March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for November 2008

Assignment Alert Services: Do Teachers Know About Us?

As a way to reach out and serve area schools, many public libraries offer a service commonly termed Assignment Alert. The idea is to give teachers and school librarians an easy online way to get help from the public library in identifying resources such as booklists, Websites, movies and books to support curriculum. Usually, there is an extended borrowing period, allowing teachers to have materials for the length of a teaching unit or classroom project. It’s clear that these libraries […]

Teen Advisory Board Responsible for Murder of a Homecoming Queen

“They wrote it, cast it, created costumes, worked on publicity, raised money through a bake sale, and for the second year, pulled off a highly successful event,” states Anna Kilcullen, young adult services librarian at Albright Memorial Library, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Kilcullen’s Teen Advisory Board (T.A.B.) which is about two and half years old is made up of about twenty dedicated seventh to twelfth graders. Five of the teens formed a writer’s group to come up with the script for the […]

Zotero Makes Online Research Easy

I’ve been seeing Zotero mentioned in blogs lately, and wondered what it was all about. After reading about it and watching the Zotero tour, I’m positively intrigued. Zotero is a Firefox extension (sorry, IE users) that allows you to capture, manage and cite online research resources. You can take a snapshot of a Website, make notes about it, tag it and organize Web sites into folders. Zotero captures the citation information from the Website

automatically, and when you’re ready to cite […]

21,730 Pages to Go

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages (Penguin, 2008).

Ammon Shea has been reading dictionaries for the past decade or so. He acknowledges owning about a thousand of them, along with assorted thesauri, lexicons, and glossaries (in a New York City apartment, no less). So, how does this avid word lover and collector feed his insatiable curiosity? Well, one project Shea tackled was the 20-volume, Second Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary, reading it cover to cover–from “a” to […]

Be Prepared

Boy scouts and everyone else: consider disaster preparedness

Disaster Preparedness Information

Knowing what to do in case of a hurricane or other emergency can save lives. This site covers preparedness topics for various ages and in many languages. A “Children & Schools” section offers related lesson plans. Created by: The American Red Cross, Washington, DC. Don’t Miss: The terrorism preparedness information. Detour: Check out online tutorial “Be Red Cross Ready” at

FEMA for Kids

The “Disaster Area” is appropriate for elementary grades, while […]

NSBA Honors Librarian

School librarian Kay Hones among 2008 “20 to Watch”

It’s never too late to be an emerging leader—even with 20 years under your belt. That’s just how Kay Hones felt after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) named her as one of 20 rising stars in education technology. NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network announced the 2008 “20 to Watch” last month, including Hones, the only librarian ever to win the honor.

“When I saw I was the only librarian, I said ‘Wow,’” chuckled […]

Get a Move On

The feds have unveiled their first-ever physical activity guidelines for kids—kind of a food guide pyramid for exercise that outlines a comprehensive set of recommendations about the types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits.

The “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” ( says kids should have one hour or more of moderate or vigorous aerobic physical activity a day (like biking or running and sports such as soccer or basketball), including vigorous intensity physical movement (such as […]

The Scieszka Trail

A National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Web site ( is now available for parents, educators, and children. It has background information on the initiative and inaugural ambassador Jon Scieszka, and a schedule of his tour stops over the next year. The site also features photos from the author’s travels and users can upload photos of his appearances in their city. An “Ask Jon” button allows kids to ask Scieszka questions directly. The position was created by the Children’s Book […]

Remembering Coleen Salley

The family of New Orleans storyteller Coleen Salley has created the Coleen Salley Storytelling Endowment at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

The news comes after Salley’s death on September 16, 2008, at the age of 79, following the discovery this summer that she had Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

The University of Southern Mississippi is home to the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, one of North America’s leading research centers in the field of children’s literature.

Salley’s family has donated 10,000 of her children’s books […]

Space Bullies

Cyberbullying is more common than you think, and teens aren’t telling their parents about it, says a study in the September issue of the Journal of School Health.

In fact, some 72 percent of teens who are frequent Internet users say they’ve been the victim of online bullying at least once during the past year, with 90 percent of them saying they don’t tell their parents about the online incidents, mainly because they feel the need to deal with the problem […]

RI Exposes Dating Violence

There’s a new subject in Rhode Island middle and high school health classes this fall: dating violence. The state recently approved the Lindsay Ann Burke Act to protect those most vulnerable to dating violence—and now mandates that schools educate kids on the subject.

