Friday, February 29, 2008

"Up Maryscope" at the Longhouse Serendipity

Here's a look at "our Mary" working the Longhouse as ambassador for school libraries: can you name the well-known -- even venerable -- local personalities she's telling about school libraries and their important relationship to literacy?

Mary meets Lt-Gov Steven Point ...

... and then can be found chatting up Bob Heidbreder and Jo-Anne N.

Here she is with Marisa and 2003 Gov-Gen
award-winning author Glen Huser (Stitches).
NOTE: Glen is also a TL who worked as
the Edmonton School District TL Consultant.


Here are some more skill-testing questions, the answers having been shared with those of us who attended Serendipity this year:

Author Nicola Campbell (Shi-shi-etko), named for the Nicola Valley, has an auntie who is a well-known writer. Do you know who that writer is? (Maria Campbell, author of Half-breed)

Do you know where author Earl Einarson (The Moccasins) grew up and where he works? What part of BC is the ancestral home of Earl Einarson (born Earl Stanley)? (Earl is from the East Kootenays but grew up in a large foster family in East Vancouver and currently teaches at BCIT).

Who said, "Writing for me began as reading ... the deep seeds of humanity were planted ... it allowed me to fly"? (Earl Einarson)

Who said, "You should save your best writing for children"? (Leo Yerxa, author/illustrator)

Who said, "Our people don't come unscathed to the pen"? (Lt Gov Steven Point)

Do you know what the language of the Metis is called? Who is writing and illustrating the alphabet book for this language? (Michif. Julie Flett is writing and illustrating the Michif Alphabet Book; she recently illustrated Zoe and the Fawn. The Michif language is still spoken in the midwestern US and some scattered Canadian locations. Michif, according to the website Native Languages of the Americas, is "a unique French-Cree creole using French nouns, Cree verbs, and some local vocabulary borrowed from Indian languages like Ojibway or Dene.")

Do you know to what nation Richard Van Camp belongs and what book he has recently released? If you know the book, do you know which child is the Dogrib baby? (Van Camp is a member of the Dene Dogrib Nation of the Northwest Territories.)

Do you know how Leo Yerxa put the magic into the illustrations for Ancient Thunder? (The Canada Council for the ARts 2006 Jury's comments: "Through a unique creative process, and with poetic honesty, Leo Yerxa’s emotionally powerful images transport us, with the echo of ancient hoof-beats, over the Great Plains. Using the motif of traditional dress and a rich palette, Yerxa creates compositions that illustrate the mystical connection between horse and humanity." Yerxa, an Ojibway from Ontario, spent years creating leather-like paper to create the realistic fringes on the shirts that depict the plains horses.)

The answers to all these questions unfolded for us last Saturday, and (aside from occasional squirrel discomfort), most of us sat spellbound for all of it.

So what do I mean by "squirrel discomfort"? Ab Ed Administrator Deb and I, along with a number of our district colleagues, attended Serendipity last Saturday, to listen in awe to the welcome by Dr Richard Vedan, to the words of Lieutenant Governor Steven Point, and to a number of First Nations and Metis writers and illustrators.

It was during the talk by Writer/Illustrator Leo Yerxa that I became aware that a squirrel had entered the Longhouse and that it seemed to be drawn to his words, despite efforts by some to shoo it out. Not one who always appreciates opportunities to commune with the natural world, being somewhat unaccustomed to creatures other than my retired dog Molly and the coyote we avoid in our nightly walks, I muttered uncomfortably to Deb -- she recalls it as quite possibly something about the furry rat! Thank goodness Deb was there to point out the remarkably spiritual event of the attendant creature ... I, being less attuned and perhaps too pallid, would most certainly have missed that point!

One more question -- What is a googlemoment? (I am going to share that answer: It is some inquiry so profound you need to run to the computer to find out everything you can about the subject!)


  • If you undertook last week's visual and geographic literacy challenge and studied the photographs of the new Ike Barber Learning Centre at UBC a little less than a week before the official opening, you would have seen the card catalogue area of the Old/Main Library in the finishing stages of restoration. You would have seen the clock tower from inside the SLAIS reading room in the new Learning Centre, as well as the Koerner Library from the same vantage point. New structures included the lecture hall and a view of the industrial-design main staircase in the new central foyer. If you had attended the opening, Chris Ball of UBC Libraries told us at our SLRCCC meeting this week, you might have mistaken the friendly fellow at the main desk for a librarian ... but it was, in fact, Ike Barber himself thoroughly enjoying the opening-day awe of the many visitors to this fabulous new facility.
  • Two comments appeared on last week's blog in response to the social bookmarking article. Yahoo! Lana and Val H were ready to talk about this tool. Lana used a new gmail account to post her comment after several unsuccessful attempts. If Lana persisted and grappled with problems in being able to comment, know that she is very tech-savvy. I had sent her a gmail invitation as gmail is a great tool but it does appear to be the easiest way to respond to blogger. Go back in the archives to last week's three blogs and check the comments.
  • The weeding article I offer in the blog below is by Doug Johnson. Some of you may have noticed that Doug commented on this blog on February 3 (see blog for Feb 1). Doug is the Director of Media and Library Services in Mankato, Minnesota, and is a prolific writer, blogger, and presenter on the subject of school libraries and technology integration with teaching and learning. Blue Skunk is his blog (see sidebar).

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