Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Visit to the GooglePlex

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 14: Employees walk...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThanks to the wonderful tour committee at BayNet I was able to make my second visit to the GooglePlex in Mountain View on Thursday evening.

The first time was a visit several years ago sponsored by CSLA Northern Region 4. It's my understanding that Google suspended tour groups for a while after that visit so I was pleasantly surprised when we were able to arrange this trip to the Google campus.

Katherine Bevcar arranged for a great speaker, Dan Russell, to talk about "Sensemaking."
Dan is a leader in the field of search in general and using Google specifically to best effect. On his blog, SearchReSearch, Dan regularly poses some very interesting search challenges.

By the end of his presentation, which included some interaction -- all participants were using laptops with the Chrome OS -- I realized a couple things: first, there's an awful lot going on at Google which even the most avid fan doesn't know about unless they are really digging, and second, there are many tools Google has developed to help us make sense of information for our selves and our patrons.

I'll just point to one of the sites Dan mentioned.

Google Insights for Search allows the user to find and compare various topics and how they have been searched over time. Search, for example, "turkey" and you will find (no great surprise) that it has a rhythm peaking each year in November. You can compare various terms in the same chart and see how they relate in interesting ways.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Karlene's Birthday

To celebrate Library Specialist, Karlene Caldwell's birthday a couple weeks ago budget secretary, Margaret Catelli, brought these wonderful mini-cupcakes from the Teacake Bakeshop in Corte Madera. And a fun time was had by all!
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Friday, May 27, 2011

End of a Great Year

The Bessie Chin Library staff would like to congratulate those of you with graduating seniors, say good-bye to those whose last child is leaving Redwood and welcome the parents of incoming ninth graders. From their freshman year through graduation we like think we play a crucial part in helping students succeed and develop as young, maturing adults. We’ll miss the seniors, who have spent a lot of time in the library over the years learning how to access and use information for many school and personal projects. Our goal in the library is to graduate young adults who can think for themselves, who love literature and who can find and use information creatively and ethically. We look forward to meeting the incoming ninth graders in the fall and introducing them to all the wonderful resources of the Bessie Chin Library.

As the school year comes to a close we’d also like to express a big thank you from the whole Redwood community to our library volunteers who have performed all sorts of tasks this year to make our terrific programs so successful. A big thank you goes to returning volunteers Richard Henerlau, Peter Martin, Jessica Carroll, Jennifer Stevens, and Amalia Molineaux. And thanks to our new volunteers this year, Lynn Bullock and Angeles Herrero. No matter how many hours you were able to put in over the course of the year, your time was very much valued and appreciated. Think about joining them next fall if you’d like to provide a valuable and fun service to Redwood.

We hope everyone has a happy and restful summer and remind everybody in the Redwood community that a great way to beat the heat is to READ! Book Passage will provide a small donation to the Redwood library for every book purchased when Redwood is mentioned. Encourage your children to read “just for fun,” reading something they’d never have time for during the regular school year. Now is the time to stretch and grow in weird and wonderful ways.

Remember that even though the physical library is closed during the summer, the Redwood Learning Commons is open 24/7 all year round. You have access to a large assortment of online subscription databases from the library’s home page. You can see a list of user names (IDs) and passwords by clicking on the DATABASE PASSWORDS link and entering the word “giants” in the box.

This year has been an exciting one for the library with the addition of all sorts of new materials, continued improvements to library automation system (all the schools in the District are now sharing the same catalog database), improvements to the library website, and the addition of new databases. Next year should prove just as fruitful and we look forward to seeing you all at Back-to-School night in the fall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

College Library Prompt 3

What was the most important thing you learned in this project? What did you like most about this project in general? What would you change?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

College Library Prompt 2

What surprised you about the library site (UCSF) we explored today? Name one particular tool or resource on the site that you think students of that school would find particularly helpful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

College Library Prompt 1

What surprised you about the TRAILS-12 assessment? What information literacy skill(s) do you think you need more practice with?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to transfer your purchased Google eBook to your eReader

More and more folks are purchasing and using e-books these days. (E-book sales on Amazon just surpassing print book sales). Here's short video about how you can transfer your Google e-books to various e-book readers.

YouTube - Doodle 4 Google Finalists: Grades 10-12

YouTube - Doodle 4 Google Finalists: Grades 10-12

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Library is Not a Fruit: Settle in. It's a long one.

