Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: The Earl & the Fairy Volume 2

By Ayuko
A review in 10 words or less: "More kidnapping and very little fairies..."

Edgar and his small band must travel to the Isle of Manan, once home to the Blue Knight Earl. But the island is surrounded by merfolk, whose tragic songs cause rough seas and shipwrecks. And even if Edgar and his companions reach the island, they face death if it turns out he isn’t a true heir to the Earl...

~Amazon Description~

Today I got a lesson in manga reading from a wonderful after school teen.  Things I now know:  1) most manga include a "review" section at the beginning.  This includes character bios, plot explanations, and sometimes overviews of what happened in the previous volume; so when you can't figure out who the characters are and what they're doing, this can be helpful; and 2) Blank black pages means the end of a chapter. 

Volume 2:  From what I gather, the fairy doctor, Lydia, has agreed to help the maybe fake? Earl Edgar on his quest to find some ancient sword.  There are brownies, mermaids, a mysterious island, and again, this dude Huxley who keeps trying to steal Lydia and the sword for himself.  This Edgar guy is either a secretly good dude pretending to be bad, or he just has everyone fooled.  Hmm... I'm still trying to figure out who is good and who is bad.  And the title has fairies in it, so I'm really hoping a few more find their way into the plot.

The library only owns one more volume, so I hope a lot happens!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 10 Kick-*@$! Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Kick-*@$! Heroines

I realize that "kick-*@$!" could just mean a super awesome heroine, but there's nothing quite like a female character with mad skills or fierce courage.  Even though I don't interject myself into stories as I read, I always totally want to be down in the dirt kicking some butt.  Grant it, the poor heroines usually find themselves in some pretty unfortunate situations,  but their super cool fighting skills and brains always get them through in the end.  Love it!  Here are ten of my favorite kick-*@$! heroines:

1) Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games)A bow-wielding powerhouse.

2) Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)
Female assassin?  Yes, please.

3) Elvie Nara (Mothership)
Teenage pregnancy? Aliens? Bring it on!

4) Finley Jayne (The Girl in the Steel Corset)
One wickedly fun bad side.
5) Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
Brains and bronze.
6) Valkyrie Cain (Skulduggery Pleasant)
Small but mighty.
7) Puck Connolly (The Scorpio Races)
Carnivorous horses?  Nerves of steel. 

8) Thursday Next (The Eyre Affair)
Perseverance should be her middle name.

9) Tris Prior (Divergent)
Going against the norm is never easy (to say the least).

10) Alexia Tarabotti (Soulless)
Tough, stubborn, smart, and carries a mean parasol.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Q & A: The Librarian Way (Episode 3)

Fostering a Positive Teen Environment in Your Library


It's Monday!  That means the latest Q & A: The Librarian Way video.  We're still waiting to get into a groove during filming.  There's still quite a bit of laughing and retakes, but we're having an awesome time!

This week we're tackling a viewer question: How do you foster a positive teen environment in your library?  Great question Allison!  As always, I provide some insight on public libraries and Julia offers some tips in the school library realm.  If you have any additional comments, suggestions, or additions to the topic we would love to hear them!  Just leave them below or on our YouTube channel.

I wanted to attach a few pictures of the teen space at my library.  This room was five years in the making.  It started with building relationships and a solid teen, encouraging teen presence and morphed into a new Teen Department and teens-only space.  The room isn't fancy or stuffed with expensive furniture and gadgetry, but it's comfortable and welcoming, the two characteristics you really need to make the space inviting for teens.

Next week it's my turn for a "Library Short."  I'm going to reveal the awfulness that is my National Novel Writing Month stories!  Yeah!  Hope you'll check it out.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Turn of the Screw

By Henry James
2.5 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 words or less: "A tale of an annoying governess and maybe some ghosts?"

The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, The Turn of Screw generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers.

~Amazon Description~

First, a note on classics: not my favorite.  I hate how that makes me sound.  To be a prolific reader, do you have to enjoy the classics?  It has just been ages since I actually enjoyed one.  Authors back in the day seemed to use a lot of words.  Like, way too many words that end up in long, seemingly run-on sentences.  Example: "The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it was gruesome, as on Christmas Eve in an old house a strange tale should essentially be, I remember no comment uttered till somebody happened to note it as the only case he had met in which such a visitation had fallen on a child."  That was the first sentence of the story with 61 words.  I almost stopped right there.

The Awesome

1) There are ghosts.  (Or maybe not?  See below)

2) The beginning of the story is fantastic: the suspense of waiting to hear a story around the fire, and the way the narrator gets everyone hooked before the story ever begins.  That part is genius.  Suspense is invaluable when it comes to ghost stories.  You have to make the reader believe in the threat, and James manages to pull that off pretty quickly.

3) Not to sound creepy, but scary, potentially evil children make for one great story.

The Not So Awesome

1)  Are there ghosts?  Or is it all in the governesses head?  I hate that!  I like clear cut answers.  I like explanations.  I like everything wrapped up in a pretty little package.  Henry James, apparently, does not...

2) "I love you...I hate you...I love you...I hate you..."  Our heroine (or perhaps our villain??) can't seem to figure out if she trusts her wards or not.  She seems entirely to eager to love them at the beginning and then becomes increasingly paranoid.  And what's with the immediate infatuation with employer?  Two meetings and you are head over heels?  Come on lady.  Get your act together already.  Oh...and if you believe that the children you care for are in great danger, that might be the time to contact the object of your heart's affection for some help.

So there we go, my rather disjointed, random review for Henry James's The Turn of the Screw.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: The Earl and the Fairy

By Ayuko
3 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 words or less: "Girl who sees fairies keeps getting kidnapped by mean men."

Lydia Carlton is a fairy doctor,one of the few people with the ability to see the magical creatures who share our world. During one of her rare trips to London to visit her father, Lydia’s quiet life is suddenly transformed when she is rescued from kidnappers by a mysterious young man!

Edgar Ashenbert claims to be descended from the human ruler of the fairy kingdom, and he urgently needs Lydia’s help to find and claim his birthright, the legendary sword of the Blue Knight Earl. Things will never be the same for Lydia as she is pulled into a dangerous quest against dark forces!

~Barnes and Noble Description~

I realize that my reviews of manga are not really reviews.  I spend most of my time here talking through story-lines in the hope that I'll eventually understand what is going on.  Any advice on successfully reading manga would be greatly appreciated!

So what I think is happening in The Earl and the Fairy...there's this girl named Lydia who can see fairies.  And there's this boy named Edgar (or John...or Gotham?) who needs someone who can see fairies to find an ancient sword.  Then there's this guy named Huxley, who is apparently bad news.  He tried to kidnap Lydia, who was on the way to see her father in London, but Edgar/John/Gotham intervened.  At the end of volume one, Lydia has agreed to help Edgar/John/Gotham in finding the sword, and Lydia's father discovers that she is missing.

I think I like it so far.  Despite the fact that there's a talking cat, I like fairies and myths about ancient swords, so it has that working in its favor.  If I can just figure out who this Earl and Huxley are, I think I'll be set.  Hopefully the next volumes of Black Butler, D.Gray-Man, or Black Bird will return to the library soon. 

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Books To Get In The Halloween Spirit

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Books To Get In the Halloween Spirit
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I miss Halloween in the same way that I miss Thanksgiving.  Christmas decorations are put out in July now, which really puts a damper on my favorite fall holidays.  Who can really think Halloween, scary masks, creepy costumes, when Christmas trees are twinkling just one aisle over?  Luckily I like scary books, and nothing puts me in the Halloween mood quite like a good ghost story.  Here are 10 of my favorite books that put me in the Halloween spirit:

1) Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn - Flashback to my middle school days when the only thing I would read were ghost stories.

2) The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore  - Ghostly apparitions, family secrets, a haunted homestead, everything including bumps in the night.

3) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - Odd sees good ghosts that have yet to cross over, it's not until something evil comes to town that things start to get shady.

4) Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - Anna's pretty scary, but the thing come for Cas is downright terrifying.

5) Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride - Resurrecting the dead and talking heads, plus some awesome chapter titles.

