Friday, February 28, 2014

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?

Some music from NCIS episodes:

Off I Go by Greg Laswell

Hello World - Lady Antebellum

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Does reading actually change the brain?

Repost from: Futurity 

After reading a novel, actual changes linger in the brain, at least for a few days, report researchers.
Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, appear in the journal Brain Connectivity.

“Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, lead author of the study and the director of Emory University’s Center for Neuropolicy. “We want to understand how stories get into your brain, and what they do to it.”

Neurobiological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has begun to identify brain networks associated with reading stories. Most previous studies have focused on the cognitive processes involved in short stories, while subjects are actually reading them as they are in the fMRI scanner.
The study focused on the lingering neural effects of reading a narrative. Twenty-one Emory undergraduates participated in the experiment, which was conducted over 19 consecutive days.

All of the study subjects read the same novel, Pompeii, a 2003 thriller by Robert Harris that is based on the real-life eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Italy.

“The story follows a protagonist, who is outside the city of Pompeii and notices steam and strange things happening around the volcano,” Berns says. “He tries to get back to Pompeii in time to save the woman he loves. Meanwhile, the volcano continues to bubble and nobody in the city recognizes the signs.”

The researchers chose the book due to its page-turning plot. “It depicts true events in a fictional and dramatic way,” Berns says. “It was important to us that the book had a strong narrative line.”

For the first five days, the participants came in each morning for a base-line fMRI scan of their brains in a resting state. Then they were given nine sections of the novel, about 30 pages each, over a nine-day period. They were asked to read the assigned section in the evening, and come in the following morning.

After taking a quiz to ensure they had finished the assigned reading, the participants underwent an fMRI scan of their brain in a non-reading, resting state. After completing all nine sections of the novel, the participants returned for five more mornings to undergo additional scans in a resting state.

The results showed heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, on the mornings following the reading assignments.

“Even though the participants were not actually reading the novel while they were in the scanner, they retained this heightened connectivity,” Berns says. “We call that a ‘shadow activity,’ almost like a muscle memory.”

Heightened connectivity was also seen in the central sulcus of the brain, the primary sensory motor region of the brain. Neurons of this region have been associated with making representations of sensation for the body, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition. Just thinking about running, for instance, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” Berns says. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

The neural changes were not just immediate reactions, Berns says, since they persisted the morning after the readings, and for the five days after the participants completed the novel.

“It remains an open question how long these neural changes might last,” Berns says. “But the fact that we’re detecting them over a few days for a randomly assigned novel suggests that your favorite novels could certainly have a bigger and longer-lasting effect on the biology of your brain.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Juxtaposition:   Placed side by side

Ktenology:  the science of putting people to death

Languor:  Listlessness, inactivity

What wEIRD wORDS do you know?  Share in the comments.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Poetry Month Display Ideas for April

April is Poetry Month!

2014 marks the 16th annual celebration of poetry in Canada. It was established in Canada in April 1998 by the League of Canadian Poets. "National Poetry Month brings together schools, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and poets from across the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in Canada’s culture." (

This years theme is "Poetry City"

How will you promote Poetry Month? Here are some display ideas to engage students and excite them about poetry.

Students can copy out a favorite poem to add to the display; or better yet, write their own!
FOR APRIL: Poem in your pocket 08 by Love Your Library  :-), via Flickr
Poem in your pocket 08 by Love Your Library :-) on Flickr

Have students create poetry lines with magnetic words:

Have some wall space?  Create an interactive Poetry Wall.  Have Students fill in the spaces with their writing. 
library display ideas - Google Search
Found on

Create a Poetry Tree:

April is national poetry month and to celebrate, consider spicing up your writing center or classroom library with this cute “poet-tree” from the librarians of Algona-Pacific Library in Washington. While the original board depicted an orchard tree and apples scripted with famous poets, you can certainly tweak the board to fit your classroom needs. Here are a few ideas:        Create a “blossoming” spring tree, trading the apples for flower cutouts.      Have students pick and write their favo...
Found on
library bulletin board displays
Found on

poetry week display - Google Search
Found on

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Meme

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Power of One: Teen Starts 'Giving Library' for Homless

This story is a few years old, but may inspire someone to do likewise.  You don't have to be rich or have an organization behind you to do wonderful things.  Check out what one teen was able to accomplish:

reposted from GOOD's May 2012 article by Liz Dwyer.

