Tuesday, April 22, 2008

San Jose State Intern Working at BCL

I've been away from the blog for a couple weeks. Part of that was the Spring Break vacation.
I had a great time down in Puerto Vallarta enjoying the sea and sun. The photo to the right shows the church and plaza in the center of PV on a recent beautiful spring morning.

While in Mexico this time I got to fly to a small town back in the Sierra Madre which used to be a sliver-mining center. It just got a paved road a couple years ago and so is less isolated than it used to be but it's still a 2-1/2-hour drive from PV. Flying there takes 15 minutes. While there we visited an old hacienda which was once a silver mine, a coffee plantation (come by the library to sample some the local coffee), and, after a wonderful lunch in local "comida," we went into the center of town where there's beautiful old plaza and a 19th-century church.

So I'm back and for two weeks I've had a very nice student from the San Jose State library program interning at Redwood. Her name is Kathy Teree and she used to teach fifth grade at the Ross School. Some of our kids have recognized her from their days in grade school. She also interned at Mt. Tam School in Mill Valley and Bel Air School in Tiburon. Fortunately, the librarian at the Mt. Tam School is retiring and Kathy will be the new librarian there starting in the fall.

While at Redwood she has been helping me develop a course, which I've dreamed of for a number of years, that is designed to help kids get a leg up on doing a well as possible in their first year in college.

I'm tentatively calling the course Information and Communications Technology. The purpose of the project-based course will be to ensure that students are comfortable with basic college-level research skills and are also familiar with the types and organization of information resources available at the colleges they will be attending.

Keep an eye on this space for more information as the course progresses through the proposal and then the description phases.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

National Library Week 2008

I thought this short video "Go Fish," was a fun one to celebrate the week with. Even though we've got lots of resources in the Bessie Chin Library, the public library has even more.

Make sure you get (and keep) your public library card.

| MARINet | Marin County Free Library | Larkspur Public Library | Belvedere-Tiburon Library |
.:| Celebrating National Library Week, April 13-19, 2008 |:.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

When I Have the Time

When I have the time I'd like to make some videos like this one which show how to use various library resources. This one comes from the Cornell University Libraries and is part of their series of 90-second videos called "Research Minutes."
The topic of this video is finding substantive news articles, certainly a topic which Redwood students need to know.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Open House

Last night's Open House went well in the Library. We had advertised our display of student art work (ongoing) and the orientation presentation we give to 9th grade students at the beginning of the year. Many more families are able to visit the Library during Open House than at Back-to-School Night because they are not restricted by a schedule.
I always enjoy seeing parents from past years and graduates coming back with their kids to see how things have changed over the years. One father mentioned that he had been here when Bessie Chin was the librarian and how much he appreciated all she did for the kids.
One thing which I've been trying to get over the years is a performing group to present something in the Library during Open House. Last night we were fortunate enough to have the Choral Club, a small group of students into singing together, perform a couple songs in the Library. They did a great job and I'll certainly be looking into having more such performances in the future.
All in all, it was a very productive and proud night for the Library and its programs!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Website of the Month (Poets.org)

April is pretty well known as National Poetry Month.

There a many poetry sites on the Internet but one I particularly like is Poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets. From this site you can subscribe to a poem of the day throughout the month of April. Try it, it's kind of fun to receive a poem each day to remind you about the power and beauty of the English language.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

80 Online Resources for Book Lovers

Take a look at this massive list of links for readers. The author is David Bondelli, who says he re-posted it from an earlier blog which he's no longer maintaining.

Included are classics I'm already familiar with such as the social networking sites, LibraryThing and GoodReads; e-book sites, like WikiBooks, the Poetry Archive, Project Gutenberg, Google Book Search, Bartleby, and the UVa Electronic Text Center; booksellers like Amazon.com, Alibris, Abe Books and Book Sense; audiobook collections like LibriVox; library resources like WorldCat; citation and research sites like BibMe and Zotero; book exchange sites like BookCrossing; and what-to-read sites like WhichBook.net.

I'll certainly be exploring those I'm not familiar with over the next few weeks to see whether any of them are useful or not.

Periodical Records Added to Catalog

Yesterday, while the Mock Senate was taking place in the Library's Main Room, I decided to upload some of the MARC cataloging records for magazines and journals from EBSCOhost to our library catalog (home access/school access). It's turned out to be a more exhilarating and complicated process than I had anticipated.

I had already uploaded the records from Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center (a Gale product which we've had for a number of years). There weren't very many of them since I had only downloaded those for periodicals with full text. I was able to quickly check the records to make sure they were compatible with ones already in the catalog.

I had downloaded the records from the Advanced Placement Source database the previous week and they were just waiting on my desktop to be uploaded to the catalog. I knew there were thousands of them because I had looked at the lists which EBSCO makes available from its website. I was concerned that they not overwhelm the approximately 35,000 records in my catalog. About 30,000 of those records are for books, the rest are for audiovisual items, websites, other electronic resources, print periodicals, pamphlet files, maps, etc.

Anyway I decided to take the plunge and went through the fairly simple process of importing the records into the catalog. In the end I believe just over 2,000 record were added to the catalog through this process. In the long run I think this is a great addition to the catalog because each record has a link which lead directly to the particular periodical in the Advanced Placement Source database. In other words, if I want to see Atlantic Monthly, I just click on the link which says "Available on EBSCOhost" and I'm instantly taken to a list of all the issues available (back to 1985).

Now, of course, most of the periodicals imported into the catalog are a good deal more esoteric than Atlantic Monthly. How about the IBM journal of research and development? Or The International journal of African historical studies or APMIS acta pathologica, microbiologica et immunologica Scandinavica?

My next task is to go in a clean up the records, many of which come with multilingual subject headings and other anomalous fields. I started editing an alphabetical list and was able to get through the As, the Bs and most of the Cs, by end of today. In the long run I think this will really enhance the usefulness of the OPAC by giving access to such resources as seventeen law reviews, scores of scientific and medical research journals, dozens of literary journals, and many other periodicals published all across the world. This access should enhance our application for the International Baccalaureate program and help our Advanced Placement and other students find good, reliable, accessible sources of information for all the creative research projects their teachers challenge them with every day.