Tuesday, May 31, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Mild Mannered We Are Not

It's summer (if the 100 degree temp outside can be used as an indicator). We got up with the shelving backlog. Ergo, a small party is necessary.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Book 24: Be a Great Boss

Be a Great Boss (Ala Guides for the Busy Librarian)TITLE: Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success
AUTHOR: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
STARTED: March 24, 2011
FINISHED: April 12, 2011
PAGES: 215
GENRE: Library Science

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Preface] You've just been promoted, or maybe you've just appointed a new person to be the "boss."

SUMMARY: [From Amazon.com] Moving into a library management position can feel like a daunting and solitary pursuit. Graduate school courses in management are expensive and often hard to find, and even having a mentor at hand is no guarantee of a successful transition. To help library managers improve their skills and acumen, renowned speaker and trainer Hakala-Ausperk presents a handy self-study guide to the dynamic role of being a boss. Organized in 52 modules, designed to cover a year of weekly sessions but easily adaptable for any pace, this workbook:
  • Covers major management topics such as success with stakeholders, staffing, customer service, planning, funding, leadership, and more
  • Offers an inexpensive alternative to seminars and classroom instruction
  • Requires an investment of as little as an hour per week, and is completely self-paced
  • Includes challenging questions and exercises, and a Web-based template to record learning progress
Suitable for all levels of management, from first-line supervisors to library directors, this book lays out a clear path to learning the essentials of being a great boss.

THOUGHTS: More workbook than actual book, Be a Great Boss lays out the basic lessons of supervision. This book confirmed my actions more than it taught me new ones, but it was a good book to read. The author has done a great job of showing how to be a great boss. She breaks the book's chapters down into "weeks." In each week, the reader is supposed to learn a new lesson of "boss-hood." This structure makes the book easy to take in and follow. Addtionally, this structure shows how the different parts of being a boss work together over time.

I would heartily recommend this to anyone who is a new boss. Old bosses may learn a new lesson or two, but everyone could benefit from the lessons the author teaches.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Summer Breeze

If you're a brave soul still wearing tights in these warming temperatures, I hope they are as chic and breezy as these.

Tights are from Urban Outfitters.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and images to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com.

Book 23: Safe Area Gorazde

Safe Area Gorazde : The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995TITLE: Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-95
AUTHOR: Joe Sacco
STARTED: April 9, 2011
FINISHED: April 10, 2011
PAGES: 240
GENRE: Graphic Novel

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Introduction] In Sarajevo in the summer of 1992, when the journalistic community (who had already annexed the British phrase "the hacks" as their collective noun) met in the bar of the disfigured Holiday Inn - and that phrase itself suggest the surreal nature of things, with a Holiday Inn being disfigured rather than disfiguring - there were all sorts of competitive anecdotes about near-misses, random encounters, and different styles of flak-jacket.

SUMMARY: [From Amazon.com] The winner of the 2001 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album. Sacco spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage, emerging with this astonishing first-person account. Praised by The New York Times, Brill's Content and Publishers Weekly, Safe Area Gorazde is the long-awaited and highly sought after 240-page look at war in the former Yugoslavia. Sacco (the critically-acclaimed author of Palestine) spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage. The book focuses on the Muslim-held enclave of Gorazde, which was besieged by Bosnian Serbs during the war. Sacco lived for a month in Gorazde, entering before the Muslims trapped inside had access to the outside world, electricity or running water. Safe Area Gorazde is Sacco's magnum opus and with it he is poised too become one of America's most noted journalists.

THOUGHTS: It took me tome time to get accustomed to the art style of this graphic novel. When I get distracted by the art, I do not fall into the story as easily. Once I got over the whole exaggerated features thing, I was able to enjoy this book. The story is simple and straightforward but still packs a wallop of emotion. The graphic novel is set up so that you read vignettes of the author's time in Gorazde. This kept the story moving, but it was not always easy to remember who was who and who did what when. That did not detract from  my overall enjoyment of the book.

Safe Area Gorazde has been in my TBR list for sometime. I'm glad I put it in my read-a-thon stack. It was not the best graphic novel I've read, but it was interesting and informative.

RATING: 5/10 [Good]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Variations on a Theme: Beach Reads

Keeping in line with this week's Useful Thing, I've decided to make this Variation on a Theme all about beach reads. To me, a beach read is any book that a) you want to read "right-this-instant," b) fall into easily, and c) don't feel pressured to rush through.

Here are my selections. Also, in honor of the "easy beachy" feeling, I got kinda lazy and stole the summaries from Amazon.

