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Chicken Preschool Storytime April 5, 2009

Posted by swegene1 in Ready to Read, Storytimes, Youth Services Training.
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My boss came to observe this storytime, and I was pretty nervous. I actually recorded myself doing the storytime in advance so I would have plenty of practice, and so I would make sure I was panning and pacing correctly. That was a really good experience, and periodically I will do this if I’m worried about a flannel or activity. Fortunately my boss had lots of good things to say, just suggesting I make sure the volume on the CD player was high enough to reach the back of the room.

Opening Song: Jump Up, Turn Around, Jim Gill

Intro: Chicken puppet and eggs! (the chicken puppet actually laid eggs, we talked about vocabulary, and we had an egg in a shell puppet to talk about how chicks hatch from eggs)

Book: Cock-a-Doodle Quack! Quack!, Ivor Baddiel Cock-A-Doodle Quack Quack

Song: Milkshake Song, Songs for Wiggleworms

Book/Flannel Little Red Hen Little Red Hen Big Book
(First we read the book, then the children helped me tell the story with the flannel, and I told the parents about the importance of ready to read narrative skills, and encouraged the children to tell the story at home.)

Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It!

Flannel Where’s the Chicken? (I omitted this, as we were running short on time)

Book: Hungry Hen, Richard Waring Hungry Hen

Craft: Chick in Shell (children cut out shapes that came together to make an egg shape, which were hooked together with a brad, so a baby chick popped out)

Overall, this storytime was a lot of fun, and the excitement was added to when the flannel board unexpectedly came crashing down when I went to start the “Little Red Hen” flannel. The entire room of 65 children (mostly preschool age, but some toddlers and infants) and parents went dead silent, and fortunately no one was hurt, not even the flannel board. Everyone recovered quickly–and since I had everyone’s attention, we were able to continue with the story!


Youth Services Training April 4, 2009

Posted by swegene1 in Youth Services Training.
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During the next month, I will be returning to the Center For Discovery (CFD) to participate in some additional training. During this time, I will be assisting in giving 3-5 programs a week, learning about new resources, and developing new techniques for baby laptime, toddler, and preschool storytime.  One of the best features of this program, is that it allows me to have one on one guidance to strengthen potential weak areas, as well as providing me with the time to work on developing different kinds of programs.

During the meeting to discuss goals for this training, the program supervisor mentioned the possibility of creating a binder with all of the materials I develop. Rather then putting them in a folder, I thought it might be more useful to post them here, where I’ll be able to refer to them later.

I think I’ll start off by posting some of the storytimes that I’ve presented during the past couple of weeks.

Columbus Metropolitan Library OPAC March 19, 2009

Posted by swegene1 in Columbus Metropolitan Library, Final Project.
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My third OPAC to review is that of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML). Like the Salt Lake County system, CML’s catalog is fairly complicated, with multiple interfaces and a number of tools designed to facilitate access. The catalog is accessible from catalog terminals in the library building, from the header bar at the top of the library’s website, and from a box available on the front page of the website. As in my previous review, I will look at the follow three areas in my discussion of this OPAC:

  1. What tools and interfaces are available for accessing the catalog?
  2. What type of assistance is available to explain or guide the use of the catalog?
  3. What explanations are available to evaluate the results of using the catalog, particularly for those looking for materials for Children?

Tools and Interfaces Available for Accessing the Catalog

While there are at least five different interfaces for the CML OPAC, most of the tools available for searching the catalog are the same wherever the search is conducted.


The first interface is the one on the front page, which allows users to search either databases (called Premium Resources) or the Catalog. Users can conduct a search of the OPAC from here based on Author, Title or Keyword.


Perhaps the most frequently used is the interface reached by hitting “catalog” at the top of all website pages (it is the search interface displayed on the catalog stations at the library). It is a basic search, with just one box for a general keyword search. Under the keyword search are links to the advance search, and a portable search interface that can be accessed via portable devices such as blackberries or iPhones. (it is the same as the basic search interface, except with out the graphics)


The next most common interface is the advanced search, which offers users the chance to specify the keyword searches to particular fields. So if users know part of a title or the author’s name, they can use the Advanced Search to narrow it down. There are seven spaces to search Title, Author, Subject, ISBN/ISSN, call number, Publisher, or publication year. It is also possible to select a specific format, such as DVDs, Large Print or just Books.


Recently the library has launched a new search interface, a Kid’s Catalog. It is accessible from a link on the basic catalog interface and from the kid’s page on their website. The Kid’s Catalog features two interfaces that are roughly identical to the basic search and advanced search of the general catalog. In the advanced search, however, there are only four categories to search in (Title, Author, Subject, and Call Number) and a format limitation. This catalog basically adds a limit to all searches, restricting results to items listed as juvenile in certain places in the MARC field.


