Monday, March 31, 2008

Knowledge Quest Web Edition

January/February 2008

Visual Literacy

"Images are more evocative than words, more precise and potent in triggering a wide range of associations and thereby enhancing creative thinking & memory."- Tony Buzan

The Government of Canada Supports British Columbia Book Publishers

Canadian Heritage: 2008 March 31

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 31, 2008) - The Canadian book publishing industry received support from the Government of Canada, which will help ensure access to Canadian-authored books that reflect our country's cultural diversity.

The Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, today announced support for the British Columbia book industry in the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

This funding of more than $2.4 million will allow the provincial book publishers' association and 26 publishers to intensify their promotional activities in support of Canadian-authored books.

"The Government of Canada is proud to support British Columbia's publishers, who continue to offer high-quality books to readers everywhere," said Minister Verner. "These publishers contribute to the vitality of our culture and economy by showcasing the talent of our authors and illustrators."

"The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia and its members appreciate the continued support of the Canadian government through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program," said Rolf Maurer, President of the Association of Book Publishers of BC. "The publishing of books in all genres that reflect the wide variety of values and cultures of Canadians is crucial to our way of life and our democracy. This support helps us do this important work."

The Government of Canada has provided this funding under the Aid to Publishers and Collective Initiatives components of the Book Publishing Industry Development Program. This program of the Department of Canadian Heritage seeks to increase the capacity of the Canadian-owned and controlled sector of the industry to publish and market Canadian books, domestically as well as internationally.

(This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques Announces 2008 Book of the Year Award for Children Shortlist

CLA: 2008 March 11

The Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians, Section of the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, a Division of the CLA/ACB is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2008 Book of the Year Award for Children.

This award recognizes a Canadian author of an outstanding book published in Canada in 2007, which appeals to children up to and including age 12.

The winner of the award, and the Honour Books, will be announced prior to the CLA/ACB National Conference & Tradeshow held in Vancouver from May 21 -24. The award will be presented at the conference on May 22.

The finalists for the 2008 CLA Book of the Year Award for Children, in alphabetical order by author, are:

Becca at Sea by Deidre Baker (Groundwood Books)
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic Canada)
Jakeman by Deborah Ellis (Fitzhenry and Whiteside)
Baboon by David Jones (Annick Press)
Schooled by Gordon Korman (Scholastic Canada)
Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel (HarperCollins Canada)
Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock (Tundra Books)
A Perfect Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson (Penguin)
Porcupine by Meg Tilly (Tundra Books)
Rex Zero King of Nothing by Tim Wynne-Jones (Groundwood Books)

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the 2007-2008 CLA Book of the Year Award for Children Committee:

Jasmine Loewen, Canmore Public Library, Chair
Helen Kubiw, Aberfoyle Public School, Guelph
Maureen Plomske, Kitchener Public Library
Alexandra Yarrow, Ottawa Public Library

Thursday, March 13, 2008

[Librarians]=Higher Test Scores

By Staff -- School Library Journal, 3/1/2008

Here’s some more evidence that school librarians are essential to student learning: researchers at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool) have found that students who attend New York schools with certified media specialists have higher scores on their fourth- grade English Language Arts (ELA) test....

Gather No Dust

When school students flunk reading, what do you do? Cut funding for the library of course!

I am not sure what to make of this. In the last post I mentioned bad news in libraryland due to the recession. Arizona in particular will be hard hit because the economy relied so heavily on construction and the housing market. Arizona is notorious for underfunding education and the students having poor reading skills. In fact, Arizona ranks last in education (read the full report here

Read more at:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ChaCha: A Human-Powered Search Engine

ChaCha is a search engine which brings a fundamentally different kind of intelligence to the problem - human brain power.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Facebook Groups

Groups to join on Facebook.


BC Coalition for School Libraries

Librarians and Facebook

Libraries and Librarians

Librarians and Web 2.0

Library 2.0 Interest Group

Fair Copyright for Canada

If you are nervous about joining Facebook, click the Privacy button in the top right hand corner and control who can see your page. Only my friends can get into mine.

Val Hamilton

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The 100-Mile Diet rakes in nominations for writing

Vancouver Sun: 2008 March 6

The book The 100-Mile Diet, by J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, is a finalist for two B.C. Book Prizes this year. So is Ian McAllister’s The Last Wild Wolves, and so is Chris Harris’s Spirit in the Grass, about B.C.’s Cariboo-Chilcotin region.

The 100-Mile Diet, subtitled A Year of Local Eating, is nominated for the Hubert Evans NonFiction Prize and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.

The Last Wild Wolves, subtitled Ghosts of the Great Bear Rainforest and illustrated with the author’s wolf photos, is up for the the regional prize and the B.C. Booksellers’ Choice Award.

Also a finalist for those two prizes is Spirit in the Grass, subtitled The Cariboo-Chilcotin’s Forgotten Landscape.

