Week in Review: July 4th edition

Outreach, Business Services, Budgets. This week has had it all! Here’s my wrap up:

After a bit of a struggle, I’ve figured out how to download this video:

Community Spotlight – Henry Co. Library System from SCB TV 15 on Vimeo.

to archive for future use on my digital portfolio :) Yay me. I know it’s completely minor for most of you but I’ve had some pretty big fish to fry lately. If you want to see me – I’m the second half of the Library duo.

Other notables of the week:

I received The Princess Within for Teens: Discovering Your Royal Inheritance by Serita Ann Jakes for review. Bonus :)

I am working my way through editing book review submissions for Georgia Library Quarterly. Georgia Library Quarterly is the professional journal for Georgia Librarians in all fields. In addition to professional content, librarians offer book reviews. We review works both fiction and nonfiction which focus on Georgia and the South. This is my first time around editing for them in Chicago Manual of Style. I’m sure I’ll get quicker but right now the learning curve is creating a log jam with my time.

I have an Outreach Library! – I share most of this stuff on twitter -

I’ve been offered a free spot at a farmers market. My suggestion for libraries: Farmers Market: Be there. The farmers market was by far the best return on my time investment for all of my outreach efforts up to this point. Over 200 people walked by my booth. Of them, 40 or so stopped to learn more about the library and our services. Well over half of those were surprised by a service that they didn’t know we offered. Some were frequent library users. Most were not. I’m trying the ‘book dealer’ approaching to hooking users. I’m making non-circulating paperbacks available at the market and other outreach events. Hopefully they bring them back to me or one of our branches. Eventually, I’ll give enough books away for free that folks will be willing to get a library card for an even greater collection of FREE books!! 

Another big project: Business Services took a huge stride forward last week with a meeting between the Small Business Development Center, the Development Authority, SCORE & me (public library). I went in with my own concept of how to work with these entities. Good news: I shut my mouth and listened instead of speaking. I learned I was a bit off track AND exactly what they were looking for and willing to provide. I’m now very excited that this project is moving forward in a new direction with full support of some very good assets and contributors. When it’s really rolling out I’ll update you.

And on a personal note, life has been too busy to even really cook! Yikes. But I’m learning to appreciate yummy food that can be created in stages. Here’s what I’ve done step by step all week long: Homemade Twix bar cookies.

Pure food post:

Try some chicken & waffles on for size:

Cornbread waffles:
24 oz cornmeal
1/2 t baking soda
2 T maple syrup
2 c milk
5 eggs
1/2 c applesauce
1 t maple flavoring
1/2 t cinnamon
Mix well. Cook on waffle iron.
Warning these will fill ya up fast! No big eyes!!! I kept mine within a reasonable diet with grilled chicken, a sprinkle of cheddar & a side of seasoned beans.

And Then There Were Nuns…

and thenTitle: And Then There Were Nuns
Author: Jane Christmas
Copyright: 2013
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Checked out from the library

And Then There Were Nuns is a memoir sharing one woman’s journey to discerning her vocation. This is a particularly pressing matter as she’s facing the immediate choices of marriage vs. nunnery. She has a very understanding significant other and the blessing of time to explore the nunneries. Jane is a 2x divorcee who has felt the call to religious life and ignored it for a good portion of her life. She finally decides to fully explore the option just as her long-time boyfriend pops the question. She finds herself in the absurd circumstance of promising herself to both a spouse and potentially God. To resolve this nagging call and desire to serve, she decides to post-pone planning nuptials to visit a convent. The first convent visit doesn’t resolve the feelings but does force her to explore further. As readers, we end up on a year long journey through convents and abbeys of both Anglican and Catholic origins. We learn that she’s really peeling back layers to expose herself completely. Some of this exposes quite painful life experiences. We soon find that her journey may or may not be to discern her vocation but is absolutely to find healing. While she explored her inner thoughts and struggles, I laughed, cried and learned a lot to deepen my own spiritual practice.

One aspect of this book I just loved was her humor. Religion and self exploration can teeter on stuffy, self-righteous, dry. Not Jane! Jane lets it all hang out. I promise, this isn’t like one of those previews where only the funny parts are shown so your disappointed by the movie… the whole book is funny. But I need to share this story as it’s my favorite and the one I most identify with. Jane self describes as a driven over achiever. In one convent, she become convinced that she could master this nun stuff in 5 years tops. Yes, she confirms with herself, 5 years here and she’d be fit for Mother Superior. Her humility seems to lose it’s grip on her spirit and she becomes quite full of herself. But just as always seems to happen in those instances… she finds herself slipped right back into place. At the next observance of the Hours, she finds that she can’t keep her papers straight. She’s lost her place and her papers. One sticks in the shoe of the nun next to her. She is completely humiliated as she must collect her papers and herself. Sure, she can run this place – as soon as she can figure out how to get through a simple routine Hours without a ruckus.

I loved that I learned a lot about my own personal spiritual journey. I learned some new prayer techniques. I received some great recommendations for future reading. I didn’t love how she was treated in Catholic institutions. Some treatment of her as a child and as an adult is callus with religious superiority. Having been the recipient of this lately, my heart hurts for her as a child and even as a raw adult on an earnest spiritual journey. I understand the need to be true to ones own faith. I can not understand how this can’t happen with kindness as the package.

I will share my favorite pick up from the book: The Anglican Collect for Purity

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secretes are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy holy spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name: through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Chocolate Digestive Biscuits


Locomotive & Buffalo Burgers

locomotiveTitle: Locomotive 

Author: Brian Floca

Copyright: 2013

Caldecott Award Winner – and many more!

Checked out from the library per little man’s request.

We were waiting for the elevator in the children’s section and my son became very excited. The book, Locomotive, was in a display. Little Man announced that we had to get this book as well. It’s an Award Winner! He knows that this sort of endorsement would prompt me to up the book ration. I did. I’m a sucker for the Award books. I have not yet regretted picking one up.

Locomotive is the story of the railroad and a family’s westward journey. The book shares how the railroad was built and the Gold Rush. The story would be equally appealing to both boys and girls. Because of this, I would strongly recommend this title as a companion to a historical spine; either for a homeschooling family or classroom read-aloud. Each job on the train is described as well as the steam engine. This could easily be expanded into mechanical study for an older student in the family. We also learn some of how the trains communicate with each other and people at the stations through their ‘toot’ language. Throughout the family’s journey, we see the places they’ve passed through in beautiful illustrations. We took this opportunity to break out the maps and follow along.  We learn about what life was like on one of the early trains and in America during that time period. Much of the perspective is that of a child in the family which keeps the book from becoming dry with factual content. Indeed, given all of the learning activities that we were able to develop out of this book, one might think that we wore it out. But truly, the kids asked for it again and again. They enjoyed the story and the learning was just a byproduct. I guess that’s why this selection is such the award winner.


Buffalo Burgers (inspired by Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburgers found here)

2# buffalo (or ground beef, or a mix of both)
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 c bread crumbs
Worchesire Sauce
Garlic Salt
6 or 7 slices cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400. Mix ingredients from meat to pepper and pat evenly into 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Meat will pull in and give off some fat – how much fat depends on the kind of meat you choose. Top with cheese slices and return to oven until cheese melts. Serve on slider rolls.

Delish! (I like mine topped with a little steak sauce but everyone else went the classic route of ketchup, mustard & pickle)

Week in Review

Well good Friday morning! Can you believe we made it?!

Life is crazy busy lately with amazing things, so I think I’ll take some time to share these with you!

1st: Our library remains in fiscal crisis. Here it is in a nutshell:


Deadline is looming: July 1. We’ve made a commitment to not cut services until following Summer Reading Program which ends July 31st. The community support has been amazing but you can’t pay the bills with encouragement. We’ll just have to wait and see how that encouragement translates itself to the decision makers. Sometimes I wonder if a drive to switch from yearly budget discretionary allotment to mil rate funding would solve our problems… but then I see libraries with that brand of funding struggling too.

2: But life and library must go on. So I also spent part of this week visiting tattoo parlors :) I did have to promise hubby not to come home with any more – which I won’t!! Though I did joke I’d come home with this:



But boy o boy I love those places!! So what do tattoos have to do with the public library? We have a great digital magazine service called Zinio. Zinio is heavily used by a few. So we are attempting to determine whether it’s because people aren’t aware of it or aren’t interested. We’ve selected a couple of special interest titles to promote. One of these titles is Inked. I distributed flyers advertising Inked with information on how to access it with a library card. We’ll watch the circulation of these items and hopefully have a better overall view of the situation. One staff member did offer a bit of discouragement that magazines are only for the older generation. Which not only discouraged my efforts but also made me think – hey, did you just call me old? So what are your thoughts? Do you read magazines? Do you buy them?

Another peak of my week: Teaching soap making at one of our libraries. I’d planned for about 5. 18 showed. We had a really good time. I enjoy the interactive nature of soap making and sharing something I love so much with our patrons.


One more perk: I spent one whole day at the circulation desk. Patrons and patron service is the heart of my job and why I do what I do. With the whole budget crisis, I was feeling pretty burnt out. A day with those that we serve really recharged my batteries. It was a very good thing.

Finally: I have had the privilege of joining our state’s professional journal as an editor. Today is my first meeting and I’m excited and nervous. Wish me luck!

I’d love to hear what you & your libraries are up to this week!

The It List & a yummy summer shake

I’ve raved about Megan McCafferty before. I love the Jessica Darling series. If you haven’t read it, I’ll wrap it up for you right here: Strong young female loves herself enough to pursue her dreams despite boys. But she still loves the boy…. Young girls, we love(d) the boys. Some of us lost ourselves because of it. The Jessica Darling series is a great one for young women. But I have a young girl. And the content of the Jessica Darling series was just not appropriate for her yet.

Enter the prequel: The IT List by Megan McCafferty. Jessica Darling enters seventh grade. She has her best friend. She has her own personal style. She has a sister that was the IT girl of high school. She hasn’t a clue how this is going to turn out.

I enjoyed this prequel much more than other series that have attempted this feat. Frequently, a prequel feels like an attempt to monopolize on a series monetary success. I find that frequently a prequel offers very little to the actual story at all. Why bother?

I found The IT List to be very relevant – needed! I’m able to introduce this strong – though filled with self-doubt – young lady to my young lady when she needs her the most. My tween is just forming the teenager she’s going to be. If I wait until 17 to introduce her to the strong young lady, it’s too late!! Additionally, McCafferty actually ties in real references from the Jessica Darling series. In that series Jessica reflects upon middle school – and then she actually incorporates these references into The IT List. -Proof positive, it’s not an afterthought at all. It’s a wonderful continuation of a story I can get enough of.

So… inspired by the favorite comfort food of Jessica and her best friend, here’s my recipe:

Cap’t Crunch Berry Milk Shake

3/4 cup vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup Cap’t Crunch Berry cereal
1/2 cup milk
5 ice cubes
1/2 t vanilla
2 T sugar

Whip it all up in a blender and enjoy! I topped mine with a little Reddi-Whip. Mmmm.



Has Your Phone Ever Creeped You Out?

It will take you 35 minutes to drive home from here. This displayed on my iphone at a friends house. Having not entered my home address, I was a bit creeped out.

Thanks to the linking of facebook to my phone, I can also receive constant annoying reminders to attend events of people I barely know.

This all comes to mind during ALA’s Choose Privacy Week. Our privacy is something that many of us are giving away. <Insert Red Hot Chili Peppers – give it away now> We’ve decided to honor this activity at our library during the whole week with digital programming. Each day we post an informative link offering step-by-step instructions for making privacy choices in the digital environment. There really is a lot of information available about this but surprisingly not everyone knows were to find it.

I’m going to share the posts we used this week here, along with some that for one reason or another were deemed not appropriate for library sponsored distribution. I hope you learn something, or at least find something valuable to share. And certainly, if I’ve missed something, don’t hesitate to add a link!

Need help convincing someone that facebook privacy settings are important? Share this app: http://www.takethislollipop.com/ Don’t worry, it doesn’t post to your wall or retain any of your information.

Creeped out? Use this youtube video to adjust your facebook privacy settings: http://ow.ly/wldL6 Also, if you really are serious about this, there are longer more indepth videos. I found this one adequate but feel free to get more committed!

Would you like some additional info on the state of privacy in the United States? Here’s a great -short- 8 minute PBS documentary: http://ow.ly/wlc98

Do you use WiFi in public spaces? Be smart & play it safe! OnGuard Online offers a quick tutorial: http://ow.ly/wlgRz

Remember all those government computers hacked because the password was ‘password’? And we all decided they must be idiots? Don’t laugh until you know whether yours passes muster! Remember an ounce of prevention is the best medicine! http://ow.ly/wlheT

Consider your google dashboard: Super handy tool or super sleuth rat? Control what you share and with whom by monitoring your profile http://ow.ly/wliRE

Last but not least! That iphone – do you vow to share only what you want to share and nothing more so help you Pink Panther? http://ow.ly/wli49 don’t forget these privacy settings!!

How about a TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/alessandro_acquisti_why_privacy_matters

Or how about a whole ‘nuther link fest of awesome interactive tools to teach your own privacy class:


Great link to Choosing Privacy Week’s list of resources: http://chooseprivacyweek.org/know-your-rights/for-libraries/

I could go on all day… I wish I had time to make this pretty and cute … but I wanted to share before I’m old and this is outdated!!