30 November 2008

Road Map:: New York and New Jersey

New York and New Jersey, back to back with the previous entry, except in different order.

This was a time for second chances. Remember the dark and grainy pix of the New York Public Library from the previous trip? I hated them when they were first taken but now I have to say... I'm a fan.

Still here are some of me doing my solo thang.

a) New York Public Library
New York, NY (05.26.08)

Re: second pic
So does my hair look like a duck's butt or what?

b) Brooklyn Public Library: Bushwick Branch
Brooklyn, NY (05.26.08)

A family member of mine lives relatively close to this branch so my husband and I had to come check it out. :D

c) Trenton Free Public Library: Main
Trenton, NJ (05.27.08)

Two very distinct buildings...

d) New Jersey State Library
Trenton, NJ (05.27.08)

We will say that this trip through NJ inspired us to definitely get a GPS...

Road Map:: New Jersey and New York

And so, now that it's November, it makes sense to wait no longer and post previous jumpy pictures-- these from May of this year.

a) Parsippany Troy Hills Public Library
Parsippany, NJ (05.24.08)

This library was very much closed and the day was almost done but that's never stopped me. I'm so super human even my hand moves at the speed of light. (See second picture).

b) Brooklyn Public Library-- Central Library
Brooklyn, NY (05.25.08)

Man, talk about feeling tiny in front of a ginormous landscape ...

c) Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY-- midtown Manhattan (05.26.08)

It's amazing how both ends of this library look so very, very different.

I have many more to post so the commentary here is pretty slim. I'm positive you won't mind...

Random:: Facebook status! Oooh!

Rules (for your new Facebook status)

* Get the book nearest to you. Right now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write this sentence as status.
* Copy these instructions as commentary of your sentence.
* Don't look for your favourite book or your coolest but really the nearest.

For me, it's my friend James Kennedy's book, The Order of Odd-Fish:
Everyone in heaven will snicker and make catty remarks about my shoes!

Man, I dig this!

28 November 2008

YA Lit Symposium '08:: Meeting a hero and keeping my dignity

Written November 9th at the Nashville Airport:

This was one of those weekends-- kinda like that "I Want To Hold Your Hand" movie I caught on TV when I was a teen-- where you're trying to meet someone... and they're consistently just out of your reach. This was no Beatles gathering, though. This was Gene Luen Yang in all his dorkilicious glory.

I loved "American Born Chinese" of course but I was really moved by "Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order." The whole reason I came to the YA Lit Symposium was because I wanted to see him do the preconference on graphic novels. Then I registered and discovered it had already been capped and I wouldn't be able to participate. Gyaaaaahhh! Bah humbug.

After the first day of the symposium, I occasionally ran into some preconference attendees who glowed about how deliciously funny he was. Meanwhile, I growled inside. I say that jokingly, and at the same time, not really...

So all I could really do is sit in the front row of his Meet the Author session and he wound up sitting there too, but not next to me, because I'd put my stack of papers and flyers in the chair to my right. I wound up realizing my mistake, taking the papers away, and Terry Trueman sat there instead. And he is a trip. And fun. But not Gene Yang. Ha.

The rest of the conference was wonderfully informational. I got to hang out with some old friends and meet some new ones. It can be hard to function like a human being at these things. It's, like, almost imperative to network even if you feel like you're one of the few out there who isn't a part of some clique.

Ah well. Before I knew it, it was time to go home. To beat the influx of librarians trying to get to the airport on time, I decided I would miss out on the closing session and just get out early. I got the last seat on the shuttle, only to realize that the guy in front of me...

That haircut... Those cheekbones...

My first sighting of authors at TLA~ God, I was an ardent obsessive bee-yotch who just wanted a picture with a writer, even if I didn't know who that person was. Now, behind Gene Yang in a small van on the way to the airport, I was able to I guess have a librarian moment with him, however short.

Once past security and at my gate, I spotted him walking, by himself, along the American Airlines concourse. He looked just like any guy carrying his luggage. There was no "I am a Printz Award Winner" glow. No "I have librarian groupies." Just a random guy. I thought, "Aw man I never asked him if he had a copy of his book on him that I could buy and get autographed." But I left him alone.

