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I’m still in New Orleans, but ALA is over. Many of the librarians, et al, have packed up and gone home. The Mister and I have one more day to enjoy together before we both get on planes going to different places. I find myself unable to make up my mind as to what I should do with this last day. I have a couple of souvenirs to pick up and a box of books to ship home. We should probably eat something. But right now we are just sitting companionably in our artfully messy hotel room listening to the St. Charles street car go by every 10 minutes.
I have been to conferences before, even ALA. In fact, I have been to dental conferences (don’t ask). This is the first conference where it really clicked why I am here. The sessions were good–I learned a lot about the future of digital media (ebooks, music, etc.), cloud computing, databases, and most importantly, myself. I talked to people I didn’t know and gave them ideas from our system that they will take away and use to make their school library more interactive with students. I learned from them too, in many ways. Mostly I learned that my system is amazing, that we do a lot, even if we librarians sometimes feel that we, as a system, don’t take that first innovative step until someone else has tested the field. There are a lot of places where we are the front runners in public libraries.
The panel I moderated went amazingly well. Forty people came, which was great since it was in the very last time slot for presentations at the conference and that’s about what the room could hold comfortably. There was a good representation of academic and public libraries in the audience and many of them had zine collections. Our panelists, Jenna Freedman, Chris Ritzo and John Stevens made for a well rounded presentation. Jenna is a librarian at Bernard College, which has an extensive zine collection. Chris is a volunteer librarian at the Urbana Champaign Independant Media Center. And John is at the State Library in Melbourne Austrailia, where zines are archived for the future. Both John and Jenna have their own zines in addition to helping preserve them. All three are very active in the zine culture in their areas, as well as in their professional pursuits.
After the panel we all trooped out to the parking lot to ooh and ah over the Zine Mobile, which will be taking a jolly band of zinester librarians (and honorary, or rogue as the case may be ;) on a road trip that passes through Florida and ends up in Milwaukee for the 3rd annual Zine Librarians Un-Conference. I loved the van:
Once again, I am not going to tell you about what I am reading now because I wouldn’t do it justice under all this conference talk. I’ll have a special book review edition after I return home.
I’m here in New Orleans and enjoying myself immensely. The Mister and I have walked all over the French Quarter, checked out the River Walk and tasted some mighty fine gumbo. We’ve given up on finding a grocery in walking distance, but I found a farmers market this morning and we got some peaches. I seriously need fresh fruit or the gummy bear addiction goes into overdrive.
Yesterday I volunteered with NOLA School Volunteers through ALA’s Libraries Build Communities. We helped paint a school room at a local high school. Pictures above.
Also pictured is a promotional postcard for a galley I am looking forward to reading. I met Jessica today in the exhibit hall and we had a great conversation about incarcerated youth and she offered to skype with my new mentee’s home. I hope to take her up on it.
I’ll fill you in on What I am Reading when I am back at the computer.
I made it to vacation and I (think I) even got everything done.
Tomorrow we leave for camping on the Olympic Peninsula, which almost guarantees that it will be raining. I am sad that the Boy can’t come, but he has basketball camp starting on Sunday, and besides it is Father’s day weekend and I am sure he wants to spend it with his dad. Hopefully I will have a signal so I can call and harass him every night. I’ll post some pics here too if I can.
I have been wading through ALA related email, trying to decide what programs to go to. A few have been added and I know I won’t really make up my mind until I get there and see where everything is. If the sessions are across town, it’s not as likely I am going to make it.
Being the geek that I am, I reread that last paragraph and had to look up if it was bad grammar to end a sentence (or in this case, several) with a preposition. Evidently not, although it is not recommended for long sentences where the preposition can end up far from its object, confusing the reader.
What am I reading? Finally in the last chapter of Fevre Dream. I have to admit I am getting tired. But I really want to know what happens! Tonight for sure.
Also still on The Jewel and the Key, and typing that I just realized what the title refers to. I can be a little slow. I still get a little frustrated with the Seattle references, but I am starting to move beyond it to enjoy the story and the writing. Spiegler does a really nice job with description and substance, although I feel the character development is a little lacking at this point.
Wow, the two weeks since vacation have been crazy pants. I don’t know how I packed so many obligations into such a short amount of time, but I figured out yesterday just how much I had booked. 2 computer classes (one of them my first day back), 1 TAG wrap up party, 1 TAG video edit (coming soon), 2 training sessions, 1 school visit (with 7 classrooms and a lunch table), 1 scavenger hunt program–throw in a weekend Union conference, a general membership meeting and a few personal things–The Boy’s basketball tournament in La Connor!–and I’ve been one busy woman!
Of course, there are upsides and downsides to this kind of thing. I got to do everything I wanted (everything!), and I get the second half of the month off for vacation and ALA. The downsides are that I had to drive most days because of supplies and early mornings, I woke up at odd times from anxiety dreams, and I was a little high strung.
