Friday, September 30, 2011

Giving a Fish a Bath

This workshop, presented 9/12/11 by Heather Higgins from the Upside Down Organization, was very engaging and informative. While I had attended a lecture on brain development several years ago, it was interesting to see how knowledge of brain developed has increased. I'm not really surprised that the length of Adolescence is increasing- starting earlier and lasting longer. Hopefully, I am better prepared to work with the teens in my community. Now, I just need to figure-out how to get them to the library!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I attended the workshop on Cyber-bullying by Liz Sundermann, teen specialist at Enoch Pratt. I found the workshop very interesting. She gave links for both teens and librarians on several topics having to do with cyberbullying. We discussed quite a few scenarios involving teens and cyberbulling. I passed on to my teen the safety measures she mentioned. Such as NEVER share your password or post your phone number or address. I feel better able to discuss the topic with our teen patrons.

You Can Judge A Book By Its Cover

This is the second time I have attended this workshop. Back in the fall of 2007, when I was taking LATI, Mr. Gannon presented this workshop at a branch in Baltimore County. When I saw that he was going to present it again, I signed up immediately. I found it to be both
informative and entertaining. "Reading is fundamental" states Mr. Gannon. Key points to ask customers when doing reader's advisory are: What was the last good book you read? and What did you like about it? Mr. Gannon demonstrated how to look at a book cover and determine the type of genre. For example, he could tell whether the book is a cozy or hard-boiled mystery.
We divided into three groups and completed exercises to help reinforce the key points of his presentation. It was a great workshop!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I attended the cyber-bullying workshop on 22September 2011 given by Liz Sundermann, Teen Specialist of Pratt and SLRC. A lot is heard in the media about the toll cyber-bullying is taking on many age groups in our population. There were instances discussed from pre-teens to adults. A town was referenced where gossip was rampant on a site for local concerns and information. This was taken from a NY Times article. On the Today Show this morning was a story how residents were impacted by malicious gossip posted on the site. It was interesting to have such timely connections.
The workshop is enhanced by the participants' own experiences.

You Can Judge a Book by its Cover

What a great workshop - Mr. Gannon was so funny and clever, the time seemed to pass too quickly. I learned several valuable tips in providing reader's advisory: 1. As a librarian, you must read and try different genres to provide good reader's advisory to your patrons, and you should use the reader's advisory resources you have on hand, mainly other staff members who are familiar with genres which you do not read. 2. Prepare yourself for reader's advisory by reading professional journals, like "Booklist", "Kirkus", "Library Journal", and "Publisher's Weekly". Mr. Gannon also recommended checking out "Entertainment Weekly" and "People Magazine", for their book reviews. Since they are popular magazines, many people read the reviews and request the books. 3. Always ask - what did you read last and most importantly, why did you like it? 4. Never believe the customer! Their information is not always accurate. Mr. Gannon also reviewed different genre book covers with us,so that we could look for clues about the content of the books to help us with our recommendations. In addition, he provided an article about Nonfiction Reader's Advisory which I think will be helpful. I would like to attend another workshop with Mr. Gannon as the trainer - maybe a nonfiction reader's advisory? He provided the information in such a delightful way in this workshop, it will be easy to remember.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover

I attended the workshop You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover presented by Michael Gannon and was rewarded with new skills and entertained to boot! He taught us some tips to help us help patrons find books to read. There is no way a librarian can read every book in the library (despite what some patrons may think). We learned how to advise patrons to find books when the genre is one we may not be familiar with.
The first question to ask a patron is 'What did you read lately that you liked, and what did you like about it?' From there the patron can be advised on other books that may have a similar theme, characters or settings. If we don't ask the right questions, it will be harder to assist a patron in finding a match. Of course, since we are a library and not a bookstore, patrons can take home many books for free! No risk to them!
Mr. Gannon showed us how to look at a book cover and determine what genre it might be. He went over romances, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, and general fiction. I learned the subtle differences that a genre may have to distinguish between cozy and graphic subjects.
I enjoyed the slide show that was presented. I wonder why our library doesn't carry the book that he talked about called 'The Nympho Librarian'! Mr Gannon used humor and let us interact with scenarios he constructed to help us learn how to help patrons find books to read. He is a great presenter and I was glad to have attended this workshop.

You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover

Yesterday afternoon, Michael Gannon from Prince Georges County Library, presented a fun and informative program called You can Judge a Book by Its Cover. Mr. Gannon began the program by saying something that I thought was really great: "If reference is the science of librarianship, reader's advisory is the art."

The workshop provided tips for helping library patrons to find a good book to read when we find ourselves out of our element. For instance, we might like to read science fiction, but Gannon pointed out that by using the cover art and clues on the jacket, we can recommend books that our customers will like.

Additionally, four key points were mentioned:
1. Reading is fundamental--read one of what you don't usually read for familiarity
2. Read professional reviews
3. Ask the customer, "What is the last good book you read and why did you like it?"
4. Realize that customers will get it wrong, so be prepared to read between the lines when details are provided.

Overall, what made the workshop delightful was Mr. Gannon himself, whose sense of humor peppered the presentation to leave us energized and informed.

Can Judge a Book by its Cover

Michael Gannon's workshop on How to Judge a book by its cover was wonderful. He gave this presentation at a LATI workshop and I loved it then. He had us laughing and the time just flew by. He wanted us to remember 4 rules when helping a patron with readers advisory.
1. Reading is Fundamental- ( you have to read some of the books- don't try to fake it)
2. Professional Reading - ( Look in BookList and Kirkus Reviews for write ups- also become familiar with the book reviews in People and Entertainment Weekly- these are the books patrons will be asking about)
3. 64,000 Question- What was the last good book you read and why did you like it?- ( Simple question but it will tell you what kind of books they like)
4. Never believe the customer or patron- ( they will never remember the title or author right and you will have to become part detective to come to the correct answer.)
We also learned many hints as to what a cover can tell you- Nuns are always cozy mysteries and blood and bones on cover will most certainly be a gruesome thriller.
I never realized how much information could be obtained by just looking closer at the cover. Wonderful workshop and I hightly recommend this to anyone - pure learning enjoyment!

