Thursday, March 31, 2016

Links and Stuff: March 31, 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why I Love... Balance

This morning did not treat me all that well. Our label printer is on the fritz. Our HR department has not yet returned the answers to my questions. My interlibrary loan log-in information is not working. I, somehow, manged to get a piece tape in my hair. Oh, and I dropped a folio on my foot. All in all, not the best of Wednesdays.

But there are upsides.

Our label printer is on the fritz because we're relocating (and relableing) books to make more study space for our patrons. I have many questions for HR because we're staffing up a microfilm project. We're cataloging the backlog and sending it to off-site storage so that we can use the room for digitization endeavors. I discovered my ILL was wonky while prepping for a class I'm teaching tomorrow. The professor wants me to show students how to request non-consortial books for their semester long research paper. That tape somehow made its way into my hair while I was adding "TODAY" flags to tonight's free sci-fi classic film screening poster in the lobby.

All of these things are good. Libraries don't always run smoothly because we do so much. We try to fulfill information and entertainment needs. We try to anticipate the future needs of our users. We try to teach others so they can be lifelong learners. So, even when the library has its bad days, we're still doing good for our community and patrons. Everything balances out.

... except for dropping a folio on my foot. That's just annoying.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

What I Read This Week: March 27, 2016

Twas a short work week for me. The students call it Spring Break, Part 2. I call it Get a Lot of Stuff Done Around the Apartment. This time, I added a dose of a research project. A family member is working as a researcher for an author writing a book on an obscure folk musician. She lives in Charlotte and needed to confirm some pre-1978 copyright information at the Copyright Office in DC. So, obviously, she asked if I could swing by. Luckily, I had these extra days off.

On Thursday, I metroed on over to the Copyright Office on Capitol Hill. Turns out, that place is the Indiana Jones warehouse of card catalogs. Seriously. So. Many. Card. Catalogs. But my trip was successful and I added on a quick pit-stop at the card catalog (just to confirm some things I found online) in the main LOC building. (It's so pretty!) All in all, not a bad way to pass a morning. It was a beautiful day and the cherry trees were in bloom, so my walk to and from Union Station was very enjoyable.

  • Magazines
    • Savory, March/April 2016 - Spring recipes that focus on veggies? Sign me up! There were also some tasty looking Easter feasts. My favorite part of this issue has to be the recipes that only use 5 ingredients. Simple, easy, and tasty looking. I also pulled a recipe for Reuben Calzones, cause why the heck not!
    • Real Simple, April 2016 - Marie Kondo seems to be everywhere! The main cover feature was about spring cleaning your life - that includes home, head, and heart. I'm a fan. I particularly enjoyed the piece on getting your kids to clean. The Husband and I are still a twosome, but I recognized some of the recommendations because my mom did them with my
      brother and I. Another feature piece talked about a woman who had to relearn how to drive. As a non-driver (I've not sat behind the wheel in 5ish years), that article hit home. Finally, there was a cute piece on bringing back old-school niceties. As someone who still sends out random pieces of snail mail, I can get behind this trend.
  • Books
    • I did it! I finished Shelters of Stone! It only took me forever, but I enjoyed the story and I am very much looking forward to reading the final book in the series. Said book is sitting on a shelf waiting for me, but I think I'll wait at least a few months before I pick it up.
    • As a complete change of pace, I started reading Mark Bowden's The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden. I love his writing style. Somehow Bowden manages to make non-fiction read like fiction.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Friday Find: Blossom

I had to visit the Copyright Office and Library of Congress this week to do some quick card catalog research for a family member. I happened to stop in the gift shop... like you do. There was some awesome stuff to be had in there, but I particular enjoyed the cherry blossom bookmark given that it is peak bloom time.

You can buy this in the gift shop in DC or online here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Nature Nearby

I have not a single idea where this idea came from, but I decided that this month I need to highlight books that feature gardening and the general growing of things. Maybe spring has gotten to me, but there are worse ways to find a new topic to explore.

Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow
Tara Austen Weaver

Peeling paint, stained floors, vined-over windows, a neglected and wild garden—Tara Austen Weaver can’t get the Seattle real estate listing out of her head. Any sane person would have seen the abandoned property for what it was: a ramshackle half-acre filled with dead grass, blackberry vines, and trouble. But Tara sees potential and promise—not only for the edible bounty the garden could yield for her family, but for the personal renewal she and her mother might reap along the way. So begins Orchard House, a story of rehabilitation and cultivation—of land and soul. Through bleak winters, springs that sputter with rain and cold, golden days of summer, and autumns full of apples, pears, and pumpkins, this evocative memoir recounts the Weavers’ trials and triumphs, detailing what grew and what didn’t, the obstacles overcome and the lessons learned. Inexorably, as mother and daughter tend this wild patch and the fruits of their labor begin to flourish, green shoots of hope emerge from the darkness of their past.

The Garden of Evening Mists
Tan Twan Eng

Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice “until the monsoon comes.” Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

Old Herbaceous
Reginald Arkell

Old Herbaceous is a classic British novel of the garden, with a title character as outsized and unforgettable as P. G. Wodehouse’s immortal butler, Jeeves. Born at the dusk of the Victorian era, Bert Pinnegar, an awkward orphan child with one leg a tad longer than the other, rises from inauspicious schoolboy days spent picking wildflowers and dodging angry farmers to become the legendary head gardener “Old Herbaceous,” the most esteemed flower-show judge in the county and a famed horticultural wizard capable of producing dazzling April strawberries from the greenhouse and the exact morning glories his Lady spies on the French Riviera, “so blue, so blue it positively hurts.” Sprinkled with nuggets of gardening wisdom, Old Herbaceous is a witty comic portrait of the most archetypal—and crotchety—head gardener ever to plant a row of bulbs at a British country house.

The Gardener of Versailles: My Life in the World's Greatest Garden
Alain Baraton

For gardening aficionados and Francophiles, a love letter to the Versailles Palace and grounds, from the man who knows them best. In Alain Baraton's Versailles, every grove tells a story. As the gardener-in-chief, Baraton lives on its grounds, and since 1982 he has devoted his life to the gardens, orchards, and fields that were loved by France's kings and queens as much as the palace itself. His memoir captures the essence of the connection between gardeners and the earth they tend, no matter how humble or grand. With the charm of a natural storyteller, Baraton weaves his own path as a gardener with the life of the Versailles grounds, and his role overseeing its team of eighty gardeners tending to 350,000 trees and thirty miles of walkways on 2,100 acres. He richly evokes this legendary place and the history it has witnessed but also its quieter side that he feels privileged to know. The same gardens that hosted the lavish lawn parties of Louis XIV and the momentous meeting between Marie Antoinette and the Cardinal de Rohan remain enchanted, private places where visitors try to get themselves locked in at night, lovers go looking for secluded hideaways, and elegant grandmothers secretly make cuttings to take back to their own gardens. A tremendous best seller in France, The Gardener of Versailles gives an unprecedentedly intimate view of one of the grandest places on earth.

The Backyard Parables: Lessons on Gardening and Life
Margaret Roach

Margaret Roach has been harvesting thirty years of backyard parables-deceptively simple, instructive stories from a life spent digging ever deeper-and has distilled them in this memoir along with her best tips for garden making, discouraging all manner of animal and insect opponents, at-home pickling, and more. After ruminating on the bigger picture in her memoir And I Shall Have Some Peace There, Margaret Roach has returned to the garden, insisting as ever that we must garden with both our head and heart, or as she expresses it, with "horticultural how-to and woo-woo." In THE BACKYARD PARABLES, Roach uses her fundamental understanding of the natural world, philosophy, and life to explore the ways that gardening saved and instructed her, and meditates on the science and spirituality of nature, reminding her readers and herself to keep on digging.

Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

Michael Pollan

In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man’s place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere. “As delicious a meditation on one man’s relationships with the Earth as any you are likely to come upon” (The New York Times Book Review), Second Nature captures the rhythms of our everyday engagement with the outdoors in all its glory and exasperation. With chapters ranging from a reconsideration of the Great American Lawn, a dispatch from one man’s war with a woodchuck, to an essay about the sexual politics of roses, Pollan has created a passionate and eloquent argument for reconceiving our relationship with nature.

