s Kindle is one of the few that has it, but that brand has a couple of big disadvantages, not the least of which is the inability to borrow e-books through libraries. An equally important function is the integrated dictionary. I think I will be narrowing down my choices by those two features first.

So here I am on Saturday, researching e-books and ways to transform my library. If the sun comes out for an evening show, I am going to go out with my camera. Thank goodness housework is so very patient (and I can’t see it when I’m staring at my computer monitor)…

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Filed under eReaders in the School Library, Rethinking My Library