Yes, I’m a library lady.*

I knew that pursuing a career in Library Sciences would likely have some Rodney Dangerfield-esque consequences to it.  Say it with me kids… “I get no respect!”  But I did it any way ’cause I’m bad ass like that and because I really loved what libraries did for me as a youth.  As if books!! on books!! on books!! weren’t enough, they also had cool programs, free plays/performances, story telling, classes, poetry readings, art shows, etc.  I always felt at home in a library.

Fast forward 20 or so years, I have the requisite degree–A Masters in Library Science, I work in my local Central branch and I often get met with the terms of disrespect (henceforth referred to as T.O.D.) that I anticipated about my line of work.  Usually its something like; “Don’t you just shelve books all day?” or “Librarian? Isn’t that boring?!”

I usually don’t sweat it because on some level I knew it’d be par for the course and mostly it comes from people who really don’t use the library and therefore don’t see the value it brings to the community.   Normally I just use that as a teaching moment and fill the person in about library awesomeness.  But there was a recent incident in which an intelligent, learned person (who used library services often) uttered the T.O.D. in these particular words: “Degree?! You need a degree to put books in alphabetical order?!”

This was a pat your weave moment boys and girls.  I guess you could say those were the T.O.D. that broke the camel’s back.

After my weave was sufficiently patted, I explained to the young woman that the degree was needed to do a myriad of other things that we library ladies* (and fellas) are charged with doing.  I’ll illustrate below.

Lets just get this one outta the way:

Yes, some Librarians do shelve books.

But we also do this:

A library is an agency–an institution, it needs to be managed. Librarians manage them doing things like accounting, acquisitions etc.

What are they doing? Why they’re being librarians! Cataloging and classifying all kinds of resources from personal papers to books to music, film etc.

Librarians can also work in a limited curator’s capacity as many libraries host art installations.

Librarians frequently teach, train and present to the public as well as to colleagues.

Librarians often digitize resources as we move into a largely electronic resource era.

Project management is a very common duty for librarians.

Not to mention research, outreach, story time, teen and adult programming etc.  Just thought I’d give folks something to think about.  I don’t expect to change the perception of librarians overnight.  It’s enough that I love what I do (88% of the time) and that I’m rockin with the late, great Rodney D!

Loved that guy!

*Since folks like to deal in archetypes, think lunch lady but subtract the hair net and add glasses and a sweater—now I will admit that I do stay with a sweater on my shoulders. Its cold in here!

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Dear girl child in a world of men,

**I usually keep it light and easy in here but this has been on my heart…

A poem:

This is a moment for you,

Never mind what he has to say…to explain it away.

Let me say to you that it’s not OK.

Your innocence–even “fast tailed” girls who scribbled their love in notebook margins–to have it swept away?

Glittering un-guarded prey?

It’s not OK.

Too many secrets to keep,

Too many touches and whispers to sweep,

Under the family rug,

Well that got damned rug is lumpy!

And yeah I’m feeling jumpy and might just jump cuz,

It’s not OK.

Too many roses with too many thorns cuz somebody thought

It’s OK…one word, un heard, it’ll be OK…

One kiss, who’d miss the light in her eyes when I steal it away? When I drain it away?

Girl child know that it was never OK,

It was never OK.

It was never OK.

And you shall inherit the earth someday.

Google me graciously. Please and Thank you.

According to several reports, would-be/could-be/should-be employers are looking at your social media career—because lets face it, your social media activity is your own little PR machine with you (for better or for worse) at the helm—to inform their decision of whether to hire you or not.

Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won't you be my employer?

It was with that in mind that I decided to put together this little missive; a guide, if you will, with hopes that said employers will catch wind, take heed and cut us some slack.  Catch. Take. Cut.  May this entry strike one huge blow for us job seekers.

Dear Employers,

When snooping investigating the background of potential employees, particularly me:

You might see this:   But this is what you SHOULD see:
  • A blog post or Facebook status ripping current job or current employer
  • A blog post or Facebook status ripping current job or employer with perfect grammar. Good grammar is hard to come by.
  • A picture of job seeker in seemingly compromising position with questionable individuals
  • A successfully uploaded picture of job seeker in seemingly compromising position with questionable individuals.  You’d be surprised how many people can’t upload.
  • A jobseeker with a profile on EVERY social networking site from Meebo, to Myspace, to Badoo, to Hi5…
  • A jobseeker who has been navigating these interwebs since the heyday of Meebo, MySpace, Baboo and Hi5. Computer proficient? Check! Social butterfly/good communicator? Check!

You get the idea.  During your nosing around investigation you might see things that suggest immature, wildcard, capricious…  I beg you, put on your rose colored glasses and see instead creative, innovative and spirited! Arguably creative people are the life blood of any organization.  Ask red-headed, enterprising,  Aubrey O’Day from Celebrity Apprentice (not blond tantalizing Aubrey O’day from Danity Kane).

The takeaway: have a heart.  Say to that deserving young slacker, diamond-in-the-rough, YOU’RE HIRED.  You won’t regret it!

Only a creative person could come up with positive words to describe this hair.

Days/Titles 104-107

Check em out out, buy em, download em. Give these books some love!

It’s gross. But it’s tastefully gross.

Welcome to another edition of Things-that-make-you-go-hmmm-Thursdays!

So I was watching TV the other day and happened to hear an insect exterminator commercial (Won’t mention the company name.  My influence is far too great.  This blog reaches 1’s of 10’s of people) talking about how ants and other insects will excrete a trail of some kinda substance so other’s of their ilk can find their way to whatever booty they’ve discovered (those sour patch kids in the bottom of your purse, the apple core that your son cleverly stuffed between the couch cushions).  Their philosophy: It aint no fun if the homies can’t have none.

Now animals and humans  have a lot of commonalities.  We’re both fiercely protective of our young,  we both hunt and gather and hibernate in the winter.  But if we humans ever adopted this practice from the insect/animal kingdom it wouldn’t be pretty.  In fact it’d look a little something like this:

OMG Cheryl!  I just caught the cutest pumps on sale at DSW©! Just follow my trail of pee and it’ll lead you right to ’em!!

OR

Ay  dawg! They got Assassin’s Creed III© on sale at GameStop©! If you hurry you can catch the fart—or expelled flatus as my aunt would say (told ya it was tasteful)—trail I left for you!

No bueno. I’m just sayin.

********************************

Day/title 103

Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the “real” world — the Western world — and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school. From barrylyga.com

5 ways to preserve my proverbial steam

I recently returned to work after a brief week-long hiatus.  On D-day eve (the D is for Dang-I-gotta-go-back-to-work?! of course), I sat in bed pondering ways to sustain my refreshed feelings and prevent the extreme burn out that precipitated the hiatus.

Here are the few things that sprang to mind.  They may prove helpful to you too:

1. Be hands on.  I know we’ve all heard the advice “get everything together the night before!”  I even scoffed at it with righteous indignation, “well duh!”  But I’m sure the lifestyle-guru-home Ec-ky-Martha-Stewart-disciple type didn’t have my version in mind when first she offered those words of wisdom.  In my version I virtually assemble the items–that is I know where they are (I think) and it’s just a matter of  getting them together in the morning.   5 year old’s socks: under living room couch (well one of em is),  my day planner: under newspapers on kitchen counter, 7 year old’s sweater:  in the dryer…    

2. Eat your oats and feel ’em too.  I typically don’t eat breakfast.  As previously disclosed, I barely do mornings and since breakfast is a trapping of that merciless, early ante-meridiem hour, I don’t do breakfast.  This must end.  I’ve gotta fuel up to start the day, even it its only toast and O.J.  **funky fresh rhyme alert on aisle 3**

Get it in!

3.  Leave the excuses and take the stairs.  My journey to work includes public transportation.  And the train station that I use daily to get to work boasts a 100 step escalator.  Most days I just ride but on the days when I tackle them I find myself oddly refreshed.  I’ve fueled up with breakfast so I guess it makes sense to rev the engine a little eh?

They loom before me every morning...

4.  Stop plowing thru like the end is in sight.  If the end is in sight that means R.I.P ville right? Not so good—unless you’re into that sort of thing.  Sometimes I get into this lather, rinse, repeat mode and forget to stop and smell the—well the laundry.  Speaking of laundry, this bit of advice kind of stems from a scene from that movie American History X.  You know the scene where the little, funny yet sagacious black guy scolds Edward Norton’s character for angrily plowing through their laundry duty.  He said something to the effect of  ‘The work doesn’t stop so quit doing it like you’re gonna get to the end of it. Chill!’  Chill indeed.

5. Come ready to work, ready to do the job you’re paid to do.  That way you’re not annoyed as annoyed when your boss interrupts your Facebooking or WordPressing.

image from jezebel.com

Salut ladies and gents!

***********************

I owe like 13 books but I’m too ashamed of my slackerness to put up all those images.  Each picture would be an accusatory glare.  I’ll just give a list of titles and we’ll call it even.

Days/titles 90-102

  1. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  1. Saturday – Ian McEwan
  1. On Beauty – Zadie Smith (OMG! Love this book!)
  1. Slow Man – J.M. Coetzee
  1. Adjunct: An Undigest – Peter Manson
  1. The Sea – John Banville
  1. The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
  1. The Plot AgainstAmerica– Philip Roth
  1. The Master – Colm Tóibín
  1. Vanishing Point – David Markson
  1. The Lambs ofLondon– Peter Ackroyd
  1. Dining on Stones – Iain Sinclair
  1. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

Are our winningest moments behind us? Say it aint so.

It’s been pretty popular since the dawn of time.  Wars were fought to achieve it.   Frontiers were forged to obtain it.  It has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity (as if it needed it) thanks to the illustrious and eloquent Mr. Sheen.  Yes folks I’m talking about Winning.

