Grown-Up Storytime

Book Covers. List follows.

I’m planning a visit to a friend recovering from a concussion, among other things, and who is getting more than a little bored and restless after two weeks in bed. She and I often share picture book recommendations, mostly for her kindergartener, but since she’s unable to read or watch TV right now, I wanted to put together a selection of recent and awesome books to share with her. Hence, grown-up storytime. Here are my picks.

  1. I Am Yoga by Susan Verde. The first picture book I bought for myself and a beautiful meditation for children and adults alike.
  2. Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler. My top pick for her son from this bunch. Bored Ernest plunges into his bottomless pond and discovers a whole new world. Downside — I had to look up a word in this one.
  3. I Am Daisy Written By Daisy, who shares her story of going from the noisy shelter to her forever home. “Ghostwriter” Lori Froeb perfectly captures the feline tone, and I’m looking forward to using it as a read-aloud. Thelma is looking forward to me not practicing the opening line (Spoiler alert: it’s meow!) anymore.
  4. Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Jeffers is a favorite illustrator for both of us (his Once Upon An Alphabet was one of my top books last year), and this friendship story is both entertaining and heartwarming.
  5. Goodnight Selfie by Scott Menchin. My first read of this book both left me thinking “that was a two-star book” and “I must read this to J.” She loves selfies, and I imagine we’ll enjoy this book, regardless of literary merit.
Derisive cat in box

#boxwatch2015: In which I bring home a box for Thelma

Background: Since she moved in last year, Thelma has frequently fit in boxes but will not sit in them. The one exception has been copy paper boxes. Her fits-and-sits have been few and far between (I did a double-take the first time she did it), and with a copy paper box just sitting in the recycling pile at work, I had to see what would happen. This is our evening.  Continue reading “#boxwatch2015: In which I bring home a box for Thelma”



I’m attempting to start something.

Since burning out of my newspaper reporting job 6+ years ago, I haven’t gotten my groove back. I still can write — and I sometimes do — but my attempts at bigger creative projects (and some even smaller ones) have failed. This is the first year I have had the time and mental space for #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or the related activities. No classes. No major work projects. No major life events *knock on wood.* But I knew if I tried to keep up in my current state that I would flop and be finished before the weekend ends. This is my solution:


It’s the PG Twitterfied version of the famous Dorothy Parker quotation:

Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.

I love the spirit of #NaNoWriMo, and I want to capitalize on the furor of writing action this month, even if a full novel is out of my reach. So here I am.

How do I see this working?

The real answer is I don’t know. I don’t have a consistent time to write or any habits. The whole point of this month is to build those. My journal has seen an increasing amount of action in recent months, and I expect daily journaling to be a big part of my goal.

(This dates to a somewhat competitive wellness program at work where journaling would get us points. Sometimes I’d put them in knowing I could journal later, and I would get an entry along the lines of, “I said I’d write in my journal, so here’s a sentence in my journal.” For #ButtInSeatMonth purposes, those entries count. You showed up; you tried. It will get easier.)

I also downloaded The Writing Prompt Boot Camp from Writers’ Digest to jumpstart my creative writing efforts. Need more inspiration? WordPress provides daily prompts and a full year’s worth in PDF form. For the bloggers, here’s a recent list from Don’t Get Caught.

I challenge you to join me in writing for the next 30 days. Writing anything you want. However you want. As much as you want. Let’s see where this can take us.


Getting started with social media

Still haven’t take the plunge? Thinking about trying a new tool? Before implementing any type of social media effort, it’s important to ask yourself a few important questions.

  • Audience — Who do you wish to reach?
  • Purpose — Why are you using social media?
  • Mission — How does this fit into your work?

Answering these questions will provide you with the insight that you need to move forward.

Now that we know the WHY, it’s time to figure out the HOW.

  • Who will update and how often?
  • What content are you posting? Only published content? Additional content? Customer-submitted content?
  • How often will you post?
  • How can fan-submitted materials be shared?
  • How will you engage with your community?
  • Will the content be moderated in anyway? What if people object to something posted?
  • Can readers tag themselves in photos? What privacy settings will you use?
  • How will you you let people know what you’re doing?

