Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Future through the Past

Three weeks ago my husband and I wended our way to the oldest free lending library in Innerpeffray, Scotland where I was able to touch the past.

We saw books and materials from Roman times through the Kings of Scotland, all hands on: I skimmed the gardening advice in books for the cottager; noted the laws banning football and golf as distractions; and turned the pages of the King James Bible from the print run that went to all the churches of Scotland, inspiring the Covenanter’s rebellion. We were celebrating 40 years of marriage with this trip to Scotland. It was an unforgettable experience, and took place in a tranquil setting in view of the River Earn, with mists and soft drips of rain making this Outlander wonder exactly where I was in time.

Butler celebrates a grand anniversary – 90 years – in just two years’ time; and its hundredth in twelve years. I’m on sabbatical this fall, exploring what it would take to create a Butler Community College archive. Do we have the wherewithal to create a store of documents, photographs, memorabilia and items that hold the memories and history of this institution going forward? Should you care to assist in any way with advice or materials or experience, I ask that you let me know and I’ll visit with you this fall.
I’ll be back at the end of the semester with the results of my research. I’ve no qualms about leaving the library in the capable hands of my staff.

Teresa Mayginnes, Public and Technical Services Librarian, and Sheryle Dunbar, Library Administrative Assistant, will take over most of my duties. Contact them or any of the librarians at Butler Libraries if you have needs we can help you with. Have a great semester.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vacation Reading

Re-posted from Dear Reader, July 9 edition:

Today's guest author, Ellen Sussman, has published four national bestselling novels: "A Wedding in Provence," "The Paradise Guest House," "French Lessons" and "On a Night Like This." All four books have been translated into numerous languages and "French Lessons" has been optioned by Unique Features to be made into a movie. Ellen now teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes out of her home. She has two daughters and lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ellen has worked a variety of jobs including tennis instructor, restaurant manager, and college teacher, but through all the transmutations of her life she has been writing since the age of six, stubbornly, persistently, with great cockiness and wild insecurity, through praise and piles of rejection letters. She has given up her writing career many times, but only for a day or two, and her family has now learned to ignore her new career choices. She is a writer, an almost daily writer, a writer who actually loves to write.

Welcome Ellen Sussman to the book club...

The Joys of Travel
By Ellen Sussman

When I travel, I lose myself a little. I'm no longer tied to my routines ("New York Times" crossword puzzle, dog walk, write for three hours), the comforts of home (my bed!), the people who know me. I'm listening to a new language (Greek last month!), eating strange foods (taramasalata!), absorbing an unfamiliar culture. My eyes seem to open wider as I take in stunning vistas--ancient cities, hillside villages, deserted islands. After a few days in a foreign land I begin to surprise myself. I'm bolder, I'm more adventurous. I set out on a hike and then summit a mountain. I try on a snorkeling mask and become an underworld explorer. I speak to strangers and discover there's so much out there for me to learn.

And when I come home I'm transformed by my journey. Some of the small discoveries fail to stick--no, I really don't like ouzo after all. But this experience of traveling outside of the familiar and deeply inside the unfamiliar profoundly affects me. Sometimes it's just that I understand the world better. But often times, I understand me better. I learn by pushing my own boundaries and trying on a foreign skin.

Reading literature works the same way for me. When I read a novel I dive deeply into a foreign land. I lose myself and begin to feel what it's like to be someone else in the world. When I finish the novel and put it aside, I return to my own skin, but something has shifted inside me. I've been changed by the journey. I've learned something new or found a part of me that was tucked away. By sharing the emotional experience of the characters in the novel, I've opened my heart, expanded my soul.

Maybe it's no surprise that reading and travel are two of my favorite pastimes. They seem so different--one thrusts you into the great big world and the other keeps you comfortably on the couch in your living room. But in the end, both are voyages, transformative voyages. And I'm a traveler in search of brave new worlds.

--Ellen Sussman

Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.

Suzanne Beecher
My blog: http://dearreader.typepad.com/

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

College Grads: Skills Gap in Information Competency

Librarians are increasingly focused on instruction and teaching skill sets for using information in their work with college students. Can we go further? Here's a few pertinent quotes from an article reviewing the preparation of college students through interviews with hiring officers at several major companies.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education, available online to students, staff and faculty of Butler Community College:

At Sea in a Deluge of Data
By Alison J. Head and John Wihbey

...Another Project Information Literacy study, involving more than 8,300 undergraduates at 25 American colleges, found that most make do with a very small compass. They rely on tried and true resources such as course readings, library databases, Google, and Wikipedia.

Only 20 percent of the students said they ever sought help from librarians, the mavens of searching and finding in the digital age, especially when it comes to learning how to "ping pong" effectively and strategically among offline sources, experts, and online information, blending the full range of knowledge sources in all their forms.

...While students will always need to think critically and ask the right questions, emerging in this new world is the need for a skill set we call "knowledge in action," a kind of athletics of the mind aided by Internet-enabled devices, search engines, and pools of data from a wide variety of outlets.

