30 May 2008

Sue Speaks - Nancy Pearl Entry #2

Recent Reading:
That seems like a long winded introduction to summer reading doesn’t it?? But I’ve been reading (and listening) to lots of books this spring, and now am trying to fit them into doorways. Here are my favorites so far, in no particular order:

The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry – Character Doorway, because of all the quirky characters (and the family name is in the title); however language is a big doorway through which to enter, since she uses many big words a la Lemony Snicket.
Plus it’s Lois Lowry, who writes extremely well. A very fun read aloud too. And the story? Parents that work to rid themselves of their three children, three children who want to rid themselves of their parents, a baby, a candy inventor. Grade school.

Shooting the Moon, by Frances O’Roark Dowell – Language Doorway. And Character. Because you’ll feel for this twelve year old daughter of a colonel whose brother joins the army and is sent to Vietnam. And he starts sending her film to be developed. And she sees another side of war. Because her whole upbringing has been gung-ho military. Language Doorway because I wish I could write like this. Total coming of age, for middle schoolers.

Keeping Score, by Linda Sue Park –This is set during the Korean War with a baseball theme. I get teary thinking about this. I was looking for a baseball book with action for boys; I found a coming of age story with lots of history (Korean War; Fire Stations; scorekeeping of every play (do people still do this?); Brooklyn Dodgers) with loads of Character and Language Doorways. Of course it’s historical fiction, so does that make it Setting too? So, this would be my read alike for those who loved Shooting the Moon.

Trouble, by Gary D. Schmidt – Character. And Language. Probably language first. Coming of age, beautifully told story of a troubled family by the author of The Wednesday War. With a journey, two journeys, one real, one metaphorical. Upper middle school/high school.

Amulet, book one The Stonekeeper, by Kazu Kibuishi – Son Tim (age 10) read this graphic novel which came last week. He read it 10 times and wants the next one. I asked what he liked about it, “Kids try to get back the mom who is taken hostage by a gigantic squid type spider. And the great-great grandfather’s pink bunny helps them.” Umm, I’m putting this one into the Story Doorway. I wonder if there’s a preponderance of graphic novels in Story? Grade school. (I did skim it…. Loved the pink bunny!)

Jellaby, by Kean Soo – Tim’s other favorite graphic novel that I’ve brought home lately, a purple monster that is trying to go home with the help of a young girl. Character Doorway. I think. And story? I obviously need to work on identifying the graphic novels, tough since am not that comfortable reading them. He likes the gentle characters. Grade school, for the Bone and Owly lovers.

Clementine’s Letter, by Sara Pennypacker – Totally character doorway. Clementine writes a letter to keep her teacher from leaving for a year in Egypt. Totally heart warming and funny. Grades 2-3 especially!

Smiles To Go, by Jerry Spinelli – Geeky middle school boy learns that a proton has died. During his school year, he deals with changes in relationships with his two best friends, one a boy, one a girl; and his little sister. Very character driven; very much a story about the warm and not so warm relationships between family and friends; I would love all kids to be like these kids, with heart. One of those new books that I have a hard time setting in time, because there’s a computer, and one cell phone, but these modern contrivances don’t predominate, so it feels time warpish. Also language doorway. Middle school.

My One Hundred Adventures, by Polly Horvath – Tres quirky, totally Character. Totally Language. I totally adore the way Polly Horvath tells a story. How does she think of these bizarre adventures? Jane, another twelve year old, tells the summer of living on the beach (surrounded by sand) with her poet mother and three siblings, and her desire for 100 adventures. Slow moving, well worth it for upper grade school.

Forever Rose, by Hilary McKay – Character Doorway. All the Casson series novels are Character and Language personified. And English. As my daughter Sam says, “I love Rose. I just love the way she thinks.” The finale to a wonderfully, satisfying series. Grade and middle school.

Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor – Set in Schenectady, so around here will fit the Setting Doorway. And it belongs in the Character and Language Doorways. Dysfunctional family, coming of age for a twelve year old, living with her crazy mother in a trailer off Erie Boulevard/Nott Street by the railroad tracks. We read for our Mother Daughter Book Group, and Janet Hutchison from The Open Door Bookstore arranged for us to meet Leslie Connor. The girls all agreed that they wished that these characters were real. Grade and middle school.

My Most Excellent Year: a Novel of Love, Mary Poppins and Fenway Park, by Steve Kluger – This fits Character, Story, and Setting. It is told from three juniors’ points of views through their journals, emails, notes, and more. The Two boys (best friends) and a girl (who becomes a best friend) come of age and come out. Nice, nice kids, kids that you’d like to have as your kids, or as your kids’ friends. Kids with heart. And besides, any story with Julie Andrews and Mary Poppins in it has to be grand. It is. Middle and high school appeal.

The London Eye Mystery, by Siobhan Dowd – This has it all – Character, Language, Setting, And Story. A boy with Asperger’s tells the tale wherein the boy and his older sister solve the mystery of how their cousin disappeared from a ride on the London Eye (a giant pod like Ferris Wheel in London). The relationships of the eccentric family members and the thought processes pull the story through. Upper middle school and beyond. Especially for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog….Middle and High School.

Me, The Missing, and The Dead
, by Jenny Valentine – I didn’t want this to end. Total Character and Language Doorway. And Story too with the mystery. How does Jenny Valentine get into the heads of these characters? I just felt for them all. And Lucas the 16 year old races around London trying to discover the whereabouts of his missing father and the history of an urn of Violet. I guess the title says it all. Give to those who like Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident…, The London Eye Mystery above by Siobhan Dowd, and even the Cottrell Boyce’s stories. Kids who grew up loving the Konigsburg novels with quirky twists and turns and characters would appreciate this. Older Middle School and beyond.

And what have I learned about doorways? It’s definitely a mindset to look at a book through the four doorways rather than to tell the plot. And I obviously read for character and language. And character/setting. With a story. Which means that I need to spend more time reading outside my comfort zone.

One way I “read” outside my comfort zone is to listen to books. Our family just finished listening to Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, 2004. (I started it, they came home and pirated it from me) Picture me multitasking. Picture husband, 14 year old daughter and 10 year old son sitting mesmerized on couch listening with wide eyes. For three days! Airborn is Story and Setting; an action story taking place on an airship. A cabin boy born to the ship. Air pirates. Wow. Middle school, but younger if they listen! Especially for boys! (And a sequel finally out on audio, hurrah!)

Now, we’re listening to The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. It’s not the weekend so it’s taking longer, with the three of them eating breakfast while listening (progress!). Again, Story, and Setting, with Characters. Upper grade and middle school.

That brings me up to today. I’m finishing The Penderwicks of Gardam Street, by Jeanne Birdsall, (adore, adore, adore: Character. Story. Language. An American Hilary McKay family. And since I didn’t adore her National Book Award Winner The Penderwicks, I really want to get that again and find out what mood I must have been in when I read it, because how could I be so wrong??) Grade school.

For the weekend, I have about 8 million boy books checked out. Real sports and action packed adventures. I’m definitely going out of my comfort zone. I’ll let you know how it goes. Any questions? Contact Sue.

29 May 2008

Sue Speaks - Nancy Pearl Entry #1

Summer Reading is Just Around the Corner!

Nancy Pearl, the queen of reader’s advisory, was in Saratoga County last week for SALS’s 50th Anniversary. I caught her at Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library Wednesday night, where she enthralled children’s, youth services, and teen librarians with reader’s advisory tips especially for us. Of course, it all holds true for grown ups too; so if you went to that grown up workshop, you probably got the same information.

For those of you not lucky enough to be there, there are two rules to being a good Reader’s Advisor:

Rule 1: Remember that it’s not about YOU and what YOU like to read (oh yes, Sue, you especially should remember this!), but it’s about the person, however old or young, that is standing before you and what THEY like to read.

