29 February 2004

Sad news

Daniel Boorstin, who won a Pulitzer Prize and headed both the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, has died at the age of 88.

28 February 2004

A common disconnect

from the Seattle Times:

"Thousands of librarians visiting Seattle this week don't have to look far to see where one city has landed on the continuum between the public's increased appetite for libraries and the reality of shrinking budgets for library services...." Read the rest.

25 February 2004

No, mom, please don't make me eat that! I swear I'll be good...

James Lileks' book, The Gallery of Regrettable Food: Highlights from Classic American Recipe Books is making me laugh out loud, even as it's scaring the crap out of me... I am making this unidentifiable hunk o' flesh reason #693 why I am glad to be a vegetarian!

24 February 2004


I wish wish wish that The Electric Company would be released on dvd! Until that glorious day, though, I guess these video clips and mp3s will have to get me through. (I'm going home after work and listening to my Electric Company record!)

23 February 2004

pleasantly surprised

Last night, I finally watched Masked and Anonymous, starring, among others, Bob Dylan. To be entirely honest, I was a little nervous that it might suck, especially when I saw that Roger Ebert had it on his list of the worst movies of 2003. A lot of the reviews have been, uh, less than complimentary.

So, I watched it. And I liked it. Yeah, the story was a bit complicated, a little too obtuse in places, but overall, I was not at all sorry that I bought this dvd. I wondered if maybe it is a film strictly for Dylan fans, but Gram is not particularly fond of Mr. Dylan (although she tolerates him) and she was fascinated, too. Check it out of your library (usually for free or a very nominal fee) and see what you think.

21 February 2004

do not leave children unattended

In the amazing Printz honor book, Keesha's House by Helen Frost, is a poem that reads, in part:

" ... There's a sign
I know there's younger kids than me who use the sink in that stall
like I do. I keep my eye on them. I try to listen
to adults that talk to them, especially in the rest room. Last week, I had
something creepy happen when I was combing my hair.

"A guy made a comment about my gorgeous red hair,
which is nothing new. But right after that--the first sign
of something weird--he asked if he could have
a picture of me. I got out of there fast. When the library
was about to close, he left the same time I did....

" ... The library
should be a safe place, and if a kid needs a place to comb his hair,
just let him be...."

2005 Caudill Nominees

The nominees for the 2005 Rebecca Caudill Award have been announced. I find it interesting that although children in grades 4 through 8 are meant to vote on this award, only 4 of the nominees are for grades 4; the rest are all meant to be for a higher grade level. Hmm...

Oh, for crying out loud!

As if we don't have enough trouble with people who don't consider librarianship a "real" job ("Must be nice to sit around and read all day"), now there's to be a robot librarian at Valparaiso University.

18 February 2004

Libraries seek tax hikes to stanch red ink

Thanks to Amy for directing me to this story from today's Chicago Tribune:

Four southwest suburban library districts, strapped for cash to provide services the public increasingly is demanding, are counting on voters next month to approve tax rate increases.

If history is an indicator, the tax hike referendum items on the March 16 ballot could face stiff resistance from voters, many of whom think they already are paying too much in property taxes.

But what if their libraries CLOSED? I know property taxes are high, but if your library if forced to close because you wanted to save a extra few bucks by voting "no," could you really go buy all the books, videos, dvds, cds, computer, expert assistance, etc. to which your library currently provides you access?

(How do you spell Howard Dean's primal scream? I would like to utter it now. Grr.)

Life imitates Juvie fic...

I thought that The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney was a riveting, incredible book. Somehow, though, it's not quite as cool when it happens in real life.

17 February 2004

More about the child attacked in the Philadelphia Library

A representative of the Asian-American community to which the child belongs explains why that community has "not taken a public stand" while the evil bastard who hurt her has waived his right to a hearing.

"At the rate we're going..."

"... I can imagine next year's headline: 'Goodnight Moon Banned for Encouraging Children to Communicate With Furniture.' And we all know where that can lead, don't we?" (Judy Blume)

A good editorial about parents taking responsibility for their own children and not blaming libraries for what their kids read.

How fast do you think Jim is spinning?