Assistance Available to Explain or Guide the Use of the Catalog

CML’s OPAC provides a very limited degree of assistance for users searching in their catalog. The search interface is provided by Aquabrowser, which offers a small introduction on searching from the results page. Clicking on HELP at the top of the results screen brings up a short document with a few tips on some of the special features, such as the display cloud that appears to offer alternative word choices. The only interface with additional directions is the mobile interface, which has more detailed written descriptions of how to conduct a search.


Assistance in Evaluating Search Results

The catalog has a variety of tools to help users evaluate and narrow down the search results to help determine the item that best fits the information needs. First there is the item record itself, from the first search results to the detailed record screen. In addition, there are two primary areas for narrowing down results, an area on the right side that suggests other search terms and one on the left side that allows users to narrow down the results. The search results are displayed in a list that shows the title, the author, a brief summary of the item, the call number, the series, the subject, and what search terms discovered the item. It does not show if it is available, where it might be located if it is available, nor does it allow users to place reserves from the initial record. This location and availability information is contained on the individual item record, which also might contain a huge range of other information. Each item record contains the basic bibliographic data, as well as availability and location, summary, table of contents, sometimes reviews, and sometimes excerpts from the book.

Along the right site of the results screen, there is a display called a “Discovery Cloud” that offers alternate spellings, related search terms, transitions to other terms, and links them to the original search. This cloud can be turned off if it is distracting or not needed, as it is most useful if a user needs assistance coming up with a keyword. One thing that is difficult with the cloud is that it doesn’t offer such obvious variations as plural forms of the word. This is significant because the key word search does not rank plural items with singular. So for a search of “tree” there are over 6,500 results and for “trees” there are just under 6,500, but the results are sorted entirely different, so to find non-fiction books on trees would require a user to go through pages and pages of results. It would be nice if the alternate spellings and search traces showed plurals, especially irregular plural formats.

 The left side of the results screen offers ways to limit and search through the results, which is very important because of the shear magnitude of the results generated by a keyword search that can pull words from often lengthy records. There are many different categories under which results can be narrowed down, depending on what kind of search is performed and whether the search uses the Kid’s Catalog or the general one.


The first option is to limit by location, which narrows down the items to those items that are at a branch or that have been checked out from that branch. So if people want just books at the location they are this is a start to narrow down the options, but it isn’t perfect, since it also pulls up items that are currently checked out from the location. In addition, the only way to find out if an item is in is to open up the record and scroll down, since availability is not shown on the results page.


Next come a series of refine options, allowing users to limit their results to produce more focused results. Some of these are fairly standard bibliographic areas, author, subject, language and format, but some offer more detailed factors that can be very useful in locating a particular book within a large amount of search results. Each area has the top 5 or so results for that limiter, with the number of items listed under that term, with a link to the remaining terms. For instance the area “Author” offers the specific spellings and format of all the authors who created materials in the search results, sometimes with thousands of results, which can be seen on a separate screen. Other options can be very specific, such as location were the story takes place, character in the item, or merely narrow down the format to non-fiction or picture book. These are helpful if paired with a very broad search term.


The children’s catalog has additional limiting areas that are specifically designed to assist parents and caregivers with selecting items for their children. Beyond merely limiting the results to materials identified as having a target audience of Juvenile (which is something that also can be used to limit results in the general catalog), this catalog provides other factors allowing users to select materials particularly for children. Rather then just specifying the type of book, like picture book or chapter book, the Children’s Catalog allows users to narrow down by age level to find picture books for either toddlers or preschoolers or juvenile fiction by grade level. This search also allows users to narrow down the results by number of pages, which many parents and teachers also use as criteria to determine age appropriateness (whether or not this is an effective method is another question).


Overall Review of the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s OPAC

CML’s OPAC is heavy on features, but very light on instruction. This leads one to wonder how well users are able to independently use the catalog and take advantage of the features. In addition, without any explanation about how the search works and how to get the most out of it by putting the right kinds of terms in, it is hard to believe that even with great limit options and information to aid interpretation people are able to effectively discover all of the works available to meet their information needs. The features to help parents and teachers find resources for children are very helpful, but there is no where that points them out or explains how to use them or why one might want to.


Why Moldi? November 3, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Learn and Play, Library.
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I was checking out Moldi for one of the last learn and play things–it is really very cool, and I found a book that I could down load and read. It does make me want, maybe to get an electronic book–just a little bit more knowing that I’d have another way to access books–and maybe not spend so much to buy them!

BUT, honestly, who decided that Moldi was a good name for something? Besides an ironic cheese company, I can’t think of something where it would actually be an attractive name. Really,I just can’t see myself saying to someone–“Have you checked out what’s available at Moldi?” Perhaps this is just a way of forcing us to explain exactly what the letters stand for each and every time that I say it.

