Monthly Archives: March 2015

Family Storytime, Saturday, March 21



I’m absolutely knackered, but I am extremely happy.

I don’t know if this is true for all neighborhood branches, but I’m getting to be a librarian. Doing a lot of readers’ advisory – finding biographies of soccer players, books for seven-month-olds, books about birds in the Carolinas, graphic novels like the Bone series – and even a big project (marking and organizing the holiday books, so I can leave my mark and take some of the work off of the staff).

It’s terrific.

On Saturday I had a great turnout for my Saturday Family Storytime. About 30 children and adults of all ages attended, which I had anticipated, because I am a smart cookie.


In accordance with my “one new book every storytime rule,” I had originally planned to use a delightful new book, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, but it was a little too preschool, to go along with the Jeremy Draws a Monster/The Monster Returns combo by Peter McCarty. Realizing that I might get some toddlers and littler ones too, I threw in I Went Walking into my pile just in case the aforesaid littler ones appeared, and they did. It kind of threw off my Creature Feature theme, but, well, flexibility is the name of the game.

This storytime was markedly different from any at the Main Branch. The adults were enthusiastic participants; they laughed in all the right places because they were actively paying attention; they sang along to all the songs; not a single cell phone was to be seen (and after I made my “please set them to vibrate and put them away” spiel, they actually did.) I was a little blown away.

And as they leave the storytime, the adults say, “Let’s look at some library books to take out,” rather than leaving the library like bats out of hell. What a change!

In slightly related news, I was on a complete waste of a date the other night with some dillhole who expected me to justify the existence of libraries and my career choice. For real. As in, he actually asked something along the lines of, “But why would you want to work at a library when eBooks are taking over?” I was not having it. I gave him a tight smile along with the answer that our systemwide circulation is actually going up, that we provide much more than books, but meeting rooms, a community space, 3D printer access (this surprised him a lot), speakers, storytimes and afterschool programs, etc. etc. etc. (he also asked me if I led a storytime and actually sang in front of the children).

Maybe learn how libraries work before making a fool out of yourself.

Links – hold onto your hats; I have a lot.

In the top stories, too many deaths to report: fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett and children’s and YA author Ellen Conford,

In the next top spot, did I call possible shenanigans? I did.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was an article from “The Onion.” YOU DON’T GET TO SHUSH US.

These are all hilariously, ridiculously, unbelievably true. You have no idea. (The real laws of library science are here.)

You don’t often put the words “entrepreneurs” and “libraries” in the same sentence, but here you go.

Weird, but I’ve heard weirder.

I might have to give them all my money.

You know that the White in Strunk and White is E.B. White who wrote Charlotte’s Web, right?

From Friend D:

Look, this whole Snape redemption arc? Not a fan. I still think he’s a jerk.

How do you just LOSE Cervantes? I don’t get it.

If I were studying with this guy, I’d probably have to kill him. If I were the librarian there, I’d probably just roll my eyes and call security. Given that I’m not there, hilarious!

From Friend J:

Now you, too, can smell like an old book. (And look at the name of the perfume, isn’t that great/weird?)

From Friend L:

The struggle is real! You don’t know!

From Mama Bear:

Jaded,” Sir Arthur? Really?

And in other Sir Arthur Conan Doyle news….

And yet more news. I will be watching this.

Can’t wait to see Mr. Holmes – now there’s a release date.

A look at one of the 100 best novels: To Kill a Mockingbird… seen through Anglo eyes.

This article really should be called “What a lot of freshly-minted adults learned from rereading their favorite children’s books they had last read less than ten years ago.”

The Paper Towns trailer!!!

This is funny because it’s true.

I’m really going to have to watch this, despite my meh-ness about Lena Dunham.

From Sister A:

Agree with some, not all.

Sneak in extra reading time!

Sarah Polley is an acclaimed director in her own right, but I’ll always have a soft spot for her because she was Ramona.

My hometown library’s new director. And it’s a girrrrrrl!!!

Keep in mind this is a country that also gave us other fabulous ideas like whisky and fried Mars bars. I support it.

If you’re not watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you should, partially because it’s funny, and partially because there are some awesome book references in there. Two of the first episodes (I actually think it IS the first two episodes) have references to the American Girl books and The Babysitters Club), which Sister A and I both fangirled over. Anyway, some book recommendations for the aforementioned Kimmy Schmidt.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I read a satirical play that was fascinating – a quick read and quite thought-provoking. After that, I finally finally finally, after being number 200-something on the wait list, managed to read All The Light We Cannot See, which was good, but not as mind-blowing as all the hype had led me to believe. Still, do read it.  Finally, in my quest to read the chapter books I’d somehow missed as I’ve grown up, or were not quite in my time, I picked up Ella Enchantedwhich was… fine.


Pajama Storytime, Wednesday, March 11


You may be asking yourselves, “Annabelle doesn’t do Pajama Storytime. What is this nonsense? Am I hallucinating?”

No, chickadees, you’re not hallucinating. Remember, I’m at Neighborhood Branch for the next six weeks, and they have a regular Wednesday night PJ storytime, which I have wanted to do FOR. EVER. It’s very exciting.

