Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions for librarians

Ok so I've not posted for a long while...I got caught up in the holiday spirit and school things. So today is the last day before 2009, and I decided to google "new year's resolutions for librarians". I wondered for a couple of seconds if there would be any hits. There were over 780K results.

I read mostly blog links. The Shifted Librarian blog had a post about New Year's resolutions for technology in libraries. It was posted in 2004. The next one was actually about a Filipino librarian. I loved his quote..."I can't change Filipino librarians, but I can change the way you look at us." His post was basically about emailing resolutions to yourself. The next blog, although it was short, was interesting. Click here to read the blog. It was more of what I wanted to read. The blogger posted 4 pieces of wisdom: collection development in religion, setting aside personal political beliefs, genealogists and library publicity. The blogger attitude still fits with our current times. When I read this blog, it made me think about my library resolutions...I pondered...pondered more...still pondered...so here are 5 things I will try to do...

1. Read (at least) 1 young adult or juvenile book per month.
2. Increase the young adult nonfiction and juvenile biography section by 20%.
3. Blog more on the library system's teen and children's blog.
4. Be 20% more active in community events.
5. (Of course) Be the best librarian I can possibly be for my community.

I think this list is a start. I'll revisit it again.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A first...of many

So tonight I scheduled myself to speak with a local elementary school. It has taken me a good year, but I have made significant progress with this elementary school's principal. I think she knows that I have the children's best interests. She's a spectacular person.


It was their December PTSO meeting. I was not mentally prepared for the amount of people attending this meeting. I was simply speechless and my mind was going 200 mph. I think there were almost 600 or 700 people in their cafeteria. There were probably more. Usually, I'm not too nervous about speaking with people, but like I said, I didn't expect for there to be so many people. I spoke about about the library's importance in their community. I'm sure some people were bored, but that's to be expected. I kept my speech under 3 minutes and I think it was just enough.

After this event, I have learned that I need to speak at more functions. It is something I really enjoy. Now I just need to get a personal assistant to line up my gigs. ...lol

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Try and Wear a Cape

So I know I work with children and teens but I realized that I enjoy reference work A LOT!!! I like interacting with adult patrons and (trying) to solve their reference needs.

Sometimes I reminisce about one of my first reference interviews. A few years ago, I met an elderly woman who wanted a specific poem to read at her friend's funeral. She determined that she was going to leave with this poem. Everyone in the library devoted their energies to this reference query and search for at least 15 or 20 minutes for this woman. We looked in poetry books, anthologies, and even "googled" it. After this intense search, everyone decided to quit the search. Sometimes I think it (the search) becomes more of a contest~"who's the best or quickest". Secretly, I do enjoy the competition. When all seemed lost, I looked at the lady again and decided I would continue with the search. She only had part of the line. For you people who think it's a poem you can find on poetry.com or bartleby.com, you're so wrong. Ultimately, I found the poem on a google search. I changed a few search terms. It was that moment of elation from the lady that I said I was going to stick with libraries. Sure, I have had moments where I questioned my decision. (It took me almost 2 years to apply to library school.)

So for the past few days I have had some pleasant reference interviews. I love the creativity and depth my job allows for me, i.e. creating story times, decorating, playing the Wii with Teens or kids, ordering books for juveniles and teens, crafting, homework help for everyone etc etc. Despite all these things, this week has shown me that I am a librarian who colors outside of the lines. I like people. I like to help people. I like all types of people from birth to 100+ years old.

Sometimes I am in awe of the expectations of our communities. They expect us to be omnipotent beings; there, I think, is the challenge, but it really is simple. Even if we can't be the omnipotent beings they want, we have the abilities to provide acts of kindness or consideration goes a long way. I understand that I can't be Superwoman for the library world but I can, at least, try and wear a cape and pretend to be invincible. Right?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Library Conferences, Bigelow Tea Bags, and the Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum Rap

Last week I went to a youth services conference in Jackson. I had a nice time. I learned a few new things and I also realized how much my library system offers to its patrons compared to other systems in the state. One of the things I most enjoy about library conferences are the people...such a mixed bag of people. I learned quite a few things from New Stage, Dianne de las Casas, YALSA's Maggie Moran, and Vicki Cobb. There's a cool experiment with Bigelow tea bags, and I learned that there are people who can make folk tales into rapping tales. Oh yeah, I also learned that I like to share Shakesperean insults...murky pantaloon...lol..

