Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Archive for the ‘Life Related’ Category

Appreciating a teacher today

Posted by lpearle on 9 May 2018

It’s Teacher Appreciation Day, apparently, and while I think it’s great that we’re encouraged to thank the teachers who meant a lot to us when we were in school (even if we didn’t know it then, but on reflection we recognized their kindness, support or influence) I would love to think that any day is a good one to show that appreciation. As research season ended, several students thanked me for my help with their papers; I know that the other librarians have also heard that from students. A few times I’ve seen former students and they’ve told me that I helped or encouraged or influenced them in some way, all without the reminder that it was the Official Day to show/share their feelings.

That’s not to sound ungrateful! It’s just a concern that when there’s an Official Day, it makes it seem as though not saying something then is wrong, and that saying something any other time is also wrong (just as I’d much rather get random flowers and dinners just because, instead of a Valentines Day mandatory gift).

Having said that, here’s a link to my comments from October 2004 about a teacher whose influence on my has stretched over 40 years. And maybe, just because, I’ll write about some of the other teachers whose influence has lasted a lifetime (well, as much of a lifetime as I’ve had until now).

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Posted in Life Related, Student stuff | Leave a Comment »

My next career

Posted by lpearle on 4 May 2018

No, I’m not planning on retiring or leaving my job in the very near future, but a lunch conversation with some colleagues this week got me thinking.

We’d been doing the “what did you do this past weekend” thing, and I mentioned that last Saturday was Independent Bookstore Day – professionally obligated blah blah blah.  One person mentioned a bookstore in Chicago she particularly liked, and I said that I’d heard about (but hadn’t visited) a book bar in Denver.  Apparently I wasn’t speaking clearly, because another person heard “book barn” and when we corrected that, the conversation turned to what a book bar might be like.

For example, do you sort the books and beverages by country of origin?  Do you pair things, as in “Scotch and Rebus” or “Maigret and Merlot”? Do you give a discount if a person purchases a series and a case?  Would book recommendations come with beverage recommendations? Could you do a book-n-beer flight?  LFPL is doing a few books and brews events that might provide more inspiration.

All of which got me thinking about my next career… I like to read.  I’ve been known to imbibe.  Why not combine the two professionally?

 

 

Posted in Books, Life Related | Leave a Comment »

What I Did on Spring Break

Posted by lpearle on 27 March 2018

In addition to staying snug during the last three of the March nor’easters, I read 32 books:

Spring Break Reading

Spring Break Reading

And that’s not all!  I’ve cleared my DVR, my taxes are almost done (they’re a little complicated for 2017), I went to an exhibit of maps of imaginary places, got enough loose tea to make it through to Summer Vacation, and the past two days I attended MSLA (more on that later).

What I need to do by the end of this week: finish my taxes, work on my AY19 budget, go through a whole lot of saved links to share with you lucky readers, figure out which books in PW and LJ should be bought now (versus after the new fiscal year kicks in), and – most important – dive in to Research Season, Part II, which is when our Intro History (aka “Class IV” or “freshmen”) come in.  That’s around 12 classes a day, about 150 students.  In three weeks, they’ll be joined by the sophomores, giving us around 20 classes each day and around 300 students to work with.  It will get done… it will get done… I will survive…

Posted in Books, Conferences, Life Related | Leave a Comment »

Math Star for me!

Posted by lpearle on 5 December 2017

I am not a “math person” – nope, not I.  And that’s been part of my identity for decades (could be an incredibly longlived case of rebellion against my father, or could be due to the year I spent with New Math:

or perhaps both?  or, as some would argue, bad teachers?)

Now, when I say I’m not a math person, what I really mean is that I don’t do incredibly complicated equations or fully understand calculus or geometry or algebra.  It doesn’t mean I’m innumerate!  I can balance my checkbook, ensure we are getting a good ROI on our database purchases, etc..  I can interpret statistics.  And, increasingly unnecessary, I can do manual double-entry bookkeeping.

The other day I was at my neuro-ophthalmologist’s and we were – yay! – adjusting my dosage of Prednisone.  He was trying to figure out how many pills I would need since I’d be halving the pills for a few weeks.  He started like this:   2.5 x 7 + 2 x 21 + 1.5 x 7  and got  2877.  Not implausible, but not quite accurate.  He tried again.  And then it hit me: he needed parentheses.  (2.5 x 7) + (2 x 21) + (1.5 x 7) = 70.  Much more reasonable.

When I got to work, I told two of my friends, both math teachers.  They gave me a star.  And you know what? Even at my age, a star for math is great.

Posted in Life Related | Leave a Comment »

Planning… planning…

Posted by lpearle on 14 November 2017

A few years ago I became enamored with the idea of bullet journaling (great ideas and supplies here). When I worked in the “corporate” world (which, to be honest, included a few years in the non-profit world of Off-Broadway and a few years working on long-term projects as well as in a corporate environment) I was a huge fan of the Day-Timer/Filofax and lugged one all over the place.  So this is, in many ways, a natural extension of that plus my obsession with office supplies.  Seriously: take me to a great stationery/office supply store and it’s a bit frightening.  Here’s one of my goals: this planner space.  Gorgeous, right?

My first attempts at the bullet journal were pretty much a carry-over from my old methods, with a few twists.  Then I refined it to look like this:

And then, only a month or so ago, the incredible Sara Kelley-Mudie was at a local librarians meeting at my school and her planner made my heart leap and my fingers search for something new.  This was born:

I’d been bemoaning the waste of a full page with only To Do items, and I really love the idea of keeping notes (from meeting, conferences, etc.) in the same journal as my daily stuff – all the better to track them, right? – so what I’m doing now feels perfect.  Almost. Then I read about the Burner List.

What I really want is templates so that I’m not continually copying and pasting into my journal, I can just draw right on the page.  Or maybe… I hear I can customize Levenger’s Circa pages, and there’s the add-in feature, but what about a way to permanently bind them a la Moleskein or Clairfontaine?  That would be sweet.

In mid-October I was at the NELA conference and there was a drop-in session on bullet journaling.  Of course I dropped in, but to me, it was really more of a scrapbookers dream rather than a way to organize:

Now, there’s nothing wrong with scrapbooking or having a journal/planner that is filled with color and design.  But, just like Sketchnotes, it’s not me and that’s the most important thing when creating a planning system: it needs to fit your needs, your life.  Because who else will be in charge of it?

Still, I live in hope and dream of finding the perfect system.  In the meantime, I collect links to posts about ways to organize and create those systems:

  • Agendio allows you to create a personalized system.  I love this, but my desire to keep my meeting notes next to my weekly planner doesn’t seem to be possible.
  • PurpleTrail makes pretty, pretty planners for those who are into the creative, multi-color, washi tape journals.

Posted in Life Related | 3 Comments »

PSA

Posted by lpearle on 2 November 2017

If you’re old (like me) you remember this cartoon:

For quite a few years, far more than I want to think about because it feels like it was just yesterday, I’ve been following online and somewhat friendly with a number of people I first met in “cyberspace”.  And who know how many of them are really dogs?  By that I mean, how many of them are posting only their best lives?  Those fabulous meals, great vacations, incredible outfits, amazing concerts and events, all the happy times?  That’s the human posting.

One such human is Terry Teachout, drama critic for the Wall Street Journal.  His blog has been on my Daily Read list (or RSS feed) for over ten years.  His posts also include great music tips and clips, his love of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, the time he and his wife spend in Florida, interesting think pieces about growing up in “SmallTownUSA” and many other topics that make me think and smile.  Plus, his twitter feed!  All those evenings watching old movies!  I’m so jealous.*

Turns out, Terry is really a dog.  Yesterday, I – and many other readers/friends – learned that there was a darker, sadder, more frightening side to his life.  Read about it here.  I’ll wait.

Did you read all the way down?

In the three states in which I’ve lived as an adult, it’s easy to become an organ donor.  All it takes is checking a box when getting your driver’s license.  And while I’m currently quite attached to my organs, there will come a time when I won’t need them any longer and someone else may find them useful (with luck, not soon… but it’s always best to prepare).  When that day comes, why not?

If you’re not already an organ donor, make plans to become one now.  There’s not one good reason not to.

/publicserviceannouncement

We now return you to your regular blog reading.

 

* ok, in theory I’m jealous: I’m more a Ben Franklin, without the “healthy”, “wealthy” or “wise” parts, and Terry is definitely a night owl… but still!

Posted in Life Related | Leave a Comment »

New motto

Posted by lpearle on 18 October 2017

For some reason, when I was a young child, someone gave me this doll:

I can’t say that I turned it on a regular basis to tell my parents (or anyone) how I was feeling.  To be honest, I think I may have been a teen – or nearly – before I realized that it read “I am” not “Jam”.  And yes, I proudly claim to be a reader.  Anyway…

The idea that you can telegraph, via doll or button or bumpersticker or t-shirt or choose-your-manner-of-expression, your mood or goal is interesting.  Just look around you the next time you are out in public.  And we also love to do this as librarians.  For years I had this sign near my desk, and I’m waiting to redesign our desk at work so that I can redisplay it:

 

So, my point?  Well… not really sure there is one.  It’s just that the tenor of the times, politically, and the wave of news about natural disasters (fires, floods, hurricanes, potential supervolcano eruptions, etc.), and trying to get things organized at work as we begin to prepare for a new library and next semester’s Research Season (4 months of 14+ classes/day coming to do research), and personal travel/conferences has led me to think about what I want to display to others.  What’s my motto, my t-shirt slogan?

