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12 Blogs of 2014: R. David Lankes

great communities build great librariesTruth be told, I’m not an avid blog reader. Since the demise of Google Reader, I’ve not devoted much time to finding a new tool to help me organize and track my blog reading. The blogs I do read belong to those people who I can count on to get me thinking and give me some great ideas, and few make me think more than R. David Lankes.

Now that I’ve got some distance from being a full time student, I’m realizing how much I miss the discourse of being in the classroom. I miss the thought provoking readings, the vigorous discussion, learning not just from professors, but from peers. David has, with his blog, recreated some of this. He’s an academic who knows and appreciates the boots on the ground work that librarians really do, and the work we might do, we could do, and we want to do.

Boring PatientI came to know David through his ILEAD keynotes in March, June, and October (which are absolutely required viewing if you are despairing about the importance of libraries). If you do watch these keynotes, you’ll learn about David’s personal journey through illness and into health, which he shares more of in The Boring Patient.

And if you haven’t visited his blog before, this week is a great time to do so. He’s beginning a series of Radical Conversations on New Librarianship, and we’re all invited to join in. This week the topic is Defining a Library. It gives me a thrill like I used to get while sitting in the classroom of a particularly inspiring professor, and I’m so glad I can participate at my leisure with the benefit of my years of practical library work. It’s the perfect way for me to recapture what I loved about being in school, without actually being in school.

TPiB: Free Comic Book Day at the Last Minute

We’ve ALL been there. We’ve been meaning to get something together and it’s falling through the cracks due to summer reading, personal things, random things blowing up. Someone higher than us saw something in the newspaper or an online article and says, HEY WE NEED A PROGRAM FOR THIS DAY and says YOU! DO THIS! Or we’re just completely drained because it’s *MAY* and really, I want summer vacation.

There’s no reason you can’t have a completely AWESOME FCBD celebration at your library at the last minute. All you have to do is search within yourself and it will all be OK.

No, you’re not going to go begging for comics. First, the store actually PAYS for those comics (FREE in Free Comic Book Day means they give them away) but more often than not your comic store will be doing something wonderfully cool in addition to giving away the comics. Cosmic Comics and Cards, my local shop, always has a barbeque going with hotdogs and other food for his customers, and gets costumed characters (a variety each year that donate their fee to charity) to come out and take pictures. See what your local store is doing, and see if you can piggyback on what they’re doing by either doing a library outreach (card sign-up or just helping at the event in a library shirt) or handing out flyers at your library to let people know. That goodwill comes back to you, trust me.
Look around your library and talk to your staff, and see what you have. Do you have a gaming console (Wii, XBox 360, PS3)? See if you can get your hands on games like DC vs Mortal Kombat, Lego Marvel Superheros,  Lego Star Wars,DragonBall Z, or other games that can be set up for two or more players, and have a free play gaming day. See if someone would be willing to lend their board games for an afternoon with the promise that you’ll take good care of them, or see if the library would be willing to purchase some outright. There are a lot of comic related games out there, including:
Or if you have players in your area, let it be known that you’re having free play for
I’ve found that all I have to do reserve some tables, set down basic rules (no trading cards, no trick battles), and just watch them play. Ideally, I have prizes relating to the games played (sealed packs of cards from the latest release) as a door prize, but a lot of times teens and young adults just want a place to play. 

Don’t forget to showoff your collection. You may not have a comic or graphic novel collection, or it may not be in the best shape, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do a display. Pull science fiction novelizations of comic related books (want to start a fun debate with people, pull all the books that Lucasfilms and Disney have now decided don’t belong in the Starwars cannon), and all the movies that you have that are based off of comics and graphic novels. 
Finally, if you have a public performance license that covers them, show comic based movies all day. Pop popcorn or encourage teens and young adults to bring snacks (and have them clean up afterwards- you’d be surprised what they’ll do if you ask and put guidelines on the program) and either roll out a TV or set up a projector and take over a wall. The entire Avengers cannon (starting with Iron Man all the way through Thor: The Dark World) is based on comics, or show the Tobey Maguire Spiderman then the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man and debate the merits between the two.  Or show movies that feature the casting of future superheros such as Chronicle (still superpowers yet stars the future Human Torch) or Fast and Furious (with Gal Godot rumored to be Wonder Woman in the 2017 Justice League movie).
 Introduce them to Mystery Men, one of the best movies about the need for strange superheros. 
Or, take a movie that the teens and you really don’t like and turn it into a RiffTrax/Mystery Science Theater opportunity and completely trash it while watching it. Surely you can think of a few comic related bombs that would fit the bill…

