Posted by Trixie on 01.06.14

One Stop Shop sign
Photo Credit: marc e marc
 
I'm sure everyone is heartbroken about school being closed today and tomorrow. With two weeks off for winter break, you didn't really need a couple of extra days off, right? Well, if you're fretting about upcoming final exams and projects instead of the polar vortex, come into the Hub for a place to study and to get research help!
 
I'm resurrecting a few research tips that I posted a few months ago below. They might come in handy with end-of-semester projects and papers.
 
We'll also be turning the Hub into a Finals Study Lounge on Saturday, January 11th - Thursday, January 16th. Join us for brain friendly snacks, stress relieving therapy dogs, and yoga sessions. We'll have laptops, iPads, and other supplies to help you survive finals!
 
Here are the aforementioned tips. Of course, you can always come into the Hub for help, email, Tweet, or Facebook message us too!
 
Search Strategies:
• Boolean Searching: Use operators to narrow or broaden your search. AND and NOT will narrow your search. OR will broaden your search. Quotation marks will search for a specific string of words (e.g. “moving truck”).
• Use the database's built-in filters to drill down to the most relevant search results.
• Read summary or abstract to determine whether an article will be useful. It will save you time!
• Want to cite an article? Check to see if there is a built-in citation generator on the webpage. If not, Purdue's Online Writing Lab has APA, MLA, and Turabian style guides.
• Searching the web? Evaluate your sources! Use the CRAAP or SMELL test.
 




Posted by Trixie on 12.18.13

I'm just damned. I am utterly and completely damned. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do, because that's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. After I write this confession, if you don't shoot me and I ever make it home, I'll be tried and shot as a collaborator anyway. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and this is the easy one, the obvious one. What's in my future - a tin of kerosene poured down my throat and a match held to my lips?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is an expressive novel set during World War II. Verity, a secret agent, is captured by the Gestapo and “convinced” to reveal her mission. Verity explores her past, how she came to be a spy, and how she arrived in Nazi-occupied France in her written confession. Verity is battling for her life as she fills sheet after sheet followed by random scraps of paper. As her intricate story unfolds, readers are left to wonder whether her detailed confession will be enough to save her life.
 
To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been one to enjoy historical fiction. I’d much rather read factual or personal accounts related to an event or time period. Well, I absolutely LOVED this book! Wein weaves a beautiful tale of desperation, courage, and friendship. The novel is written in journal-style from Verity’s and her pilot friend Kittyhawk’s points of view. Through these characters’ perilous journeys, readers experience the heartache and anxiety of friends and family separated during wartime. The harrowing tale pits evil against a clever, would-be traitor. I HIGHLY recommend this book – you won’t be disappointed!
 
 




Posted by Trixie on 12.12.13

I follow the Huff Post Teen blog. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a post written by Phoebe Dodds, a teen living in London, England. This post titled “Lost in Translation” explored foreign language books and films in a culture that predominantly speaks English. This post really piqued my interest since one of my duties at the Hub is to provide library resources like books, magazines, and DVDs to ESL students at Newcomer Center. This District 214 program assists high school students that have recently moved to the United States and are new to the English language. A large part of the items I send them are popular teen books originally written in English translated to their native languages.

An interesting fact that Dodds states in her post, “only 3 percent of all books published in English are translations”, blows my mind! Clearly, much more goes into translating a book from its native language. Nuance, mode of expression, and humor have to be considered and might not have a literal translation; however, there have to be more books out there worth translating! Reading this post prompted me to make a list of books translated to English. Some might surprise you, like The Three Musketeers. Some are new, like Ruby Red and 1Q84. Check one out and broaden your horizons.
 




Posted by Trixie on 11.29.13

Recently GoldieBlox, a California toy company, parodied “Girls” a Beastie Boys song. If you’ve never heard the song, it’s had its share of criticism for being sexist. Its lyrics joke that girls are only good for cleaning, doing the dishes, and laundry. GoldieBlox re-worded the song to encourage girls to explore the fields of science, technology, and engineering. Their use of the song without permission recently initiated discussion of copyright infringement versus fair use.
 
