Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge

I am a reader, of course.
Always have been.
I was the kid who loved going to the public library every Saturday with my mom and finding the perfect books for myself.
I was the kid whose love for the library only deepened my love for also owning my own books.
I was the kid who fell asleep--with the lights still blazing in my room--while reading into the wee hours of summer days.
I am still that kid--just older. ;)

My point is...I would read regardless, but I really enjoy a good reading challenge--especially during the summer months.  This year I am participating in the YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge.

One of the things I love about this challenge is that it leaves plenty of room to read what you want to read while pushing you just enough to make it interesting.  It can be as interactive or as personal as you want it to be---by tweeting your progress, for example.  Not gonna lie--I also love that they included a Rory Gilmore book square--SO.MUCH.FUN!

Here's where I am so far:

I've read a few more books this summer--but they didn't fit on the board!  This isn't a discourager for me at all (as I've mentioned before--I am a reader!) in reading what I want to read---if you participate in a challenge, don't let something like that be a discourager to YOU in your reading choices--read what you WANT to read, folks.  

Also, I must add that I reread (via audiobook) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (and I'll probably listen to that one many, many more times as I attempt this whole KonMari-ing of my home thing) and my revisiting of an old love--Fahrenheit 451---was made new again by listening to Tim Robbins narrate the audiobook--FAN-FLIPPIN-TASTIC, y'all!

So, if by chance you are stuck in a reading rut and just need a nudge out of the doldrums--try a reading challenge this summer.  You just may find, as I have, that it is reinvigorating to your love of the written word. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesdays in June

Today marks my second Tuesday in June to be on official summer break. It has been a really crazy, busy week, so trying to nail down what to write about for my Slice of Life today has been difficult.

I mean, I could write about how this time last week I was just discovering that my bank account had been hacked and all my money taken.

Or I could write about how last Thursday afternoon when I made a quick run up to the library to exchange the books I finished for some new one on my TBR list I discovered that maintenance had come early to fulfill my request to move some very heavy bookshelves for me...and moved the wrong ones, along with placing ALL the books from those shelves on every table in the library (they didn't call me.  they didn't call me. they didn't call me.)

Maybe I should discuss my problems focusing on finishing up the comics class I'm taking through the Smithsonian Institute online since my 6-year-old is not doing day camp this week.

Or, I could write a follow-up post from my last one on the progress (or lack thereof) I am making on Konmari-ing my home.


I could tell you how awesome my bank is.  I mean seriously---they held my hand as we walked through fixing the problem so I didn't have a complete breakdown over this unpleasant incident. They even expedited the investigation so that my bank account is totally FIXED today, y'all.  I had a celebratory hash brown this morning I was so thrilled!

Maybe I could write about how sweet the maintenance guys were to CALL me and MEET me up at my library today once they learned it was messed up so they could fix the shelf situation.  I could tell you how we all have had those moments and how grateful I am that I was able to handle this situation with a tinge of grace & mercy because Lord knows I need loads of grace & mercy headed in my direction on the regular. 

Or I could tell you about how I have the most supportive and patient friends and family EVER. None of them ever let on that my near-constant texts/emails/shared Google docs regarding my hey which do you think is the better super villain name? over the past few days as I sweated to get this DONE ever frustrated them in the least.  And my 6-year-old?  She always knows when I need a snuggle break & mustache sticker laughter.  (and the class was so, so, SO much fun!)

I guess I could also let you in on my Konmari-ing update, too, huh?  WELL...I can see the floor in my closet now (okay, this is a HUGE deal) and the bags and boxes to be given away are literally filling up HALF OF MY LIVING ROOM.  This is the most  REAL progress I've made in simplifying EVER and it feels fantastic even if the going is slow. 

Keep on keeping on, folks.  The glass---whether it is half-empty or half-full can ALWAYS be refilled. 

I choose JOY.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And Summer Begins

I am officially on summer break now.  As normal, my to-do list is L-O-N-G and will most likely exceed the time constraints of summer break. I'm okay with this--as long as progress is made, I don't really sweat it too much.

My biggest goals for the summer revolve around my home this year.  I recently read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and so I am KonMari-ing the house this summer.  I had no idea the book was an international sensation when I bought it on Audible.  I really just happened upon it, and given the fact that my bedroom has become the stash-and-dash "junk drawer" of the house, I knew it was time to try something completely new.

This may surprise you---I guess people generally assume librarians are completely organized-by-nature folks--but I have a REALLY difficult time organizing my space.  Books?  No problem.  My home?  Different story altogether.

I tend towards sentimental and I like "stuff." I have many interests (crafting, photography, reading, cooking, genealogy, writing) and I have stuff  hanging around in each of these categories. The time has come for a thorough cleaning up.  Okay, the time came a while back---but it is so HUGELY overwhelming to me...much easier to procrastinate!

Until now...Marie Kondo gives us a very detailed order on how to do this thing, and this summer I am ON IT, baby.

I'll keep you posted...but I'll tell you this.  I already feel lighter, and my drawers are already more lovely.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Picture Books?

Last week I had an interesting experience. 

It was Friday---school ended for the kids Thursday, so I was at my desk working on genre-fying and fixing other processing issues I found on books.  I had just finished redoing the spine label on a picture book, making it P (for Picture) and set it up on my counter along with other books I had finished.

An adult came by, saw the book, and asked incredulously, "Um...Really? THIS is appropriate for a HIGH SCHOOL Library? THIS is rigorous???"

THIS, friends, was a moment to get snarky  educate at the point-of-need!  You see, I am a bookish babe.  I love books in all their forms.  I don't get uptight about what genre OR FORMAT I read. Basically, I am an equal opportunity reader.  I have had laugh-out-loud moments reading picture books to myself....but I really must remember that not everyone gets it...yet.
I'm on a mission to change the world one heart/mind/soul at a time, so here goes....

Reasons Why Picture Books Belong in High Schools 
(a list of a few of the many reasons Picture Books ROCK!):

  1. Rose Blanche & Erika's Story are two of the most powerful books I've ever experienced. These books, set during the Holocaust, each touch me deeply.  The combination of the words and the beautifully haunting illustrations are mesmerizing. Yes, I've read detailed non-fiction work on this time period, but THESE are the two that haunt me from year to year. Picture books allow history teachers, for example, to bring home a point in a POWERFUL way within a class period. 
  2. Picture books, like any great stories, must contain ALL the parts of the story---just like a novel--only they are compressed into 32 pages (give or take).  AGAIN, this allows teachers to USE these great books to illustrate writing concepts within a class period in a way that is FUN, let's kids grasp them, and still leaves time for practicing what they've learned in their own writing.
  3. Art.  Oh, the ART!  Check out the two picture books mentioned above for some seriously amazing art. The list goes on and on, of course.  Mike Wimmer is an artist who has visited 2 of my schools in the past.  Okay, both were before I was at a high school, but I'd totally bring him to my campus.  Art is important (despite what test makers would have us believe) and I want my students to know that people actually DO create art for a living.  Picture books are incredibly inspiring artistically. 
  4. All my students deserve awesome books.  ALL of them.  The ones way above grade level AND the ones in self-contained life-skills classes and ALL of them in-between.  I want ALL my students to feel included and important because ALL of them ARE.  For Andrew who loves Arthur books and can read them almost all by himself, (and others) I promise I will ALWAYS have books for you.  YOU do not matter LESS than anyone else. 
  5. Most of my high school kiddos have younger ones at home--some are siblings, and some are cousins, and some are their own children.  I especially encourage my students who are young parents to check these out to take home and read to their child at night.  We all know the importance of early literacy---having picture books in our library makes it a super easy, no-excuses situation for reading to their child at night.
  6. Picture books are awesome.  They are 32 pages of IMPACT.  Succinct writing.  Beautiful art. Sometimes witty wordplay, sometimes "the feels," and sometimes you even get glitter. ;)
I know that budgets are tight, and I believe in the importance of being a good steward of the book budgets we receive.  At the high school, I don't have a million picture books, but I DO keep a decent selection of up-to-date new stuff and awesome favorites in a special "Picture Book" section. I believe they are important.  

image from http://library.law.wfu.edu/files/2012/02/confused-face2.jpg

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My End of Year Report

Image created in Canva, saved as an image, and then uploaded into ThingLink, where links were added.

Hope you enjoy!

Cozy Seating in the library!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

weirdly silent

It is finals week at my school.  This is my first time to experience a high school end-of-year finals week. The mornings are still cram-packed full of students, but the rest of the day is just....weird.
The library has been reserved for testing small groups, which totally needs to happen---I get that, but man, is it weird not to have kids in and out of the library all day.  It is practically


It isn't that I don't have plenty of work to do, of course.  I am still working on genre-fying, and there are loads of books needing to be shelved.  Did I mention my end-of-year reports that I need to finish?

I'll be honest...the first 30 minutes I rather enjoyed the peace & quiet.  And then I was done. Um...can I have my kids back, please?  The library is a much more awesome place to be when my students and teachers are in it.