Books 14, 15, & 16

Posted on March 25, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do I stay in order of when I read these, or do I go in order of the ones I liked most to least? I finished Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, and Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. No, I’ll go in order of what I read first so I can get my rant out of the way. (more…)

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Books 9 & 10

Posted on March 8, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Two more books this week. One was a struggle. One I would really  like to see a sequel. (more…)

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Books 6, 7, & 8

Posted on February 27, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

So I was lazy, and when I finished Boy21 last week, I never posted. Since then, I’ve also finished The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which took me up until the day before yesterday, and The Night She Disappeared, which I started and finished yesterday (partly because it’s short, and partly because it’s really good). (more…)

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Book 5 Finished

Posted on February 19, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Cover art for Enchanted

When I was a kid, I read all of the really scary fairy tales where people’s eyes were pecked out, or they cut off their own toes. (And people talk about modern YA being dark!)

Enchanted by Alathea Kontis doesn’t have any of that, though it does have an evil fairy godmother. It starts off as a sweet retelling of The Frog Prince, and then things get complicated. It’s as if all of the fairy tales we know and love all happened to the same family. Sunday Woodcutter, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, is doomed to a happy life (she’d rather have an interesting one). Her elder sisters, those still living, each have their own gifts, and hers is that anything she writes will come true. This means she can only write about the past, and no one wants to listen to her stories until she meets a frog named Grumble. They become fast friends, and Grumble, who is falling in love with Sunday, asks for a kiss each time she leaves. Sunday obliges, and the day that she is truly in love with him is the day the spell is broken. Too bad she’s not there to see it happen.

Sunday’s older brother is the infamous Jack (of all of the Jack tales), and he’s presumed dead. It’s her adopted brother Trix who trades the cow for magic beans which become the beanstalk. There’s references to Rapunzel, Princess and the Pea, Cinderella, and I can’t remember all of them, but they come off as tongue-in-cheek rather than contrived. Some might be bothered by the insta-love between Sunday and the prince, but that just made it seem more like a modern fairy tale to me.

Read Enchanted, named one of the top ten 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, if you like Robin McKinley and Shannon Hale’s fairy tale retellings.

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Libraries have value (and we’re paying for them)

Posted on February 14, 2013. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , , , , |

I am utterly appalled that an author would denounce libraries as being “no longer relevant” and proceed to complain that he’d be making more money if people didn’t get to check out books for free.

I’m talking, of course, of Terry Deary’s ridiculous statements to the Sunderland council (not being from the UK, I’m assuming that’s a city council) and to the Guardian. Going through the article, where I’ve taken all of the following quotes in italics, here is my response to someone who is clearly out of touch.

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To App or Not to App

Posted on January 23, 2013. Filed under: Children's Services | Tags: , , , |

I’ve written a grant (and fingers crossed that I get it!) to buy e-readers and tablets for my library. Part of it is for a technology petting zoo for adults, but the other part, and the real reason, is to use in storytime. There’s been a lot of back and forth about whether we’re doing the responsible thing by using apps in storytime, considering the opinions on screen time for younger children, but here’s my take on this. (more…)

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The First Four Months

Posted on January 15, 2013. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , , , |

Last September I started my first bona fide librarian gig. Has it been what I expected? Yes and no. In some ways, it’s everything I’ve been waiting for. In others… let’s just say I’ve had a wake-up call.

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Why Is It So Loud In Here?

Posted on July 24, 2012. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , |

As a woman is leaving today, she wants to know how she can make a complaint. I gave her one of our forms to give to my branch manager. She fills it out and leaves it with me. I see that she’s complaining about the noise level, saying that kids were running around and being loud, and their parents were letting them. I’m always a torn when it comes to this issue. How do we balance the needs of people who need the quiet to study and the needs of children who we want to see the library as a fun place to be? (more…)

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I Like Banned Books (and I cannot lie)

Posted on September 29, 2011. Filed under: Banned Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

A few years ago, back before I got into this library business, I was a reporter for a small-town newspaper. In the space of a year, I saw two book challenges. The first one was a book in a middle-school library, Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill. Okay, so that’s more for adults and possibly older teens, and the school district’s review committee decided the middle-school library wasn’t the place for that book – not terribly egregious.

The second challenge came when a parent (who, if I remember correctly, didn’t even have a child in the class) objected to an AP or honors class reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I remember that this challenge went all the way to the school board, who decided to only examine those passages they decided were offensive instead of, oh say, reading the book. Nevermind that the book was chosen by a professional educator when some of the school board members didn’t even have college educations. Nevermind that the students and parents of the students in the class didn’t have a problem with the book. Nevermind that the students were able to discuss the book with a caring adult and that those “offensive” passages represent real life.

Facts: Teens swear. They have sex and perform sexual acts. They use drugs. They commit crimes. They defy authority.

Myth: Books cause all of the above.

Fact: Books allow teens to vicariously experience all of the above in a safe environment.

Fact: Reading about all of the above can help teens deal with those problems in real life. The teen who reads Crank by Ellen Hopkins is not more likely to start using drugs, but they may be able to identify the book with some part of their life.

Fact: Reading about all of the above can be challenge teens to think beyond the confines of their own life. Why is that such a bad thing?

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Technology is a fickle friend

Posted on May 4, 2011. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , , |

Just because we are ready for technology does not mean that our patrons are. Take a look at the average crop of – let’s say new librarians to those with 10 years of practice. Obviously, we’re more educated than the average American. Many of us follow current trends, trying to keep up with what’s in, what’s popular, so that we can match our services to our users’ needs. Tutor.com has an app for iPhone so you can get homework help on the go. And let’s consider eReaders. I didn’t get a Kindle because a) they cost too much, and b) you have to buy the books. Why do I want to buy a book that I’ll only read once? That’s what the library is for. So then we started downloadable ebooks in libraries, and let me tell you that for us, it exploded last Christmas when everyone started bringing in their Nooks and Sony Readers and iPads for help.

Still, new technology isn’t for everyone. Where one person goes to our Web site through a QR code, others are still figuring out how to type a Web address into their browser. We have a wide range of people to serve, from the early adopters to the still-using-VCRs. It’s our responsibility to avoid leaving anyone out, or at least get the stragglers on board.

I started this thought because of something that happened this weekend. We’ve transferred all of our media to RFID, and we’ve just installed the media unlocker (for lack of a better term) at one of our self-checks.  In less than 24 hours of having this brand-new, more efficient, user-friendly technology, someone got a CD stuck, rendering that great new technology useless for two days while we figured out how to get the CD unstuck.

Ain’t technology grand?

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