Copyright falls under the legal regulations, known as intellectual-property law, that govern an individual's or organization's right to use or disseminate ideas or information. Copyright deals specifically with the rights granted to a creator, publisher, or other owner of original content to reproduce, adapt, or distribute said content. You might think that intellectual-property law has nothing to do with you, but if you’ve ever created a slideshow and used your favorite songs as the soundtrack, mashed up content to make a funny video, or made a copy of a CD/DVD for a friend, it does apply. Here’s a video that’ll give you a review of copyright principles.
 
 
Some copyright-related terms defined:
copyleft agreements: an alternative to placing works in the public domain or under traditional copyright laws; works can be modified as long as derivative works retain the same restrictions stipulated by the author of the original work. digital rights management (DRM): technological mechanisms to prevent content from being copied or shared over networks.
fair use doctrine: permits moderate use of copyrighted materials for education, news reporting, parody, criticism, and even home consumption in some cases as long as the use does not detract from the market value of the work.
intellectual-property law: legal regulations that govern an individual's or organization's right to use or disseminate ideas or information; encompasses copyright, patent, and trademark laws.
orphan works: copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or impossible to find.
public domain: legal status of a work that is not copyrighted by choice of owner or expiration of copyright term; anyone can use the work in any way they choose without cost.
 
If you want the details on copyright law and fair use, check out the US Copyright Office website.
 




Posted by Trixie on 11.27.13

Okay, we have less than two weeks to turn a robot that picks things up into a robot that kills other robots.
 
Chainsaws, people, we need chainsaws!


The graphic novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong follows a ragtag group of high schoolers on their journey to a robot rumble. Charlie is the captain of the basketball team. Nate is his best friend and the president of the school’s robotics team. Holly is head cheerleader and Charlie’s ex-girlfriend. When school funding comes up short, student council must choose whether the robotics team will attend the national robotics competition or if the cheerleaders will get new uniforms for the national cheerleading championship. Naturally, Charlie is pulled into the drama in the midst of dealing with his own problems. Eventually, the characters must set aside their differences and work together to battle in a Thanksgiving robotics competition that will get both the robotics team and cheerleading squad to nationals.

Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks present a funny, heartwarming, and realistic story about dealing with high school cliques, camaraderie, competition, and friendship. Shen’s writing is an authentic portrayal of interactions between the teenage characters. The story is quick-paced and engaging. Hicks’ illustrations capture the characters’ personalities and sense of movement throughout the book. The humor of the novel comes from characters expressions and robot demolition conveyed by the artwork.

This is a great read for anyone – it’s a perfect Thanksgiving story to pass the time while you digest your turkey dinner!




Posted by Trixie on 11.15.13

We’re celebrating WHOvember all month long in the Hub!
 

If you missed last week’s Sonic Screwdriver program, here are the instructions so you can DIY!
 
What you need:
From the dollar store, a package of 3 highlighters, an LED clip-on reading light, and black electrical tape. You’ll also need paint, markers, or colored tape to color your finished Sonic Screwdriver.
Tools: utility knife or something to cut plastic with and pliers.
 
 
 
 
1. Choose which highlighter you would like as the main portion of your Sonic Screwdriver. Remove inky bits from this highlighter.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Next, you’ll prepare the three highlighter caps for the project. Choose which cap you would like for the light-up end of your Sonic Screwdriver and set it aside. Cut off the tips of the other two caps.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Use tape to connect the cap you set aside and one of the other caps.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Inventory your parts: you should have the pieces pictured on the left. Now, you’re ready to add the LED to your Sonic Screwdriver.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Carefully, insert LED through the marker top. You will need to use pliers to widen the opening. Connect the piece with the taped together marker caps and continue to feed the LED through.
 
