Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why I Don't Believe the Library Doomsayers

I had the opportunity to visit the Library of Congress during Fall Break and took a fantastic tour with a lovely man named Frank.  Among the many beautiful works of art that Frank showed our group, the Evolution of the Book murals really stood out.  As I listened to him explain their meaning, I thought about how similar the current book evolution period we are living in is to these earlier changes.   
The first mural depicts man before his ability to speak.  He is creating a stone memorial to express himself.  The urge for self-expression is a primal human desire throughout the ages though the format has changed.   
The second mural shows the beginning of speech and the oral tradition.  A massive leap forward, this evolution allowed people to share with one another their thoughts, feelings and ideas and pass on the history of their culture.  
The third mural shows an example of expression with pictures: hieroglyphics.  The use of pictures to tell a story increased the ability of humans to communicate complex messages to one another in less strenuous ways than rock piling and more permanent ways than speech.  
The fourth mural shows indigenous people using hides to capture writing and drawings in a portable and permanent way.  For the first time, written material could easily be transferred to others.  
The fifth mural depicts a scholar creating a handwritten manuscript.  He is able to set down thoughts to a portable product and again share and communicate thoughts and ideas to an increased audience.
The sixth mural is of Gutenberg and his printing press.  A massive step in the Evolution of the Book, printing opened the door for democratization of learning and the sharing of ideas and information across much broader areas.   

I would offer up another mural today.  The next step in the Evolution of the Book is digital.  Rather than fear this step or see it as something to be hated, let’s celebrate that the evolution that brought us so much farther in the democratization of learning is continuing.  The current availability of information on a global scale is unprecedented in history and rather than run from it, I say run to it!  Let’s be glad that more people than ever are able to find the information they need, read it in their languages and enjoy the feeling of getting lost in a great story.    

I strongly believe that libraries still have a roll to play in this.  As a Librarian, I must not insist on a familiar format, but rather be willing to work with my patrons to learn new technologies, provide the best service possible, fulfill needs and steer our library ship through the sea of information.   Our students need libraries and librarians more than ever to help them sift through the information available to them and decide what is worth their time.  Every student needs access to all these resources through strong and well-funded school library programs with full-time certified School Librarians to run them.  I truly believe that the library is the cornerstone of our democracy.   How many other places in our society can every single person regardless of socioeconomic status have access to the best research, technology and reading resources available free of charge?   In a country that has a lot to learn about sharing, the library brings out the best of our humanity.  Whether we support this equal access and continuing democratization of learning will deeply impact the future of our world.  So let’s embrace the change and continue to support our libraries as we take this next step in the Evolution of the Book.  

Alexander, John White (Artist).  (1896).  Printing Press mural in Evolution of the Book series [Image of painting]. Washington, DC; Library of Congress. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2007684315/

Alexander, John White (Artist).  (1896).  Picture Writing mural in Evolution of the Book series [Image of painting]. Washington, DC; Library of Congress.  Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005675757/

Alexander, John White (Artist).  (1896).  Manuscript Book mural in Evolution of the Book series [Image of painting]. Washington, DC; Library of Congress.  Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005675759/

Alexander, John White (Artist).  (1896).  Egyptian hieroglyphics mural in Evolution of the Book series [Image of painting]. Washington, DC; Library of Congress.  Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005675756/

Alexander, John White (Artist).  (1896).  Oral Tradition mural in Evolution of the Book series [Image of painting]. Washington, DC; Library of Congress.  Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005675755/

Alexander, John White (Artist).  (1896).  Cairn mural in Evolution of the Book series [Image of painting]. Washington, DC; Library of Congress.  Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005675760/

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ms. Couch's English Class: Perspectives by Kelsey

Innocence to Experience 
by Kelsey Woody 

As I walked into the Library this morning for my latest Library Brigade session of shelving our latest books, or even just to practice the perpetual the perpetual Speed Graph Quizzes of Precalculus, the accosting tones and occasional bursts of laughter from a Sophomore English class discussion caught me by surprise. Of course, my first thought was: "This seems like it would be a great Library Article!" 

