Category Archives: Life and Stuff

Naughty Librarian

NaughtyI once was talking to a librarian friend of mine about putting a librarian bumper sticker on our cars.  She snubbed the idea and said “I don’t self-identify as a librarian”.  And I’m kinda like, why not?

Hey, if you don’t want to tell the world what you do for a living, that’s cool.  But I like to think that it helps the profession and libraries when we pop up in seemingly unlikely places and announce ourselves.

I took The Dude to seeing Flogging Molly as a late Christmas present.  When I was trying to figure out what to wear, he said “Why don’t you wear your Naughty Librarian shirt?  It’s hilarious”.  So on went the shirt.  A couple people came up to me at the concert, people were constantly reading it and I heard a couple mutters of “That’s awesome”.

You, too, can but aside the shushy bunhead stereotypes and show people that librarians aren’t just sitting behind their desks knitting!  C’mon…make a punk kid smile today!

Amelia Earhart needs a READ poster

My family came to visit me recently.  For those of you who have been so uncool as to not read my blog recently, I moved from Michigan to Kansas.  It was nice to have them come and see my new town and such.

We went to Atchison, KS – the childhood home of Amelia Earhart.  She was a pretty incredible woman.  As a child I always admired her and was completely fascinated with the idea that she had just disappeared into the air…or so it seems.  I often wonder if she lived the last years (or months or days) of her life on a stranded island, shoes in her hand, sleeves rolled up, walking along beaches scanning the sky for planes to save her and her navigator.  It’s a sad thought, really.

But in addition to being an aviatrix (not kidding, that’s the real term they use) she also made incredible guesses about the future of travel that were highly accurate, especially about plane flights and ground transportation.  And as a child, she was a voracious reader.

amelia-quote-one1

“Like many horrid children, I loved school, though I never qualified as teacher’s pet.  Perhaps the fact that I was exceedingly fond of reading made me endurable.” – she is quoted on a placard at the Atchison County Historical Society Museum.

And in another placard, are her views on reading, yet again…

amelia-quote-two

“Books have meant much to me.  Not only did I myself read considerably, but Mother read aloud to my sister and me, early and late.  So fundamental became that habit that on occasions when we girls had to do housework, instead of both pitching in and doing it, one was selected to read aloud and the other to work.”

And to wrap it up, we went to her childhood home…a tidy two-story in a historic and both formally and currently wealthy neighborhood overlooking the Missouri River.

amelia-earhart-home

It was a cool trip and makes me think that maybe ALA needs to do a series of cool vintage type READ posters.  Amelia would be proud to do it…even if it was posthumous.

One more random fact I learned on that trip…do you know that there was guy who served as President of the United States for only ONE DAY???   Weird political fluke…his name was David Rice Atchison (do you see the connection?) and you can read the story here.

Multi-Time Zone Pain

Because I live in Kansas (Central Time Zone) and work for a company in Indianapolis (Eastern Time Zone) and still work on projects in Michigan (also, Eastern Time Zone), I often send out meeting requests and reminders in my Outlook calendar and attempt to adjust the time zone setting appropriately for those involved.

Last week, however, was a stellar time zone moment.  A few days ago I was dutifully going about my work when I got a gChat message at about 11:00 AM Central Time.  It was my friend S who I was supposed to be having a meeting with later that day.

Uh, Hi Chris.  E and I are in the webinar room and you’re not here.
Hey!  Well, our meeting is at 3:30 today right?
That’s what we agreed on, yup.  Thing is, you send the meeting notice out in New Zealand time.  The best we could exchange that to was about 11:00 AM.
Oh.  Hm.  Yes, sorry about that.  Is 3:30 still okay?
Eastern time right?  Not New Zealand time?  
Smarta$$.

So, there’s a lesson there!  Watch your time zones! 

Let me bare my librarian soul…

Part of the Emerging Leaders project meetings involved the following exercise:

Pair up with someone in the room you don’t know. You each have one minute to tell your life story. First, I’d like you tell your life story from the perspective of a victim.
I’ll let you know when one minute for each of you has passed.
Great.
Now that you’ve shared, tell your life story from the perspective of being a hero.
Great.
Now tell your life story but relay it only from the perspective of the life lessons you’ve learned.

I thought it was going to be a really stupid exercise. I was really, really, really resentful that I was being forced to share my life story with someone I didn’t know at all. I did my best to share but edit gently.

Luckily, I had a really cool partner.

And you know what? I’m thinking of that experience today, and I’m not resentful. I really enjoyed it, and I really learned a lot about myself and my perspective of myself from that exercise.

