Monday, April 30, 2012

Hey, Girl!

I was kind of a dork when I was little.

All right, I'm still kind of a dork.

My nose is usually stuck in the pages of a book. It's comfortable there. So it shouldn't really surprise any of you that, growing up, I often felt a closer connection to book characters. As opposed to, I don't know, real people.

It's cliche but true: reading transports you. In reading I've gone more places, met more people, and done more things than I'll ever be able to go/meet/do in real life. That's the bookish magic!

There were plenty of characters I read about that I looked up to, or wished I could know for real. Especially actual characters in history, or at least characters set in times earlier than this boring present.

I definitely went through stages where I was obsessed with certain cool females throughout history. Annie Oakley. Harriet Tubman. Helen Keller. Rosa Parks. Joan of Arc. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Clara Barton. Pocahontas. I read biographies, I read novels. I wished I could be as brave, as strong, as important.

As for the fictional girls, well, they weren't quite always quite as inspirational. But they were spunky, creative, and hilarious. Anastasia Krupnik. Anne Shirley. Ramona Quimby. Mia Thermopolis.  Jo March.

These stories shaped me growing up. I learned things. How to be patient, how to solve problems. How to fight for what you believe is right, and how to deal with pesky siblings. How to go on an adventure and how to get into trouble!

I'm so thankful for these females - real and imaginary. The more I read, the more I meet.

Thank you, ladies!

Friday, April 27, 2012

What Do YOU Know?

Here's something annoying:

people attempting to discuss something they haven't read.

Why people will try to enter into a dialogue with someone about something they have only heard other people's opinions on....well, it's beyond me.

Specifically, it bothers me when people pass judgment on a book without having read it. I'll tell you what I think of the book, but I'm not going to really respect their opinion. Because they really can't have an informed opinion on something they haven't read.

Recently, this has happened to me talking to people about books such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight. A few people have been sort of shocked that I would be into a book such as The Hunger Games, since children are forced to kill each other. I can almost feel them getting a little high and mighty, like, I would never read such trash!

Okay, sure, think that. But I can't really have a discussion with you if that's all you know about the books. Or if that's all you think they're about. I can try to tell you my opinion, but I always suggest you read the books. Plenty of people's minds have been changed this way. Out of the dozens of people I've talked to who've read The Hunger Games, I've only talked to three who didn't like it. And to them I say, hey, you gave it a try but it wasn't for you? Great. Tell me why, so I can understand.

But when people try to talk confidently about something they've never read, I know they're just regurgitating other people's opinions. Take Harry Potter, for instance. Some people have just heard so many times that there's something wrong with these books because of the "magic" they contain that they practically back away in fear if I mention them. Seriously? Have you looked into it yourself?

There was this one guy I was trying to talk to and he had all these opinions on why Twilight was stupid. I also happen to believe Twilight is stupid (I tend not to use this word...). However, I have read all four books and have specific reasons why I think this. This guy hadn't read any of them, and his reasons for dissing the series weren't grounded in anything. It was obvious he didn't know what he was talking about.

So what kind of discussion is that? One person has read the book and one person hasn't? It's not a discussion at all.

Read the book and get back to me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Night in the World for Books

Well, THAT was fun.

Guess what I got to do? Give out free books!

I know, I know - "Laura," you say, "You give out free books every day! You're a librarian, which is the best job in the universe. Thank you for your dedication, by the way."

To this I say, you're welcome. Also, sure I give out free books, but people have to return them. On Monday I gave out 20 copies of one of my current favorite books, The Hunger Games. For keeps!

April 23 was World Book Night, and I was beyond thrilled to participate. Months ago I heard that WBN was going to happen for the first time in this country, in addition to taking place in the U.K. and Ireland. Hopefully it will keep spreading! I was accepted as a "giver" after filling out an application online after hearing about it on

Thousands of givers gave out books on Monday. We got to choose from a list of 30 books. (For a complete list, click here.) I had to pick my top three choices, and I chose The Hunger Games all three times. Luckily that didn't count against me and I got it. :)

I received a box with all the books along with some bookmarks and an awesome pin. WBN's purpose is to share the love of reading...especially with non-readers. The kinds of people who wouldn't typically pick up a book. So though I was going to be handing them out in the library, I wanted to give them to people who weren't there for books. I know you may think of people just coming to the library for books, but many many people come to study/use computers/use copy machine/tutoring/movies/etc. So I looked for those people.

So here's who I gave books to!

  • 4 high school girls working on a school project
  • 1 teacher to use in his classroom
  • 7 ladies using the community room for a craft program
  • 1 girl at the library to be tutored
  • 2 ladies knitting
  • 2 men only picking out movies
  • 1 partridge in a pear tree (not really...)

Then it was 9 pm. The library closed and I had 3 books left. I failed!

Not quite.

  • I stopped by my gym and gave the remaining 3 books to the guys working there. Success!

Truly a special day to be a part of. I heard some great stories of people giving books out all over the country. Just google "World Book Night 2012" to read more. I'll definitely be applying again next year, though I might trying reaching out beyond the library.

It was like Halloween, only with books! If you're interested, stay tuned next year and definitely give it a try. Worth it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Real or Not Real?

(Points to you if you get the literary allusion in the title.)

Dear Various Neighbors in the General Vicinity:

What's with the random stone/plastic animals in your yard?

Do you really want people becoming distracted while driving past your house?

"Look, deer! Wait, is that a real deer? Is it moving? Honk the horn!"


"I almost stepped on the biggest toad - oh, never mind."

"Look at all those geese! Wait, they're stone."

"What a cute little bunny rabb- stop laughing; it looked real!"

What are these sick games you like to play? What is it about placing fake animal statues in your yard that you feel creates the perfect atmosphere? What is the thought process behind this? Oh, you know what this yard is missing, honey? A plastic dog sitting here on the porch next to the tomato plant! Let's go to Walmart!

While we're on the subject, how about those creepy dolls that look like little children pressing their faces into the wall? Do you know the ones I mean? Who thought this was a good idea - do the same people who have yard animals have corner children? Why is that cloth child crying against your wall? Should I be at all concerned?

Thanks for your consideration. Remember, there's nothing wrong with traditional flower beds and stepping stones.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Library Lending, Not Amazon Spending

I don't buy books. I borrow them.

This may seem weird since reading is pretty much my life. But why buy books when I have all the free ones I want every day at the best job ever? I'm not a book hoarder, that's all. I'm fine with borrowing and giving back.

I love looking through all the newest books at the library. Kids' picture books, memoirs, YA sci-fi, cookbooks, historical mysteries...I like to read and know about the wide variety we have available. My holds list contains dozens of new books I like to have my hands on before anyone else.

With all that's available to me, why spend money on books I'm not going to read again? Because I don't typically read books again. There's too much out there.

Ready for the exceptions? Here they are: Harry Potter and The Hunger Games (That's 10 books total). In the last couple years, these are the only books I've gotten and now own. I'm gearing up to read through the Harry Potter series again, actually. Every other book I read has a barcode and a spine label.

So much to read! So much to experience! And it's all available at the library. What other habit is so cheap, I ask you?

I love books, but I'm not attached to them in the way some people are. Those people like to own them, to collect them, to arrange them on shelves, to never ever get rid of a book...that's not me. At the library I realize you have to get rid of the old to make room for the new. Books come, books go, and I snag them as they travel through to different people's homes.

What a journey!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Haiku, Youku, We All...Um...

My blog makes me work
Thinking, staring, what to write?
Just type anything.

This is my haiku. I wrote it in honor of National Haiku Poetry Day, which was on Tuesday. I also wrote it in honor of writer's block.

Man, keeping this blog is tough work. I try to write on it on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week. I write my library's blog on Tuesday and Thursday. So yeah; that's a lot of ideas.

Sometimes I hit on something excellent and popular and perfect. Sometimes I string just the right words together, develop interesting ideas, passionately argue.

Other times, I write about bobby pins.