Spearheaded by Rhode Island parents Ann and Chris Burke, whose 23-year-old daughter Lindsay Ann (right) was brutally murdered in fall 2005 by her boyfriend, the act requires every school district in Rhode Island to develop a model dating […]

Caroline in the Schools

Caroline Kennedy’s Fund for Public Schools has garnered $230 million in private donations for New York City schools. Last month, more than 200 local retailers donated a part of their proceeds to city school libraries through Shop for Public Schools.

Shop for Public Schools is specifically for school libraries. How’d that come about?

The retail community came forward with this idea that they wanted to do a promotion. We talked to them about what the money should go for, and I think […]

Scholastic: Bye Bratz

Scholastic has dropped the Bratz brand from its book clubs and book fairs following complaints that they promote the sexualization of girls. The publisher, however, says the move was part of a routine decision to “rotate the books in our book selection.” The titles are a spin-off of the popular 10-inch dolls, which have large heads, wide eyes, and full lips—and are often dressed in miniskirts, fishnets, and feather boas.


Into the Blogosphere | The Gaming Life

Communication tools for gamers and librarians

Blogs are often defined as online journals in which writers share information, opinions, and personal experiences. But blogs have a much greater potential than this definition implies. They are tools that can be used to communicate not only with family members and friends, but with millions of people around the world. In the past few years, the popularity of personal and professional blogs has skyrocketed, and gaming blogs are thriving—adding to the diversity of video […]

Letters, November 2008

Some of our readers agree that recent winners are not up to par

The Newbery Has Lost It

Anita Silvey’s observations about the Newbery Medal (“Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?,” October 2008, pp. 39–41) motivated me to reflect on the award. It made me realize that the recent winners reinforce the stereotype of the esoteric librarian sitting in her/his hallowed realm.

The books chosen the last few years have not been successful in helping to create readers and so have been poor […]

Flip This Library: School Libraries Need a Revolution

School libraries need a revolution, not evolution

One of the biggest business battles of our time is between Microsoft and Google. The two have very different business models. Microsoft believes that if they build it, we will come—and buy their product. Google’s approach is different: if they build it, we will integrate it into our lives. We use Microsoft products on their terms, but we use Google products—from iGoogle to GoogleDocs—on our terms, to construct whatever we want.

What does this have […]

The Buzz for November 2008

One Clever Power Strip

It’s the little things in life, like having enough outlets to charge all your accessories. Really, is there nothing sadder than wandering around searching in vain, power adapter in hand? Socket Sense may be the answer. On other power strips, adapters tend to block one or more sockets, allowing you to plug in only three units at most. This product has sockets set at 45-degree angles that also slide and expand, so the surge protector can accommodate […]

Native Voices

Robert Berkhofer Jr.’s The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (Knopf) was published in 1979. Though not about children’s literature, the arguments he made apply to the Indians portrayed in most children’s books. In short, they aren’t really Indians. They have little basis in reality. These imaginings, however, have great staying power. As we approach 2009, stereotypical images of American Indians as bloodthirsty savages and tragic, heroic warriors still strike fear and evoke […]

The (Really) Big Six: Early Literacy Skills | First Steps

Without these preliteracy skills, children can’t become skilled readers

Phonological awareness. Print motivation. Remember how strange some of the six early literacy skills sounded when librarians first heard about them? These days, the six skills (which also include vocabulary, print awareness, narrative skill, and letter knowledge) seem to be household words in libraries that serve young children. But back in 2000, when the National Reading Panel first brought these skills to our attention through the Association for Library Service to Children […]

Don’t Bother Me, I’m Reading, Too: Graphic Nonfiction for Teens

A savvy guide to the best graphic nonfiction for teens

Who says reading a book has to be painful? Evidently, that’s what most high school students who are doing research must think. If you need proof, just look at the grimaces as they search for a title to satisfy an assignment. These kids are in distress—and you can’t really blame them. Many school-related books are so dense that today’s text-scanning teens have a hard time finding the information they’re seeking. And […]