Why yes, as a matter of fact, we are.

For all the right reasons. And, librarians are the most collaborative, and communicative, and, I suspect, empathetic. It's all those reference interviews.


You had me at "Well hello there..."

Jian Ghomeshi's CBC Radio “curatorial show,” Q, is always fascinating and often keeps me in the car long after I’ve reached my destination – just to hear the end of a great song or interview. It’s been two nights in a row now: first, William Shatner’s analysis of why our relationships with our favorite radio performers seem so intimate was especially fascinating under the circumstances…

Today, Jian interviewed Mark Schatzker, humor writer for The Globe and Mail. Schatzker's short column about Occupy Toronto protests included satirical quotes by fictional protestors, one of which has been adopted by U.S. presidential candidate Rick Perry as a rallying cry against the protests. I had to laugh when Schatzker mentioned that Perry's misuse of the quote by "Jeremy" had garnered him far more fame than his recent book, Steak, had.

Jian responded, "If only Jeremy had cited your book!" Indeed, how sad that one inflammatory sentence can take on such a life of media notoriety, while the typical media sales package did not accomplish that goal for a book by the same author!

Speaking of the Occupy Wall Street protests, does anyone else find the City of Oakland's responses this past week reminding them eerily of Cory Doctorow's YA novel Little Brother?


Sign of Our Times

I blame it on Google and Amazon.
A big book order arrived at my library, and I assigned student helpers throughout the day to unpack boxes, and check the titles off against the packing list. One young man brought me a book, and said it wasn’t on the packing list. I thanked him and congratulated him on catching the mistake.

Later, he brought me two more that weren’t on the list, then 4 more. I was astounded, because our supplier has never made such a mistake. After school, when things were quiet, I took the stack of books and checked the packing list. They were all on it. I looked at the stack of new books, wondering why my student couldn’t find them on the alphabetical list. Slowly, I realized what they had in common: all the titles started with “The…”

He couldn’t find these titles because they weren’t alphabetized in the T’s!


A Packed Day in Manhattan

Returned to the World Trade Center site this morning, to see the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site (last time I was there was shortly after the bombing). It was wicked crowded on a Saturday morning, but still very moving. I so wish I could be here next month for the opening of the actual memorial.

In the afternoon, we went to the Morgan Library, where I almost stepped on the Xu Bing installation in Renzo Piano's atrium - whew! Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and husband Bill were leaving as we entered. His vegan diet looks healthy on him. I wanted to see the Piano wing, especially since I missed the Jaume Plensa exhibit by days (that was a disappointment).

I also wanted to see the stunning "Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands" exhibit - if you're in NYC by 4 September, it's definitely worth seeing. Of course, Pierpont Morgan's study and library are also beautiful. My husband said the study looked like a room in a European castle, and I said it looked like he raided several castles. I guess he really did - even the ceiling was cut out of a palazzo and re-assembled in his study!.


Finished the ARC of Luminarium, by Alex Shakar - a love ballad to the post 9/11 city of Manhattan. Three brothers developed a MMPORG game that has been co-opted by the military for training. Under military financing, the game has become a scrupulously realistic disaster-plagued mirror of Manhattan. Players function as first responders to a terrorist strike at the Empire State building, with plans to eventually expand to a virtual nuclear bombing of Times Square. This has required the re-creation of every building and street, with accurate engineering to allow the most realistic death and destruction. Walking through the game can be more real than the real thing.

When the brother who initially designed the game (as a utopian dream world) lapses into a coma during  cancer treatment, his twin must carry on the fight to divest from military control and return the game to a more idealistic version. But, he's dealing with the stresses of having used up all his finances to keep his twin on life-support, breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, living with his parents again, working with his father as a magician's assistant, and avoiding the suits who are planning to move his company to Florida. He's clearly lost control of his life, and losing touch with the world around him.

On a whim, he volunteers for a neural study that involves having his brain stimulated to create "spritual" experiences - conducted by an attractive 9/11 widow. He also starts receiving text messages from his comatose twin. And seeing him inside the game. And receiving gifts apparently mailed from him. The virtual world, the spiritual world, his memories of growing up with his twin, a romance with his experimenter, and the present-tense "real" world blend and mutate for him, but a love of the city itself is constant throughout this book. Although it's an adult title, mature, thoughtful teens may enjoy the Matrix-like philosophical quest for a meaningful life.


Save the Date: ALA Virtual Conference

The ALA Virtual Conference will be held July 13th and 14th. If you couldn't attend ALA in NOLA, this is a less-expensive chance to hear some of the presentations - no travel or hotels involved! If you did attend, this is a (free) chance to hear presentations you may have missed the first time around. HINT: watch for a condensed version of YALSA's Pecha Kucha: Teens & Technology.


New Orleans and #ala11

Well, You can't come to New Orleans and not eat, right? So, after registering at the ALA Convention and checking out the Exhibits Opening Reception, we headed out for what we thought would be a quick dinner before ALAplay 2011. We spent 45 minutes in line outside Coop's Place with some charming young men (who were smart enough to pick up super-size beers before joining the line). Finally we were ushered into the sanctum, where the redfish was definitely worth the wait.

Apologies to Miss the Younger, who serenades me regularly with the song "One Mint Julep", because I promised to drink one for her. Coop's one mint julep was more than I could drink -- I can see how it could be "the cause of it all"!


Last Minute News: I'm Presenting!

I'm presenting on QR codes at the ALA 2011 conference Sunday morning. Look for "Pecha Kucha: Teens and Technology" @ 10:30 in rm 394! Please come for a YALSA panel on various ways to use technology to serve teens in your libraries. Check the conference scheduler for all the presenters, topics, and presentations.

If you're interested in more information on using QR codes, there's also a link to my four handouts: QR Code Generators/Readers, Ideas for QR Codes in Libraries, Ideas for QR Codes in School, and Thanks to My PLN (a list of early adopters who have already been exploring creative use of QR's in their libraries).


On My Way... to ALA 2011

I can't wait to leave for ALA 2011 tomorrow - even if it does seem that I don't have half the things done that I need to before I go. It will be my first trip to New Orleans, but I'll be traveling with a fellow teacher-librarian who has spent a lot of time there (and has connections in the local music community), so we're sure to be spending time eating good food and checking out the music scene.

I'm looking forward to so many of the AASL and YALSA sessions, to networking with my Twitter buddies in person, and meeting some of my librarian heroes, but most of all to the chance to meet Paolo Bacigalupi!


Ship Breaker starts, Fever Crumb continues

A colleague and I both read Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker last week. WOW! This speculative YA fiction was so good, I had to check out his adult fiction. Now that I'm almost done reading all his short stories and novels, I'm convinced he's the love child of Margaret Atwood and William Gibson. 

So rich in YA themes, where to start?


Things Change

Will Richardson thinks about what will happen as our students develop their own personal learning networks - instead of attending fixed classes, in Personal Learning Networks (An Excerpt). Could we be obsolete as teachers?


Teens and "Dark" Fiction

I spent the past week reading two incredibly dark YA books about graverobbing, and then someone forwarded me the link to this New York Times article, with ensuing discussion, on the appeal of dark themes to teens. What synchronicity!

Last weekend I attended the Booklist and Book Links Editors Revue at National-Louis University's Center for Teaching through Children's Books, where I met Daniel Kraus and got an ARC of his second YA novel, Rotters.