Monthly Archives: July 2014

General miscellany


1) Whenever I prepare a storytime, I take a little slip of paper and list everything I’m going to read/sing and list it, but then I move things around, or I don’t fill in all the slots… so as part of my effort to make my storytimes run more smoothly, and, frankly, have planning go more smoothly, I made these storytime slips. You can see that I’ve finished my one for Thursday toddler time already:

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2) I’ve joined a few local Google groups in hopes of being allowed to contribute event postings. (One of the local listservs rejected me – at the place where we do our outdoor storytime – and I honestly felt sad for a minute. Wahh! But they wrote me and said, “This listserv is only for our actual residents, but you can try…” and then named one of the ones I had already joined, so that worked out well. But it’s sad to get an email that says “You have been rejected by the Blah Blah Blah listserv.”)

I’ve posted already about a Frozen sing-along and the research class I’m co-teaching on Friday, so it would be great if we could post on these groups regularly and get some attendance from it.Coworker A, who’s now at a different branch, WAHHH, did a lot of advertising for her German storytime, and got a terrific turnout. (When people do attend programs, I’d like to start remembering to ask them how they heard about it.)

3) Just a general rant about the manner of some of our teens. I don’t remember if I wrote in a previous post about a guy who snapped at me  – “garcon!” – to get my attention, but that was seriously rude. And just today, one teen girl hissed at me. Like, “pssst psst pssst,” not in a sneaky, “pssssst!” way, but (and this is the only way I can describe it) the way that we used to try to get our cats’ attention when I was a little girl. So I went on helping the patron I was helping, and then went back and asked this patron what she needed, and I told her that there are acceptable ways to get an adult’s attention, such as saying, “Excuse me?” or “Ma’am?” And she was like, “Oh, I know how to talk to adults,” and I really wanted to say, “I don’t think you do, actually.”

The well-mannered kids are lovely and they can live at the library, for all I care. But for every great teen patron we have, I feel like we have 20 more who don’t say thank you when I hand them headphones (I have started using the “What do you say….?” with them, and I don’t care if I sound like I’m talking to six-year-olds, because if you do NOT know how to say thank you when someone gives you something, well, you need to learn.).

Okay, moving on.

4) Not one single person attended my resume workshop today. Not one. How sad. But I have made these big packets about resume writing, interviewing, work permits, cover letters, etc., and I keep them in the teen space, and they disappear quite quickly. So I guess it’s just that people don’t want to sit there and listen to me talk? (No jokes, please!)

A few links today:

Some of the deets about Insurgent.

This might be why I’m single?

All worth reading. 

Presented without comment.

Get your reading lists ready

Insert your own jokes here!

From Friend D:

Another argument for the awesomeness of YA.

Guess the old adage is wrong…

From Mama Bear:

Hm, nobody I know….

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I just finished one of the $1 books I picked up at The Strand, The Kitchen House, and cried a few times. I liked it a lot. Lots of research, well-developed characters, all kinds of juicy goodies.


Mostly links today


I worked this past weekend, and let me just reiterate how much I enjoy working on weekends. I’m not kidding. There’s a different vibe, different clientele, often more parents where there are usually nannies, and, on that note, more dads, different hours, and, on Sunday, a chance for me to get lots of projects done in the four hours before we open.

This past Sunday I was down on the floor with a clothes hanger trying to get out whatever was stuck under the bookshelves. Among the hidden treasure was the following:

  • A Girls Life magazine from August 2010
  • 5 million crayons, pens, markers, and pencils
  • Lots and lots of books/DVDs/CDs
  • a Macy’s coupon from 2006
  • 12 cents
  • A note reading: “I like you” with the words “yes” and “no” to be circled (which I kept)

I also got filthy dirty. It was fun! I like doing the physical stuff, honestly. There’s something really satisfying about being able to say that I crawled around on the floor for a while and really created an intimate relationship with the children’s room carpet.


Romance novel awards!

The first trailer for that movie based on crappy books which is actually fan fiction of crappy books. 

So true… so true. (or simply replace all of the steps with “Urinate on the floor.” That works too.)

SNAPEchats. This took a little explaining for me since I didn’t really get what a snapchat is.

It would have been nice to have had a “why” section on here, and my Birthday Twin’s inclusion, too.

Love the composition book ones! (Just as a note, my birthday’s coming up and I wear a size 7.5, thanks)

One: order a drink. Two: open book. Sounds easy enough to me.

