Sunday, December 10, 2017

Teens earn free book by reading and reviewing three

Here’s an offer that appeals to me as a reader and reviewer of books. At Rincon Valley Library, teens can read three books, write three thoughtful reviews of the books, and select one free book as a prize for every three books they read and review.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Winter-theme in SRCSA library

View of bookshelves and counters in library. White holiday lights are strung across ceiling, and pieces of paper are arranged on tall spindles, graded from larger sheets at base, to smaller at-top to suggest snow-covered trees. Winter holiday themed books are displayed on counter-top.

These winter-themed decorations at SRCSA Library really capture the beauty of the season; they’re the work of Library Technician Shannon Williams. SRCSA parents, maybe you’ll see them for yourselves if you attend “Coffee with the Principal” at 8:15 a.m. today.

SCL: Resiliency book list for teens

“During these times, when it seems like our reality can’t possibly get any worse... it can be incredibly helpful to reach for examples of resilience, survival, strength, and courage.” On the Sonoma County Library blog, Rincon Valley Library teen librarian Lara Mayelian has created a Natural Disasters and Resiliency book list for teens.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

4,000 items cataloged in SRCSA resource inventory

Stack of books, only the top book's cover visible, atop a sheet of barcode labels with a school address stamp and stamp pad next to them. The top book's title identifies it as 'The Sign of the Beaver' by Elizabeth George Speare. The image on the cover depicts the dark outline of a large creature rearing up on its hind legs against a yellow background

Since May 2017, when I started working for Santa Rosa City Schools, I’ve created listings in the district’s resource-inventory catalog for more than than 4,000 items at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts (SRCSA). That’s according to a “Resource Inventory Change Analysis” generated by Follett Destiny’s “Resource Manager.”

Online access aided by public library

First weekend in a new apartment in Santa Rosa, Calif., and freelance work as an editor brings me to Sonoma County Library. I often make use of print and digital resources (including books, eBooks, DVDs and audio recordings) but today finds me making use of access to the Internet. I’ve long celebrated the role of libraries to bridge the “digital divide” between people who do, and who do not, have reliable access to the Internet, so SCL especially deserves a “shout-out” today as I rely on it in that capacity.

Gingerbread house-making at Rincon Valley Library

Rincon Valley Library is hosting a gingerbread house-making program specifically for teens and tweens, children between the ages of 12-18, 2:30 to 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18. This is a drop-in program and no registration is necessary. Participation is free, and all materials will be provided. Rincon Valley Library (part of the Sonoma County Library system) is located at 6959 Montecito Blvd. in Santa Rosa.

Makerspace events at Rincon Valley library

Source of image: Rincon Valley Library on Facebook

With my interest in hands-on crafting exploration, I was glad to comply when Lara Mayelian, teen services librarian at Rincon Valley Regional Library, asked me to help publicize upcoming Teen Maker Space activities.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Educational DVDs for viewing in classrooms

Stacks of DVDs with library barcodes on them. Behind them, a third stack of DVDs does not yet have barcodes. Titles visible on front covers of DVDs include 'Shark Eden,' 'Big Sur, Wild California,' and 'Monster Black Holes.'

Among this paralibrarian’s recent adventures in cataloging: Educational films, produced by National Geographic, can now be checked out to educators at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Our Library Technician, Shannon Williams, purchased the DVDs with Scholastic Book Fair dollars, and I barcoded and cataloged them in our automated database for textbooks and educational resources.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

‘Walk and Roll,’ school gates close each Wednesday

Banner, attached to metal gate frame, reads, 'Walk and Roll Wednesdays, sonomasaferoutes.org.' Image depicts human figures, an adult-sized walking holding the hands of a figure with skirt and pony-tail who is holding a lunch box. In front of them, a third figure rides a bicycle and wears a backpack. The trio of figures are depicted in a landscape of trees and green hills, against a blue-sky backdrop

School is out this week, in observance of Thanksgiving, but I want to reinforce “Walk and Roll” each Wednesday at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

SCL: Panel discussions address ‘hot-button’ topics

Via Press Democrat staff writer Christi Warren: Sonoma County Library is hosting a series of panel discussions around the “hot-button topics” of immigration, climate change, blackness in America, women’s rights, LGBTQI issues and income inequality.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Musical instruments, barcoded and cataloged

Stack of two clarinets in cases, in front of two trumpets in cases. In each stack, the top case's lid is open to show the musical instrument inside of it

Musical instruments are being sent home with students at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, just as quickly as I can barcode and catalog them. I am checking these instruments out to students, the same way that they would have a library book checked-out before they removed it from the library.

