Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My library is where all the awesome lives.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Starting this month, my library will be open on Sundays! Super exciting, there's such a demand for it. The OCLC report on library funding was extremely helpful in preparing my presentation to City Council.

Monday, June 23, 2008

ALA Anaheim

Hiya. Hope i'll see you there.

Friday Jun 27
13:30 - oclc symposium at marriott ballroom 1-5

Saturday Jun 28
09:00 - elections task force at HIL laguna A
11:00 - coffee with k
15:30 - membership meeting at ballroom b/c
17:30 - LJ reception for s at tortilla jo's, 1510 Disneyland Drive

Sunday Jun 29
07:00 - brekkie with f
08:00 - council video at cc ballroom b/c
09:00 - council at ballroom b/c
13:00 - planning & budget assembly at CC 201 c
17:30 - president's reception at CC arena plaza
17:30 - blog salon at hilton palisades
19:30 - nmrt social at hyatt grand A

Monday Jun 30
10:15 - council at ballroom b/c
11:30 - membership meeting at ballroom b/c
13:30 - exec board at hilton laguna a
20:00 - council forum at hilton malibu

Tuesday Jul 1
09:15 - council at ballroom b/c
16:30 - council forum at hilton malibu

Wednesday Jul 2
08:00 - council at ballroom b/c

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Read, ride, and go.

Yesterday, I woke up at 4:30am and caught a BART train all the way to the end of the line. My library unveiled something that is kind of a big deal, a book vending machine.

It felt a little bit like a human game of Space Invaders as I tried to give everybody a bookmark. People arrived in waves as a buses dropped folks off at the station, and almost everyone willingly took a bookmark, even the ones running to catch a train. A little surprising, since I probably wouldn't have taken one if I had offered me a bookmark. Even more surprising was hearing people say, "Oh, I saw it on TV," or, "I heard about it on the radio this morning."

It was amazing and entirely unremarkable at the same time. Amazing because I know about all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes. Unremarkable because, sitting there right next to an automated ticket vending machine, our little (well, actually, rather big) book machine seemed totally integrated into the way people live their lives today. Which is exactly where the library should be, right?

Friday, February 29, 2008

I can't possibly embarrass Steve more...

...than I already did by nominating him for Library Journal's Paraprofessional of the Year award. Oh, and guess what? HE WON.

The best part is, when LJ called him to offer congratulations and announce that he won, he was too busy doing his job to take the call. Poor John Berry had to call three times before he could get through to Steve.

He's the first guy to win, and at a wee 30 years old, definitely the youngest. Rock on.

After I found out (and after the squealing and jumping up and down and running in circles), I totally blew the "keep it under your hat" nudge from LJ and told almost everyone I know. For the non-library folks, it mostly translated into a text message that referred to a "big deal dorkalicious nat'l library award."

You should go get your hands on a hard copy of the magazine. The cover is awesome, but I especially like his smiling face in the picture that goes with the article. My only complaint is that the article is too short. I wanted more Steve stories! I had to make do with reading the same two pages about a dozen times.

Here's a little excerpt from the 365 words that got the whole mess started:

It is in the small details that Steve truly demonstrates his delight in the role that the library plays in people’s lives. He is a constant source of encouraging words and fun ideas...Steve sees the best in other people, and he employs this same sense of visionary optimism in his approach to libraries. He inspired me during the time we worked together, and he continues to challenge me to make my own dreams of an extraordinary library into a reality.

Now, I knew from the start that Steve would win. He's just that fabulous. But a little premeditated persuasion couldn't hurt. When I wrote the nomination, I spent a lot of time thinking about the people that would be reading it and choosing the winner. I knew that, in the end, they'd have to write an article about the winner. So I didn't just tout Steve's accomplishments and sing his praises, I served them up a good story. I'd been planning to nominate him for about a year, so I saved it up until he turned 30 because it has a nice ring to it. I talked about his mom, who also works as a paraprofessional (at the same library!), and I gave one small, understated example of his day-to-day work. I threw in a nice atmospheric comment about the library where he works. I talked a bit about Steve the person, not just Steve the library employee. And I didn't even come close to using the full 500 word allotment.

So, Steve, you've just won LJ's Paraprofessional of the Year award. What are you going to do next?

Well, since the conference and award ceremony are in Anaheim, there's really only one answer. We're gonna go to Disneyland.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The first rule of book club is you do not talk about book club.

Yesterday I led a couple of book groups at the county juvenile detention facility. The participants were all girls in their teens. The first group was in a lock down unit, meaning the girls are locked in their rooms unless they are participating in a scheduled activity. It took quite a while just to enter the building. There wasn't a guard stationed at the front door, so we had to ring a buzzer and wait for someone to come down and collect us. Next was a metal detector, which felt a little bit like airport security. I took off my studded belt and keys, but got to walk through with my shoes on. The other librarian and I stood in the waiting room for a bit until someone from the girls unit came to collect us.

The facility is brand new, with fresh paint everywhere and a beautiful atrium planted with native grasses. It hasn't been open long enough for dust to have settled in the corners; if it weren't for all of the locked doors, you could almost imagine it was a high school or a college dorm. It took a while to reach the girls. There were lots of hallways that all looked exactly the same, and every 20 feet or so we had to press a button and wait for some unseen guard to buzz us through a door.

I facilitated an adult book group a few years ago, but this is my first with teens. The group was small, just five girls. Book group is at the same time as AA, so we don't get all the girls on the unit. We walked in and right away two or three of them said, "I didn't like the book."

I was okay with that. When I think back to some of the books that I was forced to read in school, I disliked most of them on principle. The fact that they didn't like it meant that they had actually read it, and that they had strong opinions about it. I can work with that.

We started with introductions, then we spent about 30 minutes or so talking about the book -- the graphic novel/comic book Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I owned up to choosing the book and told them they could blame me if they didn't like it. I explained why I like the book: I like to learn about different cultures and different countries. I don't know a whole lot about Iran, and I thought this would be a good way to learn something. It's a novel about growing up, and I like learning about the experiences that make someone who they are. I like that she shares a bunch of really difficult experiences without becoming maudlin. (Okay, so I didn't say maudlin. I said, "without becoming all boo-hoo-woe-is-me.")

They thought the book was confusing, they didn't understand all of the stuff about the Shah and her grandfather being a prince. And why the teachers taught them one thing before the revolution and something else after. I pointed out that Marji is ten when the book begins and asked them if they thought she would have understood everything going on when she was so young. They got it right away, and I could see their opinion of the book starting to shift. They were critical of the teachers because they lied to the students. I reminded them that Marji's parents didn't always tell her the truth, either. How was that different? All in all it was a great discussion.

The second group was bigger, about 15 or 16 girls. This group was referred to as "the camp," and the girls aren't locked in their rooms. I photocopied pages of the book with the dialog blocked out and had the girls fill in the text. Lots of creative stuff from the girls...some of it funny, some of it banal, some of it quite serious, though when it came time to share, even the serious stuff was read aloud through a veneer of giggles.

Later that night I went to a screening of Delicatessen in a park near my apartment. An appropriately surreal sequel to the first half of my evening.

I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say next week.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The other Potter

Just helped someone find a book. "I'm looking for...Potter."

"You're looking for Harry Potter?"


I stare in stunned silence for a moment. There's another Potter? Today of all days?

"Oh, do you mean Beatrix Potter?"

A look of delight registers in their eyes. "Yes! That's it."

Huh. Guess they're probably not impressed with my Nimbus 2000 t-shirt.