Florida Teen Starts 'Giving Library' for Homeless Kids

There’s nothing like curling up in bed with a good book before you go to sleep, but far too many low-income kids don’t know what that’s like. Two-thirds of poor children have no age-appropriate books at home, and the nation's 1.6 million homeless children have even fewer options.
Fifteen-year-old Florida resident Lilli Leight wanted to help provide homeless kids in her community with access to books, so she created a "giving library" at a Miami homeless shelter. To staff the library, she formed a teen book club to encourage her classmates to volunteer. Her effort won her the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading prize, which recognizes individuals and institutions for developing ways of instilling a lifelong love of reading.
Leight began volunteering three years ago at the nonprofit Chapman Partnership shelter, and she quickly noticed that after students there finished their homework, they'd turn on the shelter's television instead of cracking a book like she did at home. The kids didn’t even think to ask for a book, she found, because they were so used to not having any around.
A lack of access to books has long-term effects on kids, research shows—several studies indicate that availability of reading materials is a stronger predictor of future academic achievement than socioeconomic status. In Leight's home state, less than 25 percent of homeless children graduate from high school.
To build the library, Leight began collecting donated new and used books from friends, schools, community organizations, and local bookstores. The effort was so successful that the shelter’s library now has multiple books for every child. And when families are back on their feet and able to leave the shelter, they're invited take as many books with them as they want. Leight's book club, called iRead, provides a place for teens from area high schools to get together to discuss books, meet authors, and volunteer at Chapman as homework helpers.
Leight told the National Book Foundation that her project has made her "feel empowered to help change the world―even if it is just one child at a time." Thanks to her, more kids in tough economic situations have the opportunity to fall in love with a book.
Photo via (cc) Flickr user Hermionish

Friday, February 21, 2014

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?

I just adore her voice!  P!nk

Just Give Me a Reason - ft. Nate Ruess

Please Don't Leave Me

Who Knew

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Evergreen Nominees

The Evergreen Award program allows adult library patrons  to vote for a Canadian title that they have liked the most. Both fiction and non-fiction books are included. Ten titles are nominated every year.  As listed on the OLA site, here are the 2014 nominees:

The Cat

Edeet Ravel
Single mother Elise is completely devoted to her eleven-year-old son; he is her whole world. But that world is destroyed in one terrifying moment when her son is killed in a car accident just outside their home. Suddenly alone, surrounded by memories, Elise faces a future that feels unspeakably bleak—and pointless.
Lost, angry and desolate, Elise rejects everyone who tries to reach out to her. But as despair threatens to engulf her, she realizes, to her horror, that she cannot join her son: she must take care of his beloved cat. At first she attempts to carry out this task entirely by herself, shut away from a frightening new reality that seems surreal and incomprehensible. But isolation proves to be impossible, and before long others insinuate themselves into her life—friends, enemies, colleagues, neighbours, a former lover—bringing with them the fragile beginnings of survival.
Powerfully moving and deeply humane, The Cat is an unforgettable novel about the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit.

Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World

Janet E. Cameron

House Parties. Pick-Up Trucks. Cherry-Vanilla Ice-Cream. Prom Night. Unrequited Love.

Welcome to the spring of 1987 and the world of Stephen Shulevitz who, with three months of high school to go in the small town of Riverside, Nova Scotia, has just realised he's fallen in love - with exactly the wrong person.

Welcome to the end of the world.

