Friday, January 26, 2018

Weeding Challenge - Cookbooks and Craft Books

It's hard, of course, to keep on top of a collection, when you're planning and promoting programs, ordering new books, and doing a thousand other things. It's even harder when you actually have shelf space, "so it's not that big of an issue right now" - but, it still needs to be done, and the longer you put it off, the more likely you are to find some embarrassing gems lingering on the shelves. It's time, again, for a weeding challenge!

The easiest way to weed is to look at circulation numbers, but sometimes the fact that a book goes out doesn't necessarily mean that it's a very good book. As we discussed in our Staying Trendy Weeding Challenge (which was two years ago?! Where does the time go?), books will often be checked out for lack of anything better. A book about the local sports team from 15 years ago may still circulate, but it's probably a good idea to get something more current.

This time, let's take a look at two popular and often un-weeded sections of the library: cookbooks and craft books.


"But recipes never go bad!" Oh, yes, they do. (Have you seen the Vintage Recipe Cards website?) Seriously, though, food can be as trendy as fashion, in its own way, and we must attempt to keep up with it. Also, even if a cookbook has a great cover, the insides may be dated, so be sure to take a quick flip through. 

In addition to checking circulation statistics, it's a good idea to see if any of your cookbooks have:
  • Black and white or no photos  - There is no excuse in this day of modern printing to have any cookbooks that don't have full-color photos of food to make your mouth water. 
  • More talking than recipes. This may be okay in some instances, but for a cookbook and not a guide to a new way of eating (vegetarian, Paleo, etc.), this may not be a good idea.
  • Incredibly dated recipes or old-looking books
  • Trendy recipes or ways of eating that are no longer relevant. For example, Atkins is not the current food trend, nor is everything being low-fat. You want to buy books about clean eating, paleo, keto, or instant pot recipes instead.
  • Books by trendy celebrities who are no longer relevant, no longer have television programs, or who have fallen out of favor (I'm sorry, Paula Deen, but after that whole incident, you're just not on top anymore).
  • Books with food or liquid stains on them. Sure, cookbooks may get crumbs, but let's keep things as sanitary as possible! You can always reorder a book that looks well-loved.


Here are some of the gems I found in my library's collection.

Vegetables Rock! A Complete Guide for Teenage Vegetarians by Stephanie Pierson, 1999

This one is actually very cute! I like the cover and the title, and it's always a good idea to have cookbooks for teens, particularly when they're learning how to eat healthy and deciding on their own moral compasses.

The problems: Firstly, this isn't actually a guide for teen vegetarians, but for the parents of teens who have decided to go vegetarian. Which is all well and good, but with this title and cover, it's missing that demographic entirely.

Secondly, as we discussed above, there is a lot of talking and not as much in the way of cooking. The first 91 pages are all talking before we even get to the recipes. And then - no pictures. Especially for vegetable recipes (as opposed to, say, cookies), you really want photos that make the food look as appealing as possible, and there are none. This one has to go.

Eat This... It'll Make You Feel Better 
by Dom DeLuise, 1988

This book is now 30 years old, and Dom DeLuise passed away in 2009. Had he been a chef, we might want to keep his books on the shelf (I'm not saying you should get rid of your Julia Child books!), but since he was a comedic actor who happened to have a cookbook, his drop in popularity may mean we can reconsider this title.

In addition, while some of the recipes have photos, most of the photos include Mr. DeLuise posing with the food, rather than just the food itself. It's your call here, but I am weeding this one.

 Visions of Sugarplums by Mimi Sheraton, 1968

This cookbook actually has fantastic reviews, and contains holiday cookie and dessert recipes from around the world. Unfortunately, it hasn't circulated in a few years, and there are no photos (color or otherwise) in this book. Maybe someone will make a newer version of this! In the meanwhile, it's time to weed it.

