Posts Categorized: Geekery

Bullet Journaling

January 7, 2017 Geekery 9

Right, so, clearly “bullet journals” are a THING right now. A trend, a fad, a glorious new way of life, whatever you want to call it — I’m doing it.

(If this is all new to you, check out the official Bullet Journal website here.)

I’ve been sort of sloppily, unofficially doing this thing for a couple of months now. I found it very helpful and I think I’ve settled into kind of a groove with it, so I’m starting the year fresh with a brand new journal:

The journal itself is a Moleskine that I grabbed from the university bookshop. I like it because the pages are sewn in, which means that the binding can hold up to more abuse. I prefer lined pages over the bujo-typical graph or dot grid kind.



I use the “offical” method of organization, with a key and an index, year-at-a-glance pages, and monthly + weekly tasks. I have my own way of doing the actual bullet lists, though.


I also have some personal trackers. I track various health/exercise type things on a monthly grid — though I prefer notes (sleep: 7.5 hours, mood: cranky, etc.) instead of those fill-in-the-square types of trackers that a lot of bullet journal people seem to like. I’ll also be tracking calories/weight loss on separate inserts that I can throw away later on.

Do you bullet journal? If so, are you an artsy sort or a minimalist? Or have you tried it, and found you didn’t care for it — and why? Talk to me!


Conference

October 26, 2016 Geekery, Library Life, Meta 4

I’ve been kinda MIA due to a conference that my library has been hosting this week. It’s been a really interesting, fun, nerve-wracking, AND rewarding experience… but I’m also pretty dang exhausted right now.

But I’ve got a few posts in the pipeline and some big plans bubbling on the back burners right now, so stay tuned!

Beautiful final evening at #SCCMLA16 #Galveston

A photo posted by Louise (@bibliothekla) on


Summer Reading for Grown-Ups

June 6, 2016 Books, Geekery, Library Life 4

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This is the first year since I started working as a librarian that I’m not in charge of any summer reading programs. No events to plan, no kiddos to wrangle, no posters to put up, no prizes to give out. It’s just me & my own books this summer.

Which is why I wanted to join up with my own neighborhood library’s adult summer reading club. It’s a pretty simple set-up: if you read 10 books or go to 10 events or do a combo of 10 books/events, you get a little pin (and bragging rights, natch). If you hit 20, you get library-themed SHOELACES. I am bound & determined to get me those dang shoelaces, if only to say that I won library-themed shoelaces because I read a ridiculous number of books.

Another nearby public library has a weekly drawing that only requires a title of a book you’ve read for the entry form. The prize is a custom bag (not sure what “custom” means in this case — maybe something with the library logo or decorated with the summer reading program theme). I actually used to work at this library and I know the folks there who are running this program are pretty dang cool. But I don’t remember whether you have to be a city resident to participate, and I’m not anymore, so I do need to check on that….

Not every public library does SRC stuff for grown-ups. The one where I used to work (diff. from the bag one above) gave up on it after years of low attendance/participation. They had other stuff going on for the grown-ups, though. My own focus was mostly on the teen events, which could be anything from making slime to watching anime to irreverently “decorating” the statue of the library founder (he wouldn’t have really minded, I don’t think). The branch closest to our new neighborhood doesn’t really have any events for adults that will fit into my schedule, though, so I guess if I want those shoelaces I better get to reading.

Anyway… anyone else out there doing their library’s summer reading programs for adults? What is your goal & what kind of prizes are you aiming for?


New Home, New Jobs

October 1, 2015 Geekery, Home Sweet Home 0

These past couple of months have been just a tad overwhelming.

First, our new house ….

It took about a month and a half of waiting and a mountain of paperwork and several sleepless nights to get here, but we’re finally settled in and getting everything set up just right for us. There are lots of things we need to buy or fix or change, but this place is finally starting to feel like it’s really ours.

Here’s some more good news ….

