Posts Categorized: Library Life

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

hcpl_2016

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?


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!

schroeder_allwehavemilan_dinothomas_immortal
hawkins_librarypollack_onlyhillyer_proof
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!

koppel_astrodumas_countellis_founding
clarke_jsmnsaintex_petitprincewright_drpepper
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?

doerr_allthelightpalfrey_bibliotechabbott_ltss
redniss_radioactivefrench_tibetzourkova_wildalone
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?


“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!

 


Xmas @ the Library: Deck the Shelves

December 16, 2012 Geekery, Library Life 0

Sung to the tune of “Deck the Halls”

Deck the shelves with books and movies,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


‘Tis the season for fake pine trees,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Don we now our tacky sweaters,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Like we’re real Yuletide go-getters,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


See the patrons try to find things,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Panic as the phone ring ring rings,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Follow me through the dusty stacks,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


While my patience slowly cracks,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Forgive some fines and look for lost books,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Shush loud children and dodge lewd looks,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Eat some cookies and chug coffee,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Santa’s here at the library,
Fa la la la la la la la la.


Xmas @ the Library: 12 Days of Book Drop

December 15, 2012 Geekery, Library Life 0

Sung to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas”

On the 1st day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

a banana beginning to rot!

On the 2nd day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 3rd day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 4th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 5th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 6th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

6 lost school notes
5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 7th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

7 cracked cases
6 lost school notes
5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 8th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

8 unglued spines
7 cracked cases
6 lost school notes
5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 9th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

9 candy wrappers
8 unglued spines
7 cracked cases
6 lost school notes
5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 10th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

10 crumpled tissues
9 candy wrappers
8 unglued spines
7 cracked cases
6 lost school notes
5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 11th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

11 broken crayons
10 crumpled tissues
9 candy wrappers
8 unglued spines
7 cracked cases
6 lost school notes
5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids
and a banana beginning to rot!

On the 12th day of Christmas we found in the book drop…

12 moldy pages
11 broken crayons
10 crumpled tissues
9 candy wrappers
8 unglued spines
7 cracked cases
6 lost school notes
5 books from another libraryyyyy
4 cockroaches
3 maxipads
2 used band-aids

and  a  banana  beginning  to  rot!


A Challenger Appears!

October 21, 2012 Geekery, Library Life 0

I almost got to do my first book challenge not too long ago. How exciting!

But it was only an almost.

*Minor details changed/omitted to protect privacy.

A gentleman approached the desk and very politely asked to talk to somebody about the appropriateness of a certain book for our library. I’ve listened to patron complaints before, but usually it is just that — complaint, not an actual challenge. Most folks just want someone to listen to their concerns, to tell them that they’ve been heard and that their opinion matters (and it does matter, even if I don’t personally agree with it). But that’s it — hardly anyone wants to take it to the level of formal challenges and board reviews. But this guy that I’m talking about, he knew what was up. He fully expected to be able to file a formal challenge.

He went on to explain that his son brought the book home, and that he was very glad that he makes a habit of reading his son’s selections before the youngster does because this particular book appeared to be marketed to teens but it was in fact entirely inappropriate for that age group and maybe for everyone because it was sexist and racist and generally promoted a bad attitude towards other people and the language was terrible. According to this patron, anyway.

I’m not going to mention the name of the book, because that doesn’t really matter, but I was curious and looked up the reviews for it on Goodreads and Amazon. The reviews are not good. Most folks apparently agree with this particular patron.

Does that mean that this book doesn’t belong in our library?

And it wasn’t just this book. The patron went on to complain that we shouldn’t carry books like this in the library. Like… what, exactly? About this topic? About this topic for this particular age group? Books that are mis-marketed to teens? Books with this sort of language? Books that are sexist or racist or otherwise promote bad attitudes?

I’m not going to get into the whole book banning/censorship mud pit. It’s complicated, for one thing, and also many other more articulate librarians than I have written plenty on the subject already.

So why was this only an almost… ?

Turns out the book wasn’t actually checked out from the library. His son had bought the thing from our semi-annual Friends of the Library book sale. It wasn’t even a discard, just some random unwanted donation in good enough condition that the Friends folks thought they could make a few bucks off of it.

Let’s get this straight: he gave his son some money, set him loose at the book sale, let him buy whatever, reviewed his purchases after getting home with them, and THEN came back to the library to complain about it. I guess he didn’t really understand the concept of a library book sale?

He wasn’t happy when I told him that there was no way to file a formal challenge since the book was not actually a library item. And even if it was, he’d only be able to challenge that particular item — there’s no way (at this library) to file a formal complaint about a vague “type” of item, like books with subjectively vulgar language or whatever. He even brought up the fact that he’s some sort of professor, as though it would make a difference. I guess he wanted me to say, “Oh, you’re a professor, well then that changes things! Of course I’ll do whatever you say, just please don’t fail me sir!”… when in reality, I was thinking something more along the lines of “Huh, well, if you’re such an intellectual maybe you should understand how libraries work by now.”

But I shouldn’t be so snippy. He was just an overly concerned parent, doing what overly concerned parents tend to do (which is to assume that others are also going to be overly concerned, and to be upset when they aren’t). He was trying to do right by his kid, which is more than I can say for some parents that frequent our sacred institution.

So that was exciting. An almost-challenge.

Below are some ALA resources regarding book challenges: