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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Book: The Grimm Legacy

Author: Polly Shulman

Summary: Elizabeth Rew is feeling lonely in her new home and school. With her father working more to pay for her step sisters’ college tuition and her best friend moving to California,  her closet confidant is a rag doll that once belonged to her late mother. After a particularly lonely day Elizabeth is offered a part-time job at a local repository. From that day on Elizabeth’s life is not the same. Getting to know her new coworkers is giving her spirits some lifting and is allowing her to learn and see new things, surrounded by objects from all over the world and throughout history. But there are whispers and a tension that is permeating through her new workplace. Everyone is talking about recent thefts attributed to an old page, yet are still occurring. And what is this Dungeon she keeps hearing about but yet no one will be straight with her about it? She’s warned to take care with a possible abnormally large bird stalking pages and patrons alike. But when she’s finally let in on the secret will it be too late for her?

My thoughts:First I found out about this book on while browsing Pinterest. And it was an instant “Must Read This Book!” moment. The description attached to the pin was this:

Have you ever wondered what they keep in the super special collections at libraries? Elizabeth Rew is about to find out. She takes an after school job as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository, which houses a collection of objects ranging from plastic buttons to Marie Antoinette’s wig. But as Elizabeth becomes more comfortable at her new job she begins to see that there is something odd going on. Two of the previous pages left the Repository under suspicious circumstances…

I’ve always been attracted to special collections, the rarer the better. But even simple historical objects are a big thing to me. If objects could talk the stories they could tell. And who hasn’t ever thought about a super special collection hidden away behind a secret door in a library? I have, plenty of times, especially those old ornate libraries that have you thinking if you pull on the right lever or knock in the right place a swish and a swoosh will happen and before you will be an old passageway leading to great secrets. That’s the feeling Shulman tries to infuse into this story. It inspires great fantasies of what libraries could be or are. I find that this was indeed a great read, simple and sweet if you will. I started it and finished it one day, and it’s a decent size teen book. It just flows really well, and the writing is smooth. There’s action, romance, mystery, and suspense but none of them is overtly strong…they’re pretty balance resulting in a fun read. I think this will make a great addition to my library and I hear there is a sequel but yet I can’t find actual proof that it has been published. But I think young teens would enjoy this book, especially if they have a liking of libraries, history, mystery or all three.

The Children’s Department

Today I spent two hours working on the Children’s Department service desk. It was very different and highly interesting to compare the two.

Our Children’s department is like a library within a library. They have fiction, non-fiction, audio-visual collections, special collections, computers, periodicals, a reading area, and the cutest little tables and chairs I’ve ever seen. It’s a self-contained environment. And even though they are directly below us, it was like I was traveling into a different world.

On most days I’m surrounded my quietness. Whispers and clickty clacks as people discuss things with their study partners or work on the computers. Its disruptive when someone speaks on the phone, even in the lowest of voices because it’s so quiet. But like I said the children’s department is beneath us and the stairs are open so it’s not always quiet and sometimes we have loud study groups, and individuals. But we can usually quiet them down to a bearable level. In the Children’s department noise is expected and reveled.

I have to admit I had to fight my librarian instinct to go “Shush”. Although it was real fun to see such tiny people enjoying books and remembering my adventures in the same Children’s department years ago.

One little girl came up to me with the most serious face I’ve ever seen on an elementary age kid. She was looking for good books for her younger sister who was in second grade. Her sister was a really good reader so she wanted chapter books with pictures, and she liked funny stories. Of course I had no idea what to offer up but lucky some of our awesome children librarians were near by so I picked their brain. The two girls left with armfuls of books.

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The Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu

I picked this book up after getting a recommendation from a friend. The Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu is another beginner primer for anyone rethinking their eating habits. The thought behind the book is to not just say you are part of a food movement whatever that might be, but to change the way you approach the kitchen as a part of your life. The topics in this book range from how you grocery shop, to preserving your food, cooking your food and serving your food. She has also speaks about the appliances in a conscious kitchen, the products you use to clean your kitchen to create a conscious way of living.

Zissu shows you how to navigate the farmer market, the small neighborhood grocery store and the giant mega supermarket, all with the purpose of bringing home fresh and healthy foods without spend loads of unnecessary cash. She makes her argument for a home garden and buying locally for both environmental and health reasons.

What I like most about this book was that there was a lot of knowledge to gleam from it and it was presented in a way that I didn’t feel overwhelmed with new vocabulary and ideas.

Year One

This past Sunday marked the one year anniversary of me matriculated from library school. I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone. I decided to look back on my capstone and compare the five year professional development I wrote and what has happened this year.

For a recap here is what I wrote a year ago:

Year One: January 2011 to December 2011

Career

  • Take on a practicum at Wake Forest University’s library: Z. Smith Reynolds Library in the Research and Instruction department to gain experience in reference services, library instruction, and general academic library experience.
  • Graduate from UNCG’s Master’s in Library and Information Studies program – May 2011.
  • Find, apply, and gain full time employment in an academic library, in a position that focuses on research, reference services, instruction, and technology.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

  • Continue my membership in professional associations (American Library Association and North Carolina Library Association).
  • Attend conferences, nationally and/or statewide, to network and learn of new trends in the LIS field.
  • Provide mentoring help with the new cohort of Academic Cultural Enrichment Scholars.

Publications

  • Apply for research grants to continue research previously started, (i.e. Modern Teens and Library Usage).
  • Submit end product of Public Library Design and Technology to scholarly journal for publication with Dr. Chow.

Here’s the breakdown:

Career

The spring of 2011 I did in fact complete a practicum at Wake Forest in their Research and Instruction department. I taught a total of 3 classes as part of a Library Instruction course and complete many hours on the reference desk. You can read about my practicum here. I graduated from UNCG with an MLIS in May of 2011, a very exciting time and nerve-wracking at the same time. In September of 2011 I found, applied and gained full-time professional work at the public library in my hometown.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

This year I will not be attending ALA but I did attend NCLA and PLA online. It has been a bit more challenging than I realized to continue in the professional association as well as get more involved in these associations. I do hope to do better in year two. This past year one of the second cohort ACE Scholars did their internship at my library and in my department. I actively tried to talk to her not just about the library school program but also the field as I’ve experienced so far. I’ve also had conversations with other interns here and people who by happenstance are applying to the program this upcoming term. It’s always strikes me as odd when I find myself having these conversations and actually having an opinion and things to share with people who are in the same place I was just a short time ago.

Publications

I was able to present my research with my professor at the NCLA conference this past October. And that’s as far as publication has gone. I realized that there was a lot more research and observation that needed to happen. This is still an goal of mines but I’m not sure when that will get checked off.

Looks like I’m settling in nicely into the library field…yay!

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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I usually write my book reviews for Sundays but since I already have another post planned for that day I thought I’ll do this review today. Plus I’m off for the day as comp time for working this past weekend.

Back in June of last year I wrote about not being about to finish a book, Faerie Wars Chronicles by James Herbert Brennan. Today I’m going to be doing the same thing except for a whole series. Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians series by Brandon Sanderson was on my to read list for about a year. I remember seeing the first book while working as a Page before going to grad school. I checked it out and never got around to reading it. Then I found a copy for next to nothing at a Border’s. It took me another year before I would actually read it.

I remember tweeting about the weirdness of reading a book about evil librarians while in school to become a librarian. It messed with my mind. The first book was lacking to say it nicely. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it. The story sets up with Alcatraz inheriting special sand that a cult of evil librarians are willing to kill to get. The characters are great and the plot is interesting. What ruined the book for me was the gimmick the author employed over and over. He goes off on supposedly fun tangents and at first I thought these tangents were suppose to be weird forms of foreshadowing. And some are, but mostly they are distracting.

It is a juvenile series so I thought I’m over thinking it. It was a fun story and even though the book ends terribly in the regards of a cliff hanger, I kinda wanted to know what happened next. So I waited some months to find the second book and again I was let down. I was hoping for more of the characters and plot development and instead I got even more gimmicky writing. The second book picks up right where the first book ended and ends no better. It’s a decent size book for a youth series but the plot didn’t really advance much. I remember feeling this way when I read books 5 and 6 of the Harry Potter series, they really could have been one book in regards to plot advancement.

So another few months went by and I was on the fence on reading book three, but here’s the thing I really wanted to like this series. So last weekend I read book three…and again a book full of gimmicky writing. But worst, because the main characters went all angsty on me and I felt lost their charm. The plot dragged along and in the end once again there was no real rhyme or reason for it. Honestly the book could have been much shorter and gotten the same bang for my buck.

Will I read book four? I highly doubt it, at this point it would be just to finish out a series and plus they are short reads. I think a lot of people who like this series and would like this series. I’m not one of them, maybe it’s my librarian teaching that has clouded my mind so that I can’t appreciate the genius of this series, but I just kind of like stories that actually have a plot to them. But if you have the time check out book one from your library and give it a go. Let me know how you feel about it.

Bored Prankster?

Book Chaos

Book Chaos (Photo credit: Sharon Drummond)

For the past few weeks we have been plagued with a mischievous prankster. Throughout the day we would notice that books, sometimes whole handfuls and many times lone ones, would be out-of-place. They would be sitting on the shelves two rows down or up, or on the shelving unit directly across. And always in the reference section or at least it was more pronounced in the reference section because it’s normal for books to be askew elsewhere. I don’t think it would be so bothersome, after all it could just be people are using the books and just randomly placing them on shelves.

We wouldn’t think nothing of it except that we find small little pieces of wadded up paper on the floor throughout the reference section and by the tables too. These little pieces of paper end up being the barcodes, targets, call number stickers to the misplaced books. Sometimes they even take a pen and scribble out the library stamps. They go through all the notions of preparing the book to be stolen and then they leave it. It’s infuriating to say the least, especially for my supervisor.

This started happening after we noticed the art book theft, so I’m already sensitive to about people abusing the library, so needless to say I’m a little perturbed. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can really do about this mischievous prankster as we haven’t been able to catch them in the act, we can’t increase our security, nor can we have 24/7 armed guards stand watch which was my suggest.

I guess we can be glad for small things; they could be stealing the books.

Money Smart Week 2012

Saturday marked the end of Money Smart Week 2012 as well as our Money Smart Month. There was a shredding event at one of our branches that saw over 40 people come out with 1500 lbs of documents to shred. It was a great turn out to end the week and the whole month of programs. April felt like none stop programming and I am exhausted from it all.

I think the people who came out to the various programs were really grateful, and I think we might have a basis of a new yearly event to happen in our library system. But I do have to say my learning curve was huge in programming respect. I’m already jotting down ideas and thoughts for next year. Which is weird, since the first thing I said was next year we should scale it back.

Overall I would say Money Smart 2012 was a success.

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“Frugavores make the most of what they have, supports best practices in farming, wastes nothing, and grows their own food when they can.”

Frugavore by Arabelle Forge

I picked this book up soon after it came to my department with a batch of new books. The coworker who shares the office with me is in charge of creating a Spring Garden Series every March through May. Every year she tries likes to update the collection with new books, which is great for me especially with regards to my 2012 goal of becoming a locavore and my life goal of living healthier. My family has always labeled me the most frugal of the bunch. In truth I believe I waste quite a bit, especially when I read a self-proclaimed frugal person’s blog and see some of the “resourcefulness” people are capable of. But it’s true I am more willing to use something till it’s broken beyond repair and squeeze the last bit of whatever till it has no more to give. So picking up this book I thought it would be a great weekend read. And I was not disappointed.

Arabella Forge’s Frugavore is an excellent primer for anyone looking to think differently about their consumption. It’s not a thick book so don’t expect her to cover every single thought or resource out there but she doesn’t point you on many great paths of discovery. She also breaks down a lot of the labels and subgroups that are making up the forever growing food movement. Before this book I had never heard of groups like ‘Slow Food’ (anti fast food), Localism (buy food produced locally), organic, biodynamic, and so on. I didn’t know the difference between some people who consider themselves locavores based on the environment impact and those who call themselves the same thing but do it for health reasons. She breaks the book down into different arenas like The Frugavore Kitchen, Stocking your Pantry, Veggie Patch, etc, and shares great recipes to help you take full advantage of personal gardens, community gardens, local farms and farmer markets.

The point of the book is to take a note from the past and see how efficient and frugal generations were before us and realize that they had a life full of wonderfully tasty food and wasted nothing. This book has inspired me in many ways to reconsider I approach my time in the kitchen and I’m so glad it was my first book on this new journey.