Sunday, March 25, 2012

3 more Journal Entries

The Keynote Program: The Anythink Libraries
--Pam Sandlian-Smith presented this fantastic and very moving presentation about the amazing turnaround of the Adams County Library District in Colorado.  She explained how Anythink is not just a program for change, but an actual mindset.  It is upbeat, positive and fun.  Ms Sandlian-Smith is an exceptional motivational speaker and I feel ready to leave and change all of the Libraries in Cordova!!  
(That was my journal entry immediately after the program)
--Now upon reflection....I am still motivated by the interest that her programs have gathered and the changes that she and her staff were able to put forth in her community.  But with that said, I have a bit of a different opinion now that I have had time to reflect on the entire concept.  I think that some of the ideas are great, but as a whole, I think that the entire project turns the libraries into a interactive children's museum.  I like using some of the ideas, but we already have Barnes and Nobles and Boarders and I hate to see libraries turn so commercial.

Everyone is Creative
Ms. Sandlian-Smith was the presenter of this fun and interactive program.  The motto of the presentation is that everyone can do this and that we are all creative in our own right.  After we were given the tools, we were to form a group and create our own hand-on experience zone, and then present it to the group.  We used the Zone plan outlines that we were given and it was a loud, fun, and interesting experience.  Once again, I must say that I feel that a lot of what she is trying to so with the Anythink program is better served in a museum setting, but this was an interesting way to get the patrons involved in the learning and library experience.

President's Program:  Marketing That Makes a Difference
A few minutes to absorb all of the information from the previous hour with Ms. Sumerall at the Building Clout in a tough climate program was enough of a break before we jumped into Marketing That Makes a Difference, also with Ms. Sumerall.  It was a natural segway and a necessary expansion on the information from the previous hour.  If nothing else was gained from this presentation, the 10 things that hold true for Libraries to be vital to the community was needed information.  Coming up with a communication plan and mapping how and what the tools are that will be used during that process was enlightening.  Excellent information to return to a small community with and a needed resource for beginning to form a plan of funding for community libraries.

Winning your Next Budget Battle

This was a wonderful pre-conference session offered by Merris Sumrall.  Merris is the director of the Library Foundation which services as the support foundation for the Multnomah County Public Library system in Portland, Oregon.  The session began with each participant introducing themselves and their library.  But perhaps the most interesting part of introductions was the request to identify their current challenges and identify the key decision makers that affect their library.   For example, University of Alaska librarians identified the chancellor, while public libraries identified their borough assembly.  Throughout the conversation it became more apparent that the question was much more complicated.  For a school library for example, the principal may set the individual library budget, the principal’s budget is determined by the school board, and the school board’s budget is dependent on borough funding.

The session than focused on creating PR campaigns that targets those who hold the purse strings.    In addition to advocating for secure funding, the Library Foundation also seeks to engage library patrons.  The Multnomah County Public Library has a friend’s organization that any library would envy.  However, Sumrall gave useful ideas that can help any library master the art of advocacy.  You can learn more about the Library Foundation at

Opening Reception

Although these are often seen as purely social event, I find it to be the most important event of the entire conference.  This is especially true if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone and sit at several tables throughout the evening.  Last night I sat at five different tables.  By doing so I was able to meet an author and have an in person conversation about his upcoming visit to our community.  I was able to have a conversation with a public library director and share ideas about improving our Guys Read program.  I was introduced to three school librarians I had never meet before.  A fabulous discussion of collection development and integration of young adult fiction in the history curriculum ensued.  Of course you can never go wrong when there are bag pipes.  One of the things I love most about is AKLA is the opportunity to meet with old friends and former colleagues.  Most often the new people I meet that I learn the most from.  So go ahead and take a chance.  Introduce yourself to at least one new person every day of the conference.

Authors to Alaska Luncheon

Seated at my table during the luncheon were Claudia Lively and Judy Ferguson, both known in the North Star Borough. Claudia’s local claim to fame is her acting ability and stellar performances in several dramatic productions. Her first picture book, co-authored with her sister Holly, was recently self-published. Judy Ferguson also is self-published so we had an interesting discussion on the difficulty of getting published and the pros and cons of not working with an agent as well as their separate journeys taken through the self-publishing route. I believe Judy's publisher is in an eastern European country!

I think many AkLA members are surprised that the North Star Borough (and interior Alaska) has so many authors of note.

