Teaching Newsletter: One Way to Fight Fake News


This article brings up several good points about fighting ‘fake news’, and what we do versus what we tell students to do.  This article does encourage teachers, librarians, and other individuals helping to teach about information literacy, to think about how we do research and identify legitimate sources versus how we teach students to do the same.

The rest of the article encourages being more open to the students and meeting them where they are; time, technology, need, etc; to better serve their information needs.  I do see several pros and cons to this take on service.  It does make us, as professionals/experts, more accessible to students.  However I have noticed through experience the more accessible we are, the more we try to turn ourselves inside out to help, the less our time and help are valued.



Leading the Green Revolution Library Sustainability


This article begins by discussing proposals such as composting books that are to be weeded, providing outlets for electric cars and so many more eco-friendly options to improving libraries.  *I, frankly, think some of them are a little too extreme.  If you have a compost pile already on your campus, then yes, shred books and add them to the communal pile.  If not, then I do not think it is responsible to encourage rodents and other pests to the campus.*

I do appreciate the end of the article, I believe that solar panels might be a way for libraries to both become green and save the taxpayers money in the long run.

Fascinating article, well worth reading.

Mississippi School District Pulls “To Kill a Mockingbird”…


This is an interesting article describing why “To Kill a Mockingbird” was removed as an active curriculum book.  The theory is that  compassion can be taught from a wide variety of materials that do not have the side effect of containing language that makes people uncomfortable.   The book has not been removed from the shelves in the library, it simply is not a book that students are compelled to read.

*I have mixed feelings about this decision.  I do understand that people are uncomfortable when faced with the institutionalized racism that occurred in the past.  Some harsh language can be very hard to take simply because it was so common back then and since we have understood how truly evil that sort of thinking is the language becomes abhorrent.  On the other hand, by not being exposed to abhorrent things we will never learn to recognize how truly horrible such things are.  Maybe by learning early that some things just aren’t meant to be said we can eradicate the “F-Bomb”; “Cracker”; “Breeders” and other currently acceptable slurs from our language.  While the truth of this next statement appalls me, People have to find someone who is different from themselves and put them down in order to feel better about themselves.  Perhaps if we could live in a world where someone didn’t find a name to call someone else, then it would be alright to avoid all difficult topics.  However, we do not, so we should consider exposing our children to some harshness before they grow up unable to cope with life.*

Librarians guide readers by interest not level


The creators of the “F&P Text Level Gradient™” state that their system should be used as a tool to help guide students to books with an appropriate amount of challenge.

“We designed the F&P Text Level Gradient™ to help teachers think more analytically about the characteristics of texts and their demands on the reading process, and the A to Z levels were used to show small steps from easiest to most difficult. The goal was for teachers to learn about the characteristics of each level to inform their decisions in teaching…”

Fountas and Pinnell agree that their levels were intended to label books, rather to assist teachers in finding the right books for their students based on how difficult the books are to read.  They never intended these levels to be used to label students, they certainly never expected students to be choosing their own books based on these levels.  It was their intention that students would choose books based on their interests, perhaps it would be above their reading level, perhaps below their reading level.  If the book was above their reading level then they might have an opportunity to expand their interests, expand their reading ability.

These creators make a very good point, choosing the material that you want to read, then discussing it or disseminating that material in some form even writing or drawing about what you have read, allows you to not only be interested in the material but to become a part of the experience.  *I do firmly believe that allowing students to choose their books helps to obtain their interest.  I do also believe that there are some books that students need to read in order to form a more complete picture of the world  and culture as a whole.*

Fountas and Pinnell also say that it would be a good idea to speak with the parents in a way that allows them to understand the progress that their child is making with reading.  To show progress, to help the parents understand how their children are progressing, what their interests are, and how involved they are with their reading.  *Realistically there are some students that will never ‘love’ reading.  I do firmly believe, as a librarian, that this is just because they haven’t found their genre yet…but considering how many times I go genre hopping I am not the right person to ask about not loving reading.*

  • I enjoyed this article, it really does point out the fact that as humans we tend to focus on a single aspect and intend to use that as the sole aspect of judgement.  We tend to take the lazy way out, to try and use a single tool to slot people.  I think that much of this is due to a plethora of students and a dearth of time.

What are Libraries For?


This is an interesting article, almost more about the filmmaker than about the library.  Many of the views expressed were thought provoking.  I had never considered a documentary as more of a vaccination than as an informative tool, but it makes sense.  Once you have heard about a plight and learned about it you feel more informed, you don’t do anything about it, but it is an informed inaction.

*I agree, libraries are much more than just books.  Admittedly, sometimes we are struggling to help patrons find what they need in this time of too much digital access.  However, just now I helped a pre-teen find some scary books for her sister (we settled on Christopher Pike).  I love teaching my crafting classes, helping people use computers, teaching older ladies/gentlemen to e-mail their children, and more.  Almost as much as I enjoy helping people find a book that they enjoy reading or information on a topic they are studying.  I love libraries in all of their forms.*

10 Best University Libraries


This article is sub-titled Prettiest University Libraries.

The 10th is a school where the library doubles as a dorm, this design library is pretty and apparently huge.

The 9th is at the University of Chicago, with its stone walls this imposing structure is reminicent of an old castle.

8 is the library named after Dr. Seuss, no surprise.

7 Art library in Boston looks like a cathedral.

6 is an amazing library designed to fit in with Navajo traditions and featuring lights in the shapes of constellations.  Very neat.

Library at Cornell University looks like a whimsical literary wonderland.

4 library at Columbia, looks like the white house or another stately old (imposing) building.

3, University at Washington, another cathedral.

2 Yale- neat, very imposing looking with the big glass structure in the middle.

1 Johns Hopkins, this is what you think of when you picture a university library.  Cathedral Ceilings, sure, but each with a floor packed with books.  Yum!

How Audiobooks Made Me Appreciate Non-Fiction by Yaika Sabat


This is a good article to introduce you to a new format, or rather an old format that you might not have considered before.  This author has trouble reading non-fiction books.  Not that she lacks the desire, interest, or intellectual capacity, they just tend to be a bit dry and hard to get through.  I find myself with the same problem.  Like this author, I tend to look more toward the fiction books, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.

This author emphasized that the reader (voice actor/actress) can make a difference in your reading experience, just because you dislike one voice actor doesn’t mean that the entire genre is bad.  I know that the voice actress that helped create the early Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich was not to my taste. Eventually then switched voice actors and now I really love listening to the new installment in this series.

If you are having trouble getting through non-fiction, detective novels, epic fantasy, science fiction, or another genre then try listening to Audio books.  (maybe not romance unless you can take hearing graphic sex explored…found that out the hard way, fortunately there was  ‘skip ahead 30 seconds’ button….hit that 4-10 times and you’re usually past the graphic bits. )

In recent months I have found that Audible has access to the Great Courses.  I love the idea of listening for 20+ hours at the same price of a 7+ hour book.  (I’m a bargain hunter at the root of it which is why I like libraries *free* best of all).  Now that the author of this article informed me that The Devil in the White City is about H.H Holmes and the Chicago World Fair I have that waiting for me….just as soon as I figure out where Overdrive downloaded it to on my iPad.

Happy Reading!