Usually I don’t plan things so close, but a few weren’t my doing (training) and the others couldn’t be helped (without making the choice not to do them). I had time for them all and planned really well, so they all came off without a hitch (except for Facebook class, but I blame Facebook’s ever shifting craziness for most of that). I put the finishing touches on my Steampunk Summer display last night after the Scavenger Hunt and I like the way it turned out. I talked up the teen summer reading program to teens at the local middle and high school and they seem pretty excited about it. All of my hidden books disappeared pretty quickly and coworkers said that kids came in asking about it. (Click the link above for more info about Steampunk Summer).
What am I reading? Still finishing up Fevre Dream by George RR Martin. That books is long–but worth it, as Martin books are.
I just started an ARC that a local author gave me; The Jewel and the Key by Louise Spiegler. She’s a history teacher and also wrote The Amethyst Road. I like it so far, but I find that books set in Seattle unnerve me a bit. Usually they use landmarks I know, but mix up their locations to fit the story. I find myself wanting to look up every location on a map, which is distracting, but not the author’s fault. The first scene of The Jewel and the Key is at Lincoln High School, which is a real place, but has not functioned as it’s own high school for a long time. It is currently being used to house other schools while their school is undergoing renovation. Right now, I think there are two elementary schools using the site. Lincoln is in Wallingford, so every time the character turns a corner, I try to envision where she is. I used to work in that ‘hood and know it fairly well. I’m going to have to let this go to enjoy the story. So far the writing is good and the characters are interesting. More later.
I finished A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan–very contemporary. I liked this book, but I’m not sure I loved it. I felt like I was reading several related short stories that eventually came together in one conclusion. I liked each of these individually–even (or maybe especially) the one done in power point slides–but overall it felt choppy and hard to follow. I did enjoy the characters; meeting each one, discovering their strengths and weaknesses and following them on their journeys. Egan creates a very in depth picture of each of her characters, and they are very interesting.
I have not been to the strip once this trip. We’ve been thrifting and lazing and cooking. All things the Mister doesn’t get to do usually. I’m posting a couple of pictures from his balcony. You can barely see the pool where we spent some time on Saturday.
Today there are tons of kids running around and people bbqing at the little bbqs placed around the parklike grounds. Most places here are gated. Even the ghettos.
What am I reading? I just finished Bloodshot by Cherie Priest which was just the right amount of pulpy mystery vampirey goodness for a Las Vegas vacation.
I spent a long time on Overdrive last night finding my next book and settled on Fever Dream by George R.R. Martin, which is turning out to be a fantastic historical fiction fantasy, also featuring vampires. And steamboats.
An aside: who knew that SPL had a better ebook selection than KCLS? I guess I do now. Kudos to us!
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.
I’m currently in Vegas visiting my sweetie. His birthday is this week and Southwest was nice enough to give me a free round trip in exchange for going into debt to Chase.
I’ve already finished two books since I got here Monday night and started a third. Thank goodness for the overdrive app–I was able to download the first book in The Vampire Diaries series. I have been meaning to read it for a while, and what better time than when stuck away from my library?
What am I reading? the books I finished are Moon Over Manifest-newest Newbury Award winner, well deserved–and The Clearing by Heather Davis–also quite good.
Reviews and links when I’m back at a computer.
Oh. Did I mention it is 68 and sunny here? Just wanted to run it a little.
California was such a nice interlude. I spent a wonderful evening at the Davis farmer’s market, drinking wine and hanging out with friends. We visited Emeryville and another friend whom I hadn’t seen for a while, wandered another farmer’s market (where I may have found a cure for my acne–I have to give it another week to make sure), took pictures on her deck with a beautiful view of the water and met her wonderful new husband for the first time.
It was so nice to spend time with my best friend. I haven’t seen her for months and well…she was in medical school, so in a way it’s like I haven’t seen her for years. She took all 3 days off that I was there and we had a wonderful time together. We wandered, we gazed, we shopped, we jumped in the cold pool after a hot day. It was super.
Coming back to Libraryland was hard after 3 such spectacular days off. The weather here in Seattle has been very nice, which has helped. I have been riding my bike as often as possible, practicing my zen meditation to try not to be annoyed with the Green Lake riders and drivers. My second Teen Advisory meeting went very well, as did my first school visit this academic year. I went to a meeting to go over the strategic plan that is being developed, and that actually left me optimistic about the future of our library system.
What am I reading? I finished Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, which is one of the books I picked up because I didn’t have anything interesting come in and I found it wonderful. There is so much going on in this book and it all comes down to the main character, Dimple, figuring herself out. At the end of Junior year, Dimple is a ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) who has a best friend who is blonde, beautiful and enigmatic. Dimple would do anything to have her self confidence and poise. As the summer goes on, she loses her friend for a while, but she finds herself. Finally embracing both sides of her American and East Indian heritage and culture. A very good add to your reader’s advisory list, almost everyone will feel some sort of affinity with the characters.
