Monthly Archives: November 2015

Gumdrop Wishes and Licorice Dreams


Saturday was International Games Day, and we thought we’d do something really fun in the children’s room. I mean, the Teen Space has its board games, and we lent our Wii to the adults, who could play that or some card games – Yu-Gi-Oh! or Magic or Pokemon, etc. – so we really wanted to go all out for the little ones.

One of my coworkers had done a life-sized Candyland before, and we all agreed that that would be a lot of fun.

But it was also a LOT of work. We cut and taped and measured and formatted – and everyone pitched in. It was one of the best examples of teamwork I’d seen since I’d started at Main Branch. (And since this is going to be our last International Games Day here at Main Branch before we remodel, we wanted to go out with a bang.)

Once we’d set everything up, it looked amazing. All the landmarks were there:

Molasses Swamp:


Gumdrop Mountain:


King Licorice’s Castle and the Ice Cream Sea:


(A closer look at the Ice Cream Sea):


Begin at the beginning.


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Choose any path through Candyland, even the Rainbow Trail (sorry for the glare):


But don’t land on a licorice piece, or you’ll be stuck there for a turn…


Here’s the end! You’ve reached Candy Castle! Hurrah!


And here’s this sign:


We gave away a boatload of prizes and library swag: lunchbags, rubber duckies, drawstring bags, softballs left over from summer reading… since we’re getting into “move out” mode, we’re trying our best to clean out as much as possible.

We had a large turnout, with more attendees than we anticipated. The best part was that it was a passive program, so people could play at their own pace, whenever they wanted.

In other artsy news, Coworker P made this amazing turkey out of books. Isn’t this little guy just the most?



In the top spot, from Sister A, Shakespeare’s Choose Your Own Adventure.

Congrats to Neal Shusterman, who won the 2015 National Book Award for Challenger Deep (which I just finished and was amaaaaazing)!

A few secrets in here…

From Book Club Friend A:

Be careful with book titles – there are a lot of similar-sounding ones out there…

From Camp Friend D:

This takes some serious hard work

From Friend D:

She’s more than just “Art Spiegelman’s wife.”

A scientific look at the book/movie debate.

Undiscovered Charlotte Bronte works! Wow…

anyone else? 2015 is almost over….

Classic comics redux.

Why isn’t this everywhere yet?

A closer look at Baltimore’s “Book Thing.” It is even more awesome than the story depicts.

“The New Yorker Story.”

From Mama Bear:

Margaret Wise Brown and… modernism?

Yes, Horton Heard a Hitler.

From Sister A:

OH, IT’S ON! #hometownlove #GivingTuesday

But I love my old covers better…. (pouts)

What would Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, Claudia, and Dawn read? (Well, we know Claudia’s a Nancy Drew fan…)

Americans missed the boat on Enid Blyton.

“An interesting little list,” says Sister A. Ribbit.

An interview with Rainbow Rowell? Okay… (see below)!

It’s interesting when a call to read comes from a TV station.

It’s that time of year when we start writing up best lists.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I’ve been a little slacky on books lately (sorry), without anything coming in on my holds list.

I read Beautiful Boy, an incredibly moving memoir about a father’s journey through his son’s addiction. It was not easy to read, but important.


I did read Carry On, Rainbow Rowell’s newest book, which is fictional fanfic (I can’t explain it, you have to be there), spinning out from Fangirl.  It’s about a boy wizard (I know) at a wizard school (I know) trying to defeat the most evil wizard there is (I know). And let’s be frank – this is NOT Harry Potter. It’s a sweet, meaningful book, LGBT-friendly, full of suspense and magic and JUST READ IT ALREADY.


Baby Storytime, 11/12/15 and Toddler Storytime, 11/13/15


Happy Friday the 13th, chickadees!

The babies of Thursday were so sweet. I didn’t take pictures of my two books (sorry), but we read Who Said Meow and the BIG BOOK version of The Wheels on the Bus. More songs – I’m getting so much better at “Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon”! – and there you have Baby Storytime.

My toddlers were both all over the place and sedentary today. It’s so odd.


We started with I See Kitty, which is new and frankly adorable, and they just weren’t into it – they were wandering and not paying attention. Remember, this is perfectly normal for that age, so it’s not like preschoolers were doing it and being inappropriate.

Then we sang “Shake My Sillies Out,” and I pulled out “Way Far Away on a Wild Safari,” which has a comforting rhythm to it. During my read of that, they were super-riveted. It may have been the active song we’d just sung, it may have been the rhythm, but the wandering stopped, all eyes were on me, and we did the actions together.

Go figure.


In the top spot: It’s not like this is a surprise, but it’s nice to get confirmation.

Cats and books, books and cats.

Don’t you just love this guy?

A new blog post from Jill Morrow!

From Friend D:

“The Statistical Dominance of Dr. Seuss.”

How’d you do? I did not do well.

I just checked her newest one out today! YAY!

You don’t hear much about typography today, but you should.

What say you about an actual Amazon store?