Usually, for me,the end of the conference feels like camp. You know...the whole "hi my name is (fill in your name)"..."this is my favorite program" lalalala..."hey you want to hang out when we have free time"...and

Then it's finished. You exchange business cards if you have them or scratch email addresses on the napkin you used to wipe your mouth with at the last meal of the session. Ah what fun!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's a Bird!!! It's a Plane!!! It's...


not Superman...it's really a sparrow in the library. (in the picture it's in the metal square opening)

Ok today was eventful...Besides the fact that it's story time day, which is always fun, we had a sparrow in the library! I'm thinking~really neat children's story. After my story times, I offered to help the circulation desk and one of my coworkers buzzed me on the telephone and said "there's a bird in the library"! Of course, being the person I am and a children's person, I was excited and sad. I was sad because I watched how frustrated the bird became; he kept flying towards the window. We took several pictures and I even tried taking video. How did the bird enter the library? Who knows? We have a few theories. LOL. Poor Fred (that's the name he was given). Fred was in the computer lab and was sitting on one of the beams. He probably had some email to check or maybe he was looking for another line of work. I didn't have a chance to do a reference interview with him.


Fast forward...someone called animal control and after a few minutes of tiring Fred with nets and bird calls, I decided we could use the bug nets that I had from last year's summer reading program. Good thing we had nets. Finally animal control arrived on the scene. One of the officers retrieved his large net from his truck. He was amazed that the net reached as far as it did. Fred was even more frustrated and flew lower and was on the ground. The female officer was like a Jedi and caught Fred and released him outside. It's like I blinked and Fred was gone. It's like the officer just teleported from her spot across the room and...poof...the ordeal was over. Library peace was restored. I wonder what things Fred will share with his other feathered friends. I'm sharing the video I took; I learned that I am not a good videographer. In the video you'll hear me speaking with one of the animal control people. I sound like a goober but oh well. What a day at the library?!?! (By the way... didn't need a hat....whew)

video

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friends ROCK!!!

Seriously, I think friends of the library groups are vital to libraries. If you're lucky to have one who supports the library, then you have it made, but if you don't have a friends group you may consider gathering a few of your patrons. The reason for this post is for me to share how wonderful my library's friends group is. From the moment I started my position in this library, they have supported the library, especially the youth department, in all of my requests. Usually I do not use the the absolute "all", but they really have supported everything I have asked of them. From upgrading materials to purchasing new ones, they have delivered. Most of the friends have baked goodies, set up or volunteered time for programs. I respect and admire that these people choose to help the library.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Always check the counter...

for other book crates.

My library system offers intra- and inter- library loan services. Intra-library loan is borrowing materials within our branches; we have 20 branches in our system. Inter-library loan is borrowing materials between library systems. I work in one of the larger branch libraries. Normally, I work in the youth department and I enjoy it! What job besides the product-testing teams can say, "Today I'm playing the Wii for (insert program name here)"?

Anyway, today is my day off and I'm learning the finer points of AC/Heating elements, trying to do more research for my graduate classes, unearthing parts of my desk etc etc. So I'm in the library and I explained to the circulation supervisor that a member of my staff and I tried to check in all the intra-library loans (books, cds, dvds, etc). We thought (or I guess I thought) we checked all the crates~well we didn't. One crate was on the counter in our receiving room. (Hmm..the crate of items did not even catch my attention), but I did learn that if there's a crate, which has items in it, in the receiving room it probably needs to be checked in. Oh well, another library goof for me...I just don't know why I try to overachieve?!?!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reading really "is" important...


and so is listening.