It's a discipline, I must say. Obviously I wish that all my blog posts are spot-on works of genius. But I think it's better to be writing something than nothing. Who knows? Something wonderful could come out of my ramblings.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Too Cool for This

Sunglasses. Shades. Sunnies (that's Australian slang - I didn't just invent it).

It's time to bring them out!

Well, unless you've been wearing them all through the winter to protect your eyes. I haven't been. So I found three pairs hanging around my room and now I'm trying to coordinate them so I always have a pair with me.


The other day I found two pairs in my purse at the same time. Another day I could barely see and there were no pairs to be found. People have told me to keep a pair in the car always, but I wear them into whichever building I'm going into and then I forget to leave them in the car again. So that doesn't work.

My sunglasses are pretty normal looking. Pretty sure I'll never be able to pull off the big bug-eyed celebrity look. One of my pairs leaves marks on my nose, so that's interesting.

One of the more exciting things about finally getting contacts when I was about 18 was that I could now wear normal sunglasses. Don't get me wrong, those clip-on sunglasses are just as way cool, hip, and with it as a fannypack or socks with sandals, but it was nice to be normal finally. I can slide on shades just as cool as can be, no worries.

Unless I forgot it was going to be sunny all day and I wore my glasses. Which happens more than you might think...

Put on your sunnies and get outside today!

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Hair Ate Them

Okay, seriously. Where do the bobby pins go?

I have bought dozens and dozens of bobby pins over the course of my life. I just have to keep replacing them. One would ASSUME that if one keeps them all in one place and only take them out to put in one's hair and then puts them BACK when one is done... one would not have to replace bobby pins that often. One would think.

But I have to hoard my pins. I'm down to about 6, and that number is dropping. They disappear as fast as a wayward contact lense. You know how when you drop one they are suddenly gone and if you're lucky enough to locate it (the clock is ticking!) it's stuck to the most random surface possible? Like that. I drop one and it's gone. I put 5 bobby pins in my hair and then take out only 4. What is the deal?

Which brings me to the title of this post. Is it possible? Is my thick, naturally curly hair just devouring my bobby pins? Admittedly, there have been times when, after thinking I've removed them all, I've found one lingering pin deep within my lustrous locks.

I've got to get myself to the store.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thanks for Listening

"Library workers should celebrate National Library Workers Day by passive aggressively muttering 'You're welcome!' after refilling the stapler, unjamming the printer, and unclogging the public restroom's toilet for unthankful library patrons." -A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette

That's right, yesterday was National Library Workers Day! I had fun wishing my coworkers a Happy National Library Workers Day (a real mouthful!) and celebrating my job. I'm a geeky library lover, so a day like this is special to me. Our library Board got us pizza and brownies for lunch, so I spent the first half of the day focused and alert and the second half sleepy and full. Yum...

This sarcastic blog post I got from A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette makes me laugh because I have a tendency to at least think this from time to time.

Seriously, when did people get so rude? I say thank you for EVERYthing. I don't care if a person is being paid to "just do their job," I still say thank you. Someone's helping me, usually by doing something I'm unable to do for myself. So I say thank you for being skillful, for being prompt, for being helpful. Even if a person's rude to me I say thank you.

But so often in the library people don't say thank you. Especially over the phone, maybe because it's easier when you're not looking someone in the eye. There's an awkward pause over the line when I don't know what to say to end the call. "Well, bye!" I can't very well say "you're welcome."

Or when people are annoyed because they waited until the last minute to do a school project and there aren't any books left. Or tax forms aren't available because the IRS wants everyone to go online and they didn't send us copies. People have to *gasp* make their own copies and actually pay for the ink and paper. By the way, why are you doing your taxes now?!

I'm sure all my lovely readers always say thank you. Never forget to! It's always appreciated. It should be automatic, but for some it's an afterthought, if a thought at all.

Hey, THANK YOU for reading! My blog has gotten almost 10,000 views, in fact I'm only about 75 away. Why not go back into the archives and check out some older posts maybe you haven't read yet and bump up my views? It's an exciting number to reach, and I couldn't have done it without all of YOU.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Use Your Elbows!

So when did Easter egg hunts turn into the kids' version of Black Friday?

I keep hearing these crazy stories of egg hunts turning ugly or even being canceled due to the unruly kids and parents! Come on, people.

I know egg hunts are competitive. But let's try to stick to common courtesy! Not to mention, these so-called egg hunts are more like egg races. Eggs aren't hidden, like they were in my day, they're just scattered in fields. In these cases no one's searching, they're just fighting to get to the eggs first! And the parents are egging them on. (Haha, see what I did there?)

It's just silly. Everyone knows kids taking on kids in epic battles for prizes (Hunger Games, anyone?) isn't the point of Easter. Reese's chocolate peanut butter eggs are! Just kidding....

I hope you all had a great Easter with your family and friends. I made a few loaves of makowiec, which is a traditional Polish poppyseed bread. It took a while to make, but it was worth it. I ate about 17 pieces yesterday. Maybe that's an exaggeration. Maybe not. Anyway, I should go into business it was that. good. Want to try it out? Click here for a recipe.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Low In The Grave He Lay...

Bunnies. Tulips. Peeps. Eggs. Plastic grass. It's beginning to look a lot like Easter!

Easter is a time of light, of new life, of extra sunshine. Of longer days, of flip-flops, of a bounce in your step. It's a goodbye to winter and a heLLO to spring!

And most of all, it's a time for me to remember Jesus' love, sacrifice, and resurrection...not to mention the incredible HOPE I have in Christ.

No matter what's happening around me, no matter what my mood is or what the weather's doing or if there's chocolate in the house... I have peace with God. And that's worth singing about!

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinnners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Romans 5:1-11

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

7 Secrets Your Librarian Won't Tell You

You ever read Reader's Digest? It may be for old people (as evidenced by the certain types of medical advertisements), but I read it when I can get my hands on it. I've seen articles about what your waiter/house cleaner/mall Santa/flight attendant won't tell you, and I keep waiting to see a librarian version.

As I have yet to see one, I thought I'd create my own. If you read this blog, you probably already know more than the average library patron. But here's a quick list of secrets for you anyway.

1. We talk about you. It's a customer service job, and we get to know the customers. We talk about you if you're nice, we talk about you if you're mean, we talk about you if you're weird. If we don't talk about you, you're really, really average.

2. We will work with you. We want you to have a good library experience. If you have legitimate reasons for wanting us to reduce your fine, speak up! If you can't pay everything all at once, let us know. Our job is to make you have happy at the library so you'll come back. And bring your children. And friends. And donations.

3. We don't get to read books all day. We all have responsibilities other than standing at the desk and waiting on you. To stay up-to-date on current books, we put them on hold and check them out and read in the evenings just like everybody else.

4. We won't shush you. All right, sometimes we will. If you are being unreasonably loud, we'll ask you to keep it down for the benefit of people around you. But more and more, public libraries are becoming community centers. We want people to come visit, so we encourage things like live music in the library once a month. If you want an ultra-quiet study room, try a university library.

5. We know a lot. What we don't know, we'll find out for you. Seriously, take advantage of your librarians! Make friends with us, give us cookies, get to know us. When you have a major paper to write and need research assistance, you can count on us.

6. Being a true librarian requires a masters degree. Yes, this is a real job. People on staff at libraries often have multiple, varied responsibilities. We help you find books, we help kids with research, we run programs, create flyers, manage book and monetary donations, keep up with social media, catalog items, repair books, prepare crafts, learn the new technology so we can teach you...we do it all. (The plan is for me to earn a masters degree in the near future, fyi.)

7. Sure we're concerned about libraries "dying out." But most of us are hopeful. After all, time and time again people have said the library wouldn't make it. Like when the internet got big, for example. But we're still here and we're making ourselves needed. More people than ever are coming to the library for job searches, eBooks, school projects, community events, story times, even just reading the newspaper. I feel passionately about what the library can do for every person in the community, and I'll talk to anyone who'll listen about it.

Well, that's all I got for now! Maybe there will be a part two in the future.

Enjoy your library.