Old School


A long time ago, I thought it would be fun(ny) to create a blog based on the persona of a librarian in a banana suit. Yeah, I still don’t know what I was thinking. On the plus side, it was my laboratory for learning how to write for the web, including book reviews, nerdy library & publishing news, and tidbits from my personal life, and it taught me skills that I still use in my professional life every day.

Now this website is all grown up, but I thought you might still get a kick out of being able to scroll through this rabbit hole of a time capsule to see what was on my mind a year, two years, even five years ago…


The New Man In My Life

Meet Max!  Max comes to us from the Lawrence Humane Society as of six days ago, and he’s already stolen both of our hearts. He’s 16 months old and an itty bitty 8 pounds.


Max is sweet, muscular, affectionate, and chatty with huge wideset yellow eyes, leaving no doubt in our minds that he’s a li’l Burmese kitty. Also, did you know that apparently it is super hard for shelters to get people to adopt black cats and dogs? WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to lots more exciting stuff coming up in the next few weeks — we’re moving into our new house, going to the 2013 US Air Guitar Championships Qualifier at the Record Bar, and I’m finally joining the ranks of Lawrence Nerd Nite Alumni with a June talk about — wait for it — KU Boobs. Will post more soon as the deets become available!

I’m Having a Riot

Andy Warhol Banana

I’m so excited to tell you that I recently joined the ranks at Book Riot as a contributing writer!  I’ve been eating up Book Riot with a spoon ever since they launched in 2011, and am so honored to now be a part of this awesome online journal.  Keep your eye out for biweekly Book Riot posts from me, maybe more if I’m feeling ambitiously bookish.  And if you like thrillers with badass female characters, you might just like one or two of the books I recommend in today’s Genre Kryptonite post.

Book Riot may be the new home for my sexy librarian, pop-culture and bookish-themed content, but keep checking back in on me over here for periodic updates on life in general and what I’ve got cooking at my library.

Fun with Library Website Redesigns in Drupal


At my library we’re in the midst of redesigning our entire website in-house using Drupal, and I’m learning tons from our esteemed web designer (and Karaoke maven) CourtieBeeds.  User experience, information architecture, navigation tests, designing for mobile-first, etc.!

As a content writer first and a web designer pretty much dead last, it’s fun to play around with how my skills fit into the mix.  My latest project has been figuring out what content we want to display on our “About Us” page. How do we make it informative but also super fun to read?

In these situations it’s always really helpful to prowl around for inspiration on the internets (which, by the way, are AMAZING guys) and I found all the inspiration I needed right here: www.madebysofa.com

Just scroll down and look at the staff profile in the lower right corner.  Pause to appreciate its beauty. Then, mouse-over said profile and die from the magic of it all.

Choose-Your-Own-Faulkner February

Remember that book club I started up with those jokesters over at The Larryville Chronicles about a year and half ago?  We’re still going strong!

William Faulkner with Pipe

This month we’re switching things up with a book by a dead white guy.  Make that ‘books’ plural.  If you live in NE Kansas and like book clubs that are charmingly disorganized and consume copious amounts of cheap beer, you might want to join us for our weirdest experiment yet: Choose-Your-Own-Faulkner February. Continue reading

Twitter Book Chats in Libraries

I think it all started because I wanted to annoy my Library School professor.  She’d assigned us to write an academic paper about a digital information tool like the Google Art Project.  I picked Twitter. Today, Twitter and Facebook are still a huge part of my library career.

Twitter Book Chat: Winter's Bone

For the past two years, I’ve been building a social media presence at Lawrence Public Library that Matt Anderson liked enough to put on both his 100 Libraries to Follow on Twitter and 100 Libraries to Follow on Facebook lists.  Now I’m applying the same treatment at my new library, and I’m pretty excited about how it’s going so far.

All this has gotten me thinking about some of my favorite uses ever of Twitter in libraries. Continue reading

First There Were Meat Tastings, Then There Was Insane Clown Posse

Hi guys! I’ve missed you.  After navigating a few big work changes, it’s nice to say “hello” again.

Last month I said goodbye to the fabulous Lawrence Public Library and climbed aboard the web team at Johnson County Library right next door in Overland Park.

Johnson County Library Central Resource LIbrary

What I do now is pretty different from wearing banana suits at block parties, organizing meat tastings, and hanging out with world-famous authors like Daniel Woodrell, but I have to say I’m liking hunkering down in my cubicle to create hilarious (right?) social media and web content.  Writing has always always been up there among my favorite tasks at any job, and now I’m paid to do it 90% of the time.  The other 10% is spent brushing up on fun techie and UX skills.

The other major change? As a brand-new commuter, I have become totally fanatical about audiobooks.  Punk goddess Patti Smith reading her very own memoir?  Brilliant journalist Jon Ronson reciting Insane Clown Posse lyrics in a dry british accent? Yes, please!  If you’re a fan of audiobooks, too, let me know what I should listen to next.

Eating Deer With Daniel Woodrell

Please excuse a little bit of a braggy post today:

Oh, what’s that?  You can’t quite make out what it says?  No, don’t be silly, of course I don’t mind: “To Rachel, Great to meet and eat deer together in Lawrence. Dl Woodrell.”

Just a few weeks ago, my library played host to the phenomenal Daniel Woodrell and his wife, author Katie Estill. Continue reading

Going Social to Get Local

My public library has been busy growing a loyal local fan base through social media — we’re up to 2900 fans on Facebook and 2800 followers on Twitter, with frequent interaction and a place for our local community to interact & engage.  One of the best compliments we receive is when patrons say: “I get my sense of community from your library’s social media.”

Early this year we were tapped by the State Library of Kansas to develop a webinar for their “Library as Community Center” series. Since then we’ve also given it at the Kansas Library Association Annual Conference and NEKLS Technology and Innovation Day.

Susan, Jenny and I had a lot of fun showing the shiny personalities that we try to convey through our different social media platforms, and we pulled some of our favorite examples to share: from Captain Ahab on a Date to live-tweeting the NCAA championship game. Enjoy!