Vlogganeering Has Commenced!

I have finally decided, as my last act of Bold Moves October, to actually start the vlogging I keep talking about. So here it is: my first video!

I hope you enjoy it! Can you guess which part makes me laugh every time?

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

Lots of big news happening in and around the library the last couple weeks!

First of all, the biggest news: I was chosen for the promotion to Library Specialist in our Adult Services department! I started last week with training, and am now a member of the library’s reference staff. This is my second promotion since I started working for the library district last December, and I’m very excited about it. It’s a new department with new responsibilities, and I’ve already been selected to attend some product presentations on behalf of my supervisor to decide if we want to purchase new software for the library (one of those was last week, on my third day!). I’m really looking forward to learning new things and helping other people learn things too. In this department I get to put on programs of my own choosing every six weeks or so, and my first one will be on Valentine’s Day! I’m planning on having a cool retro Sock Hop, and I really hope it’s successful! Do you all have any ideas about programs you’d like to see at the library? I would love some suggestions!

Speaking of successful, our party to kick of National Friends of the Libraries Week went swimmingly! After a month of meetings and planning and creating posters and setting up displays, the big day finally arrived on Sunday, and everyone loved it. We committee members came in at noon to set up and place the decorations, and festivities started at three. The program was very cool and featured a great slideshow presentation, the food was delicious, the music was perfect (I was placed in charge of music because I had an old CD made by a friend when we graduated from high school, full of songs about friendship) and all of our guests seemed to have a really wonderful time. My friend the Brash Librarian was there, too, as well as members of the Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors, some of our local political representatives, and many of our Friends. The best part was when one of the Board of Trustees mentioned my centerpiece tags in her speech! It was so flattering, and I was a little embarrassed. My fellow committee member GM and I had designed the centerpieces around all the things our Friends have done for us, so each table was unique. They featured pictures of our bookmobile, author galas, book donation bundles, music CDs, children’s books, and more. On each centerpiece we hung a tag that gave a little more information about what each centerpiece represented. We worked really hard on them and all the guests seemed to have fun going to each table and learning about how much the Friends do for us! Some of our Friends were surprised to learn about all the different ways they’ve helped us over the years!

Another sad change is the closing of one of my favorite places in town, the Laboratory. I’ve been going to the Lab since they opened three years ago, and it’s been incredible to watch how they’ve changed and grown over that time. I even had my graduation lunch with all my family members there, and Larry (the owner) opened the place early just for us. Unfortunately, the building is under new ownership, and Larry is unable to afford the much higher rent the new landlord plans to charge, so they will be closing at the end of this month. Last Thursday marked the very last Nerd Nite to occur at the Lab. One of the guys who runs our local Nerd Nite, CD, asked me and my wench troupe (one of whom is my friend Toni) to perform there after seeing us at an open mic night. We were happy to oblige, and managed to gather a bedful (our term for a quorum/majority) of our gang to sing some naughty songs and have some fun. We all had a good time, and I think the crowd did too! Afterward were some very cool presentations, and we even made ice cream with liquid nitrogen! On Saturday, the Lab held its pre-Halloween party (since they’ll be closed by actual Halloween) and I dressed in my Velma costume (which I will be wearing on Halloween at the library!) and went to hang out and bid farewell to such a great venue. Larry gave a very touching speech, and I cried a lot, but in the end it was a beautiful evening and a nice way to put the old girl to bed, so to speak. 😦

Bold Moves October has been going well, I think; I’ve been making positive changes that I would have been otherwise too scared to do. I’ve been thinking about making video book reviews, but I’ve been too nervous to start them. I think with this last week of Bold Moves October I will finally get on the ball and start vlogging! I might do a reading for All Hallow’s Read, too, but I have to pick a story first! What do you think? Should the Bookaneer become a Vlogganeer?

And now, your Moment of Cute: A man with three small boys was checking out across the lobby, and his kids were getting a little antsy and running around. He warned them to stop running, and pointed at me, saying that I am mean and will tell them they can’t come back if they don’t behave. I interjected, protesting his throwing me under the bus but did tell the kids to please stop running. He and the boys came over after they were done checking out, and he said that they were going to apologize for running and they wouldn’t do it again. The oldest one, about 5, said, “But dad, I wasn’t running; I was speed-walking!” His dad says that he’s a future lawyer! 😀

Keep bookaneering!

