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Ok, I’m back (I think, might be too soon to say). The Boy and I have been setting up house, getting used to each other again and struggling with homework discipline. He is coming around on the latter, slowly but surely. His grades are good, but it’s early to say that and the hard projects are coming. I’m hoping we can get him into a healthy pattern before they start. He seems to see the wisdom I’m preaching, when he isn’t rolling his eyes or telling me not to act like he’s stupid. We’re working on it.
And “The Boy” just sticks for me. I guess he will always be my boy, so not a big deal to call him such. Especially here where he never bothers to tread. I try to keep the embarrassing bits to myself anyhow.
So, libraryland is busy as always. The new session of TAG is underway and while my group is smaller, it seems more solid. I have a lot of kids back from last year and a few new people. There are definitely a couple of dominating personalities, so I will be looking into learning about moderating meetings in that situation.
I took a beginning Excel class offered to city employees. I expected to be bored for most of it, since I’ve been using Excel pretty often for the last 10 years, but I was pleasantly surprised that I learned something new through most of the training. Part of it was learning where things are in the ribbon, which I admit has been making life difficult since the upgrade to Windows 2007. I got my questions answered too, which will make me a better treasurer and would likely land me the temp job of my choice!
I also wrote my first “professional” blog post, over there–> It’s nothing revolutionary, but something I am interested in and not necessarily librariany. I have some thoughts for a couple more, but need a few minutes at work to write them down. Then I have some more reading and thought processing to do.
I had some fun with the pictures in the header. They are all pictures I took, mostly around Seattle. I like how they fit my mood and seem to fit my profession.
Ok, I’m off. Lots to do this lovely Saturday that is likely to be the last sunny day in a while. Ciao.
Biking and running have worn me out this month. I was just about half way through and felt like I hit a wall with both. Like I couldn’t improve no matter how much I tried. It’s been a little better since I lubed my chain and made a few other adjustments to my bike and took a couple of days off from running.
I was also convinced that a week in May wasn’t there. I had superimposed this week with last week. I told people I had meetings I didn’t have, gave the wrong days off to one of my TAG kids when he wanted to come in and meet with me. Luckily I realized in time and was able to rectify my mistakes, but I felt silly. Otherwise I felt pretty sharp, conversing with colleges and getting things done.
I didn’t feel much up to blogging, which is why I only posted the lame one before this. I am in a reading funk–trying to finish The Scar before it’s due in a couple of days and failing miserably. Usually I can read a book in a day or two, a week sometimes for adult fiction, but here I am at the end of a 21 day check out less than half way through. This would make sense if I didn’t like the book, but I do.
In Libraryland I posted a link to a blog post by Seth Gobin at work, hoping to start a discussion, pulling this quote for the headline:
mere clerks who guard dead paper
We did have a good discussion about the post, and a good response by another blogger was posted. It wasn’t until later that night when I went to Facebook that I found out that some had taken the quote too literally and hadn’t clicked through to read the article. Sometimes circulation staff are referred to as clerks and so some of them took this as a personal affront. I am not sure if I should feel bad about the misunderstanding. I do regret that feelings were hurt, but I also wonder why they didn’t click through and see what the post was all about. He isn’t insulting clerks, he’s telling librarians to get off their asses and get with the times. And even though the post contains quite a few misconceptions about what libraries and librarians are doing and how easy it is to find information on the internet, he is entirely correct on that point.
In other library news, as you may have seen in the paper we have a new City Librarian. He was the best of the three candidates, in my opinion and I’ve decided to be optimistic until he proves me wrong. Ha, that doesn’t sound very, does it? He has a good attitude, is a great public speaker and doesn’t seem to be bringing any baggage with him. Long live MT.
Ooh, and we teen librarians have a pretty awesome summer reading program planned. I can’t wait to start!
I am officially going to ALA. I was pretty sure a month ago when I bought my registration and said I would facilitate a panel. I bought my plane tickets this week though, after realizing I missed the inexpensive window. I should say less expensive, because when does flying ever feel inexpensive?
