Friday, March 29, 2013

Library GrabBag: Celebrate April!

 Oh April, the budding days of Spring (unless you live in Indiana where apparently does not exist...).  There are tons of fun things you can plan at your library for the month of April.  Have a little fun and bring some fresh events to your community.

April is:

National Humor Month
  • Invite a comedian to your library
  • Host a best joke contest
  • Film a fun parody at your library
  • Host a no-laugh contest.  The last person not laughing wins!
International Guitar Month
  • Invite a local guitar shop to host a beginners class at your library
  • Or invite a local guitar shop to talk about different types of guitars at your library
  • Invite local college students (or musicians) to play at your library
  • Make guitars out of household items
National Poetry Month
  • Create a display of local poets
  • Offer magnetic poetry
  • Create a homeschool class to discuss different types of poems 
  • Invite patrons to share their own poems and share with the community
  • Host a poetry reading
April includes:

Library Week (2013 theme - Communities @ your library)
  • Highlight different team members on social media
  • Make posters of your library staff and post throughout the library
  • Throw yourself a party!
  • Ask community members to share how the library has impacted their lives
  • Offer tours of you library to community members
  • Invite community members to a special breakfast
Read a Road Map Week
  • Make collages and art work out of old road maps
  • Create a display of books across the country, mark where different books are set
  • Invite a local travel agent to present a program on roadtrips
  • Host a pack-you-bag speed contest
  • Host a geography fair for homeschoolers where students pick a destination and must include directions from their home and sightseeing options along the way
Garden Week
  • Invite a master gardener to your library
  • Invite a local landscaper to talk about garden design
  • Host a food program to get people thinking about spring and summer crops
  • Invite a local lawn care company to talk about pesticide

National Karaoke Week
  • Karaoke!  In the library!

Do you have any fun April themed programming planned?  Share!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Library GrabBag: March Madness

This is the third and final week of our March Madness book edition passive program.   Each week the teens have had the opportunity to vote for their favorite books (or for those who haven't read the books, their favorite covers!).  The brackets included four genres (Dystopia/Historical Fiction & Realistic/Paranormal/Manga & Graphic Novel) and started with thirty-two titles.  At the end of this week we'll have the favorite books from each genre.  As always, teens receive a piece of candy for completing the week's brackets and are entered into a drawing for a prize at the end of each week.

The most exciting part of this particular program...the great book discussions!  The teens have been debating and arguing their picks for the last week, and for the most part, these are not teens that generally talk about books.  I don't even care if they are just picking covers, it's a start.

I've linked our voting cards below!

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3

And for the real March Madness: GO HOOSIERS!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pandora Hearts Vol. 1: a manga review

By Jun Mochizuki
Pandora Hearts on AnimeNewsnetwork

The air of celebration surrounding fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius's coming-of-age ceremony quickly turns to horror when he is condemned for a sin about which he knows nothing. He is thrown into an eternal, inescapable prison known as the Abyss from which there is no escape. There, he meets a young girl named Alice, who is not what she seems. Now that the relentless cogs of fate have begun to turn, do they lead only to crushing despair for Oz, or is there some shred of hope for him to grasp on to?
~Amazon Description~

Soul Eater Volume 3 was checked out, so I gave a teen the task of selecting my next manga to read and review.  She insisted on Pandora Hearts so that I could "help her understand what was going on.  Yeah right.  Like that's going to happen.  I have no idea what's going on in this series starter.

From what I gather (which is likely all wrong) there's this boy, Oz, who is about to go through this ceremony at this mansion that is only used for this cryptic shindig.  Before the event starts, Oz come across a mysterious locket, and he totally wigs out when he opens it.  Flash forward to the ceremony...these intimidating cloaked figures emerge from nowhere and some girl named Alice who turns into a really scary rabbit throws Oz in "the abyss."  Whatever that means.  he makes a deal with her and they escape only to find themselves in the clutches of some organization known as Pandora.  That's all I've got.  No idea who this Alice is, what in the world the abyss is, and why these cloaked figures are so shifty...maybe that's to come?

Pros:  I could tell the boys from the girls, and Oz gets to wear some sweet plaid shorts.