I didn't want to be the fanatic librarian who can't resist bugging an exhausted author. I'm not that much of a newbie anymore.

20 October 2008

Road Map:: San Antonio, TX

Yes, I haven't been posting lately, but that's because I'm finally a full-fledged librarian. And I'm uber busy! I love it!

I was told that within 3 months, some of the shine would wear off. Ha ha. While there have been some very difficult times-- ones I was not necessarily prepared for-- I'm still very much in love with this profession. More on that later.

I now present to you my latest library jumpy travails through the city.

a) Memorial Branch Library
San Antonio, Texas 10.13.08

This library is right in front of St. Mary's University and its patron base is mainly Hispanic. If you're a teen and long for chess tournaments in your community, this is the place to go.
b) Great Northwest Branch
San Antonio, TX 10.13.08

Here is yet another highly active branch-- one I was not familiar with due to its distance from my neighborhood. Alas we went on a Monday morning, when it was closed, so I was not able to partake in the viewing of library services here. Maybe next time.

b) Edmund Cody Branch
San Antonio, TX 10.13.08

This is one of 3 public libraries in San Antonio with its very own full-time teen librarian. There is a focus here not just on teens but tweens-- something that SA has been lacking thus far. A highlight from this visit was the banned books display. I've seen many of these but never one complete with a poster on why certain books were challenged.

More to come when my internet at home goes back up!

Muchos abrazos y besitos a todos!

29 August 2008

Random:: My next profession

Wow. Talk about being typecast. Apparently this attractive young woman is only asked to do one thing for pictures: turn to the side, close the eyes, put on a mysterious smile, and have long tresses of hair whip about romantically.

I can't help but wonder though how awesome it is to be a book cover model. I could have my own signature pose... You guessed it. I could jump for every single book cover. You know you'd read it if you saw me on it!

05 August 2008

Random:: Breaking Dawn, so far

Okay, so I'm not one of these uber fast librarians who read books in an hour. I've always been a relatively slow reader-- that is, for someone who's frequently seen with books. I could say that I prefer to savor my books, but that would be adorning the truth a bit much. I'm just not as quick.

I'm three-fifths done with Breaking Dawn but it's seriously taken over-- the way a fulfilling story does.

I know Stephenie has her own playlists on her website. I very much approve of Muse and Coldplay as partners-in-crime. However, most songs I listened to today could apply to what I've read in the Breaking Dawn storyline.

Voila the alternate playlist!
  • Tori Amos: Merman
  • Tori Amos: Sweet the Sting
  • Kate Bush: Cloudbusting
  • Kate Bush: Hounds of Love
  • Los Tres: Cerrar y Abrir
Yes, this is short, but can you blame me? I've been reading the book most of the day! I can't listen to music the whole day. Ha ha.

Okay, back to the world of Forks...

28 July 2008

Road Map:: Bellefonte, Milton, and Hazleton, PA

Hi all. I haven't forgotten about jumpy pictures-- I have dozens more to share!

a) Centre County Library-- Bellefonte
Bellefonte, PA (05.24.08)

To me this is an iconic type of library. Small town, green lawn... I love it!

b) Milton Public Library
Milton, PA (05.24.08)

Stick 'em up! This one used to be a bank and still has the bank vault to show for it. Wouldn't you have loved to go here as a kid and play banks and robbers around books?

c) Hazleton Public Library
Hazleton, PA (05.24.08)

Believe it or not, I remember every library I go to. What sticks out about this one? Well it was closed so we couldn't go in, but I shan't forget how hard it was to get this shot below. It seems like every time we tried to get a picture I almost got run over.

Ah, what I do for jumpy pictures...

13 July 2008

Spotted!:: Tattoos of the literary kind

My mother's opinion of an individual would instantly plummet if she found out that his/her skin was in any way inked. Little did she know that I was planning to get the word "honey" in Arabic on my right hip. Thankfully for her, I realized that spreading Mexican hips should not be decorated in any type of permanent art, since I would start off with the word "honey" but over time, it would eventually say "horse" or "mackerel buffalo."

