Archive for the ‘jacob’ Category.

Don’t you wish….

Reading in a fort

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

… you were still small enough to read in a fort?

That is all.

Happy belated halloween


Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

Our neighborhood has a bonfire, most notable for the opportunity it presents for diabolical photos. I’m almost hopped up on sugar enough to make it through the election…. how about you guys?

Speaking of both Halloween and elections, here’s a disturbed mind at work. I’m guessing she gets more tricks than treats this year.

Birthday party cheesecake jellybean boom

(Otherwise known as: raising a scientifically-minded child on the night of the vice presidential debate, which just so happens to include a person who’d like creationism to be taught in public schools, and this post is not at all related to librarianship, sorry!)

almost6yo: “Mom, tell me about God.”

Me: “What do you want to know about God?”

6: “Well, what does he do?”

Me: “Well, a lot of people believe that God created the world and the whole universe.”


6: “But don’t they know about the big bang?!”

As California goes…

In honor of gay marriage now being legal in California, I present to you a conversation I had yesterday with my 5 year old:

5yo: Hey mom? Do men marry men sometimes?

me: Yes, sometimes they do.

5yo: Well then can they combine their 2 sperm cells and make a baby?

me: No, you need sperm and an egg to make a baby, so you need a man and a woman.

5yo: Well how do they have a baby then?

me: Well, sometimes they adopt a baby who grew in someone else’s tummy, just like we adopted Sam. Remember, there are a lot of different ways that babies join families.

5yo: Well, I’m not going to marry a man. I’m going to marry Saffron so she can grow a baby in her tummy.

me: OK.

5yo: And then when I go to astronaut school, she can stay home and take care of him! And his name will be Henry. Like the neighbor’s dog in Jack and Annie.

me: I thought you said Saffron was going to be an architect?

5yo: She can do that job later.

Despite the fact that I may be raising a mini chauvinist, at least he’s open minded about the marriage issue. (He later came up with: “Well, girls can marry girls, then, and then you’d have two moms!”) OK, but you’re thinking “stop blogging about your kids already — what does this have to do with libraries?” Simply this: a lot of kids in his generation are growing up thinking of things like gay marriage and adoption and multiethnic families as natural, just another way to do things. This should be a wakeup call for librarians to continue standing on our principles in terms of the way that we provide services to all.

I feel the same way about librarians who refuse to work Harry Potter parties, who won’t purchase materials on homosexuality (or witchcraft, or what the heck, even “intelligent design”) — or who block MySpace — as I do about pharmacists who refuse to dispense contraception: You’re in the wrong profession, folks.

Kids ask the darndest reference questions…

5yo: “Mom, what sound do pulsars make?”

Me: “They don’t make any sound, because there’s no sound in space.”

5yo: “But then how do the radio telescopes listen for them?”


A Letter to Mary Pope Osborne

A Letter to Mary Pope Osborne
Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

Someday, I wish to be a children’s author, so kids would write me letters like this one.

That is all.

Indiscriminate Reading

Not only have I been known to occasionally air my views on books, literary fiction or otherwise, I tend to read a lot of them. And cereal boxes, and signs, and magazines, and… This all goes toward saying, as a (somewhat) indiscriminate reader, I’m an excellent public library patron — I can always find more reading material than I need, and can use ILL for anything more academic that my local library doesn’t carry. Reading a lot of different things also went a long way towards making me a fairly decent librarian, since people tended to come in asking for a lot of different things.

I appear also to be raising a new indiscriminate reader (which has led to some embarrassing situations in supermarket checkout lines with Cosmo prominently displayed, let me tell you). I think that this is a Good Thing. It also makes libraries a fairly easy sell; like Ryan Deschamps’ son, mine goes to the library weekly. He grabs greedy stacks of books, and knows that this is where we go to find things out. He meets his information needs there (lately: lions, the human digestive system, flags of the world) while also getting his Junie B. Jones and 101 Dalmations fix.

