On planning

Of all the days of the year, I probably look forward to January 1 the most. I remember being sort of freaked out as a kid about the end of the year – “This is the last day it will ever be 1978!” but for some reason, I didn’t fret about end-of-times scenarios come January. I love to do lists, planners, and calendars, and resolutions? I’m all about those! (I had some success last year – I’m ten pounds lighter than I was last year at this time.)

From Flickr, used under Creative Commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjcase/2381294958/

From Flickr, used under Creative Commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjcase/2381294958/

So, yes, I have had successes – and failures – in the past, and I know the old adage is true – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So with that said, here it is: Resolutions, Version 2.0.13!

Lose 30 pounds – I’ll continue what I did last summer: the Shangri-la diet (crazy but it absolutely works), exercising six days a week (especially now that I picked up an elliptical machine at Goodwill for $10!), biking and walking in the spring (let’s not be crazy – that ain’t happening until the snow is gone), no caffeine, and fast food rarely (once a month max).

Back in my summer biking days

Back in my summer biking days

Educate myself – I’ll continue taking Coursera classes – right now I’m taking Think Again, How to Reason and Argue with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong from Duke University (it’s not too late to join and catch up, so I’m trying to get Rob to sign up so I can say my husband and I are taking a class on arguing). I’m also signed up for The Camera Never Lies (the University of London!) which is about photojournalism, and no kidding, Introduction to Guitar (Berklee College of Music – where my favorite singers, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings attended – maybe we’ll go to a class reunion together, LOL). Find lots more classes – over 200! – at Coursera.org. (With most Coursera classes, if you do well enough, you can get a certificate stating you completed the work. One of those babies is going in my portfolio!) I’m also going to start crafting again – I’ve done some sewing and basketry in the past, and would like to make time for that again. And of course, reading! I’m going to make a point of reading 12 children’s and 12 adult novels this year, and keep track of those books. Doing an end-of-year list is difficult when my Shelfari account is so spotty.

Always the reader!

Always the reader!

Free(r) from debt – I know we can’t get completely out of debt this next year – not with over $40,000 in student loans to pay off! But after living in Music City for a decade, we’re well versed in the ideas of Nashville-based Financial Peace University. Despite what Dave said, going back to school – even with those student loans – wasn’t optional. It had to be done. But we can definitely do his “debt snowball” and get some bills paid off this year.

A proud day (December 2009)

A proud day (December 2009)

There’s a lot of other things I want to do – yoga, home more organized (you should see my office! – or maybe not), recycle. I’m still figuring all that out. I can look back on 2012 proudly – a post for another day, perhaps. But for now, I’m excited about what 2013 will bring!

(The best thing about New Year’s? It’s the one holiday that I’ve created traditions with my family where none really existed before for me – black eyed peas and greens, playing Risk with my sons.). Happy New Year to you!

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Modified Dewey?

I don’t really know what to call what I’m doing to the nonfiction collection at the elementary library.  It’s not exactly going whole-hog bookstore model like some.  (I love the idea, I think, but actually, I find it easier to find books in a library than a bookstore.)  I haven’t even investigated BISAC like I know I should.  But I’m doing something, and I think the students are going to love it!

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I’m keeping Dewey for the most part.  It’s served a great purpose in libraries for over a century and I’m not ready yet to get rid of it completely.  The reason I need to modify it, though, is because of the biggest  pet peeve I have about my job – spine labels!  I detest making them (but am way too cheap to pay for processing of books), and then, even with the best librarian, there are inconsistencies.  Heck, I’m inconsistent on the same sheet of labels – do you go two digits after the decimal?  One?  Zero?  And if you aren’t consistent and you adhere to what’s on the label when putting away books, you have books all willy nilly, especially in the 590s (animals).  I knew my Junior Librarians struggled with putting nonfiction books away, thinking they had to do it perfectly, and I know this will make it so much easier to shelve books.