...Engaging knowledge at the speed of the web takes three additional things, which tend to be separate in our curricula rather than integrated: a basic understanding of statistics and inference; a sense of the major research institutions—a basic understanding of what it means when you see results attached to URL’s such as "cdc.gov," "imf.org" or "pewresearch.org" and how those institutions produce knowledge; and a sense of how the scientific method works and what it means to test a hypothesis with data.

Monday, June 30, 2014

References and Resources for Just-in-Time Teaching


The scholars at the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College have created this set of Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) resources designed for the busy educator. Visitors can learn how to use these resources in a range of different disciplines, including biology, chemistry, economics, and the history of photography.

Additionally, there is a list of general resources, such as newsletters and articles, that discuss how to implement these practices into the classroom. In the Complementary Pedagogies area visitors can look over helpful "how-tos" in peer instruction, reading question development, and more. Finally, visitors can also sign up to learn when new resources are added to the site.

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2014. https://www.scout.wisc.edu

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Digital Collections of Newspapers for Kansans

From the Kansas Historical Society comes this news about KSHS digital partner websites.

Kansas residents with a valid driver's license or state ID may freely access KSHS content on the following sites by logging in below.

Ancestry.com includes millions of Kansas records from the State Archives and Research Collections, among them Kansas State Census Records from 1865-1925, Civil War Enlistment Papers of Kansas Volunteer Regiments (1862, 1863, 1868), and selected World War I manuscripts.
Newspapers.com is digitizing historic Kansas newspapers from the Society's near-comprehensive collections.

Please use the form below...
(on their website)

Other digital newspaper projects we have access to are found on their Kansas Digital Newspapers page, including Chronicling America and the Ft. Hays State Forsyth Library Digital Collections.

I hate to hear of so many people paying for access to Ancestry.com when it's already been paid for by our taxes. The other major genealogical database is also subscribed to by the State Library of Kansas: Heritage Quest. This and other resources are on the State Library Website, Online Databases page.

Friday, June 13, 2014

State Library of Kansas Highlights New Website

Reposted from the State Library:

We are pleased to announce the completion of our website redesign—thank you for your patience during our transition period. All glitches seem to be resolved, so if you are still experiencing problems, please let me (candace.leduc@library.ks.gov) know. In most cases, a clearing of your browser’s cache does the trick.

Please take the time to navigate through the new site and check out the links we’ve highlighted below.

Online Databases

Student Research

Research for Kids

Digital Book eLending

Kansas Library eCard

Talking Books

Job & Career Tools

Kansas Kids & Parents

Links for Librarians and Educators

Continuing Education

Librarian & Educator Resources

Youth Services


We hope you find the new kslib.info useful and we welcome any feedback you may have in helping us to continually improve our online presence.

Many Thanks,

Candace LeDuc
Communications Coordinator
State Library of Kansas
300 SW 10th Street
Room 312N
Topeka, Kansas 66612
(785) 291-3230

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Comic Book Librarian Strikes!

Mike Hall says,

Hello, everyone! My graphic novel review blog has a new home: just visit www.comicbooklibrarian.com and update your bookmarks accordingly! Everything I've posted to the old blog is mirrored at the new one. I've added a few more goodies, too!

If you've never visited the blog, what the heck are you waiting for? Spoiler-free graphic novel reviews for readers and librarians, plus collection development notes and readers' advisory tips...all for the low, low price of NOTHING! What a deal!


Mike Hall
Staff Supervisor, Independence Public Library
(620) 331-3030

Friday, May 30, 2014

Nicole Hennig, from her newsletter Mobile Apps News, May 29, 2014, says:
If you haven’t had a chance to read
this new book yet, I recommend it.

It’s Complicated: the Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd.

It’s an interesting read, especially if you care about the ability of teenagers to become thoughtful, engaged citizens of cyberspace.

To make it easier to spread the word, she has posted a free PDF version of the book, which you can download here:

All the buying options are listed on this page:

Chapters in the book, published by Yale University, include:
why do teens seem strange online?
why do youth share so publicly?
what makes teens obsessed with social media?
are sexual predators lurking everywhere?
is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty?
can social media resolve social divisions?
are today’s youth digital natives?
searching for a public of their own

Nicole's new book is Best Apps for Academics - the ebook she co-authored with Pam Nicholas of MIT. She also says, "Please share this newsletter with your friends who might be interested. They can sign up here:

Follow @nic221 I tweet about libraries, mobile web, apps, ebooks, and emerging technologies."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Celebrate L. Frank Baum's Birthday May 15

The Map of Kansas Literature, put together by Washburn University in Topeka summarizes the authors and locations in Kansas of their work. Baum visited Kansas once, briefly... Baum's page links to his thoughts of Kansas as described in "The Wizard of Oz," his bio and bibliography, and some unique Oz locales. Odd that it looks like a rather softened, rounded-edge Kansas:

Happy Birthday, Frank.