Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where Has Dog-eared Gone Wednesday?

Oh, beloved blog, how I have missed you!  I must apologize to my blog and to any readers I might have. (Anyone? Bueller?)  April, May, and June have been ridiculously busy: work, YALSA committee stuff, personal things, house projects, life in general.  Something had to fall by the wayside and it has been my blog.  (Better my blog than my husband, dog, or job, right?)  I also have barely read anything.  Some weeks I finish Sunday’s paper on the following Saturday.  My magazines are backing up.  I have given up on much of my TBR pile.

There are many beautiful things in the world.  One of the most amazing are fireflies.  I spent the past 10 minutes just sitting here on my deck, watching the fireflies rise from the lawn.  There are so many!  Late they will be up in the tears, looking like summer’s answer to Christmas lights.

Anyways, back to my blog!  School ends this week, and while I am working part of summer school, I will have no excuse to not get back to blogging!  So stay tuned for review catch-ups!  I’ll also share my ALA schedule in case any readers will also be at Annual! I can’t believe that is next week!

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It’s the Testing Center, Not the Library Media Center

The past couple weeks have been really busy.  One reason is because I am taking an agility class with Brinkley.  I had taken one several years ago with Jake, so I thought now would be a good time to try it with Brink.  He’s doing okay so far.  He finds some things a bit scary, but I can tell he’s having fun!

This past Friday was the last day our library will be open, pretty much for the rest of the school year.  AP testing starts today, and that is followed by our state mandated testing (Standards of Learning or SOL).  We conduct all our SOL testing on-line instead of on paper, and we get these done in seven days, rather than stretch them out.  There are many benefits to this method, but the downside is that all our computer labs and large rooms are filled with laptops in order to get the students in and out of their test.  AP classes are highly encouraged in our school, so we have a lot of students who must take an AP test come May.  While AP uses paper tests, the large numbers of students requires that the library be used.  So we operate out of our office/workroom for the rest of the year.

SOL testing ends after Memorial Day, but senior exams start that week, followed by the other exams.  Special Education and ESOL use the library during exams for testing accommodations, so we never really open back up.

The need for all this library use is completely understandable, but it is still frustrating to me.  One recent month, we had over 3,000 students sign in to use the library before, during, and after school.  Of course, these are not unique visitors as we only have 2,700 students, but this does not include scheduled classes because students do not need to sign in when they are with a class.  So that 3,000 number is a lot of different individual needs that need to be met outside the classroom environment.

3,000 is a large number of students who lose access to a variety of resources for the remainder of the school year.  Some of these students do not have computers at home and rely on school computer access to complete assignments.  We have a solid number of “frequent fliers” who are voracious readers and come in more than once a day to check books out.  We do continue to check books out via our workroom door and keep a few carts of new and popular books available back there, but the students miss the browsing experience.  The fast readers have already plowed through a lot of the new stuff and whenever they hit the dry spell in between new orders, that is when they browse the shelves to find older books they have not read yet.  If they know what they want, we can go pull it, but often the students rely on the serendipity of discovery, which is not an option during all this testing.

Our space is also popular before school and during lunches.  Before school, we have anywhere from 100 – 200 students sitting at tables finishing last-minute homework and socializing with friends between 7:00 am, when the school opens, and 7:25, when the warning bell rings.  We do not require these students to sign in as the line would never end before the bell rings; they only sign in if they need to use a computer.  Once we close, these students must relocate into the halls and find space that is not already staked out by other groups.  A lot of students come in during their lunch (they do sign in so they fall under that 3,000).  Some come to use our resources, but some come seeking the solitude of 20 library minutes.  Students sit in our reading area with the comfy chairs to decompress with a book or a magazine.  Students find quiet corners where they can sit on the floor, away from eyes.  Others come in to study, work on a library puzzle, or play a game while they eat their bagged lunch.  We have many students who are sensitive to noise and crowds and need that time in the library to get through their day without feeling overstimulated.

Starting today, these students lose this constant in their school day.  They are forced back into the loud cafeteria, where other students have had the full year to claim their tables.  I sympathize for the stress students find themselves under when the end of the school year arrives; class grades and all this high stakes testing brings pressure.  Loss of the library, whether it is just the space or all the resources in the space, cannot make that pressure any easier.

