Monday, July 28, 2008

Hometown Hostesses

Fred Harvey reinvigorated his restaurant chain by hiring women servers in 1883 because "they don’t get drunk and get in knife fights like men." Tom Taylor leads this historical examination of the iconic waitresses and their patron, paired with a fashion show demonstrating their flair with fabrics led by Bonnie Hansen.

The Harvey Girls takes place on Tuesday, July 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St. RSVP:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday 7/18/08

I forgot to keep track last Friday so I am doing this Friday instead so ignore the date in the title:)

Fridays are usually spent working the desk, doing paperwork and other assorted librarian type things that pretty much mirror the rest of the week. I spent most of my morning working on another incident report and spent most of the lunch hour covering staff breaks. The one big difference this week was that I didn’t have to work from 8:15 – 6. I had a branch manager meeting about security issues that met at 4 p.m. so after that I headed home and changed into theater in the park clothing. Packed a bunch of snacky foods and am heading out shortly to see my friend Amy sing in Annie Get Your Gun with my UMKC friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday 7/17/2008

  • Slept in until 9 am.
  • Ran on the treadmill while watching Lars and the Real Girl and checking Twitter/reading blog posts on my mobile Google Reader (on my phone).
  • Noticed a lovely toilet bowl leak and put out an SOS to local bloggers and friends, myspyderweb and her hubby, Kanga (aka: my wonderful, new handy-person)
  • On the way to work I stopped to buy soda and paper goods for upcoming programs.
  • At work, I checked in with the morning supervisor and talked with last night’s supervisor about training issues for the newly hired security guards.
  • Checked work email.
  • Proofread next month’s branch calendar.
  • Talked with owner of the security company about security guard issues.
  • Worked on letters, email’s and faxes for publisher letters requested review copies for the Notable Award.
  • Ate dinner and browsed the blogs.
  • Went out and worked the desk for the 5-6 pm rush.
  • Continued working on contacting publishers.
  • I always try to work the desk for the last hour we are open on my late night.
  • Went home.
Added later: Completely forgot about the girls night out event I was supposed to attend after work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday 7/16/2008

Welcome to hell day...otherwise known as the day I work my regular job and then go work a reference desk at a university for my part-time job.

At 8:15 a staff person called in sick. It's a little late to get a substitute so I spent the morning working the desk. Most of the time I actually enjoy working the desk and would like to spend more time out there and less sitting at a desk on the phone or staring at a computer screen. We check books in and out, help people with computer problems, help people find the book they need 0r want (my favorite thing to do) and help people find information/answer questions.

When additional staff appeared I ran off to our neighborhood business association meeting. Since this is a lunch meeting it basically consists of eating lunch, socializing with my community and then listening to a presentation. Today's was about the green building going up in the neighborhood with a environmentally friendly design and a roof planted with native grasses. Very cool and when it is finished I will need to schedule a trip to my local neighborhood bar (conveniently located in the new building).

When I got back from schmoozing at the meeting I checked email (both personal and professional) and chatted with a staff person about the value of the workshop she just attended on urban literature. Since I was feeling a little tired from my late night last night I grabbed the "missing list" again so I would be up and moving around.

Finishing up my day I ate another lovely apple, yogurt dinner and headed off to the part-time job. This time of year is challenging because students have settled in, asked many of their questions and are now in the paper writing part of the process. That means that I spend this time reading blogs, investigating social networking sites, catching up on answering email for both jobs and reading professional journals while I wait for the occasional question.

One question answered all night (apart from the occasional "can you sign me on to a computer as a guest" questions).

I am now heading home where I will do a couple loads of laundry, put on my pj's, spend a little quality time with the cats, read a little and then get to sleep a little on the early side tonight. Tomorrow is my late day so I will also get to sleep in and catch up on my sleep from last night's awesome concert.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday 7/15/2008

  • Started to listen to The Dybbuk on Book on Tape to prepare for the Jewish Literature program
  • Arrived at work at 8:15 and talked with the assistant branch manager about upcoming employee time off requests, discussed repair issues with facilities staff and worked on the hold list before opening the branch at 9 a.m.

  • Read Librarian by Day’s post and realized that I no longer remember the password for the branch library Flickr account and have no idea what random birthday I used. Now I can’t re-request the password.