6) Unwind by Neal Shusterman - Not really a "halloween" book, but one of the scariest stories I've ever read.

7) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - A truly unique story that I couldn't put down.  The pictures really make the book fun.

8) Ashes by Isla J. Bick - I had my issues with the book, but between the zombies and the weird cult town, the books is totally creepy.

9) The Taking by Dean Koontz - The first Dean Koontz I ever read, and it got me hooked.  Would you really want to be one of the survivors?

10) Monster Squad - Okay, so this isn't a book, but more than any other book/movie/TV show, this gem from the 1980s makes me excited about Halloween.  Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, Werewolf, the Creature from the Black Lagoon...yeah, all the major monsters are present.  But it's not the monsters that make this "horror" movie a cult classic.  It's the great dialogue, campy storyline, and the use of the word "bogus."  Want to have fun with a little bit of fright mixed in, check out Monster Squad this Halloween season.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Q & A: Library Shorts Episode 2

In which Julia takes a 90s flashback and visits The Baby-Sitter's Club

Julia's enthusiasm for all things The Baby-Sitters Club is one of things I absolutely adore about her.  She's nostalgic just like me, and she's a bit nerdy (so totally in an awesome way Julia!) just like me.  She was hilariously giddy after meeting Ann M. Martin last November at a state conference which totally makes me feel better about fan-girling out when I meet my favorite authors.

Now I know I read the series when I was in middle school, but for the life of me, I can't remember a single book or which girl I connected with the most.  I do, however, remember the movie.  In fact, less then a year ago I went searching for all of the movies I used to love as a pre-teen/teen and re-watched them.  The Baby-Sitters Club was exactly how I remembered it, sweetly innocent and awesome.  And I realized that they really don't make movies like that anymore.  They don't make entertaining, clean movies that are just fun.  Where are the Now and Then, Camp Nowhere, and Little Giants today?  Why does everything have to be so angsty and edgy?  They probably existI'm probably just too old to appreciate them now.  But I don't think that's it, because my favorite late-night treat is to watch reruns of The Wizards of Waverly Place.

So to keep the 90s nostalgia train going, what are your top 5 favorite 90s kids movies?

My five in no particular order: The Sandlot, 3 Ninjas, Camp Nowhere, My Girl, Now and Then!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Knight to Remember

When I first started in libraries, I was completely oblivious to the intricacies and politics of "Library Land."  Strict (deteriorating) budgets, rival systems, marketing nightmares, it all seemed unreal.  Almost a year ago the unreal became very real when my library almost shut its doors for good.  At first, of course, there was shock and denial.  No, this can't really be happening.  Then there was fear.  I'm about to lose my job, a job I love.  Then there was anger.  How can this be happening?  How can my community be losing this resource?  And finally, there was pure determination.  If I haven't mentioned already, I work with some pretty amazing people.  We dusted ourselves off, wiped the tears from our eyes, and fought tooth and nail to survive.  And we did.  But we only survived because our community stepped up in humbling, amazing ways.  They volunteered, they donated, they spread the word about how special their community library is and why it should survive.  They saved the library, and we are growing and prospering in ways we wouldn't have dreamed last fall.

This past week, legendary IU coach Bob Knight came and spoke for free to raise money for the library and celebrate the life of a woman who supported her community.  It all started with a man waking from a dream and deciding to act to save a resource that's valuable to the city.  Seems unreal.  It seemed unreal to us, but after months of planning, eleven-hundred people filled a venue.  And it was awesome.

In the fourth grade, my elementary school put together a project to teach kids how to bind books.  The had to write the book that was being bound.  While the rest of the girls in my class wrote about unicorns and princesses, I wrote a little story about Bob Knight being kidnapped by Gene Keady, winning the big game with seconds left, and finding buried treasure in the basement of Assembly Hall.  I got an A+.  For some reason, I saved the book I wrote twenty years ago.  This past week, the ten year old girl in me did a happy dance when the coach signed the book and actually smiled. (Sidenote:  Mike the Garden Gnome came along to the reception where I met Knight, but after seeing his stereotypical stoic, "grouchy" expression, the usually courageous traveler shook with fear my bag - I'm saying I totally chickened out...) 

