Monthly Archives: December 2013

Doing the crime, doing the time


We have a recording studio in our teen space, as I’ve probably mentioned, and we have two really hard and fast rules about it:

One, if you’re more than 20 minutes late to your scheduled session, and you haven’t called to let us know, you forfeit your session. (This is especially important on weekdays, when people have three-hour sessions, then think they can wander in whenever they like.)

Two, if you forfeit two sessions in one month, you are banned from using the studio. We haven’t established a timeline for bans, so I think lengths of bans are determined by each staffer individually in each case. (Personally, I would like to have a set rule, but one doesn’t seem to exist just yet.)

So today a dude called up and asked if he could schedule a time for the studio sometime next week. I looked him up on our internal spreadsheet, and lo and behold, he was a no-show both Saturday and Sunday of last week. Here’s how the conversation went after I explained the situation to him, that he was banned.

Him: But I was one of the first people to use the studio, did you know that? I helped write the rules!

Me: I’m glad you’ve used and enjoyed the studio, and having put the rules in place, I’m glad you understand how important it is to follow them. So no, and according to the rules, I can’t give you any more studio time because you have been banned.

Then, because I am such a nice person, I say:

Me: I’ll tell you what I can do. There’s no specified time for how long the ban has to be. Rather than giving you a lifetime ban, I’ll simply make it for a month not from today, but from the day of your first missed session. So you can use it again on January 11.

Him: But I need to use the studio next week!

Me: I’m sorry you won’t be able to use it, but those are the terms of the ban.

Then, this one’s a winner:

Him: Do I need to get dressed and come down there?

So I’m thinking, one, is he threatening me? Two, is he serious? I mean, come on.

Me: No, this is something we can resolve on the phone. I’ve told you about our policy, and your ban will remain in effect for a month.

Him: Okay, well, how about this? I really need to use the studio for something next week. Could I schedule a session for next week and then the ban can go into effect after that?

What I wanted to say: Do you not understand the concept of the ban? That’s what banning is. That’s like when my parents would take my TV privileges away, and I’d ask if I could watch just one more show that I loved and then my punishment could start. But I was, like, seven.

What I actually said: I’m sorry, but because you’ve lost the privilege of using the studio, you may not schedule any sessions till after your ban is lifted.

(My coworker is hearing all of this on my end, and rolling her eyes so far back in her head that I think they might get stuck there.)

So he then asks me for my name, and I spell it out clearly and concisely for him (wanting to say, “Make sure you spell it right, dude”), and he hangs up.

If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime…

Let’s have some palate-cleansing links, shall we?

The Second World War was won by books, you know.

Books overdue? Librarians will jail your ass.

This, from Mama Bear, I really love. I sent it to our early literacy director, so that she would know it too.

From Friend E, if you’re going through Harry Potter withdrawal, this might be a nice substitute.

Apparently first editions of A Christmas Carol are just hanging around Cleveland.

The Hairpin does these from almost every book, and these happen to be a winner. Very clever.

From Sister A, some lovely libraries in winter.

Want to write some Sherlock Holmes stories, but irritated by that pesky rule about intellectual property? Worry no more!

I got 55. How many did you get?

Courtesy of Colleague W, you’ll just feel dirty after reading these (but be laughing so much you won’t really care; NSFW).

And in an update, today was pretty quiet – just like any other weekend. Not too crazy. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


This is silly


For the first time since I started my job, I’m a bit nervous about going in tomorrow, simply because it’s probably going to be so busy. I love busy – it is much better than it being dead quiet – but from what I’ve heard from Boss and others, it’s going to be just this side of bananas. So we’ll see.

Hey, links!

From Sister A, Buzzfeed – and you know how I love Buzzfeed – ranked their best YA books of 2013. Note that two books from Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl, which I haven’t yet read, and Eleanor and Park, which I have, have both made it. But I recognized a lot of books on this list, because their circulation has been up in our teen space. And they all sound interesting.

It’s only in the past few years that I’ve been made aware of book trailers. You know, like movie trailers, but with books. These fiction ones that have won the “Nerdies” all have some video introduction content, which sort of cracks me up.

You know how I feel about Samantha. So when I saw this comparison between how Samantha dresses and how Duchess Kate – who is absolutely an A+ in everything she wears – dressed like Samantha on Christmas, I had to link to it. If Samantha wears it, then it’s fabulous. And Kate doesn’t look bad in anything, so I knew it would be a great article.

You also know how I feel about Doctor Who. (I have a lot of feels about Doctor Who, as it happens *shakes fist at Steven Moffatt*). My favorite library blog featured a piece on the Doctor, and if I thought my patrons would be interested, I’d have run a program for the 50th. Sadly, I didn’t think it would have flown. I’ve never dressed up to do cosplay, though I do own a few pretty awesome DW shirts. Like this. And this. And this. /random Doctor Who shirtbragging over.

Oh, I almost forgot. Guess what I finished tonight? Another spectacular offering from Libba Bray. I’ve liked everything I’ve read from her – the Gemma Doyle series and The Diviners. She won the Printz award for Going Bovine, which I haven’t read yet (but I will). She gets teenage girls. Hell, she almost makes me want to be a teenage girl again. But let’s not go too far.

Happy weekend, my dear chickadees!

The Christmas Rush


Who says that Christmas is quiet around a library? ‘Cause I can tell you that that’s ridiculous. We were superbusy today, and I hear we’ll be even superbusier this weekend, which I am lucky enough to work (I do love working weekends, usually).

My coworker M made a big-ass, incredibly awesome Facebook display. She worked really hard on it; don’t you think it came out fantastically?


It’s super-impressive.

Last week I got a couple of interesting moments with some of our adult patrons – the woman who came in asking if she could have some coloring sheets to give as Christmas gifts, the woman who asked if we had anything interesting for free that she could have (she went away happy with a pamphlet of branch hours and offerings), and the guy I call Mr. Creepy, who just loves to “come in and say hello.” When this happens, I am suddenly very busy. And you know what? There was a full moon that day. One of the first-season episodes of ER dealt with precisely the full-moon phenomenon, when the weird happens. This is undisputably true.

Links? Links.

Apparently bannings are on the rise. Not okay. (If you’re interested in a terrific take on censorship, check out this book, edited by you-know-who.)

Can there really be a new Millennium book without Stieg Larsson at the helm? It’s happening, but will it be any good?

I will be reading this.

Flavorwire listed their 10 best debut novels of 2013. I’ve read/written about two of them, Panopticon and Tampa, the latter of which Mama Bear is currently reading. (She told me on the phone tonight, “I hate it but I can’t put it down. It makes me want to take a shower.”) She did not, incidentally, read the plot summary before downloading it, but this is part of the experience of reading something on someone’s recommendation, no?

Some of the greatest monsters in children’s lit. Creepy.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I just finished Cartwheel. It’s a thinly fictionalized version of the Amanda Knox story, but it was written so oddly, particularly in the way the characters talked. Way too clever for cleverness’ sake. It didn’t ring true with me.

Monday Miscellany


Just a bunch of random things to share with you, my dear readers.

One, I think my library has a ghost. I’m sort of joking and sort of not. The other day, one of the toilets in the attached little boys’ room flushed early in the morning, when I was the only one there. I’d have dismissed that as a quirk in the plumbing if a book hadn’t flown off the top of a shelf tonight. It’s not as if it tumbled out of its own accord – it really was out there, onto the floor. And no one was near it; indeed, we were in the dead 10-minutes-to-closing zone.

We’ve named everything else in the kids’ room – the Melissa and Doug giraffes are Sir Humphrey and Mistress Mildred, and their son is named Nigel, for instance – so why not name our ghost? Suggestions are welcome.

Two, in other news, my Threadless shirt arrived! I am such a nerd.

Three, I have to figure out what to wear tomorrow. We’re working only a half-day, and then going out to lunch. Being Jewish, I don’t have anything particularly Christmassy, so perhaps something sparkly instead? (I think the Threadless shirt wouldn’t be warm enough, alas.)

It’s going to be a strange day, open for only four hours. I can see us being really busy (teens, particularly, with nothing to do and wanting to stay out of the way) or being really quiet (it’s Christmas Eve). So we shall see.

Now, for What’s Annabelle Reading, I finished a book that is what I call “sticky.” If to me, a book is sticky, it means I keep thinking about it after I put it down. (So keep that in mind for when I use that term in the future!) I finished The Panopticon, and I want to find and read a sequel, immediately. To do some book math, it’s like this + this. I also read – completely unrelated – My Friend Dahmer (I know, I know), a graphic novel about Jeffrey Dahmer as he was in high school, from one of his acquaintances. Both were sticky, but The Panopticon more so.


Toddlers can be a particularly challenging group. Here’s one librarian’s reflections on her experiences.

I’m really excited to subscribe to this.

I’ve seen some of these, but not all of these. If it’s your thing, subscribe to this blog to see more.

Happy Christmas Eve Eve, chickadees!

Just some links


Why watch the Ravens get smothered by the Patriots – no one talk to me tomorrow, please – when I can share some interesting links?

From Mama Bear, not sure I agree with all of these, but here are some great literary catchphrases through the years.

Who wants to go to San Francisco with me?

From Friend D, a poetic salute to literary ladies.

Harry Potter emojis. Sign me up!

I think reading about Jane Austen and game theory would be an interesting adventure… if perhaps a bit of a stretch.

Need something to read? I trust Buzzfeed. (And I linked to Tampa in a previous post. It’s still unsettling now, a few weeks later.)

I’d always sort of harbored a hope that someday I’d read all the books in the world. (If Francie Nolan thinks she can do it, why couldn’t I?) Maybe all the books in our children’s collection. I don’t know. But that’s going to be impossible, sadly. While it is a disappointment, it’s also a relief; I can read this for the eighty-damn-billionth time and not feel guilty about it.)

Enjoy your Sunday nights, chickadees!

A Valuable Lesson


I have a decidedly not Kind of a Funny Story to report today – young adult author and overall really brilliant guy Ned Vizzini died on Thursday. He committed suicide.

Of course I’m sad, but I’m also very angry.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a semi-autobiographical novel based on Vizzini’s own experiences facing crippling depression and time in a mental facility. In an interview with an online mental-health community for young adults,, Vizzini said the following:

Three things helped me most in recovering from depression and suicidal thoughts:

  1. My parents. I did not want to make them ask the questions that they would ask themselves if I killed myself.
  2. My retirement account. I have  money that I can’t access before age 59 ½ without facing tax penalties. I want to live long enough to get this money.
  3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story. I wrote a book about overcoming suicide and depression, so if I killed myself now it would be dumb. (bold emphasis is mine.)

It was dumb. He had so, so, so much talent and such a gift for making his characters flawed and lovely and realistic. I’m terribly sad at his death, and furious that he’s deprived us, his wife and child, and the world of his presence and future works, not to mention his humanity.

The lesson here that we can learn from this stupid, thoughtless loss of talent is this:

If you are feeling depressed, if you feel alone, if you feel helpless, if you want to kill yourself, please don’t. It can and will get better. Please reach out. Get help. Please. There are so many resources: the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the NSPH’s resource for young adults, You Matter, and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Talk to someone. Talk to people you love and who love you.

If one person can find the strength to get help from reading Vizzini’s books or hearing his story, then perhaps his death won’t be such a senseless waste.



I’m a little bit cranky today because I found out that one of my favorite people in my group has been transferred to another library in the system. We’re all told that that can happen at any time, but – grr. I don’t like the idea of my fabulous team being broken up. I guess the good side is that she’ll make friends at her new branch, and we get to meet cool new people too, to invite to our happy hours. 

Our teens do a lot of things in the teen space, but I did have one do something completely unexpected: a Muslim teen asked if he could use our small study room for his midday prayers. Of course, I said. I offered to close the door, but he said it didn’t matter, and it was nice to have a small corner of the often chaotic teen space be tranquil for a few minutes.

We usually have art projects on Friday afternoons, but we’re going to start doing more with STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (often you might see STEM programs, but, hey, art’s important too, right?). To that end, I designed a flyer advertising our new initiative, and made a board for it. I borrowed half of one and came up with something I like quite a bit:


(It’s a little blurry; sorry. I’m better at cutting out steam puffs than I am taking pictures.) And the good thing is that we had a lot of great books to choose from to put up – some of them are already circulating. How about that?

Today got a lot better when I got home after a two-bloody-hour commute, with an envelope in the mail from Mama Bear, who sent me the new packet of Harry Potter stamps. Thanks, Mama B.

Now, some fun links, mostly brought to you by Buzzfeed:

Still need some excellent gift ideas (for me)? Got this treasure trove from Friend D.

I don’t understand this list of books that have been banned at Gitmo. Will Jack and the Beanstalk provoke an insurrection? I don’t know. (Also, Time people, you misspelled Frederick Douglass’ name.)

From Mama Bear: independent bookstores are in far more danger than libraries are, but don’t count them out yet.

Now for an assload of awesome Buzzfeed links:

This set of books re-imagined for college students had me on the floor laughing.

Hyperventilate along with me at the first glimpse of the poster for The Fault in Our Stars.

Buzzfeed came out with their top 20 children’s books so far this year, starting off with Jon Scieszka’s Battle Bunny, which I think I linked to the other day.

You’ll always have a place in your heart for the books you loved as a kid. I’m living proof. Here are some series that Buzzfeed folks got nostalgic about. [Sister A and I have always loved, loved, loved, the Malory Towers series, she more so than I did, but we both really obsessed over the St. Clare’s series (without the awful modern covers). When Sister A went off to boarding school as a ninth-grader, I had a sneaking suspicion that those books were the reason why, and I’m probably not wrong.]

Finally, ho ho ho, some holiday classics. Glad they included Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins; a terrific retelling of a great folk story, with some excellent drawings to match.

In our latest installment of What’s Annabelle Reading, Friend D gave me the whole Malcolm Gladwell library – thank you! So awesome! – and I’ve zipped through Outliers and The Tipping Point so far. I’d never read them because I thought they were self-help books, which I sort of look at cockeyed, but they’re neat social psychology books, along the lines of Freakonomics. I definitely recommend them.

I’m taking a break between Gladwells to read some YA, starting off with Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. But I’m not into it. I may give up, which I don’t normally do. Vampires, fine, Robin McKinley, fine, but this isn’t doing it for me.