Category Archives: Libraries

Falling in love

I fell in love today. With who you ask? The Burlingame Public Library. Located in the shady streets of the posh Bay Area city of Burlingame, this library has a lot of offer, and I don’t mean just with books. The architecture of the building is amazing, and inspiring; a unique Mission style, combining elements of Tuscan and Spanish architecture. There are high ceilings, deeply rich, dark wood panels. The children’s room has some beautiful art murals of Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk.

My first encounter was with the Burlingame community room for a library book sale. Today, we met again, and this time I wasn’t being badgered away from stacks of books by my boyfriend. The building is from 1931, although the library was first founded in 1909.

Burlingame Public Library by weatherking.

Strange things in library books

This is a topic that can usually be discussed for weeks on end. People always leave strange objects in library books. I’ve seen birth certificates, car deeds, scraps of paper, real bookmarks, etc.

My favorite has to be this note that I found a week ago.

There was this note folded up into a self-made envelope. Me, being the nosy person that I am, opened up the note and started reading. (I’ve paraphrased the actual message, since I’ve forgotten all the details, but this is the main gist of it)

“Dear Mama and Papi,
Please don’t look through my belongings or else I’ll be very annoyed”
Love, xxxxxx

“Sweetheart, the only reason we do this is because we love and care about you. We are proud of you and all your accomplishments”
love mama, and papi.

But, the BEST part about this all? This was shoved in a book called Until Proven Innocent.


Hello 2009. Meet the Dewey Decimal Challenge

On yours marks!

Get ready!


The Dewey Decimal Challenge (DDC) is on its way!

Melvil Dewey is quite possible on of my favorite people in history. He was quirky, unique and much ahead of his time. I found a great (and short) biography on him, which is posted below the cut, from

Since I never had a chanee to actually finish the book that prompted this challenege, I think it will be my first book. : an unquiet history by Matthew Battles

Dewey Number: 027.009 Battles

000 – Generalities

010 Bibliography
020 Library & information sciences
030 General encyclopedic works
040 Unassigned
050 General serials & their indexes
060 General organizations & museology
070 News media, journalism, publishing
080 General collections
090 Manuscripts & rare books

Continue reading

The reader becomes a writer…of sorts

At what point does an avid reader decide to take up the art of writing?   Good writers aren’t always the best readers. Good readers aren’t always the best writers. But at some point, don’t you get fed up with reading so many frustrating books, with a disappointing characters or endings that just aren’t doing what you want them to do?

I’ve been a little bit burned out from reading so much this past year. I’ve read more books this past year than I did the previous 3 years combined. My head is swimming with so many different concepts, characters and plotlines, that the only way to clear up my mind is to start writing some stories of my own. Naturally, writing is a real challenge, but I wonder if its really something that you can fine-tune with creative writing classes, or if good writing just needs good editing and good reviews? Since I still have limited access to the Internet, I’ve been spending more time writing than reading. Its very therapeutic, and if anything, helps me appreciate the books I read, now that I can understand just how difficult the writing process is. I don’t think I’ll complain so much about the amount of time it takes an author to finish a novel (although 5 + years is still excessive). There is a lot to be said for the amount of detail spent over each word. Particularly in short stories where motifs and symbolism has to be consistant from page one.

I’ve also been busy with work lately. I taught my first computer class at the library yesterday. I taught Intro to Blogging. It was great being able to share my experience with blogging with curious students. I hope they all have successful blogs and get the same joy and feeling of accomplishment that I do whenever I hit the “publish” button. Story times are going great as well. I love it when the same kids come each week, and I can see them open up a little bit more, feel a little bit more independent.

Weekly Geek # 17 – Quote 3

“Librarian is a service occupation. Gas station attendant of the mind. ” – Richard Powers (In The Gold Bug Variations p.35, 1991.)

Weekly Geek #17 – Library Quotes

Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.
Virginia Woolf

Weekly Geeks # 17

This week’s Weekly Geek task to post a quote-a-day based on a singular theme. Well, this one is pretty easy. My theme of the week is libraries.

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. Jorge Luis Borges

Quiet Please, Dispatches from a Public Librarian – Review

Dispatches from a Public Librarian

Quiet Please, Dispatches of a Public librarian by Scott Douglas is one man’s observation on the library world, set in the Anaheim Public Library System. Prior to this book, Douglas wrote essays for the website McSweeney’s. He was then encouraged to compile his essays into a book. The product is Quiet Please. As a librarian, I found myself laughing at, agreeing with, and sympathizing with Douglas’s tales of library patrons in a small-town library. Douglas narrows his stories to four types of library users: homeless people, crazy people, angry teenagers and the elderly. From my experience, this is the general make-up of most public libraries. His observations are keen, and despite his depictions of co-workers or library patrons negatively in the chapter, he finds some way to sum up the values of librarianship at the end of each chapter. I’ve only been a librarian for a few months, but in those 2 months, I’ve learned that, despite popular belief, being a librarian is not just about reading books. It is about knowing your library community and how to best serve them. It is about designing computer classes for those who have never used a computer. It is about providing bilingual storytime so that the parents can improve their English-speaking skills along with their children. I work in a rather progressive library system. Most metropolitan libraries are leaning towards keeping books as backdrop items, but keeping the main focus on the library patrons and creating programming and events to best fit their needs. Most small-town libraries still place books over other activities.

In Douglas’ book, he talks about the changes that took place in the library when computers and the internet were first introduced. The reception was lukewarm. The teens took to the computers right away, while staff and the elderly steered away from the new technology. Douglas brought up the good point that while serving one section of the community, another section was being neglected and soon becoming obsolete.

This is a book that everyone can read and enjoy. Throughout each chapter, Douglas breaks up his stories with “commercial breaks” to discuss library history and trivia. His writing is sharp and somewhat cynical. His observations are keen and his descriptions of library patrons and events are hilarious. Library employees will appreciate having their story told, while general readers will enjoy getting a sneak peak at the real nitty-gritty world of the public library.

You can also keep track of Scott’s observations and witty rapport on his blog, Speak Quietly.

Other reviews of this book:

Letters on Pages wrote a great review of this book, along with an author interview.



Quiet Please, Dispatches of a Public Librarian
by Scott Douglas
Da Capo Press, 2008
ISBN 0786720913
320 pages

Find this book at your local library

Buy this book with Better World Books

Buy this book with Amazon

Library Grand opening

I’ve been largely MIA from my blog since my boyfriend came up to visit for the weekend. Although its always fun seeing him, it does get in the way of my reading binges. The literary highlights of our weekend consist of a new library grand opening on Saturday. This is one of the libraries that I worked on as part of my internship during my Library and Information Science school career for a good year and a half. It was amazing to see the library so crammed with people, lines spanning across the entire width of the branch of people waiting to fill out library card applications, or check out materials. It was incredibly exciting and validating to see all of my team’s hard work on the shelves in shiny, glossy hardcovers and paperbacks. All those hours constructing various excel spreadsheets, budgeting formula’s, tracking shelf space, individually choosing titles,which I didn’t get to do, but I did ensure that the lists were sent back to the book vendors, finally paid off. Its great to see such a love for books in a large metropolitan city.

Powershotpictures409.jpg picture by n_avanesianPowershotpictures408.jpg picture by n_avanesian

Powershotpictures410.jpg picture by n_avanesian

Rex Libris – Review

There are 5 Laws of Librarians: 1) Books are to be read. 2) Every person his or her book. 3)Every book its reader. 4) Save the time of the reader. 5) The library is a growing organism.

With these five laws I am soon launched into volume 1 of the Rex Libris comic book collection by James Turner. This collection contains the first five chapters, with roughly 32 pages per chapter. I think I derived the most humor from this book just by being a librarian and understand the painstakingly difficult patrons with overdue books and fees. Although this series takes it to an utmost extreme when in the first few pages librarian Rex Libris must deal with an unruly patron, a demon-spirit Samuri.

With cunning, sarcasm, and plenty of research skills, Rex is able to learn how to defeat all the various enemies he faces. The writing is intelligent, although maybe littered with a few too many scientific terminology that sometimes takes away from the plot.

The story is still in its developing stages, so there is really only character introduction in the volume 1. We are introduced to Rex Libris (The Librarian) Circe (a 2000 year old retired witch, now librarian) Simon (Once tried to conquer the world and has since been turned into a bird by Circe) and Hypatia (a newcomer), and the Administrator (the boss). This collection of librarian super-powers work in the Middleton Public Library, which apparently rest on a ley of mystical power, thus enhancing the appearance of fictional characters that can be seen by library patrons. Filtered throughout the story are many library idioms (aways see a librarian before heading out into the stacks, always return your books or we will come after you, etc).

I’m curious to know what the appeal of this book is for non-library workers. I think Rex Libris may become one of the coolest librarians since the advent of Giles some ten years back.

Find this at your local library

Buy this book on Amazon or support your local comic book store and purchase it from there.

I, Librarian (Rex Libris) (Rex Libris)

Rex Libris
by James Turner
SLG Publishing (June 25, 2007)
ISBN 1593620622
184 pages