Monthly Archives: October 2015

Baby Storytime Thursday, October 22 and Preschool Storytime, Monday, October 26


I’m back, my chickadees, and I promise I’ll have a trip-themed post about what I saw and did in the U.K. quite soon. But I came back and jumped into my storytimes without a pause, and now here we are, with me slacking on my posts, as usual.

My babies were so cute on Thursday. No infants are itty-bitty babies, but no one over a year, so that was fine with me.

In keeping with the 65% songs/fingerplays and the 35% reading percentages, I used only two books this time, which sticks with my usual choices for Babytime:


Two tried-and-trues with my behbehs. I love them. And around 8-12 months, those are just the ages when they start responding to the songs, waving their hands in the air for “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and patting their legs for “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” (Except this time, we used the egg shakers! Everyone loves the egg shakers! Especially to gnaw on, so I used some wipes on them afterwards to get all the baby cooties off.)

Yesterday I had a class of toddlerish preschoolers, or maybe very young preschoolers, and it was the “Around the World Storytime slot. So I did my best with my very limited Spanish:


With Green is a Chile PepperI had them point to the color we were talking about on the rainbow mats they always sit on. Every book can be interactive in SOME way. While there are stories with plots that will suck kids in, younger kids in storytime often can’t sit still for those. So I like to find some way to have them “help me tell the story.” Rachel Isadora’s Say Hello! is one I’ve used often with older kids, since they say “hello” in different languages right along with the book’s main character.

We also did Five LIttle Pumpkins, which I’ve noticed – at least among my day cares and preschools – is standard across the board. The children all know the words, and their hand motions are adorable. (I tried to find something on the interwebs with the motions, but couldn’t. I’m sure you, my smart chickadees, can figure them out from the words.)


This blog’s top link: watch and be mesmerized.

In the “Ave Atque Vale” spot reserved for thanks and love: Vera B. Williams.

I will be wearing one of these on Friday to a party.

I don’t care if I’ve posted these before; maybe I have. But they’re just so good.

My note to myself pre-posting: “Great Scott, this is bad.”

From Friend D:

If you hadn’t told me what this was, “baby rattle” would not be the first thing that came to mind.

The little jokes that sprout from Lewis Carroll’s brain.

Reading and writing are inextricably linked.

All those books, in a building bought for a dollar.

Did you ever think that “Bloom County” and Go Set a Watchman would be linked?

A physical book is like eating a great meal in a beautiful restaurant with a fantastic view; an e-book is like eating that same meal from a takeout box on your lap in a basement.”

Does this make you think?

Normally, I’d be like, “Just give me a regular book,” but the idea of “literary geocaching” – where do I sign up?

Oh my I love me some Eloise.

From Friend L:

Here come these bookends to save the day!

Well, THIS is going to be a good time.

From Friend P:

Hee, Laurapalooza.

From Friend R:

Take me there now.

From Mama Bear:

How professional readers read for pleasure.

A look inside the penny book trade.

Can you imagine the stories behind these?

The sweetest little movie you will watch in a long forever.

Well, good, at least someone gets it.

Kind of not the greatest review for Robert Galbraith’s (coughcough J.K. Rowling cough cough) new book.

More genius from Mallory Ortberg: things men in literature have died from.

From Sister A:

It’s still going, too.

See below for more about The Royal We. In the meantime: hmmmmmmmmm….

… but then I sent this to Sister A on the same topic.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I did a lot of reading since I left!

On the plane, I read Texts from Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg, who I think is a goddess, frankly, because she’s so damn clever. This was a truly funny book – I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read more classics and known those references. Then, during my trip, I reread The Royal Webecause, hey, England, why not, and actually liked it a lot more the second time around. Since I’ve said more than a few times here that 2015 is the 200th anniversary of the first U.S. printing of Emma, I thought I’d read that, but Mansfield Park was calling to me (and I was in BATH, which = Our Jane). So I read that instead and enjoyed it thoroughly.

(Three books in six days away. Not bad.)

I came home and had two holds waiting for me: China Rich Girlfriendthe disappointing sequel to Crazy Rich Asians (I mean, it was okay, just not as good as the first one), and Luckiest Girl Alive, which is among the most recent of the books to receive a blurb toting it as “Gillian Flynn-like,” a sentiment with which I disagree. I would have read it with different eyes if it hadn’t said that on the front.


The Magic of Old Books


The fiscal year is over, so I the goals and projects I’ve been working on have been reached and finished, respectively. I’ve been lagging on talking about our children’s illustrator project, on which Coworker J and I have been working, but now I have some time to share!

We have over 20,000 books archived in the children’s illustrator collection. So this picture, as blurry as it is…


… is just one aisle of books. There are three, and the rest are in a locked enclosure.

Here’s what one shelf looks like:


The books are illustrated books. Children’s books. Illustrated children’s books. Old books. New books. Really old books. Reallllllly old books. It’s an incredible variety.

Here’s an even closer look:


Black Beauty. A book of fairy tales. Thin books, thick books, books in good condition, and books in not so great condition.

