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Big Changes for the Bookaneer

Ahoy, me hearties! As you may know, I’ve been gone for a very long time. (Almost a year!) I took a…piratical sabbatical, did some traveling, some working, and had some grand adventures (which I’ll catch you up on in an upcoming post). But I am back, rejuvenated, excited, and ready to go for the next long stretch of bookaneering! I’ve found some new inspiration in a new friend (see next post), and a BRAND NEW JOB! That’s right, I’m now the Youth Services Library Specialist at one of our library’s branches, and it’s really allowing me to stretch my creative wings and do some super cool things I hadn’t been able to do in my old position. Working with children is a dream come true, and it’s been so much fun getting settled into my new job. I have a truly excellent team, and I honestly feel like I’m making a difference in kids’ lives.

So come along with the Bookaneer into the next chapter of our journey! I’m so thrilled for what lies ahead. Next post: this weekend?! Believe it!

Keep bookaneering!

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In Which the Bookaneer is Filled with Library Feelings

I responded to a post on tumblr about getting to know your tumblarians (that’s tumblr librarians, if you didn’t know ;D) where the prompt was “What are your dearest library memories?”

“LIBRARY MEMORIES?!” I cried, “I have tons of those!” So I proceeded to write the longest text post I’ve ever written on tumblr. And then I thought, well, I should definitely share this with everyone who DOESN’T follow me on tumblr too, right? So here I go.

It’s a long list.

I grew up in libraries. My parents read to me from the time I was born. I’m told I was reading on my own by the time I was three. It seems obvious now that this would be the field I’d end up in, but I really only settled on librarianship as a career within the last two or three years.

I went to a small Catholic school K-8, and I was in an “advanced readers” group in first grade. We read books that other kids in our grade weren’t ready for yet, and I loved it. The librarian at my school was a woman named Sheila Beaupre and she was my idol. She made reading and learning so much fun, and COOL. We did awesome crafts and presentations about books we were reading, and I was NEVER made to feel bad or weird for loving to read or being a “bookworm” in that space. I won the school spelling bee. I read every book on Greek mythology I could get my hands on. I read Jane Eyre in seventh grade and didn’t get it. My reading level was soon higher than any books we had there but I LOVED that library.

Every week during the summer, my mom would take my sisters and me to our local public library. It was tucked at the end of a road behind the Skate Station. I could navigate there with my eyes closed. I loved mysteries and went through a serious mystery book phase, during which I think I read every single Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book in the children’s section (after I grew out of the Encyclopedia Brown books). I soon moved on to Agatha Christie for mysteries, and then Anne McCaffrey, Orson Scott Card, and Tolkien for fantasy. I saw a picture of my little old library (the building is actually younger than I am, by about a year!) recently and all those old memories came flooding back. I can still see the layout in my head, where the story hour room was, the children’s section in the back with the primary colors and low-slung chairs, the more austere adult area with the amazing old-book smell. My old library card. I haven’t been back in years but that’s still MY library, y’know? I LOVED that library.

 

Me too, Colbert.

Almost every summer growing up, we’d go visit my grandparents in Iowa for a few weeks. They lived in a small university town, much smaller than our hometown, and we would ride bikes to the library or the bandshell, go play in the creek down by the park, or swim at the high school pool. My abuela was a writer. I volunteered at the library a couple summers in a row, once as a helper for the children’s summer programming, where we read books and watched movies and made unicorn horns out of construction paper; and once as a shelver for the adult fiction collection. I was in charge of the science fiction and fantasy section and it was HEAVEN. It was during these years I think that I started reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. It was also during these two summers that I developed a huge crush on a boy named Nathan who volunteered at the library too. Nothing ever came of it because I was WAY too shy and he was a couple years older, but I remember him being very cute, and he had a PONYTAIL (gasp!). I LOVED that library!

In high school, I was in band, and I was not a “cool” band kid, I was an awkward band kid. I spent more than one morning in the school library with the chess club, and when Orson Scott Card came to visit, I was one of the 30 or so kids that showed up. At that time I was exploring being a writer, and getting to speak with Mr. Card was an incredible experience. (I don’t agree with very many of the things he says now, but I loved his books then.) I was the editor of our band’s football game-day newsletter, and I took more pride in that than I probably should have. I was appointed the Music Librarian for the band for my junior and senior years, and I whipped that little music library into SHAPE, let me tell you. I got a taste of information organization then, but it still didn’t click that librarianship was my destiny. I spent hours in that little storage closet-turned-library, organizing sheet music by part, composer, and title. It was mine, and I LOVED that library.

I know, Crybaby.

