Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smarty-Pants Librarian

All right, all right. I kind of like to be a smarty-pants.

No doubt most of this is because I'm the firstborn in my family. I know it all and you'll do what I tell you!

But I really like to know everything first. Obviously this is impossible. Other people are much more informed than I am. I'm not online as much as others; I don't have internet on my phone for instance. But I love to stay current on especially book, movie, and tv show news. Culture, entertainment, publishing. I consider it my duty as a librarian.

Jo Rowling is writing a new book for adults? On it. Nathan Fillion (from the tv show Castle) to star in the next Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie (which they better not ruin like the first one)? Got it. Hunger Games movie news, Harry Potter eBooks, online fandom debates? Sooo yesterday.

My secret is This site is rockin'. I've been a fan ever since it began, not too long ago. Years ago I found, which is a Harry Potter fan site. I stayed up-to-date on all the latest HP news there. Then, several people from that site created Hypable, which covers dozens of different fandoms. Not to mention general news items having to do with publishing, tv, and movies. I like to know all these things, and share them.

I read all types of books, from celebrity memoirs to historical mysteries to young adult dystopian to kids' novels to rhyming picture books. Nothing makes me happier than being able to chat with a library patron about something they're checking out. Kids are shocked a "big kid" is reading the same authors they are. Adults appreciate an "expert's" opinion on their movies. And I can discuss The Hunger Games with pretty much every teen.

I like to know things. I like to be current. I like to be the young, hip librarian who's always looking towards the next trend. I want to be on top of things and be able to inform.

That's just how I roll.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's Not In My Head!




"Does anyone else hear that?"



"Seriously? Am I the only one bothered?"



So there's this beeping at the circulation desk at the library. It's been going on since last Wednesday or Thursday. I was the only one who could hear it at first. My head would whip around as I tried to seek out the source. Patrons stared in confusion as I tilted my ear like a golden retriever listening to food being poured into his bowl.

Finally, I forced three of my coworkers to gather around the spot at the circ desk where we giggled quietly and waited for it to happen agai-*beep* "See! See, I told you I wasn't hearing things!"

Now at least they don't think I'm crazy. However, I am the only person who hears the beep every.single.time it goes off. Which is about every minute.

I've turned machines on and off. I've stuck my head under the counter to try and figure things out before popping up and scaring patrons at the desk (accidentally...). And I still don't know what's making the noise or how to make it STOP.

I can't live like this.

Friday, March 23, 2012

And May the Odds Be EVER In Your Favor

Wow. Just, wow. Yes, it's true. All the good reviews you've heard are spot-on. The Hunger Games is a near-perfect page-to-screen adaptation. I'll be going into some detail in this post, so be warned if you don't want to be spoiled. Seriously, watch the movie and then come back and read this.

I'm so glad I went at midnight! My brother and I got there around 10 and waited in a line outside for a while, listening to The Hunger Games soundtrack. Really unique, haunting songs. Ended up in a theater mostly filled with high school girls. The kind that shrieked when the Breaking Dawn Part 2 trailer played. I'm sure this is mostly due to it being a midnight showing; hopefully a wider range of ages will see it on their own time.

What I noticed most about this movie was the way it was filmed. It didn't feel like a huge blockbuster, a high budget movie. It felt smaller, grittier. The camerawork was shaky, parts felt like a documentary. The specific choices made in filming were unique. This did get tricky at times, when I couldn't focus on what was happening in action sequences. If (when...) I go again I'll sit farther back. But really brilliant.

The cast? Spectacular. I had my doubts about a lot of the actors, and was reassured over the past few months when they were so highly praised by especially Suzanne Collins. And I bought every single one of their characters. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was so real. The movie was mostly from her perspective, and I felt exactly what she was feeling. Her trembling in the moments before going up the tube to the Games. Her hallucinations after being stung by tracker jackers. The ringing in her ears (and all of ours!) after she blows up the careers' food. Her gradual understanding of the spectacle of the Games after getting to the Capitol. I was there, I was in it.

I loved Katniss's relationship with Prim. The Reaping was horrifying, and you could have heard a pin drop in my theater. I felt the love and sacrifice so strongly. Katniss is such a strong character, and the movie shows this again and again. And Josh Hutcherson is Peeta. Seemingly weak and unsure at first, but actually strong and smart. Liam Hemsworth was a great Gale; he didn't have much of a part in the movie but several reaction shots of him watching the Games were very poignant. Woody Harrelson (Haymitch), Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), Elizabeth Banks (Effie) and especially Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) were all brilliant.

