Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rescuing Sprite A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish by Mark Levin

The Abingdon book group recently read Rescuing Sprite by Mark R. Levin. As the title indicates, it is the story of a man who adopts a rescued dog. All of the group are or have been pet owners and this session provoked both sad and amusing stories of our own pets. However, only one person in the group liked this book and said she had used a lot of tissues as it is very sad. We thought it was poorly written, very unsophisticated, "written at a fourth grade level" was one comment, and the tone of the book was very self-pitying. We all felt terribly sorry for the dog, and for the writer who had lost his best friend. Many people have had to face this same situation and deal with their grief and may identify with the owner. For those people this may be a useful book to read.

We thought a more interesting and more entertaining read was the bestseller Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan. To be released as a movie in December 2008, starring Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Alan Arkin, & Eric Dane. Also on a different note The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery(2006)is a delightful book about how a pig affects its family.

Mark R. Levin is a nationally syndicated talk radio host and president of Landmark Legal Foundation. He has also worked as an attorney in the private sector and as a top adviser and administrator to several members of President Reagan's cabinet. The author of the New York Times bestselling book Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America, Mark holds a B.A. from Temple University and a J.D. from Temple University School of Law.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Week 9. Thing 23. Program Summary.

Well, I guess I have reached the end of Library 2.0. Or perhaps just the beginning. I really feel that this has been a great experience. It has been a learning experience, a fun experience, and has put me more in touch with the many sites and functions available on the internet. I am sure I would not have subscribed to so many sites or even thought to use some of them had it not been for this program. I enjoyed doing the blogs, mashups and other fun things. I think there is an awful lot of trash out there, but within that there are some worthwhile sites.
From a personal point of view I have found a lot of information with the RSS feeds that I have now on my Bloglines account. From a work point of view I have seen how libraries might use some of the sites and how I might use them for book reviews and so on.
If anything surprised me, it was how much I enjoyed this and how much of it was fun. And that I really felt I was learning. It was also interesting to see what other librarians were talking about and how other libraries were applying 2.0. As well as seeing what other participants blog comments were.
The only comment I have about doing anything differently, would be the timing. It would have been better to have done this maybe from January to March, when we tend to be a little quieter at work. The summer is such a hectic time for us all, with the kids out of school & summer reading going on. We are all tremendously busy and it was sometimes difficult to clear one’s head to focus on this.
I would most definitely participate in any future program of this kind. I think it has been a good experience and very worthwhile.
I am excited about the prospect of getting an MP3 player so that I can download audiobooks or music.

Thanks to everyone involved in planning this program, for giving us this learning opportunity, & special thanks to Annette G. for her patience and advice.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Week 9. Thing 22. Downloadable Audiobooks.

Thing 22. Downloadable Audiobooks.
This was a fun discovery time for me. I had not previously downloaded books. I liked the Overdrive website, but am still waiting for them to send me an email to tell me I can download the book I chose. This had no holds on it so I expected to get it straight away - perhaps it takes time to get the emails. I did download a book from NetLibrary. It was a relatively straightforward procedure although it didn't download on the first attempt. I had some help from Annette there. I can really see the fun in having books on an MP3 player. If one were ill & not able to read, or just tired or have headache or something where it is easier to listen than read, it would be a big help. I can see the use of this on the beach or while on the treadmill, or in many other situations. I thought the selection of titles in the two systems was good, and I am sure they are still expanding. I did like the Project Gutenburg site and thought that it would be useful for more classic or unusual reading material. World ebook Fair was good if you get the free month subscription, but I doubt I would pay the fee.
I downloaded 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith from NetLibrary, and am still waitng for the 101 Dalmatians from Overdrive (this I chose really just to practice).
As someone who runs a book discussion group, I think these sites are also useful to see what people are checking out & to get previews of titles.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Week 9 Thing 21 Podcasts

Thing 21. Podcasts.
I have added a podcast called Book Voyages to my Bloglines account. "Book Voyages is a podcast about children's literature from the point of view of a school library/media specialist. It features reviews of books as well as inteviews with students and authors."

