The Lesser Blessed: a novel  by Richard Van Camp

This dark novel gives readers a glimpse of the life of a high school student growing up Dogrib in the Northwest Territories. Larry is a young man in a small northern town, listening to Iron Maiden and Van Halen, living with his single mother and trying to get through high school. His past, hallucinations and present experiences swirl together as he meets the new trouble maker in town, Johnny, and stands by as Johnny gets the girl. This book is filled with madness, beauty, sex, humor and depth. The story draws the reader in with every difficult scene, and keeps us there with the honest and terrible details. This book depicts adolescence through the dialogue and vivid imagery. This intense novel is a quick read, great for teens and adults. There is some harsh language and difficult situations, which may not be appropriate for younger readers.

The Strong People: A History of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

By Ron Charles, et al.

Ron Charles states in the afterword:

We hope that what is written clearly shows how the strength, determination, and wisdom that our S’Klallam ancestors exhibited in the years following the Treaty of Point No Point allowed the generations following them to make positive changes in the community…and develop the thriving tribal government we have today (263).

This history certainly accomplishes that goal. A comprehensive look at the journey of the Port Gamble S’Klallam people from pre-European contact to today, the book is an excellent resource for researchers, history enthusiasts and others interested in the past and present of the S’Klallam people. Members of the History Book Committee worked together to author and co-author chapters, and edit and review the content for accuracy. By incorporating the stories of Tribal Elders and biographical information of individuals, they have brought history to life. The history of the Port Gamble S’Klallam is presented chronologically from pre-contact with Europeans, to the village sites, the new reservation, and early tribal government through to the 21st century. The brief chapters near the end of the book focusing on education, health, recreation and culture diverge from the timeline, but bring out how these varied facets of community life have changed through time and shaped the Port Gamble S’Klallam People. While the book contains information on the mills, the evolution of treaty rights and self-governance, it also highlights the personalities and characteristics of the Port Gamble S’Klallam people. At one point the author states, “the Port Gamble S’Klallam community at Little Boston survived because people actively cared about one another” (139). It is this kind of context and insight that brings the historical details into focus. The Strong People is an engaging volume that will benefit its readers with the knowledge and wisdom that it contains.

This book is great for adults or teens looking into the history of one of Washington State’s Tribal communities, or just looking for an interesting book about a beautiful part of the state and the people that inhabit it.

As a project for a course, we designed online tutorials for asynchronous learning. Now, mine is nowhere near excellent, but it was a first try. And possibly helpful?

Teens at the Evanston Public Library have a lot of resources going for them. A website, a blog, twitter, goodreads, and even a little area of the facebook. From the EPL homepage it’s easy to find the link to the teen Loft. Once there, users are easily directed to all of the library’s social networking spaces. They are listed at the top of the screen, in a prominent location. The largest of the icons, is for their facebook page.

The Loft on facebook, is a great representation of the website, in a format that some teens may be more comfortable and familiar with.  Users are able to access the IM reference service on facebook via meebo, without leaving the facebook page. This would allow them to stay on one site instead of leaping around the web and being unexpectedly diverted to the library website.

The facebook profile also contains photo albums, a feed from the teen blog, and events listings! The photos, and the ability to post comments, and “like” posts by the library makes this a fun an interesting place to visit. There is even evidence of engagement! There are a few “likes” on the posts by the library, and some commenting. Hopefully this trend will continue and teens will see this as a useful way to access the library remotely.

All of the basic information was on the facebook site, including hours of operation, location, and the various websites. They have targeted their ideal audience, and it seems to have worked so far! As a user I would be interested to see the photo albums which include favorite books from the Teen Advisory Board, and events that friends may have attended. The peer pressure to attend library events that results from facebook event invites would also be a plus for the library itself. Hopefully they are taking full advantage of that fact.

The New York Public Library has an engaging homepage with a fun pop-up ad campaign just to keep you on your toes. The library website contains links to other webpages in their collection, and also a link at the bottom of each page, which invites the reader to Connect with NYPL.

At the top of this page is a veritable rainbow of media connections to the library including itunes, flickr, tumblr, facebook, and twitter. While the website itself does not appear to have a slant toward teens, or adults, the tweeters utilize tags to identify the audience they are attempting to snag with a particular tweet. The tweet regarding new teen novels leading to this blog post used the tags #teen and #stuff. Hopefully these would be helpful to teens receiving the twitter updates. There were no comments on this blog post, so the world shall never know.

