Posts Tagged ‘azla’

AzLA Documents

December 9th, 2008

Some of the audience members asked for permanent links to the handout and the guidebook. The permanent button will be here.
(You can click on AzLA in the header menu bar, as well.)

Set Your Library on Fire II: The Handout

December 8th, 2008

We’re almost ready to present at AzLA tomorrow. (I think we’re in a large room. I’ll definitely have to take pictures.) Check back regularly this week for updates from the conference.

The first update: here’s our handout.

AZLA 2008-09

August 12th, 2008

Librarians – if you haven’t checked out the schedule for this year’s state librarian conference, Pam and I are going to be following the opening ceremonies on Tuesday, December 9 at 11:30am with “Set your Library on Fire II”.

Here’s the flyer. Expect more booktalks on the new books this school year (Hunger Games, eh?) as well as ways to incorporate technology into the library.

Here’s the address:
Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa
9495 W. Coyotes Boulevard
Glendale, AZ 85305

And here’s where to register by October 31.

AZLA 07 Closing and Some Old Tech

November 30th, 2007

The Arizona Library Association has put up my handout on their website (‘Set your library on fire!’ is in between the RDA status report and the MARC records update).

Some other funny news today. You can tell my bias towards the digital and online. One of our teachers asked if we had an opaque projector. Have you seen one of these things?

Unleashed from the darkest depths of our AV Abyss (the very back corner of the closet) comes:

The Opaque Projector 

 Click the image thumbnail to see its Dalek glory:


If you don’t want the burden of scanning in documents into some program called “PowerPoint”,  you can put your document under the Watchful Eye and put it up on the screen. Just like ScanTron answer keys, any educational technology that existed before digital boggles. Clerke, you have schooled me.

If you at home want to buy your own, there are still some left on the Internet.

Genesis Alpha by Rune Michaels

November 25th, 2007

Before I review this awesome book, I wanted to share this other library gem:

Don't mess with Tubman

I will avoid the obvious “Harriet the Spy” references. But doesn’t she look like she should play opposite Keanu Reeves?

Keanu: Tubman, look out!


Harriet: He just bought a one-way ticket.

Thought you might appreciate what comes across our scanners daily.

Genesis Alpha (almost as exciting as the Underground Railroad) is about a young boy who was created for his stem cells. His birth was sped up at month 8 to be able to save his older brother who had cancer.

Flash forward to his teen years and now his brother is on trial for murder. Should the older brother have been saved at the expense of the victim? Crazy questions arise throughout the entire book. This is suspense in the M. Night Shyamalan sense, less Clive Barker or Darren Shan. The reader constantly has to guess who’s crazy, who’s hurting, and who’s a mix.

One of the coolest parts for me is that the killer, whoever it is, left clues inside a World of Warcraft-esque MMORPG. The main character has to investigate in game (but it’s not one of those lame, “If you die in the game, you die FOR REAL” books). What’s really cool is that violence in video games is brought up but discussed quite eloquently. Yay! (for a change)

Questions of if we are more than just our DNA show up as people freak out about the genetic similarities between the two brothers.

Unlike my in-person library reviews, I can’t give too much more detail. It would be like saying, “Bruce Willis is already dead.”


Ranger’s Apprentice: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

November 22nd, 2007

John Flanagan, please come to my library.

If you have not read book 1 and 2, don’t read this review. There will be spoilers.

I am usually a big fan of fantasy, but as I’ve become a librarian I’ve seen so many fantasy books recycle the same concepts/plots. When Ruins of Gorlan came out, it breathed life into the genre. Amidst all of the Eragon-wannabes (which Eragon, by the way, borrowed heavily from some earlier works), Ruins of Gorlan took classic themes and added a modern feel. Icebound Land continues this success (which is good to know that as a librarian the series that you are updating/stocking is still quality literature).

Straight Shot

  1. The mentoring relationships that endear the series to me continue, but take on new forms. Since Will was captured in Burning Bridge, Halt decides to go rescue him. Horace and Halt develop a bond revolving around loyalty to kingdom and friend. Seeing the two of them traverse the towns and countrysides in a constant battle between chivalry/tradition/sanity and individualism/community is awesome.
  2. The theme of sacrifice runs throughout. Halt is important to the current clean-up from book two, so Baron Arald and the king can’t spare him the trip to Skandia to rescue Will. Halt has to figure out what to sacrifice, gets himself banished, and may have lost all that he worked for as a ranger to save Will. (Total Jack Bauer moment when he gets banished, by the way.)
  3. Slavery, gender stereotypes, and drug use are all challenged in Icebound Land. What I love about Tolkien I love about Flanagan. You can write socially challenging books that make readers comfortable until they realize it’s no longer about orcs/wargals and instead about the reader’s own dark world. Will gets poisoned by someone slipping him some warmweed. As people are trying to help him, he struggles with addiction. The shakes, listlessness, friend disappointment, and a general lack of motivation for anything other than the next fix show a natural consequence for drug use (besides just ‘You’ll get arrested.’ Our students are invincible/immortal, didn’t you know that?).

Off the Mark

  1. Not much misses the target in this book, which makes sense that book one was a Grand Canyon Award book. The reading level is listed as high, but Flanagan does a decent job of using context to show what ‘poultices’ and ‘jarls’ are.