Donald Sutherland (Pres. Snow) and Wes Bentley (Seneca Crane) had some extra dialogue and scenes that were not in the book, but they were perfect. Interspersed with the Games were moments where the Gamemakers were orchestrating everything happening in the arena. Chilling. Over and over again the audience is meant to understood that these are children forced to fight to the death and that this is horribly wrong. The violence was not glorified, and the gaudy fools of the Capitol betting on outcomes contrasted starkly with Districts 11 and 12.

I'm so glad Suzanne Collins was so involved in the screenwriting of this movie. It really shows. The film follows the book so perfectly, and the added scenes make complete sense. I noticed a couple things left out (no sleep syrup for Peeta, no mention of District 13, less interaction in the cave between Peeta and Katniss, muttations not given characteristics of fallen tributes), but they didn't take away from the film as a whole. And this movie definitely can stand on its own. The world is understandable and relatable, and even people who have not read the books should be able to appreciate it.

I cried once and it was actually during an added scene. After Rue dies, Katniss covers her with flowers and presses three fingers to her mouth and holds them out in a sign of respect to District 11, Rue's district. The scene shifts to District 11, where we see the people gathered, making the same sign back to her. Then we see Rue's father (at least, that's who I took it to be) attacking a Peacekeeper, and other scenes of riot and uprising. I strongly felt the hopelessness and injustice, as well as the gut reaction to strike back.


I could probably go on and on and on. After I see the movie again I'm sure I'll have more thoughts. But this is 12 hours after, and I'm still processing.

Please see this movie. Please read the books. They have so much to give.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hungry for Some GAMES!

I have something to say:

I KNEW it! I knew The Hunger Games was going to be the next big thing.

The surgeon's assistant at the dental clinic where I got my wisdom teeth out will totally back me up on this. Back in the beginning of December, when I got my teeth out and afterwards when I was in the recovery room coming out of a sleepy stupor, I talked up The Hunger Games big time for some reason. I said that this series of books was "the next big thing." I also said a lot of other things, most of which I can't remember and may not have made sense. Anyway...

I remember at the end of my second-to-last semester at school, around December 2009, I breezed through The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I'd seem them around and thought I'd give them a try. I read YA lit all the time, so this wasn't that unusual. And these books were awesome and I mean AWESOME. I read the second one on the day of a huge oral exam that I should've been studying for instead. Then, when the final book Mockingjay was published summer 2010 and I was able to get it from the library (because that's how I roll.), I was crazed with anticipation.

What was with this series? Why was I hooked? Well, rereading the series during these past couple weeks, I remembered why I fell in love with the story. First, the suspense makes the novels. Everyone I've talked to just can't put them down. You barely realize you're turning pages and finishing chapters, it all just drives to the end in one breathless stream. I was pulled in by the story, which I touched on in an earlier blog post here (back in November, where I also promised it was going to be big! The title of the post is called "The Next Big Thing," for goodness sakes!). Suzanne Collins writes about a futuristic dystopian society, but it all seems so relatable. It's not weird and "out there," it's a story about love and death, sacrifice and justice.

I know a lot of people have been comparing it to Twilight and Harry Potter. Personally, Harry Potter will always be the best to me. The story, the characters...perfection. The Hunger Games is good in its unique ways, but it will never be Harry Potter. But that doesn't mean it isn't great.

And all the nonsense about a "love triangle?" Well, it's nonsense. Katniss, the gutsy heroine of the Games, is no Bella. Is she swooning over a vampire and a werewolf, while managing to do, um, nothing productive or helpful? No. She's trying to provide for her family, save the lives of her friends, and ultimately bring down a corrupt government. The romance portrayed is realistic and tough at times. Definitely complicated, and not by the fact that her boyfriend wants to drink her blood.

The books were fantastic, and die-hard fans like myself were eagerly anticipating movie news. Last March we found out which actors would be portraying favorites like Katniss, Gale, Peeta, and President Snow. I listened to my fan podcasts and wondered if these movies were going to be good. Book to screen adaptations have certainly failed before. But as the months rolled past, things looked more and more hopeful. Lionsgate's ad campaign for The Hunger Games has been unlike anything I've ever seen. From the animated, fiery movie poster to the Capitol nail polish to the social networking to the's been stellar. It's created so much buzz for the films. Forget the film just doing well, it's going to EXPLODE!

