Another Round of Random Thoughts

Posted in Random Thoughts on August 10, 2011 by As of Kate
  • I have this big Newbery post that I’ve started, but it’s taking forever to finish.  Eventually, you’ll get to see my work on that.
  • I’ve been working on crafts for fall programs, and I’m really glad that the flexibility of this job allows me to help out!
  • Today, I spoke to a local Kiwanis club about my babytime program, and they voted to sponsor us!  Hurray!  I’ll be ordering toys from here.  They are my fave.
  • I’m planning my fall programs and cannot wait until Anime Club starts in October.  We’ve been accepted to Operation Anime, a program that allows for free screenings.  It will be interesting to see how big the group is, and if we get kids from our entire 5-branch system to attend.
  • The Children & Young People’s Division Conference is coming up at the end of this month.  I’m on the board, and if you are an Indiana librarian, you should most definitely attend.  Our theme this year is “Free Your Mind”, and we’ve got all sorts of intellectual freedom speakers, as well as E. Lockhart, Alex Sanchez, and Alexis O’Neill.
  • Speaking of CYPD, I am running for the Indiana Library Federation board this fall, sponsored by CYPD, in order to represent the MANY, MANY children’s and YA librarians in the state.  Please vote for me if you are an ILF member, and are so inclined.  I believe ballots come out in September some time.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Posted in Random Thoughts on July 21, 2011 by As of Kate

I did both my undergraduate and graduate work in Michigan (not to mention that I graduated high school there, as well).  I’ve never lived in a state that didn’t touch a portion of a great lake, even though I’m on state #4.  For all intents and purposes, I am an upper-Midwestern girl.  In the past 2 years, living and working in what I think most people would consider the south if they’d ever been here, I’ve noticed that libraries and library services are as different as they are alike.

- Dress. Code.

This is the biggest difference.  Even as a paraprofessional in my Michigan library, I was expected to dress as a professional at all times.  Patrons needed to see that we were professionals in order to take us seriously.  No jeans, to t-shirts (except for summer reading tees on designated days), no capri pants, no sandals, no Birkenstocks.  So I tried to emulate my library-director mother and her wardrobe as best as I could on a grad student’s budget.  Now, I wish I had MORE pairs of jeans.  The philosophy down here is that patrons want to see themselves reflected in us, and since our patrons are in relaxed dress, it’s OK for us to be, too.  We are trying to make people feel comfortable using our services, not scare them off.

- Library Governance

Mind you, I learned about library funding in Michigan, so it has been difficult for me to get a good grasp on how it works in Indiana.  I think (don’t quote me) that the counties mostly control things around here.  Every time I assume I’ve gotten a handle on this, though, another exception comes up, so maybe I just need to talk to someone at the State Library…

-Patron Expectations

For some reason, I think people expect libraries to charge them for use of every single service.  I’m not sure this is unique to this area, but everyone is surprised when I tell them our cards are free – well, pre-paid, anyway.  I want to know why they think a library card costs money.  What shared cultural experience did I miss out on?

-Language

I am a Northerner, and it might as well be stamped on my forehead the moment I open my mouth.  Even after two years, there are words and phrases I’ve never encountered, or I say something (like, “potluck”) that they find HILARIOUS.

 

Five hours have made a world of difference.  Any of my southern librarian friends have any other comparisons they could make (*cough*Abby*cough*… since you did work in Illinois…)?  Or anyone who has visited both a southern and northern library?  I’m not even going to try to compare West/East/Southwest libraries, since I have no clue, but if you do, tell me how different your experiences have been!  Or non-American libraries, even.

Three (short) Happy Things

Posted in Random Thoughts, Summer Reading Club on July 7, 2011 by As of Kate
  • I’ve been accepted as a provisional reviewer for Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) magazine and I am super excited.  I must admit to being a little nervous, as well, but it’s a great opportunity and should be really fun.  You’ll (hopefully) be able to see my reviews in their publication in the near future.
  • Someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to Scholastic’s You Are What You Read site.  It’s fun to see all of the famous people who feel books have influenced their lives.  I’m on there; find me and share your book print!
  • Our summer reading programs for kids are over tomorrow, and Teen programs are over after next Saturday.  It seems crazy, but I’m already planning for fall!  I’m hoping to be successful in getting more teens in our library.

Recent Reads

Posted in books on July 1, 2011 by As of Kate

Short reviews of what I’ve read lately:

 

Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I really enjoyed the first book in the Caster Chronicles, and passed the ARC onto everyone I knew that had read Twilight.  Obviously I was super-duper excited for the second book, and unfortunately it didn’t live up to the first.  Much of this book was spent on Ethan whining that Lena wasn’t paying enough attention to him.  If you can hold on until the last hundred pages, you get answers to why Lena’s being a flake, and the setup for another book.  Meh.

