Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Unicorn Farting Rainbows

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I love my job, and I love the good challenges it presents – working with patrons, planning programs and activities, but life in general, I know, is not always a unicorn farting rainbows. And so it is with one’s job.

I feel sad when children are witnesses to their parents’ bad behavior (the mother who cussed me out because I politely asked her to leave the area because she had kept falling asleep). I feel sad when one of my “good” teens – whose greatest sin in the Teen section in the past has been trying to get attention – shows signs of being on drugs. I feel frustrated when a program I plan doesn’t get the turnout I wanted. I feel uncomfortable and embarrassed with Mr. Creepy comes over and asks me to lunch (a first for me, but my boss asked me to write up an incident report to demonstrate that I’m yet another staff member who has been made uncomfortable by his overtures).

But it’s so, so great to see the regulars who enjoy the library, the first-timers who come to my branch and marvel at the depth and breadth of our resources, the patrons who thank me when I’m able to dig out a book that will help them with lessons or homework or whatever.

It’s not always a unicorn farting rainbows.

In other news, tomorrow is Staff Day – the library is closed for the day, and all of the staff has training and fun activities and workshops. Should be a good time!

Now, on to links.

This could be really, really good, particularly with Spielberg at the helm.

And speaking of more movie adaptations….

And one more

Are library jokes really that funny?

The answer is: because teenage girls have money to spend.

We have more resources than you would think!

We just celebrated WS’s 450th birthday/deathday. Here are some fun facts I bet you didn’t know…

Not to say Dickens is predictable, but…

You’re so nasty, Encyclopedia Brown!

We finished our YA weeding, so I can understand why people are pissy at the librarians. But let the patrons try to weed!

Scandals in Stoneybrook...

More BSC hilarity.

I loved this book as a teen and loved it; truthfulness be damned.

Get ready for the Flowers in the Attic sequel on Lifetime!

From Mama Bear:

So pretty!

Blah blah blah Common Core blah blah.

They’re not on their damn deathbeds!

FINALLY.

From Friend D:

When sci-fi hits close to home.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I forgot to mention this, but I have my book club on Wednesday and read A Thousand Acres for it. Phenomenal. Gorgeously crafted. The parallels to King Lear are thoughtful and well-done. I just finished a Victorian murder mystery – my kind of book! Oh, and I love, love, love Mary Roach – she’s like a scientific Bill Bryson. This was her bodily functions book. Advice: don’t read it while you’re eating.

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A Girl in the (Neighbor)Hood (Library)

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A really, really weak pun on Boyz in the Hood. Give me a break; it’s been a long week.

Anyway, I had the neat experience of being able to fill in at a neighborhood branch Monday and yesterday (and, happily enough, it was my neighborhood branch, so my commute was 1/5th of what it normally would be), and it was a lot of fun.

I’m not going to lie, though – the first hour of the first shift, I felt as helpless and useless as I did my very first day of work. I didn’t know where things were; I didn’t know how to help with the list of reserves; I didn’t know where to sign in. But once I got all that figured out, things fell into place, and it was smooth sailing. Luckily, one of my coworkers from my branch got transferred there, so I got to work with S, which was nice! At least I knew someone coming in.

A few differences between a main branch (MB, where I work), and a neighborhood branch (NB, of which my system has about 25):

  • NBs have fewer staff members, and they do a lot of different types of work with the different constituencies. At MB, I work with children and teens, period. Rarely am I asked to fill in at another department.
  • NBs don’t usually have security personnel there all the time, and it’s generally easier to call the police if they need assistance; we have security at the MB and we call them first; the police are only involved if it’s an unusually volatile situation.
  • NB storytime – at this particular branch, at least – is consistently well-attended. They pre-register attendees about a week ahead of time, so the parent will come up to the children’s desk and say, “I’d like to register Annabelle for the next babytime,” and then whoever is at the desk will write down “Annabelle” on the next week’s sheet. It fills up fast. At MB, sometimes we have lots of attendees, sometimes we don’t.

One of the interesting aspects of my coverage at NB was that I was there on Monday and Wednesday. Monday was the last day of spring break for our city; Wednesday I got to see the usual after-school crowd who were much, muuuuuch better behaved than our usual after-school crowd!

Special thanks to Friend N who popped by (and told me she reads my blog; I’m always gobsmacked that people read this), and N’s son C.

Links, now.

Some literary liquor.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m extremely against book banning and censorship. What these kids did to circumvent it was AWESOME.

Like beautiful words (see below), here are some lovely sentences in literature.

