North Shore Pride

On Saturday I had the immense privilege of being in my first Pride Parade! I marched with OneGordon at the North Shore Pride parade in Salem and we had such a great time.

That's me, with the hips.

That’s me, with the hips.

We had about 12-15 people with us and the response from the city and crowd was incredible! There was this definite feeling of, “Gordon?! Why are they . . . oh! It’s Gordon people who SUPPORT LGBTQ students! YAY!” It was pretty funny.

We walked by a street preacher dude who was yelling about repenting and such, and I think we drowned him out with our yelling. It mad me sad because we don’t have to be on separate “sides” – there is room in Christianity and other faiths for all people. Being Christian and pro-LGBTQ rights shouldn’t have to be at odds with each other; many of us in the OneGordon section were proving that, but the street preacher dude wasn’t having it. I’m pretty sure it’s the same street preacher that is always in Salem during Halloween telling people to turn away from their touristy witchcraft. I want to tell them to turn away because Halloween in Salem is tacky and but that’s another issue.


I did feel a little weird about carrying the banner; I guess I just didn’t want people to think that I was braver for faring Gordon than I was. I have no problem with people thinking I’m gay – it’s a running joke between Hannah and I that we get confused for being a couple often but are not. Then we say, “Hey, we could each do a lot worse!”  I’m not LGBTQ+, but I am an ally so I guess that counts?

After the parade we staffed a table on the Salem Commons with T-shirts to sell and just talked to people. Almost everyone who talked to us – after initial incredulity and us explaining we were not official affiliated with Gordon College – said that they were so happy to see us. There was the guy whose parents went to Gordon and grew up in Wenham who was so happy to see people at the college having conversations and trying to support students. There was the recently out and recently retired Southern Baptist minister who repeatedly told us how proud he was of OneGordon. There were many, many more who were surprised and happy to see us there. OneGordon even won an award from North Shore Pride for a new organization helping students!

Despite getting sunburned on my head – I’m not used to the summer and the shaved side yet apparently – it was a wonderful day! Hopefully this will be the start of a great tradition for OneGordon and a way to support the LGBTQ+ students at Gordon. Maybe we’ll even change the administration’s mind some day.

Finally, some self promotion before I go. My first big piece for Women Write About Comics is up. It’s about my refusal to see the Lord of the Rings movie adaptations and how I am trying not to be a huge jerk about that. Take a look and spend some time reading the other pieces on the site. There are so many talented women writing and lots to read, even if you’re not a comics person!

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In praise of button machines and amazing coworkers

As I was getting ready to leave work yesterday I asked Virginia one of our new teen aides to post an Instagram picture since I had totally forgotten. It was so nice to have someone take care of this – admittedly – super simple thing for me. It was great to have I was REALLY ready to go. I had been doing a button-making program with teens for the last two hours. Basically the program is you set out the button machine, a stack of old magazines, paper, and let the teens make as many buttons as you want. I will also print out little pictures of whatever they want and it’s cute to hear what they want. Yesterday I printed out pictures of:

LeBron James
Kevin Garnett
a basketball
LeBron James brand shoes (I think?)
a trumpet fish
Batman symbol
Andover golden warriors symbol
Bad Kitty
the humuhumunkunukuapua’a (the teen said, “I don’t know how to spell it but it’s the state fish of Hawaii.” Ah. Gotcha.)
Darth Vader
and a few more I can’t remember.

What interesting buttons they will have!

Seriously, if you haven’t purchased a button machine for your library you should. It’s a really great investment. It’s about $250 and recently a refill of 500 buttons cost us about $50. And we use it ALL. THE. TIME. In the last year we’ve made: banned book week buttons, poet buttons for our poetry contest, many many fandom buttons all last summer, Downton Abbey buttons, buttons for a recent retirement party, and more.

Spring for the little thingy on the right that cuts out everything in the perfectly sized circle. It will make your life so much easier.

Spring for the little thingy on the right that cuts out everything in the perfectly sized circle. It will make your life so much easier.

So all this button making to say, constantly printing out images for teens to print out all while managing the new setup of the teen room (Hey, I should write about that! Soon!) made for a crazy afternoon. I was happy to let Virginia Instagram so I could leave. Our teen room staff of Clare, Virginia, and Allison are so lovely. Virginia and Allison have been great additions to the room and we are so happy to have them!

The moral of this story is: make yourself happy at work and get some amazing coworkers. And a button machine!

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Summer reads and new projects

Last year's summer reading.

Last year’s summer reading with last summer’s haircut.

Generally, I support people making their own summer reading decisions. I’m fairly against prescribed summer reading lists but these are books that I think you should read because you would like them. Plus, you are all adults and I can’t actually tell you what to do. But if you do want recommendations here are some I’ve been thinking about lately:

Girl at War by Sara Novic – I’m not finished with this yet, but it’s pretty great so far. It follows young girl, Ana Juric, from her life in Croatia during the Croatian Civil War in 1991 and then in the U.S. right after the September 11 attacks. It is as sad as expected but the writing is great.

Lumberjanes and Wicked + Divine comics – These are pretty different from each other but they are both going to be adapted so you should read the source material first. Or not – you do you. I’m trying to be less judgmental about that.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – This is just really good and I can highly recommend the audiobook. The narrator has a beautiful voice. So read it.

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin – You should read this because it’s a sort of unknown, but important story about black sailors in WWII who were tried and convicted of mutiny for refusing to load ammunition – a job pretty much only given to black sailors – without any ammunition training. Did I mention their white superior officers made best on which units could load bombs the fastest? And they only refused to load ammunition after an accident at their base that killed about 300 people? It’s a fascinating, infuriating, and important story.

You should also probably re-read a childhood book that you loved or an adult book you loved. I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife in a few years and I’m probably overdue for a day of gross sobbing. Read a classic; read a book by an author you’ve never read; read a book by someone who is completely different than you; read a book that makes you say, “This is my life.” Read, read, read. Let me know what I should be reading, too.

In other news, I’m excited to start my stint as a member of the YALSA Research Journal Advisory Board starting this summer. I’m not totally clear on what we will be working on but I’m excited to start committee work. I’d love to translate my experience on this committee to other YALSA committees someday like a book selection committee. Maybe someday I’ll be on the Printz committee and you can get super mad at all of our choices. FUN.

I have started writing for Women Write About Comics. I had a tiny news post up the other day and longer articles and essays will be up this month. You can follow that link to see the article and read my obnoxious bio at the bottom. I’m so excited about it and all the women who write for the site are smart, articulate, and amazing. I’ll probably be linking there a lot from now on, so get used to that.

With the YALSA board, WWAC, and my YALSA Hub blog manager application still floating around out there it’s shaping up to be a really busy next couple of years. But busy is good! And these are all personal and professional things that I really care about. I will try to still post on a weekly basis, but if you haven’t heard from me send me a note!


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Hello friends! Summer has unofficially started, are your summer reading plans set? We are good to go at MHL and are doing the collaborative theme of superheroes this year. I’m excited because superheroes can be great and there are lots of fun crafts and activities to do. One of the most exciting things we have planned for the year is our VolunTeen program which will be putting together a “Superhero Training Day/Academy” for little kids. A few libraries like the Plaistow Library in NH have done similar events with a superhero photobooth, obstacle courses, and more. It should be fun, even if Clare and I don’t have it totally fleshed out yet!

Other than that I’ve been hanging out with my mom:

We could look better but who cares.

We could look better but who cares.

I mentioned that I applied to write for Women Write About Comics and it’s happening! I’ll have two posts in June. I’ll let you know when they will be up so you can read them. In the meantime, here are two of my favorite most current posts:

Fail Better: How Nerd Insecurity Becomes Abuse by Jo Fu

Literal Dehumanization: Erasure of the Black Face in Hollywood by Jamie Kingston

It’s really a great website and if you’re interested in any part of geek/nerd culture (comics, movies, books, TV, games) you should definitely check it out. There is so much great talent writing there and I’m really happy to join the team.

