Monthly Archives: January 2015

Preschool Storytime, Wednesday, January 28


This post was going to be titled “Preschool and Baby Storytimes,” but given that I had absolutely zero babies for my storytime today (wahhhh), I’ll just focus on my preschool storytime.

Funnily enough, it wasn’t even a preschool storytime. What with the weather in the Northeast, our storytime numbers have been low this week – it’s snowing even as I type this – and I had some leftover toddlers, without a preschooler in sight. So with a bit of tweaking, I made my preschool storytime a toddler storytime. We still had a ball!


I had already planned to read Piggies in Pajamas and Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing in my preschool storytime, and those worked well enough, but not beautifully, with the toddlers. I added Jane Cabrera’s The Wheels on the Busand boom, toddler storytime. We sang “Shake My Sillies Out” with egg shakers, and the usual songs, and though it was a small group, we had a nice time.

Sadly I didn’t have anyone for my babytime, but it actually worked out nicely, because I met a couple from Korea wandering around, and the wife is a library school teacher there, and I showed them all through our children’s section, and even gave them a bag of swag to boot. We have so many international visitors – library people are library people, no matter where they’re from.

Oh, I forgot, I haven’t shown off some of the great displays my coworkers have done in a while, so I want to highlight them here. Aren’t they clever?


Often we’ll do smaller displays on top of some of our bookcases, and here’s the Pets one. I love the little fishbowl on the top.


Recognize any of these silhouettes?


Coworker L gets a special shoutout because she worked so blasted hard on this one. Each state is a YA book that takes place there, and the white box to the right – you may not be able to read, sorry – lists all the books she used. I think it is supercool.

In links today:

The top spot: We have lost Colleen McCullough, who wrote The Thorn Birdsand Margaret Bloy Graham, who illustrated Harry and the Dirty Dog(Mama Bear, who sent me the latter link, wrote that she can still picture herself at her kitchen table writing a book report in second grade on Harry and his adventures.)

I wish we could do more. We need to do more. 

Ms. Marvel is Muslim. Also? Ms. Marvel takes no crap.

You may laugh at #4, but that’s super-important. I know nothing about the new Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. shows, but I can serve the kids at my library a lot better if I do. Also to learn about? Minecraft.

Librarians are the most powerful people in schools, from what I hear.

A Q&A with family friend and author Jill Morrow (whose new book is coming out soon yay!)

A blogger mom sings our praises. Thank you!

From Coworker L:

The GIFs are a particularly snarky addition to the advice.

From Friend D:

I can’t even.

Preservation, conservation, and restoration are part of archiving, which I know little about but respect greatly. Here’s part of what that all entails. 

Please, corporations, just stop trying.

From Mama Bear:

Some pretty solid choices on this list, but my favorite one – not included, sadly – is still ” ‘Where’s Papa going with that ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”

Seriously, none from Lady Catherine, who has not a civil word for anyone? I’m surprised.

In What’s Annabelle Reading:

Wow, did I enjoy Noggin, by John Corey Whaley. It’s not just a book about, you know, having a cryogenically frozen head, but about starting over and trying to get past the past. Definitely a winner.

I don’t usually write about books I’m reading until I finish them, but I’m in the middle of a Stephen King – won’t say which one yet – and I think the old boy may have lost his touch. When do I get scared?


Neither rain nor sleet nor snow…


shall keep our library from being open!

(Although it shall make Annabelle a little cranky about closing tonight.)

I mean, I don’t mind the weather. It’s not so bad here, but I am a little worried about going home later tonight, in the snow, or freezing rain, or whatever else is coming down from the sky, and did I mention the black ice yet? There’s that, too.

But we are open, and we’re a warming center for the homeless, and we’ll stay open to serve the patrons as long as we need to.

Still, a snow day would be a nice treat.

In other news, last week I led a small tour of developmentally disabled high schoolers around the library, and they were so sweet. We had a good time, looking at all the aspects of the library, from the books to the computers, from the art installations to the 3D printers. They thought everything was fascinating, and I taught them how to do a simple search on the computer to find books. At the end of the visit, they received their first library cards, and they were really happy.

I’ll admit that I’m getting frustrated with my teen programming. I’m trying to be cool – hold your comments, please – and think like a teen, but I’m not sure what else to do. That same day that I gave the tour, I showed a movie for a teen program (it was the anniversary of the beheading of King Louis XVI of France, so I showed Marie Antoinette, which I thought was appropriate). A cool movie, right? Neat costumes, great music selections, a hip cast… so I figured teens would like it, right? Wrong. I had three – 1, 2, THREE – attendees. What am I doing wrong? I’m not sure. Gotta think on that.


For our top spot today: I never thought of this. BRILLIANT.

This is what I do as a librarian. I didn’t write it, but i could have.

An original! You know, written in ancient Greek, the kind that would be sold in 850 BCE. Idiots.

Let’s just agree right now that JKR is a genius.

I never would have guessed this would be so popular! A baby boomer thing? A nostalgia thing for fans of the show?

As you know, I will be fine with this.

Love the book, but never thought about it quite like this…

Cat, hat, in French, chat, chapeau. In Spanish, a gato in a sombrero.

Would you want to be the guy who has to respond to her? I wouldn’t.

Another addition for the “people are weird, and weird people congregate in libraries” file.

So pretty!

From Friend D:

Pony up, folks. This is a collection worth saving.

One should always have Jane Austen tattoos, no?

This is a terrific list. It mentions Doctor Who, and a lot of Simpsons, so… obviously.

How do you lose his bones? What?

From Friend P:

It’s never to late to learn about MLK – especially since February is Black History Month…

From Mama Bear:

Remember that this is a man who always said he didn’t write for children. That being said…

From Sister A:

After the Jacqueline Woodson watermelon debacle, I’m not sure I can get behind him, but he did mention Beverly Cleary, so there’s that.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I had jury duty last week, so I managed to get through some books in a flash. First, I went back to a book I love so hard and love more every time I read it. (And in good news, Ernest Cline is writing a sequel!) Next, after the crying-on-the-bus debacle of Katherine Rundell, I read her other book, Rooftoppers, another children’s book, and was equally charmed, though my tear ducts stayed dry. Next, as an ebook I read what I think might be the only Ben Mezrich book I had yet to read, The Accidental Billionaires – the movie version, Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network is quite good.

Finally, I read Hitler’s Furies, which was not nearly as dry as I’d imagined it would be (most Holocaust books are dry, I’ve found, just words and figures, death, death, and more death). In other Holocaust news, I just (not five minutes ago) read Hidden, a graphic novel for kids. About the Holocaust. Being hidden during the Holocaust. For children. Whoa. I’m not sure if children are ready to read a graphic novel about the Holocaust. Wow.

or Preschool and Toddler Storytimes, Wednesday and Thursday


Goodness golly gracious me, but the week flies by. I don’t know how it happens.

The storytimes this week were polar opposites. My Wednesday preschoolers were few in number and rowdy rowdy. Couldn’t sit still, doing somersaults on the mats, and not even close to being interested in the books. (I have to learn to stop taking overactive preschoolers’ opinions personally.)


I had read Jeremy Draws a Monster to a very interested preschool group recently, and mentioned that there was a sequel, The Monster Returns. The two books are so short that I can read them both (with a song in between, of course). I had planned on reading other books, too, but it was not in the cards with this group. These are good books for talking about manners, friends, and kindness.

My toddlers on Thursday were just the opposite. I had a full house of active participants, focused on the songs and the books and fingerplays.


My new book for the toddlers was Dinosaur Vs. Bedtimewhich I’d read and laughed at on my own, but hadn’t yet used for the kids. The adults liked it more than the kids, but everyone enjoyed it.

The new fingerplay that I did with both groups was “Five Little Monkeys,” which is new to me but not the rest of the world. Everyone knew it already – whether from my fellow librarians or schools, I don’t know. It’s pretty easy.

