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Showing posts from 2012

Granny Reads: Silhouette Christmas Stories 1990

When my husband and I moved into our current home, our landlord left behind several of his late wife's books, which were mostly romance novels. I love romance novels, but am too cheap/lazy to go out of my way to acquire them, so I was pretty excited about this unexpected bounty. Unfortunately, thanks in large part to the roughly 50 year age gap between us, the books aren't exactly what I'd pick out for myself. A lot of the titles seem to fall in that weird gray area between old school romance, where the heroes "seduced" (aka raped) the heroines in order to convince them who they should marry, and modern day romance where rape is extremely frowned upon. Still, I find that transition fascinating and so I'm enjoying reading these books for historical, if not entertainment, purposes, and I thought it might be fun to share what I found.
Since we just celebrated Christmas, I thought it would be appropriate to share Silhouette Christmas Stories 1990, a collection o…

Belated Banned Books Week or Charlotte's Web is Dangerous For Your Children

For Banned Books Week we put up a nice display of the books we owned that have been popular targets for challenges. It was nice, but I didn't really think much about it since I've been in this profession long enough that I could put together that list of titles in my sleep.
However, I was leading a tour through the library and one of the students brought the title Charlotte's Web to my attention, and asked why in the world a beloved children's book like that had been banned.
This is where I have to add that as someone who grew up on a hog farm, I got really tired of people asking me if I ever had a pet pig like Wilbur (the answer is no), but I still wore out my parents' VHS copy of the movie based on the book.
I told the student I wasn't sure why it was banned, but guessed that it probably had something to do with talking animals. Only later did I discover I just how horribly right I was.
Last year I wrote about how I was a little burned out on Banned Books Wee…

Ebooks ... yet again

While I had a lot to say about ebooks in libraries last fall, I've since found it almost ridiculous to keep up with all the different news on that front. It's clear that things need to change, but there are so many possibilities for what direction that change is going to take.
However in the latest round of ebook developments I have to bring up a point that I think I first saw put forth by Jamie LaRue (although I can't seem to find the link now). Hachette recently decided to follow the example of Random House and dramatically raise its prices for ebooks sold to libraries. The argument here is that a digital file doesn't fall apart like a book and so libraries can lend them forever and never have to buy new copies of perennially popular titles. 
While it's true that libraries do buy replacement copies of books that don't physically hold up, during my years in a public library it was more common that mile-long hold lists were the reasons we bought more copies of …

Owning My Career

I originally planned to post this on Friday as an extended #FridayReads, but I got too into what I had to say and was interrupted before I could finish it. I still think it was a worthwhile train of thought, though, so I took the time to finish up recording my thoughts and polishing the whole thing up a little.

A lot of the non-fiction I've been reading lately has been parenting related, but currently I'm finally finishing an LIS career book I bought a couple years ago when I was going through a difficult time career-wise. Rethinking Information Work by G. Kim Dority is more aimed at LIS students and would make a good textbook for an intro class focused on planning your career (which, I think, is really under-emphasized in library school). Some of the suggested resources listed at the end of each chapter have me rolling my eyes, but if I were new to Libraryland, I would need to have them pointed out to me and would probably learn a lot from them. Published in 2006, many of the…

Keep It Simple Stupid

I'm in love with book recommendation websites. Sometimes I think there's a problem with how much time I spend on GoodReads. But I'm an avid reader. Seeing list after list of book recommendations makes me happy. That's not the case with everyone.

Sometimes I think we have to remember that as librarians we serve not just the avid readers (although they sure can be fun), but the reluctant ones as well. Sometimes we get lucky and turn a reluctant reader into an avid reader, but many times we just help a reluctant reader find a book they didn't hate to write a book report about, and that is just as important.

For some of our patrons we just need to keep it simple. They don't care that you can lay out all the subgenres of erotic romance. They just want to know what they can read while they're waiting for their hold on Fifty Shades of Grey to be filled (and here's where I could insert the snarky joke about how if you're waiting for Fifty Shades you probabl…

Much Worse Than Your Average Library Theft

Earlier this week I read this ridiculous story about the theft of the air conditioning unit from the Robbins (IL) Public Library. My first reaction was "Who steals the air conditioning unit from a library? How incredibly lame."

But what bothers me even more about this story is that I have a personal connection to it. Last school year I worked with someone who grew up in Robbins. He always referred to his hometown fondly. He proudly extolled the community's African-American heritage as one of the first primarily black incorporated communities in the country and several other important businesses and organizations for the black community getting their start there.

