Category Archives: check me out

Spring Festival of Children’s Literature – Round 2!

Say it with me now – OMG I can’t believe it is May already!

Where does the time go? This year is flying by at an alarming rate because I have been busy busy busy!

Most recently, it was the fun weekend that is the Frostburg University Spring Festival of Children’s Literature. This was the 36th year for the festival and my second year attending and presenting. My fellow AACPL Librarian Sharon and I did a session on creating booktalks to get students exciting about reading.

It is a nice little conference, but they get some great speakers and this year was no exception.

  • The hilarious Cece Bell, author of the graphic novel El Deafo (5/5 READ IT! It makes great use of the format to convey to readers what it feels like to be deaf)
  • R. Gregory Christie, a super-talented illustrator who had some introspective thoughts on how to approach creating images for children’s picture books and why diversity matters
  • Steve Sheinkin, author of a fantastic collection of non-fiction books for kids/teens (and very readable for adults!) covering some of the “messier” people from American history.
  • P.J. Lynch, acclaimed Irish illustrator and Irish Laureate who has been creating beautiful artwork for books and more for quite a long time

The big focus is on elementary school teachers, but there were some public librarians and Headstart teachers in attendance this year, at least in our two sessions. Our sessions went well, though I felt like I had to talk fast because we only had about 50 minutes per session and when we originally created the training, it ran for 2 hours LOL. Oh well, hopefully they could scribble notes fast enough as we zipped through it all.

If you’ve wanted to go to a conference but you’re maybe not big on the huge crowds yet you want to meet some high level authors, this is a great Festival to attend. They hold it every spring so watch for sign-ups next year! Who knows, I might be there again to teach you how to spread that love of reading!


fun with iMovie – before after library remodel video

My library will reopen to the public tomorrow after a MONTH of interior remodeling. It has been a wild and crazy experience being a part of this process. We had many days of laughter, grumbling, some interesting fumes and lots and LOTS of donuts!

Anyway, to kill time on Friday as we waiting to be trained on some new equipment, I threw together a quick Before/After video that **hopefully** we can run on our 40″ TV we have set up in our lobby area now to help patrons visualize what we used to look like just a few weeks ago. It was quite an impressive change, physically and also mentally because the flow of the entire building has been overhauled. It will be confusing for awhile, but I think it turned out well.

If you are curious, here is the video!

paid to blog: Star Wars Reads Day #StarWarsReads

Three of my favorite things came together in one post — getting paid to blog, Star Wars, and reading!

This is the third Star Wars Reads Day event we have hosted and I am so looking forward to it! It’s always a huge family event.

Please check out my blog post at my library’s website! 🙂

I got paid to blog!

I had my first official blog post published on the library’s website last week. It’s all about The Beatles and the library and, of course, me! LOL. 😀

And, bonus, it was picked up by our local newspapers and reposted on their websites. I feel so famous. It’s the little things in life you gotta grab on to, ya know.

And the post begins to answer the question that is the name of this blog so you should probably read it and know me better.

EDIT: Copy+pasting text of the blog here because it seems to have disappeared from the main website!

This month marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. We will be celebrating their musical legacy at the Severna Park Community Library on Saturday, February 15 at 11 am with crafts, trivia, and, of course, Beatles Rock Band. This is an all-ages event, meant to bring families together for a few hours of rock and roll fun.

The Beatles mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For me, they turned out to be not only a musical obsession, but also a gateway into my career as a librarian.

I discovered The Beatles in the early 1990s, when the Anthology aired on television. The documentary piqued my interest in this group of four lads from Liverpool, England. I had heard many of their songs in commercials and covered by other bands. My parents had a couple of Beatles records in their collection, but I wanted to hear everything. Where did I go to find their music, in this time before YouTube and iTunes?

You guessed it – I walked over to the Maryland City at Russett Community Library and began to dig through their CD cabinet. After I had learned all the songs by heart, I ventured into the non-fiction collection and checked out every single book about the Fab Four. I learned to use the new online catalog and requested materials from other branches.  

Then I hit a wall. Several of the books mentioned that John Lennon had written a book back in the 1960s but I couldn’t find it in the catalog. It took a lot of courage for this shy pre-teen to walk up to the Information Desk and ask if it was possible to get a copy of the book. To my amazement, the librarian didn’t scoff or tut at my obsession. She went to a special computer and began searching. A few weeks later, I was able to check out a copy of “A Spaniard in the Works” by John Lennon, published in 1965. I examined it from cover to cover and that was when I saw the barcode on the back from the lending library – it had come from a university in California.

I couldn’t believe it. The librarian had requested this book for me from a library all the way across the country. A whole new world opened up to me. I was in the library all the time, chatting with the staff, finding new things to research. (The Beatles were also a slippery slope into Rock and Roll history, which eventually led me to English and American history). I volunteered at the library over the summer and when I was old enough, I interviewed for a Page position, putting books away for most of high school and through college. After a brief stint working at a radio station in Annapolis, I realized that while I loved music, my true passion was information and getting the right items to help people learn about the things that interested them. I quickly made my way back to the library.

Which is why it seems only fitting that I host a program at my library to celebrate the music and the story of The Beatles. Who knows? Maybe this program will bring someone into the library who has never visited before, someone whose interest in The Beatles will introduce them to all the public library has to offer.

Getting kids reading with comics

"Adventures of Superhero Girl" by Faith Erin Hicks #summerreading #comics Another book I am very excited to read just arrived on my desk :) Appropriate break #reading? Too soon?

Over the summer we had a reporter come into my library to interview me and my friend Andy about comic books and kids and reading. My theory is that he thought we would be stereotypical librarians and wrinkle our noses at the popular format. And I think we surprised him by our enthusiasm for comics and knowledge of graphic novels:

Getting Kids Reading Through Comics

I think for many librarians and teachers that work with reluctant readers, comic books are a powerful tool. For adults who somehow managed to go their entire childhood without touching a comic book, though, the assumption is that they are all either Archie adventures or men in tights. The truth is that this is a powerful format that now features published books in just as many genres as a “normal” book.

Ever wonder what a wacky librarian reads (or at least, wants to read and piles up on her desk for 3 weeks only to have to return them because someone else places a request?)


Current checkouts:

The book of blood and shadow by Robin Wasserman (reading this as part of Books for the Beast in October)

Firecracker by David Iserson (writer for SNL and New Girl, how could I resist?)

Adventure of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks (I like her art style)

Nothing can possibly go wrong by Prudence Shen (art by Hicks…)

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad by Nathan Hale (graphic novel for kids that makes history fun?? I had to read it so I could request we buy it for the library).