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October is the Best Month

A few quick things about the library and then some things that are kind of related!

On Tuesday we had our big All-Staff meeting, as we do quarterly. It’s a great way to get all (roughly) 200 of us in one place and update everyone on goings-on at the library and in the community, and it’s where we honor people for their years of service. At this meeting, we talked about the upcoming Friends of the Library celebration (which I’m on the committee for, more on that later), our United Way fundraising drive, and the nominees (and winner) were announced for the Carole Hole Award, which is an award for outstanding customer service and outreach at the library. All the nominees were really inspiring, and then suddenly, my name was called! Someone had nominated me for the award?! I can tell you, it was COMPLETELY unexpected. I don’t even know what they said about me (besides that I’m always cheerful and happy to help) because I was too busy being dumbfounded and turning red. I was not the winner (the winner is a man who started a conversational English program for foreign speakers at his branch, much cooler than anything I do) but it was still an exceptional honor to be nominated. And the weird thing is this: NO ONE WILL TELL ME WHO NOMINATED ME. It’s driving me crazy!

Meanwhile, this week is Banned Book Week! We have several really cool displays in the Children’s Department, Teen Space, and Adult Services areas of the library. A couple of them feature challenged or banned books in a big cage, and another incorporates a Halloween theme; “Don’t Be Afraid of Banned Books!” This is a really important issue for me, especially, as a librarian-to-be and someone who loves the spreading of information and fights against censorship. I think it’s so crucial that information is kept flowing and free, and that’s one of the MANY reasons I want to become a librarian. (That and I really love the smell of books.)

Coming up later this month is National Friends of the Libraries Week. It’s October 21-27 and our library has decided to throw a big party to thank our Friends for their support and donations over the years. Since we became our own tax district, they’ve provided over $3.5 MILLION in various capacities to our library; including land purchases, a bookmobile refurbishment, scholarships for staff pursuing library degrees, and a myriad of other big and little things. As I mentioned, I’m on the committee, and I was put in charge of designing the big display sign! We had a meeting this morning and it feels really good to have my ideas listened to and implemented, especially since I’m both the newest and youngest employee on the committee. It’s incredibly gratifying to know that the poster that will soon be hanging in pretty much every branch started out as my idea that was scribbled on a legal pad. Part of our centerpieces for the party itself started out as my idea too. I love collaborating! And the best part is that the end of National Friends of the Libraries Week is the kick-off for  our Friends of the Library’s semi-annual Book Sale! It’s a five-day sale that is the biggest of its kind in the southeast US. People line up early on Saturday morning to get in, and they bring bags, boxes, and carts to haul their items away. There’s a really awesome Collector’s Corner that has rare and first editions, Tuesday is Half Price Day, and Wednesday, the last day of the sale, is Ten Cent Day. EVERYTHING is ten cents! I’ve definitely gone in on Wednesdays past with a couple bucks and come home with a bag or two of books and records (yes, records! They also have CDs, DVDs, and more. Not just books!) The sale happens twice a year (fall and spring) and, as I recently learned while designing my poster, each sale brings in $140-160,000. Amazing! We’re so lucky to have such a wonderful Friends association! The sale starts October 27th and runs through October 31st!

Now, it should come as no surprise that October is my favorite month. (Besides the Friends of the Library book sale.) It’s a great time of change, with weather and seasons and colors in nature shifting, and it ends with Halloween! (This year I’m dressing up as Velma from Scooby-Doo, and yes, I will go to work that way!) But there are a couple of other month-long celebrations that I’ve recently discovered that I’d like to share with you. The first is All Hallow’s Read, a celebration started by famous author Neil Gaiman which involves the giving of spooky books on Halloween, and has kind of evolved into a month-long book-giving extravaganza. You can either leave them in public places to be found by the next person, or present them as a gift. You can find out more here. The other thing I’ve discovered is the concept of Bold Moves October. The idea originated from a blog called “Date By Numbers” and it started out as a way to do something daring and gaining confidence in dating, but has become sort of a way to do ANYTHING bold this month, like dyeing your hair pink or going skydiving or applying to graduate school. I need a lot of practice at this, because even though I am a pirate I am apparently not a very good one because I’m not often spontaneous and daring. You can find out more about Bold Moves October here. (You can also see all the #boldmoves on tumblr here!) And not that it’s any of your business but I have made at least one bold move by asking a young man to go to the planetarium with me. He said he couldn’t go but maybe next time. SO BOLD! Another bold thing I’ll be doing (as soon as the grad application is back up on the website) is finally applying to graduate school for Library Science! I keep putting it off but there’s no reason to other than the fact that I’m kind of scared, and that’s the opposite of what Bold Moves October should be, so here I go!