I was so busy making certain the authors were seated and taken care of that I did not take notes on Sneed Collard’s presentation. I do remember that he has had many varied experiences beyond writing, particularly in the world of science. It was also comforting to hear how he has instilled the love of reading in his son and how they both talk about what they are reading.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Four Journal Entries-

Secrets of the Stressed Out Brain by Heather Higgins                                     10:00-11:30 am  
This was an amazing workshop.  I learned a lot.  Ms. Higgins said that stress is a normal part of life that can either help us learn and grow or can cause us significant problems.  It all depends on how one deals with it.  Stress kills brain cells, compromises the immune system function, and activates the limbic (more emotional) brain.   Moderate anxiety produces optimal performance but if anxiety stays high performance will decline.  Very interesting information!

Jack’s Brain, Jill’s Brain by Heather Higgins                                                         2:30-4pm
This was another great workshop by Ms. Higgins.  She talked a lot about brain development and how male and female brains are different. These differences make for distinctly different learning styles for boys and girls.  As a teacher as well as a librarian, I think the information I learned here can help me in dealing with the children in my programs at the library.  An interesting fact; the average person’s brain isn’t fully developed until age 25.  No wonder people in their late teens and early twenties still do crazy things! 

Meeting Mental Health Reference Needs in Alaska by Julie Niederhauser         9:45-11:15 am 
I received some free resources at this session that are now on display in our library.  One in six adults lives with mental illness.  The three most common mental illnesses are anxiety, substance abuse, and depression.  Alaska has a very high suicide rate.  Sadly, many are young people in the villages who take their own lives.  There are websites available to aid families, young people, and community leaders in preventing and dealing with these tragedies.  

Summer Reading Program 2012 by Sue Sherif and panel                               4-5:30 pm     
We learned about the upcoming Summer Reading Program called “Dream Big-Read.”  The librarians had great ideas with everything from making owl shaped cupcakes to hosting stuffed animal sleepovers!  I got a lot of tips and ideas from this session that I plan to use at our library this summer.  I met some really nice, helpful librarians here.  This was probably the most useful program of the whole conference for me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Conference Dinner - Poetry and the Alaska Native Oral Tradition

Over 150 Alaska librarians and guests were treated to a dynamic talk by Alaska Native storyteller and author Ishmael Hope during the 2012 AKLA Conference Awards Dinner.  Ishmael joined the conferences as the 2012 Alaska Spirit of Reading featured author.  His talk entitled Poetry and the Alaska Native Oral Tradition challenged listeners to redefine their definition of poetry.    Ishmael told the audience that, “poetry can exist without language.  It exists in body language and in the echoes of a mountain, the lapping of waves, with or without human beings”.  Only when we open our minds to the different forms of poetic expression can we begin to see the value of Alaska Native oral traditions.  Ishmael shared the original poetry of Nora Dauenhuer, as well as, work from Nora and Richard Dauenhauer’s translations of traditional Tlingit stories.  You can read a full transcript of Ishmaels address to the AKLA Awards Dinner at .

The Alaska Spirit of Reading program is celebrating its fourth year of promoting the joy of reading by providing youth with books and author visits.  The program was created by Sitka librarians Erika Drain, Kari Sagel and Ginny Blackson.  Previous authors in the program have been Ben Mikaelsen, Roland Smith and Will Hobbs.  Since 2008 the program has coordinated author visits across Alaska including: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Bethel, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, and Mat Su.  The 2012 program is featuring the comic book "Strong Man," which highlights a traditional story set in Southeast Alaska. “Strong Man " author Ishmael Hope and illustrator Dimi Macheras will be visiting with students throughout the state in February, March and April.  Ishmael will be the featured guest on APRN’s Talk of Alaska on Tuesday April 24.

The Alaska Spirit of Reading program is made possible through the support of the Alaska Association of School Librarians and an Interlibrary Cooperation Grant from the Alaska State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  For more information on the program go to

Alaska Library Network General Membership Meeting

The Alaska Library Network work held its Annual Membership Meeting as part of the 2012 AKLA conference in Fairbanks on Saturday February 25, 2012.    Over nineteen representatives of member libraries were present for the meeting.  The Alaska Library Network is a membership organization made up of public, school and academic libraries from across Alaska.  During the meeting members had the opportunity to meet the new board members and hear about current ALN activities.  Although ALN provides many services to its members, ListenAlaska is it most popular.  This subscription service allows member libraries to provide patrons with access to thousands of audio books and eBooks.  ALN also access as the manager of the Alaska Digital Pipeline.  This year the Pipeline added Mango Languages to its statewide database program.  During 2011, ALN added new member benefits through participation in LYRASIS.  LYRASIS is a library membership organization comprised of more than 1,700 libraries.  LYRASIS offers training opportunities, vendor discounts and library advocacy opportunities.  ALN is exploring ways to meet libraries need to meet patron request for access to music.  In 2012, ALN will be exploring ways to provide this service through a group purchase of services like Freegal.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Choice is Yours - YRCA