It’s comforting to know that one of the greatest writers of all time had a lousy report card.

Letters About Literature: Dear Ray Bradbury

How many of these can you guess? On a related note, man, I used to love watching Jerry Springer.

I am both petrified and excited of buying a condo, because it means I will have to do this.

I knew nothing about Bel Kaufman, but her obituary is worth reading.

There hasn’t been one un-funny one in this series yet. 


From Mama Bear:

It starts off with Dickens’ London and gets better from there. 

Lois Lowry’s response to seeing The Giver on screen.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, my book club is Wednesday, and we read (and in my case, re-read for the millionth time) The Secret History, which I just love. 

Preschool Storytime, Friday, July 25


Sometimes I get one idea in my head, and, for better or worse, that becomes my storytime. I was thinking how I hadn’t made a new flannel in a while, and decided to do one for “Five Little Speckled Frogs.” Here’s my magnum opus:

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(I know what the log looks like. You don’t have to tell me.)

So the books I chose were all frog-themed, and some short stories worked well for preschoolers; I wouldn’t have used them with younger kids.


The kids really liked Frog and Fly and Beware of the Frog. With Frog and Fly particularly, they joined me in making slurping and zipping noises, and really got into the spirit of it. They liked the twist ending of Beware fo the Frog, too.

Anyway, how about some links, yeah?


A new Google doodle always makes me happy (simple pleasures, right?). Here are some of the best literary ones.

There’s no shame in guilty pleasures, ever. You’re reading what you want to read.

You know how I feel about Rainbow Rowell.

I am Jack’s Raised Eyebrow of Skepticism.

Life is so much better without modernism.

Gotta get all of these for our Harry Potter party next week.

You may also know him as Lemony Snicket.

I’m assuming these are fake, right? Right?

Seriously, just one million pounds? That seems low to me.

I got 8/10! (Victoriana is my jam.)

Letters About Literature: Dear Anne Frank

I respectfully disagree.

It must be hard being Muggle-born

As George Takei might say, “oh myyyy” (slightly NSFW)

More Elmore Leonard stories will be released next year.

From Friend D:

She sent me this via email with the subject line, “There’s more coverage of this than I would have thought!”

I wouldn’t have put the words “Bronson Pinchot” (yes, Balki Bartakamous himself) and “audiobook” together, but hey….

I’m proud to have been to a bunch of these (and one just last week…)

Wearable literature!

You too can wear your favorite books

There’s more to Goodnight Moon than anyone can imagine (although frankly I think that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.)

I know you want it…

From Mama Bear:

The Booker Prize longlist (no Goldfinch, take note)

From Sister A:

How Harry Potter shaped a generation

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I had wanted to read something old and familiar after a spate of new books, so I turned to Bill Bryson, as I tend to do. Then I had picked up Mannequin Girl, which was fine, and prettily written, but I wish it had focused on some other characters instead of the protagonist.  Well, you can’t have everything.

A Literary Tour of NYC


This weekend, under the guise of visiting Friends M and D in NYC (happy birthday, M!), I prepared for myself some literary pilgrimages. 

I met up with Friend D on the Upper West Side, and we went to see…. Madeline!

Madeline. You KNOW about my… thing about Madeline. The New York Historical Society has an exhibit about the art of Ludwig Bemelmans, so naturally I couldn’t miss it. (And Friend D was generously tolerant of my continued squeeeeeeeing.)

Here’s the entrance: 


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There was a lot of original art; some was about Miss Clavel.



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Some of it was painted pottery by Herr Bemelmans himself. 

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While the exhibit was fabulous, I was equally excited to get to the gift shop. Right outside was this, where I pretended to be Miss Clavel:

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I tried not to buy out the entire gift shop, and restrained myself quite well, buying a makeup bag (they didn’t have it in stock; I’ll post a photo when I get it in the mail) and some postcards. I wanted the Madeline pajamas, but those only came in children’s sizes. There was a Madeline HAT!! Didn’t buy that either. Should have.

After Madeline, we continued our literary journey by going a few blocks to Alice’s Tea Cup, where we had tea with scones and clotted cream and sandwiches and cookies and tarts, and stuffed ourselves full. 

(I had wanted to go to the Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, but they didn’t open till 5:30. Rats. But it was just as well since I didn’t know if I could really pay $21 for a martini.)

Finally, Friend D and I went to The Plaza to pay our respects to Eloise. One must always, always, say hello to Eloise, in her oil painting glory. 