We've been fortunate.  Luckily we started telling our story a few years ago.  We wanted our community to know what we do on a daily basis.  We wanted the patrons and professionals in our city to understand that we are far more than just a building of books.  We are resume builders, job seekers, teachers, mentors, and friends.  Support your local library.  While you may not need all the resources it has to offer, your neighbor might, and they deserve the availability to learn and grow.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mothership: Book One of the Ever Expanding Universe

By Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
4 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 words or less: "Spunky preggo teen battles aliens and series baby-daddy drama." 

Teen pregnancy is never easy—especially not when extraterrestrials are involved. The first in a new trilogy.

Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole—and now she’s pregnant.

Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn’t seen him since she told him she’s pregnant, and now he’s bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called.

So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother—assuming they get back to Earth in one piece.

~Barnes and Noble Description~

Professionally, reading reviews is kind of a part of my job.  I read a lot, sifting through the hundreds of books publicized each month to find just the right ones for my library.  Often times I'm overwhelmed by trends, retellings, and, well, the same old same old.  But sometimes a book description and review catches my attention and I am totally "Oh My Goodness...I must read that book.".  (Not sure why I started sounding like a Valley Girl for a moment...I, like, so don't talk like that).  Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal was exactly that type of book.

The Awesome

1) The heroine's name is Elvan, which I love, and she is awesomely independent, intelligent, and sarcastic.  She's in love with "old" movies, watches Sixteen Candles instead of going to a school dance, and is wicked under the hood of a car.  She's pretty much everything I would like to be, minus the whole pregnant teenager thing.

2) The chapter titles are hilarious.  These little jewels of foreshadowing get you excited to keep reading, as if the wickedly nerdy plot wasn't enough.

3) Um...let's see...their are spaceships, aliens, ray gun battles, exciting chase scenes.  I shouldn't really need to say more about those, should I?

4) And finally, Mr. Nara, Elvie's dad, might just be my favorite literary dad ever.  Bonnie Kunzel (a VOYA review) called the book "Juno meets aliens, sort of...), and I completely agree.  After the shock of his daughter's predicament, these super guys jump in to total dad mode.  Mr. Nara takes it to a whole new level of course, hurrying to his filing cabinet to pull out an emergency folder on "pregnancy".  The man is always prepared, and his heart is always in the right place.  Love him.

The Not So Awesome

1) This is book one in a series.  Now the wait begins.

2) While I totally love Elvie's bad-ass-ness, sometimes it seems to be a little over the top.  Not only can she lead a gaggle of pregnant teens through an explosion ridden metal tomb in the sky, she also reconfigure computers and apparently fly spaceships.  That's a whole lot of knowledge for a sixteen year old.

But I don't care.  The book, in my humble opinion was really just pure awesome.  Now I understand alien spaceships, ray guns, and uber-techie pregnant teens might not be everyone's first choice, I highly recommend this space,adventure thriller!  It's witty; it's exciting; and it's just pure fun!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy 100th post!! (And a note about wallflowers)

Yeah...that's right.  This is my 100th post.  It's not really a big deal.  I mean, in the blogosphere 100 is nothing, but I'm absolutely celebrating.  When I started this blogging thing I gave myself a couple of weeks.  I'm not a quitter, but I can easily get distracted (if you could only see my basket of half completed scarves).  But here I am, 100 posts later and still excited about sharing my thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and well, what not.  So I'm throwing myself a little party (hold please as I dance around the room in excitement!).  I'm definitely looking forward to sharing more with you, expanding my topics, and enjoying the ride.

Now for a note about wallflowers:

Stephen Chbosky's book Perks of Being A Wallflower did not make my top anything list.  I can't really explain my distaste.  Maybe it's because it was so pumped up in reviews and long monologues about how it is a life-changing book.  Maybe it's because I didn't immediately like Charlie, or Sam, or Patrick.  Maybe because it differed so greatly from my own high school experience.  I don't know.  I just didn't jump on the Perks bandwagon.

