Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Display: Star Wars

The previous display was "Read like Rory Gilmore," but since so many people were disappointed by the revival, our boss wanted it gone ASAP.

They only idea I could come up with on the fly was the next big block buster film. Which is Rogue One.

(I really wanted to dedicate something to Hidden Figures, but the only book we have is the one the movie is based on, which is out for the foreseeable future...)

The top shelf is fiction, and the rest is non-fiction: behind the scenes, schematics, and trivia. Since Rogue One takes place right before New Hope, I tried to keep everything to the original trilogy, but a few of the books cover more than just the original films.

Also, since the sign doesn't translate well in this picture, it says: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, A new movie premiered..."

It's just yellow word art made to look like the opening credits (the background is just a picture of stars).

Monday, December 5, 2016

Passive Program: Self-Care Survival Guide

So this may just be my favorite display so far. And, ironically enough, the most stressful. I kept getting ideas about how to make it better, so it just kept growing. But it was definitely worth it.

I wanted to do something for the holidays that I hope hasn't really been done before. My first thought was a tongue in cheek "how to survive the Holidays display" and going through holiday by holiday. But after starting to try to put it together, it evolved into this. I also didn't want patrons to complain about a war on holidays or choosing only one holiday, or forgetting to mention another,  so I made sure it was just winter themed. The guides make mention to the most stressful time of the year, but that's it.

This is mostly an expansion of what is in the tri-fold I made with resources that can be found for free online or in the library. 

This is the Tri-fold. It full of tips on to make yourself feel better, and reminder that you don't have to kill yourself to make everyone else happy. 
The resources that either didn't fit on the board (yellow) or didn't fit into the tri-fold because they were thought of after (purple)

There's still more thing I need to add to that display, because apparently it will never actually be finished. What I want to add is one more small hand out with all the online resources.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Last minute Thanksgiving passive programming!

I really didn't like how the last program turned out, so I came up with something for Thanksgiving instead!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Passive Programming: slight fail

So I've officially learned what not to do! I took the lead from one of my coworkers, who for New Years had a poster that patrons could sign with their goals for the upcoming year. I decided to take the idea of the board that patrons could write on.
I wanted to something cute and clever, and have patrons answer a question with a clever book title. I had seen a few memes that had gone around that had people answer multiple questions like that.
For example:
Q: "How did you spend your summer?"
A: Dealing with Dragons (By Patricia C. Wrede)

 But that's not how it turned out.

I ran into a few problems. Our newest batch of teens are currently in middle school and are not the most well behaved.
So there was an issue with tagging... the day the display went up. They would wait until I had stepped away from the desk to write all over the poster in huge letters. I had to white out at least one.

And then of the patrons who constructively participated ... they didn't get the point?
Instead of giving clever answers, where the title can grammatically answer the question, most answered with which fictional world they would want to visit. Which is fine, but not really what I had intended.

Oh well, lesson learned.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I Boldly went to work!

Happy Halloween!
A day late, but since I worked 9 am to 8 pm (between two jobs), I think its warranted.

Friday, October 21, 2016

"Until the very end," J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

So much has happened since the last time I wrote anything. Good and bad. And while mostly balanced in number, the bad has definitely outweighed the good, mentally.
I have started seriously looking at grad programs, and I think I know to which I would actually like to apply.
And that should be so exciting! and I mostly am. But.
Because there is always a “but,” it’s definitely been a tough few months.

A close family member died very suddenly: my maternal uncle. I spent nearly every weekend with him growing up. He was elderly, sick, and unhappy; but it was nothing life threatening. I mean, his official cause of death was “failure to thrive.” So. I guess it was that unhappiness that killed him. No guilt there, or anything.

Anyway, I mostly just wanted to write something. To make sure I don’t give it up completely. To prove to myself that my creativity is still there, somewhere under all the stress and grief.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen has slowly become one of my favorite authors. Her books feel good to read, they have been a perfect in-between book, especially after I finish a book I’ve struggled with. Kind like a breath of fresh air. They are also the perfect summer read. Something about the way this author writes always strikes me with the same satisfaction as eating homemade pie, you can taste the sweetness.

This particular book, The Peach Keeper, takes place in a small town in North Carolina. The story primarily centers around two women: Willa Jackson and Paxton Osgood. Both come from prominent old families who helped build the town and whose grandmothers used to be best friends. The families became estranged after the Jackson family lost their fortune and their estate, The Blue Ridge Madam, when Willa’s grandmother was still a teenager.

The two women lead very different lives on the surface: Paxton is a socialite and president of the local Womens’ Society, and Willa runs a small business that caters to tourists. Just beneath the surface lies a key similarity: both struggle to live the life their family expects. For Willa, this means a quiet, uneventful and responsible existence; For Paxton, this means being the perfect southern belle.

However their worlds begin to collide after Paxton decides to restore the Blue Ridge Madam. During the reconstruction of the site, a skeleton is dug up at the base of an old cherry tree. Brought together through the discovery of the seventy-five year mystery, their lives will forever change.

Like many of this author's books, it is about friendship between women. How those friendships are so important because of what they provide for women. No one knows what a woman needs, better than another woman. Especially, when it comes the dangers that men can pose to their safety and their hearts.

I think that is one of the reasons that I love these books so much. There is just an honesty about the many relationships between women. Family and friend relationships. Too often women are depicted as being too catty and backstabbing to be friends with each other. In my experience, female relationships are so often depicted that way, that many women have actually started to believe it. So it’s great to see the importance of those relationships played out.

However, my one fault with this book, and nearly all of the books I've read, is that they aren't exactly diverse. The cast tends to be all upper to middle class white people, and the world is definitely not made up quite so uniformly.

For, me this is a big problem. It makes it hard to relate to the story. So while the story is utterly enchanting, it isn't exactly the whole story. And the readers can tell.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Current Mood: The Last Minute Panic

Aaaaannnndddd we have survived the summer reading program, people!
Now all that's left is to survive the rush of kids who put their reading off until the last minute, and their angry parents because there are no copies of that book they need left in the state. This should be fun.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Passive Programming: Sports Themed Rebus Puzzles

The Book in a Jar was extremely popular! we had 24 entries, and most of them were correct. (The one that were incorrect were kids) So now it is time for the new passive program! I actually came up with this all by myself. I had been trying to figure out a way to incorporate sports, and this was what I came up with!

This one is also already pretty popular, I really liked how it came out.

The answers:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Helpful Hint!

If you work in a library (or public service in general) the phrase "I need help," is code for do it for me.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Passive Programming: Book in a Jar

My new passive programming display is up and running! my boss had heard about book in a jar, and after a quick google search I totally agreed that it would be something super cool that we could do.
And after three days slicing up a book, I really like how it turned out.

To make all of this work, I had to cut up a few of the pages myself because our shredder does a really good job and all that was really left of each shred fit one or two words on it. And since I wanted people to be able guess I put a few of the key pages to the side.

I know a few people already entered the correct answer, and at least one of my coworkers got it as well, can you guess the book? If not, here's the answer

I would also just like to add that I had to work on this project at the reference desk and cannot truly describe the odd looks I got putting all this together. I can say that no one freaked out even as I was literally tearing the pages out of the book. I had to tell people what I was doing fairly often, and luckily they all seemed pretty excited about it. Although I did have one person attempt to through a piece of trash in the jar as I was filling it. 
Either way, this project was definitely worth all the work. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

It was a book I could not put down. I started it on a Saturday evening and was finished the following Tuesday. It has been years since I finished a book that quickly.

The book starts out during Mr. Bennet’s recovery from a heart attack. Elizabeth and Jane have returned from NYC to help with the recovery. But what they return home to is more than just a sick father: the entire household is in disarray. On top of that, Mrs. Bennet’s only concern to get her daughters married before they turn forty. To Mrs. Bennet’s utter delight, two doctors just moved into the neighborhood, a Chip Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy; and better yet, Chip is immediately attracted to Jane.

I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice especially. I have read many modern retellings that I usually end up putting to the side, because it isn’t what I wanted. This retelling, however, was almost exactly what I wanted. I have never read a more accurate retelling than this book. The pacing, and the writing style (even with a modern language), even the book’s chapter layout, it is all eerily spot on. I think that all of the characters were modernized seamlessly. In a way that better lets a modern reader understand their flaws, strengths, and personality.
We can better see Elizabeth’s pride in this retelling. She is presented, only seeing what she wants to see and we get to observe the progress she makes of slowly understanding and then seeing what is actually there. Good examples of this are the state of her parents house, or her relationship with Jasper.
I also totally loved that she is kind of a stereotypical white upper-class feminist. She believes she is a great “Activist!” and an “Ally!” When she doesn't actually know as much on the subject as she thinks she does. Which shows when an event calls her home abruptly, and she struggles to react appropriately.
I think the other characters were just as well channeled. How they talk to one another, and their chosen professions, or lack thereof, were all excellently written.