As Stephen navigates his last few months before college dealing with his overly dependent mother, his distant, pot-smoking father, and his dysfunctional best friends Lana and Mark, he must decide between love and childhood friendship; between the person he is and the person he can be. But sometimes leaving the past behind is harder than it seems . . .

Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World is a bittersweet story of growing up and of one young man finding happiness on his own terms.

Flee, Fly, Flown

Janet Hepburn

When Lillian and Audrey hatch a plot to escape from Tranquil Meadows Nursing Home, “borrow” a car, and spend their hastily planned vacation time driving to destinations west, they aren’t fully aware of the challenges they will face. All they know is that the warm days of August call to them, and the need to escape the daily routines and humiliations of nursing home life has become overwhelming.

Flushed with the success of their escape plan, they set out on their journey having forgotten that their memory problems might make driving and following directions difficult. Their trip is almost over before it begins, until they meet up with the unsuspecting Rayne, a young man also heading west in hope of reconciling with his family.

As Lillian and Audrey try to take back the control that time and dementia has taken from them, Rayne realizes the truth of their situation. But it’s too late – he has fallen under the spell of these two funny, brave women and is willing to be a part of their adventure, wherever it leads them.

The Inconvenient Indian

Thomas King

The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history—in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope -- a sometimes inconvenient, but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.

The Massey Murder

Charlotte Gray 
In February 1915, a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families was shot and killed on the front porch of his home in Toronto as he was returning from work. Carrie Davies, an 18-year-old domestic servant, quickly confessed. But who was the victim here? Charles “Bert” Massey, a scion of a famous family, or the frightened, perhaps mentally unstable Carrie, a penniless British immigrant? When the brilliant lawyer Hartley Dewart, QC, took on her case, his grudge against the powerful Masseys would fuel a dramatic trial that pitted the old order against the new, wealth and privilege against virtue and honest hard work. Set against a backdrop of the Great War in Europe and the changing faceof a nation, this sensational crime is brought to vivid life for the first time.

As in her previous bestselling book, Gold Diggers—now in production as a Discovery Television miniseries—multi-award-winning historian and biographer Charlotte Gray has created a captivating narrative rich in detail and brimming with larger-than-life personalities, as she shines alight on a central moment in our past.

The Painted Girls

Cathy Marie Buchanan
Paris, 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the Van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged 14. Meanwhile, Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labour and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation—her survival, even—lies with the other.

River of Stars

Guy Gavriel KayRen Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later, and his life changes again, dramatically, as he moves toward the court and emperor while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor and alienates the women at court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading, under the river of stars, to events no one could have foretold.

The Silent Wife

A.S.A HarrisonJodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Both are at the mercy of their unrelenting wants and needs, and both are unaware that the path they are on is careening toward murder. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event, oblivious of the destiny they are jointly creating, caught in the thrall of disaster unfolding.

Chapter by chapter, the narrative evolves from their alternating perspectives. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. The alternating voices pitch the reader back and forth between protagonists in conflict who are fighting for self-preservation, both of them making deeply consequential mistakes, behaving in ever more foolhardy ways, losing at the games they’re playing.

The Silent Wife is a finely wrought, emotionally charged psychological thriller about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and doesn’t let go.

The Stop

Nick Saul & Andrea Curtis
It began as a food bank. It turned into a movement.

In 1998, when Nick Saul became executive director of The Stop, the little urban food bank was like thousands of other cramped, dreary, makeshift spaces, a last-hope refuge where desperate people could stave off hunger for one more day with a hamper full of canned salt, sugar and fat. The produce was wilted and the packaged foods were food-industry castoffs—mislabelled products and misguided experiments that no one wanted to buy. For users of the food bank, knowing that this was their best bet for a meal was a humiliating experience.