Corollary A: Kids look to adults for validation as a reader. So, if they ask if you liked a book, and you didn’t, tell them. It’s ok to not like a book, and to let kids know that you did not like a certain book, because...

Corollary B: Everyone reads a book differently

And Corollary C: NP’s definition of a good book is any book YOU want to read.

Rule 2: Is to read outside your comfort zone. If you read only one book a month that you normally would not read, that’s twelve books a year. Read outside your comfort zone to find out why someone else would like and enjoy that book. (Personally, I fulfill this rule by listening: either to books or to others talking about those books I can’t get into or don’t have time to get into!)

Then when the advisee comes asking, ask them “Tell me about a book you liked”, which makes it immaterial if you’ve read the book. You’re finding out how they are talking about the book, which tells you what they liked, and what drew them through which doorway into the book.

Because you see, every book of narrative fiction and non-fiction fits at least one of Nancy Pearl’s four potential doorways through which readers enter a book:

Doorway # 1 is Story
This doorway is the largest – if someone says “I couldn’t put it down” or “I couldn’t wait to see what happens”, they are looking for story. Most books for kids fit in the Story Doorway. Other hints are books with lots of white space and dialogue are story driven. Think Harry Potter; Among the Hidden; 13 Reasons Why; and Hatchet. Most chapter books for grades 3-7 are entered through story, although many have more doorways.

Doorway # 2 is Character
When someone talks about liking three dimensional characters, fully developed characters, they enter books through Doorway #2. Clues are books with the character’s name or a description of the character in the titles, such as Clementine; Saffy’s Angel; Maniac Magee; and chick lit titles.

Doorway # 3 is Setting
Setting can be thought of as another character. If someone says they felt like they were in that place in a book, that’s setting. Historical fiction and science fiction and fantasy, all have very strong elements of the setting doorway. Think Peter and the Starcatchers; White Darkness; Peak.

Doorway # 4 is Language
Books with language as the biggest doorway are usually the award winners. In general, they are books that move at a slower pace, where “voice” is often talked about. The Newbery Award winners are generally in the language doorway; as are authors such as Karen Hesse; Natalie Babbitt; Donna Jo Napoli. When someone says “I wish I had written that,” suggest books with a language doorway.

Remember that books can be entered through more than one doorway. Probably a book that is entered through more doorways is going to be more enduring, because more people will enjoy it. As you’re reading, think about the doorway appeal. The majority of readers enter through the story doorway.

Finally, instead of “recommending” a book, “suggest” a book. Well, three books. Suggesting books says that you’ve heard what the advisee is asking for. In fact, use Nancy Pearl’s Nordstrom Theory of Reader’s Advisory, based on the Nordstrom’s Shoe Sales Strategy (customer asks for certain shoe style; salesperson brings out three shoe styles: the one customer asks for; another very similar, and a third that has something in common with the original style.)

Give three book options to the advisee:
One very similar book to the book they enjoyed
One very close to that book
And take them to another part of the library and find a third that is related.

Nancy Pearl said if you remember what doorway you liked in a book, it will help you to suggest books to others. Questions? Call or email Sue.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about recent children's, tween and teen reading I've done, and which doorways I think they fit into.

Webinar - Teen Spirit in the Library

Polaris Library Systems President and CEO Bill Schickling will lead a stellar panel of educators, researchers and librarians who are at the forefront of promoting teen services in public libraries. This 60 minute webcast will inspire all library staff that work with teens and young adults to create and maintain great teen physical and online spaces, and guide them in creating programs and events that keep teens coming back to the library again and again. The last fifteen minutes of the webcast is reserved for questions, so be prepared to ask the experts for advice on kicking teen service up a notch in your library. The webinar will be held on June 10, 2008, at 2:00 PM. Check out all the details and register here.