Thankfully for us, some people have gotten creative. They use the poetic words of masters-- ones that do not get lame with time, like poorly researched kanji. A special soul has gotten together a website with anthologies of tattoos.

Some are still fresh and inflamed.
Others are group tattoos with shared meaning.
All are intoxicating.

It's not surprising to see that Shakespeare, Saint-Exupery, and Vonnegut inspired many a tattoo enthusiast-- the latter of which is credited for the picture to the left. As a YA librarian, however, I was particularly moved by Stephen Chbosky's contribution to body art.

I met this Pittsburgh homeboy at ALA in Anaheim just a couple of weeks ago, and I hope he knows that his words are also eternal.

And speaking of tattoos and grand muses...

The most influential performer in my life, the monolithic Tori Amos, is adding to her repertoire by coaxing visuals out of her girls-- as she calls her songs. Various graphic novelists, including Hope Larson and Lea Hernandez, are coming out to interpret Tori's work in the new volume Comic Book Tattoo. You can see a few articles here, there, and everywhere.

This, to me, is an orgy of the things I love best. I would never have imagined, ten years ago, that something like this could be possible. For me to sway my hips to "Caught a Lite Sneeze" as I read liquid drawings.

09 July 2008

Spotted!:: Breaking Dawn Sneak Peek!

You know, Entertainment Weekly sure can publish absolute drivel but here is a gem. Un diamant brut.

.the beginning.
of Breaking Dawn is here.

Can you believe that I refuse to read it? I want to read the whole book all in one go and I shall close my ears to the world for fear of spoilers. I want to innocently discover
.the end.

07 July 2008

Spotted!:: Yet another reason why Australians are da bomb

Yes... YES... YESSS!

Now all we librarians need to do is rise up as militant and radical revolutionaries to get this on American TV.

Man, if I had moved to Australia the way I wanted to back in '05, I would probably be able to watch this without a problem. Then again, I'd probably be a waitress or something. I wouldn't really have an MLS, I don't think. It's one of those Sliding Doors phenomena.

Ah yes...

03 July 2008

Anaheim ALA '08:: Days Four through the end

I truly had every intent on blogging at least twice a day while I was at the conference but the following got in my way:
  • Limited internet access.
    It came and went as it pleased without ever really asking for my input.

  • Flawed human energy.
    I started the event with great enthusiasm but then it dwindled as time went on. I was still going to programs, just not rushing to write stuff about it.

  • Wimpy arms.
    I carried my laptop around the first couple of days. Yeah... I learned not to do that.
So instead you get a quick run-down of the programs that were memorable enough, in no particular order.

The Pura Belpré Award reception was pretty fabulous. I was so moved when Yuyi Morales, the winning illustrator, began her speech by acknowledging the presence of her family and friends. She said, "You're all here," in this sublimely grateful and amazed tone of voice, and I instantly thought of my family. Y no les miento cuando les digo que empezé a chillar. I kept my sobs to a minimum and all, but I was an instant mess. Then the pachanga became the center stage for the ultimate weapon of mass emotion: a group of elementary school mariachis started singing everything from "De Colores" to "Es Demasiado Tarde." All they had to do was sing "Si Nos Dejan" or "Amor Eterno" and I would have had to flee like La Llorona. One little girl could barely hold up her violin but she was a star in her beautiful mariachi clothes. I was all kinds of nostalgic there.

The YALSA president's program was stupendous, and not because I was hooked up with Dr. Bernier by my boss. It really got me thinking about both physical and digital teen space-- something I had not really given that much thought to. All presenters had something very real to offer, both in content and charisma. It's hard to do a presentation that really keeps the audience's attention, let me tell ya.

That said, I have to admit that there were some programs I found really disappointing, and not necessarily because of substance. You have to sell it, you know? Most librarians are not used to being in a classroom setting for hours and they really want to take away something solid into their work space. Simply reading from a cheat sheet is just not good enough. So bring some flava into it!

More reflections and pictures later. Ta!

28 June 2008

Anaheim ALA '08:: Day Three

Part One:: Morning (10am)

Huff... Puff... Ay ay ay... Hijole...

