Thursday, June 28, 2007

What is Habit 7 1/2: Play.

Sunday at ALA. Julie and I didn't start quite as bright and early as Saturday, and yet, we ended up at the conference center at the exact same time. Which meant we were about 45 minutes early for the first session, because it started at 8:30. We got great seats, however! About four rows back and on the aisle so a clear shot to see Nancy Pearl. She discussed her newest book, Book Crush which is bound to be a favorite as I do love my children's lit.

Nancy Pearl also discussed some of the top signs that you know you are an avid reader. One of them being that you could never properly pronouce words. I have that problem. I always have had that problem. It used to vex my mom dreadfully, particularly because she was a speech therapist. It must have looked (sounded) awful for a woman in her career to have a daughter who couldn't talk properly. One of Nancy Pearl's favorite words to misprounce? "Misled".

Another sign was when you attempted to gain the definition of an unknown word through the context of what was around it. She used the example of Ruby Gillis in Anne of the Island dying of consumption. She was eaten? Worse would be galloping consumption. That's like take out.

The last sign was when you began to believe that what took place in book-verse happened in real life. She apparently discribed in great detail her date with "Mike" to the junior prom complete with dress and what happened to her daughter, and her daughter pointed out that that was exactly like the prom adentures of another girl in Double Date. Oh. Of course, my worse mixing of fact and fiction was actually in a dream format whereas I dreamt that a high school friend of mine had died, and it was so vivid that I went around the entire next day convinced that he had, in fact, died. And I was depressed. But, voila! He was on IM that night. Joy!

Julie and I then went to the exhibits and, firstly, we found Shannon Hale's newest ARC Book of A Thousand Days. I have yet to read it, because I'm dreadful about saving things like that. At that time, we also went to the Graphic Novel section of the exhibit center and picked up a few samplers and some ideas. We then headed to the Random House fall 2007 book preview, but on the way, as I was reading to Julie from the back of Emma (vol 4), a friend from Simmons stopped me. It was Elizabeth! It appeared we had no free time to really chat, but it was so nice to see her again, even for that brief moment. Despite there being a whole slew of Simmons people, I didn't spot nary a one after that encounter.

It made Julie and I slightly late to the book preview, but, we only missed one book being discussed, so that wasn't half bad. I had never been to one before, and it was so nice getting to see some of the insides of the book. Plus, we got a really fun Love, Stargirl bag with shiny blue plastic handles. Of course, mine started to break when we were later walking in the exhibit hall, but that's ok. We found a nice little sandwich shop next to the convention center thanks to two women on the escalator who overheard us talking about lunch. We got there just in time because soon a line was developing for the sandwiches!

More later, I'm tired of typing now (plus, I look like a slacker and who wants to work with a slacker these days?).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not your mother's librarian.

Or, An Abundance of Katherines Bugs.

I just spent the last twenty or so minutes cleaning up the bug problem in three rows of our fiction and non-fiction section. The two pages working today (Jess and Nicole) cornered me in the back room, telling me they had a "little problem" that needed fixing. So, I was snagged into doing bug duty. Previously, I was helping a lady find old tax forms online, so you can see how my duties vary.

Bug duty involved scooping up little black bugs and larger brown bugs (no, I did not stop to identify the exact type of bug they were) onto pieces of paper and smushing them if necessary. The girls apparently hate all types of bugs and wouldn't risk being near ten feet of them, let alone bring the trash bin closer to me for easier disposal. Just the sight of dead bugs in the trash was enough to turn them green.

The one thing I was not about to touch was the very much alive Daddy-Long-Legs that was waving its very long legs at me in anger?hurt?frustration?. I let Terri take care of it. She's good at picking them up by a leg and throwing them outside. And these ones are huge.

My reward at the end of this: chocolate.


"You turned my brother into a bug, and now he's dead!" I forget which movie that is from, but, hilarious.

It's as clear as black and white.

I have this picture of the author being unapproachable, and I think I can blame Julie Andrews for that. Did you ever think that I would have a negative thing to say about that woman? Because when I went to her book signing in Boston a couple years ago, the fear of God was put into me that I couldn't really a)talk to her or b)take any pictures. It really is quite a silly thing that I should base all interactions with authors on her standards. Silly because I have met authors before her and after her, and they were all very nice and highly approachable.

