A big thank you to everyone who sent in your best reference question - there were 28 submissions, and 395 total votes for the four finalists. At the end, it was close - the winner got 30% of the vote, and second place got 27%.
And the winner is: Erin Apostolos!
Here's her winning entry again:
I had a genealogy question from a patron who lives locally. She has an alabaster stone on her property that says "Mary E." born 1910 died (date is lost) wife of Peter E. Hadley. She wanted to know when Mary had died and what her story was. I was able to find their marriage info and find them on the census in Goffstown, NH but Mary disappeared by 1870 so I assumed she died between 1860-1870. I poured through our genealogy books at the library but did not find her or her husband.
After exhausting our genealogy databases, I googled Mary and Peter. After looking around a bit I found this link: http://www.hadleyfamily.us/album/album.html If you scroll about halfway down, you will find a picture of Mary Cochran Hadley, dead in her coffin with her date of birth and death! My jaw just dropped when I found this. In all my years of doing genealogy, I have never found a subject in such a state! What a find. The patron was absolutely thrilled. I was able to connect her with the man who had created the family's Website.
This was by far my favorite reference question and answer!
For her prize, Erin wins a custom-imprinted six-pack of Jones Soda, with the Swiss Army Librarian logo on the label. She, and the other three finalists, also each get a cool Swiss Army Librarian sticker.
Thank you again to everyone who participated, and especially for reading my website. I hope everyone has as much fun with this as I do.
Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry - they were really fun to read. After the contest is over, I'll post all of the questions so everyone can enjoy them. Thanks also to the judges for helping out - it's much easier for me not having to be subjective.
A few weeks ago, David Lee King marked his 10 year blogging anniversary - congratulations, David!
That got me thinking, and when I looked back, it turned out my very first post was October 1st, 2006 - seven years to the day yesterday*. My early posts ranged widely, but pretty soon settled into the all-library focus I'm still writing about now (coincidentally, this is also my 1,000th post!).
To mark the occasion, I thought it'd be fun to have a contest. The most popular feature of this blog is the Reference Question of the Week (be sure to read the first one, from October 12th, 2006), so here's what I thought might be fun:
Using the contact form, send in your best reference question. Everyone who works in a library has great stories, so let's hear yours!
"Best" is up to you - funniest, most challenging, required using a creative resource to answer, whatever. You can submit more than one story, but only one will appear in the final three
A panel of judges and I will narrow the field down to three submissions
I'll post those top three submissions as a poll, and everyone can vote on what they think is the best
The submission with the most votes wins the prize!
To give people time to think about it a little bit, submissions will be due Saturday, October 19th. After that, voting will be open until October 31st, and the winner will be announced November 2nd.
For the prize, each of the top three people will get a cool Swiss Army Librarian sticker. And the winner will get a custom-imprinted six-pack of Jones Soda, with the Swiss Army Librarian logo on the label**.
I hope everyone has fun with this. Thank you so much for reading my website for Seven Years(!) - I truly appreciate your time, all the comments, and especially the sharing of ideas between colleagues. That's what I love most about librarianship. Thanks everyone!
*October 1st also happens to be my mom's birthday - Happy Birthday, Mom!
**I recognize that Jones Soda might not be everyone's idea of a grand prize, so it is negotiable depending on the winner.
I think this is a great idea for any librarian or teacher with creative kids and a video camera. All the details are available on their website, but basically a kid makes a video reviewing a book they've read, the video is uploaded to teachertube.com or YouTube.com, and then submissions are judged and the winner announced. But more importantly, kids are involved with creating something that is their own.
And this idea goes along with my "Information in Context" push, in that any video created can be embedded back into the library's website to showcase the kids and their reading - and hopefully encourage more kids to read and review books. If you are able, make a video and enter the contest. Or, at least keep tabs on the entries - last year's were quite entertaining.
A librarian in Maine recently posted to MELIBS-L that one of their local patrons was a finalist for the 2008 StoryTubes contest. I had never heard of this contest, but I like projects where patrons get involved, so I checked it out. I loved it.
Kids make a video of themselves reviewing a book on a particular theme (that week's was "Facts, Fads and Phenoms") and submit it to StoryTubes. Finalists get posted on the website (via YouTube), website visitors vote, and four winner win $500 in books (and their sponsoring school or library receives $1,000 in books).
This year's contest is winding down, and I'm sorry I missed it. It's sponsored by publishers and libraries, and the finalist videos are great (my two favorite are below, and more here).
But even outside this contest, I think this would be a fun thing to do in the library. All it would take is a basic digital camera and a YouTube account, and I can see parents, kids and librarians getting really into it. It gives kids an opportunity to create, and in a public way. You always hear the phrase, "it'll be something to tell your grandkids about." This gives kids something to be proud of and tell their grandparents about.
Your Chickens: A Kids Guide to Raising and Showing