Reporting from the first hour of exhibits at ALA. I'm frikkin' exhausted and the hour ain't even over yet. I was among the first in line by the 2700 stacks, as youth librarians everywhere have been talking about the special edition Twilight book bag. Meaning, I got there an hour before it even opened.

Have you ever seen teen librarians on a war path? Let me tell ya. It's a special, special sight.

I realize that I've collected way too many arcs of authors I've never even heard of. How am I going to get these home? I'm hoping to see Laurie Halse Anderson, Pam Munoz Ryan, and the scrumptious John Green within the next hour or so.

I'm just resting right now, taking a deep breath... And hoping I don't pass out.

Part Two:: Afternoon (12:30 pm)

I'm not even gonna lie. I'm at the hotel room right now. I'm resting and having a grand old time watching VH1. The exhibits sucked the life right outta me.

I'm feeling only slightly less lonely right now. I'm wishing for a bit more energy and a bit more charisma. Just a tad.

27 June 2008

Anaheim ALA '08:: Day Two

Part One:: Morning

So what's happened on my first full day (*GASP*) of my first national library conference (*DOUBLE GASP*)?

Eh. Not much. Whatever. I didn't really realize that there isn't much to do today if you haven't signed up for any pre-conferences. That's fine. After the madness that was trying to get on the right plane yesterday, I figured I deserved some morning down time.

The great part about traveling from Texas to California?

Suddenly you have 2 extra hours that you didn't have before. I woke up early but I got a lotta sleep. Aw yeah.

My discoveries on a day like this?

a) The world sans a bulletin board
Yeah. My roommate cancelled, thoroughly ticking me off. And for security reasons, there is no physical bulletin board here. In other words, I'm stuck not having a roommate. It's lovely to feel free to do as I wish, but not joyous for my credit card.

b) The world sans gumption
I'm friendly when I feel confident, and quiet when not. This is a national conference with all types of librarians. I mean, there are so many personality types here, and most people are here with a group of people. I've been wanting human interaction, but I haven't been all that extroverted just yet.

My suggestions for the conference?

a) We need a forum for attendees to contact other fellow librarians who don't mind reading a billion and a half messages. This morning a librarian was trying to give away a ticket for a tour but didn't know who might want one. A simple post to a message board would have solved that problem. And curses, I really need a roommate. Anyone out there interested in sharing a room with my awesomeness? :D

b) Host a desperate librarians corner somewhere for people who came here by themselves. Or call it a networking table if you don't want to offend. Take me, for instance. Just because I'm quiet doesn't mean I don't want interaction. I want to meet people, but either they're already in a group or loners look really busy reading their conference info packets. Thankfully, I have approached women who look thoroughly bored and gotten some very nice conversations out of it. Note to self. AbsoLUTEly target the bored types.

Other thoughts?
I'm currently blogging from the Anaheim Public Library where I was given an awesome tour by a very friendly teen librarian. I feel good! Although I just realized I haven't had anything to eat since morning. So yeah. I'm off like a library magazine cover. Ta!

Part Two:: Evening

Ah, the adventures just kept on coming.

I have to say I'm so grateful that the YALSA Happy Hour was so uninviting. It was held at this slightly space-challenged bar. It was loud. I didn't really know anyone. I hate paying for majorly marked-up booze. It might have been great fun for some, but for me it sucked. Big time. I left after barely 4 minutes. Thank goodness.

I wandered into the International Relations Orientation, which was pretty much over. It was fate! Looking for something else to do, I stumbled upon the "Many Voices Many Nations" program. It's been the most stellar experience I've had at a library conference. Ever. I couldn't believe it.

See this picture here? That's Sherman Alexie, baby. Me and Sherman. Yeah. We tight.

He's one hilarious and magical dude with nicely shaped fingernails and heartbreaking woven stories. He brought flashes of my husband, my mom, my dad-- everyone who's special to me, in just a few minutes of spoken poetry.

Good times, man.

