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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PBR Book Club

It might not look live I’ve been blogging very much this month… but actually I’ve been blogging more than usual!  Bookish hipsters all over Lawrence are rejoicing in the launch of the PBR Book Club, an intimate group devoted to beers and pretentious postmodern lit.

We’ve started with David Mitchell’s bawdy and labyrinthine Cloud Atlas, which we’ll be discussing at the Replay later this month, but in the meantime we’re using social tools like twitter (#pbrbookclub) and blogspot (pbrbookclub.blogspot.com) to mull over the experience as it unfolds in real time.

The blog is coauthored by several Lawrence nerds, including myself, @larryvillelife, @courtbelle, and hopefully soon (wink) @mentalplex and @indieabby88.  It’s a little, um, saltier than what you might be used to seeing from me here.  So be forewarned, have fun checking it out, and join in!

Librarians on the Big Screen

Lawrence Public Library is hosting a shhh-ing, spectacles-wearing, bun-touting film series next month dedicated to a long lineage of Hollywood librarians!  Featuring happy hour specials across the street at the Eldridge when you show your library card from 4:30-6:30.  Hope to see you there — buns, glasses, and all!

Librarian Films

Holy Vampires, batman! Noah Wyle’s uber-popular, campy, Indiana-Jones-esque Librarian series returns for a third installment with “Curse of the Judas Chalice.” Librarian Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) is drowning his sorrows in New Orleans after retrieving the philosopher’s stone but losing his girlfriend. There he encounters the guardian of the Judas Chalice, which is capable of resurrecting vampires! Vampire chaos ensues, including an army of the undead with Vlad the Impaler at the helm. Continue reading

The Big Poetry Reveal

A few weeks ago I posted a teaser about upcoming poetry events at my library.  A few of you even weighed in on what it should be called (and by a few, I mean one, and he’s mostly a fictional erotic persona).

Lobster Phone

Having little to do with poetry, this Lobster Phone is for your viewing pleasure.

And so now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: what will the library’s new monthly poetry night be called?  Not a Mixer, or a Collective, or a Congress (sorry, Chip) — but… a Social!  Somewhere between a Square Dance and a Soiree, it somehow seemed sexy enough for Lawrence without being too sexy.  The first one’s coming up just around the corner in September, and will feature “Migrations.”  Sharpen your pencils, Lawrence: Continue reading

Sexy, Sexy Poetry

So we’re trying this new thing at my library.  We’re starting a monthly poetry night for the fall and spring, and are pretty excited about the opportunities and challenges this presents.  Main opportunity?  Poetry is awesome.  And main challenge?  Poetry’s got a little bit of a dusty reputation.  We’re hoping to do something about that.

Manic Mouth Congress

And so taking to the ever-amazing Internets to get some ideas, I typed “awesome poetry events” into my google search bar, and discovered this beautiful little poetry tumblr that I’m now obsessed with: Manic Mouth Congress.  Manic Mouth Congress!  I want to be everything that is the Manic Mouth Congress.  In reading more about the Mouths, I learned that they do things like a Night of Erotic Poetry.  Yowza! Continue reading

Read What You Want

So, I pretty much have to share this article with you from today’s local paper.  Hey, if this were 1995, I’d be cutting you a clipping and sending it to you in the mail!

Failed Summer Reads

About a month ago, one of our library’s favorite reporters from the Lawrence Journal World called us up to pitch a story about tips on getting through mammoth Summer Reading projects.  I think we surprised her with our unanimous advice: if you need tips to slog your way through it, then you’re reading the wrong Summer book!  Far from the retro “shushing librarians,” we suggest saving the Tolstoys and the Melvilles for December.

For more on why our library thinks you should read what you want (and to rehash an infamous War & Peace Bookclub incident), read on: LJWorld: “Failed Summer Reads”

Twitter Book Club

To Kill a Mockingbird

These last few weeks have been pretty crazy!  I’ve been helping plan my library’s Read Across Lawrence festival, which has been on hiatus for a few years but is back with a vengeance this April.  This year’s book is To Kill a Mockingbird, which I’m really loving during my first post-adolescence read — Scout, Boo, and Atticus stand up to the test of time, unlike certain other beloved novels that I wish I’d never tried to reread… has that ever happened to you?  And then there’s Dill!  After reading Charles Shields’ biography of Harper Lee, I Am Scout, I realized that Scout Finch’s childhood friend Dill is based on Truman Capote, who was Harper Lee’s next door neighbor growing up in Monroeville, Alabama.  Crazy!