Now boldly get out there and get bookaneering!

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In Which I Am A Superhero

We’ve had a busy week at the library! Wednesday we had a retirement breakfast for the lovely and talented Meredith Pierce, who is leaving the library after 25 years to spend more time writing. She is an accomplished YA fantasy novelist, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! Thursday was our “reopening” party because of all the renovations on the third floor; we’ve swapped the collections, opened a new quiet reading room, painted, re-carpeted  and generally changed the layout of the whole adult services areas. It looks great, and all the bigwigs came to celebrate. On Saturday we had our annual Family Literacy Festival, which was a big hit! A lot of kids came to be recognized as part of the Million Minutes of Reading, there was a play, some dance performances, and booths set up by local businesses giving out cool swag. I wandered around on my lunch break (as everyone was breaking down) and ended up with a Publix bag, a Florida football poster, and I got to make a button!

My totally cool Bookaneer Button!

It was a lot of fun and the kids all seemed to love it. The Literacy Festival is a great way for parents to get their kids interested in reading and TH and her staff of amazing volunteers did an incredible job!

The other day I was at  work and patron came up to the desk and asked if I was a performer at the medieval faire. I told her that I was (I sing with a group of women in a wench troupe, we sing naughty songs and tell jokes) and she said that she recognized me! She told me that she thought I looked familiar but then she saw my necklace (a Celtic knot I always wear) and she knew it was me. She mentioned that she loved our act and she can’t wait to see us next year! It was really flattering (and a little embarrassing!) and kind of surreal. Does this mean I’m famous? I’m pretty sure this means I’m famous.

 

I needed to rent a car this week while mine was in the shop, and the Enterprise representative who picked me up made conversation by asking where I work. Great question! I managed to not talk his ear all the way off about the library and how great it is that we offer so many services. He was really impressed by the idea of downloading audiobooks to his phone to listen to while he was at the gym, since he said he’d been listening to the same music for a while now and was getting tired of it. I told him to stop by any of our branches with a photo ID and proof of address and we’d be happy to get him started! I really hope he does, new patrons are my favorite! (Except for my old patrons that I already know and love!) Besides, as I’ve mentioned, September is National Library Card Registration Month!

And now, the meat of today’s post: A young man called the library in a state, and said that he had returned some DVDs over the Labor Day weekend, but one of them apparently hadn’t been checked in! He had received a bill notice in the mail and was panicking, not sure what he could do. He said he was nearly positive that he’d returned it, and he would be willing to pay for it if it came to that, but he’d rather not. I told him not to worry, and that I would take care of everything for him. I said I’d take a look around for it at the library, since it hadn’t been checked out again, but that I couldn’t put it on the “Claimed Returned” list since it had been billed to him. I advised him to look for it at his home just in case, too. I promised to email him within the next day or so with the result. He thanked me profusely and I told him I would fix it. We happened to have a lull that evening and I let my coworker know I was going to go do a quick shelf-search. The DVD was discovered exactly where it was supposed to be, on its shelf; it had apparently just accidentally been skipped on check-in in the mad influx we’d had over the holiday. I checked it in for him to clear his account, and emailed him to let him know the good news. The next day I received an email back saying how grateful he was to me, proclaiming me and the library to be “so awesome”. It was a really nice gesture, and made me feel appreciated, which is not always a feeling you get as a public servant (fortunately my patrons are usually pretty good about that). Never fear, The Bookaneer is here to save the day!

 

Weird, but Funny:

A lady came in holding an infant, and said “Yes, I’d like to get her a library card.” “Her, who?” I asked, bewildered. “Her,” she replied, gesturing to the baby in her arms, who must have been a few months old, at best. “Oh,” I replied, “you have to be four years old to get a library card here. Sorry!” Why does your baby need  a library card? She can’t even recognize faces, much less read or watch anything. RW told me that we used to issue library cards to “unhatched” babies, even, though we changed it when we switched to Polaris in June.