We use one hand as monkeys, and the other hand as an alligator mouth. No flannels needed, although you can certainly make them. The poem goes as follows:

Five little monkeys sitting in a tree / Teasing Mr. Alligator / “Can’t Catch me!”

Along Comes Mr. Alligator / Quiet as can be / And snaps that monkey / Out of that tree! 

Four little monkeys…

Three little monkeys… (etc.)

For the first stanza, just wave your hand around with the “monkeys” on it. For the second stanza, use your alligator mouth and grab the first available monkey on “snaps.” Then for each sequential verse, only have that number of fingers up for that number of monkeys: four, three, two, and one. Once there were no monkeys left, I pretended to start the next verse, but was “surprised” when there were no fingers on my hand sticking up. The kids laughed. I love it when kids laugh at me. Or with me. Either one. I found it worked equally well with both groups.

Muchos linkos today.

In the top spot, the best thing I think Buzzfeed has ever written, ever ever. Truly.

I won’t argue with this, but as long as people are reading, I don’t care which format they prefer.

Better late than never.  (This is my life.)

If you’re a Downton Abbey fan – and if you’re not, why not? – here are some books to enrich your viewing. (I have read and can recommend both To Marry an English Lord and Below Stairs.)

I got P&P, because obviously.

Washington, DC’s main library has a punk archive! That is so cool!

From Friend D:

I might get a Happy Meal just for my own copy of Pete the Cat.

So proud that my hometown is represented in the first slide.

25 things you might not know about Harry Potter, presented by my Birthday Twin.

You can never improve upon a classic – even in jest – so please just do not even try.

Borrowed from Friend M’s FB:

Mazel tov!

From Mama Bear:

A lovely chat with Michael Bond, Paddington Bear’s Papa Bear.

A fitting accolade for my Birthday Twin.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, not since Harry Potter and the One Where Dumbledore Dies have I cried in public while reading a book. The non-crying streak has now been broken, thanks to Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell. Other than making me well up and sniffle on the bus to work, it was a delight, with a protagonist I won’t forget in a long time.

Reaching out, touching me, touching youuuuuu


I love the chance to do outreach. I know that sounds weird, but I do. I love the chance to get out into the area around the library – the surrounding metro area, I mean – and have the chance to talk up our programs, hand out some swag, and share the mission of the library with schoolkids, or at festivals, or wherever else we happen to be.

This weekend was our city’s annual health expo, and the library had a booth there. I worked there on Sunday afternoon, in the convention center, and fully expected that I’d be sitting on my bottom, reading my book, while people walked by the booth, looked at me and our papers/swag/library stuff askance, and asked themselves, “Why does the library have a booth here?” (Which is a perfectly logical question, frankly.)

The expo was sponsored by our local NBC affiliate, and there were booths from gyms, health supplements, yoga studios, activewear, and even groups not even in our area. (For instance, our booth was next to the Pear Bureau of the Northwest. They gave out slices of pear, and slipped us pears at the end of the day to take home, bless them.) It was mobbed. Busier than I would have expected.

And so was our booth.

I’m not kidding.

I barely sat down during my four-hour shift. Seriously. It was bananas. We signed up boatloads of people for library cards (I think the total for both days, 16 hours, was about 150 new cards). We handed out swag – crayons, pens, temporary tattoos, snack boxes, lunchbags, shopping bags, bookmarks, sudoku games, and more that I can’t remember – and talked about our programs, and where to find information, reading lists, music to download, books to put on reserve, and hours on the website.

(Kids who wanted extra prizes were asked why the library had a booth at the expo, and I accepted two answers: one, that you can find books on exercise, or healthy eating, or healthy cooking, etc., at the library, or two, that exercise keeps your body healthy, but reading keeps your mind/brain healthy.)


(Of course, my trip to the expo wasn’t entirely altruistic. For my 2014-2015 work goals that I have been officially assigned, doing three instances of outreach is one of them. So that’s one out of the way, but, again, in no way was it a chore. I enjoyed every minute.)


