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Archive for the ‘Libraries’ Category

I’ve always been a fan of autobiographies and biographies. I remember going through the shelves at the library and pulling out this and that. I read about Jacques Cousteau and how he invented scuba diving (I was positively stoked when I met his grandson, Phillipe.) I read how Werner Van Braun transferred his rocket research from the war to space (it turned out my aunt’s father worked with him. What a small world this is). I read about the forerunners of detectives in a book about Vidoq. The books I read went into so much detail about their lives and had me fascinated.

It was a bit of disappointment when I went through the library at the high school and found most of the biographies were focused on facts and the things students need to write a report. Which, really, is what  students want for them to do. Grab a book, write the report, and that’s it. Now, with the Internet, they get a snapshot of the person’s life, the facts. Birth. Accomplishments. Blah. Blah.

How can you get to know a person that way? Cousteau’s autobiography drew me right in, giving me insights on the sea, making me appreciate the ocean wildlife within. Vidoq’s biography let me know he was kind of a jerk. The other types of books, the kinds my students went for, didn’t allow for that.

A pity.

When I purchased books for the library I tried to balance the collection. I got the fact based kind of nonfiction of major current popular and important people, but I also the ‘story’ kind of sports figures or from authors who I knew would draw the kids in. Walter Dean Myers wrote a few. Russell Freedman is fantastic. And he includes plenty of photographs, always a plus.

Every now and then I get one I think the kids might enjoy, of someone not famous, but will catch their attention. I had a book about a teacher that was popular. The girls liked the drama going on it.

Who knew, maybe I got one of them to read other biographies just for fun.

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Browsing through the new nonfiction books at the library, I spotted one called Scratch for Kids. ‘Scratch’ is a program used to learn coding. I’ve been wanting to know more about it so it was a serendipitous find. Wanting to see if they had more books on the topic, I did a search in the on-line catalog. I was perturbed to see e-resources added to the list of books, but a check with a librarian showed me how to get rid of those..

The library does have more books on the topic. I’ll have to check those out too when I finished with this one. Then I’ll move on to the next step. Searching where the books were located made me wonder what genius is in charge of cataloging them. The book I have is under Parenting. Another book is under Crafts & Hobbies. This is a book on computers, on learning code, software. Why isn’t it under Computers? Maybe because they put computer books under Science. And then it’s under science technology, not science computers. And!!!! In the teen section it’s under Technology, not science technology, but Technology and the books are alphabetical by author.. Seriously, who thinks of this confusing stuff? Why does someone have to wander around the whole library to find books on a similar topic? Under Dewey it’d be all in the 000’s. Simple.

It’s not the first time I’ve had issues with finding topics in weird areas. Camping is also in Crafts and Hobbies. My biggest pet peeve is how the books are shelved within their categories. For example, I like looking up information on South Carolina and since I live in the state, there are a lot of books. In Dewey, they’d be arranged by location. All the books along the coast together and the cities, like Charleston, together. Now they are in alphabetical order by author. Really?

Oh, and I just bumped into this example. I was browsing through, waiting for my Mom, when I saw under Parenting some travel books. See Paris with your kids or something like that. If I were going to Paris, I’d be wanting to know what else is there and not just things for kids. Just stick it all in the travel section. It makes sense.

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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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