eBook Extravaganza

The library eBook collection has just expanded by a whooping 50 books! I didn’t go mad and start randomly purchasing – Pan McMillan, a major publisher of YA novels decided to sign up with the company who run our eBook platform.
EBooks are a funny business! Many people assume that because I have ‘purchased’ a book online, that I can then loan it to several people. However, it is just like the real thing, and can only be loaned to one person at a time. Added to this is the fact that publishers are very sensitive over who can buy their eBooks and sadly Amazon seems to be controlling the market.
Luckily for us Pan Mcmillan have some brilliant titles. So sitting waiting for you on our carefully dusted virtual shelves are:
Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 1.30.09 pm There are 6 books in the Young Sherlock Holmes series. Death Cloud is the first in  the series in which the iconic detective  is reimagined as a brilliant, troubled and engaging teenager – these unputdownable detective adventures  remain true  to  the spirit of the original books.

 

 

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There are 7 books in the Tomorrow When the War Began Series. The series follows a group of Australian teenagers who ‘go  bush’ for the holidays. They return from the wild, to discover that their whole town has been rounded up and are being held hostage by an enemy invasion.

These fast paced novels will appeal to the most reluctant of readers.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 8.59.37 am  THE DISCOVERY OF A LIFETIME! This book is set at a remote ice station in Antarctica and a team of US scientists have found something buried deep within a 100-million-year-old layer of ice. Something made of metal! A LEADER OF MENA and his  team of marines are sent to the station to secure the discovery. They are a tight unit, tough and fearless, their call sigh is:  SCARECROW. They would follow their leader into hell.  In fact they just did…

 There are four books in this series – they will appeal to young and old alike.

 

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Douglas Adams is a bit of a comic genius. If you have not read his trilogy of 5 books – then get reading The Hitchhiker’s  Guide to the Galaxy.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC. The weekend has only just begun…

 

If the above series are not enough to wet your appetite, then we also have a few more ‘serious’ reads:

The Road and No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Into Thin Air and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

The Book Thief  by Marcus Zusak

Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follet

And the historical trilogy that starts with,  Here be Dragons by Sharon Penman

We now have 432 eBooks for you to choose from.

Anytime, anyplace – available for you 24/7

Lisa Trundley-Banks

 

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Have you read Pillars of the Earth?

I am often asked ‘what is my favourite book?’ It is either Wuthering Heights or Shadows of the Wind – in case you are wondering. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is for me the one book Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 12.26.58 pmthat I think everyone should read. I know that this is quite a big claim. But I stand by it. In the College library this book has reared its head again because it is one of the books that I wrapped up in brown paper. Young Christopher Nye guessed what it was because Thomas Nye had just finished it! And in the middle of our conversation, trying to explain to several boys that,’Yes, it is really about the building of a cathedral…’  Jane Teal the archivist made off with it, as unbelievably she had not read it.

The building of a cathedral is an unlikely subject and many boys look at me askance when I tell them to read it. However, there is always help at hand in the form of another boy who says, ‘Yeah, my whole family have read it!’ or ‘I have seen that on our bookshelf…my dad loves that book.’

It brings to life the Middle Ages in an epic tale that does indeed centre around the lives of those involved with the building of the most amazing Gothic cathedral ever built. It has all the ingredients required – a struggle between good and evil, political intrigue between the church and state, and strife between brothers. Of course there is an enduring love story and even a ‘witch’ that casts a spell in the opening lines. The cathedral was based on Salisbury – pictured below.Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 12.13.45 pmIt is indeed magnificent.

When I was twenty odd and had just finished the novel, I happened to be in Devon and noticed a place called Kingsbridge on the map. I excitedly drove off thinking that this must be the place, hoping to see the cathedral. When I arrived, I discovered the smallest village that barely even had a pub to have lunch in! Apparently there are several places called Kingsbridge and the cathedral is actually all fictional!

Ken Follett says of the novel:

This is my most popular book. It still sells about 100 000 copies a year in paperback in the US, it was number one in the UK and Italy and it was on the German best seller list for six years. It’s overwhelmingly the book that readers talk to me about when I meet them in bookshops. It’s becoming a cult.

http://ken-follett.com/bibliography/the_pillars_of_the_earth/

I believe he is right. It has been turned into a board game and a mini-series and Oprah has a whole website dedicated to it!

Mr Leese has often mooted the idea that ever boy and staff member in the school should read the same book. (Hopefully not at the same time!)