But...I just saw the movie and I absolutely loved it.  Logan Lerman was perfect parts awkward and endearing (congrats Logan on acutally acting for once!), Emma Watson was believably rebellious and troubled (once I let go of Miss Granger), and Ezra Miller was just brilliant.  Really.  Brilliant.  The music was great, the setting was great, the story was painful and great.

So, yeah.  Mr. Chbosky, you made me a fan.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: Black Bird Vols. 2 & 3

 By Kanoko Sakurakoji
3.5 / 5 Gnomes

Volume 2

Kyo, the head of the Tengu demon clan, is Misao's only chance for survival. But even though she has sweet memories of him as a childhood friend, she has trouble reconciling them with the man he has become. Despite the strange attraction, can she trust her life, let alone her heart, to a man who only cares about the promise of her blood? There is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, and she wants nothing to do with magic realms. She just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. But she is the bride of demon prophecy, and her blood grants incredible powers, her flesh immortality. Now the demon realm is fighting over the right to her hand…or her life!

Volume 3

Misao is starting to trust her heart where Kyo is involved, especially after he gives her one of his primary feathers. It isn't just her first present from him, it's a magic talisman that will keep her safe when he's not nearby! Misao is elated to be able to go to school without the fear of being eaten, just like a normal teenage girl. But as her feelings for Kyo deepen, she starts to realize that as his bride she will have to leave her human life behind--including her family!

~Amazon Descriptions~

The plot thickens...dun, dun, dun (that's the mysterious, "what's going to happen!" sound playing in my head!).  Misao realizes she has feelings for Kyo, but she fears that he only wants her to be his bride.  In volume 2, Kyo's evil older brother (who was supposed to be the leader of the clan) has come to exact revenge and attempts to "bed" Misao, and in volume 3, a trio of demons hopes to trick Misao into their clutches.

The storyline and characters remind me a lot of Twilight for some reason.  The klutzy, meek girl meets the hot baddie who really should leave her alone but just can't fight his lusty attraction which only ticks off others of his kind who then want to kill said damsel.  And just like Twilight, I keep reading, not because I think it's awesome, but because, darn it, now I have to see how it ends. 

Will Misao and Kyo find out what a marriage will mean for the two of them, or will some horrible fate await the couple before they can tie the knot?  I guess I'll see!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Favorite Fantasy Authors
I readily admit that I'm taking an easy-out here.  I love fantasy.  It's my go-to genre, and I completely own up to the fact that nearly every single one of my lists have at least 4-5 fantasy related titles/authors/characters.  So I'm not going to include the obvious.  J.K., C.S., J.R.R, you know I love you.  I have sung my affection loudly and proudly.  You will remain, forever and always in my heart.  But for the purposes of this here list, here are 10 of my other favorites.

1) Rick Riordan - "You had me at hello..."  As if Greek Gods in modern times with the Underworld located in L.A. wasn't enough to get my literary heart racing, you go and have a chapter called "Auntie Em's Garden Gnome Emporium."

2) John Connolly - Completed adore The Book of Lost Things and The Gates.  He has such a unique voice, and the two I've read started out all fun and roses and then turned super creepy.  Love it!  Can't wait to read more!!

3) Rachel Hawkins / Kiersten White - Yeah, I know they don't write together, but being relative newcomers, I thought I'd lump them together.  They both have a unique writing style, strong, fierce female characters, and some incredible wit that adds to the fun of the unbelievable.  Keep it up ladies!

4) Jim Butcher - Harry Dresden might be my favorite warlock detective.  Ok.  He's the only warlock detective that I know, but I thoroughly enjoy him.  The poor guy can't catch a break, but he has a great heart.  And all of the magic?  Yeah...awesome.

5) Jasper Fforde - I had to slip in one repeat offender.  I've never read anything like the works of Jasper Fforde.  His worlds are so complex, yet so real.  And he brings the world of books alive, literally, with so much sarcasm that I just can't seem to get enough.

6) E.D. Baker - A pleasant surprise.  I devoured her Frog Princess series.  There is an innocence to her writing and characters, but she writes with so much emotion that she sucks you into every book.

7) Patricia Wrede - I really liked her Enchanted Forest Chronicles series when I read it, but I loved it when I listened to the full cast audiobook.  Witches, princesses, dragons, magic carpets...the books have it all.