Anaheim ALA '08:: Day One


What should have been a 4-hour flight turned into a 14-hour debacle. Grrr. But I digress. The point is, I'm in Anaheim and I've seen the paradise that is librarians crashing Orange County. Yeah!

I'm serious. They're everywhere and they're taking over.

I'm so touched by the friendliness of the ALA attendees I've met so far. Even just taking a hotel shuttle turned out to be an experience. People are very willing to chat and chill together, and from what I can tell, they really are from all over.

I have to admit, I was wondering what I was going to do once I got here. It looks like librarians don't let other librarians wallow in solitude, though.


26 June 2008

Librarian Glamour:: ALA Sweetness

Nothing like a lovely email from a stranger appreciating your work to offset a particularly horrendous day. Thank you so much. You know who you are. Don't give up on that dream of becoming a glamorous librarian!

That said, I'm off to Anaheim for my first ALA conference *ever* and I'm mega excited. If you know someone who needs a roommate at ALA, please let me know ASAP at narajaponesa@yahoo.com.

I send you all many hugs and smiles!

22 June 2008

Random:: Realization

Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

It's the one-year anniversary of my wedding. It's also my first day employed as a librarian. Whoa!

Here's to many more years of married joy and sexy librarian-ness!

20 June 2008

Road Map:: New Bethlehem, Du Bois, and Clearfield, PA

More! Library! Jumpies!

The day I left the Burgh for good I did not get all that emotional. I enjoyed the ride, taking pictures of occasional bridges-- the kind I love, which is just about any type of bridge. I also made my last treks around PA, which naturally included libraries along the way.

a) New Bethlehem Area Free Public Library
New Bethlehem, PA (05.24.08)

I've learned about the library architectural aesthetic over the past year. Some libraries are blessed and others are just cursed. Guess for yourself on this one...

b) Dubois Public Library
Du Bois, PA (05.24.08)

Alas the library was closed when we dropped by, so there's no way to tell if the inside was more attractive than the outside. Yeah. I hope so.

c) Joseph and Elizabeth Shaw Public Library
Clearfield, PA (05.24.08)

Warmth and a beautiful library. Yay. A spring in my jump, fo' sho'.

My husband and I hope to one day own a home with a turret like in the picture above. Once I start rolling in those librarian bucks, maybe.

18 June 2008

Random:: Always on my mind, as Elvis said

I realize that it may seem as though I've abandoned my blog but I assure you that is not the case. Much has happened since the last time I posted.

I took the library jumpy project on the road over something like 13 states. It was a glorious 2 week trip. But yeah. Basically I moved from PA (the state) to SA (the city) and my internet is still a tad shoddy.

I have many pictures and other surprises coming up, I promise!
Muchos kissies to all!

11 May 2008

List:: Libraries-- The Hot and the Fugly

As a graduation present to myself, I am dishing the dirt on awesome and not-so-awesome libraries as I've witnessed them over the past year.

Some of these libraries I've frequented over months. Most of them, I just happened to visit for one day, so I am by no means an expert on them. Some of the negative experiences I had were inevitable and not entirely influenced by the libraries themselves. This is mostly a look back on the fun and the crappy things that have happened during my travels. To protect the libraries where I've had bad experiences, I've omitted the name and location in the text I've written.

The Hot Library Mamas!

~Sexiest Overall Library~

Thomas Jefferson Building @ Library of Congress
Washington DC

So... sexy... Couldn't... breathe...
Thomas Jefferson's books!... Hot!

~Hottest Teen Section~

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Main
Pittsburgh, PA

I mean, I know I work here and all... But it really is a glorious space with plenty of computers, lots of happening programming, and an awesome staff.

~Most "Sad but Awesome" Teen Section~

Washington County Free Library
Hagerstown, MD

This library does not actually have a teen librarian but they do have a pretty sweet teen loft with all types of materials for teens.

~"Warmest Atmosphere" Library~

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- Homewood
Pittsburgh, PA

The first time I went, a teen told us, "Welcome to the best library in town." The second time, I got a tour from the teen librarian. Good times!

~Most Personally Inviting Library~

Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Washington DC

I got kicked out of this teens-only area. However, being invited to apply for a position in their system because I'm multilingual-- now that's hospitality!

