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Author Archives: lifeinlaurel

About lifeinlaurel

I'm Deirdre Schirmer and I'm a Teen Librarian, Maple Syrup Producer (TreeHugger Maple), Chicken Farmer in rural Franklin County, Indiana. Mom of 2 awesome kids (grown and gone), and wife to the best guy ever! I spend most of my time either at the library with the teens (best job - yay!), studying at IUPUI for my MLS, or outside with the chickens and the trees and the dogs and the cats and the deer and the..... (whatever critters happen to come along, ha ha). I have awesome friends and an awesome home. Anyone is welcome to Front Porch Time from April through early November (depending on the weather) at 5'ish for a drink and a chat...

Chicks are cute and yummy…

The new baby chicks are fluffy and adorable, of course, and then they turn into big yummy juiciness.  Butchering day is this coming Saturday – hurray.  No, I’m not a barbarian, just a pragmatist – these guys are food, people!  They are raised with a nice happy life out on the green, grassy fields, with bugs and air and sunshine – it’s a wonderful life.  They’re slaughtered in the most humane way possible and are at all times treated with respect, as the wonderful food nature has provided.

Get the BBQ sauce ready….

Pics to come this weekend….

 

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine with her pipe

Miss Peregrine with her pipe

This book has totally been on my mind lately.  The 3rd book in the trilogy, Library of Souls, has recently   been published and I ptumblr_nsktzeXuuf1rj3vn5o1_1280urchased it for our teen  collection at my library.  Yesterday we had Book  Character Day and I dressed as Miss Peregrine,  complete with a pipe that I made myself.  (Note: pipes  are very uncomfortable to carry around in your mouth    all day and may cause drooling which some people find   gross and others find hilarious.)  Anyway, Miss    Peregrine has been one of my favorites since it first   came out in 2011.  I discovered it when it was featured as a YALSA Teens Top Ten nominee and was immediately smitten.

The story is about a boy whose grandfather has told fantastical tales all his life about growing up in an amazing orphanage.  Jacob and the rest of the family believe these are just the ramblings of a senile old man, but then the grandpa is killed and Jacob sees the monster that did it.  He talks his dad into taking him to the island where the orphanage supposedly is, finds the time loop and all the peculiar children, and discovers that his grandfather was telling the truth all along.  The children are in danger since the monster, a hollowgast, is hunting them and has followed Jacob to them.  Miss Peregrine, who is an imbryne and can change into a falcon, is captured which means that the protective time loop can’t be reset and the hollowgast can get in.  She is rescued, but the book ends as the peculiar children and Jacob embark on a desperate quest to heal her powers (she’s stuck in her falcon form which renders her powerless).

The most fabulous feature of the book is the collection of old photos that are spread throughout.  These are real photos!  Mr. Riggs, the author, collected many of them himself and borrowed the rest from other collectors.  These photos are creepy and realistic and utterly fascinating!  Mr. Riggs created the story around these photos; isn’t that an amazing way to write a story?

If you want to read something super imaginative, creepy, and adventurous then YOU WANT TO READ THIS.  By the way, in case anyone is interested, the powers that be are making this into a movie which is scheduled to be released in December of next year.  I can’t wait to read book 3!

One of my favorite photos in the book

One of my favorite photos in the book

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Gaming and Muve in the Library – Why?

Gaming and Muve in the Library – Why?

Video games are the death knell of intelligence and are turning kids’ brains into pudding.

That’s the “prevailing wisdom”, right?

Maybe, but recently I’ve been seeing it in a slightly different light.  The kids and teens I work with daily have a very different way of perceiving what they’re doing when they sit down at the computer to play Minecraft or World of ‘whatever it is today’.  They feel like they’re building something or living in the story.  I recently had a conversation with a teen about Halo.  He explained that it the story that draws you in, not just the action and graphics.  His whole description sounded like a book review, not a game at all.  He told me the entire story line!  We actually got into the conversation in the first place because he was asking for books about the Halo story.  Another teen that I see at school, who has NEVER asked me for a book, asked me recently for a translation of a Russian book called Metro 2033, that is apparently the back story for an online immersive game that he plays.  And yes, I found this rather obscure book and obtained it for him to his great surprise and awe because I am a rockin’ librarian!  And guess what?  HE READ IT!  Wow!

I heard a piece on NPR a couple of weeks ago with a neurologist who was talking about the kinds of connections that take place in the brain when people have to interpret photo data as opposed to interpreting symbols in the form of letters (reading).  It turns out that science says both skills are essential and very human.  Each type of activity involves a complementary part of the brain and leads to stronger connections in both areas.  How interesting is that?  In addition, they have found that the active screen time devoted to video games is not the same as the passive screen time of TV watching and is not harmful, but is actually somewhat beneficial.