Right now, I do not know what the answer is to all of this.  I have asked about us staffing a classroom to give students the quiet space, but because our school is so full, there is not a classroom that stands empty during a whole lunch period, so I would have to move to different rooms depending on the lunch shift.  I would then have to take responsibility for the teacher and student belongings left in the classroom while they go to lunch.   We borrow laptop carts from elementary schools for SOL testing, so we do not have the option of opening a lab for students to use during their lunch shift.

I know that all this testing is not going away for the foreseeable future, and now is not the time for me to climb on another soapbox to talk about the questionableness of these state-mandated, multiple choice tests.  But when I look at the students and all their various needs, is it really benefitting our school population to take away library access the last month and 1/2 of the school year?  It is a question we ask every year, but it falls on the deaf ears of those who must coordinate testing that is so important to the future of the school.

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11th Anniversary of Columbine

I know I am several days late, but I wanted to point out that this week was the eleventh anniversary of Columbine.  Dave Cullen’s book on that day still haunts me.  If you haven’t read it, you really should – it was one of my top ten from 2009.  My original review can be found here.

The paperback edition was recently published and it contains some things not found in the original hardcover:

  • A 12-page afterword: “Forgiveness.” Vignettes on three victims in very different places eleven years later, and the central role “forgiveness” played in their recovery. Includes startling new revelations about the killers’ parents.
  • Actual journal pages from Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold.
  • Book Club Discussion Questions.
  • Diagram of Columbine High School and environs. (Something I had wished for in my original review – thanks Mr. Cullen!)

A book trailer is available on You Tube, and Mr. Cullen has a great web site of his own.  Take time to read the book, and take time to give thoughts and prayers to those affected by that day.

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99 Things

I found this meme at Library Bug’s blog. Kind of a weird, random list.

99 Things – The ones I have done are bold.

Taken a martial arts class
Visited Russia
Served in a soup kitchen
Sold Girl Scout cookies
Gone whale watching
Got flowers for no reason
Donated blood

Gone sky diving
Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
Bounced a cheque
Flown in a helicopter
Saved a favourite childhood toy
Visited the Lincoln Memorial
Eaten caviar

Pieced a quilt
Stood in Times Square
Toured the Everglades
Been fired from a job
Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
Broken a bone
Been a passenger on a motorcycle
Seen the Grand Canyon (might not count since I was less than 1 yr old)
Published a book
Visited the Vatican
Bought a brand new car
Walked in Jerusalem
Had your picture in the newspaper
Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Years Eve
Visited the White House
Killed and prepared an animal for eating
Had chickenpox
Saved someone’s life
Sat on a jury
Met someone famous
Joined a book club
Had a tattoo

Had a baby
Seen The Alamo in person
Swam in The Great Salt Lake
Been involved in a lawsuit
Owned a cell phone

Been stung by a bee

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LOST thoughts 4/8/2010

This week’s episode, “Happily Ever After,” was so good!  I think almost every time it went to commercial break, I clapped my hands in excitement!

What did you think?

I LOVED seeing Charlie again.  I forgot how much I liked Charlie Pace.  I think my favorite characters are: Locke, Vincent, Hurley, Ben, Charlie.  Although I also love Jin, Sun, Desmond, Rose…obviously depends on the day.

Jack looked exhausted in the hospital.  I wonder if the actor was tired, because I don’t remember Jack being that tired after the plane landed.

It’s good to see Eloise WIDMORE, Daniel WIDMORE, and Penny MILTON – WTF?

What exactly was it that made Desmond agree to help Charles Widmore?

BTW, I’ve been reading fan speculation that X is happening on the island because Y is happening in the sideways world at the same time.  (Like, Sun can’t speak English now on the island because Sideways Sun can’t speak English.)  What I don’t understand about these theories is that the worlds aren’t happening at the same time.  Sideways time is right after the original flight landed, back in 2004.  Island world is, I think, 2007, since they’ve been gone for 3 years.  So why would there be synchronicity if the timelines aren’t concurrent.  Any thoughts on this?

Kristen at E’s thoughts and what the heart of the show is about.

Gawker’s thoughts: I like their take on the 3 spirit guides

EW’s Jeff Jensen’s short reaction – I haven’t read the long one yet.

