Category Archives: Rants

General rants about all things library.

Are You Down With DDC?

Thought you knew everything there was to know about the Dewey Decimal Classification system? Maybe you don’t know anything? In either case, this video may just lead to confusing the matter even more.

ARE YOU DOWN WITH DDC??

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I love free books!

Like any good bibliophile, I love when free books come my way.  And this has never been easier now that there is an abundance of open-source books available on the internet.  The majority of open-source books are classics or unknowns, such as those found on Project Gutenberg, which now has a Canadian site full of Canadian authors as well as American and European!  If you like free books, and you want to read a few more books by Canadians about Canadian places (such as Kamloops!) then check out Project Gutenberg Canada!  These books are available in a variety of formats, allowing for easy download.  However, if you are wanting to get some of these free books for your Kindle, or iPad, then you will need to wait a little bit longer for PGC to catch up to its father site.

There are also a number of current authors who are offering their books for free download.  This is due to a belief among some authors that if you offer your first book for free, people will read it… and they may love it… which leads to more book sales later down the line.  I think that this is a smart way to advertise your books, especially if it is a series. And let me tell you.. it works.  I downloaded Novik’s first book in the Temeraire series, His Majesty’s Dragon, for free on my Kindle.  I loved it so much I ended up buying the entire series!  Here is another author who has let his book loose on the web. I have done a post on Cory before, so check that post out if you want a little more info on this amazing author!

Cory Doctorow – Little Brother

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Student Vote 2011 @ SGSS

Get ready SGSS!! You are invited to cast a ballot on May 2nd, 2011 with Student Vote.  This is a great way to prep you for what voting will be like in the world after high-school, as well as helping you learn more about the political parties of Canada.  Keep your eyes open for all the cool info sessions that are happening around the school this week.

Also, don’t feel as though you really have enough information about Canadian politics to make a valid choice?  Come into the library and check out the books that are on display.  We’ll also point you in the right direction for great online sources.  Be engaged!

Conservative Party of Canada

Liberal Party of Canada

Green Party of Canada

New Democratic Party of Canada

Bloc Quebecois

SGSS Student Vote Wikispace  (need to be a student/faculty/staff of SGSS in order to access)

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Three Cups of… we’re not sure…

I was a little sad when I saw that Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools and co-founder of the Central Asia Institute is in a little hot water.

For those of who haven’t read Three Cups of Tea, this inspiring book is about a failed K2 ascent in 1993 that lead into a life of giving back by raising money to build schools for girls in the countrysides of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In 1996, he co-founded the Central Asia Institute with Dr. Jean Hoerni.

The books by Mortenson are wonderful to read.  They show a man who was willing to help others no matter the cost to himself.  From his exhausted retreat of K2 into the village Korphe to his abduction by Taliban in Stones into Schools, this is a man who isn’t scared of doing what he believes is right.

And apparently he is a fabricated man.

According to Jon Krakauer, the author of Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, and until recently an avid supporter of Mortenson’s, everything that the public know about Mortenson and his organization is a falsehood.  In fact, Krakauer compares Mortenson’s books to that infamous “biography” that was so hot a couple of years ago, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey(which I still see in the biography section of some bookstores).  And there are more serious allegations made than just a little story-telling.

If you want to read more about this click on the following links:

School Supplies for Afghan Children

CBS News

Central Asia Institute

Jon Krakauer Byliner

Brookings

CTV News

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Romance for Boys: The Secret Genre

The other day I had a request from a student that really made me stop and think.

Student: “Ma’am, do we have any cool books about a boy pursuing a girl?”

Me (mentally): Twili… nope that’s a girl.  Hmmm… Hunger Ga… nope, girl.  What about Tamora Pierce’s books?… nope, Briar doesn’t actually pursue love.

After staring blindly into space for a full minute (which I’m sure made him think I hadn’t even heard his request), I had to admit defeat.  I just couldn’t think of any books off hand that had a male protagonist who was pursuing love and not being pursued by some angsty girl.  Not even a Google search was really of any help. He went away with a recommendation to check the public library, and I made it my mission to find some Romance for Boys.

This is what I’ve come up with.