 

Weird, but Cute:

I was balancing DVDs on my head across the lobby, as usual, and a little girl turned to her mother and said “Mommy, look!” “That’s cool!” said the mother to the daughter, “she could be an African!” What? I am clearly a PRINCESS. Maybe an African Princess?

 

Moment of Cute:

A kid of about 11 wearing a red fez came into the library with his mom to return some books. I said, “Hey, a fez! Fezzes are cool,” which is a reference to the popular British television show Doctor Who. He broke into a wide grin and said “Yes! You get it! Awesome!” and gave me a high five. His mother smiled and rolled her eyes, saying, “he loves that show, I don’t get it.” I winked at him and said “We Whovians always recognize our own,” which made him grin again before they wandered upstairs. I love tiny nerds-in-training!

 

Keep bookaneering!

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The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

So, I’m still recovering from the chart-breaking levels of incredibly cool that was Talk Like A Pirate Day! It really was an awesome experience, and everyone had so much fun with it. My costume was a huge hit! All of Youth Services was dressed in pirate garb, and I was shang-hai’d as soon as I got in to get my “pirate booty” from their treasure chest. I scored a skull-and-crossbones bandanna and a Jolly Roger temporary tattoo.

Sweet tat!

This is my sweet Jolly Roger tattoo. Be jealous.

Later, I picked up a couple of pirate rubber duckies, after I saw another kid with one and told KD in Youth Services that I would pay good money for them. She just let me have them! They are especially great because my bathroom at home is decorated with rubber duckies. One came home with me, and the other sits on my desk here at the library.

Ahoy, me duckies!

Pirate ducky on the left now adorns my desk, while pirate ducky on the right is at home in my bathroom.

Moments of Cute and Weird, But Funny:

I had a bunch of kids say “ARR, MATEY” to me, bedecked with eyepatches and bandannas, and they were all thrilled when I said “AVAST” back. One kid asked me why I had feathers on my hat, and I told him it was because I was the Captain of my pirate ship! He was very impressed. One adult patron asked me the name of my ship, and I replied with “The Magpie”. He then asked what year my ship sailed? I gave him a straight-faced answer of “1607.” He seemed to find that acceptable and moved on. Several people asked “why are you dressed like that?” Sometimes I answered truthfully. Sometimes I answered, “Dressed like what?” I also got to spend the day threatening patrons with walking the plank and being keelhauled unless they brought their books back on time, which is something I wish I could do all the time!

 

One of my coworkers told me that she heard an ad on the radio for free donuts for pirates from Krispy Kreme, so I stopped by on my lunch break. I walked in and the gentleman behind the counter just handed me a dozen donuts without uttering a word! I told him thanks and happy sailing, and brought back my prize to share with me librarrrry crew.

Of course, not everyone could enjoy the levity of Talk Like A Pirate Day. I had a couple patrons ask me why were celebrating criminals. I had another say that Krispy Kreme should be giving those donuts to homeless people instead of people dressed in costumes. To them I just shook my head, because they obviously don’t know how to have fun. On the other hand, one young man said I shivered his timbers! I told him to come see me at the medieval faire, where I am a performer in a singing group, and I would be able to respond to him then, since it wouldn’t be appropriate at the library. 😉

That evening, I went to my other singing group rehearsal, and as soon as I arrived, the others decided they should dress as pirates too! We had a pirate-y practice, then I took one of my mateys and we went to get MORE donuts. I took these to my favorite venue, which was having a fundraiser, and the donuts and I were welcomed with open arms. Nothing like attending a dance party dressed as a pirate!

Anyway, this year’s Talk Like A Pirate Day was beyond compare, and I’m so glad I got to share it with everyone at my favorite place.

The Bookaneer in her natural habitat

The Bookaneer in her natural habitat!

 

Keep bookaneering, mateys!

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Talk Like A Pirate Day

Avast, me bookaneers! Here’s a quick update before bed!

Tomorrow (today) is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and our library is doing some special things for it! We have a great display of pirate books in the children’s area, and the Youth Services staff are giving away pirate-related prizes to kids who participate and talk like a pirate to them. That’s the easiest way to find treasure I’ve ever seen!

