Category Archives: News

Save IMLS because libraries are essential

If you didn’t hear that Trump is planning on cutting funds to SO MANY ESSENTIAL programs, then here you go. Also, some of these essential programs include the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an important source of funding for libraries and museums in the U.S. I want to talk a little bit about IMLS today because a lot of people don’t know what it does. IMLS gives grants to libraries and museums to provide essential education and access services to patrons. This can be you the public, students at universities, museum patrons, and more.

In Massachusetts, IMLS grants help MA libraries to put on Summer Reading, perhaps the one of the most important programs many public libraries have to help combat the summer slide, and our Commonwealth Catalog, which is an easy way to request and receive books from other consortia to your home library. Looking for a book but you live in Western MA but only a library in Boston has it? The Commonwealth catalog allows you to see that book, request it, and for librarians to get it for you in about a week.

Here are some grants that IMLS has awarded to libraries and museums that I especially like:

This grant supports the Chicago Public Library’s Maker Lab which helps to educate patrons of all ages about art, engineering while giving them practical, hands-on skills.

This grant to the St. Louis Science Center – one of the best places ever! – helps support school readiness programs for kids aged 0-4.

This grant to the Boston Public Library helps to preserve the incredible John Singer Sargent murals located in their historic Copley Square Branch.

This grant to the Southern New Hampshire University helps to provide access to research about business and economic development.

IMLS gives many grants to American Indian tribes and nations in Arizona and elsewhere.

This grant gives Orange County, FL the ability to offer classes economic development class in Haitian Creole.

This grant to Clemson University helps to establish an online database of National Park information.

This grant to the Columbus Public Library helps prepare students for school as well as social, reading, and languages skills in the city’s poorest areas.

This grant allows the Houston Public Library to create mobile library “pop-ups” to combat the loss of skills over the summer.

Friends, there are hundreds of grants. Take a look and see the essential services that IMLS helps to provide. What can you find in your state and community?

So, does the thought of these programs going away because Trump and others of his ilk don’t think they are important or necessary make you full of rage? First of all, welcome to my world, and secondly, what can you do? You can all your representative and ask them to support IMLS in general and to specifically sign these “Dear Appropriator” letters which support funding to LSTA grants. If you don’t know your representative – maybe you don’t have them all in your phone like I do?! – find them here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Also you can use your public library and your museums. Tell them that you appreciate what they do. Join the Friends group at your library or buy some books from their book sale. (My local library’s book sale is this weekend and you can also donate to their teen room renovation project.)

Here’s another great article about how IMLS helps libraries, museums, and you. Yes, you personally. Do you live in MA and your kid did summer reading at the library? IMLS helped you. Fill in the blank with hundreds of other examples of that sentence. Now help IMLS and fight the Trump budget’s campaign against essential job training and education services.

And don’t even get me started on the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

 

 

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2016: The Good Stuff

2016-year-in-review

It’s time for the 2016 year in review. As I mentioned in my best books of the year post, a lot of 2016 was shit. But we know that; I’d rather talk about some of the good stuff that happened this year. The good stuff is what is going to sustain me going forward. Yeah some really scary, sad, and frustrating things happened in 2016. Nothing can change that, but remembering the good things that happened will give me hope to keep going.

Professional life:

Nominated to the 2019 Printz ballot – voting in March/April 2017. I’m very nervous about this but deeply thankful to be nominated. I really hope that I get on the committee but if I don’t, I can always try again.

Went to PLA in Denver which was such a great experience. I got to hear about innovative programming, make new librarian friends and connect with old ones, and even meet a WWAC friend in real life.

Got a new coworker – the amazing Renata! Listen to her podcast, The Worst Bestsellers, she’s super cool and a great librarian.

Read some great books: 30% were by people of color, 51% were by women. That improves slightly upon my authors of color numbers from last year, but I also read less books by women. Interesting! (2015 I read 28% authors of color, and 53% women.)

Continued Girls Who Code at MHL – a wonderful program that I’m so happy to be able to present.

Dungeons & Dragons is still going strong. It’s a riot! If you ever would like to feel more control of your life, host a D&D game for 8 – 10 middle school teens. Your life will seem calm and controlled in comparison.

