Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Death be not proud

Robin Palmtag died a couple of weeks ago. I just found out about it today, and am truly bereft. Robin was one of the good guys. You know all those jokes about tech guys not showing up, telling you they will be back later. Robin was not that. If you had a problem, Robin was right there with the solution. He was a guy that would take on the administration and get things done. He had a great sense of humor, a quick wit, and a love of science fiction. Simply put, he cared. He will be missed by everyone with whom he worked.

Monday, May 19, 2008

All Shook Up

They actually cut the library program. I am fortunate, but definately suffering from survivor's guilt. My program will remain in tact, I will be back at my site and in my cozy library home next year. Others are not so fortunate.

The district decided that libraries were important places for students to "hang out" in middle and high school, but that the elementary children could be served from classroom libraries. So sixteen elementary schools will no longer have library programming.

What the Board of Trustee's did not forsee was, that as classified employees, we remain in our jobs through seniority. So there were 16 employees who suddenly were moving from elementary positions into 9 middle school & high school positions. We are all shook up.

So what are the next steps? Education for the board as to what a library program actually is, explaining how and why they work. I guess I will be speaking to "item 8" at the board meetings for the next while. Libraries 3 minutes at a time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cutting Remarks

Things have been hectic, to say the least. Last month we, the Library Media Technicians of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, were notified that due to the necessity of producing a balanced budget, libraries may be cut next year.
Oh, pardon me, as one administrator pointed out to me, libraries will not be cut, just Library Media Technicians. The books, after all, will still be there. Not for long, I say!

It's not a done deal yet, we have one more board meeting, which we are all planning to attend. Hundreds of small children, stunned by the possibility of not getting the latest installment of the Clique series, are writing letters to the board. Petitions are circulating, in short, it's an all out effort to prove our worth.

My principal is pretty positive that the decision will go our way, but you never know. I know I am trying to write my best three minute speech, trying to sound professional (para-professional?). Fortunately, I am talking about my passion. Reading, and getting students enthused about reading. I just hope I can convince the adults on the board that reading is still relevent! Inconceivable!

Will I have a job next year? Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Lately, I've been reading stories to the Junior High kids. It's my favorite time of the year, I get to go out to classes and read the California Young Reader Medal nominated books, in the catagory Picture Books for Older Readers. I love reading aloud. I love it when the class goes quiet and you know you have them spellbound.

What strikes me though, is how little experience these eleven to thirteen-year-olds have with being read to; somewhere along the line parents stopped reading to their children. These are not the children of migrant parents I am talking about. These are middle class, every advantage given, no class left untaken, no sport left unplayed, "My child should be in the accelerated classes", children.

I guess I am naive. Because I love to read I made sure to read to my children. Two bedtime stories a night, every night, until my youngest was 10. Together we read the Narnia books, "Mr. Pudgins", and "The Wobbly-Wheeled-Sputter-Putter-Popper". We read Aesop's fables, Brer Rabbit, Greek Myths, and Little Red Riding Hood. I may have missed the mark on many parenting duties, but I read to them. Yes, we watched TV, and played video games, and yet we still found time to read.

The children in my school have not heard the story of the "Tar-Baby" or the "Pied Piper of Hamlin". We are losing our cultural identity. Teachers and librarians cannot do it all. No matter how good the video is, Baby Einstein cannot take the place of "Read me a story" time. But then, perhaps these parents are the ones that were raised by Sesame Street. They were never taught the joy of being read to by their parents, and so the down cycle continues.

Can it be reversed? I don't know, all I can do is offer to read stories to classes, and for a little while, hold them spellbound.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blue is the Color

I have to admit returning to school after the winter break was tough this year. Sometimes you just have to slog along, and just take it one day at a time. So I have to say, I have been fighting the blues.

Yesterday had been pretty much the day from "H. E. double hockey sticks". One of those days when no matter what you do you can't please anyone. Then right after school let out, I had one of those Golden Moments that make working at a school worthwhile. A student from the past came back.

She arrived with her father and asked to if she could speak with me. I could tell she was uncomfortable talking in front of the crowd of students in the library, so we stepped outside. She was carrying a large paper bag and when she turned to me she was terribly sad.

"This is so hard" she said.
"It's OK, tell me what's on your mind."

She opened the bag and said, "These are all the books I stole from you when I was a student here."
I looked in the bag and saw about $300.00 worth of books.

She explained she was doing a 12 step program and needed to make restitution to people she had hurt in the past.

I hugged this young woman, remembering the angry girl she had been. I was so honored that she had come to me to right a wrong that had been unknown to me. What a difficult thing to do. What courage that took. What a blessing she was to me.

The blues have lifted.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Book Trailer

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Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going
Young Adult (13+) Mature themes & language.

As a formerly fat person, who continually fights the battle, I can relate to the despair felt by Troy Billings.

Fat, depressed, 296 pound Troy is contemplating a jump from a subway platform, when the junkie thin, truely homeless, punk rock, artist god, Curt MacCrae screams into his life.
With the statement, "You owe me lunch." Curt quickly turns Troy's life upside-down by insisting that Troy is the new drummer for their new Punk Rock band, Rage/Tectonic. Small problems, Troy's last drum lesson was in 7th grade, the band is booked in less than a month, and Troy's stern, Marine Corp dad, has never let him attend a concert.
Powerfully drawn characters, razor sharp dialog, and the gritty setting all make for a reading experience that will move you as easily as the opening rifs of the Ramones Blitzkreig Bop.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Futurism 2.0

This small video gave me chills and really made me think about the future. It absolutly showed me, once again, how provincial my thinking is. My students do not live in Aptos, they really are a part of a global community. How can I foster that?