Happy Birthday Harry Potter!!!

Yes, according to J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter is 29 today. Hard to believe. To celebrate, I took the Twitter "Which Harry Potter Girl Are You?" quiz. . . Hermione Granger, no surprise.

And what a wonderful day it was in Chicago! To celebrate my last official day of summer vacation, I took the Parkways Foundation's fundraising tour of the control house of Buckingham Fountain, where we each got to turn the seahorses on or off. I visited the main Chicago Public Library's new YOUmedia room for teens to tell them how much I love the "Not What You Think" campaign. I checked out the Chicago Model City at Chicago Architecture Foundation, and I shopped a little, too.

Finished off the day with my first visit to the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute. The art was fascinating, and the galleries showcased it perfectly; the gauzy natural light on the third floor is divine. My only complaint: the northeast corner of the third floor is a perfect vantage point to view Millennium Park's Lurie Garden, but the shades are closed until dark. Kathryn Gustafson and Piet Oudolf designed their "sunny plate" with a tilt toward the southeast sun, so this is the ONLY building with a perfect view of their lovely plantings. Surely just one shade open to the north wouldn't damage the collection? Shouldn't that view be considered a unique display for their Architecture and Design collection? No other museum has it, and they've blocked it.

Photos to come...

We're not what you think

Did a little research on that bus ad that I posted here: it's from Chicago Public Library's "Not What You Think" tumblelog campaign (aimed at you-know-whos). They have two great posters of tatted young librarians, 1, 2, and one of Granny.

Perhaps some of my friends can expose their tats in the library now? Well, perhaps not at school yet.

I've got mine! CPL card, that is, not a tattoo.


Summer is . . .

...balmy nights at Ravinia. I just heard Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock dueling it out on dual pianos: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, what an experience!

Of course, that was my reward for spending the entire day attending Prairie Area Library System workshops. In the morning: how school librarians can implement I-SAIL - Illinois Standards Aligned Instruction for Libraries - was presented by Angie Green (Alliance Library System) and Becky Robinson (Media Specialist at Galesburg High School) in their usual high-energy crowd-motivating style. Remember them as AASL "cheerleaders" at the ALA conference?

College-level Research Readiness was presented in the afternoon by Charlet Key (Library Director at Black Hawk College). Charlet gave us amazing insight on what our High School students don't know, and what they will need to know in order to be prepared for college-level research.

And yes, I am reading Loving Frank. . . more later.



Spent last week in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Talk about a cellular dead zone! I couldn't post or Twitter for days. But it was a wonderful week despite (or perhaps because of) that. I had never seen Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater before, so I finally took a side trip to tour it. A beautiful day to walk around in the Laurel Highlands, and to tour a home that makes the outdoor environment such a feature of the indoor environment.

Then my daughter made me an omelette with fresh eggs we bought from a neighbor that day, and the sorrel we weeded from my grandfather's overgrown garden. For dessert: she made a flaky, buttery pie crust with cherry-rhubarb filling, as fast as I could cut rhubarb from the garden. Food is never as good anywhere, as it is in the mountains!

I took Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan, along to read, but I confess I read a trashy romance novel instead. That's what summer away from school is for, isn't it? I promise to read Loving Frank next week.


ALA Chicago another day

A new BBYA list, Teen Programs Under $100: there was so much to see and do on Sunday, that I had to take a long nap afterward!

I stood in line for Sarah Dessen's Along For The Ride and Joe Meno's Demons in the Spring.

I couldn't resist the Parade of Bookmobiles, even though my teen companion sighed over my geekiness, and my adult companions went back to the Exhibit floor for more serious pursuits. Yes, I toured almost every one of the 15 bookmobiles.
They filled me with nostalgia (regular Bookmobile visits fired my childhood interest in reading); they fed my automotive love for big trucks; and they piqued my architectural fascination with outfitting them. Racks and cubbies and reading benches and wheelchair lifts behind secret-panel-doors, oh my!

And, speaking of fun, the Library Book Cart Drill Team Championship was about as much fun as you can have with library equipment. Check out NPR's report. My camera didn't do the Baraboo Bookers justice in the semi-dark ballroom.


ALA Chicago today

Lunch with an old friend, connecting with library school classmates, cheering at the AASL L4L mini-session, and touching all those new books - what could be better for a school librarian?

But it did get better: waiting in line for an advance copy of Catching Fire, the sequel to Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, we strangers had a fun book talk about the first one. Our patrons ate it up (sorry, I couldn't resist), so I know I'd never get to read the sequel when it comes in. The chance to read this advance copy before my Book Club meets again in the fall made my day!

One more moment of Nirvana: I watched Neil Gaiman signing hundreds of copies of his new The Graveyard Book, and Laurie Halse Anderson signing Speak and her new Wintergirls, while I chatted with Franny Billingsley and her daughter. Franny's Well Wished and The Folk Keeper were beloved when I worked in a middle school; her newest, Big Bad Bunny, is too young for my high school patrons, but it's adorable, so I've bought it for my favorite very little readers.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings...


Reading on the Job?

"The Manley Arts" in Booklist is one of my favorite columns. Will Manley's July column is as topical as always. Wouldn't it be nice if, as Manley proposes, librarians were paid to read on the job?

Sometimes I read the newspaper over lunch, and I do browse reviewing journals at work, but I don't read books on the job. Nonetheless, I read several YA books a week, so I do all that reading in the car and at home. Ironic!


Librarian Trading Cards

No, not the Flickr group. This is the DIY Librarian blog's list (going back to November 2005) of fun librarians, their accomplishments, and their interests. This month Pam Pleviak, the librarian at my sister school, is the featured trading card!

Aside from being a sharp, high-energy school librarian, Pam's most enviable accomplishment this year was promoting her book club. It started the year with 5 students, and grew to 40 by May! She should write a book about all the great promotions she and Evan, her aide, implemented to get students reading.


Print, Audio, or eBooks?

I do a lot of "reading" via audio books in the car, as I commute to work. I've noticed that I enjoy some books more in audio, and sometimes I just enjoy the reader. I've loved some audio books read by their authors, especially memoirs. Sometimes, I check out the print book as well, to clarify parts that I didn't understand in audio. I haven't used a Kindle, but I occasionally use eReader on my Treo, to read in the dark and on hiking trips.
This leads me to Ann Kirschner's article in "The Chronicle Review", Reading Dickens Four Ways. Ann read Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit in every format, switching back and forth to compare the experiences (and other readers' reactions). Her conclusions? Everyone has a preferred format, and there are advantages to each. No surprise there! In the end, it doesn't matter which format you prefer, because the interactive experience of reading itself will never die. Ann summed it up beautifully:
It is the sustained and individual encounter with ideas and stories that is so bewitching. If new formats allow us to have more of those, let us welcome and learn from them.


Summer is...

...time to read "grownup books"! This is the third summer I've read Umberto Eco. I can actually concentrate on Foucault's Pendulum, in between working on my garden and mowing the lawn (mowing gives me time to digest the latest chapter).

Conspiracy theory: I think the bunnies in my yard are working with Casaubon's Templars to deprive me of the treasures of my garden. So far, they have eaten six cantalope plants, two sunflowers, and a host of hostas. What next?

They're taunting me...

(Thanks to Tanja A. on icanhascheezburger.com)


I Love Animoto

I just adore Animoto for fast presentations. I recently created a board presentation, a travelogue, and a collection of family photos. It takes a fraction of the time it would to use PowerPoint or Movie Maker to produce a polished presentation with music. Tonight, I'm making another one!