I went to college in a different city than my hometown, and it was hard to adjust. College was hard; there were so many distractions and people to meet and things to do that I didn’t do as well as I most likely should have. I had never struggled with school before, and I didn’t understand why I was struggling now. I made some…probably-not-for-the-best life choices, mostly involving a boy, and it took me much longer than perhaps it should have to get my undergraduate degree. The bright spot at my university, though, was the libraries. There are at least a dozen of them, and Library West was my kingdom. It had just been renovated when I started school there, and they had installed MOVING BOOKSHELVES in the lower floors. I had never seen the like and I thought they were MAGICAL. (I met someone recently who tested the “the shelves will stop if they detect movement” theory. “Did you almost die?” I asked. “I almost died,” he replied, laughing. Don’t get stuck in the stacks, kids!) Library East was a special collections building, and they had a little bookstore for used books and records (where I wanted to work, forever) as well as a constantly changing and engaging display on the second floor. I would stop in on my way across campus if I wasn’t in a hurry, and just smell the history. I think they did rebinding and mends in there, too. I LOVED that library.

After I got my degree in December of 2010, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was kind of tired of linguistics, and my specialization, historical linguistics, wasn’t exactly looking to be the most lucrative option (thank god for that Classics minor, right? Not.) I decided that I wanted to look into archival work and preservation, since I liked old books so much and I kind of just want to be around them. I had a few friends who’d gone to library school and that sounded kind of awesome too. So I became a volunteer at my city’s downtown public library, working a few hours a couple days a week, and I got to know the place, and the people. About seven months later I got a job there, as a library page. It was a DREAM COME TRUE. Shelving and straightening books all day long, helping people find books and movies and music and everything they could hope for, having patrons look at me like a miracle-worker every time I pulled exactly what they were looking for…it was wonderful. I kept working hard, and I got two promotions within my first 10 months. I’ve been here about two years now, if you include my volunteer service, and every day is wonderful. Sure you have the regular troublemakers, but you also have the patrons who are so grateful when you give them the information they’ve been searching for…it makes every day worth it. Maybe I’m still idealistic, and maybe it’s not my life goal, but public librarianship is completely worth it, and I LOVE MY LIBRARY!

I feel your feels, Troy.

In conclusion, libraries have been with me since I was a wee little Bookaneer, and thinking about them gives me a lot of emotions. I definitely teared up more than once while writing this up, and I hope you enjoyed it! What are your dearest library memories?

Keep bookaneering, mates!

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National Library Workers’ Day!

Day two of National Library Week, and today is was National Library Workers’ Day! We had a great day today at the library, though Tuesdays are always long since I close. (we close at 9pm! Can you believe it?) My boss JW and coworker OP went and grabbed us some Starbucks before the night shift started, though, and I thoroughly appreciated my hot chocolate! (Not a coffee drinker!) I did make sure to look extra peppy though, with my pseudo-rockabilly-pinup style. Cheese!

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Dig my skull and crossbones bandanna, and tiny owl earrings!

So, National Library Workers’ Day! There are many ideas about what librarians and library workers do:

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I am actually all of these. Especially Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.

But really what we do is make libraries WORK. You can’t have a library without staff!

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Yes, we do!

I shared the above picture on my personal Facebook page today, with the caption “Love your library workers! Especially me!” and boy have I been feeling the love!

For example: the marquee in front of the school district building where I park has been changed to reflect School Library Month. Check it out, they’ve even got a cute little book tile!

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Or seven!

My day today was really made though when I got to work and discovered that we had received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from The Plant Shoppe here in town to thank us for being library workers! Very sweet!

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I also put up a poster in our work area that we got for National Library Week – this year’s theme is Communities Matter. The poster looks kind of like this:

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Cool, right? The community is what make a library what it is; it serves as the hub for all different types of people to come together as equals, to share information, and generally make the world a better place. After the awfulness of yesterday’s tragic events in Boston, the national (and global) library community is coming together to help get Boston and her libraries back on their feet. One of the victims was the son of a school librarian, the explosion happened near the downtown Boston Public Library, and there was also an unrelated fire at the JFK Library the same day, so it all hit especially close to our library hearts. But when tragedy strikes, people need two things: community support, and information. The library and its staff provide these things on a daily basis, even more so in time of crisis. I want to give a shout out to Google as well, for creating the amazing “Person Finder” to help people find each other. An online community is still a community and Google is an honorary library worker in my book! All we can do is support and love each other, work toward peace, and continue learning, sharing, and educating.

This week is also National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, and I want to thank my friend Toni and all the calltakers,dispatchers, and technicians (ESPECIALLY those manning the lines in Boston yesterday) that are always there to help during emergencies. Thank you for your support!

Tomorrow: A video? More blogging? Both?! Stay tuned and keep bookaneering!

