Friday, October 27, 2017

So... You Want to Be a Zombie

Today, I would like to share a fun and easy program you can do with your teens (or you can do on yourself for an easy Halloween costume!). In a previous position, I held an annual Zombie Day at the library, and it was awesome - we watched two movies, ate Jello-o brains, and did our own makeup. The first year we did a Zombie Day, I hired a makeup artist to turn us undead, but the next year, I decided we could learn to do it ourselves. I'm so glad we did! Our artist was wonderful, but that was money we could spend on other things. And, as it turned out, more teens were interested in doing their own makeup, as we had about twice as many people as we did the year before!

Kat, the Zombie Librarian!
For those who would like to host their own Zombie Day, here is a quick tutorial on how to turn yourself into a zombie. I'm using my own face and hands as a tutorial, so please forgive the zombie selfie photos.

First, the supplies:

We had white, green, and black cream makeup; fake blood; liquid latex; toilet paper (to use with the latex); and LOTS of sponges. We also had small paper plates, so each person could have their own supply of makeup, for sanitary reasons.

To apply a glamorous undead look, first mix up some makeup. Using mostly white, with dabs of green and black, make a lovely disgusting color.  I found that it looked more realistic if the makeup was somewhat mottled, so try to not mix it all the way, and give it a marbleized look.

Give yourself a nice, even coating of a pale, sickly color, anywhere you would like to apply makeup - face, hands, even knees if they stick through the holes in your jeans, whatever. Try to get at least part of your neck, or else the makeup will look just like a mask.

Yes, this is me. Don't I look excited?!

My makeup ended up a fair bit more caked-on than that, but you get the idea. Try to get your lips, too, if your makeup is safe for that (it will say so on the tube).

Next, add a bit more green and black to your makeup to make a darker color, and dab it around your eyes, to make them look sunken in. Solid colors and absolute shapes aren't necessary - no realistic zombie would have a perfect circle of black around their eyes.

You can add some dark spots to cheekbones or for bruises, as well.  Add blood (with sponges! Blood stains clothing!) to your mouth or anywhere else you feel like bleeding. I had it coming out of one ear and dripping down from my mouth. Then, mess up your hair - maybe sprinkle some talcum powder in to make it ashen.  And, voila!

Now, let's say that you want to be the type of zombie that has gaping wounds. That will require liquid latex.

The first thing you do - ALWAYS - is a test patch. Put a little bit of latex on your hand or somewhere else that's easy to wash off, and make sure that you're not itching or burning. If it dries and you are uncomfortable, DO NOT USE THE LATEX! You might be allergic! Even if you've never been allergic to latex before, it is always a good idea to test any new product to see how it makes you feel, just in case. If you can't use latex, you can follow the rest of the directions using school glue; it won't be exactly the same, but it'll be similar.

Once you've tested, it's time to get started!  First, pick where you would like the wound to be.

Even with little dabs of makeup, my hand is rather boring, wouldn't you say? Let's make one here.

Add a layer of liquid latex to your hand (or wherever), and then add some toilet paper to the top of it.  You can scrunch it up or lay it relatively flat (as I did here). Put more latex on top of the toilet paper, until the whole thing is wet, and make sure it's evenly stuck to you on all sides.

The red is fake blood.  Fake, I swear!

Let it dry. (This is the boring part.)

Paint it like you painted your face. Don't forget fingers!

Once it's dry, pick at the latex a little bit, somewhere in the middle of your hand, and pull it up to reveal the skin underneath. This will make a gaping wound, with skin peeling away. Gross.

Like this.

Dab some black paint into the wound to give it some depth.

You can drip or sponge on blood, as well.

Eeew! It's a fresh bite!

The fake blood that I had dried nicely after a few minutes, so I didn't have to worry too much about it rubbing off on anything I touched. It smeared a little bit, but the blood smears seemed to accentuate the look, so I was fine with that.

Here's how one of my teens did with her hand.  It looks so gross - I love it!

A few notes on liquid latex:

  • Always do a test patch before you apply! I know we said that, but it's worth re-stating.
  • It smells really bad. Fair warning.
  • You can use this anywhere on your body, but be careful that you don't get it into your hair. If you do get it caught in your hair, it should dissolve or loosen up with oil - baby oil, olive oil, and peanut butter all work really well, much like they do with bubble gum. It takes a little while, but this does work! (I gave myself a head wound on Halloween, and ended up using the peanut butter method on my hairline and my eyebrow. I smelled delicious.)
  • You can use things besides toilet paper for texture. Coffee grounds make excellent scabs, and crushed cereal gives you a flaky, falling-apart look. Experiment and have fun!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Boarding Schools

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. Pack your bags, we're going to boarding school.

Recommendations for Adults:
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Jul 2017)
Four girls are best friends and inseparable at Salten, a second-rate boarding school near the cliffs of the England Channel. They are notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies to both fellow boarders and faculty. Their little game has consequences when they soon learn their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped.

The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene (Feb 2014)
Found wandering naked and mentally traumatized in Central Park, the headmaster of an elite boarding school imparts a story that is shaped by complicated memories, the evolution of a loving relationship, and a tragedy he cannot comprehend.

Smoke by Dan Vyleta (May 2016)
A tale set in an alternate 19th-century England where the lower classes emit smoke from their bodies that is believed to reflect wicked natures, three students at an elite boarding school for future leaders make discoveries that could cost them their lives.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (Jan 2005)
During the late 1980s, fourteen-year-old Lee Flora leaves behind her close-knit, middle-class Indiana family to enroll in an elite co-ed boarding school in Massachusetts, becoming a shrewd observer of, and eventually a participant in, their rituals and customs.