In the top spot, congratulations to Jane!

“Am I a gadabout?”

I have an alibi for this, I swear. (NSFW: language.)

Sometimes the fandom blows the mind.

ALWAYS consult the staff. Libraries take many different forms now, but the quickest way to pissing off the staff is not asking them what kind of library they want!

From Mama Bear:

Some sweet memories about growing up with Paddington.

Her subject line was, “THE HEADLINE MAKES MY HEAD EXPLODE.” (But we have lots of his books – apparently he’s a halfway decent writer! I wouldn’t know, but…)

Gaiman fans and Whovians rejoice!

Two Doctor Who references in one blog post? It’s your lucky day, chickadees! Here we have the Doctors, Seuss-style.

Quite well-rounded, thank you, Buzzfeed.

Forgive this slight detour into Baltimore, but here’s an article about the history of Goucher College’s historic copy of Emma

From Sister A:

How many of these have you been to? I’ve been to just one so far…


In What’s Annabelle Reading, I’m sorry to say that I broke one of my cardinal reading rules: Never see a movie before you read the book. However, I’m happy to report that I enjoyed both immensely: Unbroken. Laura Hillenbrand is a wizard with words, and I only wish I had learned about the incredible late Louie Zamperini much earlier. (Friend E and I saw the movie on Christmas.) Read it.

Storytimes and more, Thursday, January 8 and Friday, January 9


Three programs in two days takes a lot out of a woman.

Yesterday I happily filled in on a toddler storytime for a coworker. (Why is it, by the way, that storytimes I pick up on the fly always seem to go so well, sometimes better than the ones I have planned for a while?)


I’m trying to start a new self-policy as far as choosing books for storytime. 3 is the standard total for all storytimes but preschool, I’ve found, and two out of the three books can be old standards – ones I’ve used before – but the third one has to be new. That’s my new rule. So this way I can keep my list of standards growing, and make sure that the list is also fresh. This one’s new ones were Under My Hood I Have a Hatwhich worked really well with the cold weather we’ve been having, and Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes, which I only sort of count as new because I’ve read Pete the Cat books before.

In the afternoon, I hosted Art Attack for the teens. I’ve come to realize that I’m not terrific about planning for teens. I don’t understand them as well as I do children. But every once in a while I get a good idea, and I can translate that idea into something useful. So this time, I did. I found an interesting article on The Huffington Post linking coloring with stress reduction in adults, and boom, an Art Attack was born.

I printed out a whole bunch of semi-complicated mandalas – just google “coloring mandalas” – and printed them out. The attendees – all one of them! – loved it. We did have a good time just coloring, and I can attest that it was relaxing. So nice. Here’s my completed one:


I’m handy with colored pencils.

Figuring that I had about 10 blank ones left over, and knowing that sometimes our kids might be interested in coloring, I posted mine and other completed ones – the rest of the staff wanted to get in on it, too – on the wall with a folder of the blank ones:


I can’t believe this is my job.

Today was baby storytime, and I had a nice little crop of babies and little wanderers.


The new book this time was A Kiss Means I Love You, which I have fallen in love with. It’s a terrific book that I’d recommend for babies up through young toddlers, I think. I’m going to add it to my “gifts for new babies” rotation, too, since I think it would make a wonderful one-on-one read-aloud book.

I”m happy to have the weekend off! I’d worked two in a row, and generally I don’t mind, but it is nice to have some time to myself. Although I am volunteering for the library for part of it, but that doesn’t really count.

No links today! And sorry, I don’t always remember to put a top spot one in.)

In What’s Annabelle Reading, Friend T had recommended an old-school YA book, The Girl Who Owned a City, which I believe was originally printed in the mid-1990s. (This is a link to the graphic novel, but I read the actual book.) It’s an early example of what we’d call dystopic today. (A world with no adults? Cool.)

Toddler Storytime, Wednesday, January 7


There wasn’t a huge toddler turnout to speak of today, since it was blasted cold out. So I had four little ones and their adults, and we had a nice little cozy time.


