Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dewey or don't we? or What ARE those numbers for?

Beautiful centuries-old volumes at Oxford University

I can think of fewer things more dull than waxing poetic about the virtues of the Dewey Decimal System.  However, when a junior approached me and said, “I’ve never understood what these numbers are for”, I realized that he was, in all likelihood, not alone.  So, boys and girls, this will be a brief description to satisfy your need for logic and stability in a turbulent world!

Think of the numbers on the book spine as their address.  It’s where they live on the shelves.  Book nerds memorize them unintentionally:  we know that the Civil War is 973.7 (973 is U.S. History & the .7 indicates the years 1861-1865), British poets are in the 821 section, and cookbooks are in the 641s.  There truly IS logic here:  if you’re looking for Military History, you’ll look in the 355s (300s are Social Sciences/Social History), weapons are found in the 623s (600s are Technology), but the specific history of World War II is in the 940.53 or .54 sections (940s are European History).  Don’t snicker…somebody needs to be the keeper of such information, just as someone needs to know advanced calculus (and that is definitely not me!).

When you’re researching your topic in the library, find books in the library catalog, note their Dewey #, and search the shelves, using the handy little guides on the inside edges of the stacks.  They’re in numerical order, so they’re easy to locate.  If you’re looking for a particular title about Korea, look around in the 951.9 section; there will be several other titles on the same, or closely-related, topic.  This method works for whatever topic you have—look around the same call number to find similar information. 

And there you have it—another tool to craft the quintessential research paper!   So, Dewey?  Sure we do!

Mrs. Hodge

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Technology and expectations

“Papa! No working! No work!” an exasperated Zack exclaims.
His stuffed bear, dizzy from its recent shaking, refuses to produce technology.
Zack has expectations. And they’re based in technology. Deeply seated expectations: movement, light, sound, even voice recognition. He’s come to expect it. And this stuffed piece of quasi realistic bear is falling short of the mark. Patiently, his dad explains, “Zack, it’s a stuffed animal. It doesn’t do anything.” A pause. Then, “Papa – not working!”

What is the value of technology? Can we only assess value when the technology is missing (or not working properly)? I share Zack’s exasperation. There is a bit of Wi-Fi saturation at school, and at home.
Devices that responded as quickly as I could type are now lagging.
It feels like the rapid expansion of technical complexity is folding in on itself – making mischief among the devices.

Complexity is wondrous. It can be as captivating as the patterning of a barrel cactus bloom. With layers of symmetry inviting your speculations about geometry.
And equally challenging.
I know one thing though: I want to go forward.
Like Zack, I have expectations.
-Mrs. Eldridge

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why blog?

Why blog?  For librarians “of a certain age," blogging isn’t usually the first item on our “to do” list.  Maybe that’s the point…to step outside our comfort zone, to meet students, current and past, in a way that’s familiar to them.  We want to share our varied views of this busy corner of the Prep world.  We’ll talk about events in and around the library, what’s new in the world of books and non-books, amusing interactions with students and teachers, or things only vaguely library-related.  We’ll even throw in some photos!   The library is the figurative and literal center of campus—we think it deserves a blog.  This is where you come in:  we’d like to find a great name for this blog.  If you submit the winning name, you will receive a semi-fabulous prize!  Intrigued?  Then, please shoot us an email with a clever, amusing, eye-catching title.  Fame and fortune could be yours!  Well, maybe that’s a bit overstated, but you get the idea…
-Mrs. Hodge

Monday, February 7, 2011

Heart, Mind and Soul

It's admissions time on campus. I love meeting the kids who come in the library during their interviews; they have such wonder on their faces. I find myself dying to tell them why I believe Prep should be their number one choice, in fact they are standing in the perfect place to prove my point! Our library is a microcosm of the school. A smaller version of the larger story of our Prep community. A school with a heart!
Stay with me. You have the downstairs where kids gather to share ideas, secrets and their newest interests. It’s a place to be encouraged and to encourage friends, an opportunity for deeper teacher-student relationships. Younger kids are tutored by upper classmen. There is tons of laughter, sometimes tears, planning of prom dates, who will run for office, the newest trends. It is a place to show off art work, mini monologues, dance…just about anything is respectfully experienced here. It is where the “warm and fuzzy” happens!

Now take a walk up the staircase, through a foyer, take a deep breath and you will have entered the quiet, intellectual part of the library. Walls are lined with students on computers, deep in research. Packed with extremely focused, high achieving young people, yet you can hear a pin drop. It is the serious side.  It is the introspective place where you can curl up in a cozy chair and get lost in a book or just close your eyes and get rejuvenated.
There is no question, in my mind, that anyone who chooses Prep will receive a stellar education and be totally prepared for college. But, just as important they will be emotionally mature and ready for a new life! The whole person will have been cared for, heart, mind and soul!

-Mrs. Ursettie