Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 3

More talent: from Colorado Academy
 Seeing the student art at Alexander Dawson School created a powerful hunger for more art. So, instead of lunch today, I headed for the art district on Santa Fe. Not surprisingly, I got on the bus headed the wrong way. A kindly soul inquired, "how long are you staying in Denver?" And the words of the well-traveled came back to me: don't read your map in public. "Was it the map that gave me away?" I ventured. We talked for a while, and I learned that there is an amazing synergy happening in Denver: a networking haven for entrepreneurs. My public transportation companion, who is studying entrepreneurship, is interning at the networking haven (Battery 621) and invited me for a tour.

Battery 621 is both pure genius and absolute simplicity: a place to share ideas and resources. There are glassed-in conference rooms for sit-down meetings and tall round tables for gathering and brainstorming.There is a full kitchen for planned or impromptu eating experiences- because food brings people and ideas together.

The space is open and expansive, populated by energetic folks involved in producing products and services that support the outdoor experience in Colorado. But that's not all: the space can transform. Merchandise displays are housed on large scale moving walls that can showcase the season's latest snowboarding attire -and a moment later become an neutral facade.

Entrepreneurs can rent space at Battery 621, joining clothing and equipment manufacturers, graphic designers, artists, marketing and advertising specialists. Or, you can rent a work-space by the hour. The concept has the support of the mayor and the governor and has received awards and positive press.

When I visited, the place was humming with activity. Kelly Mossoni, the networker/manager/organizer of Battery 621 and representative for Spyder gear speculated with me about the nature of collaboration. It just helps to talk things out, we agreed. This very morning we were talking about nurturing ideas in our morning break-out session. Brenda, an awesome librarian who was in our group, commented that she sometimes just needs to talk an idea through, and that having a good listener is essential.Then it hit me- the reason Battery 621 had my head spinning-: it mirrors the process of our AISL conference: talking, ideas, collaborating and networking. The value of birthing, nurturing and implementing ideas. What we generate through collaboration and cooperation can be spectacular. Finding that out was worth getting lost.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 2

student work from Alexander Dawson School, Boudler
Gobsmacked. Just a jaw-dropping amazing day. From our speaker and schools, to the "Frock-Out" event; Denver has exceeded my expectations....again. Check out the work from students at the Alexander Dawson School in Boulder.

 We returned late from the "Frock Out" event, which is an annual fundraiser for a culturally enriching series of activities for adults, hosted by the Denver Public Library. It was the place to be and to be seen.
From the content of our sessions today, to the schools (and their creative talents), to our AISL group, today has filled our senses.
Isn't this amazing?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 1

LoDo, Denver

Wheeeee! Rode the B-cycle to the hotel this morning, crisp (39° F) air filling my lungs, the streets still quiet.  The sweet bed-n-breakfast where I am staying is in the “LoDo” neighborhood. The Victorian style homes are being painted, prepped and pampered. Sidewalks are slabs of textured red rock, rolling out down the street. As I zoomed (an exaggeration, no doubt) toward the hotel, the early shift of Yoga devotees poured out of the studio, lilting toward their cars and bicycles. At the hotel, click! I returned the B-cycle to a rack and boarded the bus with 120 other librarians. Then the real work began. We traveled to Graland Country Day School for breakfast and an author visit.

We wrote an entirely silly sentence as an exercise. Our first speaker, Ingrid Law, is an author and Newbery Award winner. She encouraged us to put the editor away and write with abandon, to embrace metaphor and the power of the story.  She showed us the way words “move;” the roll of the sounds, the structure of the letters. Words that move are fun. They help create pictures and emotions.  Sometimes, there just isn’t the right word. That’s when making up words is essential. Ingrid shared her favorite made up words with us. Here’s one: jim-jammed – when you are really nervous about something.

In our digital storytelling workshop, I wrote a digital composition, collecting pictures, audio and narration. It is easy to see how a digital composition could be effective for personal stories, poetry interpretation, framing historical events, and promoting library services.

After a powerwalk to lunch, we heard a lecture on plagiarism called, “No More Cat and Mouse.” Before I tell you more about this one, I need to relive the lecture through my notes.  There was abundant information, theory and practical application. 

The best thing about today was the intangibles. Watching the elementary school students flee the classroom to recess, then return, filled with anticipation for their next lesson. 

A wide-eyed Denver cat greeted me when I returned this evening, hinting at a shared chicken dinner. It has been a full first day. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Visions of Denver

Denver's B-Cycles: Borrow one here; leave it over there.

The librarians set a course for Denver in a week. Won't you come along - virtually? It's going to be a meet-up of librarians from all over the United States and Canada. From Hawaii to New Hampshire; Toronto to Coconut Grove. Our common denominator: we are private school librarians, working with young people; making information and resources available to our school communities.

Our personal passions: as varied, wonderful and unique as we are. One of our group raises guide dogs, another is a rancher. Lots of us love to travel: to see things through a different lens, to deeply experience the moment we are in.

Each year we visit a different area. Last year, we descended on San Francisco, the year before - Nashville, and before that - Las Vegas. Part of the joy of the conference is seeing different areas of Canada and the United States; soaking up the geography, history and culture of the region. We enjoy seeing how the schools are regionally different, but essentially the same in their mission: ensuring access to information and resources and creating a supportive, warm environment for the students and school community.

Stayed tuned for more entries of the Rocky Mountain travel blogs...

Mrs. Eldridge

Monday, April 2, 2012


On my To-Read shelf

The Never-ending Book Quiz caught my eye first.  I’m one of those people who gravitates toward quizzes, with topics as varied as “How Healthy are You?,” “Name all the State Capitals in 5 Minutes,” “Find your Decorating Style by Answering These 20 Questions,” “Fill in the Elements on the Periodic Table,” and pretty much anything you’d find on Jeopardy.  Librarians are, by nature, curious.  While we can’t know everything, we’re armed with mad skills, enabling us to find nearly anything.  As you might imagine, as a librarian, I felt quite smug about taking the Neverending Book Quiz.  After taking it numerous times (because it’s never-ending), I’ve been properly put in my place, with only an 18-correct-answer winning streak.  There are dozens of book quizzes on Goodreads, but this one’s my favorite.
One of my favorite titles

Goodreads is a great website, like Facebook with a literary bent, great for keeping track of books you’ve read and books you’d like to read, seeing what your friends are reading and recommending, finding book trivia or quotations, information about authors, and taking or creating book quizzes.  Unlike some so-called reviewers on Amazon, who might simply write that their book arrived late (1-star) or have a gripe against an author (e.g. a liberal reader writing about a conservative author, even though they’ve never read the book), Goodreads reviews are usually bona fide reviews—what the reader liked/didn’t like about the writing, the plot, the format, etc.  Some reviews can still be snarky (I’m a real fan of this review of The Elegance of the Hedgehog), but even this review, like most on this site, is on-point and can be helpful if you’re on the fence about whether to read a particular book. 

Are you a reader?  A quizmaster?  Both?  Join your soulmates at Goodreads!

Mrs. Hodge