Take 5: Books Christie is Judging by the Blurb

I have finished my term as Rainbow Project Chair, and find myself off of book committees for the FIRST time since 2004, first as a member and then co-chair of the Amelia Bloomer Project, then as a member then chair of the Rainbow Project.

If you count, that’s 10 YEARS of reading specifically themed books on top of pleasure reading, work reading, and blog reading.

Which means, a lot of reading.

And now, I get to read what I want, and I am like


So I’ve been going through e-Arc site, and here are 5 that have caught my eye. I haven’t read them yet, I’ve only seen the publisher’s blurb (which is below the cover) but oh, man, I am so waiting to devour them.


Divided by Elsie Chapman (sequel to Dualed, out May 27, 2014)
How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.


Torn Away by Jenifer Brown (May 6, 2014)
In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she’s never considered before — one in which her mother wasn’t perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that’s something no tornado can touch.


Deliver Me by Kate Jarvik Birch (April 29, 2014)
As Odessa slips deeper and deeper into the role of Carrier, Wynne begins to see the Union for what it really is: a society that criminalizes the notion of love, and forbids words like mother and family.
For the first time in her life, Wynne is faced with a choice: submit to the will of the Union, or find a way to escape and save Odessa before she is lost forever

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin (September 2014)
Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction? The answers lie trapped within her mind. To access them, she’ll need the help of the teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that’s blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why…


V is for Villain by Peter Moore (May 2014)
When Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he’s happy to join a new crew-especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. And with her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own. But when they’re pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he’s on. And once he does, there’s no turning back.

Christie’s Winter 2014 Books To Look For

Looking for something to pick up, or something to get you out of the doldrums of winter? Look no further than these 8 books- all coming out in Winter/Spring 2014 (some already released and getting huge buzz) and ready to be snatched up by teens (and teen specialists) everywhere….

INFINITE by Jodi Meadows
Ana knows her life will be at risk in Heart, so she escapes with her friends to help keep the other Newsouls safe; however, only she knows the true cost of reincarnation and the price she’ll pay if she returns to face their foe.
Conclusion of the Incarnate trilogy, Ana is the first “new” soul in a world where everyone else has been reborn hundreds of times.
In a small town in Iowa, two best friends have unleashed the ultimate unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry 6 foot tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.
Already released and getting huge buzz, Smith (Winger, Marbury Lens series) is making huge waves- warning, there is *language*.
DUST OF EDEN by Mariko Nagai
In early 1942, thirteen-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa and her Japanese-American family are sent from their home in Seattle to an internment camp in Idaho. What do you do when your home country treats you like an enemy?
This was never in any of my history books in school or college- I didn’t discover this awful part of our history until later. It’s an important part that needs to be told.
CURED by Beth Wiggins
Now that Fiona and Noah are no longer beasts, they’ve set out to find their mother and spread the cure along the way. Raiders and a suspicious ally could make all the difference between getting to their mother, getting the cure out, and the destruction of everything.
Sequel to Buzz. 
Welcome to the Outskirts- where the kingdoms lie between dreams and wakefulness, reality and imagination, life and death- and once you arrive, it’s hard to leave. When the magic of the Outskirts start to unravel, it’s up to Cole and Mira to set things right- before he’s forgotten in the real world.
Certain start of a new series. 