On to volume 2 and more confusion.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Recommend the Most

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Books I Recommend the Most
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
So I recommend books a lot.  Imagine that...a librarian who recommends books?!  Outlandish!  I do have my go-to books that I tend to use over and over again.  Of course, it always depends on the reader, but in general, these are my favorite titles that tend to be useful across the board.

1) Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz - For those who wish they were James Bond and like it when things blow up.

2) Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - For those who just love witty, smart, hilarious stories about beauty queens.

3) The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan - For those looking for adventure like Tolkien without all of the magic.

4) Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - For those who like historical fiction (and really like Fried Green Tomatoes).

5) Unwind by Neal Shusterman - For those who want to be creeped out.

6) Pirates! by Celia Rees - Another for historical fiction fans that like to say Aaarrggghhh and wear eye patches.  Girl power!

7) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - For those looking for an alternative to Harry Potter but don't want to lose the magic.

8) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - For those who loved The Hunger Games.

9) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - For those of enjoy absolutely great literature.

10) Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - For those who are maybe a little afraid of horses.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Librarian Way "Shorts": Reading Quirks

This week on

Monday - Library Shorts with Emily
Tuesday - Back to Basics: Databases
Wednesday - Book Love with Emily
Thursday - Exciting Events - For Teens, By Teens
Friday - Friday Favorites with Julia

Library Shorts - Reading Quirks

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tuck Everlasting: a review

By Natalie Babbitt
Natalie Babbitt on Goodreads
Farrar Straus Giroux; Copyright 1985
144 pages

A review in 10 words or less: Would you drink from a spring?  Life and consequences in Treegap.

Doomed to - or blessed with - eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Winnie Foster love her family but dreams of freedom, of the world beyond the gates of her home and away from the watchful eye of her parents.  One early morning, Winnie decides to explore the woods on her family's property and startles upon a beautiful young boy sipping water from a hidden spring at the base of a tree.  Jesse Tuck and his family kidnap Winnie and tell her a story unlike anything she's ever heard, a story of forever.

The Awesome
This wasn't my first encounter with Babbitt's children's classic.  Sometimes it's nice to revisit a great book from your past; it's kind of like going to see an old friend.  For such a short novel it really packs a punch.  By far the Tuck's make up the most awesome in the book.  Jesse is carefree and hopeful, Mae is calm and loving, Miles is a bit sad but friendly, and Tuck, oh papa Tuck, is the voice of time and wisdom.  This quiet, unassuming family could use their forever power to their own advantage, but they've chosen lives of solitude and kinship.

The Not So Awesome
The book lasts, like, two days.  That kind of frustrated me a bit.  Would Winnie really attach herself so fiercely after just one day?  That's where I think the movie gets it right.  The extra time and emotion really let you see Miles's pain at losing his family, Tuck's fear of being found out, and the close relationship between Winnie and Jesse.

Overall, a fantastic book.  Glad we forced our homeschoolers to read it.  There reviews were glowing as well (or at least as glowing as can come from shy homeschoolers).  If you haven't read this classic, do.  Or if it's been awhile, revisit Treegap with Winnie Foster and the Tucks for just a few moments and live the magic.

Favorite Quote: “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.”

Similar Titles: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soul Eater: a manga review

By Atsushi Ohkubo

The remedial assignment continues as Soul and Maka confront Dr. Franken Stein, the man behind Sid-sensei's unfortunate transformation and the strongest meister ever to graduate from Death Weapon Meister Academy. Even without a weapon, his massive soul dwarfs them all-even big shot Black*Star! Can Maka rally her strength to face Stein in battle, or will despair be her downfall?

~Amazon Description~

So I was content to stop at volume one, but a teen shoved this into my hand and not so politely insisted that I continue.  Volume two complete, and I'm still not sure what to think of Soul Eater.

At the end of volume one, our meisters and the scythes they wield, have been sent to a remedial school to improve their skills.  They are searching for souls to eat.  The more souls you eat, the more powerful you become.  But our motley crew is really bad at it and desperately needs the help.  Now their under the tutelage of Dr. Stein, a meister who very much resembles of the monster of fame.  The first lesson shows the weaknesses of the whole crew.  Soul Eater and Black Star are just ridiculous, and Death the Kid is a mess of obsessive compulsiveness.  Then they meet Crona and Witch Medusa and things get even more complicated.