This blog post reports on the interrogation being received by school librarians and other reduction-in-force personnel in the Los Angeles USD and presents a horrifying scenario of the future of education in the U.S.
The Library is Not a Fruit: Settle in. It's a long one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Infographic: Anatomy of a Librarian

Whether is rings true or not this Infographic is fun to read.
I particularly liked the "Left Brain vs. Right Brain & The Tasks of a Librarian." Talk about a balanced profession--librarianship has it all.

++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
Anatomy of a Librarian | Infographic |

Friday, April 1, 2011

Follett's 'A New Leaf in Learning' conference (Pt. 1)

Chicago-style deep dish pizza from the origina...Image via WikipediaI was lucky enough to be able to attend the first annual Follett user conference in Chicago a few weeks ago and was really impressed by both the speakers and the new products introduced at the conference.
Mid-March in Chicago can be a bit intimidating for we coastal-California types but fortunately, even though the temperatures were in the high 20s and low 30s, there was no precipitation (snow, sleet, hail!) and so it was really a pleasant experience environmentally. After an all-day flight to O'Hare International through Cincinnati, I arrived in time to catch the tale end of the opening evening reception with music provided by a local high school band. I checked in to the hotel (Fairmont Millennium Park) and went out to dinner at Uno's Pizzeria which I had passed on the shuttle trip into town. Uno's is a Chicago institution and is one of the places where deep-dish pizza is said to have been invented. After a bit of a wait (even on a Wednesday night) I enjoyed a great pizza and walked back to the hotel about a half-mile away. Needless to say, my face was pretty frozen.
The next morning the keynote speaker was Donald Tapscott who has written extensively about the digital generation. Two of his more important books are Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation (1997) and Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World (2008). His most recent book is Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World (2010). His presentation featured a slideshow outlining what has learned over the years about the need for a new model for business and education based on "collaboration, openness, stewardship and the power of the social web." It was definitely a relevant introduction to the rest of the day-and-a-half in Chicago.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

EBSCO's New OPAC Product

EBSCO IndustriesImage via Wikipedia
Took part in a very interesting presentation as a member of EBSCO's K-12 Advisory Committee. EBSCO has been developing and selling a new product called OPAC. Basically, it uses MARC records from libraries' online catalogs and make them available for search through the EBSCOhost interface. Most of the things the patron can see and do in the regular catalog interface are retained including, most importantly, real-time availability data. Is the item in or out?
Because the interface is a familiar to students who've used EBSCO to search for articles, they won't have to learn a new way of looking at and limiting results.
There are a lot of enhancements beyond just the search and results interfaces though. The library records can be enhanced by Novelist information, there can be dirct links to such portals as Google Books, Good Reads, LibraryThing, and so forth. The records are also enhanced with cover images, links to tables oc contents, and more meta-information.
I was very impressed with what they have been able to do and eagerly await further developments, including pricing.
In the meantime try EBSCO's Integrated Search on the Library's home page (or use the link below) to get a little taste of what might await you in the not too distant future of information access.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Home Access to Library Catalog

Sequoyah with a tablet depicting his writing s...Image via Wikipedia
When we upgraded our library automation software from Circ/Cat+ to Destiny (both made by Follett Software) in 2009 we lost our catalog web server, Web Cat Plus. We had called the catalog Sequoyah, whose picture you see here. The user didn't have to log in separately although there was a separate IP address for at school and at home access.

After we installed Destiny our catalog was only available by logging into a special district page, Current staff and students could log in but it took two logins to get to the catalog from home -- and that was from a separate link on the library home page.

I find that people have a hard enough time when they just have to go through the website. They get frustrated by all these extra clicks.

The District technology team has recently been able to correct this weakness. Now all you have to do is go to <> which opens the district catalogs page. From there you can enter the individual library's web pages or go directly into their catalogs. Redwood, Tam and Tamiscal have uploaded their records to the new software and Drake will be doing so this spring.

I like to share my catalog with other library folks and now anyone can access the catalog from wherever they are in the world. I think of the catalog as my primary point of access to the community and the world, and I catalog everything including all our databases and even some of the web pages on the Library's site so it's extremely important that it's very easily accessible.

If you are a student or staff at Redwood you can take full advantage of the catalog by setting up a personal account. Just click on the link at the upper right of the screen which says "Create Account" and follow the simple directions. Once you've set up an account you can see what you've got checked out, put materials on hold, share your reviews of materials and rate them as well. It's fun. Give it a try!