So now, of course, I am somewhat suspiciously typing on my iPad and taking part in one of the routine yet involved conversations of Ms. Couch's latest endeavor. All of the rolling chairs have been gathered into a large circle with the teacher among the students while gummy bear bags rustle and opinions clash. The subject- go figure- is "Innocence to Experience," and the book is Power, by Linda Hogan. Being a Junior at Chatham Hall, I remember reading the book at the cusp of my Sophomore year, glaring at the Power and Control Wheel that was to lord over my English class for the coming months. 

Intrigued by a compelling nostalgia for the discoveries and challenges that I faced with Hogan's poetic language and descriptions about nature and religion, I am now sitting in one of those comfortable rolling chairs of the circle, writing this article and recognizing where I was emotionally and spiritually last year, and noting how the environment, and I, have changed. 

Surrounding the debate about whether Omishto is active; passive; naive; or experienced, an Alumnae Council meeting is discussing some grave and mysterious subject in the Mezzanine. Ms. Stenzel is preparing her next book presentation, Ms. Gammon and Mr. Lyle are puzzling over technology, and the Kuerig Coffee makers are buzzing full force. The Lee Library is evidently not the secluded Round Table classroom in Willis Hall of my Sophomore year: this area is bright, refurbished, and electric with activity during most hours of the day. The class's in depth discussion, however, is just as intense. The symbolism of muddy boots and panthers, Janie Soto and white horses is being attacked with abandon as I swiftly take notes of the musings of these brilliant girls who, frankly, I am in awe of for their ability to analyze with very few interjections from their teacher. 

Even now, the Music Maven for the day is playing a song (by Dustin O'Halooran) that alludes to her interpretation of the previous night's reading. As the class ends, yet another day carries on here in the Lee Library. Now, coming out of my reverie, it is time for me to return to the present and my Junior English class, hopefully a little bit more appreciative of how far I've come than I was 50 minutes ago.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Library Assistant Alex's Reviews on TeenReads.com

Our wonderful Library Assistant, Alex has applied for and been accepted to be a contributor for TeenReads.com!  This means that she'll be able to read ARCs (advanced readers copies) of brand new books and write reviews of them before most other people are even able to read them.   We're so proud of her!   Check out her reviews below...

Alex's Review of More Than This, by Patrick Ness

Alex's Response to Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Friday, September 27, 2013

eBooks are Here!

You can now check out eBooks/audiobooks from the Library as well as print books!  Instructions are below.  Take a chance to look over our selection and also be sure to note the Project Gutenberg public domain titles available all the time with no return date.  Also, if you have a library card from your public library, you can check out their eBooks as well. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Library Orientation

This week each English class came to the library for Orientation.  Girls completed a scavenger hunt trying out all the new things and seeing all the library has to offer.  It was great fun to have so many students running around the library and having fun

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Almost there...

A few new pictures from the last two weeks...

 Tea Room furniture

First Coffees in the Cafe

 Pub Lab Carpet

Tablet Chairs

Friday, July 26, 2013

Don't Forget about Twitter!

Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter to see these pictures and more!


 Main floor wallpaper
 Tea Room Floor
Cafe area ceiling

Thursday, July 25, 2013

And then there was paint! (and wallpaper!)

 Mezzanine lights- love how the light up the ceiling
 View from Stairs
 View of Cafe
 Wallpaper: subtle but interesting
Cafe cabinets going in

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Before, During and After...


 Almost there...
Updated "After" coming August 15th!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cafe and Main Floor Changes

Wallpaper is coming down on the main floor and the Cafe is being prepared for wiring!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Renovation Underway!

On June 3rd, contractors began working to renovate Lee Library. With all the work taking place this Summer, we expect to open in August with a beautiful brand new library. Check back for further updates during the next few months!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Annual Report...the video version!

As we prepare for all the fun festivities of Graduation, here's a fun video documenting this year in the Library.  Please check it out or save it to watch next week when things calm down.  I'm very proud of all that we as a community have accomplished this year in the library and I look forward to another great year!

Lee Library Annual Report 12-13 from Carolyn Stenzel on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Fair Luau

If you missed it last night here are a couple videos of the Ukulele Orchestra's concert at the Book Fair!  Thanks to Dr. Edwards and the players and Ms. Jackson and the dancers!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Show Me The Awesome: An Awesome First Year

Banner courtesy of John LeMasney via lemasney.com
This post is part of Show Me The Awesome: 30 Days of Self-Promotion, an initiative by Sophie, Liz, and Kelly. To learn more, click those links or check out #30awesome on twitter. 

