Archive for the ‘Libraries’ Category

Little Free Libraries

Once I settle in my forever place, which I hope will be soon, I want to have a Little Free Library. Goodness knows I have enough books to stock it. I think it will be a fun way to encourage reading and to push books in people’s hands.

Of course I’m hoping they’ll come back so that others may read the books, but I won’t be upset. Ideally, I’d like other people to put books in it too, to make it sort of like an exchange. Again, if people don’t, that’s fine.

I’ve seen a few of these little libraries. One was in a park and stocked with boring books, text books, weather worn volumes. It was like no one looked after the little library, which looked a bit raggedly on its own. The other was by the side of a residential road. I was driving by and didn’t get to stop, but this one looked care for and tended. That’s the kind I’d like.

I want to carry a variety of books for peoples young and old. While I don’t have any picture books, I’m sure I can come up with some later on. Same with non-fiction. The books I have are a mix of adult, young adult, and children’s fiction, hard and soft backs. Right now they’re all books I’ve decided I can live without. They’re books I don’t have to read more than once. Not that they’re bad. It’s just I don’t need them anymore. I also hope to add some of my mother’s romance novels to it. That should make a nice mix. Perfect for anyone looking for the right novel.


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Learn Freely @ The Library

For the past summers, my local library, Richland Library, has a Saturday where it offers workshops and activities from ten a.m. to two p.m. They offer a variety of interests and in the past there’s been knot tying, writing, and arts and crafts. Last year I didn’t find much to tempt me. This year they had numerous ones that piqued my interest.

In order to fully participate, I arrived early. With construction ongoing, parking is always a problem. After grabbing the schedule, I made the rounds. There was Fiber Arts: Loom Knitting. I wanted to know if that was something my mom could do. While I was complimented on how quick I picked it up, I didn’t find it my cup of tea. Still, I got to know more about it.

There was DIY Cat Toys. Had to do that. I’ve made things for my kitties they appreciated. I walked away with two items for my sister’s cat as mine are sadly gone to Kitty Heaven. On the top floor they had Inflatable Archery! I had to wrap my head around that one, but, basically, it’s an inflatable target (big so no one can miss it) and arrows with like marshmallows on the end. Cool.

There was Friendship Bracelet Make and Take. I made and took, but I learned forgot about anything like this. My mind would wander and there went my braiding. It was a hot mess. I also learned about a local watershed, one they plan to make into a greenspace with hiking and learned some welcome drawing techniques. All in all, it was a good day. Should I move to another town, I’ll be asking them to have something similar.

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Last Sunday the library nearest to me reopened in a new location. Sandhills Branch Library is now in the same building as the new school, magnet type, and is part school, part public library. I told Mama we were going to the grand-opening. I mean, how could I not?  Mama said it’d be crowded. I told her I was still going and I’d be optimistic.

Mama did go with me. She gussied up too. I didn’t. Come two o’clock Sunday we drove on down. The place was packed. Seriously, the parking lot was full and it’s a big parking lot, almost Wal-Mart worthy. Wow, I thought. This is a great showing. It was too full to get a good feel for the place, but the support by the people was amazing. This is how libraries should be, packed. Then they’d make more of them.

According to the flyer the library features: 250 seat auditorium, children’s area, courtyards, makerspace, meeting spaces, pick-up window, reading room, studio. Note there’s nothing about the books except maybe the reading room. Still, the other stuff is interesting. I look forward to being let loose in the makerspace and studio. Here’s hoping they have workshops for adults.

I liked that the children’s section was pretty large. There’s space for the kids to do things and there are plenty of books. I am pleased. The teen section is much larger too. I’ll enjoy going through the volumes there. Mama was happy they had paperback books. But why is the shelving so high? From her wheelchair she can only look at three rows and I have to stretch to reach the top shelf. Do they anticipate library workers will accompany someone with disabilities as they make their selection? Being a browser I feel that’s a bit of annoying. It might make you want to rush.

They don’t have a large selection of books in adult fiction either. As President Trump would tweet. Sad. Is it that they think adults don’t read much or adults prefer their electronic devices? I sure wish I could have a peek at the circulation logs to see the trends. But if they carry more e-books and not the print versions wouldn’t e-book circulation naturally go up? If that’s the only way they can read the book, of course they’ll check it out that way. If they have an e-reader. I think a survey needs to be done as else or the results will be skewed.

Enough about my pickiness. Overall impression. It was crowded so that impacts my feelings. I need to go back when its less crowded. Nice. But that busy rug needs to go. Concrete floor okay, but it shows all the spots and places they repaired.

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I’m reading through the children’s section, going backward Z to A because that’s just how I decided to do it. As I go, I’m reminded of authors I’ve read long ago, books I’ve enjoyed. So when I get to an author I like, I’m all excited. Yes! I can reread by favorites. Except they’re not there anymore. Where is ‘The Bully on Barkham’ Street by Mary Stolz. Or ‘The Ornament Tree’ by Jean Thesman? Come on, I tell myself. If they have Robert Westall, they should have plenty of books by these authors.

I look in the card catalog. No ‘Bully on Barkham Street’ and it’s companion ‘Dog on Barkham Street’. I always thought it was so cool how one book was about the victim and the other about the bully. I was crushed there was no ‘Ornament Tree’. Hopefully I have a copy somewhere. With my books squashed and scattered about I’m not sure what I have at the moment.

It made me sad to think of all these great authors and all their work being disregarded and not read. Some of the books I see on the shelves just can’t compare. So many are so alike – kid spy, kid wizard, etc. But I guess if the kids read will read them, then so be it and it’s a good thing, but they sure are missing out.

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One of the branches of my library offered a two day ceramics class, that is, three hours total. I had to sign up and I did, the first one to do so. As I waited for the day to arrive I pondered what I’d make. My mind took me back to junior high where I manipulated clay into a misshapen ash tray (my mom had quit smoking by then), and a totem pole. Both are no longer with us, a good thing as they were a testament to how poorly I worked with clay.

I still hadn’t figured out what my attempt would be by the time the class came around. I thought I’d be inspired at the last minute. To my surprise though we weren’t given a choice. Molds of birds, three kinds, sat on the table. For this first day we’d take a mold and file and sand away what didn’t belong to the bird. Oh, and be careful not to squeeze too hard or the bird would break.

I sanded. I filed. I rubbed. The bird I choose looked liked a Blue Jay or Cardinal, but I thought to have a Cedar Waxwing. They come in spring and settle in the trees around the house, a huge flock of them rising and falling in and out of the branches. Once, when I was walking down the street, they arose over my head, a ceiling of birds. It was so cool.

My bird did not break. Someone was nearly finished when theirs busted. Someone else rubbed the beak right off. Mine was rather good. The instructor, a former school art teacher and now studio owner, said she’d fire the birds and we’d paint them next week. Which we did. I brought a bird book with me so I’d know the right colors. That didn’t help too much. When I got the bird back after the next firing, it looked all muddy, not like a Cedar Waxwing at all. I’m thinking that clay or ceramics isn’t my forte at all. But the flower with the bird came out real nice. Maybe I should stick with that.


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Workshops A Rama

Since my last workshop, as unattended as it was, I’m thinking of other workshops I could do. I’ve always been disappointed how the local library has animation workshops for teens, but none for adults. Why can’t adults have a class on animation? I could use my livebinder animation page and the videos I made to show people how to make easy animations. If a teenager wants to come that’s fine by me, but I wouldn’t make it just for teens.

I’d have a workshop on open source software. There’s so much cool stuff out there that’s free to download – audacity, libreoffice, gimp, and much more. Tons more. A list is forming in my head. I’ve done a workshop like this at school for teachers, but others can use it as well. Then that workshop can branch out to how to use those various free softwares. I wouldn’t mind knowing more on how to use the libreoffice database. Hooray for youtube and the how-to videos. I can easily show how to use the rest of libreoffice. I’m pretty good with that as well as gimp. I use it interchangeable with Photoshop elements because each has their strengths and weaknesses.

Now to plan and make time for the workshops.

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I gave, wanted to give, a workshop at a nearby library on places to see in South Carolina. Initially I wished to have the workshop on the Saturday in June at the main library when several workshops takes place. They had the person from the Department of Natural Resources give one two years ago. We only got as far as him explaining how the website works. Since the page doesn’t like Explorer or Firefox that did not help me in the slightest, but it was important to him, so be it. My talk was dependent on what the audience preferred and how much they’d traveled in South Carolina. If they were seasoned day-trippers we could compare sights to visit. If not, I’d give them ideas of resources to use and show pictures of the places I’ve visited to give them ideas.

Except the Workshop Saturday is for librarians only. Each must have certain hours to present to the public and this must be the last gasp before the deadline. That meant me giving my spiel on a Wednesday evening and since the library scrapped their bi-monthly planner no one know about my workshop. And no one came.

I am not upset however. It was what it was and I’m not about to give up on it. I will wait until the library has new means of promoting workshops, find a library that does do more to promote their workshop, or promote the thing myself. Since I have freebies (travel brochures), paper bookmarks, plus a Livebinder page with all my resources and the pictures ready to show, I won’t have to prepare much for the new workshop. Oh, I even made a little video.

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