As the Instructional Materials Technician at SRCSA, I utilize an automated library-and-resource catalog to barcode and inventory textbooks. (I call myself a “curriculum librarian.”) As you can see from this post, the practice applies toward musical instruments as well. Shown are a couple of clarinets and a couple of trumpets that are destined to go home with students.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

‘Walk and Roll to School’ Wednesdays at SRCSA

Wednesdays are “Walk and Roll to School” days at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts! For the first time this week, we closed the yellow gates to the school parking lot on Wednesday; I was out in my bright yellow-green, reflective vest helping to redirect motorists.

Friday, October 27, 2017

SRCSA: School resumes Monday, Oct. 30

Display sign in front of exterior, Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Lettering inside a glass case states, 'School resumes Oct 30th'

What a relief to return to work at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Students are scheduled to resume classes on Monday, Oct. 30. According to statistics from Santa Rosa City Schools​, professional cleaning crews worked around-the-clock for a week to decontaminate schools and reopen them after the North Bay fires. The crews cleaned 2 million square feet of surfaces, and changed 3,000 air filters.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bringing ‘librarian-mindset’ to my work at SRCSA

Someone asked me, “What is the last thing you are really proud of accomplishing?” Most recently I’m proud to bring a “librarian-mindset” to the role of Instructional Materials Technician (IMT) at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fire Relief Fund for victims of North Bay fires

In response to firestorms that ravaged communities in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, and Napa counties, a North Bay Fire Relief Fund has been created by Redwood Credit Union (RCU) Community Fund in partnership with the Press Democrat and California Senator Mike McGuire (District 2, North Bay).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

‘The Road Virus’ mobile bookstore

Bookmobile-style bus, black, with irregular white-spot design and spray-paint style logo on side, reading 'The Road Virus.' It is parked in front of a storefront with large yellow lettering on it that reads, 'Dimple.' A smaller sign on the storefront, next to the storefront's lettering reads, 'Buy - Sell - Trade.' The sign is done in red letters against a yellow background.
Image credit: The Road Virus on Facebook

I’ve long been intrigued by bookmobiles’ capability to expand a library’s physical reach — and so, The Road Virus was an especially memorable aspect of our stay in Sacramento.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Half of SRCS campuses to reopen next Friday

In the California fires’ aftermath: Classes resume Friday, Oct. 27, at 13 sites, Santa Rosa City Schools. The group of 13 schools serves approximately half of the district’s student population according to an article by Eloísa Ruano González in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

District officials will determine on Monday, the re-opening date for 11 more campuses, among them Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. This SRCS employee, while eager to get back to work, appreciates that student safety is at the forefront in back-to-school considerations.

Friday, October 20, 2017

During emergencies: Information is essential

Beige-skinned hand holding a smart phone, open to text-messaging application that displays messages to and from '888777.' The first message, from the user, reads, '12345.' Below it, a reply message reads, 'Town: You are now signed up to recieve [sic] text alerts and advisories from the local police department'
Image credit: Nixle

During the past two weeks, I’ve faced an ongoing need for up-to-date and credible information about the California fires. Compounding this issue, I haven’t always been in places that had access to the Internet.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Putting distance between ourselves and fires

Midweek found Jonathan and me, with Starfire, in the Sacramento area. After our evacuation Sunday night from fires in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties, we decided not to remain in the area where we’d resettled once it received an advisory to evacuate.

We knew that an advisory could, too-quickly, become the real thing and increasing our distance made a vital difference — not only for our physical safety, but for psychological peace of mind. Also, by being well away, the air we breathe is much healthier too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Walking Starfire at Woodland library

Cynthia M. Parkhill and her black cat Starfire, in a harness and leash, on the front steps outside Woodland Public Library.

As a paralibrarian, I appreciate the uniqueness of a historic Carnegie library, still used for that purpose today -- even if the circumstance behind our visit to Woodland Public Library was to remove ourselves from proximity to fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties.

With Starfire on her harness, the two of us explored the Woodland library exterior before continuing our journey with Jonathan. This writing finds us safely installed at a hotel in Sacramento.

Here’s a description of the Woodland library from its Facebook page:

“Woodland Public Library is the oldest working Carnegie library in California. Built in 1905, the Mission Revival building continues to be an ideal place to pursue interests, learn, attend programs, and socialize, as well as borrow reading, viewing, and listening materials.”

