Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mac envy

I don't know what I did to deserve this.

The new Mac mini ad came to me via email today.

"Live the digital life in stylish simplicity. Just 6.5 inches square and 2 inches tall, Mac mini provides what you need to have more fun with your music, photos and movies — right out of the box. Mac mini now boasts 512MB memory as well as models with built-in wireless and SuperDrive. The most affordable Mac ever still starts at $499."

They say. I drool.

Oh, well, technology is ever changing, ever the same. Always something better coming along.

Have a good school year, everyone. If you buy one of these, let me know how you like it.

Still singing,


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Feel-good Librarian

From a recent post to the Feel-good Librarian comes this story...

What Books Do

Here is the text of an e reference query we received recently:

“I am not a fan of poetry - never have been, never will be. However, my 37 year old daughter has a MLS degree and is well read; she is on her deathbed with cancer. She can no longer read, but I would like to read her poetry or short stories for a few minutes each day. Can you recommend a book I might use? Thanks.”

Oh. Oh, dear.

I don’t know about you, but I felt inadequate to answer this question alone. Choosing words for someone else to go out of the world on seems a serious assignment to me, especially if you don’t know them. I asked my coworkers for their recommendations, then I called the man, since he had included his phone number.

“Sir? This is the public library calling. You emailed us for recommendations about what to read to your daughter.”

“Oh, yes,” he said. “I’m glad for your help. It’s….difficult to think at a time like this, and our tastes are so different.”

“I am so sorry, sir. Our staff who have been coming up with suggestions all have you and your daughter in our thoughts.”

“Thank you. I….appreciate that.” He cleared his throat.

I asked if his daughter liked nature (thinking Robert Frost, Walt Whitman), plots about people, maybe with a twist? (O.Henry), or animals (James Herriot).

“My daughter really loves animals,” he said. “I think she would enjoy stories with animals, as long as they are short.”

Aha. “James Herriot’s stories are about a country veterinarian in England. They are short and humorous, and really show the animals’ personalities, as well as their owners.”

He sounded relieved. “Oh, thank you, so much. That sounds like something she would really enjoy. It will be a pleasure to read them to her.”

I told him I’d gather the titles for him and put them at the checkout desk so he could pick them up when it was convenient for him.

“I’m sure I’ll be down tomorrow during my lunch hour. I read to her in the evenings, after work.”

The thought was wrenching for me, just as an observer. To work all day, knowing you would be going to your daughter’s bedside as she faded from life….



Deep breath. “Bless you, sir.”

He hesitated. “Thank you,” he whispered.

Why books, why read? Because books are a refuge when life hurts. They make us laugh, they make us cry, they give us a break from the pain and they give us hope.

Even on our deathbeds.

Perhaps, especially there.

August 3, 2005

Whew. and amen.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Faculty and the New York Times

This just in from an e-mail from The League for Innovation:

The League for Innovation has recently partnered with The New York Times to offer League Alliance Members an opportunity to enhance curriculum and improve teaching and learning in the classroom.

The New York Times Is a Valuable Curriculum Enhancement

The New York Times has been valued by faculty for more than 70 years. Faculty recognize The New York Times as a valuable addition that supports course curriculum. Described as a “living textbook, The Times serves the critical role of helping connect classroom concept to everyday life. Once students understand the everyday relevance of their studies, it adds a new dimension to the overall learning experience. In addition, a daily habit of reading The Times supports critical thinking and good citizenship. There are even some faculty who have found The New York Times to be comprehensive enough to serve as the sole textbook for their course!

In addition to the daily newspaper, The New York Times college website, www.nytimes.com/college, provides additional resources to enhance curriculum. Faculty can find teaching strategies and methodologies, as well as discipline-specific curriculum resources to help them successfully incorporate The Times into the curriculum. The Times is used by faculty across the curriculum, including English, Political Science, Business, History, Communications, First Year Seminar and Honors Courses, just to name a few.

The New York Times Provides Unique Resources for Faculty and Students

There are thousands of faculty representing various academic disciplines that have enhanced their course by incorporating The New York Times into their curriculum. At The Times college website, www.nytimes.com/college, faculty can take advantage of the many available resources designed to help them make effective use of the Times. For example, faculty can sign up to receive daily email alerts from the unique New York Times taxonomy search option, allowing them to select from 180 different academic subjects. When an article relevant to a selected topic appears in the newspaper, an email alert will be sent linking to that article.

In addition, links to other articles related to the selected topic may be provided. In many instances these links might normally require a fee to access from The Times archives but will be available at no charge for faculty. This unique program allows faculty to be prepared to reference relevant news stories in class.

The Times invites faculty to explore the teaching strategies, methodologies, projects and perspectives from colleagues nationwide that are posted on the site. Also available is The Times “Newsroom Navigator,” where students and faculty can research and access information on the internet, like The Times journalists do. All of this is available for free to support the use of The New York Times across the curriculum.

For more information and any costs, contact me and I'll forward the offer. --Micaela

Monday, August 15, 2005