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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.
Does anyone find the text on here hard to read? I realize that it might be a challenge, the small gray print. Let me know–I don’t see it as often as you do.
My New Year weekend was very nice. The Mister came into town to surprise me–at the library with flowers! I had to restrain myself from throwing my arms around him right there. We had a very laid back weekend. He drove out with me to la-la-land to gather The Boy, I made us a couple of hearty dinners and breakfasts (they were on their own for lunch…) then sent him on his way Sunday afternoon. The Boy spent most of the time doing geometry.
Libraryland is bustling right now after a week long slow down because of the holidays. We are seeing a lot of people who got ereaders for xmas or Chanukah and are turning to libraries to fill their reading needs. That means more competition for our digital materials and more frustration trying to use the service for the first time. Usually once they get it to work once, they are golden, but the initial set up can be confusing. Occasionally there is some kind of glitch where Adobe Digital Editions gets hung up over the ID and even if you put it in correctly and Adobe accepts it, permissions won’t transfer.
It is a bit depressing around here today. Many of my coworkers in teen services are those who are affected by the budget cuts and today is their last day in their librarian positions. Some of them are becoming assistant managers–a scheduling and circulation sort of management position–others are becoming Library Assistants–this particular position has some elements of librarianism, but is not professional and they have to try to stop themselves from doing the amount of reference they were doing up until today (it is hard to do less when you are helping the public, but they won’t be paid for that level of professionalism and if they do continue, they might be eliminating the need for more librarian positions).
What am I reading? I have started two books and I like them both. Dreadnought, the third steampunk novel by Cherie Priest, is scratching my adult fiction itch. The main character is nicely developed and the story is fun, somewhat suspenseful and action packed.
The other is a children’s book, along the lines of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black by Eden Unger Bowditch is about 5 inventor-type children who’s parents are missing. The children are at a strange school with a nice teacher, but where the Mysterious Men in Black visit. I have really just started this one so I can’t tell you any more…except that it doesn’t come out until March 15th.
I have tried, several times, to start writing here over the last couple of weeks. There has been a lot going on, lots of work stuff blowing up, then coming down, then (hopefully) getting fixed. As most of you know, our budget was cut pretty severely this year. Many of my colleagues were transferred out of their positions and into non-librarian positions, or just right on out of the library. Everyone was offered a job–not the job they applied for, not a job they wanted, but a job. So there is a public statement saying that no one was layed off. However, a demotion is a lay off. A cut in pay is a lay off. Elimination of a position is a great loss, as it is likely we won’t ever get that position back.
Anyhow, as sad as that was, we were all dealing. We had voted overwhelmingly to take a pay cut, to forgo our COLA, to go on furlough. We had been informed of where our newest re-organization would take us (I was personally lucky, I do not have to move again), and were all dealing with that loss. Some of the communication was awful. Really awful. Like finding out that your position had been eliminated during a unit meeting with a group of coworkers, no formal acknowledgement, just your position isn’t on the roster.
This week we had another blow to our moral. Three people would be promoted and given raises and a currently unfunded deputy city librarian job would be filled. That’s right, raises and more money to the top level of management. There was a public outcry for several days. Testimonials were written where all staff could see them. Everyone was so upset. Aside from the money, the fact that there was no competitive hiring process was a blow and most felt that the three did not deserve a promotion. Eventually the three gave back the raise–temporarily–but no one was mollified. People went to the Library Board meeting yesterday and the union read a letter stating our dismay. It was well done. That, combined with staff letters and a local citizen’s testimony about staff feeling disfranchised, made the board realize that something was really wrong. They cut the line from the budget allocating funds to a deputy and made a commitment to funding public services cuts before giving any money to raises or new positions. They also stated that the library needed to create inroads to better communication with staff; that they wanted staff to be able to come to work happy and engaged, not beaten down by bad tactics.
So, I am hopeful. And our new interim city librarian should be awesome. Oh, and the Friends of the library received enough donations to gain the matching funds. That is also very cool and thanks so much to everyone that donated. That’s all I have for now, as the library turns.
What did I read while I was hibernating? Oh so much.
