Monday, November 26, 2012

The Hollywood Librarian

A few weeks ago my library had its Staff Education Day, where we all gathered and got awards and held raffles, and we had a guest speaker who happened to have been interviewed for the movie The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film.  Well, OF COURSE I thought that sounded like the most interesting thing ever; I figured it would be a critique/commentary on films starring librarians (hellooo, The Mummy!).  And the back of the case even says, "the history and realities of librarianship in the entertaining and appealing context of American movies."  Can we say YAY?!

No.  We may not.  Because despite the title, this documentary-type film is not about the stereotypes or misconceptions--or truths--of librarians as Hollywood views them.  This is simply a series of interviews, asking librarians and library supporters just what they think of libraries (SPOILER ALERT: libraries are awesome!  And librarians have the best jobs in the world!).  Oh, and those interviews are "intercut with film clips of cinematic librarians."

What I'm saying here is that I'm disappointed with the misleading title, Hollywood Librarian.  I think you would've been much better off as, perhaps, Librarians in a Modern Age or The Importance of Being in a Library or maybe even Librarian: Quest for the--no, wait, that's already a movie.  Sorry.

By the way:

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Sponsored by the ALA!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Book Detective, Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You!

Originally this next post was going to be about a) The Hunger Games or b) the females of urban fantasy book covers (URGH), but a recent conversation at the library (and the realization that I have bookmarked) has led me to a somewhat obvious solution:

I LOVE finding books for people.  (So it's a good thing I have my heart set on a career at the library, eh?)  

Seriously, I really, truly enjoy finding books for people, whether it's recommendations that people have loved (though I rarely recommend books, given my own, er, "unique" tastes), or--and here's where I think I shine--finding that "lost" book that someone has always wanted to reread but has forgotten the title, author, character's names, setting, or even whether or not it was fiction.  But it had a blue cover!  And cats!  Always cats...

Me, I got Google.  And WorldCat.  Not to mention a degree in history (which means I have mad skillz for research, lemme tell ya), and a tendency toward looking up weird stuff just in my own time.  There is something just AWESOME about seeing someone online saying, "Yeah, been looking for this off and on for three years, here's the deets" and going "Is this it?" and having them say "YOU ARE MY HERO."

...though that may just be the praise.  I'm a sucker for a good word and a pat on the head.

At any rate, I just wanted to let anybody (and everybody, potentially, seeing as this is the internet) know that if you need help finding a book, just ask: I can't guarantee that I'll find it, but I can guarantee that I'll do my damnedest.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mmmm, parents...

I am not a full-time librarian.  If you want to get really technical, I'm not even a "real" librarian; I just happen to work at a library.  Most of the time, I take parents to the "real" librarians (i.e. our children's librarian or our teen librarian, usually) if they come up to me asking for recommendations; I'm good at finding specific books, but not particularly general, "I need 5th-grade reading level" books.

But sometimes, I do interact with parents.  Sometimes I overhear librarians interacting with parents.  And sometimes a librarian will come into the backroom, frustrated after having dealt with parents.

Bottom line is this: there are certain kinds of parents who I respect more than others.  I treat them all respectfully, of course, but mentally?  Not so much, sorry.

Basically, my beef is with parents who answer questions instead of their child.  Simple as that.  Because it boils down to, "Who exactly is this book for?"

Let me set the scene:

Library, children's room.  Afternoon sun is lighting the room.  Parent approaches, child in tow.

Parent: "Hi, do you work here?"

Me (obviously re-shelving books, wearing a nametag): "Yes I do!"  Yeah, I say it perkily.   Sue me.

Parent: "We're looking for a book."

Me (talking to child): "Sure!  What kind of book do you want?"

Parent: "He wants a mystery."

Me (talking to child):  "Oh, mysteries are fun!  What have you read and enjoyed?"

Parent: "He likes The Magic Tree House."

Me (talking to child): "Those are popular.  Have you tried Encyclopedia Brown?"

Parent: "No, that sounds good!  We'll take three."

...this conversation is all too common.

I have found that the more I look at and talk to the child, the more likely a parent will let said child do the answering, but not always.  I've also found that a child is more likely to accept offered help in finding a book if they're by themselves; and our teen librarian found that he could get more teens to sign up for our Summer Reading Challenge if their parents were elsewhere in the library.  