1. Because, as we all know, boys are unfeeling fighting machines who are NEVER interested in anything but blood, guts and gore.

2. Because of point 1, books written for YA boys are rarely of the romantic variety.

3. If a book does have a boy pursuing love, it is usually located within the LGBT genre. Nothing wrong with that, in fact I love YA LGBT fiction and have procured some for the library.  But not what this student was looking for.

4. Reading is a girls world.  No doubt about it.

So, needless to say, that afternoon I was a little bit frustrated by my lack of research amazingness that usually allows me to find anything I want within 10 seconds by adding or deleting or completely changing my search parameters.  It was then that the little lightbulb inside my head went off and I was able to think of 2 books that we have in our library that would have fit this student’s needs to a T.

1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – yes it is considered LGBT, but the one Will Grayson is definitely straight and is after the “girl who got away because I was too blind, but now I know that I love you”.

2. Youth in Revolt – HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT THIS BOOK???! Seriously.  I saw this movie!  I knew it was a book! I ORDERED it because it was a romance for boys! I can’t even defend myself… except with maybe an excuse about a lack of coffee.

As for my search, I’m still looking for other great modern YA books that have that perfect mixture between a sword fight to the death and winning the pretty princess.  Any suggestions?

 

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As a side note…

I should probably mention what happened to the review of The Geographer’s Library that I had earlier said was coming.

I lied.

It’s not going to happen.  I am giving up on reading this book and have moved on to nicer, more interesting pastures.  It just isn’t my style of book.  I found the characters lacking authenticity (and this comes from someone who regularly reads YA fiction), and while the story line itself was interesting, the writing of it caused quite a bit of nodding off.

Maybe it was all that “complexity” and “grandeur” that so many people rave about after reading this “wonderfully written thriller!”

So, lesson of the story… stay out of books that try to be Dan Brown and Ken Follett all at once.

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Freedom to Read… can one be against censorship when one participates?

Freedom to Read week is coming to Canada within the month, and I find myself in a bit of an ethical pickle.

For the first time in my entire “reading” career, I have censored a book.  I have become one of those people who looks at a book, looks at the demographic of the people who will possibly read it, and without any guilt said, “Nope, this one isn’t hitting the shelves.”

Now, many of you may be shaking your heads and tutting in self-righteous indignation (as I would have a year ago) and saying to your fellow bookies, “Another one trying to take away creativity from young minds.”  Or whatever it is that I’m taking away from them.  Knowledge, freedom, choice, diversity, etc.

But hear me out.

The day of my slip from righteous advocate of tossing censorship began like any other work day.  I arrived in our small library to see a new box from Amazon waiting to be opened and the treasures inside to be given to the masses of young students.

Looking through the books, I excitedly pulled out a book I had ordered after hearing rave reviews from every website I looked at.

Precious based on the novel Push by Sapphire

I LOVED this book.  It was… amazing.  It painted a very real picture of what young women from poor demographics struggle with.  While filled with lots of pain and degradation, it was also filled with hope and promise.  I can see why the movie won the Sundance Award if it is even a tiny bit true to the story ( I have yet to see the movie).

But while I was in the midst of my “OMG, I love this book” self-dialogue, I began to doubt if 12-15 year old boys could honestly understand or even handle the scenes that are within this book.  I mean, I felt sick after reading parts of it!  I was left feeling disgusted with men and people in general.  I was simply overwhelmed at all the emotions that this book evoked.  For a book that has only 150 pages, it took me 4 days to read!!  I honestly felt that the younger students wouldn’t be able to deal with this book.

So with all of this going on inside my head, I did the only thing I could think to do.  I recommended that it be removed from circulating collection and placed in the workroom.  Which is where it now sits.

So here is my question to myself.  After fighting against censorship and speaking out about Freedom to choose what we want to read, know, discover… and after willingly deciding to not put a controversial book out on shelves where young readers could possibly pick it up… how do I reconcile the two different perspectives?  And is this what the real issue is in relation to censorship.  Maybe those people who have chosen to censor controversial books in the past were asking themselves the same question.

All I know is that this year for Freedom to Read week, I’m going to do a display on one censored book in particular… the one I censored.

 

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