Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Attention Muggles!

Soon, muggles of all ages will be able to experience the wizarding world in Orlando at the addition planned for the Universal Islands of Adventure. Scheduled to open in spring 2010, shops, food and entertainment inspired by J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series will be open for exploring. The planned experiences include Honeydukes, Zonko's, Derbish and Bangles, a "flight of the Griffith" roller coaster, a Hogwarts castle, Ollivander's and much more. A picture gallery and more information are available on Universal's "Wizarding World" Web site. Very cool!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nominate the One You Love!

The New York Times, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the American Library Association are now accepting nominations of public, school, sollege, and academic librarians for the I Love My Librarian! Award. Anyone can nominate a librarian online until October 9. Librarians will be judged on their quality of service to library users, demonstrated knowledge of the library and its resources, and a commitment to helping library users. The awards will be presented on December 3 at the New York Times headquarters in New York City. Winners will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque, and a $500 travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony. Let's have a winner from Wisconsin this year!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Library Without Books???

On September 4, the Boston Globe printed a story about Cushing Academy, a prep school in New England just outside of Boston. School officials decided that a traditional library is outdated and no longer necessary. They will be getting rid of all of their books. All of them except extremely valuable books and a few hundred children's books will be given away or donated. Instead, the library will be a learning center with flat-screen TV's, study desks, a coffee shop, and 18 electronic reading devises loaded with reading material. If the electronic readers aren't available when a student needs them, assigned texts will be available via computer. Here's a link to the full story: Boston Globe

Personally, I can't imagine a library without books. I love looking at the covers and thumbing through the pages. I love wandering in the stacks. I think that there are benefits that come with turning the pages of a book that you can't get on a Kindle. Books can be dropped, thrown in a backpack, used in the sand and in the sun. They can wait for me in the car and even survive splashes from the bath. They can be stored for long periods of time without losing function. And I believe there is a tactile and often emotional benefit that comes with curling up on the couch under my favorite blanket with a cup of coffee and a good book that just can't be replicated with an electronic device. I also worry about the kinds of information that will be lost as the technology gets outdated. Remember floppy discs? What happens when the newest, greatest electronic reading devise comes out. Will all of the books released on today's technology be able to be updated to the newest format? Or will they be lost like the information on my floppy discs?

I think what the Cushing Academy is doing is a big scary step. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. Maybe I am technophobic. Maybe I'm afraid of what will happen to all of the wonderful stories and important pieces of information if it is only available electronically where people can manipulate the words or lose them all together. Whatever the reason, this story makes me sad. I hope that other libraries will find ways to blend the best of technology with print materials. I hope that books never go out of style.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Louder Than Words

There's a new teen book series out authored by teen girls. The motto is truth is more fascinating than fiction. The goal of the publishers is to help teen girls connect at a personal level by offering real life stories and experiences told by other teens. If you have a story that's louder than words, you can submit your story on their website. Or, you can keep up with the latest news on their facebook page.