Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Cure for Online Addiction

Do you have an online addiction? Are you playing too many online games and checking in on social media all the time? It's time to read a book, says Randy Murray.  He advises that you should have at least 6 books in your queue.  What is he reading?  A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare:1599. 

I am reading this article on online addiction the same day that I am reading about the new cheaper Kindle Fire that's here to compete with the IPad and the Nook: $199.00 for the Kindle Fire, $139 for Nook Touch.

By the way, other ways listed to fight online addiction are gardening and cleaning.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Prezi & Slideshare

I have been looking forward to Thing 17 The Medium is the message: Prezi and Slideshare.  I did a test Prezi on public speaking but I found the video instructions a little difficult to follow. I like that Prezi is free.  I like that I can upload an existing powerpoint and upload videos so I played with that. I find it time consuming right now but I would imagine with practice I would be able to use my time wisely.   When done properly, Prezi's zooming ability really is impressive to me, for example, this brief presentation by wikiman about blogging. Apart from one spelling error the presentation is awesome.

I have learned a lot from the repository that is slideshare but have never created a powerpoint and  posted on it. I had no idea people used visual resumes like this very creative yet simple one here.  I still have not tested slideshare but if I ever have anything worth sharing this is a useful tool.

Still Life: Who dun it?

I came across some Criminal Justice students last week who had to find a book, fiction or non-fiction, and relate it to Criminal Justice. I recommended, to one student, a book club selection from April 2006, Blind Obedience by Bill Boyd, about real life murders that took place in Valdosta, Georgia.  Another student chose The Hollow by Agatha Christie.   She said Hercule Poirot is on the periphery in this story.

If I were doing the assignment, Still Life by Louise Penny, the book I am reading now would be a good choice.  I'd write about the setting of the mystery, Three Pines in the French speaking area of Quebec, and write about the main characters, Jane Neal the deceased,  her best friend Clara Morrow, and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. I would write about investigative strategy as the Inspector explains it to his protege, Yvette Nichol.  He says listening to the villagers, to the suspects to the gossip, to one's instincts and to one's colleagues are keys. He pointed out three of four things that would lead to wisdom if said sincerely: "I don't know. I need help. I'm sorry."  He forgot the fourth but to add humor to the story, the writer makes Nichol literally thinks it's, "I forget".  I am looking forward to hearing what the fourth element really is. I would give examples of Gamache practicing these three or four elements if I were in the CJ class.

I am on page 156.  So far the investigation is leaning towards Jane Neal's death being a murder made to look like a hunting accident. Timmer Hadley, a hateful, needy, manipulative woman,  who died just a few months before Jane, supposedly died of kidney cancer but her name comes up so often I am beginning to think this was also a murder. I'll read on and find out but I won't tell, just in case you want to read this book too.  Interestingly, Timmer's son is the one that found Jane.

Personally, I think Jane's murder has something to do with her art work.  She did her art while Timmer was dying and everyone was at the Fair. Despite her stick figure drawings people recognized themselves in the drawing.  Is there someone who should have been at the fair and wasn't? When I find out, I am still not telling. . 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Award Winning Book: Still Life

Still Life by Louise Penny is our book selected for discussion next month.  Has anyone read this book?  This award winning book is a murder mystery set in the village of Three Pines, Canada.  It starts off with a dead woman in the first sentence,  "Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday."  What an intriguing first sentence! Jane was 76 years old.  We are introduced on page 1 to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a French Canadian in his mid-fifties, who is investigating the case.  Page 2 flashes back to just before Jane was murdered and introduces us to her friends.  Her dearest friend is Clara Morrow.

So far I am not finding it as interesting as the first in the series of Young Sherlock Holmes by Shane Peacock. I am pressing along because I am curious to find out why this lady described as a wonderful and gentle woman is a murder victim. I am also curious about what is inside her house.  No one, not even her dearest friend Clara, had ever been inside.