Weight Watchers Quick Start Program Cookbook, 1984

Weight Watchers has been around for a long time, and is still quite popular. However, their eating plans change every few years, and the Quick Start Program hasn't been used since the 1990s. (They switched to Points in 1997, PointsPlus in 2010, and SmartPoints in 2015. If you have any Weight Watchers SmartPoints cookbooks, you have the current editions.) In addition, this book also doesn't have any photos. It's time to upgrade.

Craft Books

Craft books can be extremely trendy, in their own way - especially the ones with creating jewelry or items for your home. 

Much like the cookbooks, your craft books probably shouldn't have:
  • Black and white or no photos  - with crafting, when the end result is a visual product, there is no reason not to have color photos of what you're creating.
  • Incredibly dated craft ideas or old-looking books
  • Books by trendy celebrities who are no longer relevant, no longer have television programs, or who have fallen out of favor (the Hannah Montana How To Be a Rockstar: My Secret Superstar Style book can go now).
  • Books with trends that are no longer popular, such as macrame (though often-times these trends come back! Just look at the BeDazzler - everything is jewel-encrusted again).


Crocheting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti, 1988

I almost passed this one by. Crocheting never gets old! But then I looked inside, and pulled it. Take a look at this page: Would this help you learn a new stitch? Small black and white illustrations, and someone attempting to explain what they're doing? Or would you rather have actual photos? Me,too.

How to Make Braided Rugs by Sally Clarke Carty, 1977

I'm not saying that having a braided rug in your home is not fashionable, but I am saying that a home decorating trend from 1977 may be inadvisable to have on your shelf.

Beautiful Wedding Decorations and Gifts On a Small Budget by Diane Warner, 1995

Weddings! Everyone loves weddings, and also saving money. It's a bit old, but it's not that bad, right?

Yes. Yes, it is. Firstly, it's from 1995, which may seem like only a couple years ago, but it was actually 23 years ago. (Let that sink in. If it was a person, this book would be old enough to drink its own champagne.) Fashions and styles have changed a bit since then.

Also, the images inside are all black and white line drawings - probably not the best for a book on decorating. It's time to get something new.

Crafts to Make in the Spring by Kathy Ross, 1998

This one may be a bit controversial, because these books still do circulate a bit, but hear me out. In my opinion, books on crafting should always have photographs instead of illustrations. It's hard to know exactly what you're trying to create if you don't have a photo.

BUT - the ideas are cute, and if it still circulates, I'd keep this one on the shelf.

In Conclusion

Even the best-kept libraries will have weeding to do, so there's no shame in finding some clunkers on the shelves (it happens to the best of us!). Weeding can be fabulous fun, and getting rid of things is the best way to make room for some shiny new titles, and to make it easier to see some of the gems on your shelves that may be lost in the clutter.

Let us know what your favorite weed is that you found in your collection by commenting here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ready to Go Book Display: Libriaries Rock! Fiction

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. I'm busy planning for summer reading 2018: Libraries Rock! This month we'll feature fiction titles and next month nonfiction titles that relate to this year's theme.

Recommendations for Adults:

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (Jan 2018)
The owner of a 1988 music shop in a down-at-heel suburban community uses his talent for connecting customers to the music they seek and resists a chance at an intimate relationship with a beautiful young woman who hides a mysterious agenda and compels him to confront painful elements from his past.

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia (May 2014)
A young music prodigy goes missing from a hotel room that was the site of an infamous murder-suicide fifteen years earlier, renewing trauma for a bridesmaid who witnessed the first crime and rallying an eccentric cast of characters during a snowstorm that traps everyone on the grounds.

The House of Silence by Blanca Busquets (Oct 2016)

After the death of a famed German conductor, his son, former maid, and two rival violinists meet up again, causing tensions to flare, fueled by powerful memories and the longing for a rare violin.

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel (May 2016)
A record collector and a self proclaimed "Vinyl Detective" takes on the case of a mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording - on behalf of an extremely wealthy, shadowy, and somewhat sinister client.
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (Mar 2011)
Ten years of infertility issues culminate in the destruction of music therapist Zoe Baxter's marriage, after which she falls in love with another woman and wants to start a family, but her ex-husband stands in the way.

