The New Librarian

The New Librarian
My colleague Thien Pham created this strip to record my first year on the new job.

Book Club Updates

The Book Club 2008-2009
We got lots of sign ups at the annual club fair. Students were eager to join the book club and to share their passion for reading and their insights about books. The first book of the year was Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Following this title, the club decided to try some lighter reading and selected The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan. The members enjoyed the book and felt it was a great break from rigorous reading demanded in their classes. Many were excited to recommend the book to younger siblings or neighbors.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffry Eugenides sparked lively conversation. The book got two thumbs up from all members.

The current selection for the O'Dowd Book Club is Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramargo.

Book Club selection for the month of February are Coal Black Horse, Nightbirds of Nantucket, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Equus. Ballots are available in the library by the Book Club Display.

Candy by Kevin Brooks gave Book Club members a chance to apply literary analysis to Young Adult genre. Lead by senior members Chris Johnson and Sara Fong, the Book Club members raced to set up character foils and develop supports for themes in the book. There was much hilarity as members discussed the "over the top" moments sometimes found in YA literature, but overall the group agreed Candy had its sweet moments.

Members suggested Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Candy, Glass Castles for the January selection. Students voted for Candy by Kevin Brooks.

The first meeting discussed My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. Discussion ranged from moral issues of the book to the portrayal of family relationships in stressful times. Most members loved the book while some argued that the twist at the end ruined the book for them by destroying any plausibility. The discussion got rather heated, but stayed on topic.

Collaboration with Religion Department

Lina is a great partner. She's eager to try new things and she appreciates having a partner when it comes to implementing technology into her curriculum. Together we came up with a mini research project for her Feminism and Christianity class. Lina was interested in having her students study the way women saints brought change to the Church of their day. She was also interested in having the students look at women leaders today. We thought it would be interesting to compare both historical context and messages of women leaders (saints) of the past and of today.

We did a general research lesson and we created a matrix for students to complete with their research. After groups compared their research, they came up with thesis statements comparing the women leaders from two times. In addition to the thesis statements, the students made PowerPoint presentations incorporating their research. The students spent one day in the library and I visited their classroom another class period to answer research questions and another period to see the final presentations.

Collaborative Weeding

I have a personal goal and an administration mandate to weed the library. We have 18,000 books, many of which have not been checked out in 30 years. We also have a library that's filled to capacity before and after school, during lunch and at MP. We need to make more space for the kids.

I know the school library's mission is not to be a book archive and that the collection should support the curriculum and promote life-long learning. It's clear from browsing the shelves, we have a lot of outdated stuff that has to go. But where to start? What if I make a bad discard? As a first year librarian, weeding is a daunting job.

I decided not go to it alone. I bribed the new U.S. history teacher into helping me weed the U.S. history section. I got to brush up on my US history and historiography and, just as importantly, I got to know a new faculty member who is interested in collaborating on some lessons. Our weeding collaborative effort was highly successful. We have lean, mean collection with room to add newer titles that will support the assignments Jonathan plans for his students.

The only downside was I forgot to bend my knees when I picked up a big box of discards. I hurt my back something fierce. Oh, well. My back hurts, but the US history section looks great.

Book Club

I was amazed at the kids' enthusiasm for Book Club. I made a short podcast announcing the formation of Book Club and at the club fair, several freshmen manned our booth, distributed candy and collected club sign-ups. At the first meeting nearly 30 students showed up. Most of them were freshmen and sophomores, but the few seniors vowed to recruit their buddies. The first meeting was an open discussion about goals for the book club, and lively debate over most loved and most hated books. The members made a long ballot of books from which the members would select the first title for the Book Club.

The members voted for My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. The first meeting will be November 29 during MP.