Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ada Lovelace and Women's History Month

Women's History month is around the corner.  In the International Library we will be expanding our diversity wall to include women who have changed history, who inspire you, and who are basically awesome.  Please bring pictures, quotes or objects to the library for inclusion in our ever expanding wall.
Or send your items to Lisa Shaner or Catherine Sullivan for inclusion - please be sure to tell us why you made your choice.

Below is a video I made about Ada Lovelace.  Lovelace can be called the first computer programmer and "Ada Lovelace Day" (October 16th this year) has been created as a day to recognize women who are engineers, programmers, and mathematicians.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Diversity Wall and Talking about Race

The Diversity Wall in the library is growing.  With many contributions from faculty and students spreading across the space.   In February the wall serves as a canvas to celebrate Black History, especially from the last 30 years. 
Next month is Women's History month and we will be asking everyone to contribute information about the women that inspire them.
While we are using these national events to focus the development of the diversity wall - we welcome all contributions of inspiration from diversity.
Please come visit and peruse! 

As the International community continues having discussions about diversity of all types, we are necessarily touching on sensitive topics including race.  The video below offers Jay Smooth's perspective on talking about race.  It's worth the 11 minutes to watch him speak about how to better have a conversation when you need to tell someone that something they said sounded racist, or when someone says that to you.  His message about making our conversations about what someone did, not about who they are applies to many situations. 

TEDxHampshireCollege - Jay Smooth - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race

 "Jay Smooth is host of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, the Underground Railroad on WBAI 99.5 FM in NY, and is an acclaimed commentator on politics and culture."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

YA Grows Up

Books written for teenagers can be, frankly, simplistic and melodramatic even when they are enjoyable.   Anyone who's spent some reading time in Forks, Washington can attest to that.  However, merely being marketed towards a younger audience doesn't mean a book is dumbed down, poorly written or lacks serious content.
An article by Laura Miller on Salon.com reviews two recent YA books - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff.  Miller writes:
 If you were to skip “The Fault in Our Stars” — or another new novel, by YA luminary Meg Rosoff, “There Is No Dog” — because you assume that such books are less intelligent, well-written or emotionally complex than their adult counterparts, you would be most miserably mistaken.
 It makes no sense that the maudlin goo that is “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” should be classified as a work for adults, when “The Fault in Our Stars,” a far more mature rumination on the same themes, is regarded as a children’s book. Likewise, why should grown-ups be subjected to the cutesy “The Life of Pi” while teenagers get to revel in an astringent fable like “There Is No Dog”?
I can vouch for The Fault in Our Stars (and you can check it out in the International High School Library.)  Through the smooth witty voice of a 16-year-old girl the reader is led to question what it means to live a good life, what a hero really is, and the significance of death. The book also addresses the interconnections and complications between the reader, the writer, and the work of literature. I haven't read There is No Dog yet, but I know Meg Rosoff's work, and the premise of a teenage boy as the supreme deity promises to be magic in her hands.

Other books written for the YA audience (and available in the library) that cut the BS and tackle hard issues:

  • The Incredibly True Story of  Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Speak by Laura Halse Anderson
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Stuck in Neutral by Terry Truman
  • Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Celebrating 50 years of Film and Literature

In concert with our 50th anniversary, the International High School Library is displaying some of the award winning and best-selling books and movies from 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2002.  Come to the library to peruse winners of the Palm d'Or, books that topped the New York Times Bestsellers Lists, Caldecott Medal winners and Prix Goncourt winners among others. 
Here are some of the books and movies from 2002:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Black History on your iPhone/iPad

If you're looking for a dose of Black History at your fingertips, there are a few apps available.  None of these appear to offer any in depth analysis, but the easy access could serve to inspire further investigation.

Black History Facts
This app offers 530 facts and advertises that they come from every continent, offering some alternatives to Black History that is strictly focused on the United States.

Then and Now: Black History
 Gives information about 100 people in Black History.

Offers a fact for each day of the year.

Black History Quotes
Inspirational quotes from African American History

There is an innovative project under construction:

The Mobile Black History Project using Augmented Reality
Currently working within the Layar browser and covering 12 U.S. cities (not San Francisco), this app will allow users to point their phone or tablet at a location and learn about associated events in Black History.