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (Sep 2012)
When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth richest black man in America, decides to open his newest Dogpile megastore on Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy, the owners of Brokeland Records, fear for their business until Gibson's endeavor exposes a decades-old secret history.

Recommendations for Teens:

Behind the Song (Sep 2017)
An anthology of stories and personal essays exploring how music inspires creativity and can change one's life, written by award-winning young adult authors and contemporary musicians.

Breakout by Kevin Emerson (Feb 2015)
Fourteen-year-old eighth-grader Anthony Castillo uses "f-bombs" in the angst-ridden song he writes for his rock band, the Rusty Soles, and while it becomes an instant viral hit, he must decide if being a hero is worth the trouble that singing it on Arts Night would cause.

Solo by Kwame Alexander (Aug 2017)
Seventeen-year-old Blade endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past and navigate the challenges of his former rockstar father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Jul 2016)
As the heirs to opposing sides in a warring city, Kate Harker and Augustus Flynn should never have met, but instead find themselves having to choose between friendship and enmity at the risk of their city's future.

The Haters by Jesse Andrews (Apr 2016)
Forging a bond over musical chemistry and a shared disdain for phony pretenders, three young jazz artists escape their summer music camp and endeavor to escape the law long enough to establish themselves at a high-profile show.

Road Rash by Mark Parsons (Feb 2014)
Dropped from his band only to receive an offer to tour with a much better band, 17-year-old drummer Zach revels in his new group's musical chemistry only to confront interpersonal rivalries, a disappointing reception of his original recording and the loss of his girlfriend back home.

Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers (May 2016)
Ali Collins was a child piano prodigy until a brain tumor caused her to lose her hearing, and now, after meeting Jace, the lead singer of Tone Deaf, her musical and romantic possibilities increase.

Recommendations for Kids:

Music Time by Gwendolyn Hooks (Mar 2017)
Henry's drum practice at home is too loud so he goes outside and when he sees his friends playing jump rope he figures out a way to play drums and play with his friends.

Bats in the Band by Brian Lies (Aug 2014)
When the weather warms up, bats take advantage of an empty theater to stage a concert.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (Feb 2015)
Decades after a man is entwined in a prophecy-based quest involving three mysterious sisters and a harmonica, three individuals from different areas of the world confront daunting challenges involving the same harmonica.

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield (Apr 2016)
A bear finds a piano in the woods, learns to play it, and travels to the big city to become rich and famous, but ultimately discovers that his old friends in the forest back home are still the best audience of all.

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood (Jan 2015)
Moving in with his resentful Vietnam War veteran uncle, young Theo devotes his time to playing the piano and helping a new friend, baseball fanatic Anabel, investigate a local mystery about famous ballplayer residents.

Listen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems (Feb 2012)
When Piggie plays her new trumpet for Gerald, the elephant decides he must be honest in his response.

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae (Sep 2001)
Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music.

Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie by James Dean (May 2017)
Practicing a totally groovy new dance, Pete the Cat is told by a grumpy neighbor that his moves are all wrong and he resolves to become a better dancer before receiving advice from wise Owl that he will be most cool when he is just himself.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Quick Canva Tutorial: Transform A Weather Map

When the weather outside is slated to be frightful, I often fiddle with a local weather map and let our patrons know that "it's predicted you will need 3-6 books to ride out this storm." Of course, this map will only work for this storm, in this region - but it's super easy to make your own, and it always gets a lot of great interaction on social media.

Here's my completed map for Winter Storm Benji (which hit in December, 2017). Total time to make: about 10 minutes.

For the sake of this tutorial, I am assuming that you're already familiar with the basics of Canva, but if you're a beginner, you may want to take a look at our Introduction to Canva articles here and here.

Getting Started: Picking a Map

The first thing to do, of course, is to find a weather map for your local area. Local news agencies are always the best place to get your forecast, of course, but you also have a few things you'll want to look for.

Since this was a large winter storm, there were several maps to choose from. Let's take a look at our options.

 This map has too much going on. We're going to want to adapt the map to change accumulation to number of books needed, and this has a big red circle on it, and numbers for all over the state - it's too much.

This map is much better than the first one. It's cleaner, and easier to adapt. It's clearly New England, but it's not covered in writing that would be hard to write over. The problem is, though, that there is a fair amount of writing that is right over town names and color changes, and there aren't a lot of different colors to play with. We could use this map, but there may be a better option out there.

This map is a winner! The angle is a little unusual, but the writing is big and bold, and the colors are in solid bands, making it easier to color match and change as we need. Perfect for what we need.

Getting Started in Canva

This will be fun. First, you open up a new page in Canva and upload your image. You *can* figure out the exact size of your image and then open a document that's the exact dimensions, but I usually just open a Facebook App sized image, and then crop around the photo when I'm done playing with it. Much less hassle.

This is also the time to crop your image to your local area. Had we used the second map above, I would have cut out much of New England and focused on the Boston area, which makes things seem more personal. This map is just fine how it is, so we can skip that step.

Erasing Unnecessary Text

The first thing we need to do is get rid of the inch marks and any other unnecessary text. The easiest way to do this is to make small colored boxes that are the same color as the background. It doesn't have to be absolutely perfect, since we're going to be writing over it, but we want to do as best we can. From the "Elements" menu, choose a square and size it down to cover the . (I also tilted mine to make it line up with the writing, because it was easier to get just the inch marks this way. Depending on your map, you may not have to do this step.) Using a color picker of your choice (I have ColorZilla installed as a Chrome extension), choose the right color from your background image, and change the image of the square to match.

A note about color pickers: ColorZilla is a free downloadable extension that allows you to choose the exact color from an image, website, photograph, etc. The HTML color code (in this case, it's #33BEE5) will be automatically copied to the clipboard.

When you have the code copied, simply click to change the color of the box element, and click the + sign to add a custom color. Then, you can paste your chosen HTML color code into the box, and you're done!

Extra Credit:

This map had an added issue, because the good people who made it took the time to make the ocean patterned. With just a regular color, it's a bit obvious that you've put a block over the writing, so I took the extra step of taking a screenshot of a slice of the ocean background and superimposing that over the inch marks, so it's not just a blue block.

Would anyone notice except me? Probably not. But it took an extra 2 minutes, and it looks nice to me, so there we have it.

Adding the Words

So, we have erased the inch marks from the text. Now, we add text to say BOOKS (as in, you will need 1-3 books to survive the storm). The text here is white with a black drop-shadow, which is frustrating, because one of the few drawbacks of Canva is that adding an effect to text, like a shadow or an outline, is not an option. But that's okay!

First, we make the text in black, and make sure it's the font we want, and the right size. Then, copy and paste it over top of the black text, and change the text color to white. By scootching the text over just a little, we've created a DIY drop-shadow. Be sure to tilt the text to line up with the accumulation numbers - in this case, the writing is sloping upwards.

Now, all you need to do is copy and paste this text as many times as you need for the different accumulation levels. And you're done!

The Finished Product

There we have it! According to this map, you need anywhere from 0-6 books to weather this storm.

We would love to see any book accumulation maps that you make! Please share with us in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter. You can also post your finished maps, and any other Facebook marketing that has done well for you, in the Shareable Clique Facebook Group, where it may be picked up and shared by other libraries. Have fun!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Literary Holidays to Celebrate All Year Long - 2018

It's the new year, and we're filling up our calendars with literary holidays! I love planning almost as much as I love celebrating, so I've updated last years's list of holidays to celebrate all year long, so I can get my 2018 calendar in order. If you have more literature-based or library-friendly holidays, please let me know and I will add them in.

Please note that, while many of these holidays are officially sponsored by (and you can purchase posters and such from) the American Library Association, many of them are made up just for fun, and there is no official, cohesive, governing body. As such, you can celebrate them however you like. I have linked to official sources where I was able.