LIV, FOREVER by Amy Talkington
When Liv wins an art scholarship to Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of her foster care life- who cares if things are way different and a bit weird. Killed a few weeks after coming to the school, she discovers she’s only the latest victim, and her best friend, Gabe, is her only link to the world of the living, to being able to solve the murders, and her link to her love, Malcolm.
Seemingly perfect for fans of the paranormal, the starcrossed, and the mysterious….
BAD HALF by Sally Green
In modern England, witches live side by side with normals- witch witches (good) and black witches (bad) and Nathan (both black and white). With his father the most cruel black witch around and his mother dead, he must escape the cage he’s been put in before his 17th birthday in order to receive the gifts from his father, or die.
 I am extremely interested in the duality aspect of it…

THE FINISHER by David Balducci
No one ever leaves Wormwood- until Quintin does. Vega’s certain he was chased into the Quag, and is determined to find the truth, even though it may cost her more than she thought.
Currently reserving judgement- like the premise, and I personally like David Balducci’s works, but not at all fond of the adult authors getting into YA…

TPiB: Teen Tech Week on a Shoe String

Teen Tech Week is March 9-15 and it is coming up FAST! The theme for this year is DIY @ Your Library and you can uptech it or downtech it as you see fit, so it’s extremely versatile as themes go if you want to run with the theme (unlike Check In @ Your Library, where all mine where stuck on Foursquare or some of the other themes).

Already we here at Teen Librarian Toolbox are planning summer reading challenges/clubs/programming, or are in the middle of testing in the schools, and trying to figure out additional programs and special events for Teen Tech Week can just stress anyone out. Add in the fact that (for us at least) it occurs during the spring break for the majority of the school districts we work with (which means teens and staff are going to have plans with their families), and it gets to be overwhelming!

Never fear! You can still offer exciting things with a minimum of stress and staff work and have amazing outcomes and interactions with your tweens and teens. It just takes some footwork now and a smidge of planning.

    Make sure you know what the schedule/time off request calendar looks like for that week. If the majority of your staff (or the staff of the building) is going to be off during that time, and your manager is counting on you to take up the slack, you’re going to have to be planning more self-directed programming than staff-directed programming. It’s a good idea to sit down with your manager or supervisor (depending on your library’s hierarchy) so that you know what’s going on around you and they know what you’re thinking about producing. You don’t want to put tons of effort into a huge week-long program only to be told you’re on reference desk for most of the day. 

    Talk with your teens. Even if you don’t have a teen advisory board, talk to your regulars and see what they want and what their plans are. It may be that the majority of your teens are going out of town for the week because their family is going to see Great Auntie Margorie in Palooskie. Who knows. It may be that they’re all here and stuck because no one has money or a car; which means you can turn the library in to THE spot for all the tweens and teens to be during Spring Break. Ask them what programs they like, what programs they’d like to see, and what they would LOVE to see in the library if there were no barriers- Teen Tech Week can be the perfect time to dust off the cobwebs of some of the programs that you have been doing and launch some new ones.

    Take inventory of what you have and what’s worked well. If movie programs have been OK but they love the idea of mocking movies, run with it- start your own Mystery Science Theater Feature with a marathon showcasing a different type of tech each night (show The Avengers or Thor: The Dark World for alien tech, Red 2 or White House Down for assassin tech, a Fast and Furious marathon for automotive tech) and not only mock it but show how that tech could actually work. If you’ve been having duct tape sessions, turn them into tech session by showing how they can work to patch things in the real world, and have a contest for the most innovative use of duct tape- find a pond and have them actually make small boats, the one who can make theirs last the longest wins, for example.
    Take advantage of self-directed programming. Have a QR scavenger hunt or even a character scavenger hunt around the library, and give out passes for extra computer time, or a waiver of $2-3 for fines. Take a display frame and pour in popped off keyboard keys scavenged from killed keyboards, and have a contest to guess the amount of keys in the frame- the closest the the right amount wins a huge candy bar. Have a caption the Meme contest, and put up a “clean meme” for them to caption, and have the library director or the branch manager vote for the best three.

    Have a retro gaming program. Reserve the programming room or just a couple of tables in the back of the library, pull out Monopoly, Uno, and a couple of other board games (Life and Sorry are big with my kids) or  Legos and sit and play with them and just talk. Make up house rules that wouldn’t normally be in the game relating to anything high tech (first that looks at their phone has to give everyone playing $10, etc.)  and have a wonderful afternoon of “low tech” gaming.