So, here’s what I’ve done:

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I went through the NF, shelf by shelf, book by book, and made sure that books in the same subject were together.  Some didn’t make sense and got moved – mummies in 393 (Customs, etiquette, folklore –> Death customs) instead of with Ancient history?  Books on telling time in 681 (Manufacture for specific uses –> Precision instruments) or 529 (Astronomy –> Chronology) instead of Math?  Mostly, though, books are where you’d expect them.

My super supportive husband, Rob, cut out some fiberboard for me in his shop, all to size, then my superb associate, Donna, painted them this summer.  Some stuck together so we’ll need to fix those up, but today I wrote the different sections – Dinosaurs, Botany, General animals, etc. (see above).  On some, I put some guidelines for my Junior Librarians:

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Who knows, maybe it’s not that big of a difference.  But I know it’s easier to shelve books (I put away a very full cart of NF that had been stacking up) and it will be easier browse.  And what good is a NF section if it’s not fun to browse?

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

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10.  Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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9.  Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook

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8.  The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles

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7.  Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

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6.  Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

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5.  Cloaked in Red, by Vivian Vande Velde

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4.  Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen

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3.  Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

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2.  Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

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1.  They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? by Christopher Buckley

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Top Ten – Wait! – Eight Tuesday: New to Me Authors in 2012

8.  John Cotton Dana

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Not terribly exciting, but one of the first books I downloaded when I got my Kindle Fire.

7.  Margret Rey Image I am NOT a Curious George fan.  I mean, have you ever READ the book?  But, since I have a miniature dachshund myself, how could I resist?

6.  Anthony Horowitz Image I know Horowitz has written a lot of teen books and I probably should have read him before.  And I also know this is quite a departure from his other books.  But this one is fabulous – the first time the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes novel.  It left me hanging until the very end, and is oh so respectful of the original.

5.  Mike Lupica

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I should have read Lupica  before now, too, but I’m really not a big sports fan (but I do buy lots of sports books for the library).  This was a fun read, though, and I see why kids like him.  (Actually, I have read him before, his book Hero, book it is quite different than this, his typical YA sports fare.)

4.  Rachel Joyce Image Rachel Joyce is a new author, but I did quite like this book.  (As you might discern from this list, I’m not really into finding new authors!  My list of my favorite books of 2012 would be harder to wade through as there would be a lot more choices.)

3.  Robert Fagles

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Fagles is the translator here of good ol’ Homer, but what a difference he makes!  I read Fitzgerald’s translation a decade ago and it was fine and good, but Fagles’ translation is simply beautiful.  If you’ve read Homer before, read it again – but only this Homer.

2.  Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

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Some high school students were doing a project on banned books and wanted to know if I could had this one.  I didn’t, nor did any school or public library around me.  Of course it’s controversial but ridiculously so – it’s a true story and a sweet one at that.  At any rate, I own it now, and am glad to do so.  I hope Richardson and Parnell find other sweet stories to tell.

1.  Michael Connelly Image I’m surprised I hadn’t read this author before, as it is right up my alley.  I found him by watching The Lincoln Lawyer on Amazon (with Prime membership, free – Prime is the best $79 I’ve ever spent!).  I wanted to go read another book right away, but I’m not going to make the mistake I did with Jonathan Kellerman and read all the books (with the same characters) together very quickly – I’ll never want to read another again if I do that!  I like his style, though – quick and smart.  Of all the authors here, this is the only one I’m sure I’ll read again.

Nonfiction bingo

I’ve been thinking about how teachers are using nonfiction books so much more, thanks to the Common Core.  How could I as a librarian help them with this?  By playing bingo, of course!

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I used the website freebingomaker.com to make this, and had to really think to come up with 25 different words to use – some are a stretch, I know! (Roman Numerals? Family tree?) I love the center block on all of them – “Really cool fact!”  I plan on playing this with second graders while we read a nonfiction book from Mackin Via on the projector, and with fourth graders, have them grab a nonfiction book from some good choices I’ve picked out for them.

(I should say, this definitely wasn’t my idea – I saw some Nonfiction Bingo cards going around Pinterest, too.  Follow me there!)