There are a lot of people I'm having trouble keeping straight, and a lot of personalities that are way over the top.  SO that's where I'm at...being forced to read and not really sure what to make of it all.  Maybe I should try the anime???

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I HAD to buy...

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Tuesday: Books I HAD to buy...
but are still sitting on my shelf unread
(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Surprisingly, I only have five!  Go Emily for reading the books on her bookshelf and using her local library!  Okay.  That's kind of cheating.  I'm a librarian, surrounded by books to read every day, so it's not like I make special trips.  Now if the list were books I just HAD to check out but haven't read...that would be a different story.

1) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia - Now I've seen the movie but still haven't read the book.  Oops.

2) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - Like Graceling, one of my greatest book foes.

3) Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen - Pretty much any teen book set during the 1920s is a must read.

4) Insatiable by Meg Cabot - When I couldn't get enough vampires.  Now, not really the case.

5) Unearthly by Cynthia Hand - Angels, pretty covers...yeah.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Q & A: How to get inspired

This week on

Monday - Q&A - How to get inspired
Tuesday - Back to Basics - Networking
Wednesday - Book Love with Julia
Thursday - Exciting Events - Recycled Crafts
Friday - Friday Favorites with Emily

Q & A: How to get inspired

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy 200th Post!

Time to celebrate small accomplishments!  I know there are fantastic bloggers who have been writing for years, but I'm pretty darned proud of my 200 posts!  It's been fun.  It's been eye-opening.  And it's been something I've enjoyed far more than I expected.  So happy 200th post!  Time to party with my gnome!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Revenge of the Witch: a review

By Joseph Delaney
The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles Book #1
Perfection Learning; 2006
Audiobook; 5 discs; read by Christopher Evan Welch

A review in 10 words or less (or close enough): Perhaps the creepiest job known to man, but what Tom's born to do.

For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried—some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.

Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope, the last apprentice.

~Amazon Description~

The Breakdown
The Spook is getting old.  It's not easy ridding the countryside of things that go bump in the night.  And Tom just happens to be the seventh son of a seventh son which means there are no more hand me downs available to him, the lot has been handed out, and he's stuck as the Spook's newest apprentice.  The learning curve is steep, and Tom is about to find out how scary the consequences can be for trusting the wrong people.

The Awesome
The tale of a young boy learning from a wise, older man isn't new.  Usually, though, the wise old man is something of a curmudgeon.  He's strict, entitled, and not really interested in providing constructive criticsim.  The Spook is just the opposite.  Sure, he can be a little tough on Tom, but he understands the weight of the job he's passing on to his young student, and he leaves room for error.  What better way to learn than by experience?

The underlying theme of good and evil is also excellently portrayed in this middle grade title.  There are no purely good or purely bad beings.  Delaney does a nice job of showing characters with both lightness and darkness, and the idea of hope and friendship to balance both out.

The Not So Awesome
I always have trouble truly connecting with a story in audiobook format.  I honestly believe it's the process of not actually seeing words...connecting words to my imagination.  I liked Tom, but I never really felt for Tom. I feared the witch, but my imagination couldn't connect with an image.  Perhaps reading I might have had that experience.

The book was also slow in parts, then, as typically happens in middle grade fantasy, felt rushed at the end.  Like, "I've been writing long enough...time to wrap this thing up as quickly as possible."  It's a series starter though, so perhaps best not to give everything away at the beginning.

Overall, an exciting read.  And, it's going to be a movie, so I'm ahead of the game!  One of my "trouble" teens loves this series (which completely surprises me because he's not one to readily talk about books) so perhaps I'll continue reading to keep the conversation going.

Similar Titles: The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan; Magyk by Angie Sage

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Peril at End House: a review

Don't forget to check out today's "TheLibrarianWay" blog post on programming during spring break!

By Agatha Christie
Audiobook, narrated by: Hugh Fraser

A review in 10 words or less: Hercule Poirot reveals a murderous plot for love and money.

On holiday on the Cornish Riviera, Hercule Poirot is alarmed to hear pretty Nick Buckley describe her recent “accidental brushes with death.” First, on a treacherous Cornish hillside, the brakes on her car failed. Then, on a coastal path, a falling boulder missed her by inches. Later, an oil painting fell and almost crushed her in bed. 

