Books, Humor, Librarianship, Libraries, Media Mondays, Music

It Really Is “All About the Books”

Um, so, this is awesome. It is my new theme song! I really have nothing more to add. Just watch it. I loved it!


Books, Librarianship, Libraries, Literary Criticism, Society

Some Fun with Banned Books

So let’s start off with a little bit of fun with banned books this week. Here is a quiz I just discovered that should tell you:

Which Banned Book Are You?

I got Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi! Persepolis

I also wanted to make sure I share the link to the Banned Books Virtual Readout. This is where various people; librarians, authors, celebrities, families at home, film themselves reading a banned book, and share it with the rest of the world. There is some criteria to follow, which you can find by going HERE to the Banned Books website.

BBW Virtual ReadoutOver 200 people have already put up their videos! Check ’em out, you might just see some of your own favorite books being shared!

And something a little less fun, here’s a challenge just in time for Banned Books Week. Ironically enough, apparently, some parents want to ban Persepolis from some high school libraries in Oregon. I hope everyone will band together to support keeping this book in the school district! Show this librarian some love, people!

Books, Librarianship, Literary Criticism, Writing

When Book Reviews Go Wrong

When Book Reviews Go Wrong – ABC News.

“Such a widespread mistake is unusual, but it does make one wonder: How much trust should one place in the critic?”

So asks Joanna Prisco, the reporter who penned this article for ABC News. And to be quite honest, it’s a great question. How much should we listen to someone else’s opinion of the literature we are choosing to read. Isn’t personal interest enough to judge whether or not to pick a book up? Why else would the publishers put a blurb on the back or inside pockets of the book’s jacket?

To Read or Not to Read? It’s always a pertinent question.

Let’s be honest, there are so many things that could draw us to a book. The old adage that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover is a crock. At least to some extent. We’re supposed to judge the books by their covers, initially, and cover artists often work really hard to imbue a cover with some insight into the story or the information being given. It’s meant to draw you in and entice you to take a closer look. Once your there, the jacket copy is supposed to make you feel something; curious, intrigued, maybe even angry. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you’re an avid reader like me, this is often enough for you to formulate an opinion. You either want to read it, or you don’t. Nine times out of ten, I don’t want or need anyone else’s opinion to make me interested in reading a book. I could care less if the critics who read it hated it, or were indifferent to it, because if I like it, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t want someone trying to change my opinion before I even give it a try.

But for other people, that might not be enough.Professional_Reviews

There are a lot of readers who do rely on the opinions of “experts” or critics in order to deem a book worthy of their time and attention. So when these professionals mess up the details or mistake actions of the characters or the plot of the book they are reviewing, you have to wonder, did they make a mistake, or did they just not care enough to be thorough? Because, to my way of thinking, if you are getting paid for a review, you should probably be paying better attention to the text.

Now, I do understand that there are some reviewers who are doing this in addition to other jobs, and sometimes people make mistakes. Life happens. And there is the question of how often the public actually reads professional reviews from sources like Publisher’s Weekly, or Kirkus, which are more industry specific. But often, these are the reviews that librarians and booksellers use in order to decide whether or not to add a book to their collection. So when the reviewer gets things wrong, it could be affecting other people’s work. And when magazines and newspapers print incorrect information the damage can be more immediate and widespread. I think it might also be helpful for them to think about or remember why they are reviewing the book in the first place.

What About Blogs?

And then there’s the land of blogging, where I do extensive travelling, myself. What I enjoy about bloggers reviews, which is often not found in editorial reviews, is the level of enjoyment these readers are getting out of their reading, and there is a level of honesty that I think often gets covered up in professional reviewing situations. They don’t need to be polite. There’s no need to see blogger reviews as anything other than one person’s opinion. If you agree with them, great, if not, no big deal, or harm done, and you just move on to the next source of information. If they get something wrong, it seems easier to forgive their mistakes. There’s an understanding that the people reviewing on blogs aren’t bogged down by what their editors, publishers, and endorsers might want them to say. There’s a greater level of freedom inherent in this type of reviewing. I find it to be a breath of fresh air.

A Final Thought or Two

Now, from everything I’ve said, I sound pretty down on professional reviewing. Probably more than I meant to. But in fact, I know a lot of people who review professionally who I think are pretty great at what they do, and I know they care about what they read. It’s hard to think of them as making the blunders we read about in ABC News’s article. And on the whole, I don’t think every reviewer is making these mistakes. I’m sure it’s a small batch of bad seeds in a larger crop. As a librarian, and I’m sure this goes for booksellers and perhaps even teachers too, it’s impossible to read every single book that’s published ourselves. We have to rely on the accuracy and honesty of reviewers to tell us what’s good, what’s bad, and what falls somewhere in between. No matter where they are reviewing from, these men and women see a lot of books crossing their desks. Just because an occasional wire gets crossed doesn’t mean the whole profession should be discounted. I think the most important thing to remember after reading an article like this is that no one is infallible, and we should be taking every review, regardless of where it comes from, with a grain of salt.

Librarianship, Libraries, Library Programs, Library Services

The Library: A Place Where You Can Create


“The idea of libraries serving as a place where you can come and create, not just to learn…I think that’s a shift that’s really been taking place.” – Jane McGonigal on the impact of libraries


She’s not wrong. Libraries are so much more than just a collection of shelves to hold books anymore. If you’ve been in your local public library lately, you may have noticed they offer a plethora of programming for children, teens, and adults. Libraries are places where you can come and create. Whether its creating homework and projects for classes, creating resumes and job searches, creating arts and crafts in a planned program or event, or something even more unique, like using a 3D printer in a Makerspace; libraries are a place where you can do all of this and more. If you take the time to look around, you’d be surprised by how many things you are capable of creating at the library. Who knows, maybe the next bestseller that hits the library shelves will have been written in slow, but steady increments from a library computer or laptop.