28 May 2008

MVLS Library Votes Successful

Congratulations to MVLS libraries with successful public votes in May:

Community Library (Cobleskill/Richmondville): budget
Fort Hunter Free Library: funding on school district ballot
Frothingham Free Library: funding on school district ballot
Northville Public Library: budget and bond vote (but not the Edinburgh proposal)
Schoharie Free Library: funding increase on school district ballot

Remember even if you are not a school district library, Education Law permits you to request a funding initiative on a local or school district ballot. For information, contact Carol at MVLS.

27 May 2008

Gates Online Advocacy Training

MVLS will host two sessions of Advocacy Training required for the Gates Opportunity Online Grant. Our lab will be set up for Wednesday, May 28, and Wednesday June 11 and each session will begin at 9:30 am. If your library did not send the required representatives to the Sagamore Turning the Page training, you must complete the online training to receive final approval for your grant.

If your library sent representatives to Turning the Page, or did not get Gates funding, you are more than welcome to participate in the online training here at MVLS. Advocacy Training at the Sagamore was very well-received and the online training will be valuable to anyone who participates. Please contact Carol or Sue to sign up for this training.

Workshop - Introduction to Scanning and Digital Imaging

Date: Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Time: 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Place: Capital District Library Council
Cost: $25 for CDLC members; $40 for non-members (includes lunch)
Presenter: Eleanora Morrell, Technology Consultant, MicroKnowledge

This workshop is an overview of the practical aspects of scanning material for digitization projects. Topics will include basic terminology, a discussion of many popular file formats and the benefits and drawbacks of each, image and file size, image storage, and quality control. The speaker will also discuss the factors that need to be considered when deciding whether to do your own scanning or outsource to a vendor. Finally, the speaker will demonstrate good scanning techniques on CDLC's Epson scanner. Participants are invited to bring examples of items from their collections for scanning.

The registration deadline for this workshop is July 1. The registration form can be found here.

23 May 2008

Workshop - Friends Groups

Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008
Time: 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Join us for our June workshop, Friends Groups - How to Start One and How to Work Together. Please note that this workshop date does not follow our usual first Thursday meeting schedule.

Guest Speaker is Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Coordinator of Member Information for the Mid-Hudson Library System. Rebekkah has worked extensively with Friends groups in the Mid-Hudson system, organizing Friends information sessions, and fascilitating an ongoing Friends support group.

The program may also be helpful to trustees and friends of your library.

In order to plan for handouts, please register with Kathy at kinsero@mvls.info.

13 May 2008

Grant Opportunity - Soul of a People

The American Library Association, in partnership with Spark Media, presents an innovative library outreach program to enhance and increase the nationwide impact of Spark Media's documentary film, "Soul of a People: Voices from the Writers' Project." Major funding for the library outreach program has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The film and library outreach programs will acquaint public, academic and special library audiences with the story of the largest cultural experiment in U.S. history - the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration - told against the backdrop of the Depression and 1930s America.

30 libraries will be selected to receive a $2,500 grant from the NEH to present five different public outreach programs during the period of the national broadcast of "Soul of a People" (Spring 2009). The grants will be used for scholar honoraria, book purchases, publicity and other program-associated costs. Libraries will be asked to enlist from a local college or university a lead project scholar with expertise in American history, the WPA and/or the WPA era, to help present and plan programs. The application and guidelines for "Soul of a People" and complete instructions for registering and applying can be found by clicking here. Deadline: July 11, 2008

09 May 2008

New in the Professional Collection

Just added:

The Quality Library: A Guide to Staff-Driven Improvement, Better Efficiency, and Happier Customers
by Sara Laughlin and Ray W. Wilson

Jerry Spinelli to Speak

It's short notice, but if anyone is free next Tuesday, May 13 at 10:30 AM, author Jerry Spinelli will be speaking and signing copies of his brand new book, Smiles to Go, at Market Block Books in Troy. This is a special event, so you must call the bookstore to sign up. See http://www.marketblockbooks.com/ for details.