But I am excited to see New Orleans, and the Mister will be joining me, at least for a bit. I am doing a day of volunteering, although I don’t know what my work will be, yet. It could be anything from construction to cataloging. The conference sessions sound good–hopefully that pans out. Sometimes they sound useful and then you get in there and realize that it just isn’t, or that you’ve taken something really similar in the past.
Even more exciting than a bunch of librarians in a convention center? I have a camping trip with the Boy and dad-family the week before. We have a couple spots out at Kalaloch, a place I love. I hope the weather cooperates, but honestly, this spot I will go to in the pouring rain.
Which is what I got to ride home in tonight. I went to the middle school and saw their a production of The Wizard of Oz. It was amazing! Not every note was on key but it was well executed, the acting was top notch and so was the orchestra and singing. It was easy to see that the kids had put their all into the show.
And then I rode my bike home and got soaked. It was so nice earlier today. So far I am meeting my goal of riding every day.
It’s too late (I am too cold and tired) to add what I am reading. Actually, I can just say that I am still reading The Scar by China Mieville. It is a frickin’ long book, but worth every minute. I don’t think I am going to finish during the check out time.
We have a new city librarian. He doesn’t start until mid-August, but he comes with good references.
Bike to work month is wonderfully under way. We had a great start on Sunday with temperatures in the 60′s, followed promptly by 2 days of frigid rain. I have ridden every day and even included downtown in my commute when I had meetings down there 2 out of the 3 days. The rainy ones of course. And I’ve been running. I can make it around Green Lake, even with all the biking, without walking or stopping and in under 3o minutes. I keep forgetting to check the time when I start, but I know approximately. I’ve been going to bed at a fairly normal hour and getting up EARLY! So early for me–6:30am. And not feeling dead. So yes, exorcising…exercising, I mean…is good for me.
Some of those early meetings downtown were the staff interviews for the City Librarian candidates. I missed one, but hit the other two. I won’t state my preference, or even my opinion on the individuals, as I think it is too touchy a subject to air here. The one I missed, though, is one I hope to miss entirely. Forever. I don’t think I have to worry about that.
What am I reading? Well, almost done with Brain Jack, and it is shaping up and becoming a little less like Little Brother, but only a little. I like the characters and the premise, minus the feeling that Brian Falkner and Corey Doctorow were sharing half a brain when they wrote these books.
I was away from my print books and needed something to read, so downloaded The Scar by China Mieville from the library. It’s good so far, but I’m only a few pages in.
I am also doing some nerdy reading: Exemplary Public Libraries by Joy Marilyn Greiner. I am mostly finding it interesting because the first couple of chapters are about libraries in the UK around the year 20o0, and now those libraries are in desperate jeopardy. So much that the Guardian UK felt the need to post this op ed piece, somewhat late, about how great libraries really are and now necessary. I agree with one of the goodreads reviewers that the book could have used a bit more editing and a better structure. Plus now it is 10 years out of date and could use a brush up. I was reading it to refresh my library theory and I am getting some of that, but finding it a bit repetitive.
New Year resolutions should really start in Spring. Spring is when you have the time and energy to take on change and challenge. If you start in January, you are just setting yourself up for failure with those long dark, cold nights.
I have run around Green Lake with not one, but two running partners. I can actually make it all the way around now without stopping or walking. A few years ago I could have rolled out of bed, not having run for months, and done that. But the years are catching up to me and now I have to work up to 3 miles. But I am there and ready to go further.
Also, May is bike to work month and I am team captain of the Paperback Riders! I am riding out early today to go get our identifiers from Cascade. Last year it was a spoke card, the year before a luggage tag. I can’t wait to see what they come up with this year. In preparation for May, I am riding every day that I can now, even when I am not working. By the end of May I should be in great physical shape.
In libraryland, we are interviewing new City Librarian candidates. This week it will be narrowed down to three, then next week all staff are invited to go interview those 3. The session will be facilitated by our interim CL, who is also head of HR. I think she will do a great job. She has proven to be a good listener and I think she will convey what she has heard from staff into her questions. The union also gets to have a couple of facilitated questions thrown in before the general Q and A starts.
I’ll be taking notes, because I am going to facilitate a zine panel at the ALA conference in New Orleans this year. And I think that the Mister is going to be able to come to the conference as well. I am looking forward to seeing the city with him. And just seeing him in general.
What am I reading? Books are letting me down, one way or another, lately. I did like Red Glove by Holly Black, but I was a little appalled at Cassel’s friends. I didn’t really know why they were his friends if they didn’t trust him, and there were scenes where it showed that they didn’t. They were scared of him, but were not the type of characters to stay friends because of fear. It bugged me all the way through the book.
I abandoned Glass Houses because the reader drove me a little crazy. She read like everything was sexy–washing dishes, taking juice out of the fridge, sitting on the couch.
Anna and the French Kiss was ok. I liked most of it, but I hate the clichéd cheating but everything turns out ok in the end. In real life people don’t just forgive that and let you live happily ever after. It is complicated and messy and a lot of the time the new relationship doesn’t work out.
Literally. It is raining right now and I was planning on spending my day off riding to Woodinville on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Somehow I can’t make myself take a recreational ride on such a crumby day. And I found out that all the hoses on my car need to be replaced. Sad face.
But also figuratively. The day after my happy post, we got more budget news, and it isn’t good. We are going $1.4 million, although not all of those cuts will be necessary. The Mayor said to find 3% to cut so that we would have some choices. I don’t see that we have a lot of choices left. The libraries can run on fewer bodies than we currently have. We will have to cut hours (possibly Sundays) and/or have another furlough, which would likely be the week after xmas (another low usage time). Possibly also a materials budget cut. This is just me guessing, though, so don’t run out and tell the papers. I’ll be interested to see if there is anything more creative that comes out of this round of cuts.
On the upside, I signed up for zipcar, which has a discount for City of Seattle employees. That will be a great back up for the car if anything else goes wrong. And everything is paid for in the fee–gas, insurance, maintenance. I just wish there was one closer to my house. There used to be, but they’re gone now. Now I will have to take a bus to get to it, but luckily that goes from right outside my house to the car. Ah well, hopefully I won’t need it (oh, but they have trucks too, so that will come in handy some day). Some days I think I should just sell my car and commit to a car-less lifestyle. That would only work here, though.
What am I reading?
A coworker recommended Soulless by Gail Carriger and I am liking it more than I expected. I got it on EPUB from the library and am reading it on my Ipod touch. It is historical fiction, set in Victorian London with the premise that there are supernatural creatures that have “come out” (similarly to True Blood, but further back in time) to natural society and live among them. There is a fiery character, Alexia, who is a preternatural and can nullify supernatural powers. Super fun so far.
I finished listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee by LA Meyer after getting the download from the library. This one is almost as good as the others, and as always Kathleen doesn’t disappoint as the reader.
However! The themes in this book are definitely older teen and adult. I am looking back at all the tweens and parents that I recommended the series to and I am worried they will get to this one and say “how could that librarian think this book was appropriate for my 11 year old?!?” Oops.
A couple of examples: a ship full of prostitutes, Jackie becoming a “pet” for a female pirate with lots of innuendos about what goes on behind closed doors, and a boy who is almost harmed in an ungodly way. All of these are fine with me, but I can imagine a parent and child listening to or reading this without being ready and I just cringe. Now I know and I can warn the parent that the theme gets older as the series progresses, until it falls into utter wantonness.
PS. There are no April Fool’s jokes included in this post, not even the budget info.
Despite being tired it has been an excellent day. Someday I will grow up and realize that I should not stay up till all hours reading.