There are seven B.C. Book Prizes in all with the prominent one being the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Winners each receive $2,000 and will be announced April 26.

It looks as if judges will have a particularly hard time picking the winner of the Booksellers’ Choice Award, which is shared between an author and a publisher. In contention are five fine entries — not only McAllister’s wolves book (published by Greystone Books, an imprint of Douglas & McIntyre) and Harris’s Cariboo-Chilcotin book (Country Light Publishing), but also Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone (D&M); Mike McCardell’s The Blue Flames That Keep Us Warm (Harbour Publishing) and Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs, by Grant Arnold, Michael Turner and the Vancouver Art Gallery (D&M).

These are the finalists in the other six categories:

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
David Chariandy, Soucouyant
Heather Burt, Adam’s Peak
Shaena Lambert, Radiance
Claire Mulligan, The Reckoning of Boston Jim
Mary Novik, Conceit

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
Theresa Kishkan, Limb
Robert Bringhurst, Everywhere Being Is Dancing
Patricia Roy, The Triumph of Citizenship: The Japanese and Chinese in Canada, 1941-67
J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, The 100-Mile Diet
Don Gayton, Interwoven Wild: An Ecologist Loose in the Garden

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
George McWhirter, The Incorrection
Christopher Patton, Ox A
rleen Paré, Paper Trail
Gillian Wigmore, Soft Geography
Rita Wong, Forage

Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize
Tim Bowling, The Lost Coast: Salmon, Memory and the Death of Wild Culture
Chris Harris, Spirit in the Grass
Barry Gough, Fortune’s a River: The Collision of Empires in the Pacific Northwest
J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, The 100-Mile Diet
Ian McAllister, The Last Wild Wolves

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
Gayle Friesen, For Now
Polly Horvath, The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane
David Jones, Baboon
Meg Tilly, Porcupine
John Wilson, The Alchemist’s Dream

Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize
Lisa Cinar (author/illustrator), The Day it All Blew Away
Nan Gregory (author), Luc Melanson (illustrator), Pink
Robert Heidbreder (author), Kady MacDonald Denton (illustrator), A Sea-Wishing Day
Ron Smith (author), Ruth Campbell (illustrator), Elf the Eagle
Kari-Lynn Winters (author), Ben Hodson (illustrator), Jeffrey and Sloth

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Vancouver library draws fire for controversial speaker

Canadian Jewish News
By LAUREN KRAMER, Pacific Correspondent
Thursday, 06 March 2008

VANCOUVER — When the Vancouver Public Library agreed to host controversial author Greg Felton as a speaker during national Freedom to Read week last month, city librarian Paul Whitney says he had no idea the decision would generate such opposition and outrage.

Felton, a Vancouver-based journalist and teacher whose writings on Israel have been criticized as anti-Semitic, is the author of The Host and the Parasite: How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, published last May by Dandelion Books in Phoenix, Ariz.

His Feb. 25 talk drew some 90 people, many of whom were very engaged and vocal during his presentation.

“There’s been a fair amount of correspondence, mostly but not exclusively from the Jewish community,” Whitney told The CJN. “I have found this whole issue very distressing, because I found myself in arguments with people for whom I have great respect.”

Canadian Jewish Congress, Pacific region (CJC), had urged community members to call the library and contact Whitney to express their disappointment at Felton’s appearance.

The thesis of Felton’s book is that a Zionist “junta” operated on Sept. 11, 2001, and that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis to exterminate the Jews.

The 50-year-old writer said he became interested in Israeli-Palestinian politics after the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

“I made the observation then that Israel can choose to be a Jewish state or a democracy, but it can’t be both,” he told The CJN in a phone interview on the day of his talk. “I feel that much of what we know about Israel and Palestine is blatantly false.

“For example, I researched Israel’s creation and found out that it was not created legally. A number of things brought me to realize that a massive war crime was perpetrated against the Palestinians by the Jewish immigrants after World War II, and I became quite upset by this. I got a lot of hate mail for stating what I thought was simply an obvious truth. But I felt it was my job to write about it.”

Felton twice approached the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) about an opportunity to speak about his book.

“The first time, last June, the librarian [he spoke to] said she was not interested.

When he returned in the fall, she looked at his book again and thought she could fit it under the auspices of Freedom to Read week,” said Jean Kavanagh, marketing and communications manager for the VPL.

The library’s decision to give Felton a platform outraged many members of Vancouver’s Jewish community and the community at large.

“What do you call it when the Vancouver Public Library decides to present Felton, an apologist for the book-banning, journalist-jailing Iranian theocracy, as the featured author on the evening of Feb. 25, and as the library’s contribution to national Freedom to Read Week?” Terry Glavin wrote Feb. 12 in the Vancouver Sun.

“In Felton’s words, Hamas is not an Islamist death cult animated by that classic anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It’s the equivalent of the French resistance during the Second World War, the ‘passionate defender of Palestinians,’” Glavin wrote.