I always order the nominees for the Pacific Northwest Library Association's Young Reader's Choice Awards, but I have never introduced this contest to our students. After attending Sara Saxton's sectional, I believe I will!
Students, teachers, parents and librarians in the Pacific Northwest ~ Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana and Washington may nominate books for this award. Fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, animae and manga that are 3 years old are eligible (no sequels). The deadline for nominations to the state YRCA representitive is Feb. 1 of each year.'
After the finalists have been chosen by the representitives, a ballot is ready for voting. Only students may vote between March 15 and April 15. The winners are announced in April, just in time for your spring orders! Sara stated that Alaska has not had much participation, and encouraged us to have our students participate. There is a wiggio set up for a discussion group for title nominations.

AkASL Top 25 Speed Session!

What impressed me the most about this presentation was watching the presenters collaborate with the LiveBinder product in the restaurant the morning of the session as they prepared. Any product that easy to work with in a collaborative setting, which can in turn be used for the presentation is worth investigating! While they did cover a lot of ground, maybe even too much for those of us wanting to look at the products on the computers they invited us to bring along, with the information housed in the LiveBinder it is gathered together nicely and easy to revisit.

As for other favorites from the presentation I latched onto because it doesn’t require setting up an account or having an email, which will be so handy for our students. I also took the plunge and set up an Edmodo account. Now I need to get busy and give it a good trial run! And I want to look into the LiveScribe smart pens.....when I have a minute!!

Ebooks Legalese

In the session Ebooks Legalese, UAA librarian Jodee Kuden, gave a concise rundown of the multitude of different ways of acquiring digital content ranging from subscriptions to databases to the purchase of access to ebooks. She mentioned the different formats of audio and text ebooks with the possibility of buying individual titles or packages of titles, which are sometimes more economical. Discussed was the need to understand whether you as the buyer are hosting the content yourself or more likely linking to a vendor or publishers platform. In that case it is important to look at whether you are paying for annual access to the content or site or perpetual access and what does that mean if the vendor or publisher goes out of business or is acquired by another company. It is very important to look at the licensing agreements, which can and should be negotiated.

The unfortunate news is that there is still no standardization of formats either in the ebooks or the ereader platforms. She mentioned a few of the different approaches publishers are trying such as HarperCollins limiting books to 26 checkouts before requiring the purchase of a new copy.

Jodee mentioned Trisha Davis of the Ohio State University Libraries as a resource on licensing information as well as a post by Rick Anderson on what he calls the “Seven License Terms of Death.” His advise, while a little old (2006) still seems sound to me and might be well worth looking into. Jodee mentioned that among other things he recommends changing the jurisdiction of the license to be according to the rules of your own state and no others.

With the current continual upheaval in the ebook world I foresee the need for sessions similar to this at each and every conference to some time to come.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Battle of the Books - High School

This is the line-up for the 2013 High School Battle of the Books!
A group of high school librarians from around the state choose the books shown above from a list of 30 determined by recommendations from students, teachers and librarians. These recommended books were checked for availablity, popularity, reading level and other official BOTB guidelines. Librarians volunteered to write questions which will be organized for next year's battle.

The Anythink Libraries

Pam Sanderlin-Smith was my favorite speaker at the conference, and I had never heard of her or The Anythink Library System before!

When she started in 2007 the Ridgeview Library District in Colorado was the worst funded library district in the state.  They raised some money, then it became second worst funded.  The district covers 320,000 people and a large area of rural and suburban Denver.  The funding was 3 million a year.  The collections wereover 20 years old, there was very low staffing, and old buildings.

They got bonds passed to build four new libraries and renovate three in the last four years.  Sanderlin-Smith's philosophy is you only get a chance and money to build and remodel once.  These were some of the concepts they came up with:
  • Old ideas: Books and periodicals, shhh, homework and schoolwork, interaction of people and information.
  • New ideas: Community connections, open doors and unlimited imagination, curiosity and empowerment.
  • The spaces needed to be built around these new concepts, not the old ones.
  • Design for people in the space, not the books.
  • They call themselves an experience library, want people to feel welcome and at home.
  • The library system was renamed Anythink.
  • Bookstore like, fireplaces, and LEED certification—all of these were requirements for their library buildings.
  • Information desks are now smaller and called perches.
  • Library assistants are called concierges.
  • There are tree houses in the children’s section.
  • There are zones for children to wander around and touch and play in different areas.
  • They want to make people want to live in the library.
  • It is an indoor/outdoor library.
  • They call their bookmobile Anythink in Motion.
  • Changing the building is easy.  Changing the culture is harder.
  • They had to change the culture of the staff, and rebrand themselves.
  • They believe they are the heart and soul of the community because they help people find the information that creates that spark.
  • The technology staff aren’t hired for skills, but rather personality and spirit of service, and teamwork ethic.  Then they train them.
  • Qualities they want from their employees: understanding compassionate, self starter, strong work ethic, flexible and can change, communicator, problem solver, emotionally mature, continuous learner, innovator, leader, responsible and honest.
  • Wranglers (shelvers)—part product placement, part inventory control, part display technician.
  • Concierge (front line staff)--part customer service, part tech assistance, part product promotion— refluff displays so they look fresh and great.
  • Guide—part customer education, part reference advocate, part event planning.
  • Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side.
  • We’re in a people profession.
  • Doesn’t have a quiet library because people need to collaborate.  Shhh is a four letter word!
  • Got rid of Dewey used BISAC (bookstore standard).  This is also used by Maricopa Co. Public Library.
  • It's like Dewey, but instead of having numbers on the spine you have words.
  • Transitioned in one year while opening branches and renovating.
  • BISAC is a mapping system.

Search Like a Pro

Nancy Warren gave us many tips on how to search more effectively and efficiently since search engines are constantly changing.

  • Spiders crawl and find different pages and makes a schedule to revisit the page.
  • Crawl rate—5 years ago was 4-5 weeks, sometimes less, now pages are crawled at least weekly, many times more frequently.
  • Google and Bing have proprietary crawlers, other search engines are covers of these two.
  • When you search for things like Olympics or presidential campaign, they assume you mean this year.
  • Evergreen—when the time doesn’t matter like recipes, etc.
  • If you want to search for past Olympic years you need to be specific.Your prior searches are tied into your current searches. Bing goes 90 days back, Google now tied into all your accounts forever.
  • Your prior searches heavily influence your results.  Everyone gets different results from each other.Flash cookies will reinstall cookies, even if you think you erased them.  More about that tomorrow.
  • Algorithm changes: freshness, your prior searches, your accounts.
  • Bing also indexes your information on MSN, Facebook, and Hotmail.
  • Google indexes all of their 64 services (Gmail, Picasa, Blogger, YouTube, etc).  If you’re logged into any of their services while you’re searching it will influence it.
  • IP address and location are very strong influences in your search too.
  • "And" is part of the search if it part of the search term, ie: Johnson and Associates.
  • "Or" is trouble, for example or means Oregon, it no longer matters if you capitalize it.
  • Search engines now make synonyms like dining for restaurants.
  • Synonymization is a formal process where they are coming up with lists aof synonyms and incorporating them into their search process.
  • "The" is now a search term.  WHO vs The Who.
  • Hyphens are treated differently like part time, part-time and part –time.
  • Put $ in search term if you want prices.
  • + not used in google anymore because they are using it for google+   + used to mean use this word like it is, no synonyms, keep this spelling.
  • “ “ weren’t useful for a while, but they are useful again.
  • Put quotes around a word that is misspelled, like “dimond”.
  • Put quotes around a common name like “business fasteners inc”.
  • Google Verbatim is like searching in the old days.
  • Things Google will do for you: math equations, unit conversions, time, weather, sunrise and sunset, package tracking, flight tracking (airline code and flight code), movie listing (title and zipcode).
  • Site: is a good search term for searching on certain type of sites or domains.  Don’t use the insite search bar, just use google and site: (name) + term.
  • Filetype: doc, ppt, etc.
  • Will HTML5 affect search results?  It’s like flash.  It is mobile friendly, multimedia friendly.  We'll find out!
  • People can get extremely different results depending on their known political viewpoints, for instance on an issue like abortion.
  • If you put in negative search terms like bankruptcy, foreclosure, health problems, unsafe hobies, hate sites, and that goes into your search history and is sold.  This can influence things like buying insurance online!
  • Anti personalization search engines: 1. Duck duck go uses bing, can change location to world wide.  2. Ixquick and StartPage are worlds most private search engine, encrypts searches, no IP recorded, view through proxy. IxQuick is both engines, StartPage is Google only.

Battle of the Books

Every year at the AKLA conference librarians meet to determine what next year's Battle of the Books will be.  I have helped out every year I've been at the conference for the last six years.  This is a great way to give input into what my students will be reading next year for Battle of the Books, and to help shape what students all over the state will be reading since I care that they are exposed to the best, most interesting books possible.  There were 27 books that we could choose from, that had been preselected for suitability and being in print.  There were five of us there this year, all middle school librarians.  One from Sitka, one from Unalaska, two from Mat-Su, and I'm from Anchorage.  We discussed which books the students would like best, and made sure it was a balanced list appealing to both girls and boys.  There are mysteries, humor, an Alaska story, fantasy, multicultural fiction, non-fiction, and classics!  The other great thing about being on the selection committee was that I was able to tell my students right away what next year's books would be.  I updated my school's website that night!  Students told me Monday morning that they checked the website over the weekend to find what the new books were.  What are they?  Check them out on our library website!

Writing the Mystery Thriller with Sneed B. Collard III

Collard gave an overview of mystery writing, since he has written several recently.  Below are things that mystery writers need to think about:

  • The definition of a mystery is that they are deliberately trying to solve a problem.
  • In most adult mysteries a murder is involved.  Not so in children’s mysteries.
  • Need active engagement of main character.
  • There are often red herrings or dead ends.
  • Two major elements in mysteries are character and plot.  The plot is king!
  • A whodunit or quest is straightforward—piece together clues. 
  • A mystery-suspense is when bigger events take over the characters investigation.
  • Types of mysteries: treasure hunting, murder, theft and crime, espionage, family secrets, forensics, scientific, historical, disappearance.
  • Types of sleuths: police, social workers, scientists, military, reporters, enthusiasts, spies.
  • Traits of the sleuth: curious, persistent, quirky, think outside the box, flawed, humorous, specialized knowledge, smart.
  • If your characters aren’t working out right it’s because you haven’t done enough research.  James Joyce says: "A writer should know how much change his character has in his pocket.
  • Collard gave two good exercise handouts on outlining your main character, and interviewing your antagonist. I have copies if anyone wants them.

Everyone is CREATIVE!

Pam Saladin of the Anythink libraries started by stating that librarians and libraries need to be marketers of information. We have to entice or make people want/need books, videos, magazines, databases and other library materials. How do we do this? We create opportunities for people to "bump" into and interact with information, then they will seek out more.
For those of us who believe we are not creative, she gives this advice: there are no original ideas, ideas come from looking at something or thinking about something and asking, "What if?"
Her staff has turned these "what ifs" into experience zones, which rotate and change. In an experience zone, patrons can;
1. Read, Think, Do
2. Interact on their own terms
3. Learn anything, Create something
4. Be creative & Ask questions
5. Play, Have FUN!
6 .Interact "hands on"
To design an Experience Zone Plan you need:
1. Idea
2. Description
3. Materials
4. Preparation
5. Activity
6. Maintenance plan
7. Evaluation - how did it go?
Ideas can be as simple as having a tub of legos on a table (my high school students love these!) or more complicated, like a hair braiding station.
What if?

Jack's Brain, Jill's Brain: Gender Differences and Why They Matter / Heather Higgins

This session was a fast-paced romp through the latest brain research.  Heather began the session with "3 fast w's" and a quick True/False quiz:

Three fast w’s:  Whether there are differences; Where there are differences, and Why there are differences.  Research shows that the brains in females and males are anatomically, functionally and developmentally different.

Quick True/False statements:
The emotional center of the brain known as the amygdala is larger in boys – TRUE
The corpus callosum connects the brain’s hemispheres and is larger in girls – TRUE (single biggest difference in brains) – women can jump back and forth more efficiently
Boys prefer instruction in practical, concrete, “every day” language – FALSE – Girls do – boys love codes, jargons, puzzles
Adolescent girls are more vulnerable to depression than adolescent boys – TRUE – has to do wirth our neurotransmitters – serotonin drops in adolescent girls / part of puberty putting girls at greater risk
(Boys have dopamine drop during adolescents making them more vulnerable to risk-taking)
Girls should be seated up front due to eyesight and hearing abilities – FALSE – boys eyesight and hearing develops more slowly than girls eyesight and hearing

We need to modify environments for our kids.  Our boys are so easily distracted in elementary school, often because their hearing/eyesight is not yet completely developed.  Hearing develops so acutely in girls, so they may think teachers are yelling at them.  This was an "aha" moment for me as a middle school educator.  Through the years I have heard girls complain that a teacher (usually male) "yelled" at them when that was clearly not the case.  But now I know that this may be a perception simply  based on hearing.  Wow.

 BRAIN ANATOMY 101:  Brain learns well when new info can be attached or compared with old info

Hippocampus (the UPS guy): it’s the memory maker of our brains, can find the memories when we need them – we have two of them and not developed ‘til the age of two; larger in girls than in boys until after adolescence =; too much stress or cortisol eats away at your hippocampus (shaped like a seahorse – and there are two)

Amygdala (the Palace Guard): larger in males than in females – their primary job is to keep us out of danger (physical/emotional…); amygdala never forgets – but remembers extremes – most wonderful and worst things / amygdala is fully developed at birth – we can remember even before we have language – often leads us adults to ask “What were you thinking?” – Amygdala REACTS/ does not think.

Corpus Collusum (the Brooklyn Bridge):  connects the hemispheres between the brain; done developing around 12-13 – communication between the hemispheres.

Frontal lobes (the Executive System): does not develop ‘til mid-twenties – judgment, insight, knowing right from wrong – that is the last part of the brain to develop. Some parents hold their boys back in school because tthey’re not ready – frontal lobe functions include:  impulse control, organization (thought and action), time orientation, reading social cues, predicting behavioral consequences, and goal achievement.  Girls' development is often a year or two ahead of boys in the frontal lobe arena.

Temporal lobes control memory, hearing, speech, emotional responses – larger in girls but evens out at adolescence.

There are 4 neurotransmitters:
Cortisol – stress “uh-ho”  Chronic stress can increase cortisol and damage your hippocampus.
Adrenaline – “yikes”
Serotonin – “ahh” (hot baths, Prozac, Zoloft, yoga, music w/ 60 beats a minute or less,, mild exercise, friendships.
Dopamine – “yahoo” Things we become addicted to – drugs, chocolate, 150% increase the first time you eat it every three days, love, sex, novelty.

Men have larger brains (about 9%) than women

Ratio of babies concreived: 170 boys to 100 females
Ratio of babies born at term: 105 males to 100 females

Boys grow faster in utero.

In U.S. for every 100 girls:
Enrolled in kindergarten, there are 116 boys
Enrolled in high school, there are 100 boys (16 boys died/ risky behavior)
Who graduate high school there are 96 boys
Enrolled in college, there are 77 men
Who earn a masters degree there are 62 men

Many researchers say we are teaching to the female brain.

For every 100 girls suspended from public schools, 250 boys are suspended.
For every 100 girls expelled from public schools, 350 boys expelled.

Average age of puberty has dropped two years from 12 to 10 in girls in last 50 years.

Girls – aspire to be a doctor or lawyer
Boys – aspire to be a professional athlete

Preschool – boys need more space and movement
Kids have identified theselves as male or female
Kids jusge others’ genders by outward appearances
Boys will likely play fight
Girls have higher level of oxytocin neurotransmitter – allowing for bonding and caretaking
Girls use all senses, boys rely primarily on visual cues

Kindergarten – boys get into more trouble

1000x increase in testosterone boys
girls’ serotonin drop and great increase in progesterone and estrogen

Language – A woman uses 20,000 words per day, while a man uses about 7,000.

Girls are more likely to generalize criticism, so be sure to be specific
oabout the criticism.

Boys are more likely to be color-blind, but they can see motion very well.
For every 100 girls diagnosed with sped, 217 boys
Lerning disiabiliuty, 275 boys
Emotional disturbance, 324 boys
Boys are 3x more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
We are misdiagnosing and overdiagnosing.

Key point:  We are born to play; our brains crave play.

 Learning 24 hours, 3 days, 7 days review to best learn material.

How to Search Like a Pro 2012 / Nancy Warren

This session was a very organized and succinct look at the “Big 2” search engines, Google and Bing, and how to search more effectively.  Things change every year, so there is never one way that will always work.  Nancy described how search engines use all kinds of things – your ip address, previous purchases and searches, and other influences – NOT just your search words – to determine search results.  She also explained that Google and Bing do algorithm changes constantly (in Google’s case, 500 times a year) so our search strategies change, too. 

This session was informative and also made me more aware on a factual level of how our privacy can be compromised on the web.  One of the biggest takeaways foe me is how pervasive Google is with its services beyond searching – including Google Plus.   She gave us lots of search techniques (Small example: using site:  can narrow a search; example: site: to get into Library of Congress) and compared Bing to Google.  I had not given much thought to synonymization until this class, and feel more empowered with some good tools.

