Little known (and therefore under-used) collections

The Haverhill High School Library Media Center (LMC) has a wonderful catalog of books, video tapes (yes, like those used in VCRs), DVDs and other materials that we would love to get into people’s hands. Today, I’d like to share with you a brief description of four collections we have available for students, faculty and staff.

Professional Development: We have a small, but interesting collection of books aimed specifically at people who like thinking, reading and learning about all things education. Perhaps you’d like to read a classic, like John Holt’s 1973 book, How Children Learn or Lev Vygotsky’s 1993 book, Thought and Language. Maybe you’re in the mood for something more current like Harold Foster’s 2008 book, America’s unseen kids: teaching English/language arts in today’s forgotten high schools or Terry Zawacki’s 2012 book, Writing Across the Curriculum : a critical sourcebook. Other titles deal with classroom management, critical thinking, standards & testing, second language acquisition, and other jargon only people in education ever say out loud.

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Graphic Novels: I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I was a child of the comic book and have continued being a fan of the story told in pictures. I still read the “funnies” in the newspaper (yes, the news printed on paper) and I’m a huge advocate of illustrated stories. Some of my first real books were those Illustrated Classics titles that you can find nowadays at Walmart and Costco for $1.99. I’m not sure I could have understood some of those stories (The Three Musketeers or Orwell’s The Time Machine, for example) without the pictures helping me figure out what was happening. We have one hundred illustrated books including Fahrenheit 451, The Metamorphosis, The Odyssey, Beowulf, and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Many of our graphic novels are adaptations of classic books or in some other way connected to education.

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Literary Criticism: Helping students find online resources for most academic research projects isn’t usually that difficult. There are plenty of free .gov sites, pretty reliable news sources, and Wikipedia (when used in a certain way described in an earlier post) for students to begin their research. One topic that is usually difficult to find online sources for is literary criticism because, let’s face it, who’s thinking about what the green light in Gatsby symbolizes except English geeks? Fortunately, the LMC has a decent collection of “Lit Crit” books, especially for classic works and writers of the traditional literary canon. Best of all, our collection stretches across many generations of writers and critical theory. Among the series that we have are Norton Critical Editions (1960s & 70s), Twentieth century views (1980s), The Greenhaven Press literary companion to American & British authors (1990s), Bloom’s notes (1990s), and Social Issues in Literature (2000s).

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College Ready & Test Prep: Long before the MCAS and PARCC tests showed up, there was the PSAT, the SAT, the ACTs, the ASVAB and a bunch of other tests, known mostly by their acronyms, to strike fear into our teenagers’ hearts. Of course, nowadays there are great online resources such as Khan Academy to help students review complex or confusing topics in any subject, but the books in this collection familiarize students with the test formats and give them practice with actual past exams. We also have titles that cover topics such as preparing a resume, writing a college entry essay, and making the most of your college years. This section is highly recommended for the college minded student who wants to take a serious look at the tests that stand between them and their scholarships. Nothing improves your luck like preparation.


So there you have it. Four valuable print based resources that we have in the LMC ready for our students, faculty and staff to use. As a BONUS, I’d like to mention that we also have a number of maps and posters in the LMC that we offer for teachers to use in their classrooms. Most of these are old National Geographic maps and/or illustrations, but they are also in good condition and laminated to protect them from further wear.


Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2015. All rights reserved.

First October Post, 2011

               October is finally here and this Columbus Day Weekend has been fabulous! With October come all the wonderful colors of autumn and, of course, the crisp chill of shortening New England days. I, for one, welcome the cooler air, though I do lament losing the wonderful sunshine to our more typical cloud cover around these parts. That is the thing in life, there always seems to be a trade off.

               There are many celebrations worth noting in October. October 2nd was the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi. International World Teachers’ Day is October 5th. October 9th is Leif Erikson Day and the second Monday is Columbus Day; each claiming European discovery of the Americas. October 12th is a new-found favorite of mine, Freethought Day which marks the end of the Salem Witch Trials. October 16th is World Food Day, sponsored by the United Nations which has its own celebration on October 24th (it was first organized in 1947, in case you forgot). Then, of course there’s All Hallows Eve or Halloween as we know it on the last day of October. Dress up and collect candy, not a bad interpretation of what started out as a pretty scary festival.

               This Columbus Day weekend, I recommend you read one of my favorite essays, Barry Lopez’s “The Rediscovery North America”. It seems to me, to be pertinent to the present state of affairs, considering the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that have crept up over the past several weeks. How we measure wealth, status, well-being, abundance, and our relationship to the earth itself are all considered by Lopez.

               On a different matter, we’ve started getting some of our orders. Many thanks to The Library Video Company who delivered our order in about a week’s time. Among the twenty six new DVDs we’ve added, a handful of titles that look really interesting to me are:

  • College, Inc.: This hour long program takes a look at the current state of higher education in the United States. Produced in 2010, the program focuses on the for-profit and online sector’s rise and influence.
  • Growing Up Online: Google just turned 13 years old. That means that every freshman we meet thinks it’s always been around. My own eleven year old son has ventured into virtual vistas I’ve never visited (that’s alliteration, folks). Another Frontline program, but I stand by my curiosity.
  • America, The Story of Us: This 3 disc offering from the History Channel will hopefully not include any conspiracy theories or UFOs in the telling of how we came to be who we are. It seems to me that the more we learn about all the people who populated the past, the less certain we sometimes become about who we really are. This is the History Channel’s nine hour attempt to talk about the man in the mirror. (Good luck, ese).
  • Killer at Large: It seems like every year the news gets worse about our weight. Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” was just the first of many documentaries and reports that have chronicled our nation’s ever growing waistline.
  • Human Footprint: Anyone who has ever been responsible for taking out the garbage or handling the recycling of the house has stopped and wondered, “how much stuff do we throw out in a lifetime?” It’s staggering when you stop to think about how much material goods you need to get by in an average day. This film is from National Geographic and was released in 2008; it also has online resources intended for classroom discussions. 

               I want to thank Ms. Hart and Ms. Donnelly for bringing their freshman classes for the LMC orientations. From their behavior, questions and overall general demeanor, I can tell that we have an excellent group of students for the class of 2015. I expect to hear great things from them in the coming months and years.

 Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you find something useful.

 Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.