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went iMoby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Enivronmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
Donovan Hohn

Whimsical curiosity begets a quixotic odyssey and troubling revelations about plastics polluting the seas in former high school teacher and journalist Hohn's charming account of what he learned searching for 28,800 rubber bath toys lost at sea in 1992. His curiosity, prompted by a student's quirky essay, begins in 2005 around Sitka, Alaska, where yellow "duckies," frogs, turtles, and beavers washed up after three-story waves buffeted a container ship traveling from China to America. Hohn, a senior editor at Harper's magazine, eventually tracks more rogue ducks bobbing up from isolated Gore Point, Alaska, to Maine beaches. The author's quest leads him to a research vessel trawling for degraded plastic in Hawaiian seas, to the Chinese factory where the toys were manufactured, aboard a container vessel traversing the same route as the original ship (a particularly hair-raising section), and finally to the high Arctic to study the science of oceanic drift. Packed with seafaring lore and astute reporting, this enthralling narrative is the Moby Dick of drifting ducks.

The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larson

Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman.

The Hunger Games - Library EditionThe Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

n a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. [My review can be found here.]

Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1)Feed
Mira Grant

Urban fantasist Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue) picks up a new pen name for this gripping, thrilling, and brutal depiction of a postapocalyptic 2039. Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies, and Ryman's daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the newfound power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a scheming vice presidential candidate, and mysterious conspirators who want more than the Oval Office. Shunning misogynistic horror tropes in favor of genuine drama and pure creepiness, McGuire has crafted a masterpiece of suspense with engaging, appealing characters who conduct a soul-shredding examination of what's true and what's reported. [I am currently reading this book and loving it. My review will arrive later.]

This Is a BookThis is a Book
Demetri Martin

n this collection of essays, musings, and drawings, Comedy Central host Martin (Important Things with Demetri Martin) gently skewers contemporary social trends, conventions, and insecurities, taking on topics from social hotlines to family and relationships. With a gift for describing awkward situations, Martin challenges readers to recognize the human need for connection and recognition. The theme is seen in a panel in which a limousine displaying two flags on its hood is labeled "important"; another displaying seven flags is "very important." He also answers the big questions with essays like "Who I Am" in which he declares: "I am bravery. I am courage. I am valor. I am daring. I am holding a thesaurus." Throughout, Martin jokes in many guises, silly one moment, barbed the next, and he achieves a satirical brilliance that moves easily among surprising topics, like philosophy, to easy targets, like healthy lifestyles.

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its SoulOnward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul
Howard Schultz

In 2000, Starbuck's founder and CEO Schultz (Pour Your Heart into It) stepped down from daily oversight of the company and assumed the role of chairman. Eight years later, in the midst of the recession and a period of decline unprecedented in the company's recent history, Schultz-feeling that the soul of his brand was at risk-returned to the CEO post. In this personal, suspenseful, and surprisingly open account, Schultz traces his own journey to help Starbucks reclaim its original customer-centric values and mission while aggressively innovating and embracing the changing landscape of technology. From the famous leaked memo that exposed his criticisms of Starbucks to new product strategies and rollouts, Schultz bares all about the painful yet often exhilarating steps he had to take to turn the company around. Peppered with stories from his childhood in tough Canarsie, N.Y., neighborhoods, his sequel to the founding of Starbucks is grittier, more gripping, and dramatic, and his voice is winning and authentic. This is a must-read for anyone interested in leadership, management, or the quest to connect a brand with the consumer.

Other Beach Read Titles:
American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld
The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
The Luxe - Anna Godbersen
Mr. Maybe - Jane Green
My Korean Deli: Risking it All for a Convenience Store - Ben Ryder Howe
My Life in France - Julia Child
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet
Room - Emma Donoghue
The Secret of Lost Things - Sheridan Hay
Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later - Francine Pascal
Water for Elephants - Sarah Gruen 
You Slay Me - Katie MacAlister

Links and Stuff: May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Useful Things: Next!

Hot town, summer in the city
bladdey blah de blah de blah
de dah d-ditty

Summer is here! That means it is time to put together your summer reading list. But what do you throw on your sweaty season TBR pile?

Best sellers? Classics? Beach Reads? Romance novels? NYT Review books? The possibilities are endless.

If you need a wee bit of help, head on over to What Should I Read Next?

Pop in a recently completed or beloved title (or ISBN number) and the interwebs spits on "read alike" and/or "also like this" recommendations. If you register for the service, you can help grow the database by submitting reviews and recommendations.

Happy Summer Reading!

Friday, May 20, 2011

BOOLEAN: Wait til Next Year

BOOLEAN season is over in D.C. It is far to warm to wear tights. Sad face. I purchased these beauties at DSW last weekend. They will just have to wait until next fall to emerge from my drawer.