We’ve planned a lot of fabulous events for Read Across Lawrence (stay tuned), but one of the events I’m most excited about is our library’s first ever Twitter Book Club.  And my first ever, too.  Local tweeps @larryvillelife, @THERaymondMunoz and @nuthousepunks will be using the hashtag #TKAMB to help us explore the hipster dilemma: “what can Atticus and Boo and Scout still tell us about ourselves, as contemporary scenesters?

And now, back to the “Lyla’s disillusionment” episode of Friday Night Lights

Helping Patrons Find Out If They’re Second Cousins, Before They Get Hitched

There is never a dull moment at the public library.  I swear I’m not making any of this up.  Today’s installment of Librarian in a Banana Suit is brought to you by the patron who walked into the library last weekend wanting to know, “Would my brother’s son be my cousin’s daughter’s third cousin, or second?”  She looked imploringly at me.  I looked back.  “We’re having a family dispute about a couple who wants to get married,” she continued.

It took me several seconds to draw the family tree in my head.  Actually we had to draw it on paper.  “I’m not sure…” I hesitated.

Family Tree(Disclaimer: this is not really her family tree)

Turning to the copy of Webster’s 1993 Unabridged Dictionary that sits behind the reference desk, where passers-by often stand to spy on us, we flipped to the “C”s and read that “cousin” (def. 1c) is:

a relative descended from one’s grandparent or from a more remote ancestor by two or more steps and in a different line; a distinction often being made between (1) those descended an equal number of steps and (2) those descended an unequal number of steps from a common ancestor <the children of first ~s are second ~s to each other, the children of second ~s are third ~s, etc.><the child of one’s first ~ is one’s first ~ once removed, the latter’s child is one’s first ~ twice removed, etc., though these are often called also second and third ~s respectively.>

“So that makes them third cousins!” she said, relieved.  “Well, I don’t know if that’s really what they are saying,” I hesitated again, squinting long and hard at Webster’s definition.

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Booklist: DIY Redux

Although I know I already linked to them in yesterday’s thrifty post, I just can’t get over how much I love all these DIY titles at the Lawrence Public Library.  I want you to gaze longingly at their beautiful covers and even drool a little bit, much like I’ve been doing for the past week.  It’s time for a booklist!

Carry Me : 20 Boutique Bags to Sew Carry Me: 20 Boutique Bags to SewHighlighting the influence Japanese craft has imparted on the world of fiber arts, this illustrated manual showcases the stylish sensibilities of eastern expertise in creating handbags. Sewers are shown how to create distinct and fashionable works of functional art, such as a wool tweed travel bag, a stylish denim bag with grommet and zipper details, a roomy tote with contrast lining and inside pockets, a wool messenger bag, and a soft luggage tote.
I Heart Felt I Heart Felt: 33 Eye-Popping Projects for the Inspired Knitter I Heart Felt: 33 Eye-Popping Projects for the Inspired Knitter is a follow-up to the author’s very successful first book on felting (Knit One, Felt Too), which was really meant as a beginner’s guide. I Heart Felt will also be appropriate to newcomers in felting but it pushes the creative edges on just what you can do with felting, making for a hugely imaginative and engaging collection of 33 original designs
Creepy Cute Crochet Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More!If you’re a fan of amigurumi, you already know that super-sweet crocheted bunnies and kitties and pandas have taken the indie craft world by storm. The dolls in Creepy Cute Crochet eat your typical amigurumi for breakfast! This unique craft book contains more than 25 patterns for zombies, ninjas, Vikings, vampires, aliens, robots, and even Death himself. Each easy-to-follow pattern is presented with step-by-step diagrams, hilarious commentary, and full-color photographs of the creatures in their natural environments.

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Haunted Lawrence Archives

Phantoms of the NightLawrence Journal World, Oct. 1995

One of the things I really like about my library is that my boss is really flexible and open to ideas, which means that my coworkers and I are free to sort-of “invent” our own jobs.  It makes for a really creative and energetic work environment, because everyone is doing pretty much what they love — as long as they’ve been willing to take the initiative to make that happen.

So I’ve been carving out this little niche for myself in social media, technology, and instruction.  Last week we started this experiment with our Twitter feed to tweet once a day about #thisdayinhistory.  This means I get to trawl the Google News Archive of the Lawrence Journal World for tweet-worthy happenings. Continue reading