The scene: high school, 11th grade

In my English class, we were broken into small groups and assigned different books to read. My group was assigned The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks. As part of this project, we had to come up with type of project presenting the book to the class. We ended up inviting Russell Banks to come to our class and give a book talk. He came, he was very nice to all of us crazy high schoolers and our project was a success.

The scene: ALA Conference, 2007

Mitali Perkins' book launch party for her newest book, First Daughter. I had so much fun there! I ate things (samosas) that had vegetables in it (peas) and learned how to do some bhangra dancing (and, there are pictures that have me in it doing some dancing, but you won't be seeing them here!). Julie, Genevieve, and I teamed up for Mitali's presidental quiz and we all actually won a free copy of First Daughter. This was later signed by Mitali. Just so you know (this was the bonus/tie breaker in the quiz) that 23 presidential children have gone on to write books. 23

After Mitali read a "bit and a bite" from her book about bhangra dancing, and then we all danced a couple dances (after being taught), as well as watched a professional dancer do a dance for us. The songs were all about the beauty of the girl's eyes. Here is a picture of Julie, Mitali, and I from after the dancing:

After the book launch party, we all headed down to the KidLit Drink Night at Capital City Brewing Company for dinner. Well, I at least had dinner there! It was a rotating cast of librarians/bloggers/authors that completely confused our poor waiter. But, it was so nice getting to meet all of these new people and a whole new world of blogging has been opened up to me. I'm so new at this blogging that it was quite embarrassing to introduce myself. I also realized that perhaps a Welsh phrase was not the best name for a blog because it's awfully impractical when attempting to tell a stranger the name of your blog. Especially when one word includes the double "ll" at the end of it (you really do need to make a strange sound if you want to pronouce it correctly. You live and learn!

A complete list of everyone that we met is over at Julie's blog. Though, I must say that it was particularly nice to have met Jennie at Biblio File. She had to put up with my tired ramblings, poor girl!

After dinner, Julie and I decided that we were far too tired to attend the storytelling program that evening, so we headed back home on the metro and, eventually, home home.

So, overall, it was a great experience and this was only day one! And, I've added so many books I need to read to my "book book".

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 443: Goat has attempted to eat my book.

Actually, it should be ALA Day 1, but how boring would that be? Probably not so much because my first day ever of ALA conferencing was exciting. It invovled getting up at 5 a.m. so I could be at the metro station a bit before 7. I met Julie there, and we rode our way in style towards the DC convention center. At registration, I managed to snag the nice registration lady. Julie was not so lucky. Mine was so nice that she even attached my "New bee" ribbon onto my badge.

The eight o'clock session I attended was completely filled up. I had to sit on the floor (so hopefully it was clean). It ended up being a lot shorter session that it was supposed to be as the presentor was sick and had given us a substitute. We got through the material in 30 minutes (it was about new technologies and uses in the library). This was followed by 30 minutes of discussion, and then freedom.

Freedom to go to the exhibits! At the Florida Library Conference, they weren't really giving away things (at least, I didn't see anything like this there). So, my first ARC pick-up, I acted a bit like this:

(that being loving ripped from the utterly fabulous Stick Library comic, "Control Freaks".) I, of course, being the one on the right running away with a free book (and I am actually a trained archivist). And then I realized that there were more!!! About the time that I realized that if I bent down I couldn't stand up because my bag was weighing me down that much, I decided that I had enough of free books, and, goodness me, what was I to do with them all the rest of the day (you must realized that this was about 10 am). Of course, I was justified in taking what I did because Julie was still in session, so missed out on that first initial rush of ARCs. So, I was collecting stuff for the both of us. I also got Lois Lowry to sign a copy of Number the Stars for only $3. Not too shabby. I could have gotten The Giver, but I read and loved NtS first. So, why not?

My 10:30 session was on Libraries and Landscapes. My undergraduate degree was in historic preservation, and, we might be expanding our library, so I thought that it would be interesting to see what other libraries did on the outside of their buildings, as a session I attended in Florida dealt with their innards. I think I might have been the youngest person there. It was an interesting session, though, with the exception of the last speaker (the token librarian) they didn't delve much into the problems that a landscaped environment can create for the library. I did learn a fun new phrase, "blessed bling bling" regarding a very shiny gold plated church altar thing.

After this session, I met up with Julie for lunch. But, I had decided that it would be better to run back to my car and drop off my bag of books so I wouldn't be so weighed down for the rest of the day. It was probably a good idea with what else we did. Besides, I had a bagel and some water, I would be all set for a cheap lunch. It was a race against time and the metro... and I won! Despite trying to go down an up elevator, I managed to get back to the conference center with nine minutes to spare before the next session. These shoes are made for walking!

