Library Loot

A Library Loot of a Somber Nature

Last night I went for a visit to the public library.  I’d like to say that it was merely to check-out books, but it wasn’t.  I was worried for my library system.

Hall County is facing massive budget cuts and we all know where that ends up: cuts to the library.  I’ve noticed increased furlough days and decreased numbers on the “new books” shelf, but I had no idea how grim things stood.

Last week the Board of Commissioners  met to discuss proposed cuts and last night the library board met to proactively discuss cuts.  I was late to the library board meeting and elected to not go in.  Instead I talked to a staff member.  She informed me that the invited public didn’t show to the library board meeting.  Later she informed me that the public did show up to offer moral support in the form of TWO PEOPLE. TWO PEOPLE.

I stuck around to find out the result of the meeting:  two branches are closing, two other branches have severely reduced hours, and the remaining two branches will be closed on Sunday.  The entire part-time staff is being let go (21 people) and four full-time employees will be jobless in July.

The atmosphere last night at the Gainesville branch was somber.  Employees checked summer reading program logs, patrons were assisted at the computers, a librarian tidied the shelves and tables, a teen sat in a chair reading Artemis Fowl, two boys with skateboards were on Facebook, an employee set up a material hold for mother, someone walked in just to use the restroom facilities… in other words, the library marched on.  I can image the employees must be saddened and scared and probably a bit angry, but nonetheless they kept working.

I checked out a nice, thick stack of books.  I found a book on surviving middle school for Hope.  Both children are signed up for the summer reading program.  Signs about upcoming closures are posted right along with signs advertising a library magic show for children.  I noticed that the empty new book shelf has now been changed to a “staff picks” shelf and is filled with books old and new.  They’ve also pulled out the graphic novels from the general collection to make a graphic novel section….  The dedicated library staff is still working to improve, to reach, to help and I am completely and totally thankful for all their hard work.  I’m thankful and proud of the grace and dignity the Hall County Library System has exercised in the face of such negativity.

Now, how do we keep our libraries open?  Statistics.  Yup.  Numbers count and they count a great deal.  I know so many people who talk about limiting check-outs or not going to the library because they may check out “too many books.”  Hogwash.  Check-out as much as you can.  Go as often as possible.  Place holds.  Log-in.  Show-up.  WORK THE SYSTEM.  It comes to this:  hours, staff, and the number of computers/programs/book titles all come down to the numbers.  Think outside of yourself:  you may have an IPad/Kindle/Nook/whatever… but what about the out of work dad searching for jobs online and resume writing books (Sam was there once), or the kids who need a place to study, or the English major with no money for books (me!), or the elderly or the poor or the fact that a library is a central community gathering spot…. the Library is a place and a very important place and no amount of Googlization can change that.

I truly hope that that there will be no further cuts (the Hall County Library system is now operating on 60% of the budget from three years ago) and my pie-in-the-sky dream is that this will turn around and libraries will reopen.  Even as a paraprofessional at an academic library I can say that I don’t think I appreciated my public library system until I realized that it could all go away.

Information is empowerment.  An informed public is quite a strong force and having an accessible library is powerful: where else can you find KNOWLEDGE, COMMUNITY, AND EQUALITY for all ages, nationalities, abilities, races…. you get the idea.  Libraries are as American as it gets and a protected library is most certainly protected freedom.

A Bevy of Books, Borrowed and Bought

We’re on snow day #3 and while Hope entertains Atticus, I thought I might squeeze in a library loot from last week and share some books I recently purchased.

First off, the Library Loot:

  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris (I swear I’m actually going to read it this time)
  • Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton
  • The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey
  • In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden
  • Ghost Hunters by Deborah Blum
  • The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Most of these books came from the public library.  The Godden novel is from the university library and the Persephone is via interlibrary loan.

I also stopped by the local charity bookshop for some reads.

  • 84, Charing Cross Road and Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff
  • King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
  • The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
  • Mockingbird by Charles J. Shields
  • The Terror by Dan Simmons

Whelp, I think I’m pretty much stocked up on books.  At least for a little while ;).