I also added NPR Books for its book reviews & interviews with authors. There was a good interview with the director of a new movie called The Keeper, about the life of Omar Khayam. I think the NPR podcasts will be of great interest to me personally & may be of use for book groups, readers advisory etc.

I found some interesting Travel podcasts on Podcast Alley.

I liked the Yahoo Podcasts site, and found useful information on creating a podcast. I liked their Podcast Search & that is how I initially found the NPR Books podcasts. I also looked on the NPR site to find them that way.

I liked the idea of podcasts of children's stories that Denver Public Library had, but hated the psychedelic visuals that accompanied them. I found them very distracting & disturbing. A picture of the book cover would have been much nicer. (They also had these visuals on the NPR podcasts, is this a common thing?)

I read a lot about creating podcasts and as long as you have a microphone it did not seem to be a difficult process. I could see the library using podcasts for Book talking & certainly for book reviews. I think it would be interesting if Jen could record podcasts of her interviews with authors for Jen's Jewels. We could have podcasts with important messages, e.g. school closings or library closings in the winter. There may be ways we could use podcasts for seniors, as some of them find reading difficult. We could use them for staff training and even reports from ALA/PLA conferences. It seems to me that wherever you need to disseminate information, a podcast could be used. There seem to be multiple uses for them.

Week 9 Thing 20. What I think about YouTube.

What I think about YouTube. Firstly,YouTube is becoming a much more acceptable mainstream service. What was once a forum for weird home movies and strange mashups, has now been used in a CNN/YouTube Democratic debate. See for commentary on this. Though old school politicians may speak against this type of debate, those with a better ear for public opinion, are realizing that the internet, YouTube included, opens up all kinds of avenues for them.
Secondly, it is a great place to find old footage of those bands you were such a fan of way back when. If you are doing specific searches, YouTube is very good. As with other sites if you are just browsing you can come up with all sorts of stuff you don't want & some of very dubious subject matter, however, you may also find that nugget that is really cool.

I first tried to input the video into my blog using an account with YouTube & having them add the video to my blog. Despite a message saying that the video would be placed in my Blog shortly, it never turned up, so I went ahead & used the embedding method.

I could see the library taking video of special occasions or programs & putting them on YouTube, or making small service announcements, e.g. what we do at HCPL. Or putting short training clips on there so that all staff could see the same information about a new database or piece of software.

Google Video site was nicely laid out & had a good range of material, I found Yahoo video more limited. I was surprised that Yahoo Video was voted #1.

With all of these video sites both sound and picture quality varies tremendously as does subject matter, so it's another case of looking for what you really want. They are all fun to play around with.

Dennis Chambers Drum Solo with Carl Filipiak

Week 9 YouTube

The You Tube video I chose is of Dennis Chambers (Baltimore native, voted in the top 40 all time best drummers in the world, plays drums for Santana & appeared with them when they played at Superbowl 37), Carl Filipiak - also from Baltimore, who plays many gigs around town & who has published instructional guitar videos/DVDs, and Paul Soroka who plays sax and lyricon and keyboards. Dennis drums all over the world & holds many workshops. He very kindly signed some drumsticks for me along with my friend & his, Tim Steele, who currently drums in The Approach & Crawdaddies - two local bands. I used to have a 5 piece set of Pearl Select drums with Zildjian cymbals & took classes for a while, so I have an interest in drumming. Pearl has a Masters Series Dennis Chambers snare drum & there are Dennis Chambers signature drumsticks available. Carl Filipiak is a lovely, modest guy who plays brilliant guitar. His band plays jazz fusion with a Jimi Hendrix influence & I love his version of Little Wing. Check out his website for listings for local gigs. Paul Soroka can play keyboards and lyricon at the same time - there's multitasking for you. His sax is over 30 years old & he told me that if his house was on fire it is the one thing he would want to rescue.
Dennis's website is

To Come - what I think about YouTube