Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

Every year our school celebrates ALA's Banned Books Week.  

We communicate to our community that this is a celebration of our freedom to read  -- and that we are not in fact 'banning books.'

I suppose for some, however, this can be an open invitation to challenge books in your collection.  So, before you celebrate "Banned Books Week" make sure you have the following in place.

A solid selection policy

The Webb School Library supports the Library Bill of Rights and we celebrate the Freedom to Read. Our library is a community library that provides materials to the following wide-range of patron reading interests: middle and high school students, faculty and staff and their families, alumni and parents, and now we provide materials for the Bell Buckle Community.

Some criteria we use as a guide for selecting materials:

  • educational significance
  • contribution the subject matter makes to the curriculum and to the interests of the students
  • favorable reviews found in standard selection sources
  • favorable recommendations based on preview and examination of materials by professional personnel
  • reputation and significance of the author, producer, and publisher
  • validity, currency, and appropriateness of material
  • contribution the material makes to breadth of representative viewpoints on controversial issues
  • high degree of potential user appeal
  • high artistic quality and/or literary style
  • quality and variety of format
  • value commensurate with cost and/or need
  • timeliness or permanence
  • integrity

Another thing you want to have handy is a
Reconsideration Request Form

Questions to ask on this form
  • What brought this resource to your attention?
  • Have you examined the entire resource?
  • What concerns you about the resource? 
  • Are there resource(s) you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Choosing a Topic for the Capstone Project

Our Senior Capstone Project was introduced to our students this month.

First we explained "Why" we do this project.

To answer the question "Why?"  --
With the Junior Project, students began to explore their passions and creativity.  We want them to continue this work by contemplating the question "On whose shoulders are you standing?"    
  • Although it is important to create works of your own, it is equally important to realize and research the works of others.  Even Isaac Newton acknowledged "if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
  • Another critical purpose of the Senior [capstone] project is college preparation 

Our next step in the project is choosing a topic through lots and lots of  'pre-search.'

Here are some YouTube videos we watched last week:
Choosing a Topic 
Picking Your Topic IS Research! 3 minutes 10 seconds- https://youtu.be/Q0B3Gjlu-1o 
Developing a Research Topic 2 minutes 44 seconds https://youtu.be/R_V1LMaD1e4 
Doing Background Checks on Your Research  2 minutes 18 seconds  -  https://youtu.be/ocz7b0HeOaI 

Sources for Presearch 
Using Wikipedia for Academic Research (CLIP)  3 minutes 36 seconds  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cql_yVUYj6A

Next week, the topics will be due and then we will have two weeks to refine the topics before we visit a University Library.  Thanks to Mary Ellen Sloane and Christy Groves at MTSU's Walker Library for planning an orientation to the Library’s website, services, collections, and resources, as well as a brief walking tour of the building.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Night Librarian

The perfect study environment

This year I began proctoring the nighttime study hall in my boarding school library once a week until 10 p.m.  I was immediately struck by how the room we provide for this nightly event is not at all conducive to effective study.  So, I am now in pursuit of the "perfect" study environment for my residential students.  Of course, there are not many boarding school librarians writing about our unique needs, so I often turn to colleges and universities for advice.

My mission this semester is to look at the location, atmosphere, private / group study spaces, resources needed for study, and minimizing distractions in my library at night.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Happiness Equals

When I was young I pursued happiness.  Now I pursue Joy.

Yesterday, I  happened upon an article written in 2013 about there being more to life than happiness.   While reading this all of my last conversations with my brother about legacy and what he wanted to leave behind came rushing back.

There's More to Life Than Being Happy:  Meaning comes from the pursuit of more complex things than happiness

Like many young people, I sub-consciously equated happiness with wealth and success.  It was not until I experienced deep personal loss that I changed my pursuit from happiness to meaning or purpose.  There is something about losing someone very close to you, that makes you aware of just how short life is and aware of your own mortality.  At age 31 when I lost my brother age 30 [my longest and maybe closest relationship at the time] to Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage IV, everything changed.  Not only do you grieve the loss, you question your own existence.  Why him and not me?  He has two little kids, and I have no children  -- is there anyway I can trade places?  The only way I managed to carry on, was finding my purpose and leaning on my faith.

Happiness vs. Joy

In the years following my brother's death, I changed my career, my life and my focus.  Some people lose their faith through tragedy, but mine strengthened.  I went through a deep searching process to find fulfillment and meaning in my life rather than pursuing happiness and 'success.'  I took my time to determine what things to pursue, rather than making Pro and Con list.  I employed St. Ignatius of Loyala's discernment process that has been used for many years when one contemplates vocation.  This process considers what brings me deep comfort and 'consolation' as opposed to what makes me feel dry like a desert or 'desolate'.  In the end I decided that work as a teacher-librarian was worth my pursuit.  The discernment process brought such peace about this major decision that I consider this process in most decisions I make.

More articles on the discernment process

After the loss, there was a pulling away at first from loved ones ... a distancing, but now I know what brings me comfort  --  giving love to my family, giving time to my family,  making a difference in the lives of others -- my students, my faculty and my school.

'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'  Acts 20:35