Learn more about the Octavia Butler archives.

Clearly a website I’m going to have to start following.


From Friend H:

How terrific is this? Don’t you want to stay here, forever?

From Mama Bear:

The side of libraries you never see…

… and how books move inside them.

A great review of a new YA book, written by a Baltimore private school librarian and Newbery medal winner!

“A public library is a public trust.”

How Richard Scarry’s books have changed over the years.

Huzzah! Huzzah! Emma is live!

Huzzah huzzah again for Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

What’s a No-Maj? Find out here.

A lovely Alice wandering through Oxford.

Could you pick just one? I don’t think I could.

“So on the nose,” Mama Bear wrote. Hilarious as always.

The startling voice of Mercer Mayer.

As a copyright move, it makes perfect sense.

From Sister A:

I feel Grumpy (Cat) about this.

Read on, Gryffindors!

Depending on how old you are, you might get really excited about this, like Sister A and I did.

How are book covers designed? Confessions from one such designer.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I thought this sounded so interesting, but alas, I just couldn’t finish it. I tried! Next, I read an interesting little book that had its basis in fact, and read like a delightful non-fiction book. (That’s a first: a novel that reads like non-fiction, but in the best way.)

The next book I read is a finalist for the National Book Award in young people’s literature, and rightly so. It was creative and thoughtful and brilliant. Finally, I picked up a book I’d been dying to read, and it too was a winner. It felt Hitchcockian and DuMaurier-like, and more like a novella than a proper book.

Miscellany, 11.2.15


Here are a few things worth sharing:

Mama Bear was in Michael’s (the art supply store) today and saw this:

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I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – there’s Jane Austen everything!

Boss handed out books AND candy on Halloween, and she said most of the kids chose the books. How awesome is that?

Speaking of Halloween, I went in full Harry Potter mode.


(There is a scar, but you have to look hard to the right of my head to see it.) The wand is a long paintbrush, and that is indeed a Gryffindor badge on my robe, which is Sister A’s undergrad graduation robe. She is not getting it back.

I worked on Saturday, and we were just empty. I would have guessed that we’d have at least some patrons, and those in costume, but nope. I mean, we had some, but no one stayed for long and it wasn’t a thrilling day. We’d had our Halloween events the weekend before, so perhaps that was why.

One of our cutest little boys was absolutely captivated today by a flock of birds flying by the window. They kept going back and forth, back and forth, and his face lit up each time they went by. Such simple joy.

On the other hand of that child coin, we have a father who comes in with his child – she’s perhaps four – and he treats her with contempt and rides her so hard to learn. They were in the Early Literacy playroom today, where we have a play kitchen, foam blocks, and some toys, and he pulled her out after about five minutes because, as he said to her, “you play with too many toys.” SHE IS A YOUNG CHILD, my good sir. He sits and drills her at the computer over her letters, and I can see the frustration and nervousness in her body language.

(Most disturbingly – and this is a trigger warning here for possible abuse, so you may want to skip to the next paragraph – I’ve had to speak to him a few times about his language directed at her, and once had to ask him to leave because he struck her. He mouthed off to me  (“Are you telling me I can’t discipline my own child?”) and I responded with, “Sir, you can discipline your child at home as you see fit, but we do not permit violence in our libraries, so I’m afraid you need to leave.”)

For every lovely moment I have with some children, there’s another moment that is not so lovely.

We received our new goals for next year. At first none of them thrilled me, but as I look, I’m getting more interested. I want to do more social media outreach, and partner with some of our local groups, and observe some of the myriad programs and classes in other departments here in Main Branch. Maybe even my committee work will count. That’d be pretty excellent.

We are weeding our way through the collection. Now we’re up to languages.


What a great problem to have, huh?

From Friend D:

One of the more positive reviews of “Robert Galbraith”‘s new book.

Getting back what’s lost in the interwebs.

Two creative authors have a discussion.

“If a book transports me, I am content.”

A lifetime’s work….

This is news? Judy Blume taught me everything I needed to know, so more recent authors are filling her void.


Crazy, but brilliant.

Want to make books come alive? Try these.

I don’t know how I feel about this – accessibility is a fine thing, but those books on a bookshelf are so impressive.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon!

I love this dude!

From Friend L:

I got “lilac, fresh linens, and iced lemonade.” Can’t argue with that.”

Watch yer grammar, kids.

From Mama Bear:

If what’s in this letter is true, this is an example of how being pro-technology, among other problems, can ruin a library system.

Disagree; libraries aren’t that bad off. (Boy, Mama Bear’s links are depressing right now, huh?)

Everything seems so much more right when LeVar Burton is involved.

“Shades of Harper Lee,” wrote Mama Bear in her email, but this seems to be vetted by the author, which brings me great excitement!

In What’s Annabelle Reading: I felt very special reading Bill Bryson’s newest book, which a) I bought in Cardiff, and b) none of you people can even read yet, because it’s not available in the U.S. till 2016! So ha ha to you.