I had no idea there was an Eloise STORE (!!!) and I would have liked to have bought everything there too. The t-shirts were for children, sadly, or else I would have bought the one that said “My mother knows Coco Chanel.”

There were a few Hilary Knight original drawings for sale, less than the price of a room there for the night, which I seriously considered picking up, and now I’m kicking myself. 

And that was all for Day 1. Day 2, after brunch with friends and a little walk, it was time for me to visit The Strand. I had never been. And I was fully reconciled to spending a buttload of money. I was prepared, and I’d given myself permission. After all, it’s NYC’s premier bookstore. 

But I couldn’t. I wasn’t in love with any of the tees (except the Out of Print “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” one, and I wasn’t going to spend $30 on it, honestly), and I have a million totes (though I should have gotten this one), so I came away with three books, and spent less than $20. 

I’m kind of disappointed in myself. I could, and should, have done MUCH better. 

With an hour to go till I had to set off for my train, I sat in Union Square Park and read. It was lovely, and I almost wished that the Humans of New York guy would have come around – I would have had a lot to say about books and reading outside and bookstores and culture and Madeline and Eloise.


They’re all awesome, honestly.

I’ll date you, Judy Blume!

Never really loved the book, but this sounds interesting. Or maybe it’s just another way to make a buck… er, Euro.

Our libraries can do more. They have to. All libraries have to.

I truly hope this guy is just a shit-stirrer and he’s deliberately provoking us. Because this is an awful idea that makes no sense.

“I’ve got a flash for you, joy boy! Party time is over!”

Some more fan-fun of the Babysitters Club.

From Friend D:

When I buy a condo, this shall be all my art.

I think the horse is out of the barn on this one.

Again, Harper Lee and the fiasco of the bio.

From Sister A:

I’m sure we have some of these at home.

I must round out this post with the only acceptable closing, the same way that Bemelmans closes the original Madeline and the New York Historical Society closes the exhibit:

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Outdoor Storytime Thursday, July 17


My last outdoor storytime wasn’t fabulous – the kids were restless, the adults were too busy talking amongst themselves, and it was just not great. 

The one I had on Thursday? Couldn’t have been better. We had a huge group – almost 70! – of all different ages, from preschoolers to a baby or two (with special guest Friend H and her son, Little D). Everyone sang and laughed and, I hope/think, had a great time.

The books worked out well – Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? proves to be the most laugh-inducing book I could choose, and the kids liked Rrralph (partially because I had a puppet to accompany it, which some of the kids were adorably frightened by, even though I assured them that Ralph was very nice and, oh, NOT REAL). 

It can be tough finding books to spur all the ages – humor for the more grown-up ones, basic skill coverage for the younger ones… but this worked beautifully. 


A word on doing a storytime in front of a non-library friend. Friend H is a pre-library friend, who’d worked with me at my pre-library job, and she was an appreciative, attentive listener and participator with Little D. But I was worried about doing well in front of her. Why, though? She’s my friend. I just did my storytime, as usual, and she professed to love it, and it made me really happy to show how much I love my job in front of a friend from my old one.

Oh, look at me getting sappy. Let’s move on to links, okay?

Books to make you laugh. Everyone loves to laugh.

I guess middle age hits everyone hard, including The Boy Who Lived…

To Kill a Mockingbird is making its mark again… this time on e-readers.

I particularly love books about college.

And the winner of the PEN/Ackerley prize is…. 

The plot of the next Cormoran Strike novel has been revealed by JKR.

So I guess this means that Tigger has ADHD? Eeyore is clinically depressed? Piglet has general anxiety disorder? Owl is a narcissist? 

From Friend D: 

Someone to keep an eye on. 

I’m starting to think I may have to go see this.

From Mama Bear:

Literary Puns (or, because they’re for cats, would that be Litter-ary puns???)

More puns, Sherlock-style.

Rainbow Rowell… you know how I like her. Buzzfeed has dubbed her “literature’s John Hughes.”

A review of Marja Mills’ Harper Lee bio. 

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I used most of my train and bus time this weekend – more on that in my next post! – to read Crazy Rich Asians, which was entertaining and fluffy. Just what I wanted. But earlier this week, I’d read an advance reader’s copy of Dear Committee Members, which I liked much more than I thought I would, once I got used to the protagonist’s voice. And I love epistolary novels. Finally, I read, shamefully, for the first time, An Abundance of Katherines, written by my Birthday Twin. It was solidly good, and a lot of fun. But too much math.