Starfire’s carrier, her special safe space

Black cat partially inside a black and pink canvas and mesh travel carrier that has a side panel unzipped. The cat is wearing a dark-green harness with a light-green leash attached to it

What a valiant little traveler our sweet cat Starfire has been during recent events. Jonathan and I, with Starfire, had to quickly evacuate during an initial outbreak of fire on Sunday evening, Oct. 8. After that, we moved around while we looked for a safe place to settle — and while being put in a carrier is not Starfire’s favorite thing, she came to accept it as her special safe place during on-the-road uncertainties.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Evacuated, but safe

Jonathan and I were evacuated late Sunday night because of fires in the Sonoma and Napa County areas. Know that our precious cat Starfire is with us, and we are safe.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I’m a ‘Curriculum Librarian’

I’ve referred to myself as a “Textbook Librarian” to describe the similarities between my current work as Instructional Materials Technician, and my past job as Library Assistant — but the term, I’ve decided, doesn’t convey everything I do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Banned Books Week: 2016’s ‘Top 10’


Each year, the last week in September is observed as Banned Books Week, an annual expression of support for “the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SRCSA: New books to catalog and barcode

Two stacks of hardcover and large-paperback books on a counter-top, with plastic bags partially visible behind them that are also stuffed with books. To their right are two more stacks of trade-paperback books arranged one-behind-the-other on the counter-top.

Check out these wonderful new books for Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, delivered by Santa Rosa City Schools. Between cataloging, barcoding and delivery to classrooms, there are busy times ahead for this “textbook librarian” — and that’s exactly how I like it.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Children’s books for resistance to climate of empowered bigotry

Discrimination and bigotry are nothing new to humanity, but this current U.S. President — with his expressions of prejudice — uniquely empowers people to engage in bigoted behavior openly.

The worst and longest-lasting legacy of having a “Bully-in-Chief” as president may be lessons in how-to-hate that adults are passing on to children. At Bustle, contributor Aisha Saeed recommends six picture books she is reading to her children to help them navigate current events.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

‘Location’ enhances ability to track library resources

Lap-top computer, with single copy of a book next to it, 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. The screen displays a headline identifying the operation, 'Specify information to change and scan barcode.' Below it is an input field with a string of numbers in it, and, beneath that, a drop-down menu set to 'Home Location' with a second drop-down menu next to it specifying, 'LIBRARY (IMT 102).' The cursor arrow is poised over a button marked 'Update.' Additional copies of the book are stacked behind and to the right of the laptop computer.

Cataloging is essential to tracking a library’s resources — in this case, inventory of educational items among Santa Rosa City Schools. Bringing a librarian-mindset to my job as Instructional Materials Technician, I’m creating records for resources in-use at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Accession of new instructional materials at SRCSA

Cataloging is essential to tracking available resources

Friday was another active day for this Instructional Materials Technician, who regularly makes deliveries to classrooms at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

Yarn Bombing at Your Library: Centereach, N.Y.

Tree wrapped with concentric crocheted circles, in shades of blue, red and teal, stitched together to mold to the contours of the tree's trunk and branches, in front of Middle Country Public Library in Centereach
Credit: MCPL on Facebook

At Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, N.Y., volunteers are yarn-bombing trees with thousands of crocheted circles created earlier in the year through the “Crochet It!” community project.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SSU Library, highlight of move back home

Exterior, Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center at Sonoma State University
Image credit: SSU Library

One of the highlights of our return to the Sonoma County area is the Sonoma State University Library. When I attended classes, the library was housed in the Ruben Salazar building — and it was easily one of the most significant places on the SSU campus for me.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

‘Schooled in Magic’ by Christopher G. Nuttall

Book cover, 'Schooled in Magic' by Christopher G. Nuttall. Beige-skinned, red-haired woman stands before an open book, gazing with a wondering expression at an orb of green light that is manifesting between the fingers of her hands. A hooded and robed figure stands behind her with a menacing expression on its face.
I’m a long-time enthusiast for fantasy, especially with female protagonists.

Schooled in Magic by Christopher G. Nuttall (Twilight Times Books, 2014) brings Emily, a girl from our modern world, into a world of magic, based on an interpretation by an evil sorcerer’s minions of a prophesied “Child of Destiny.”

Once arrived in this world, and rescued from the evil sorcerer by an enigmatic wizard named Void, Emily finds herself enrolled in a school for magicians.

An ongoing premise concerns the “modern” conveniences that Emily wishes she could have brought with her, including some ideas that she manages to introduce among this new world’s populace. These passages inspire taking a fresh look at conveniences often taken for granted.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

SRCS board to review ‘Summer School’ highlights

Among highlights of the Sept. 13 meeting of the Board of Trustees, Santa Rosa City Schools, is a summary of general data and highlights of Summer Extended Learning Programs.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

‘LearningExpress’ through Sonoma County Library

I wasn’t able to vote “Yes” for Measure Y in support of increased funding for Sonoma County Library; at the time I had not yet relocated back from Ashland, Oregon. But I encouraged area readers to cast their votes in support.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

FOSS Kits, special-delivery to SRCSA classrooms

Two-decker push cart, laden with two boxes in top compartment and one box in the bottom. The boxes are decorated with an all-over black and white marbling effect.

