Monthly Archives: July 2014

Chronicles of a Media Center Renovation: Part IV

Almost two months have passed, and there’s definite progress. Steel structures have been built for the new walls and the new media lab. Soon, these windows will be gone and a new hallway will take their place.

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Mockingjay . . . Coming Soon!

For all you Hunger Games fans, the wait is almost over! Mockingjay, Part I is slated to appear in theaters on November 21st.  For the rest of you who didn’t read any of the books, there is still time (did you notice the “Part I” in the title?).

As a library media specialist in a large high school, I often warn my students about the big, fat cliffhanger at the end of Catching Fire and recommend that they put Mockingjay on reserve or check the book out when they have about five chapters left. Some refused to heed my advice and rushed in the next morning in search of the last book, only to leave disappointed that all the copies were checked out.  Instead of saying, “I told you so.” I opted for the less antagonistic, “I tried to warn you.”

We librarians have been advocates for reading the book before watching the movie to our readers since . . . well, I suppose since the first known film adapted from a book (The Awakening of Rip based on Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle) was released in September 1896.

Probably the most satisfying example supporting the “read the book first” campaign occurred this past New Year’s Eve, when my sister, my husband, and my son all went to the theater to see Catching Fire. Although my son had read The Hunger Games, he never got around to reading the next two in the series. My husband, along with over half the movie theater, had not read any of them.  When the movie ended, the theater audience – save for a few of us who expected the sudden ending – shouted angrily at the screen, now scrolling through the movie credits.  Meanwhile, my sister and I  – as if on cue – leaned forward, grinned at each other, and said simultaneously, “Guess you should’ve read the books!”

Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn’t you say?

My sweet daddy sent me the funniest email this afternoon (see below) full of humorous newspaper headlines. As a former English teacher, I couldn’t believe that an editor allowed these headlines to go to press. Curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to read these articles, so the researcher in me took over, and I figured this might make a great lesson in teaching digital literacy skills (see the results of my search at the end of my post).

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

This one I caught the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!! ! They put in a correction the next day..

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

No, really? Ya think?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Now that’s taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

What a guy!

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

The good-for- nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace

I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Who would have thought!

Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

They may be on to something!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge

He probably IS the battery charge!

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Weren’t they fat enough?!

>Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

That’s what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Boy, are they tall!

And the winner is…..

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Did I read that right?


While these “headlines” are humorous, to say the least, I couldn’t find a single full text article supporting any of them. I did, however, find just the headlines in a series of books written by Richard Lederer, one of which dates back to 1987. They may be actual headlines, but, without the original source, I’m still a bit skeptical.

For those of you who understand the importance of vetting sources for research (hopefully, not just my librarian compadres), I found this scholarly journal article discussing humor in ambiguous newspaper headlines. Although the author apparently is/was an English professor at Youngstown State University, his sources are a bit sketchy. Only three of the links work, but this article was published ten years ago. Nonetheless, all but three of his listed websites appear questionable simply by looking at the URLs.

Not to leave you disappointed, here are a few humorous headlines that I found:

Hershey Bars Protest

New Yorker; 2/3/1968, Vol. 43 Issue 50, p79

This article may be accessed via EBSCOHost.

Red Tape Holds Up New Platte River Bridge

Freemont Tribune 06/09/2009

And my favorite . . .

Chick Accuses Some of Her Male Colleagues of Sexism

LA Times 06/24/1996


Chronicles of a Media Center Renovation: Part II

After a month of working 10.5-11.5-hour days, the media center was packed and ready to be stored for six months. Whew!

I’ll be setting up my mini library in a classroom for the first semester probably starting next week.  Every book truck, A/V cart, iPad and laptop cart I’ve got is sitting in a classroom crammed with boxes of files, filing cabinets, and several hundred books just waiting to be organized for the upcoming school year.  I’m not sure how this will work, but minimal library access is better than none.  There was no way I was going to shut down the library for an entire semester. I just couldn’t do it. All those freshmen beginning their high school career with no library – what kind of message would that send? Besides, I had way too many teachers and students requesting specific materials to be kept available.  Circulation may decline because of the small space, but I’ve got a plan – I’ll go from classroom to classroom if I have to delivering books.

According to the building plans, my office and the other two study rooms will be demolished; the AV room will be converted into two faculty bathrooms, the front window will become the new entrance, and other windows and walls will be knocked out to make way for the new media lab.

Chronicles of a Media Center Renovation: Part I

To put the process of the renovations in perspective, I thought I should back up and post a few “Before” photos. The gallery illustrates the library in 2008 when I first arrived at Bob Jones High School and the library in 2012 before, during, and after my mini renovation.

Four years later, I was selected for the library media specialist job. I wanted to change the atmosphere of the library and give it an updated look.  None of my ideas were small – the plans I drew up called for moving every bookshelf, every table, and dismantling the GIANT circulation desk. My guestimated timeline was much shorter than the two and a half months it actually took, but I finished before the first day of school. Even though I didn’t get to do everything I planned, I’m really pleased with the way it turned out.

My motto: Go big, or go home.


Books about Town | National Literary Trust


These book benches are nothing short of art that one can sit upon to well…  read.

Crying While Reading Through the Centuries

What are readers really saying when they claim that a book brought tears to their eyes?


Well said!

Screen Literacy for the Next Generation: How the Arts and Humanities Matter

In my college classroom I often ask students about their technology habits and, to my surprise, I repeatedly find that this “tech generation” is not as active as we have come to believe….


Something to think about when planning for next school year…

PC Sweeney

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