Friday, September 28, 2007

The LIVEbrary on Facebook!

The LIVEbrary has it's own Facebook group:

Find links to the LIVEbrary authors' websites, a video interview with media literacy guru Shari Graydon, and pictures of authors and their books.

Join now to post on the wall or to start a discussion about Media Awareness!

Introducing Claire Carmichael

Claire will be joining us in Week #5 of Season 1:
November 12-16
BE THE AD: The Future of Advertising is YOU!

As a child growing up in Sydney, Australia, Claire Carmichael enjoyed playing every kind of sport and reading. Among the many books she loved, her favorites included Anne of Green Gables and all of L.M Montgomery’s books.

Her writing career started very early on when as a young child, she would delight in telling other kids gruesome ghost stories, which she later wrote down. Since then, she has written numerous books for every age group from picture books to young adult fiction, plays, textbooks as well as two self-help books on popular psychology.

Claire is still an avid sportswoman, but now adds science to her list of interests. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a Senior Instructor at the UCLA Extension/Writers Program. Teaching advanced novel workshops is something she particularly enjoys, especially when her students get published

Her advice to aspiring authors is to read as much as you can and then write about what you love most to read.

You can find her online at

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Announcing Our Series Librarian: Gary Price!

I am really excited to be able to introduce the Series Librarian for The Annick LIVEbrary program: Gary Price!

Gary is Director of Online Resources for the search engine, That means Gary is that rare breed of uberlibrarian who assists other librarians all over the world with finding things on the Internet. He is the librarian's librarian -- reaching out to librarians to find out how he can make their lives easier -- well, at least make their Internet searches easier.

Gary is perhaps best known as the founder and co-editor -- with Shirl Kennedy -- of ResourceShelf, an amazing online news source for researchers, librarians, journalists and educators. Be sure to check out the section on Information Literacy, which has a lot to do with the Media Awareness program we are offering in the LIVEbrary this season.

You can read a terrific interview with Gary Price conducted by Andrew Richard Albanese for Library Journal (3/20/2006). You'll also find Gary quoted as the know-it-all in this CNET article by Candace Lombardi about how we're missing a lot of what's available online (July 23, 2007).

Gary was awarded the 2004/2005 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne State Library and Information Science Program. In 2004, he was the co-recipient of the Agnes Henbry Award from the News Division of the Special Libraries Association and in the summer of 2002 he received the Innovations in Technology Award, also from the Special Libraries Association. From 1995 - 2001, Gary worked as a Reference Librarian at George Washington University.

As our Series Librarian, Gary will be reviewing our instructions, lesson plans, and other LIVEbrary materials and assisting with our live chats. Do you have questions for Gary Price? You can add them as comments in this thread -- or visit with Gary before and during our LIVEbrary chats.

Gary Price, welcome to The LIVEbrary and thank you for helping us with our program!

Introducing Hal Niedzviecki

Hal joins the LIVEbrary for Week #3 of Season #1:
October 29-November 2
DIY ZINES: Your Own Pop Culture Machine

Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, culture commentator, and editor whose work challenges preconceptions and confronts readers with the “offenses of everyday life.” He is the author of six books, including the novel, The Program, and the non-fiction book Hello, I'm Special: How Individuality Became the New Conformity. He is the current fiction editor and publisher of Broken Pencil, the magazine of zine culture and the independent arts ( He founded the magazine and edited it from 1995 to 2002.

Hal's writing has appeared in newspapers, periodicals, and journals across North America, including Utne Reader, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Toronto Life, Walrus, Geist, Saturday Night, and This Magazine. He was the recipient of the Alexander Ross Award for Best New Magazine Writer at the 1999 National Magazine Awards and has presented his work at gatherings across North America, including the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.

Once dubbed the "guru of independent/alternative action" by the Toronto Star, Niedzviecki is committed to exploring the human condition through provocative fiction and non-fiction that "charts the media-saturated terrain of ever-shifting multiple identities at the heart of our fragmenting age."

He lives with his wife and daughter in Toronto and is currently writing a novel.

Visit Hal at his online home at

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Introducing Shari Graydon

Shari Graydon will be joining us for Weeks 2 and 4 of Season 1:
Week #2, October 22-26: IN YOUR FACE: What is Beautiful?
Week #4, November 5-9: MADE YOU LOOK: Tricks and Tactics of the Ad Trade

As a child, Shari Graydon wasn't allowed to watch TV on weeknights. Nor did her parents ever buy her brand name clothing. Despite these debilitating setbacks, she made the cheerleading squad, was elected to student council and had friends.