    Have a BYOC afternoon- bring your own craft afternoon program. Take an afternoon sometime during the week, and have everyone bring something that they’ve been working on, or want to learn. I want to learn Rainbow Loom bracelets but I know cross-stitching, beading, and crochet. I can bring my stuff from home, someone else can create with the duct tape, someone can create with beads, someone can bring their rainbow loom, and while we watch a movie or listen to music, we can craft and create and have a wonderful afternoon just being.

      What are you doing for Teen Tech Week? Share in the comments!

      ALA Midwinter 2014: Christie’s Highlights

      Midwinter is called the “Business” conference because this is where most of the meetings happen for the awards and booklists for the year. The Youth Media Awards are Monday starting at 9, and anyone in youth and teen services are haunting the area or Twitter or media feeds to hear what’s been nominated and what’s won this year- and to see if their predictions were correct (and gloat whether you have it in your collection, right)?

      However, there are still tons of things to do even if you aren’t on a committee, so take a look through the Midwinter Scheduler:

      Exhibits: If you’re feeling brave, definitely try to attend Friday’s opening night exhibit gala and get your start at collection galleys for the new year! Publishers lately have been rotating stock on a daily basis, so what’s available on Friday will be different from Saturday and different from Sunday. Also be sure to hit up any book buzz or theater exhibits from publishers that you’re interested in- a lot of time the publishers hand out the more popular/buzzed about galleys there.

      Meet-Ups/ Socials: If you want to network or meet other people that have similar interests, take a look for meet-ups or socials within round tables, associations, or unofficial meet-ups. There are blogger meet-ups, first time member orientations, and off-site socials every night.

      Author Event Sessions: Yes, there are authors! Authors in the exhibits (check their websites and social media as well as their publishers for the most immediate updates), and authors speaking! Amy Ignatow is speaking at the Pop-Up Stage, Tom Angleberger is speaking, a whole panel of debut authors is being held, Donna Jo Napoli is speaking, David Lubar (whom I may stalk), Rainbow Rowell, and more!!!

      Open Committees: If you want to take a look at what some of the committees actually do, search for some of the open committees. While you can’t crash award committees like the Newbery or the Stonewall Awards, committees like the Rainbow Project and the Amelia Bloomer Project are open to all observers, and are a great way to get involved and get experience.

      Networking Uncommons: Some really great things happen at the Networking Uncommons, like the Guerrilla Storytime. If you don’t see something that interests you, make up your own, register it, and see what happens.

      10 to Look for in 2014- Christie’s Most Wanted (as of today….)

      Looking forward, at least for today, and there are so many titles to drool over! Of course, I say that every year, but OH, so many good ones it’s hard to narrow it down to 10!

      “This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.” January 2014

      “When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.”
      Oh, it is soooooo good, and my teens are begging for it.  February 2014

      “When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat–and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon. They begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves–maybe even toward love.” April 2014
      “Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
      Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.”
      Have read it in eArc, and ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhh, it does NOT let you down. 
      March 2014
       “Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.” February 2014

      “A beautiful and distinguished family.
      A private island.
      A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
      A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
      A revolution. An accident. A secret.
      Lies upon lies.
      True love.
      The truth.”
      May 2014
      I have this in eArc, and have been saving it for a break in committee/stress work to actually savor it.
      “However, it only takes one urgent call to bring Alpha back home to Anthem, the older brother who raised her as well as a revolution, and Omega, her twin brother whose contrasting personality makes her feel whole. As Alpha spends more time in the Web, she notices that the number of people who look sickly and addicted seems to be rising. With Anthem’s health declining, Alpha and her friends will have to dig deeper into the mainframe than ever before in order to find the root of the Corp’s re-emergence.” May 2014
      “Micah has another juggling act to perform—he must help Maske, the magician who takes in he and Drystan, at his last chance for redemption, escape those who pursue him, see where his feelings for Drystan will go, and find out how he and Cyan are tied into the mysteries of ancient and modern Ellada. ” January 2014

      America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.” May 2014

      ” Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they–and Emma–may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose. Now what they must uncover is why they’ve been brought to this place–a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written–before someone pens their end.” February 2014

      Christie says Hello to 2014

      Resolutions….  New Year’s….  Yea yea yea….