Ok...about a week ago my library system had our annual staff development day. It was western themed and I thought that the library was wonderfully decorated and the programs were excellent. Some of the really cool props included a
hitching post, a chuck wagon (made with a book cart, fun noodles, fabric, duck tape, and string), real milk canisters and a saddle. Some people elected to wear western wear and others were in comfortable clothes. I think I looked more like a confused urban cowgirl roadie...lol...

To the important part--the part where one should listen and read--During the recognition ceremony, which took place after lunch, I received an award. I was so worried about the meeting room temperature that when our director called my name I just walked to the podium. I really did not "read" the certificate or even "hear" why I was being recognized; I just knew I was being recognized for being a nominee for branch employee of the year. Fast forward to Friday (a week later), I took my certificate home and actually read it and I was the Rankin County Employee of the Year. WOW!!! I feel honored and I am humbled that some of my fellow coworkers felt compelled to nominate me. If you are reading this blog post and nominated me, thank you for believing in me. I hope to do magnificent things for the library world.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

HOLA, ALOHA, HEY etc etc

How does one greet another? A simple gesture of waving, an Hola or Aloha, or even a Hello. I went to a local grocery store and a middle-aged Anglo woman greets me with an "Hola". I try not to take offense to anyone who mistakens me for a Hispanic, native American, Samoan, Chinese, or etc etc. There aren't many Filipinas in these parts. Here's a little information on the Philippines: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rp.html. For the purpose of this story I shall refer to white persons as Anglo(s). If it offends anyone, please accept my apologies. People get confused about my ethnicity all the time.

All I think I really want is for people to be more culturally aware and politically correct in their choices.

When I was in college, I went to a local Wal-Mart and one of their greeters stopped me. She wanted to know how to say Aloha in Hawai'i. So, without thinking, I said Aloha. Then, she started asking about the weather and culture. After 10 minutes or so of trying to explain that I was not a native Hawaiian, she still didn't hear me. I don't remember how I "got away".

Another example, about a year or so ago, I was in Pets Mart and a I noticed a (Anglo) lady was following me around the store. After 10 minutes of this, I became a little paranoid, so I just stopped. I stare at her and she starts talking in Spanish, so I reply to her in Spanish. (In college, I minored in Spanish, so I understood her.) She was looking for a Mexican dress maker. She could have easily been a Spanish-speaker with blonde hair or so I thought. She started talking louder like I was deaf. So I just said "do you speak English", and she replied "yes". The end of the story is not completely important.

So the whole reason for this blog rant was the Hola Anglo lady at the grocery store. I have to give her credit for being somewhat enthusiastic about saying Hola, but it was funny that I just replied Good afternoon and she did this double-take look of confusion. I had let her down; I wasn't a native Spanish-speaker.

These types of situations happen to all of us. Even non-English speakers think because I look like them, I can speak their language. Well, they're wrong. My Spanish-speaking skills are not stellar; my Tagalog-speaking skills are a little better but not by much. Frankly, I feel that my English-speaking skills are not clear to some. Anywho...how does this relate to the library world?

Ok- the first lesson is to ask "Do you speak English?" The second lesson to remember is that non-English speakers are not deaf. The third lesson is that gestures help in most situations, but be careful if you choose to communicate in this method. Fourth, non-English speakers are people. Fifth, be aware that non-English speakers come in all shapes, sizes, hair and skin colors. Finally, being culturally aware and politically correct are things everyone should try to remember. Step out of your world, see people as who they are not who you want them to be. It's difficult to do, but all we can do is~ TRY.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Potpourri thoughts

No it's not about the fragrant stuff that goes in a bowl...that's so 1990s right? It smells good if you stand over the bowl and then manages to collect dust for 6 or more months.

Ok so I'm making a slideshow and it's turning out to be funny or at least funny to me. I've never really liked making slideshows on Windows Movie Maker, but it's what I have so I'll use it. I've a few suggestions for other programs, but it's just one more thing to try and download. This particular slideshow may only be funny to those who are in it or even those who have a good sense of humor. I'm having fun making it; it's somewhat relaxing. (Really I think I'm delaying the inevitable research I must do this weekend.)


This semester, I'm taking two classes. It's November and I really need to focus on my work. In just a few months (or more), I plan to graduate with my masters in library and information sciences. The classes are not really difficult; I'm just a little tired with work, life and school commitments.


All that aside, November 5 was a spectacular day! I got to sing, dance, and story tell with eighty (80) 4-year-old children. The first session nearly made me fall out of my chair. I read this really funny rhyming book and there was a part which read "bucket of beans" and one of the kids tooted. Of course, I am trying to be as professional as I could be. The kids near the culprit all said "eww" and I just smiled and said "looks like someone knew Miss Mara needed sound effects for this book today". In case you're wondering the title of this book....Mccumber McGee and the Half-Eaten Hot Dog. After my comment, the teachers started laughing. Then I put on my most serious unserious face on and continued with the program.

Later that afternoon, I had a nice program with 13 of my favorite elementary-age kids and 4 new ones. This month, we are learning about Native Americans and everything in between. I think we always have fun in this group. Of course, I read Mccumber McGee because I thought they would enjoy it and then the Native American element was Tomie DePaola's The Legend of the Bluebonnet. We had our game element which was a hunt for bluebonnets. What a busy day it was! I wonder what today will bring...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A time for reflection

This entire weekend was a time for self-reflection.

A few years ago I came upon this Dalai Lama quote and it states "As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery.We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace.The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger and attachment, fear and suspicion,while love and compassion, a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness." I find much wisdom is in this statement. "Love and compassion, a sense of universal responsibility are sources of peace and happiness..." bring inner peace. I found a sense of inner peace the other day at the cemetery.

The other day I went to the cemetery which my Tita Louraine is buried. (Tita is a tagalog (Filipino) word which means 'aunt'). On occasion, I visit her to gain clarity and honor my mom's love for her. She was a fascinating and lovely lady and a great karaoke singer as well. She was a teacher and was a woman of Catholic faith. It seemed to me that her younger sisters and brothers all loved her.

Not many people know love and I'm not sure if I do. I do know and understand my mom's love for her oldest sister. My family and I spent many late nights with Tita Louraine. Even after 15 hours at work, my mom would ask me to accompany her to the hospice place and help her bathe her sister. (My mom is a nurse manager.) Of course, I obliged (along with my immediate family) for 10 months. I don't share this with many people but it seemed she had found her inner peace. According to one of my titas, she was reciting the rosary with her and after the last prayer Tita Louraine died.

Anyway, so one of the reasons I am writing is that while I was at the cemetery, I decided to walk around. I read a few headstones and I found one I knew. The headstone belonged to this girl who died at my high school. I did not know her personally but a blanket of sadness just hit me. A decade later, she's just a distant memory to some. I couldn't believe how much time had actually passed. Who knows who she could have become? So many life events can happen in 10 years. People go to college, get married, have kids, return for more school, lose jobs, have quarter-life crises, etc etc.

After I graduated from college, I felt like I was walking around without purpose. Sure, everyone has a purpose, right? All I knew was that when I found my passion, I would know. I met a few fantastic people who helped me on my way. Then I found it~my inner peace (career-wise)~the perfect me~a librarian.



Monday, October 27, 2008

5.2 Seconds


I don't know the history of this house, but I admire its design, architecture and red roof. (ok yeah I like the color red). Was it abandoned? I don't know. This house overlooked the MS river in Natchez. Suddenly, all these thoughts drowned every sound and picture around me. Though I had company with me, I felt all alone for 5.2 seconds. Immediately, I pictured myself sitting on the porch and enjoying the sun set over the MS river. People are always reminding me to stop and enjoy the moment. I am not a moment person; I don't think I have ever been. Sometimes, I need to be reminded to stop my world; I find myself to be most happy when I can remember to put my life on pause. Lately, it seems like all I do is go, go, and go. When I think about it, I really dislike a patterned and predictable life, which is what my life has become for now. I should really start looking up, down, around and every other place, and maybe I can enjoy life for more than 5.2 seconds.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Accomplished


I had the most wonderful feeling of accomplishment. I was in Natchez, Missisippi, for a Mississippi Library Assocation conference. I really liked this town; it's so quaint. Anyway, I feel accomplished because I feel I am where I need to be (career-wise). On Wednesday afternoon, I was honored with the Virgia Brocks-Shedd scholarship, which is sponsored by the Black Caucus Round Table. The featured speaker was the former superintendent of schools for the Jackson Public School District and the coolest thing about her speech was that it mirrored the topic of my essay. It is so nice to be able to see other librarian colleagues and to also meet some new ones. I inserted a picture; I'm the one on the far left.
I'll definitely have more postings later...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Toot....Toot....Toot

Ok so I'm sure this incident happens to all children's librarians. The story time theme was about boats and then I asked the question. Can anybody toot in here? Of course the parents are laughing and I start laughing because I just realized what I asked a room of 3-year-old children. Of course the kids say 'Yeah I can toot, Miss Mara' with the biggest grins on their faces. Oh what a fun day! (as always)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yahoo! Avatars

I didn't want to lose the red beret. I do think camo suits me. Thanks Biker Librarian!!! I have my zag bag in the background. I do like that it coordinates well with my outfit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh say can you teach...

I teach a basic Microsoft Excel class. It meets monthly. Near the end of class, I always ask the students if they have any questions. Of course, there are either lots of questions or just total silence because they just realized I was not really speaking English...(lol)...


So today I got one of the most interesting offers. I never dreamed in my life that I would be offered 2nd lieutenant rank in the national guard, but it was offered to me. Of course, I laughed because I know they want me for my brain power, especially in Microsoft Excel. I do not consider myself an expert but I know enough to teach it and explain it to beginners. My brain was probably at its peak earlier this morning. Anyway it was a sincere offer...but really?...me?...hahahehe...I belong on the frontlines of library world not the military world...(chuckle once more)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My heart melted a little today...

because one of the cutest and most handsome toddlers just said my name

If you'll just humor for a moment...This particular toddler has been attending my lapsit program since January...He has grown so quickly from being the most shy child to one of the more out-going of the bunch.

Anyway, just last week I was trying to teach him how to say my name and this week he said it!!! I couldn't believe my ears. I do not have my own children but almost every child who attends any story time I facilitate and who walks through my community's library doors has my attention for a least an hour. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly children grow, especially the little guys and gals. If one truly ponders the magnitude of this event....how important names are to people...

I believe myself to be my worst critic, but one thing I have learned is the importance of a name. Names are important. Names are how we identify ourselves (mostly). I believe in human goodness and that one act of kindness will work wonders on anyone, especially knowing a name.

So I guess my PSA for today's libraries is to learn one person's name and make an impression for a lifetime.

Friday, September 19, 2008

For Biker Librarians Alike...

Ok so while I was in Las Vegas, we were at the Hard Rock Cafe and I just couldn't resist hopping on this Harley. My leather chaps were at the cleaners, so I had to settle for khaki shorts and this brown top.

Usernames and passwords

So I just joined Twitter. It's one more username and password to keep, but I'll try it out anyway. What's one more to have? Really? Will Twitter help me become a better and more productive member of society? Hmm...a point to ponder...

Honestly, I am probably at the height of my productivity and who I will be in this society. I'll just have different experiences to enhance my already vivacious personality. As I see it, I have too many passwords and usernames to remember. I used to store them in my brain but lately it's overcome with so many other important things besides passwords and usernames; so I've started writing them down.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fabulous Vegas



A few weeks ago, my sister and I went to the Fabulous Las Vegas! I had so much fun; it was my first time there and I really think that it takes multiple visits to really absorb everything that city offers. Perhaps one of the coolest things about Vegas is the people it attracts. I heard so many different languages while walking the Strip.

The uncoolest part of the trip was the flight. I'd never had a problem with earaches but I did that time. We had to de-plane in Houston and then our flight was canceled in Phoenix. We flew standby. Ultimately we arrived in Las Vegas and met my best friend from college. We stayed at the Planet Hollywood and decided a person would never have to leave for anything. (There were hundreds of shops inside) We visited tons of casinos and saw the musical Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay.

