Saturday, January 31, 2015

This week at the library; or, I cannot think of anything clever because my head is so full of panic and loud noises

What's happening in my head and at the library
  • I am feeling rather frantic as a large number of things I have been putting off while working on other things are now coming home to roost and I have a gazillion things that are happening soon and so these things need to be planned but to plan the things I need other things to happen...
  • So, in the midst of my frantic panic, it was really nice to get a present for my library! I opened a mysterious package on Monday and discovered that Jason Fry had sent us the first two books in the Jupiter Pirates series! 
  • I completely finished the Neighborhoods, sent the last replacement order, set up a new delivery system for my remote collections with the schools, planned programs, started going through the repairs and paper stacks on my desk, put together training materials for my new associate, updated some of the series labels for juvenile fiction, processed a huge stack of new titles (put on new stickers, uploaded to pinterest, pics on facebook etc.).
  • I went home around 2 on Friday (theoretically I could have taken the whole day off because I was going to ALA Midwinter on Saturday, but in reality HA HA HA HA HA) and did laundry and started working on the sensory blankets for babies for next Wednesday.
  • Also, I have 9 NINE kids registered for Bookaneers, my new book club for 1st-3rd grade that starts on Tuesday! Woo! I had to change the format a little.
  • I wasn't really feeling enthused about ALA Midwinter, but once I got there I enjoyed it. I picked up a medium selection of books - almost exclusively beginning chapters, which was all I wanted. My phone refused to take pictures after only about an hour, so I just resigned myself to knowing that I will miss a few of the great books coming out soon. I got an ARC of Princess Hamster, Ursula Vernon's newest series, which I am VERY excited about - I read half of it while I ate lunch - and I got to talk to an editor about beginning chapters and what librarians are looking for, which was nice. Also, I met Meg Cabot totally by accident, so those of you who are fans can hate me that I, who am not a fan, did not have to stand in line (-:) (not that I don't like her, I'm just not really fan-ish about others). Also, which I didn't know until I saw the galley, ATTACK OF THE FLUFFY BUNNIES 2!!! Very excited about that too. I also enjoyed Guerrilla Storytime and the Flannel Friday petting zoo, although I just watched this time around.
What I brought back from ALA (not including a lot of miscellaneous paper - posters, stickers, activity kits, publisher catalogs, etc.)
  • Sprout Street Neighbors by Anna Alter- recommended by a publicist. Looks cute, but might be too cute. We'll see. Art reminds me of Peter McCarty's animals
  • Case of the missing carrot cake by Robin Newman - this is part of an imprint from a small publisher, supposed to be bridge books between easy readers and beginning chapters. They're in the format that's becoming popular - slightly larger easy readers.
  • Nina in That Makes Me Mad by Hilary Knight - this was a freebie, which I'm pleased with b/c we don't have this one. I reviewed this for No Flying No Tights
  • Where triplets go, trouble follows by Michelle Poploff - this is a beginning chapter from Holiday House. I like the cover, which I don't always for their books so I'll try this one.
  • The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett - I'm interested in trying this one. Not sure if kids will go for it or not.
  • True Talents, Hidden Talents by David Lubar - I've read and really liked these. I couldn't remember if the library owned them or not. If not, they'll be prizes.
  • Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon - I've been meaning to read this and was pleased to get a free copy so I can add it to the library.
  • Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott - this is a new Branches series I've been wanting to look at.
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal - this one is just for me! polite society fantasy
  • From the notebooks of a middle school princess by Meg Cabot - I happened to be walking by the booth and thought "oh, new Meg Cabot book". and then, looking up, "oh hey, Meg Cabot!" Sorry to all the rabid fans who arrived a few minutes later and had to stand in line. This will make a nice summer reading prize.
  • Pip Bartlett's Guide to magical creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater - I hadn't actually noticed the authors until just now - I was just picking up anything that looked short and vaguely beginning-chapter-ish.
  • Frank Einstein and the electro-finger by Jon Scieszka - this is a sequel and I haven't read the first book, but I have a kid I want to give it to.
  • Ranger in time by Kate Messner - I've been wanting to read this before buying
  • Appleblossom the possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan - a publisher gave me this. I'm skeptical, since A. I find possums disgusting and B. I think this is too long for a cutesy book, but I'll try it.
  • Amazing Stardust Friends - this is a new Branches series which looks very....Disney-esque. Um...I think I picked this up by accident.
  • Fatal Fever by Gail Jarrow - I was telling the publisher how utterly fascinating I found Red Madness (many of my friends regret that I read this, as they now know more about pellagra than they really wanted to and I didn't actually buy it for the library as we wouldn't have an audience for it) and she offered me Jarrow's newest. Very pleased to read this!
  • Wild by Emily Hughes - the Flying Eye publisher gave me this. I may have to keep it and touch it for a while before I give it up. I was kind of dismissive of this one when I first saw it, but the art has really grown on me and I'd like to see what else she can do.
  • HAMSTER PRINCESS BY URSULA VERNON EEEEEEE!!!!! I have already read it. I will read it again. LOVE.
  • Anna Banana by Anica Mrose Rissi - this is a double of the first two books in the series. I was just picking stuff up, saw it and though "yet another red-haired heroine with a dark-skinned friend" but now that I look at it....Anna is the dark-skinned girl! YES!
  • Maybelle goes to school by Katie Speck - the editor absolutely assured me that it is really coming out. The Maybelle books have been delayed for so long!
  • Tales from Maple Ridge by Grace Gilmore - a brief look says "beginning chapter Farmer Boy" to me. could be good. can't think of many books of this type that feature boys.
  • We can work it out by Elizabeth Eulberg - for a friend
  • Prudence by Gail Carriger - for me! I like Gail Carriger, although I fell behind on her series.
  • Woof by Spencer Quinn - I would love more funny mysteries but it will probably end up being depressing.
  • The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan - not the type of book I usually read/like, but I LOVED Cupcake Cousins, so wanted to try this one.
  • Rutabaga the adventure chef by Eric Colossal - graphic novel. Might be too quirky though.
  • Super Fly by Todd Doodler - although the perpetual dirty tighty whities on Bear in Underwear drive me crazy, Doodler definitely appeals to kids
  • FLUFFY BUNNIES 2!!!! I have no idea this was even planned and then I saw it! A sequel to Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies! Woo!
  • Request for a new series - he described the last book he'd read and it was something funny with aliens, so I gave him the Alien Agent series by Pamela Service.
  • Browsing neighborhoods, I asked what she was interested in and she said "frogs" so I showed her the Animals/Amphibians section and her whole face lit up. Although this kind of proves my cataloger's point, that nobody knows what amphibians are, so I better stick a frog picture up there.
  • Rocks and minerals
  • 14 year old who loves Dashner - recommended his new series, Eye of Minds, and Dowswell's Sektion 20
  • Mallory books (I don't own this series)
  • Pokemon easy readers/easy chapters (I think they're all out of print...)
  • Transformers rescue bots dvds - added to order list
  • A car book. Not just ANY car book, it had to have a RED car. It took me a while to find the right one, but I eventually found Hubbell's Cars. Then his sister needed something she couldn't rip, so we picked out some board books and an Indestructible.
  • Harry Potter (why can nobody find Harry Potter? must have had 3 questions for that this week)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper by Lucy Coats

Beginning chapters are very popular at my library and good fantasy series are very hard to find, so I was excited when I read the description of this new series and requested a review copy.

Demon (his real name is Pandemonium) is having a bad day. First, he meets his dad for the first time. His dad, the god, Pan. And his dad whisks him off on a scary journey to Olympus! He feels a little better when he finds out he's not going to be sacrificed; he's going to be the beast keeper. He's pretty good with animals and can even talk to them...but nothing like these animals! Demon has to overcome feeling scared and alone, especially since his dad promptly disappeared, and then there's scarier things like having to heal all the beasts that nasty hero Hercules keeps destroying. When Hera shows up with her injured Hydra, will he be able to heal him or will he find himself sent down the poop chute to Tartarus to feed the monsters?