What’s even better is that I asked my supervisor and he said I could dress in costume for the special day tomorrow! He mentioned I would probably be the only one in the lobby in costume, and of course I replied that it didn’t matter. This holiday was MADE for me and I plan to celebrate! I’ll be wearing a lighter version of my full pirate garb, and a hat with no feathers. Too distracting and cumbersome. (Though ye can tell by me sea-worthy bearing that I be a true captain, feathers in me cap or no!)

I’ll post a photo tomorrow of my costume, but anyone who’s local should come visit and say ahoy! September is also Library Registration Month, so come on downtown and we’ll get you signed up for a new card if it’s been awhile.

(My pirate friends and I were hoping our local Krispy Kreme was participating in the “free donuts for pirates in costumes” event, but they are not. Boo! I suggested we storm the place and commandeer the donuts, but we decided that wouldn’t be very polite.)

Keep bookaneering, mateys! Yoho!

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Welcome to Crazytown

I was thinking on Wednesday that nothing weird had happened for a few days. ‘How will I update my blog?’ I thought, despairing. Fortunately, the fine patrons of our lovely public library never fail me, and this week they DELIVERED.

A young man came in to the library to pick up his holds, he had eight CDs. He didn’t recognize one of them, and we confirmed on his account that it was supposed to be another album (CCR’s “Green River”. Good choice!) I thought maybe the slips had been swapped, but when I checked the wrong CD in, it turned out it was still checked out to someone else, despite being on our shelf! I told the guy he could come back another day when he came to pick up the rest of his holds (he had several more being shipped), and hopefully I could find it in the meantime. I looked for it on the carts in the work area, no go. Finally, I went to the shelf, and found it right where it was supposed to be, if it wasn’t supposed to be trapped for our patron. I discovered that the culprit of this comedy of errors was a coworker who retired that same day, so I guess we will let it slide. 🙂

Speaking of retiring, we had a really nice party for GY on Wednesday, who has retired after 22 years of service at the Alachua County Library Headquarters Branch. She got a sweet plaque, a lovely plant, and a nice card signed by all of us in Circulation. Her family came to the party, and some other friends who had retired already or moved to another branch. She was really happy, and when asked what she planned to do on Thursday, she said SLEEP, then READ. Good luck and enjoy retirement, GY!

Also on Wednesday, my dad came to visit! He was in town for a meeting (he works for DCF in Jacksonville) and stopped by the library afterward. He wandered around for a bit before I was able to see him, then I took him downstairs to our work area, since I had phone duty and couldn’t leave. His comment about coming to the our work space was “I’ve never been inside the guts of a library before!” I told him it was pretty much like every other office! (Of course I didn’t show him the secret room where we conduct our black library magic rituals. He’s not an initiate.) We got to chat for a bit while I trapped holds and he told me he’s going on a trip to Brooklyn in a few weeks to talk about setting up a partnership between their library and social services department like we have here in Gainesville. Apparently some of our Library Partnership Branch staff is going to be there too, and the branch be used as a model! Our Partnership branch is award-winning, and combines the services of a library with the Partnership for Strong Families, which helps families sign up for food stamps and WIC, claim unemployment weeks, and other services for those in need. He could not stop singing the praises of our library, which always makes me feel good. Libraries are awesome!

Weird, but Funny: On Friday, we got a DVD in at the desk, and when AC and I looked at the back, we discovered that someone had added notes to it. One said “How is a person to read the back of the box if stupid people cover it up?” Another, smaller note above it said “Like this” with an arrow pointing to our barcode, which was covering up part of the DVD description. Not only were these notes taped on, but they were taped to the INSIDE of the plastic covering. As I said to AC, people are never as industrious as when they are being passive-aggressive!

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Moment of Cute: On Thursday, a big “I SPY” book was checked in through the book drop. I opened it to check for condition, and I saw that someone had carefully written in a shaky print in the “This Book Belongs To” bookplate the words “All people in Gainesville”! I thought it was adorable so I didn’t erase it. Even I have room for adorableness in my black little librarian heart! Look how cute:

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I also had an interview on Friday for a Library Specialist position in the Adult Services department! It pays a little more and means that I would be working at the reference desk and doing programs instead of in Circulation. I should find out in a couple weeks if I got the job! Fingers crossed!

 

Keep bookaneering!

 

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