If you're still wearing BOOLEAN stuff send me pictures and links at BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Links and Stuff: May 19, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

On The Job: Kudos!

Library work is collaborative. Sure there are times we librarians get to be hermits, but libraries operate best when the staff work together.

As a supervisor, I am highly dependent on my staff. Without them I would be lost. So, when someone says something nice about my staff and their work, I pass it along.

Many times, it is easy to forget the employees who work "behind the scenes" at the libraries. Books are not shelved by magic - like they are in Harry Potter (although that would be awesome!). In most libraries it takes a dedicated staff to ensure that the physical operations of the library run smoothly.

This message was left on one of our many reshelving carts. A member of my staff found it and it made her day. She gave the note to me and I posted it in the office for all to see.

Chelsea, you made my staff's week.

Share the kudos whenever you get them. Your staff will love knowing their work and role in the library is appreciated.

Friday, May 13, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Commence

Tomorrow, my university holds it's spring graduation ceremony. While I sweltered during my commencement, the weather looks to be a bit chilly for this year's graduates. Tights may be an option for these seniors. What do you wear so you're not to warm, not to zany, but still fun?

I say, you can never go wrong with spots.

These tights are available at Urban Outfitters.

Send your BOOLEAN images and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Links and Stuff: May 12, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Useful Things: Walk This Way

The Boyfriend and I have a tendency to go on long, unplanned walks. Last year we ended up traversing 10-miles of DC.... in flip-flops. At least we got ice cream.

After these hikes I get the itch to know just how far we went. Call me crazy, but I like to know how far my feet can make it in sandals. My go to tool for measuring distance is GeoDistance. This simple tracker lets you zoom in on a Google map and enter your route.

There's no need to sign-up for an account, just go the website and start clicking. I like to zoom into my starting point (or jump to an address) and start adding each leg. You can alter your route by deleting the last leg or starting from scratch. You can save routes and find routes to follow.

Monday, May 09, 2011

On the Job: S.O.S

When work gets busy, do I wave the white flag of surrender? Heck no! I call in the cavalry.

Last week was my University's finals week. The due date for books was this past Saturday. Thus, our semesterly inundation overwhelmed my office. (We tend to handle a regular month's worth of books in a week.) To complicate things, my staff (with my permission) go MIA so that they may focus on their studies. This leaves me short staffed at the busiest times of the year. Thus, I call for backup in the form of full-time employees who want to get overtime for shelving books. It works.

Part of doing your job well is knowing when you need help. Sometimes we get too busy to handle everything that comes our way. In order to do what we need to do, it may be beneficial to ask for help. The help does not have to be permanent - just enough to get you over the hump. When you need to call for back-up, it's best to have a plan of action in place. To snag what you need, you must be able to explain why you need the extra hands, what they will be doing, and for how long the help will be needed. If you can show how and why you are inundated, it's easier to persuade those you need to ask.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it shows that you know what tools you need to complete the tasks of your office.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Book 22: On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach: A Novel -- First 1st U.S. Edition w/ Dust JacketTITLE: On Chesil Beach
AUTHOR: Ian McEwan
STARTED: April 9, 2011
FINISHED: April 9, 2011
PAGES: 208
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible.

SUMMARY: [From Amazon.com] It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence's response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence's anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact, but dreads disappointing her husband when they finally lie down together in the honeymoon suite.

THOUGHTS: I found On Chesil Beach to be surprisingly enjoyable. I'm sure I missed a shload of stuff, but I enjoyed the couple's story greatly. McEwan has always go some sort of subtext going on in his books, but if it's in this one, it went over my head. I found the narrative to be fun and would read more of McEwan's works if they were like this one.

Edward and Florence. Wedding night. Awkward. In fact, the two are so dysfunctional when they're alone that I found myself cackling with laughter. That was probably not the response McEwan was hoping to achieve, but I sure found some scenes to be funny. Unlike some other McEwan works, this story felt realistic - there was no high-falutin' goings on or undertones, there was just a story of two people who did not know each other as well as they thought. The couple's story then serves to highlight the general ideas of the day with regards to gender, class, and sex. I loved it. When I'm not being hit over the head with communism, I can stand McEwan. Sure, his subtle digs and subtext might be there, but I didn't notice them and it was all for the better.

In this book, McEwan's writing style seems to flow. His descriptions of scenes are vivid enough to paint a picture, but not so over the top that they feel forced. The scene is presented and the reader fills in the details. The same goes for how he describes his characters. This is no love story where we learn every physical aspect of the characters, Edward and Florence as just people. The reader is given enough to know the tale, but still is allowed to develop their own mental image.

Also, this book made me want to say, "See! This is why we need realistic sex education in our schools." Ahem.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]