My 1:30 session was on Shakespeare in the Library, and it was not all that I had hoped it would be. One of the speakers was all about how academic librarians and professors should work together. Another was like "wee! Elizabeth I!!! I've been in love with her since I was ten." So, you get the picture. Plus, Julie came in from her session and managed to distract me by her exhibit guide. (I confess, I am easily distracted when I get tired.) We actually left the session early so we would be able to arrive at Mitali Perkin's book launch on time.

And, I'll have more on that later... now it is time for dinner.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Week 3, Thing 7

Our last task of the week is to talk about anything technology-related. At first, I was going to talk about the Internet Archive, because, I admit, I am a fan. And how fun is it to read old books online? Well, it can be when they include the neat book flip feature.

However, a friend pointed out the Online Musical Theatre Video Archive to me last night, and I've had too much fun looking at it last night to not give it a mention here. I had never heard of it before, and it appears to be still in the process of creation (if the fact that they stopped in the "s" titled musicals gives any indication). The videos on the site come from either the Tony Awards or from programs like the Ed Sullivan show or morning talk shows.

Here's a favorite show, Deaf West's Big River:

The show is based on Mark Twain's Adventures of Huck Finn. It might never have been a show that caught my interest, as the music runs more towards country/bluegrass/gospel, except the addition of signing added a powerful element to the show. There was a mix of deaf and hearing actors in this version of the show. The hearing actors spoke/sung the words for the deaf actors. For the first five or so minutes, you are aware that the character Huck Finn is not really speaking/singing his lines and it is Mark Twain doing the talking for both himself and Huck Finn, but, slowly you accept MT's voice as Huck's and it is all quite magical. Oh, I think I'm describing it rather badly. And, I know that I said previously that I didn't think I would be a fan of the music, but there are actually quite a few songs I love from that show. A couple sitting next to me walked out before the end of the first act, because it does have those elements in it that make Huck Finn a banned book in some places, but, if you look beyond that, it is a beautiful piece of work that is made more poignant with the addition of signing. Especially when Jim tells the tale of his daughter who became "deaf and dumb" due to scarlet fever but he didn't realize this until after he had hit her for not shutting the door when he told her.

The second featured show? 1776! Because, really, how can you resist singing, dancing, and snarking founding fathers? You just can't.

This is the Original Broadway Cast peforming "Sit Down, John" and "Molassas To Rum" on the Ed Sullivan show. I always said that despite the content, that "Molassas to Rum" has to be one of the sexier baritone songs.

Edited: Oh look! It appears that they now have shows all the way to "Z". How exciting!

Week 3, Thing 6

I played around (ah, rule #7 1/2!) with several of the flickr toys. I was most amused by Mappr declaring on their photo map that they have "high" or "low" confidence that the photo was actually taken where it was tagged taken. It does seem like something that would be interesting once it takes off, but it was rather slow and clunky on my computer (probably due to a slow internet connection on my part) but also the lack of photographs attached to the map that meant everything I looked up, I could not find a related image.

I guess I had the most fun with FD Toys' Trading Card Maker. I made two! Though, neither of them are of me. The first uses a picture that I used during an archives presentation to the local historical society last week. It's of a daguerreotype:

The other is of cats. A co-worker of mine from the BAC Library in Boston used to joke about another co-worker as being the type who years from now would be the kind of librarian that would have cats hanging from her sweaters. So, I couldn't resist this one.

Thus ends my Flickr explorations for the moment.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm no longer that girl.

"When I grow up, I want to be...

...'a teacher,' said Kristin."

Or so I said at age five. With both my parents teachers, it's probably no suprise that I would pick that career path. Although a total of eight kids in my kindergarten class picked that answer. Perhaps the most unique was said by another teacher's kid. It was, "the person who does the elephant job in a circus". You can't beat that! However, I don't believe Eric grew up to do that. Tragic. I'm sure circuses world wide mourn the loss.

My response for what I wanted to eat for Thanksgiving? "Soda, a donut, and turkey." Not quite traditional.

I would do just about anything for a donut back then. Especially a sour cream with nougats from the P&C bakery. In fact, my parents took away my donut privilages when I refused to ride my bike with the training wheels (I was always resistant to change). Needless to say, one scary go down my driveway and into the bushes across the road earned me half a donut and I never looked back aft
er that. Except, I can honestly say that I haven't had a donut recently. I must remedy this when I go home. Hopefully the P&C donuts I love (though they now do not feature the sugary nougat) will be on sale then!

