Saturday, December 29, 2012

Library Centennial Ball Photos

Ths post is mainly to serve as a central place everyone can view photos from last night's Centennial Ball. The state of New Mexico has been celebrating the anniversary of its statehood all year, and our Friends group decided to take it out with a party to end all parties. And boy, was it! Excellent catered food from Stella Vida (we ran those poor ladies ragged!), music in two different rooms and a heated tent outside, dancing, socializing, and, the CLOTHES! Whether people came in formal attire, vintage outfits, steampunk (that made my night, ladies!), or Anne of Green Gables style, everyone looked FANTASTIC! I only got a few shots, unfortunately, as I was at the coat check counter most of the evening, but here is a taste:
Even the library got dressed up!

Missy spent MONTHS working on decorations, making a bajillion ornaments and 3D snowflakes out of old books. Guests got to take one home as a souvenir at the end of the night.

Why have we never put lights on our trees before? We are keeping these!

It was funny watching cars drive by, then slow - or jerk to a stop - when they saw the outside decor.


Just a teensy smidgen of the many tasty finger foods.

And the lovely lady on the right would be the one who dreamt up the idea almost a year ago, and the driving force behind making it all happen! (The guy on the right is her arm candy).

This was when you could still walk through the room - so, only abut ten minutes into the evening.

Soooooo, soooooooooo, cute!

Squee-worthy adorable!

She IS Anne of Green Gables!

Handsome couple.

Gentlemen in top hats and cowoy hats, jeans and suits - that's New Mexico in a nutshell! (Except he should be holding a derringer rather than a digital camera)

I'm sad that this is blurry, and that I didn't get her smile.

Out on the town with NO KIDS! Another Christmas miracle!

They were all having so much fun, I couldn't stop taking pictures!

***Update: And here are the much more professional shots from Rachel Telles Photography!

Review of The Curiosities by Stiefvater, Gratton and Yovanoff

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories
Title: The Curiosities
Authors: Maggie Steifvater
Tessa Gratton
Brenna Yovanoff
ISBN: 978-076-137-5272
Publisher: Carolrhoda (division of Lerner)
Attention IRS: I am keeping this one. The library can buy its own.
So. Much. Fun! The Curiosities is a collection of short stories from the above named authors. Of the three, I was only familiar with Maggie Stiefvater. She wrote The Scorpio Races, which I think has the single best final page of any book I have ever read - just thinking about it, months later, still tugs at my gut. For her name alone, then, I was happy to see this in my most recent pile of goodies from Lerner, but for some reason it took me a while to pick it up.
Well, it's a good thing I have the week off, because once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down! Just a collection of short stories, you are thinking? Not hardly! The stories themselves are great - like a box of chocolates with all caramels and toffees and none of those nasty pink cream-filled things they use as filler. What makes this collection extra special, though, are the scribbled notes in the margins.
You see, this is a collection of short stories the three women wrote as part of their joint blog, Merry Sisters of Fate. You know, the three sisters in Greek mythology who control the thread of each mortal's life? Just the blog name alone should tell you these are not going to be your fluffy chick lit pieces (even if there are some pretty swoon-worthy guys in them.) Notes at the beginning of each story, and throughout the margins, give insight into the hows and whys of each story's crafting, and what the other authors noticed/liked/envied about different bits. Both funny and fascinating, these notes can't help but inspire any would-be author*.
Grab it for your library, select it for your book club, gift it to your favorite writer, or just pick up a copy for yourself and snuggle into the sofa with it!
*yes, D.N., you can borrow it first.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Two New Favorite Picture Books

As usual, these books may not be new in the publishing world, but they are new to the library, and to me.
This first one was published in 2010, and I don't know how we missed it.
The Boy Who Changed the World
Andrews gives a very concrete example of the butterfly effect, describing choices made by a string on young men, going back to George Washington Carver's adoptive father, and ending with Norman Borlaug, who developed a 'super seed' that is credited with saving 2 billion lives! The gentle but pervasive message is that our actions, no matter how small, can make a huge difference down the line. That's certainly a message it would behoove all of us to remember.
Tough Chicks
Sometimes I look over a new book and think, "I need to take this one home to my kids." This time, I finished reading it, and thought, "Heck with that, this is one we need to own!" From the minute mama hen's chicks are born, the other farm animals - and even the farmer - are telling her to "make them be good!" Wise mama hen realizes, however, that her spirited, smart, curious little ones are being good - and when the time comes (as you know it will), they save the day.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Please Don't Tell Santa

A friend recently posted on Facebook that her local librarian was wonderful, and several other parents (including mine) chimed in to agree. While that gave me all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings, I have to admit, librarians are human. Sometimes we're lazy. Sometimes we're cranky. And, sometimes, we're just a little bit naughty.
I asked some of my fellow librarians across the country to share their deepest, darkest confessions, and the replies came rolling in - and had me rolling on the floor with laughter! I hope this compilation* serves to amuse, and if not - just remember who gets to cast the first stone, 'kay?
*names and locations left off to protect the mostly-innocent
Sometimes, Librarians Have...
…ended a storytime early because the children were coughing and sneezing and I didn’t want to get sick.
...discarded a name drawn from a hat for a library prize drawing when I know that that child (or their parent) has been cheating.

...put co-workers on the hold list for items as a practical joke, such as the bodice-ripper called Loving Jesse that I sent to a friend named Jesse at another library.

...kept an item checked out WAY longer than 3 weeks if I'm not finished reading it.

...occasionally removed a fine from a patron's card when I know there is a special need
...told an obnoxious teen that the volunteer slots were all full when we still really have room

...weeded a book that makes noise when it wasn't broken, just too noisy (and too tempting for little hands to press the buttons over and over and over and...)!

...checked out a book for myself on the department's library card for programming because I was in a hurry and couldn't find my own

...edited the due date in the computer of a book I had checked out instead of renewing... since it had a hold on it and couldn't be renewed...I wasn't finished with the book....
We confess... suddenly finding something urgent I need to do in Tech Services when I see certain patrons come in the door and I am not in the mood to hear their life story that particular day. sneaking into the food closet in our children's room and helping myself to candy when in need of a chocolate fix. pretending not to hear a particularly annoying patron ask me for help as I was on my way to the back for lunch. putting myself on the hold list before placing their hold because I forgot to add myself already and didn't want to be further down. pretending that a program registration list was already full because the woman in question had "no call, no showed" for the last 2 programs for which she signed up her kids. paying a patron's fine and didn't tell them because I just didn't want to hear their usual rant: "What? I returned that book. It was a Tuesday, we were on our way to the doctor's and my daughter got out of the car and put it in the was raining... and WHY do you have to charge fines, anyway"...
...that someone once came up with a couple of books from the booksale and wanted to buy them. We not only have discards, we have donations in there. There was a book there which has been out of print for years and which is a favourite of mine, that I read over and over & over when I lived in another city and was much younger. I grabbed the book and said, "I'm sorry, that book wasn't supposed to be in there." Never felt guilty. It just looked like it might be a good read, to her, but to me, it was, and is, special.

...I once made a display of teen books that were going to be weeded and a teen volunteer and I both had a favorite on the display, so we made a pact to check out each other's book to save it :-)

...There is one patron here who has learned how to play the system to her advantage, to the point where we once discovered one of the books on her account had been out to her for over a year! She also calls EVERY day to renew/place holds/check on holds that are in, usually about an hour before she comes in, and NEVER has her card out, even though I ask her every time. So, I make her verify all of her information every time. Even though I recognize her voice at this point, before even giving her name.

I...have many overdues *sigh*

...We have a patron who fanatically loves World Book Encyclopedia, to the point he feels we should never weed them and if he finds out we have, he gets very upset. We had a fairly new librarian on desk with whom I was conferring with when the gentleman asked what we had done with the older set he didn't see anymore. Without hesitation I drowned out the new librarian and said it was down in the basement. She was looking at me real funny but waited until the patron left when I did give her an explanation. This gentleman would get hysterical with distress to learn a copy had been discarded. It turns out later that I wasn't entirely lying. We do have older sets down there for the Friends to sell (but not the specific year he was asking about)! 
...When donated books come across my desk that I really want I will choose not to add them to the collection so I can buy them from our book sale shelf instead.
We may even...
...tell patrons a book is checked out because our sorting takes so damn long I can tell by the last activity date it's not on the shelf.

...schedule myself to pull holds after the other librarian who does an awesome job because it's less work for me, and being the one who makes the schedule has it's perks. I also rarely have desk duty Friday afternoons.
...check other employees' ages on their library card accounts just because I'm curious.

...have nicknames for patrons like "Tin-foil beanie guy", "The Creeper", and "Gigantor"
And finally, my personal favorite...
I didn't do this, but my library has a regular customer who abuses our hold system. There's a hold fee over the Internet, but no fee if you call for the hold and pick up at the same library, but we only hold the item for a day. The customer called, demanding we extend the casual hold, though she'd been told dozens of times we would not do so.
Finally, the customer lost it and demanded I give the phone to my manager. I reluctantly agreed, but I made sure to tell my manager--who was new to the library--about the patron's history. My manager seemed somewhat stern as she asked me to leave, and I was freaked out about possibly getting a lectured for mistreating a patron.
Fifteen minutes later, my manager calls me to her office, hands me the book...and hands me the library card.
"I told her she could come in tomorrow, and she'd have to see if anyone else checked it out. Put this on my card. I want to see her face."
I decided in that moment to worship that manager. I REALLY prefer to help people, but there is so a line.
So, there you have it. Librarians are really terrible people. But, as the last one said, we really do prefer to help people - so, please don't tell Santa how awful we are, at least not this week! I really do want that kitchen stuff I asked for:)


Monday, December 17, 2012

Explain to Me, Please...

How did this...

...suddenly morph into this?
And, more importantly, what am I going to do when all the girls start calling?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas is For the Birds

...and the chipmunks, and the raccoons, and probably a skunk or two. Possibly, the neighbor's dog.

A few weeks ago, S. and I made one pitiful chain of cereal and tree-shaped pasta on fishing wire for a Christmas tree near our driveway. S. had a really hard time getting things strung on the fishing wire, and it changed quickly to her counting out ten pieces of cereal for each tree, while I did the stringing. Not surprising that she lost interest. That string disappeared overnight (as in, the entire string), so now I have guilt issues imagining some animal tangled up in fishing line.

While setting up a similar craft for story time at work (to go along with Jan Brett's books), I hit on pipe cleaners instead. Sucess! Very manageable for little fingers, and you can twist them into loops, heart shapes, stars, etc. S. quickly became a cereal-stringing-machine!

Disregard evidence of hot cocoa and gingerbread house icing in facial area.
C. opted not to participate, but L. was a big 'help' disposing of defective cereal pieces.
He even helped clean up the mess when it was all over!

C. did join us in putting the finished products on the little tree.
The round things are rice cakes coated with shortening and bird seed. One of the story time mommies who is smarter than I am (secret: they are all smarter than I am) got the idea to poke a pipe cleaner through to hang them. I was having a heck of a time trying to make a hole without breaking them!
With the pipe cleaners, even if somebody runs off with the entire thing, I'm not worried about them getting tangled. If they simply nibble the cereal off, like they are SUPPOSED to, the pipe cleaners will be easy to see and remove.
Bon appetit and Merry Christmas, critters!