Active day for this “textbook librarian” at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, with a delivery of “Full Option Science System” Kits.The several-box Kits feature hands-on components for science education. I sorted boxes delivered from-district into complete sets and then delivered them to classrooms: two for second grade and two for sixth.

‘Asshole Survival Guide’ by Robert I. Sutton

Book cover, 'The Asshole Survival Guide, How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt.' Cover image depicts an antacid tablet fizzing in a glass of water, with other tablets arranged next to the glass.
Regular readers will know that I place ongoing importance upon the subject of bullying, which is not merely confined to childhood. Adults can be the targets and perpetrators too.

Since writing his book about “building civilized workplaces,” The No Asshole Rule, author Robert I. Sutton was besieged with questions by readers about what they should do to deal with abusive people at work. In The Asshole Survival Guide (Houghton Mifflin, September 2017), Sutton shares strategies and tips that he developed over the years.

Sutton cautions readers that there is no one strategy that will work for every type of jerk, nor easy and instant relief; his intention is for readers to decide for themselves, “which survival tricks and moves are best for navigating the particular ugliness you face.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Autism symbology: Puzzle connotations are negative

Blue puzzle piece with beveled edges, such as that used as a logo by Autism Speaks
A study finds that the puzzle-piece representation of autism creates associations that are overwhelmingly negative: “imperfection, incompletion, uncertainty, difficulty, the state of being unsolved, and, most poignantly, being missing” — all of which are regularly exploited by “Autism Speaks” propoganda.

The study asks, Is it time to ditch the puzzle piece as a symbol of autism?

In the authors’ words: “If an organization’s intention for using puzzle-piece imagery is to evoke negative associations, our results suggest the organization’s use of puzzle-piece imagery is apt. However, if the organization’s intention is to evoke positive associations, our results suggest that puzzle-piece imagery should probably be avoided.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

SRCSA: Cataloging textbooks

Laptop computer open to library-catalog listing of individual items associated with a title. Piles of barcoded textbooks are next to the laptop.

This librarian is mobile! At Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts this week, I began cataloging textbooks in our resource-management system. Portable set-up lets me bring my work after-school into classrooms, where I can create item records and then check items out to educators.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

RVUUF hires new developmental minister

Among my professional commitments, I serve as web content editor for Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ashland, Oregon. This morning I updated its website to reflect the recent hiring of Rev. Sean Parker Dennison as developmental minister for RVUUF. Welcome, Rev. Sean!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

JOANN’s ‘Cut Above’ customer-service award

Silver-colored scissors pin bearing the words 'A Cut Above' on its upper-blade and 'JAS' on its lower. The pin is attached to resist-dyed, patterned fabric in shades of blue, purple and black
I wear my newsboy hat out of resist-dyed fabric with my JOANN uniform
Recently earned “A Cut Above” award working as a Team Member at JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores. This silver scissors-pin is awarded for providing good customer service — and as this is something I strive to do in all of my professional relationships, it really means a lot to me, to have earned this recognition.

Back-to-school prep in SRCSA library

Finished out a busy week preparing for the new school year at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. By the end of my shift on Friday in SRCSA Library, I’d successfully located boxes of curriculum from a large go-through pile. I compared these resources against a check-list of items that had been requested by teachers. Then I loaded items onto a book-cart, and delivered them to classrooms. The “other side of the coin,” of course, is clearing away out-of-date items. With a book-truck and cart, I removed items from a classroom in preparation to send them back-to-district.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Escondido considering outsourced library management

For the San Diego Union Tribune, reporter J. Harry Jones relates that the Escondido Library Board of Trustees unanimously decided to recommend that the City Council not outsource library operations to Library Systems and Services.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bicycle in SRCSA library

My blue Specialized Sirrus Sport bicycle with yellow and multi-striped bicycle helmet clipped to the trunkbag, parked in front of cupboards and counter-tops in an office-type setting

Brought my bicycle to work with me on Wednesday in the library at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Once we’ve fully effected our move, this workplace scene will be a daily reality. I’ll be able to commute every day on foot, via public transportation, or on bicycle.

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

‘The Blue Girl’ by Charles de Lint

Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors, for his infusion of magic and fantasy into everyday modern cityscapes.

Having recently read and enjoyed The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, it was an unexpected treat to discover an uncorrected bound proof of The Blue Girl (Firebird, 2006) in my favorite second-hand bookstore.

