Do all the things!

This has been my summer so far:


Allie Brosh, bless you for this illustration and the inspiration for all these memes.

There have been so many big things that seem to be taking over my (mostly professional) life this summer. First there is summer reading, though that was less stressful than last year. Last year we set up our Volunteen program in a very strange, very time consuming way with three different sections meeting every week. Sure we had a lot of kids but it was so taxing on us and I’m not even sure that the Volunteens had all that great of a time. So this year it was simple: three days of two hours each to make a Superhero Training Camp for elementary aged kids. This worked out so much better and everyone had a great time. Be sure to check out of the pics on the MHL Teen Room Instagram!

I mentioned a bit ago that I applied to be the YALSA Hub blog manager and I . . . did not get that! But that’s ok. Really, at this particular moment having that would just be another stress mountain that would come and sit on my shoulderblades and turn into a stress knot. (Don’t worry, I’m getting a massage on Friday.) Plus, I am not the most organized so it may not ever be a good job for me. I’m relieved. Instead, a fellow Hub Blogger, Molly Wetta, who runs the awesome blog Wrapped up in Books got the job and she’s seriously great. She’s going to do such a wonderful job!

But instead of being the Hub Manager I was appointed to the Hub Advisory Board with YALSA, so that’s pretty great. I’m excited to still be involved with the Hub even though I am content to not be writing for them anymore. Add that to my membership on the Research Journal Advisory Board and I’m excited about the work that I’m doing with YALSA. They provide really great resources for teen librarians and others who work with teens and literature. Not to be too weird, but consider joining YALSA! It can be really hard to be in ALA because it’s not especially cheap but I think YALSA really makes it worth while.

This summer I was also working with the director and some library furniture vendors to do some renovation work in the teen room. Friends, I am SO excited about this. I think it’s going to really improve the teen room’s seating, shelving, and general atmosphere.

IMG_0760The picture above is already step two in the process. There used to be eight computers on three large tables in this space where these tall cafe tables are. Four more computers were in the glassed in room on the right (with the bright green tiles above) and those cafe tables were in there. When we did some redesigning in the reference area, we got the old reference carrels. They work really well to have all 12 teen computers in the glassed in room. I’m not particularly enamored with the cafe tables so with help from the director I worked on a new plan for some regular square and rectangle tables, some comfy chairs, and new shelving. We desperately need more shelving in the teen room. Right now if a book doesn’t circulate in a year, we have to weed it. We have an amazing budget given to us by the town and from the director of the library and with our current space, we’d either have to cut our budget or continue to weed heavily. Heavy weeding doesn’t allow us to have a robust collection. Right now we have a lot, but it’s lacking in depth. We need a deep and wide collection, just like the old church camp song. So new shelving will help.

It’s going to be more exciting too! We’re getting orange laminate topped tables, bright purple vinyl squishy chairs, green plastic chairs, and green stools. It’s going to be borderline obnoxious in there. I will love it. I think teens will too.

The last professional thing that is about to get really crazy is that we are hiring a new teen librarian! My lovely co-teen librarian Clare has moved to a cataloging and reference job. She even moved offices which is pretty sad; the teen office is kind of lonely! But I’m excited for Clare to have a new position and I’m excited to get a new person, so if you know a teen librarian or are a teen librarian who would like to come work with me in Andover, please apply! We have lots of fun and I have big plans for the fall!

This will us after we become work friends!

This will us after we become work friends! Bonus points if you know what episode they were filming!

Women Write About Comics has also been taking over my life a bit, too, but I don’t mind. It’s been nice to write about different topics. Well, not THAT different I’m still writing about books . . . and I reviewed a library app . . . and maybe I’ll have a library column? But it’s DIFFERENT. It’s at least at a different address, so that’s something. I got to write about Jesuits in Space for a wider audience so that makes me happy. Anything to spread the message of Jesuits in Space.

Well fellow library and book friends, that’s all for me. I hope to post a few times a month, so pester me if you don’t see me here!