My one problem with this book, was that I was not completely sold on the reality T.V. element of this book. While I absolutely loved reading this book, I was left with a bitter after taste. I think using reality television to portray Chip Bingley as flaky, was an easy way out. It almost read as if the author was desperately trying to show just how modern and up-to-date this book really is. It didn’t sit well with me, and I don’t think it tied in all that well to the rest of the book. Although, I’m sure to be in the minority with that opinion.

Ultimately, I would absolutely recommend this book to any Austen fan and to all Pride and Prejudice fans.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Passive Programming: Guess the Book from the First Line

I must have done a good job with the last program I ran because I was given charge of all the passive programming during summer reading.
I just finished my first attempt.
I think it came out pretty good if I do say so myself.
I went with "Can you Guess the Book from the First Line?" Each square on the poster board is numbered and contains a quote from the opening line of a book. I included classics and more recent popular books. I also created the submission forms because they can get entered to win a Marylou's gift card! I also included an answer key with all the titles plus one extra. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

That moment when all you want to do, is bang your head against a wall

Phone call: I was in earlier and I think I left my check book on the second floor by one of the computers.
Me: Okay, do you know which area you were in so I can go check?
Phone call: Just ask the young lady who was helping me.
Me: Its just me at the moment and I don't know where you were.
Phone: I was being helped by a young lady, have her check.
Me: Sir, there isn't anyone else here, and if you want me check, then I need to know about where you were.

and repeat 3 or 4 times.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Look, I did a thing! (Or what I've been up to lately)

So I'm clearly not a food blogger, but baking is something that I enjoy endlessly. I have a sweet tooth that cannot be satisfied, so baking is something that I have been getting more and more into as I get older.
Here is what I have been up to lately:
For Mother's Day I made my mother mini peanut butter cheesecake (recipe can be found here, though I changed the topping to candy)
A few days later I decided it was finally time to try to make empanadas with homemade dough (recipe here), for the filling I fried up some chourico and mixed in some shredded cheddar cheese. 
And most recently, I made cupcakes for a Memorial Day cook out, and I found this recipe for watermelon cupcakes, and I just could not resist. I think they came out pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Random thought from the stacks

Things I've said at work today:
"That's why I prefer to email, you can't backspace in real life"

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Random thought from the stacks

Sometimes working in reference is the absolute best.
For example, best question of the week: 
“I need the definition of alternative rock or pop.” 
after definition has been given, 
“So is that more satanic or christian?”

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Book Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Ravenspire is a kingdom that has been usurped by an evil Queen: Irina. After only a few years after her marriage to the King, she killed him and his children becoming the sole ruler of a vast kingdom.

Or so she thinks.

In reality the children, Lorelai and Leo,  survived, fleeing the castle and their fates with one sole companion/caretaker. Years later, Irina’s rule has taken it’s toll on the land and its people, years of drought have left most of the common folk starving.

Luckily, Lorelai is ready to reclaim what is rightfully hers. And she has a plan. First, win back the loyalty of the people by stealing supplies out from under Irina’s nose and give them those who desperately need it. Then go after Irina.
There’s only a few problems. First, Lorelai is uncomfortable with the magical powers she possesses because of her inability to save her father as a child, and having learned everything she knows about magic from Irina. The second problem, is the king from the nearby kingdom of Eldr desperately needs magical help to save his own people, and he believes Irina is the only hope, and he is willing to do anything she asks of him.

Despite the interesting sounding summary, I was wary of this book. That is because Snow White, despite many good intentions, is often not the most female friendly tale. Especially, if you know the original Grimm fairy tale (the evil queen is not her step-mother and poor snow white is only seven). I picked up this book despite my wariness because I am a sucker for a retelling. And I’m happy to say that it was definitely worth the chance.

One aspect that is concerning to me, has more to do with fairy tales over all then it does with this particular book. Age is often associated  with good and evil. The heroines are always young and their evil (almost always female) adversary is always older. Much of the time said older female is their adversary because of jealousy over their young and beautiful charge. And I do not believe that is was what the author’s intentions were, there do seem to be some of those aspects within this telling. It is slightly more redeeming because that jealousy is more aimed at Lorelai’s mother. But again, because Lorelai’s mother was younger than Irina, the theme of negative female competition is still present.

