The Bookaneer Self Narrates!

As I mentioned in my last post, I found inspiration in a new friend recently to start blogging again. Brandon is the founder of Self Narrate, which is an incredible storytelling project. When he asked me if I wanted to do a video for the project, I said sure!…without really thinking about what I would talk about. What could my story be? But then, after some self-reflection (which is one of the main points of the project), I decided that I must talk about the library, how it has affected me, and how I want to use it to affect others. I got pretty emotional! But it was a great experience, and talking about my passion and then watching the resulting video really helped me realize how important The Bookaneer is to me.

So here it is! Please let me know what you think!

If you are interested in submitting a story for Self Narrate, you can contact Brandon here or join the Meetup group here. It’s a lot of fun, you’ll meet tons of new and awesome people, and learn a whole lot about yourself.

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Keep bookaneering!

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Big Changes for the Bookaneer

Ahoy, me hearties! As you may know, I’ve been gone for a very long time. (Almost a year!) I took a…piratical sabbatical, did some traveling, some working, and had some grand adventures (which I’ll catch you up on in an upcoming post). But I am back, rejuvenated, excited, and ready to go for the next long stretch of bookaneering! I’ve found some new inspiration in a new friend (see next post), and a BRAND NEW JOB! That’s right, I’m now the Youth Services Library Specialist at one of our library’s branches, and it’s really allowing me to stretch my creative wings and do some super cool things I hadn’t been able to do in my old position. Working with children is a dream come true, and it’s been so much fun getting settled into my new job. I have a truly excellent team, and I honestly feel like I’m making a difference in kids’ lives.

So come along with the Bookaneer into the next chapter of our journey! I’m so thrilled for what lies ahead. Next post: this weekend?! Believe it!

Keep bookaneering!

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ReadAloud Video: Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Today’s blog is a video post! I recorded a new ReadAloud video, of a great children’s book called Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. This is one of my favorite children’s books; it is visually stunning and has a really good message. And it features an awesome main character: Miss Alice Rumphius, a girl who grows up, becomes a librarian, goes on many adventures in faraway places, comes home to live by the sea, and makes the world more beautiful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

If you have any suggestions of what you’d like to have in a future ReadAloud, leave me a comment here or on the video itself. I’ve got my new webcam set up so I hope to make lots more awesome videos soon!

Keep bookaneering!

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In Which the Bookaneer is Filled with Library Feelings

I responded to a post on tumblr about getting to know your tumblarians (that’s tumblr librarians, if you didn’t know ;D) where the prompt was “What are your dearest library memories?”

“LIBRARY MEMORIES?!” I cried, “I have tons of those!” So I proceeded to write the longest text post I’ve ever written on tumblr. And then I thought, well, I should definitely share this with everyone who DOESN’T follow me on tumblr too, right? So here I go.

It’s a long list.

I grew up in libraries. My parents read to me from the time I was born. I’m told I was reading on my own by the time I was three. It seems obvious now that this would be the field I’d end up in, but I really only settled on librarianship as a career within the last two or three years.

I went to a small Catholic school K-8, and I was in an “advanced readers” group in first grade. We read books that other kids in our grade weren’t ready for yet, and I loved it. The librarian at my school was a woman named Sheila Beaupre and she was my idol. She made reading and learning so much fun, and COOL. We did awesome crafts and presentations about books we were reading, and I was NEVER made to feel bad or weird for loving to read or being a “bookworm” in that space. I won the school spelling bee. I read every book on Greek mythology I could get my hands on. I read Jane Eyre in seventh grade and didn’t get it. My reading level was soon higher than any books we had there but I LOVED that library.

Every week during the summer, my mom would take my sisters and me to our local public library. It was tucked at the end of a road behind the Skate Station. I could navigate there with my eyes closed. I loved mysteries and went through a serious mystery book phase, during which I think I read every single Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book in the children’s section (after I grew out of the Encyclopedia Brown books). I soon moved on to Agatha Christie for mysteries, and then Anne McCaffrey, Orson Scott Card, and Tolkien for fantasy. I saw a picture of my little old library (the building is actually younger than I am, by about a year!) recently and all those old memories came flooding back. I can still see the layout in my head, where the story hour room was, the children’s section in the back with the primary colors and low-slung chairs, the more austere adult area with the amazing old-book smell. My old library card. I haven’t been back in years but that’s still MY library, y’know? I LOVED that library.

 

Me too, Colbert.

