Monday, March 30, 2009

Weeding, Teaching, Searching, Mock Senate Preview

Today was fairly quiet in the library.

I'm continuing to weed items from the library. I'm focusing right now on the 500s--especially the 580s, Botany. A lot of the items were given new call numbers in the 333 (Environmental protection area). We have a lot of material on the rain forests which were purchased in the 1980s and 1990s which had been classified with botany but are more properly located with forest conservation. Next year I will look into updating this collection with some newer titles.

Another area with a lot of older titles is the wild flower guides and other general botanical guides. Books such as these are used when Integrated Science students are doing their ecological transect projects. I've set up a Category in the catalog which brings many of these items together under the topic of California field guides. I tried to tag all of the appropriate books I reviewed today with that topic. It makes it easier to find the titles when the kids are working on the project--for them and for me.

I helped Jean, an aide in the Sheltered English class (ELL students), to explore the library's home page with its wealth of resources. She was a bit overwhelmed so I showed her some specific databases and how they work. We accessed periodicals through the library catalog, Sequoyah, as well as playing around with PowerSearch Plus, Gale's federated search engine.

Robert Winkler came by with copies of an article he had seen in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books about the treatment of terrorism suspects in the War on Terror. He wondered whether the secret report it referred to could be found online. It was produced by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2004 and all of their reports are officially secret. I looked using various search engines and databases but couldn't find the specific report he wanted. I did find some other documents so I printed them out and will add them to the Pamphlet file on Torture. His students are producing reports on topics related to Orwell's novel, 1984, and current events.

Tomorrow the Mock Senate will be held in several different locations at Redwood. One of the venues is the Bessie Chin Library where students will present, debate and vote on various bills they have been working over the past several weeks. They have been using CQ Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center intensively for this project. The main library portal for information on Congressional resources can be found on the Library's Government page.
Look for pictures in tomorrow's blog posting.

Several classes were in the library today. Emily Satterstrom brought her AP Language and Literature classes in to continue doing research on their controversial topic papers. I had questions about educational law, environmental law, and suburbia in the 1950s among others. It's great when students are willing to ask for help and realize they don't have to do it all on their own. I'm looking forward to seeing the completed papers.

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. has finally hit the book stores and there's a great deal of energy being expended on the library listservs about the changes to MLA style. We had a preview last year when the 3rd ed. of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing came out. The Library has begun to change its web page about Citing Sources to reflect the new style. We have also developed a presentation which explains the new conventions and which is available for anyone to use. Updates will be provided as soon as we get our copy of the Handbook.
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University has an interesting page on the changes.

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