Bunnies with Moustaches, and Nine Other Things I Love About the Library

Plush bunny with moustache

There have been too many things to love about the library this spring.  At least five of them have to do with beer:

1. Reading Terminal Market and the Fabric Workshop and Museum

In March I headed to my first ever PLA conference, in adorable Philadelphia.  I roomed with my boss, and we watched “Friends” reruns in our hotel room.  So, it was pretty rad.  These Amish women at the Reading Terminal Market made the best sticky buns I’ve ever had in my life. Beer was consumed. But my favorite was the Fabric Workshop and Museum, where I met the very awesome Chicago librarians Vicki Rakowski and Ben Haines, and scored some pink plastic tentacles and a bunny with a moustache.  Then we saw Betty White.

2. The San Jose Public Library

Nate Hill, web librarian at San Jose Public Library, is my new favorite librarian — I saw him speak at PLA in Philly.  Imagine: self-published books by library patrons that could be instantly cataloged and then vetted by upvoting, like on Reddit.  And check out that sexy color coding on their website.  These are some of the brain children of Nate Hill, who makes jokes about dogs and burritos.

3. Erotic Fiction workshops

Also a Philly highlight: talking about smutty books with about 100 fellow librarians at 8:30 on a Saturday morning.  I learned that many erotic novels have purple or red covers, and I placed a hold on Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Books & Beer

If you’ve been following that other blog I contribute to, you may already know that tonight I’m getting together with a bunch of Larryville book nerds to talk about Haruki Murakami’s 925 page odyssey, 1Q84.  We’ll be drinking PBR at the Tap Room at 7:30 p.m.

Besides being hipper than your mom’s book club, we love seeing new people, especially after we’ve had a beer or two.  If you live in Larry and have been reading your way through 1Q84, come on down!

Librarian’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Ladies & gentlemen, I grew up in a family that lived and breathed the Mormon edict to “be prepared!”  My three brothers are Eagle Scouts.  We had a shelter custom-built in our basement to store a year’s worth of food for seven.

Survival Kit Supplies

Yet it wasn’t until I went to grad school that one of my favorite professors finally put the fear of god in me.  “What are you all planning to eat during the next natural disaster?” she demanded to know as we covered the emergency preparedness segment of her Organizational Management syllabus.  “You sure can’t wait until after the disaster happens to get prepared.”  Then she told us to all get guns.

Literally since that day, my husband and I have been on our path to emergency preparedness.  If you’re interested in making your own kit, your friendly internet librarian in a bananasuit suggests checking out the Center for Disease Control (CDC), FEMA, and the Mormons, all who have great emergency preparedness resources.  There’s even an excellent US Army Survival Manual that’s been floating around on Reddit.  And my husband’s and my own personalized list is available here.  Any way you slice it, your survival kit should cover these seven essential categories: Continue reading

A Year of Librarianship.

My job at the public library is fun, and sometimes hard, just like any job.  This March, I started a new position as my library’s Adult Programs Librarian, which has been rewarding, satisfying, challenging.  Sometimes I lose track of what’s up, exactly, and just how much we’ve all accomplished.  As my library school advisor would say, it’s because I’m working in “The Swamp” (does he think that’s supposed to make it better?).

But, here and now, on December 30, this is my chance to step back from the murky stuff right in front of my face, and look back to see just how far we’ve come.  We really have been up to some pretty neat stuff.

one

Authors Candice Millard, Charles Shields, Bill James, Stanley Lombardo, Tessa Gratton and Nancy Pearl all stopped by to speak at my library.  Maybe you met them.  They’re all amazing.

two

I threw a big library party with Cathy Hamilton (desserts!  European cruises!  tour guides!), and learned about the Manic Mouth Congress.

three

I wore my banana suit to a block party. Hearts of Darkness played hip hop, and babies danced with Yogi Bear.

four

I tried to help Lawrence win a $100,000 energy efficiency grant, and was taken down by Manhattan (KS)’s EcoKat.  I did win a $25,000 grant for my library from the Kansas Health Foundation.

five

I collaborated with Lawrence Magazine and Jason Barr to create a giant version of their John Brown Paper Doll and Disguise Kit.  We installed it in the front lobby of my library, and our community played giant paper dolls. Continue reading

Merry Creature

Today I offer a personal post ( … with a library tie-in, of course!).

Last month, Aaron and I decided to teach ourselves how to crochet and checked out Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More! from our public library.  A few days later, we were chaining, single crocheting, double crocheting, half-double crocheting, treble crocheting, and more.  We have YouTube Donna to thank for showing us how.

Together, we crocheted 31 tiny devils, ninjas, aliens, vampires, robots, knights, clerics, grim reapers, Amazon warriors, skeletons, and Cthulhus between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Affectionately, we have called these our “Creatures,” and we hope you like them as much as we do.

Ever since our felted piggy incident two Christmases ago, we’re addicted to giving DIY gifts.  We like that it makes gift-giving a little more personal, and we get to have fun spending extra time together in the weeks leading up to the holidays, too.

I think I’m partial to the tiny Cthulhus, maybe just because I really like their wiggly eyes.  I’m also fond of the devils’ curly tails.  To see photos of all the creatures we made, plus close ups, click here to head over to the Flickr album.  Merry Creature!

Being a Librarian in a Book Club

Readers, I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret.  Today’s librarians cringe a little when you talk to us about books and reading.  Come on, guys: it’s the Information Age, and all of your librarians went to “Library and Information Schools.”  Maybe even just an “Information School.”  Many of us came into librarianship because we liked to read, but left “professionalized” with all these fancy ideas about how our core calling is to bring Information to the people.  That’s what happened to me.

These days, I am what I’m beginning to think of as a rehabilitated reader.  Sure, my heart still palpitates over social media, government docs, and information literacy.  But there’s one thing you just can’t shake when people find out you’re a librarian.  They really wanna talk about books.

A few months ago, my buddy Nog and I formed a little book club on a lark.  If you want to witness the saltier side of your friendly neighborhood Librarian in a Banana Suit, head on over to our PBR Book Club blog.  It’s a group for bookish hipsters, and we are actually mostly boys.  That’s what happens when you combine books with beer.  At our inaugural meeting there were only five of us, and we were discussing David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.  We started by shotgunning a few PBRs to ease any tension, and then Nog — who teaches college English courses — cleared his throat.  “Umm, I don’t really know how to do a book group.”  And then he turned expectantly to me.

“Oh my god,” I realized, “they expect me to know what I’m doing because I’m the librarian.”

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