Friday, March 26, 2010

SLIS 5720-The Machine is Us/Using Us

I think Prof. Wesch gave the video such a title in order to point out the dynamic versatility of Web 2.0. Although it may feel like technology is constantly getting ahead of us, we are, in fact, the driving force behind web 2.0 tools. As we work on the web, we are constantly coming up with ways to make it more user friendly, more accurate, and therefore, more expressive. With so many contributors, it can sometimes make "the machine" feel unstable, fickle and even volatile. I believe that the video was trying to make a statement that while technology is evolving at amazing speeds, we are in control. It does not have to be the elusive and erratic "machine" some make it out to be. By staying on top of web 2.0, we can tame the "machine." Learning and educating ourselves on Web 2.0 changes our point of view from an "erratic machine" to a flexible tool. We can mold it to meet our needs. We are no longer just the users, we are the creators.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Module #9

Module #9- The Seance by Joan Lowery Nixon
Nixon, Joan Lowery. The Seance. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980.
Summary: Even though they live in the same house, Lauren and Sara could not be more different. An orphan living with her aunt, Lauren is skinny, shy, and unremarkable. Sara, a ward of the court due to wild behavior, is curving, gorgeous, and has all the boys' attention. Lauren is secretly jealous of Sara and wishes she would just go away. One night, Lauren gets her wish. During an ill-fated seance, Sara goes missing. Her body turns up the next morning followed by the body of another girl who also went to the seance. Lauren sets out to find the murderer in order to prove her innocence and more importantly escape ending up the next victim.
Tattered Cover says: This book is a quick read with an interesting setting, Eastern Texas swamplands. While it's not the most riveting or inventive storyline, it entertains. The list of characters is kept short especially for a mystery. Its simplicity will make it good for beginning mystery readers.
How to use this in a library: I think this book would be good to recommend to struggling readers who are interested in mystery. Most mystery books have complex plots and long lists of characters to keep up with. The Seance is surprisingly simple and easy to follow.
Reviews: "This is not a supernatural story, despite the title, and not a locked-room mystery either -- which we learn in pretty short order, by the way; I'm not spilling any late-harvest beans! The writing shows obvious talent. THE SEANCE is just not a very good mystery, in my opinion, so my recommendation is as lukewarm as a West Texas night in early spring." review by Wordwalker on

Monday, March 15, 2010

Module #8

Module #8 Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies. New York : Simon Pulse, 2005.
Summary: Tally Youngblood lives in a future world were everyone upon turning 16 undergoes an operation to make them physically perfect or "pretty." Anyone who has not yet undergone the surgery is called an "Ugly" and those who have are called a "Pretty." Tally cannot wait to be a "Pretty" and live in New Pretty Town with the rest of her older friends. Then Tally meets another Ugly named Shay who doesn't care about being pretty and wants to leave behind the city forever. Tally's life gets complicated when she is sent to retrieve Shay from the outsiders secret city. Tally learns that being pretty comes at a high cost and her world and priorities change forever.
Tattered Cover says: Fantastic book! Uglies had me turning pages all night long. It is a mesmorizing world of perfection and abundance. Some of the self asborbtion and obsession with appearance hit close to home. A great read for teenagers or adults!
How to use this in a library: Uglies would be great to use to compare with current events. Using advertisements and gossip magazines, students will have a blast making comparisons to the fictional world of New Pretty Town. The consequences of the obsession with beauty and judging people by their appearances can be discussed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Module #8

Module #8- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2005.
Summary: Bella Swan is the new girl in Forks, a small rainy north west town. Not long after moving to live with her father, Bella notices some strange kids at school. They are unusually attractive, pale, and anti social. After several awkward encounters with one of the males, Edward, Bella starts to wonder what his secret is. Edward steps in and saves Bella from her clumsiness and accident prone nature. First when she almost smashed by an out of control car and second when she gets lost and almost becomes victim of a rape. Soon Bella learns that Edward is a vampire who both cares about her and at the same time wants to suck her blood! Edward constantly battles his desire for her both physically and mentally. When Bella becomes the target of another vampire, Bella must choose between her life and saving her new ill fated love.
Tattered Cover says: The tension and frustration of these star crossed lovers matches perfectly the sexual tension of teenagers. This is a page turner. Twilight is a totally absorbing read! The characters and setting seem so real which is an amazing accomplishment for a writer of science fiction. Somehow Meyer makes everyone want to be in love with a vampire and live in a world where dangerous and beautiful creatures abound!
How to use this in a library: Great book for a book/fan club. This book would also be great for reluctant readers. Kids seem to be obsessed with this book and the series and I can see why. I would introduce it to anyone who says they do not like to read.
School Library Journal (October 1, 2005)

