Monthly Archives: September 2010

Things I don’t love Thursday

Thursday blog posts are usually reserved for Things I Love, but this week I’m deviating from my normal happy fuzzy thoughts to point out some things that I do not love.

As a librarian who serves Young Adult (teens and preteens), there are few things not to love about my job. Besides the inevitable strangeness that comes with working in a building offering free services and open to the public, it’s a pretty sweet gig.

“I am madness maddened when it comes to books, writers, and the great granary silos where their wits are stored.” -Ray Bradbury

But, as with all jobs, there are few downsides. Librarians feel passionately about free access to information for all people. What people choose to read or learn about is their own business as long as they are not impinging on the rights of those around them by subjecting them to those subjects. However, this is where many libraries run into trouble. Though more prevalent in school libraries, all libraries are vulnerable to the outrage of the vocal few who to whom the world offers myriad opportunities to be offended.

Whenever I talk about people challenging books (especially specific cases and specific books—James and the Giant Peach?! Really??) within a library’s collection, I quickly get very upset and all the pretty words I know disappear into the same type of blind outrage book banners must tap into for their attacks. Instead of subjecting my fair readers to that, I want to talk about a few of the things librarians stand for and do to make sure our collections are good for our patrons (whether or not they all agree with it).

First, always keep in mind that we have the best interests of our patrons in mind. Ultimately, though, it is your own decision as to what you read. And in the case of children, parents are the deciding factor in what their own child reads, not anyone else’s. When I was a kid I read the first few Goosebump books by R.L. Stine and the first few Boxcar Children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I quickly put them down again because I didn’t enjoy them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still popular with children, and that I won’t suggest it to younger patrons because they do serve a purpose.

As my birthday buddy Voltaire is so often quoted as saying: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Another thing you should know. We seriously consider and debate what books are appropriate for what ages, and then we place them in those areas of the library. I choose most of the young adult books that we purchase; I read reviews online and in library publications and pay close attention to the ages they are aimed at, and why. If a book about teens has more adult content I usually request that it be placed in the adult fiction area of the collection since our young adult area is mostly aimed at junior high and early high school. However, if a teen wants the book they can search for it in the card catalog and check it out.

Of course we aren’t always as fearless as we’d like to be in the face of possible censorship. We have to practice constant vigilance when ordering books so we don’t censor ourselves when choosing books for purchase. Refusing to consider what people might find offensive (books with LGBT teens, references- even casually- to sex, violence) as a deciding reason when purchasing a book and instead focusing on the needs of my young adult patrons is not always as easy as it should be, but it is something I strive for daily. Author Meg Cabot talks a bit about those kinds of fears here:

So those are some of things I do not love this Thursday. They seem to center around fear and distrust from both directions. The fear and distrust of some patrons feel toward ideas and opinions different from their own. And the fear and distrust librarians can sometimes experience when faced with possible challenges to a collection.

In closing today, I’ll leave you with a few things.

The first three of the Five Laws of Library Science (which I do love):

1. Books are for use

2.  Every read his or her book

3.  Every book its reader

This quote by Maureen Johnson:

“Can you imagine going around your neighborhood with a piece of paper that says, “I went into the LIBRARY and found a BOOK with a DIRTY WORD in it, and now I want it LOCKED IN THE BASEMENT and GUARDED by a WOLVERINE so that THE PRECIOUS CHILDREN do not see the WORD. Please sign my petition.””

And a few websites/blog entries that debate book banning better than I ever could and things you can do to help stop it:

MyLiBlog: Uncle Bobby’s Wedding– a great defense of a library book challenge

National Coalition Against Censorship

Kids Right to Read Project

Neil Gaiman’s Journal: It Snowed This Morning– Gaiman discusses some of the stuff I’ve mentioned

There are so many more things, but that’s all for today. Thanks for reading!


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People I Lauve Tuesdays

It was on a rainy weekend our first semester of college. We* had been cooped up in our dorm room, attempting to study for midterms, when the stir-craziness hit. Somehow (I can’t exactly recall now) it spilled over into the next room and pulled in another person from down the hall.

Katie was in my European history class but, since I rarely talked to people who were actually in my classes, we weren’t really friends (she did see me open up a memorable ‘letter’ from my friend Nick, which consisted of a large piece of paper with the message spray painted onto it) and her roommate Nicole went to church with Holly but they weren’t good friends yet. Kat lived down the hall and had become our friend when she saw the map of Great Britain on our wall, walked into our room, climbed onto my bed and pointed out where she had been born in Scotland.

That day though, the 5 of us became inseparable. We laughed too loudly, gave each other goofy nicknames, ran around the halls, came up with silly inside jokes (one of which is mentioned in the title of this blog) etc.

Sadly at the end of the year, Nicole wasn’t able to return to TCU. It was really depressing, but we shouldered on and stayed in touch (not as good as we could have, but still). Now we’re all college graduates living awesome lives (if I do say so myself), which is still a weird thing to think about.

And a few months ago we all received invitations to Nicole’s wedding in Fort Worth. Holly couldn’t come (stupid money!), but Katie was able to cash in her airline miles, and get a discount on a fancy hotel room from a cousin so she was my date and a surprise for Nicole (there was squealing when she saw us at the rehearsal dinner). Kat and Clay and baby Jemma were also able to come and met us at the wedding which was beautiful, though outside, and therefore kinda hot. Nicole and Colin (that’s the groom’s name)’s dog Traveler was the Ring Bearer (SO CUTE). The bridesmaids dresses were delicious and there was a string quartet!

The reception was on the roof of a very fancy/famous restaurant in downtown Fort Worth called the Reata (it’s based on the ranch from the movie Giant)

Can you blame them?

It was gorgeous, there was great food, an open bar (yay champagne!), dancing and a cute ginger waiter who flirted with me. Here are a few pics to reward you for reading so far into this post! 🙂

I'm early 60s, Katie is the 70s

Kootie and Kitty

Nicole was gorgeous

Jems brought the cute

Clairee, Truvy, & Ouisa (not pictured but missed Mlynn)

The only way it could’ve been a better weekend would be if Holly had been there…sadface. BUT I shall see her for my BIRTHDAY!!! And that’ll be a whole other photo-saturated post!

*my roommate Holly and I

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Best video of the day

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Things I Love Thursday (a day late)

*I was going to post this yesterday and then forgot!

I haven’t done a TILT blog in ages, so here ya go:

Quotes: duh, see previous entry. 🙂

Washing dishes: Not all the time, but sometimes it’s so soothing to clean things and put them away where they belong. Also, lately I’ve been listening to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcasts, which are perfect for washing dishes to!

A second glass of wine: Because one is good and 2 is even better!

The underside of mushroom caps: Now, I really don’t care for mushrooms. At all. My strange opinions on their taste is fodder for another entry though. I just love the little ribs on the underside of the mushroom caps (after some research I now know they’re called ‘gills’)


Sooo pretty!

The smell of laundry detergent: My best friend Holly can’t handle the smell of strong laundry detergent, but I love it!

Nerd fitness: John Green’s newest video. So wonderful!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal: may sound weird but it’s easy to make and delicious! I make it with blackberry jam which turns the oatmeal purple 🙂

Sharing dreams: I had a very strange one last night concerning the unwanted present of 4 white mice and some gray, fuzzy dwarf hamsters from a friend’s brother. And after sharing it, got to hear some crazy dreams from other people.

Changes in the library : My area of the collection (Young Adult) is always running out of room, and there is limited space in our too small library, so I’m always looking for new ways to use the space creatively. Luckily, my imagination is aided by those of my coworkers. We just got some new shelving that relieved some of the space issue. And new chair are on the way (they look like hands!)!

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Say what?

I’ve blogged before about my love of quotes. I keep a few notebooks of ridiculous/hilarious things my friends have said (and I’ve even illustrated a few of them).

I also love quotes by people who are smarter and more eloquent or funnier than I am. John Green says, “Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.” And I like to think about that when I’m browsing through my new favorite quote site (yes, I have several, what of it?), “Where the quotes live online.”

My BEDA Buddy, Nicola (@robotnic on twitter) interns for, which is what led me to the site a few days ago. So fun! I really enjoy being able to add new quotes to the site. For instance, they were missing my favorite Jane Austen quote:

“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!”

So I added it!

I’ve also run across a bunch of new quotes that I really love. It was the anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment (that gave women the right to vote) here in America a few weeks ago, so these quotes by Lucy Stone, an American abolitionist and women’s rights advocate (and total bad ass lady) really resonated with me:

“I think, with never-ending gratitude, that the young women of today do not and can never know at what price their right to free speech and to speak at all in public has been earned.”

“Too much has already been said and written about “women’s sphere”. Leave women, then, to find their sphere.”

“You may talk about Free Love, if you please, but we are to have the right to vote. Today we are fined, imprisoned, and hanged, without a jury trial by our peers. You shall not cheat us by getting us off to talk about something else.”

Also, in pertinent quotable history news, today in 1901 at the Minnesota state Fair the then vice-president Theodore Roosevelt referenced a West African proverb while talking about the Monroe Doctrine which he used as a corollary for his future ‘Big Stick’ ideology. Anyway, we all know the quote, but here it is:

“Speak softly and carry a big stick: you will go far.”

And here is a T.R. comic by the awesome Kate Beaton at hark! a vagrant

Okay, I think that about does it for me today. With the cohesive thoughts about quotes, anyway. I might like to do one in the future just about Joss Whedon quotes like:

“Remember, be yourself…Unless you suck.”

“”I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. “

“Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.”

Because, seriously, is there any wondering why this man is so beloved?

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