Nancy Pearl to Speak at Area Libraries

Nancy Pearl, author of bestseller, Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason and commentator about books on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” is scheduled for a local, on-air interview on WAMC’s Roundtable, Tues., May 20, during her visit to the Capital District. Pearl will be coming to the area during the week of May 19, and will be speaking to the public and to library professionals, free of charge, at local libraries.

On Tues., May 20, 7-8pm, Pearl will speak to the public at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs, on “The Pleasures and Perils of a Life of Reading,” presented by the Friends of the SSPL. Seating is limited and tickets are required.

On Wed., May 21, 2-3:30pm, at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Rd., Clifton Park, Pearl will address Adult Service Librarians with the topic “Opening Books, Opening Doors: Providing Effective Reader’s Advisory Service.”

At 7-8:30pm, also on May 21, Pearl will talk to Youth Services Librarians, again with the topic “Opening Books, Opening Doors: Providing Effective Reader’s Advisory Service,” but geared toward young and YA readers.

Pre-registration is required for all programs. Please contact Saratoga Springs Public Library or Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library to register.

07 May 2008

MVLS Annual Dinner 2008

Annual Dinner 2008
The 2008 MVLS Annual Dinner was held on Wednesday, May 7 at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie. Check out all the photos from the event on Flickr. (While you're there leave a comment on the photo of your favorite beer bottle tower!)

06 May 2008

Workshop - Developing Digital Projects

Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Time: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Place: Capital District Library Council
Cost: $40 for CDLC members; $60 for non-members (includes lunch)

Presenter: Tom Clareson, Program Director for New Initiatives, Palinet

This workshop will provide an overview of digitization. It will include discussion of the benefits and costs of digitization, basic principles of scanning, selecting and preparing material for digitization, making your material searchable once it has been scanned, the pros and cons of outsourcing digitization work, and basic information on selecting hardware and software for your project. The workshop is appropriate for those who are considering whether to begin a digitization project and for those who have already done some digitization and want to learn more.

Registration deadline for this workshop is June 10. The registration form can be found here.

01 May 2008

Grant Opportunity - Fit for Life Libraries

In recognition of the growing role of libraries in providing free, reliable health information, Libraries for the Future (LFF) announces an expansion of Fit for Life (FFL), a national initiative to help public libraries promote lifelong health and wellness through community responsive programs. Fit for Life will focus on both physical and brain health, and will target audiences of all ages.

A generous grant from the MetLife Foundation has allowed LFF to offer training and grants of $10,000 to $25,000 to 15 urban library systems.

In addition, FFL libraries will be charged with launching community-wide public awareness campaigns to promote the importance of fitness and nutrition, offering health programming for individuals of all ages, distributing free health publications, and recording accomplishments related to all of the above. Each participating library will be required to submit a proposal in collaboration with at least five community organizations, to expand possibilities for community outreach and programming.

Proposals are due June 1. The RFP can be downloaded here.

25 Ways Libraries Can Support a Book Group

Check out this great post from the Book Group Buzz blog.

Teens' Top Ten

Nominations for the annual Teens’ Top Ten are now available, announced the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). YALSA encourages teens to read the 26 nominees before the national TTT vote, which will take place during Teen Read Week, Oct. 12 –18.

Nominated titles were published between January 2007 and March 15, 2008 and chosen by the 15 teen book groups in YALSA’s YA Galley Project, in which publishers of young adult books provide copies of their recent titles to teen book discussion groups in libraries. In exchange, teen readers evaluate books for the publishers.

YALSA is currently accepting applications for 15 new YA Galley groups. The application forms, which must be submitted by a book group advisor who is a current YALSA member, are posted on YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten site.

Also on the Teens' Top Ten site is a list of ideas for promoting the TTT nominations, and lists of past nominees.