8) Neil Gaiman - GENIUS. 

9) Maggie Stiefvater - I hate werewolves, but she made me love werewolves.  I hate stories with horses, but she made me love stories with horses.  She is turning my reading world upside down.

10) Libba Bray - While I love her realistic fiction (which isn't really realistic fiction, is it?  They all seem to have some fantastical elements...) she shines at making you believe anything.  From magical worlds to prohibition ghosts, she is the incomparable, Libba Bray.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Q & A: The Librarian Way (Episode 2)

How to promote Bully Prevention Awareness Month at your library?

Thanks for tuning in to Episode 2 of Q & A: The Librarian Way.  This week we're tackling ways to promote Bully Prevention Awareness Month and keep the spirit of no-tolerance throughout the year.

In a nutshell (but please watch for additional info!):
  • Create a book display
  • Start a book club
  • Share booklists with school counselors
  • Use the awesome experts in your community for programming
  • Partner with your local school cooperation to encourage dialogue
  • Include resources on your website for parents and students [Sample resource guide]
  • Act immediatley!  If a teen comes to you with a problem, act immediately to promote a welcoming, safe environment in your teen space.
Have you done something awesome at your library to promote bully prevention?  We'd love to hear about it!  Please comment below or on our YouTube channel.  Or do you have a question you would like us to tackle?  Please share!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Junk Drawer: Simple Slime

Just had a great slime program with our afterschool crowd at the library (and who's the fool that forgot to take a picture of the actual slime...that would be me).  Twenty-three teenagers, more than half guys, crowded around our craft tables for the chance to make an ooey, gooey take home bag of slime.  To top it all off, it was SUPER  cheap!  All of the supplies cost us less than $15!  And while the numbers were amazing, the fact that it was led by a teen made it a truly successful program.

Big shout out to the Domestic Charm blog for sharing the instructions!  Basically, you just need a whole lot of glue, some borax, and a little bit of food coloring.  I bought our bulk glue on Amazon (love free 2-day shipping with Amazon prime!).  Couple things you'll want to make sure you include: 
  • Protect your library furniture.  The mess cleans up, but save yourself some time and cover tabletops with old newspapers or scrap paper.  
  • Condiment bottles (those red/yellow bottles for ketchup/mustard) are perfect for adding the borax solution that stiffens up the glue.  We had one bottle for every two kids and that seemed to work out perfectly.
  • Grab both plastic cups and plastic baggies.  The plastic cups are the perfect size to mix the "ingredients", and the baggies are awesome for minimizing issues afterwards.  The temptation to throw slime as each other is overwhelming, so if you have plastic bags and require that all finished slime stay in the bag, it's a good way to police that final product.
  • Don't be afraid to dig in yourself!  Get your hands all ooey and gooey.  The kids will appreciate that your participating...and let's face it, the more disgusting, the more fun!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: Black Bird Vol. 1

By Kanoko Sakurakoji
3.5 / 5 Gnomes

There is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, and she wants nothing to do with magical realms. She just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. All that changes one day when Misao is attacked by a demon. Her childhood friend Kyo suddenly returns to save her and tend to her cuts--with his tongue! It turns out Misao is the bride of prophecy, whose blood gives power to the demon clan who claims her. But most demons want to keep her power for themselves--by eating her! Now Misao is just trying to stay alive...and decide if she likes it when Kyo licks her wounds.

~Amazon Description~

So, I'm starting to think Shojo Beat manga are my type of manga.  I prefer a love story (even if it is a bit demented) to warrior fighting dudes.  But I've been enjoying Black Butler, and that's not really a warrior fighting dude.  Okay, so maybe I like manga that do not include warrior fighting dudes?  I don't know.  I'm still just trying to get a handle on reading books from back to front, right to left.

Misao Harada can see demons.  Which would pretty much stink like nobodies business.  And bad luck for her, she's turned sixteen, which means that every demon in the area is coming for her because she is apparently the "Bride of Prophecy" which means she either has to marry a demon or be eaten by one.  Kind of feeling bad for Misao Harada.  Then there's Kyo, a boy from her past who ends up being this super powerful demon, and he's pegged her as his betrothed.  She kind of likes him, and by the end, you start to think that maybe he kind of likes her too despite her tasty blood and his lusty desires.

