“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” – Henry Ford

sloth hammock

personal spirit animal – taking it super easy

Curiosity is a major factor in being a good librarian. To remain relevant in our jobs and our community, we must be constantly seeking out new programs, technology, perspectives, etc. in the larger world and then figuring out how, or even if, it fits within our local population. I’m a creature of habit and often times slow to evolve, especially with technology. I accept change is inevitable and do embrace it, but I would just be happier if it happened at a slower pace. Luckily, I have a job that keeps me on my toes and with the times. I learned quickly that I would have to fight my sloth-like nature and foster a more innovative attitude in myself. Our library system received funding for two Digital Creation Spaces a couple of years ago. There were a few staff that were proficient in the software, but not a lot. I was interested in learning the various Adobe software so I could be helpful to patrons, but I was also personally curious about what I could create. I putzed my way through various “Getting Started” tutorials, but had no context for those concepts. I got very overwhelmed pretty easily and focused on other projects, ones that I knew I could do well.

curious cat

professional spirit animal – endlessly curious

Cut to January earlier this year, while I was still working as Youth Services library staff. A co-worker, Alyssa, proposed I help her with an early literacy craft tutorial project, Library Make. Her original partner had moved to a different library system. I immediately said yes. We filmed the tutorial and then it was time to edit. Ummmm, I had no idea what I was doing. I kind of knew what I wanted to do from the tutorial I did a few months before, but my immediate reaction was to ignore this project. Very slowly, Alyssa and I figured out how to roughly edit our first episode together (i joined the project on episode 2). Instead of letting that experience deter us, we forged ahead and learned as much as we could about editing videos in Premiere and lighting for a green screen. Alyssa is such a great person for collaboration! She has a clear vision and is constantly questioning how we can make our videos better. Each episode we have learned a new shortcut or tried something new. We just finished our 10th episode and are super excited about how far we’ve come. Watch it below and let us know what you think.

Library Make has been such a joy to work on and I’ve grown so much from the experience. I learned a valuable skill that helped me get my job that I have today. The Digital Creation Space at my new library is a huge part of my workload. I’m taking classes in Illustrator and InDesign to feel confident helping patrons with projects. I’m starting to create curriculum and propose more project-based classes. The next step I’m focusing on is how to best market the space. I’m curious about how many people aren’t using the space because they don’t understand what they can do with the software and related equipment. I’m thinking back to when I knew nothing about any of the Adobe software and using that feeling of being horrendously overwhelmed as inspiration and motivation. Many people probably don’t realize that they can use our Digital Creation Space to brand their new entrepreneurial venture or edit their graduation photos and then create a zine of memories to be sent out to family. They can create their own calendars for themselves, to give as gifts, or to sell. I really hope to empower the patrons, as well as staff who are helping the patrons.

heart

Eye Candy: Fumi Koike’s Illustrations

girl reading

Fumi Koike. Reading a Book.

You guys. Fumi Koike’s illustrations. Just look at them. They are simply divine. What could be more comforting than food and home, nature and dogs? She is a freelance illustrator and designer working in Saitama, Japan. The illustration above is one of my favorites. The bold red scarf brings your eye to the center. The way the women is positioned, the viewer feels as if they are reading over the shoulder of a stranger. The woman isn’t inviting, yet she is alluring. I found another version of this same woman.

woman sans book

Without the book, there’s much more emotional distance between the woman and the viewer. The colors aren’t as bold and the color palette is much cooler. Many of her figure drawings are uninterested in the viewer.

lake

Fumi Koike. Cloudy Weather.

Her still lifes of food,coffee, and clothes are simple and refined. The two prints below have me pining for winter windy days and just a bit of free time.

coffee

Fumi Koike. A Mug of Cafe Au Lait.

yellow sweater

Fumi Koike. Yellow Cable Sweater.