Please call ahead to make a reservation


Why is it that during the summer, our class visits skyrocket? Not during the school year – we have some, but not a huge amount – but today we had two; one surprise one (I’ll get to that in a minute), and one that was planned.

The surprise one was first thing in the morning, in teens, and surprise class visits really throw me off my game. What do they need? Computers? A lecture? A tour? How many? Will they behave? Will the teacher be useful? Will the teacher sit in the corner and not do anything? Are the teachers and students aware of the rules, and will the teacher enforce them? 

Please, if you’re reading this, don’t just bring a class into a library. CALL FIRST and make a reservation, preferably a week in advance at the very least. Let us know what you need – whether it’s just our computers or if we can talk about researching and using the catalog. 

Our other class was good. They were split up into two groups – one half was with me in teens, learning to use the databases, and the other half was in the computer lab downstairs. Then they switched. It was just what a visit should be. 

Now, on to links:

Don’t you talk to the Brontes that way!

Pulled this off FB (possibly the most useful of all the links today, for you parents with young kids).

We are all Ramonas.

This is going to be terribly awesome, or awesomely terrible. 

And along the same lines….

Another Neil Gaiman adaptation is coming our way!

Damn, these are clever. I say that about all in this series, but… wow.

Cats + Shakespeare = my dream world.

Yeah, what she said.

It’s called providing a public service, people.

Hee, an Ethel!

I’m really embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t even know Hilary Knight was still alive. He’s just the coolest.

Sister A’s library has done something similar, with dogs, I think. This is just a great idea, and I wish we could do it in our library.


I never really got into Legos as a kid. If I’d had sets like these, well, maybe I would have.

For me, it’s It. I can’t even keep it in my house, let alone read it again.

From Library School Friend D: You guys know how I feel about grammar

That’s all for today, chickadees. Keep reading.

A Busman’s Holiday


This past weekend, Sister A and I convened on Mama Bear’s and Daddio’s shore house for a little time away. I’d worked three weekends in a row (which I really don’t mind – I like working Sundays and getting Sunday pay, and managing to tackle a million different tasks before we open for our half-day), but I needed to get out of Dodge.

My parents’ house is in a cute little town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and we spent a day touring some of the other cute little towns. For Sister A and I, it was more of a busman’s holiday than anything else.

We popped in first at Mystery Loves Company, which migrated from downtown Baltimore to Oxford. It’s housed in an old bank. Isn’t it cute?

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(That’s the backs of the rest of the family). The lady who runs it is a Sherlockian, and even knew my grandfather! That’s “Smalltimore” for you. 

I picked this up, because it is the cutest thing ever, and it made my heart miss my hometown. 

A few blocks away, we were all set to go into a local museum, but Sister A and I spotted a directional sign with the word “library” on it.

“Have fun looking at boring things,” we said, and scooted the half-block over. 

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The library is staffed solely by volunteers and opened in the late 1930s. Local schoolchildren each donated a dime for a cinderblock to form the back 1 (2)


Seriously, tell me that’s not adorable. It reminded me of my old camp library – small, with a slightly strange collection, and that smell of old books and a long history. 

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This is the children’s section, a tiny corner. It was about 1/6th of the entire size. They had a lot of new releases, a lot of donated books, all on a $3,000 yearly budget. 

They also had a library dog, Heather (who, bless her heart, was so excited to see us that she wouldn’t keep still for a picture).

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The library collected donations for the book costs of some hometown students at the local community college. 

How do I get a job there?

Later, Sister A and I spent our afternoon like this:

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So it was pretty much a perfect day.


Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer has passed away.

Ummmm…. okay….

I would love to go to this. Not even kidding.

Beetee effing rocks!

A Q&A with Lois Lowry.

Basically, you’re just freaked out.

Maybe this is going a little too far…

636, or maybe even 636.8.

How do writers and other creative types structure their time? The answer may surprise you.

From Friend D:

Harry Potter TL;DR

Harper Lee is not happy about the new bio of her.

The best idea ever. EVER.

From Mama Bear:

I’d know their work anywhere.

Posted on Family Friend J’s blog – and you KNOW how I feel about censorship.

Stolen from Coworker M’s Facebook: Stuff YA Readers Say.

Stolen from Coworker L’s blog: Well, duh.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, hooray for me, I picked up Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (one of her YA books) and zipped right through it. I loved it. Delightful. It brings college right back, uncomfortably so. (You can see in the above picture that Sister A is working her way through one of RR’s adult offerings, Landline.)