This book is ideally positioned for inclusion in a Young Adult library collection. The protagonists, Imogene and Maxine, face bullying from the “popular” kids, plus having to deal with their growing independence while living under a parent’s rules.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sorting textbooks in SRCSA library

Stacked clear bins with white lids, containing miscellaneous items, along with books in stacks or upright inside lidless boxes covering a large table-top surface

I returned this week, for the new school year, to Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, where I work as a “textbook librarian.” (My official job title is “Instructional Materials Technician.”) Feels great to be at the renovated campus and in SRCSA Library, where I’m wading through math curriculum. I just feel so at-home when I am working in a library, and I’m grateful for this opportunity that allowed my family to return to northern California.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

‘In Real Life’ by Cory Doctorow

Anda, a teen girl who has just moved to a new school, is inspired to join a guild in a massive multiplayer role-playing game, at the invitation of the guild’s organizer, who came to speak to her high-school computer class.

A more experienced player soon invites Anda on missions with real-world earning potential: money will be deposited in her PayPal account if she kills “gold farmers” in the game.

At first, Anda is excited by the opportunity to earn easy money; she dispatches gold farmers, and has money to buy snacks for her Sci-Fi Club at school.

But Anda discovers that the gold farmers she is killing are not game-generated “bots,” but people who make a living under grueling conditions: during 12-hour shifts at computers, they direct their in-game avatars to collect artifacts. Their employer sells these resources to players who want to “level up” or acquire online possessions without putting in their own effort.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Xian Yeagan, arts council web master, dies

Head and shoulders view of Xian Yeagan wearing a straw hat and jacket against a backdrop of trees with a rock wall behind them
Source of image: Xian Yeagan’s Facebook timeline

Sad loss to the arts community in Lake County, Calif.: Xian Yeagan died at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, in San Francisco (according to posts on his Facebook timeline).

I knew Xian as an artist, and also worked with him through the Lake County Arts Council. He was its web editor, and I edited “ArtNotes,” the arts council’s quarterly members’ newsletter, from 2006 to 2010. I greatly valued his prolific contributions of photos and informative articles.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Diverse book collections begin with honest assessment

Image credit: The Children’s Chalice. Books showing diversity of language

In Olympia, Wash., a church’s director of religious education took an unflinching look with her students at how diverse the program’s book collection was — discovering that while they had many books showing people with diverse skin colors, there was still “a very tall pile of books” that only had white people in them, without “anywhere near enough books that feature diversity in ability, sexual orientation, or gender.” Honest assessments like this are a great starting place for determining whether every child in a library’s (or a classroom’s) population will find books that speak to their personal experiences and validate their cultural identities. My appreciation to “DRESara” for sharing this process with her readership.

‘Cat Zero’ by Jennifer L. Rohn

Cover image, 'Cat Zero' by Jennifer L. Rohn. Image depicts head of a white and gray-black-spotted cat, with concentric green circles centered on an axis superimposed over the cat's head. The green figures include longitude-latitude coordinate notations
I found Cat Zero by Jennifer L. Rohn (Biting Duck Press, January 2018) to be very suspenseful in its treatment of a virus outbreak, and could emotionally relate to the urgency of keeping the virus contained.

The story was well-done, with characters who seemed like real people, complete with preconceptions and biases that affected the work at-hand. I foresee this book especially appealing to people who like medical thrillers.

The best parts of the story, for me, were when Artie and the other researchers attempted to piece together information and solve the mystery of the virus, and I kept waiting for the moment when someone would connect the lethal virus affecting cats, to the contagion spreading among humans. (That link was depicted in the story’s opening pages, so I don’t think this insight is a spoiler.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

‘The Blue Cat of Castle Town’

Book, 'The Blue Cat of Castle Town' by Catherine Cate Coblentz. Image depicts a dark-blue cat with yellow eyes, against a light-blue background. Gray medallion on cover identifies the book as a Newbery Award Honor Book.
One of the consistent joys of my life is reading fantasy stories involving cats.

The Blue Cat of Castle Town is a delightful story by Catherine Cate Coblentz, illustrated by Janice Holland. Originally published in 1949 by the Countryman Press, it was released by Dover in 2017 as an unabridged reproduction.

Blue cats are born with a rare ability to learn the song of the river — and one such cat is born near a small town in Vermont, during the 19th Century.

The blue cat faces a unique challenge beyond those of ordinary cats. “Not only must the kitten who sings the river’s song find a hearth to fit that song, but he must teach the keeper of that hearth to sing the same song. ... For if the river’s song rise no longer from the hearthside, then it is said, the very days of the land itself are numbered.”

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trump’s speech to Boy Scouts ‘toxic beyond rhetoric’

Bullying takes on especially-high priority with a U.S. President in office who’s been dubbed “Bully in Chief.” One recent incident concerns interjection of “political rhetoric” by U.S. President Donald Trump into a speech that he delivered during Boy Scouts of America’s 20th National Jamboree. An invitation to the current president to visit has been a long-standing Jamboree tradition according to “ScoutingWire.”