Obviously, I believe that this book should be it. And not just because it is a great read. With our very own cathedral’s life in the balance, it would be an entertaining yet informative insight into the drama that can surround the building industry – even in the 12th Century.

Here is a link to the prologue if you want a taster:http://ken-follett.com/bibliography/the_pillars_of_the_earth/prologue.html

Lisa Trundley-Banks

Have you read it?

 

World Book Day

World Book Day is a fantastic idea. It makes you focus on what you are actually reading. I’m still reading:

The Quick by Lauren Owen

This is an epic novel set in Victorian England and has all the suspense and magic that I love in a novel. Of course it is a Gothic horror novel – so far the vampires are a little more subtle than the hollywood variety and there are no silly love triangles to get in the way of the plot. This is all about obtaining supper! If you get what I mean…Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 11.18.57 amAs it is World Book Day, I thought you might like to see some beautiful pictures of books.

An Ode to Books: 45 Photos that Will Feed a Book Lover’s Soul

Here is a preview:

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 11.24.50 amLisa Trundley-Banks

 

 

How can the library help? 1. Citelighter

Welcome to my new ‘series’ of blogs on how the library and the teacher librarian can help you.

One of the most important things to learn in terms of being a life long learner is that every article that is written, every photo that is taken, every book that is created is owned by someone. You cannot just use a photo or a quote or often, even an idea without referencing where it is from or whom it belongs to. If you do, this is what is known as plagarism.

To avoid plagarism you need to learn how to reference your work and create a bibliography. To help you do this the library now has an app called CiteMaker.

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CiteMaker allows you save your references as you research in a very professional manner. (Mr Donaldson has even used it!)

It actually teaches you as you go. Some examples are below:

  • the order in which to create a bibliography  ie books first
  • what information you need about the author
  • whether you need information like page numbers
  • how to reference digital information – email, podcast, blogs, website

You can then export your saved bibliography and attach it to your essay or research project – assured and happy that it has been done professionally, to university standard.

If you need help on how to start using it – pop into the library to see me.

Lisa Trundley-Banks

Teacher Librarian

Blah, blah, Reading…

New Year, big ideas, goals to set, things to achieve, and what better place to start than the library. Obviously, I read a ridiculous amount in the holidays – both eBooks and the real thing. I was the sensible person in my family and loaded my iPad with several books before setting off to Rarotonga. They – my family – all had to share Department 19 and stalked eachother until the ‘reader’ had managed to devour it in superhuman time.

Anyway, what better time of year is there to start a reading challenge. I’m doing it, my Year 10 class is doing it, they just don’t know it, and the English Department is doing it! So why don’t you?

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I can email you the printable version – just contact me in the College Library.

Just what have I been reading? Another blog for the College Mums!

I have been silent for too long, I fear. I apologise, Term 4 at school is a tadge busy for me – something to do with Prize Giving organisation. I have still been reading and so as many of you have requested another blog – I am truly flattered – here it is.

Anyone who knows me well is often surprised by the fact that I will refuse to watch the movie that has been released on a book that I have recently read. So I haven’t seen the Book Thief or Mister Pip or Gone Girl or A Fault in Our Stars. This fascination with turning books into movies irritates me. They very rarely do the novel justice and often change the ending. So in a somewhat reversed situation, I perversely started to read The English Patient. I disliked the movie, in fact I do not think I even watched it to the end. And having just watched the trailer, I am convinced that I did the right thing as the characters do not look as I imagined them, nor are the settings as harsh or torn apart by war as my mind made them.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.52.52 AM I was spellbound by this beautiful novel written  by Michael Ondaatje. It took me on a journey  through Italy, where I resided alongside Hana, a  Canadian nurse in a bombed villa where she  nurses the English patient. The characters are as unlikely as they come: Kip is a Sikh Army sapper, who defuses bombs surrounding the  villa, Caravaggio is a Canadian thief whose profession is  legitimized by the war, and has missing thumbs, lastly there is the English Patient who has been  burnt beyond recognition. It is his story that held me; a well-known desert explorer in 1930s Egypt who carries a novel with him that contains his secrets. Ondaatje skillfully weaves his adventures and  affairs with the desert throughout the novel – I never knew that vast areas of sand could so fascinate me. It left me wanting to explore Northern Africa and most definitely wanting to return again to Italy. I am now convinced that movie adaptations destroy our imagination.

 

 

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse is a somewhat ghoulish murder Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 3.03.39 PMstory. However, Mosse’s novels are by default, my
intelligent woman’s summer read. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but I like quality writing and I like a ‘page turner’.  The story is set in Sussex Fens in 1912. It opens in a churchyard, where villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen.