If you have not read the first book because it was ‘another guy with a cowl and a bow on the cover’, give it a shot. A fan of fantasy or not, many of my students have these books on hold (and are very jealous that I have an advanced reading copy of Battle for Skandia). Once you get to the epilogue, sit back, relax, and listen for the dramatic music during the credits.

AZLA 2007 – Set your library on fire!

November 17th, 2007

Once again, thank you for the kind words and evaluations. Here’s the handout.

Pam Standhart officially rocks as a co-presenter, in case anyone is wondering.

I recorded the presentation on a little digital Sony ICD-P110. Yes, this goes against my own Ed. Tech. degree (I apologize in advance to Dr. Tu and Dr. Zhan) , but it was my debut using the device (frankly, I did it for both my wife and my mom…I knew that they would want to know the presentation was more than, “Fine.”).

It’s also my first time with this podcast player. Let’s see if it works.

Click the name for the MP3 file or on the play button for the Flash player (I split the Flash player into 4 parts).

AZLA 2007 Library on Fire Podcast


I am convinced that no one sounds good on a dictaphone.

I love my job – and a Dewey/Don’t We clarification

November 15th, 2007

I love my job (as if that had to be restated). I just got home from the AZLA conference (actually, just back from Basha’s with celebratory donuts, danishes, and milk).

First, I chatted with the woman who would be presenting for the Dewey/Don’t We and I need to clarify. For fiction, I love by author, no genre.

But you can tell my bias towards fiction. Hardly anyone checks out nonfiction in my library. The presenters were talking about using the bookstore genres for nonfiction. You know what? That’s actually a pretty decent idea. I know that Dewey already is divided into subjects, but maybe re-organizing the nonfiction into bookstore style might actually get more checkouts.

The woman from Dewey/Don’t We also helped me fulfill a dream.

[Begin nerd obsession]

I met Michael Stackpole! This is the guy who created the Star Wars: X-Wing/Rogue Squadron series. Devin, I know! The creator of Corran Horn and the guy who made Wedge Antilles more mainstream. He agreed to let me podcast his talk, the photos, and he might even come to my library for a signing.

Woo! (Or as Wedge would say, “Wooha!” and then the AT-AT blows up.)

I will need time to make sure that the audio is maxed to how I want it, so it might take a little bit.

[End fanboy stalking moment]

The conference was great, Mango’s was great(mmm…fish burrito), and we received many positive comments from our audience members. If you are reading, thank you!

Check out Michael Stackpole’s site at

AZLA Handouts and PowerPoint

November 13th, 2007

I’m pretty excited about the presentation materials for AZLA.

(Woot, Mac!)


AZLA 2007 Presentation

Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz

November 9th, 2007

Terrorism. Human smuggling. Drug running. Toymaking?

snakeheadn. – an organization controlling many different parts – including moneymaking schemes and crime

I was very excited when I received an advanced reading copy of Snakehead, but I had a couple of other books to read first (like when Frank Beddor visited my library, I probably needed to read his books). Now, with Snakehead coming out next week, I have the great opportunity to review the book.

Along for the Rider

  1. Fans of the series will not be disappointed in the action department: homemade kayaks in whitewater, magnetic coins from Smithers that remote detonate, and muay thai pitfighting. Yeah, baby!
  2. If you need to brush up on your geography, you’ll visit Bangkok, Jakarta, Darwin, and an oil rig.
  3. The return of Scorpia! (cue dramatic spy music and dancing silhouettes)
    I have to admit, Ark Angel was kind of a let down compared to the gripping drama of Scorpia. Who better to complement MI6’s finest than an organization of merc spies bent on world domination and chaos? That’s right.
  4. We find out a lot of details about Alex’s family, especially his dad. John Rider, original super spy, coordinated/saved some pretty intense missions. We even learn of the last minutes of his parents’ lives, leading up to the plane crash/explosion.
  5. Actual issues: I get into a debate with the Language Arts chair about the depth of Alex Rider. Sure, there’s helicopters (a must in any book for me) but Alex’s search for his history is something that many of my students can relate to, even if their dad has been present the whole time/not an international assassin.

For your eyes only

  1. This is one of those books that would be tough for a new fan to jump into. I had a student who started the series with Scorpia and didn’t get all of the character development. But, if it gets a struggling reader to read, go for it.
  2. If you are annoyed when spies repeat their tricks, go easy on this book. How many different ways can you explode your jail cell? I mean, really.

Horowtiz does repeat some tricks, but so do Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum. What I really like about this book is how it shows the deep connection between “light” illegal activity and the hardcore stuff that most people know is wrong.

How do terrorists get money? Check out an article from 2002 from CBS News:

Federal authorities say they have amassed evidence for the first time that an illegal drug operation in the United States was funneling proceeds to Middle East terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

Evidence gathered by the Drug Enforcement Administration since a series of raids in January indicates that a methamphetamine drug operation in the Midwest involving men of Middle Eastern descent has been shipping money back to terrorist groups, officials said.

“There is increasing intelligence information from the investigation that for the first time alleged drug sales in the United States are going in part to support terrorist organizations in the Middle East,” DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson said.

Horowitz shows the connection between drugs and terrorists, as well as Bangkok sweat shops and cheap toys being made under inhumane conditions. Mix your kung fu with your global awareness.

Fans of the series will be very excited, as well as students who are getting into the spy scene through shows like Chuck and movies like Bourne Ultimatum. I predict that this one will do very well in my library.