Library Loot and Reading Prep for 2011

Earlier this week I braved the cold with the kids in tow to the university library I work at.  As a staff member I enjoy extended checkout times and since this is the last week before the library shuts down for winter holiday I knew I needed to get there this week.  I limited myself to five books; two of the books were only available in large print.  I checked them out because I really want to read them, but I don’t know if the print will prove annoying.  I was surprised that we even had large print books because we’ve never collected them before now; being on maternity leave had me totally out of the loop.

I’m still sticking with my goal of finishing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and North and South; this library loot haul is for my new reading year.  Later this month I’ll post more on the 2011 challenges I’m joining, but for now I will list what challenges each book fulfills.

  • First off is Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, a Hercule Poirot novel involving a heiress murdered by poisoned coffee.  This mystery novel is for the Vintage Mystery challenge.
  • I was so excited to find a copy of Phillipa Gregory’s The Red Queen, the follow up novel to last year’s The White Queen, of course it concerns my current historical obsession: The War of the Roses.  This novel will count for Chivalrous Deeds Historical Challenge.
  • Next is another book I nabbed in large print as I was so excited, Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin.  This is a novelization of the friendship between Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll).  I’m always interested in different takes on authors and sometimes the conjecture of novels proves interesting.  This book will be for the New Authors Challenge.
  • Room by Emma Donoghue has been all the buzz on book blogs.  Nominated for the Man Booker prize and based on a true story; this book is narrated from a child’s perspective and a child narrating a horrific situation.  I think it will be interesting, but sometimes books with rape/sexual abuse really bother me (i.e nightmares) so I may or may not finish it.  We’ll see how the subject manner is handled.  Of course, this is for the Man Booker Challenge.
  • Finally, a selection for the Man Booker Challenge and the TBR Challenge:  A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book.  I’ve checked this out several times and I’ve never gotten around to reading it.  I can’t tell you why!  I adore Byatt and I’m eagerly anticipating this read.

I have all 5 books stacked up and ready to go; I’m planning on kicking off the New Year diving into this stack of reads!

Maternity leave begins…. with a Library Loot

I’m officially on maternity leave from work even though Atticus hasn’t graced us with his presence.  Last week I had a disheartening experience with the midwife I saw.  My usual midwife wasn’t there and I had to see someone else.  Since Atticus is predicted to be large (current estimate is 9 lbs, 3 oz at 37 weeks) the MIDWIFE was insistent I get a c-section.  I refused to jump straight to a c-section and I’ve chosen to have a “trial of labor.”

I saw my favorite midwife this week, Jack.  Yes, Jack is a man and the absolute best midwife EVER.  His recommendations seemed to vibe well with Ina May Gaskin’s beliefs on childbirth; Jack is recommending that I:

  • take evening primrose oil to help my cervix efface more
  • drink a minimum of one gallon of water a day
  • walk and exercise everyday
  • cease working
  • stay happy and positive and surround myself with loving and protective people

The theory behind all of these recommendations is that for me to have Atticus without a c-section I’m most likely going to have a long and physically active labor.  For example, Jack said I will need to be moving throughout labor:  using the birthing ball, squatting, and lunging.    When I deliver, I will need to push squatting or on all fours.  Needless to say, I need to both rest and stay active.  Jack thinks that Atticus will most certainly be here prior to November 5th, but I have a feeling he isn’t going to pop out right away.

This means that this upcoming week, while Sam is at work and Hope is at school, I will be home by myself….waiting.  Of course I’ll be napping, walking, and drinking tons of water, but what am I going to do with the rest of the time.  There are few cleaning projects on my list, laundry, and the odd stitching project or two, but I thought the best way to truly prepare for a week of mostly solitude is with a trip to the library.  Yesterday I had a date day with Sam that began with a library trip and ended with a movie night.  Behold, my spoils from the library trip:

  • The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins
  • Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
  • The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
  • Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
  • The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
  • The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (audiobook)
  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus, volumes 1 and 2

I have gobs of reading choices and I’m more than ready to indulge in some reading.  After all, if the goal is to keep me peaceful and happy then reading will certainly fit the bill!

Remembering September and Looking to October

For photo credit, click on pic

October is here and it is one of my most favorite months; I adore fall weather.  September was disappointing as far as autumn goes — we had temperatures in the upper 80s most of the time.

Now the air truly has a bite of apple crispness and find myself perfectly content to stay home with a large mug of warm milk and and an even bigger book.