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The Very Busy Bookaneer

Ahoy, mateys!

It’s been a busy week for the Bookaneer, preparing for the Sock Hop, learning more about library school, getting ready for the Rugged Maniac, and then spending my weekend crazy sore!!

First of all, the Valentine’s Sock Hop was swell. I played awesome 50’s music for two and a half hours, people came and danced, and almost everyone went home with a blind book date! I got lots of compliments on my sock hop outfit, too, which turned out really well! My friend MW let me borrow her poodle-style skirt (which had music notes and a treble clef, no actual poodles involved) and made me a sweet petticoat out of basically thin air. I spent some time skipping around the library, delivering My Little Pony and Minnie Mouse valentines to my coworkers. It was a lot of fun!

Check out that high pony and awesome neck scarf!

Check out that high pony and awesome neck scarf!

Of course, the set up went a little wonky, and my laptop wouldn’t work, so I had to borrow one last minute from my department. It all worked out in the end though, and the decorations turned out really well!

The welcome sign: I was going for a "high school dance" feel.

The welcome sign: I was going for a “high school dance” feel.

Everyone liked the Blind Date with a Book theme, though it took a couple girls a few times explaining to get it: “no, you can’t open it to find out.” “It’s a surprise! Go check it out!” They seemed happy with their choices in the end though; I hope they have a great date!

Adorable library-themed conversation hearts really complete the decor.

Adorable library-themed conversation hearts really complete the decor. My favorite is “Dewey Match?”

My friends SD, CC, and AT showed up as well, and we had fun dancing together and talking about books. AT even signed up for a library card that night to check out one of the blind date books! I was SO. PROUD.

SD showed up in costume and we had a lot of fun dancing!

And SD showed up in costume and we had a lot of fun dancing!

All in all, it was a really great time and I’m glad my first program went off without too much of a hitch.

Friday morning, I went to a NEFLIN training on “Getting the Most Out of Grad School”, which turned out to be more of a recruiting program, but I still learned a lot. Dr. C Koontz gave a great presentation, and she used me to give examples to the other attendees about how online grad school works. She was really cheerful and supportive, and it was a genuine pleasure to meet her! I hope I get the opportunity to take some classes with her in the future!

Dr. Koontz lives dangerously and wears FSU garb in the Gator Nation...

Dr. Koontz lives dangerously and wears FSU garb in the Gator Nation…

On Saturday morning, the Brash Librarian and I headed out early with our friend OH to the Rugged Maniac Obstacle 5K. It’s 3.1 miles of mud, fire, high walls, rope nets, freezing water, and the reward of a cold beer at the end!

Here's our nice and clean before picture...

Here’s our nice and clean before picture…

And the AFTER! We had so much fun!

And the AFTER! We had so much fun!

Spent a nice cold morning getting dirty, and I got the T-shirt to prove it!

It's on the shirt, it must be true!

It’s on the shirt, it must be true!

I spent the rest of the weekend recovering. I’m running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon this coming Sunday with my friend TG, and I’m not sure I’ll be ready! Eek!

Coming up this week: pictures of displays, and hopefully a read-along video? I have a couple picked out. We’ll see!

Keep bookaneering!

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Valentine’s Day Sock Hop + Blind Date with a Book!

Ahoy mateys!

I have mentioned this on Tumblr and Facebook, but I wanted to expand upon it here: my very first program is coming up next week! I’m throwing a Sock Hop on Valentine’s Day, and I’ll also have a display set up for “Blind Date with a Book”!

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This is the handbill for the event. My coworker LF came up to me and said, very seriously, “There’s something wrong with your handbill.” I gasped. “What is it? Is something spelled wrong?” I was terrified, since I’d already printed the whole batch. “No,” she said, “they are just TOO CUTE!” Aaah! Don’t scare me like that! I AM pretty proud of it though, I hope the program goes just as well! I’ve gotten a lot of interest about the blind date books, which is good because otherwise I’d think I’d gone a little overboard with the book selection…

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These are the piles of “elegantly wrapped” books for the program, sitting on my kitchen table. I still have about ten more to do, but thankfully I had my friend and coworker DW to help me wrap them at my craft night last night. We did have a few moments of “wait, what book is this? I can’t see, I don’t remember what it was! Oh no!” but we ended up figuring them all out. Each book has a few vague descriptive words like “nonfiction” or “mystery” but are otherwise wrapped in festive pink, white, and red wrapping paper so you can’t see the title or author. If you grab one you should be able to just scan it via RFID to check it out. Surprise! I grabbed the idea from tumblr, and I can’t wait to see it in action.

I did have some trouble choosing the books; there are SO MANY available and I tried really hard to pick books besides just ones I’d like to read. I have a wide range of tastes though, and I got several recommendations from a few of my coworkers, so I think it will turn out fine. I’m really excited!