I’d schlep up a laptop to the archive on the third floor and open up a Googledocs spreadsheet. What we’re doing is noting the author, illustrator, year of publication, publication house, and the book’s link on Worldcat. The goal is to get a list of what we have, so that the list can then be alphabetized, and the books then organized in that way.

Some of our older books are certainly reflections of their times. Take the title of this one, for example:


(Yes, the “Dark Continent” is Africa.)

And if you weren’t sure of that fact, Mr. A. O. Stafford makes it quite clear in the preface:



The note in the inside cover of this one puts me in awe, lover of British history that I am:


Just casually, “the book went through a Blitz.” You know, one of the major events in London during the Second World War. And now it’s ended up in my hands. (Why am I allowed to touch it?)

A small tidbit of history;


“Charge for over detention two cents a day.”

Late fees will put you in the poorhouse, kids!

Many of our books are falling apart, to the point where they need ribbon to stay together.


So we’re tying it up in a pretty bow to keep the cover on.

Of course, though, it’s not the children’s illustrator project for nothing. So we have some pretty, some beautiful illustrations, and then some that are just breathtaking. The photo below is worth noting:



Yet every so often, I came upon a real treasure. Something I couldn’t even imagine that I’d ever have the chance to see. Remember how above I mentioned that some of our books were reallllly old? I opened one, and chanced upon this title page:


The date of publication may be hard to see at the bottom, so allow me to enlighten you:



But there are a few major problems with the photo.

To the untrained eye, the picture is fine. Yet look closer. I’m not wearing gloves. The book is sitting, unprotected, on my jeans. Go back up to the first picture: the book hasn’t been stored in a special room, with muted lighting and climate control. (Obviously, I’m no expert, either; I’ve never taken an archiving or preservation class, but even my brain tells me that a book from 1795 needs some protection.)

I loved this project. I loved that I never knew which book I’d find next, from what year, what country, what illustrator… but we’d only really managed to “catalog” about eight shelves of the total collection. I’m greedy for more.

In other news, here’s me in my pajamas, with the giraffe.



The Top Link of Indignation: Why hasn’t anyone stopped these people? This is tantamount to murder of the English language! Or in more measured, calmer terms from Mama Bear, “There is a difference between making something accessible and changing it entirely. Clueless is still not Emma.”  Which, true. But still, this is wrong, wrong, wrong!

Congratulations to Raina Telgemeier for this dubious honor!

From Library Friend D:

“He’ll probably ask you to read him a story. Will you forever acquiesce?”

From Friend D:

“The point is not to rank inflammatory books like game highlights. It’s to remind readers that information hasn’t always been free.”

This map is incredible.

If it’s done right, a grown-up Nancy Drew show could be fun.

From Friend G:

Never heard of anything like this, but would love to hear more.

From Friend P:

The article

From Mama Bear:

…and the photos. So long, cards! I won’t miss you!

Please buy me all the things.

Halloween’s a-comin’…

Some of these could be great. Others could be not so… great.

YOU THINK? Sounds obvious, but it’s not.

I could paper my apartment walls with these.

From Sister A:

He didn’t; it’s gorgeous.

Goucher College prof. Juliette Wells – she of the Jane Austen knowledge – argues (successfully) that Our Jane has a Resting Bitch Face. Can’t argue with an expert.

As a Baltimorean, Poe means one thing to me; but he may mean something different to a Bostonian or Angeleno or anyone else.

And speaking of Baltimore, this makes my hometown look smart, which we are, but especially to outsiders. Come visit, hon.

In What’s Annabelle Reading: Nothing, at the moment. I’m too afraid to start a book I can’t finish before I head to England on Monday. But I did just finish Coming of Age at the End of Days, which I suppose was fine, but nothing to write home about. Predictable. I very much liked, as in couldn’t-put-down liked Irvine Welsh’s newest book, but HATED the ending.

Finally, I read my newest Lizzie Skurnick book, Taking Terri Mueller, which I enjoyed very much. Those books rarely let me down. (I’m not linking to it because all the WorldCat links reveal the twist, so go find it yourselves.)

Pajama Storytime, Monday, September 28, and Preschool Storytime, Wednesday, September 30


The wind has changed, and if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you know what that means.


Mary Poppins has opened her umbrella, hopped over the fence of our branch at 17 Cherry Tree Lane, and flown off to her next post in the system to help the children there with her fabulous storytimes.

We shall miss her very much.

So this means that we’re all back to doing more storytimes, which: hurrah for me, because I love them, but also: boo, because I learned so much from watching Mary Poppins at work.

I love my Pajama Storytimes. There have been three, and the turnouts have been poor. The first week, I had five, the second week it rained and we had city-wide transit problems, so I had a big goose egg, and this week I had five, but a completely different five than the first week. What does that mean? I don’t know. But I love PJ storytime and am hoping we’ll keep moving forward with it despite the low turnout.

Today I had another small turnout for my preschool storytime – and not all of them preschoolers – and used three new books! I don’t think I’ve done that since my first storytime, at which all the books were obviously new! I went with a theme of costumes and disguises (didja know that Halloween is coming up????????), and all three books were winners with my tiny crowd.


I should mention that Where’s Walrus is a wordless book, so it worked really well to have a small crowd and ask them questions about the characters and the story. It was adorable.