More Nature Nearby Titles
Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life - Mara McDowell
The Brother Gardeners - Andrea Wulf
The Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan
Chasing the Rose - Andre di Robilant
The Drunken Botanist - Amy Stewart
Founding Gardeners - Andre Wulf
Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden - Eleanor Perenyi
The Natural World of Winnie The Pooh - Kathryn Aalto
Rhapsody in Green - Roy C. Dicks (ed.)

Links and Stuff: March 24, 2016


Sunday, March 20, 2016

What I Read This Week: March 20, 2016

March is a weird weather month. It was pretty glorious all week, and now this weekend is gross. There is a rain/snow thing happening. Not a fan.

Other things I am not a fan of include the metro shutting down for a weekday for safety checks. That is more than a little bit disconcerting. On the upside, I had to take the day off (our office didn't close but I had not reasonable way to get to work) so I got some reading done. It's the little things.
  • Work
    • I flipped through the March/April 2016 issue of American Libraries. I am a fan of all of the articles that discuss libraries transitioning into a new information era.
  • Magazines
    • HGTV Magazine, April 2016 - There was a nice, quick piece on how to style pillows on your bed and I also enjoyed the survey of household habits. Aside from that, if I was a DIYer, I would have loved the blogger projects... but I'm not that crafty.
    • Food Network, April 2016 - So many delicious looking pasta recipes! I may have to give the cover dish a spin. In the first chunk of this issue, there was a helpful recipe on how to store herbs. Mine always seem to loose their zest quickly, so it's nice to see the proper method of keeping them flavorful. I may also need to share the secrets of Disney food with a Disney-adoring friend. I'm sure he knows all of it, but I bet he would appreciatethe tips nonetheless.
    • Cooking Light, April 2016 - The best part about this issue was the dinner party menus based on different cuisines. It makes me want to host a party. In addition to the "try the world" party, this issue has a whole slew of dumpling recipes. Maybe I need to follow my global food party with a DIY dumpling party. Either! This issue also included a section on how to work more "ancient" grains into your meals. I'm a fan.
    • Washingtonian, March 2016 - The cover story was all about how DC is awesome, no matter what people say. I mostly agreed with the contents - but no one defended DC in August... cause that weather is just abysmal. In addition, there was a very good piece about a group of men trying to turn Tangier Island into an oyster farm paradise. I hope they are successful.
    • Good Housekeeping, April 2016 - One of the feature articles was tips for spring cleaning. I have a few days off next week and was planning to tackle our apartment. I may need to put a few of these to use. Also, I normally just flip past the pages that feature various products - but this time they were all navy... and I want most of them. Bring me all the blue things! Finally, there was an article about how best to take care of your hair. I could probably use quite a bit of that
      information. My thin strands tend to me in a ponytail or bun more often than not.
  • Books
    • Daylight Saving Time is the worst. The worst! It always throws off my schedule. Despite that, I still managed to put a large dent in Shelters of Stone. There is a chance I finish this door-stopper before the month ends.
  • Other
    • Tea and Cookies, one of my favorite blogs, posted a wonderful essay on what it means to do a kindness for someone.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Friday Find: Hard Truth

This is a button for every reader who has ever needed to be dragged out of a bookstore. I include myself in that group.

You can grab this cute pin from the beanforest Etsy shop.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why I Love... Library Outreach

I am unexpectedly at home today because of the unscheduled Wmataliday. The DC metro closed for the entire day for safety searches. Yeah. That's comforting. (You can read more about it on The Washington Post.) I'm dependent on metro to get to work (we are open today) and, after exploring my options, I opted to burn a vacation day. This makes me sad because this post is, tangentially, is related to something good I saw on metro.

Yesterday, when I was disembarking my train to go to work, I came face-to-face with a great ad (image below). The DC Public Library is reaching out to families to put books in their homes. First, it's a great program. Studies show that having books at home for kids to read increases their literacy levels. Second, it's wonderful that DCPL is using outreach to get this program in front of those who may benefit from it.

The ad is large, colorful, and easy to understand. By placing them at metro stations, DCPL is reaching out directly to those daily commuters who would most benefit from this program. Metro riders' demographics are very diverse, but a large segment is made up of those who work minimum wage jobs and don't own a car. This group does not necessarily have disposal income to buy books for their or their childrens' personal use. They may also lack the means to get to a local library. By advertising a program that mails free books to a person's home, DCPL is doing a great community service. 

