22 May 2009

Love those Library Science Students

Yet again a librarian does well on Jeopardy!

I saw a library science student from Ohio on Jeopardy last night (21 May 2009).

Thank you to Sarah Howison of Bethel, Ohio for this positive image of librarians.

Her hometown Jeopardy station is Cincinnati.

14 May 2009

Good Morning Merry Sunshine

Good Morning Merry Sunshine by Bob Greene. Adult Nonfiction. DONE.
I first read the Reader's Digest book excerpt of this back in 1984 or 1985 and thought it was delightful. I don't know why it took me 25 years to get around to reading the full novel.
It is one father's journal of the first year of life of his daughter. He is sensitive. He is thoughtful. He admits that he is in over his head, as all first time parents are.
It is amazing to think that the baby in the book is now old enough to be a parent herself.
When I get a chance, I will post some excerpts here.
My favorite parts are about "Grandma to the rescue", "Helen the Cat and the baby" and "babies love Snuglis".
I think that the next time I am invited to a baby shower, I may order a copy of this from Amazon to give to the Mom and Dad. I am guessing that the regular stores no longer stock it. Amazon says that prices start at $.01 plus $3.99 shipping. http://www.amazon.com/
It is too bad that libraries have started weeding copies of this book as it falls apart and is replaced by newer books, but I still see about 1000 copies available according to WorldCat.
On this blog I will also put in a plug for his book To Our Children's Children, cowritten by his sister. I recommend this book to patrons doing family history research and oral history. I don't buy many books for my personal library, but I have two copies of this one to use when interviewing family members about their memories.
Selections from Good Morning Merry Sunshine
Pages are for hardback, ISBN 0-689-11434-6
page 16. Susan's mother arrived. [Susan is the author's wife and mother of 4-day-old Amanda]. She's staying at a hotel in the neighborhood; she caught a plane here from Ohio and left her bags at the hotel's front desk and came over even before she had checked in.
It's peculiar how you never notice things about people until those matters affect you directly. From the moment Mrs. Koebel walked into the apartment, things calmed down. She picked the baby up and started walking around with her and talking to her; Amanda Sue was crying just as hard, but just watching Mrs. Koebel holding her made me less nervous. I have no idea how to handle a baby, and Susan, although she's better than I, is still brand-new to it.
But Mrs. Koebel had four children of her own, and two grandchildren before Amanda Sue, and she was great at this. It was as if Susan and I were kids who had never driven a car before, and we were suddenly put behind the wheel; we lurched, we slammed on the brakes, we looked around nervously, we hesitated. Mrs. Koebel was like someone who had been driving all her life. She didn't even have to think about the process.
In the hours after she showed up, the level of tension in the apartment dropped dramatically. I've asked her if she will stay for two weeks, and she has said yes. I may not have learned anything else useful from this situation yet, but I know this: if you're having your first baby, make sure you get a grandmother there as soon as possible. You may think you know everything there is to know about life, but you can't touch her when it comes to this.
page 83. I don't know who invented Snuglis, but they are definitely the eighties verson of pacifiers.
Snuglis are those baby-pouches that mothers strap onto themselves. The straps crisscross over the mothers' backs; the babies fit into a carrying compartment in front, facing the mothers' chests. Susan wears one all the time when she is going to the grocery or out for a short walk; even if Amanda has been screaming, she is placid within a minute or so of being put in the Snugli. It's like a substitute for being back in the womb.
They were all over the Omaha airport. And of all the Snuglis I saw, not one baby in one Snugli was screaming. They were all snuggling against their mothers' chests and sleeping soundly. Somewhere there must be a baby who doesn't love a Snugli, but I'v yet to see one.
[Library mistress's note: I think baby slings are more popular than Snuglis in 2009, but it is the same idea].
page 130. I was talking with a man who has a daughter just a few months older than Amanda.
"Have you been through the first cold yet?" he said.
I said we hadn't.
He rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. He didn't need to say anything.
"That bad, huh?" I said.
"Worse," he said. "There's nothing you can do. You can hear it every time she breathes, and you want to do something. You call the doctor and he tells you that it'll be over in three days. But you fall apart."
"Is there anything you can give her for it?" I asked.
"Just the Snugli, " he said.
Four months ago I would have thought he was talking in a foreign language.
"The Snugli, huh?" I said.
"Yeah," he said. "It keeps her warm by keeping her close to her mother's boby, but most of all it keeps her upright so she doesn't get so congested."
All of us out here, all of us fledgling fathers, in some sort of New Order of the Snugli.
page 165. Susan's mother came through town today. I got home from work, and she was holding Amanda.
"She's getting so big," Mrs. Koebel said.
The first thing I thought was that she was holding Amanda wrong. She seemed to be gripping her more tightly than I did, and I thought that when she stood up to walk with her she did it too abruptly.
Then I remembered back to that first week, when I thought that Mrs. Koebel was the only person in the world who knew how to hold a baby - and when I didn't have the self-confidence to hold Amanda myself for more than a few seconds at a time.
"Let me have her," I said. She handed Amanda to me.
"My, you are getting good at that," Mrs. Koebel said.
I suppose she holds Amanda all right.
page 170. Helen is turning out to be a bit of a surprise. She was a real worry to us in the months before Amanda was born; she had always been such a rotten, mean cat in the presence of other people that we assumed she was going to be a major problem with a baby in the house.
As we've learned, of course, that hasn't been the case. Mostly she's ignored Amanda and kept to herself. But in the last few days, something new has developed.
Helen will walk up to within a few feet of wherever Amanda is, and she will stand sentry. There's no other way to describe it. She has become Amanda's protector. I don't know what Helen's worrying about; Susan and I have been doing all right in looking out for Amanda. But now Helen wants in the act.
Tonight she was doing it again: just sitting there, looking around the room, making sure that no harm came to the baby.
"I think we've got a guard cat," Susan said.
I think it's a case of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
page 183.
This detente with Helen might be in danger.
Tonight Helen was standing guard over Amanda as usual.
Amanda looked up, smiled, reached out, and grabbed a handful of fur from Helen's side.
Helen raised a paw and calmly swiped it at Amanda.
That may be more ominous than it sounds.
BOOKS FOR BABIES [I had to include this since this is a library site].
page 198. [Christmas] We made certain that we gave her something special: cloth books.
They're just what they sound like: short books printed on cloth. She has no idea what they are, of course; the only reason she likes them is that they feel soft in her hands, and they're colorful, and she can put them in her mouth.
Our theory is that there's a good chance they are good for her. If she can learn - even subliminally- that it's a positive thing to have book in the house, then it's a start. So many factors these days fight agains a child's having any respect or reverence for reading; we figure that if we can signal to her, at this young age, that books are to be equated with pleasure, then maybe she'll continue to turn to them when she's old enough to really read them.
It was great to see her playing with her d-o-g on Christmas day. But it was even better to see her holding and examining her cloth books. Even though she did decide, after the examination, to try to eat them.
page 268. There are times when I think that Susan and I are not so much parents as air-traffic controllers.
With Amanda's constant movement around the apartment, we seem to do basically the same kind of work as controllers do: we each watch her while she is in our particular geographic area of responsibility, and when we see she is about to leave we hand her over to the next person.
"She's crawling out of the living room now; can you see her?" "Yes, she's just moving into the bedroom."...
Kind of like a 727 flying from Denver to Chicago. With a pilot who drools and wears pajamas with feet attached.

07 May 2009

Monty Python on libraries

Monty Python's Flying Circus, episode 10

Cut to interview room in town hall: tweedy colonel type chairman; next to him are a vicar and a lady with a pince-nez. The chairman is holding up the picture of Caesar. As the camera pulls out he rather obviously throws it away.
Here what was that picture?
Ssh! Next! (a gorilla enters) Good morning - Mr Phipps?
That's right, yes.
Er, do take a seat.
Right sir. (sits)
Now could you tell us roughly why you want to become a librarian?
Er, well, I've had a certain amount of experience running a library at school.
Yes, yes. What sort of experience?
Er, well for a time I ran the Upper Science Library.
Yes, yes. Now Mr Phipps, you do realize that the post of librarian carries with it certain very important responsibilities. I mean, there's the selection of books, the record library, and the art gallery. Now it seems to me that your greatest disadvantage is your lack of professional experience ... coupled with the fact that, uh, being a gorilla, you would tend to frighten people.
(aside) Is he a gorilla?
Yes he is.
Well why didn't it say on his form that he's a gorilla?
Well, you see applicants are not required to fill in their species.
What was that picture?
Sh! ... Mr Phipps, what is your attitude toward censorship in a public library?
How do you mean, sir?
Well I mean for instance, would you for instance stock 'Last Exit to Brooklyn'... or ... 'Groupie'?
Yes, I think so.
Yes, well, that seems to me to be very sensible Mr Phipps. I can't pretend that this library hasn't had its difficulties ... Mr Robertson, your predecessor, an excellent librarian, savaged three people last week and had to be destroyed.
I'm sorry sir.
Oh, no, don't be sorry. You see, I don't believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that's been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians.
And also, they're much more permissive. Pumas keep Hank Janson on open shelves...
Yes. Yes. Yes. (a maniacal look in his eyes) Yes, yes Mr Phipps. I love seeing the customers when they come in to complain about some book being damaged, and ask to see the chief librarian and then ... you should see their faces when the proud beast leaps from his tiny office, snatches the book from their hands and sinks his fangs into their soft er ... (collects himself) Mr Phipps ... Kong! You can be our next librarian - you're proud, majestic and fierce enough ... will you do it?
I ... don't think I can sir.
Why not?
I.. I'm not really a gorilla.
I'm a librarian in a skin.
Why this deception?
Well, they said it was the best way to get the job.
Get out, Mr Librarian Phipps, seeing as you're not a gorilla, but only dressed up as one, trying to deceive us in order to further your career ... (gorilla leaves) Next. (a dog comes in) Ah. Mr Pattinson ... Sit!
Cut to angry letters.
Thank you to 337 for informing the Library Mistress about this skit.

04 May 2009

What's on My Desk May 2009

Disney Princess: My Best Friend Is Jasmine by Lisa Ann Marsoli. Children's Fiction. Grades K-2. DONE.
This is a pleasant that should appeal to many girls.
Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka. Ages 3-6. DONE.
Apparently Norton Juster can write stories for little kids as well as for tweens. This shows a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type girl visiting her grandparents. Sometimes she is sweet and other times she is not. I suppose this book could be a starting point for talking to children about good behavior and attitude.
Chicken Soup for the New Mom's Soul compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, & Patty Aubery. Adult Nonfiction. Short Stories and Essays.
Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss. Children's Fiction, Preschool-grade 2. DONE.
Oh, that subversive Dr. Seuss with his message of tolerance and the absurdity of fashion and racism! The Sneetches and Bartholomew Cubbins are my favorite Seuss books.

Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Adult Nonfiction.

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet. Adult Fantasy Fiction. DONE
Pre-reading: This is published by a Christian publisher, so there is probably something "Christian-y" about it.
Post-reading: Waterbrook Press does not beat readers over the head with Christianity. Although their characters are sometimes Christians, it goes more for ethical stories with good plots, minimizing violence and sex. That is not to say that they necessarily have "a moral to the story", but they are more plot driven and creative than books by most other presses out there. Whoever the editor is, he or she does a great job at finding promising new authors.
This was a well written fantasy book, that I suppose you could read as a Christian allegory, or you can completely ignore the "leading people to the Keeper (God)" part and the sacrifice of the savior-of-the-people part. Obviously the author intended this to be part one of a series since he left some threads untold.

The Only Bake Sale Cookbook You'll Ever Need by Laurie Wolf. Nonfiction.
The first thing that struck me is that there is not a single illustration or photograph inside the cookbook. I want to know what they are supposed to look like when done. They do not describe very well how to do things like melt down and boil candies, etc.
It also is not divided into useful ways. It says different recipes can be used for school sales versus church sales, etc, but it is not divided that way.
The only useful part I found was this:
"For preschoolers, it is all about the sprinkles".
Good point. For youngsters use lots of sprinkles.
I wanted a book that showed me how to make very simple treats for a school bake sale.
I am not going to make any of the recipes in here. I will get a different book specifically about kid-friendly foods - one with pictures - or I will go to http://familyfun.go.com/ .
Some of these recipes even have videos showing someone putting them together.
SpongeBob SquarePants Vote for SpongeBob. Children's Fiction. Grades K-2.
If you like SpongeBob you will go for this book. The author makes the point that when a politician is campaigning he doesn't have time to do his real job.
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems. Ages 3-6.
The words are EXTREMELY LARGE, making them easier for young readers. It turns out to have a funny turn at the end as well. The illustration is extremely simple, so this is no great work of art, but it is entertaining and would be a good choice for someone learning to read.

San Luis Obispo County, California

Mental Floss magazine, May-June 2009, page 18

"Offensive body odor is actually illegal in libraries in San Luis Obispo County, California".