After earning a degree in Theatre, Shari worked for the world's largest public relations agency. Her job was to flog stories about fast food chains and drug companies. All she can say now is that she's sorry, and she's been trying to make up for this lamentable lapse in judgment ever since.

Shari has had experience on both sides of the microphone and camera. She produced a TV series, wrote and performed regular commentary on media issues for CBC Radio and TV, and served as the national spokesperson for MediaWatch. She also wrote a weekly column for The Vancouver Sun.

In 2000, she took a break from teaching at Simon Fraser University to serve as press secretary for the premier of British Columbia. The experience inspired her first play, Revenge of the Pressed Secretary.

The popularity of Shari's first book, Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know (2003), has given her the opportunity to speak to many students about the tricks advertisers use to spirit money out of our wallets.

Her second book, In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You (2004), explores all the extraordinary things we do to our bodies in pursuit of looking good. It also sets out to prove that you don't have to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie in order to get a date, get a job or get a life.

In Your Face has won multiple awards, including the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction.

Shari has just finished writing a new play called Normal about breast implants.

She's currently working on a third book for teens about violence--in the media and in real life.

Born in Montreal, she grew up in Vancouver, but now splits her time between Kingston and Toronto.

To find out more about Shari, visit her online home at

Monday, September 24, 2007

Introducing Mark Shulman

Mark Shulman will join us for the first week of the Annick LIVEbrary, October 15-19:
DIY VIDEO: Solo and Team Work

Growing up as the youngest of five children in Rochester, New York, Mark Shulman claims he was left on his own a lot. He entertained himself by reading, making comic books, and experimenting with his father’s movie camera. At age 12, he was given his own typewriter and began writing stories. Around the same time, he discovered Sherlock Holmes, Mark Twain, Dashiell Hammett, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. For Mark, getting into the minds of long-dead writers was a kind of fascinating time travel. His later influences include humorists such as James Thurber and E.B. White, novelists Ernest Hemingway and Philip Roth, “and, of course,” he adds, “Dr. Seuss.”

An advertising agency job during college was Mark’s first professional writing experience. He has also worked as a radio news broadcaster, a comedy writer, a restaurant maĆ®tre d’, and a tour guide in New York City. In addition to Attack of the Killer Video Book for Annick Press, he has written books for Simon & Schuster, Scholastic and Random House. He also owns a small children’s book company.

In addition to being his main interest and occupation, writing also led Mark to the love of his life, his wife, Kara. Introduced via e-mail by a mutual friend while he was living in San Francisco and she lived in Buffalo, they fell in love before they even met. Today, they live in New York City with their daughter, Hannah.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Annick LIVEbrary Chat Dates & Times Set

We are pleased to announce the day of week and time of day for the Live Chat portion of the Annick LIVEbrary program.

Live chats will be held every Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. That's 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon for those in the Pacific Time zone. Each week, you'll be able to chat with our author and the series librarian in a moderated chat room.

Here is the exact schedule of authors and the dates and times for their chats:
  • MARK SHULMAN, Thursday, October 18, 2:00-3:00 pm ET
  • SHARI GRAYDON: Thursday, October 25, 2:00-3:00 pm ET
  • HAL NIEDZVIECKI, Thursday, November 1, 2:00-3:00 pm ET
  • SHARI GRAYDON: Thursday, November 8, 2:00-3:00 pm ET
  • CLAIRE CARMICHAEL: Thursday, November 15, 2:00-3:00 pm ET
Remember, you do not have to participate in the Live Chats to be part of the LIVEbrary experience. We can take questions from students, parents, teachers and librarians via email and we'll also provide a place to post them on this blog.

In order to particpate in the Live Chats, you must pre-register. Please fill out the registration form at our web site and you will be enrolled in the program. Once enrolled, you'll receive instructions on how to make the most of the LIVEbrary program and how to connect to the chats. We are limited in how many connections we can provide to the chats, so register today to insure your students can participate.

Producer, Annick LIVEbrary

Friday, September 14, 2007

American Libraries Struggle to Add Technology

A survey released Wednesday by the American Library Association (ALA) showed the number of Internet terminals in libraries statistically unchanged since 2002.

Despite vastly increased demand for Internet access from school children, employment seekers, and library patrons, libraries remain stuck in a holding pattern on Internet connectivity.

Librarians cite the major reasons for not adding terminals as lack of space, difficulty of configuring wiring in older buildings, and a lack of dedicated funds. Many libraries face restrictions on the use of funds that pre-date the Internet era.

Here at the Annick LIVEbrary, we are aware that many of our patrons lack technology advanced enough to participate in our live chats. We have provided a variety of other methods for participating in the LIVEbrary program, including submitting questions through the LIVEbrary Blog and submitting questions through our Email Exchange.