Awaken by Kate Kacvinski. I had a hard time suspending my disbelief over the premise, but the story itself and the writing was sound. When I explained it to my father, he said he could believe it, so that might just be me. Basically, in this post 2040 future (only date I saw) everyone has retreated behind a computer, too scared to leave their homes for various reasons. It all began because school bombings and shootings had gotten out of hand and in order to protect the children, school had been moved into the family home via digital school, or DS. Maddie is the teen daughter of the founder of DS, but she isn’t convinced it is the best thing and has a checkered past of helping protesters, whom some might call terrorists, fight DS. Now that she is older and realizes the impact she has had on her family in betraying them, she is torn between not hurting them again and following her beliefs.
Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft. The feel of the story reminds me of K.L. Going’s Fat Kid Rules the World. There are short, hot chapters and the writing is poetic. I wanted to go get my notebook several times while reading, and I haven’t written anything longer or more creative than a flyer in years.
The main character, Jonathan, is mourning the loss of his twin brother from an accident a year before. He lives with his bikini barista mother in West Seattle in a ‘needs some love’ house that his mother wants to transform into a wedding chapel. His inability to deal with his personal tragedy has dropped him into a hole, and one that his principal wants to help him out of. She gives him an ultimatum: don’t skip class, interview a world war two vet and write his book, and perform at graduation and she’ll let him pass 11th grade.
A very worthwhile read. Steady and entertaining. The only thing I had a hard time with was how well everything came together and how much everyone wanted him to succeed. I enjoyed all the local references, most of which I recognized, although Jonathan’s world isn’t one I have a lot of experience with first hand. His life, his circumstances, felt very different to me than my own growing up just a little bit North. Sign of the times or just a more urban existence? Either way, I found the differences interesting.
The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz. Allie is a vinyl expert. At 16 she has already put in 2 years of service working at her local record store; her home away from home. But the numbers of record aficionados are shrinking and so are the store’s clientele. In order to reach more LP fans, Allie starts a blog and a zine, talking about all her favorites slowly garnering a larger and larger fan base, including “Fan in Berkley” whom she fantasizes is the illusive mystery man she sees occasionally in the store.
Like a simplified High Fidelity, this book will satisfy budding music lovers and LP fans. There’s a bit of crime and morality that has an interesting twist.
I read this one on my iPod touch using bluefire–a library download. The text was big enough that I wasn’t straining, even on the small screen. A very fast and satisfying read.
Zombies Vs Unicorns edited by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black. My son and I listened to this audiobook on our long drive to Nevada. It is a book of short stories that alternate between zombie and unicorn themes (some combined) and feature authors Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier fighting it out over which is better. The stories themselves are by awesome YA authors and vary greatly in tone and depth.
We had a great time listening to these. The banter between Holly and Justine seemed a bit tinned, but was still amusing. I really loved the second story about a boy who had contracted a rare form of brain virus (the author tells this better) and he travels the country eating other humans–the brains are the best part. My second favorite was about how to train your baby killer unicorn, and that just says it all right there. In my opinion, the zombie stories win but the contrast is excellent. Some of the readers are better than others (there is a mix of readers and one story seems to have 3 different readers, one for each of the “voices”.) The excellent readers seem to coincide with my favorite stories… thank goodness.
Ok, I’ve overwhelmed you enough. You may go.
I hinted that I have been a little whiney lately, a little stressed, maybe a little annoying? I have annoyed myself, but I can’t speak for others and they have been nice enough not to say.
Most of this has stemmed from the changes that happened a couple of months ago. I would still be my happy self at my old branches. I wouldn’t feel as challenged though, or quite as elemental in important goings ons. In many ways the changes were good for me and are likely leading me in promising directions.
I was stressed and irritated because of some extra work was given to me because someone else didn’t want to do it. The extra work is really a good opportunity. The problem is that it makes it so I don’t have time to do programming. I have taken positive steps and made my teen volunteers my project and things are really working out great with them.
The session at PLA I was talking about in my last post, Mourning the Loss, helped me deal with this. I was reminded of the stages of grieving that you go through when you experience a major change. I was definitely grieving and I was in the anger stage. I was venting to people and it wasn’t helping–it actually made me feel worse. Hearing this in the session helped me identify it and to let it go. Just like that, I decided I was done railing against that which I cannot change. It is working so far.
They also talked about a new book that I put on hold immediately. It is called Influencer: the Power to Change Anything. It is more for administration and shows how to lead people through changes with minimal damage to their moral and thus to their work ethic. There is some information there for individuals as well.
I plan to give it a read just as soon as I dig myself out of this pile of galley’s I was given at PLA. Which brings us to:
What am I reading? The Passage by Justin Cronin. Love it so far, even though I am still in the baby stages of the plot set up. This book is over 700 pages long and thick as a paperback. Mr. Cronin knows how to set up a character, even a minor one and the story has really sucked me in already. Some day there will be vampires, but for now there is a special agent, a death row convict, a jailor/guard, a nun and a sweet little girl. Too bad you have to wait until June 8, 2010 to read it…
at my big branch.
I still had a lot of stuff to pack, but somehow it got done fairly quickly.
We had a potluck–I am not the only one leaving here. They are also losing their children’s librarian, manager and assistant manager. Another dear team member left a couple of weeks ago for Library School in Indiana. The potluck was at our staff meeting. We mostly talked about books we were reading and wrote nice stuff about each other. It was a nice last meeting.
As if fate was teasing me, there were several teens and tweens in when I was on desk asking for books.
I had a last cup of tea with questionable almond milk. I have to stop doing that.
I had a nice goodbye with co-workers, especially my manager and my fellow librarians. Even the guy that eats tuna fish sandwiches in the office and leaves crumbs all over my desk and keyboard said he would miss me. I will miss him, too.
Each goodbye hug and email made me sad in a happy way. I am sad to leave all of these cool people. This was a good chapter in my life. I hope the next one can live up to it.
Hey, no bad patron interactions. Blessed day.
at my smaller branch…
One of my favorite co-workers called in sick :(
Got sworn at for asking a guy to turn down his headphones. Of course the rest of us should be inconvenienced so that you can continue to ruin your hearing. How silly of me.
Was told that I could just print a rental agreement off the internet by a guy that doesn’t know how to use a computer. Sure, if you want to pay for it. Let’s try this book instead.
Had to ask a woman to stop yelling at her children in the library. We are just too small for that sort of thing (there was no talking, only yelling).
Had my favorite barista come and say goodbye to me and give me a hug. Now that’s service :)
Had a scone and a pie from favorite coffee place–a double short non-fat latte with a sugar in the raw too. And it was all yummy.
Helped many people print from the computers.
Was given a book recommendation by a regular patron.
Otherwise had an uneventful day. Hoorah!
Today was day 2 back in libraryland. Day 1 started with the booktalking webinar. I did well until I got to the actual booktalking portion. I always get nervous the first time I do book talks at the schools, but by the second time I am a pro. This time I didn’t have to see the faces looking back at me, but in a way I think that was worse. It was probably good to let those listening know that I still get nervous, so they shouldn’t feel bad if they do, too.
Next I had a four hour meeting where we mostly discussed programming for the coming year and how we will now be working together as a region to make sure we are covering teen services for our library branches. There are two branches that do not have teen services librarians and another that is a maybe, depending on how they hire for the position that will open up there. I currently work at one of those branches and I had a teacher come in today to ask about bringing his students in to work on a project for his class. I have developed a relationship with this teacher, his school and the librarian there. I worry about what will happen when I am not at that branch anymore. But then, I know that because I care what happens, I will make sure that they continue to receive good service from us. I hope that our new model will allow me time for outreach. According to what we heard at the meeting yesterday, that is what management hopes for as well.
I made it through all my email yesterday. There were 125 of them, which isn’t as bad as usual for a 2 week vacation. I can thank our new intranet for that, because many things that used to be sent out as emails are just being posted and saved there. In many ways our system is getting more organized and efficient, which seriously helps me do so as well.
Tonight I went to a YALSA happy hour and saw some acquaintances and my friend Jackie, who presented at the webinar with me. She inspires me to want to take a speed reading class, because she reads several books a week, where I am lucky to get through 1 or 2. I worry that the enjoyment might go out of it if I do cheapen my relationship with the written word by unnaturally speeding my ability. I don’t really have time to learn anyway, because I am too busy reading and crocheting and watching Torchwood. Anyhow, the happy hour was fun. I forget that I love to geek out about libraries and books because things at work are kind of stressed right now for everyone.
