Monday, April 28, 2014

Road trip!

At any given moment, it's a good bet that I'd rather be:

a) reading, and/or
b) talking about books and/or
c) on a road trip.

So, imagine my delight when this video of Amy Ignatow and Brian Biggs driving around talking about children's literature crossed my path.

Thanks to Betsy Bird of the NYPL for sharing this on her blog.

Friday, April 25, 2014

All Copenhagen, all day.

As I'm sure I not have yet mentioned on this blog, I'm a public librarian who doesn't work in a public library.  I work for the library system, in a building where I typically have no contact with the general public. Some days, I don't mind this, especially when I remember the bizarre rice bandits from the last library I worked at. (Story for another day.) But some days I do miss it - chatting people up, issuing cards, scoping out the new materials that have just come in, etc.

However, I got to do all of those things and more during my recent visit to Copenhagen Central School as part of their National Library Week Celebration.

The Library Media Center at Copenhagen Central School, Mrs. Greene, center.

There's no public library in Copenhagen; the school library media center serves the village with community hours one evening a week. So when the school librarian Mrs. Greene asked me to come out and represent the public libraries, signing people up for cards and talking about our online resources, I was delighted to oblige. Here are some highlights:

Hooked up my laptop and connected to the school's network. Realized that due to the school's filters, I wouldn't be able to check Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads all day.

Promptly ate a doughnut. #socialmediawithdrawals #bostoncream

Helped Mrs. Greene with a reference question for a student. I'm the last person to describe herself as a good reference librarian, but I know my way through Opposing Viewpoints, and I do enjoy helping out.

Ogled the new books that the library had just processed (¡Hola, Caminar!), and got into a discussion about novels written in verse.

Eavesdropped on Mrs. Greene's library classes, each of which she kicked off by asking the students to name what they loved about their library. It was also book giveaway day, which was greeted with whoops and cheers from the kids.

Helped with craft prep for the evening program.

Paged through a Booklist, e-mailing myself interesting book titles like it was 2005.

(Side note: Honestly, I had no idea how often I use Goodreads throughout my workday - and for Actual Work-Related Stuff, even.)   

Issued library cards and helped people get hooked up with the Overdrive app so that they could start borrowing e-books from the NCLS catalog. (Which they immediately did, no thanks to my sketchy tablet knowledge. I'm more likely to use an iPad as a coaster.)

Overall, a successful visit, and a great opportunity to observe a school library program in action. Thanks again to Mrs. Greene, who invited me out for the day.

Yes, she devours books.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spotlight on Williamstown

Jim McCarthy
Now that the roads are clear and the weather is fine (or on its way to being fine, at least), I find that I'm struck down with a pretty serious case of wanderlust. Lucky for me, I love wandering. Even luckier for me, I was able to head down to Williamstown Library yesterday to attend a children's program they were holding in the morning.

The performer was Jim McCarthy, who led the preschoolers in interactive, reading-themed songs. Most of the songs were originals, but there was at least one cover that I recognized. Many of the songs encouraged the audience to sing along, which I need to remind myself is for the kids and not for me. (I tend to Sing Out, Louise, which can sometimes be distracting when NOBODY ELSE IS.) Because of the number of kids, the program was held in the library's meeting room, rather than the children's room.

However, that doesn't mean that I didn't get to the children's room. I always get to the children's room.

The children's room at Williamstown Library.
I really love the bright colors in this space, the child-friendly visuals (carpet, curtains), and that the seating is scaled to kids. Also, Clifford. 

Clifford, you know, just hanging out.

On my way out, I noticed a display of juvenile and YA books that had recently won awards, and scooped up Charm & Strange and When the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop, which I was completely (and giddily) surprised to see in rural Williamstown. But that's the beauty of libraries. By providing materials that show a variety of experiences, libraries expand a person's world.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Williamstown has a thriving underground hip hop scene. In which case, I'll be heading back down there again soon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Literacy and limitations

Over at Lolly's Classroom, they're talking about the importance of a literacy-rich environment to developing a child's love of reading.

One passage in particular struck me: "Many students in the inner-city do not grow up in literacy-rich environments. They may not have been read to regularly as children. Their houses might not have contained several shelves of books. They might not take regular trips to the library or a store that only sells books."

Replace the phrase 'the inner-city' with 'rural areas' and the same could apply to kids in the North Country.  Apart from the handful of college bookstores in our four-county library system, the stores that sell only books are few and far between. (Especially since Borders left the Salmon Run Mall, leaving me with a gaping hole in my heart and no reason to go there, ever.)

As an adult living in the North Country, I get books from my current library, my childhood library (over an hour away and an annual fee of $35 for borrowing privileges), order them from Amazon, or drive 60 miles to the nearest Barnes & Noble. 

As a younger person living here, my options would be more limited.

Which is an important reality check for me, and a reminder of how important libraries are to this area.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Youth Services Roundup - Poem in Your Pocket Edition


 As you may or may not know, April 24 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. If you don't happen to have a poem handy, Mr. Schu Reads is giving away one copy each of Love That Dog and Flora and Ulysses, both written in verse. If you wore a large coat (not out of the question for northern New York in April), you could probably fit one or both of these in your pocket. Good luck!


As most of you know, I'm not crafty. Which is not to say I don't enjoy a nice, sedate embroidery project, but when it comes to painting and cutting and pasting and folding and lashing and hot glue and floral wire...I am simply not your guy. However, for those of you who live to paint, cut, paste, fold etc., I just found the blog of your dreams. Enjoy.


My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am Not.) by Peter Brown. Not coming out until July, but since it's Peter Brown, I REALLY wanted you to know. You're welcome.


PW's Shelftalker blog pulls out some of the most compelling first lines from middle grade and young adult books released so far this year. My favorite?

"No body meant no casket, so they used her headshot instead. This was a Hollywood funeral, after all. —A Hitch at the Fairmont by Jim Averbeck (Simon & Schuster / Atheneum)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Just another day.

I've never done my own taxes. I feel no particular shame about this. I make my own pie crust, and that's enough for me. Come tax season, I simply ship off my W2s and 1099s and what have you to my glorious, glorious accountant, and I don't think about it again until I see my refund come through. To me, in the famously inclement wilds of northern New York, April 15 is just another day with the very real possibility of snow.

Like the snow that's happening right now.

Welcome to the Frozen Librarian.

My name is Angela, and I'm still thawing out from that cold snap we had back in January, when our office was shut down for two days straight.  I'll be writing about librarianship in the North Country, including news, opinions, best practices, professional development, grant opportunities, the occasional literary crush, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I may even post book reviews if the spirit moves me, though I'm famously bad at them. (My booktalking generally consists simply of holding my hand to my heart and saying, "So, so good. For real.")

Still snowing. Which is what I get for putting my winter coat away before June.