Since that time, The Stop has undergone a radical reinvention. Participation has overcome embarrassment, and the isolation of poverty has been replaced with a vibrant community that uses food to build hope and skills, and to reach out to those who need a meal, a hand and a voice. It is now a thriving, internationally respected Community Food Centre with gardens, kitchens, a greenhouse, farmers’ markets and a mission to revolutionize our food system. Celebrities and benefactors have embraced the vision because they have never seen anything like The Stop. Best of all, fourteen years after his journey started, Nick Saul is introducing this neighbourhood success story to the world.

In telling the remarkable story of The Stop’s transformation, Saul and Curtis argue that we need a new politics of food, one in which everyone has a dignified, healthy place at the table. By turns funny, sad and raw, The Stop is a timely story about overcoming obstacles, challenging sacred cows and creating lasting change.

An Inquiry Into Love and Death

Simone St. James
In 1920's England, a young woman searches for the truth behind her uncle’s mysterious death in a town haunted by a restless ghost…

Oxford student Jillian Leigh works day and night to keep up with her studies—so to leave at the beginning of the term is next to impossible. But after her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, she must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings.

Almost immediately, unsettling incidents—a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own—escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost who haunts Blood Moon Bay? And who beside the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death no accident?

The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken, a former RAF pilot with mysteries of his own, leaves Jillian with more questions than answers—and with the added complication of a powerful, mutual attraction. Even as she suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth, she begins to discover spine-chilling secrets that lie deep within Rothewell…and at the very heart of who she is.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


To have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect on: Stupefy or Petrify.

A series of rhythmic slaps and pats on the body to create music.

Unspeakable or too odious to be expressed or mentioned.

What wEIRD wORDS do you know?  Share in the comments.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Add Pizzazz to Your Library

A bit of imagination and a few craft supplies can go a long way!

Create a Graphic Novel Sign using hodgepodge and bright foam letters to create a 3-d graphic novel sign.

Decorate a canvas with comic books and Mod Podge
Found on modpodgerocksblog.comSpiderman Comic Book Door Sign Mounted Lettering Custom Home Decoration Wall Decal Decor Ornament Boys Bedroom on Etsy, $12.00

Many of my libraries have older furniture, including boring return bins.  Even with orientation lessons and signage, students often miss the return box.  Create a graphic to catch their eyes and make returning books a bit more fun.

Book Drop Monster for the library book return
Found on
Bookie Monster - Book Return
found on Pinterest
Use blackboard paint for an interactive and 
updated return bin.

Use familiar items to ease the transition from home libraries to the school environment
found on 

Make signs big and bright for little ones who are still learning how the library works 

Book carts are a great visual in the library.  If yours is looking a bit dull or worn out, try some fresh paint. You can even get creative with the side panels.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Meme

Friday, February 14, 2014

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?

A bit of Pharrell to get the day going

Happy - Pharrell

Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke feat. T.I., Pharrell

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler

Ace teacher Miss Malarkey returns in a picture book narrated by a reluctant reader. Although comfortable within his small group of video-game-playing buddies, a boy wants to contribute to the schoolwide goal of reading 1,000 books in hope of seeing Principal Wiggins "dye his hair purple and sleep on the roof of the school." Trying one of Miss Malarkey's suggested books after another, he rejects them all--until she finds the perfect one to match his eclectic interests. Expressive cartoon-style illustrations, brightened with markers and colored pencils, create a series of lively scenes in which speech balloons record conversations and comments not found in the text. With an unstated moral, this is one volume that librarians won't soon forget. Short lists of recommended books, including a bibliography of adult books that recommend children's books, are appended. [Carolyn Phelan-Booklist]

Check out this Free Lesson Plan on Teachers Pay Teachers

It includes a written lesson plan, discussion questions, a reading survey, and a book list to use with the school library catalog. This is a great lesson for starting the beginning of the school year, as it allows you to see students' interest and gets them excited about choosing library books. It also will allow students to go the library with a purpose as they search for the books that they have included on their book list!
From Miss  Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler