Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Reading Update

How did you do with reading this summer? Did you meet your goal?

I set a GoodReads goal to read 52 books this year. A wifi-free summer helped me catch up with that; I read 13 books in 6 weeks!

Here's the run-down. I saved my most intriguing read for last.

* In the comments: I'd love to hear some of your summer faves!

Fire Witness, by Lars Kepler
(target audience: Adult)

Page-turner murder mystery with detective Joona Linna solving a strange case in Sweden. The case involves girls at a foster care home, a victim who has covered her eyes in her moment of death, and a psychic who says she can see visions from the past and may be able to help the police.

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
(target audience: Young Adult)

Starts off like a preppy summer romance/family drama. By the end, both the reader and the narrator are emotionally wrecked. This is a highly original story of a teen girl trying to make sense of her own history, relationships, and the magic that happens during a lifetime of summers on a Cape Cod island.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
(target audience: Young Adult)

Loved Frankie. She's at a preppy high school, challenging some of the traditions that involve only boys. When she acts as part of the "boys club" without them knowing, she shakes up the whole school and expectations about what it means to be girl these days.

The Art Forger, by Barbara A. Shapiro
(target audience: Adult)

Art-heist, romance, academic thriller (is that an oxymoron?), and a peek into the tricks and trade of forgers, painters, and gallery owners - this novel is a fun page-turner. I loved the connection with the Isabella Stewart Gardener museum in Boston, one of my favorites, and the infamous theft that happened there in 1990.

Anything But Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin
(target audience: Middle Grades)

Twelve year old Jason narrates the story of his online friendship with "Phoenix Bird", a girl he meets on his favorite story-writing website. She seems to really understand him, a surprising new feeling for him since his autism usually makes it hard to connect with others. Because it's told from his point of view, we sometimes worry that he's getting a bit too confident in the relationship which creates a sense of dramatic irony. 

Doll Bones, by Holly Black
(target audience: Middle Grades)

This creepy doll-comes-to-life book wasn't my thing, but everyone else seems to love it. It's about three kids who play an imaginary game which becomes more and more real. The doll pictured on the cover sits watching from underneath her glass dome; she's just a doll...or is she?

The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata
(target audience: Middle Grades)

Japanese-American tween, Summer, works with her grandparents as a cook for a team of migrant workers during the wheat harvest. Her grandparents and their traditional ways are both a source of strength and stress as she befriends a cute boy and works through issues with the farmer's wife, the boss of their cook crew.

Caminar, Skila Brown
(target audience: Middle Grades)

This novel in verse is told from the point of view of Carlos, a boy in Guatemala during the Civil War in 1981. Rich but simple language connects us to the emotional turmoil of the situation - the confusion between solider and rebel, family alliance and political belief. 

Reality Boy, by A. S. King
(target audience: Young Adult)

Teen boy, Gerald, is trying to live down his infamous role as a "crapper" of a kid on a reality TV show when he was little. Struggling with anger issues and a messed up family, he finds some solace in two new friendships: one with a girl at work, another with a circus hand (yes, you read that right)

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
(target audience: Young Adult)

I wanted to read this one quickly before the movie comes out! This story is told by Mia, a teen girl who has been near-fatally injured in a car accident. As she lies in a coma, she can hear the people around her pulling for her and encouraging her to "stay" with them. Flashbacks to times with her boyfriend, her struggles and successes in music, and her thoughts of the future intermingle with the present. Her choice is not an easy one considering the life she would return to.

Just One Day, by Gayle Forman
(target audience: Young Adult)

Allyson has always been on the straight and narrow path: good student, career-minded (pre-Med!), and obedient. But then she meets a boy who sweeps her off her feet and over to Paris for a day; nothing will ever be the same after. The freedom, independence, and self-reliance she feels makes it impossible to return to her former ways. Tension build as she loses and then tries to find the guy who started her down this path.

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson
(target audience: Young Adult)

This is the completely absorbing story of a teenage girl struggling with anorexia. She narrates it, giving us access into her thoughts and conflicting inner voices. When her friend is found dead in a motel room, any healing she had begun stalls. She begins seeing visions of her friend and we realize, before she does, how precarious her health is. Dramatic and tense with complex adult characters and family relationships.

No One is Here Except All of Us, by Ramona Ausubel
(target audience: Adult)

This is story of an isolated Jewish village in Romania reads like an allegory or fable. The villagers decide to save themselves from the encroaching war (WWII) by starting a new world. They throw out their clocks, traditions, and start to question all previous ways of being. New possibilities open up about what it means to be a family, a daughter, a friend.

The story has the feel of a fable: The main characters have names, but most villagers are described by their occupations. It's told in first person, but there's no way our narrator could know all that's described. We have the sense that the story exists everywhere at once.

One of the aspects I enjoyed reading most was the process of starting "new". In this time of dystopia as a hot genre, it was interesting to read about a community deciding what to keep and what to let go from their culture.

I found this completely consuming and, at times, totally disturbing. It's not for everyone - certainly not for those looking for straight WWII historical fiction. This is much more - a story of family, faith, culture, and our roles therein.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Summer Selfies and more ideas for Summer Reading

Summer reading comes easily to some, not so easily to others. 
Flicker CC

For those families who want some structure to keep everyone (children and parents alike!) on track with summer reading goals, here are some ideas.

My criteria

Keep it fun
Keep it "free choice"
Keep it achievable

Image: Horst Frank
I personally don't use rewards for reading with my children because I don't want to give the idea that reading is a "chore." However, some families find incentives helpful. 

If rewards are something you're comfortable with, consider treats that involve activities to do together. 

Summer READ Selfie:
Snap a picture of yourself with each book you finish this
AISB Summer Reader, 2011
summer. Share your pics with friends on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. 

Use the hashtag #summerREADselfie (AISB'ers can also add #aisbudapest) or send them via email: sducharme at aisb dot hu. 

Cool locations are a bonus...Eiffle Tower? Times Square? Taj Mahal?

We'll make a slideshow of our summer reading to show in the fall.

Reading Bingo:
Print a card and see how many squares get filled. There's a card for Middle school readers and one for Teens and up.

Bring your completed card into school in August and brag to your librarian about the titles you found for each square.

3R's for Summer:
Flicker CC
Run (or walk)
Right (as in "do right")

As a family, set goals around each of these three "R's". Perhaps the "Right" might be to mow a lawn for an elderly neighbor, make a berry pie and share with a friend, or participate in a local food drive or other charity.

This idea comes from Juan Diego Catholic High School, where the school community challenges themselves to take care of their minds, bodies, and souls during the summertime.

Summer Audiobook Deal

Free audiobooks for download (even for the non-US listener!) from Sync

For those traveling to the US this summer:

Barnes & Noble's Reading Log (read eight books and get a free book from their list - more info here) Suitable for up to grade 6.

Stay Tuned for more summer reading ideas  via our Facebook page and and book lists via the library website!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring (Catalog) Cleaning

If you can find time, it feels great to do a little "spring cleaning" in your catalog system. 

Here are some steps for dealing with duplicate records.

First, create a private resource list called "Duplicates". 
This is handy for when you see duplicates as you're working on other things; you can add to the list and deal with them later.

Second, identify the duplicate titles in your collection.
Go to Catalog > Update Titles > Standard Numbers tab.
Catalog > Update Titles > Standard #s to find duplicate records

Select the numbers you want to see matches for and the report will gather a list of the records that have duplicated ISBN and other standard numbers.

View the report when it's complete (example below). You'll see the duplicate titles with links so you can view each of them. View and add each to your "Duplicates" resource list. (You'll see that some may not really be duplicates, such as a multi-volume set needing separate records for each volume).

Sample Report of Duplicates

Go to Resource Lists and view your "Duplicates" list. 
Select two or more titles that are the same and choose "I want to .... view duplicate titles". 

Select duplicate titles, then choose "I want to View these Duplicates"

On the next screen, look at each record and decide which is the best for you. *Consider reviews or digital resources added. Once you merge to the "best" one, all information from the other records will be gone!

Select the record you like the best and click "Merge".

Now you have only one record but the copies are still there (with their various call numbers if they were different). For example, I have some books in our Middle School section and also in our Teen section, so they have different call numbers, but now they have the same record. 