My one major issue with the actual book was that I wasn’t a fan of the Prologue, it was written in a completely different point of view and tone of voice than the rest of the book. It read like it was trying way too hard at sounding like a fairytale.

However, once I got past that chapter the book flowed much better, and I definitely enjoyed reading it.

Surprisingly, the book didn’t take much too much from the original plot. The basic bones were there: evil queen, magic mirror, poisoned apple; but the rest was completely original and completely appreciated.  And while yes, Lorelai does still have black hair, snow white skin and red lips, there is far less focus on her appearance. It only matters when Irina sees an illustration of her, or Lorelai’s mother says an incantation searching for her.

There is far more focus on the pureness/kindness of Lorelai. She is stronger magically mostly because she isn't forcing her will on others, but rather asking them to help. In fact, “help me” and “please” are often added onto the end of her incantations.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Why is that just when you think life is coming together something comes along to knock you down a flight of stairs (because just one would not have been enough)?
The man who is the closest thing I have to a grandfather, my maternal uncle (he’s 15 years older then my mom) has lost the will to fight. He’s had severe diabetes for as long as i can remember, but he was just diagnosed with end stage COPD and that diagnosis has affected him more than I’ve ever seen before. His body isn't quite ready to give out yet. But his mind is. So all we can do now is make him comfortable because he’s done and is refusing all medicine. This something that  could take days, months or even years.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Random Thought From The Stacks

So for some unexplained reason, at least once every two weeks (if not every week,) I manage to coordinate my outfit to match my bosses. This week is shades of teal.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book Review: The Impostor Queen

The first in a new Young Adult series, The Impostor Queen is the story of Elli, a teenager whose life turns out nothing like she expected.

In a world of ice and fire magic where many people have more of one than the other, The Valtia is the queen of the Kupari people because she is the most powerful wielder of both fire and ice in perfect balance. It is a magic that has been passed down through generations. As each new queen ascends her throne, a successor is named, the girl who will inherit the magic after the death of the queen. 

Elli was supposed to be that heir.
But after her queen dies, Elli doesn’t inherit the magic. 

Instead, she is forced to flee the city and her people and seek refuge with outlaws.
However, Elli soon realizes that nothing in her world is what she thought it was: the queens used to live to old age; the Counsel of Elders is responsible for more than just advising; the outlaws, are not outlaws so much as refugees; and Elli herself has far more power than she realizes.

I liked this book overall. It was a good read. I enjoyed Elli’s personality, her intelligence, her adaptability, and her need to feel useful.
I enjoyed that despite the fact that Elli never feels powerful, she isn’t weak either. This book successfully walks the line of Elli’s agency ( I have found that when a character is given no agency, I see no reason to continue reading. Although Elli often feels like she doesn't have agency, by the end of the novel the reader finds just how wrong Elli was about herself.

There, is of course, romance within this novel… but it is not what this story revolves around, exactly. The middle of the book has a lot about Elli's developing feelings. Also: there is no love triangle, thank goodness: I have gotten so sick of those.
Although as the reader we do come to learn that Elli’s first love is her handmaiden, which makes Elli canonically bisexual. While I definitely like the idea of Elli not being heterosexual, I’m not sure that that was given enough attention. It’s barely referenced when the handmaiden is a prominent character, the reader has to figure that out by themselves, it is only confirmed once towards the end of the book. Additionally, the handmaiden is not in a majority of the book and so the reader mostly sees Elli’s growing romance with a male. It feels a little like an easy out for the author and was a little disappointing because of that.

All the other characters were equally as compelling. For me, at least, it never felt like any of the characters fell flat, or did something out of character. 

So again, overall this was a good read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy with a female protagonist.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The event came and went and I’m still alive. Barely, but I did make it! Almost all patrons were impressed with the event and the one who wasn’t... well there was nothing I could do to fix that. She made assumptions about what the event was without reading any of the descriptions She assumed there would be a presenter, when the event was mostly just a tea party. But otherwise a huge exhausting success. And now my boss thinks that I have a natural talent for event planning. Still unsure about whether or not that is a bad thing, but I guess I will find out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Review: Princless: Save yourself

This was actually recommended to me in 2013, when it was still a webcomic… aaand I totally forgot about. Until my former library got it last summer. Now… I am in love.