Some of the questions we get from the blog and email will be used in the live chats. The anwsers will be distributed with the chat transcript. Those classrooms that participate via blog or email will still have a rewarding learning experience at the LIVEbrary.

Next week we will post more detailed instructions on how to access the live chats and how to use the LIVEbrary Blog and Email Exchange features of our program. Have a great weekend and support your local library!

Producer, The LIVEbrary

Photo Credit: "Eyes on the Print" by Tracy Conti. First Place winner, Youth division in the American Library Association's "Beyond Words" photo contest. Used with permission.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Annick Press Announces The LIVEbrary

We issued our first news release about the Annick LIVEbrary yesterday. Here's the full text:

Annick Press Teams with Skype for
New Online Program for Kids

~ The LIVEbrary Debuts October 15 ~

(Toronto -- Sept. 12, 2007) -- Annick Press, an internationally recognized publisher with a 30-year history of developing innovative books for youth, is teaming up with Skype Technologies to present an ambitious online program for Middle and Junior High School kids. Called "The LIVEbrary," the 2-year program is funded in part by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

The LIVEbrary is an innovative program that brings together well-known authors, experts, students, and teachers as they discuss curriulum-related books in a secure online environment. Designed not only to provide young teens with relevant educational content, the LIVEbrary is also an excellent platform from which to train students in the responsible use of new technology. The first season begins on October 15 with a 5-week program on Media Awareness, featuring media literacy pioneer Shari Graydon .

The LIVEbrary is free, but teachers and librarians must register their classrooms in advance to participate in the live chats. Parents and homeschoolers are also welcome. To register or get more information, send email to .

The LIVEbrary makes exciting content available to schools and libraries in well-designed units that offer unprecedented interaction with authors and experts. Each week a lesson plan based on an issue or theme of immediate interest to students and educators is distributed to participants. The plan contains a reading, an assignment, a quiz, and discussion questions. Students can participate using a variety of technologies, including blogging, email, and Skype chat. For one hour each week, a noted author/expert will serve as instructor and meet with students for a live one-hour chat using the popular Skype software. Annick Press is providing tech support for schools and libraries to ensure smooth connections.

Annick Press has long been an innovator in quality children's literature. Founded in 1975, Annick Press has built its international stature through its commitment to provide children with a reading experience that is both stimulating and exciting. "We are committed to books that help encourage dialogue, offer support and encouragement, develop critical thinking skills and, hopefully, address the barrage of pressures that confront today's kids," says Director Rick Wilks. For more information, see .

The LIVEbrary is being produced by Patron Saint Productions, a PR firm in New Orleans, Louisiana, that specializes in creating online programming for books and authors. Steve O'Keefe, the company's executive director, has created similar programs for Read Across America Day in conjunction with Random House Children's Media Group, and has been using online classrooms to bring students and authors together since 1995.

"Our goal is to teach young people how to use collaborative technology while giving their teachers a well-structured program they can rely on," O'Keefe said of The LIVEbrary. "It's not easy to produce quality online programs capable of reaching into middle schools and junior high schools. We refine our methods based on teacher feedback to deliver the best educational programming available online."

The complete schedule of topics and authors for The LIVEbrary's first season on Media Awareness is below. For more information, please contact Steve O'Keefe, Producer of the LIVEbrary, phone 504-342-4806, email

# # #

Coming Fall 2007
A New Online Educational Program for
Middle and Junior High School Teachers,
Librarians, and Media Specialists,
Public Librarians, Parents, and Homeschoolers
their Families, Friends, and Support Groups

The LIVEbrary
from Annick Press

a free, weekly program
offering supervised, online collaboration
between students, teachers, librarians, and authors

The LIVEbrary #1
"MEDIA AWARENESS: SEE the Media - BE the Media"
A Five Week Program beginning October 15, 2007

Week #1, October 15-19
DIY VIDEO: Solo and Team Work
taught by Mark Shulman, author of
"Attack of the Killer Video Book:
Tips and Tricks for Young Directors"

Week #2, October 22-26
IN YOUR FACE: What is Beautiful?
taught by Shari Graydon, media literacy activist,
author of "In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You"

Week #3, October 29-November 2
DIY ZINES: Your Own Pop Culture Machine
taught by Hal Niedzviecki, editor of "Broken Pencil,"
author of "The Big Book of Pop Culture:
A How-To Guide for Young Artists"

Week #4, November 5-9
MADE YOU LOOK: Tricks and Tactics of the Ad Trade
taught by Shari Graydon, media literacy activist,
author of "Made You Look:
How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know"

Week #5, November 12-16
BE THE AD: The Future of Advertising is YOU!
taught by Claire Carmichael, author of the novel,
"Leaving Simplicity," a near-future look at a school
where the advertising has gone berserk.