Jezebel found some awesome easter eggs in this episode.

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Thursday Tidbits 4/1/10

It’s been a while since I last did Thursday Tidbits!  I promise there will not be an April Fools prank in here.

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Are you watching THE PACIFIC?

My husband and I are watching HBO’s The Pacific and I love it so far.  It is a different experience from watching Band of Brothers.  Because I was much more familiar with the European events than I am with the Pacific, there is a stronger element of surprise this time.  I honestly have no memory of ever studying much about the Pacific theater.  Is that a history teacher fail or did it just not stick?

We are three episodes in and I love the balance of war and personal stories.  I have to admit that I fell in love with the character of Bob Leckie immediately, but I would be hard pressed to say if that was due to the actor/character/writing or because I think the actor looks like Matthew Morrison, Mr. Shue on Glee:

James Badge Dale, playing PFC Bob Leckie:

Matthew Morrison, playing Mr. Shue on Glee:

Am I crazy?  Don’t you think they could play brothers?  It is not just the hair, it’s facial, too.  Episode 3 really intensified my love for PFC Bob Leckie.

There are other Pacific actors that I think look like other actors.  One is Josh Bitton, playing Sgt. J.P. Morgan, whom I think looks like a cross between Fred Savage and Jon Favreau:

Anyways, I’m finding myself getting attached to specific characters, whereas in Band of Brothers I loved the whole Easy company.  I say that, though, looking back several years, having watched the series several times now, so I can’t trust myself.  I am loving The Pacific, though, and can’t recommend it enough.

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The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han; read in July, 2009. Copy purchased by me.

Description from GoodReads:

Some summers are just destined to be pretty
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

I’m irritated at myself for letting this one fall through the cracks.  I enjoyed Jenny Han‘s The Summer I Turned Pretty although it has now been 8 months since I read it so the details are fuzzy.  I read it while on vacation in Nags Head and it was a fun beach read.  Because of the title and the cover picture, I thought it was be fluffy, but it deals with some heavy issues.  I liked the character of Belly, and I liked most of the people she is surrounded by.  I could never really get into Conrad, though, and therefore the storyline involving him was not one I really liked.  The rest of the novel, dealing with family problems and a looming tragedy that Belly is oblivious to (but the reader can see coming), drew me in.

I bought this for my school library and it circulates pretty often with the girls who enjoy realistic fiction.

I am an Amazon Associate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

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Mid-March Update

I’m sad I haven’t blogged in a while.  My Oscar posts got my blogging interests back up, but then things have been a bit crazy recently.  We have been working on a couple house projects which have taken up a lot of time.  Then I was knocked off my feet by a raging sinus infection.  I haven’t read more than a page or 2 at a time of anything in weeks.  I haven’t been on Twitter in 3 or 4 weeks.  I haven’t read any blogs beyond my weekly cannot-live-withouts (Dooce, Post Secret, Amalah, Flapper).

Luckily, next week is spring break, so I’ll have some down time to catch up on the library/book side of my personal life.  I’ll just declare an official hiatus until next week.  Please check back then if you read this ol’ blog!

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Oscar Picks 2010

Okay, here are my Oscar picks for 2010, we’ll see how I do! (Who I think will win.)

Leading actor – Jeff Bridges

Supporting actor – Christoph Waltz

Leading actress – Sandra Bullock

Supporting actress – Mo’Nique

Animated feature – Up

Art direction – Avatar

Cinematography – Avatar

Costumes – The Young Victoria

Directing – Hurt Locker – Catharine Bigalow (totally spelled it wrong)

Documentary feature – The Cove

Doc short – China’s Unnatural Disaster

Film editing – Hurt Locker

Foreign film – White Ribbon

Makeup – Star Trek

Score – Up (the same guy does Lost – he’s awesome!)

Song – Crazy Heart

Short animated – Logorama

Short live action – the New Tenants

Sound editing – Avatar

Sound mixing – Avatar

Visual effects – Avatar

Screenplay adapted – Up in the Air

Screenplay original – Inglourious Basterds (dark horse against Hurt Locker)

Best picture – Hurt Locker

Some of these I’m sure of, some I am iffy on, so we’ll see!

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