So when Poirot finds a bullet hole in Nick’s sun hat, he decides that this girl needs his help. Can he find the would-be killer before he hits his target? 

~Amazon Description~

I enjoyed And Then There Were None so much last year that I thought I'd get a second helping of Christie.  Of course, the intrigue and mystery of Christie paired with narration of Hugh Fraser is a perfect combination.

The Breakdown:

Hercule Poirot is supposed to be on vacation.  While enjoying a peaceful afternoon with his friend Hastings, a young woman is nearly shot.  As luck would have it, this wasn't the first time the young lady almost met her demise that week.  Luckily Poirot, the legendary (and rather self-centered) detective is on the case.  Mistaken identities, attempted murder, and great fortunes are at stake in this classic thriller.

The Awesome:

In typical Agatha Christie style, her mystery is complicated, or maybe detailed is a better word.  She stocks the plot full of red herrings, suspicious characters, and death defying moments.  It really pulls you into the mystery and keeps the deductive juices flowing.

Hugh Fraser is a pretty fantastic reader.  His cocky, French Poirot was spot on, and his compassionate, thoughtful Hastings kept the story light and enjoyable.  The British accent doesn't hurt either.

The Not So Awesome:

Just one more example of my inept powers of observation.  I admit it took me awhile to finish the book, causing me to forget important points that might have helped solve the crime, but it kind of felt like crucial elements were kept away from the reader to make Poirot look better.  Maybe I'm just jealous.

Christie is worth the read, and the time.  If you love mysteries, give her a chance, then go watch the Doctor Who episode that shows just how brilliant the writer could be.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Going Vintage

Going Vintage
By Lindsey Leavitt
Released March 26, 2013
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn't cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma's list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy's cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she'll get it done. Somehow.
Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.
~Barnes and Noble Description~

I've thought of doing this on more than one occasion...shutting off my computer, turning off my TV, and stepping away from technology.  Going Vintage sounds adorable.  Can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top 10 Books On My Spring Break TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Books On My Spring Break TBR List

Oh how I miss the days of a week of luxury.  No assignments.  No work.  Just relaxing and rejuvenating the spirit, preferrably on the beach under the warm rays of the southern sun.  Alas, those days are of the past and now I must content myself with a brief requite from the hectic afterschool crowd in my library's Teen Room.  To be's almost just as nice.  My ever growing list of books to-be-read has been whittled down to 10 fun spring break reads:

1) Finish Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Geez...this book and me are in a battle.  Twelfth checkout and half-way done.  This spring I will conquer my enjoyable foe.

2) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

3) The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

4) Pivot Point by Kasie West

5) The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

6) Insurgent by Veronica Roth

7) The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen - Love!

8) The Elite by Kiera Cass

9) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

10) Heist Society by Ally Carter

Happy reading!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Library Shorts: Living in a Fiction World

This week on

Monday - Julia talks imaginary places on today's "Library Short"
Tuesday - Back to Basics: Reviews and Reader's Advisory
Wednesday - Book Love with Emily
Thursday - Exciting Events: Super easy Spring Break passive programs
Friday - Friday Favorites with Julia

Hey Julia!  What fictional place would you most like to live?

Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Reading Challenge Updates and a Happy Birthday!

The Hub Reading Challenge (YALSA)
Read or listen to 25 Youth Media Award titles by 11:59pm June 22.

8 of 25 completed!
1) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
2) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
3) The Diviners
4) The Name of the Star
5) Prom and Prejudice
6) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks
7) The Raven Boys
8) Code Name Verity

2013 Debut Author Challenge

Totally failing this one right now...nothing to report.

Emily's Top Ten Reading Goals
1) I've read 2 of 3 audiobooks!
2) And I'm almost done with Graceling!!



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: a review

By Benjamin Alire Saenz
Simon and Schuster; copyright 2012; 368 pages

ALA Notable Children's Books - Older Readers Category: 2013
Pura Belpre Award (Narrative)
School Library Journal Best Books: 2012
Stonewall Book Awards: Children's and Young Adult Literature Award
YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults: 2013

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

~Goodreads Description~

So this is the second book in a row that I've read that I haven't been absolutely thrilled about upon completion.  It's well written and thoughtful, but for some reason I just didn't relate to either character.

