Did you just finish a really good book? Do you want to let other people know about it? Now there is a link under the "Books" tab on the library website that lets you submit a short review of any book from the library. You can submit anonymously or with your first name, and give the book a star rating (4 being the best). So far we have a bunch of student reviews posted for the book Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, which is next month's One Book One New Paltz selection, by the way. It's quick and easy - submit a book review today.
I just stumbled across this terrific resource for finding primary sources on the Web. It comes from the American Library Association. It has great suggestions for places to look, and also gives guidelines for what to look for when you are searching around for primary sources. I highly recommend it!
It's great to see everyone back at school. Welcome! I'm looking forward to seeing lots of you come into the library this year.
I've been thinking over the summer about how rapidly libraries are changing these days. I recently came across an article about a school library that got rid of all its books. It went completely digital. There was lots of buzz about this - the future of libraries, no more books, libraries are dead, etc. It was an interesting concept, and it did get me thinking. However, I'm not throwing our collection out yet.
One the one hand, libraries are transforming from rooms with books into something new and different. The walls are breaking down. Libraries now have a huge web presence, and you can access them from anywhere. I hope that this year you will use the library website often. We now have eBooks (ask me about them!), and even more online databases. We have all kinds of tips and links for help with projects, powerpoints, and citations. I see our library as reaching into every corner of the school; we can exist wherever there is a computer.
On the other hand, our collection of print books continues to grow, and I could never see getting rid of it entirely. Especially our new and improved fiction section. We constantly purchase new books based on your suggestions. I would never want to remove the access we have to great books here in our library. There is always time to settle in with a good read, whether its fiction or non-fiction. Come visit and see what's new already this year.
Hope to see you soon in the library.
Apparently this week the New York Time has decided to feature the ways in which technology is harming us. Three articles ran in the past few days with these titles:
"Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying A Mental Price", "An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness", and "More Americans Sense a Downside to an Always Plugged-In Existence". The common thread here is about people who are addicted to checking their devices - texting, checking email, playing video games compulsively. Carrying around electronic devices for some people is like carrying an addictive drug. The first article suggests that family life and relationships can be hindered by too much screen time. Seems kind of obvious to me. Bascially, it all boils down to the wisdom of my grandmother - everything in moderation. No one should be checking email 74 times a day. No one should be playing video games so much that they no longer interact with family members. The downside that Americans see to an always plugged-in existence is obvious. Too much of anything is bad for you.
Facebook has recently rolled out some changes that are causing a stir among privacy advocates and everyday Facebook users. Many of the new changes require you to "opt out". How private is your account? Here are some resources to help you:
Click here for eight easy tips from PC Magazine to help tighten up your account.
Use the ReclaimPrivacy.org Facebook Privacy Scanner. It's quick and easy!
Still want to see more? Check out this excellent LibGuide from Creekview High School's Buffy Hamilton - tons of links and videos about Facebook and privacy.
A friend of mine just sent me a link to this website. It is a free, open source tool that scans your Facebook account and gives you feedback about how private it is. It only takes about 15 seconds to run it, and it is super easy to use. Go ahead and try it - see how private your page is. The results will also then take you to the privacy settings so you can see what is open to "everyone".
So Google has a great new search feature - DeeperWeb. This plug in allows you to see results categorized and organized in new and useful ways. You still see you basic search results, but along the right side of the page there are special categories such as DeeperCloud (find and use the meaningful terms hidden beneath the pile of search results), resources search (articles, white papers, and research), blogs search, and even more. Try DeeperWeb today.
Today I completed the second day of Internet Safety Lessons with the current 9th grade Life Prep classes. It's always a really interesting lesson. I learn just as much as the students do every time. I call our lesson "Don't Do Stupid Things Online". After I tell the students that in fact the biggest threat to them online is not ax murderers or sexual predators but themselves and their own behavior, we look at lots of examples of stupid things people have already done online.
It's always disturbing to realize how much of what we consider to be private actually isn't when it comes to social networking. In fact, when I returned to the library I saw that on the front page of the NY Times today is an article titled "How Privacy Can Vanish Online, a Bit at a Time". It is all about how researchers were able to comb through Facebook pages for example and glean tons of personal information about people, more than you would expect even with privacy settings. Definitely read the article here.
The bottom line is that the internet is public - no matter what website you are on. The article ends with a quote from Cornell University computer science professor John Kleinberg, "When you're doing stuff online, you should behave as if you're doing it in public - because increasingly, it is." Well said.
It seems that one group that has been less than thrilled with the success of Twilight is the Quileute Nation, of which the fictional Jacob is a member. It seems that extraordinary attention is being paid to the tiny reservation with no commercial benefits. Just last month an MSN.com crew trespassed on a Quileute ceremonial burial ground while filming a Twilight virtual tour. Additionally, Quileute products are now being marketed - jewery, hoodies, and half the Quileute families continue to live in poverty, receiving no payment for this commercial activity. Read a full editorial about this situation from the New York Times here.
There was an interesting article in the "Room for Debate" section of the New York Times on Wednesday. The question posed is do school libraries need books? The context - an independent high school in Massachusetts recently transformed its library into a digital center and gave away most of its 20,000 books. Read the full article here.