Last month, while we were in the process of buying the aforementioned house, Gary was offered a better job at the museum. While he certainly enjoyed (and was very good at) his previous job, it was an hourly customer service position that required lots of energy and patience. His new position is salary, which is certainly nice, but more importantly he’s getting to work with the actual artifacts and other back-end type of museum stuff.

Here’s even more good news ….

I’ve started work at a new library. I’m now in the technical services department of a university library (a very nice one, though I’m not really comfortable going into too much detail about it). This is really kind of bittersweet, because I was truly sorry to leave my job at the public library. I enjoyed working there and I’ll miss my coworkers and even some of the patrons (though definitely not some others). But when a big opportunity like this falls in your lap, you can’t ignore it, can you? So I took that opportunity and now I’m settling in at the new place and learning lots of new stuff. It’s exciting but a little bit exhausting, not gonna lie.

To be quite honest, I’m really hoping for a period of stability now. This past year has been absolutely bonkers — a big car wreck followed by an unexpected promotion for me followed by a hoped-for promotion for my husband followed by a new house followed by another new job for me….

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for our recent good fortune, but I’m ready to sit back and enjoy life for a while!


Summer is Coming

May 30, 2015 Books, Geekery, Library Life 0

May is coming to a close. The schools are about to let the kiddos out for a nice long vacation. The tourists are descending in flocks upon the beach towns. Libraries, museums, and other kid-friendly / air-conditioned places are bracing themselves… summer is coming.

summer is coming

Like this, but with less death. Probably.

Summer reading means something different to everyone. For some, it’s all about entertainment — easy, fun “beach reads” or catching up on the latest bestsellers. For some, it’s the perfect time to double down and really stretch towards some reading goals (there’s nothing better than long road trips [as a passenger obviously!] or hours trapped inside with the AC for this). For some, it’s about trying new things because YOLO (that’s a thing the youths say these days, I think). For some, it’s about returning to comfy old favorites once again.

We’re just about to launch into our annual summer reading clubs at my library. Every library has their own way of doing this kind of thing; ours is really meant to encourage childhood literacy + safe, fun stuff to do outside of school. We don’t have a “grown up” summer reading club this year, so I’m signing up with another nearby library that does just for my own amusement. I like setting goals and checking stuff off of lists (another post coming soon on that topic…) so summer reading clubs are just right up my alley.

So what am I planning to read this summer?


First, let’s look at some upcoming titles. These haven’t been published yet, but they will be soon, and I’m trying to catch up on them to get those reviews out in a timely manner!

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All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder, due July 2015
Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán, due July 2015
The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas, due October 2015
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, due June 2015
The Only Woman in the Room by Eileen Pollack, due September 2015
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer, due June 2015

Next up are some blacklist titles that I signed up to read for some challenges this year (the TBR Pile Challenge and the Foodies Read one, not to mention the Classics Club). I really need to play catch up on these lists!

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The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Road to Dr Pepper, Texas by Karen Wright

And here are a handful of books that recently caught my eye, but I haven’t really had a chance to pick them up yet. Maybe this summer is the perfect time for them?

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott
Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss
Tibet, Tibet by Patrick French
Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

Sooo…

Have you read any of these? Or do you have any other recommendations for my summer reading plans? Want to take bets on whether or not I’ll be able to read them all?


New Texas Wildlife

November 10, 2014 Geekery, Museum Musings 0

The Houston Museum of Natural Science recently reopened their Texas wildlife exhibit. The old exhibit was in dire need of some TLC — one of the dioramas had been so ravaged by moths that it was closed off for at least 3 years and many of the specimens were damaged beyond saving. The new exhibit abandons the “old school” style of neatly lined up, glassed-in shadow box style scenes in favor of something more like the museum’s contemporary paleo hall.

The visitors are meant to feel that they are walking through the displays rather than past them, as though they are nearly interacting with the animals. And in some ways it really is an interaction; several of the animals are animatronic and their movements are apparently triggered by viewers passing nearby. It was rather startling at first!

Before we get to the photos, I have to make a couple of apologies!

