Friday, September 19, 2014

Books! 3x

Last Friday was the year's first meeting of the high school book club, and was a great success.  Sixteen high school readers attended, and we ended up choosing The Night Circus as the first book of the year, to read for the October gathering.  We also have plans to choose and read a book together with another student club, and have a joint gathering for discussion.

Before taking recommendations and voting for October's book, though, we went around the room with introductions.  Each student gave name and grade, and the title of one (some had trouble picking just one, but that was the rule) book from summer reading that he or she would recommend to the group.  What a list!

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On Monday we had the first meeting of junior high reading club. We followed pretty much the same path -  snacks (always snacks!!), introductions, recommendations.  The student leaders had a list of  proposals for October (The 5th Wave, Like No Other, Say What You Will, Stupid Fast) and after voting, Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern was declared to be our next read.

Here's the list of recommendations compiled by the junior high club members:

Yes, my misspelling of Delirium is captured for posterity. Sigh.

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Lastly, my first booktalk (aka, 'travelling road show') in the junior high was yesterday.  I toted my stuff over to Tony's new ground floor digs, and gave (what I hope were) tantalizing descriptions of 17 Young Adult novels from our collection.  I must have done ok, because all of the starred titles were checked out right away; ones with extra stars have waiting lists!

* Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
* * * Divided We Fall  by Trent Reedy
* The Living  by Matt de la Peña
* * The Girl in the Steel Corset  by Cady Cross
* The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
* Eleanor and Park  by Rainbow Rowell
* * Will Grayson Will Grayson  by John Green and David Levithan
* Delirium  by Lauren Olivier
* Deadline  by Chris Crutcher
Wonder  by R. J. Palacio
Black and White by Paul Volponi
The Raven Boys  by Maggie Stiefvater
If You Come Softly  by Jacqueline Woodson
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Creeping with the Enemy  by Kimberly Reid
The Door of No Return  by Sarah Mussi 

 It's good to be back in action.  Reading is FUN!

Are you in a book club?  Is it fun?  Comment!

Friday, September 5, 2014

How A Library Is Like A Mutual Fund

Ok, so maybe not so high school.  But on the other hand, very high school.  We have, from time to time, offered Investing 101 courses during short term, and it's likely to come around again.

Teachers across the country, in independent schools and universities, have their retirement savings invested with TIAA-CREF.  I've worked in two independent schools, for over 25 years (requisite YIKES!! here) and TIAA-CREF has billions of my savings for the "twilight years."  Point being, I'm beginning to pay attention, and trying to understand fully where all that money is and how it's supposed to grow to support me, my adult children, goats, bees, chickens and cats in, say, 20 years from now.  I kind of think that TIAA-CREF is a mutual fund company that works almost exclusively within the world of academia, and exclusively toward long-term retirement goals. Please help me out if I'm woefully off base here.

As I understand it, a mutual fund is a big collection of individual stocks (and other things), managed by a professional understanding-stock-investments person, who buys and sells holdings within the ever-changing collection, in order to meet the financial goals stated in the prospectus.

My grandmother was
a university librarian,
and collected owls.
A library is a big collection of individual sources of information, managed by a professional understanding-information-sources person, who buys and weeds holdings within the ever-changing collection, in order to meet the information needs of the community, as outlined in the library's 'prospectus,' (aka "collection purpose and goals.")

Mutual fund managers spend their days reading the latest information and evaluating the worth of each stock, bond or real estate investment -- not just in abstract money terms, but also in terms of how that investment can meet the stated goals of the fund.  Then they act on that information, buying and selling, to keep the collection relevant to the shareholders' goals.

I spend (part of) my days reading reviews, researching sources of information for a variety of teacher and student needs, and identifying the best in terms of our community. Then I add the best and delete the outdated, books, weblinks and databases to the library collection to keep it relevant and useful to the Paideia community's needs and goals.

If a mutual fund doesn't keep up with, or exceed, the market's index, the fund manager has failed to meet goals.

If the Paideia Library doesn't keep up with, or anticipate, the community's information and reading needs, then I'm not serving my peeps as you should be served.

Everyone in the Paideia community is an investor in the libraries -- as a student working to learn, as a tuition-paying parent, as a teacher of students, as a staff member keeping the place running.   As a fund manager, I encourage you to read the prospectus, come see what your investment has provided, and use it to increase your wealth of knowledge and understanding.

You owe it to yourself to use your investments wisely.  The door is open -- come on in!