Book Arts Event — a fun new skill!

January 28, 2011

Book making is a new experience for me. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed learning how to make simple yet beautiful books with a great group of people. It was a relaxing evening full of laughter, getting to know other classmates, and also learning a new skill to take into the field of librarianship. Here’s what we made!

My Exquisite Corpse Book

The student organization (sALA) held a Book Arts event in November. The instructor, Anne Bingham, is a school librarian and she incorporates book making into the classes she teaches. Her language students make sewn Exquisite Corpse books  and fill the pages with parts of sentences to use to study grammar and composition. They also make Accordion books to write their own stories; each panel tells a different part of the plot.

As I left the event, I took time to grab a bibliography of book making resources from Anne. I think I’ve not only found a new hobby but also an opportunity for a wide-audience program at the library I will (hopefully) work in someday. Here’s another book I made. We sewed the pages together using large needles and waxed thread.

Here’s part of the bibliography Anne shared with us. If anyone else has done simple book making and has other suggestions for resources, please share them!

  • The Book Arts Web:
  • Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord’s making Books with Children:
  • Carter, David A. Elements of pop up: a pop up book for aspiring paper engineers. New York: Little Simon, 1999.
  • Diehn, Gwen. The decorated page: journals, scrapbooks & albums made simply beautiful. New York: Lark, 2003.
  • Gaylord, Susan Kapuscinski. Super pop-up reports for American history. New York: Scholastic Professional Books, 2000.
  • Golden, Alisa J. Unique handmade books. New York: Sterling Pub. Co., 2001.
  • Ikegami, Kosanjin. Japanese bookbinding: instructions from a master craftsman. New York: Weatherhill, 1986.
  • Jacobs, Micahel. Books unbound. Cincinnati, Ohio: North Light Books, 2006.
  • Johnson, Paul. Literacy through the book arts. Porsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1993.
  • LaPlantz, Shereen. The art and craft of handmade books. New York: Lark Books, 2001. 

My Top 10 Reads from 2010

January 14, 2011

I was asked by a couple of people to share my favorite reads from 2010. This is difficult for me to do because I read such a variety of books. Of course I enjoy some books more than others, I find comfort in knowing that I will always be able to find a book that fits my mood. (thanks, Nancy Pearl!) And with that, I give you an attempt at my Top 10 from 2010. As always, comments and questions are welcome!

  1. Blankets — by Craig Thompson
  2. The Jump-Off Creek — by Molly Gloss
  3. Columbine — by Dave Cullen
  4. In the WoodsThe Likeness — by Tana French
  5. The Hunger Games (and Catching Fire and Mockingjay) — by Suzanne Collins
  6. All the World — written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
  7. Eating Animals — by Jonathan Safran Foer
  8. Superman for all Seasons — Jeph Loeb
  9. Methland: the death and life of an American small town — by Nick Reding
  10. Heaven’s Keep — William Kent Krueger

One more thing! Yes, I’m attending school full-time and working part-time. Yes, I do find it is difficult to make time to read. Here’s my (unsolicited) advice – read something easy (for you) and have a reading goal (mine: a book a week).

Happy New Year!

January 3, 2011

When I was 7 or 8, a huge blizzard wrapped my family into our house in southern Minnesota for a couple of days over the New Year Holiday. We all huddled in the basement next to the stone fire place. It is even possible that we didn’t have electricity because of the storm (although I could be mistaken) and so we sat in that room and played quietly. My mom handed me a book to read. I could tell it was one of her old books from when she was a little girl. It had “a lot” of pages and smelled like a combination old newspaper and homemade bread. It was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods.

I sat next to the warm, glowing fire place in an old rocking chair and read that book for hours that day. I became lost in the Big Woods and in the Ingalls’ family’s story. That may be why I want to think that we didn’t have electricity. This is one of my richest and most comforting memories.

On New Year’s Day 2011, I found myself curled up on the couch with a nice warm blanket and Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow. I had electricity, the Internet, and dozens of DVDs to keep me occupied, but I ached for an afternoon of getting lost in a story. It was a wonderful way to start the new year — a year where I will be moving to a new part of the country, beginning my life with new (and old) friends, and hopefully finding my place in the world of librarianship. The afternoon lacked only one thing — I wished for the soft glow and crackle of my parents’ warm fire place to keep me company. Of course, if I’d have been in my parents’ house in front of the fire place, I would be reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods for the eighth time, but that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that it is a new year and another chapter of my story is ready to unfold.
Happy New Year!