I just don’t understand why they couldn’t have named it a number of other things, here are a few suggestions:

  • Central Ohio Library Digital Initiative: or Coldi
  • Mid-Ohio Digital Library Initative: or Modli
  • Digital Initiative, Central-Ohio or Dic-o

Any other suggestions?

CML Power Tools October 20, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library.
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Back in the spring, I remember hearing about the new tool bar that CML created. I was pretty excited and wanted to try it out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out where to go to get it at home. I looked all over the website and even tried a few searches of the internet. After a while I gave up and forgot about it, maybe it wasn’t released to the public or there weren’t any links from the main page.

When I came to Whetstone, I was happy to see that some of the computers had the tool bar installed, so I got to try it a little. I wasn’t impressed, maybe because of lingering resentment about not being able to find it.

For this activity in Learn and Play I downloaded the catalog plug in for my internet browser. It is actually pretty cool, just so long as I remember when I have it selected and when I am searching google. I like to go from searching the internet for ideas for storytimes, to searching if we have that book in our catalog!

Google Everything October 14, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library.
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I remember back in 2000 or so, I was studying for a brief time in College Park, and every week I took the green line into DC to work in the library of a little museum. It was a good experience, both the commuting and working in the library. The reason I am relating this expereience, is that I seem to have a dim fuzzy memory of that time (it also could have been in the spring of 2001, when I was in England, it is a dim memory) of seeing a sign for something with a strange spelling and lots of “o”s in it. I do believe I was seeing “google” for the first time, though I had no idea what it was or how it would take over everything. I just remember seeing the word and wondering if this was some strange big city thing that we would never know back in the suburb where I was born.

Now, however, google is everywhere. Not just the search engine, but the google mail, the google blogs, the google documents, and google reader. Its apparent all pervasiveness makes me reluctant to like it, but it is very useful, so I do. In fact, I just switched to google reader, because I wasn’t getting all my updates on bloglines *sigh*.

Anyway, “thing 17” is discover web-based aps, like those on google. Which, I have already discovered during one of my on-line classes. It was very nice to work on a group project for an on-line class, where participants lived far away, and we could all access and contribute to the document. I also like the google callendar, and think it could be useful in a number of ways, but only with people of equal technological skills and attitudes. Using google documents isn’t hard, but requires a new outlook on technology and a trust that some patrons might not possess.

PBWiki September 25, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library.
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I used Peanut Butter Wiki for a class a year ago, but I don’t have very vivid memories of how it worked. So this new experience was a refresher. Once I was added as a user and able to modify the wiki, it wasn’t too hard. The trick was to steal the lock from another user so I could whip in and add my own, with bullet points no less! So now this very blog is on the library’s wiki.

Library Wiki September 23, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library.
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For my Foundations of Library Science class, we were required to contribute to a class wiki using PBwiki. It was a great experience, and I hope that I can use wiki (or wikis if that is the plural) in my library career. Some of the library wiki I viewed for this Learn and Play exercize were very well done. I particularly liked the wiki that was done in connection with the adult summer reading program, where people could post book reviews and discusions of books. As with all 2.0 technology, there is a great need for oversight by staff members to make sure that they stay focused on the content area and that nothing inappropriate is posted. I suppose it all depends on who is allowed to modify the wiki and who can police it!

Library 2.0–Looking at the Future September 19, 2008

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Library 2.0 is, as I’ve already blogged about, one of those things that sort of hits at only certain sections of our clientele. When reading the Learn and Play articles, it seemed like some of the ideas were really out there and not approachable to users that are already not technologically savvy. But, there are ways that the library can use 2.0 concepts to help those who are less savvy. Some of this can be done by building them into already familiar tools, like the self check outs or OPAC. Personally, I’d love to be able to connect my goodreads to the catalogue, or build “libraries” of books from the actual library. I know a number of customers who would love to be able to record all the books they check out so they can remember what they’ve read. Just my 2.0cents!

Day Four–not so delicious September 18, 2008

Posted by swegene1 in Library.
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Today marks the fourth day in not having electricity at my apartment, and I am exhausted. The Library still has power, which allows me to type this, but which has contributed to the exhaustion by keeping me on my toes finding outlets for everyone. Last night I remarked that this was the sort of thing that I would blog about if I had power, but then of course there wouldn’t be anything to say (That is the kind of circular thinking that I do when I’m really tired and cranky from not having power for going on 90 hrs.)

Since I lack electricity and a certain other energy that keeps me going, I am only now getting to the learn and play exercises. This time it is Delicious tagging, which I can see the use for, particularly since CML has changed their computers so they can’t be modified to include saved bookmarks. There are a number of reference type websites that I use that I’d like to have at hand, the Juvenile Series and Sequels at the Mid-Continental Public Library, and many others, that I’d like to be able to access at what ever computer I may be working at. It also would allow me to see what others use for that kind of reader’s advisory.

So, while I lack the energy to set up my own account now, I can see that I might once I do get electricity back and have a good nap!