Category: library_life


If a picture is worth a thousand words, let this say it all:

I wrote 50,206 words in 29 days.  And the novel isn’t done.  It’s not even properly named.  (“High Fantasy Medieval Zombie Apocalypse” isn’t really the title, it’s just my synopsis/catch-all phrase.)   There is much writing yet to do.  But someday, this might end up being a published work.

I feel accomplished.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I am thankful for the library job and all my students (especially K-7), for my friends and family, and for all my readers here.

Today seems an appropriate time to share some great donations I received earlier this month, and books I purchased for the library with the Scholastic Dollars at the book fair.

Donations
My dad bought books at the school fairs, read them, and donated them.
From a parent
Dogs in the Dead of Night, Magic Tree House #46
From another person
Legendary: The Unforgettable Career of Brett Favre
(This is Packer country!)
Purchases
 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever
The Outsiders, and To Kill a Mockingbird, two classics the library didn’t have
The Kane Chronicles: Throne of Fire
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Twelfth Grade Kills
Forgive My Fins (Such a pretty cover!)
Guardians of Ga-Hoole 3-volume pack
Star Wars Character Encyclopedia (To take some heat off the most requested item in the library, the Star Wars Visual Dictionary)
National Geographic Kids: Everything Big Cats
An audiobook, because we have so few:
Bites
Dogs of the Drowned City: The Storm
Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Sugar Plums to the Rescue!
Pinkalicious Pinkie Promise
The kids and I are thankful for all these books!

Hi!  There’s no review this week.  I’m in the middle of a Scholastic book fair.  Forty percent of the proceeds go to the school library, and that’s basically my entire book budget.  These fairs are important to me, and the kids love them!

Plus, this should bring me plenty of new books to review here.  Winning all around!

Yesterday was the first library day of the new school year.  Wow, was it busy!  There were scheduling mishaps, library etiquette to teach, shelves to straighten throughout the day, and a Scholastic order to catalog and shelve.  What happens on the shelf with R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series is usually a good indicator of my day, and at one point, it was a complete mess, with the series going every which way and partially in a heap.  Yup, the new 2nd graders were excited to be able to check those previously taboo (by teacher ruling) spooky books that have remained popular since my youth.

A new book is also on that shelf as of yesterday.  I read it before the big day, and now that I have some breathing room, here’s my review!  This is Zombie Winter, by Jason Strange.

Statistics
Checkouts: New to the library, courtesy of the Superiorland Preview Center
Typical reader: Elementary students who also like Goosebumps

Synopsis: Kane goes to school one winter’s day, and ends up being the sole human in a zombie-infested town.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

I was never a reader of scary stories as a child.  I can recognize their lasting popularity, though, and not just by how messy the shelf with all the Goosebumps novels is by the end of a library day.  Kids like things that spook them.  This is such a book.  It’s a quick read, aimed at children aged 8-11.  The sentences are simple, and the plot is pretty easy to follow.  It’s a chapter book with illustrations scattered throughout; the artist behind these did a good, realistic job.

I enjoyed it for its different zombie background.  These zombies were chocolate zombies, of all things!  Kane is allergic to chocolate and doesn’t partake of the lunch lady’s hot cocoa, unlike the rest of his friends and classmates.  This saves him from becoming a mind-controlled zombie, and the burden of curing the town falls on his shoulders.  The zombies were not undead, but more along the classic Haitian voodoo zombies – alive but under a spell that saps their free will.  I liked that.

Today, I got to visit my old workplace and have lunch with my former coworkers, which was a treat. The real treat, though, was visiting the “preview center,” which receives and distributes new books from a variety of vendors to the public and school libraries around the region. That includes even the libraries that are not part of the cooperative, like my own school library. I got to choose 25 beautiful new books! So happy!

Here are pictures of the haul. I’ve got nonfiction, juvenile fiction, and teen/young adult fiction. I’ll review what I can here, too, so if you see any that really jump out at you that you want to hear about, please comment!

Nonfiction:
Books the 2nd/3rd grade boys will go nuts over
Life in Ancient Rome (John Malam)
Cool Pro Wrestling Facts (Angie Peterson Kaelberer)
Gritty, Stinky Ancient Egypt (James A. Corrick)
The Rough, Stormy Age of Vikings (James A. Corrick)
Supernatural – a hit with the middle elementary students
Searching for Aliens, UFOs, and Men in Black (Michael Burgan)
The Girl’s Guide to Zombies (Jen Jones)
The Girl’s Guide to Vampires (Jen Jones)
Tracking Sea Monsters, Bigfoot, and other Legendary Beasts (Nel Yomtov)
Other nonfiction, for various audiences
I Know Someone with HIV/AIDS (Elizabeth Raum)
Comportamiento y modales en la biblioteca/Manners in the Library (Carrie Finn)
Preening, Painting, and Piercing: Body Art (John Bliss)
Siamese Cats (Joanne Mattern)
Why Do I Need Glasses? (Carol Ballard)
Juvenile fiction:
Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: Bubble in the Bathtub (Jo Nesbo, ages 8-12)
The Wizard of Dark Street (Shawn Thomas Odyssey, ages 8-12)
Worms for Lunch? (Leonid Gore, picture book)
Zombie Winter (Jason Strange, ages 8-11)
Teen/YA:
Beauty Queens (Libba Bray)
Star Crossed (Elizabeth C. Bunce)
Abandon (Meg Cabot)
My Big Mouth: 10 Songs I Wrote that Almost Got Me Killed (Peter Hannan)
Want to Go Private? (Sarah Darer Littman – I wanted to read this one anyway after YA Librarian Tales’ review )
Cleopatra’s Moon (Vicky Alvear Shecter)
Unlocked (Ryan G. Van Cleave)
My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies (Allen Zadoff)
The books ought to keep the kids – and me – happily reading for a while!  (Even if I have a tiny book budget for the upcoming school year.)