The story is about 140 pages long, with humorous black and white cartoons sprinkled throughout. The chapters are also divided into smaller chunks with lightning bolts, showing changes in the setting or plot. There are several pages of glossary and pronunciation guide which lists the gods, places, beasts, and other mythical beings referenced in the story.

I have to disagree with the publicity that promotes this as "humorous." While it's got lots of cartoon pictures and is told in a lighter fashion, I wouldn't call it laugh-out-loud funny. Demon spends most of the story desperately trying to catch up with events, stay alive, and keep his new animal friends alive as well. But that's not at all a drawback, and other people might find this funny. I loved that this is, for once, a fantasy that's not medieval with fake-diversity (look! his friend is a girl with dark skin! in a feudalistic society that devalues women...*mutter*). It has a mischievously irreverent way of treating the Greek gods and while readers will learn about their myths and enjoy the exciting story, they'll also get a different perspective on the mythic stories that are so popular. How did all those "monsters" Hercules attacked really feel about things? Is Hera good or bad?

Verdict: If you have fans of Joan Holub's Heroes in Training, this is an absolute must purchase series. If not, get this one to start with, as it doesn't have as many volumes as HiT and you can start at the beginning. I enjoyed reading it and can't wait to introduce it to my patrons. Ideal for strong 2nd grade readers up through 4th grade, although older and younger kids will enjoy it as well. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780448461939; Published 2015 by Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library (purchased/preordered the rest of the series)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Small Readers: Ten Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler, illustrated by Michael Fleming

Marilyn Sadler, a prolific author of humorous picture books and easy readers, adds a silly counting book to the well-known Bright and Early Books for Beginning Readers imprint.

Gwen, the red hen, is excited about her first clutch of eggs, but not as excited as the little rooster, Red. He's busy taking care of Gwen when the first egg hatches. Overjoyed, Red rushes off to buy a worm for his new chick. But when he gets back with ONE worm, there are TWO more chicks! Red rushes frantically back and forth, trying to keep up with counting chicks, worms, and coins until all ten eggs have hatched, there is a worm for each, and a kiss from Gwen for the sweet little rooster.

Fleming's art has a vibrant, retro flare with bold colors and lines. The backgrounds are neutral colors, emphasizing the text and colorful characters.

The text is a large font, very friendly to young children beginning to read. The text is a step above the very beginning books, which normally have only a handful of words per page, and includes longer words like "beautiful," "surprise," and "hurried." The sentences are brief and simple, with the numbers emphasized in all caps. The simple exercises in addition flow naturally through the text, although some children may be distracted by trying to count and read at the same time.

Verdict: This is an excellent choice for children who are ready to move up a step from the absolute beginner books. The lightly humorous story and child-friendly art are appealing and the math adds a unique aspect to the story. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780449810828; Published 2014 by Beginner Books/Random House; Purchased for the library

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Sniffer Dogs: How dogs (and their noses) save the world by Nancy F. Castaldo

I can't believe it took me so long to read this and add it to my "must purchase immediately if not sooner list." It's got high-interest subject written all over it.

The book opens with several stories featuring dogs and their incredible friendship with humans and segueing into the history of domesticated dogs and then working dogs throughout human history and up to the present. The next section focuses on the mechanics of scent and how a dog's nose is designed and utilized. After we've learned out the science of smell, the next section shows how dogs use their superior sense of smell, starting with dogs trained to track live human beings. This section includes both how the dogs are trained and utilized and true stories of their adventures and heroic actions.

The next section focuses on dogs trained to smell out something even more difficult - dead bodies. These dogs can smell the tiniest amount of cremated human remains, a bone and decomposed, buried remains even after long periods of time. This is amazing. Again, both science and anecdote are included pulling the reader through the story as we see how the science and training is used by the dogs in real life.

The next sections are on dogs who sniff out explosives and drugs and those who work at fire sights looking for accelerants. The next section is a fairly new use for dogs and their amazing noses - conservation detection. These dogs help researchers by sniffing out specific types of animal poop or are using to alert to invasive species being accidentally transported or illegal natural materials. Finally, we learn about service dogs. Not the guide dogs most people are familiar with, but those who are trained to use their noses to detect changes in a human's physiology and then alert them. They are used to diabetics and others with dangerous illnesses to help them stay healthy and give them a better quality of life.

The author finishes with an introduction to her own dog, talking about how much she learned about a dog's sense of smell. Included in the back matter are extensive acknowledgements, a bibliography, suggested reading, places to visit, websites, ways to get involved, glossary, photo credits, and index.

Finally, we have the physical aspect of the book. Whoever does the layout of books, TAKE NOTICE. THIS is what a nonfiction book should look like. Not a picture book, not a text-packed chapter book, but this. The book is a sturdy rectangle, a little over 8 x 7.5 inches which gives ample space for a nice, attractive layout of text and colorful photographs. It's 154 pages, which is a perfect length. It's really, really hard to convince older kids (or their parents) to take books that look like picture books and nonfiction chapter books tend to be full of a small font that turns kids off. This is perfect.

Verdict: A high-interest subject, with sensitive subjects delicately handled, well-written, and a beautiful layout. This will fly off your shelves and I highly recommend it.

ISBN: 9780544088931; Published 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Added to the library's nonfiction backlist to order

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Numbers: What am I doing with them? or, We have goals and we're not afraid to use them

Because my garden makes me happy
I love planning. In fact, sometimes I like planning things more than actually doing them. I am sure I am not alone in this. However, this year I tried to...plan my planning, if that makes sense. I have goals from my evaluation in May, from discussions with my director and colleague about where we're going with programming in the fall, and finally I put together a department mission and goals.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Youth Services Department of the Matheson Memorial Library is to provide informational, educational, and recreational services, in a friendly and supportive setting, to all families, children, and caregivers of the Elkhorn community. These services are available through quality materials and programs offered by a friendly and knowledgeable staff in a comfortable and welcoming environment. The Youth Services Department serves as a family gathering place focused on educating, enriching, and entertaining the families, children, teens, and caregivers of the public.

Department Goals
  • Serve all age groups with a variety of programs.
  • Serve all families and caregivers with a broad programming schedule
  • Make the Youth Services Department a destination by offering a welcoming, fun, and enriching environment
2014/2015 Objectives
  • Offer programs for each time slot (morning, afternoon, early evening, late evening)
  • Offer a wider variety of programs for early childhood; active/movement programs and programs directed at smaller groups.
  • Offer a wider variety of school­-age programs, specifically for smaller groups, which will enable us to build relationships and encourage use of the collection
  • Revive middle school and teen programs, creating simple, sustainable programs that build on school­-age program participants 
  • Expand outreach to four year olds to build an audience for the preschool programming schedule.
How Will We Get There? Meeting Objectives
  • Alternate programs in time slots so we can offer more variety (monthly/bi­monthly instead of weekly)
  • Alternate programs ­storytime/dance program/art program etc. instead of the same program every week
  • Stagger programs ­ don’t start everything all at once, put in gaps when I know there will be heavy calls for outreach (end of October, end of April)
  • Start with one middle school program (reviving middle school madness) and creating a teen volunteer program
  • Implement a planning schedule to streamline marketing, budgeting and create better long­-term evaluation of programming and build word­-of­-mouth interest in programs
    • November (Thanksgiving) finalize plans for January-May
    • April (after big party) finalize plans for June-August
    • August finalize plans for September-December

Saturday, January 24, 2015

This week at the library; or, Winter or spring? I am very confused.

What's happening in my head and at the library
  • The weather is weird. Was it only last week school was closing due to extreme cold and now it's in the 30s and I hardly need my sweater!
  • I had two interviews, a staff meeting, and a deathly determination to finish the Neighborhoods this week. Y - Z I AM COMING FOR YOU.
  • THE NEIGHBORHOODS ARE FINISHED!! Of course, I still have to deal with the 50+ missing items, everything that was checked out to the youth/tech services and not discharged, 50 holds on items still checked out, signage, and the rest of the replacement order but the main work is done!
  • I went out to New Berlin on Friday morning to join another system's pre-summer reading thing (I have been told that it's NOT a conference and there are no free books, but there is Marge Loch-Wouters and that counts for me) and then I took off the afternoon and went to the zoo and shopping, which is why I'd worked 6 days last week.
  • As always, Marge was very reassuring and relaxing to listen to (although I probably seemed a little abstracted, especially when she mentioned my blog and I looked over my shoulder and was like "huh? me?" but I was listening, honest!) My main take-away was that I need to stop looking for the "perfect" summer reading program, which we can then do forever, world without end, amen. Instead, I need to think of what summer reading program will work well for us, right now, and possibly a few years into the future. What is something simple that can easily be changed and adapted as needed? Related to that, I need to stop trying to reassure staff who are not comfortable with change (or not the frequency of change in my department) by telling them this will be the last change, or I'm not going to change anything again or trying to justify, defend, or cajole. I'm going to practice saying "yes, I'm trying a new program. I think it will be really popular with the parents and kids for X reasons and not too difficult for the staff to pick up, especially since you're all so awesome!" (and I really don't mean that sarcastically - we do have a great staff who have dealt with a lot of difficult changes well)
  • I'm really tired and am now trying to figure out how to set up a schedule for my new employee that won't change every week, will still allow me to train them, and will also take into account the vacation I already put in for in February. It's really hard for me to take vacation, so I usually take long weekends.
What the kids are reading
  • Showed a parent the truck movies. We did not have the specific one she wanted, but there were plenty of others.
  • Spirited Away - new copies coming soon
  • Parent wanting books to help talk about sex/puberty with an 11 year old girl.
  • ATV books - I think I only have one. Need to update the sports section of race cars etc.
  • Found the missing Ira Sleeps Over for a parent needing it for homeschooling curriculum. Discussed why a grade school reader would/should be assigned picture books.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Griffin's Castle by Jenny Nimmo

Eleven-year old Dinah isn't very hopeful about her feckless mother's newest venture; moving them into an abandoned and condemned old house at the behest of her newest boyfriend, Gomer. However, she slowly becomes invested in the vast, ancient house, especially when she discovers the animals along the wall come to life and protect her.

Or are they holding her prisoner? As the year wanes and Christmas approaches, Dinah sinks deeper and deeper into her fantasy world, trying to create the happy family she desperately wants but deep inside knows is impossible. In the end, not even her new friends can save her; only Dinah's determination and spirit give her a chance to break away from the past and find a family for herself.

I always feel that Nimmo's work is somehow under-plotted - like there is a whole extra storyline I'm missing out on. However, her books are nonetheless enjoyable for all that. This is pure neglected-child-wish-fulfillment fantasy. Be sure to pull out the tissues as Dinah desperately tries to create a Christmas for a family that exists only in her imagination. There's just enough magic to add the spooky touch that Nimmo's work always has, and, of course, bits of history and Welsh culture sprinkled throughout as well. The ending is satisfying, if a little abrupt.

Verdict: This is out of print and, honestly, it's not so amazing that I'd take the trouble to track it down, but if you already have a copy in your library or run across one in a donation pile, be sure to recommend it to kids looking for a tear-jerker, holiday fantasy with a happy ending.

ISBN: 9780439025546; Published 2007 by Orchard/Scholastic; I think I bought it at Half-Price Books? Donated to the library

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Read, Read, Read said the Baby: Big Girl Panties by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Valeria Petrone

[This review was previously posted. It has been edited.]

An enthusiastic little girl delights in her panties - all colors, patterns, and decorations. Only big girls can wear panties and she's definitely a big girl, no more diapers for her! Just like moms, grandmas, and aunties, she loves to wear her big girl panties.

Petrone's pictures are simple and cheerful, just right for a board book. Each spread focuses on the little girl of the cover with her Pippi-like hair, waltzing about in her red shirt and a marvelous variety of panties.

This isn't really a potty training book, just a cheerful paean to the joy of fancy underwear and being a big girl. Some parents might be a little concerned about how freely the girl shows off her new acquisitions.

Verdict: Cute, brightly colored, and cheerful. Not a necessary purchase, but a fun addition to the board book collection. Ours was so popular it fell apart and I had to replace it!

ISBN: 9780307931528; Published 2012 by Robin Corey Books/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library (later purchased a replacement)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: The Iridescence of Birds: A book about Henri Matisse by Patricia Maclachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Was it an anniversary of Matisse recently? It feels like I've seen a lot of Matisse books coming out. So, normally I am not a fan of any picture book biographies, at all, ever. However, the art looked pretty and I knew staff, if not patrons, would want to see any book by Patricia MacLachlan.

The story is told a little differently than the usual picture book biography. It starts out "If you were a boy named Henry Matisse who lived in a deary town in northern France..." and then talks about how you would long for color and light, love the art that your mother created and shared with you, and eventually begin to experiment with art yourself and grow up to be a great artist; Henri Matisse.

Notes from the author and illustrator talk about how they came to create the text, where artists' ideas come from, and how the illustrator created the illustrations which suggest Matisse's paintings. There is also a brief list of books for reading more about Matisse.

I really wanted to like this one. MacLachlan's text is, as always, beautiful and Hooper's illustrations show a fun new talent (I believe this is her first picture book). Instead, I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed throughout the book. The only picture book biographies that, in my opinion, work well are those which can be easily read as a picture book to a child with no previous knowledge of or interest in the subject. This one almost, almost works that way. It would be a great book to introduce a young child to the beautiful colors, shapes, and art in the world around you. Until you get to the final pages which mimic some of Matisse's famous artwork, including La Danse, carefully edited to cut off the upper bodies facing the viewer and only show their backs.

Verdict: This book won't introduce a young child to the actual art of Matisse, since it does not include any of his actual art. Parents are likely to be annoyed by having to explain why all the dancing ladies are naked. Without the context of knowing who Matisse is (or understanding the concept of "famous artist" the story doesn't hold together well. Older kids, assuming you can find any willing to read a picture book or interested in Matisse, will turn up their nose at the "cute" illustrations, obviously aimed at younger readers. There's no audience for this at my library and I wish these two had collaborated on a picture book actually intended for children.

ISBN: 9781596439481; Published 2014 by Roaring Brook; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Budget Numbers, Circulation Numbers, Programming Numbers, I Haz Them ALL (part 3)

The Statistics Octopus
It's a Thing
In the past, I've used the circulation numbers to divide up the money for the coming year. This year is going to be...different. I am spending a big chunk on replacements, as the final part of the Neighborhoods project. I will be spending a lot on easy readers and nonfiction, as those areas are next on the list. I gave a larger chunk to our cataloger, who purchases YA (partly because I messed up the budget last year and she lost money). Juvenile will be mainly keeping up with series.

I also have some additional numbers this year, since I decided to track size of collection, as well as circulation, to see how weeding was affecting the collection size. As far as I have been able to figure out, the library's collection was not weeded in its first 100 years of existence, prior to major budget issues, and a big staff turnover. We have a lot of back weeding to do now and I have been weeding diligently over the past 6 years. However, we also have to maintain collection size. I'm a slash and burn weeder (-:) and need to make sure I don't get out of hand. So, these numbers will help me see which areas are getting low.

(if you are anal enough to check my math, total circulation won't match the numbers because it includes holds from other libraries)

Total Circulation: 120,934
Increase from 2013: 3,787

Circulation by area
  • Juvenile audiobooks: 582
    • Increase of 58. I requested additional funds to purchase more audiobooks this year.
  • Book + CD (easy): 208
    • Increase of 26. I purchased a chunk of these at the end of the year and not all are cataloged yet, as we're waiting for the bags they go in.
  • Juvenile Blu-Ray: 1283
    • Increase of 467. I still don't think these are popular enough to devote a significant amount of budget. I try to get the feature films in the double packs, which we separate.
  • Board Books: 4513
    • Increase of 443. I would like to do a major overhaul of this section and replace all the tired and worn books, but I think that will have to be a project for 2016.
  • Juvenile CDs: 412
    • I would actually estimate this circulation at about 800. In June, our cataloger set up a separate location for the CDs. Until then, their circulation was included in with dvds. We had hoped that would separate out the historic stats as well, but it didn't. So this is starting from June.
  • Children's (DVDs): 27,474
    • Increase of 350. Are dvds a thing of the past or have we just reached maximum circ? I would guess the latter.
  • Easy (readers): 9700
    • Increase of 790. My next project in collection development is to sort out the nonfiction in the easy readers, give them to my poor, long-suffering cataloger to recatalog and relabel, and fill in series. I'm also planning to replace a lot of very, very grungy-looking titles. However, my purchasing here is finite since the easy reader shelves are almost full.
  • Juvenile Fiction: 14120
    • This section is confusing because this year I combined juvenile graphics and a large portion of the series into juvenile fiction and then made a separate location for new juvenile. Last year the combined juvenile sections circulated a total of 20,989. The combined total this year was 19,114. So this section was actually down 1875. It took a while for people to find where the series and graphic novels had moved to, the series especially are no longer right out in front by the easy readers. I added better signage during the summer and that helped, but it will just take people a while to find things I think. I tried magnetic labels on shelves, but they keep falling off - I think maybe laminated characters and sticking them to the shelves might be better. I also bought less in this area due to spending on replacements and Neighborhoods and that's not going to change next year so this section may just move a little slower for a while. I have to remind myself that it's ok if circulation drops in one area for a while, since it's up overall. You can't give everything an absolutely optimal spot.
  • New Juvenile Fiction: 2100
  • Juvenile Series: 2894
  • Juvenile Holiday: 1491
    • Increase of 228
  • Juvenile Magazines: 224
    • Dropped 127. The circulation time for magazines was changed to one week and I think this had a negative impact on circ. However, I had nothing to do with that change. Out of my hands!
  • Juvenile Nonfiction: 8990
    • Down by 225. Not unexpected as I did not buy a lot here and moved a lot of very popular titles to the picture book neighborhoods.
  • Oversized: 62
    • Up by 8. I'm still getting rid of this collection - it's really just the Star Wars books.
  • Parenting: 191
    • Down by 198. That's because I moved all the potty training books to the neighborhoods.
  • Picture Books: 27,214
    • Increase of 4885. A portion of that is the concept books that were moved in (about 1,000 in circ) and the easy nonfiction added. A small portion is also the number that were checked out to the youth services card during the process. I'd say that at least 3,000 is increase though!
  • Spanish: 237
    • Down by 165. There's no real way to predict this collection - just depends what family is teaching their kids Spanish or if kids happen upon it or....something.
  • Circulating Toys: 639
    • Increased by 257. I added a lot of new toys and it paid off.
  • Video Games: 2975
    • Increased by 463. I added PS3 and XBOX360 this year. We're running out of space for this collection - might want to increase the limit to 4 or 5, at least for Wii games, but that could be confusing.
  • Young Adult Magazines: 272
    • Up by 9. Meh. This is really a browsing, not a circulating collection.
  • Young Adult Graphic Novels: 1925
    • This was down by 587, very disappointing. However, I got behind in a lot of manga series and I think this is something you have to buy pretty constantly - the teens don't re-read manga as much as some other collections, especially if you have a small collection. Moving the teen area downstairs may have affected this as well - it brought more readers to check out fiction, but I think a lot of the teens who browsed manga are gone. This year I'm going to preorder all the new releases in the popular series.
  • Young Adult Fiction: 5714
    • Increase of 572. Our cataloger took over this collection this year and she made some good choices, also moving it downstairs meant more adults found the collection.
Collection size
Overall, our collection increased by 1,136 to a total collection size of 22,817

Picture books increased by 405 for a total collection of 4,491. This is really amazing, considering how many I weeded due to condition for which the replacements have not yet arrived. I also pulled a lot over from the nonfiction section and purchased heavily in this area as well. I plan to use these numbers to justify the two shelves of books I want to discard as I finish Neighborhoods.

Easy readers are slated to be next on the weeding/replacement list. They increased by 119 for a total collection of 1,165 which is almost at full capacity for our shelves.

Board books increased by 74 for a collection of 566. I'm very proud of my board book collection, which parents love, but it needs refreshing.

Juvenile fiction is confusing because of the way the collections were moved around. Series dropped 524 to a total of 597, the graphic novel location was completely removed and a new juvenile fiction section added, which currently has 182 but fluctuates since this collection is added to the general juvenile fiction location. This location increased by 572 to a total of 3843, which is basically adding the juvenile series. I also weeded the juvenile fiction. So, total juvenile fiction collections are at 4,622 which is an increase of 230.

Juvenile nonfiction dropped 121 to only 5,459. I did not buy much in this area this year and moved several hundred titles to the Neighborhoods. I plan to buy extensively here, possibly this year, but more likely next year.

Media: I was surprised that our juvenile dvds were down 14 for a total collection of 1,837. We've been having some space issues and I bought a ton but I also deleted second copies and I guess we lost more than I thought due to theft/damage. We added 13 more bluray for a total collection of 92, but most patrons don't have bluray players and I only buy them for feature films. I only added 5 juvenile audiobooks, bringing the collection up to 230. I'd like to add more but we have a space issue. I did purchase more book & cd combos, but the numbers only show us going up 4 to 59 because we are waiting for the bags to put them in. I added the separate location for juvenile music cds this year, so I don't have previous numbers to compare. We have 219 and no more space!

I added 7 toys to increase the collection to 54. I thought I'd added more than that, but then remembered that I'd weeded some of the really ancient stuff that predated me.

The video game collection increased by 76 to 213. This was hugely popular when we started it and still circulates well, but I am indecisive now as to whether I should start buying the (very expensive) new game formats, increase the checkout limits from 2 or...?

Young adult graphics only increased by 84 to a total collection of 718, which is probably why the circulation dropped, among other reasons.

Our holiday collection dropped by 4 to 645, which is about right - I would like to add a few more Valentines, Halloween and Thanksgiving books but 700 is the limit for what I can store on the holiday shelves I think.

Oversized dropped 32 to 71 - I am in the process of getting rid of this collection completely.

I was surprised parenting only dropped 1, to 109, even though I moved all the potty books. But I added a handful as well. I plan to increase this collection but it's not a high priority.

I added 3 Spanish books and we have 251 now. This whole collection needs to be relabeled but it's a low priority.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

This week at the library; or, Let's program!

What's happening in my head and at the library
  • Monday - still finishing Neighborhoods. I was going to be done with this by the end of December, but, well...I'm in the Ws! I'm nearly there! Also I pulled books for the bigger remote collections for my new outreach groups. 5 baskets is a lot more complicated than 2! and the rest of my supplies came in - my desk is a total disaster area. I also did a quick tour/explanation of the catalog/history of the library for some cub scouts that showed up.
  • Tuesday - Back on the children's desk! I spent a lot of time working on sorting through the youth services associate position applications. I was worried that we had a really small applicant pool, but a lot of applications came in right before the deadline yesterday and we had several people who looked good. I stayed until 5:30 to have time to make the final decisions on interviews/rejections/possibles to set aside as backup before I left.
  • Wednesday - First Winter Wigglers and two outreach programs. I wasn't sure how this would work - the schools are outside town at the opposite ends (yes, I know our town is only about 4 miles long at the extreme edges, but still) so the first one is at 1:30, finish at 2, and I told the second group I'd be there next, probably 2:15 (time for hauling all my books and such and the heavily slushed streets in town). I got there only a minute or two late and it went very well - a bit long actually, so I didn't get back until just after 3. I called to schedule interviews, hauled some tables out for the Friends book sale, dealt with a number of things that had accumulated (although you couldn't tell from my desk) and left at 4:40. Pretty close to 4:30, when I had planned to leave!
  • Thursday - I got through a bunch of stuff on my Neighborhoods cart (not all Neighborhoods, but the accumulated detritus around it) and then went on the information desk early so my poor director could make a trip to the dentist )-: then, after lunch, I opened new book boxes and unpacked my year's worth of manga order! I ordered all the year's manga at once - filled in series that were neglected last year and preordered all the new volumes. I hope. Our winter book and bake sale is in session, so I crammed Lego Club into the smaller half the community room. I had originally thought I'd have to put it in the Storyroom but that's really not ideal as it's a very small space for the attendance we get and a lot of our attendance comes from people walking by the community room. Not to mention Legos on the floor where we have baby storytime! This was also the first session I did with the new times - I extended after school clubs to 5:30. This means that it's a two hour program and also that I have to have absolute trust in my aide to clean up as I leave at 5:30. I had almost 40 people, which was really good, we all fit comfortably into the small room, I got some absolutely perfect publicity shots of different ages and genders working together, and I left at 5:40! One of the highlights of the evening was a kindergartener who had asked me if he could play with the Legos earlier this week and I said no - those are only for looking you have to come to Lego Club to play with them. His mom said he's been asking and asking all week! Another family said they wanted to get out of the house and the kids picked the Elkhorn library to visit and they were really happy when they found Lego Club was going.
  • Friday - Back out to my new outreach venue for three more storytimes; this went very well, although there is an adjustment to doing storytimes for a class of 23 four year olds as opposed to 12 or 13! Then I met with the director and adult services librarian to discuss scheduling the information desk (conclusion: we do not have enough staff and I cannot do regular shifts b/c of outreach and varying programs. I don't want them anyways! I've got to staff the children's desk sometime!) then grabbed some lunch, then two interviews. I had time to finish a couple things before I left at 5. Pattie did We Explore Science, again in half the community room, while I was gone. I'm working Saturday but I wanted to take a half day next week instead so I came back to work this Friday.
  • Saturday - It was Saturday. It was the last day of the book and bake sale. It was busy.
What the kids are reading
  • Bilingual books - a mom said her boys had really liked the Spanish Cinderella they got from my Cinderella display and wanted more books like that.
  • Helped a kid pick a book he'd like from his reading list - No More Dead Dogs
  • A "classic" for a homeschooled teen - recommended Dickens, Twain, or Verne.
  • Yolen dinosaur books - need to finish neighborhoods!
  • How to play the piano, specifically with letters on the keys
  • Horse picture books
  • Peppa Pig books (we don't have any)
  • Chuggington books (we don't have any)
  • Amelia Bedelia
  • easy readers - a little girl wanted a picture book but her grandmother thought she should be only getting books she could read. I showed her some picture books that she could easily read and she was happy.
  • a very shy boy visiting his grandma wanted Rocket books (turned out to be Tad Hills' Rocket so we found those) and we looked at a couple other things as well.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Erstwhile: Untold Tales from the Brothers Grimm 1 and 2 by Gina Biggs, Louisa Roy, Elle Skinner

I discovered these as a webcomic earlier in 2014. I noticed that they had a collection in a book but I was perfectly happy reading them online. Then I saw that the second collection was coming out, with one of my most favorite fairy tales, Snow White and Rose Red. I knew I had to have them and I might as well get I did! I also bought a set for a friend.


Each of these tales stays pretty close to the original - the added dimensions come from the art, the expressions of the characters, and the diversity pictured.

"Maid Maleen" is adapted by Gina Biggs and illustrated by Louisa Roy. A young girl refuses to marry according to her father's wishes, having fallen in love with another prince. Furious, she is shut up in a tower for seven years, during which time her country is devastated. When she and her maid escape, they end up as scullery maids in her beloved prince's kingdom, where he is about to marry another princess - who is hideously ugly. She threatens Maid Maleen to help in her disguise but in the end Maleen has her prince and the false princess is suffers her own punishment. Yes, her head is chopped off. Roy's art is soft with lots of pastel and earth colors. I especially loved how she actually ages her protagonist from an innocent little girl to a determined and experienced woman.

"The Bird, the Mouse, and the Sausage" adapted by Gina Biggs and illustrated by Elle Skinner. This is one of the quirkier of Grimm's tales. The titular characters have a happy life, each with a different duty - the bird gathers firewood, the mouse hauls water, and the sausage seasons the stew. When the bird becomes unhappy with his lot and demands they change jobs, they all end up dead. (I didn't say it was a happy story). Skinner's art has more of what I would think of as a children's illustrative quality, with broad lines, rich backgrounds, and less expressive faces.

"The Little Shroud" adapted and illustrated by Gina Biggs. This is one of the short, quasi-religious Grimm tales. A woman is devastated at her child's death, more so when his ghost appears, weeping to her every night. Finally, the ghost tells her it cannot rest in its shroud until she stops weeping and she manages to contain her grief. This is one that definitely makes more sense in the context of the tumultuous society and constant wars of the time period - with a high rate of infant mortality, parents had to accept death and move on to survive. Biggs' art is my favorite of the three with vivid colors, strong lines, and expressive faces. This story features a dark-skinned mother and child.

"The Farmer's Clever Daughter" adapted and illustrated by Gina Biggs. A farmer's clever daughter attracts the notice of the king and eventually marries him; but things don't go smoothly and he banishes her. However, she's more than a match for the king and cleverly manages to keep her beloved king and better the lot of the villagers as well. An author's note says this is the story that inspired the Erstwhile project and the first story that they did. This is one that really depends on the artwork. Just reading the story, yes, the farmer's daughter is clever and beats the king at every turn, but to modern sensibilities the king is a pretty nasty character and it's hard to understand why she would be in love with him. With Biggs' romantic, lush artwork, we see a determined and upbeat girl who falls for a king who's got a good heart, but is immature and isolated from his people and makes hasty decisions. And he really, really doesn't understand her - he spends a lot of the story with a bewildered, what-have-I-gotten-myself-into? expression. Once he realizes his wife truly loves him and stops feeling threatened by her being smarter than him, the story ends, there is a happy ending for all.

"The Old Man and His Grandson" adapted by Gina Biggs, illustrated by Louisa Roy. This is a brief didactic tale; an unpleasant couple isolate their aging father because of his inability to eat tidily at the table. When they find their son making a trough for when they are old, they are repentant and restore their father to a place at the table. The art is all in pale tans and browns and has a light, sketchy feel.

"A Tale with a Riddle" adapted and illustrated by Gina Biggs. Three women are turned into flowers, but a clever husband regains his wife. This is one of those tales that's rather fragmented - why were they turned into flowers? Why was one allowed to go home? What happened to the other two women? It has lots of gorgeous, swirling, colorful art though and features a dark-skinned couple triumphing over evil magic with cleverness.

"The Sweet Porridge" adapted and illustrated by Gina Biggs. This is one of the "magic table gone wrong" stories - a starving mother and daughter are given a magic porridge bowl, but when the mother forgets the right words the whole town is swamped with porridge. The art really makes this story, featuring a romantically slender mother and daughter who end the story plump and obviously happy and well-fed, after their hilarious adventure.

"All Fur" adapted by Gina Biggs, illustrated by Elle Skinner. A king, inconsolable after the death of his wife, decides to take his daughter as his wife instead, as she is the only one as beautiful as his deceased wife. She tries to get out of it by demanding beautiful dresses and then a cloak made of pieces of fur from every animal, but eventually flees. Working as a scullery maid, she escapes to the royal ball in her dresses for a brief time and catches the eye of the prince. He eventually figures out her identity and they are married and live happily every after. Skinner's art adds a rich dimension to the story, following the king's mental and physical deterioration and the princess' determined flight and return to society. Her dresses glow softly in the muted colors and lines of the artwork and the story features a prince with darker skin and hair.

The story ends with a gallery of fairy tales characters from Cinderella to Little One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes.

The second volume, which I was eagerly looking forward to, although I'd seen all the stories online already, did not disappoint.

It opens with one of my favorite stories that I read as a child, "Brother and Sister" adapted by Gina Biggs and illustrated by Elle Skinner. It's a variation on Hansel and Gretel sort of - a brother and sister escape from an evil stepmother and her nasty daughter (she has a missing eye with gruesome blood trickling from under her eyepatch) but the brother is transformed into a white deer by the stepmother's evil magic. The deer-brother is hunted by the king and his party who then track down the sister. The king, who is absolutely adorable, marries the daughter - but the evil stepmother sneaks in and kills her after the birth of her first child. Her ghost returns and the king frees her from the spell and the stepmother and her daughter are horribly killed - which frees the brother from the spell. This has brighter colors than in Skinner's other artwork, like a vividly green forest and the ominous bloody red of the stepsister's eyepatch. The brother and sister have light brown skin and the king looks like an adorable boy scout with his hunting dress and neat spectacles.

"Iron Hans" adapted by Gina Biggs and illustrated by Louisa Roy veers a little away from the original story, although not as much as Trina Schart Hyman's version (which I also love). A young boy disobeys his father and frees a wild man, who then takes him into the woods to avoid his father's anger. The boy is supposed to guard a magical spring but fails in his duty. However, Iron Hans does not forsake him but sponsors him to go out into the world, where he works as a gardener, falls in love with the princess, and after he saves the kingdom and wins her heart he and Iron Hans are both restored. Roy's slick, glistening art is the perfect medium to add a mischievous, sly dimension to the characters. Iron Hans is wickedly humorous, both in his enchanted and real forms, and the interactions between the princess and gardener's boy become funnier and more tender than in the original story, where one wonders why the prince would marry such a haughty and unpleasant princess.

"Doctor Know-it-All" adapted and illustrated by Gina Biggs is done in a very different style than her other work. It's one of the short tales and features a man who wants to be a doctor and ends up wealthy through a series of lucky coincidences and clever wordplay. The art is grainy and colored in sepia and red tones, making it look like an old silent film or newspaper cartoon strip.

"The Three Lazy Ones" adapted and illustrated by Elle Skinner is another short, quirky tale. A king offers his kingdom to whichever of his sons is the laziest and it is won by the youngest son. The ironic twist at the end shows the proclamation being read to an exasperated populace, laboring in the fields.

"The Worn Out Dancing Shoes" adapted and illustrated by Louisa Roy is a version of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. I really didn't care for this one - Roy's artwork is fine and the tale told in all its quirky, odd glory, but it ends on an odd note with the nasty oldest princess married - and ignored - by the soldier.

However, this is followed by my absolute favorite story, "Snow White and Rose Red" adapted and illustrated by Gina Biggs. If you're not familiar with the story, two girls live with their mother, deep in the forest. Snow White is gentle and kind and blond, Rose Red is energetic and lively and has red hair (in the original story it's black) but they are sisters and love each other dearly. When a bear comes to their house for shelter in the winter, he becomes their dearest friend and they are sorry to see him return to the forest come spring. While he is gone, they three times save a nasty little dwarf until finally the dwarf is attacked and killed by a bear...who turns out to be an enchanted prince. Snow White marries him and Rose Red his brother and they will never be parted. I just love everything about this story. The warmth and love of the small family unit, the inseparable sisters, the romantic, happily-ever-after ending. Biggs' colorful, romantic art makes it even better, adding a meeting with Rose Red and her prince and confidences from Snow White to her bear as they grow closer until the enchantment is broken.

The book ends with an odd, tragic little story "Death of the Little Hen" adapted and illustrated by Elle Skinner. A rooster's beloved hen is choked to death and, on the way to her funeral, he gathers animals. They try to cross a stream and eventually fall in and drown, all except the rooster who stays with his hen's grave until only his skeleton is left. The glowing, almost neon art gives a surreal feel to what is definitely a surreal story.

Gorgeous. So, what does this mean for a library? Who is the audience? Well, although fairy tales are generally considered for children, the gruesome ends of the villains and the short, quirky stories that often deal with death don't give this a children's book feel to me. On the other hand, while many adults enjoy fairy tales, it's hard to picture them checking this out in my library at least. I'd say this is most likely to find an audience among teens who will appreciate the art and stories.

However, getting your hands on it is liable to be an issue. It is available only directly from the authors, via Strawberry Comics. If you purchase both volumes together, it's $39. They are hardbound and feel like really strong, excellent bindings, but I am generally reluctant to purchase expensive graphic novels because of how easily the pages seem to disintegrate, even in what looks like a strong volume. It's also very difficult for me to purchase outside my vendor and I have to have a strong justification for doing so. There's not a lot of interest in fairy tales among my teens right now, although a few years ago they were really into them.

Verdict: Although I happily expended money to purchase these for myself and a friend, I can't justify the purchase for the library at this time. However, if you have fairy tale fans and a more flexible budget and purchasing system, I heartily recommend this. And don't forget to purchase a set for yourself and support the authors in creating more beautiful comics with strong female characters and a diverse cast!

Vol. 1
ISBN: 9780985619503; Published 2012 by Strawberry Comics
Vol. 2
ISBN: 9780985619565; Published 2014 by Strawberry Comics
Purchased for my personal library

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo

[This review was previously published. It has been rewritten and edited]

This sounded cool and it is, but I'd never put it in the library. It's an alphabet book, each spread featuring a different letter. The comparisons are fairly normal, "A is for apple/E is for elephant" etc.

What's unusual is the design. It's only sort of a board book. The pages are thick but not quite board book thick. Each spread has clues on one side, the image of the item on the other, and in between a die cut letter that you turn and that's incorporated into the illustration. The art is cute, if not particularly memorable and has lots of clean lines and simple shapes.

If you count it up though, that's 26 spreads, way, way more than a normal board book. Also, when I looked at the copy I borrowed, even though it's a new title, some of the letters are already bent and there was wear on the spine (which is almost 3 inches thick) that makes me think it won't last long.

Verdict: Cool, but unless you plan to replace it frequently or don't care that it falls apart within a few months, I wouldn't purchase it for circulation in the library.

ISBN: 9781419709364; Published 2013 by Abrams; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Welcome to the Museum: Animalium by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom

Oh, did this book bring back memories. When I was a kid, we loved perusing animal encyclopedias. All that knowledge! The pictures!

This is that same experience, updated for the modern child. The book is supposed to be like visiting a museum - but it's waaay more interesting (sorry all my museum friends).

The preface gives a brief explanation of biodiversity and then after the table of contents (or "galleries") you are welcomed to the animalium and invited to browse this museum in a book. An elaborate family tree shows all the animals and more that are covered in the book and is followed by a brief explanation of evolution.

Then, it's time to enter the galleries. Each gallery focuses on a different type of animal; invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The opening spread features a sepia-toned illustration of various creatures on the left and the title page with a list of the gallery contents on the right. The gallery itself introduces the animal family, then features various creatures with detailed, vividly illustrated plates. It ends by introducing a habitat.

The book ends with an extensive index and a list of generic online sources to learn more about the creatures introduced. Physically, be aware that this is a large book. It's 15 inches high and almost a foot wide. The binding appears sturdy, but if you don't have a good shelving solution for oversized titles that might not last long.

The illustrations look exactly like the encyclopedic plates I remember from my childhood with an old-fashioned, static feel and yet they are vividly life-like and exquisitely detailed. However, the real contemporary feel comes from the text. In a bold, readable font and cut into friendly, bite-sized chunks, it informs and guides without overwhelming the reader.

Verdict: This is an intriguing start to what promises to be a beautiful and fascinating series. This will capture the attention of children old enough to read and absorb the text and young enough to enjoy the pictures. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780763675080; Published 2014 by Big Picture Press/Candlewick; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Added to the nonfiction backlist to order

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Budget Numbers, Circulation Numbers, Programming Numbers, I Haz Them ALL (part 2)

The Statistics Octopus
It's a thing
Budget numbers! Last year I tried ordering all the supplies for the year at once. This was easier than ordering in bits and pieces, but it was too much at once. I also made a budget error with my spreadsheets that ended up making me go about $600 over in my book budget. AUGH! So, I am planning new, better budget spreadsheets for next year. I have also set them up so I will be comparing invoices and not just expenditures, which is where part of the problem happened. I've added my book budget to this year's numbers. All numbers are estimates, performer costs including discounts by collaborating with other libraries. Highlighted items are those I still have a significant amount of, and I compiled these numbers whilst fighting a stomach bug.

Program supplies: $1728
SRP: $1213
Performers: $1295
Other: $494
Teen programs (including summer reading): $200

Books: $16,669
AV (dvds, games, audiobooks, cds): $6,070

General Program Supplies
  • Construction paper (8x12): $40
  • Construction paper (9x12): $20
  • Jumbo craft sticks: $26
  • Satin ribbon: $17
  • Paper heart doilies: $6
  • Cardboard wings: $150
  • Tacky glue: $20
  • Glitter glue (small bottles): $30
  • Glitter glue pens: $18
  • Pipe cleaners (striped): $18
  • Pipe cleaners: $18
  • Metallic pony beads: $12
  • Glue dots: $43
  • Colored masking tape (and dispenser): $67
  • Glue: $28
  • Pompoms: $8
  • Sticker shapes: $27 
  • Rhinestones: $20
  • Sequins and spangles: $13
  • Paint brushes: $14
  • Popsicle sticks: $12
  • Paper plates, styrofoam plates: $20
  • Paper towels, wipes, brown paper lunch bags, and misc., etc.: $100
  • Beans/seeds: $20
  • Dinosaur foam stickers: $8
  • Feathers: $12
  • Acrylic paint: $15
  • Stencils (not consumable): $16
  • Duct tape: $30
  • Cotton balls: $6
  • Balloons: $15
  • magnets: $20
  • Mad Scientists Club mixing magic supplies: $40
  • craft (washi) tape: $32
  • colored sand: $28
  • Clay pots and dirt: $25
  • Messy Art Club: snap ornaments: $100
  • Messy Art Club: ceramic ornaments: $20
Specific Program Supplies
  • Annual Spring Break T-Shirt Party: $120
    • fabric crayons: $15
    • permanent markers: $35
    • fabric paint: $70
  • Santa's Kitchen: $90
    • cookies and frosting: 90
  • Dr. Seuss Celebration: $46
    • pompoms: $10
    • cupcake mix: $10
    • decorations/misc.: $26
  • We Explore Science: $96
  • We Explore art and stories: $60
    • snacks: $45
    • watercolor pencils: $15
  • Fairy party: $65
    • Decorations and ribbon: $45
    • Misc. tablecloths, food, etc.: $20
  • Muffins for mom: $17
    • Muffins: $12
    • Scrapbook paper: $5
  • Wimpy kid party: $50
    • I have a LOT of toilet paper left
  • 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten (stickers): $70
  • Summer reading program: $1213
    • CSLP marketing materials and prizes: $165
    • S&S Worldwide prizes: $965
    • Discount School Supply prizes: $83
Other Supplies and Expenditures
  • Scholastic Warehouse Sale (books for prizes and the collection): $200
  • Library hamster: $80
  • Marketing: $13
    • posterboard: $3
    • desk candy: $10
  • Birdwatching station: $10
  • Family garden: $15
  • Toys for baby lapsit: $223
  • Circulating toy bags and maker kits: $25
    • plastic tubs: $10
    • caterpillar to butterfly: $7
    • magnet kit: $8
  • Smitty and Mary G.: $100
  • Welty Environmental Center (2 programs): $220
  • Great Scott (2 programs): $475
  • Nature's Niche: $300
  • TG Magic: $150
  • Ice Age Trail Alliance (this is a donation): $50

Book Budget

  • Junior Library Guild (teen): $700
  • Teen fiction (which I messed up): $800
  • Nonfiction and comic sets: $1074
  • Replacements and additions to fairy tales for Neighborhoods (used grant money): $500
  • Replacements and additions to transportation for Neighborhoods: $1600
  • Tub books (I don't replace specific titles since they go in and out of print too fast): $50
  • Replacements for missing/stolen items: $400
  • Replacements for lost/claimed return items: $150
  • General replacements: $925
  • General orders: $10,500
AV Budget
I did order a couple cds, but they were as part of other orders. Midway through this year I got a new location for juvenile cds so I could actually tell how much they were circulating. I also weeded them. On the positive side, they circulate a lot more than I thought they did - however, on the negative side, I have absolutely no space for new cds. I added PS3 and XBOX360 to our Wii and small number of WiiU games.

  • DVDs: $3,380
  • Video Games (some dvds mixed in those orders): $1284
  • Replacements: $1,006
  • Audiobooks: $400

Saturday, January 10, 2015

This week at the library; or, New year - meh

What's going on in my head and at the library

  • Well, this is a salubrious start to the new year. I am miserably sick. It's not all bad however, as when I get sick I tend to range from depressed I-will-never-get-better misery to stoic if-I'm-sick-I-might-as-well-be-productive-damnit and I get a ton of work done. Over the weekend (and last Friday I went home sick) I managed to get all my reports and statistics done, except one that I need another report from circ to finish, and I got the programs laid out in my programming blog, In Short, I'm Busy, so that I could put together my supply lists for the winter/spring. I still have to actually write up the programs and choose books etc. but the supply lists are the first thing.
  • Monday - staff meeting. I filled in all the activity stations and stealth programs that were emptied over the holidays. Displays, cleaning off desk, all the misc. stuff. I also worked on getting all my stealth programs up so I can link to them and track them as I change stuff.
  • Tuesday: Ordering supplies. This ended up involving phone calls and lots of sturm und drang. However, thanks to some helpful customer service representatives, I now have ordered all the program supplies through May, including an incubator, microscope, blocks, bubble blowers, and musical instruments. I also got to try to explain to a disbelieving and bored credit card customer service person why I was trying to use the city credit card at Gymboree (bubble blowers and musical shakers). I'm just glad I didn't have to explain the incubator to them...I also did a little work on programs and Neighborhoods.
  • Wednesday: Neighborhoods and AV orders which means I OFFICIALLY STARTED OUR ANIME COLLECTION!! I could never do this before because I didn't have the budget and we didn't have security - I lost so much in teen to theft I was leary of doing anime. However, we are in the midst of installing RFID (the tagging continues...) and I got a larger AV budget this year, so YES!!
  • Thursday - Neighborhoods. Programming planning.
  • Friday - worked on Neighborhoods in the morning, then ran errands. THREE HOURS AT WALMART HOLY HEDGEHOGS.
  • Saturday -  Came in at 9 to start setup for the Butterfly Celebration, which went well, and then I stayed to clean out the storyroom and put away all the supplies and finish enough of the Neighborhoods that there were no bookstacks in the storyroom, since programs begin Monday morning! I finally left close to 2.
What the kids are reading
  • Someone asked where the Chico Bon Bon books moved! So now Chico obviously needs his own character sticker on the shelf edges. Yes!
  • Is Derek Benz' Revenge of the Shadow King appropriate for a younger middle grade - more investigation turns out they've read Spiderwick and Percy Jackson, so yes. This was a bit of a guess on my part, as I haven't read it myself, but I feel pretty confident. I think the creepy skeleton-like picture on the cover threw them off a little.
  • Yoga for kids

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry

This is, I believe, Sherry's first venture out of the world of picture books and it's a really funny debut.

Blizz Richards, a yeti, is excited to attend a family reunion with lots of other bigfeet. But oh no! Will nasty cryptozoologist and publicity hound George Vanquist ruin everything? He's already sent Bigfoot Brian into hiding - Can Blizz and his friends coax Brian out and have a fun time despite Vanquist's sneaky ways?

The book is laid out in a blended graphic novel/beginning chapter book style similar to Bad Kitty or some of the new Branches series. Each page is crammed with black and white illustrations, labelled diagrams, maps of caves, and more, while the light plot is popped in almost as an afterthought, holding the pictures together.

The pictures and story are funny, and together they're hilarious, as a couple unexpected players solve the mystery and thwart Dr. Vanquist, making sure the Bigfeet have an awesome vacation.

Verdict: Full of jokes, puns, quirky cryptids, and more, this will appeal to a wide range of readers, not just the beginning chapter book set. It's blurbed by Dav Pilkey and this is one of the few times I'd definitely go on that for a recommendation - Pilkey fans will love this, as will readers of Dragonbreath, Bad Kitty, and and cartoon aficionados. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780545556170; Published 2014 by Scholastic; Purchased for the library

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Read, Read, Read said the Baby: Daddies and their babies by Guide van Genechten

This review was previously published. I have rewritten and edited it.

This is a book for the very youngest of the board book audiences. The text is simple, on each spread it identifies the animals "the bird daddy with his baby chick." There were a few inaccuracies. "baby frog" should be tadpole and "caterpillar daddy" should have been butterfly. This is disconcerting because all the other pictures are accurately labeled.

The pictures are shades of black, white, gray, and brown. They're very cute, showing the various father/child pairs posed to smile at each other happily. However, the black and white pictures, sometimes on white backgrounds, sometimes on black, don't always have a high definition. They look sort of stamped or maybe collage and can be sort of muddy at the edges in places.

Verdict: I went back and forth on this one, but the inaccurate vocabulary and indistinct pictures put me in the pass camp.

ISBN: 9781605371108; Published 2012 by Clavis; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

Monday, January 5, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Ida M. Tarbell by Emily Arnold McCully

I had only a vague idea of who Ida Tarbell was before I read this book. I knew she was a journalist and influential in the early 1900s....and that was about it.

This book starts with her childhood in the oil boom in Pennsylvania and traces her complicated, controversial life until her death in 1944. During her lifetime she met presidents, was friends with Jane Addams, influenced anti-trust legislature, and changed the world. She also opposed women's suffrage, advocated that women stay home and not go out to work, and struggled with a world that was changing around her and, as she saw it, attacking the values of home and family she so deeply valued despite never marrying herself.

This is a compassionate and beautifully written biography of a complex figure. McCully doesn't attempt to excuse Tarbell's life but presents it from a sympathetic perspective, inviting the reader to be inspired by her contributions and understand the very human figure behind them.

The author's note explains how she came to write this biography; "Ida can still be admired, but she also has to be explained." Photographs and ephemera - newspaper cartoons, etc. fill the book. Back matter includes sources, bibliography, and index.

Verdict: This is an amazing book, well-deserving of an award. However, it's most definitely not for a middle grade audience. The complex person represented, including frank discussions of historical events and attitudes, is aimed at a young adult audience. That's a drawback for me, since the only young adult biographies that circulate for me are more inspirational/memoir type things. I can't justify purchasing this for my library, but it would be a must for a larger library with a more diverse audience.

ISBN: 9780547290928; Published 2013 by Clarion; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Budget Numbers, Circulation Numbers, Programming Numbers, I Haz Them ALL (part 1)

The Statistics Octopus
It's a thing
I really love numbers. Last year I did a series of posts on yearly numbers and it was very useful in my planning process, plus fun! so I'm doing it again this year. Programming numbers were kind of weird this year. Some regular programs were cancelled for part of the year, some had unexpected large attendance, some smaller programs we kept for reasons other than statistics. I had a lot more outreach, which cancelled out the cancelled programs. All these numbers are for our children's programs; I didn't even bother to include teen programs/numbers because they were minimal and we're completely overhauling the teen offerings (such as they are) this year.

Total Programs (including outreach): 364
Total Attendance (including outreach): 12,282
Average individual program attendance: 34
This was an increase of 6 programs and 723 attendance from 2013. I feel confident that my position at the top rung of the programming and attendance stats in our consortium is secure. Not that it is a competition. At all. Really.

Regular programs
These programs are run on a regular basis, weekly or monthly, except over breaks and holidays.
  • Storytimes and Early Literacy Programs for ages 5 and under (*facilitated or offered by my partner through the school district)
    • *Toddlers 'n' Books (10am): 37 programs, 1,068 attendance, average 29
    • *Toddlers 'n' Books (11am): 37 programs, 938 attendance, average 25
    • *Books 'n' Babies: 44 programs, 1,080 attendance, average 25
    • Preschool Interactive (winter/spring/summer): 22 programs, 466 attendance, average 21
    • *We Explore Science: 7 programs, 416 attendance, average 59
    • We Explore Favorite Artists: 8 programs, 197 attendance, average 25
    • We Explore Nature (fall): 3 programs, 44 attendance, average 15
    • *Pattie's Playgroup, Pattie's CAFE, Moms with Multiples: 21 programs, 603 attendance, 29 average
    • *Tiny Tots, Family Game Night: 25 programs, 372 attendance, average 15
  • Family and School Age Programs
    • Lego Club: 13 programs, 525 attendance, average 40
    • Messy Art Club: 11 programs, 603 attendance, average 55
    • Mad Scientists Club: 6 programs, 234 attendance, 39 average
Other (special) programs
These are one-time or infrequent programs. Some of them are annual, some of them are things we tried for the first time and did not continue.
  • Smitty and Mary G.: 83
    • Musical performance for West Side kindergarten
  • Welty Environmental Center: 2 performances, 50 and 35 attendance
    • Summer kick-off and fall program on a no-school day (which was a scheduling snafu I made)
  • Storywagon: Glen Gerard: 187
  • Storywagon: Duke Otherwise: 175
  • Storywagon: Wayne and Wingnut: 180
  • Storywagon: Science Alliance: 138
  • Nature's Niche: Weird Science: 105
  • Ice Age Trail: Going on a mammoth hunt: 45
  • Kohls Wild Theater: 123
    • This performance is primarily for our biggest 4K school, but I usually get around 50 parents and toddlers showing up as well.
These are all my outreach visits, on and off-site. Some include remote collections.
  • Monthly off-site visits (3 kindergarten classes, 3 4K classes, 1 3 yr old class)
  • On-site outreach (visits, tours, etc.)
    • Lakeland (special education school): 2 visits, 10 attendance at each
    • Elementary School Art Show - 100 attended the open house at the library (estimated)
    • First Lutheran brought their 20 1st and 2nd graders (including teachers, chaperones, etc.) for a tour.
    • Step Ahead Preschool: 2/38
    • Battle of the Books District Battle was held at the library with 108 kids in teams plus teachers, parents, volunteers, etc.
    • 6th Grade gold team visited in 3 groups, 150 kids total
    • 5th Grades visited in 2 groups, 220 total, for 2 magic shows before summer
    • I tried two outreach programs with the homeschoolers - a summer preview (13) and a tour (25)
    • Safety Town, summer kindergarten: 80
    • 3 classes, total 75 1st graders visited the library for We Explore Favorite Artist Eric Carle
    • Jackson 1st grade visited the library in two groups, total 90 for the First Grade library bingo tour
    • Jackson 2nd grade visited the library in two groups, total 90 for the Second Grade Community Walk
  • Off-site outreach (school visits for summer)
    • 6th Grade purple team - 150 kids, booktalks and summer promotion
    • 3 elementary schools visited, 15 presentations, total 1,183 (summer preview)
    • 3 storytimes for summer school kindergarten (session 2), total of 45 kids.
    • I participated in the school's Project R.E.A.D. and reached about 70 people.
Stealth Programming
This includes my reading programs and all other stealth programming.
  • 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten: 106 new families joined and participants read 8,950 books
  • Culver's coloring contest: 100
  • Chick Central
  • Birdwatching station: 188
  • Stuffed animal sleepover: 47
  • Activity Table: 4 activities, 107 participants
  • Take home storytime: 5 themes, all 138 bags taken (they would have taken more if I'd made more!)
  • Summer Reading: 56 Rubber Ducky Readers, 516 for the general program, 128 super readers, 60 daycare, and 56 middle school/teens
  • Paws to Read (Dec. '13 to Feb. '14): 26 kids read 158 books
  • Paws to Read (animal shelter visits): 4 visits, about 100 people involved
  • I Spy Aquarium: 10 (this was all the check off sheets I started with)