First, though it has been about a month since we went to California, I haven’t yet posted anything about that particular trip — a post or two on this subject should be up soon.

Second, most of the photos I took in this new exhibit were so blurry as to be completely unusable, and though I did my best to sharpen them up, the photos below really aren’t top quality. I don’t know if there was something on my lens or if I just had the shakes from too much coffee or what.

Enough blather — now for a few photos!

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“Summer Slide” Article

May 30, 2014 Geekery, Library Life 0

Just a quick post about an article I wrote that was published in one of the local papers last week: Just Read

Excerpts:

Reading during the summer acts as an essential vaccine against summer slide.

Summer slide is what happens to kids’ brains when they spend months out of the classroom and in front of the TV set instead; all of that precious knowledge they picked up in the past school year starts to slide right out of their minds. The problem is especially noticeable among kids from disadvantaged backgrounds or underprivileged schools. Scientific studies back up this claim. For example, a 2007 Johns Hopkins University longitudinal study in Baltimore showed this problem disproportionately impacts low-income children whose families do not have the resources to purchase educational games or send them to special camps. 

So, how can kids and their parents avoid this insidious summer slide without turning a gloriously school-free summer into miserable weeks of study and drudgery? A follow-up analysis of the Baltimore study published in 2012 tells us that the answer is surprisingly simple — read. Play mind-stimulating puzzle games, try a few art projects, dust off those old binoculars and go for a nature hike, but most of all — read.

Summer is when your local public library shines. A 2010 article in the International Reading Association’s Reading Today newsletter posits that lack of easy access to books directly translates to lack of voluntary reading, which leads to loss of reading skill over time. However, most public libraries — including every public library in Galveston County — offer free summer reading programs for children and teenagers.

I don’t feel right posting the article in its entirety here, but I think you get the point. Anyway, you can read the whole thing at the Galveston Daily News website, but you’ll have to get past the paywall first, I’m afraid: HERE


TLA 2014 Retrospective

May 19, 2014 Geekery, Library Life 0

Last month I was lucky enough to get to go to the Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio. I learned a lot and got bunches of cool stuff and met like a bazillion people and basically had a blast!

Day 1 | In which, surprising no one, Louise gets slightly lost

I live within reasonable driving distance of San Antonio, so that’s how I chose to travel. I’m glad I did, because I got to see all of the wildflowers in bloom. It was so, so tempting to stop on the side of the highway and take a selfie among all the bluebonnets, but I somehow managed to refrain.

I went to only 1 session on Tuesday. TBH, I’m afraid I was a little too tired and overwhelmed to fully appreciate it, so I’ll refrain from writing too much about it. After that first session, I wandered around and got a little bit lost down on the Riverwalk. Got some delicious fish tacos for lunch at Charlie Wants a Burger, which I certainly recommend — but be careful about sitting out on the patio, the ducks are a little bit pushy about your scraps! I finally found my way back to the convention center (a very nice place, by the way) in time for the grand opening of the exhibit hall that afternoon.

That evening, I ended up at the Menger Hotel bar, a cozy little spot with lots of dark wood paneling and a giant moose head on the wall. The GLBT interest group was having a little social there and I had the pleasure of meeting some pretty interesting librarians!

Day 2 | In which the conference is in full swing

Wednesday started with a light breakfast with a friend — thankfully I knew someone who was staying at the same hotel (hi TPR!) and we were able to walk down to the convention center together. The first session of the day… wasn’t what I expected, unfortunately. That’s too bad, but at least the next 2 sessions I went to were perfectly lovely.

I wandered around the exhibit hall for a few hours on Wednesday as well. I tried to meet with most of the vendors we use at my library and I was also able to pick up a handful of books and other “swag” for use as giveaways for our library’s teen volunteer group.

A small group of us ended up at a little bistro called Zinc for dinner that evening. We probably occupied our table for just a little too long, but the food was simply wonderful, and so was the wine. I managed to get just a little bit of work done once I got back to the hotel, but much of what I ha been intending to do involved internet access and it was just impossible to get my laptop to connect. ¡Qué lástima! At least it wasn’t like I lacked for books to read in what little free time I did have.