"Headstrong, sun-loving, 17-year-old Bella declines her mom's invitation to move to Florida, and instead reluctantly opts to move to her dad's cabin in the dreary, rainy town of Forks, WA. She becomes intrigued with Edward Cullen, a distant, stylish, and disarmingly handsome senior, who is also a vampire. When he reveals that his specific clan hunts wildlife instead of humans, Bella deduces that she is safe from his blood-sucking instincts and therefore free to fall hopelessly in love with him. The feeling is mutual, and the resulting volatile romance smolders as they attempt to hide Edward's identity from her family and the rest of the school. Meyer adds an eerie new twist to the mismatched, star-crossed lovers theme: predator falls for prey, human falls for vampire. This tension strips away any pretense readers may have about the everyday teen romance novel, and kissing, touching, and talking take on an entirely new meaning when one small mistake could be life-threatening. Bella and Edward's struggle to make their relationship work becomes a struggle for survival, especially when vampires from an outside clan infiltrate the Cullen territory and head straight for her. As a result, the novel's danger-factor skyrockets as the excitement of secret love and hushed affection morphs into a terrifying race to stay alive. Realistic, subtle, succinct, and easy to follow, Twilight will have readers dying to sink their teeth into it".-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Module #7

The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler- Module #7
Mackler, Carolyn. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. Cambridge: Candlewick Press. 2003.
Summary: Virginia is a 15 year old who feels like an outcast in her near perfect family. She is overweight, doesn't speak French, and not popular. Virginia lives by her self made "Fat girl code of conduct." After her brother is expelled from college for date rape, she learns that her family is not as perfect as she thought. After a mini breakdown and bout with self destructive behavoir, Virginia begins to discover who she is and what makes her happy. Virginia realizes that being herself isn't that bad.
Tattered Cover says:Following Virginia's thought process is an emotional ride. The reader will be fighting for her even when she seems to be fighting against herself. This book is very realistic and hits on some very tough issues such as date rape, self mutilation, anorexia/bulemia, and self esteem. It is very relavant to today's youth.
How to use this in a library:This book would be perfect for a girl's book club. Given all the issues in the book, a librarian could tie in having the girls research some of the topics and even have some guest speakers to speak about things such as cutting or eating disorders.
Reviews: " Fifteen-year-old Viriginia Shreves is the blond, round, average daughter in a family of dark-haired, thin superstars. Her best friend has moved away, and she's on the fringes at her private Manhattan school. She wants a boyfriend, but she settles for Froggy Welsh, who comes over on Mondays to grope her. The story follows Virginia as she tries to lose weight, struggles with her "imperfections," and deals with the knowledge that her idealized older brother has committed date rape. There's a lot going on here, and some important elements, such as Virginia's flirtation with self-mutilation, are passed over too quickly. But Mackler writes with such insight and humor (sometimes using strong language to make her point) that many readers will immediately identify with Virginia's longings as well as her fear and loathing. Her gradually evolving ability to stand up to her family is hard won and not always believable, but it provides a hopeful ending for those trying stand on their own two feet." Ilene Cooper, American Library Association, Booklist

Monday, March 1, 2010


Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech- Module #7
Creech, Sharon. Ruby Holler. New York: Harper Collins. 2002.
Summary: Two orphans, Florida and Dallas, are "hired" to go on trips with an elderly couple. After years of disappointment at the hands of adults, the twins are wary. Through love kindness and understanding the couple earns the twins trust. The twins finally find themselves with a loving home.
Tattered Cover says:
This is a touching story about the power of love. Readers will laugh at the antics of Florida and Dallas and cry of the sweet relationship of the old couple.
How to use this in a library:
This book would be great for a discussion of character changes. It would be fun to chart the changes of the twins from their level of trust to the eventual breaking down of their defensive wall against adults.
Reviews: "This poignant story evokes a feeling as welcoming as fresh-baked bread. The slow evolution of the siblings who are no angels parallels the gradual building of mutual trust for the Moreys. The novel celebrates the healing effects of love and compassion. Although conflicts emerge, readers will have little doubt that all will end well for the children and the grandparently Moreys." Cahners Business Information, Inc.