library

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

deeplightWant a beautifully complex and interesting fantasy adventure, then just get hold of this and get stuck in.

Hark is a plucky young man who eeks out a living, not always honestly, as part of a group of young street rogues on his island Lady’s Crave which is part of the Myriad group of islands. It is a rugged and dangerous place, apart from the dangers of cliffs and dangerous foes there is also the danger that lurks in the sea. A sea which has levels, once you dive down under the water you eventually reach a level where you can breathe freely. However, monsters dwell here, monsters that the locals call gods, they have become pieces of gods now, these pieces are valuable, people want them, they give power and are downright scary. If you melded bits of gods together you might create a huge monster which would make you so powerful that you could wield that power in a very unpleasant and dangerous way, even become monstrous in your power.

Hark has been caught trying to rob the wrong person, he ends up in court and is sold to the highest bidder into slavery. His purchaser is a very unusual woman, he is put to work in a sanctuary but he knows that she is doing weird things elsewhere.

This is a wonderful story of courage, determination, loyalty and adventure. Layer upon layer of story all linking and tying together in a fantastic way. There is a lot going on, Hark is pulled betwixt and between, divided in his loyalties and desperate for approval. There is a most wonderful young woman character who is deaf, Hark’s bond with her was one of the joys in this book.

This is one of those books which will work for lots of readers. I think that is what Frances Hardinge does, she writes a book for kids, but the story is so complex and layered that it will keep even the most cynical adult hooked. I would be recommending it to readers who loved Percy Jackson’s world, but this is more complex and nuanced. Readers from intermediate and senior primary school all the way up will be caught up in this world.

Broken Ground by Val McDermid

brokenI had so wanted this to be great but is was only ok. I like Karen Pirie and have read a few of these books in the past and thought them pretty good. I’m a died in the wool Val McDermid fan and always want them to be amazing and she usually delivers. This one wasn’t my fave though, I loved the start, and thought the whole idea of burying motorcycles so that they could later be retrieved after the war and sold, was cool. Then they find a body buried with the bikes and Karen and her team enter to investigate this historic murder. Unfortunately Karen is grieving her partner, her boss hates her and is setting her up to fail. That isn’t good but then Karen goes on dates with one of the suspects and generally behaves in a way that I found unrealistic and the story just plods along. We get bogged down in the drama between Karen and her boss, the spy who is infiltrating Karen’s team and the detail of the investigation, so much detail, so slow to move along.

I got frustrated with Karen, need the story to get moving and just struggled through it. I was helped by a plane journey which meant I got stuck into it in the end but it seldom takes me so long to finish a book. I do however look forward to a new Val and hope for one that is a bit more exciting.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me access to this book.

Google – marketing 101

If you ever doubted that Google is HUGE then you haven’t been aware of the sheer marketing power and pulling power of Chrome and Google+.  Whoever does the marketing for Google is doing it so brilliantly.  You want the geek peeps to be desperate to try your new product?  Then make it by invitation only.  We will all be hanging out waiting, begging out Twitter buddies and FB friends for an invitation.  I got mine yesterday from the fabulous @heyjude from the Hey Jude blog and have spent a little time playing with it today.  Its my first day back from SLANZA conference where I was challenged, inspired and given a mission or two for my library.  One of those missions is to further engage my library with social media, be that Facebook, Google+ or more engagement with Twitter, I haven’t figured out which direction I’m going to go yet but I’m definitely going there.  In the meantime check out these two marketing videos from Google for the Chrome browser – If you haven’t tried Chrome you should really give it a go.

This is so gorgeous it may well make you go all gooey.

Now let’s hear it for Chrome via Lady Gaga (this woman is so cool – they will study her in marketing papers of the future I’m sure)

Are you happy?