We read I Went Walking with the accompanying flannels I made, and I asked my little ones to make the animal noises and pick up the flannel animals they see in the book. We sang “Did you ever see…” with the flannel things that fly – bees and birds and butterflies, etc., and finished up with The Seals on the BusThat’s a fun one – it works really well in groups, because I often talk to the kids about what it might be like to see a tiger driving the bus, or how loud it might be if monkeys got on the bus, or if they would like to be around slithering snakes.

With books like The Seals on the Bus, with lots of verses and interesting pictures, there lots of ways you can read it:

1) Straight through (if everyone’s attentive)

2) Straight through but skip some of the verses (if the little ones are restless)

3) Briefly mentioning the animals on each page before singing the verses (“Oooh, look, a tiger! The tiger on the bus says…”

4) Lingering over the animals on each page before singing the verses (“Wow, look at those monkeys! What noises do you think the monkeys will make? Are monkeys loud or quiet? Will they be sitting still or moving around? Let’s see! The monkeys on the bus say…”)

With a very small group, I had a great time doing #4, taking my time with them. I did an abbreviated story time anyway, since I waited a little bit longer after the start time to see if there would be anyone else joining us, but I don’t blame parents for not venturing out into the cold!

Also, we discovered this in one of our biographies about Martin Luther King, Jr. today. We’re going to let our acquisitions person know; if it were me, I’d suggest withdrawing all copies in all libraries from the system:


I mean, come on. How hard is it to actually fact-check before you publish? Just Google it. I did. Google “martin luther king jr. birthday” and every answer you get will be January 15.

How did this get published in the first place?

I swear.


In today’s top spot: I truly have nothing against e-Readers. If that’s how people prefer to read, well, they’re still reading, so who cares? I personally just prefer actual books. This article, though, surprised the socks off of me.

Please ignore how poorly written the article is, but it does give a sense of what large urban libraries can be like.

From Friend D:

A sweet vignette about storytelling.

From Friend J:

Oh, The Onion. You always get it right.

From Mama Bear:

I know Friend E is doing #12.

#11, particularly, and for that book. When I asked Mama Claus two years ago for The Perks of Being a Wallflower for Hanukkah – and yes, I know it’s for Hanukkah and I call her Mama Claus, deal with it – and this year for Gone Girl, I specifically requested the original covers because the movie covers are just not okay.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid! HEEEE!

From Sister A:

My Feedly just exploded with all of these.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I finished the sequel to Julie of the WolvesJulie, and it was as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be. I’m sorry I didn’t read it sooner. Then I read a book called Ellis Island, which was fine, except it really wanted to be a Maeve Binchy book, which no book can ever be if it was not written by Maeve Binchy, and it should not have tried to be.

Odds and Ends


Just a post of odds and ends today to start off the new year.

* My Coworker K in adult services was inventorying a book of Jewish traditional music, and called me in to help her pronounce some of the words. We spent a good five minutes going “Chhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” just for fun. I never thought I’d be singing the tune to “Maoz T’sur” in the adult services room.

* You know what I hate? When patrons don’t use their eyes. Case in point: a patron recently said, “You know what you guys should have? Little pencils that patrons can use to write things down.”

Ma’am, have you seen how freaking overrun we are with golf pencils around here? They breed like rabbits. We started off with two and now we find them EVERYWHERE. Under tables. At the backs of shelves. In my shoes at the end of the day. Sometimes after a shower, when I’m Q-tipping my ears, they fall out. But if you had looked on the desk, right under your nose, you would have seen them.

* We had an incredible turnout of kids for our Sunday STEAM Team program, building circuits from a kit. Amazing! And mostly girls!

* I love when books that I adored as a kid are still being published. Case in point. (Also, as a child, I never got how meta it was. I mean, right? Grover was aware he was in a book, that the book would eventually come to an end, and that his fate was controlled by the reader.)