I honestly don't even know where to begin with this. All I can say is praise is not enough. And it completely deserves it.

Think about every trope you have ever read/seen/heard about in fairy tales and princess movies. This story turns every single one of them upside down.

This is a the story of Princess Adrienne who, after vowing to herself to never be a damsel in distress as a young girl, finds herself at the top of a tall tower with a dragon guardian waiting to be rescued as soon as she turns sixteen. Let's just say she is NOT happy about it; so she comes up with a plan... She is going to take her dragon and rescue herself and her six sisters.

Along the way she meets Bedelia, a half-dwarf half-human blacksmith who finally designs some practical female armor (after some advice), and learns just what it will take to be her own hero.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, strong female characters (because there are plenty to go around!), characters of color, princess stories, action stories.

It's pretty much the princess tale I have been waiting for since I learned how to read.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


It has been forever since I’ve posted something. and that would be because it looks like I’m going to be groomed to coordinate events for the library. I’m currently in the middle of planning a Downton Abbey send off event: an afternoon tea “fit for aristocracy,” complete with food, tea (obviously), video clips, trivia, and a suggested reading list.
Honestly, while I am excited, I am absolutely terrified. My boss thinks it's a fear that no one will show.
But that’s not really it. I know that there are a ton of factors that go into why patrons will or won’t show up to event (weather being number one). I’m more terrified of people who do show up and hate everything. Worst of all, my boss has total confidence in me;  and while that comforts a lot of people, it has never comforted me.
While not the case here, what I’m used to when someone has such faith in me is that they then don’t give me the support I need to succeed. Mostly though, that total confidence is intimidating because what if I’m awful at this? I’ve always felt as if any of the attention I get is unwarranted. I literally cannot handle this kind of confidence.
What I fear most is failing and being a disappointment. It sounds/looks shallow putting those fears into writing like that. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
I’ve never been a standout at anything it feels like. Especially academic work. My good work was never overly praised, or really paid attention to, but my failures? Those were always scrutinized, and heavily critiqued. So maybe I’ve just been trained to hate any kind of attention because nothing good has ever come out of it for me. And maybe I see that total confidence as a type of attention. I don’t really know.
What I do know, I just have to keep telling myself I can do this, just one step at a time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Book Review: Alanna: The First Adventure

A wonderful book set in a medievalesque world where magic is gifted to a select few. It is the book that introduced me to the world of fantasy and female protagonists: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce.

This book starts out with Alanna and her twin brother Thom about to be sent away to complete their education. For Alanna, this means the convent: she will learn etiquette and dancing and everything else needed to be a proper lady. For Thom, this means heading to the palace to begin training for knighthood. Neither sibling wants that to happen: Alanna is the one who dreams to be a knight and Thom only wants to study magic. In order to escape this fate, they concoct a scheme to have Alanna pose as both a boy and the elder brother in order for the two to switch places.

The book follows Alanna through four years of being a page, where she makes both powerful friends and enemies. Throughout the book, a dark presence begins to emerge that threatens the lives of the royal family and she seems to be the only one to realize this; all the while she closely guards the secret of her true identity.

This was my first introduction to Tamora Pierce and to female centered fantasy , and there was no turning back. This was a book (and a series) that got me through some of the hardest times in my life. The world that Tamora Pierce created when writing these books, is a world into which I can fall into and be completely immersed. It is the perfect escape for me.

The characters are wonderfully thought out and written, with flaws and strengths just as any other person.These characters grow over time and the reader gets to witness this development if they read the whole series, and beyond.

For the most part, Tamora Pierce’s books, especially the books that take place in Tortal, have female protagonists. And I absolutely adore this fact. It isn’t easy (though it is possible) to find a female centric book in fantasy that I actually enjoy.

As the series continues these books also have plenty of healthy female relationships, and the women in those relationships are different and diverse. Although I admit, that in this first book there are not enough of those relationships. I enjoy reading about characters who face different challenges and who aren’t punished or villainized for either following or not following societal expectations.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, and magic, and awesome, butt-kicking ladies.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

“Money may not buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.” ― Fran├žoise Sagan

I bought a computer!! I haven't had a computer since I turned in my senior seminar paper in December 2013, so it's kind of a big deal. I'm so excited. I can officially be more active with this blog, and taking those online classes. And even going back to school in the next few years.