Standing alone is the taxidermist’s daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford’s once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead! While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible, but finds herself under suspicion…

This is a gothic, psychological thriller that is just perfectly written. The mystery of Connie’s accident, combined with the recent murder of a young woman are intricately interwoven, producing a story that is both stunning and surprising in turns.

My find of the term is the Australian author, Kate Morton. I purchased The Distant Hours on Kindle, only because Amazon recommended that I read it! My poor husband hated it as there was no food in the house until I reached the end and then I went to book group and they handed me The Forgotten Garden. Little does he know that I am saving The Secret Keeper and The House at Riverton for our trip to Rarotonga.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 3.31.42 PM The Distant Hours is a complex mystery. The central  character, Edie Burchill stumbles across Milderhurst  castle and remembers that she has been there before… The story shifts back and forth between several different pasts and to the present day. Milderhurst is the  home of world renowned author Raymond Blythe who wrote, “The True History of the Mud Man,” a  spectacularly successful children’s story. He has three quirky daughters – each with their own tragic tale.  Central to the complex and thoroughly gripping plot is Edie’s mother, who was thirteen when she was evacuated  in the war to Milderhurst and became entwined in the drama. Her part of the tale is only one of the things Edie discovers. Morton is a gifted storyteller. She has a gift for weaving multiple storylines together, all adding to the mystery.

 

The Forgotten Garden is a novel with;

A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery.

Kate Morton again provides the intricate layering of different times and places, gifting the reader with a story that Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 3.36.00 PMcaptures the imagination and heart completely. It is an easy read, but so delightful that I cannot think of a better book to read over the holidays, whilst lying in the sun. (Hopefully)

The mystery centres around Nell who is found abandoned on an Australian wharf at the age of four. The story quickly moves to Victorian London and Cornwall – where the secret garden is, and where Nell’s grand-daughter tries to unravel the identity of the abandoned child.

I am currently reading, Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster – my classic for the year.

Kate Mosse also wrote THE WINTER GHOSTS, CITADEL and LABYRINTH and I can highly recommend them all!

Happy summer reading and I will try not to read too much over Christmas.

Lisa Trundley-Banks

Content Curation

I totally switched off in the last school holidays and disconnected from most forms of social media. I read instead. I forgot to switch off Twitter! Luckily so, as I became part of a conversation that I would have regretted missing. It centred around the question; What is the role of the 21st Century Librarian? I was flattered that people thought that I would know the answer! And I didn’t even hesitiate when answering such a big question.

It hasn’t changed! The role of the 21st Century Librarian is absolutely no different to a librarian in the 20th, 19th or 18th centuries. We are there to provide the very best information for our customers. Of course there is far more to it. We predict what our customers need and intuitively know, fairly often, what type of information they are looking for based around careful questioning when they appear at our desks asking for help. Sometimes this can be a simple problem – they are looking for a good book to read – but they want you to find it. Sometimes it is a little more complex – they are searching for the latest information on the human genome project or whether genetically modified meat is safe to eat. (That one is hard – really hard, as I found out recently whilst assuring boys that we would find information.)

So the role of the librarian is still that of providing information to people in whatever shape or form they are after it in. This is where the role has changed. It is the delivery of the information and how we can now deliver it, that is so exciting. This is wScreen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.27.22 PMhere content curation comes in. Once again, this is not new – think back to the vertical files that most school libraries had – great big imposing metal drawers full of articles cut from papers and magazines. I love online content curation and get quite excited when a department at school approaches me to create a new board for them. (Partly because online curation is so attractive and neat and tidy.)

I have been very lucky that the Science department, in particular, Chemisty, have jumped at the chance of having content curated. This is because they wanted information that is verified for validity, sourced reliable websites and relevant to the topic. This stops the students from aimlessly sifting for hours through the internet looking for information – looking like they are working, but in reality becoming increasingly distracted by whatever else they come across on their ‘search.’

My preferred sites are Scoop.it and Learni.st. There are so many of them, that you just have to pick a ‘look’ that suits your school and go with it.
Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.21.08 AM I use them for different types of projects. So for science  based courses, I prefer Scoop.it simply because it looks  modern and fresh. It allows to students to scroll quickly through the content and have a brief read and then decide  for themselves which links they will investigate further. I  have found it is better for topics that change quickly such  as genetics. Scoop.it allows me to quickly delete old articles, and with its suggested content, I can update it just as quickly. My most successful curation on this site has been on genetics. I originally made it for classes in English studying Frankenstein and Never Let Me Go, but then some biology students discovered it and showed their teacher and now they also use it in Year 13! This has been a delightful but unintended outcome – cross curricular learning of a fashion.

