Thursday, April 9, 2009


First, I love audio books, or at least most audio books. I have checked out audio books on cassette tapes and cds from my local library for my children to listen to when we traveled since they were very young. They were introduced to Ramona, Henry and Ribsy to begin with, and eventually we made it through Heidi when my eldest was only in first or second grade. I also found them to be a great way to revisit a story we have read aloud: Reading aloud at bedtime, it took us a month or so to get through one of the early Harry Potter books, so that by the end they didn't remember all the details from the beginning. Several months after we finished it we listened to the audio book while travelling and they were able to put it all together better this second time. The obvious downside is that not all readers are good, or sometimes they simply don't fit my idea of how a character/narrator should sound.

These days I still check out cd audio books from the library, but I usually rip them into iTunes for portable listening. Mercer County libraries have a limited selection of playaways, but I have used them on occasion. They work well, and can be used in my car with the same adapter I use for my phone/ipod. The down side, of course is that it's one more gadgety thing to keep track of.

I have also purchased audio books through iTunes, often of titles I think my children will enjoy and/or that I need but are unavailable from my library.

I have looked into Listen NJ several times, but as the owner/user of an iphone for my audio, I have generally been dissapointed. I see that it is now possible to get some titles for the iphone, but the selections of available titles is quite limited and rather uneven: There seem to be more science fiction than general popular fiction, and with only one Jane Austen title available in the required format.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


First, I love the book review podcasts. I generally listen to the NYTimes Book Review, Nancy Pearl's BookLust and the Horn Book podcasts while I walk in the neighborhood. Most are pretty good, although I found it ironic that the only book review podcast with advertising is the one from NPR! I particularly like the ones that offer something more than what's in the print offerings, otherwise what's the point? I often skip through parts I'm not interested in, but I also find myself listening to things I wouldn't have heard before.

I just discovered Nancy Keane's Booktalks--Quick and Simple podcast, visible here but I can't seem to find a way to get it other than on iTunes, which works for me, but not everyone. Most of these are just a couple of minutes long, but when I subscribed and asked to "get all" I ended up downloading 732! Good thing they're all so short!

I also occasionally listen to other stuff like Jane Brody's health tidbits and my kids love Crazy Dave's Kid Show, a call-in show for kids based in central Iowa. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Award-winning sites and online tools

I've used google docs a couple of times now, for group projects, and it's a pretty good tool. I can't say it's got the best tools for typesetting and graphics, but it does make things easier to collaborate on. That was particularly good for an online class that included several group projects. The down side is that it is sometimes hard to tell if everyone has actually looked at a piece, even if they have not edited it. I guess that's an issue that's more about communication than anything else.

The web 2.o award-winning sites were okay. The education category was a bit disappointing, though, because I thought it would be more related to the world of education, rather than things that can educate users. I guess that's an assumption I make coming from the world of educators. A number of innovative sites, but only some were really useful. It was good to see that the most visible employment sites (monster and career builder) are also winners, too, in the event I have to use them.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Share a Story

Love this. Now there's a flier available on the site to share with your more paper-oriented friends!


I have worked with a couple of wikis myself, mostly for scheduling: We used them for scheduling volunteers for an education program at my church, so that if there were changes necessary, individuals could make them on their own. That was a wiki on the church website, and the wiki was in the password-protected area of the site--there were only a couple of passwords for the community, depending on what position members held (deacon, member, etc.).

I can definitely see a wiki being useful in a library as a resource for the staff, similar to a binder of information at the front desk used to be. In a school setting, I can see it being a valuable tool for teachers to share resources, and especially for a librarian to build a resource that teachers can access as well as add to for the greater good.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Library 2.0

Wow, it's a big topic, but really it's about how libraries are adapting and transforming to meet the needs and utilise the technology of today. Having read the articles posted on the learning 2.0 site, I also just read Joseph Janes' column in American Libraries entitled "Make Way for the Net Generation." He acknowledges the usual complaints by adults about the next generation, but also points out all the reasons we need to be paying attention, even if we have trouble personally embracing the changes. I really like the synopsis of the book Grown Up Digital. Gotta take a look at that one.