School might be out and students and teachers alike might be on vacation, but our identities remain the same.  I’ve run into several of my students in the past few weeks since the school year ended.

Highlights include:

  • running into my student helper outside the public library and discussing what we’re reading.
  • waving to some twins from last year’s Kindergarten class as I walked in the Independence Day parade (with my dance troupe and the local arts and culture center) and overhearing them point me out as “Miss Librarian-Teacher.”  So cute!

Year in review, 2010-2011

The school year ended a few weeks ago, and to sum up the first year of the library’s existence and my first year as a school librarian in a word: Success!

We had over 5,000 books on the shelves. Students and staff checked out nearly 5,000 books. What an awesome ratio.
Nineteen checkouts!

The most checked-out volume was “Cosmos,” an oversized book about the solar system. The Kindergartners loved that book!

We survived a book thief, which was quite the saga that had plenty of red herrings and one heck of a migraine. I became aware of the problem when most of the manga shelf went missing. As the administration, teachers and I unraveled the mystery, it was revealed that the day before the books disappeared, some concerned parents were discussing the availability of those very books. In the end, though, it turned out to be unrelated – a high school student with kleptomaniacal tendencies had borrowed them. His mother returned them, as well as several other books I hadn’t noticed go missing.

Bleach: Loved by kids and kleptos alike
For a while, I worked with this student, allowing him to properly check out books. It appeared to be working. I would love to say that all’s well that ends well, but by the end of the year he was out of school and in another institution.
I managed to round up most books at the end of the school year. As much as I would enjoy having the students check out armloads of books over the summer, that’s not possible. The vast majority of checkouts came back by the last day of school; roughly 50-60 remain in the students’ hands. Considering that’s approximately 1% of the collection, it’s great. Most libraries have a greater never-returned percentage.
Some changes for next year:
  • Checkouts per week per grade. K-2 will remain at 1 book per week. 3-6 will drop to 2 books, at the recommendations of teachers and parents alike. The middle school literature teacher recommended that I allow the 7-8 grades to check out 2 books, or 3 if at least one is a “quick read.” (I’ve got some avid graphic novel/manga fans at that level.)
  • I swear I’m going to run overdue reports more often.
  • Keep the kids out of the return bin! Some of the books that are missing at the end of the year may have been sneaked out of there, and therefore still listed as being checked out to the last rightful patron. If they want something a friend is returning, they’ll have to go through me.

I’ve been invited back for next year, which made me dance with joy and relief. The CEO of the school also told me that I’m welcome to look for grants that would increase my time at the school (and book budget). It’s awesome to know that she appreciates my hard work and dedication.
Over the summer, I’m reading books that the kids have been enjoying. I’ll be posting my reviews here. First up: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1 (The Lightning Thief). Stay tuned!

Eclipse

Today is my last day at my main job. Thank you, politicians, for all the wonderful budget cuts to library funding.

I guess I will no longer be a librarian moonlighting as a librarian after this. I’ll just be a librarian one day a week, otherwise underemployed until something else comes my way. Maybe then I’ll be moonlighting again as a librarian; after all, with all the marvelous reductions in fiscal aid to libraries, I doubt I’ll get another local library job.

So we enter an eclipse. There’s no moonlight here. (Not that I had any readers anyway …)

That didn’t go as planned.

So … yeah. I never wrote here about how setting up the library went. There’s a very simple, very good explanation for this: I was too busy with the process. In a flurry of activity, my boyfriend and I ended up cataloging over 4,000 books in the month of August. We had those, and the newly ordered books through Follett, on the shelves and looking beautiful in time for the open house the Thursday before the school year began.

Was it worth it? YES. The kids love their library. They love me, too. It’s worn off a bit, but I had celebrity status for a while. If I went into the cafeteria at lunchtime, I’d hear choruses of, “Hi, Miss Librarian!” It’s so rewarding. And the numbers show that the library is being used: nearly 2,000 checkouts in the first marking period.

I am so blessed to work there.

First entry

Hi. I’m the Moonlit Librarian.

Moonlight: verb; to work at an additional job after one’s regular, full-time employment, as at night. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moonlight)

I’m a full-time librarian at a regional cooperative which serves many public, school, and school/public libraries. My job there is web design and maintenance for libraries that don’t have the resources to make their own web sites, and management of the digital audiobook and eBook collections for many of the cooperative’s libraries. I also worked on an LSTA grant this past year, which had the goal of using technology to attract teens into their local libraries.

I’ve also been contracted by a local charter school to design their new library. It’s being built this summer as part of their elementary wing. And it’s mine to design! It will be serving roughly 240 students, Kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school has some books from an older collection that closed a few years back, and I have a $10,000 book budget to round out the collection. This exciting experience will likely lead to a job as the school’s librarian. And since not many librarians get to build a library from scratch, this will probably be the focus of this blog.

So, welcome to my blog.