Reviews have been coming in from critics already and they are very promising. I have never been this excited for a movie before, never. My brother and I will be lining up for the midnight premiere tomorrow night expecting something terrific. And I don't think we'll be disappointed.

I've been so proud to be a part of this fandom since I first read the books. Yes, I do sometimes want to say to people reading them now that I read them beFORE they were this big. But mostly I just tell everyone to read them. And everyone is. Old, young, guy, girl. It's an exciting time to be a librarian. Kind of what it must have been like when Harry Potter took off.

So read the books! Go see the movie! And get caught up in the next big thing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just So You Know

So I'm having internet troubles. Hopefully they will be resolved shortly, but here's a mini blog post since I wasn't able to write one Friday and probably won't be able to tomorrow.

A few of my favorite things this past week:

  • Wearing flip flops for the first time this year!
  • Turning the heat off and opening the windows.
  • Making chocolate chip cookies with Oreos inside (for the recipe, click here).
  • Painting my nails with Hunger Games nail polish.
  • Reading amazing reviews of The Hunger Games movie, which I will be watching at midnight this coming Thursday!
  • Taking an ice cream walk.
  • Getting great deals on groceries like fresh fruits and vegetables. Because I'm an excellent shopper.
  • Listening to sessions online at work from the Public Library Association's Virtual Conference about social media and iPads.
  • Catching up with my best friends.

Despite not having internet much this week, I managed to have a good time. Have I perhaps learned something? Anyway, who wants to stay inside when there's so much to do in such beautiful weather!

Happy Sunday. :)

Post image for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cruisin' On Thru

So I'm scared of drive-thrus.

Maybe "scared" isn't quite the right word. I'm just not totally comfortable using one.

When I go to McDonalds or Taco Bell or whatever (NOT often because these places are poison. Poison I tell you!), if I'm the one driving I always park and go inside. In fact, I can state with almost 100% certainty that I have never even driven through a fast-food window before.

Why is this, you may ask? Well, it just seems weird. And I am nervous I'll pull up too far away. Or too close and I'll graze the curb. Or the person working won't understand me through the speaker. Or I'll drop the money onto the pavement and have to open the door.

You're right. Once I actually write it out it does look kind of stupid.

It's just, why bother? Why not get out, go in, interact, see the obese families sitting at the tables? Slip past the caution sign and the guy with dreads mopping the floor? Actually stand and talk to the fourteen-year-old taking my order? (Seriously...when did I get so old? I swear, everyone is younger than me now.)

I don't know, I just have a thing about drive-thrus. Maybe they also seem lazy to me. Like, look at me I'm already killing myself with this greasy food, why bother to get up off my butt at all? Just flop in the car, calling for food.

I'm sure you all go through drive-thrus and live happy, fulfilling lives, but this is not meant to be for me.

As always...
Don't judge.

Monday, March 12, 2012

We Must Save the Daylight!

So, got a little less sleep this weekend.

No biggie.

I still got up to go to the early service at church which begins at 8 (meaning it felt like 7...) but I put myself to bed early to make up for it. Where I stayed awake for an hour anyway.

It messed with me a little bit yesterday, but boy was it nice to see sunshine for so long. And since I have a later shift at work today I got to sleep in this morning instead. Like a rock.

I'll take a little less sleep if it means spring is coming! Honestly, with the weather the way it is I just want to keep going on walks. Yesterday I wandered around my neighborhood and saw purple flowers! And lots of dead grass, but that will grow.

Changing the clocks in spring is definitely better than changing the clocks in fall. Sure, you might get an extra hour of sleep, but it's the kickoff to coldness and darkness. Yuck.

I hope that wherever you live it's as beautiful as it is here. If you need me, I'll be either outside or inside staring outside.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Easy There, Sport.

I talk to myself on occasion.

95% of those times, I'm driving.

I guess in those cases I'm really talking to other people, though. They just can't hear me.

There's something about driving that makes me a teensy bit crazy. And sarcastic. Talking to other drivers and complaining to myself takes the edge off. I just have to make sure my windows aren't rolled down.

I know I can get overly annoyed with other drivers. I'm working on it. Let's just say that, as a very sarcastic person, I can usually keep myself in check unless I'm on the road with total NUTjobs who can't drive worth BEANS.