Where She Went, by Gayle Forman

This is the summer of sequels for me.  I enjoyed the male perspective of this book, but, again, there was a lot of whining.  I had set myself up for disappointment halfway through, and was pleasantly surprised.  Gayle Forman’s writing is so emotion-filled.  If I Stay, the first book about Mia & Adam, actually made me cry, which I don’t often do while reading. I finished this one while making dinner, which means standing at the stove, book in one hand, spoon in the other.  I’m pretty sure my husband was not impressed with my happy dance.

Dead Reckoning, by Charlaine Harris

Although this isn’t a teen book, and I’ve never seen an episode of True Blood, I do actually enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series.  This is the first book that I haven’t listened to on audio, and I missed the brilliant narration of Johanna Parker.  Sookie was a little random in this book.  I feel like a lot of storylines that were present in the last few installments of her story were just dropped.  It will be interesting to see where Charlaine Harris takes the next book, and whether or not the random threads get picked up again.

The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

THANKFULLY this book was everything I’d hoped it would be.  The first book felt like one of those game-changing fantasy books that causes all sorts of copycat worlds.  I must say, however, that I am really surprised that Kvothe is still at the University by the end of this book, and I’m wondering how old he could really be while telling his story.  Great world-building and consistency across characters.  Again, not a teen book, but one I think teens would enjoy.

Even More Random Thoughts

Posted in Random Thoughts on June 22, 2011 by As of Kate

 

  • We are almost through the second week of programs for our Summer Reading Club.  I had SIXTEEN teenagers on Saturday for art class.  I think that may be a personal record for a teen program, so I am really thrilled.  I’m also excited that a few of them expressed interested in an Anime/Manga club, so I have some more ideas on how to reach out to the teens in my community(s)!

 

  • My lapsit program has been going well, and the moms have requested that I extend the session length for the next set of programs.  We don’t really have a lot of moms’ groups around here, so I think they are thankful for the opportunity to connect with other parents.  One mom even thanked me for facilitating their relationships as well as working with the babies, so I feel like I’m reaching the goals I had set for myself in that program.

 

  • I’ve also been assisting with Storyhour (3-5 yr olds) and Kids’ Art Classes (K-5th grade).  It’s been great to get to know more of the kids and families, and I even got a hug after Storyhour yesterday.  Overall, it’s been a good 1.5 weeks of programs!

VERY LAST Teen Book Festival Post: Melissa de la Cruz & Elizabeth Scott

Posted in events, TBF on June 15, 2011 by As of Kate

The last two authors I’ve left to report about presented together.  There were a lot of questions from the audience, but it was really interesting to hear what they’d like us to know about them.  Overall, I’m so glad I was able to go to this awesome, FREE conference again, and I can’t wait until next year!

  • Melissa de la Cruz loves book trailers, and there are very professional ones for her Blue Bloods series here (just search “Blue Bloods”).
  • Both authors said they did a lot of their early writing at their “day jobs.”
  • Elizabeth Scott wrote Living Dead Girl in 9 days, slept for about three hours, and loved the feeling of having a book “pour out of [her]“.  Even though this is her most serious book, she said it was the most fun to write.
  • Melissa said Schuyler, the main character in the Blue Bloods series, is a lot like she was as a young teen.
  • She also addressed the vampire trend by saying that when the first book was purchased by a publisher, she went to the bookstore and saw Twilight on the shelf.  Her vampires are much different from others, so she’s not particularly concerned that she may be just a part of the vampire wave.

More Random Thoughts

Posted in books, Random Thoughts, Summer Reading Club on June 10, 2011 by As of Kate
  • Yesterday, I got a phone call that made my day.  Gae Polisner, debut author of the recently published The Pull of Gravity, wanted to let me know her book was on a local English teacher’s summer reading list.  I’m sure I sounded completely ridiculous on the phone; I was in mild shock that an author with a write-up in the NY Times was actually checking to be sure my library had ordered copies of her book.  AND THEN, said English teacher tweeted about our copies.  So I got a little gushy and excited on twitter, and ended up with an invitation to attend his classroom’s Skype with Ms. Polisner, a follow from said author, requests for field trips and booktalks, and the need to jump up and down and do a happy fangirl dance.

 

  • It’s the calm before the storm.  Our Summer Reading programs start next Monday, and I’ll be doing a lapsit program to start our branch’s offerings.  Storytime butterflies are like no other butterflies, and no matter how many programs I do I still get them before every session.

 

  • I’m working on snatching more time to read throughout my day.  I got away from the habit of doing that for a while, and now it is taking FOREVER to finish books that would usually take a day or two.  My goal is to get at least 31 books off of my to-read list by the end of July, and that’s not including very many new releases.  *sigh* Not enough hours in the day, I tell you!
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