  • Worked the circulation desk for a while. It's a good day when I can talk to a customer about books.

  • Met with the Public Affairs department to look at meeting room space and discuss layout and event issues.

  • Ate lunch and started a new (to me) series… His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. Apparently this series is hot. How did I not know that?

  • Talked with administration and co-workers about the bike theft issue and a plan for checking out bike locks is in the works. I also asked Human Resources for some advice about a staffing issue.

  • Every once in a while a person needs a soothing no-brain task so I grabbed a list of books that had been marked missing and spent some time checking the library shelves for them.

  • Went through a couple of book review journals and marked books that were suitable for the branch, the reading award....and a few just for me. This is one of the most dangerous tasks I undertake because it often results in a flood of personal book orders for me.

  • Talked with a staff person about personnel "issues".

  • Went home, changed and joined friends at a much needed Dropkick Murphys concert.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday 7/14/2008

  • Got up and got ready for work.
  • Checked work, Twitter and personal email accounts on my Trio.
  • Marked email that needed attention.
  • 15 minute drive to work.
  • Got the deposit ready to go to the bank.
  • Worked on the list of customer holds that needed to be pulled.
  • Opened the branch.
  • Answered a customer email.
  • Sent out a message to staff about the importance of collecting accurate statistics.
  • Sent out self-evaluation questions to staff person to complete for upcoming evaluation.
  • Investigated an online book club management system and created an account, inviting a few of the current book club participants to join.
  • Worked on a staff evaluation.
  • Called downtown to get clarification on new statistics gathering system.
  • Worked the customer service desk for about an hour where I got to answer a Reader's Advisory question (yippy!) I also checked in and out books, answered a couple of basic reference questions.
  • Dealt with a customer disturbance issue and filed an incident report.
  • Worked on Notable Award list.
  • Ate a rather boring but nutritious lunch…hummus, carrots, peach…awhile skimming KC blogs, library and book blogs for interesting tidbits..
  • Worked on finding a second leader for the newly expanded Jewish Literature program, found and invited second book discussion leader.
  • Talked with staff about the proper way to structure an incident report.
  • Talked to an upset customer about overdue fines.
  • Had a staff "birthday cupcake" and a little social time.
  • Cleaned up a portion of the “Missing Book” printout.
  • Worked the customer service desk.
  • Wrote a blog post about the Jewish American Literature program.
  • Talked with Public Affairs about various promotional details for the program.
  • Dealt with three bike theft issues and wrote another incident report
  • Stopped at the grocery store, ran home and then headed downtown for a library program.
  • Listened to my smart librarian friend do a presentation and cheered wildly.
  • Got home at 9'ish, read a bit of a notable read and then went to bed.
I took these notes last Monday as part of The Day in the Life project first seen on the Librarian By Day blog.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Food For Fines

For those of you who may have incurred a library fine or two this year (and you know who you are), you will be happy to know that our semi-annual Food For Fines program will start on Monday, August 18th and run through Sunday the 24th. Each can of food reduces your fine by $1 and all of the food goes to Harvesters. I thought I would give you a little extra advance warning this year since a few of you complained that I didn't give you enough time last year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another free ebook

Periodically I crave a good vampire book (preferably romance) to cleanse the palette between more literary books. Sherrilyn Kenyon is always a good choice:)

If you want to try one for free, you get a free copy of the "Seize the Night" ebook. It's
also available in a free Kindle edition on Amazon. Use this link:
http://www.yearofac ebook.html

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blogger Meet-Up

I won't be there for this one but anyone who blogs is invited:)

Tuesday July 22nd at 5 pm

Fred Garcia Tarahumara Mexican

10001 W 87th St

Overland Park, Ks


Come for the food, come for the drink, come for the conversation. Just come!Please let Spyder know if you are planning on being there so that she can warn them

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Going off the Notable Grid

I will be spending quite a bit of my blogging energy on a blog for the Jewish Literature program so I may not be posting as often (at least for a while). If any of you have something significant to say about the authors, history, trivia or books on the Jewish Literature program be sure to let me know. I can use the creative help and inspiration.

And now for my ALA fun reads!

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - I finally finished reading my free downloaded copy of this book and then promptly went out and bought a hard copy for my 18 year old nephew. This young adult novel has a lot to say about the 9/11 America, homeland security and personal freedom. It is fast paced, has engaging characters and is suitable (and recommended) for adults as well as teens.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - This fantasy novel was named "best fantasy novel of 2007" by the American Library Association "The Reading List" Award committee. It follows the life of Kvothe, living incognito, after his larger than life heroism goes horribly wrong. There are daring rescues, evil villains and enough magic to satisfy the most demanding of readers.

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge - If you like hard science SF, this is an author you will want to try. Rainbows End is set in 2025 and the main character has been "cured" of Alzheimers. Starting over, he must learn to use the new technology close enough to what he remembers to be familiar but difficult to navigate and learn. His granddaughter is determined to teach him in spite of his curmudgeonly way. In the meantime he stumbles into a secret plot to take over the world....or maybe not? I really enjoyed it and I do want to try more of his Hugo award winning novels.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Outstanding Nonfiction

Well, I have read a whole lot of books in the past three weeks and I have a few that I thought I would highlight. Of course, the three non-fiction titles I am still thinking about are ones in which I learned that a) the pharmaceutical industry is evil, b) the nutrition/food industry, while not evil, is confused and misguided and c) we are throwing away huge amounts of money on humanitarian AIDS relief that pretty much guarantees that it will be used in the least effective way possible. Sigh.....

The first book was Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs by Melody Petersen. This was an absolutely riveting, yet very disturbing look at how drugs get approved, marketed and prescribed and I ended up going home and analyzing every drug I take and reassessing my medical and prescription options.

Book number two was In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan and although it can be read by itself, I think of it as a companion piece to last year's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. If you have been with me for a while you might remember me talking about how this book has made me start looking at my food purchasing choices in terms of how far they have travelled and to start making a conscious effort to buy local whenever possible. In Defense is the book that is getting me to look at all of the low-fat, prepackaged foods I purchase (all of which are supposedly "good for me"). His basic premise (and yes, you still need to all go out and read the book!) is: "Eat food. Not too much, mostly plants and don't eat anything your great, great Grandparents wouldn't recognize as food." I am now toying with shopping at farmer's markets unless I have no other choice, starting a garden and making everything from scratch including my own yogurt.

And finally, The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS by Elizabeth Pisani. The author started life as a journalist and later, became an an epidemiologist researching AIDS. She has worked for a variety of NGO's and has seen the programs around the world that have worked and those that have not. Again she has more to say but the important point I took from this book is that until the US (and other countries) stop putting restrictions on this money, especially in not allowing a program to give out condoms and needles, the battle to stop the HIV virus will be a losing one. Our programs are failing because we as a nation cannot be realistic about what prevents AIDS. AIDS prevention does not work when we focus on stopping premarital, extra-marital sex and drug use. It works when we focus on preventing UNSAFE sex and the sharing of needles!

All three of these were eyeopening and fascinating books that I highly recommend reading.

Tomorrow....the fun titles I read on the flight home.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kansas City Public Library to Host: Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature Reading and Discussion Series

The Kansas City Public Library will host the first of five monthly discussions in a series titled “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature – Identity and Imagination” at the Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St., on Thursday, August 21.

Designed to explore Jewish literature and culture through scholar-led discussions of contemporary and classic books, the Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature program at the Kansas City Public Library will explore the theme of Demons, Golems, and Dybbuks: Monsters of the Jewish Imagination over the course of five sessions scheduled for the third Thursday of every month.

Each 60-90 minute session begins at 7 p.m. and will be led by Dr. Ben Furnish, author of Nostalgia in Jewish-American Theatre and Film, 1979-2004. Furnish is also managing editor of BkMk Press and a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. All sessions will be limited to 30 attendees. To register for one or more of these sessions call 816.701.3407 or you may RSVP online.

The Kansas City Public Library is one of 83 libraries across the country that received competitively-awarded grants to host the Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature program that was developed by Nextbook and the American Library Association (ALA). The majority of the funding will be used to provide program participants with free paperback copies of the five books that will be discussed in the series – Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick, and Angels in America by Tony Kushner.

“We are delighted that the ALA has selected us to host this unique book discussion series,” noted Henry Fortunato, director of public affairs at the Kansas City Public Library and lead grant writer for the project. “These five sessions at the Waldo Branch led by Ben Furnish will further our mission of encouraging public dialogue by enabling community members to engage in deep discussion on major themes in Jewish literature.”

“Monster theory is a hot area of literary research now,” added Furnish. “Monster theorists say that these supernatural literary beings can reveal a great deal about evolving cultural identity and difference. Just as medieval England’s Beowulf gives us Grendel and a dragon, so modern Jewish literature gives readers unforgettable figures like Gregor Samsa and a dybbuk, which speak powerfully to audiences making sense of their lives amid the turbulent cultural changes of the 20th century and beyond.”

The first program in the five-part series, scheduled for Thursday, August 21, 2008, will explore Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer. An epic story of desperation and religious fervor, this first novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Singer was originally published in Poland in 1935. A dark, chilling tale that clearly reflects the anxieties of its era, Satan in Goray concerns the survivors of a 1648 massacre in an isolated Polish village who become convinced that the Messiah will arrive at any moment. Their high hopes lead to disastrous results.

Registrants for this first program in the series will be able to pick up their free paperback copy of Satan in Goray after July 15, 2008, at the Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St.

The remaining dates and books in the Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature series at the Waldo Branch include: Thursday, September 18, 2008, The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky; Thursday, October 16, 2008, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka; Thursday, November 20, 2008, The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick; and Thursday, December 18, 2008, Angels in America by Tony Kushner.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Book Cart Drill Team Championship

I don't know exactly how to explain the Book Cart Drill Team Championship to a non-librarian so I won't even try. My only regret is that no one has posted a video of the winning teams routine yet. Below is the second place team.

I didn't see the performance so you will have to rely on another blogger to get the general idea. From the Anaheim en Mass blog:

"The crowd favorite was a team from CA who came out as mad scientists, complete with wild wigs, lab coats and a complete chemistry set on each bookcart. They danced their way through a musical number where they poured a drink in their beakers (which began to bubble merrily) and drank it. They writhed and shrank beneath their carts, stripped their outfits and became zombies - complete with ripped clothing and ashen/bloody faces.

Suddenly Michael Jackson's "Thriller" began to play and they stepped their way, zombielike, through the song w/ their bookcarts - just like the famous video but with the carts for added flair. They brought the house down, and wound up taking home the first place Gold Cart."

Friday, July 04, 2008


I found this meme on The Goblin in the Library blog, and since it is a holiday and I don't feel like posting a review and it looked pretty I decided to try it. So, I grabbed my current book off the virtual shelf and plugged it into Wordle.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Copyright and Free Books

One of the programs I attended while at the ALA conference was on copyright and online piracy. During the program, writer and editor, Eric Flint, mentioned that the Baen publishing response to this is to offer selected titles for free download and the rest of their library at reasonable (lower than paperback) prices. You can read their whole position statement about this and I tend to agree with it but the part that excited me was that FREE books are available, which is the equivalent of librarian crack. Best of all, with no DRM attached to the downloads you can share with others who might like the books. Of course, supporting your favorite authors by buying the books or asking your local library buy copies is encouraged as well.

For all intents and purposes Eric Flint's portion of the panel discussion is on the Baen website. I do wish I had written down a couple of "quotables" from Vernor Vinge and Cory Doctorow as well but I was too busy listening.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'm Back!!!

In the exhibit hall at ALA....AKA: Librarian Nirvana

I have to admit, I had a fabulous time at the American Library Association. Apart from stalking Cory Doctorow, I finished my to-be-read pile (leaving books scattered throughout the country), met with my committee, attended publisher events, went to interesting programs, met cool people like Vernor Vinge (I am currently reading Rainbows End) and drank a little too much good California wine. I did forgot my business cards so I didn't do a good job with the whole networking thing and blithely told Vernor Vinge that I would email him my contact info, never dreaming that a computer scientist/author wouldn't have an online fan email address.

Oh, and I gathered up approximately 40 pounds of books to drag home with me even though I have a basement full of books that has been growing and growing and growing....but really, who can resist an advance copy of the Neal Stephenson book, Anathem even if it does weigh 30 of the 40 pounds? FYI: If you are very nice to me, maybe I will let you borrow it before the rest of the world gets to read it.

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. – Vinge, 1993