I found this fabulous graphic on the ALA Learning Round Table blog.  I think it is a doozy!  Showed it to a couple of folks at work and we all agreed this is pretty damn good.  So using the flow chart above:  Am I happy?  Pretty much!  So I have to follow the Yes line.  Better keep doing what I am doing.  Things can change though, and the next time I have to make a big decision, or if I am in the depths of misery I’m going to get out the chart and figure things out using it.  I think often times in an organisation it is possible to get very influenced by those around you.  If your work buddies are a bit flat it can be infectious and you can get dragged into the mire of putting things down and bearing a bit of bitterness and resentment which isn’t actually yours to own.  Next year I am going to be much better at trying not to do this.

I also think that while the chart above is good, there are lots of grey areas.  You can be happyish for instance or miserableish.  Lucky for me mostly the miserableish times are considerably fewer than the others, and wallowing in misery is not my style, I’m far more likely to get shitty and explode and then it will be all over and I’m back to normal again, but it is the situations that drag on for a long time which you can’t do anything about which are the hardest to deal with.  While the chart tells you to change something if you want to be happy this is not as simple as it might seem.  Sometimes the thing that does your head in is something that you cannot change.

I have a situation like this every year at this time of the year when the year is nearly over.  Frankly it is a pain!  It is a small but not insignificant thing, and I can’t change it, because even though it affects me directly I am not consulted, and even if I am, my opinion is not considered.  So, what to do?  I have decided to let it go!  Eventually someone will see that several staff members are adversely affected by the situation, that it costs my employer lots of money because of how it is currently done and that it could be managed much better.  I have grown tired of trying to change the things I cannot change, and battling against forces that are stronger than me.  In the meantime I am doing a something about a situation I can do something about, and which will, when it is sorted, make me much happier at work at this time of year.  Sorting it out!  Making me happier!  OMG I’m finally growing up!

Information literacy – the ah ha moment

If you don’t inhabit the library world at all then this is going to be really mundane and boring, but if you do you should check it out.

This is a double whammy posting, it is also appearing on the link dump part so that I can keep track of it for doing the professional reading thingy. So if you are one of those two people who check that page then you are getting it twice sorry.

This is possibly the biggest Ah Ha moment of the year.  Have I said that already this year?  Probably.  Buffy Hamilton you are a school library goddess and I can only aspire to be 5% as good as you. But this posting right here is the bees knees.  Watch the video below and realise that maybe if you are running some kind of Info Lit programme then maybe the kids are listening.  Yes it is American stats they are showing but I think you could probably say the same for here.  I might just repost this on the main page as well in case it gets lost on here in the backblocks of the link dump.

If you watch this and want more, and I just really think you should you might want to watch Buffy Hamilton being interviewed by the great Harold Reingold here on his DML Central blog.  Inspirational learning using Web 2.0 tools in English.

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words (via Steve McCurry’s Blog)

This came through my Twitter feed today. I love these pictures. The international appeal of reading and text, everyone everywhere needs to be able to read so that they are able to work, to play, to help find a community and to enable a connection with other people, to figure out how to do things, and to just get on in society.

Today I worked with a class of Year 10 students helping them with a research assignment, the problem for many of them was that their spelling was so bad, they could not find the information they were searching for, and when they found it, there was so much text on a page that their major urge was to simply copy and paste the whole webpage into a word document and call it quits. It was only with me reading out what was on the pages that they realised that not everything worked to answer the questions they had to answer. They just trusted that if there was a webpage that came up in a Google search (or a Bing search – man I hate Bing) that it would be exactly what they needed. The worst one was when there was a photo-shopped picture of a tsunami and the student was so blown away by the image that even though he realised it was fake, it was so much more impressive than the real thing that he decided to use it instead of the less impressive real photos.