Click on this link and use this form to
reserve a place in the LIVEbrary program
and receive instructions on how to participate.
For more information,
send email to

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Skype to Provide Technology for LIVEbrary!

Take a deep breath... We are pleased to announce that Skype Technologies, makers of the fabulously successful online communications software, Skype, has agreed to assist Annick Press with the upcoming LIVEbrary program on Media Awareness.

Skype will provide the interface for the live chat portion of the program. We will be using Skype's Chat module for Q&A sessions with our team of authors and experts.

If you aren't using Skype already, you are really missing something. Skype members can call other Skype members anywhere in the world for free and have realtime conversations over a computer that are similar in quality to a cell phone call. Save your minutes and use Skype!

In addition to voice communications, Skype offers video chat, text chat, file transfer, easy sharing of URLs, conference calling, and conference chatting. Skype is free to download and easy to install.

Teachers and Librarians: If you want your classrooms to participate in the LIVEbrary chats, you need to install the Skype software and register in advance. Some organizations may have policies against installing Skype software. Please contact your media specialist if you have questions about your school or library policy. For those who cannot participate through Skype, we offer email and blog alternatives for sending questions and getting answers from our team of authors and experts.

Help Is Available! We have web tutorials and real people available to assist with Skype installations. We'll be adding practice times, too, so you can play with Skype in advance of the chats.

Skype was founded in 2003 and sold to eBay in 2005. As of August this year, Skype has over 200 million users worldwide. The Skype software contains no adware, spyware, or malware -- they pride themselves on a clean, non-commercial interface. The planning team behind the LIVEbrary has been using Skype for our weekly meetings and we love it. You will too.

Let us know if you have questions or need assistance.

Producer, The LIVEbrary

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lori Hancock wins Annick Press iPod Giveaway

Congratulations to Lori Hancock, librarian at The Lexington School (TLS) in Lexington, Kentucky. Lori entered Annick Press' LIVEbrary iPod Giveaway Contest at the American Library Association's annual conference in Washington, DC, at the end of June.

Dozens of people entered the contest at the Annick Press booth at ALA. The winner, chosen at random, received a video iPod preloaded with 10 Annick Press author videos. The videos include the first online video clip of beloved children's author Robert Munsch, author of The Paper Bag Princess.

Other videos on the iPod include author/illustrators Michael Martchenko, Dennis Foon, Shari Graydon, Loris Lesynski, Ruth Ohi, Emily Pohl-Weary, Allan Stratton, Diane Swanson, Mike Tanner and Annick Press publisher, Rick Wilks. You can view these videos yourself at the Annick Press Web Site.

The iPod Giveaway was meant to highlight Annick Press' use of the latest technologies for bringing books to readers. The Annick LIVEbrary program is designed to use the latest technology to teach middle school and junior high school students how to collaborate over a distance. Tomorrow, we'll have another big announcement about a leader in collaborative technology who'll be working with the Annick LIVEbrary program for the season beginning October 15.

Contacted about her award via email, librarian Lori Hancock said, "I'm so excited about this wonderful news. I am the librarian at The Lexington School, which is a private school that teaches preschool through 8th grade in Lexington, Kentucky. There are two librarians that serve 500 students and 80 faculty members. We have nearly 20,000 print resources in our collection, in addition to many non-print resources."

Congratulations, Lori, and thanks to all who entered -- you've all won the opportunity to bring the latest technology into your classrooms this Fall with the Annick LIVEbrary, starting October 15.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back to School with Annick Press

As producer of the Annick LIVEbrary, I'd like to welcome back all the teachers, librarians, parents, homeschoolers -- and especially STUDENTS -- who start back to school this week.

The LIVEbrary is adding something new to the backpack this year with a school-friendly program for teens on Media Awareness. The first season of the LIVEbrary begins October 15 and we here are as excited as the first day of school.

Each week, the Annick LIVEbrary features a new lesson plan with a reading, quiz, discussion questions, and suggested activities. Then we bring in everyone who can join us for a one-hour chat with our authors, teachers, and staff.

Tomorrow, we will announce the winner of the LIVEbrary iPod Giveaway from entries taken at the June 2007 conference of the American Library Association. One lucky teacher is going to walk away with a video iPod loaded with author videos!

And on Thursday, we'll have a very special announcement about the technology provider who'll put the "live" in LIVEbrary by hosting our chats this season. The Annick LIVEbrary is all about having fun while learning to use collaborative technology. Teachers and librarians, register today so your classroom can participate in the LIVEbrary this Fall.

Producer, Annick LIVEbrary