How can you get creative @ your local library? Stop by and find out!

Also, check out these cool libraries and bookstores from around the world on my Pinterest pages.

Art, Crafts, Librarianship, Libraries

Literary Elements Book Display

thisisasentence: the literary elements

I love book displays and bulletin boards! It’s totally nerdy of me, I know. But I find that librarians (and teachers) who create these displays to be so creative and resourceful. If you’d like to see more displays and bulletin boards, check out my Pinterest boards linked below!


Library Book Display Ideas

Library Bulletin Boards

Librarianship, Libraries, Library Programs, Library Services, Media Mondays, Music

Media Mondays: Get “Happy” with the DC Public Library

Media Mondays

Welcome to Media Mondays! This meme is dedicated to all things media related: Music, Movies, TV, and possibly other electronics and gadgetry. Here’s how it works (you’re going to love how simple it is)… Just pick a topic that is related to one of these major media formats and discuss!

DCPL Gets “Happy” (by DC Public Library)

schoollibraryjournal: “Happy,” library style. @Pharrell

This video, brought to you by School Library Journal’s Tumblr page and YouTube, is the subject of my Media Mondays post because I think it highlights many of the things I think libraries should be doing these days. I love how much the people are enjoying themselves, and embracing Pop Culture as a part of the library’s atmosphere. This is the kind of thing that will bring in new patrons. People can see that the library is a place to have fun at, to celebrate not only books, but also our larger American life. I think more libraries should experiment with videos and using various media as a means to engage their public and, hopefully, inform them about the programs and services offered at the library. You could record videos of book reviews and post them (or any kind of reviews really), or show children’s programs or demonstrate how to do fingerplays and kid songs. You could even use videos as a means of explaining how certain services work, like a new book drop or the summer reading program. So many libraries are already doing it, but if your library hasn’t branched out yet, it’s time to get creative!
Librarianship, Libraries, Library Programs, Library Services, Society

Who Says Libraries Are Going Extinct?

Who Says Libraries Are Going Extinct? – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society.

This is an article that I rediscovered today which was published a few months back, but it covers a good chunk of the things The State of America's Libraries 2013I would like to say about libraries in the US today. Things that I’ve had on my mind, and wonder how much people know about. Using information from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, and from the ALA’s State of the Library Report (linked in the image on the right) this article showcases just how much libraries are used in the US.  (Spoiler: the answer is A LOT!)  As the article states:

Ironically, the best-kept secret about America’s libraries is that they are wildly, deeply, and incontrovertibly popular. They are as actively used as ever, if not more.

I think a lot of people forget that libraries are not just book repositories anymore, and in reality, they haven’t been for a very long time.

technologyLibraries today house far more than just books. Most every library now-a-days have computers and most also allow free WiFi access to patrons. I’ve worked in one or two where patrons are able to check out iPads, ereaders like Nooks and Kindles, and even laptops. And of course, I can’t forget e-books. You might be surprised to discover just how many e-books, and electronic audiobooks your library has access to. Many libraries also offer discount tickets to local museums. I’ve seen several who offer book club kits, or educational kits to parents and teachers. Ms. Clark also points out, in her article, one of my favorite new-ish trends: libraries that loan some pretty unusual stuff. (For example: household tools, fishing gear, and even baking equipment!)

And with all those many items being offered for public use, we still haven’t mentioned all the various programs and services that Kerry and Robin Tee Off at the Library 2014take place at public libraries each year. Everything from regular storytime programs, author visits, and book groups (for children and adults); to LEGO Clubs or Mini-Golf in the Library. Many libraries offer career and technology help for patrons as well. And of course, there is the library staff. Librarians are not only helping patrons locate information in books, but they are essential to helping children, teens, and adults wade through the quagmire of information that is available online.

mini golfing in the library
Brookline Library’s Tee Off @ the Library Event 2014

There is a certain idea of the modern library and how it looks in America and other countries around the world. We tend to forget that this version of the library is not the only one that has ever existed. Libraries, in one form or another, whether for public or private use, have existed almost as long as civilization has been around. The library at Alexandria is one example. The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt had them too. In fact, archeological sites are still digging up libraries that date back more than 5,000 years. The point I’m trying to make here, friends, is that libraries, like people, have evolved to suit the needs of that civilization. Just because new technologies have become available does not mean that our modern library is doomed. It just means its time to adapt to a new model, and of course, there is going to be some argument and dissension over what that new model will look like. I for one, am excited to see where it will go.

As a final note: please remember to support public and school libraries. They really do make our communities and our world better.

Librarianship, Society

Librarians in Pop Culture



Just a few of the librarians, archivists, and repositories that make an appearance in my “Librarians in pop culture” slideshow for our library’s ice cream social. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions (they all made it in there, plus a ton more), and happy National Library Week!

Librarians rule!

Librarianship, Libraries, Library Programs, Library Services

Time to Stand Up for Libraries!


Now’s the time to stand up for libraries With all that’s happened in Washington in the past year—threats to eliminate the federal agency that administers funding to libraries, legislation to stifle open access and the government shutdown—now is the time, more than ever, to stand up for libraries. If you appreciate the critical roles that libraries play in creating an informed and engaged citizenry, register now for this year’s National Library Legislative Day (NLLD), a two-day advocacy event where hundreds of library supporters, leaders and patrons will meet with their legislators to advocate for library funding.