Want more Follett Destiny tips?
Relate for better holding
Curriculum Tags to Prep a Book Order
Customize your Top Ten

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Relate" for Better Holding

Follett Workshop take-away #3
(see also #1: Customize your top ten and #2: Curriculum tags)

The Problem:
A patron holds a title that has copies in different titles or editions. When she places the hold, the other copies don't queue up for her. She waits and waits for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; meanwhile, her friend sails into the library and checks out Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

So not fair!

The Solution:
Use the "Relate Titles" function.

Management tip! Create a private list for yourself called "Relatable Titles" and add to it as you notice popular titles that would do well linked together.

To connect books with various editions or titles: 
1) Go to Catalog > Update Titles > Relate Titles tab.
2) Create a group name (such as TFIOS or Harry).
(Choose your group name carefully because it's not possible to edit the name later).
3) Add copies to the group by choosing the "edit" button and then searching or scanning in barcodes.

Now, when your patron holds the American version of Harry, she'll be in line for the British version, too.


Note: This is not for picky customers. Only relate titles that seem interchangeable to your readers.  

Also note: If you are bothered by duplicate records, that's a different issue with a different fix.

I like my versions of John Green books, for example, to stay separate because we see the different covers. So I use "Relate Titles" for our editions of Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines, for example.

How will YOU use "Relate Titles"?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Titlewave Take-away: Curriculum Tags

Learned a ton at this year's Follett Workshops, held at the Marymount International School in Rome.

Here's take-away #2 (see #1 here)

2)  Use Curriculum Tags to search for books

The problem
Teachers ask for books according to curriculum-area topics or pedagogical need. They may be asking for books in your library or for books to buy for their classroom. In either case, it can be tricky to find what they are hoping for.

The solution: Use "curriculum Tags" in Titlewave.

Your Follett rep can set up a teachers' account that links to your library's Titlewave account. Show teachers how to create lists, and the lists can be shared with you. Once shared, the list will match with what you already have (using Titlewise analysis). If you want to buy some, you can add them easily to your own list. 

Regardless of who buys what, you've given yourself and your teachers a powerful way to FIND the resources they need using the educational terms they use.

To search using tags: Go to Titlewave > Log in > Choose "Curriculum" on the left sidebar > Scroll and click the "Explore Tags" button.

Tags are bundled as below:
(tags such as Action & Adventure, Drama, Parody)
Literacy, Foundational, Comprehension Skills 
(Idioms, Flashback, Consonant & Vowel Blends)
Subject and Themes 
(Canada, Careers, Censorship, Care/Kindness)
Teaching Support 
(Bilingualism, Supports Gifted, Supports Struggling Reader)
Text Features and Resources 
(Includes Maps, Reproducibles, Includes Text-Based Questions)
Text Structure 
(Cause & Effect, Problem/Solution)
Text Type 
(Narrative, Persuasive, Argumentative)

Another bonus of "Curriculum Tags": 
Books purchased through Titlewave keep their tags as part of their MARC record, so when you import the records of these books into your system, the tags will be searchable in your catalog automatically.

Let's look at a favorite tag: "Teacher Resources Available to Download"

There are tons of results for this, so here's how to build a Tag Search String:

Choose the initial tag > choose "Tag Explorer" > choose another Tag

Your results will narrow with each tag you choose:

2,500 titles...need to narrow. Choose "Tag Explorer"...
Added a tag "Juvenile Fiction" and we're down to 944...
Choose Tag Explorer to narrow again

Added "Fantasy Fiction" so now I have 14 results for J Fiction, Fantasy,
with downloadable resources.

Ok, that's fun and all, but check this out: 
Now that I have a list of fantasy titles with downloadable resources, guess what I can do? Yup - I can see which books are already in my catalog (using Titlewise analysis) and GRAB these resources from Titlewave and add them to my records using the "Digital Resources" tab in the Easy Editor or MARC.

The digital resources might be discussion guides, or worksheets, or video clips, or any kind of material that supports the text.

Whoop! Who doesn't love to see a link when browsing for books? 

How will YOU use Curriculum Tags?