I’ll talk more about Neighborhood Branch (NB) in a minute, but first, let’s tackle storytime.

Even though I started here yesterday, some of my Main Branch (MB) coworkers had transferred to NB in previous months, and gave me a little heads-up about what to expect in terms of patrons, etc., but most helpfully in what my duties might be. Coworker S told me that I’d probably need to prepare for Wednesday Pajama Storytime and a Saturday Family Storytime, which the manager of NB confirmed when I met with her.

While PJ storytime is really a storytime in the evening, and doesn’t officially have to have anything to do with pajamas, I figured I would dress for the occasion – pajama pants, long-sleeved tee, and of course my Oscar the Grouch slippers, I’m no fool – and choose at least one bedtime-related book. I had only about seven attendees, since 7 p.m. is kind of a funky time for a storytime, but we had a lot of fun, it seemed.

Now, onto what it’s like at NB. Bear in mind, of course, that I’m only on day two of 42 days, and that I still have some things to learn, but I like it very much. I feel like I’m up and moving all the time – collecting used books, shelving books – but I like it. More is going on. We have a quiet time between lunch and school ending, and then once school gets out? BAM. Slammed.

Here in NB I’m working solely with children – not with teens, and not with adults. So that means birth – 12. Tweens are such a different breed from teens (Sister A works with tweens and is sending me smug “Now you know what I’m up against, in the trenches, every single damn day!” emails). The teens I’ve encountered in MB cause more malicious trouble – the swearing, coming in so high they can’t stand up, you know, more serious kinds of trouble. The tweens so far in MB seem to just be tweens, who are more mischevious than malicious: the afterschool freedom, being silly, a little too loud, trying to sneak food in and then getting caught and being all “aw, shucks” about it.

(They have yet to learn that I don’t take any crap, but I’m sure they’ll learn eventually.)

Lots of procedures are different here, such as how we process holds, either coming in or going out, but I’m a quick learner and it all seems straightforward enough. I’m excited to see how it all pans out!


In the top spot: The trailer for the new Gillian Flynn movie is out! It’s in French, but pretty self-explanatory, and NSFW. (Read all her books. Gone Girl was awesome, and it’s my least favorite of the three.)

If you’re artsy, make me one of these, okay?

Empowering books for little girls (or any girls).

Nine life lessons from children’s books.

Exit, pursued by a bear. 

Madeline’s obituary, from McSweeney’s. (The other ones are good, but this is my favorite, particularly the last line, natch.)

It’s the best book about museums, that’s for sure.

I hate to say this, but I can see the truth in it…

Some of these are freakin’ hard! (I was on Jeopardy! a few years ago, and I would have happily severed my own fingers for a lit category.)

What’s in Britain’s “most eccentric and original library”?

From Friend D:

This is the sexiest library ever. I’ve never been to Seattle, but want to go purely for the library.

From Mama Bear:

Alaska, naturally.

As someone who found her favorite British series from childhood on eBay as an adult, the answer is yes, yes it is.

Good for the daily non-reader, said Mama Bear (“read: non-us,” she said. We’re reading snobs in our family.)

A million of them. 

More better book titles.

Anyone who loves Sherlock Holmes from such a young age is okay by me.

Still spunky after all these years (although – was that really Harper Lee who wrote the note? #conspiracy)

From Sister A:

“I sincerely hope they do it justice,” she said in her email.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, prepare for my consumption of books to decline sharply while I’m at NB. Now that I have a much shorter commute (either by car, bus, or foot), rather than my standard 45-minute-plus commute, I won’t be inhaling books as quickly as I have in the past.

Anywho, as I was weeding last week, I picked up a book that I remember disturbed the hell out of me when it was read aloud in fourth grade, so I wanted to revisit it to see why. This time around, I found it mostly charming, and could see some traces of what would have scarred nine-year-old Annabelle.

The other book I read this weekend was so over-the-top ridiculous with its symbolism and its themes that I was like, OKAY I GET IT ENOUGH WITH THE DRUGS AND THE SEX WE GET IT IT’S ALL THE TITLE OF THE BOOK and now that’s two days of my life I’ll never get back. But I stuck with it because I thought it might get better. Spoiler alert: it did not.

Preschool storytime, Wednesday, March 4


Oh, preschoolers, you silly things. We had a fun time yesterday.


I used my felts of food with Today is Monday, and managed to remember to wear my “no more monkeys jumping on the bed” shirt for Five Little Monkeys (I just keep it at work now – it’s easier that way). My new book this time was Ping Pong Pig, which was really cute and funny. I’m not sure how much the kids got it, and given that they were my oldest kids, it may not be worth it to use again – darn.

Today is a snow day – we got walloped again – and I’m actually quite sad, for two reasons. One, I was scheduled for storytime with my ones, which I always like, and two, Boss had asked me to fill in for two hours at the main welcome desk on the first floor, which I was really looking forward to. I’d never worked there before, and that department is a little short today (guess it’s a moot point now!). How interesting would that have been, to be able to spend some time right in the middle of the entrance?