Reading for fun in Library School (part 3)

December 6, 2010
I figured it might be time to talk about what I’ve been reading for during this quarter of school. I’m currently taking a class from Nancy Pearl where one of her main goals is to have us reading — and hopefully reading books we enjoy. It is a class about Adult Genre Fiction. While I didn’t think I would enjoy ALL the genres, I have added something to my GoodReads to-read list every week of class!
Outside of that class, I’ve been doing some other “for-fun” reading. Okay, I admit it, usually I read books that I’ve added to my to-read list during that class, but I’m enjoying it all nonetheless.
Here are five of my favorite books from this fall quarter:
The Jump-Off Creek — Molly Gloss
In this strong, carefully honest story of a woman in the west, Lydia Sanderson loses and gathers herself along Jump-Off Creek; the details of life in Oregon’s Blue Mountains are so intimately portrayed, readers will find themselves forgetting where they are.
Superman for all seasons — Jeph Loeb
Four richly illustrated stories narrated by familiar characters focus on Superman’s exploration of what made Clark Kent super and his evolution to become the hero he is.
All the Pretty Horses — Cormac McCarthy 
Young John Grady Cole crosses the border into Mexico and knows one thing – if you don’t have your horse, you don’t have anything.
Sunshine — Robin McKinley
One bite into this compelling, richly-written book and you’ll want to tear through the story of Rae, a young baker at her step-father’s café, as she forms a dangerous bond with Constantine, an entrancing vampire.
Blankets — Craig Thompson
It is difficult to not become wrapped up in this coming-of-age story of sibling rivalry, first loves and faith exploration when the text and images melt into one another so perfectly.
If you want to see everything else I’ve read or “shelved” from the Adult Genre Fiction class, go to my GoodReads page (username heidifk) and look at my shelves called “nancypearl” or “lis598” and if you aren’t already following me, please do so. I’d love to see and share in what you’re reading! — really!!
**I will admit that my shelves are kind of disorganized right now. I had planned on adding books that were on the reading list from Nancy’s class to “nancypearl” and books that were talked about in class to “lis598” however, I didn’t follow my own plan and now things got goofed up. I’m hoping to clean some of it up during winter break. 


October 16, 2010

First, I did not make up the contraction of “GenReflecting”. I got it from the title of a book by Diane Herald and Wayne Wiegand called Genreflecting: a guide to popular reading interests.

Second, I’ve already mentioned that I’m taking a class about Genres for Adult Readers from Nancy Pearl this fall. Here is the course description from the class web site (that is open only to class participants):
Many library users head straight for genre fiction when they’re choosing what to read next. Since it’s such a popular part of a public library’s materials collection, it’s vital that librarians have a close familiarity with the various genres. Through reading and discussion, class participants will develop knowledge of the characteristics of the most popular genres, including speculative fiction, mystery/thriller/suspense, romance, westerns, and comics. Class members will gain practice in booktalking, preparing annotated booklists, and making reading suggestions to library users. 

Third, here’s my preview of genre fiction and its role in and out of the library.
I’m a reader of anything and everything I can get my hands on. If you’ve read my previous posts about “Reading for Fun in Library School”, you’ve already realized that. I prefer to read non-fiction, but I do read some genre fiction. Don’t ask me which genres. I still don’t know. But, here’s what I do know…

Genres are not helpful for me. I grew up using an area of the public library that did not have genres and therefore, I’ve honed my browsing skills without using genres. On the other hand, genres are helpful for readers — like my mom and my brother. Genres are helpful for many people! And THAT is reason enough to keep them in the library — in some way or another. Without genre shelves or stickers or booklists or whatever your library has, readers don’t know where to go next. They might feel too uncomfortable browsing such a large collection, and they are overwhelmed by the number of books to choose from. 

When people feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed or overstimulated or “un” or “over” anything, their library experience becomes less satisfying.  

