You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2010.

For now.  There is still a chance things will change, but for now I haven’t gotten a letter.  I don’t like that anyone is getting laid off though, and I hope we find a way to keep that from happening.

Had a lovely staff day today, learning all about the budget and what might come in the future (digital devices you can check out?!?…maybe some day).  Mostly it just made me tired, but that might have been the little bit of sleep I got the night before.  Union executive board meeting tomorrow.  Lots of discussing to do.  Still feel limbo-y about all this stuff.

What am I reading? Half heartedly a few different things.  The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall, which was something I picked up at PLA and never got around to reading.  It is a lot like Big Love.

Also Merlin’s Harp, same deal.  They are both decent books, I am just waiting for my copy of Monsters of Men to come and being impatient…

People are getting their numbers today, via work email.  I haven’t gotten one yet.  They have until 5pm to send them out.  Branch managers are being eliminated, so those in that position will have to take an open position or bump librarians in order to keep their jobs.  Sigh.  Waiting is so hard.

Especially since I love my job.  I know the others affected do too.  It is hard to advocate for yourself in a budget crisis–why is my job more important than any of the other people/services being cut? :P

Just waiting…

Tomorrow’s the big day.  Budget announcements.  I probably won’t find out about my specific job for a couple more weeks after that, but we will have a much better idea of where we stand tomorrow.  The City Librarian told us on Thursday that the cuts have decreased to 8% and managers tell us that at their meeting on Friday, they were told 7%.  That is certainly good news, but still a lot more than the budget cuts we have faced over the last couple of years.  Most of those were 1.5% and could be answered by eliminating empty positions and a week long furlough.  This is definitely not that.

One of the fear making issues during this budget cut time is the secrecy that the Mayor’s office puts around the decision making process.  I am not sure what the reasoning is behind this, but McGinn is not the only one.  Nickels really started the whole thing.  I found out recently that not only do the plans have to be secret, but our library council is not even allowed to talk to each other about it.  What?  Really?  These are the people who have to approve a final budget.  Is the Mayor hoping that by keeping them from talking to one another…trying hard to pull this out…that they will make better choices?  Or won’t have time to be informed enough to make different choices than the Mayor laid in front of them?  Can he really care that much about what cuts the library makes?  His comments up to now show he really doesn’t care about the library much at all, although he does like to use it himself occasionally.

In Libraryland, I keep on trucking.  Teen Advisory went great and we are well underway planning our first event.  I hosted Danger: Books at the middle school in my area recently and as usual, it totally rocked and inspired me.  The actors are so great and I love hearing my favorite books acted out.  I taught my first computer class in over a month and it went really well, with a full house.

What am I reading? I finally finished The Broken Teaglass a few days ago and found it a nice change in scenery.   The writing is dry and the characters are shallowly defined.  The only person you really get to know is the main character and at first he is one of the biggest mysteries of all.  Billy is new to Samuelson, a company that compiles dictionaries.  He feels lucky to have a job, being a newly graduated, but isn’t sure that being a lexicographer is for him.  He is also a reluctant mystery solver when a strange citation falls into his lap and it appears that someone has been murdered, but his new friend Mona talks him into taking the plunge.

I am almost done with The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller.  I was looking forward to this because I really liked both Kiki Strike books.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like this book…mostly.  I like the strong female protagonist, I like the story line: people who are born again and again because something is drawing them back, I liked the characters.  Sigh, I don’t like that the main character, Haven, can’t seem to tell when the others are lying to her.  Ever.  She is tricked time and time again by the same people.  Haven needs a big gong rung that says “trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me.”

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.

I have been working on what librarians do best.  Research.  We have two people (George and Joan) coming to facilitate our librarian “forum” in two weeks and I wanted to know more about them.  It is pretty much what you’d expect from two long time administrators that haven’t been on a reference desk for 20+ years.  They are definitely library advocates, but they are part of the “budget cuts are a great time for big changes” school.  They don’t out and out say that librarians are outmoded, but what I have heard so far, they don’t make any statements about what librarians bring to the library.