I also have some news. I’ve been “detailed” – which means sent temporarily – to a neighborhood branch for about six weeks due to a staff shortage there. Incidentally, it’s the same branch I spent a few days at a little while ago, right in my own neighborhood. It’ll be quite different from working at Main Branch, and spending some significant time there will be quite a change. Plus, I’ll have a super-short commute, and saving time and money is something I can’t complain about!

Links today:

How to tell if you are in a Victor Hugo novel.

Six ways to be a library power user!

Batgirl is my favorite comic librarian. Sexy and smart, that girl.

How great are all of these? I’m having trouble deciding on a favorite.

Again, having trouble deciding on a favorite, but the Viagra one had me laughing the hardest. Oh, God, sorry. HA!

From Friend D:

Nietzsche Ipsum blah blah!

From Friend L:

This really does capture the weirdness of teen boys in YA literature.

From Mama Bear:

Six places to legally download books for free.

Erik Larson has a new book out! He’s one of those people whose new books I’ll order immediately, sight unseen, regardless of the topic.

YA Author Mal Peet has died.

The trailer for Lena Dunham’s Eloise documentary.

A (veddy veddy British) list of 50 books that every child should read by age 16.

Speaking of veddy veddy British, a teaser trailer for Ian McKellen in “Mr. Holmes.”

From Sister A:

Some great bookish prints for your walls.

“Been there!” was Sister A’s subject line. (How great will it be to get a little surprise in the package?)

Lots of great choices, including Grasshopper Jungle and Jacqueline Woodson!

A survey on Britain’s readers (we’re all Anglophiles in my family) – I’d love to see what American reading habits are, or maybe not, on second thought…

In What’s Annabelle Reading, Friend R gave me her copy of Serena, which has been made into a movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper (sound familiar?). Fascinating.

One last thing, my chickadees. Today is World Book Day. Go pick up a book – a new one, an old one, a thick or thin one – and enjoy all it has to offer.

The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Annabelle


Without some storytimes on my docket the past week or so, it’s been pretty quiet for me. Plus, my links are piling up in my inbox! I don’t like having a “light” schedule – I like staying busy. But that’s not to say I haven’t been doing plenty of planning.

For instance, I had training today for one of my yearly goals: readers’ advisory (RA), which is just a fancy term for recommending books to our patrons. While most of my RA in the past has been face-to-face, with children or teens, and having them ask what I would recommend, now my system is going to offer it RA online.

Later this year, patrons will have the opportunity to email the library system (similar to what the Brooklyn Public Library has done this year) for a recommendation, and then one of the librarians will respond to that email, or they can look online and find a list of books within a particular genre (cookery, historical fiction, erotica, young adult, biographies, etc.), that we’ll call “Pick Lists.” (I think my first pick list is going to be silly picture books. There are so many choices!) Patrons can even find a staff member’s profile and see what kind of books that staff member recommends.

This is something I’m really excited about. 99% of my children’s and teens RA tends to be books I’ve read as a child, either for fun or in school, and recommend over and over again. I want to get some new books under my belt, in genres I don’t know as well, so I can expand my horizons.

It’s also getting close to summer. Hard to believe, right, since it’s only March, and just barely March at that, with ice storms all over the place? Yup, this is the way it is. Like last summer, I’m planning our in-kind summer reading visits (the visitors/performers who won’t charge us), so that’s creeping up on me. We’re also starting to figure out, as a staff, who is doing which programs which weekends during the summer.

Before you know it, it’ll be Labor Day.

I can’t even.

Anyway, links.

In the top spot, if I sat on the Supreme Court, I’d cite Dr. Seuss, JUST BECAUSE I COULD.

Is it weird that I’ve never read this, or that I want to?

“Our Anne.”

These are all real, I promise you.

There are so many parallels between Downton Abbey and the world of Harry Potter. The actors, the scenery… the mixed marriages?

Thanks, Rotarians!

From Friend D:

Historically, libraries and prisons have gone hand in hand. Here’s one more example.

Fairy tales – the Grimm ones, not the neat, sanitized Disney ones – are really kind of screwed up. Read at your own risk.

“Personally, I’d wager that the angrier the challenge to read outside your comfort zone makes you, the more likely you are to profit by it.”

From Friend E:

Happy birthday to this fine-lookin’ man. Don’t recognize him? Would you believe me if I say he’s this guy?

From Library Friend D:

My branch hosted a program similar to this one before I joined, and I’d love to see it brought back. Dogs are the best listeners.

From Mama Bear:

Written by a teen! But the answer to the title question is: because YA and Teen fiction crosses genres, of course.

In more Downton/Harry Potter crossovers, the actors sort their characters into Hogwarts houses.

Who’s ever heard of this?

From Sister A:

E.B. White was so much more than just a children’s book author (and probably wouldn’t want you to characterize him that way).

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I was not so much astonished by Astonish Me. (That’s a tall order, I think, to be astonished by a book – it rarely happens on my end, but then again, I am a book snob.) Next, I was surprisingly hooked by The Story Hour, and the stories of both of its protagonists. It’s a “sticky” book, and won’t leave me for a while.