It baffles me to see articles like David Isaacson’s “Don’t Just Read — Read Good Books” in the December American Libraries (p43). Which I’d point to for you, but ebrary isn’t so friendly that way; it also tries to copy/paste across two columns, so any typos in the following quote are solely mine:

But I question the argument that libraries should go out of their way to acquire romance novels, thrillers, and other literature whose primary purpose is escape and titillation….I do care that patrons are readers rather than nonreaders. But why set our goals so low? Literacy is better than illiteracy, but discriminating readers are ever so much better than undiscriminating ones.

(Isaacson would probably get along great with Sheila Kohler…) But anyway, better than? Oy. First, let’s work on the obvious lesson: attack behavior, not people, folks. But beyond that, how does one learn what “good” literature is other than by having a broad basis for comparison? I’m perfectly aware that some books are more well-written than others, some are more evocative of their times than others, some appear at the right time to influence minds and public discussion. But dragging out the tired old argument against genre fiction, some of which, by the way, offers a framework for some of the most imaginative writing going, attacks both public libraries and the people that they serve — the people who offer a reason for libraries to exist in the first place. By encouraging my son to read broadly — and to enjoy literature whose “primary purpose is escape and titillation” (there’s really no other excuse for Junie B.), I’m also encouraging him to become a lifelong library user, and to learn that books are where you turn for both information and entertainment. With any luck, he’ll keep it up into adulthood, maybe even reading a thriller or two — or Harry Potter! — along the way.

I just renewed my nonresident public library card for $205. $205! you say — well, let’s do the math. I spend $14.99/month for my two-at-a-time Netflix subscription, watching around 10 DVDs/month at ~$1.50 each. I visit the library weekly and check out around 20 items each time, costing me about $.20/each. (This doesn’t account for children’s programs, summer reading prizes, and other benefits.) That’s a pretty good ROI, not to mention that I’m pretty happy with that $205 going to fund a public service for everyone else.

On a related note, my book club just read The Book That Changed My Life. It’s the sort of thing I probably would have leafed through but never finished otherwise; a number of the authors, most writers themselves, seemed too self-aware, as if it were an interview question they’d answered one too many times. Quite a few of them (I’m sure to Isaacson’s delight) identified one classic or another as inspiring them to become a writer.

The book that changed my life, back in the dismal mid-80s? Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, which I still re-read every few years. Yes, genre fiction. And they’re making a movie!

Strep throat with a 4-year-old, a play in one act

Strep throat with a 4-year-old, a play in one act

(subtitled: Can I have a sick day, please?)

Scene 1: Mom stumbles back from the dr. with amoxicillin prescription in hand.

Boy: What’s that?

Mom: Medicine for my throat.

Boy: I can’t hear you! Why are you so quiet?

Mom: Because my throat hurts and I can’t talk loudly.

Boy: What?!?

Mom: My throat hurts.

Boy: Why does your throat hurt?

Mom: Because I’m sick. See, I went to the dr. and got medicine.

Boy: Did you get a shot?

Mom: No, just medicine.


Mom: I can’t talk louder, sorry, my throat hurts.


Mom: I can’t, my throat hurts.

Boy: What did you say?

Scene 2: Mom pouring apple juice in kitchen.

Boy: Whose juice is that?

Mom: It’s for me, to help my throat.

Boy: That’s MY juice. You can’t have any.

Mom: Do you want some juice too?


Mom: Juice?

Boy: I want THAT juice. [points to cup Mom is drinking]

Mom: This is my juice, I’ll give you your own cup.

Boy: I want YOUR cup.

Mom: No, I’m sick, there’s germs on my cup, let’s get you your own cup.

Boy: I LIKE GERMS! I want THAT cup! That’s MY juice!

Mom: No, you can’t have my cup, but you can have your own juice.

Boy: What did you say?

Lieutenant Dan

Daniel and Jake
Originally uploaded by lib_rachel.

So, one of the reasons that we chose South Korea is that one of my brothers is Korean. Lieutenant Dan is heading to Iraq in a couple of weeks, so those of you who keep people in your thoughts and prayers… add him on in.