Friday, October 27, 2006

Lunch Tables and Mentors

Well, my first experience doing a lunch table went fairly well, due for the most part to my fellow librarians showing up to help me out. During the first few minutes, there was a mad rush to get the candy I brought--next time the pieces will be smaller and will be doled out in smaller incraments. After that initiation, things slowed down to a much more managable level, and we got a whole lot of the teen gaming surveys filled out for teen librarians at central. It helped that we only let kids that filled out the survey have the cool flip pens that I posted pictures of yesterday. They were a real hit. We chatted, and kids tried to be funny, walking of with library books from our display and such. Many of the books I brought interested the kids, which I was glad of, and I decided to put two on the Staff Pick display and another two that I already had on the Halloween Display I put on top of the glass case with Staff Pick cards in them. Skateboarding is Not a Crime was one of the most popular. I think they wore me out though. It was an intense experience.

I am filling out the application for mentoring (so I can get one). I am excited for the opportunity to keep on working with my manager after he leaves us to go work at Central. We of course will be scattered as well, since the building is closing for renovations. I think that I will be able to learn a lot from him about SPL and moving up in the system the right way or at least in a productive way. I don't know if there is a "right way." The application is a little daunting, although I am sure that it will be fine once I get started. There are a bunch of essay questions about why I want to have a mentor and how I take criticism, etc.. Fun, Fun

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Please talk to me...!!!

Aren't these little pens cute? I just wish my phone took clearer pictures!

They are "talk to me" incentives for the lunch table tomorrow. FUN!

Connecting with My Community

Things are starting to pick up speed. The teen home in the area finally came in today and I was able to talk to their teacher and give her my information. She wants me to come in and do a half hour book talk. That will be great. Most of the kids ask a lot of questions while they are here, which is really good since it gives me an idea of what they like.

I am going to the teen advisory meeting at a local private school next Wednesday. I am going to tell the students how SPL can help with their homework etc. and listen to what they have to say about what they want in a library.

Tomorrow is my first lunch table at the local public middle school. I am nervous and excited. There will be candy and flip pens--how cool! I have to go collect my supplies! Yikes!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Teen Book Reviews

Deconstructing Dylan
By Lesley Choyce

Dylan is having dreams and memories of a life that is not his own. The cause is something he does not want to face. As reality sweeps in, his new best friend has problems of her own to deal with and Dylan has to make some tough decisions on his own and learn to put his own problems on the backburner to support his friend.

Deconstructing Dylan is set in the near future, there is an invasion of person by advanced technology and Dylan’s girlfriend has a lesbian friend who is shunned by society and dies of a drug overdose far from home. Some of the issues dealt with are: anger with parents for withholding information, guilt for not helping a friend in need and coming out with a secret in a society that does not support the situation.

The book is well written, although it does have some irritating moments of repetition. The drug and alcohol abuse of the mother is never resolved. The problem is understated in the book and it is obvious that Dylan understands that it is not healthy, which makes it a low priority issue in the story. The imagery is beautifully done in the areas where Dylan is having memories or dreams. It definitely reads like a woman wrote it, though, even though the voice is Dylan’s, a 16-year-old boy. I think this book would speak more to younger teen girls than boys, perhaps ages 9-14.

The Coldest Winter Ever
By Sister Souljah

Winter is a Brooklyn girl at heart. Her daddy is the biggest drug lord in the area, and he treats his girls like queens. At least he does until he is picked up and thrown in jail for just about every charge in the book. Winter is forced to fend for herself in a hostile environment and make money the only way she knows how: hustling goods. She goes from the house of her sugar daddy, to her jealous aunt’s where she is betrayed by a neighbor to Child Services. After a brief stay in a teen shelter, Winter finally meets her nemesis, Sister Souljah and that is where the real trouble begins.

This book is very graphic. Sex scenes are told in detail. It paints an ugly picture of the Brooklyn streets and the mentality of the drug dealer. The term, victimless crime is never actually used, but it is easy to see that that is how the dealers see their job. Sister Souljah does a great job of integrating herself into the book and only coming off sounding slightly pretentious.

Due to the graphic nature of this novel, I would recommend it to older readers (16-20). I wasn’t sure I liked the story at first, but it definitely grows on you. As a middle class white girl from the northwest, I feel that I have gotten to see a side of our country that I have never experienced in reading this book. It is well written, despite the slang and the main character is amazingly well developed through her inner dialog.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

What's Up, Buttercup?

That title just came into my mind, so I kept it.

I have my halloween display up, which makes me happy I don't work for a public school. They can't have anything "Halloween" and I just love the holiday. I am a pagen at heart. The only problem with our display is that it is in a glass case. It might as well be locked up. No one really sees it. I broke the rules and put a couple of books on top, but they haven't generated any interest either. On the upside, every book I have put on the Staff Pic's shelf has been checked out.

I started following up on my newsletter today. A week ago I sent out an October Teen Library news letter to all my community contacts--school librarians, community centers, etc. Today I sent out a couple of emails and tomorrow I start making phone calls. I am hoping to set up some classroom visits soon and maybe another book group--not that the first one has taken off. I am still waiting to hear from the school librarian at the Middle School about that. But she is definitely interested.

I have my first lunch table next week. Wish me luck!

Our russian trouble patron got himself ejected. The picture of him looked so sad. I don't want to deny anyone access to the library, and I think that people such as this gentleman need the place to go more than others. However, he was being disruptive and a little scary. Hopefully he will learn something from the experience.

It is a dark and stormy night...


Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Biggest Fear is Failure

But you can't fail or succeed if you don't try, right?

So, I am planning an teen poetry contest on Queen Anne. VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) has a yearly poetry contest where the entries must be submitted by librarians or teachers. I made flyers, asked for help from the local schools and community centers, distributed the flyers to local businesses.

I am planning a celebration in April (poetry month) to celebrate our submissions and winners. I want to bring in a slam poet, have snacks and possibly talk our winners to read their work (before the slam poet goes, of course). I will either get prizes through our program fund or ask for donations from the community businesses. I think a gift certificate to the art store or the book store would be appropriate.

So, what if no one enters...or only a couple of people enter? Then I look like a fool and I lose face with my manager. If I succeed, I gain experience, get to know my community better and get kudos from my manager. I guess it is a good gamble.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Moving Around

Today I am working in West Seattle, and it kind of amazes me how lucky I have been so far with traffic out here. I worked here on Sunday, too.

I like picking up sub shifts at other libraries. I get to know more people and experience different managers. So far, I like mine best ;) Second best is the manager here. We had a chat when I was here on Sunday and she was great.

Right now there is a beautiful sunset; black, dark blue, bright orange and red. The darker colors set off the brighter ones nicely. I wish I could take a picture to post with this, but I am not off for another hour.

We had to kick out a patron today. He definitely had a problem with authority and has quite a long history of disruptions at the library. He came up and asked me to put Seed of Chucky on hold. My first search didn't bring anything up and he told me that we had it because he saw it on the hold shelf for someone else. At that point, a regular employee overheard and asked him if he was in the holds. He got defensive and started telling --me, I guess--what a jerk the guy was and that he should let him be--with some swearing thrown in. By the end, I was telling him that we could call security and the employee told him to leave for the rest of the day.

You know, even though I don't really like the idea of becoming a children's librarian, I love chatting with the kids that come in. They are so sweet at that age between 3 and 7. I like teens too, for different reasons, but the little ones are so easy to talk to. Good thing I am not a predator...

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006


It has been a while since I have updated. I have a long time off between shifts, so sometimes it feels as if I had a vacation. It sort of wreaks havock with being able to return email in a timely fashion.

Yesterday was my first Teen Services meeting. It was very enlightening. I had a hard time keeping up, but I was able to give some good advice based on my experience writing contracts. At one point they were discussing things that we needed to know when we do outreach with a school (power strip, 1 adult to 10 students, etc.) and at another point what we need from groups coming to visit the library (behavior, expectations, etc.) and I was able to relate my experience working for Golden Age Dentistry. I ended up writing into our contracts exactly what we expected when we showed up to do dental work at the nursing homes--a room with no carpeting and a sink, a helper to bring and remove patients, etc. I suggested that we should have a list of expectations, so that they were understood from the beginning. It seemed so simple (obvious to me, since I have done it before) but everyone liked the idea.

I am doing a lunch table at the local Middle School in late October. I will probably try to tie it in with spooky stories or something of that sort. I also like the idea of "street fiction." That genre is what SPL will be tying in next year's teen read week with, including a visit from Sister Souljah. I think this type of literature will do well with the teens of the MS, since most of them come from some of the harder areas of Seattle and a majority of them would be considered a minority.

And the librarian there and I are going to start an after school book club. It is pretty exciting!