Bullying: How far does parents’ influence extend?

Comic strip in three left-to-right panels. In the first panel, a caption reads,'Remembering ... a play-date that ended badly.' A man points at a little girl and tells her, 'You are NEVER allowed to play at my child's house again!' The second panel is a close-up of the man, with a hostile, sneering expression on his face. The caption reads, 'I don't remember WHY he acted this way toward me ... but I can't help but wonder.' The third panel is a close-up of the girl. The caption reads, 'How far did his influence spread: From his child to other children at my school who rejected me?'
Comic strip created with Pixton online interface

In The No Asshole Rule, a book about workplace bullying (Warner Business Books, 2007), Robert I. Sutton discusses research by Dan Olweus into bullying among children in Norway, which included long-term, follow-up studies of bullies and their victims.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Library resources aid in fight against bullying

Among member libraries, the summer-reading theme this year for the Collaborative Summer Library Program was “Building a Better World.” In Scottsbluff, Neb., the Gering and Lied Scottsbluff Public Libraries wrapped up their summer reading programs with a bullying-prevention presentation by ventriloquist Kevin Horner.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bullying: Young age comes as no surprise

Close-up of Cynthia M. Parkhill, wearing a yellow-crocheted hat with a 'No Bully' pin, the word 'Bully' in black letters on yellow with a red circle and red-line diagonal strike-through
My ‘No Bully’ mugshot
In a piece for the Wall Street Journal (summarized by A Mighty Girl), Laura Barbour observes that children as young as 2 1/2 engage in relational aggression.

That is, they deliberately shun or withhold friendship in order to punish another child.

This revelation came as zero-surprise to me, as I was a school-wide outcast. I remember my first day of kindergarten at Calistoga Elementary; I felt completely awkward and alone, like an absolute alien — a visitor marooned on an unfamiliar planet with no guidelines to relate to its inhabitants.

This feeling of separation continued through my time at Calistoga Junior-Senior High. If friendship was offered to me, I had difficulty recognizing it; I have too-vivid memories of playground taunts, of being shoved in hallways, and of being told by one classmate that she would only be my friend in-secret, when no one else was around.

I could only react with suspicion when classmates showed interest in me — for example, inviting me to talk about a subject I cared about. I was convinced they were only doing it, so they could laugh about it behind my back.

With its summary of Laura Barbour’s article, A Mighty Girl recommends several excellent books about bullying; some (by Tracy Ludwig) were already familiar to me, but I look forward to reading some of the others through my crusade to speak out against bullying.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Yarn Bombing: ‘Maker Day’ at Bill Library

Artisans, crafters and hobbyists demostrated their skills during a Maker Day event at the Bill Library, Saturday, July 22, in Ledyard, Conn. The library started its maker program about two years ago and holds monthly hands-on classes.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sandra Wade, former poet laureate, dies

From 2006: Sandra Wade (center) inaugurated as Lake County Poet Laureate

Sandra Wade, a former Poet Laureate of Lake County, Calif., died Tuesday, July 18. Sandra was a staunch advocate for local culture as Lake County Poet Laureate, so supportive and nurturing of other Lake County writers. I always enjoyed learning about the different places she’d gone to read and represent Lake County to a broader artistic community.

The photo above is from the Summer 2006 ArtNotes, a quarterly newsletter of the Lake County Arts Council. Photographed by Xian Yeagan, the image shows Sandra, center, being inaugurated as Lake County Poet Laureate for 2006-2008. Flanking her are finalists Janet Riehl, left, and Fran Ransley, right.

Sandra’s obituary, published in the Lake County Record-Bee, relates:

“Former poet laureate of Lake County and local radio show host, Sandra Wade, passed away Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Sandra had returned to her native England where she lived in Halisham. She was surrounded by her loving family. She enriched the lives of many with her work as a massage therapist, a yoga teacher and a weaver of words. She is greatly missed.”

‘From Bully to Bull’s Eye’ by Andrew Faas

Book cover, 'From Bully to Bull's Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire' by Andrew Faas. Image depicts a seated man, his head pressed between his knees and his hands grasping the top of his head, with concentric-circle bull's-eye outlines superimposed on top of him
Many people, according to Andrew Faas, relate the word “bullying” to what happens in schools; they don’t associate workplace behaviors with bullying until, Faas says, he describes the dynamics of bullying with words like “abuse,” “coercion,” “exploitation,” “extortion,” “harassment,” and “threats.”