Share a Story Shape a Future

What a great idea! This is a blog event next week that will provide all sorts of ideas and resources for those of us on the benches (vs. in the trenches), reading and sharing books with children. Share a Story-Shape a Future begins March 9 and runs for a week with lots of good stuff going on. Can't wait.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Wow, I like this one. I like to cook and knit, and so I'm always looking for a pattern/recipe to suit my ingredients (be they chicken & olives or 2 skeins of superbulky yarn). Plus, I look over several blogs for these things regularly, so I can't always remember the recipe/pattern I saw a month or so ago that I would love to use. Technorati helps tremendously with that, and can introduce me to even more sources. I also really like that I can choose the authority level based on my needs. I'm more adept at cooking than knitting, so I need more specific instructions on the latter than the former. Technorati gives me a sense of how much to trust any particular blog.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I've heard a lot about delicious, but just never felt inclined to try it. Amy's demo in class showed me how useful it can be. I don't have that many bookmarks (80 or so I just exported to delicious), but in part that's because I anticipate having folders and folders of bookmarks so that I don't remember what I have, much less where it is. In which case, it's just easier to google it again. I love being able to add as many tags as I need, a feature I use a lot in gmail, which makes it easier to find the stuff I'm looking for. Life is not all hierarchical, so life's stuff can't always be organized into folders.

Library Thing

Okay, I have tried LibraryThing in the past, thought I had an account, but couldn't track down which email/username I have used....
In any event, I re-upped for a new account, and poked around a bit. It's a great idea, I just don't have the patience to put my current books into it. I'm just remembering that I used it last year while I was helping a friend scope out potential publishers and agents for her children's chapter book--I created a "library" of several books of similar style to see what else might turn up and who published them. Maybe I created an account for her rather than for me...that would explain it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's your mpg?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pecha Kucha

Okay, so Pecha Kucha. Neat idea. Basic explanation at wikipedia, but also a lot at
Sounds like something former Poetry Slammers would be interested in, although this takes a bit more work/preparation. Not entirely sure I get it, though.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Originally uploaded by cwzorro

A better picture of the actual biblioburro.


Originally uploaded by cwzorro

I love this guy. You may have seen him in the NY Times last fall. He's basically a bookmobile on a couple of burros in Colombia. The word biblioburro alone makes me giggle.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Google Books on my iphone

Wow, so now I can access google books in a format optimized for my iphone: I have downloaded books through the app store, sometimes free, usually for a modest price, but now I can read anything available in the full google books site on my phone for free. For example, I am reading Swiss Family Robinson for a class. I have the paper copy, but just this morning I was searching the app store for a copy so that when I have a few minutes I could pull out my phone and read a bit. I couldn't even find a version in the app store, paid or free, and in a couple of minutes I found and opened the unabridged text in google books and can read it whenever I choose. Cool.

Monday, January 26, 2009

And the winner is...

So the results are in...
First, I have to admit that I've not yet read either of this year's medal winners, although I have heard much about "The Graveyard Book" (The Newbery winner).

I am, however, delighted to see "A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever," as a Caldecott honor book and "Savvy" as a Newbery honor book. Both of these were such fun--My son's best friend gave him "A Couple of Boys" for his 7th birthday last spring in large part because it is just like them. I'm not sure why, but I never dreamed it would be a contender.

I'm not so sure about The Underneath--I've owned it for almost a year, but can't ever seem to get past the first couple of chapters. I guess I'll have to give it another try now, maybe I'll read it to my kids once we finish Dragon Rider.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My First Blog

Hooray! I'm so excited to be blogging at last. My husband tells me weekly that I should be blogging all of my opinions and insights about books, kids, knitting, and where they all meet--I think mostly because he thinks that if I have another audience he won't have to hear all of it.

I'm looking forward to the learning 2.0 program, too. I learned about it last spring, and hoped to do it on my own last summer, but somehow didn't fit it into my beach/travel/online class schedule. It seems to be a very accessible program, and I'm already thinking of recommending it to my parents who are pretty tech-savvy, but don't have many opportunities to learn the newest technology.