Kept writing for Women Write About Comics. I’m especially proud of these posts this year: The Fear of a Cage: Re-reading Eowyn; In Defense of the [YA] Love Triangle; Why I Game: Trying to Try; and Super Sad Depressing YA Books: How They Help Me to Feel.

Personal life:

I got to travel a lot in 2016: Punta Cana, DR; Scotland; Montreal; New Hampshire; Connecticut, Chicago; Denver! What a year! 

punta-cana

My trip to the Dominican Republic was an amazing trip with my best lady friends for the year most of us turned 30. It’s something we’ve been talking about for 10 years or more! It was absolutely perfect. We sat in the sun, drank cocktails, read, and swam in the blue-green ocean. Probably the most relaxed I’ve ever been. 

scotland

Scotland was a trip with my mom, sister, cousin, and two aunts. We drove around, ate the best food, talked to the most wonderful people, and enjoyed the beautiful Scottish countryside. We saw castles and sheep, laughed and joked, and had just most wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back! 

Doug and I went to Montreal in July. (No good pictures – it was too sweaty!) It was hot but we ate some really good poutine and pastries. We had to drive over a huge bridge and neither of us spoke French so it was a bit hilarious.

wedding-party
Also, duh, we got married, which was amazing! I have the best family and friends who did incredible amounts of work. Family did everything from sewing a wedding dress is basically a weekend, making a million paper flowers, giving us money to pay for the wedding we wanted, took amazing photographs, and came out to celebrate with us. Our incredible friends picked up ice cream, coordinated the entire event the day of, threw us parties, officiated the freaking wedding ceremony (!) wrangled tablecloths and more. As is every year, the best part of it was family and friends.

I also love being married to Doug. He’s the sweetest, kindest, most hilarious person I know. I’m very lucky. </schmoop>

Last year my goals were to: “Read more, sew more, bake more, write more, run more (and get better!), game more, librarian more, and well . . . more. Just more of all of it, really!”

And I can say I did most of that. I read a lot of great things and I even had time to sew some new clothes. I made macarons the other day and am working my way through Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. I wrote a lot for WWAC but not really for anyone else. I need to work on my blogging, clearly.

I’ve been running and am hoping to ease back into races – like 5k distance – in the spring. We joined the YMCA in town and I’m also looking forward to trying out some yoga classes.

I’ve gamed a lot. Doug loves games and I’ve really come to love them as well. Some favorites I’ve played this year include: Eldritch Horror; Mission: Red Planet; Inis; Jaipur; Castles of Mad King Ludwig; Survive: Escape from Atlantis, and Betrayal at House on the Hill.Oh and Dungeons & Dragons. I love it so much. 🙂

As far as next year? Here are some goals:

-Read more books by authors of color and other writers whose lives differ from my own.
-Generally, listen to other peoples’ stories.
-Become more politically active and fight/campaign for the things I believe in: women’s rights, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, LGBTQ rights, accessible health care, slowing climate change, and supporting immigrants and refugees.
-Write more critically.
-Sewing goals: learn to install a zipper and experiment with different fabrics.
-Food goals: improve my macaron; make miso soup; figure out that food processor recall….
-Exercise because it makes me feel good; keep running.
-Be kind.
-Go on adventures!

 

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2015 Year in Review!

So it’s time again for the year in review! It’s still January so that means it’s not too late. Right? I’ve done this the last few years and it’s been interesting to look back through the year and remember it all.
2015 was great! I discovered that I unabashedly love sewing, the Great British Baking Show, Dungeons & Dragons, comics, tabletop board games, Rey, Finn, and Poe, and Hamilton (I’m a little late to the bandwagon but I am ON IT). So basically I am now the uber-nerdy version of myself. That’s ok!
Last Year’s goals are below. Let’s see how I did:

  • Spend more time with family and friends.
  • Regain title of favorite aunt to my nieces and nephews. I think I’ve been slacking.
  • Keep reading but focus on reading widely and not feeling so guilty about reading adult books! I like Book Riot’s suggestions for reading goals.
  • Get my hip 100% healthy.
  • Continue to grow in my job and become more confident as an advocate for teen services in libraries.
  • Make full use of my vacation time.
  • Be better about posting here once a week.

I got to spend lots of time with friends and even made some new ones this year. It’s fun to get to know all the friends and acquaintances of a S.O! You get to have twice as many friends and that’s really lovely. My sister and her family visited me over the summer, I went home in September, and am going home in two days. While I never see my family as much as I would like due to almost 1,000 miles, I got to have some good quality time with them.