I’m working at the library this weekend, so I’ve got to go to bed now so I can wake up early and finish my homework before work (grad school is hard!). Feel free to stop by and say hello!

Keep bookaneering!

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Headed for Hoggetowne (Plus Moment of Cute!)

Ahoy, mateys!

I’ve been spending the last week or so in desperate preparation for the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, which starts this weekend and ends next weekend.

Wenchy Bookaneer

I wore a “dress-code-friendly” version of my wench outfit to the library today!

The Faire’s been kind of consuming my whole life outside of work and school and it’s been a little overwhelming! On Saturday we had a wench rehearsal, and had a lot of fun. We love to laugh, and we think we’re hilarious! Then I had a meeting with a producer friend about maybe recording some songs for an EP? Which would be crazy awesome. I think we’re going to see how Faire goes before we think about spending money on professionally recording ourselves. On Sunday the Theives’ Guilde (the troupe that does the Living Chessboard each year) had their dress rehearsal for the City, and it went swimmingly. I also got to sing my song for the other producer of the show, and the actors and I worked out some cues. You can see and hear me sing a song about how great Hoggetowne is at the opening gate scene at 9:45am, just before the gates open and let the masses in. If you’re not inclined to wake up that early, I will be performing as Cherri Tart with the rest of my wenches in Just Desserts at 12:30, 2:00, and 3:30. Come high-five the Bookaneer!

Just Desserts Card

We even got business cards! (/shill)

 

Moment of Cute:

I want to share this story with you because I think it’s a perfect example of why I love my job so much. (Also because everyone likes Moments of Cute.) I had just stepped out of our work area and into the Children’s Department floor, about to head upstairs to the desk. As I walked toward the stairs, a little girl of about nine or ten approached me and said, “Excuse me, ma’am?” I asked her what I could do for her and she said she was looking for the Inkheart books. “Do you know who writes them?” I asked. She shook her head and I said “I THINK it’s Funke. Let’s go check.” I walked her over to the fiction section, explaining that they’re in alphabetical order by author (librarianing, as it is apparently called, though I just think of it as an aspect of bookaneering), and when we got to F…Fu…Fun… “There they are!” she exclaimed happily, and picked up the first book from the bottom shelf. “Thank you!” She looked at me like I was a miracle worker. “I’m glad I was right!” I grinned, and then we high-fived and it was awesome. I LOVE it when kids have so much enthusiasm for reading. I hope she hangs on to it.

 

Tonight I’m going to Cupcake‘s to try on my new bloomers, and then tomorrow is the Faire! Huzzah!

Keep bookaneering, everyone!

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The Bookaneer Works a Lot, Sings a Lot, and Goes to Grad School!

Ahoy mateys!

The last couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy busy with both library things and non-library things. I am on the display team for the Adult Services department and we’ve put up our big January display (World Music, pictures coming soon) and our February display is in the works! Our December display (Find Your Way to Fantasy, pictures coming soon) was a huge hit and I got a number of nice compliments on it! My coworker and I were responsible for most of this month’s display, and we’re really proud of how it turned out. If you’re in the area, you should stop by!

I am also on the committee for our Viva Florida 500 campaign. This year is the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing in Florida, and the whole state is having a year-long celebration! Our library district is going to have a speaker series, a time capsule, and lots of other cool events to commemorate. It’s been really interesting to learn some Florida history that I didn’t even know about! Keep an eye on our aclib.us website for upcoming Viva Florida events!

Another major event for The Bookaneer is the upcoming Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. I perform with a group of ladies wenches (including my friend Toni/Cupcake) called Just Desserts who sing bawdy songs and generally have a raucous good time with our audience. The Faire this year runs the last weekend in January (26-27) and the first weekend in February (1-3), with the 1st being Kids’ Day (no scheduled shows). We have three shows a day and I would LOVE to see you there! My stage name is Cherri Tart and you can be friends with her/me on Facebook!

As I mentioned in the title, I’ve also started graduate school! My friend the Brash Librarian and I are taking two classes together, since it’s his last semester and my first. We’re in Information Organization and Museum Informatics, and I’m already hooked after two weeks! I’m so glad I made the choice to be a librarian. It’s gonna be a tough road to balance both school and work, but I will make it happen!

I’ve made it my goal to post more updates, even if they are not as long as my former posts. My blog notebook is filling up with silly stories to share and it’s gonna be great! I’m also going to use my Tumblr and Facebook to interact with you all more, so be sure to follow me there as well! I also have a couple books picked out to do video readings of, and I’d love more more suggestions. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to see!

Happy sailing and keep bookaneering!

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