Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blogger's Toolbox -- Thing 25

Well, if anyone actually reads this blog, he or she will notice that I have changed some things around and added little gadgets or widgets to it. The background is different--I found it from a list of templates and it seems very dramatic--very dark. My avatar, which I can't figure out how to add for my profile picture, is of a winter scene. The other widgets that I have added--the slide show (which is my favorite), the snow, the outbrain rating, the clustrmap--were added because they were easy to add.

I have rejected things that are too complicated for me to add. I tried to add some audio components and picture editing but they involved a download--which I did, but then I was lost after that--how do I get it into my blog and what do I do with it once I get it there?

I have probably spent a total of about 2 hours between checking out,checking in and shelving books and helping people. I have been learning a lot, but obviously I have a long ways to go. In looking at the few other CMLE bloggers, I find my blog to be the most canned and least relevant--no good advice about books to read or websites to visit. I attribute this to being a total amateur when it comes to new technology.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blogging -- Thing 24

Well the "things on a stick" program has resumed so I will start blogging about the "things", so if this blog is incomprehensible that is why--not that I have that many readers.

I have posted to this blog about a dozen times since the program ended. It has been a fun place to share things at the library and I have to admit in my own life. I put up a picture of my lovely daughter in her prom dress as well as an article from the local newspaper about my husband. I also posted pictures and narrative about a trip I took to Seattle. My latest blogs have related to library events, but I also have a few opinion pieces. When I get frustrated, my blog is a good place to vent. My best blog was a description of what goes on at the library after school called "I want one of the faster computers". I probably will continue to blog during and after this program because I'm finding it kind of fun.
I am not good about checking other blogs, so that is definately something I could improve upon. The few that I have looked at are the blogs of local writers who work for the Mille Lacs Messenger. The blog I have read the most was my daughter's when she was in Scotland for a semester. That seems to be a very good use of a blog--a letter to everyone when you can't see people in person.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Homeschoolers and the Library

According to the magazine Practical Homeschooling, homeschoolers now account for 20% of library checkouts. This statistic seems accurate to me. At Mille Lacs, we have about 8 regular homeschool families. They seem to check out more items and visit our programs more than other families attending public school, especially during the school year. For this reason, I put together a program this January that incorporated some American History and some library skills.
The impetus for the program was a collection of 40 poster-sized copies of famous American works of art. Picturing America is the name of the program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. By taking the posters, we agree to provide some programming related to them.
Although we met for 1 and 1/2 hours, we really only got through 5 of the pictures. The first that we looked at was of George Washington. The 15 attendees to the program and 4 parents looked in the library for a fact about our first President. Children searched the Internet, encyclopedias, almanacs and biographies. All were able to come up with something. We studied his famous portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Paul Revere was another famous subject. We looked at John Singleton Copley's portrait of this silversmith/patriot and then read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem "Paul Revere's Ride".
Two different landscapes helped to show the changes in America. from a rural to an industrial society. We compared and contrasted a "View from Mount Holyoke" by Thomas Cole (1836) with "American Landscape" (1930--a scene from the Ford motor plant near Detroit) by Charles Sheeler. The Migration Series #57 by Jacob Lawrence (1940 -41) was the final poster we looked at. We found a book in the ECRL library that showed the entire 60 paintings and also told the story of how blacks left the south around the time of World War I to come up to northern cities.
It was great fun working with the homeschool children. I think they enjoy the paintings and also being able to be around other children. I hope to have 3 more of these programs this spring and also try to incorporate more library skills in addition to showing children these classic American works of art.