In From Bully to Bull’s Eye (RCJ Press, 2016), Faas argues that workplace bullying extends beyond an incident or conflict between a bully and target at work. According to Faas, “entire workplace cultures in many organizations are built on foundational principles that guarantee a toxic environment for all, not just a few select victims of particularly vitriolic harassment.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Medford ‘Friends’ giant book-clearance event

Southern Oregon readers, note: Friends of the Medford Library​ is holding a “giant” book-clearance event, its “largest event ever,” noon to 4 p.m. Friday, July 28, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at the central library in Medford, Jackson County Library Services - Oregon​. The latest “Friends” newsletter features details of this event, as well as other news of interest. During the “sale,” you can take whatever — and however many — books you like, and leave a donation of your choice. Three rooms of books will include large selections of science fiction, fiction and other categories, including record albums and other audio/visual materials.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Starfire has shared our home for six years


Six years ago, our precious cat Starfire joined our household. Every day since then, she has been a perpetual delight.

Jonathan brought Starfire home on July 15, 2011. Here she is, peering out from beneath a dresser during her first night at home with us.

Starfire’s name evokes her color, which is nearly all black. She has white “stars” on her chest and belly. On her right hind foot, Starfire has a broken or deformed toe and she limps on hard ground or during cold weather. Her personality is full of zeal for exploration and play.

Starfire joined us shortly after the death of our 13-year-old cat Elizabeth. Starfire had been fending for herself after her former caregiver suffered a severe stroke.

Her arrival in our home was a case of us needing her as badly as she needed us. The place felt lonely without the presence of a cat and Starfire was in need of a caregiver.

Once over the stress of an unfamiliar environment, Starfire brought so much life and energy to our home; she continues to bless us daily.

Interim director at Sonoma County Library

Tracy Gray has been named interim director at Sonoma County Library. Gray, formerly manager of SCL’s Central Library, has been serving as acting director since the departure of Brett Lear in May (via Christi Warren, Press Democrat).

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

‘Bicycling Rules of the Road’

Book cover, 'Bicycling Rules of the Road' by Kelly Pulley. Image depicts boy in helmet on his bicycle, shown from the rear view, paused in a roadway next to a stop sign. The boy's head is turned right, looking down a side street that intersects the road he is on. The road is lined with green landscaping, a single blue house and trees. A dog stands in the road next to the boy, looking ahead.
Devin's mother gives him rules for safely riding his bicycle, but once on his bike, he tries but fails to remember what he should and should not do.

He agrees to give his friend Betsy a ride on his handlebars — with immediate loss of visibility and bicycle maneuverability.

Things go from bad to worse as, one by one, Devin acts counter to another bicycling safety rule and soon an entire basketball team, their goat mascot and a rescued cat are all precariously balanced with him and Betsy on his bicycle.

Kelly Pulley relates an entertaining story that carries a serious message in Bicycling Rules of the Road (Schiffer Publishing, November 2017). Brightly colored illustrations, rhyming text and humorous storyline make this book ideal when reinforcing for children, the importance of safely riding a bicycle.

The rules can all be found in a note to Devin from his mother, making them easy to reference and reinforce with children when reading the story aloud. Nothing is ambiguous; each choice by Devin has a consequence and the text makes cause-and-effect clear.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Also posted to Librarian on a Bicycle

Friday, June 30, 2017

‘Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard’

Among books I’m reading, The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan is the second in his series featuring heroes and gods of Norse mythology, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.

Like Riordan’s series that center around Egyptian and Greek and Roman mythology, Magnus Chase combines trademark action with wry first-person storytelling.

The protagonist, Magnus, was a seemingly ordinary teen, who was living homeless at the time of the series’ opening.

Magnus died early in the series’ first book, but he was transported to Valhalla by a Valkyrie, Samirah al-Abbas. The Valkyries gather the souls of people who have died a hero’s death, and Samirah’s judgement was critically challenged on the basis of her choosing Magnus.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

SRCSA library, books and shelves moved-in

Source of image: SRCSA Library on Facebook

Posts to Facebook by Library Technician Shannon Williams afford glimpses of the library at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts (SRCSA) — of interest to me as my eventual work-site as Instructional Materials Technician, as well as through my “geekishness” for libraries.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friends of the Santa Rosa Libraries, summer sale

Cynthia M. Parkhill, holding a book in her right arm, looks over a sale table of other books. A sign displayed above the table of books designates their category as 'Literature.'
Spring 2017 Book Sale, Friends of the Santa Rosa Libraries

I have long donated special outreach efforts for “Friends of the Library” book-sale events and this weekend, Friends of the Santa Rosa Libraries is hosting its summer sale in the Forum Room at Sonoma County Library’s Central Library.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Library customer-service priorities reflected in posts to RVUUF blog