Wow.  Okay.  A weird story, but I'm having fun so far. Is it an anime?  I will have to investigate.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Rewind - Favorite Love Stories

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Tuesday Rewind: Favorite Love Stories
I've been reading a lot of heavy dystopias and relatively dark tales lately, so I thought I'd take a pause and revisit my favorite love stories.  I'm a sucker for a good love story, especially ones where I'm laughing one moment, crying the next.  There's just something innocent and endearing about teen love stories.  Like a good rom-com, they give me the warm and fuzzies.  (And now that I think about this list a bit, I'm pretty sure these are my favorites because I may have developed a fictional crush on the male protagonist, several of which are great at "the grand gesture"...)So without further ado, here's my list of favorite love stories:

1) Harry Potter (1-7) - Hermione and Ron - I waited seven long books for this love story to blossom, and I was not left disappointed!

2) Anna and the French Kiss - Anna and Etienne - Love based on friendship...awesome!

3) Keturah and Lord Death - Keturah and Lord Death - Sweet and sad at the same time!

4) Pride and Prejudice - Elizabeth and Darcy - Because it's Elizabeth and Darcy!

5) The Fault in Our Stars - Hazel and Augustus - The most endearing broken heart ever.

6) If I Stay, Where She Went - Mia and Adam - He left.  He really left!

7) The Lord of the Rings - Arwen and Aragorn - (Sidenote: This might be swayed a bit for my love of Viggo Mortensen...but) she gave p her immortality!

8) The Iron Fey - Meghan and Ash - The dude literally traveled to the end of the world for her!

9) The Truth About Forever - Macy and Wes - A game you never wanted to end, but was so glad it did!

10) Mercy Thompson series - Mercy and Adam - He lets her kick butt!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Q & A: Library Shorts Episode 1

My first episode of "Library Shorts"!  Very exciting.  And ridiculous.  Funny how so many things can be both exciting and ridiculous.  Like Renaissance Faires and book release parties.  As you'll see in the video blog, I'm a sucker for nostalgia, particularly 80s and 90s pop culture nostalgia.  Along with the few things I mentioned in the video, I also miss TGIF television shows and the truly spectacular Balkie Bartokomous, pre-puberty Hanson, early Mariah Carey, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Jurassic Park.

Do you have a favorite pop culture memory from the 80s or 90s?  I'd love to hear!

Friday, October 5, 2012


I'm a library nerd.  Yep.  This shouldn't come as a surprise.  I haven't tried to hide my nerdy side.  I like libraries.  I love them in fact.  I love the smell of old books.  I love wondering the stacks looking for the perfect item to take home with me.  I love knowledge and information.  And as a librarian, I love sharing my enthusiasm with others in the hope, that just maybe, they'll grow to love libraries too.

I also love reading about what other librarians are doing.  Taking ideas and making them my own, shaping them to fit my community.  I love working in a field where I am inspired daily.  

That's not to say that insinuate that every day is fun.  No.  Not even close.  As rewarding as public service can be, it is hard, and trying, and filled with long, long days and grouchy patrons.  So every once in awhile you need a pick me up.  You need something that will get you out of your funk and lift your spirits.  My favorite pick me up...VOYA day.  Yeah.  BIG NERD.  My favorite day is when the newest issue of VOYA (Voices of Youth Advocates) finds its way into my mailbox.  It's a professional magazine!  There are no pictures of celebrities.  No fashion tips.  No interesting editorials on the state of the nation or the destructive nature of party politics.  There are book reviews.  Program ideas.  Discussions on ways to nurture teen development in your library.  And I love it.  Not sarcastically.  Truly love it.

In fact, my enthusiasm for VOYA day has rubbed off on other librarians in the building.  The very quiet and reserved cataloger does a little whoop! when she delivers it to the second floor.  A sing song version of "VOYA day!" can be heard coming from the librarians when they spot the magazine in my mailbox.  It's infectious.