(My dream storytime would be a packed house, where every child in the audience is of the advertised age, all the adults are on the floor with electronic devices stowed away, and everyone’s participating.)

Last week, on September 23, was my two-year anniversary. How it slipped my mind, I have no idea. This past year went so quickly; it’s crazy. Of greatest note throughout this past year – and forgive my old lady brain if I’ve mentioned it – is that I’m now the most senior librarian in the department. Hard to believe, right? While Coworker J has been around longer than I (and secretly I look to her, as my senior librarian, for all information I lack), I have the most seniority in terms of degrees, as she only just got her degree in May.

This all means that when Boss isn’t around, is off, is sick, is in a meeting, I’m in charge. She announced it at a staff meeting, and while part of me was proud, the other half was expecting everyone to start laughing, but they all turned to look at me with something akin to…. well, it could have been respect. I don’t know. Even my eyelids were blushing, so I couldn’t properly tell.

It’s a little intimidating.

Last week Boss had a rough cold that kept her out all week, and all of a sudden, people were coming to me with problems about the playroom, questions about shelving and weeding, a full cart of newly inventoried DVDs, and holes in the staffing schedule. I wearily texted Daddio one day at 3:30, saying, “Guess who’s just now sitting down to eat her lunch?”

But it felt good. I felt useful. And I liked knowing that I could do it without going to Boss for her approval, and knowing this is all good practice for someday heading up the managerial ladder. (Sooner rather than later, I hope.)


Top link: It’s been 20 years (!) since the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice adaptation.

Unfortunately, we will probably always need Banned Books Week.

I’m going home to Bath precisely to lose my shit in Austenland. Isn’t that the point?

Some of these are good, but others are marks of genius.

The song drives me crazy, but the idea is a great one.

From Coworker J:

A lovely interview between authors/illustrators Philip and Erin Stead.

From Friend D:

People who meet me and learn I’m a librarian invariably ask me one question first: “But aren’t books going to be obsolete?” Sometimes I’m able to refrain from rolling my eyes, but my answer is always the same: no. In my system alone, our circulation numbers have risen in the past two years. We’re about to get a huge shipment of board books and easy readers to our department in the next few weeks to replace the ones that are so loved (read: borrowed so often) that they’re falling apart. So one can take from this: books are in no danger of going anywhere. Yes, people are reading e-books, too, but the printed word is under no threat from the digital word.

Perhaps this article serves as a coda to the previous link?

I love me some cat GIFs, but they’re not… art. Are they? 

“A Brotherly Bailout” – one of the things the Hardy Boys… er, Men, might have to deal with today.

If you’ve never read Dashiell Hammett… why not?

Literary tourism can be a double-edged sword.

Books are meant to be loved, but you just have to be careful who you let love them.

Dissention within the canon as to the fate of Lavender Brown.

From Friend E:

Who doesn’t love a good pun? These are quite clever.

From Friend T:

FIRST: Many many mazels to Friend T, who has birthed a being! Welcome to the world, Baby L!

Second: Christmas dinner at Hogwarts. Oh my yes.

From Mama Bear:

Raging liberal that I am, and a supporter of women’s health, as any woman should be, I’m thrilled to announce that Lemony Snicket donated $1m to Planned Parenthood.

A shocking article about the state of the Library of Congress. Innovation is central to the leadership of the next director’s tenure.

A shoutout to Goucher College and one of its Austen profs! (Also, Our Jane is not a “tourist trap.” The world’s second largest ball of mud is a tourist trap. Got it?)

Another shoutout to Goucher’s Juliette Wells. Again, this year is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Emma in the U.S. That’s a big deal for Janeites. (Personally, I think Persuasion is Our Jane’s greatest achievement, but whatever.)

OH YES. (I’d sign up, but I know most of them, I think…)

Yay for funny ladies! (If you didn’t read Dear Committee Members, do!)

“I think books can open one’s eyes to what else is in the world, but it’s also nice if one can see oneself.”

Hilariously brilliant.

Being a Tumbleweed is now on my to-do list.

All of these bookmarks are clever – of course, anything’s better than dog-earing pages.

Mallory Ortberg is some kind of god, I think. Her humor comes too easily.

Short answer: yes, they can. Longer answer, obviously, yes, they can. But let’s get lots of international people on it.

Updating the classics of yesteryear for today’s little bastards is something of which one should be wary. Particularly one of my top three favorites: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I naturally wanted to read Nick Hornby’s latest, Funny Girl, because I’ve loved everything I’ve read of his. But in this one, I was really disappointed. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the book, but it didn’t grab me like his other works. I was thisclose to not finishing it – and even now I’m not sure why I spent the time.

But next…but next! Finally!!! Lair of Dreams – the new Libba Bray! The sequel to The Diviners! And it was (in protagonist Evie O’Neill’s words) posi-tute-ly the berries. It was even better than The Diviners. Original and fun, and, as Sister A and I discovered, it contained a neat little Easter egg for one of her other books. Also perfectly set up for a trilogy. I squeed, and emailed her, and she had squeed over it too. Shared sister squeeing across the miles – it doesn’t get any better than that.