I’m totally the favorite aunt. I’m fun and I buy them lightsabers and Star Trek gear for Christmas. Best aunt? Probably.

I read more adult books this year than I have in a while and I didn’t feel too guilty about it. I pushed myself to read some YA books that I wouldn’t necessarily pick up on my own so that helped to alleviate the guilt some. I kept track of some of the demographics of the books that I read and last year 53% of the authors were women and 28% were people of color. I’m happy about the women but know I could better about reading more writers of different backgrounds and experiences.

My hip is not quite 100% but I did run more this year. I’m back in PT and more hopeful than I was before going back.

The job is going well; I feel like I’m doing okay. Training a new colleague has been an interesting experience. I don’t think I’m particularly good at it but it’s been a great challenge for me.

I am wringing every last day out of my vacation time. Next year I finally get my full four weeks so I’m excited to be a bit more frivolous with it! Plus I have plans to have a big 30th birthday vacation with girlfriends, and some shorter trips around New England.

Ok, so I was kind of crap at posting every week. November I didn’t post at all! Oops! But, I am writing at WWAC and I love it. It’s so fun to have a group of awesome women to chat and write with.

So 2015 was ok, let’s make 2016 better.

Here’s some goals:

Read more, sew more, bake more, write more, run more (and get better!), game more, librarian more, and well . . . more. Just more of all of it, really!

Anyone here have some other suggestions for 2016? Doing anything awesome?

 

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Training is hard

Training a coworker is really hard. I feel like I don’t have a lot of the answers and it’s hard to find a mix between informative and overwhelming. Plus, it’s a whole new person and personality to learn. Rebecca is lovely and great with the teens. I love how many good ideas she has and how willing she is to just try out new ideas. I think she’s going to make the teen department great!

It’s been two weeks so hopefully the real “training” part is going to end soon!

I don’t have much to say other than that so instead enjoy this delightful MC Lars video about children’s books:

Also go read Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. It’s delightful!

 

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Back from vacation!

Hello all! I’m back from Chicago!

Chicago skyline from the Shedd front steps!

Chicago skyline from the Shedd front steps!

Lovely boyfriend Doug and I went out for a few days to see family, celebrate my Mom’s birthday, and just relax! It was a much needed break after a long summer of solo teen room staffing and a long hiring process. We interviewed five candidates – which was a lot! Everyone was really great and it was a difficult decision, but my new teen buddy is starting next Tuesday. I’ll tell you more about her soon. I think she’s going to be amazing!

Girls-Who-Code-logo

Other than hiring the biggest thing I’ve been working on at work has been Girls Who Code. I don’t think that I’ve talked about it here but it’s a BIG program for the library. Girls Who Code is an organization that helps coordinate free coding/programming clubs for girls in grades 6 – 12. It’s a year long program where the girls meet for two hours every week and learn the basics of programming (but not the BASICs of programming, know what I mean?!) and languages like HTML, CSS, Python, JavaScript, and more. It’s amazing! If you’ve heard of the Tampon Run game, you’ve heard of Girls Who Code. Seriously, it’s an amazing organization and our GWC @ MHL club will be launching next Saturday. It’s been a lot of work, but I’m so excited about it. Right now I have about 40 interested girls for 12 spots. Hopefully next year we can either do more clubs or accommodate more people. We’re limited by the amount of computers and time we have right now. Or maybe the schools will host a lot of clubs and the Merrimack Valley will become like a lady Silicon Valley. I can dream!

Also, my library’s next Pub Trivia will be 11/10 at 7:30 at Andolini’s in Andover. You should come! My cohost Curtis and I basically have the exact same haircut. It’s hilarious and fun to witness.

Finally, if you have extra cash laying around please contribute to WWAC’s Indiegogo. We’re trying to reach our last stretch goal, which will be an emergency fund for WWAC writers. I love this idea! God forbid anything happen to me or my job, but there are a lot of women who write for the site who freelance or just generally are making all their income off writing. I am so impressed and in awe of them, but I know it’s not the most stable job. So help us out if you can.

I’ll leave you with this blurry picture from my birthday because I really wish I knew what was happening here. Cheers!

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