Now, for retrospect followed by exciting plans….

Remembering September:

  • I began life as a soccer mom (gasp!); and Hope is really loving the sport.  It is so nice to see her working hard and making friends.
  • Baking:  a made some fall favorites (pumpkin bars and espresso brownies) and baked a new recipe, Cranberry Honey Drop Cookies.
  • The adoption was finalized!  Sam is Hope’s daddy for ever and always!
  • I began a new embroidery project
  • I had a wonderful date day with Sam to Athens.
  • Several wonderful trips to the library and a phenomenal library book sale
  • Celebrated Sam’s 29th birthday
  • Began taking Prepared Child Birth Classes
  • Readying the nursery!
  • Finally I have internet at home
  • Craft night with friends featuring yarn, Thai food, coffee and gossip
  • Read three books (only three!), Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir, Anatomy of Deception by Lawrence Goldstone, and The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Looking to October:

  • Blogtoberfest! The goal is to post every day in October.  I didn’t accomplish this last year, but I sure did post a heck of a lot more.  My goal is to post every day, even if it is a tiny writeup, rant, or link.
  • Finishing Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.  This is a fabulous book, but nearly 1,000 pages long.  This is my “I must finish this book before Atticus gets here” challenge.
  • Speaking of Atticus he *might* be here by the end of the month.  Needless to say I’ll be nesting, baby prepping, and finishing childbirth class.  I’m looking forward to this being my last month of pregnancy and having my little man soon!
  • Thrifting!  Tomorrow is the huge community thrift sale, because of Hope’s soccer game I won’t make it there until noon so I hope some deals are left.
  • Working on my new embroidery project and finishing the blanket for Atticus.
  • Organizing my photo albums.  I feel compelled to tackle the box of pictures and put them in order.
  • Breaking out the sewing machine
  • Making holiday plans and beginning my baking and gift plans early
  • READATHON!  Next Saturday!  Yay!
  • Staycation!  Hope has fall break week after next and we have plans to see a movie, have lunch with her Dad at work, take walks and watch plentiful amounts of Dark Shadows.
  • Possibly a foray into Once a Month Cooking…. possibly
  • Organizing my bookshelves.  I’m saving this for my nesting spurt.
  • Baking big loaves of crusty bread and making jar after jar of pumpkin butter and apple butter.
  • Audiobook stockpile!  I’m stocking up on audio books for when I function as a milk tank in late October / early November.  Pass on any recommendations!

There we have it, lots of stuff to look forward to!  In my immediate future I see a shower and hitting the pillow.  I’m tired and I know I’ll be up 5o0 times in the night since Atticus has decided my bladder is the perfect squeeze toy.

The Sunday Salon: Readathon Prep

The Sunday Salon.com

I’m so excited about the fast approaching 24-hour Readathon!  I’ve never been able to participate as I’ve worked Saturdays at the library for the past 3 years.  I had rearranged my work schedule to participate in the spring, but then I had a miscarriage scare and opted out.

But now, I’m ready to go!  Hope is going to grandma’s house for the weekend and I’m assembling book lists and book piles aplenty.  Of course the library is playing an essential role in building my book piles.  Today I popped into the public library for a few minutes and came away with a cookbook and three fiction works.  The three fiction books are:

I’m still building my list; I have some graphic novels selected, a few books from my stacks, and some interlibrary loan materials headed my way.  I still need some audio books, any suggestions?

The Sunday Salon: Library Book Sale Loot

The Sunday Salon.com

Shortly before 1 this afternoon I waited patiently outside the public library for the second day of the annual library book sale.  I had to work at my university library yesterday and missed the first day of the sale.  I know that  there was more of a selection yesterday, but you cannot beat last day prices.  I bought 14 books for $5.  Yup — 5 dollars!  Here are the spoils:

WOW!  What a great haul!  Now my book anxiety is through the roof!  I’m super excited that now I have an excuse to reorganize my bookshelves.

Here’s a funny story for you, I was in the fiction room of the book sale with a half-dozen older, respectable ladies when a news photographer came in.  He asked — individually — if he could take pictures of the women as they pawed through books.  Each woman declined and HE NEVER ASKED ME.  I suppose pregnant, sweaty, tattooed, pierced chicks aren’t newspaper material.  Sigh….