Today was VOYA day.  A day when I had three meetings, closed by myself, and had to deal with contractors who have difficulty communicating.  So I'm snuggling in with my newest issue of VOYA, ready to be inspired by the creative, forward thinking individuals in my profession.

Happy VOYA day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Junk Drawer: Celebrating October

I know...this should be an easy one.  There are spooks and creeps galore in October that are easy to program and display.  But what if you don't want to do the obvious?  What if you want to celebrate something other than a tooth-decaying holiday (which is awesome, and soooo being celebrated at my library, but...)?

There are TONS of options.  Literally...TONS.  Here are a few you have to choose from:

  • Adopt A Shelter Dog Month
    • Invite local shelters to talk about adopting a dog
    • Invite local veterinarians to talk about adopting a dog
    • Host a pet meet and greet, inviting patrons who have rescued an animal from a shelter to come and make a new friend
    • Have a shelter drive to collect needed items for your community shelter
    • Plan a homeschool fieldtrip to help out a shelter for a day
    • Find a local dog trainer in your community for a program
  • Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
    • Resources on Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
    • Create a book display featuring published works that deal with the topic of bullying
    • Invite a school counselor to host a program at your library for parents and kids about the signs of bullying, ways to deal with a bully, and ideas for introducing safe, positive places in your community
    • Contact local organizations in your community that provide workshops on improving confidence and self-esteem in kids and young adults. (In my community, a local martial arts teacher hosts a "Bully Proof Workshop" that helps kids identify a bully, builds confidence, and teaches appropriate, safe ways to deal with a bully)
  • National Pizza Month
    • Plan a blind taste test pizza tasting for teens.  Can't afford tons of pizzas?  Let your local pizzerias know what you're doing and see if they'll sponsor the event!
    • Host a food program on tasty homemade pizzas
  • National Popcorn Popping Month
    • Host a food program on different ways to spice up popcorn
    • Have a local popcorn shop in your community?  Build community support by inviting them to your library for a program
    • Hand out popcorn to library patrons
  • Fire Prevention Week (October 7 - 13)
    • National Fire Protection Association
    • Invite your local fire department to do a program on fire safety in your home
    • Host a special program on fire safety just for kids (Stop, Drop, and Roll!)
  • Do Something Nice Day (October 5)
    • Have a volunteer fair at your library and invite local organizations in need of help to share information with library patrons
    • Plan a homeschool fieldtrip to a local food pantry or shelter
  • Mad Hatter Day (October 6)
    • Um...Awesome!  Have a crazy hat day at your library
    • Make crazy hats with your patrons
    • Host a Mad Hatter Tea Party
    • Host a regular tea party at your library and teach kids proper table etiquette
    • Plan a book discussion on Alice in Wonderland
    • Show Alice in Wonderland at your library 
  • Dictionary Day (October 16)
    • Host a spelling bee at your library
    • Decorate the building with words and definitions
    • Make a display of all of the interesting dictionaries in your library
    • Host word races for teens.  Give each teen a dictionary, yell out a word, and have the teens race to find the word first
  • Frankenstein Friday (October 26)
    • Host trick-or-treating in your library
    • Have a book discussion on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
    • Decorate Frankenstein masks
    • Plan a monster makeup class in preparation for Halloween

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: Sailor moon Vol. 1

Pretty Guardian * Sailor Moon Vol. 1
By Naoko Takeuchi
Don't know how many gnomes??

Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!

~Amazon Description~

I have decided to hold off judgement until I have perused other volumes.  I just don't know about this one.  Quite baffled actually.  I remember watching the cartoon when I was little.  Not religiously, but I do remember...I just don't remember it being that crazy.  This really annoying girl meets a cat with a strange marking on her head, and she becomes this super hero with a magical tiara who always yells "Makeup!" when she's changing into a skimpy sailor outfit.  And she's looking for a crystal and a princess while being stalked by some guy in a tuxedo mask.

This one is going to take some time.  I like when things go all moon power, but Usagi Tsukino is terribly annoying and the cat can talk (one of my literary dealbreakers).  So I'm going to keep reading and decide how I really feel at a later time.
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