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Saturday
Feb282009

Needed: a new survey

From What Gets Measured Gets Done:

Student Survey Questions

Please respond to statements 1 - 12 with:

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly agree
1 2 3 4

1. I feel I can help decide what activities, rules and materials are a part of the library media center.

2. The media specialist lets me know when there are new materials or things to do in the media
center.

3. There are enough books and other materials in the media center that I can get what I need.

4. I can find the books, computer software and other materials in the media center I need. I can
understand them easily.

5. The materials in the media center are easy to find, are in good condition, and are up-to-date.

6. I think the skills I learn in the media center are important. I use them in class as well as in the
media center.

7. I can use the media center whenever I need to.

8. The media specialist helps me with my questions.

9. The media specialist is always there when I need help.

10. I feel welcome and comfortable in the media center.

11. I can get my work done in the media center.

12. I use technology in the media center to help me answer my questions.

13. The thing I like best about the library media center is:

14. One thing that could be changed about the library media center is

15. Other comments or observations.

This is my challenge this weekend: to "update the survey questions to better reflect revised AASL and NETS standards with a focus on meeting the needs of 21st century learners."

Any ideas? I have a few but I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday
Feb262009

How long do you keep reading?

One of my favorite authors, Dan Simmons, has a new book - Drood. It is not science fiction, is 800 pages long, and has received mixed reviews. And the Kindle version sells for $14.99 instead of the normal $9.99. All those extra bits and bytes for such a long book, I suppose. Simmon's last book, The Terror, was a grueling read. I think I may wait and check this one out from the public library.

The thought of starting such a long book started me thinking... How many pages do you give a book before you put it down and write it off as just "not for me"? The librarian's librarian, Nancy (Book Lust) Pearl, once gave this advice on NPR: Read 50 pages and if it hasn't grabbed you by then, give up. Unless you are over 50 years old. Then subtract your age from 100 and give up at that page number. (I can stop reading at page 44 now.) She opined that time becomes more valuable the less we have of it, so no use using those last few breaths reading something that doesn't grab you. Good point.

Is there a classic book you know you should like and have started a number of times but just can't get into? Catch 22 is that book for me. I want to like it, but I always give up.

Seth Godin in Revinventing the Kindle (part II) writes that e-books should change the reading experience:

8. Allow all-you-can-eat subscriptions if the author or publisher wants to provide it. Let me buy every book Seth has written, or all the business books I can handle, or "up to ten books a week." Remember, the marginal cost of a book is now the cost of the bandwidth to deliver it, so buffets make economic sense.

Just think of a Netflix for books. Just one of several interesting ideas about making reading more social as it becomes more digital Godin writes about.

I still can't get my head around how libraries will handle circulating digital books - or if they ever will. The whole economic raison d'etre for libraries - that it is cheaper to buy one book and share it than buy a book for every individual - isn't vaild when books, like songs, get down to a few cents a piece. And they will. The cost of cataloging, staffing, housing and delivering a print book - even if shared - would probably be more than just giving all citizens a voucher for all the books they could read. OK, I know it's not that simple.

Or is it?

Thursday
Feb262009

Our generation's legacy

Dilbert.com Sense a theme here?