Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Welcome to the 2007-2008 School Year and the Bessie Chin Library Leaves Blog

Welcome back to those who are returning and welcome to the newcomers.

Over the summer I attended a wonderful school librarians' conference in
Taiwan. I was trying to figure out a way to share some of what I
experienced and eventually decided to set up a Web log to make that
possible. I realized that I could use this blog as the library newsletter as
well so I started this blog version of Bessie Chin Library Leaves. I'll be adding postings to it on a regular basis as the school year progresses and will send reminders every so often to take a look at the blog. One of the things I will be posting to the blog is my regular article in the parent newsletter so you'll be able to find that here as well. I will also add a widget so you can quickly get to the list of new materials on LibraryThing.

While in Taiwan I visited two exemplary high school libraries and made some connections to the staffs there. This might be especially handy for our kids learning Mandarin but other classes (Cultures and Geography comes to mind) might want to take advantage of the connection as well.
I've got a lot of stuff I collected there, which, with Irene's help, we might be able to translate and use, including CDs with presentations about the schools. Come on by to chat if you think any of this might be useful.

We also installed (with the help of Becky and Rose) AquaBrowser this summer. AquaBrowser is an online catalog (OPAC) interface which will take some experimenting with to use to best advantage. Our internal AB URL is, external URL (from home) is I will try to get some time at a staff meeting to introduce AquaBrowser and its' benefits. I have also put links to it on the library home page. It's kind of fun--take a look.

This year we will have a school-wide subscription to Questia, a huge database of full-text books and articles. Up to now our Questia subscription has been a single-user version but Questia is now making this multi-user version available to schools. Topics covered by the database include Art and Architecture, Communication, Economics and Business, Education, History, Law, Literature, Music and Performing Arts, Philosophy, Politics and Government, Psychology, Religion, Science and Technology, and Sociology and Anthropology. You will notice that it is much stronger in humanities topics than science but there are some interesting titles in health science and technology and civilization areas.
With this version of Questia teachers will be able to set up reading lists and other resource lists and students will be able to keep track of materials they are using for a specific project with individual accounts. As soon as I have the log-in information I will be sharing it with all of you. Staff development will also be available at some point for Questia. In the meantime if you go to Questia and log in using "redwood94939" as the User ID and "giants" as the password you can take a look at some info about use of the database by teachers and students. (Click on Classroom and then Flash Demo for an overview of some of the features).

Hope you had a great reading summer. If you've read any great books (I read the three Gormenghast novels by Mervyn Peake) and you want the library to add them to our collections let me know and I'll order them. Of course, if you just want to donate any books you're finished with we happily take donations as well.

I'll be sending a packet out to new teachers and staff with info about how to best take advantage of library resource, staff and programs. Come on down when get the chance to either take a personalized tour or re-acquaint yourselves with the Bessie Chin Library (named for the librarian here at Redwood from 1968 to 1993).
The library extensions are: 3662 (Tom Kaun--Library Media Teacher); 3664 (Karen Barrett--Library Specialist); and 3663 (Cythea Harrison--Clerk I).

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