Although efficient searching was the topic, this session made me think more deeply about the bigger ideas regarding the Internet - who controls the information, who is empowered to buy domain names, how much the Internet compromises our privacy (both overtly and surreptitiously), and how that information could be exploited.  Yikes!  These are huge issues for me, and my students are living in a world in which they need to know early on about protecting themselves and their private information.  As a school librarian, I need to integrate these ideas more into my lessons on the Internet.


The Anythink Libraries / Pam Sandlian-Smith

 What a rich keynote – so inspiring!  Pam Sandlian-Smith described herself as an introvert – but what a visionary and powerhouse.  She’s accomplished a lot in her library district – Adams County, Colorado.  In the past 5 years she headed up the efforts in her district to create 4 new libraries and renovate 3 old ones.

 She cited some great quotes (which I love and collect!): 

“Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” Barry Lopez

When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully -- the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer."  Keith Richards, Rolling Stones Guitarist

Pam described the process she and her staffs used to re-envision their libraries and to bring their vision into reality.  Library staffs were asked what old conventions have been re: libraries, including a place to house books & periodicals, facts, research and SSSSSSHhhhh,   Descriptions for a new vision included: outdoor, elegant, dynamic, progressive, innovative.  Their new mission revolved around the ideas of “being disruptive” and “we open doors for curious minds.”

She shared a great graphic of the new library model”


To help people get the information they need and to become more productive….she describes some of the collaborative processes they went through regarding the pieces of a whole library programs:

SPACES:  Library is heart and hearth of community.  When you walk in, it should be welcoming and like a second home.  Some of her libraries have fireplaces, rocking chairs, porches.  Instead of huge circulation desks, they have “perches” an tried to eliminate barriers between staff and patron.  She mentioned hoping patrons would think “I’d love to live in the library.”  It made me think of my trips to libraries in Europe and Egypt and how beautiful they are – I wanted to spend lots of time there. 
3 Criteria for their new libraries included:  Bookstore-like, Fireplaces and LEED certification or sustainability in some ways

CULTURE:  Pam and her staff read “Why People Shop” to try to get everyone thinking about how to give patrons “delightful experiences throughout the library.”  This is something I’ve been thinking about in my school library – creating a school library culture that is collaborative, joyful.    Pam articulated an idea that resonated so strongly with me:  That libraries exist to “help people find that kernel to fuel their soul.”  That’s what we do as school librarians for our students and staffs….at least TRY to!

STAFF:  You are not just an employee – you are part WIZARD, part GENIUS, part EXPLORER.  I loved her 13 competencies for library staff that was collaboratively created:  A library employee should be customer-focused, cooperative, collaborative, understanding, self-starter, flexible (embracing change), effective communicator, problem solver, responsible, risk taker, emotionally mature, innovator and a leader!

I loved her 3 levels of staff, and the fact that all of her staff had to reapply for their jobs under these new job descriptions:
1)   WRANGLER (Shelvers and pages):  part product placement, part inventory control, & part display technician
2)   CONCIERGE (Front desk) part customer service, part tech assistance, part product promotion
3)   GUIDES (Librarians) part customer education, part reference advocate, part event planner
Even though this is public library stuff, it can directly be applied to school libraries, too, as can the Danny Meyer quote, “Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side.”  Pam drew a comparison between RESTAURANTS and LIBRARIES – and later likened her library’s changes to the difference between grocery stores and kitchens (kitchens being a place where things are created and done as opposed to just getting through the store as fast as you can.)

I also loved the branding and tshirts she displayed in her photos (“SHHH is a four letter word!”), and the fact that they have done away with Dewey.  A few years ago I “Bookstore-ized our school library fiction section,  Now I want to go back and put signage all over my nonfiction collection!

I loved her nitty gritty details, but I mostly loved her “big  picture” vision of libraries and it gave me some language to use in my own school library world when librarians and school libraries are marginalized.  She stated:  “We have to rethink what we’re all about – we ARE the most democratic of institutions – we MUST survive.”

Library Marketing Toolkits 101 / Patience Frederiksen

This session focused on an overview of marketing in a library setting.  Marketing  is defined as a set of processes for creating a relationship with patrons.  It includes public relations (trying to influence how people feel about the library), advocacy  (type of marketing we use to communicate, advertisements (paid) and promotion (posters, stickers, etc.).
Why do we need marketing?  Patience outlined it:
1)  Libraries are not only game in town!
2)  Competition /internet, ebooks, book stores
3)  Marketing is necessary for new services to validate these services
3)  Marketing helps libraries remain relevant by increasing usage of library

Marketing can help the library adapt to changing times by demonstrating VALUE to the community.  In my case, that would be finding ways of gently (and perhaps more overtly) reminding students and staff of the library programs and services they can get from us. 