This is the first in a series by Louise Penny. It has won all these awards:

2006 New Blood Dagger
2006 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
2007 Anthony Award for Best First Novel

2007 Barry Award for Best First Novel
2007 Dilys Award
Finalist 2010 Barry Award for Best Novel of the Decade.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Award Winning Books

Winning! I just found out through Facebook that my former Geography teacher, Diane Browne, won a Commonwealth award for her short story for children, The Happiness Dress.  The Overall winner was Philip Nash with his book, Rejoinder . Barbara Nash from Trinidad was the Caribbean winner with Head Not Made for Hat Alone.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

UK World Book Night - Aprl 23, 2012

This blog about CPD23 Thing 16 led me to a list of top 100 books posted by a UK campaign promoting libraries and reading, World Book Night April 23, 2012   The logo says, A million reasons to read a book.

This list will certainly be of interest to my book club.  Many on the list are books that the club read already such as The Book Thief, Shadow of the Wind, and The Help. Over 250 persons across the UK chose those books as their personal top 10 favorite books. My other favorite book, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was selected by 237 persons. Yet another favorite, Lovely Bones, was selected by only 184 persons.

Friday, September 16, 2011

East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

We meet today to discuss East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson.  This book won the UK Romantic Novel of the Year prize and Le Prince Maurice Award 2010 for literary love stories.

I read this historical fiction some time ago and I will have to check out amazon reviews before this evening's meeting to remind myself  how the story unfolded.  I remember it was about a "Fishing Fleet" a derogatory term for British women who sailed off to India "to fish" for husbands from among the British soldiers.

Read how the writer came up with the idea for her book.  I am actually the one who recommended this book because I liked the storyline about three naive women sailing off to India; one to get married, one to find a husband, and one to chaperone the others and find out more about her deceased family.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thing 19: CPD23 Reflection

Thing 19 is similar to Thing 5. It's all about reflection.

Recall:  I am happy that 23 Things started off early with Social Media encouraging blogging, tweeting, Facebook and so on. Pursuing 23 Things with CPD23 has encouraged me to comment on other librarian's blogs rather than just lurk.  I joined twitter as a PR tool for my Toastmasters club a few months ago.  Thanks to CPD23 I started a separate personal twitter account.
Evaluation:
What did I learn?  The three things that stand out for me are Mendeley, Screen Capturing using Jing, and  Podcasting.
What did I enjoy? I have enjoyed learning from other bloggers.  I particularly enjoyed reading how other persons entered the profession.
What worked well? CPD23 has made me think.  I am thinking about library advocacy vs.activism. I don't think I will be presenting at conferences any time soon but I will be looking for opportunities to present to a non-librarian audience. I have done this before; I spoke about some of the issues involved in renovating a college library to the Kiwanis Club last year.
Application: Right now I am satisfied with Camtasia.  I am not sure Jing or podcasts will be applied on the job but the knowledge will be useful. I would like to be more active as an advocate for libraries generally. What library issues am I (should I be) concerned about?  I found this link useful. My answer would be reduced hours, staff, services at public libraries, eBooks and the digital divide, Literacy. These are some links that I am going to look at some more to get ideas: Hobbit Hole, this newspaper article on Andy Woodworth, and the use of Change.org

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thing 18: CPD23 - Screen Capture & Podcasts

Note: You can hear my voice for 30 days.

Thing 18 is what I have been waiting for. I have heard about Jing, that it is easy to use, and will download it to my computer today.  Camtasia is available at my library so I am more familiar with it.  I have used Camtasia to instruct users on how to get a password to access the online collection of databases from their home computer. Also, I have used Camtasia  to create a virtual library tour.   Some changes have taken place in the library recently so I am in the process of updating the virtual tour: taking new pictures for the PowerPoint and updating my script. 

One advice given to me when I first started with Camtasia was to not let the message/the lesson go beyond 3 minutes.  Students' attention span is limited. As Jamaicans would say,"So I get it, so I give it".

