Archive for April, 2007

$15 Million Donated to Free Library of Philadelphia

I’m always thrilled to hear of libraries getting money & support instead of getting it taken away, but I’m especially excited when that library is in Philadelphia, my all-time favorite city. [I know it’s unglamorous, but I can’t help it–I grew up across the river, just 10 minutes away from the City of Brotherly Love. I even earned my MLS there at Drexel University.] So when I heard the great news that the Free Library of Philadelphia was going to begin building a 180,000 sq. ft. annex at the Central Library in late 2008, my heart did a little dance of joy. Even better was that the 2 year, $175 million project will be made a little easier with the help of a generous $15 million grant, given by an anonymous private donor.

According to an article in American Libraries Online, “the annex will house a teen center, an internet center, extensive public meeting space, an auditorium, an atrium with retail stores, and more space for the library’s overflowing collections.” I have to say, after witnessing the city’s recent demolition of the perfectly decent Veterans Stadium in favor of the new [and very expensive] Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field, it’s wonderful to see Philadelphia making a financial commitment to a different sort of attraction. Can’t wait to see the results!

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Notes on a [Weird-ish] Trip

Well, I’m back in Frisco, and though it was great overall, my trip did not go exactly as planned. Right before I left for TLA in San Antonio two Wednesdays ago, I came down with a horrible head cold that rendered me weak, tired, and unable to breath through my nose until just a few days ago. My flight to Philadelphia to visit my family and friends on Friday evening was canceled [after I had already paid $20 for a shuttle and checked in at the airport!]. I finally got there, only to end up food poisoned after lunch with a friend the day before my flight back to Texas. I went back to work on Friday, after calling out on Thursday to recover some, but then I had a relapse and am still feeling lousy and nauseas.

Still, I had a great time on my little vacay. Some highlights from San Antonio:

1. Driving for 6 hours with my coworkers (three “librarimen,” as I recently decided male librarians should be called.) They are smart, kind, and hilariously funny, and were tolerant of my 3 volume music mix entitled Librarians on the Road. Being stuck in a car was never so much fun!

2. Staying in the Sheraton Gunter Hotel, a glamorous yet creepy inn [think, The Shining] built in 1909. The place has supposedly been haunted since the 60’s when a woman was brutally murdered in room 636. My roommate and I stayed in room 631, and though neither of us ran into any spirits or witnessed any eerie presences, I wouldn’t doubt that the place was haunted. Read the ghostly story here.

3. Seeing the Alamo. I was obsessed with Davy Crockett as a kid and loved to read and watch movies about him and his cronies at the Alamo. Actually being there was unreal! Here is a picture I took of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, part of the Alamo complex:

Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo

4. Exploring the gorgeous, bustling River Walk. I pretended I was strolling the streets of Venice, which was easy to do since I have never been to Venice.

5. Hearing Joe Hayes, author of Ghost Fever: Mal de Fantasma, tell us a ghost story at the Texas Blue Bonnet Award Luncheon. I loved his hypnotic voice and the way his words rolled from his native English to Spanish and back.

Coming back to work and 94 emails this Friday was just a bit harrowing. Hopefully I’ll start being able to digest food properly so I can function at full-librarian-throttle this week.

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Adults Among Us

Why do adults just not get it? We have a gorgeous teen room in our library. I understand it’s alluring. But when one enters a room and runs smack dab into an 18″x 24″ sign that says, “This room is reserved for TEENS ages 12-18 ONLY!” you would think patrons would get the hint. Granted, most of the older set will leave after a few minutes of perusing, as they grasp the not-so-subtle fact that we’re trying to keep this very cool area a safe and inviting place for the young adults of Frisco. However, there are still too many stubborn/just plain dense adults who try to make themselves at home in there.

The most in-your-face infringement of the age-limit rule I’ve yet to encounter came a few weekends ago, when I hosted a movie marathon, complete with fresh-popped popcorn, for TEENS 12-18 ONLY! It was advertised this way; it was explained this way; it was made painfully obvious by more than one sign. However, when checking in on the audience, I noticed that “one of these things just doesn’t belong”– a middle-aged woman, bag-o-popcorn in hand, had made herself at home in one of the coveted armchairs amidst a group of slightly weirded out teenagers.

I asked, kindly, patiently, “Ma’am, are you with anyone here?” [Though we librarians try to be consistent in our rule-enforcement, we’re a little more lenient to parents accompanying their teens.] Her answer? “No.” I go on to explain, “This program and room are for 12-18 year-olds only.” She replies, obviously growing annoyed with me, “I just want to finish my popcorn!” Not feeling the need to start a brawl with this woman in front of everyone, I firmly tell her to “please finish your popcorn and move to another area of the library.” About 10 minutes later, I watch as she helps herself to another bag of popcorn and absconds with it out the teen room doors, while shooting me a [sarcastic ?] “thank you.” This, despite the fact that signs all over the room asked to please keep the popcorn in the teen room.

Don’t make me become evil librarian, people! I absolutely despise confrontation, and I’m really bad at it, but unfortunately you sometimes force me to go there.

Now, on the off chance that this woman was suffering from poverty and going hungry, I hereby rescind my frustrated venting. Had I believed this was the case, I probably would have snuck her all the popcorn I could possibly pop. Something tells me this wasn’t the situation [and I truly hope it wasn’t!]

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I’m an Engaged Librarian!

I dropped off the face of the earth this week, but for good reason. My boyfriend proposed to me on my day off, during our trip to the Fort Worth Zoo. He was apparently inspired by the adorable gibbon family we had been admiring for what seems like hours. Anyway, I spent the week floating on air in my sensible shoes while looking at rings [we finally ordered one we liked last night], fielding phone calls from friends and family [some of whom still don’t know the news, because I hate the phone and never call anyone], and daydreaming about the big day [which won’t be until sometime in August of 2008, and which we intend to keep under 5k. Impossible, you say? I think not!]

Now I have to get my head together and pack for the TLA conference in San Antonio, which I leave for this Wednesday. This will be my first trip to San Antonio and my first library conference, so I am very excited! I won’t be back to Frisco until the following Wednesday, because from San Antonio I’m flying to my old hometown in NJ. So if I disappear for a little while…well, don’t give up on me.

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“Sew U” is So My Speed

I finally spent the $25 Barnes & Noble gift card kindly bestowed upon me by my parentals this Christmas. I always have a hard time justifying book purchases since I spend 40+ hours a week in a library with countless free reads at my fingertips. However, I read a review of Wendy Mullin’s Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your own Wardrobe in my favorite mag, BUST, and at once I knew it had to be mine.

My indulging man bought me a sewing machine for my birthday back in November, after I decided I was going to be a true DIY domestigoddess who created my own skirts, curtains, purses—you name it. But the poor machine lay dormant throughout the winter, hibernating in its hideous flowery case, until emerging just 2 weeks ago when I picked up my very own copy of Sew U.

This handy, step-by-step guide, written by the founder of Built by Wendy, an edgy NYC-based clothing line, is the perfect companion for beginning sewers like myself. It’s filled with helpful tips and colorful illustrations—plus three basic patterns (skirt, pants, and button down shirt)—to get us novices through the daunting tasks of collecting the necessary supplies, threading the monster, sewing in a straight line, and negotiating those insane looking blueprints people refer to as “patterns.” What I especially love is the fact that Wendy encourages you to venture on from where she leaves off, offering advice on how to alter her basic designs to fit your own style and personal aesthetic.

Now that this book has finally given me the courage a)buy an ironing board, and b)hem my own curtains, I will soon be whipping up my own lopsided shirts, skirts, and pants. Hilarious photos will be posted!

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