Saturday, February 28

From Players to Guides

Check out this SlideShare Presentation from Helene Blowers, librarian and creator of the original "23 Things." I'm following her on Twitter (hblowers) and she posted a link to this slide deck from her presentation at a recent conference: "From Players to Guides: Learning Strategies for a 2.0 World."

Usually I post "web 2.0" stuff on Ex Libris 2.0, but this is interesting enough that I'm posting it here, too.

Be sure to visit slides 8, 12, and 20!
Slide 8: The New Digital Divide (it's a big one, and a lot of us are on the wrong side)
Slide 12: using published knowledge as a path to exactly the right source(s) that can create new knowledge tailored to a new situation, in real time
Slide 20: Only subscribe to five blogs:
Librarian in, Lifehacker, LibraryStream, Wired, Learning 2.1

Thursday, February 19

One Love video

I've had a cold dragging on for far too long, day after day of no voice, low-grade fever, and hacking cough. This video is going to be my ticket out of this limbo into a warmer, better place!

Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music

Go to Playing for Change for more information on the making of the video, the Playing for Change documentary, and the Foundation. Follow these links to some of the other Playing for Change videos available on YouTube, including Don't Worry Be Happy, and Stand By Me.

Thursday, February 12

Recession: Down Harley Street

Sometimes you just have to whistle!
Sometimes you just have to sing.

Down Harley Street

The butcher's boy whistles down Harley Street
Whistles out of a broken heart
His girl has jilted him
And the butcher sacked his job on the butcher's cart
No girl
No job
It isn't pretty that life is so rotten that once was sweet
The butcher's boy whistles down Harley Street

I worked on this song in high school, but I never performed it because there is a lovely whistling section, and I'm not a stellar whistler, The words have stayed with me and every once in a while they come to mind as being particularly pertinent.

Today job news has me down and I'm whistling.

from "Contemporary Art Songs: 28 songs by American and British composers"
Down Harley Street - Composed by: Charles Kingsford - Copyright 1942
Lyrics by BenjaminFrancis Musser

Wednesday, February 11

Baseline Scenario; economics blog

I heard about the Baseline Scenario web site and blog on MPR this morning and it looks like just the kind of detailed and wide-ranging--yet not too technical-- economic information I've been looking for. Its banner motto is "what happened to the global economy and what we can do about it." The authors pull no punches as they describe the current economic crisis as they see it, yet their tone is moderated and reasonable.

If you're watching Charlie Rose and the Sunday morning news shows, listening to MPR and watching PBS, yet crave even more financial analysis, you might enjoy this blog. You can subscribe to the RSS feed or have it delivered by e-mail.

The current post, "Why Axelrod and Emmanuel were right (on the American bank oligarchs)" starts with this: "When you cut through the technical details and the marketing distractions, sorting out the US banking fiasco comes down to one, and only one, question. How tough are you willing to be on the people who control the country’s large banks?" and give their tough recommendations.

Besides the daily blog, there are two main sections: The Baseline Scenario, describing "what happened to the global economy and what we can do about it," and The Financial Crisis for Beginners page, which covers the baseline scenario ("what happened . . . ) in an expanded form. Included here are articles on securitization, CDO's, banking capital, credit default swaps, bank recapitalization, de-leveraging and other once-exotic but now familiar terms. There are also links to radio programs (mostly MPR), video, and other web sites, including a list of recommended blogs.

Start by reading the daily posts, and then tackle the expanded coverage when and if that sounds like a good idea.

While authors James Kwak, Simon Johnson, and Peter Boone have impressive credentials, one thing we've all learned since September 2008 is not to take anyone's advice or wisdom at face value. As we Unitarians say in our stiff little way, "We ask all alike to think, not all to think alike." So visit the site! I think you'll find it valuable--but remember to question authority.

Bookmobile: I have a key

After many years of constantly changing short and long-term temporary jobs, I'm delighted to have landed in one library for four months. I have a desk of my own, a phone extension, and keys! Today I was once again the first one into the library, so I got to turn off the alarm. Oh, the power! The thrill! The pride of ownership! I'm lovin' it.

Yesterday was more story time fun. I did a story time for a group of Somali immigrant children and their parents. Many of the kids are still learning English, so struggled to answer some of my questions, but one bright little girl in the back row piped up with an answer every time. What a delight! You go, girl.

The rather reserved moms laughed at the funny parts of the story. That felt wonderful!

Tuesday, February 10

Bookmobile: Jelly Beans

What's not to like in a job where you get requests like this?

"I need books about cats, rabbits, jelly beans, rainbows, and kites."

Bookmobile. Lovin' it.

Tuesday, February 3

Bookmobile! Epaminondas, & funny books

I'm working on an Early Literacy bookmobile (books and resources for kids ages 0-6 years) as a long-term temp until the end of May. This is totally fun. Except when it's totally sad, such as today, when we visited a poorly run day care, where the teachers yell at the kids and the kids are out of control, and where their language and pre-literacy skills lag far behind their peers.

