Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Challenge to Pelican Public Library Patrons

This is a great link that I discovered through LIS News. Many other bloggers have posted it, and I just had a chance to check it out. This marketing tool was developed by The Chelmsford (MA) Library. It gives patrons to see what they get out of their public library. It provides an estimate of what these free library services could cost.

The Chelmsford Library encourages people to use it and pass it on.

For those of you who were curious, the value of my library use is 8987.80.

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Cool new links

As some of you may know, I read a lot of blog. Most of them are library related, others are just plain fun. The two links below came to me through the Infoblog.

This is one of those really neat resources every voter should use. You can search for bills as they make their way through the governmental system. You can search by politician's name, bill number, or subject. You can also look at committee assignments and voting records. If you like to know what your Congress person is doing, this is the easiest way to find out what they are doing with their day.

Some of you already know how I feel about Google. But this is really cool. Everyone needs 411 at some point, the fact that it is free is the best idea. The video is kind of neat and really shows how the product works. I haven't tried it yet, but I have it in my phone, just in case.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Christmas in library land

This is one of my favorite days in library land.

I will post more later, but I want to personally congratulate Mo Willems on his award. He was awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for 2008. I have read all of Mo's books and fell that he deserved this award. Piggie and Elephant books define this award. They are great for beginning readers and for a couple of thirty something librarians to read out loud as a readers theater in the middle of a Barnes and Noble in Fargo North Dakota.

If you haven't read them, it is a good time to check them out.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

I love the Internet as much as the next person

But let's face it, I love books more. I am glad to see that the Internet isn't having the impact that most people thought it would. I can't say that I am shocked. At the end of a long day, I would much rather curl up with a book and fall asleep. You can do that with your computer or laptop, but it isn't the same. The book goes anywhere you want, you can't do that with a computer.

Sure people will say "give it time," or "look what is happening to cds." It isn't the same. Penguin Chief Executive and Chairman John Makinson pointed out, "There is a lot going on in the music publishing industry that is not going on in the book industry. Consumers don't want albums they want tracks and in publishing people want books not chapters."

Which made me think, "how weird would it be to read a book one chapter at a time." Instead of just turning the page you would have to open another file, or worse have to get up out of bed and go in search of the next chapter. I have a hard enough time waiting for authors to put out the next book in a series, I couldn't handle waiting for the next chapter.

Curl up with that book, don't worry they will write more.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't miss your chance

It only happens once a year. And 365 days is a long time to wait around do get to talk silly again.

So celebrate it. It isn't every day you get to talk like a pirate!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Column Pelican Rapids Press 09/12/07

For those you might have missed my article in Press this week, I have posted it here. You can leave your most memorable books in the comments if you wish.

Back to school time.

I have always loved this time of year. There is something calming about returning to the classroom, the schedule, the set expectations, and the homework. Yes, I was one of those odd kids who enjoyed homework. I especially loved research projects. I know it is a little weird, but remember that I am a librarian and love to answer reference questions.

I enjoyed most of my homework. I liked reading the textbooks, I enjoyed taking tests, but most of all I loved essay questions. I could write sheets and sheets on any given topic. Feel free to ask any of the teachers or professors that I tortured with my long, insanely detailed and meticulously cited papers or essays.

The one thing I didn’t enjoy much was English class. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dread the “ordinary” stuff. I loved diagramming sentences. I lived to dissect the English language and show off my knowledge of prepositions and dangling participles. Sadly most of that ability has fallen to the wayside and I am not as impressive as I was in school, but I still enjoy it. What I feared more than anything was the reading assignment. All too often, the book chosen was something I didn’t enjoy and just couldn’t get into. Occasionally, though, I would get lucky and be assigned a book I simply loved.

I still remember my enthusiasm over the books that I read in sixth grade. Mrs. Gunthiner was fantastic at selecting books that wouldn’t just entertain but engage each and every one of us. I am sure we read more than two books that year, but two of them still burn bright in my memory. The first is Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman. This was a rare book that was enjoyable to both the boys and the girls. (It should be noted that I am taking some of the more exact plot details from Barnes and Noble and the American Library Association website – my memory’s not what it used to be either – but that doesn’t diminish my love for the book.) I still remember one cold Sunday afternoon in early January, curled up on a pile of pillows in a sunny patch in my room reading this book. The world around me dissolved and I was climbing the Citadel with Rudi. That is a sign of a good book. Almost twenty years later, I remember the feeling of gripping the book, holding on to it, wondering if he would finish his quest to climb to the top, a feat his father died trying to do.

Incidentally, Banner in the Sky is a Newbery Honor award winner. The Newbery Award, named after 18th century British bookseller John Newbery, is awarded annually by the American Library Association. Sometimes I don’t like the actual award winner, but the honor awards are some great finds. Feel free to stop by the library if you are interested in looking over the list.

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright was the second book. I remember we read it right after Banner in the Sky. The Barnes and Noble description of the book reads, “Portia and her cousin Julian discover adventure in a hidden colony of forgotten summer houses on the shores of a swampy lake.” That is the worst description of this book I can imagine for such an incredible, magical book. It was awarded with a Newbery Honor in 1958. After reading it, I dreamed of living in a place where I would see magical houses, meet fascinating people, and seeing gorgeous lakes. I guess I can now cross that off my list.

But not all books were good experiences. Like all students, I was forced to read books that I found annoying and downright dull. Eighth grade was a particularly bad year. We read Tom Sawyer, and the teacher tried to cram Laura Ingalls Wilder down my throat again. Now, if I had been allowed to read Tom Sawyer on my own at my own pace, I would have loved it. However being forced to read aloud one chapter a day for a month and struggling to keep the class at the same place made the book seem endlessly boring. Discussing the proper use of words and why the teacher felt the book should be cut from the curriculum because it was offensive didn’t help any either.

And we then we have Ms. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Let me start by saying that I know I am going to get some feedback here, and I am fine with that. I know there are people who enjoy reading her books and think they are great pieces of American literature. I know that I have lived in three states that love to have her as a part of their history. I felt she was boring and whiny. The teachers in Centerville (only 2 hours from De Smet, the famous Little Town on the Prairie) started cramming Laura down our throats in first grade, reading it aloud after recess. I fell asleep. In third grade, we were required to read one of the books, our choice, and then take a test on it. It was the only English test I failed until I took British literature in college. Every grade after that and throughout college until I dropped my English major, her works were pushed, prodded and crammed into my brain. They were compared, scrutinized and obsessed over. Even in my history program I couldn’t avoid it. One of the professors wrote a few books about her.

But enough of my whining about Ms Wilder. Now, I want to hear about your most memorable books from your youth. National Children’s book week is November 12-18. We would like to have a display of your most memorable books growing up. It doesn’t have to be your favorite, most loved, most recommended book. It can be your least favorite, most hated, most dreaded book ever. It doesn’t have to be a book you read in school, just a book that you read from your childhood or through your college years. Write it down on a slip of paper and in November we will create a list of books from your suggestion. We will have a display in the library of the books so other people can read them and discuss them. If you can’t remember the title, stop in and we might be able to reunite you with your most memorable book.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Did you know?

Some people pay to use a library?

After ten months here in Pelican Rapids, I wanted to take a few moments and reflect on my time here.

As I have previously noted, I am catching up on my bloglines. So I stopped short as I scanned over a post at the Liminal Librarian. The blog and the related site,, are written and maintained by Rachel Singer Gordon. Ms. Gordon is an information goddess to those of us starting out or moving on to different points in our library careers. She does this great of keeping us all up-to-date on library things, as well as things in her life. But enough about how cool I think Rachel is, on to the post.

A few months ago, she had a great post on how she is an indiscriminate reader. I have friends that are indiscriminate readers, I however, am a bit of a snob when it comes to reading, but we will save that for another time.

Now there have been great discussions about what people should read, what libraries should own for people to read, and of course there is always the "literature" we all should read. If you take time to read her post, please don't take some of the comments from others too seriously. Everyone is free to their own thoughts and feelings.

But my favorite part was where she talked about renewing her nonresident public library card. We don't have such a thing here in Minnesota. In most libraries you can walk right in and with a photo ID and a librarian will give you a library card. That's it, a shiny new card and you can do what you wish, check email, get a bestseller, research the best hiking in the area, or locate all 38 pelicans in town.

For the rest of the world, if you live outside of a service area of a library, you might have a non-resident fee to get a library card. The Brookings Public Library charges $20.00 per person or $30.00 per family for an annual membership to the library. In Rapid City South Dakota people living outside of Pennington County will have to pay $70.00 per year.

So I knew that such fees were common place through out the nation, but Rachel caught me off guard. Two hundred and five dollars. $205!!!!!

Now that is someone who loves her library.

She explains:

$205! you say -- well, let's do the math. I visit the library weekly and check out around 20 items each time, costing me about $.20/each. (This doesn't account for children's programs, summer reading prizes, and other benefits.) That's a pretty good ROI, not to mention that I'm pretty happy with that $205 going to fund a public service for everyone else.

What I find interesting, is that I did the exact same thing to patrons in Brookings. When they found out that they had to pay since they lived outside of Brookings County, they usually voiced their concern. I am sure I would if I was in the same situation. However, to help calm them, I pointed out that the average cost one hardcover book was about $20 (hey it was almost six years ago). I continued to say that if they only checked out one book in the next 365 days, it would have paid for itself. Then every item there after was free. I never had a person refuse a card.

What a great value our libraries are. Where else can you go in, read the paper, leaf through a few magazines, check your email, and so much more. Most of things are free. Sure if you bring a DVD or VHS item back late you will have to pay a fine. If you print, make a copy, or need to send a fax there will be another small charge.

Over the next year, the Viking Library System and its member libraries will tell you about some of the common services you know and use. However, other months will focus on some of the behind the scenes workings of the libraries. Whatever the topic is, the eleven libraries and the Bookmobile are there giving you the best service they possibly can.

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Cleaning house

As some of you have noticed, there is a small increase in my postings. Well I have been cleaning house. In my periods of physically cleaning my house today, I have been cleaning digitally, too.

When you track over 100 blogs (103 as of this moment), receive 15 listservs in digest form, and have 5 or 6 other listservs that I track, it is easy to build up a back log.

As anyone who has worked in a library during the summer will tell you, we don't do a lot that isn't on the critical list during the summer. Now that the summer is racing to a close, what better time than to do some cleaning?

I have filed my work email into proper folders. I have read the book reviews from blogs. I am still filing emails in my personal email addresses. Now I am down to blogging about the posts and information that I have found interesting that would be enjoyable for you fine folks.

Feel free to comment.

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Free Audiobooks

For those of you lucky enough to own an iPod or MP3 player. I encourage you to look at Simply Audio.

I was reading about this a few months ago on one of the library listserves and others are pleased at the title selection.

The Pelican Rapids Library doesn't have downloadable books available at this time. This site will allow you to play with another media type. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

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For all the engineers I know

One of my favorite engineering jokes -

Three engineers and three mathematicians are traveling by train to a conference. At the station, the three mathematicians each buy tickets and watch as the three engineers buy only a single ticket.

"How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" asks a mathematician.

"Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer.

They all board the train. The mathematicians take their respective seats, but all three engineers cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, "Ticket, please." The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The mathematicians see this and agree it is quite a clever idea. So after the conference, the mathematicians decide to copy the engineers on the return trip and save some money (being clever with money, and all that). When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the engineers don't buy a ticket at all.

"How are you going to travel without a ticket?" asks one perplexed mathematician.

"Watch and you'll see," answers a engineer.

When they board the train, the three mathematicians cram into one restroom and the three engineers cram into another one nearby. The train departs. Shortly afterward, one of the engineers leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the mathematicians are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, "Ticket, please."

For more clever jokes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sesquicentennial Banner

The Pelican Rapids Library is happy to host the Sesquicentennial Banner as it makes its way across this great state. Feel free to stop by the library and sign the guest book with your favorite memories or thoughts about Minnesota. The banner is hanging in the Children's area. Below is the official press release about it. It will only be here until August 3rd.

Journey of the Sesquicentennial Banners

Two official Sesquicentennial banners are on tour, making stops at libraries across the state.

As the state’s Sesquicentennial draws closer, two ambassadors are making their way across Minnesota spreading the message that 2008 will be a year to reflect upon and celebrate. These emissaries are 3’ by 5’ banners that began their journey on May 11th, 2007 and will make stops in libraries in every county in Minnesota before returning to St. Paul on May 11th 2008 for the 150th anniversary of statehood.
Each banner is accompanied by a leather-bound journal in which visitors can write thoughts about Minnesota and the Sesquicentennial. The banners and the journal will be presented to the Governor at Statehood Weekend next May, and eventually find a new home with the Minnesota Historical Society.
In addition to drumming up interest in the Sesquicentennial, the banners’ journey is intended to highlight the importance of public libraries in Minnesotans’ daily lives. “We picked libraries to be the official host of this special Sesquicentennial banner and journal because libraries are essential to our civic and economic life as a state and in our local communities,” said Sesquicentennial Commission Executive Director Jane Leonard. “Public libraries are lifelong learning labs, filled with the information and knowledge we need to grow as individuals, to start and grow businesses, and to share a civic life with our fellow citizens who gather in those public spaces."
The first banner began its journey this past May at the Rural Summit in Brainerd. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Former First Lady Jane Freeman (whose husband, Governor Orville Freeman, was governor during the state's centennial in 1958) and Sesquicentennial Commission Vice Chairperson Reatha Clark King were among the first to sign the accompanying journal.
The banner will be traveling through Viking Library System beginning July 18 and continuing through September 10. The Pelican Rapids Public Library will be hosting the banner on July 30 through August 3. Please stop in to see the banner and add your thoughts to the Sesquicentennial journal.

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