Most of his extended family still lived there, and the people he wasn't related to by blood felt like family, so while they may not have a lot of money to run their library, this is a community that sticks together, so to hear that their air conditioner was stolen struck me as extra unfair and cruel.
If you a…

Somebody Beat Me To Posting My Opinion On Arcgate

If you've spent much time around librarians online over the last few days, you're probably aware of #arcgate. If you're not, I'll try to recap it quickly.
A librarian blogger went to ALA hoping to get ARCs (Advance Reading Copies provided free by publishers to help generate buzz) for some books she was looking forward to. Because she was busy being active in other parts of the conference she didn't get to the exhibit hall to pick up ARCs right away and noticed that by the time she got there, most of the ARCs were gone. After she got home she found a video from a couple of bloggers (who are not also librarians) who had taken home literally hundreds of ARCs. She wondered if ALA could be handling the ARC distribution process differently. Chaos ensued.
I'd been going back and forth about whether or not I should add my opinion to the fray, but then Miss Julie pretty much covered it for me.

SW Suburban Libraries Leave Prairie Cat to Form Pinnacle

I recently moved and haven't had time to check out my new local library in person yet, but I've seen in the news that they are going through a lot of changes. Fountaindale, Joliet, Lemont, Plainfield, Shorewood-Troy, and White Oak library districts are leaving the PrairieCat Consortium, which spans most of the width of northern Illinois and parts of eastern Iowa, to form their own smaller, leaner Pinnacle Library Cooperative.

Patrons, understandably, are upset because they assume that they are losing access to a wealth of resources from the other PrairieCat libraries. The understanding I have from the new Pinnacle libraries, however, is that they were feeling overburdened from requests from all the other PrairieCat libraries because Pinnacle libraries have bigger, more diverse collections than most PrairieCat libraries.  So it's more likely that PrairieCat libraries will miss easy access to Pinnacle items than the other way around.

Also, Pinnacle patrons will still be able…

Friday Reads - the hyperlinked edition

I happened to finish several books this week, and they were all worth mentioning.

The New York Regional Mormon Single's Halloween Dance by Elna Baker, is a memoir of a 20-something Mormon in New York City. The two big themes to her story are that she used to be fat and she's still a virgin even in her late twenties. This isn't a perfect memoir, but anyone who's struggled with trying to live by the rules you grew up with even after you leave the place you grew up will appreciate Elna's dilemmas. Plus, she's pretty funny.

Runaway Bride Returns! by Christie Ridgeway is a Silhouette Special Edition about a firefighter and a librarian who marry in Vegas, only to have the librarian run out on him the next morning. I picked this one up for the librarian heroine, and while I enjoyed it, there wasn't anything extra special about it.

Everything I Need To Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell - If you haven't gone to Smart Bitches Trashy Book…

More Developments on Ebooks and Libraries

I've been meaning to write about the recent news in the libraries lending ebooks debacle, but I'm just now getting around to writing my thoughts out, so apologies if my links are a bit outdated.

One of the great things to come out of ALA Midwinter this year was the plan to schedule meetings with the Big Six publishers to discuss the relationship between libraries and publishers when it comes to ebooks. ALA was successful in scheduling meetings with five major publishers, and while all the problems of libraries lending ebooks were not solved at these meetings, I can agree with ALA President Molly Raphael's general assessment that a lot of good information was shared on both sides and that everyone came away with a better understanding of the big picture than they had before and an ongoing dialogue had been opened.

One of the main problems identified in the meetings that surprised me (but probably shouldn't have) is that intermediaries like Overdrive have now became the …

Friday Reads

I've been reading a lot of teen fiction lately, so the fact that I'm actually reading some adult fiction this week is kind of weird. I was a little intimidated to start Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding. It's so big and with it's simple text cover, it looks so boring compared to all the fun stuff I've been reading lately. But so far I've really enjoyed it & I think there could be a lot of crossover to teen audiences, at least with what I've read so far. The main character is a college baseball player who's obsessed with a book called The Art of Fielding. But the book is more about Henry Skrimshander's life than baseball. It just happens that baseball is a big part of his life. What I'm trying to say is this isn't just a book for baseball fans, but for meaty general fiction fans. I'm not very far, but I can already tell there's a good story here.

The other book I've been devoting some time to is Miss Peregrine's Home …