Monday, December 03, 2007

News From The Library--December 3, 2007

Will Books Disappear?

More often than I like I am asked the question, "Do you think books as we know them will disappear someday?" Not on my watch, is what I'm temped to answer. I love technology, I really do, but the one place I don't think it makes sense is for reading a book.

In the Opinion section of last Sunday's Los Angeles Times William Powers, media critic for National Journal, had an interesting piece entitled "We've heard this story before..." in which he talks about this holiday's offering of the latest e-book from Amazon.com, the Kindle, something he says Newsweek magazine dubbed "the future of reading." Hmmm....even I have trouble imagining myself curling up with a little machine. One of the greatest pleasures I know is losing myself in a book and I have noticed a marked lack of that relaxing posture and loss of connection to the outside world when I'm looking at a screen. I've wondered why and in the article Powers explains studies done by cognitive researchers about the difference between reading something on paper and something on a screen. According to these studies...
.....when you read something on a screen, the eyes and brain are constantly at work figuring out where you are on the page, how many pages from the end of the text, etc. With paper based media, the fingers and hands take over much of the navigational work. Because you can feel where you are, the brain is freed up to concentrate on the words themselves....The book iteself--its physical presence and format--has a dramatic effect on how we experience the content.
So that's how it works....

As Powers suggests maybe ebooks have their place as a convenience for travelers who don't want to lug multiple books around with them. I don't know....next time I'm in Hawaii reading on the beach with my (less than literary) paperback novel at least I won't have to think about sand in my equipment or recharging batteries. In fact, some of my favorite books still have some of that Hawaiian sand in them or blotches of sunscreen on the covers and every time I see them a little bit of me is transported back to those relaxing tropical escapes.

If you'd like to read William Powers article go to http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-powers2dec02,1,1397292.story?ctrack=1&cset=true


Also of note in the Los Angeles Times Book Review this Sunday was an article about Philip Pullman and The Golden Compass. If you are thinking of seeing the movie, you might find this an interesting viewpoint.

http://www.latimes.com/features/printedition/books/la-bk-miller2dec02,1,4772987.story


In the Library this week...

Kindergarten--Continuing with our study of classic fairy tales, we read Goldilocks and the Three Bears. As well as a lesson on manners (using an extreme example of bad ones, we decided) there is also a great introduction to size and superlatives.

First Grade--Alas, I was out with a bad case of laryngitis on Tuesday so I didn't get to see the first graders this week. Sorry.

Second Grade--Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola is one of our favorite books. The antics of Big Anthony mean that the magic pasta pot has a mind of its own and only the return of Strega Nona can save the village. It was fun to discuss the meaning of "the punishment must fit the crime" and we came up with some other rather humorous crimes and punishments.

Third Grade--(same as first grade) :(

Fourth Grade--The Stolen Smile by J. Patrick Lewis is based on the true story of the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 by an Italian man who felt it should be in Italy, not in the Louvre in Paris. We started out with a slide show about the Mona Lisa and had fun with a website called The Interactive Mona in which we could change her expression to one of disdain, disappointment, happiness, disgust, fright, merriness, surprise, or aggression (!) Great way to learn the meaning of some of those words, too!

Fifth Grade--At the request of their teachers, fifth graders found books of historical fiction for their book projects. We discussed the genre first and then they had a chance to check out one from our collection.

Sixth Grade--As a preliminary to an upcoming lesson on Web Site Evaluation we watched a short video called Mission Possible: Successful Online Research which covered the history of the internet, internet search skills, writing, using citations correctly, and internet safety. The video is provided by answers.com, an interesting an valuable search tool for students that gives them access to a variety of credible sources.

1 comment:

applebart said...

Janet, if I didn't LOVE your blog so much I'd be intimidated. Thank you very much for sharing it and setting a very high bar.

Pat Bartoshesky
Wilmington, DE
LM_NET member