What is my point (let’s leave the copyright and the plagiarism issues alone for now). My point is that these boys were so disadvantaged compared to their peers, the mere fact that they couldn’t check facts, or analyse data meant that they blindly trusted that the text in front of them was right. How will they cope in later life, will they go through their lives blindly trusting that what is written is truth. These guys need help, they need to be able to read, they need to be able to look at information and think critically about it, and they badly need to be able to find strategies to help with spelling. I’m hoping to get them back for a session where we look at a few things, how to search so that you can find better information, information that really works to answer the questions you have to answer, and how to make better decisions on what you put in your assignment. Might also show them how the spelling and definition features work in google.

But lets please get them reading the information in front of them rather than blindly accepting that it is all correct. Reading skills are for life, for a better life.

Fusion:  The Synergy of Images and Words Ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press which enabled everyone to read books, artists have tried to portray the relationship of a reader and his/her book.        Garrett Stewart’s book, The Look of Reading:  Book, Painting, Text, explores the relationship of reading and art.       We are familiar with words describing images, but not so familiar with images describing words and the impact reading has on our lives.           Artists fro … Read More

via Steve McCurry’s Blog

Old Spice Ads @ the library

The tears are streaming down my face with laughter!  I have to share this.  So, you have to have seen the Old Spice Ads they look like this – there are many and a Facebook page  (I’ve linked to the one where he answers the questions of the fans, more chortling with laughter here)  but below is one of the early ones.  Watch, then head on down the page.

So, then the parodys start!  This is one with a  library theme – cos that is how I roll!  I do understand if it isn’t as amusing to others as it was to me – actually that is a lie, this is so funny and you’d better be laughing along I tell ya! Link via CMIS Fiction Focus blog

Nation by Terry Pratchett

I loved this book from the first line on the first page.  Terry Pratchett is not always my cup of tea but this particular one is a winner.  A boy, Mau, has been sent out to an off shore island in order to learn to be a man by himself. As he sets out on his journey back to the main island there is a massive tidal wave which he survives but he arrives home to find utter devastation and no other survivors from his people, however a ship has been carried ashore and a young English girl survives.  This is their story.  They have to survive, they have to get along and they have to teach each other skills.  A great book about overcoming difficulty, how different religions are fundamentally the same, how myths can come from realities and all told with fantastic humour and cleverness.

The book has some great lines in in.  One of my faves is “… That’s the one I’m going to bring said the ghost girl, ‘and to save time, shall we pretend we’ve had the argument and I won?.”  Cute – tried this on my beloved one but she was not going to fall for that!

I read this book as a book for young adults but I really think that anybody of any age would love it.  Highly highly recommended.

Inside your search

This post is courtesy of the wonderful Miriam!

The mighty Google finally reveals the secret of it’s success.  Well of course it is a librarian.  Who else would you go to with a query?  http://www.insideyoursearch.com/.  There are some cool searches you can do to make her jump!  Try searching for Weetabix, or Do a trick, or weather in London.

FRBR, AACR2, RDA, UBC, ISBN, MARC, MARC21

Librarianship it turns out, is a hotbed of acronyms. It is truly spectacular how every time an important library committee meets they can choose a new acronym which poor library science students such as myself have to memorise. I feel lucky, so many have been used now that maybe they will run out. Or just feel obliged to put random letters together and make up the words to go with them.

Library Geek books.  Old style!

Library Geek books. Old style!

One of those days

Look It Up!

Look It Up!

I mean, not a free period all day, ate my lunch while doing interviews with boys, walked to the canteen for emergency lollycake, then back to the onslaught.  Was full on.  Year 8 interviews in the library after school and I was at a meeting about wikieducator, which was pretty cool actually, but library total tip from exams, classes, lunchtime and the latest craze of tearing up paper to tiny pieces and throwing them all over the place.  Sigh.

Assignment 1 is in

Yes folks, finally, the overread, overwritten, undercorrected assignment has hit the server at the Open Polytechnic.  Thank God!  Now I can get onto the next one.

What’s next I hear you cry in eager anticipation – why it’s the cataloguing one.  I K N O W!  So much excitement to be had there.

The celebratory Magnum is about to be consumed.