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  Archived Posts From: 2010


The Glimmer Twin @ Your Library

Written on: April 6th, 2010 in Blog Posts

It’s not to late to consider a career change, even if you’re Keith Richards. Which is funny because all this time Keef has been wanting to be a librarian, I’ve been wanting to be Keith Richards… Is it to late for a career swap?
Please use the comments to add your own caption for the picture to the left: I’ll start with this one, “You’ll find me in 362.29!”


Books to look for

Written on: April 6th, 2010 in Blog Posts


During a late-night online conversation with Laurel-based twitterer @thatselbert over the weekend we briefly digressed into a few comments on the “perks” of working in a library. I don’t think that there’s much of an argument- if you work in a library, publishers want to give you books, sometimes months before they’re available in stores, so that you can write about them and recommend them and contribute to the ‘buzz’ around this or that title- more often than not, perhaps, titles that aren’t going to consume all of the publicity oxygen available.

Now that publishers are starting to prepare their summer releases, and we’re also in conference season, advance copies have been thick on the ground. Here are a few that I’ve read recently that I was impressed by, and I’m hoping that you will get to see these in your Delaware library- most are slated for a May publication date:

  • White Cat by Holly Black. Nothing to do with the Spiderwick Chronicles that she has been most well-known for, Black kicks off a promising new series with a very strong opening that will appeal to teen readers with a liking for fantasy/magic titles with a darker edge. The first book in a new Curse Workers series introduces Cassel Sharpe, youngest of a family of ‘workers’- the magically gifted who can create luck, create nightmares…or hurt and even kill with a single touch. Black’s skillfully realized society is an alternate version of our own, with slight twists to accommodate her mythology (such as the ubiquitous wearing of gloves to protect from magical touch, and the existence of lobbying groups both for and against the licensing of curse-workers). There’s a book trailer at YouTube which introduces the series and matches the tone of the writing very nicely. Click here to view.
  • Michael Gruber’s The Good Son is another book to look for in May- if you read and enjoyed Nick McDonnell’s An Expensive Education you’ll like this espionage thriller set in the jihadi badlands of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border regions. Gruber’s book is tightly plotted but also filled with a deep understanding of the history of the region and the complexity of the “Great Game”. Pakistani politics and its intersections with the frontier, tribal culture of the Pathan people. In Gruber’s book, pushtanwali, Jungian psychotherapy, and the echoes of the CIA’s decades of entanglement with the Afghan Mujahideen collide when a party of Western and Pakistani intellectuals are kidnapped for ransom.
  • Beatrice and Virgil is the long-awaited follow up to the incredibly popular Life of Pi, by Yann Martell. It’s a tricky, allusive, metaphorical story of a blocked writer trying to get to find a way to write about the Holocaust.
  • This Body of Death is the newest Inspector Linley mystery from Elizabeth George, and will be available on April 20th. I’ll have to admit that I haven’t read this yet- it was seized from me by my wife as soon as she saw it. Every indication from her suggests that George has not worn out these characters yet after 17 outings.


Sunday Reviews

Written on: April 5th, 2010 in Blog Posts


Here are some of the books featured in the most recent New York Times Sunday Book Reviews. Click on the titles to see holdings in the Delaware Library Catalog, learn more about the books, or place a hold.

  • Karl Marlantes Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War has been 30 years in the writing, according to the publisher, and the author is a highly decorated veteran: “Chapter after chapter, battle after battle, Marlantes pushes you through what may be one of the most profound and devastating novels ever to come out of Vietnam — or any war. It’s not a book so much as a deployment, and you will not return unaltered.”
  • Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch is a “comprehensive and surprisingly accessible” history of the faith from its remote pre-Christian roots in ancient antiquity to the current date. MacCulloch won the National Book Critic’s Circle award for non-fiction this year for this book.
  • James Hynes newest novel, Next, spans 8 hours in the life of its protagonist while he flies from Ann Arbor to Austin to interview for a life-changing job.
  • Something Red by Jennifer Gilmore is a story of “lost ideals and lingering illusions” within three generations of immigrants and idealists.
  • Peter Bognanni’s House of Tomorrow “unexpectedly pits the teaching of R. Buckminster Fuller, architect, philosopher and futurist, against the misanthropy of punk.”


    Protecting School Libraries

    Written on: April 1st, 2010 in Blog Posts

    This map marks the cities, towns, communities, and states that have made the decision to either eliminate certified school library positions (indicated in blue) or require one school librarian to work with two (2) or more school library programs throughout the week (indicated in red).



    It’s Thursday: (In)Formal Learning @ PLA

    Written on: April 1st, 2010 in Blog PostsInformal learningLearningLearning Journeys

    LPLKnow up front that I alternate between amazement and criticism of communication technologies. And, my peers evidently agree. So as I report back to you about the Virtual Public Library Association (PLA) Conference, we bounce from “Wow, our panel members are all over the country during this presentation too,” to “The sound is just awful,”  and “Why isn’t there streaming video?” However, the topic selection & panel format for the workshops were perfect for this venue. General interest subjects full of in-the-trenches content provided by experts in the field. Keep this in mind as you consider a full day of online learning. A full-day is a very different intellectual commitment  than a one-hour webinar.

    The real power of the conference emerged in the group learning. Participants from varied libraries gathered at one of the five hosting sites to “attend” together. The shared experience enriched the learning by sparking conversations centered on Delaware libraries and patrons; the idea exchange was huge! And of course, the informal learning that occurs when dedicated individuals congregate almost always results in better service for customers. I heard discussions on everything from speedier ways to get items on the shelves to programs for 20-somethings  to library collection building. A special thank you to the staff at the Lewes and Laurel public libraries for including me in this most gratifying adventure.