You can judge a book by its cover

I attended Michael Gannon's workshop on Reader's advisory yesterday afternoon at the LaVale Library. First, this is the most fun I have ever had at a workshop! Michael has the 10 of us laughing for the entire 2 hours. This was the first time that I realized how many clues you can actually get from the cover of a book. He told us what to look for on the cover to get an idea of the genre of the book. For example, bloody knives will be hard core mysteries. Michael also suggested that we read outside our comfort zone occasionally so we can have an understanding of what a romance or science fiction book is all about. He also suggested we remember to ask 2 important questions when a customer asks for our help in finding a book: "What is the last book that you read?" and "What did you like about it?". I think the thing that I will remember most, as simple as it sounds in hindsight, is - popular, bestselling authors, the ones that the customer refers to when they say "I've read everything", have their names on the cover in larger letters than the title of the book. Aha!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Giving a Fish a Bath: the Untold Story of the Adolescent Mind

This was a very enjoyable and engaging training session. It was fascinating to learn how the brain develops throughout adolescence so that we can better understand and serve our adolescent patrons.

The highlights of this presentation were the ideas that adolescence is lasting longer as far as brain development is concerned (as late as age 25) and that this period in life is one of two high periods of vulnerability to the brain—the other period being from birth to age five.

Hormones and brain development changes are proliferating during the teen years and it is the responsibility of adults to guide teenagers toward healthy means of satisfying their needs. For example, exercise, music, and positive social connections are much healthier ways of increasing serotonin and dopamine than using illegal drugs.

The following strategies were offered as methods for guiding teens toward healthy behaviors: teach teens about their unique brains, understand that their behavior should not be taken personally—it’s just adolescence, help teens discover sense and meaning in the behaviors you would like for them to use, adopt the language of the brain, teach empathy and build strong communication skills, give teens opportunities to practice real-world skills (how to avoid peer pressure, etc.), and remind teens to remember the fundamentals—exercise, nutrition, sleep, and coping skills.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cyber-bullying workshop

I attended the cyber-bullying workshop today. One of my favorite things I learned was to use the terms "virtual world" and "physical world" instead of "real world". Teens tend to tune you out when you try to talk to them about the real world, since they are convinced you, as an adult, have no idea what goes on in the real world. We received information about facebook privacy settings and resources for texting safety tips. It was helpful to someone like me who has 2 teens of my own.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Truth About Social Learning

I just attended a one hour webinar on the truth about social learning presented by Jane Bozarth, Ph.D., (@JaneBozarth on Twitter) and provided by the Training Magazine Network. They do great things for free and would encourage you to set up a free account so you can take advantage of their resources too.

Here are the 3 most poignant take-aways:

Most learning happens socially; we just don't realize it until it's not there.
What this means is that those informal water-cooler chats, those discussions you have in the car on the long rides on I-68 and I-70, and those beer- or wine-fueled happy hour talks you enjoy with your colleagues is where the majority of learning occurs. Why is this? Because it's natural. It's organic. It's human nature. But too often, or so some may have the impression, these types of social conversations are frowned upon as a waste of company time. According to the research (references to follow), these conversations are extremely valuable to the growth and social health of the library/business/school/etc and its talent (meaning us -the employees).

If we force social learning, it'll stop or it'll go under the radar.
So, you read this post and you do some research on your own and you think, wow! Everyone should be doing this especially Colleague X who doesn't talk to anyone. Stop right there. Forcing someone to engage in social learning endeavors (i.e. mandatory water cooler chats) will not have the desired effect. Basically, if folks aren't already talking, chances aren't they aren't ever going to. This rings true with the opposite situation - you notice one day what great ideas come from a long drive home from a meeting and so you decide to make every Thursday afternoon Go-For-An-Idea-Ride time and you force your staff or colleagues into taking mandated hour-long drives in the hopes of mimicking that one experience you had. Ain't gonna happen. Moral of the story: let it be, let it become, and don't impose any structure onto it.

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) are just tools that help take the social learning to a bigger level.
Just because you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc account and you have 5,000 friends, 3,000 followers, and 7,654 connections, it doesn't mean you're learning socially. It's not how big your social media network is, it's how you use it and how regularly you use it. How often have you posted a problem to your social media networks to get your friends to help you out? Have you used social media to help answer a patron's reference question when you were struggling? I used Facebook on Monday to find a new home for my dog and I did it in a matter of minutes. Minutes. You've heard of out-sourcing, right? Now start thinking about crowd-sourcing. I like to think of the idea of using social media to enhance social learning as the notion of crowd-sourced problem solving, or crowd-sourced perspective getting.

References for today's webinar can be found at:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Microsoft Word

This was an excellent introduction to the new microsoft word. Not only was there a fairly straight run through of the software but the instructor gave us many tips and tricks to make it easier to use. Probably the most important take away was the binder with all the lessons. This will be very useful when navigating this program.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Introduction to MS Word 2010 Parts 1&2

I have been introduced to a new meaning for ribbon; not the same as a ribbon in the old typewriters! Also I have learned what a show/hide is and how useful it is when composing a composition. MS Word 2010 is a great help for undergraduates and post-graduates when completing assignments that require written responses, or for anyone writing a letter, resume, etc. From this class I have learned skills that will be useful to assist patrons in fine tuning documents/compositions if they request my help.