What am I reading? Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I have been saving this as a treat–supposedly over my vacation–but had to pre-empt it to read Very LeFreak for work. Wasn’t I sad when I got there yesterday and found out we weren’t presenting our books? Yes, I was. Because Leviathan is just as exciting and fun and interesting as I thought it was going to be. It is steampunk and darwinist and sort of, not really, princes being chased across the country side by armies that want to eliminate his possible claim to the throne and girls pretending to be boys so that they can fly in the big living balloons that are zeppelins*. I wish I could have just stayed in bed for a day and read it straight through. Instead, I have to pick at it in the evenings before bed and on breaks from work.
*I am so excited I am speaking in run ons. Bad English major!
Put the last of the visiting family on a plane today. Now I will have some more time to work on my booktalks for the First Tuesday webinar. That is happening this Tuesday morning at 10am and is a live broadcast. Here’s hoping nothing goes wrong–it is really only the second time I have been recorded for longevity. The first time was at the ALA conference in 2008 when I talked about zines for YALSA. That one wasn’t practiced at all though. It is good practice for the iYouth conference at the iSchool that I am participating in later in the month (talking about teens, technology and blogs).
A good internet friend of mine had an album release today over on his band blog. They are Starfish Stories: The Band and they release their music under a creative commons license, which allows you to use their music in, say, a YouTube video and all you have to do is attribute the music to them in the way they have asked. I got a chance to preview the release and was quite impressed. It isn’t going to be a top 40 success, but I don’t think it was meant to be that anyway. This music has a lot of creative uses and is very well executed. I especially liked “Goodnight Not Goodbye v2.2″, which I believe is the only one with lyrics. You can download these songs by going to the blog link above–there is a place to donate if you like the music, but you should feel free to listen first.
In Libraryland: More information is coming out, although it is hard to tell what is official (and therefor blogable). There is a lot of talk about writing letters to the union and admin, but nothing is happening yet that is visible to me. There might be some behind the scenes work going on, though. I am not unhappy with my post, so it is hard to get riled up about things, but I do understand other’s consternation over changes made, some supposedly based on “skills and abilities”, that have taken people out of their specialty. Others are happy for the chance to do something different and stirring the pot more could mess up their opportunity for that experience.
What am I reading? Still LaFreak…I am going very slowly right now. We will leave it at that. I hope I finish it in time for the work meeting on Tuesday. I should have more time to read now that I am not staying up late visiting with family.
New Year’s Eve is upon us! What are you doing? I am hanging out with sisters and brothers who are visiting from other cities, aunts, cousins and nieces. We are making a massive meal, drinking quality drinks, playing poker and games and toasting the new year. I am also taking a special sister, who is having a birthday tomorrow, to breakfast at Cafe Presse. Yummy for us :)
In Libraryland: I stopped in my branch today to pick up my holds. I got my official letter that states my transfer, and that is about all it said. Not even whether I was still a TSL (teen services librarian, for those of you out of the library lingo loop), but my manager assured me that I still am. I feel somewhat guilty that I am pretty much ok with my assignment. Many of my coworkers are getting moved to places that do not fit their lives well. Mine is a little further from home, definitely harder to get to traffic, bus and bike-wise, but also has some very good qualities–busy branch, lots of kids and teens, lots of reference. We still don’t know where managers will land, so I don’t know who mine will be and that could make or break the deal. There are several that I would love to have and several I would rather not and a whole slew in the middle that I don’t really know from adam.
What am I reading? Still LeFreak–I am reading a bit slower than usual. Not that I want to set you up for lightning fast updates… but the holidays makes me spend my free time crocheting and baking, rather than reading. Back to the book. I still think this girl is crazy, but I can now see her as a real person and as one who is hiding from her past by being super busy, super popular and super geeky. She is on the internet, plugged into her iPod, getting and sending text messages 24/7. This girl needs a chill pill.
I am posting now, because I know the next couple of days are going to be busy, and I am just not sure I will have time to be on the internets. I hope everyone enjoys their NYE!