In his continuing bid to rule the world (possibly in partnership with Bill Gates and Wal-Mart), Mickey Mouse bought the Muppets.

Laugh o' the day

16 February 2004

George was a naughty little monkey...

No, not our Commander in Chief. A much more harmless little guy -- H.A. and Margaret Rey's George -- is coming soon to a theater near you...

14 February 2004

Living in Harmony with Vegetarians

I loved this article from VegWeb and plan to send it to many of my friends and loved ones. Hopefully it will help...

It's a cutthroat, take no prisoners world out there...

Dame Catherine Cookson has lost her title as the UK's most borrowed author after 17 years at the top of the library lending charts. She has been defeated by children's writer Jacqueline Wilson.

12 February 2004

The Case of the Senior Citizen Sleuth

Nancy Drew has a new series, 74 years after she first hopped into her blue Mustang and hit the tracking trail.

Huh. More than I realized...

To be honest, I only drove through some of these states and didn't spend meaningful time in all of them. Still. I didn;t realize I had been to (though) so many! This summer, I'll add a few more if my friend's proposed road trip to Nova Scotia happens. Gotta save those pennies...

create your own visited states map

But what about the children?

(Oh, wait. That's right. Ken didn't have the baby-makin' parts.)

Barbie and Ken have split up.

Quote o' the Day

from an article by Jon Meacham in the 16 February 2004 Newsweek:

"Amid the clash over Gibson's film and the debates about the nature of God, whether you believe Jesus to be the savior of mankind or to have been an interesting first-century figure who left behind an inspiring moral philosophy, perhaps we can at least agree on this image of Jesus of Nazareth: confronted by violence, he chose peace; by hate, love; by sin, forgiveness -- a powerful example for us all, whoever our gods may be."

11 February 2004

Horn tooting

So, I got accepted for Synergy : the Illinois Library Leadership Initiative. From the website:

"Synergy: The Illinois Library Leadership Initiative 2004 is the statewide library community's proactive movement to recruit and nurture future Illinois library leaders. Objectives include self-assessment; discovering and developing personal values; identifying the local, state and global environment; fostering and expanding skills and tools for personal, professional and positional leadership; creating a cohort group; establishing mentoring relationships; and developing a vision of and beyond the field of librarianship."

So, yay.

But how was the honeymoon?

A French woman has married her dead boyfriend.

Especially for e

Thanks to Librarian's Rant for the tip about the Penguin Warehouse, Inc. My friend, Ethan, loves penguins (he drew the awesome Valentine's penguin featured above). I think he and his parents will get a kick out of this.


Thanks to Librarian's Rant for linking here. Linkage notwithstanding, we seem to be simpatico. Librarian's Rant has been added to my list o'links now. (Aw! Ain't it just one big LoveFest somedays?)

10 February 2004

Bold. Sarcastic. Independent.

Thanks to The Tiny Little Librarian (and Quizilla, of course), I know that I am

Which Silver Screen Siren are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Bold. Sarcastic. Independent.

Yeah, actually, I get that quite a lot.

I've only ever seen two Bette Davis films. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, naturally, is one. The other is Storm Center, which I was only lucky enough to see once and which has attained mythic proportions of awesomosity in my mind. Unfortunately, it is not available on video or dvd as of yet, all but guaranteeing that when it finally comes out, it will never be able to live up to the pictures in my head...


I'll have to ILL some flicks...

09 February 2004

Censure Bush

from MoveOn.com:

"In an attempt to evade responsibility for the misleading statements that pushed the nation into war, Bush has announced plans to form an independent inquiry to look into what went wrong. An inquiry would serve the Bush administration well: it would envelop the issue in a fog of uncertainty, deflect blame onto the intelligence services, and delay any political damage until 2005, after the upcoming election.

But the facts need no clarification. Despite repeated warnings from the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, President Bush and his administration hyped and distorted the threat that Iraq posed. And now that reality is setting in, the President wants to pin the blame on someone else. We can't let him.

Congress has the power to censure the President -- to formally reprimand him for betraying the nation's trust. If ever there was a time for this, it's now. "

If you agreed that Bush has lied, please consider participating.

Another reason we need to have firm unattended children policies

I wish that Life was a fairy tale and that libraries were always safe. But, even though we try our best, they're not. Parents, please stay with your kids in public places!

07 February 2004

Nothing to say

I just really like this picture of Louis Armstrong I found for a child's report today.

Big Brother strikes again

A federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.

Forgotten Kids comic

Comic Book artist, Alonzo Washington, has a comic strip remembering some of America's Forgotten kids (like the Bradley sisters).

Can I vent?

Usually, I try to stay away from the public venting about pain-in-the-dupa patrons. But I really want to bitch about a lady who came in here today, so please indulge me. (Or skip this post -- your choice.)

This woman came in, handed me a piece of paper, said "please locate this book within this library building." Okay. So far, so good. But, we didn't have it. In the meantime, she pulls out her phone, dials it, and starts chatting. As soon as she started to dial, I said, "Excuse me, Ma'am? You cannot use your cell phone in here. You'll need to take it into the lobby." She gave me an evil "don't you tell me what to do" look, turned her back on me, and proceeded to have a LOUD conversation with someone about tax forms.

Another patron shook her head at me sympathetically and said, "I guess she's deaf as well as stupid." (hee)

Okay, so toward the end of her conversation, she was literally yelling at the person on the other end 'cause apparently they couldn't hear her. (Hmm... Maybe because she was in a building?) She came back and I said, "Ma'am, I'm sorry, but you really can't use that phone in here, and you especially can't be yelling. It's a library." She snorted at me and said, "Well, it wouldn't do me any good to go outside to talk. Now, where's my book?"

At this point I kind of hate her. I tell her that we don't have the book but we would be more than happy to borrow it from another library. Oh, no! APPARENTLY, we owned it on Thursday night. I showed her how the computer system works and showed her that we do not own the book. But we do, she insists. I must not know how to work the system correctly because the "girl" at Library X, her home library, told her the book was here on Thursday night. She even called us and we pulled it for this rude patron.

Now I really hate her. It's bad enough when the patrons who pay for this library with their property taxes are rude, but I really hate when people from other towns feel the need to drive here to be rude. We don't have a shortage, folks!

I manage to smile and stay polite and show her which libraries have the book. She asks me to call Library C. I do. They look. Can't find the book. The librarian wants to call us back after she has had a chance to check tech services. I ask the librarian to hold and ask the patron if she will be here a few minutes so they can call me back. She says, "Let me talk to her!" so I unleash Evil Patron on the poor unsuspecting Library C person.

After she has written down the librarian's name and given her her own cell phone number, she asks who has the audio book. I show her the three libraries who own it and point out that they're all checked out. She says, "No. That's no good. Show me who else has it." I proceed to tell her many other libraries. She wants all their phone numbers. Then she gets mad at me again because Library M has the book on shelf and I said it was checked out at Library M.

No. I told her the audio book was checked out at Library M.

Fine. She keeps demanding, and I pity the poor librarians who will get calls from her soon. Before she (finally!) leaves, she says, "If there wasn't so much snow Thursday night, I could have come out here right away and could have gotten the book."

I explain that even had she come Thursday, we still don't own the book. (I guess she's stupid as well as deaf.) She insists that the Library X "girl" called here and we pulled the book for her and they don't mess up there.


I hate one of your patrons, Library X.

DiCaprio as Johnny Eck?

Allegedly, Leonardo DiCaprio is looking to star in an upcoming film about Johnny Eck. (Note: I found this while looking for info about Eck, not Leo!)

By the way...

On the off-chance that any other librarians are dealing with lots o' kids coming in with impossibly long, difficult trivia quizzes for African-American History Month, there is a marvelous quiz on-line that may prove helpful to you. I have used it lots by just typing in search words and seeing if what I need is there.

New READ poster

This one was NOT sanctioned by ALA, but designed by the always clever Nat.

I hope this isn't gonna be a depressing 'blog day...

I was also sad to hear the other day that the police have officially moved the search for Diamond and Tionda Bradley to the cold case file. I know that maybe this isn't fair, but I have to wonder: if the children had come from a family that was part of the racial "majority" or was in a higher socio-economic class, would the search have been more successful? I don't mean to imply that the police in Chicago did not search hard for them. It's just that Elizabeth Smart disappeared less than a year later and had national media attention throughout her ordeal. Maybe the same immediate, constant, national media attention could have helped the Bradley sisters?

By the way, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created age-progressed photos to show what the girls might look like today.

And now that I've confessed...

... can I just say how much this little girl (girls?) tugged at my heart? I was very sad this morning to learn that she'd died.

Classic horror film due in dvd soon -- in 6 years!

According to Amazon, Tod Browning's classic film, Freaks, will not be released on dvd until 2010! They let me pre-order it, though, so that's cool...

(I have a seriously un-PC fascination with the circus sideshows of yore and with those who were advertised as "freaks." This love is genuine and tender and not meant in any way derisively, though I haven't told too many people in the past. Usually when people find out, I get a few raised eyebrows and people think I'm just mean. But, heck, we're all friends here...)

Keeping my fingers crossed

I seem to have fixed the comments feature here, although I did lose a few comments in the process. Hopefully, it will continue to function well...

06 February 2004


I am having trouble with my comments feature (it's just not working), so I removed it until I figure stuff out. If anyone has anything to say in the meantime. please feel free to sign the guestbook or drop me a line.

05 February 2004

Lovely surprise

Our local school has the worst, most horrible Black History trivia assignment I have ever seen. Ever. It took me almost five hours to complete the darned thing tonight. I have been trained to find answers. The kids who get this assignment are in grade school. 130 questions, some of them not even making sense. For example, they ask who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948 Well, it would have been Gandhi, but he was killed so it went to no one. Ralph Bunche -- the answer they're looking for -- won in 1950.


So, I'm working on this thing and a small voice says, "Did you work at [insert my old library here]?" I look up and it's Mario! One of my favorite patrons from my Former Library! Yay!

We hugged and chatted and caught up. Right after I quit, his family moved to the community my new library is in. He is a sweet, smart child, who loves to read almost as much as I do. He is particularly enamored of the Harry Potter series. Last summer, when I had a Harry Potter writing contest, Mario spent hours at the computer, working on an outline for a new books that would have run 50 chapters or more! (I talked him into a shorter story, since he was stressing out big time over not finishing in time.)

Anyway, I have one of "my" kids back.

Calloo Callay! I chortle in my glee.

Never Die Easy

God love him, Kucinich says he's staying in the race and he could defeat Bush.

He only has 2 delegates thus far, but hey! he still has my vote! I'd love a modern day David!

When a Search Engine Isn't Enough...

...call a librarian.

04 February 2004

Monarch Award

A new reader's choice book award, courtesy of ISLMA:

In the summer of 2002, several past presidents of ISLMA discussed the need for a K-3 children's book award. The ISLMA Board established a work group to investigate creation of such an award. In April 2003, ISLMA approved the establishment and support of The Monarch Award: Illinois' K-3 Children's Choice Award....

The name Monarch was chosen because of its familiarity to K-3 children and to symbolize the growth, change and freedom that becoming a reader brings. The Monarch is designed to encourage children to read critically and become familiar with children's books, authors and illustrators. The program is open to all K-3 age children in Illinois.

Cool. The little kids always seemed to feel left out when Rebecca Caudill time came around...


Ralph Nader has set up an exploratory committe to see whether or not he should run this year. In a letter on the site, Nader writes:

"Welcome to our exploratory website, which could be subtitled -- for both you and me -- 'keep an open mind and evaluate the variables.' We are a country dedicated to the pursuit of justice and happiness. This requires unfettered debate, an abundance of choices and perspectives, authentic electoral competition, clear articulation of issues and, finally, tolerance, if disagreement, for those who speak to these issues.

Review our postings and please let us know what you think. Orchestrated campaigns and anonymous utterances, pro or con, are not very helpful and will be ignored. But how we best inspire our country's politics and bring out the best from our fellow Americans is an open question for exploration."

I am unrepentant about having voted for him in the past, but... I do believe that he would be a president I could be pretty proud of and could believe in. But so could Kucinich (even more so). In fact, Kucinich has showed more integrity to me by answering the NPAT, something Nader has not done.