Like that we are the ones that develop and test the programs they are going to continue without us.  That we can find the information you are looking for, even if you don’t know for sure what it is when you come to us.  As libraries crowd out librarians, patrons will get less of what they want, but they might not even know it.  Eventually the library won’t be known for the place to get answers, it will just be a place to pick up your materials and use wifi, which will edge out the young and the poor.  Seattle will no longer be known for its smart population, its excellence in literacy.  I won’t go so far to say that our poor will drop into wrack and ruin, but lower test scores for under-served populations and all that means for their future…that I will predict.  There is a direct correlation between summer reading programs and maintaining literacy levels into the next school year.

I hate the fact that I am developing an advisory board for someone else now.  But I have to make the best of it.  This is great experience and I have a lot of support from my manager and former managers.  I will have great references when I am looking for a job.  My biggest question is whether I would take one of those clerk positions when the lay-offs come.  According to our contract they have to allow a laid off person to take the lowest level of whatever other position they qualify for (I think I got that right). I would have a really hard time doing the LAIV job, basically my job, for much less pay, but not being able to do real reference or readers advisory.  How do you explain to a patron, “well, I could help you, but I am not supposed to.  Let me call someone who is allowed to.” ???

On a lighter note, The Mister is coming home today!  I am meeting him at the airport at around 6 and we are going to go to Georgetown on the way home.  I know it has only been a week, but I have missed him.  I also have the week off, partially to spend time with him, and partially to help with my sister’s wedding.  She gets married on Saturday :)  I am so happy for her.

Ah, the sh** is coming down now.  There was a notification yesterday about our new service model.  It seems as if we don’t need as many librarians as we currently have.  Isn’t that good timing with the budget cuts coming?  There can be a bunch of librarian lay offs because hey, we don’t need them and they get paid more, so we can just replace them with lower paid clerks.  Clerks can answer questions at the reference desk and the few librarians left can do outreach and programming.  Two birds and all that.

I am feeling pretty dark right now.  It isn’t just the cuts and lack of respect for the profession (although that would be enough).  Things are building up with the Offspring as well.  We always want to think the best of our children, but they do screw up sometimes.  Let’s just say that OS seems to be piling up the screw ups lately.

Gotta run off and talk some smack with some library ladies.  Maybe this will help.

I got home on Monday night and could tell my furniture had been moved around.  I live with housemates, but I have my own floor, so things like this don’t usually happen.  Soon the handyman guy came down and told me that the new windows came in and they had replaced the one in my son’s room already, but couldn’t get the bed out of the way in the back room without moving a bunch of stuff.  New windows are awesome, so I didn’t bother telling them about the usual notice I should have gotten.  Now both windows are almost in, they just need some trim and stuff.  These should help keep out the drafts and maybe a few of the spiders…

It has also been raining since I got home, and I don’t mind one bit.  Vegas was very sunny and hot and even with a 50 spf sunscreen applied often I still got a sunburn.  It doesn’t hurt, but I am quite red in places.

Today I am cooking and cleaning.  Turkey chili!  Cleaning… :(  I need to organize this place bad.  Living here for 4 years has really made me accumulate a lot of stuff.  I have only been back at work for one day and mostly worked on the Banned Books display–which is rather grand thanks to the art of our LAIV, lettering by our children’s librarian and organization by me.  We do good work.

Before I left I had a wonderful morning with my friend Jess and her daughter.  We went to the park and out for Pho.  Jess gave me a really cool book,  just to say thank you for our friendship.  I love it!  I recommend that all my library friends read It’s a Book by Lane Smith.  It will make you chuckle.

What else have I read? Clementine by Cherie Priest, which I liked better than Boneshaker.  The story is only loosely related to that first book, in that it is set in the same Steampunk world during the Civil War era and there are mentions of those characters, but the story is uniquely its own.  Maria Boyd is a famous confederate spy, which makes her highly unemployable in her trade.  When she is offered a P.I. gig in Chicago, she weighs her options and goes for it.  Her first mission is to distract a fugitive slave/bank robber/all around bad guy from stopping a shipment of food and medicine getting to hospitals.  Things don’t turn out to be as they were explained, however and Boyd finds herself teaming up with the fugitive to stop a massacre.

I just finished The Red Thread by Ann Hood.  It was clichéd and predictable, and Hood tried to bring in too many characters on a personal level, each one fit some sort of type and only the women were described in any detail..  The main character felt unwieldy and shallow.  The story itself was interesting, but I kept trying to figure out when it was set.  There were cell phones and emails, but most of the fashion and name choices made me think of the 80’s.  It seems that goodreads users liked it, as it has a 3.66 rating.  I did feel compelled to read it to the end.  Sorry, what’s the story, right…  An emotionally wreaked woman runs an adoption agency for US parents adopting from China.  She herself lost her own child to a tragic accident, which she can’t get over.  The book tells us little bits of each adoptive family’s life and the story of the mother (or in one case Father) of the child left for adoption.  The second of those were actually good and I looked forward to those chapters even though they were typed entirely in italics.  The story takes the families through the adoption process and the main character through her self forgiveness ordeal.  Sigh.

Now I am reading The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault.  And first, let me say that I am surprised to see that the writer is a woman, because the first 3 characters we are introduced to are all men, including the main character and the voice is so strong that I would have assumed (I know…) that the writer was a man.  So far I like it.  It is very different than what I have been reading lately, so it is a bit of a breath of fresh air.  So far the writing reminds me of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Just starting day 3 in Las Vegas and I am feeling refreshed and much less stressed out.  On Monday after I got in we just napped (The Mister was coming off an 18 hour shift that morning), got up and had Thai for dinner at a cute little place nearby, then went back to bed.  On Tuesday we went hiking on the most moderate temperature day we’ve seen.  It was only in the high 80’s, down from 108 the week before.  We went up into Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area, spent some time at their visitor’s center and went for a short 3.3 mile hike.  My camera batteries kaputted about 3/4 of the way up the trail, so I missed many photo opportunities.

Today the temp is back up in the high 90’s, probably into the hundreds by the end of the day.  Oh well.  I am not fond of heat, even this dry heat is making my life difficult.  I walked about half a mile to get to Starbucks to use the wifi (I was going to walk to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, but it is further and I gave up).

I have been reading a lot lately.  Looking back I see that I forgot to follow up on a couple of books.  Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie: My Rotten Life was great fun.  It is definitely a Juvenile book, probably around 3rd grade reading level and content.  As I mentioned, Nathan had a strange substance spilled on him that was supposed to get rid of bad feelings, but instead made him the walking dead.  He and his friends race against the clock to save his life as he knew it.  If he doesn’t have the cure before the deadness finished taking over, he will be un-dead forever.  The ending sets up a series very neatly and boys and girls will enjoy the school settings, popularity contests and unlikely adventures of the three friends.

I finished up Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a while ago, and if you don’t look to far into it, it is an amazing thriller from a masterful storyteller.  However, this book glorifies sadistic rape and murder of women.  The first couple of chapters were a real chore to get through, but the remainder of the book keeps you locked in.  There is a side story about the girl, Lisbeth, of the title that has nothing to do with the rest of the story, but probably will in a later book.  In fact, there are still a lot of questions surrounding Lisbeth at the end of the book.  All to keep us reading, I am sure.

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand is beautiful and haunting.  I love this author and have read almost everything she has written and this story contains all the things that draw me to her writing.  The characters are intriguing and bright, the setting is mysterious and alluring, the story is wandering, yet direct.  If you have read Winterlong, you should read this.  If you haven’t, then you should read both…

I finished The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall on Monday–I started it on the plane and finished while The Mister was napping.  This is a sweet story of a family of four sisters and a father who spend a summer holiday at a cottage that butts up against magnificent gardens owned by a rather stuffy woman.  The woman has a son, who embodies the characteristics we all wish our sons had, as do the girls, for all their eccentricities and mischievousness.  The girls tend to get in trouble, the boy is ruled by his pushy mother and the three weeks at the cottage become both heaven and hell for all the children.  Of course it all comes out all right in the end.  A great book for young readers, 2-5 grade, both boys and girls.