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Facebook Page Up and Running

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseThe Library's Page on Facebook has been up for about a month now and it's going great guns.

At first I wasn't sure what was going to be on the page but after a couple days I discovered it's really not that difficult to find interesting tidbits to share with the fans of the Bessie Chin Library.

One thing which students should find useful is a regular posting of links to websites which will help them with current research projects. So when Mr. Brown's government class was doing research on constitutions (his Xlandia project) we put a link to the interactive Constitution.

A couple other postings done on a regular basis are a Library Quote of the Day and a Website of the Day. Just today we added this quote by GraceAnne DeCandido to the page: "One of the great joys of being a librarian is that it is the last refuge of the renaissance person--everything you have ever read or learned or picked up is likely to come in handy."

We've also found it's an easy way to share other library and school events very quickly and provide links to interesting web sites about the event. Today we added several links connected to Diversity Week presenters.

By "Liking" such sites as NPR, the Bel-Tib Library, Reuters and Wikipedia, as well as Facebook itself, we have their feeds showing up on our Page too.

All in all, this is the neatest way I've found to communicate easily what's happening in the BCL.

I encourage everyone, especially during Love Your Library Month, to go to the Facebook Page and "Like" us. You won't regret it.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Library Facebook Page Up and Running

Facebook logoImage via WikipediaThe library's new Facebook page has been up for a week now and we are adding info to it regularly.
You don't need to remember a complicated URL to find it, just search Facebook for Bessie Chin Library and it will come up.
There is a lot of information on the page including library mission, hours of opening, photos of library art and events, links to other library social networking sites like Twitter and our blog, Library Leaves.
"Like" us and you will receive regular updates.
We know there are privacy issues with Facebook but your privacy will never be compromised with our page. Students cannot currently access Facebook from school computers but they can generally access it from home and from their smart phones.
Keep up with the latest news and resources in the Library by using the BCL Facebook page regularly.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Martin Luther King Birthday is a Day of Service

Martin Luther King, Jr.Cover of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday is a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the famous civil rights leader of the 1950s and 1960s. Starting in the mid-1990s, the day has been a national day of service. Martin Luther King, Jr., who once said: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" It also reminds me of President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech, given almost 50 years ago, in which he said: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
What will you do this weekend to celebrate the legacy of these two American heroes?
"The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994." -- Wikipedia
The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Do They Keep Telling Me to Use Quote Marks in Google Searches?

Google Logo officially released on May 2010Image via WikipediaCute video about searching in Google. Have you ever felt this way helping someone find something online?
Patience, patience, ...
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Friday, January 7, 2011

A Slice of Life in the Library

I made this Animoto video last year for a Board presentation but still think it's pretty neat.
What do you think?
Ask the librarian if you'd like to learn to make something like this video.
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My YA 2001 Wish List

December 2009 - Young Adult FictionImage by Pesky Library via FlickrThis post from Daniel Kraus on the Booklist Book Blog is a funny, poignant look at the current status of young adult literature.

What do you think? Are you fed up up unrealistic romantic heroes, vampires, novels-in-verse, lack of adults, first-person narratives, and so forth?

What do you (or don't you) like about the current fiction scene?
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Hub: Your Connection to Teen Reads

Here is the description of a new blog developed by the Young Adult Library Services Association. One neat thing about The Hub is that you can add your own comments to the reviews, including video reviews. 
Recently reviewed books include Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli, Jane by April Lindner, and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.
Take a look.
"The Hub is the literature blog for YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association.  You can learn more about YALSA here.
The mission of The Hub: Your Connection to Teen Reads is to provide a one-stop-shop for finding information about teen reads, including recommendations for great teen reads, information about YALSA lists and awards, book trailers and other book-related videos, and best of the best lists.
Content is created by librarians and teens, with a particular focus on YALSA’s booklists and book awards, book related projects, literacy and reading, and authors.   The Hub Member Manager and Advisory Board members regularly review comments on the site to guarantee appropriateness."
"We embrace the fact that reading can mean reading a traditional book in a new format (iPad, Kindle, etc.) or reading a story written in an untraditional way (for example, entirely in text messages).  And we especially embrace that the internet connects millions of readers every day and provides thousands of ways for people to share their thoughts about what they’re reading, log what they read, connect with authors, become an author, and more.
We hope you’ll visit The Hub daily for a peek into what the online world is saying about YA books.  You’ll find fresh original writing about what teens are reading, book reviews, introductions to other YA lit blogs, podcasts, videos, and more."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New in the Teen Health and Wellness database

Happy New Year from the Rosen Online team! 