Almost every summer growing up, we’d go visit my grandparents in Iowa for a few weeks. They lived in a small university town, much smaller than our hometown, and we would ride bikes to the library or the bandshell, go play in the creek down by the park, or swim at the high school pool. My abuela was a writer. I volunteered at the library a couple summers in a row, once as a helper for the children’s summer programming, where we read books and watched movies and made unicorn horns out of construction paper; and once as a shelver for the adult fiction collection. I was in charge of the science fiction and fantasy section and it was HEAVEN. It was during these years I think that I started reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. It was also during these two summers that I developed a huge crush on a boy named Nathan who volunteered at the library too. Nothing ever came of it because I was WAY too shy and he was a couple years older, but I remember him being very cute, and he had a PONYTAIL (gasp!). I LOVED that library!

In high school, I was in band, and I was not a “cool” band kid, I was an awkward band kid. I spent more than one morning in the school library with the chess club, and when Orson Scott Card came to visit, I was one of the 30 or so kids that showed up. At that time I was exploring being a writer, and getting to speak with Mr. Card was an incredible experience. (I don’t agree with very many of the things he says now, but I loved his books then.) I was the editor of our band’s football game-day newsletter, and I took more pride in that than I probably should have. I was appointed the Music Librarian for the band for my junior and senior years, and I whipped that little music library into SHAPE, let me tell you. I got a taste of information organization then, but it still didn’t click that librarianship was my destiny. I spent hours in that little storage closet-turned-library, organizing sheet music by part, composer, and title. It was mine, and I LOVED that library.

I know, Crybaby.

I went to college in a different city than my hometown, and it was hard to adjust. College was hard; there were so many distractions and people to meet and things to do that I didn’t do as well as I most likely should have. I had never struggled with school before, and I didn’t understand why I was struggling now. I made some…probably-not-for-the-best life choices, mostly involving a boy, and it took me much longer than perhaps it should have to get my undergraduate degree. The bright spot at my university, though, was the libraries. There are at least a dozen of them, and Library West was my kingdom. It had just been renovated when I started school there, and they had installed MOVING BOOKSHELVES in the lower floors. I had never seen the like and I thought they were MAGICAL. (I met someone recently who tested the “the shelves will stop if they detect movement” theory. “Did you almost die?” I asked. “I almost died,” he replied, laughing. Don’t get stuck in the stacks, kids!) Library East was a special collections building, and they had a little bookstore for used books and records (where I wanted to work, forever) as well as a constantly changing and engaging display on the second floor. I would stop in on my way across campus if I wasn’t in a hurry, and just smell the history. I think they did rebinding and mends in there, too. I LOVED that library.

After I got my degree in December of 2010, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was kind of tired of linguistics, and my specialization, historical linguistics, wasn’t exactly looking to be the most lucrative option (thank god for that Classics minor, right? Not.) I decided that I wanted to look into archival work and preservation, since I liked old books so much and I kind of just want to be around them. I had a few friends who’d gone to library school and that sounded kind of awesome too. So I became a volunteer at my city’s downtown public library, working a few hours a couple days a week, and I got to know the place, and the people. About seven months later I got a job there, as a library page. It was a DREAM COME TRUE. Shelving and straightening books all day long, helping people find books and movies and music and everything they could hope for, having patrons look at me like a miracle-worker every time I pulled exactly what they were looking for…it was wonderful. I kept working hard, and I got two promotions within my first 10 months. I’ve been here about two years now, if you include my volunteer service, and every day is wonderful. Sure you have the regular troublemakers, but you also have the patrons who are so grateful when you give them the information they’ve been searching for…it makes every day worth it. Maybe I’m still idealistic, and maybe it’s not my life goal, but public librarianship is completely worth it, and I LOVE MY LIBRARY!

I feel your feels, Troy.

In conclusion, libraries have been with me since I was a wee little Bookaneer, and thinking about them gives me a lot of emotions. I definitely teared up more than once while writing this up, and I hope you enjoyed it! What are your dearest library memories?

Keep bookaneering, mates!

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National Library Workers’ Day!

Day two of National Library Week, and today is was National Library Workers’ Day! We had a great day today at the library, though Tuesdays are always long since I close. (we close at 9pm! Can you believe it?) My boss JW and coworker OP went and grabbed us some Starbucks before the night shift started, though, and I thoroughly appreciated my hot chocolate! (Not a coffee drinker!) I did make sure to look extra peppy though, with my pseudo-rockabilly-pinup style. Cheese!

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Dig my skull and crossbones bandanna, and tiny owl earrings!

So, National Library Workers’ Day! There are many ideas about what librarians and library workers do:

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I am actually all of these. Especially Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.

But really what we do is make libraries WORK. You can’t have a library without staff!

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Yes, we do!

I shared the above picture on my personal Facebook page today, with the caption “Love your library workers! Especially me!” and boy have I been feeling the love!

For example: the marquee in front of the school district building where I park has been changed to reflect School Library Month. Check it out, they’ve even got a cute little book tile!

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Or seven!

My day today was really made though when I got to work and discovered that we had received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from The Plant Shoppe here in town to thank us for being library workers! Very sweet!

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I also put up a poster in our work area that we got for National Library Week – this year’s theme is Communities Matter. The poster looks kind of like this:

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Cool, right? The community is what make a library what it is; it serves as the hub for all different types of people to come together as equals, to share information, and generally make the world a better place. After the awfulness of yesterday’s tragic events in Boston, the national (and global) library community is coming together to help get Boston and her libraries back on their feet. One of the victims was the son of a school librarian, the explosion happened near the downtown Boston Public Library, and there was also an unrelated fire at the JFK Library the same day, so it all hit especially close to our library hearts. But when tragedy strikes, people need two things: community support, and information. The library and its staff provide these things on a daily basis, even more so in time of crisis. I want to give a shout out to Google as well, for creating the amazing “Person Finder” to help people find each other. An online community is still a community and Google is an honorary library worker in my book! All we can do is support and love each other, work toward peace, and continue learning, sharing, and educating.

This week is also National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, and I want to thank my friend Toni and all the calltakers,dispatchers, and technicians (ESPECIALLY those manning the lines in Boston yesterday) that are always there to help during emergencies. Thank you for your support!

Tomorrow: A video? More blogging? Both?! Stay tuned and keep bookaneering!

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Filed under At the Library

National Library Week!

It’s National Library Week! Make sure you visit your library and show the staff some love! (Not too much love; you don’t want to be THAT patron) I’ll be aiming for a blog post every day this week, and I’m DEFINITELY going to do a readaloud video of one of my favorite children’s books (and maybe another, if I can find it). Meanwhile, go check out my friend the Brash Librarian‘s blog, as he’ll be posting a lot this week too.

To read up on this year’s National Library Week theme of “Communities Matter” (and boy, do they!), here is the American Library Association’s homepage for National Library Week. atyourlibrary.org has some great information as well, here. Even Wikipedia has a little blurb about it!

Also, in big Bookaneer news, The Bookaneer on Facebook has received 100 likes! I’m very excited about this and very proud. Thanks to all of you, I couldn’t have done it without you!

See you all tomorrow! Keep bookaneering!

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Filed under At the Library, Outside the Library

Supporting Florida Authors – Jennifer Martinez

Ahoy, mateys!

While I’m pulling together the massive display post, and the update about my crazy awesome week last week, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about a new friend of mine. Her name is Jennifer Martinez, and she is an up and coming Florida author!

Her new book, Don’t Kill Dinner, is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy novel about a young woman named Kenna who becomes a vampire. Kenna must learn, with handsome Arthur’s help, to control her insatiable bloodlust before the coven comes for her. It’s the first book in Jennifer’s upcoming “The Rules” trilogy. From her site

There are three rules when it comes to being a vampire in New Orleans.

1) Don’t kill dinner.

2) Don’t feed from people you know.

3) Don’t tell anyone.

Not too hard, right? Wrong. Kenna is a new vampire filled with a passion that has turned into an uncontrollable lust for blood.

Will Arthur be able to stop her feeding spree before the coven comes after her or is Kenna beyond saving?

Arthur has been watching Kenna for years, wanting her to try her own hand in life before he gave her the ultimate proposal.

Now that she has accepted, will his love be enough to save her?

Release Date: March 15, 2013

**This book contains adult situations and mild-moderate language.**

I’m a sucker for PNR (and romance in general) and I hope some of you are, too! Jennifer even has a mini-prequel available on smashwords (or available for Kindle) called “Actor for Hire” that you can read to get a taste of her style and characters. You can also find Jennifer on Facebook and Twitter. Check her out!

I would love to post about more Florida authors; I love them! (I already have my next couple picked out) If you know of any awesome local (even just local to you!) authors, let me know!

Keep bookaneering!

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Filed under Author Post, Outside the Library