Her interiors are full of everyday details. They are relatable and inviting. Fumi mentions that some of her rooms are based on her actual surroundings, while others are just ideas or what she would like to see.

room

A few of my friends are doing inktober. I’ve been meaning to stretch my lazy bones and challenge myself to create more – knitting my nephew a blanket for Christmas, cooking meals, this blog. These illustrations are definitely an inspiration to start paying attention to my surroundings and make at least a doodle a day.

For more information on Fumi Koike’s illustrations, check out:

This interview

Her Facebook page

A simple Google image search

Knowledge is Power

alexandria

A long-distance bestie got a library card in her new home city. Librarian heart melting rn! (Photo cred: Erin)

Oh dear, oh my…it’s been awhile! So much has changed! I started improv classes and formed a troupe with some classmates, good friends moved away and I cultivated a new community in Dallas, I went from Youth Services library staff to an Public Services Librarian (more adult in scope), and the year isn’t over. 2015 has been good. Yet, my abandonment of this blog has been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while now. I’ve been writing lists of ideas for new content and then promptly losing them. Starting new blog posts, but then not following through. It just hasn’t been the right time to return. Until, now. I miss it and I feel as if it’s the season to jump back into writing. I limited myself to just librarianship posts before, but I want to take a bit of a new direction. I want to use this space as a space to fully process and express things that are happening in my surroundings. Be it books, art, projects, people I admire, the whole hodgepodge that is life.

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Instaread with a note on Bloglovin’

 

Ichiro

Ichiro written and illustrated by Ryan Inzana

Sometimes you forget your book at home and are stuck alone in the breakroom, eating a late lunch. This happened to me earlier this week and luckily I work at a library. I quickly browsed the young adult graphic novel section and my eye stumbled upon Ichiro. I thought it was a great story of a boy struggling with cultural identity and dealing with the loss of a father. Ichiro’s story weaves fluidly with Japanese mythologies. One thing that came of this Instagram photo, was the question of the manga genre. I’m pretty sure that manga are comics that are originally published in Japan and are diverse in style (not just Pokemon and Sailor Moon style characters/story). But some folks apply the term to any comics dealing with Japanese culture. What do you think? I would call this a graphic novel. It’s a non-serialized story published in the U.S. But however you want to classify it (manga, graphic novel, comic), it’s a wonderful and interesting story! So check it out.

So a lot of my friends are on the Bloglovin’ train. I’d thought I’d join. It is a great way to keep up with the myriad of blogs that are out there. You can curate your own newsfeed, which is really helpful if you are scatterbrained like me!! I was really surprised at how many of my favorite blogs are on here and excited that I can keep up with them a little bit better.

Are you on Bloglovin’? If so, feel free to follow me: <a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12744723/?claim=z2n2sepnhqt”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Elements of a Storytime

One of my favorite, recent storytime books. Great to do with two people!!

One of my favorite, recent storytime books. Great to do with two people!!

I came across this post about the important value of storytimes and so many thoughts went through my head. I’ve talked with some of my non-librarian friends about storytime and they are so surprised that I don’t just read books to the kids.  I get to explain that storytimes prepare kids for school by building a strong early literacy foundation, which requires reading, playing, flannels, singing, and dancing. Abby Johnson notes in her post that singing isn’t merely singing a song, it’s helping kids develop phonological awareness (i.e. hearing and playing with smaller sounds in words).

There are a few things that every storytime should highlight. These elements are:

-Print motivation                             -Print awareness

-Narrative skills                                -Vocabulary

-Letter knowledge                            -Phonological awareness

A piece from our library's "Fall is Easy" flannel.

A piece from our library’s “Fall is Easy” flannel.

However, these elements can be presented in a myriad of ways. No storytime is completely alike. There is an overwhelming amount of templates, video, and other examples of how to conduct a storytime. Just within my library, everybody has a different storytime presentation style. We have our regular storytimes schedule with different storytimes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and families. We have done music storytimes, science storytimes, and art storytimes.  Another branch in our library system recently did a trail storytime. Oh the possibilities are endless!!

