Dream Projects

I wish I could be involved in these library projects or get something like this for my library one day!

The Great Reading Adventure is an online summer reading program that trumps our current online software (Evanced’s Summer Reader) in almost every way. The design is cool, the features are awesome, and it’s much more interactive. I hope to use this in the future at my library!

Chicago City of Learning is another amazing project that I’m super jealous of. I started to look into badges for my summer reading program but couldn’t conceptualize how it would all work. CCOL has done a fantastic job of promoting connected learning and awarding badges.

From their website:

“CCOL is a groundbreaking initiative that joins together learning opportunities for young people in a way that allows them to think about, pursue, and develop their interests. CCOL breaks down the false barriers between learning that happens in school and learning that happens outside of school. Through CCOL young people can take new paths of discovery, explore the city’s rich resources and find out what they can learn, make, do, and ultimately become.”

I wish I worked in Chicago right now…


Books Wanted: Dead or Alive

This week’s New York Times Book Review features two articles — “Dead Again” & “It’s Alive” — about the possible demise or longevity of the printed book. Authors Price and Silverman pepper their separate arguments with predictions and descriptions made hundreds of years ago — my favorite of which includes a future where no one walks to the public library anymore; there’s an airplane drop-off service.

Silverman quotes Thoreau to make the distinction between books and other forms of art that can connect us with humanity: “[The book] is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; — not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.”

Words on a page may not be as striking to look at as a painting like Munch’s The Scream, but a book can produce just as much, if not more, emotional stimulation and connection with life as we experience it everyday. Some have argued that film would take the place of books as the primary storytelling medium. And yet, more and more films are based on stories told in books first (The Help, The Bourne Legacy, The Hunger Games). Films are indebted to books; they would never replace them entirely.

What about e-readers & e-books overtaking the printed book? Again, the electronic version of books are indebted to the printed version. The e-readers simulate the turning of a page. One mimics the other. Trains did not disappear when planes were invented; you still “board” both. Farms didn’t disappear when scientists learned how to make food entirely in a lab. Sure, MP3s have trumped CDs, which have trumped tape cassettes, but music has no replacement. The format is not the issue; it’s the medium that matters.

My favorite part of School Library Journal

I cannot get enough of the fantastic tips mentioned in the “Cool Tools” column of School Library Journal. Written by Richard Byrne, he also has an excellent blog, Free Technology for Teachers. Here’s a few of my favorite posts from SLJ‘s “Cool Tools” column.

Unfortunately, the SLJ website doesn’t make it easy to find the “Cool Tools” column. What’s up with that, guys???


A geocache adventure!

flickr – CC image – cokescroaks

We have a geocache at the Abington Free Library!

I can’t claim credit for setting this up, though I wish I could. A patron who loves geocaching has incorporated the Library into his newest geocache.

Don’t know what geocaching is? It’s like a modern day treasure hunt with a GPS device. They can be very simple or extremely challenging to find. Check out the official Geocaching website to learn more and join the worldwide fun.

Our geocache can be found only after an elaborate puzzle is solved. I don’t want to link to the geocache puzzle because that would give everything away! You’ll have to stumble upon the challenge on your own.

We are so excited that a patron asked us to be involved in his geocache. I see this as an excellent opportunity to get more people into the library, especially those who have never set foot in this building before. I recently read an article in an issue of YALS (Young Adult Library Services) about geocaching — I had never heard of it before. Then this stumbled into my lap and luckily I knew a thing or two about it.

In other news–

I have spent a lot of my time in my first month staffing the reference desk and working on developing the YA collection. Ordering books is a thrill! I love when the new titles come in and then immediately go out to a waiting reader.

I’ve set up an art program for tweens this summer (grades 5-8) through the ACPPA. They will be learning how to make a Pop Art Portrait in the style of Andy Warhol. Our summer annual Abington Reads! program is gearing up too. We have flyers printed out ready to be distributed to local schools calling for kids and teens to participate. It’s a buddy reading program in which teens help new readers build their skills and confident by reading books aloud together.

I have some ideas for new programs that I’d like to start planning. Hopefully fall will be a very full time for YA programming!

The Rise (or lack thereof) of E-reading

CC image - flickr - Let Ideas Compete

Pew Internet Report on the rise of e-reading – http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/04/04/the-rise-of-e-reading/

In February, 21% of Americans said they have read an e-book in the past year. When expanded to include other long-form content “such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone,” the percentage of people jumps to 43%.

The 2011 holiday season saw a spike in the number of e-readers and tablet computers sold. Will this become the new tech toy trend for the next 5-10 years? I have a feeling that tablet computers, like Apple’s iPad, will be a more popular item to own than a simple e-reader device because of their ability to do more than download books to read. But Amazon’s Kindle Fire, with the capacity to view video and listen to music, may be a better alternative for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to use an iPad, or don’t want to spend lots of money either.

Another thing to note–those who read e-books also read more in general than those who haven’t read an e-book in the past year. E-books readers have read 24 books on average per year, in all kinds of formats.  People who don’t read e-books read an average of 15 books per year. The demographics of avid book reader tend toward women, whites, the well-educated, and those 65 years or older.

Looking at these demographics, I have to wonder. Are e-readers trending towards retirees? Is reading an activity that is mostly enjoyed by people with lots of free time on their hands? If you are a full-time working mother, reading is probably low down on your list of activities, just behind getting more sleep.

When people start saying that print books will soon be obsolete and everything will be read on a screen, I think of the handful of times I’ve personally read a book, whether on a computer screen or an e-reader. I didn’t enjoy it the way I enjoy reading a physical book, my eyes would strain and I would get tired quickly, my mind would inevitably wander off and my mouse would take me to Facebook or down another trail, or I would miss the feel of pages between my fingers and the ease of seeing exactly how far I had to go to get to the juicy ending. That progress bar at the bottom of the e-reader screen just doesn’t do it for me. Not to mention, the e-readers are sometimes hard to use and harder to download books onto. When it comes to print books, I only have to reach out and grab it.

Still, I will keep reading reports about e-readers and e-books. I will watch how the trends change and the new developments in technology that arise. But I will remain skeptical that e-readers and e-books will replace every single book in the entire UNIVERSE. My prediction? Give it another 500 years.