National Braille Literacy Month (Louis Braille was born 1/4/1809)
1/18 – Winnie the Pooh Day (A.A.Milne’s Birthday)
1/19 – Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday
1/25 - Burns Supper/Burns Night (to celebrate Scottish poet Robert Burns)
1/29 – “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is first published


Love Your Library Month
2/3 – Take Your Child to the LibraryDay (first Saturday of February)
2/14 – Library Lovers’ Day2/16 - Reading Rainbow Day (LeVar Burton's birthday)


First full week – Return of Borrowed Books Week
3/2 - Read Across America (Dr. Seuss’s Birthday)
3/4 – National Grammar Day
3/4-10 (First full week of March) – Read an eBook Week
3/15 – The Ides of March (Julius Caesar is stabbed, 44 B.C.)
3/25 - Gondorian New Year - the day that the One Ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom
4/1 - Hatching Day - celebrate the Dragonriders of Pern series on Anne McCaffrey's birthday by enjoying bubbly pies and coffee!
4/2 – International Children’s Book Day (Hans Christian Anderson’s Birthday)
4/4 - 1984 Day (the day that the protagonist of the book started writing his diary)
4/12 (Thursday of National Library Week) – Celebrate Teen Literature Day
4/12 – D.E.A.R. Day (Beverly Cleary’s birthday)
4/18 – National Columnists Day (in memory of well-known columnist and 1944 Pulitzer Prize winner Ernie Pyle, who died in WWII)
4/23 – Shakespeare’s birthday
4/23 – World Book Day
4/26 – Poem in Your Pocket Day
4/27 – National Tell a Story Day


5/2 - Harry Potter Day (May 2 was the day of the Battle of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series; many also celebrate July 31, which is both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's birthdays)
5/4 – Intergalactic Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth be with you.")
5/5 – Free Comic Book Day (first Saturday in May)
5/9 – Peter Pan Day (James M. Barrie’s birthday)
5/25 – Towel Day (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Day)


LGBTBook Month, Audiobook Appreciation Month
6/12 – Anne Frank’s birthday (on which she received her diary)
6/16 - Bloomsday (the day on which most of James Joyce's Ulysses, whose main character is Leopold Bloom, takes place)
6/19 – National Garfield the Cat Day (strip is first published, 1978)
Bonus: Any beautiful Wednesday in June can be Mrs. Dalloway Day


Read an Almanac Month
July 10 - Clerihew Day (in honor of the poet Edmund Clerihew, who invented a fun style of poetry)
7/15-21 (third week of July) – Hemingway Days takes place in the Florida Keys
7/30 – National Paperback Book Day
7/31 – Harry Potter Day (July 31is both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's; many also celebrate May 2, which was the day of the Battle of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series)


8/9 – Book Lovers’ Day
8/20 - H.P. Lovecraft's birthday


 Library Card Sign-Up Month, Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month
9/6 – Read a Book Day
9/22 – Hobbit Day
9/22 – Dear Diary Day
Last week of Sept. – Banned BooksWeek
Wednesday of Banned Books Week – Banned Websites Awareness Day


National Book Month (no longer sponsored by the National Book Foundation, but we can celebrate anyway)
10/6 – Mad Hatter Day (because his hat says 10/6)
10/8-13 (week of Columbus Day) – Teen Read Week
10/16 – Dictionary Day (Noah Webster’s Birthday)

11/6 – National Non-Fiction Day (it's "national" in England; let's spread it internationally!) 
11/10 - Neil Gaiman's birthday
11/14 – Astrid Lindgren’s birthday (author of Pippi Longstocking)
11/18 – High-Five a Librarian Day
Third Saturday of November – International Games Day


Read a New Book Month
12/1 – Sherlock Holmes Day (“A Study in Scarlet” was said to have been first published 12/1/1887 - this is actually in dispute, but we can still celebrate)
12/16 – Jane Austen’s birthday
12/24 - Jolabokaflod - the "Christmas Book Flood" is an Icelandic tradition, in which people open gifts of books on Christmas Eve, and retire to bed early to read them.