Since neither Nader nor Kucinich will be nominated by a party that has any chance of defeating W, what are the risks? Would it be better if, instead of running himself, Nader put his support and energy behind Kucinich? Would this create real possibility for a viable third party in America? Would Nader listen if a number of us e-mailed him and asked him to consider this?

I have always believed in voting for who I truly believe, in my heart, would be the best person for the job. I refuse to vote for someone just because the tv or newspapers tell me to. I think that if everyone did that, we would no longer have a two-party system and the United States would be a very different -- hopefully better and stronger -- place.

But we don't. We like to vote for winners. We like to pick out the "best" not according to policies but according to who is most likely to win. I hate that. It sucks. But it's how things usually are.

Still. I really don't care for the current administration. While my ideals say that we need great candidates in whom we believe, a teeny part of me wonders if sometimes it isn't more important to defeat the evildoers in our own back yard...

I don't have any answers, just musings... (See? Librarians don't know everything!)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Ella Jenkins (Chicago gal!) will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards this coming Sunday. This is the first time this award has been given to a children's entertainer.

Minty Freshness

Today's Pardon My Planet offers a look at what publishers of kids' books are looking for.

03 February 2004


Well, I have been listening to Larry Long's album, Well May The World Go, all day so I added some links to some of the performers I have come to love over the years because of the Woody Guthrie Folk Music Festival.

While I was looking for links, I found out about a fantabulous show that is coming to the Centre East Theater in Skokie on May 8th. "Glory Bound" will feature Josh White, Jr., Odetta, and Oscar Brand. (This must be a fairly recent change, since White's page says Ramblin' Jack Elliott plays with Josh and Odetta. Damn! That would have been unbelievable!)

They will be singing the songs of Leadbelly, Josh White, and Arlo Guthrie (or Woody, which seems way more likely, depending on which website you believe).

Of course, I bought tickets right away! Wow!

Good taste in books, too

I had already decided to vote for Dennis Kucinich in the upcoming primaries. Today, I was checking out his profile at Project Vote Smart and I clicked on fun facts; apparently his favorite book is Alice in Wonderland. Well, hell. If I wasn't sure before, that cinches it!

(And no, folks. Before anyone starts to berate me for that, I do not choose my candidate based solely on his or her reading material.)

I miss my sister

I called my baby sister in Arizona last night to remind her to vote today. I miss her! She told me something that touched me deeply. After she moved, there was a period of time when we didn't talk. I called her a few times, sent her a few letters, but she didn't respond. My feelings were hurt, so I just gave up.

As time passed, she was afraid I would be mad at her and didn't call because she was afraid. The whole thing was a very screwed up circle of hurt. We resolved things when she came home for Christmas and have never let it become bad again.

Last night, though, she told me that during that time, she would visit my webpage a lot, especially the list of things that make me happy. She was afraid that I would have taken her off the list or that I would have added something like, "I'm happy I don't have to go to Arizona to see Jo!"

When she told me this, I was moved that she cared so much. I told her that, even though my feelings were hurt, I never hated her! I wasn't even really mad at her. Just some hurt.

I love her very much. We have been through a lot together, but I think we will always come through, our bond even stronger than before. I am so proud of her: she is strong and beautiful and confident and kind and thinks for herself.

01 February 2004

Quote for today

"But suppose the book were really rubbish--nothing to repay attention?"

"Well, suppose it," said the Earl. "My theory meets that case, I assure you! A never finds out that it is rubbish, but maunders on to the end, trying to believe he's enjoying himself. B quietly shuts the book, when he's read a dozen pages, walks off to the Library, and changes it for a better!"

(from Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll)

He's the Talk of the Town!

Huzzah for Philip Pullman (again)! The adaptation of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy now playing at the National Theatre in London was given mention in The Talk of the Town of this week's New Yorker. (The paper copy of the magazine includes a charming line drawing of our author.)

The New Yorker says, "Pullman also has a following in the United States—his prose is more elegant and his plots are more sophisticated than Tolkien’s or J. K. Rowling’s." Amen.