Honestly, I think some parents just don't realize how much they're controlling their kids' reading lives, and this is not A Good Thing.  Children, especially young ones, should be reading a wide variety of books that they choose, not what Mom and Dad chooses for them.  When they're old fogies in high school and college, they won't have nearly the time nor inclination to read, especially if they haven't been encouraged to find, on their own, books that they enjoy reading.  Heck, I used to carry around seven or eight books at a time, and would constantly max out my library card, and I still slowed down how much I read once I hit sophomore year of high school.  Even now I only have out half the items that I could, and I'm working at a library!!

At any rate.  I'm not saying you should never place restrictions on what your kids read--I know my kids will learn that Mommy's books are not for young eyes--but let them explore, especially when a librarian is right there to help.  We won't steer them wrong.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


OMG, I'm so going to read this.  Via Amazon:

"Single mom Lachez Baker is a ghetto-fabulous mother of three who seems to have it all, thanks to money from her children’s fathers. But soon, her life of designer clothes, endless parties, and steady cash collides with the man who’s been the target of her carefully crafted paternity fraud."


Because seriously, who wouldn't want to read it with THIS as the opening line to the back summary:

"Tavon, better known as "Sweet," would pimp his own mother -- and he does."


And I may now have the nickname "Hustla" from my coworkers because of my undisguised glee at the thought of reading these books.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


...thinking of doing format changes in any upcoming blog posts.  While I can't say it's not been enjoyable so far, I'm not entirely happy with my updating (and lack thereof).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Redwall: The Long Patrol

Every few years, I go back and reread all the Redwall books.  This series is one that slips to the back of my mind, perhaps too often, but as soon as I pick up one book I'm reminded all over again why I loved Brian Jacques as a child and why I still love him as an adult.*  There is so much I could say about his books, and most of it applies to the series as a whole, not just one or two individual books, so I think I'll just talk about one or two points per book, instead of repeating the same things over and over or making one huge massively long post.  I'm not fond of massively long posts, in case you couldn't tell.

The Long Patrol is one of my favorite in this series, and is probably up there in the top three.  I just think Cregga and Tammo and Tansy's storylines mesh very well together, without a crazy amount of running around and riddle-solving.  It's also enjoyable to see how creatures that were young in a previous book--Pearls of Lutra, for those of you not "in the know"--have grown up and grown wiser.

But the singular Redwall-generic point I'd like to make first is FOODOHMYGODTHEFOOD.

Seriously.  I dare you to read a description of a Redwall feast and not start drooling.  I'm actually now in the habit of skipping all those lovely descriptions, because when I read through them I get hungry and go start eating.  I don't even like most the food he describes.  I read somewhere that Jacques--pronounced "Jakes," by the way--speculated that it was because he grew up during WWII in England, when food was scarce.  And if I remember correctly, until he was eight or so, he thought that an orange was a made-up fruit.  I think it's hard for most people to comprehend that level of not-having.

...and now my mouth is watering.  I ate dinner not even two hours ago!  Curse you, Brian Jaaaaacques!  Only not really, because his books are awesome.  And I know he will never see this, but it needs to be said anyway: Thank you, Brian Jacques, for writing these books and sharing with us your world.

*Oh, God, I'm old enough to use the phrase "as an adult."  When did that happen?  I was a teenager just yesterday!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Girl, Stolen

So this was the second book from the 2011 Best YA Fiction list that I read, and I think I actually enjoyed it a little more than Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, despite the fact that I prefer fantasy over contemporary.  Then again, debut novels really aren't my thing.

I picked up Girl, Stolen, by April Henry, because (duh) I thought it sounded interesting: A blind girl currently down with pneumonia is resting in the backseat of a car while her step-mother fills her prescription, when BAM, the car--complete with our heroine, Cheyenne--gets stolen on impulse by Griffin, who was originally just looking for packages.  But really, leaving your keys in the car is like asking someone to please steal it.

At any rate, I did indeed enjoy this book, and I swear it's not just because of my weird obsession with borderline-bad-boys.  (Just me?)  It's very well-written, and gives us the point of view of both Cheyenne and Griffin, and how an accidental kidnapper and a reluctant kidnappee (though I doubt there's any other kind) react to their situation(s).  It was a fairly short, quick read, but if I have to complain about anything, it would be the ending.  I know a lot of people enjoy an open-ended book, where the "rest of the story" could potentially go in many different directions--maybe because of the open-endedness of life or something, I don't know--but unless it's done in such a way as to indicate a sequel, then I'm usually not a fan.

And in case you couldn't tell, Girl, Stolen has an open ending.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay...

But if you think it sounds interesting, I do suggest you give it a try.