"I liked kindergarten because...

...'I got to do things well,' said Kristin."

Oh, teacher's pet. I went across the star chart way too many times and never had a time out (my brother had one). I was also the class valedictorian and managed to make my hat fall off in the middle of my speech, just like my brother! (You can tell I always wanted to be just like him, hero worship.)

And, I should probably be embarrassed that I love my mommy because "she sometimes wakes me up in the morning and sets my clock" and my daddy because "he makes me my lunches" when other kids are saying what wonderful parents they have in better terms. But, come on, I was only five and I did have to think up these things right as I got into class in the morning. Though, perhaps the best one was when I said it was my dad's birthday and I thought he
was turning 55. I'm sure they laughed that one up in the staff room.

All of these things I wouldn't have had a hope remembering had I not saved
everything, well, not everything, growing up. I have a whole binder dedicated to kindergarten and our teacher, Mrs. Dowie, typed up "our morning stories" where we told her one interesting fact each morning before entering her classroom and this would get sent home each night. We would have to circle words/letters that we were working on and have our parents sign it. Looking back, it's actually quite shocking some of the things we said and that she actually put in it.

I think, just looking at this, it is also quite shocking that I never though of being an archivist until I was 22. I mean, I have trees worth of paper products that I saved, even from things I didn't actively participate in but just saw or attended. Or people I knew.

If only I could style my life after that girl who shredded everything that she ever wrote or was written about her. But, erasing oneself isn't always the answer, either. Perhaps I shall have to take up electronic blogging permanently!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The ties that bind.

I was reading reviews of children's books over on Julie's blog. She participated in the 48 hour readers' challenge last weekend. I missed out doing this because I was fully occupied by work on Saturday, and on Sunday, I did practically no reading. Shocking how lazy I can be on a sunny Sunday. The Lady's Not for Burning held no interest to me.

It was fun reading about her second go at Dairy Queen, as I was the one who met Catherine Murdock down in Florida. That was my "break" during the FLA conference. In between learning about giving (or rather not giving) medical advice, gaming in the library, etc., I decided to fit in an author discussion. So, that was fun. And, very much more down to earth than when I met Julie Andrews in Boston. In my being stunned by the greatest that is Julie Andrews, I managed to tell her that I liked the illustrations in her book. Seconds later, I realized that she had nothing to do with the illustrations. I am a complete idiot.

In fact, this entry was based on demonstrating how to use a link. I hope it wasn't utterly pointless, however.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Week 3, Thing 5

"Tamsin: Does Cameron need a Christine in London?
David: Hmm, I wonder what Cam will give me in London."

Let's talk about musicals. Specifically Les Miserables. It was the first (two) musicals I saw on Broadway, and, I admit, the last. Don't worry, I have seen other shows between the original production and the revival. About a month ago, I was lucky enough to see Ben Davis as Javert in the revival production. I say lucky, because he was fabulous. Really, one of my favorite Javerts ever. Yesterday, I learned that Cameron Mackintosh fired him. Which was really tragic. And heartbreaking, considering they gave him a bad excuse and it was a role he really wanted to play.

So, for my first exciting Flickr assignment, I thought I would upload to Flickr the picture of Ben and I, just for fun. Clearly, because it has nothing to do with library life.

This is us!

In all reality, I need to post a photo with the label of "mdlearning2". Lacking the resources of a digital camera (so, I'm old fashioned), I bring you an exciting/frightening photo from my past to fulfil this requirement. But first, let's talk about my Flickr experience. I admit, I've used Photobucket since 2003 for my photo uploading needs, but, I was willing to give Flickr a go. And, it isn't all that bad, and features many shiny things that PB doesn't, so, it has quite a few possibilities. Though, goodness knows, I'm a preservationist, thus, resistant to change.

It is quite easy to upload images, though I have only done two so far, and as I had a yahoo account from way back in the dark ages of the late 1990s, I was pretty much all set with that.

So, here's my next photo.

It is from well over a year ago when I was still in library school in Boston. My friend Vita and I were training to be archivists at the Park Street Church archives and discovered this "crazy clown" doll tucked away among some other things that looked like were gifts to missionaries. Perhaps this one was possessed, as it certainly had a very evil expression. Second semester, I worked in the vault alone. Should I ever write a memoir, and should it ever be published, at the time, I was hoping for it to be call: "Locked in a vault: The Tales of an Idiot Archivist". Because, well, we worked in a vault (lucky, an old bank vault and not where they used to keep the dead bodies under the church) and sometimes, the custodians tried to lock us in it.