It was really hard to be the victim. I kept trying to leap to the most positive things that happened, but that wasn’t really allowed. “Yeah, that sucked big time but later on something great happened!” I guess I’m a more positive person than I really thought.

Secondly, I was a bit embarassed to try and be the hero. But I couldn’t tell the story without making it funny. I think that’s true of librarians – we have a hard time making ourselves and our institutions into heroes.

And the life lessons…I hmmmed, and hawed and muttered something about learning to be patient. And now that I’ve had three or four days to think, I’ve realized how many life lessons I’ve really gained. And how I don’t appreciate or refer to those life lessons nearly enough. Wow…crazy…it’s like having an amazing personal resource center and never bothering to use it…

So, I went from resentfully baring my soul to really learning a lot. That six minute exercise is still making me think, days after the fact.

Something to ponder…

(p.s. I tried to find clipart a naked dude wearing a barrel.  No dice.  It got kinda kinky!  Yikes!)

Ridiculously sick…and thoughts on Kansas

So, I was ridiculously sick last week and didn’t even feel like touching my computer.  But while laying in a cough syrup induced semi-coma, I began to think of some of the major differences I’ve noticed about Kansas and Michigan.  Some library related (well, only one), others not-so-much.  Though I miss Michigan and my friends, I’m enjoying Kansas and the life I’ve got here.  It’s fun to see something different and it’s kind of a different culture in some ways.  Keep in mind, I’m in a slightly more rural area of Kansas…so I’m not talking about Kansas City or Topeka or Wichita in my notes.  Need to go do more city safaris.

- No coney islands.  That’s the saddest thing about Kansas to me.  Those staples of metro Detroit life…the coney island restaurant, do not seem to be in existence here.  I’m going to start looking harder.  It appears that once you drive west of Chicago, people no longer need mousaka, chili dogs, or lemon rice soup available to them 24 hours a day.  Breakfast is only served in the mornings in Kansas restaurants.  These people have no idea what they’re missing!

- Now that said, the most positive thing?  The pace of life is so much nicer here.  People don’t honk much when driving down the road.  And for the post part, folks are very, very nice.  I have been in the grocery store and been asked by the employees there if I need help finding anything.  IF I NEED HELP FINDING ANYTHING!  As if it is their job to help me find the groceries I need if I am wandering through the aisles looking lost!  And then I realize…it is there job to help me find something if I can’t find it!  It’s just that in Michigan most grocery store employees try to avoid eye contact.  (I worked in grocery stores for many years…don’t tell me I’m wrong…I’ll kick your…)

- I do, in fact, have an accent.  And apparently it’s obvious.  And people find it humorous.  I uttered the phrase “out and about” (oot and a-boot) a couple weeks ago to the guy behind the desk at the post office and he just about turned his face inside out trying not to laugh. 

- Growing up in a small town in Michigan, I’m used to not having a big food selection at the grocery store.  But I gotta tell ya, the selection in most of the grocery stores in Kansas is lacking.  (I need Middle Eastern food…I was raised by a Middle Eastern dad and a girl needs tabbouleh sometimes).  But the barbeque?  It’s orgasmic.  (Read again…I said orgasmic…).  It’s incredible.  What’s that Japanese term…umame?  Kinda like savory, but better?  I think that’s what makes KC BBQ so good…umame. 

- There is a library system in Missouri that shall remain nameless, but I think they are privatized.  And from everything I’ve observed, it’s not pretty.  One professional librarian at every branch, all the other employees are paraprofessionals.  All cataloging and purchasing done at a main office.  It’s bad for two reasons…non-librarians without a decent amount of training are answering reference questions…but are they doing it well?  (I think there are a lot of paraprofessionals who do a lot of great work at the ref desk, but I’m admittedly a fan of librarians being on desk…it’s a whole other post).  And how can one office purchase for all branches?  You’d hope that a branch would be a reflection of it’s community.  I hope they at least look at circ stats before purchasing from that one main office.

As you can see, I’m feeling a bit fiesty again.  It’s good to be back.  I’m almost fully decongested!  Then I’ll be unstoppable!

Happy Holidays!

Hey all…happy holidays!  Hope your holiday break is full of food, family, friends and a stack of really good books.
I’ll be reading Twilight!

Oh!  And a very happy new year too!

Completely unrelated to libraries…

But considering it is incredibly cold today here in metro Detroit and I managed to slide around many a street corner a la Jack Lemmon, here is a bit of Grumpy Old Men to make your Monday right…