Day 3 | In which Louise is starstruck

Thursday was probably my longest day at the conference; I was out and about from 8 in the morning until 11 at night! Yeah, that’s a lot of work, but most of it was the fun sort of work, so I can’t complain.

The day started with a fantastic session on e-books / databases. Then I went to the “Texas Tea with YA Authors” for lunch. Well… not lunch so much as a glass of iced tea + a single mediocre pastry. Luckily I had been warned ahead of time that this would be the case, so I had a quick sandwich from a snack stand on the way to the event. I found out later that the hotel’s catering company charged the organizing group about $1,000 just for the iced tea, and they didn’t even provide enough seats for everyone who’d bought a ticket (extra chairs had to be squeezed in at the last minute). Ridiculous!

Catering complaints aside, the event really was quite lovely. It was set up speed-dating style, with 1 or 2 authors traveling around to the tables where the librarians had gathered in order to give 10-minute talks on their books or answer questions or just chat a little bit, depending on the group. I was very impressed by all of the authors and their books and I only wish that we could have spent more time getting to know everyone!

I was invited to a couple of publisher events that evening. Here’s something they don’t teach you in library school: when you’re on a book/author list/committee, publishers will make an effort to get you to read their books… and sometimes that effort involves free food and booze. Even better: sometimes that effort involves spending time with authors! I got to meet several YA authors + their supporting staff from the publishing houses. In the interest of everyone’s peace of mind, I won’t go into any detail about these events. I want to be invited back again next year, after all! Suffice it to say that I had a swell time and everyone was just amazingly lovely.

Day 4 | In which The Fonz makes an appearance

One last early morning session: a “Women of YA” panel. I am so, so glad I managed to drag myself out of bed for this one! Possibly the best panel at the con, and nowhere near big enough of an audience (can’t expect too much at 8 in the morning on the last day, though, really). My favorite question was something about male authors who write books for teens and kids — not because of the actual question (oh yes please let’s talk about how important the menfolk are during our ladies-only panel) but because of some of the sassy and well-thought-out responses from the authors. This panel alone was worth the trip to San Antonio, IMHO.

The next session was on vendor relationships, and it wasn’t as amazing as that morning’s author panel, but how could it be? Authors having a lively conversation on really cool topics >>>>> librarians and vendors talking about how librarians and vendors can get along without wanting to strangle each other. Still, I felt it necessary to be there, as the subject is now relevant to my job description.

I went to General Session III, the official closing session, right after that. This session’s special guest was Henry Winkler, a.k.a. The Fonz. He’s co-writing a series of children’s books meant specifically to help kids with dyslexia get into reading. Mr. Winkler was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult, so the topic is very important to him.

The very last event of the afternoon was a quick meet-up with my fellow Spirit of Texas – High School committee members. We went over the bylaws and guidelines and talked a little bit about what we can expect over the next year or so, all while stuffing our faces with delicious cheeseburgers (well, some of us). Even though this wasn’t an “official” meeting, I’m so glad that we got a chance to see each other face-to-face. I’m really looking forward to working with this interesting group of ladies over the next couple of years!

 



On Butterflies

March 17, 2013 Adventures, Geekery, Museum Musings 0

My mother came to town recently. It was a nice little visit. We ended up going to HMNS and — get this — we went in the Butterfly Center.

That may not seem like a big deal to you but it is to me. You see, I’m afraid of butterflies.

Not, like butterflies specifically. Just anything with more than 4 legs in general. Spiders and wasps are the worst, but other “cute” creatures like ladybugs or, yes, butterflies are still pretty awful. I can’t even eat shrimp if the legs are still attached.

But… we went into the little tropical habitat and I didn’t run and I didn’t scream and, most importantly, I didn’t smush any rare live specimens. We even saw an Atlas Moth which was surprisingly really cool. So: VICTORY.

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