Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sorry it has been a week since I wrote. What a busy week it has been. I left for Greenville on Wednesday and had 9 hours in the car to listen to a book and settle my emotions down. It worked. I listened to Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries - the first 3 books - and found myself laughing out loud. I loved the movies and was surprised that Mia is a tall skinny blonde and that her father is very much a part of her life. The grandmother figure is also very different - no way would Julie Andrews play her as brassy as she is, with her eyeliner tattooed on, a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. The scenery between Lexington and Greenville is stunning - such beautiful countryside. I am glad I was able to drive both ways in the daylight this time. The mountains are much less stressful when you can see the road farther ahead than where your headlights shine.

Had a great time on Saturday morning at the NCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee and the NC School Librarian Assn. Intellectual Freedom Workshop. I had the pleasure of being on a panel with Pat Scales, who received the SIRS/AASL Intellectual Freedom Award back in the 1980s for a wonderful proactive program at her school where she discussed the edgy books with both parents and students. She had wonderful advice for the participants. I loved how she reminded them that free choice also includes the student's right to reject. We also discussed AR and Lexiles a bit and how inappropriate books show up in elementary school collections because the reading level is 4.0 but the subject matter is certainly for teens. Her example was Perks of Being a Wall Flower by Steven Chbosky. A wonderful book, but certainly YA due to the content and the teen language. The concept of sitting back and watching events and relationships unfold around you is one teens know well. A must have book for older YAs, grades 10-12. It isn't censorship to remove that book from an elementary school collection and send it on to the HS librarian, it is good professional judgement. It is not uncommon to take over a position and discover a few titles that were bought for the reading level, not the content - especially now with the collection being determined by AR in many schools. Not only was the content of the panel presentation great, I was able to meet ECU students I had, have, or will have in courses.

I arrived back home Saturday evening and have been on the go ever since. ECU must have been doing some work on the network on Sunday as I couldn't get into either my email or Blackboard to grade so I spent the day unpacking the rest of the boxes that came in or ones I couldn't reach in the pile in my office. We went to Sam's and bought double bookcases for my office. That was an experience in itself as they couldn't find them so I sat inside and waited and Steve sat outside in the car, near the pick-up lane, and waited. I just happened to look up and realize they had brought them to the front but no offer to help us load them. That was fun - my shoulders still know it. There was a lady behind up picking up a heavy yard ornament and no one was around to help her either so Steve helped her load it into the back of her truck. Clearly service is not a big deal at Sam's! Not like Lowe's here in town - they were wonderful with helping us load Steve's grill.

On to grading!