As a result of Thing 18 I created my first test podcast using Audacity.  I am excited.  The link to Podwhating was very helpful to me.  I did not know I had to download the MP3 encoder, LAME, to use in conjunction with Audacity.   For weeks I have been trying to figure out how to create a podcast.  I had the podcatching software, i-tunes, and the sound recorder, Audacity, then I was stuck.

My task this week is to check out how other libraries are using podcasts.  I noticed one Librarian blogger said that her students were not interested in non-visuals and were not keen on putting their book reviews in audio format.

On a personal note, I need to buy a more sophisticated mic for my home computer.  On this cheap mic I can hear all the emphasis on my 's' sounds.

Using these instructions I have signed up with a podcast host, archive.org. Since this is a test, this podcast will be for 30 days. I am excited!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Stop You're Killing Me"

Here is a site site to die for(pun very much intended) which I got from my FB friend.  It's called Stop You're Killing Me. It's a good source for titles of favorite mystery book writers and series characters.  The site covers Agatha Awards, Anthony Award Nominees, Dagger Award Nominees, and more.

More on Mini-Books

I should have posted, for those of you interested, the link to Kindle Singles.  According to the link, the Singles "offer a vast spectrum of reporting, essays, memoirs, narratives, and short stories presented to educate, entertain, excite, and inform."

If you don't own a kindle, you can download free amazon app to read Kindle books on your PC. I just did.  I bought a really interesting and easy read titled, Social Media by David Mullings for $2.99

eBooks: Mini-Books, Chunkable Books

Never heard of mini-books or chunkable books?  Well I'm just learning that Apple has launched "Quick Reads" and Amazon has "Singles" which allows readers access to portions or chunks of an eBook.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Bookstores, Librarians, and Book Bloggers

How are librarians and bookstores working with book bloggers?  Read Book Blog Basics.  Read how booksellers are "getting in bed" with book bloggers.   Check out the Book Lady's Blog.  

Staying true to Thing 15, here is a Librarian preparing to present on the topic, The World of Book Blogs.     This made me search Google for a list of Book Blogs. This is what I found, a top 10 best book blogs list.

Note to self: Think of, write about, speak about a topic relating to book blogs that has not already been covered.  

Monday, September 05, 2011

CPD23 - Thing 16 Advocacy

Note to CPD23: All right CPD23 I see where this is going.  You want me to be proactive.  You want me to be a real librarian joining professional organizations, speaking at and organizing library conferences, and publishing in library publications.  I just wanted to learn a little more about the technology, people.

Thing 16 is about Advocacy and Getting Published and I am to discuss the following:
  • Importance of Advocacy and Examples of advocacy on my part:  Yes, advocacy is important for job security my own and others.  It is important to me because I believe in equity of access.  I personally advocate for public libraries on this blog.  I still have the Geek the Library campaign on my blog.  I promote frugal library tips on this blog and at my job.  Library Advocacy is part of my job. The purpose of writing for my library's newsletter and the student newspaper where I work, is to promote library use.  Also, I am a Toastmaster. I get the opportunity to speak about my passions at least once per month. Books and libraries just happen to be a few of my passions.  I believe my fellow Toastmasters, who come from all areas of work, have a better understanding of what I do. Now that I am taking this adventure with CPD23, I will check out other ways to get involved as an "activist' and still keep my job ;). 
  •  I just checked out the hashtag #savelibraries on Twitter and will follow @Save_Libraries to see what others are doing. 
  • Thing 16 had a Publication challenge! A prize for anyone who gets a piece of library advocacy published. I must add that I am thankful the section dealing with publishing also mentions publishing outside of library publications -blogs. That is something I know about. 