As a future librarian, I hope to keep genres available for readers who use them and need them. How can I integrate genres into a collection without causing discomfort for readers? I’m not sure about this yet, but I’m hoping to discover ways as I learn more about genres in class this fall. 

However, as a future librarian, I also hope to be able to facilitate readers in their journey from one genre to another genre. How am I going to do this? In class, Nancy Pearl calls them “bridge books” — books that bring one reader from one genre into another genre in a comfortable sort of way. But I would like to take that a step further and say that “bridge sub-genres” exist. 

See example:
Genre – Romance
Sub-genre – Suspenseful-romance

Genre – Suspense/Thriller

So, there’s my genReflection. 

P.S. If I had to choose the genre I enjoy reading most often, I would have to choose mysteries and thrillers and literary graphic novels and ohhhh okay… maybe I can’t pick ONE genre. Yet.

Banned/Challenged Books Panel [Part 2: Reflection]

October 10, 2010

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had our Banned/Challenged Books Panel last week. It was a huge success! Almost every seat in the room was full and we had a couple of people present on the online meeting space. We had enough pizza and pop and napkins! But, most importantly, our panelists had a wonderful discussion and expressed their passion and dedication for intellectual freedom in libraries.

I did some reading about moderating panels before this event, and I read about how sometimes there is a strange and uncomfortable and sometimes tense dynamic between the panelists. You can’t really control why or when this happens, but you have to be prepared for it. This kind of made me concerned. I kept thinking that I needed to be ready for anything, so I had lots of questions ready in case discussion was forced.

Fortunately, moderating the panel was unbelievably easy. The panelists fed off of each other, had great conversations — asking each other questions and also asking the audience questions. As the moderator, I encouraged them to talk about their experiences with banned/challenged materials and how important it is to have policies in libraries to protect the users and libraries.

— Some of the main points all of the panelists shared —

  • It’s a challenge to balance your feelings about controversial materials and your duty as a library staff-member. 
  • When a book is challenged (formally or informally) it is necessary to make sure everyone knows the process and procedures.
  • Usually parents or guardians who challenge materials have a specific, personal, emotional reason for doing so. (For example: a mother who grew up in a family of alcoholics may not want her children to read books that have alcoholism as a theme) When this happens, great care needs to be taken to not offend or hurt the person challenging the materials — but to focus, instead, on the challenge itself and the right to read whatever you choose. 

     Here is a link to the recording of the entire panel (it was about 75 minutes). You might have to have a UW NetID to log in, but if not, please enjoy!  Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    Banned/Challenged Books Panel [Part 1: Planning]

    October 4, 2010

    The iSchool has a student chapter of ALA. We call it SALA. This year, I am the secretary of the organization. It is an honor and a pleasure to be a part of a dedicated and professional organization. We work at disseminating information given to us by ALA as well as planning professional and social events throughout the year.

    I volunteered to lead the organization of the Banned/Challenged Books panel this fall. We didn’t schedule it during the official Banned Books Week because that was the first week of classes. The panel is on Wednesday, October 6 in Mary Gates Hall 420 from 5:15pm-7:00pm. Here’s our schedule:
    5:15pm-6:00pm — Free pizza, socialize, share our favorite banned/challenged books
    6:00pm-7:00pm — Panel with the following panelists:
                 * Susan Hildreth — City Librarian, Seattle, Washington (Seattle Public Library)            
                 * Terri Kuechle — Middle School Librarian, Beaverton, Oregon
                 * Lynn Miller — Teen Librarian at Ballard branch, Seattle, Washington (Seattle Public Library)
                 * Elsa Steele — Managing Librarian in Kirkland, Washington (King County Library System)

    Our panel will be available to distance MLIS students who attend UW, too. We are going to set up an online meeting room where people will be able to listen to the panel and participate by leaving comments and questions online. I am excited to add this dynamic to our panel.

    These next couple of days, I will be creating a list of questions to use to facilitate the panel, but I hope the audience brings its own questions because I look forward to this being a stimulating discussion about libraries, intellectual freedom and the rights of readers.

    You can find updates about SALA on our website, Facebook and Twitter.
    Look for another post reflecting and evaluating the panel after the event. And hopefully I’ll have some photos!

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