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Craft time: Easy Doctor Who Adipose Plushies!

adipose giphy
I promised you a Doctor Who Apidose Plushie tutorial and I’m going to DELIVER! This tutorial is based on Erica Kern’s tutorial but made easier for those who don’t have a sewing machine or don’t want to use a sewing machine with teens. I may try her tutorial some day because it’s adorable and really professional looking, but for the teen room I went with easy.

Here we go! You will need:

-white polar fleece (I got like 1 1/2 yards and have a TON left)
-sewing needles
-white embroidery floss or thread
-black embroidery floss
-poly fill or some other stuffing
-black beads for eyes
-paper template

Step One: Freehand an adipose template. Or download a picture of one and trace the outline onto some construction paper or cardstock.


Step Two: Place your template on your fleece that is still folded together. Trace the template with a fabric marker or . . . a Sharpie because you are at work and forgot a fabric marker!


Step Three: Cut out the template making sure you’re holding the folded fabric together. That way you will get two fabric pieces that are the same shape/size.


Step Four: Mark spots for the eyes and mouth on one fabric piece. Sew on the eyes with black beads and black thread.


Step Five: Sew on the mouth with a straight stitch or whatever fancy stitch you know that can make a smile with the black thread. (Can you tell I’m not an embroidery expert?)


Step Six: Whip stitch the two pieces together almost all the way around. Leave the top of the head open.


Step Seven: Stuff it with poly fill! Make sure you get into the legs and arms. Stitch it up some more, leaving about an inch open.


Step Eight: Do a final stuffing to make sure you have the fullness you want and then stitch up the opening and tie off your string.

Step Nine: Admire your handiwork!

TA-DA! You’ve made an easy and cute Adipose. You can see some of the adventures that the adiposes the teens made had in the library on our Instagram feed.

Any cute crafts you want to share? I’m always looking for ideas!





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I finally read Gone Girl! Hello 2012!

Ugh movie cover.

Ugh movie cover.

I realize that everyone else in the world has read Gone Girl, but I finally got around to it. At first, because I’m a jerk, I didn’t read it because it was popular and everyone was reading. If everyone likes it, it must appeal to the common masses and therefore is crap. I am not going to waste my time reading a popular thriller. I was an English major! I’ve read Henry James!

Did I mention I’m a jerk?

There’s a little part of me that is still really snobby. That part of me loves to read poetry, literary fiction, Thomas Hardy and Henry James books (even though they don’t always seem to esteem women so much), the more enlightened end of the YA spectrum. I really am insufferable sometimes. Most of the time I’m ok with being a snob and other days I feel really bad about it. I also believe that you should read what you want, and sometimes that butts heads with my snobbery. So for me, I’ve just decide to do a little of both. Read something with “literary merit” and then read something not so critically well-received.

This summer I wanted to read Gone Girl I mean, everyone was talking about it three years. It’s been so popular that they’ve already made a movie of it and everyone else has moved on. Not me! I finally read and I did really like it. It was actual a review in the New York Times – I think I can’t find the article again – that made me want to read it. I remember the review having a point that was something along the lines of ,”Feminism means that women get to be just as unlikeable and scary as men.” Obviously, this is not ALL that feminism means, but I was intrigued.

And Amy – or Amazing Amy – is pretty damn unlikeable and scary. I know that I’m not supposed to like her . . . but I did sort of admire how smart she was in all of her planning. Obviously she is a bad person, but it was interesting to read about her. Similarly, her “Cool Girl” rant in the middle of the novel is a lot like some expectations and/or tropes of women in media, so I appreciated that.

Is the the most amazing book I’ve ever read? No but I really enjoyed. It’s kind of sad how often I am shocked by the realization that popular books can actually be good! Anyone else read some good page turners this summer?

Stay tuned for next week when I do a little tutorial on how to make a modified, easier version of these guys from Doctor Who:

adiposeThis tutorial is from Erica Kern, but since it was for a craft for our Doctor Who Club at work I didn’t want to bring in my sewing machine. I’ll show you how to do it slightly easier, but still pretty cute!

Finally, stuff of mine is going up a few times a month at WWAC. Check it out if you’re so inclined. It’s an amazing group of ladies, like I’ve said, and it’s so nice to have an editor. Editors make your writing so much better! This blog could definitely use one.

See you next week!

adipose giphy

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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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