Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Changes. Always changes.

Posted by lpearle on 28 August 2014

If you work in a school, you know that each year will bring changes – different students, different research needs, different teachers, surprising events, etc..  They’re the type of things you know are coming and yet can do very little to prepare.  For me, there’s no dread involved, just a sense of fatalistic anticipation.

Sometimes, though, there are even bigger changes afoot.  It may be a new job.  Or new library coworkers/colleagues. Maybe you’ve got a new facility.

The other day I was having lunch with Katie Archambault at Emma Willard and she mentioned another change, one we don’t really talk about at conferences or help prepare people for: going from being a part of a library team to being a solo librarian.  She’s right, we don’t often talk about that change.  Nor do we talk about the change from being a solo librarian to being part of a team.  Or being a part of a team to being the Team Leader.  There’s lots out there on how to survive your first year at a school, but often that presupposes that you’re just new to that school, not filling a new role as well.

Porter’s is planning on hosting the 2014 New England Association of Independent School Librarians conference and this seems like a good conversation for us to have: what massive changes have you experienced?  how have you survived?  what advice do you have for others in your position?  etc..  Go ahead.  Let me know in the comments!

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Poetic Thoughts – #LJDOD13

Posted by lpearle on 17 June 2013

I’ll come right out and say it: I’m not a huge poetry fan.  Inserting poetry into a text makes my eyes glaze over, and those books in verse? Thanks, but… (having said that, I did enjoy Sharp Teeth, so it’s possibly more a question of “finding something I don’t mind”).  So it’s with some trepidation that I settled in to hear the Poetry Panel at the Day of Dialog.  For those of you who feel the way I do, the following might help change your mind.

Robert Pinsky opened by stating that children have a natural instinct toward rhyme: just look at children’s books like Dr. Seuss, and the sing-song way they often speak (not to mention the rhyming games they play).  He also said that the way to appreciate poetry is to say it aloud – it will make you a better writer and reader.

So, how do we go about marketing poetry?  It’s risky, because then we’re treating poetry as “other”, right? has great resources to help you find poetry (including a great Poem-a-Day program).  Several suggestions arose, including casually adding it to your displays (e.g., scarey poems as part of a Hallowe’en display), keeping books of poetry next to the check out (much like candy bars at grocery check outs).  Asking random members of the community to read their favorite poems for a podcast or videocast and posting it on your website.  Tweet great opening lines, or short poems, with a link to information about the poet or the poem.

We were also reminded that there are no rules for poetry.  Yes, teachers say that (and there are, of course, rules about poetic form) but that’s really just wrong; they want to be able to say “smart things” about poems and poetry, when in reality, poetry is what sounds good when you say it – in other words, do not overthink a poem.  Just enjoy it.  As MacLeish said, “A poem should not mean / But be.”

Need resources?  Library Journal is launching a poetry blog that will be gathering news, collection development ideas, tools and more. has a Poem-A-Day program.  Many current poets are on Facebook and Twitter, which is a great way to connect to living poets. Poets House has some great programs and ideas.

In other words, don’t let poetry scare you – treat it as any other part of your collection, promote it within your community, and watch things blossom.

Posted in Books, Collection Development, Conferences, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Minor Musings

Posted by lpearle on 7 February 2013

Books, Reading, Etc.

School Life

Tech Stuff

Posted in Student stuff, Techno Geekiness, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

I’m famous!

Posted by lpearle on 21 July 2011

No, not really.  Clue 49 is “Millie Helper’s next door neighbor” – for which the answer is Laura Petrie, not me.  But still, for a few moments, my father had a thrill answering the Washington Post’s July 14th crossword!

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Back to the basics

Posted by lpearle on 23 September 2010

Because so many of our 9th grade students are new this year (over half the class) and because even those that came from our Middle School have managed to forget anything they knew about library research over the summer, the 9th grade History Team and I have created a series of assignments that will get them looking at books, thinking about resources and using the library.

As always, I created a Libguide to help. This one is a little special: there’s a tutorial there that is based on a great tutorial I found. The wonderful librarians at SWITCH said I could download the files (they’d based their tutorials on WMU’s original!) and customize away – it’s been a long time since I hard-coded HTML, and my Photoshop skills aren’t great, but after a few days hard work, it’s done! As time allows, I’m modify it even further…

I’m excited to see how (if?!) this helps our students get comfortable with the research process.

Posted in School Libraries, Student stuff, Techno Geekiness, Uncategorized, Work Stuff | 1 Comment »

My six

Posted by lpearle on 28 July 2010

Doug started a meme:

Remember the days of “memes?” Blog this challenge on your site! What are your 6 essential tools and 2 essential devices?

After pondering this on my way home, weighing the sites I visit and use regularly, it’s really pretty simple.

Essential tools/websites:

  • Gmail (staying in touch)
  • Bank of America (for online banking)
  • Facebook (seeing what my friends are up to)
  • Google Reader (as Doug does, I’m cheating with an RSS feeder!)
  • Goodreads (to keep track of my books and review those I’ve read)
  • Twitter (again, seeing what my friends are up to/staying in touch with my PLN)

Essential devices

  • DVR
  • iPod (not my iPhone, because I’m not a huge cell phone user and use that mostly when travelling, but I use my iPod daily while commuting)

Tag – you’re it!

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