We hope you're beginning 2011 in good health and wellness. 2010 was a banner year for Rosen Online. We updated and expanded Teen Health & Wellness to include:

  • Instant translation into over 50 languages, including Spanish and French
  • Videos throughout, including student-created PSAs
  • Over 50 new articles
  • Social bookmarking and RSS feeds
  • Site optimized for smartphones
  • New promotional and outreach tools⎯redesigned posters, bookmarks, and access cards
The "It's Your Cause" Video Challenge begins in February! Looking for the perfect project for your students? Consider having them create public service announcements (PSAs) focusing on an issue about which they're passionate. Their PSAs could become part of Teen Health & Wellness and their message heard by teens around the world! For more information, visit

If you need help logging in to any database please ask the library staff!
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Public Domain Day 2011

Public Domain Day 2011 was January 1st. 
Remember that just because a work has gone into public domain it still needs to be cited properly in any new work you create.

A note from the Wikipedia article about Public domain:

According to Bernt Hugenholtz and Lucie Guibault the public domain is under pressure from the "commodification of information" as items of information that previously had little or no economic value have acquired independent economic value in the information age, such as factual data, personal data, genetic information and pure ideas. The commodification of information is taking place through intellectual property law,contract law, as well as broadcasting and telecommunications law.[31] The undermining of the public domain, and in particular limitations and exceptions to copyright by contract law is also an issue frequently raised by libraries, and library groups such as International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

Kindle Book Loaning Enabled

Amazon has announced a new program of lending its Kindle books. Following Barnes & Noble's lead with its Nook e-book reader, Amazon now lets users "lend" books for 14 days to others even without a Kindle. While the book is on loan the original owner can't read the book.
Not all books are available for lending. Publishers and authors need to authorize such use. Books which are available are noted as being Lending: Enabled in the product details.

Remember: if you order from Amazon from the library's website the library gets a small percentage of the total.

Anything's Possible When You're in the Library

Sunday, January 2, 2011

From California to Kaiping: A Video by Bessie Chin's Nephew, Casey Chin

Casey Chin, Bessie Chin's nephew, made this video about his search for his Chinese heritage, including his grandmother, Lily Chin, an immigrant from Kaiping, China.
Our own Bessie Chin is featured in several interviews about her mother and her life in the United States.

Watch the full episode. See more ViewFinder.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Project Gutenberg eBooks Available from Library Catalog

A member of the school librarians' listserv recently forwarded a message from Valerie Horton of the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) and we have decided to take advantage of the offer.

CLiC created a project to clean up the most popular MARC records from Project Gutenberg called eDiscover the Classics. They identified the top 500 or so downloads and cleaned up those records and made them available to other libraries.

Since that time the records have been further enhancemented by Douglas County Libraries and University of Denver.

Valerie says to "please consider these MARC records a gift to the library community!  The more patrons think of libraries as a source for content for their Kindles, Nooks, IPads, MP3 players, etc - the better!"

These records are now searchable from the library catalogs of the Tam Unified HSD.

BTW, many more ebooks are available in the catalog by searching for call numbers starting with ADE. These are available through Adelaide University (Australia) and include a great number of books about the early exploration of Australia as well as many classics of British and American literature.

Need help accessing the catalog or finding these materials? Ask your teacher librarian.

Updates from Congressional Digest Debates Online

The January 2011 issues of Congressional Digest, The Bush Tax Cuts:Weighing the Costs of Short- and Long-Term Economic Recovery: Should the Bush Tax Cuts for Upper Income Americans Be Allowed to Expire?, Supreme Court Debates, Illegal Workers:State Efforts to Enforce Immigration Law: Is the Legal Arizona Workers Act Preempted by Federal Immigration Law?, and International Debates, Water and Sanitation: The UN General Assembly Votes on a New Human Right: Should the UN General Assembly Approve the Draft Resolution Affirming a Human Right to Water and Sanitation? are now available at the Congressional Digest Debates Online Web site (formerly Pro & Con™ Online).

Log in now to download the issue in PDF format, browse the table of contents or conduct a full text search.  Once logged in, simply click the blue Download Latest Issue link in the left column on the homepage.

If you've forgotten how to log in, ask the library staff for help.