Now I am working on Will Grayson Will Grayson by a couple of my favorite (somewhat) reality fiction authors, John Green and David Levithan. It is different, it is interesting, it is captivating. More later.
I finished Monsters of Men and I loved it. So nice to have so many good books right now. Todd and Viola find themselves separated by necessity and responsibility. They must stop the war that the Mayor wants badly and keep the Mistresses from making things worse. Another several shiploads of colonizers are asleep just beyond the atmosphere, adding pressure to end things swiftly, but what is the right thing to do? There is always more to the conflict than meets the eye and Todd and Viola have to wade through the mess to get to the best answers. Sorry that all sounds so vague, but if you have read the other two books, you know how involved this story is and how easy it would be for me to give away some part that you should find out for yourself. Let me just say that this book was just as satisfying as the other two, although I found the ending a little too pat.
So much! My brain and heart are so full!
My lovely sister got married to her lovely fiancé. The wedding was beautiful and perfect and it was so wonderful to see such wonderful people tie the knot. Sister made a lot of what made the wedding special and it was cool to see all of that come together. It was such a fun night. Lots of dancing and I had my best boys with me. The Mister came to town and we had a pretty amazing week.
On Monday I visited my friend who is leaving our system and she invited us to go sailing the next day. We spent the day Tuesday on one of the Seattle Sailing Clubs boats with her, her husband and her sister. We motored out to Poulsbo, had lunch at this fun little pub complete with penny beers, and scavenged in the local shops. On the way back we got to put up the sails and I got to hold the wheel for a little while. I’d love to do it again.
On Wednesday I helped my sister make her bridal favors in the morning and went to the Offspring’s school bbq in the afternoon. It is funny watching him interacting with his schoolmates. Because all 3 schools are on the same campus, all ages were at the bbq. There was a group of middle school volleyball girls that seem to have quite a crush on him. We recently had a talk about age appropriateness, so he was careful to try not to let them hug him while I was around. The girl he has a crush on right now wasn’t there, since she is apparently home schooled. She is 14 and supposed to be in 9th grade, he’s 16 and in 10th grade. He’s not really allowed to date her, but they can be friends. Being a parent to a teen is very interesting. It is hard sometimes to know what the rules are myself, but we’ve had a lot of conversations lately about lines that cannot be crossed. I hope he understands we aren’t just being stuffy old people. Mostly we still get along, but he lies more now than he used to, and it is hard to know what is the truth.
On Thursday The Mister and I went out to St. Edwards Park and hiked around the trails there. It is a really beautiful setting although the trails aren’t particularly long or difficult. I had gotten some macaroons and a blackberry danish from Honore in Ballard when I picked up the umbrellas for Sister’s wedding. We ate them in the car after our hiking and they were wonderful. To top the day we went to Chateau Ste Michelle and the Columbia winery for a tour and some wine tasting. I ended up joining at the Columbia Winery and got a really lovely Voignier to bring home.
Friday was the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. The first went smoothly and the second was yummy. We have some history of going to La Vita E Bella in our family, and have even visited there with the grooms family in the past. Saturday was sleeping late and getting ready. We showed up at the reception venue at 2:30, got everything ready then went over to St. Mark’s for the pictures and ceremony. Despite not being a christian myself, I was impressed with the priest, who was a woman. Since St. Mark’s resembles a catholic church, I have always envisioned some puffed up man in the usual get up full of pent up sexual rage (ok, none of the priests I grew up around really fit that vision either, but it sounds good, no?) Elizabeth gave a fine wedding ceremony despite all those words about making babies to raise in the ways of the lord.
The reception was held at the Daughter’s of the American Revolution hall, which I didn’t even know existed. I always thought that building was somehow connected to Cornish. It is a pretty interesting space, with persian rugs and crystal chandeliers. Plus they have lots of shiny wood floors that are great for dancing on. We had a lot of good dancers out there, and the biggest surprise of all was seeing the mother of the bride out there shaking it up. The Offspring showed that he has some pretty good moves and I got The Mister to join me for a couple of songs, too.
On Sunday everyone dragged their asses out of bed for more fun. Some went to the bride’s mother’s house for brunch, but we didn’t make it until the bbq at our dad’s place. I got another chance to see family that had left the previous evening’s shenanigans early and we ate lots of good food and had left over wedding cake. It was a nice end to the weekend.
All right, I am too tired to talk coherently about what I am reading right now. I’ll try to get to that in the next couple of days. There is also more on the budget front, but I have mostly been trying to let that go at the moment, since there is nothing I can do about it. I did have an awesome TAG meeting (Teen Advisory Meeting) and I will write more about that later. Tomorrow is cleaning day so I had best go get some sleep so that I can actually get something done.