However! I got to make up my listening session with our interim City Librarian. There were only 3 of us there this morning, and her, and I really felt heard. I have high hopes that there will be things happening soon. Things that should make us all a little happier. We should hear more next week.
And! I got my funding! For my advisory group! I am so excited! Can you tell!?! Pizza for everybody!
And I moved all my new books to shelving where there is more room, because there are too many of them. It seems like every month I have more new books than the last. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing, but where to put them all? Next I am going to have to read fiction again. I have been enlisting the help of my awesome LAIV to help me do dusty shelf lists–it makes it easier to let them go if I just read over the titles after he’s pulled them. If I handle them all, I want to keep them. We have more of a connection.
What am I reading? I have been super lazy about updating goodreads and netgalley. I hope they will forgive me for another week or so. But I have been reading. When don’t I?
I am trying to finish Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin because it is due tomorrow. I heard about it from a friend who wrote a blog post for the library. It intrigued me enough to use one of my precious 25 hold spots for it, although the library didn’t have very many copies so it took a while to get it. In the mean time, I totally forgot why I put it on hold. I finally remembered today when I was talking about it with my manager. This series was first published in the late 70′s and details life in that time in San Francisco. As you can imagine, there is a lot of love going on, love of all kinds. It is San Francisco after all. I think one of the reasons why the description of this book was so appealing was because my uncle ran away to San Francisco when he was young, in the 70′s. I hoped to see a little of what his life might have been like then. He came back later, with a life partner and aids. I loved him very much, even though I didn’t spend time with him until his return. There was one visit to see them in San Fran when I was a kid, but I really only remember stuffing chicken in my cheeks. I was going through a phase where I didn’t want to swallow food.
I can’t know if this book gives a window into what he experienced. He’s been gone for a while now, and his partner several years later. There’s no one left to ask. I hope he enjoyed it. Tales of the City makes it sound like it could have been fun, and if not, then seriously interesting. The characters are deep, although you don’t realize it at first, and Maupin has a crazy way of making all of them interconnected. Toward the end of the book, where I am now, you come to realize there is a mystery. I don’t know what it is yet, but I think I will very soon. It might be another late night.
I have a cold. I haven’t been sick for a while, except for a brief stomach ailment, but this cold is going to make up for it. My neck hurts–not just my throat, the whole thing–, I have a terrible headache and my back hurts like crazy. My chest feels like someone filled it up with cotton. I slept most of today and was really happy to do it.
Unfortunately that meant I missed work and my listening session with our interim City Librarian. I am mostly sad that I didn’t get to hear from the other people at the session. I know how I feel, but I want to hear from others. I know I would have had something to say as well, but I’ve been living with my thoughts for months. I’d like a fresh perspective. I hear there will be more scheduled, so I will try to get into one of those.
Oh, and I did get my 4th program for summer, but only by saying that gaming is a regular program. Others won’t be as lucky and I did lose the promised funding that would have gone with a gaming program. It wasn’t a lot, but it would have paid for some popcorn. I am very happy to have the program though so I’ll stop complaining.
What am I reading? Currently Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick–the title says it all. I am learning a lot about the history of Korea and the lives of ordinary people there and I am still in the first 40 pages. Sometimes non-fiction can make me turn away, but this one stands the test and I am so curious about the subject. This book was another recommendation from Librarian of the Teenagers and she got it from TBTL, a podcast I used to listen to when I made time for podcasts in my life.
I read Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin, and while the story was good I had a hard time getting past all the Pacific Northwest references. It would probably be fine for anyone who hasn’t lived here, but if that book inspires someone to move here, they will be disappointed that there are no spawning salmon in the back yards of Seattle. Also, there is no Walmart in Seattle, especially not close to Seattle University. There was more, but I’ll leave you a bit to discover for yourself.