The Breakdown
Aristotle is a loner. His family worries that he doesn't have any friends, he'd rather be alone than with...well, anyone...and he doesn't feel like he fits anywhere. Dante, on the other hand, always knows just what to say, and he loves saying a lot. These two mismatched teens find each other one summer at the swimming pool and become fast friends. Dante saying a lot, and Aristotle hardly saying anything at all. This coming of age story is about honesty, friendship, family, and allowing yourself to let people in so that you can discover your true potential.

The Awesome
Teen fiction isn't really known for honest books about loving, sharing family relationships. This refreshing story show two separate families that truly love another and accept each other faults and all. It's also rare to find a teen book specifically about two teenage guys. No love triangles. No prom dresses. Just two guys trying to find their way in the world.

The Not So Awesome
It's not that it wasn't awesome.  Perhaps it was the build up of award season.  The shining reviews.  Or maybe it was just because it didn't have fairies or zombies.  I love fairies and zombies.  The characters just didn't seem real.  I didn't feel like I could know a Dante or Aristotle, like they could really exist.  Which is weird.  I should probably feel that way about all of John Green's characters, with their super intellectual conversations and deep thought.  Maybe what was lacking was an original voice.

It was well written though.  And heartfelt.  And worth my time, so I do recommend reading.

For a different, heartfelt realistic fiction book try Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Related Titles: Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about the Grapes of Wrath by Steven Goldman and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Favorite Quotes: “Senior year. And then life. Maybe that's the way it worked. High school was just a prologue to the real novel. Everybody got to write you -- but when you graduated, you got to write yourself. At graduation you got to collect your teacher's pens and your parents' pens and you got your own pen. And you could do all the writing. Yeah. Wouldn't that be sweet?”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: The Dream Thieves

By Maggie Stiefvater
Release date: September 17, 2013

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

~Barnes and Noble Description~

Just saw the cover and had to include it in Waiting On Wednesday!  I'm a huge fan of Stiefvater, and I adored The Raven Boys.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I'd Like to Start

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 series I'd like to start but haven't yet
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

As a general rule, I try my darndest not to read series.  I'm horrible at it.  I read one, maybe two, and then completely forget to continue.  It's even worse if I have to wait for the next in the series.  I don't have time to re-read, but I'm horrible at remembering details, so picking up book two or three can be terribly confusing and frustrating.  I think I read too fast.  But series have their perks.  Well-written series allow you to stay in the world just a little longer.  They let you really get to know the characters and invest in their trials.  Perhaps I should just wait until all the books in the series are out and commit completely.  Go all in.

1) Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver
2) Ender Wiggin series by Orson Scott Card
3) Maze Runner series by James Dashner
4) Gone novels by Michael Grant
5) Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
6) Heist Society novels by Ally Carter
7) Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness
8) Legend series by Marie Lu
9) The Monstrumologist by Richard Yancey
10) Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Librarian Way: Reference Collections

This week on

Monday - Q&A: Changes to your reference collection
Tuesday - Back to Basics: Dealing with vendors
Wednesday - Book love with Julia
Thursday - Exciting Events: National Craft Month
Friday - Friday Favorites with Emily

The Tale of the Shrinking Reference Collection

Friday, March 1, 2013

Library GrabBag: Mario Character Contest

Our new teen librarian came up with this super fun passive program this week.  The teens who spend time with us every day after school are completely obsessed with Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  So totally obsessed that I am forced to hide it at least one day a week because the music and cackles of weird character positions when pause is hurriedly pressed make me want to pull out my hair on occasion.

Enter the "Mario Character Quiz" contest.  Teens answered a series of questions to determine which Mario Brothers character they are most like.  Some cheated...looking at the answer key before filling out the quiz, while others changed their answers to assure they could be their favorite character.  Either way, we had over 30 kids participate for the chance to win a prize.

Sample Questions:

1) How would you describe your stature?
a. Short
b. Tall
c. Slender
d. Round
e. Hulking
f. Squat
g. Hunched

2) Which is your favorite color?
a. Red
b. Green
c. Pink
d. Dark Green
e. Brown
f. Yellow
g. Whatever tastes best
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