*Most importantly, and what this post is really about, is that I am floored on a regular basis by the differing attitudes of parents to the library.

One day, recently, a parent left her children alone in the children’s room (none of whom were of the age or above to be left alone), while she went to get books for her school project. I realized she was gone while I was mentally matching up the kids to their adults, and had to call security in a slight panic. She was brought back by security, irritated, because security had interrupted her – how dare they! – and her kids were fine. She was mostly irritated because security only should have come to find her if there was a problem (and in her eyes, unattended children were not a problem!) When I tried to talk to me, she kept walking away, giving me more and more attitude, telling me that she absolutely had to get her books because someone else could take her books while she was standing here talking to me.

What I was saying: “Ma’am, I understand that you want to get your books, but the security officers and I are very serious about your children’s safety. Let me get you a copy of our rules so that you have them handy for the next time you visit the library.”

What I was thinking: “”Oh, I’m so sorry. Are we bothering you about the welfare of your children? Clearly your books are more important.”

Look, it’s admirable that she’s in class. It’s admirable that she’s in the library looking for books. The children, luckily, were mostly engrossed in their books and didn’t even notice her absence. But she saw the library as a babysitter – not the librarians, luckily.

One the complete opposite end of the spectrum, a parent came in with her elementary-age children to have them redeem their winter reading sheets for prizes. Burrito prizes. Free burritos.

(In other news: )

This mother could not have been prouder of her kids, the kids could not have been more excited, and she could not have been more grateful to us – and we’re just the librarians; we don’t make the rules – and insisted on taking a picture of each child with his/her completed form and Chipotle card. Where most kids would have “Aw, mooooom”ed, they were grinning from ear to ear for the snaps.

These weren’t kids who needed the incentive of free Chipotle to read. These were kids who love to read, who we see here often, who now have learned that if you read, not only do you have the pleasure of reading and learning something, but sometimes you get burritos out of it. This is a mother who sees the library as a place of learning, a place that rewards her children for doing something they love anyway, and a place that engages them and challenges them even when they’re not in school.

How about a little more of the latter and less of the former, huh?


I believe the children are our future. #whitneyhouston

Stolen from Coworker W’s Facebook page. Also, Sister A has a massive NDeGT thing – he once spoke at her school – and I just think he’s the coolest.

This is funny, but also hits an awkward truth.

Some book-to-movie adaptations (attention, Hardy fans!)

From Coworker C:

“They didn’t actually hop on pop until about two-thirds of the way through the book, and when they did, the author never explains why it was happening.”

From Friend D:

What do I have to do to see a Bronte ghost?

The Baudelaire one is spot on.

From Friend E:

Diversity popped up in 2014, not surprisingly, in sci-fi and fantasy.

Mark your calendars, chickadees, and get out your lists of books to read.

From Mama Bear:

Literally the best article I’ve ever read. (Not really; I just had to throw the “literally” in there in the spirit of the article.)

From Sister A:

Yeah, this is our life.

More books you’re just going to have to read in 2015.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, my first book finished in 2015 was Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers, which I recommend to any Downton Abbey fan – wealthy American girls marrying poor titled English men.

And now, for my favorite Daddio joke, which I have been waiting WEEKS to use:

Q: What’s a buccanneer?

A: A high price to pay for corn!

I’m here all week, folks. Don’t forget to tip your servers.

Next, to start with my resolution of reading more YA and JUV lit, I picked up a YA book about an Amish community battling vampires. My intentions were good, at least, even if the book wasn’t. And then, while weeding a shelf of G-initialed authors, I thought, “Hey, Julie of the Wolves. Man, I haven’t read that since fifth grade. And its sequel. Gotta read that.” So I picked them both up. Let me say this: I got nothing out of Julie of the Wolves when I was ten, except that Miyax got married at 13 (ewww!) and then vomited when her husband tried to have sex with her (ewwwwwwww!!!!) and there were lots of wolves in the book. This time around, I appreciated the beauty of the writing and can easily see why it won the Newbery award.

But still: vomit. Ew.