My co-workers and I leading a music storytime

My co-workers and I leading a music storytime

I’m still figuring out my presentation style and how to mindfully include the different storytime elements when I plan a storytime. Jbrary and Storytime Katie are great resources, but often times my co-workers are the most helpful part of my planning process. We can talk about what works and what doesn’t work for our unique storytime community. We also inspire each other to try new things: to get great ideas out of our heads and take action.

Monday Linkage

labor day weekend

 

Such a fun labor day weekend!! Friday night, I had all the intention of taking it easy and relaxing, but that definitely didn’t happen. I saw a great movie, The One I Love, an indescribable magical realistic story about relationships. This movie got me thinking and blew me away. I got to take a much needed trip to Fort Worth to see some great friends. Then I helped out with an engagement party and worked a crazy Labor Day at my roommate’s coffee shop. Needless to say, Sunday didn’t feel like Sunday. So here’s what captured my attention this week. One day I’ll try to organize the links better and maybe provide more links (I forget to save them as I find them), but until then:

When I saw this headline, I thought Miles Morales as the Ultimate Spider-Man was getting his own show, but he’s only appearing in an episode. But Donald Glover!!

miles moreales

I remember when Librarian in Black first talked about the new California State Librarian not really being a librarian. She had this update this week. I agree with her on a lot of aspects. Even though I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the “librarian with a capital L mentality”, I think it does belittle the profession that an actual librarian was not appointed. He is taking one class, but there are so many issues and perspectives regarding libraries, that most people don’t think about and one class is not going to help you understand the world of libraries. Alright Greg Lucas, I think this is what most librarians are thinking right now:

impress me

Came across this food for thought sparked by the Milo Manara’s Spider-woman cover: “In superhero comics, a book with a female lead is traditionally much more likely to be targeted at a male audience than a female audience, because almost all superhero comics are targeted at a male audience.” This is why I’m excited about Ms. Marvel and Zita the Spacegirl. These are two refreshing, strong female super-heros. They are also real. They go through insecurities and uncertainty. These characteristics make them relatable.

kamala kahn

Been browsing this website and reading up on young children and new media. Such interesting stuff!! I helped write a grant for a digital storytime and I want to make sure it’s done right. Luckily we’ve got a great team working on it. It’s been so much envisioning and planning.

Pow! Zing! Bop! Some Graphic Adventures

trio

It took me a while to get into comics. I had heard about Watchmen and Ultimate Spider-man and how I should really give them a gander, I’d probably like them. But, it was all so overwhelming. And then someone introduced me to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series. Holy moly! Such good stuff. I grew up obsessed with Greek mythology and it was interesting to see characters from all kinds of different kinds of mythologies – Greek, Shakespearean, superheros – in one story. The story was so complex and rich. I was hooked! I picked up the Death miniseries and then fell in love with P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of The Sandman: The Dream Hunters. I was still a bit timid, but I was more willing to explore other comics. Luckily, I worked at the library at this point. I could wander the stacks to discover what was out there and what I liked. Never underestimate the power of browsing!

I also had co-workers who could give me some great recommendations and I eventually gained some comic confidence. I began to explore different online reviews. I discovered the Amulet series, BatgirlZita the Spacegirl, and, most recently, Shadow Hero.

trio 2
 So where are some good starting points? The best thing is simply to browse your local library’s or comic book shop’s shelves. Pick up a volume and see what intrigues you. Also, if you know anyone who reads comic, just talk to them about it. In the meantime, check out these online resources. There’s way more out there, but these are some good places to start:

It’s also a great idea to follow different comic book artists and writers on Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram/whatever. You’ll find a really interesting community.

READ THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL!! it's really, really good.

READ THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL!! it’s really, really good.

What are your favorite titles? What comic book websites do you keep bookmarked? Next time, I’ll talk about my love of the Women of Marvel podcast. Stay tuned…