Thing 15: All about Conferences - CPD23

Thing 7 was about F2F networking and conferences and  I wrote about conferences I remembered attending.  Thing 15 is encouraging librarians to attend, present and organize conferences.  My Thing 15 task is to discuss using these questions as guides:

  • What worked and what didn’t work? I remember that the AUCRIL conference I attended covered topics that were way above my level of understanding. On the other hand, The Georgia COMO conference with the theme: Beaches, Blogs, and Books, was very interesting to me.  It related more to my every day job. I learned to look at things differently and I enjoyed having a real live author as a presenter.   I have also attended conferences for libraries in the University System where I work.  Those have been useful.  Generally what did not work is the information overload; giving too much information in too little time. Also, I am a Toastmaster.  I automatically listen for distracting filler words and tend to be turned off if the presenter is disorganized or speaks in a monotone. 
  • The Future:
    • Are there conferences you’d like to attend?  The past two years I attended conferences in my state online.  I prefer F2F contact for conferences but in lieu of that I would love to attend Georgia COMO  online but so far this is not an option.
    • If you have a burning idea for a great event, now would probably be a good time to talk about it!  Since the technology is constantly changing, some of these very topics covered in CPD23 would be good:  Reference Management Tools, Collaboration Tools, Social Networking for Librarians.

Things 13 & 14: Online Collaboration & Reference Management Tools - CPD23

I have not written anything before on Things 13 and 14 but I have been experimenting with the projects. I see my fellow learners have left me behind and moved on to Thing 18. 

Thing 13 is about Online Collaboration using Google Docs, Wikis, and DropBox.  Accessing Google docs was easy since I have a google account. 

Everyone is familiar with wikipedia so I have an idea about how wikis are used and I have explored library wikis prior to this adventure into CPD23.  I have never tried to edit or add to a wiki prior to this. I took on the task of registering with the Library Routes wiki, a wiki set up since 2009, and posted my blog link to Thing 10 about how I got into librarianship.  I am not sure if I was successful in posting but I will check later.   I browsed and found out that other librarians added their Thing 10 blog link to this wiki.

If I ever want to start my own wiki or ask students to do group work by preparing a wiki, I know now that I can simply go to or recommend these links: Mediawiki.org and PBWorks.   This information was useful to me.

I registered with DropBox but I can see I will not be using that much.

Thing 14 is all about Reference Management Tools: Zotero, Mendeley, and CiteULike.  Last week  I attended an online class : Mendeley for Librarians.  I liked the academic social networking aspect, that it does not require a special browser,and that it can be downloaded for free.  I will experiment some more with Mendeley.

This blog about Thing 14: Managing the Sea of Information by Rebecca in Indiana who is a fan of Zotero was very useful feedback for me. 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

What Should Our Book Club Read Next?

Our book club is trying to decide what to read next.  These books listed below are suggestions we have so far.  You will notice that they are mostly Young Adult fiction:
 
How Angel Peterson Got His Name   is Kathy's pick.

Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is Linda's pick but it has many 3 star reviews on amazon.

Death in the Air, Young Sherlock Holmes 2nd mystery is my pick because I enjoyed the first one.

This one is not Young Adult; the setting is Japan,Wind Up Bird Chronicle, but it is over 600 pages long.

We will decide at our next meeting.

Friday, September 02, 2011

World Champs in Daegu, South Korea

Let me congratulate Caribbean athletes for their fantastic performance in Daegu:

Yohan Blake gold medalist from Jamaica 100m men.
Veronica Campbell Brown gold medalist from Jamaica 200m women, silver medalist in the 100m.
Kirani James, 18 year old gold medalist from the island of Grenada 400m men

Others have won medals but these three were fantastic so far.  There is more to come. I have been truly entertained.  Great job y'all.

What's in Cheney's Book?

Former VP of USA, Dick Cheney, has a book out, In My Time: a Personal and Political Memoir. OK that's no longer news because already there is controversy with Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. 

Read what Rice has reportedly said about the content of the book.  Also, here is Former Secretary of State Powell's feedback.  

This morning I found this interesting link that gave a little more information about what is in the book.   Read if you intend to add this memoir to your collection.