Black-and-white image of people browsing and reading in bookstore
Image credit: inSpirit/UU Book and Gift Shop

I’ve left Ashland, Oregon, but continue to work as web content editor for Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Recent posts to the RVUUF blog are aligned with my passion for library customer-service; they draw attention to informational resources that enhance the church community.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Yarn-storm commemorates ‘Friends’ group anniversary

Close-up view of hands cutting thread on piece of crochet that has been stitched around the handle of a library book-drop. The words 'Yarn Bombing at Your Library' have been superimposed on the image.
In Orange, Conn.: Case Memorial Library was “yarn stormed” with a colorful, hands-on, knitted and crocheted exhibit depicting the four seasons, in the library’s second-floor rotunda.

As reported and photographed by Pam McLoughlin for the New Haven Register, the exhibit — created by Friends of the Case Memorial Library — “has visitors talking, touching, teaching and marveling at the uniqueness and detail.”

The Friends group installed the exhibit in May, to celebrate the group’s 25th anniversary. “The exhibit was originally slated to stay up through June, but Library Director Meryl Farber loved it so much she requested to keep it up at least until November. Farber said, in her book, it can stay up forever.”

Posted to Yarn Bombing at Your Library on Facebook

‘Whose reviews’ influence libraries’ purchasing decisions?

When library staff utilize reviews to determine books’ suitability, “whose voices are privileged and whose go unheard” among the reviews that they read? At Reading While White, Megan Schliesman addresses concern about library collection-development policies that emphasize “professional” reviews. Schliesman argues that professional review journals lean toward “traditional” publishing, which in turn has a bias toward “whiteness” in children’s and young adult literature. She highlights sources of critical discourse beyond the traditional outlets, which can help to foster the diversity of viewpoints that a library will ideally strive for.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

El desayuno y el almuerzo gratis para niños este verano

(In Spanish)
Vía Santa Rosa escuelas de la ciudad: ​Los niños, 18 años y menores, comen el desayuno y el almuerzo gratis este verano.

(En inglés)
Via Santa Rosa City Schools: Children, ages 18 and younger, eat free breakfast and lunch this summer.

Summer ‘Lunch at the Library’


For the third year in a row, Sonoma County Library (SCL) will host free meals for youth this summer, every weekday at six library locations.

Summer reading at Sonoma County Library

Infographic showing that access to books during the summer prevents loss of reading skills among students. The caption proclaims, 'Kids Who Read Beat Summer Slide. Studies show that access to books during the summer prevents a drastic loss in reading skill - especially for kids in need.' Three figures of children are shown on the left of the graphic, with angled lines representing their gain or loss of reading ability as measured by reading test scores: a gain of 24.15 among students from low-income households with access to books, a gain of 15.51 among students from high-income households with access to books and a loss of 9.77 among students from low-income households without access to books.
Image source: First Book. Used with permission
Early-childhood and school-age BINGO cards are available at Sonoma County Library as part of this year’s Summer Reading program.

By reading a minimum of six books over the summer, children are being encouraged to defeat “Summer Slide,” that drop in students’ abilities in reading and math when they don’t engage in educational activities.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Brother sewing machine


What an amazing gift! One of my colleagues at Bellview school gave me a Brother sewing machine as a goodbye present. The timing was perfect, as I’d just disposed of two machines no longer fit for service.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Plenty of school spirit with this newsboy hat


I managed to create one final hat before packing up my sewing supplies for the move back to northern California. With the black-and-white brocade patterning of its brim and quartered panels, this newsboy hat is just the thing to wear with the school colors for Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. And as is often the case with my unique constructions, this hat is entirely assembled from repurposed garments. The patterned pieces come from a thrift-store jacket. The green solid was repurposed from a man's work shirt and the blue comes from a skirt.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Volunteer library-book courier

Walked downtown to return a book after work, to the Sonoma County Library. The book had been in Lost-and-Found at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts.

I regularly brought back public-library books when I worked in Bellview Elementary School library. I also retrieved books brought in error to the public library. With both systems automated and relying on book barcoding, the chief difference was a matter of barcode placement when telling each system's books apart.

My one request to patrons was to tell me right away, without embarrassment, if a book was brought to the wrong library.

As part of my ongoing customer-service commitment to the people who rely on our libraries, I gladly volunteer to take on the role of school-to-library courier.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts

Logo for Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Image depicts two narwhals shown in profile with crossed horns
SRCSA’s ‘Narwhal’ logo
On May 12, 2017, I began work at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Its mission is to provide K-8 students from Santa Rosa, California and beyond with “an innovative, high quality education that focuses on the arts through a challenging, integrated, standards-based academic program.”