I did like the contrast between Charlotte and Amanda. The first is the protagonist and she idolizes Amanda, who is the darling of her school, both the gifted progam and the ‘normal’ side. Charlotte has been remanded to the ‘normal’ side because of a math learning disability. Her father pushes her to be an over achiever, never feeling able to live up to his expectations. This roadblock makes her start to realize how much she is just living for him and she begins to live for herself with a few hiccups along the way.
It wasn’t a misunderstanding. Only the alloted amount of programs will be allowed for the summer, so if I want to do my own, I have to forgo one of the others. This seems a little strange since the centrally funded programs don’t require any participation from me besides an introduction. I decided to keep the duct tape program and let the gaming program go. While gaming gets a bigger turn out, I don’t get to interact with the kids as much. Sitting down over duct tape and imparting my knowledge on how not to get all your fingers stuck together is a great opportunity to get to know more of the teens in my neighborhood.
I am disappointed in this decision. It makes me feel like this great new strategic plan is just a front. A placater for our library board. It takes away our decision making powers and leaves us feeling like cogs in a machine; don’t deviate from the path or the whole thing might fall apart. This is the second time my manager has approved something, only to have to come back and say no. That must be frustrating to her as well. Sigh.
What am I reading? I stayed up late finishing The Luxe last night and it ended just as I thought. The author threw in a few doubts along the way, but I basically knew what was going to happen from the prologue. Otherwise, it is a good book with lots of detail from the time and the characters, while not fully formed, are complex and compelling. Not everyone is likable and even the main “perfect” character has flaws (which is a plus in my mind).
I am definitely enjoying The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson, even if it did start a bit too conveniently. I think the set up could have been more in the background to avoid that. However, Maureen has a knack for making her characters well rounded and interesting, as well as taking us to another part of the world in unbelievable circumstances and making them believable. If this one started a bit rough, it recovered quickly.
Edit: Cover for book 1
Cover for book 2:
It’s not very often that I get to combine two of my loves, books and cycling. Except when I ride to work, I suppose, but one might argue that work, while book related, is not always a “love”. But now I have a real reason to get excited. Bike Snob is coming to Seattle during the Seattle Bike Expo for what he calls a BRA–book related appearance.
Bike Snob is the kind of blogger who cannot offend me, despite all his attempts. He has a masterful grasp of sarcasm and satire and constantly makes me laugh. I have read his blog faithfully since I stumbled upon it last year. Unfortunately, I have not yet read his book. Guess I’d better get crackin’. Or even better, I can buy a copy there and get it signed. Maybe I was just looking for the right moment.
In libraryland we are planning Summer Reading programs–or I should say we just got done. There always seems to be some controversy over interpretation of policy in these situations. We were told we could have 3 system generated programs–things planned by our programming coordinator and paid for through central programming funds–which we would schedule with the performers. The directions also said that any branch generated programs would have to be paid for and supported by the branch. This would lead one to believe that those programs are possible, yes? Some took that as a no. So now we are fighting to have our couple of branch programs as well, where we librarians have ownership and get to interact with our patrons. I will say that my manager was one who interpreted the policy the way I did and I am sure this is all a minor misunderstanding. All I want is a duct tape program! It won’t even cost anything because we already have kits ready.
What am I reading? I think I have too many things on my plate right now.
I have set aside No God but God and picked up The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, which is interesting historical fiction from around1900. Right now it is seriously too predictable, but I am enjoying that the author has included both the rich elite of New York and the lives of their servants. Usually a book will settle on one or the other, with the other half in the peripheral. It is a bit like Gossip Girl during the horse and buggy days, with all the intrigue and backstabbing that you expect.
And I finished reading The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter. Three siblings have lost their mother under mysterious circumstances, and it has affected them in many ways. Their father goes away a few times a year and leaves them with an abhorrent neighbor, until one time late in the school year when he decides they can go visit their aunt Angela in London instead. It turns out there is a misunderstanding and Aunt Angela is away on a trip, leaving the kids stranded and alone. This is the leaping off point for all kinds of adventure.
And isn’t the cover great?