From the frozenpea.xanga.com

I got to thinking about winning and was struck by how many opportunities we have to be victorious in our adolescent and teen years (and perform the requisite “We beat! We beat! We beat yo stinking feet! Yall loss! Yall loss! Yall ate tomato sauce!” chant)  as opposed to now.  I mean back in the day you had:

  • Hide and Seek marathons…WINNING
  • I Have a Dream essay contests…WINNING
  • 6th, 8th and 12th grade graduations/commencements…WINNING

You know I think I went to grad school as much for the student loans and grants as I did in search of that ol’ winning feeling that I’d get on graduation day!

I mean as an adult, how many opportunities do we have for that cloud 9, Nanny nanny boo boo! You can’t catch me!,  I’m-kind-of-a-big-deal type of high that we got every 5 minutes when we were kids?

What do we got?

  • A high score on Angry Birds…winning
  • A lot of ‘likes’ on your Facebook status…winning
  • A new recipe that the kids don’t hate…winning
  • A raise at work … WINNING (but how often does that happen?)

I love my life—the good bad and ugly—but I’m gonna need  some more of those cloud 9 moments.  I’m on a quest to find and create winning moments (thats why I’m doing this) and when I find em’ I will be doing the tomato sauce chant.  Already have yours?  Care to share em?

Day/Title 89

Fight or Flight. Or freeze.

It was a regular Saturday afternoon at this blogger’s home.  Life on Saturday.  I was doing a bit of mom mowing and generally putting around the house when a sudden crescendo of my youngins hoopin’ and hollarin’ caused me to look out the front room window.  There, barreling toward the front door were my 5 and 7 year olds hand in hand.  As they piled inside, red-cheeked and panting they eventually explained that they were fleeing for their life—from Pepper.  The curly little neighborhood free roaming dog.  Who’s the size of a fruit cake.

I did the comfort thing all while stifling my laughter because they were genuinely terrified.  And I couldn’t help but think how proud I was of my 2 ‘fraidy cats.  They were facing certain death at the paws and jaws of Pepper but they had the presence of mind to stick together and to run.

My own solidarity/survival instinct track record is not so stellar.  There was that one time, in ’88.  My younger sister and I were playing in the street when a free-roaming dog in our neighborhood—who was more the size of a fruit cake on ‘roids—gave chase.   I’d like to say I scooped her up or even grabbed her hand and hauled arse.  I’d like to, but I can’t.  I hauled one solitary arse, mine.  But I did yell C’mon!!!  Ruuuuuuun!!!!  We both got away un-scathed but it wasn’t my proudest moment.

image from redriverpak.files.wordpress.com

More recently I had another dog vs. man moment.  I was visiting a friend and taking her some food I’d prepared.  As I stood at the back of my mini-van with the hatch ajar to retrieve said food I heard behind me the undeniable sound of  panting and hoofs (?) pounding the pavement.  I turned and to my horror there were TWO red-eyed, meaty jowled pit bulls bounding toward me.   They were about a 4 feet away yall.

Did I run? No.

Did I jump in the open hatch and close it? No.

I stood stark still.  Filled with terror.

I did manage to rebuke them in the name of The Lord and (Hallelujah) they stopped.

And then they advanced again.  It took a couple more loud, panicked rebukings and my friend coming to her front door with her WTH face on before the animals retreated for good.

I would later marvel at my reaction.  Fight or flight my eye.  Walter Bradford Cannon needs to add a 3rd reaction: stand perfectly still praying/rebuking/hoping to evaporate and re-materialize in safer environs.  Thank you very much Sir.

Title/Day 88

The elephant in the room–Or on my head as it were.

I am a Muslim woman in a America.  Depending on where you live you may commonly see us, or it may be a rare occurrence.  Some of us are more readily identifiable than others—those of us who choose to wear the hijab/khimar/head scarf.  I’ll spare yall the ‘I am not oppressed’ speech.  Suffice it to say I love hijab. And so do oodles and oodles of other women.  Don’t believe me? Check. It. Out.

That said, wearing a head scarf—every day, not just when its cold out or when you’re having a bad hair day—can illicit some reactions that can start to grate tap dance all of the above on your nerve.  I mean some folks are down right rude; “Why you got that thang on yo’ head?” **lip curled into a Nicki Minaj-esque scowl like I just stole their bike**

But I think I almost prefer that to the species of on-lookers I like to call overly-fascinated-annoyingus.

“Oh my God!” **making a swirl around their head hand motion** “What is this? It is so gorgeous! I love how you have that wrapped up there!”

At this point I’m like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America.  In the scene outside the bathroom.  At the stadium.  During intermission.  “Yes, yes but you are going to spill your beverages”.  In other words calm down.  I mean you’d think I had this kind of affair going on on my head:

Or this:

There really is nothing to it.  It’s just an oblong length of fabric and you just kinda drape it over your head.  If you can put a table-cloth on a table, you can do this.   Griping aside, I know Muslim head covering is not that commonplace for everyone and most people’s reactions are genuine.  For yall I’ll maintain my Southern girl perma-grin and answer warmly and kindly.  “It’s called a khimar.  I wear it because I’m Muslim”   😀

And now the real stars. The books:

Days/titles 84-86