Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Archive for December, 2012

Minor Musings

Posted by lpearle on 20 December 2012

Just in time for Winter Break!

Books, Reading, Etc.

School Life

  • Critical thinking is important, right?  Here are six short films that may help teach why.  Then use Joyce’s post exploring Four Tools for Determining Web Cred.
  • Parents always wonder/worry about internet safety.  These 26 Tips should help (or at least start a much needed conversation).

Tech Stuff


Posted in Books, Collection Development, School Libraries, Student stuff, Techno Geekiness | Leave a Comment »

A lesson to be learned?

Posted by lpearle on 17 December 2012

On Friday, as the news reports from Connecticut continued unabated, I turned off my tv.   Because I was working on a project that required internet research, my access to twitter and Facebook was still there and I read people’s reactions and thoughts as I continued to do my research.

One student (well, former student; she graduated high school in 2002) had two posts on FB that drew my attention: one was to a photo of a class leaving the school, the other was a link to a FB profile that was the shooter’s profile.  My reaction to both was horror, but for different reasons.

The photo made me wonder why the children’s faces weren’t blurred out.  Why were reporters (I use that term loosely) interviewing children, getting their reactions?  Was there no decency any more?  I recognize that many schools now have policies that inform parents that their children may be interviewed and their photos may be posted on-line.  But at a time like this?  Surely there’s a time… and a place… and this wasn’t it.  This wasn’t a sporting event, or a class play.  This was exploitation and just wrong.

The second link was premature.  I suggested that perhaps she should wait until all the facts were out before posting this.  She responded that she was merely reposting from a reliable source (Russell Simmons – not quite as reliable as, say, CNN, but to her, this was ‘reliable’).  I reminded her that earlier this year, ABC News incorrectly identified the Aurora shooter, and that at the time of her posting, no one had officially named the shooter (as it turned out, the name/profile were wrong).  She took down her post.

We all know how difficult it is to determine rumor from truth on the web at the best of times (Gay Girl in Damascus, anyone?).  And during Sandy, there was as much information as misinformation shared on FB and Twitter. But at a time like this, a time of shock, horror and distress, shouldn’t we take an extra few minutes to sort out truth from rumor?  So often the media got it wrong – and then the errors were shared on social media.

I thought about September 11, 2001, and how two friends (one in Alabama, hooked in to militia networks, the other a major in the Canadian army) kept me informed that day with real information (for example, that we’d closed US airspace to all but our military and that the jets we were hearing overhead were ours, not an invading armies or more hijacked planes).  I passed that along to others at the school, knowing that this wasn’t speculation.  What if we’d had social media instead of AIM?  I wonder what I would have passed along then, and how correct that information would have been.

If nothing else, these are teachable moments for ourselves and our students.  The former in decency, in respect.   The latter in holding off, in searching for the facts inside the rumors (often difficult to discern ‘in the moment’). Digital literacy is so important, and we need to teach students the value of turning off the supposed news and searching for verification and multiple confirmations (an AP report on several websites doesn’t count!).  That’s not to diminish the events – far from it – but to perhaps bring something positive out of what happened.

Posted in Ethics, Student stuff | Leave a Comment »

Top Library Trends

Posted by lpearle on 6 December 2012

Yesterday I was incredibly honored to have presented to the SSLA. They asked that I talk about library trends, so I did (I even included a “trendlet”):

The problem, of course, is that every time you do one of these presentations you start to wonder, “what did I miss? am I catching the right stuff?” so I’m opening the question up to you: what trends are missing?  what do you see on the horizon for 2013?

Posted in Musings, School Libraries, Techno Geekiness | Leave a Comment »

The YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalists

Posted by lpearle on 5 December 2012

I’ve been blogging about the process since last October (and there’s one more post to come) but until then, here are the finalists!

Posted in Collection Development, Professional organizations | 1 Comment »

Behind the locked door, part four – nearing the end

Posted by lpearle on 3 December 2012

Our selection year is over – the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award covers books published between Nov. 1 and Oct. 31, so anything published after October 31, 2012 is eligible for the 2014 award but not the one to be awarded in a few short weeks.

Since my last post, I and the rest of the committee have continued to read, re-read, mull over and discuss the various books.  We had scheduled chats in ALA Connect and conference calls, all following the format I described earlier (first talk about the book’s pros, then the cons). Total, I’d guess we’ve at least looked at 90 books.  Of those, there were so very many books nominated (both from within the committee and from the field – aka you, the general reading public) for us to choose from.

Everyone reads differently, and everyone weighs elements of a book differently.  What was great about the discussions was that often the things I’d missed but that had struck the other members were things that changed my mind… and vice versa.  Hearing that others caught the same issues I’d caught, or had loved – LOVED – the same things I did validated my thinking.   It’s different from being in a book group, believe me.

As October wound down, we were asked to choose a preliminary top five from the eligible nominated books.  Some books were easily chosen, others easily left off.  But a few… really, it was quite difficult to choose from some of the titles.  The “good” part was that this was the Preliminary Top Five, not the Real Top Five.  Then we had a conference call to discuss that list.  We all felt that there were some books “on the bubble” but overall we were pleased that there was so much consensus.  Next task: the Real Top Five.

Again, weighing what everyone said during our first talks about the books, other comments made during the year, and this recent conference call, I re-read and pondered.  And came up with a Real Top Five.  Because this was such a difficult choice, it didn’t surprise me to learn that we were clear on four titles, and very very close on two others.  After some discussion, we have our Top Five (ALA has it, too, and will announce it later this week).  The e-mails after the list was finalized were so emotional – surprisingly so.  I mean, you hear about that from other committee members but until you’re there, well…

But wait, there’s more!

Remember how earlier in this post I said we’d had a lot of books nominated?  The Top Five, the shortlist for the award, are set.  But there’s still work to be done.  The books nominated by the committee that didn’t make the Top Five now need to be annotated and given out  (see previous years here – login required, sadly).   And of course, in January we’ll be meeting for one final session to talk about that Top Five – which one will be The Most Excellent Non-Fiction Book for Young Adults???  That, of course, will be announced during the Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 28, to be followed by a reception for the authors of all five books on the shortlist.

Posted in Books, Conferences, Professional organizations | Leave a Comment »