Testimony by Anita Shreve (Oct 2008)
At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape.

Recommendations for Teens:

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (May 2015)
Scientific-minded Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to a school for unusual high society girls for the ostensible purpose of being reformed into a respectable lady, but is instead secretly enlisted into the war effort alongside Lord Sebastian Wyatt.

Winger by Andrew Smith (May 2013)
Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Sep 2011)
Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard (Jun 2011)
In 1982 Buncombe County, North Carolina, sixteen-year-old Alex Stromm writes of the aftermath of the accidental drowning of a friend, as his English teacher reaches out to him while he and a fellow boarding school student try to cover things up.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (May 2013)
Tired of being known as "the gay kid," Rafe Goldberg decides to assume a new persona when he comes east and enters an elite Massachusetts prep school - but trying to deny his identity has both complications and unexpected consequences.

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (Mar 2013)
Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for "magickind," sixteen-year-old Destiny Everhart feeds on the dreams of others, working with a handsome human student to find a killer.

I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore (Apr 2015)
Enrolled at an English boarding school, Vivian targets an innocent senior as part of a revenge plot her manipulative mother devised, but as the plan is set in motion, Vivian starts to uncover secrets so dark and deadly they threaten to unravel the deceptive being that Mother worked so hard to create.

Recommendations for Children:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (Illustrated - Oct 2015)
Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale (Oct 2013)

At Ever After High, a boarding school for the sons and daughters of famous fairy-tale characters, students Apple White and Raven Queen face the moment when they must choose whether to follow their destinies, or change them.

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens (Apr 2015)

At an English boarding school in the 1930s, crime-solving friends Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells struggle to find an exciting mystery to investigate until Hazel discovers the dead body of Miss Bell, the science teacher.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (Sep 2014)

Seven very proper Victorian young ladies conspire to hide a murder from the authorities at their boarding school. 

The Initiation by Ridley Pearson (Sep 2016)

A reimagining of the epic rivalry between a young James Moriarty and his roommate and future nemesis, Sherlock Holmes, is set in modern times and focuses on the boys' early ventures into detective work at the formidable Baskerville Academy.

Friday, October 13, 2017

6 Ways To "Read" More Books For RA

What to do when your library doesn't pay you to read? Or, perhaps they do allow you to read on the clock, but you can't get through all of the books you are interested in? Reader's Advisory is part of your job, but keeping up with it all can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, we have a few tricks to help you out:

1. Spoilers Sweetie

Spoilers, Sweetie is a website you can visit for spoilers for award winners. It isn't the end all, but knowing what the story is about (and any potential red flags) is a good starting point! Then pick up the book and get a good feel for the story.

2. Speedread

Learn the art of speedreading. Basically, take a book off the shelf, read the first chapter, middle chapter and last chapter. That'll give you a good basic idea about the book. For more details, check out Georgine Olson's handy tips on this: chrome-extension://gbkeegbaiigmenfmjfclcdgdpimamgkj/views/app.html. I've also heard the recommendation reading the first 50 pages (or first chapter) of every new book.  

3. Document, Document, Document

If you don't have a great memory for books, then you may find it handy to keep a spreadsheet or perhaps something like a Goodreads account of all the books you read and important details about them. You can also use this technique just pulling information from book reviews. Just knowing genre, age group, red flags, and a book talk can be REALLY helpful. Bonus points if you can think of readalikes to include in your list.

4. Ask For Recommendations

What are your patrons' favorite reads? Ask them when they visit and check those out. Chances are, they'll find books you haven't heard of that are great. Don't forget to talk to your fellow librarians, too. Or check out this awesome website, BookQuest.

5. Create Book Lists

Take the time out to make (or look up) book lists. What are the readalikes for your popular titles? (If you don't know what circulated well, run a report to find out!) Can you list five titles for every genre? We previously wrote an article about RA resources that'll help you build these lists:

6. Follow the Top Goodreads Reviewers

Goodreads shares a list of the top reviewers in the world and in your country. Check them out and see if they cover your age group. They are the best for a reason -- their reviews are very detailed and on target. Very helpful for when you don't have the time to read a book or want to learn about something not in mainstream.

Do you have any additional tips to share? We'd love to hear about them.

Friday, October 6, 2017

New Podcast: Annotated

In a previous post, we listed 18 great podcasts for librarians. Today, we wanted to talk about a new one that has been rocking our world:

Book Riot's Annotated. It is an audio documentary podcast about books, reading and language. Season one was just completed with six episodes, each one researched and presented in a really engaging way with interviews and voice actors. My current favorite is titled: THE WORLD’S MOST GLAMOROUS LIBRARIAN. In the early 20th Century, millionaire J.P. Morgan was looking for a librarian to grow his personal collection. He hired Belle da Costa Greene, giving her millions of dollars to buy and sell for his art, books, and manuscripts. She was extremely successful and J.P. Morgan left her $50,000 (over 1 million in today's dollars) in his will. But what's most fascinating about her is the fact that she wasn't actually Belle da Costa at all...

You'll have to listen to the episode to learn more about her.

The other episodes vary in topic, from an in depth look at book stores and how they had changed to survive (even thrive) today to the beginning of science fiction, sparked by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Each episode is full of awesome information that every librarian should know.

We highly recommend you check out this new podcast! And if you like it, please leave a review on iTunes or Google Play. This season is actually an experiment due to all of the research required to produce each episode. If enough people subscribe and like it, they'll continue on to a season 2.

We here at 5minlib really hope they do!