Sunday, March 4, 2007

Blogpost #4

It seems that a I hear a lot these days about the demise of newspapers and the growing preference for information made available through blogs.

Don't get me wrong, I think blogging is a valuable tool for getting people involved in the world around them. But I worry about the ease with which some people are saying that newspapers no longer have a place in modern American life, and about the difficulty that newspapers companies are having keeping their businesses afloat.

I keep thinking about one aspect of newspapers in particular that we as a society
would sorely miss if they disappeared, and that is investigative journalism. The role of the press as the fourth estate as described by Mick Underwood at
could be in serious jeopardy:

"However, from the perspective of those researchers who see the media as situated
within the model of a pluralist liberal democracy, the mass media are often seen
as fulfilling the vitally important rĂ´le of fourth estate, the guardians of
democracy, defenders of the public interest."

The recent series of articles in The Washington Post that revealed the conditions at Walter Reed has also (hopefully) prompted the government to admit some of its errors and to clean up its act regarding the treatment of vets. The reporter apparently worked on the story for 4 or 5 months. How likely is it that bloggers will take that kind of time to delve into a story, or that blogs will maintain the watchdog function that our democracy relies on?

Just something to think about.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Blogpost #2 School Library 2.0

Being an old fogey, I'm still reeling from the amount of new information in our readings, and am unsure what to make of a lot of it. I have to say, though, that I am very enthusiastic about the ideas in "School Library 2.0" by Christopher Harris. He talks about librarians creating an interface for students to create their own "virtual bookshelf" of favorite books, with reviews and ratings. This reminds me of the "shelf talkers" we had in the bookstore where I used to work. People love to get a little bit of information about a book from someone who loved it, and the shelf talkers enabled them to get it without having to move out of their personal browsing mode - not everyone likes to talk to a salesperson or a librarian. In the kids' section, we would have shelf talkers with reviews from our young customers (we also put some in our store newsletter).

I really like the idea of having students creating these "bookshelves" to collect their own ideas and to share them with others. It's probably much handier to jot some words online than to remember to ask for a form to fill out the next time you're in the library, and to hope that the librarian will be diligent about posting your review.

I've been looking at, and thought I'd better untangle myself from the fun and get to work writing this blog entry before the day is over. It's a great idea, and one that I know I would have loved as a teen, since I was always carrying around with me lists of book and album titles that friends recommended so that I'd remember what to get. I think that in the context of schools and school libraries, an interface through the LMC's webpage could be very useful for teachers as well as students, for creating book discussions, writing journal entries, and involving all the school's readers in booktalking.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blogpost #1

Last week's class was my first introduction to Second Life, and I have to say that I'm a little creeped out by it. But it's also something that doesn't really do much for me. Maybe because I do so much at the computer already, having a make believe world rather than actual human interaction isn't something I feel a need for. But maybe it will grow on me - who knows?

I found an interesting article in a recent edition of School Library Journal about Teen Second Life ("Meet the New You"
By Kelly Czarnecki and Matt Gullett -- 1/1/2007). Apparently there's a teen version of Second Life, and at least some libraries are working towards using the space to reach out to teens. A public library in East Peoria teamed up with one in Charlotte, NC to produce an island inside of the teen grid called Eye4You Alliance. It went live in October, 2006.

You can check it out at

Another library in New York is doing something similar, and trying to make connections to local school curriculum, for instance, one class is making a virtual Ellis Island for their social studies class. Seems like there might be some exciting ways to reach students through things like this, so I will keep an open mind.

The article is available at