Scallywags, Scoundrels, and… Librarians?

by Britney

I think in another life, I must have been a pirate.  It’s the only (acceptable) explanation I can think of for my love of books about scallywags and scoundrels.  Give me a morally ambiguous character with a dark agenda and a shady crew, and you’ve got my attention.

Methinks it has to do with the fact that those types of characters are so much more interesting than other, more honorable and straight-laced lads (and ladies).  There are always motives other than are initially apparent, hidden perils, and higher stakes.  And muskets, and knives, and all manners of explosives!

I’ve read a couple of books lately that absolutely sing to my black heart, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about one, just in case there are readers out there who share my love of questionable characters and their equally dodgy exploits.  It’s a proper pirate-y book, caravel and all.

416OtR9YEzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Girl From Anywhere by Heidi Heilig

“It is not difficult to tell the future of a woman who only has a past.”

This book is extremely unique in that it’s a time travel book, but not really.  I mean, yes, it has time travel, but it’s not wholly about time travel.

The plot is very intricate and complicated (but not overly hard to follow), but here’s the gist of it: there’s a crew of time-traveling pirates who navigate from place to place and time to time using maps of all sorts as a means of transportation.  Maps can only be used once (a navigation is a one-way trip), and any map can be sailed into – even ones of mythical places (hello – Atlantis, anyone?).  Here’s what you really need to know: it’s (mostly) set in 19th century Hawaii, there’s a lost love, a heist, oodles at stake, and a pocket-sized dragon.

One of the things that immediately drew me to this book was its use of maps.  I am obsessed with maps.  One of the first things my dad taught me as a kid was how to read maps.  He believed that as long as I knew how to read a map, I could never get lost.  (I can’t tell you how many times this skill has been useful.  GPS? Who needs it? Not this girl.) When my grandmother died, one of the things I kept of hers was her collection of National Geographic maps, saved from the magazines she had collected since the 50s.  Anyway, I super duper smooch maps of all kinds.  And this book played right into that love.  Cartography, authenticity, accuracy, dates, places – these are all elements which advance the plot of this book.  And the introduction of maps from all different places/times lend a broad scope to the narrative, and makes history, mythology, and the future all immediately relevant.  (So, just, cool and clever, and #writergoals.)

This book also has a fantastic cast of characters.  The diversity  in the crew of the Temptation is authentic to the situation and the setting.  It’s nonsensical to think that a pirate crew would be composed all of one shade of the rainbow.  (Insert eye-roll emoji here.)  Nix, the main character, is of caucasian/Chinese descent; Kashmir (<3) is Persian; Bee is African and a lesbian; and Slate, the captain of the ship, wrestles with drug addiction.  I felt like the characters ring as authentic without being overtly token, and without their status being pushy.  Nothing feels forced; nothing feels patronizing.  There is no political aim here; it’s just a very real example of an author being brave enough to write reality.

It’s books like this one that make me appreciate YA literature.  It represents all the best things fiction has to offer: action, adventure, a moral conundrum, strong female characters, strong male characters, diversity, education… I could go on for a while.  I’d recommend it as an excellent read to anyone interested in time travel, pirates, pre-Union Hawaii, maps, ships, or pocket-dragons.  I’d give it a PG rating (it’s clean, with very few mild expletives), and would have no problem handing it to any of my tween/teen patrons.  Additionally, it’s part of a duology (yay!), so there’s more Nix, Kash, and Slate after you’ve finished this one!  (The sequel is called The Ship Beyond Time.)

And if you like books like this, here are a couple good choices for read-alikes.  (And strangely, all three of these books are parts of duologies):

20983362Passenger by Alexandra Bracken                                                    This book features Etta, a new time traveler who must search through time and space (oh, be still my Doctor Who-loving heart) for answers to her past, and for an object of treasure to help unravel secrets of her family and their strange gifts.  Though I didn’t enjoy this title quite as much, it’s still a really fun read, based on an interesting take on time-navigation.  This book is followed by Wayfarer.

 

blackhearts-9781481432696_hrBlackhearts by Nicole Castroman                                                Ahoy, fans of Blackbeard!  Though there be no time travel in this book, there are pirates aplenty!  As well as scoundrels and scalawags, and all manner of roguish rakes.  Here be the story of Blackbeard in his early years, and of the girl who loves him, then breaks his heart, setting him on a path of plunder and destruction.  And oh, what a story it is.  This book is followed by Blacksouls.

 

 

One of my very favorite parts of my job as a librarian is getting to recommend great books like these to people who come into my library.  And though I love to read, and would do it anyway, I am grateful that I get to work in a place that allows me to combine many of my loves (reading, writing, programming, people) in such exciting ways.