There! Flickr and stories. Sounds like bedtime to me!

What fools these mortals be.

I guess I'm quite the narcassist since I have this blog and I ::gasp:: actually write about myself in it. And here I was thinking that was the point of blogs. Silly me. What else will I learn during my trip through 23 Things?

Continuing in this vein (vain-hah), I created a new header that features Castell Harlech, which, as Princess Branwen, I claim as my own. And, also created a user picture of a Diversion sign from London. I guess you would have had to be in the UK/Wales with me at the time to understand all of the fun of Diversion signs and Owain Glyndor.

I also added some links to blogs run by my friends. Of course, now it looks like I'm also limited in the friends department. But, such is life.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Week 2, Thing 4

You know, as a librarian, you would really hope I knew how to read. No dice. Well, I did read, just not far enough down the page to see the link to register my blog until it was too late. I suppose not too late since I did eventually find it. So, the blog is registered completely (I hope), and now I'm all set for week 3. Hoorah!

Now I just need to work on the beautification of this blog. Really, I picked the pink colours because my friends like to tease me about my "love" of pink. Except, all of this teasing means that I've actually begun to wear more pink/use it in my day-to-day life. Horrors!

Do you know what are really beautiful? Architectural drawings. They really are their own unique form of art and beauty.

Week 2, Thing 3

Create a blog! Well, I guess you wouldn’t be reading this if I neglected this “Thing”.

I admit to being an awful person when creating a "user profile". I was slightly overtaxed with final projects when I updated my Facebook profile which includes as an activity, "frolicking through traffic with baritones" or some such nonsense. That's not to say that I haven't done that. Because I have. I just don't make it a daily activity. Truly, it's all about the lack of baritones and not lack of traffic. Especially if I wanted to try to frolick across Route 50 on foot to get to work. Frankly, there would not be much left of me.

So, for the moment, you will have to accept the user profile as is until I have a bit more free time. Free time! Hah!

Week 1, Thing 2

Thing 2 identified the 7 ½ Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners. These are:

Habit 1: Begin with the end in mind
Habit 2: Accept responsibility for your own learning
Habit 3: View problems as challenges
Habit 4: Have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner
Habit 5: Create your own learning toolbox
Habit 6: Use technology to your advantage
Habit 7: Teach/mentor others
Habit 7 ½: Play

As I pointed out to Peggy one day, the joy of being a librarian, especially a reference librarian, is that you are always learning (and it is my way of fighting Alzheimer’s as it does run in the family). Being a reference librarian, I’m always asked different questions, so it keeps me constantly in a state of learning. And I get paid to do that! That makes Habit 2 the easiest to follow.

Perhaps the most difficult habit for me would be Habit 7: to teach or mentor others. I’m the youngest (other than the pages) employee at our library, and I sometimes find it difficult to be in the teaching position, as there is so much for me to learn from everyone else! Maybe one day I’ll be knocking around the pages with my cane, cackling madly. But, not today.

Week 1, Thing 1

Well, here I am getting ready to start a new adventure. A technological adventure! As one of the few people who admitted to being less than thrilled to having to sit through the intro to technology course at my library school (believe me, it was boring) this one looks quite fun. And, hopefully, I will learn some good (and useful) new technological skills by the end of my nine weeks here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

How I live now

You know, when starting a new blog, or a new journal, or new anything, you feel like you need to say something crushingly intelligent. Or at least spell things properly. Two things at which I'm bound to fail (notice, mom, no hanging "at"!). Oh, yes, you can tell I've earned my master's degree.

This blog was created due to the 23 Things library program from which I will hopefully learn exciting new things about technology; all of which will be recorded faithfully in this blog. That is if I want to receive my CEUs. Of course, it seems almost silly right now seeing as I've yet to receive my certification. Though it was submitted last February (or was it January?). I don't intend to lose my job now that I have it!

The name of my blog, "Castell Glas", is translated from the Welsh into "Blue Castle" which happens to be my favorite book (it's by L.M. Montgomery and you should check it out if you haven't already). I have a thing for Wales, as it was the country I did my study abroad in. And Welsh, the natives would have you understand, is the "language of heaven".

Well, back to the real world of checking patrons out (at least their books, not them personally).