Mini book review before you go:

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King – Can A.S. King write anything that’s bad? I don’t think so. This is one of my new favorite dystopias. Some might describe it as a Handmaid’s Tale for YAs. In the sense that through a hilarious and odd event – the drinking of petrified bat dust* mixed into a beer – Glory sees a future that is openly hostile to women, I can see the comparison. Glory sees a number of states pass laws that forbid women from working outside the home at all ushering in a second Civil War, kidnappings, breeding camps, laws that don’t allow single mothers to collect child support from fathers, and generally a hellish future for women and girls. Sadly, as I was reading this I kept thinking how NOT far-fetched this one. Like dystopias about future (or current) water wars, it hits pretty close to home. Along with the visions of the future, there is Glory learning to deal with the suicide of her mother and deciding whether or not a bad friend is worth having if it’s your only one. Really, really great.

And a travel suggestion before you go, too: If you’re in the Northshore area, check out the Stickwork installation by Patrick Dougherty and PEM in Salem. It’s really cool. It’s neat to stand in the twig houses and see them as the best club headquarters any child could wish for.

One of the four or five big twig houses with rando for scale.

One of the four or five big twig houses with random guy for scale.

Until next time, sweet friends.

*Yes, petrified bat dust. It makes sense in the book…

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Confidence – I’ve got it?

There was a time, not too long ago because I really haven’t been a librarian for very long, when attending a library conference made me feel awful. I would sit in all these sessions and hear what these amazing librarians were doing for their community and I just felt not good enough. Hearing about the wonderful and innovative things that were happening in libraries around me should have galvanized me and spurred me on to good library programs.

Feeling jealous....

Feeling jealous….

But they didn’t. They made me inferior. I don’t know if I thought that I could never have interesting ideas, or that I couldn’t execute a program, or that I didn’t think we had the money or the librarian buy-in to do things, I don’t know. But I thought that presenting programs at conferences was something very successful amazing librarians did and I was just going to be an “in the trenches” librarian. I may not doing anything spectacular but I was still going to be good at my job. In a quiet sort of way.

I did programs like NELLS (aka library summer camp) and had a YALSA mentor to help me feel more confident. They helped tremendously but I managed to still feel that terrible mix of jealousy and self-contempt when I heard of other libraries’ great programs. Then this year I spent one day at the Massachusetts Library Conference where librarians were excited about their programs for one hour a week, self-directed staff learning, or a book bike, or awesome web tools like IFTTT that make some of our work more streamlined. The programs and speakers were great and I was excited to see them.

Then I got home, went to work the next day, and told coworkers about the panels I attended. As I was talking to a friend, I realized I wasn’t feeling that sad, deep-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach-bad-feeling. I felt fine. Clare and I were coming off a very successful and well-loved Teen Poetry Contest and reception, and I had just done another library sponsored Pub Trivia. Our social media numbers were up, summer reading was planned, and a few teachers from one of the middle schools reached out to us (unheard of!) to collaborate on some programs. It’s not all successes: I’ve had a string of crafts in the teen room that have not been popular at all but that just makes me realize I’ve been lazy with my planning; we’re struggling with our summer volunteer programs but we know we’ll figure it out; and more road bumps along the way.

It’s not going perfectly, but I’m doing pretty well. And maybe someday I’ll present at a conference. Or not. But it doesn’t make it difference because I have some confidence in my job. And boy does it feel good.


And this cover is beautiful.

P.S. You should read Hausfrau. Get over your desire for “likeable” characters and read it. The writing is spectacular and the main character’s name is Anna. So that’s something. But really, it’s incredible. Anna makes really bad choices and yet manages to be interesting, sympathetic, and pitiful all at once.

P.P.S. I’ll mostly likely be applying to be the Hub manager and may be writing for Women Write About Comics, which I’m pretty excited about. Both of those things may affect my already dismal record of updating this blog, but I’ll keep you posted.

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