      1. Blog More: I need to be better about blogging on a schedule. In my defense, however, I do blog quite a bit, and if Karen needs something, I am the go-to person. But I need to stick to a schedule. (Karen’s note: I think Christie rocks. Hands down.)

      2. Take Breaks: I am bad about not taking breaks during my work days, and I need to get into the habit of taking them- walking around the park, closing the door to my office to get away from things, something to actually get away from chaos.

      3. Write More: I used to journal a lot, and somehow that fell by the wayside, and I’ve found that my stress levels have grown exponentially. I really need to get back into the habit of taking the time to write- even if it’s just rehashing the day, because once it’s down on paper, it seems that I can deal better.

      4. Eat and Exercise Smarter: I need to be better about eating smarter and exercise smarter.  I always say I’m going to “start” exercising and I’m going to “start” a diet- but no, I need to adjust the way I do things and make things work into my lifestyle. My work schedule isn’t going to change, so I need to make things work for how it is.

      5. Take Vacation Time: I do take my vacation time, but at times it’s not for vacation. It’ll be for doctor’s visits, or for visiting family in other states, or some other thing that is not a break from anything. This coming year, I’m going to take my vacation time for me- a break from everything.

      6.  Read for the Blog: After a good 10 years on reading/bibliography committees, I will be off one for the 2014 year- so I’ll be able to focus reading on things for the blog, not a specific category.

      7. Read for Pleasure: And I’ll be able to read books for me- things that I want to read, and series that I want to catch up on that I’ve fallen behind on.

      8.  Imagine More: I need to put more imagination into things- my programs, my life, what I want and where I want to be. With taking my vacation time and taking breaks, maybe I can find more sparks to share.

      9.  Let Go: I need to learn to let things go- I take things personally, and take things way harder than it needs to be, especially when it relates to work or to my personal life. I need to step back, and remember that in a month, or six months, or a year, what will be remembered and what will be really important.

      10.  Unplug More: I need to take away all of the electronic devices that make life so “easy” (the phone, That Guy’s work laptop, and every other electronic device) and lock them up somewhere every so often so that we can just have a break. No work calls or texts, no Facebook or Twitter updates, no anything.

      What are your goals for 2014?

      What Robin is Anticipating in 2014

      Here are 10 books I am excited for in 2014

      *The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (January 7, 2014) I was fortunate enough to get and advanced copy of this, and it’s brilliant, and just as important as her other issue novels. This is an eye opening look at post traumatic stress and the toll it takes on a family.

      *Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (June 3, 2014) I still need to read Siege and Storm, but Shadow and Bone was one of my favorite books I read this year.

      *Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (April 8, 2014) Yes, I’ve already read this one, too – read my review here

      *Firebug by Lish McBride (Fall 2014) Because, honestly, I’d read a menu by Lish McBride. If you haven’t read Hold Me Closer, Necromancer or its sequel, Necromancing the Stone, what are you waiting for?

      *We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (May 13, 2014) I just got approved for an eARC of this, and I am SUPER excited! It seems like all of the authors I follow on Twitter (and many of the librarians) have either already read this or are super excited about it.

      *The Unbound by Victoria Schwab (January 28, 2014) A most prolific young author! I am excited to be able to experience her long term trajectory as it unfolds. I feel like I am getting in on the ground level of a really exciting IPO – does that even make sense?

      *Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (August 5, 2014) This is the second book in Bray’s Diviners series. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the genius that is Libba Bray’s mind.

      *The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (June 10, 2014) Oh, the drama! This is the conclusion of the Mara Dyer Trilogy.

      *Dangerous by Shannon Hale (March 4, 2014) Something new from Shannon Hale, sign me up!

      *The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde (April 10, 2014 – UK release date?) Um…yeah. It’s Jasper Fforde. Read of my love of his works here or here. This is apparently the UK pub date; I’ve been unable to find a US pub date. My local bookstore may be getting an international order.