Patience also cited the idea that librarians often assume they know what their patrons want/need; marketing research can help us learn more about these needs and wants.  But this really is making me examine my own professional situation and makes me wonder whether I am guilty of making assumptions about what my students and staff need and want from the library.  Hmmmm...this session certainly made me more cognizant of that possibility!

The presentation described two kinds of marketing:  the Classic Approach using four steps:  Research, plan, communicate and evaluate; and the Guerrilla Marketing Approach: 7 sentences to a marketing plan - What to do, When it will happen, How to achieve it, Who will do it, How much will it cost, and How success will be measured.  I like the seven sentences - just seems more do-able to me, realistic and relatively straightforward.  And maybe I just like the idea of being a library guerrilla.

One main takeaway for me was the idea that before the year 2000 (and that was only 12 years ago!!!), libraries did not have the kind of competition from the Internet and full-service bookstores that now exists.  Since then, libraries have had to advocate and fight for their place in the world.  I got my MLS degree in 1999 - no wonder it feels like I've been advocating, advocating, advocating ever since.  It's an exciting time to be in the library business!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Top 25 Top Websites and E-Books and Web 2.0 in Action

Great session! Overwhelming amount of information shared. These are some the the things I can see using and want to explore more.
  • Livebinders
  • Symbaloo - store favorite websites (make it easy for kids in classroom to go to web choices)
  • Evernote - storage and editable
  • Libescribe - pen/paper
  • Prezi - use instead of powerpoint
  • i-nigma (or other barcode creator) (go to details for QR code) - create a scavenger hunt with classroom ipods
  • Tagxedo - word clouds
  • Storybird - for younger kids
  • Zoobird - 3D and more fun
  • Jing - capture images for use in Word
  • BeFunky - cartoonize photos (create graphic novels)

Secrets of the Stressed Out Brain

Heather Higgins,

Thinking about things we're grateful for can actually change our brains.

What is stress? It is a physiological response to a perception of a lack of control over an adverse situation, person, or event.

Top stressors for Americans...finances, health, employment

Cortisol...good in low doses. "Uh-Oh" Too much damages our brain. Lowers our immune system. Makes us more emotional.

Adrenaline..."Yikes!" Should be low during regular, daily routine.

Serotonin...Makes us feel content and calm. "Ahh..." Music with 60 beats or less. Calm exercise, food, sunshine, friendships, art. Lack of serotonin causes depression. Feel-good chemicals.

Dopamine...Music with 90 beats or more. Intense exercise. Chocolate. Love. Sex. Conquering our enemies (sports). Bullying. Violent video games. Addictions (alcohol, nicotine or other drugs).

Stress response is designed for emergencies. Moderate anxiety produces optimal performance. As stress increases, performance initially rises and then declines. Alert! Stress response (cortisol) Distress (cortisol and adrenaline

1. The UPS Guy...Hippocampus...the memory maker ...can find short term memories...can track important long term memories...forgets things that don't matter...chronic stress makes the hippocampus smaller in size...fully developed at about age 2

2. Palace Guard....Amygdala...the emotional center...protects us and keeps us out of danger...creates emotional memories...fully developed at birth...becomes overactive with chronic stress...part of the brain that rules a child's brain.

3. Brooklyn Bridge...corpus callosum...connects the two hemispheres of the brain...women can multitask (toggle between activities) more easily than men...facilitates integration of right and left hemisphere functions...

4. Learning to drive...Frontal Lobes...Executive system of the brain...a work in progress until we are 25...control judgement, insight, impulse control, understanding the consequences of our behaviors, organization, time orientation, reading social cues, goal achievement, learning from mistakes. Knowing that children are still developing this part of the brain can help in dealing with them and the choices they make.

Social reorganization (social stress) is bad for our brains. We need a sense of stability and home.

What we can do about stress...Neurogenesis is the birth of new brain cells. Enhanced by: exercise, complex environments, new learning, nutrition, low stress. Reduced by: distress, inactivity, boredom, depression, poor nutrition. After 35, your brain no longer produces more neurons than die off. We have to work to produce more neurons. Provide outlets for ourselves. Increase predictability and control in our environment. Encourage social supports. Giving has only pros, no cons.

Action plan for me...I can stop staying up late at night. I can start meditating, stretching, walking or doing yoga daily. If you want to learn, review the new info 24 hours, 3 days, 7 days later.