Friday, August 17, 2018

Ready to Go Book Display: Birthdays

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go! Book Display." Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. August is my birthday month so I'm featuring books with a birthday theme (cake not included).

Adult Recommendations:


The Look of Love by Sarah Jio (Nov 2014)


Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives from the midwife who delivered her, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday or face grace consequences. 



Less: A Novel by Andrew Sean Greer (Jul 2017)

Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.


Teen Recommendations:


Questions I Want to Ask You by Michelle Falkoff (May 2018)

Pack receives a letter on his eighteenth birthday from his mother he believed was long dead, and begins a journey to find her even as he struggles to figure out his future.



The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando (Jun 2018)

On a seventeenth-birthday cruise with her parents and three friends just months after her boyfriend died, Natalie is surprised to connect with a fellow passenger, who then mysteriously disappears.



13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (Aug 2005)

When seventeen-year-old Ginny receives a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt, she leaves New Jersey to criss-cross Europe on a sort of scavenger hunt that transforms her life.



As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti (Jan 2018)

In Madison, a small town in the Mojave Desert, everyone gets one wish that will come true on his or her eighteenth birthday, and Eldon takes his very seriously.


Children's Recommendations:


Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson (Oct 2018)

Carmela, finally old enough to run errands with her brother, tries to think of the perfect birthday wish, while his wish seems to be that she stayed home.



I Hate Everyone by Naomi Danis and Cinta Arribas (May 2018)

Did you ever wish everyone would go away and leave you alone, and then, change your mind?



How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (Sep 2011)

Illustrations and rhyming text present some of the different ways a dinosaur can make her birthday party special, from thanking guests for their gifts to sharing large pieces of cake.



Savvy by Ingrid Law (May 2008)

Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy" - a magical power unique to each member of her family - just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.



Alfie by Thyra Heder (Oct 2017)

Told from the perspective of both the girl, Nia, and her pet turtle, Alfie, and describes what happens when he disappears on the eve of her seventh birthday to find her a special present.



11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass (Jan 2009)

Amanda and Leo, best friends with the same birthday, had a falling out on their tenth birthday and have not spoken since, but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their eleventh birthday repeats itself again and again.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

100 Reasons Libraries are Better than Amazon

On Saturday, July 21, 2018, Forbes published an op-ed piece by Panos Mourdoukoutas titled, "Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.” Due to backlash by pretty much everyone, this article has since been removed. Due to the magic of the internet, however, you can still read the article on a cached copy of the website here. Mourdoukoutas is an economist who works for Long Island University, and presumably does not have a library card.

Twitter user @DrunkestLibrary decided to fight back by posting a full 100 reasons why libraries are better than Amazon. We have listed his words for you here, with his permission.

  1.  Amazon is capitalism. Libraries are love.
  2. Libraries doggedly protect your private information. Amazon flaunts your private information. (“Since you bought hemorrhoid cream, you may be interested in an enema too!”)
  3. Libraries help unemployed people access, understand, and complete job applications. Will Amazon help people apply to competitors?
  4. Children’s Librarians are experts in early literacy. Like teachers. Should teachers be replaced with Amazon employees?
  5. Teens reach out to YA Librarians as guides and mentors during difficult times. Will Amazon chat help a teen who doesn’t know where else to turn?
  6. Amazon makes decisions based on profits. Libraries make decisions based on professional ethics and philosophies.
  7. Public Libraries outlived Borders, and they will outlive Amazon too.
  8. Ever heard of a Sexy Amazon Employee fetish?
  9. Libraries and librarians are at the forefront of free speech debates. Amazon...sells stuff.
  10. Despite how offensive and stupid that article may have been, public libraries will continue to offer access to because it is our mission to do so. Amazon does not share that mind of mission.
  11. For-profit companies like Amazon dissolve divisions and initiatives the moment they are unprofitable. Libraries continue to push hard even in the hardest times.
  12. The author cites Starbucks as a shining example of a third place. Starbucks has not exactly been a shining example of a welcoming space lately. Try again.
  13. The library does not require a purchase to use the bathroom like most retailers do.
  14. Unlike Starbucks, the library welcomes black men to just sit down and wait, no purchase necessary.
  15. Librarians help people troubleshoot their devices, whatever they may be. Will Amazon only help people troubleshoot their own products?
  16. Like the police, fire fighters, and EMTs, Librarians often function as first responders. Will Amazon do the same?
  17. Who would you rather make out with anyway, a librarian or an economist? (Hey, I am still supposed to make people laugh despite the seriousness of this list.)
  18. Libraries maintain exhaustive local history/interest collections for their communities. Amazon sells gummi bears by the pound.
  19. Amazon wants your money. Libraries just want you to be you.
  20. When libraries do collect fees, they go into the collection development or other services. When Amazon collects money, it goes into pockets.
  21. For-profit companies answer to a select group of shareholders. Public libraries answer to the people.
  22. Public Libraries offer free ESL classes and help with citizenship. Amazon sells you Rosetta Stone.
  23. Public Libraries do not require your credit card information to let you through the front door.
  24. No two libraries look the same, because they develop organically from their communities. Amazon is a brand.
  25. Librarians are not selling you one damn thing.
  26. You don’t need a password or security questions to use your library.
  27. Library porn is way hotter than Amazon warehouse porn (unless you are into that, because librarians don’t kink shame).
  28. Librarians are EXPERTS in their fields.
  29. Librarians go viral when they make cheesy music video parodies with book trucks. Amazon goes viral when their drones suck.
  30. Communities rally when libraries close. Big corporations come and go every. single. day.
  31. Library Twitter is force to be reckoned with. Amazon Twitter is an ad.
  32. Libraries provide free internet access so people who cannot afford internet service can access websites like Amazon.
  33. Libraries provide free access to magazines so that people who cannot afford magazine subscriptions can have access to magazines like .
  34. Libraries provide free access to (expensive) databases for research purposes. Will Amazon incur this cost despite the fact that it will not boost their own revenue?
  35. Who do you trust more, your public librarian or an economist?
  36. has repeatedly listed the MLIS as one of the worst masters degrees to pursue, yet a bunch of people I know who got business degrees are desperately circulating their resumes, and I have a pension.
  37. Librarians didn’t crash the economy in 2008, big business and big banks and big economists did.
  38. Librarians would even help unemployed library-hating economists navigate new tech and new application processes, cuz that’s just the kind of great people we happen to be.
  39. Librarians don’t want to eat your lunch like for-profit companies like Amazon, but we do prefer you eat it outside, please.
  40. Libraries often willingly function as shelters and safe spaces during natural disasters because we are in the fabric of the community. Will Amazon do the same?
  41. Libraries have literally existed for thousands of years.
  42. Librarians have gone to jail defending their ideals.
  43. Public libraries provide continuing education, open doors, and positive experiences for those who have served time. This contributes to reduced recidivism and safer communities.
  44. It is ridiculous that we even need to say this, but since the author cites in a tweet that people don’t read $495 worth of books a year, we must remind that LIBRARIES ARE MORE THAN BOOKS.
  45. Also, most people I know read more than $495 worth of books a year.
  46. Have you seen Amazon’s homepage? They need a librarian to get that thing organized.
  47. Librarians answer the phone.
  48. Librarians admit their mistakes.
  49. Small public libraries have already been attacked by Koch-funded robocalls. And NOBODY likes the Kochs.
  50. Librarians go above and beyond. Amazon goes by the bottom line.
  51. Librarians ask the community directly what they need. They don’t use algorithms and shady terms of use agreements.
  52. Librarians have been told that libraries are obsolete for decades, and yet by some mysterious magic, we are still here!
  53. Libraries have survived totalitarianism, so they will survive clickbait articles too.
  54. I have more followers than an economist published in and I mention Natty Ice in my bio.
  55. Millions of people can tell you the name of their childhood local librarian. Do you remember the name of your last Amazon customer service rep?
  56. The author’s only response is “Did anyone read my article” and meanwhile librarians are offering well-thought rebuttals LEFT AND RIGHT.
  57. Some librarians are also vampire slayers. Can Amazon say the same?
  58. Librarians don’t care about your money. They care about your mind.
  59. Librarians, at their core, are adapters. Amazon sells you adapters.
  60. Libraries more often than not are beautiful buildings that provide an intangible form of inspiration. Amazon stores are...well, stores.
  61. Children LOVE the library. We know. They tell us.
  62. The author suggests that we have enough community spaces, and yet, public libraries are CONSTANTLY booking meeting spaces for groups. Why is that?!
  63. Librarians visit prisons to provide services to people who need, and deserve, a second chance (or shouldn’t be there in the first place?) Would Amazon do the same?
  64. The library is a destination.
  65. The library helps keep young people occupied, enriched, and out of trouble.
  66. Economically speaking, keeping young people occupied and out of trouble is good for communities. Less delinquency, less crime, less unnecessary strain on community resources. Stores do not have the same effect.
  67. Meet-cutes are far cuter in the stacks than in a retail aisle.
  68. Often when people are new to an area, the first place they check out is the public library, not “a store.”
  69. Do you prefer Dominoes pizza or your local pizzeria? Same goes for the place where you get your books.
  70. Librarians may wear many hats, but we do not wear branded polo shirts.
  71. Libraries don’t log your browsing history.
  72. Libraries selflessly defend the homeless in ways that no for-profit entity can claim.
  73. Librarians hold one another accountable in order to grow and to be better. For-profit companies only do this when they get caught being bad (ahem, Starbucks).
  74. Librarians are loyal to the ideals of the profession, not to shareholders.
  75. Librarians literally spend all night tweeting in defense of their colleagues and their profession.
  76. Librarians aren’t in it for the money (obviously).
  77. Amazon invented a proprietary e-book format while others aspired to a standard. This complicates things for consumers. Librarians don’t complicate.
  78. There is no fine print when you sign up for a library card.
  79. There are no extra benefits for being able to afford a “prime” membership at a public library.
  80. Libraries are not neutral. Neither is Amazon. But ask yourself who has your interests better in mind.
  81. Libraries don’t want to own everything, they seriously just want to help.
  82. Would an Amazon bookstore carry books critical of Amazon? Maybe, but their mission is not the same as a public library, so...also maybe not.
  83. Libraries help the poor.
  84. Libraries didn’t cause the 2008 crash, but they sure helped fix it.
  85. Ain’t nobody rocking “Support Your Local Amazon” bumper stickers.
  86. Librarians dress up, do voices, sing songs, and act CRAZY for story time. Will Amazon have this level of commitment to enriching the lives of children?
  87. Glitter.
  88. Libraries invented the free returns policy.
  89. Libraries are for everyone.
  90. Librarians don’t want your credit card but we will make a funny joke when you hand it to us thinking it is your library card.
  91. If you are still reading these, it is proof that librarians have a voice.
  92. David beat Goliath (you can read more about that at your local library).
  93. Attacks on public libraries are attacks on the poor.
  94. Nobody is going to put “sex in an Amazon store” on their bucket list.
  95. Libraries rock.
  96. People get to know their librarian like their doctor, the mail carrier, their bartender.
  97. @DrunkestAmazonStoreClerk has got terrible jokes.
  98. This librarian is so passionate that he is tweeting his last reasons that article was crap with 2% BATTERY, would Amazon do the same??
  99. Librarians save lives.
  100. And finally, librarians will literally spend all night tweeting a list of 100 reasons why a half-assed attack on public libraries is straight up BUNK.
Many thanks to @DrunkestLibrary for permission to post these reasons, and also for your dedication to the profession. You can follow him on Twitter here to get more quality library- and drinking-themed content.

Friday, August 3, 2018

4 Ideas for September's Library Card Sign-Up Month

In a few weeks is September's Library Card Sign-Up Month! This year's spokespeople are The Incredibles, and you can go to ALA's page to grab really awesome graphics to use for advertising and social media, like we used in our advertisement:



But besides posting pictures, what is your library doing this year? Not sure? Here are a few ideas shared on Facebook, retold here for your convenience:

Make a Visual To Represent New Cardholders

To celebrate new library members, you could keep track of every new one visually. One idea was to create a tree on a window and everyone can put up a leaf when they get a new card. What a cool way to show the community how many new members are joining!

Tap into Local Celebrities

Another library system took a picture of their county judge showing his library card and used it in advertisements and social media. You can do this with anyone well known in your community -- school principals, the mayor, radio station personalities, etc. -- to catch the eye of nonlibrary users to send them to your library.

Show Your Card for a Special Treat

Add some fun to the children's room! Ask children patrons to show their card for a special library treat, connected to ALA's theme. (i.e. Last year was Snoopy, so they gave out Peppermint Patties.) It was a big hit with the kids!

Random Prizes for New and *Returning* Cardholders

Everyone who signs up for a library card is put into a drawing for gift cards and event passes. You can take this a step further and reach out to patrons who haven't used the library in 3 months and invite them back! When they use their library card, they can also win prizes.

If you have any fun library card sign-up ideas, we'd love to hear them in the comments!

Friday, July 27, 2018

LEGO Builds @ Your Library


I love LEGO and the patrons at my Library do too. Our Library has offered programs for kids and teens to stop by the Library and build with our collection of LEGO bricks. They are popular, fun, and easy to run. But in 2015 our Library decided to take our LEGO programs a step further and it started with this book:

I showed it to my director, who is also a LEGO fan, as soon as our copy arrived. She said, "We should do that as a program."

Since then our Library has hosted more than a dozen LEGO Build programs where patrons can take home the completed project. I haven't heard of another Library that does it. (But if you do I'd love to talk to you!)

I'm here to share my experiences and give you advice on how you can host similar programs at your Library.


STEP ONE: Pick a Project





STEP TWO: Price Out the Bricks

  • I always price out my bricks through the LEGO website first. I consider this my "max" cost for each project. There are other websites that I'll mention that resell bricks, often less expansive than LEGO, but your required quantity may not be available.
  • You can order individual LEGO bricks from the LEGO website in two different ways and you may need to check both for a particular brick: Pick a Brick and Bricks & Pieces.
    • Pick a Brick - LEGO's most commonly requested pieces, you can order up to 999 pieces per brick.
    • Bricks & Pieces - Harder to locate pieces, you can order up to 200 pieces per brick.
  • Now do some math! Multiply the cost per brick by the number of bricks needed.

STEP THREE: Purchasing Bricks

  • My two favorite ways to buy bricks:
    • LEGO Website - Pick a Brick and/or Bricks & Pieces
    • BrickOwl - LEGO Marketplace with brick resellers. You can usually find parts cheaper and they usually ship faster than LEGO, however you may have to order from multiple sellers to get what you need and price comparison can take longer. 
  • You could also try purchasing bricks directly from a LEGO store. Wall of Bricks is a great website to check what bricks are available at your local LEGO store.

STEP FOUR: Preparing Kits

  • Since you are creating your own kits you need to sort and bag them yourself. If you have detail-oriented volunteers this can be a great task for them. I order a box of small clear plastic bags, like this, to put bricks in.
  • Once your bricks arrive in the mail, sort them. Next, create the kit by adding each of the bricks your participants will need to complete the build.
  • Having lots of space to sort and spread out is really helpful at this step.

STEP FIVE: Running the Program: Tips & Tricks

  • Our Library has found that these programs work best for patrons in grades 3 and up. We usually divide groups into grades 3-5, grades 6-12, and adult. You could also just do mixed groups with grades 3 to adult.
  • We've also found that the program works best with 10 participants per session and two staff.
  • In order to save your sanity and keep everyone together we build as a group. Each participant completes step one before moving on to the next. This way you don't have to go from helping someone on step 2 to another on step 12. We also do not allow patrons to have individual instructions and strongly discourage building ahead.  
    • Having trays on hand make in easy for patrons to see their parts and keep them from mixing with their neighbor's parts. Talk to your local supermarket meat department for some foam trays and line them with felt.
  • Have a projector with the LEGO instructions for you to go through step by step. It's sometimes easier to create your own powerpoint of the build.
  • Our programs usually vary in length depending on what we are building and how complicated it is.  
  • We also let patrons know that the build starts 5 minutes after the program start time. If they have not arrived in time they cannot join the build. It is too complicated and time consuming, as well as unfair to the other builders, to catch up late-comers. We also don't allow late-comers to take kits with them. We usually don't have printed instructions and the point of the program is to build at the Library. 

More Helpful Advice I Can Give You:

  • Build in enough time before your program date to order bricks, receive them, sort them, and possibly order missing bricks. I recommend a month or more.
  • If you order more than 2 projects at once, know that it can be a major time suck to separate bricks from different projects. 

    I'd love to hear from you if your library runs similar programs. Feel free to email me with any questions.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Ready to Go Book Display: Legendary Ladies

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go! Book Display." Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month we are featuring books that highlight amazing women.

Adult and Teen Recommendations:


Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You by Ann Shen (Apr 2018)

A celebration of goddesses from around the world including, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess whose love overcame morality, Mazu, the Chinese deity who safely guides travelers home, and Lakshmi, the Hindu provider of fortune and prosperity.



Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win by Rachel Ignotofsky (Jul 2017)

Illustrated profiles of fifty pioneering female athletes.



Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space by Libby Jackson (Jun 2018)

A compedium honoring fifty inspirational women who helped fuel some of the greatest achievements in space exploration from the nineteenth century to today.



Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz (Mar 2015)

Profiles of 26 American women from the 18th through 21st centuries, who have made - or are still making - history as artists, writers, teachers, lawyers, or athletes.



Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (Jul 2016)

A collection of artworks inspired by the lives and achievements of fifty famous women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, from the ancient world to the present, profiles each notable individual. 



Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen (Sep 2016)

Explore the notable works, impressive feats, and striking portraits of these wild women from around the globe who challenged the status quo.



Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath 

Fun, feminist, and educational, Rejected Princesses commemorates unknown but captivating female heroes, proving that women have been kicking ass for a long, long time and always will.



Tough Mothers: Amazing Stories of History's Mightiest Matriarchs by Jason Porath (Apr 2018)

Offers examples of real-life matriarchs who gave everything to protect their children and causes, from Sojourner Truth's legal campaign against slavery to Irena Sender's advocacy on behalf of young Holocaust victims.





Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu (Mar 2018)

From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.



Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs (Oct 2016)

Profiles of 25 women scientists.



Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World by Mackenzi Lee (Feb 2018)

Starting in the fifth century BCE and continuing to the present, Lee introduces readers to bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside traditional gender roles of their time.



Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science - and the World by Rachel Swaby (Apr 2015)

Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one's ideas developed.



Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave and Brilliant Young Women by Kate Schatz (Jul 2018)

A collection of stories and art about inspiring and accomplished girls who have made positive impacts on the world before the age of 20.


Kids Recommendations:



Amazing Women: 101 Lives to Inspire You by Lucy Beevor (Feb 2018)

Featuring an international selection of female figures, this carefully curated collection highlights those who have achieved significantly in their fields, ranging from science and politics to sports and the arts.



Profiles fifty-two women in history who have risked their lives for the sake of adventure, including Sophie Blanchard, Mary Anning, Minnie Spotted Wolf, and Alia Muhammad Baker.



Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison (Dec 2017)

Based on her popular Instagram posts, debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African American women who shaped history.



Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation by Cokie Roberts (Dec 2016)

Shares the stories of remarkable women who shaped American history between 1796 and 1828, including Dolley Madison, Isabella Graham, and Sacajawea.



She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton (May 2017)

A nonfiction picture book compilation of the stories of 13 American women who persisted in overcoming obstacles and changing the world.



She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History by Chelsea Clinton (Mar 2018)

Profiles the lives of thirteen women who have left their mark on world history, including Caroline Herschel, Marie Curie, Mary Verghese, and Malala Yousafzai.



Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli (Jan 2016)

100 bedtimes stories about the lives of 100 extraordinary women from the past and present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world.



Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli (Nov 2017)

100 new bedtime stories, featuring the adventures of extraordinary women from Nefertiti to Beyonce.




Profiles thirty real-life princesses from history and today whose lives were marked by scandal, violence, and other less-than-happy fates.



This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub (Sep 2017)

This board book highlights ten memorable female trailblazers.



Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst (Sep 2016)

Kate Pankhurst, descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst, has created this book about women who really changed the world.