So, I am beginning to see the value in “stories” told in this more interactive format.

And stories are what libraries are all about.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Facebook vs. LinkedIn

 Students from the School of Informatics and Computing at IU and IUPUI had a great time at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing!

Students from the School of Informatics and Computing at IU and IUPUI had a great time at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing! Great example of the kind of informal connecting that occurs on Facebook.

Have you ever asked anyone if they “linked in” lately?  No?  Not surprising.  I’ve been a member of LinkedIn for a couple of years, but am not active.  It’s a very business-like site, which is appropriate since it’s for professionals and businesses.  The personal profile is like a super resume with places for your work experience, education, hobbies, interests, extra classes, skills, certifications, and more.  Then, like Facebook, you can look for people to connect with (which is like friending) and businesses to follow.  You’ll have feeds, somewhat like Twitter, based on interests that you check.  Potential jobs are also fed to your page, although I’ve found them to be a little off the mark.

One thing that I like about LinkedIn is the focus on learning and self-improvement.  Everything is focused on helping you move forward in a career so it doesn’t feel like you’re just wasting time.  There’s a large independent learning platform for brushing up on office/business skills and that’s a great help for anyone who needs additional training. This is a good place for finding trainings and webinars which allow learning on your own schedule, and updating skills which need a bit of polish.

There isn’t much for photo sharing, and the discussions have a friendly, but business-like tone.

One thing that’s very different from Facebook is that you have to be invited to join.  It’s also not as easy to find connections (friends) as it is on FB.  Once you do find people, LI sends an invite in a similar way to FB, but it sends it to the person’s email address, not just their LI account.

Facebook, on the other hand, is all about fun and socializing and being funny and/or entertaining.  There isn’t much on FB that is focused on learning or self-improvement.  It has a much more “right now/in the moment” kind of feel, as opposed to LinkedIn which feels more like building a portfolio over time.  Much of FB is about sharing photos of fun times, inviting people to events, and providing a communications link to groups or remote family members.

For librarians, LinkedIn is a good place to network with other professionals for career connections, but you wouldn’t want to let your hair down and you won’t be connecting with your patrons there.  Facebook provides a more informal environment to relate to patrons, post events and photos, and be a little more approachable. LinkedIn is a “maybe this is helpful” place to work on growing a career – Facebook is a “must have” place for libraries to remain reachable and relatable.

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Social Networks

I expect everyone who reads this blog is probably active on social networks and social media.  I’ve personally used Facebook, of course, as I have a personal page here and a work page here, but I haven’t used it extensively so my experience is rather minimal.  I have used my library page for posting events and reminders and a little bit for connecting with peers.  I use my personal page for sharing news with friends and family and for selling my chicken and syrup.

I’ve used Twitter for roughly a nanosecond for the library, but I get so busy learning tech for use with the library teens that I haven’t spent time on Twitter.  Besides, I never have anything interesting to say!  I guess that’s also why I lapsed on this blog for so long.

I LOVE Pinterest!  I use my Pinterest page for loads of library ideas: displays, crafts, programs, books, events.  I follow a number of authors, colleagues, and peers for sharing ideas and support.  This is a huge source of support for librarians!!

Please share your pages with me so we can connect and visit my pages…  I can’t wait to hear from you…

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

I just made a new Voki. See it here:

Voki 1http://www.voki.com/pickup.php?scid=11990218&height=400&width=300

Source: I just made a new Voki. See it here:

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

I’m back!

Sorry y’all, I kind of got busy and slacked off the blog for a while. Ok, a looong while. But, I’m back to have some online fun again.

Chicken butchering – doesn’t that sound fun? Well, it actually WAS. For us anyway, not so much for the chickens. Our friends, Lane, Marsha, Nancy, and Greg all came out and helped so it went smoothly and fast. The Schirmer Whizbang Plucker worked beautifully and the new poultry shrink bags are totally a hit. The whole procedure goes like this: Catch ’em, Chop ’em, Scald ’em, Pluck ’em, Cut ’em, Bag ’em. See? Easy!

The dogs were so gorged on parts they could hardly move – kind of nasty, but hey, they’re dogs. The rest of us got cleaned up and then enjoyed Lane’s Venison Barley Soup and my Venison and Beef Chili, with plenty of fixin’s and a lovely adult beverage.

What could be better than good friends, good food, and a good job well done?!

More photos will be posted later today. This one is a comparison of our Pastured Chicken and a Store Chicken. Guess which one is ours? Pastured Chicken summer 2015

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized