Friday, September 13, 2013

Miss Moneypennypincher | Musical Stylings

There are many ways to listen to music these days, with some great free options.  I myself, often listen to Pandora, the radio, and my personal music library.  Sometimes though, when I am shuffling through multiple songs - often times from different genres - it doesn't always seem like I am getting the "full story" from musicians I like, or think I might enjoy more.  And it's true.  Not all, but certainly a good number of albums really should be enjoyed from start to finish.  We (some library staff and I) came up with a list of some of our favorite albums and artists just off the top of our heads: Exile on Main Street, The Lumineers, Elephant, Abbey Road, Dark Side of the Moon, Mumford and Sons, Bruce Springsteen, American Beauty.  Listening to a few songs from the album are okay, but listening to the whole thing, all at once, is a different experience entirely.  However, albums are expensive.  The cheapest ones I find are usually still $9.99.  I don't want to shell out $10 for an entire album only to discover I didn't like most of the songs, or worse yet didn't like the whole thing.  

 Once again, the library comes to my rescue.  I can check out music here, figure out if I like it, and decide whether I want to commit to making that purchase.  One time (okay maybe more than once), I listened to every album by The Black Keys in order, some albums requested from SSJCPL and the others through Link Plus - a great way to find some more obscure stuff.  Listening to albums in order reminds me of reading books by a specific author in the order they were written.  It gives you much more insight into the person (or musicians) who wrote them.

"Why don't you like my overplayed song, Tara?!"
Not only that, I don't know how many times I have purchased a single song or CD thinking, " I could NEVER get sick of this!", only to listen to it over and over, and over again for weeks, until I never want to hear it again.  There are some songs I want to listen to again about as much as I want to stick nails in my ears.  I am not going to embarrass myself by calculating how many songs in my library are like that, and how much I have spent on them total (but I am pretty sure it is at least $500, easy).  However, I will never get sick of The Black Keys, ever.  I bought every single one of their albums.  They passed the repeated listening test, hands down.

Of course, I am not suggesting you take our CDs home and burn them (either with a fire or with a computer), because that is illegal, BUT, use the library to make sure that you REALLY want to download that song, or album, before you commit to spending that $9.99 on it. 

I want more suggestions though.  What is your favorite album to listen to from start to finish? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Bucket List | Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, Peter has to deal with the antics of his little brother, Fudge. I can relate to poor Peter, as I also have dealt with younger brothers.  In fact, I think I may have had it even worse than Peter, as my younger brothers are twins and are twice the trouble.  (I could probably fill a book with all of the woe they have brought me.)

Just like my own brothers, Fudge loves to infuriate Peter.  Peter gets school work ruined, his teeth knocked out, and even has to search for his brother in a movie theater.  Their parents don't see that Fudge is running wild and dotes on him nonstop.  However, Fudge takes it to the next level when he says that he has eaten Peter's pet turtle.  Neither of my brothers ever said that they had ate one of our pets, but there was this time when one of them cut off all of the fur on our dog's legs.  She ended up looking pretty ridiculous for a long time.

Blume follows this series with Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge. We have copies of all of these at our library branches!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Learning | More Bad Ideas for Bookmarks

I had to laugh when Panteha blogged about the person who marked a page in a library book with dental floss. I shudder to think about how many germs there may have been on that thing. 
Bookmarking with a cat is highly impractical. Photo courtesy of QuinnDombrowski's photostream on Some rights reserved.
I have worked in libraries for decades now, and I continue to be shocked at the things people use for bookmarks in library books. How do I know about this? People forget to take their bookmarks out of their books before returning them in the bookdrop. Sometimes we even find books on the library shelves with bookmarks still in them.

Panteha makes a good point. You should never put something that may have been in a person's mouth in a library book. Things like bandages and facial tissues are just as disgusting; don't use those, either. 

I would also like to discourage people from bookmarking with items that may be of value to them.

Over the years, I have either seen or heard of books marked with the following items:

  • Checks or paycheck stubs
  • Bills
  • Letters
  • Greeting cards
  • Credit cards
  • Identification or insurance cards
  • Currency
  • Income tax forms
  • Personal photos
  • Poems
  • Art work
  • Love notes
  • Report cards
  • Homework assignments
  • Shopping lists
  • Recipes 
  • Straw wrappers
  • Candy wrappers

We try our best to let the customer know if they dropped something of value in the bookdrop. But sometimes we are unable to be sure which book it fell from, and there isn't enough information on the item itself to help us know who to contact.

It's especially frustrating to find lovely wedding pictures or portraits of loved ones. I wish extra hard that the customer will remember that they used them as bookmarks, and ask the library if it is in the lost and found.

A few years ago, a photograph of a pig on a leash turned up in our bookdrop. This was clearly not a random pig. It may have been a pet or 4H project. In, other words, it was clearly "SOME PIG!" I couldn't bear to toss it in the trash after it languished on our Lost and Found shelf for three weeks, so I have kept it at my desk. I have nicknamed it Wilbur, after the pig in E. B. White's classic, Charlotte's Web. 

I know what it's like to suddenly find yourself in need of an impromptu bookmark. I often use library receipts, or those annoying subscription cards that fall out of magazines. I have even used old envelopes or scratch paper for that purpose. Post-It notes are another great idea, because they don't fall out of the book easily, and can be moved from page to page without damaging the book.

What do you like to use as bookmarks, besides bookmarks?

Some people like to make their own bookmarks. Here are two books that give instructions for making them:

Step-by-Step Papermaking

Let's Knot: a Macramé Book

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

4 Kids | Read @ Home Night

If you're looking for something fun to do on Saturday, September 21, you should definitely check out Family Day at the Park. This FREE event is filled with great activities, music, and food. And it's all celebrating literacy. It's part of San Joaquin Reads Month. If you've never been before, trust me. You will love it.

Another part of San Joaquin Reads Month is Read at Home Night. We'll celebrate this on Thursday, September 12. So you're do we celebrate this? It's simple. Stop by your local library and pick up a book (or three or eight) to share as a family. 

I know. I know. You're will I ever pick a book to share with my family?

I've made it very easy for you. I asked my colleagues to share their choices of best Read @ Home books. Here are some of their suggestions:

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann. The children at Napville Elementary School always ignore Officer Buckle's safety tips, until a police dog named Gloria accompanies him when he gives his safety speeches. 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. 
Life is delicious in the town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and juice, snows mashed potatoes, and blows storms of hamburgers--until the weather takes a turn for the worse. 

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin. 
Pete the cat loves the buttons on his shirt so much that he makes up a song about them, and even as the buttons pop off, one by one, he still finds a reason to sing. 

And for longer books to share as a family -- perhaps a chapter a night -- here are some great titles sure to be enjoyed by all:

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women
Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl 
L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables
E.B. White's Stuart Little

Happy Reading...and Happy Read @ Home Night. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Comics From A Galaxy Far, Far Away...And From Your Local Library!

Greetings and Salutations!

Bracing yourself for the imminent Disney-ification of the Star Wars films in 2015? Professor O had a feeling, once the rights were sold, that the Disney machine would churn out a continuation of the films, expand the galaxy, or even make television shows of the beloved franchise. It's what Disney does. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, there will be much more Star Wars to look forward to!

If you are itching for some good Star Wars reads, the SSJCPL has you covered (of course). The library carries many of the best old school flavored Star Wars comics, from Dark Horse and Marvel. There are the adventures from the best of the Rebel pilots: Rogue Squadron, to the further adventures of Luke Skywalker, to the expanded universe, all right here, all available to you, dear comic book reader at the SSJCPL! 

Until next time, keep reading those comics!

Professor O

The further adventures of the galaxy's greatest Rebel pilots!
Follow the early adventures of Jedi Knights
How about manga interpretations?

Just Life | Go Grab Your Bike

In the past few weeks, I have gone on a few bike rides with my daughter and I have been loving every minute of it.

This new adventure has given me a chance to truly look at my neighborhood with brand new eyes. I love looking at beautiful front yards. It is wonderful to say hello to this neighbor and that neighbor. We even stopped to play with our neighbor's brand new puppy, Rocky a fluffy Shih Tzu. He is so cute. I just wanted to take him home and rename him Turbo.

I also have been cherishing my uninterrupted time with my daughter. There are no phone calls to distract us, no television to compete with us, it is just me and my daughter and my Stockton neighborhood.   

So go grab your bike and explore your neighborhood. 

Here is a link to bike routes around Stockton. (You can also google bike routes in other cities.)
Stockton Bike Routes (Go to the bottom of the page for Existing Bikeway Map)

Here are a couple of books for the adventurous bike riders out there:

Northern California biking : 150 of the best road and trail rides 

San Francisco Peninsula bike trails 

Here is also an interesting book about exploring your neighborhood.

On looking : eleven walks with expert eyes

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha