October Eureka Moments

Thoroughly in the swing of things now? Already bored with what’s going on? Happy but ready to add more programming and interest to your services? Whatever the case, maybe some of these innovations, research publications, and other cool tidbits will inspire you.

  • You know your patrons like games. And you may already know of some of the social justice gaming websites and programs out there, like Games for Change or Spent. Now it might interest you to know that there’s a new game out there designed specifically to target your ethics, not just to make you live in someone else’s shoes or support a cause. Quandary is its name, and it was designed by The Learning Network, a collaboration between MIT and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Take a look at the game here, and then consider if your gaming club might attract new members with an interest in social justice, or if your volunteer group might like to try some gaming. Now that so many teens are so savvy at programming, you might be able to get a group together to create a game that tackles a local issue that they find important.
  • Continue reading

    Fit: Body & Mind

    As a new YALSA blogger I should begin my first post with a short introduction. My name is Kim Anderson and I’m the Library Media Specialist at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, Illinois. I’m a two-time graduate of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois (MLS, CAS), and I received my National Board Certification in 2008. I’ve been in education for fifteen years, seven in the classroom and six in the library. I was thirty-something when I finally found my calling in the library and have not looked back once. I love my work. ‘ Love it. ‘ When I’m not working, reading or thinking about the library I enjoy doing yoga, P90, Insanity’ Asylum, and gardening. ‘ I recently decided I wanted to learn French and to play guitar. ‘ Wish me luck. ‘ Anyway, it is my love of talking and thinking about the library that lead me to start blogging here at YALSA.

    At the beginning of each year our administration takes the JMS staff off campus for a retreat. I always arrive a bit early so I can walk out onto the docks and enjoy the peace of the lake while I think about where I want the school year to lead. ‘ The solitude is’ short-lived though’ since the peacefulness doesn’t last long once the rest of the staff arrives. The day is always full of lively discussion, laughter and inspiration. This year our discussion centered around the research of Dr. Charles Hillman of the University of Illinois. Everyone was inspired by the idea that getting students moving could improve their academic gains. (You can check out “A Fit Body Means a Fit Mind” ‘ if you want to read more). ‘ The question is, how can I, the school librarian, help increase student fitness? ‘ Last week the answer came in the form of two exercise bikes. In just under one hour we had two stationary bikes assembled in a corner of the library. They are battery operated (so no chords) and the wheels are completely silent.

    The student interest was immediate. Now teachers just have to send their students to the library with a pass to read and ride. For now, the kids are enjoying a new place to move and I am happy to support a building-wide initiative.