Friday, October 15, 2010

What is copyright?

Copyrights (the rights to exclusive use) provide for the creators of material to benefit from their work: authors from their writing, musicians from their compositions, and so on. Regulations governing copyright take the form of law and a great deal of energy is spent interpreting the law, making the whole matter of copyright complex and quite puzzling for the general public. There are exceptions to copyright when the creator's rights to exclusive use are balanced with the public interest. For example, the concept of "fair use" governs certain limited use of copyrighted material for educational purposes. Libraries, in particular, try very hard to understand and to honor copyright protections while supporting reasonable fair use. With the increasing ease of digital information flow, the matter becomes even harder to understand and the even most principled users of information are challenged in observing the limits of use. We have a book in our professional collection entitled Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators, published in 2006 by Kenneth D. Crews -- 156 pages chockful of useful if somewhat overwhelming hints for being good copyright citizens. The American Association of School Librarians has also gathered sources of copyright information on a useful web page. Bottom line, it is wise at the least always to credit sources on any project or presentation, use as little of the original material as possible to convey and honor the creator's work with integrity, and use it one-time-only without profit in an educational setting. It is hard but important to remind ourselves to play fair.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Picture Books Are Perfection, Really

This weekend there was an article in the New York Times describing the waning interest parents have in picture books for their young children, even preschoolers, preferring to propel them into chapter books and "real" literature. The proprietor of our local children's book store was quoted (misquoted, it turns out) as saying the displays of new picture books are often simply returned to boxes for shipment back to publishers, and publishers' lists of new picture books are therefore growing smaller by leaps and bounds. Maybe some teachers will buy them but the market for parents is no longer strong. Yikes.

If the thrust of this article is to be believed, then it is a very sad time for little people, their literacy development and their literature enjoyment. Picture books combine narrative themes, visual delights, and rich vocabulary in wonderful "packages" that support a young child's curiosity, awareness of the relationship of text to spoken words (a basic step in reading readiness), and inclination to talk about what is being heard and seen. Research amply supports the value of reading picture books aloud with children, and anecdotal evidence is abundant when one asks a friend what he or she remembers having read to them by a parent. Just consider the memorable journey in Make Way For Duckings or the inimitable character Eloise or the vivid pictures in The Snowy Day... Let's not pay any attention to the article other than to take energy from it to spread the good word about new books! Come by the library to see what is new this season. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Calling All Judy Moody Fans!

If you’re like me, you love Judy Moody. Judy’s spunky personality, dramatic flair, and astounding ability to get into and out of sticky situations always keeps me reading. One of my favorite things about Judy Moody is that she takes everything at face value. Her mood ring turns black? Well then she must be in a bad mood. Her substitute teacher installs an “attitude tent” in the classroom? Well, then Judy must find out what attitude she should adopt so she can go camping.

Judy Moody books suit many readers, especially those transitioning from Early Reader (ER) books to Chapter Books (FIC-I). If you like the Judy Moody books, here are a few series and book recommendations from the Lawrence Library FIC-I Section that I think you will enjoy. You may also check out our If you like Judy Moody Resource List in the library’s Destiny Catalogue. Happy reading!!

Brown, J. Flat Stanley (series)
A bulletin board fell on Stanley Lambchop one day and made him flat as a pancake. But, life goes on. Stanley’s adventures are chronicled in this funny series.

Clements, A. Jake Drake (series)
In this series, fourth-grader Jake Drake looks back on challenging, embarrassing, and exciting events in his earlier school years.

English, K. Nikki & Deja (series)
Nikki and Deja are best friends. They do everything together. One of their favorite things is to sit on Nikki's front porch and discuss what's happening on their block. This series explores their friendship and its ups and downs.

Greenburg, D. The Zack Files (series)
Ten-year-old Zack has a knack for getting himself into weird situations. Take for instance the time he attempted to rid his apartment of a rude eight-year-old poltergeist who communicates by spelling out words with peanut M&Ms.

Look, L. Ruby Lu (series)
Ruby Lu loves her family. In this funny series we follow the eight-year-old as she welcomes her cousin from China, puts on a magic show, wraps her little brother in reflective tape and more!

McDonald, M. Stink (series)
This series is all about Judy Moody’s little brother Stink, and just like his sister, he will keep you laughing as he tackles all sorts of challenges.

Park, B. Junie B. Jones (series)
Junie has more disasters than any student I know. But she is always able to rebound from them with a smile.

Pennypacker, S. Clementine (series)
Clementine is a busy third-grader. She has a hard time sitting still and paying attention, which gets her into some sticky situations. This series details Clemenine’s adventures in and out of school.

Salisbury, G. Calvin Coconut (series)
It’s really fun to grow up in Hawaii, just ask Calvin Coconut! But sometimes too much fun can get you into trouble, and Calvin Coconut must surf his way out of sticky situations.

Weinman Sharmat, M. Nate the Great (series)
Nate the Great is a detective. Readers will enjoy solving mysteries along with him as he helps his friends and family find lost recipes, catch garbage burglars, and locate missing gifts.