How To Have a Successful First Year in 10 Easy Steps:

1.     Get lucky- the first and most important step was to be lucky enough to have strong administrative support for new initiatives and wonderful students who were enthusiastic about everything
2.     Weed, weed, then weed more… no really you must weed
I cannot overstate the necessity of weeding in a school library.  If you have students who cannot use the library because of mold allergies, if you can’t wear black to work because of the amount of dust that clings to you, if you have no room for a single extra book on a shelf, you must weed.  Since beginning weeding this year, we have increased the average age of the collection by 20 years.  Because new things can come in and stand out on the shelves, we have had six times the number of checkouts this year than we had last year.
3.     Goals/greats- it’s important to know what you want to do and to remind yourself of things that are going well.  It can be frustrating when things aren’t the way you envisoned.  Having a notebook where I wrote monthly goals and “Greats” (things that I was proud of/things that worked) really helped me to see that great things were happening, even when I was discouraged.
4.     Communicate- I found that many students and faculty didn’t know the wonderful things that were happening, so I made it my goal to show them.  From quarterly full length newsletters to monthly “Mini-News” with new purchases, top checkouts, and who was seen in the library, to infographics about checkout increases, to announcements at our all-school assembly, to creating this blog, learning to tweet, and just generally annoying people by talking about the library all the time, I shared much and often and in many different mediums!
5.     Listen- I sent out surveys, talked to students, put up a requests board and tried to stay in touch with what was new and popular.   I tried never to say no to a reasonable request.  I wasn’t afraid to change policies that students didn’t respond well to.  For instance, DVD’s were not easily accessible to students and weren’t generally interesting to them.  I’ve worked to increase that collection and brought it out onto the main floor.  We had basically no Young Adult literature in August, but since I’ve increased that collection and given it special shelving, its’ circulation has increased seven-fold.  The physical space is more fun, with more collaborative areas and hang-out space in response to student requests.  Our renovated library will have a coffee shop and more enclosed study rooms as well.  It’s critical to listen to what our students want because they are the primary users!
6.     Have fun- The library has become a place associated with fun!  I held evening activities such as 80s Night where we danced to 80s music, dressed up and examined the 80’s books and magazines.  There were movie nights using the projector and white boards, Christmas storytelling by the giant book tree, a webcast with John Green, a Book Fair, and many other events just to get students in the library to see what we had going on.
7.     Get Help- I am a solo, first-year librarian with no paid clerical help.  The student assistant program has been an invaluable resource.  I give them lots of responsibility and train them in all areas of library service.  They help check out, catalog, do inventory, come up with the best ideas and bring their friends in to participate as well.  I love that this program brings me closer to the students and helps them to increase their sense of ownership in the library.  Who knows, there may be a future librarian among them?!
8.     Stay current/share ideas- Since I am a solo librarian in a very rural area, I have had to work extra hard to find library mentors and colleagues.  Luckily, I am a member of several professional organizations such as VAASL (Virginia Assn. of School Librarians), AISL (Assn. of Independent School Librarians) and AASL.  I am so grateful for the ways in which these associations, their listserv’s and conferences have impacted my ability to stay current in the field.  I am able to network with other librarians in similar situations and it is so nice to have new friends who love the things that you love!  Blogs, twitter and webinars have also become very important parts of my professional development now that I am on my own in the library.  It’s amazing what wonderful ideas you can find from your online peers!
9.     Be patient- I’ve learned that it is very important to stay calm and accept that it won’t all happen in a year.  There are many 2nd tier projects and Year Two (and onward!) goals.  It’s important to realize that people need time to make decisions and that you need time to get to know the school and community in order to be effective.  This shouldn’t hold you back from starting off on the right foot, but it should give you comfort when things aren’t all going as smoothly as you had hoped.
10. Finally, enjoy the payoff- I am so looking forward to coming back to a new library in August and to seeing the kids’ excitement.  I can’t wait to watch teachers working in the spaces that we’ve designed and to hear from alumni who are happy with what we’ve accomplished.  

Do you have any first-year success stories?  What’s worked in your libraries?  Please share!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Book Review from Robin!