I love that DCPL both thought about a great program to offer and an effective method to conduct outreach in the community. This is what libraries do. This is what they are all about - getting books in the hands of those who need and want them most. Creating lifelong readers out of all children is one of the core philosophies of libraries. I hope that this outreach is incredibly successful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Seen on the Metro: Patchwork Cap

Yesterday morning, my metro car to work was quite crowded. I want to blame everyone's schedule feeling weird because of Daylight Saving Time but, really, it was just metro being metro. 

When I finally spied a seat to grab, I ended up sitting across the aisle for a rather dapperly dressed gentleman. The day was gray and mizzly so he was wearing a graphite gray trench coat and he wore rubber sleeves over his tasseled, black patent loafers. On his head, a patchwork quilted page-boy cap. He was an older gentleman, and he wore this outfit with a distinguished flair.

That flair might have been aided by the mylar-covered library book he was reading: The Last of the President's Men by Bob Woodward

At Metro Center, the gentleman disembarked. I have no idea where this man was headed, but he was doing so in style.

YouTube Tuesday: Sniff

Sunday, March 13, 2016

What I Read This Week: March 13, 2016

Spring has sprung (is springing?) in DC! Mother nature picked the perfect week to show her lovely side. The Computers in Libraries conference was Tuesday through Thursday of this week, and I live close enough to the hosting hotel to walk. It was a great way to spend a few days. This conference is a bit hit or miss, but between the lovely, ambling commute and some decent sessions, I would call the 2016 session a win.

In other news, Lady B and her bearded one hosted a few of us for a Hobbits-a-thon. We watched the extended versions of all the Hobbits movies (and feasted in the proper fashion). I provided some baked goods and fruit, and partook of the other delicious bits (of which there were many). It was a fun time.
  • Work
    • College and Research Libraries News, March 2016 - I skimmed the majority of this issue, but I did like the article on reskilling liaison librarians. I found it very relevant to what is currently happening in my library.
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, March 2016 - The cover story was all about the best beauty products you can buy at a drugstore. I love pampering myself on the cheap, so that article was right up my alley. There was also a great piece on mindful shopping. As someone who is trying to become more of a minimalist, I paid special attention to this article. Finally, there were some tasty looking soup recipes in this issue. Too bad were just about done with soup season.
  • Books
    • It might be possible for me to finish Shelters of Stone in the month of march. I'm still 200ish pages from the end of the book, but it's moving right along and I see a probable ending in sight.
  • Other

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Friday Find: Wear Your Words

Every now and then I wish I could dress up like Ms. Frizzle. When that mood strikes, I'm always tempted to add a cute skirt to my wardrobe. Like this one.

You can find this adorable dictionary pages skirt in the YuzuApparel store on Etsy.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

What I Read This Week: March 6, 2016

DC weather is bipolar. This week started so lovely that I went for a run.... outside... three times. It snowed Thursday night. What the heck, Mother Nature?


  • Magazines
    • Good Housekeeping, March 2016 - I flew through this issue. The organizing and decluttering tips were helpful, but it was nothing new. I did enjoy some of the tasty looking dinner ideas. 
    • National Geographic, March 2016 - The cover story about getting people to eat "ugly" food was simply fantastic. I am all about changing how we judge food based on looks alone. It still tastes the same. If you want to see some pretty pictures, I recommend the article on reintroducing wildlife in the Seychelles. Finally, the articles on the Kurds and working the arctic are both worth a look.
  • Books
    • Are you sick of hearing about Shelters of Stone yet? I hope not, because I am still enjoying it very much. I think we've finally entered the heart of the story... 500 pages in.
    • I'm thinking of starting a second book to read on the side (shocker, I know!), just to vary things a touch. I've been hankering to read Spark Joy, Marie Kondo's second book.
  • Other

Friday, March 04, 2016

The Friday Find: The Grim

This mug might be essential for the Harry Potter fan in your life. So simple, but so perfect.

You can grab this mug off the BigShotMugs Etsy shop.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Links and Stuff: March 3, 2016