On Sunday afternoon, we checked out more casinos and shops (on the Caesar's Palace side). Afterwards, we journeyed to Kenab, Utah. It was a beautiful scenic drive. I was a bit intimidated by the "watch for falling rocks" signs. We stayed in Kenab until Tuesday morning. We saw the northerrn ridge of the Grand Canyon as well as Bryce Canyon. Later we drove to Hoover dam and it is one of the most awesome feats by man! We stayed at the Imperial Palace that evening; the room faced the Flamingo. The next day, we checked the outlet malls and library and then checked into the Trump International Hotel, which was a very nice treat. After we we settled in we checked out Madame T's wax museum, which was worth the stop. In my next postings I think I'll take about my visits to the Kenab Public Library and the Las Vegas Public Library...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Think positive thoughts...

and you'll amaze others as well as yourself.

I wanted to share my happiness. I applied for another library scholarship in May but I did not tell too many people. Well, this afternoon, the Central Mississippi Library Council informed me that I was chosen as the 2008 scholarship recipient! I was elated just as I was when I was chosen as on of the MS Library Commission's Public Librarian Scholarship Program recipients.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"You must be the change...

you wish to see in the world" said Mahatma Gandhi. Sometimes I feel very small and insignificant in this world but I have to adjust and think it's just a feeling and not at all a representation of my place in this world. Changing one's self is certainly easily said than done. Change requires so much energy of us both physically and mentally.


Gandhi's quote also reminds me of how librarians or library paraprofessionals should view our profession. Librarianship constantly changes to fit our patrons' present and future needs, otherwise I personally believe that (especially in public libraries) our jobs are meaningless. The first time I read Gandhi's quote I was working my first job in a library in north Mississippi and I thought it was beautiful and its meaning is ageless and inspiring. This field we call librarianship has definitions which surpass any book definition.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Libraries are not made, they grow."

What an interesting quote to find! Through my studies in library and information sciences, I have developed and changed and accepted different theories on the meaning of library. What is a library's significance to its community? How can a library and its staff make people aware of its importance? I am currently taking a class discussing popular culture for library clientele. It's a pretty awesome class. We discuss the significance of popular culture and how it influences a librarian's decision to purchase and include a hodgepodge of genres or types of media formats.

One interesting aspect of this class is the discussion of technology, especially Web 2.0 applications. It seems that, more than ever, patrons want more control of how they find information, which is to be expected. As I've probably stated in previous blogs, I want to learn more about them so I can better understand those patrons who already use them and also to communicate with them the different free services their libraries offer. Despite all changes in technology it is important to remember that communities can build libraries but what matters most are the patrons who use it and the librarians who organize it and implement new and innovative ways to cater to present and future patrons.

Monday, May 19, 2008

hmm...halfway there and other places

Just the other day I was thinking about my graduate studies coursework and I thought "Wow, I'm almost finished". Then, the next thought came into my head..."What's next?" Most any decision I consider follows with a question to that effect and it's annoying (sometimes) to me. I think it annoys me most because obtaining this degree will allow for more opportunities of growth, which means more decisions to make.

Choosing to enter professionally into librarianship has allowed me to provide better service to patrons and to communicate more effectively with my coworkers. I may not know every answer but I am resourceful and I LOVE what I am doing, which makes me halfway there and other places (where ever that may be).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The first one...

Well...hello all who decide they want to know what I think!
I decided to try this blogging business because I want to join the rest of the cyber world. Generally, I write in a journal. I tried to livejournal and other things, but I haven't maintained them. I do wonder how many bloggers there are in the world and how many actually keep up with them...In my current profession I think these blogs are really (if not now) the next big networking tool. I also understand that blogs can do two things---they can hurt or help your career. I've read numerous articles about how future employers "google" their prospective candidates and for me it sounds scary. As I see it I think (for now) that blogs are an interesting way to get a personal view prospective hires.