Sunday, March 8, 2009

a year of newberies

Hello dearies!

While driving over the Tappan Zee Bridge today, I got an idea for a wonderful blog: the Newberies and Caldecotts that are slowly taking over my life.

So over at a year of newberies I aim to not only read as many Caldecotts and Newberies as possible, but review them. This is also a chance for me to teach myself how to use WordPress. (I know, I'm a dork. A major, major dork).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reflections on Wikibuilding

For the Web 2.0 final project, two of my classmates and I created a wiki, "The Readers Among Us." It's the extracurricular book club at fictional Sunnydale High School. Michelle, Michael and I decided that a wiki would be a great way to reach teenagers; kids spend a lot of time online, and this way the book club members could connect when not in school (or in the same country!).

My reflections on this project...

Technology Effectiveness

Wiki: One of the greatest things about a wiki, is that anyone can contribute, make pages, comment on other contributions, and effectively, get information out to the world. For a high school book club, the discussions can continue outside of school, at any hour of the day or night (perfect for a teenager!).
The only problem was that my classmates and I could not edit the same page at the same time.

Image generators - Spell with Flickr. I thought this was a very creative way to make unique page headers!

Polls: I created one poll, for the teens to pick which genre would be read next. It's anonymous and offers an "other" feature. Ideally, a different poll would be created for each month, taking out that month's current genre pick.

Search engine: I created a custom search engine, so readers could find professional Young Adult book reviews. In a perfect world, this would only retrieve book reviews! Despite trying to find tune the search as best as possible, reviews of movies based on books usually pop up as the top hits. While this could be helpful for that one student who is trying to avoid reading a book, it is frustrating when trying to find ALA reviews.

Concepts and ideas of Library 2.0 and participatory library service

Information is now in the hands of everyone, not just a select few people. Anyone in the world can create information --- and distribute it. There are so many resources now available. Instead of just encyclopedias and manuals, I can google my query, and come up with hits from online encyclopedias, Wikipedia, even videos on youtube or

Social networking tools, such as Facebook, Livejournal, Blogger, TeacherLibrarianNing, and Shelfari let people join together through cyberspace. Whether to post pictures online and send out party invites (Facebook), blog about anything in the world (Blogger, Livejournal and other blogging website), connect with other teacher-librarians, or even just see who has read what (Shelfari, LibraryThing), these tools allow people to stay connected, find common interests. Everyday I check several of those sites to see what my friends are up to, what has been blogged about in the knitting community, and to add more books to my shelf!

Additionally, there are tons of Web 2.0 tools, available for free! My favorite is, which is how I bookmark and tag websites. Flickr toys are also a lot of fun, especially maniupulating my photos for blogging!

So what does this mean for school libraries and librarians in the 21st Century?
It's not just enough to teach how to cite book sources and use an index. Now, with the wealth of information available on the internet, school librarians must teach students what makes a website reliable. Internet safety is another concern. Lastly, I think incorporating Web 2.0 into the classroom will be beneficial and interesting for students and teachers. Having students use VoiceThread to create stories, or using Skype to conference with students in other parts of the country? Pretty awesome. I know I want to use PhotoStory to "store" and present my lessons (in case of my absence, the kids will still learn!).

Technology Issues

While using a wiki as a book review forum is great, there are some problems. For starters, two or more people cannot edit a page at the same time. I don't know exactly why, but the result is always a mish-mosh (that does not look too great).

My other concern is that postings cannot be moderated until they have been posted. As a librarian-teacher, I would ideally like to review postings before they are published. This would be to ensure that my students would not give out crucial personal information by accident.

Collaboration Issues
My classmates and I bounced ideas off one another in person and through gmail. We were interested in communicating via Skype, except with work and class schedules, it proved too hectic to find a time everyone could talk in real time. This past week I've had some family issues, so my computer time was limited to the late evening. I really liked communicating via gmail though. We were all able to see the running "thread" of our emails! This made it very easy to refer to past emails. Instead of digging around through an inbox, I was able to scroll up the page and expand an earlier email.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Social Networking, AKA Legitimate Reasons To Play Online

Today I joined TeacherLibrarianNing, Twitter, and found my password for LibraryThing.

At TeacherLibrarian, I already joined a group, "YA Lit in School Libraries"! I can see myself using this Ning at least weekly, to connect with other school librarians and teachers.

Twitter is an interesting tool, I can follow my classmates' "tweets". So far our tweets are along the same lines! I am already following my professor, Karen, and several other librarians who I have read. These librarians are Vicki Davis, Doug Johnson, and David Warlick. I am not sure how much I'll use Twitter, but it does seem a good way to keep up with the tweets of influential people in the field!

LibraryThing can be used in the classroom, with the kids. With older students who have their own email addresses, they can create a personal account and keep a "reading log," share reviews with classmates, and even find out what their other classmates are reading. I can see myself creating a group just for my students. It would be a great way to virtually host a book-club during school vacations! I am not sure how to implement LibraryThing with elementary students, but it is something I want to explore. I already know I'll be sharing LibraryThing with my friends who are studying to be English teachers.

But LibraryThing and Shelfari? New sites for me to play with! Find me and friend me! I want to see what's on your bookcase.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 and diigo

Back in May, I created an account at I love it! I have been saving links to it like mad, and thoroughly enjoy creating my own tags.

Today in class, Karen suggested I try my hand at diigo. I'm not a big fan of it. There is a steep learning curve, and it does not feel as intuitive as I was able to import my links from my account to diigo ... but I just did not feel as comfortable using diigo. To use a computer analogy, is more like a Mac, while diigo functions like Windows.

I think social bookmarking can be a great research tool, especially in an academic function. I am able to search other user's tags, even if they are not in my network. Several weeks ago, I actually searched through another user's bookmarks, in order to find out where she got her fabric.

Another great aspect of is that links can be shared. When going to the full screen edit function, I can "send" a link to a user in my network. This is the link I shared with two of my classmates, Carol and Dan.

Flickr madness!

I am having so much fun with Flickr! I learned some new tricks (uploading pictures to blogs, directly from Flickr, had never figured that out before), and about Creative Commons. Now I can search for pictures on Flickr by specific license parameters.

I never knew about bighugelabs before this morning, and it's delightful! For me, the best part was finding the lolcats generator.

As an educational resource, Flickr can be a great resource. Students and staff can upload pictures, use the creative commons licensing, make the images public or private, add to groups... The only caveat is that students' faces cannot be shown, for privacy issues.

One thing I just saw that really interested me is the Trading Card Maker. With this, students can make up trading cards of favorite book characters (using his or her own drawings).

I wonder, if a librarian creates a private photo stream, can he or she put up pictures of his or her students? Private photo streams only allow the creator to view these pictures. If I created one, I can imagine making motivational posters of my students reading, or a mosaic of all students in one class. It's a tricky area, and one where I'll have to consult with the principal.

Knitting and the Butler Library

One sunny afternoon in April, I visited the Columbia University campus. It was gorgeous out, and I was knitting a sock ... I decided to remember the day's visit with a picture of the Butler Library with my project in the foreground.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.