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Tutor profile: Rebecca B.

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Rebecca B.
Academic librarian and writing tutor
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What's the best way to get ideas for stories?

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Rebecca B.
Answer:

Good listening is at the heart of good writing. I first learned this in 2010 when I spent seven summer weeks in England, three of which I spent at Exeter College for Oxford University’s Summer Creative Writing School. The class schedule wasn’t heavy --- we met only three hours a day --- but the encouragement to create was, and in that environment, urged on by the grinning sandstone gargoyle outside my window, I wrote more than I ever had before or have since. I wrote about the booming organ in the chapel and the brides I saw with tension riding at the backs of their necks. I wrote about the church bells pealing at sunset and how they must have done the same in 1918 and 1945. I recorded the complaints and sighs of an old woman in Christchurch Meadow and dug deeper to find worries and regrets. I hadn’t always listened like this. It was something the program’s tutors had emphasized, especially Bill Greenwell, our poetry tutor. In class he guided us through a series of exercises, including writing love poetry using only the words on a page from a VCR users’ manual. The point of these exercises, Bill told us, was not to end up with fully fledged poems; we should expect to throw out at least eighty-five percent of what we wrote in those exercises. But once in a while, he said, an exercise would yield one sentence, or one line, or one clause, or perhaps only one uniquely used word, that was ripe for further development, and we had to keep our ears tuned to find it. Through this class, I realized that the goal of first drafts is not to turn out a perfectly formed piece on the first try; it is to get something down on the page so it can be edited, rewritten, crumpled up, smoothed out, set aside, and taken up again ad infinitum.

Subject: Library and Information Science

TutorMe
Question:

How have librarians adapted to the increasing role of new technologies in the 21st century?

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Rebecca B.
Answer:

One example of how librarians have proved to be adaptive and versatile is the Washington Library Association's Library Information and Technology Framework, which identifies three overarching goals for school librarians. Those goals are "Information and technology literacy instruction," "Reading advocacy," and "Information and resource management services" (source: https://www.wla.org/school-lit-framework). These goals are not particularly new; school librarians have always striven for these goals in some form or another. However, the broadness of these goals makes room for librarians to step up their efforts in ways that new technologies demand --- for example, teaching students about maintaining their privacy on social media or leading students in evaluating a news article for bias. In my years as a librarian, I have seen first-hand how a strong foundation in the ethics and philosophy of libraries provides a trustworthy guide for librarians as we navigate new technologies. Libraries are not focused on books; they are focused on information, and it just so happens that books have been the predominant vehicle for information until quite recently. When we librarians know where we've been, what's important, and what's ethical, we're well equipped to serve the needs of our target populations, no matter what technologies are in use.

Subject: English as a Second Language

TutorMe
Question:

What is an adverb?

Inactive
Rebecca B.
Answer:

An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs frequently end in "-ly," but not always. For example, in the sentence, "He really knows his stuff," "really" is the adverb that modifies the verb "knows." But in the sentence, "She ran very quickly," there are two adverbs: "quickly," which modifies the verb "ran," and "very," which modifies the adverb "quickly."

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