Honestly, I'm surprised I haven't gotten in an accident yet. Cars shooting out of nowhere, weaving around me like we're in the Indy 500. What's your hurry, crazies?

And the cell phone users. Don't even get me started...too late! What in the world is so important that you have to text it as you're passing me? It's so incredibly dense to me. Despite seeing how many accidents are caused by texting and driving, you still feel the need to do it.

I'm sure my area isn't as bad as some, but there are bad drivers everywhere. And my frustration manifests itself through muttering under my breath at their ineptitude. And lack of judgment.

Sorry, this is a complaining post! Stay safe on the road, enjoy being able to roll down your windows again with the springish weather (but no yelling at other drivers while they are...), and have yourself a pleasant weekend. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do

So I was behind the desk at the library and got to listen in on this gem told by a mother to her kid, who must've been misbehaving in some way:

"The librarian's going to yell at you. They won't let you come back to the library."

Excuse me?

You're going to point to the librarian as a type of bogeyman to threaten your kids with? And this isn't even the first time I've heard comments like this. Is it any wonder that so many kids don't see how the library is relevant to their lives? Sure, if you see librarians as the bad guys who want to squelch all your fun, of course the library will seem like a dismal place.

Dear parents: Your kids are learning from you. Whether they're watching what you do or listening to what you blatantly say. This includes your feelings towards the library. For instance, if you stand in front of us lying to get out of a fine in front of your child, what exactly do you think you're teaching her?

I've seen too many parents here negatively contributing to how their kids view the library. It baffles me, because HELLO this is a free, awesome place. 

Obviously, most parents are great about showing their kids a good time in the library. I'm picking on a small percentage here. Nothing makes me happier than hearing parents getting their kids excited about finding books. Moms reading to their kids in the children's area. Dads bringing their kids to story time. My favorite is whole families coming together to the library.

So please don't spoil the library for your kids!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'll Be Ready

I'm waiting anxiously for spring. March is a very confusing month, and it kind of makes me crazy. Give me real sunshine already!

A couple days ago the weather was gorgeous, and I had to sit outside and read. I had to sit in the direct sunlight, though, because it was positively frigid in the shade, with the wind blowing and all.

Spring-like weather has me thinking about spring-like activities. So here's a list of what I simply must do when it's *really* spring.

1. Play frisbee. (note to self: learn how to throw a frisbee.)
2. Go on an ice cream walk. (Get ice cream. Go on a walk.)
3. Sit in the sun until my hair gets warm and my nose gets red.
4. Chase butterflies.
5. Chase squirrels.
6. Chase children in the park. On second thought...
7. Go on a hike. Do not complain about the bugs.
8. Look for flowers starting to come up. Encourage them.
9. Spend as much time outside as possible. When inside, spend as much time as possible looking outside.
10. Frolic!

Well, that's good. I always feel more prepared for something when I've made  a list. Now I know exactly what to do when the days get warmer and longer and sunnier.

Who's with me?

Friday, March 2, 2012

May I Help You?

So the other day I was helping a gentleman find books on Alzheimer's. He explained to me that he found out there wasn't a cure, but he hoped to find books on things that could help keep his mind sharp.

So polite, so nice. I wandered through the stacks with him and pulled out a selection of what he wanted.

After I had checked his books out for him, I went back to the office, talked to a co-worker about it, and got a little upset. It's not fair. It's not fair that this man who could've been my grandfather has to go through this frightening time. And here I have this responsibility to help him at the library.

People come to the library looking for answers. Sure, most of the time they come for romance novels or school projects or recipes. But there are other reasons people come.

I've searched for books on addiction, on cancer, on divorce. I've seen who gets the books on losing your spouse, or coping with difficult kids. It breaks my heart to give a book on recovering from sexual abuse to a patron, and I've done this more than a few times.

The fact is, people still depend on the library for answers. For serious issues, it can be helpful to have an actual book rather than whatever you find just cruising online. And I, as a librarian, feel like even though what I do is small, it is helpful.

I don't judge, I don't do double-takes, I don't make anything out to be a big deal. Someone needs my help and I give it to them. No questions asked.

Most of the time, I don't know what patrons are going through when they step inside the library. But once in a while, I get a glimpse. That's enough to keep me working hard to ensure everyone gets what they're looking for.

Even the tough stuff.