6. Add the remaining cap to the end of the marker.
 
 
 
7. Finally, use paint, Sharpies, and/or duct and electrical tape to put the finishing touches on your Sonic Screwdriver.
 
8. Now, get out there and foil some sinister plots!
 
Project adapted from sparknotes.
 
 
DIY, fandom, program




Posted by Trixie on 10.30.13

Last Friday we gathered in the Hub to construct freaky, mutant toys. Using old toys, needle & thread, LEDs, duct tape, and anything else we could find, we took apart and fashioned toys Dr. Frankenstein would be proud of! A few of the teens brought their critters to life as marionettes.
 
Browse the pictures to see some of the creepy creations the teens came up with!
 
DIY, program, sciencey




Posted by Trixie on 10.17.13

This week I did a database presentation for District 25's Young Entrepreneurs Academy. I showed them how to access library databases, gave them some  tips on searching databases and the web, and went over evaluating online sources.
 
Well, I'm sure that EVERYONE can use some research help. Here are some of the tips I gave in the presentation and the handout.
 
Of course, you can always come into the Hub for help, email, Tweet, or Facebook message us too!
 
 
Search Strategies:
• Boolean Searching: Use operators to narrow or broaden your search. AND and NOT will narrow your search. OR will broaden your search. Quotation marks will search for a specific string of words (e.g. “moving truck”)
• Use the database's built-in filters to drill down to the most relevant search results.
• Read summary or abstract to determine whether an article will be useful. It will save you time!
• Want to cite an article? Check to see if there is a built-in citation generator on the webpage. If not, Purdue's Online Writing Lab has APA, MLA, and Turabian style guides.
• Searching the web? Evaluate your sources! Use the CRAAP or SMELL test.
 
 
Reference & Information sign
Photo Credit: olinlibref
study skills




Posted by Trixie on 09.26.13

The shelves were packed close together, and it felt like I was standing at the border of a forest – not a friendly California forest, either, but an old Transylvanian forest, a forest full of wolves and witches and dagger-wielding bandits all waiting just beyond moonlight’s reach. There were ladders that clung to the shelves and rolled side to side. Usually those seem charming, but here, stretching up in to the gloom, they were ominous. They whispered rumors of accidents in the dark.

Clay Jannon is an unemployed marketer and web designer. His days are spent surfing the web unsuccessfully obtaining employment. That is until he comes across Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore a narrow, vertigo-inspiring bookstore packed with books on its skyscraper shelves. Mr. Penumbra hires the new night clerk on the spot. Clay didn’t know that the course of his life would change that afternoon. It only takes him a couple of days to notice peculiarities with the business and its clientele. Clay and his new love interest Kat delve into the world of a 500 year old secret society called the Unbroken Spine.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore explores the tension between new technology and old, digital versus print, working out a problem longhand instead of relying on computer assistance. Clay, his friends, and Google through employee Kat try to help Mr. Penumbra solve an age-old mystery using modern technology. Robin Sloan cleverly weaves fantasy and reality to construct an adventure tale that engages readers and makes them cheer for the ragtag bunch of codebreakers. Throughout the novel, Clay calls upon his friends, actual and virtual, to help him uncover the treasure coveted by the Unbroken Spine for centuries. This is a quick read, definitely worth checking out…AND the cover glows in the dark!




Posted by Trixie on 09.19.13

 
Last Saturday, we welcomed Engineering Technology instructors from Triton College for an underwater robotics program. With the help of teen mentors that participate in the FIRST robotics programs, attendees worked in teams to design, build, program, and operate their waterbots.
 
First, we started with a brief discussion of automation and how robots assist people in industry and research. Next, we designed and built waterbots. Before getting started with programming the bots, we talked about the steps for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The best instructions had over 30 steps! This taught attendees the importance of clear instructions and constructing if-then statements for programming their bots. Next, the teens programmed their bots. Finally, we watched each bot complete a figure 8 in a tub of water.
 
Check out photos from the program below! If you’d like to learn more about these types of programs, come to the Hub!