Updated young adult lit (“sacrilege,” said Mama Bear.)

Yes. Yes, I can.

And a boyfriend ain’t one.

From Friend D:

Beautiful words! (I think ugly words are much more interesting. I have a friend who hates “shampoo,” while Sister A hates “moist.”)

What’s next for YA? (Mama Bear sent this to me, also, a heartbeat after D did. Sorry, Mama Bear, but D gets the credit.)

How to get started on Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Happy birthday to the Library of Congress!

From Mama Bear:

An ode to bookstore cats.

I was never a huge fan of the Little House series (who wants to make candy out of syrup on the snow, boring), but I did very much enjoy reading this article.

I’m definitely going to have to read this. An epistolary novel? And it takes place in England??

Good question. 

This takes me right back to being a teen.

Jane Eyre ROCKS MY SOCKS.

Well, I’m not sure about this, but I’m glad it makes people happy!

James Baldwin doesn’t get nearly enough exposure.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, on Coworker A’s recommendation, I read Madapple. It was a really interesting premise, but I didn’t really connect with it. I’ve got some great books on my nightstand right now, so stay tuned, chickadees.

Baby Lapsit, Friday, April 18

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I had a big group for Friday’s baby time, which was great and unexpected. It was funny, because I thought I was choosing sing-y books. But my coworker looked at the two I had, and said, “Oh, you’re doing books about transportation!”

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So I did both – I read/sang these (they were both big hits, but we also had some great participating adults), and then pulled out some of our many board book copies of Freight Train, one of my favorites from childhood. Each parent/child(ren) group got a copy, and we read it aloud, then went back and looked at the colors, and then counted the number of cars. I really liked it. I think it went well, and I’m excited to try that again.

Two neat pieces of news:

On Monday and Wednesday, I’ll be having my shifts at one of the neighborhood branches – the one closest to me, as it happens! So I can either walk, or take the bus, or drive, and my commute will be halved at the very least. (Monday is my night shift, so I’ll probably drive, but if the weather is good on Wednesday, I’ll be walking both ways!)

Back at my branch, we’re working on weeding the YA books – I don’t know if I mentioned this. We’re going through all the fiction right now, looking to see what to keep and what to redistribute to other branches. If a book hasn’t been circulated (i.e., checked out) in two years, then it gets weeded. There are also some in deplorable condition, so we can either recycle or donate those, depending on the level of wear. It’s also a good opportunity to see which of the big series – HP, Hunger Games, Twilight are really the big three – can be whittled down in terms of number of books. Do we really need four copies of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? By weeding, we can make room for the new, really exciting stuff.

In other news, from Facebook, I learned that Allegiant (which I’m reading right now!) will be split into two movies – the first part will come out in March of 2016, the second part the same time the next year.

I’m overflowing with links. Here they are.

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez has passed away.

Get ready for the movie! (Friend D said, “Only one pack of tissues?”)

Disney has acquired the rights to the Newbery award-winner The One and Only Ivan(The article misspelled “Newbery.” Note that it has only ONE r.)

Libraries are absolutely tourist destinations. I made it a point to visit the Trinity library when I was in Dublin.

Some of the coolest college libraries (none of which are my alma mater’s sadly).

Because it’s all awesome.

I haven’t read it yet, but Mama Bear, who has, says this is accurate.

The U.K.’s Independent is going to stop reviewing gender-specific children’s books.

From Friend D:

When I buy a house, all of these will happen.

Libraries need high-speed internet access. Without a doubt.

Need a quick read?

From Mama Bear:

These’ll make you hungry.

Yes, it is. 

McSweeney’s is SO CLEVER.

I may have mentioned this, but all of Jane Austen’s books are being rewritten with a contemporary slant. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

The Jane Austen Literary Foundation! 

Favorite Pulitzer winners. (I’m reading one of them now that isn’t even mentioned in the article.)

I wish I’d invented this. Sadly, I didn’t.

Famous last words. (Literally.)

From Coworker A’s blog:

I want my man to smell like Mr. Rochester.

Free online horror books!

In What’s Annabelle Reading, we’re able to get a lot of advanced reading copies of books, and I love anything that has to do with Jack the Ripper and/or Victorian London. So I picked up Mayhem, but I didn’t really connect with it. Then I read Allegiant, as mentioned above, the last book in the Divergent series. As trilogies go, it was stronger than The Hunger Games, in that all of these books were solid and contributed to the trilogy. I didn’t hate the third book like I did with the Matched and HG trilogies. Overall, it was fine.