It is nice to see that those who are tweeting about the NYPL are using tags in order to make their tweets more widely accessible. The different posts mainly lead the reader back to the NYPL website (the blog, events page, etc.) but also contain information that can be taken for what it is without reading the blog posts, or going to those pages necessarily all the time.

The twitterings accurately reflect the content of the NYPL website, and provide links back to the main source which is important. It also gives the library access to a whole new potential audience through the venue of twitter.

Because they are using tags and reaching out to other twitter users, the NYPL seems to be doing their best to reach a broader audience than those who wold read their blogs without the twitter reminders. All in all, it’s a good effort.

The Brooks Memorial Library Teen blog is a cool, colorful, chilled-out place, but does anybody know about it?

The Brooks Memorial Library website has links to both the teen blog and facebook profile up-front and slightly to the right of center, on their homepage. The link to their blog is fairly small, but definitely findable, if one is diligent. Since this is supposedly a teen blog, I thought that there would be a teen page on the library website where the blog was more prominently featured.

I searched, but found only the Children’s Room. Now, being a former teen, and knowing what I was like at that age, I am going to generalize an entire generation and say that no self-respecting teen is going to be seen on the Children’s Room in public, not even briefly to find the link to the blog. Also, we they are far too grown up to consider themselves children anyway…gosh.

However, the link to the blog has its very own heading in the Children’s Room.

Once we get to the blog, there is a very young adult color scheme which almost makes up for the children’s section designation of earlier. The posts are informative, and cover some pretty neat topics, like Tamora Pierce (a personal favorite) and even a library survey to see what the teens want. This seems like a pretty progressive place.

Fairly impressed, I took a look at the  comments section, or did I? There is no ability for the teens to interact with the posts at all except to email them to other people. This relegates the blog to bulletin board status for sure.

If one were to use this blog as a bulletin board or a calendar, they would be missing out. The most recent post is from May 12, 2010. If there is something that saddens me the most about this blog, it is the frequency of updates. It seemed to be fairly regularly updated until February, but perhaps blogging got the best of them.

If the Brooks Memorial Library has abandoned the blogging effort, it would be best to abandon the blog and unlink it from the website. If this is the case, a teen page might be in order as well. Aside from not allowing engagement with the blog through comments, the teens are not being represented in the online library space.

Hopefully, they will resurrect the blog, allow comments and revitalize the library for teens. Otherwise, they might just have to resort to facebook alone.

Since we just took a look at the Mesa County Public Library facebook page, I thought it would be nice gesture to look at their blog as well.

By looking at the first page of entries, it’s clear that someone is working pretty hard to put out interesting, informative and relevant blog posts for the library audience. They’ve covered horror movies, game nights, banned books, Laurence Fishburne, and High Fidelity, what more could a blog reader ask for?

Sadly though, there are no comments on the posts. Granted, most of them are announcements of some sort that don’t lend themselves particularly to commenting, and if this is the norm for blog posts, perhaps readers are not sure if they are supposed to comment. If this is the case, it may have contributed to the absence of responses to the post asking about readers’ favorite banned books.  Since they featured one of my personal favorites The Giver, I felt particularly disappointed.

The blog is easy to access, interesting to read, and gives information about events and promotions that the library is putting on that are important to know about. This format allows readers to receive RSS updates about new posts, so they don’t even need to go to the website to find out about new events. So why aren’t they engaged?

Depending on the technology knowledge of their community, the people of Mesa County might not be ready to leap into blogdom, or at least not ready to comment on the thing. It is difficult to know if people are truly using and reading the blog, but it is readily apparent that they are not engaging with it, or interacting with the library in the space. If they use it at all, it must be as a bulletin board or a calendar of events.

It is a perfectly valid use, but it could be so much more.

It might be a good idea for the library to invite community members to submit their own blog posts, or to hold a writing contest with the winners posted to the blog. To host some sort of promotion of the blog so that community members would see it as their space too. A public forum just like the library itself. Isn’t that what we’re all about?

Sharing is caring. Share your blogdom with the world.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.