I use Learni.st for arts and social science subjects – where the students tend to follow a course more or need to use all the links to direct their own learning. From this point of view it supports flipped learning beautifully. My most successful board has been one that I created for Classical Studies on Roman Social Life. It has 27 links that you scoll through. The best thing about Learni.st is that it allows you to add comprehensive notes next to a visual image. This means you can add activities and instructions for your students.

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Content curation is a win win situation.

  • It stops students from just ‘googleing it.’
  • It promotes reliability of sources of information.
  • It introduces the idea of validity and relevance of information.
  • It can be used for flipped learning.
  • It is a great collaborative tool.
  • In the long run, it saves time for students.
  • It can be updated easily to keep it relevant.

My next step os to collaborate with staff to create boards of their classes – maybe next year.

Lastly, it is worth bearing in mind;

Content is king. Without content you have an art project!

Lisa Trundley-Banks

Teacher Librarian at Christ’s College

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be a good Digital Citizen

Digital Citizenship has recently become the hot topic. And with little wonder. BYOD means more and more children have their own personal laptops not only at school but at home – in their bedroom, on the sofa, and whilst eating their supper.
Not only that, an increasing number of people have more digital technology in their pocket, than the average home computer had a few years ago.
So what is digital citizenship?
TKI defines it as;

The ongoing changes in technology and the way it is used means all staff, students, and the wider community need to know how to model responsible behaviours as successful digital citizens in real-world contexts.
http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Teaching/Digital-citizenship

Wikipedia define it as;

Digital citizenship is a term that describes how a person should act while using digital technology online and has also been defined as “the ability to participate in society online”. The term is often mentioned in relation to Internet safety and netiquette.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_citizenship#Online_etiquette

Here is a short video that introduces the idea. It is from google but never mind I just quoted Wikipedia! I am sure a few boys will pull me up on it next week.

Lisa Trundley-Banks

 

 

 

Genrefication

This term the library staff –  Lisa and, Linley and Lyn are getting into a bit of genrefying! (New word) Have we gone mad? Maybe and by the time that we have finished reorganising every single book in the library – we will probably agree.

So what is it? Quite simply it is the organisation of the books in the library as if it is a bookshop. This is nothing new, many librarians have thrown out the Dewey Decimal system and taken their books into their own hands and organised them according to the needs of their customers.

In our case this is the BOYS. Over the last two years we have had a dwindling number of books being checked out. This could be for a multitude of reasons, laptops, eBooks and many boys buy their own. However, I am not one to sit back and let reading suffer. After all, not only is the library the very centre of the universe, what are we if we cannot read?

Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything. —Tomie dePaola

The first step was to decide on the genres. Taking the initiative, I asked a few boys to name where afew favourites should go like the Cherub series and all they could suggest was YA literature. I did point out that YA took in roughly 60% of the books in the library so wasn’t much use. So I hopped online and looked at list after list – all slightly different. I immediately struck Chick Lit off the list, followed quickly by Diaries – as I really couldn’t see boys asking me for a ‘diary’ to read. Family and Relationships was equally unpopular and I didn’t much care for Paranormal Romance! Several weeks later we managed to collate a list of genres that suits our readers using terms such as Realistic Fiction and Adventure. Crime has been separated from Thriller as we have so many and we also decided on Mystery as a must have.

The library also has so many Fantasy novels that we have become super geeky and now have High Fantasy and Light Fantasy, followed by Mythology.

So, we have almost completed our first section and we are rather proud of it.

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No doubt we will have missed a few and it was really hard work; they    all had to be re-categorised on the computer and re-labelled. And trying  to decide what fitted into the genre was at times impossible. I started on  Classics to day and that was super easy in comparison. It will get easier  and easier as we will end up with less and less to chose from!

We decided to do it bit by bit so that the boys can watch our progress  and maybe even become involved…

 

I believe it will work. No boy ever comes into the library and says can I have a book by such and such – unless they are in the middle of a series. Generally, they wander around the shelves looking for a book that is a bit like the last book that they read – as they enjoyed that one. So Christ’s College library is now becoming a bookshop – boy centred, as it always should have been.

Lisa Trundley-Banks