~Most "In a Touristy Area With No Parking So Let's Do This Quick" Library~

Free Library of Philadelphia - Independence
Philadelphia, PA

This one was taken while our ride drove around the block. A true drive by shooting!

~Most Beautiful Natural Light Library~

Julia Yates Semmes Public Library
San Antonio, TX

Glass windows. Access to a park. This is the first library I worked at and it really nurtured my teen librarian spirit. Thanks Semmes!

~Most "I Can't Believe I'm Here!" Library~
Gettysburg Library
Gettysburg, PA

Yup. The Gettysburg. As in the Address. And this is their library! Wicked.

~Most Surprising Library~
Avalon Public Library
Avalon, PA

A former Christian Science church. Nice. This is a small library and a lot of moolah went into it. Fancy chairs, fancy earth globe, fancy grandfather clock.

~Most "It's Freaking Cold Here But Gotta Have My Jumpy Picture" Libraries~

Alderman Library @ University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

Good god! So *cold*! I may never have been this cold in my life.

~Most Nurturing Library~

Coates Library @ Trinity University
San Antonio, TX

I first debated going to library school when I worked here as an undergrad. Look at me now!

~Most Awesome Surroundings Library~

Wilderness Branch Library
Orange County, VA

It's in the wilderness! Aaaaaaaahh! Being swallowed up by trees! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

~Most Majestic Library in a Small Town~

Greensburg Hempfield Area Library
Greensburg, PA

This library is so big that this is the best picture we could take without getting me run over!

~Most "Icon of Modernity" Library~
Central Library
San Antonio, TX

My future home!

This library is very special to me. When it was first built, many people didn't like it so much. They started calling it the "enchilada-red library." I always thought it was a very cool building, though it is a bit of a space hogger.

The Inevitably Fugly

~Most Aesthetically Challenged Library~

Man, we have seen some fugly library buildings in our time. But geez. This one. Like an unfortunate dog whose front looks much like its rear, we could only assume that this was the entrance to the library.

Not much to see here, folks.

~Most Disappointing Library~

This library is housed in a building that's not quite atrocious. The service, however, has much to be desired. Not only do they not have Wi-Fi, but at least one staff member appears to be largely unaware that there is such a thing as wireless internet. They just may, in fact, call it "the internets" on the rare occasion that someone asks for help.

~Most "What? You're Closed Already? It's Not Even Five Yet!" Library~

We drove a long, long way to see this library only to... have it be closed when we got there. Before it was even supposed to be closing time, it looked dead dead dead. Thanks for the info, library!

~Most "What? You're Never Really Open, Are You?" Library~

The "Bibliotheek" sign in the picture here should give you a clue that this one is not located in the States.

And it was open 2 hours a week. Weekdays only. At different times. It was so easy to show up on the wrong day, wrong time, wrong planet!

As much as I loved it there, I pretty much figured that I couldn't really be a librarian if I were ever to move there.

~Most Elusive Library~

Where is this library? We printed out maps... We drove around for a while... We found the address... It was completely gone... It just... disappeared...

~Most Predatory Library~

I know I look happy in the picture, but this was before the $17 parking ticket we got in the shady parking lot next to it. A sign made it sound like one does not have to pay after 6pm but we were wrong to hope that a parking lot close to the library would be at least straightforward.

~Most Obnoxious Red Tape Library~

The librarians I spoke with personally were helpful. When I showed interest in their library and they saw my camera, I was basically told that I would make some people very unhappy, since it is a popular library for a peculiar cult following. There was just so much red tape so that I could take a picture of their library-- a major setback to the feeling of warmth. This is the worst experience I've had, I'm afraid to say.


As a whole, I do try to see the positive. These fugly libraries are-- well, let's face it. They did not harm me permanently or anything. I'm positive that there are things that they must do very well that I did not see at all. I just have to describe my experience the way I saw it. After all, being on the other side of the desk-- a patron like any other-- helps me see what works and what doesn't in libraries. I'm always on the lookout for ways to help patrons have pleasant trips to the library, whenever possible.