GUESS WHAT???? This is my 100th post! My 100th! Hard to believe, huh? Thank you, loyal readers, friends, and fans!

Just links today

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Since I’m still off work for the holidays, I shall Pass Over (get it?) the library work stuff and get straight down to links.

From Friend E, daughter of family friend and author Jill Morrow, Jill’s latest post, about bashing librarian stereotypes.

From Friend G, a scientific breakdown of librarianship.

From Mama Bear, the following:

Congratulations to Dav Pilkey. He’s doing something right.

I have a problem, and I’m not afraid to admit it: I scored 48.

As an only child till I was 8 and a half, this rings true.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants author Ann Brashares branches out.

A booklist AND list of stereotype-breaking (fictional) librarians.

How many of these banned books have you read? I’ve read 60.

WHYYYYYY does my city not have this?

A Blast from the Past

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It’s National Library Week, and today in particular happens to be National Librarian Day. So go thank your local librarian for everything s/he does for you.

I’m home at my parents’ for a few days, for Passover and since I had a few days off coming to me – a short vacation was desperately needed, for my sake and my patrons’ – I thought I’d make the most of it. And I was going through my old childhood crap at Mama Bear’s and Daddio’s, and came across this gem:

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This is from kindergarten – 1984? 1985? I don’t even remember that I wanted to be a librarian. I do remember wanting to be a supermarket checkout girl, and an astronaut and a ballerina, but never a librarian (or librian, apparently). And now look how things have turned out. Who would have thought I was so prescient?

Since I’m home, I don’t have much library news to share. But I have a lot of links, of course!

This is my life.

These are lovely. Lots of history here.

Congrats to my birthday twin!

Is this guy crazy or brilliant, or crazy brilliant?

I guess everything’s a musical these days.

Donna Tartt picked up the Pulitzer for her latest book.

From Sister A: literary tourism in my hometown!

From Friend D: Whoever makes these is a genius.

From Other Friend D: Meh mehhhhhhh meddly meh meh meh.

From Mama Bear:

Reading rooms are coming to NYC.

Remember Sue Townsend?

We can’t keep this on the shelves.

More reinterpretations of books to screw up your childhood.

Holy telltale heart, Batman!

Independent bookstores that are making it work.

All of Stephen King’s books, ranked.

AHHHHH!!! ! dkljfgl;adfjgkl;dfjgl;ajdfgo;a rte rioautioperpru!!!!

Good call on all of these.

Very interesting – lots of nos where they shouldn’t be.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I just finished Insurgent, which was fine. Not fabulous, not terrible, but fine. I have the last one, Allegiant, waiting for me at my branch when I get back.

Aside

I love themed storytimes because they’re easy to talk about with the kids, there are songs for any kind of storytime, etc. I’d thought about doing one about feelings, and found some great books about being mad.

Funnily enough, I had two criers when we began, ad a couple of kids who were mad about a few things. I was feeling a little punchy, myself, so it was good for all of us.

We started off with How Do You Feel? by Anthony Browne, and I asked the kids to make faces corresponding to how the bear in the story felt. It was hilarious. I also defined some feelings for them – guilty and curious, particularly.

Anna Dewdney is a lot of fun, so I read them both Grumpy Gloria and Llama Llama Mad at Mama.

Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs Say ‘I’m Mad’?  is one of many by the Yolen/Teague team, with thoughtful writing and detailed drawings. This was no different, and the kids liked it a lot. Part of the text explains that two good ways to calm down are to take deep breaths and count to ten. We did both of these, and I swear, the whole tone of storytime changed. Everyone was in a good mood after the breaths and counting. I’m going to seriously use those tactics when I have a wild or cranky bunch next.

A good storytime, altogether, and I definitely recommend all of the books, and the various books by the authors (like Yolen/Teague, there are a bunch more in the Llama Lllama Dewdney series).

OH! And I’m editing to add – there was a nanny who took out her phone and MADE A PHONE CALL in the middle of my storytime. I beg your big fat pardon, lady. That is not okay. So I stopped storytime, and I went over to her and asked her quietly if she would either take the child and phone outside, or put the phone away and make the call afterward. I was surprisingly polite about it. Still: I was irritated. Who does that?

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I have got a boatload of links for you all today. And it’s an especially fine crop, too.

NB: I realize that there may only be a finite list of postable links. I don’t think I’ve repeated any throughout different posts, but if I have, my advance apologies, with the tongue-in-cheek note that they’re clearly fabulous enough to post twice.

The shortlist for the Carnegie medal. (Strong female presence!)

The shortlist for the Bailey’s Women’s prize. (See any similarities between this list and the above list?)

The highbrow and the lowbrow.

I could not stop laughing at this. Truly I couldn’t. If you work with the public, you’ll get a lot of these. If you don’t, you’ll get a taste of what my job is like.

Some school libraries don’t stay open throughout the summer. They should, honestly, and at least one is getting money to stay open.

From Friend D, the following:

Are you skimming, or seriously reading? (Mama Bear sent me this too – great minds…)

I’m not a huge New York person – I like the city, but being there too long makes me crazy. So I can visit more often, through these.

From Coworker C, the following:

Really fabulous bookstore names (Baltimore is represented, and so is Bath, where I studied abroad!)

Puns for English nerds.

From Coworker W, prepare to have your childhood ruined.

From Mama Bear, the following:

More snarkiness in text form, this one from Little Women.

If you don’t think you get the book, don’t review it.

41, I think, was my total.

No one owns children’s/YA lit. But people think women do. 

How about some diversity in children’s/YA lit? Why isn’t there more?

If you don’t click every single one of these, we can’t be friends anymore.

If you’re a Harper’s subscriber, you can read all of the article. For everyone else: what happens when a beloved character hits the public domain?

I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve these.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I needed something familiar to break up all the new stuff I was reading. You know who my favorite palate cleanser is? Bill Bryson. So I pulled out At Home, which never ceases to blow my mind. Well, all of his books blow my mind.

AND. AND!!!

Speaking of blowing minds, I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. The man is a freakin’ genius. It was amazing, and his writing is damn near lyrical. Read it. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

Preschool Storytime, Wednesday, April 9

Storytime for 2s and 3s, Thursday, April 3 (and me teaching)

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I had storytime on Thursday for the 2s and 3s, and wasn’t expecting the 70 (!!) children and adults who showed up. I had pulled three books on color and found our big bag of scarves in the storytime room, but after a quick count once I saw the amount of attendees, I realized I only had half as many scarves as children. So I scrapped it.

The three books I used worked quite well; I started off with What Colour Is Your World, then with a song or two, we went on to My Box of Color, and then I used my cute little ducks to sing “Five Little Ducks” in which we talked about the colors of the ducks. I finished up with A Rainbow All Around Me. I’d use any of these in the future – they worked well with this age group.

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Thoughout reading all the books, I asked the children to help me say the colors they saw, and to put their fingers on their noses (or ears, or bellies, etc.) if they were wearing the color that was shown. It went quite well!

Yesterday I did something I hadn’t had the chance to do yet, but also helped me with my smart goals – co-teaching one of the adult computer classes. My coworker S and I co-taught a class on vocational, career, and educational databases. I had done some exploring of them before the class, I remembered to speak slowly (a huge coup for me), and the experience was marred only by a man my librarians and I call Mr. Creepy.

Mr. Creepy likes to pop in and chat, and ask lots of questions, and has asked some of the female librarians in my department and others out for lunch and dinner, which is what he proceeded to do throughout the class. He’s not doing anything wrong, per se, and I don’t think there’s any mental illness at play, but I think at some point someone’s going to have to simply tell him that his personal questions (are you married? do you have children?) are not appropriate. The good thing, though, is at least now I know his real name from the sign-in sheet.

One more thing: we recently acquired an old-school mystery series from the 1950s I’d never heard of (The Happy Hollisters, anyone?). On the inside of the front cover was this disclaimer:

Certain events, terminology and behaviors are presented in this volume exactly as originally printed in 1956. In retaining potentially confusing or questionable material and situations, the publisher offers the opportunity for valuable “teaching moments” for today’s reader.

I’m intrigued to flip through the books and see what the material is…

Now, links:

From Friend D, books written in response to other books.

My coworker A has a fabulously funny and creepy blog, Scary Books for Spooky Kids, about, well, just that. But one of her recent posts was a list of 100 legal sites to download books. Amazing.

I got 55!

From Mama Bear; she and I both got Stellaluna.

Also from Mama Bear, the second novel and its elusive success….

Sister A really liked the book, and it’s on my list…

I’m in the middle of watching Orange is the New Black, and, as you may remember, I read the book earlier this year. The real Piper Kerman had a wish list on Amazon for friends to fulfill – it’s an interesting list.

There won’t be a Percy Jackson #3 movie. (Although it’s not like we’re missing out on Logan Lerman!)

15 books by women to read nowish.

Pssshhhht. This is my life.

“They”‘re making a movie out of Eleanor and Park!  Yay!

What a great idea…

No new books in What’s Annabelle Reading. Stay tuned.