An Abundance of Katherines
John Green
ISBN 978-0-14-241070-7

Critic written by Robin E. ’14

5 Stars (An Abundance of Stars)

And here’s why:
An Abundance of Katherines is the perfect summer read. Funny, easy, original this book is well worth reading. The book is the perfect balance of an easy read and a deep novel. It is not so dumbed down that you feel like your IQ is sinking with each page, yet not so intellectual that you wonder if school ever really ended.

Green’s witty side facts along with the ACCURATE math problems (and there are a lot of those) make for a quirky and fun book. At the end of the book, a mathematician explains how all the equations work.

The plot itself is brilliant and new as you follow Collin, a child prodigy, with a dating problem: his last 19 girlfriends have all been name Katherine. This 19th girl could be just what it takes to break this strange trend. After the breakup, Collin and his best friend head out for a summer long road trip filled with self discovery.

Anyways, this is exactly what a leisure read should be.   

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Book Review from Caitlyn

An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green 

Jump into the turbulent and rather tragic love life of Colin Singleton, a failed child prodigy, as he recounts the end of his 19th relationship with year another, you guessed it, Katherine. After being dumped for the 19th time, Colin and his friend, Hassan, decide to take to embark on a road trip with no set destination. These two seemingly "un-dateable" boys land in Gutshot, Tennessee to visit the grave of the Archduke Ferdinand and a mess of incidences land them there for their vacation, working with Lindsey Wells (a paramedic- in-training) and Hollis (her heavy-set, pink-loving, factory-owning mother). Colin's story unfolds as he begins to work on a Theorem that will mathematically represent his relationships with all of the Katherines he has dated and predict his future of "Dumpee" status. 

While I am not one for romance novels (no Nora Roberts or Fabio for me!), I have found that I do enjoy John Green's novels that include not only young love, but also self- discovery. His main characters are usually relatable and his writing style is hypnotic. Once introduced to his writing through The Fault in Our Stars, I bought and read almost every single one of his books. Most of them have the same general storyline: boy meets girl, girl changes boy's life, something drastically tragic happens (according to the boy), and there is some sort of epiphany at the end when the boy's world is suddenly illuminated and he suddenly understands his entire existence. Don't get me wrong. They are all well written, are sufficiently sarcastic, and each has moments when you want to slap the living daylights out of the main character (mostly because he is whining for a good chapter-and-a-half). 

Somehow, this book was different. The character didn't start off relatable. He was cold, very logical, and was probably the most frustrating main character I have ever encountered. However, this was successfully off-set by John Green's witty and sarcastic humor which was channeled by his supporting character, Colin's best (and only friend), Hassan. I could relate to Hassan. He is pretty much the lazy cat in all of us; he is taking a year off before college, sits watching tv and eating all day, and, really, just isn't motivated to do anything. Hassan wants to kill Colin just as much as we do and we immediately love him for it. 

One of the things I find the most interesting about this novel is the incorporation of footnotes. Every now and then (every couple of pages or so), Green places footnotes next to different words and phrases and uses them as portals to interesting facts, like math you didn't need or want to know or the history of WWI. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and for anyone who loves John Green, romantic comedies, or a hilariously sarcastic lazy bum who turns out to be a child prodigy's best friend, then, by all means, READ AWAY!!! 

-Caitlyn M. '14

Sunday, March 3, 2013

We're on Twitter!

Follow Lee Library @LibraryCH  on Twitter:


Friday, February 22, 2013

Subject Guides

Recently, I've been working on curating great links for various subjects taught at Chatham Hall.  Check out the Subject Guides below!  You can also find these under the Page labeled "Subject Guides"

Friday, January 18, 2013

Come Try Out the New Furniture!

We have a rotating supply of rental furniture in the library for you to test out.  We want to know what you think about the different pieces so please leave your comments and suggestions on the comment pages!  You can also share thoughts with me in person or through email!  Some photos are below, but seeing it in person is the best way to get a true idea of what it's like!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nerdfighters Invade the Library!

On Tuesday, January 15th, Chatham Hall Library teamed up with Penguin Books to host a live webcast of An Evening of Awesome at Carnegie Hall starring John and Hank Green with many wonderful special guests including Neil Gaiman!  Everyone had a great time!  If you missed the webcast, you can watch it on the VlogBrothers YouTube video stream.