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Sometimes you’ve got to sit on a day for a bit before you realize how interesting it was.

Yesterday was one of those days.


But lying in bed, desperately trying to come up with one special thing to blog about, I realized that maybe it was the day as a whole–a slice of school library life–that might be the most interesting post.

Thinking back, some very interesting things happened yesterday.

1. I found the Amazon box containing my pre-ordered signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars waiting for me when I got home from school on Tuesday.  Before I went to bed, I tweeted this news out to our book club.  As soon as I sat down at my desk Wednesday morning, Lauren arrived panting, “I tweeted you,” she said. “Have you checked Twitter yet?”  She had to be the first to read it.  And somehow, in spite of her classes, she was able to finish the book during our #SWVBC meeting that night.  Lauren passed it on to Lana, who was also panting. (Note and warning: During the day, every time I bumped into Lauren she was sobbing.  She tells me I will completely understand why when I read TFIOS this weekend.)

2. Anthony Bernier, of San Jose State, who is researching young adult library spaces, happened upon a set of photos two of my student photographers recently shot for an upcoming article.  He was interested in why they shot the images the way they did and how they see and use our library space.  Happily we were able to set up an impromptu Skype interview right before lunch.  It was wonderful to hear the girls speak seriously about their art, as well as their feelings of comfort about school library space.

3. Yesterday I had the opportunity to present a lesson I’d been wanting to do for some time.  Using our new Seniors! Transition Guide as a launching pad, I chatted with a class of  honors seniors about college and research and writing expectations at the university level.  My practicum student, Kathie, helped me cull the literature for a list of skills academic librarians wished to see in their incoming freshman classes.  I toured a sample state university library website with them.  We looked at the wide variety of databases, ebook and journal search tools in specific disciplines students were considering for their majors.  We talked about the fact that they may encounter multiple libraries. We reviewed our learning about peer-reviewed vs. popular publications.  We took a peek into the world of Library of Congress classification. We investigated the many ways they might talk to university librarians (including options for chat and text). I assured them that my university colleagues would be oh so eager to meet and help them. We looked at a variety of university OWLs (online writing laboratories).  We looked at university mobile apps.  After our discussion, the students independently examined library websites of the universities they are hoping to attend.  They shared with each other noting familiar and unfamiliar features, gushing over the size of the database and journal collections.  It all went very well and I hope to scale this out to the rest of our graduating class.

4. Springshare’s January newsletter appeared in my email box linking to information with information I’d been dreaming about–how to use its software to create a library mobile app.  (As you know, I so want to be an app.)  The help page tells me I can:

  • Create a fully-mobilized Library Website
  • Optimized for all smartphone devices and screen-sizes
  • Create a hierarchy menu of 10 top-level and 10 secondary-level menu items
  • Customize the look & feel of your Mobile Library Website
  • Feeling tech-savvy? Add in your own Mobile Custom Stylesheet!

Bonus! Create a customizable hierarchy menu of 10 top-level and 10 secondary-level menu items for your LibGuides Mobile interface!

I start building this week and I will absolutely keep you all posted.

5. Using Google Hangouts as our platform, the SomeWhatVirtualBookClub met last night to compare Hugo, the movie with The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the book.  We met with our partner clubs in Connecticut, Oregon, and California.  I was so proud that our kids really prepped by generating questions.  Erin, visited the Franklin Institute and brought in copies of images and poems generated on-site by the resident automaton referenced by Brian Selznick in the book.

While I loved the book discussion, I also loved observing elements of collateral learning–how to prepare for a discussion, how to manage a webinar, developing protocols for remote discussion etiquette (frantic waving kinda worked), respecting divergent opinions and interests.  My students, who are now connecting with authors and other adults, were so eager to share how they now use Twitter with some of the SWVBC students who use it solely for social purposes. The club will be using Twitter to decide on the next reading and the next date.

Last night, I heard so many intelligent questions and insightful comments. I heard several students refer proudly to themselves as nerds. It seems to me that this club is helping these avid readers and thoughtful critics recognize that there are other nerds just like themselves out there.  Lots of them.

I made a few useful discoveries through my network, including Simple CC Flickr Search and Photopin, which I added to our copyright-friendly Guide and used nearly immediately.

I played with Google’s new Search + Your World personalized search. I like that I can quickly get to my friends’ ideas and to their selected media relating to my search and that I can turn that echo-chamber on and off.  But I am carefully following the concerns about privacy and dominance and skewed social search relevance.

And, we lost a couple of hall passes.

But, all in all, it was a very good day.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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