The more work you do in advance, the easier managing social media will be.


Hello (again) world!

I’ve moved! I had been thinking about pursuing a slightly different path when an amazing job opened up. I got it, I moved to Colorado, and I’m now a technology librarian at a public library. Crazy, right?

This is a huge change for me, but I am thrilled to have this opportunity to push libraries forward and improve the digital landscape for all. Along with this, I am planning to rejuvenate my blog with new content and fresh ideas. Stay tuned!


How to contact someone in your network about a job

Hi <<NAME>>,

I hope you’re doing well since <<last time you talked/how you know each other/where you met>>! Are you still working at <<ORGANIZATION>>? I’m thinking about applying for <<POSITION>> and wanted to see if you knew anything about the search or had insight about working at <<ORGANIZATION>>. I’ve been doing <<CURRENT JOB>>, but I am interested in <<INTERESTING ASPECTS ABOUT NEW OPPORTUNITY>>, and this position seems like a great opportunity for that. Thanks in advance!



(Side note: If you have a personal website or LinkedIn, link to that when talking about your current position. The information (and photo) there will help jog their memory of who you are.)


My Summer Reading List

Summer only officially began a few days ago, but being a child of the Upper Midwest, “summer” reading starts in mid-May. Here’s what I’m working on this summer:

Already Finished


What’s on your list this summer?


Who really needs this?

The Sigma chapter of Beta Phi Mu (Drexel) had a belated induction ceremony last week. It was a bit of a last minute affair, and Executive Council (I’m the secretary) worked hard to find an interesting speaker who was available less than a month later. Nicole Engard’s presentation on The New Age of Librarianship (PDF) covered some cool new (and not so new) programs, great ways in which libraries are really serving their communities. The newbies were impressed. But so were we.

Nicole ended her talk with some tips that sent me scrambling for a way to take notes (emphasis mine):

  • Never ever ever stop learning!

  • “I don’t have time” is unacceptable

  • Read, Write, Teach and Share

  • Networking is key!

  • Be creative/Think outside the box

  • Challenge the status quo

By this point, I found myself wondering, “Who was this talk really for?” Yes, it was great for our recent graduates, but the more experienced among us were even more excited. It’s great to bring focus back to our work.

And so, as I sit mid-flight to my big summer conference (ed tech, not libraries, sadly), I resolve to do these things. To keep learning. To make time for knowledge. To share what I learn. And to never stop asking the question “Why?” when it comes to the status quo.

This talk was definitely for me.


Parting thoughts on #librarystress and great links from the past week(s)

It’s been two weeks since #librarystress, and some of the comments are still weighing heavily on my mind. Two more thoughts on this, and I’m done.

1. Sometimes we need to acknowledge that while we are all librarians, not all libraries are the same. Geography matters. Librarians in the UK some very different concerns than those of us in the US. Library type matters. Sometimes, we’re not all in this together, and that’s OK.

2. It was a shame that some of the most serious comments were being labeled as “stress” when they were so much more. #librarystress revealed some AMAZING stories of librarians going above and beyond to serve their communities. These are the stories we need to share EVERY DAY. Proactively get excited about the value of what you do. Don’t wait until you have to be defensive. Get ahead of the game and in control of the message. (I’d like to revisit this point later, but I’ll do it #librarystress free. Promise!)

It’s been a while. Here are some of my favorite reads of the last few weeks:

How to Evolve Your Own Job and Stay Relevant: Evolving jobs? Yep, we’ve got those. Help yourself focus with the questions in this post, starting with “Who uses my work and what do they need most?”

The Key to a Winning Sales Message: Show, don’t tell. What’s in it for your customer?

Never Sit Still: The motivation to keep improving our services and what we do. Comfort is for cozy sweaters, not jobs.

Buy Versus Buy Into: Short and sweet. Having users in general isn’t enough — they have to believe in what we do.