Yesterday's site also featured mean and crabby teachers. It's not Dickens, but when you see other classrooms where there is enough structure that yelling is not "needed," you know that these kids could be a lot more calm and happy with more skilled teachers.

On the other hand: yesterday after a story-time that went "ok" but not great, one little girl started clapping! She continued solo for 10 awkward seconds, and then the other little Minnesota Nice kids joined her. Then they didn't know how long they should clap, so they just kept on and on. Sweet and hilarious.

The rhythm and rhyme of song is good for pre-literacy skills, so we sing! Today we sang "I got me a cat," the folk song with all the strange and fun animal sounds: ducks quack, cows moo, and horses neigh, but the pig says griffy, gruffy, the goose says swishy, swashy, the hen goes chimmy-chuck, chimmy-chuck, and the cat goes fiddle-i-fee. All this repeats cumulatively, like the House that Jack Built, or the Twelve Days of Christmas, and by the end of the song they were exhausted. Another learning experience for the teacher, and I hope they didn't suffer too much. But when they were putting their coats on to go out to the bookmobile for books, I heard one little guy singing "the hen goes chimmy-chuck, chimmy-chuck." Word fun rules!

Do you remember the story of Epaminondas? He visits his aunt each day, and she gives him something to take home.

The Story of Epaminondas and His Auntie

Epaminondas used to go to see his Auntie 'most every day, and she nearly always gave him something to take home to his Mammy.

One day she gave him a big piece of cake; nice, yellow, rich gold-cake.

Epaminondas took it in his fist and held it all scrunched up tight, like this, and came along home. By the time he got home there wasn't anything left but a fistful of crumbs. His Mammy said,--

"What you got there, Epaminondas?"

"Cake, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

"Cake!" said his Mammy. "Epaminondas, you ain't got the sense you was born with! That's no way to carry cake. The way to carry cake is to wrap it all up nice in some leaves and put it in your hat, and put your hat on your head, and come along home. You hear me, Epaminondas?"

"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.

Next day Epaminondas went to see his Auntie, and she gave him a pound of butter for his Mammy; fine, fresh, sweet butter.

Epaminondas wrapped it up in leaves and put it in his hat, and put his hat on his head, and came along home. It was a very hot day. Pretty soon the butter began to melt. It melted, and melted, and as it melted it ran down Epaminondas' forehead; then it ran over his face, and in his ears, and down his neck. When he got home, all the butter Epaminondas had was ON HIM.

Mamma instructs him that he should cool the butter in the creek; the next day he cools the puppy in the creek and nearly drowns him. Then he puts a string around a loaf of bread and drags it home behind him. On it goes.

That's how I've been feeling as we tour the Bookmobile sites. The site schedule tells the age of the kids in each classroom, but that's only part of the story. I always seem to have the perfect story time for the group I just visited, but not quite right for the group I'm reading to now. Once we come back for second and third visits, I think I'll have an easier time of it, but for now? Epaminondas.

Yesterday there was no heat on the Bookmobile, and we froze. I outwitted the cold and wind predicted for today by wearing boots, two pairs of socks, two sweaters, and even long underwear. Naturally the heat functioned fine and it was 94 degrees in the sun-warmed passenger seat. Epaminondas. When I heard that story as a kid I thought it was hilarious. Now I'm living it. Don't let me kid you, though. This is a good gig.

All through Dear Son #1's school years, I begged teachers to accommodate him and his volatile behavior. When he was finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and got into an appropriate program, things fell into place, but that wasn't until he was 14 years old. Now when I deal with kids who can't sit still, or can't stop talking, or who can't stop crying, or who absolutely must have their way, or can't make transitions, or can't stand the noise of singing and burst into tears, I have a renewed appreciation for all the stellar teachers who gave so much to my boy. Props to you!

Let's end this thing with by making note of two funny books.

No No Yes Yes, by Patricia Patricelli.
On the left page: pulling the cat's tail, hitting another child with a hammer. No! No! On the right page: petting the cat, hitting pegs with a hammer. Yes! Yes! Simple outlined pictures of a baby in a diaper are easy on young eyes, but Patricelli manages to put a world of hilarity in those simple drawings.
Note RE: my ongoing rant about subject heading in cataloging, this is cataloged as
English language -- Synonyms and antonyms -- Juvenile literature.
Conduct of life -- Juvenile literature.
Moral education (Early childhood) -- Juvenile literature.

Doggies, a Counting and Barking Book, by Sandra Boynton.
Boynton has a gift for humor. In this book, kids count to ten with ten dogs and different barks.
1 Dog. Woof!.
2 dogs. Yap yap! Woof!
3 dogs. ...nnn...nnn...nnn . . .Yap yap! Woof!
4 dogs. Ruff ruff! Ruff ruff! ...nnn...nnn...nnn Yap yap! Woof!

Hilarity ensues.