Luckily, the incredible Sarah Kelley-Mudie came to my rescue.  Several years ago, at another school, she coined the phrase Relentless Optimism.  And it became a movement.  And the other day I saw that there was this sticker on her cellphone:

Now, I’ve tried, over the years, to display just that type of attitude.  After the fire at Hackley, my go-to response was one of humor, of trying to let others in the community know that it was really ok: no one was hurt, we could rebuild, and honestly, if 35,000 books and any number of computers and metal shelves and office supplies were burned it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  Six years earlier, I’d seen students at PCS wondering when they could go back to having “normal” lives as the adults around them continued to struggle with the events of September 11th and our response to those events.  So the idea of “optimism” isn’t foreign.  My goal is to focus on the relentless part.

Watch out!

Posted in Life Related, Musings | Leave a Comment »

Personal Rights

Posted by lpearle on 10 October 2017

As things get busier, and the world outside a little crazier, it might be good (for me, for you, for everyone) to post this article from the September NYYM Spark about Personal Rights.

You have –

  1. The right to act in ways that promote your dignity and self-respect as long as others’ rights are not violated in the process.
  2. The right to be treated with respect.
  3. The right to say no and not feel guilty.
  4. The right to experience and express your feelings.
  5. The right to take time to slow down and thing.
  6. The right to change your mind.
  7. The right to ask for what you want.
  8. The right to do less than you are humanly capable of doing.
  9. The right to ask for information.
  10. The right to make mistakes.
  11. The right to feel good about yourself.

(from The Assertive Option)

Posted in Life Related | Leave a Comment »

Uncomfortable Reading

Posted by lpearle on 5 October 2017

The other day, mk posted that she’d hit a personal best reading:

I’m on Book 263* for the year, aiming for about 300 for 2017 (which seems to be about my average recently).  I’m on the 2018 Alex Award Committee, so I can’t talk about all the books I’ve read, just the adult books published before 2016 and those that are for children and young adults.  But I can talk a little generally about reading, particularly for a committee.  Or, as my friend Anastasia has been, for a reading challenge.

One of the challenging things about reading for a book award committee is that we all have our reading comfort zones.  It could be cozy mysteries.  It could be inspirational memoirs.  It could be Regency Romances.  And if you’re reading for a Best Cozy Mystery of [year] award, then it’s easy to stay in that comfort zone.  I have my personal comfort zone but often stray outside when reading YA books so I can do Readers Advisory for my students and to help teachers find new books for their classes.  My adult books can stay comfortably in that zone… but they can’t for Alex!  Since January 2016, I’ve been reading a lot of books that are outside that zone, in genres I wouldn’t naturally gravitate to or books I would prefer to ignore based on the blurb/summary.

Here’s the thing: much of the time I’ve been pleasantly surprised and gone on to rave about the new find to my friends, students and colleagues who are avid readers.   Between my Alex and my other reading, I’m almost done with the reading challenge (one that won’t get crossed off: the audiobook – I try, but my brain just doesn’t hold audiobooks in the way it needs to, and going back is such an annoyance I’ve just given up on it; my sister and nephew, on the other hand, “read” audiobooks with glee).  Looking at the advanced challenge list, I probably won’t buy anything at a used book sale in the next three months, so there’s that checkmark left unchecked.  But – again, no details! – the other categories?  Almost all done.

And those books that my esteemed committee members have requested and nominated that aren’t in my comfort zone?  Those books that, given my druthers I wouldn’t be reading?  I’m glad I’m reading them.  Some authors are going on my “to watch out for” list.  Some series are either going to be followed or I’ll be backtracking to earlier tomes.  It’s expanded my comfort zone.

That’s one of the blessings of uncomfortable reading: sometimes, unexpectedly, you find you are comfortable.  And that’s the best reason to do a challenge or serve on a broad-reach book award committee.  I don’t know what 2018’s reading will bring but I’m willing to get a little uncomfortable while doing it.  Are you?

* of that 263, several are YA, Children’s, pre-2016 reads and even a few 2018! That number is not only Alex reading!

Posted in Books, Life Related | 1 Comment »

Gearing Up

Posted by lpearle on 28 September 2017

I’ve been diligently trying to update this blog regularly, and I intend to keep trying but wow!  School starts and that seems to take over my life despite my best efforts.  Between now and Thanksgiving, for example, I have two personal trips out of town, then two conferences (NELA and YALSA’s Literature Symposium).  Plus my Alex Award reading.  That’s outside of my work, which this year includes beginning to plan for a new library in addition to continuing to look at updating the collection, revamping our website, improving our Resource Guides, working with classes and all the “normal” stuff that librarians and Library Department Chairs do on a daily, monthly, annual basis.

So posting may be sporadic.  Just sayin’

Posted in Conferences, Life Related, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »