What I learned while out sick

Even when I’m sick at home, I can’t just sit around doing nothing.  I can only watch so much daytime TV, and there are only so many words I can read on a page before I go cross-eyed… So, today I decided to look at SJSU SLIS’ videos of various presentations and lectures that have been done over the past two years.

One of the most recent videos was a lecture by Susan Hanks on California Tribal Libraries.  Although we don’t have a tribal library in the area that I know of, there were a few things she suggested that intrigued me.  The biggest idea that she spoke of was making sure that there were positive Native American stories in our libraries.  She discussed the problem of stereotypical Indian characters, and incorrect information found within children’s non-fiction books.  Ms. Hanks also explained why it’s necessary to display culturally sensitive Thanksgiving books in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving stories, specifically suggesting Giving Thanks by Chief Swamp.

Since I’ll have to use Second Life with the SLIS program sometime soon, I watched the presentation Second Life: 20 Lessons by Jeremy Kemp.  In this presentation, Mr. Kemp discussed the ways in which Second Life (SL) is different from typical online role playing games, and the things he has learned from this program.  He explained that SL is very community driven, and very “flat” in that there is no heirarchy and everyone speaks the same language.  While this is good, it doesn’t come without its problems.  In his words “Second Life is very beta” so you wouldn’t want to hold a live meeting in it.  But for what it does, it’s great.

Patty Wong of the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library presented on Community Outreach.  She discussed what her library has done to increase community involvement in their system. Ms Wong emphasized the importance of sincerity and genuine goodwill when creating relationships with the community. 

The SSJCPL recently underwent a complete overhaul, and created a dedicated unit for community outreach (they manipulated staff and resources).  Their unit focuses on literacy at all levels, mobile libraries, school visits, attending community events, partnerships, publicity and marketing.  Ms. Wong admitted that this is labor intensive and requires a lot of cultivation and negotiation, but she feels that this outreach unit has worked wonders.  They have gotten more books into more homes than they would have without community outreach.

The final presentation I watched was Young Adult Reading by Richie Partington.  This presentation was geared towards reading and school libraries for the Jr. High students, rather than High School students.  Having said that, Mr. Partington had some great tips that I thought translated well into public libraries.

Mr. Partington suggested a straight forward policy of allowing parents to deny the checkout of specific books for specific kids.  He said that the new circulation programs allow this, and that it will keep parents involved in what their kids are reading.  I don’t think something like this will work well on the scale of a public library, but it was intriguing.

He went on to say that it’s important for YA librarians to be knowledgable of what’s being taught in class so that they can make sure that they’re up to date on what’s new with books and make suggestions based on this knowledge.  Mr. Partington also explained the importance of teaching SLIS principles to the teachers first, and then to the students so that you can get the teachers’ help and backup when needed.  And of course, there’s the need to be tech savvy so that you don’t lose credibility when students ask you a question.

So that’s what I learned while I was sick.


  1. You should be resting – we need you to come back to work!

  2. I have been! Even just watching those presentations is resting compared to a normal day for me. In between each of those I napped.

  3. Busy bee! Get well soon!

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