“There are no suicide bombings in Felton’s lexicon. There are only ‘sacrifice bombings. Israel itself is a creation of the Nazis. It’s the Zionist Reich.’”

CJC worked with the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and the Canada-Israel Committee to develop a response to Felton that it characterized in a letter to the Jewish community as “quiet but effective advocacy.”

In a meeting with the VPL, Congress requested that the library condemn Felton’s book and admit that it made an error in inviting him to speak. The library declined to cancel the event.

“We felt it would be a lose-lose situation to cancel the talk,” Whitney said. “We believe very strongly in the principle of freedom of expression, and because Freedom to Read is so fundamental to the library, we felt we needed to adhere to this principle, distasteful as we do find some of Felton’s arguments.”

“I feel the best anecdote to hate literature is exposure, getting stuff out,” Whitney continued, adding that the library ordered two copies of Felton’s book.
Though some members of the community called for a public protest at his talk, Congress opted against this strategy.

“Public protest will only provide him with more legitimacy and a larger platform from which to spread his message,” CJC wrote in its letter to the community.

“There is no advantage to engaging Mr. Felton in a debate, as there is no debating what he has to say. To do so would only legitimize his views and opinions.”

Monday, March 3, 2008


Ministry of Education: 2008 March 3

VANCOUVER – Education Minister Shirley Bond opened the third annual Interactive Innovations education conference, which began today with an interactive webcast to locations around B.C. and the Yukon Territory.

“We are using connective webcast technology both today at Interactive Innovations and at the pan-Canadian Literacy Forum in April,” said Bond. “By linking educators, parents and students from across B.C. and the Yukon – at sites in Vernon, Nelson, Prince George, Victoria, Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Whitehorse – B.C. is leading the way in collaborative education development.”

Each of the five major B.C. locations will focus on a different educational theme and will webcast a keynote speaker to the other sites. This year’s themes are:

  • Equitable Futures: Engaging all Learners;
  • Literacy: Reaching Across Curriculum and Community;
  • Student Success in the Middle and Secondary Years: What is Really Important?;
  • The First 10 Years: Windows of Opportunity; and
  • Leadership: Building Capacity.

Among the internationally known keynote speakers are Ruth Sutton, a specialist in assessment for learning and improvement, and Andy Hargreaves, a researcher in secondary-school success.

Interactive Innovations is another way the Province is using technology to transform B.C.’s education system to improve student achievement. The Province has provided support for the interactive conference through a partnership with the British Columbia Education Leadership Council and the British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. Grants for $370,000 provide funding to help run the conference, provide participants and others with follow-up learning opportunities and assist parent and student attendance at the conference. An archive of the webcast sessions and materials allows participants and others to access these expert resources throughout the year.

“With the support of the B.C. government and the hard work of people like conference organizer
Audrey Hobbs-Johnson, Interactive Innovations has become a conference that celebrates the last year of learning, and kick-starts the next,” said BC Education Leadership Council CEO Cathy Elliott. “Web technology and our learning extension packages have allowed us to extend the educational value of these three days into any community in the province, all year.”

A special students’ program is also being webcast from Vancouver today. This is an opportunity for student leaders at sites around the province to learn about Olympic and Paralympic community initiatives and discuss the challenge of creating effective change in communities. Michael Furdyk, the co-founder and director of Technology for, will be the keynote speaker for the student program. is an online community for young people that engages thousands of youth in more than 200 communities and territories.

“Interactive Innovations is a great example of how technology can connect the province and allow us all to improve education in B.C.,” said Kim Howland, president of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “By including parents and students at each of the venues, the conversations and possible solutions will be that much richer and creative.”

B.C. is proclaiming March as Education Month and this conference is just one of the many creative ways that the Province is celebrating its worldwide leadership in education and learning. The Interactive Innovations conference continues Tuesday; more information can be found at

The Province is working to make B.C. the best educated, most literate jurisdiction in North America. Since 2000-01, the Province has increased annual education funding by more than $1 billion while enrolment has declined by almost 50,000 students.

Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at

BC History & BC150

I have created a new diigo Group (thanks Moira for taking another chunk of hours away from my library book!). I have bookmarked BC history and BC150 sites.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Free Animated Download of Horton Hears a Who!

SLJ: 2008 February 29

An animated digital version of Horton Hears a Who! is available for free to teachers throughout March, thanks to the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America celebration of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (Dr. Seuss) 104th birthday.

The download, now available on Kidthing, brings the classic book to life with animation, narration, and sound effects. Librarians, teachers, and care givers can turn the sound off and read the book aloud—just like their parents did.

Free Animated Download of Horton Hears a Who!

SLJ: 2008 February 29

An animated digital version of Horton Hears a Who! is available for free to teachers throughout March, thanks to the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America celebration of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (Dr. Seuss) 104th birthday.

The download, now available on Kidthing, brings the classic book to life with animation, narration, and sound effects. Librarians, teachers, and care givers can turn the sound off and read the book aloud—just like their parents did.