Until next time!

Cheers!

 

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Meet Stefanie

by Stefanie

As Britney mentioned in a previous post (here), there are several new faces at the Alvah N. Belding Library these days. I’m one of them. My name is Stefanie Reed, and I am the new Youth and Teen Librarian. So those of you who have kids or teens, or ARE kids or teens — you are likely to see me around a lot. I’ll be in the children’s area, giving story times and playing with Legos. And I’ll be in the teen section, coming up with crafts, brainstorming ideas for our new MakerSpace kits, or trying to resist the urge to check out every single new Young Adult novel that sounds awesome (which is most of them). Either way, I’m going to look really excited to be here.

I took the scenic route to becoming a librarian.

For a long time, I kept coming up with ideas that coincided with things I love but still didn’t quite fit. I wanted to be a teacher, but the classroom didn’t quite suit me. I majored in history, but only because I loved reading up on it. I wanted to write fiction (and still do), so I got my MFA in fiction writing, though it took me a while to find my voice. It was only after I finished that master’s degree, after I had a job writing training materials for software, that I had my “oh my gosh, why didn’t I think of this before?” moment. I then immediately enrolled in ANOTHER master’s program, this time in Library Science.

That’s when all the pieces clicked into place. I plugged away at the degree online, studying around my full time work schedule. I took courses on services and books for children and teens and thought, “Yes, this right here is my favorite thing.” Then at the end of my coursework, I spent a few months working in the teen department at my local library.

It was the coolest thing I had ever gotten to be a part of. I just knew I had made the right choice.

I am so excited to be the new librarian here, and about finding new ways to reach out to the infant through young adult patrons here, as well create new patrons out of as many Belding kids as possible. I’m looking forward to sharing my love of reading children’s, middle grade and YA books with the kids (and adults) of our community, as well as all the
other fun things we can enjoy together. This could include making whatever we can think of, from artwork to knitted scarves to robots. Or playing games, from Trivial Pursuit to Apples to Apples to Dungeons and Dragons. This could include any number of things that neither of us has thought of yet, but once we do… it’s going to be awesome, creative and fun for everyone. I’m excited to meet and get to know all of you. Please feel free to track me down with your program, club, or book ideas. I want to make this a children’s and teen space that belongs to all of us.

And in case you were wondering, here is a list of a few of my favorite children’s, middle grade and YA:

519by0nhlml-_sx331_bo1204203200_Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
418xpelsrrl-_sx332_bo1204203200_Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
61dbwxuoknl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
51rkaehccyl-_sx331_bo1204203200_This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
51fzgmsrnrl-_sx375_bo1204203200_The Arrival by Shaun Tan
61quopxsoul-_sx409_bo1204203200_Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
51qkj6eijfl-_sx452_bo1204203200_Robot Zombie Frankenstein! By Annette Simon
615eizrnrel-_sy498_bo1204203200_Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henke
51fxrxgd5bl-_sx310_bo1204203200_The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
51fwqbmjbvl-_sx334_bo1204203200_The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
51h0sd99b8l-_sx330_bo1204203200_Rules for Ghosting by A.J. Paquette
51gkt9arrll-_sx328_bo1204203200_Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
51maszxex8l-_sx317_bo1204203200_Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
512grttuoll-_sx342_bo1204203200_The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
61yixfnlvxl-_sx319_bo1204203200_Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
515ot2b3tanl-_sx338_bo1204203200_There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom by Louis Sachar
Pretty much anything by Louis Sachar

Library Remnants, New Life, & Poetry

This week, ANBL Library Life is pleased to highlight a guest post from an avid library supporter.   This post originally appeared on her blog QuestType.com.

Guest Post by H.S. Deurloo

So I’m a bit of a book hoarder and when I see a pile of free books it’s hard to resist rummaging through each worn title. Sometimes I find a subject I’m genuinely curious about and want to read- great. But what about the two dozen that don’t have a happy home?

Book art.

Have you been online to see some of the gorgeous creations you can make out of these old tomes? It’s astounding.

Have you finished ogling other’s creativity? Good, because it’s now time to do your own. A dear friend challenged me to try poetry. “I’m not into it,” I said feeling the ghost of poetry past too close to bear. “This is different,” she said handing me a piece of paper containing a page from Gone With the Wind.

“This is black-out poetry,” tossing me a thick permanent marker. I feel like I’m a vandal sneaking into someone’s home, except it’s a book.

I felt bad at first, crossing off all the words on the single page that didn’t speak to me, but as I continued it felt freeing. These are someone else’s words but crossing them off based on my mood, my environment, or my feelings make the words mine.

hannah blog 1

I’m not forcing it, it’s just fluid and organic.

So pick up a remnant title (come on they’re free!) and make your own black-out journal. One page or a two page spread a day and by the end of the book you will have a spectrum of journaling like you’ve never had before.

When you finish the last page close the book and cross out the author’s name with your marker and write in your own because this is your book now.

Happy Questing!

Nature’s First Green is Gold

by Britney

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year.  I love the turn from hot to cool (and with it, tuck away my shorts and tank tops and pull out my jeans and sweaters), feel an intense desire to be outside, and happily spend yet another season a devoted subject of the Pumpkin King. (I don’t even mind raking leaves.)  Autumn is more than just a season to me; it is a feeling deep in my soul.

tyler fallOne of my favorite memories of the time I spent living in New York was being there during Halloween, and taking my son on an adventure to Sleepy Hollow (yes, it’s a real place) to poke around the town, its historic sites, and, at the end of the day, experience Horseman’s Hollow, a haunted house experience terrifying in a way only Halloween in Sleepy Hollow can be.  It was low 60s and overcast with a little bit of a breeze; the type of day you can wear your boots, a sweater, and a scarf without looking ridiculous, and can drink mulled cider with a cinnamon stick and not look pretentious.  The village was quaint and oozed nostalgia, and it seemed like every step we took brought us one step closer to meeting Katrina VanTassel, Ichabod Crane, and the Headless Horseman.  That day is one of those crystalline moments in time that shines in a way that makes most other days look dull.

It’s long been said that autumn is a season of change.  Here, at the Library, we’re experiencing that firsthand.  We’re looking at several “changes” here.  Some of them are exciting, some of them are bittersweet, but all of them are opportunities for the Library to expand and grow.

If you’re a regular at the Library, you’ve no doubt noticed quite a few new faces.  Sadly, we’ve had to say goodbye to some staff members, as they left us to take embark on fantastic new adventures.  We will miss them, their contributions to the Library, and the strengths they brought to our team here, but we wish them all the best and know they’ll be outstanding in their new positions.  The individuals who have recently joined Team Library are enthusiastic, energetic, and have their own strengths and areas of expertise that we know will be great assets to the Library.  Additionally, one of our Library Cornerstones has retired, and we will miss her dearly with our collective Library heart.

One of the characteristics of change is the necessity of looking forward.  So, in light of greeting the future with positivity and excitement, here are some of the things we’re looking forward to this fall:

  • New Services – We are rolling out several new things this fall.  These include things for all ages.  Some of our new offerings are services-related, some are programming-related, and some are collection-related.  Here’s just a small sampling:
    • For Adults: Passport Packs – These kits are subject-based, and contain several types of materials (books, music CDs, DVDs).  Kindles – We will be adding three more Kindles (Inspirational, Romance, and Christmas).  Services – We will be offering notary services.  Programming – We will be offering regular adult programming year-round.  Board Games – We will be circulating an entire collection of board games.  Additionally, we will be offering specialty Programming for Seniors the second Tuesday of each month.
    • For Teens: MakerSpace Kits – These boxes will include electronics kits, levers and magnetics kits, and Busy Boxes. These boxes will be in the Teen area, and will be available for Teens to use while in the Library.  ProgrammingWe will be offering regular and specialty Teen programming, and hope that our Teens think of the Library as “their” place.  Board Games – We will be circulating an entire collection of board games.
    • For Kids: LaunchPads – These pre-loaded tablets are age-appropriate, and are full of fun learning games!  Discovery Packs – We have fifteen brand new packs on a variety of subjects and with a variety of materials.

So, as we go forward into a new season and a new chapter at the Library, we look backward with appreciation at what we’ve accomplished and those who helped us do so, and we look forward with anticipation at where our Library adventures will take us.

Top 5 Reasons Why I LOVE Library Fines

by Janelle Franz

(The Library is so grateful for enthusiasts who are occasionally willing to do guest posts.  This gives our readers a whole other perspective into library usage and value.)

This post originally appeared on Invent Your Story.  See the original post here.  (Seriously, check it out.  The blog is super fun!)  So, without further ado, and with great thanks, here is Janelle’s blog post about the Library:

 

The library. I’m not always a person of great focus or grounding, but when it comes to my local library, I can commit. I carry the free canvas bag from this year’s summer reading program kickoff. A library swag mug hosts my coffee most mornings. I had to beat the crowds to be one of the first 100 people to sign-up and win that puppy.

I’m not joking.

I commit.

That’s why I have five legit reasons to love library fines. If you currently have a library fine and feel like yuck about it, STOP NOW. Read. My. List.

 

TOP 5 REASONS TO LOVE LIBRARY FINES

Reason # 1:

You went to the library.

Pat yourself on the back. Like yourself on Facebook. Give me a virtual hug and high five, because you took time to enrich your life FOR FREE with books and programs found only at the local library. You’re a smarty-pants. Admit it. And you want more out of life.

Reason #2:

You checked out a book too long. 

Did you read it twice? Never finish it? Never open it? As I write this, I have four library books in my truck, two more at home, and some in oblivion. Whatever happened to your book – you checked out a BOOK! (Or a movie you’re not afraid to tell your mom about.) You didn’t hang out on a computer all day or linger in the land of indecision. You went for gold – and you got it. Extra-long. It’s worth the couple dollars or cents to invest the time at home learning something valuable and new.

Reason #3:

You now have camaraderie. 

The first time I paid a library fine, the clerk assured me, “Don’t worry. I work here, and I still get them.” The second time I paid a library fine, a different clerk assured me, “I’m here every day, and I forget too.” Welcome to the club of imperfect, yet pretty fantastic people who use the library. My best walk-of-shame was when I returned a school library book to the public library, and they gave it back to me saying, “it happens all the time.”

Reason #4:

Your mom couldn’t give you a better fine.

If your car is parked on the wrong piece of asphalt too long, you’re going to get a decent fine. If you’re speeding or your tail-light is out, you’re going to get a hefty fine. If you overdraw your bank account five bucks, you’re going to pay back much more for your mistake. But keeping a library book too long? That’s like mom saying, “If you use bad language, you’re going to have to put a quarter in the swear jar.” Okay, mom. Fair enough.

Reason #5:

You can now invent something new. 

Because inventing is kind-of my thing – whether it’s making up a story, creating art, or constructing fun inventions that enrich kids’ imagination and learning – to have a problem like a library fine is a great opportunity to invent a solution. You can make a library book box and decoupage the outside. You can do a calendar countdown between trips. There are a lot of fun ways to keep your family library-fine free with some ingenuity.

But, at the end of the day, if you still have a library fine, don’t sweat it. Go talk to your local librarian about it, and they’ll probably cheers your coffee mug. Sure, it’s twenty-five cents in their pocket. They’ll probably use it to better the community somehow. In the meantime, remember this:

You didn’t have to put it in the swear jar.

Top 10 Fictional Librarians

by Britney

Hello to all of you out there in Library Land!  It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, and we’ve been ridiculously busy here at the ANBL.  But that’s an awesome thing!  Summer is winding down (I know many of you may be disappointed about this, but not I, because I ❤ FALL), and we are starting to gear up for new programs and offerings – all things we hope our patrons will love!

Some of you know that in addition to the Library’s blog, I also maintain a personal blog in which I discuss reading, writing, and other bookish and creative-type things.  I do a weekly “Top 10 Tuesday” post, and recently did one that I had a ton of fun putting together.  It’s totally relevant to libraries, so I’m going to share it with you here.

If you’d like to see the original post, or are interested in books, seeing reviews, or reading about all manner of creative things, you can catch that on my blog Inkblot Ideas here.

So, without further ado, here are my picks for

TOP 10 FICTIONAL LIBRARIANS

In my heart, I’ve always been a librarian of one sort or another.  When I was a child, I grouped my nonfiction books together by subject (I was BISAC before BISAC was cool).  I made spine labels by author’s last names for my fiction books.  My books were shelved alphabetically, according to author.  Yes it’s true – I’m a total nerd.  And I own it.

Also, I grew up to be a librarian.  So I’m walking, talking, sometimes-both-at-the-same-time living proof that dreams can come true.  (Note the subtle difference between can and do – unfortunately it’s not always the case, but I’m a firm believer in doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals, so here I am.)

Librarians are near and dear to my heart.  Being a librarian is a noble calling.  And so, in their honor…  Here are my choices for my TOP 10 FAVORITE FICTIONAL LIBRARIANS.

Evie Carnahan O’Connell (The Mummy)

blog evie

I love Evie so much, I can’t even.  She is seriously awesome.  She’s English, but loves all things Egyptian, so literally packs up and moves to Egypt so she can work in the library at the Cairo museum.  She’s a brilliant scholar, and actually reads the books in the library, so she knows things others don’t.  She’s brave and clever, and doesn’t let anyone get in her way.  She literally saves the world.

Barbara Gordon (Batman)

blog barbara

Commissioner Gordon’s daughter is a force to be reckoned with.  Not only is she a smart and savvy librarian, she’s also Batgirl.  Shhhh!  She is educated and career-oriented, and is an effective crime-fighter.  I mean, Batman doesn’t even have to spend most of his time saving her from the bad guys (Daphne, I’m looking at you right now…)  She’s very focused on employing the best means to an end, even if that means heads gotta’ roll to get things done.

Flynn Carson (The Librarian)

blog flynn

Oh, my <3.  There aren’t even words to describe how I feel about THE Librarian (Flynn Carson is THE Librarian, not those young, whippersnapper upstarts.  Though, to be fair, I do like them, too.  I’m just being clear about the hierarchy within the Library, as far as I’m concerned.)  Flynn is the best superhero ever, because he isn’t a superhero, not even a little bit.  He’s a bumbling, adorable, trip-over-his-own-feet-and-fall-into-unicorn-glitter dork who is absolutely brilliant, and when he’s home by himself in his Underoos pretends he’s Indiana Jones.

Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

blof giles

Giles is just… awesome.  Sunnydale is literally the high school from (on?) hell, and this guy guards the gates.  Officialy Buffy’s “Watcher” (see: babysitter who is tasked with keeping her from doing all manner of idiotic things), Giles is a mentor, protector, and friend.  I appreciate his sass (which is master-level to stack up against teenagers), his smarts, which are unparalleled because he actually reads the books in the library, and his insistence on the strict observance of tea time (being British, after all…)

Twilight Sparkle (My Little Pony)

blog twilight

LIVES in a library inside a tree, whaaat?  Twilight Sparkle is an unabashed, unapologetic book nerd who (at least initially) prefers books to ponies.  She curates a collection of rare and magical books, familiarizing herself with their content.  And it’s a good thing, too, because she gets everypony out of all sorts of road apples with her smarts ALL THE TIME.  Let me just say one more time: lives in a library.  Like, gets to sleep there, too.  #jealous

Zoe Heriot (Doctor Who)

blog zoe

Two words: space librarian.  SPACE LIBRARIAN!  I feel like a mic drop is called for, but I’m not done writing this post, so…  We’ll just have to go with there’s no way to top that.  So, Zoe is the librarian on a space station that the Doctor visits.  (Because of course even people traveling to different planets need to get their Patterson fix too.)  And as if her job isn’t cool enough to sustain her for the rest of her life she needs more adventure and stows away on the TARDIS.  Seriously, Zoe Heriot is my spirit animal.

Jocasta Nu (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

blog jocasta

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away were the Jedi Archives, the galaxy’s greatest repository of knowledge, and Jocasta is the curator of that collection.  I can just see her shushing Obi-Wan when he starts waxing eloquent about something or another.  Hella wise Jedi Master Librarian. #goals  Think about it: this is who Master Yoda comes to when he needs to Google something.  Yeah, just let that thought settle.

Lucien (The Sandman)

blog lucien

The chief librarian of The Dreaming, Lucien lives in an abandoned castle in Transylvania guarding its ancient library.  And he has a pet werewolf named Rover.  Wholly devoted to his task no matter what, Lucien curates a collection of books that contain all the Dreams ever dreamed, including even the ones which have never been written.  And even though he looks like a “typical” librarian – nerdy, thin and wispy with glasses – he can hold his own in a fight.

Bunny Watson (Desk Set)

blog bunny

The age-old battle of Librarian vs. Computer.  Bunny Watson does what every self-respecting librarian has threatened to do at least a dozen times in their career – sets the computer to self-destruct.  And then proves to everyone around her that people are better than machines.  And she isn’t sorry at all, not one little bit.  This smart and sassy New Yorker isn’t letting technology replace her or make her obsolete.  Take note, fellow librarians.

Belle (Once Upon A Time)

blog belle

Tale as old as time: girl falls for boy because of his library…  In the classic (see: Disney) version of the Beauty and the Beast tale, Belle is a bookwork and loses herself in the Beast’s library to help her forget that she’s a captive who is stuck in a mad castle with a horrible creature and talking furniture.  That library, though…  It almost makes it worth it.  Here, though, in Storybrooke, Belle has it a little better – she’s the Lone Ranger in the town’s library which is in an awesome clocktower.  And where does she go every time another curse comes to town (the purple one, the green one, the red one…)?  The library, of course.  Because books are magic, and have the power to neutralize bad juju.

So, there you have it!  YAY, librarians!  Who is/are your favorite fictional word curators?  Chat with me in the comments!