February 2010


One of my work study students who I supervise at our newly formed Reference/Helpdesk informed me that she is renting most of her textbooks this semester to save money.  Now that is a great idea!  With tuition costs soaring, students need all the financial assistance they can find.  Chegg.com and BookRenter.com are currently dominating the market, but there are other companies jumping on this profitable bandwagon as well.  Students can also access free open-source textbooks from companies such as Flat World Knowledge.  Check out this news story from the Times Union, a paper based out of Albany, New York.  I am definitely going to inform my students of these wonderful new money saving services in my library classes.  Any librarian who informs their students how they can save money during their college years is most certainly going to be their ally.

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There are only two kinds of tea:  Red Rose and Lipton.  Right?  Wrong!  I have recently discovered that there are thousands of varieties of wonderful loose leaf teas, and they taste nothing like Red Rose and Lipton bagged teas.  You simply have to try a good, quality loose leaf tea to discover just how incredible a good cup of tea tastes.  According to Tomislav Podreka, a tea expert and author of the book, Serendipitea, there are four main types of tea:  black, green, oolong, and white.  Tisanes or herbal “teas” are not actually teas because they do not originate from Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, but rather from herbs such as chamomile, and rosehips.

So give one of the many varieties of loose leaf tea a try.  You can purchase good, quality tea online at Dobra Tea or Serendipitea.  Here are some articles on the health benefits of tea.  Who knows–you just might replace your beloved cup of coffee for a newly discovered cup of tea.  Pay close attention to recommended steeping times and water temperature.

I just finished reading Maggie Jackson’s book, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.  It’s an incredibly well researched book about how our “culture of diffusion, fragmentation, and detachment” is shaping our world.  “In this new world, something crucial is missing: attention–the key to recapturing our ability to connect, reflect, and relax; the secret to coping with a mobile, multitasking, virtual world.  Distracted vividly shows how, day by day, our hyper-mobile, cyber-centric, interrupt-driven lives erode our capacity for deep focus and awareness.  The long-term implications for a healthy society are stark.”

Distracted is essential reading for librarians who teach as it will give them insight into how multitasking is eroding our students’ abilities to learn.  If  students are surfing the Web during class, perhaps the method of teaching could be more student-centered and engaging.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on designing student-centered and engaging library sessions, but I’m continually thinking about what constitutes good teaching.

Check out this 13 minute NHPR interview with Marilyn Johnson.  Her new book, This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, sounds intriguing.  You can hear Marilyn Johnson read on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 5 pm at the University of New Hampshire’s Memorial Union Building, and on Friday, Feb. 19, at 7 pm at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth.