Friday, September 28, 2007

Tonic Effects of Shelving Books

Maine rose hips

Vitamin C in its natural form on a wild rose bush near Casco Bay, Portland Maine.... bit of a stretch, but as good as vitamins are (at least the right vitamins at the right time), that is how good shelving is for my librarian soul.

I began shelving library books as a volunteer in grade school, and was happy to get a job as a library "page" at my hometown public library as soon as I turned 16. I am three decades into my librarian career, and still relish shelving books. Perhaps it is the physicality of the act -- the bending and stretching, the act of making order out of disorder, the rich sight of the multicolored book spines -- which does me such good. Shelving acts as a balance against time spent pounding a computer keyboard.

Also, in a small library, when we are short of staff or volunteers, I have no choice but to shelve. I enjoy visiting old friends on the fiction shelves: Hello Larry (McMurtry), greetings to front porch Baltimore (Anne Tyler), cynical regards to small town upstate NY (Richard Russo). Nonfiction is a little different.... but the Dewey Decimal logicality of the subjects is reassuring as well as serendipitous. Sometimes I come across just the right book I need for a project, or get tempted by cookbooks, etc.

The good thing about shelving is that you are out in the collection, accessible to customers should they need assistance. You get to hear conversations among readers. Some of our more gregarious customers like to give book recommendations on the spot to other customers. I enjoy listening to such naturally occuring Readers' Advisory moments.

The library is inhabited by spirits that come out of the pages at night. – Isabel Allende

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Staff @ West U

In the photo above, we took part in "Aloha Summer" week. It is always good to celebrate winding down from a successful summer Reading Program.

Here are links to various West U. Library staff members' blogs:
Libby, Franc, Megan, Linda
We are all having loads of fun and some frustration working on the "23 Things". Blogging can be obsessive! We find ourselves working on the blogs during breaks, lunch and at home. The learning curve is heading uphill at a steep angle.

I also posted a recommended reading sidebar today.

Quotation: Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting at the end of a long day makes that day happier. – Kathleen Norris

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lemonade for Libraries - Exercise 7

Lemonaders, 2007

For two summers in a row, the community has rallied support for the library by sponsoring lemonade stand contests. Prizes are given for the most successful stand and the most creative stand. Children sell the lemonade and other goodies, and are proud to turn in their horde of change and dollars to Friends of the Library. Last summer we used Lemonade funds to buy fun furnishings for the children's room. Very all-American. We are proud of our Lemonaders!

For Exercise 7, I edited this photo on the Snipshot website. Truth be told, it didn't need a whole lot of fixing up. But I did fool around with all the "Specialfx" on a few other photos. Tried the Clouds effect, Labyrinth effect and some others -- they did not enhance these particular photos, but I am glad to know these tools exist should I need them.

Fooling around with Pixer ( was fun, too. Picnik ( required Adobe Flash Player 9, which was not readily available for downloading on my PC today, so I never got to try that one. I have used various photo editing programs enough in the past and can usually figure out the basics. If not, I just ask the young people on staff -- quite often they know how to do the latest things.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here It Is - Exercise 6

Road sign, Arizona, 1987

Here we are in Week 3 of the "23 Things".

Learning new web skills is downright, upright exciting.

I tried loading a lettered collage mashup this morning but apparently it was a big file and took so long, I had to give up and sign off the computer at our Information Station before it could finish. Oh well, although it was fun, it did result in that infamous "ransom note" look.

Later: I tried both the trading card and captioning apps, and became somewhat frustrated. The trading card photo was too distorted to display. The captioned photo would have been cool, but would not accept the resulting webpage address. Also, when I tried to copy the captioned image (made using one of my Flickr photos) onto the desktop, only the original non-captioned photo was saved.

I admit it, I feel newly tech-savvy, using the word "app", even though I couldn't get most of them to work as I expected.

Literature is a luxury, fiction a necessity. - G. K. Chesterton

(This was the quote I tried to use in the mashup and the captioned photo.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Flickr Fun - Exercise 5

I was an art major in college and still enjoy messing around with all things artistic.
I enjoy putting photos onto Flickr.
Most of all I enjoy taking photos in natural settings or places where nature and civilization intersect. I like to look for abstractions. Or on rainy days, I like setting up still life compositions.

And here are the photos from our branch library, taken by various staff members:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Grateful - Exercises 2, 3 and 4

What has being a public librarian taught me?

I have learned to listen.
I have learned to put others first.
I have improved my manners!
I have greatly increased my memory skills.
I feel in touch with my "village" in that I get to see trends unfold as my customers present their needs to me.
I am honored by their confidence.
I am happy when I get to pass along needed information, just the right book or movie.

What a privilege it is to work @ HCPL, where we are encouraged to grow to our full potential.

We were asked to share something on this post about internet safety. I am used to some public exposure due to being a book reviewer. I also went through a period of my life where I wrote a lot of poems and stories that were published in various print media, and some of them have made their way online, so I guess I've had to get used to that amount of exposure. I have not gotten into social networking; perhaps because at "midlife", I can barely keep up with friends and fmaily as is, and feel no need for new online friends.

We were also asked to consider our learning styles. Most of all, I am a hands-on learner, and somewhat autodidactic. I have to admit I often jump into things without really studying all the instructions; I just want to get going! But when something doesn't come naturally, oh how I appreciate talented helping hands.

This past summer I began to teach small computer classes here at the library. I tell you, I have got some new friends for life now that I have taught some of the seniors how to cut and paste and/or do email!