boy with pink purse, meet the boy in the dress

I saw a little boy the other day carrying a pink purse over his shoulder. I wanted to go over and high five his mother, but I restrained myself. Having been a weird kid myself–I often wore the most hideous outfits culled from thrift stores and discount stores, including hoodies from Farm & Fleet and slips I wore as skirts–I appreciated that this child’s mother allowed him to leave the house with his pink purse.

The part of my personality that appreciate that little boy’s style is also eager to read a book that’s coming out in December, The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams (I discovered it via Worth the Trip). It’s about a soccer playing boy who likes to wear dresses, and it’s illustrated by Quentin Blake; really, what’s not to love?

Chicago branch libraries find budget cuts stacked against them —

Chicago branch libraries find budget cuts stacked against them —

Daley really screwed up here. At a time when library usage is higher than ever, cutting the staff that take care of the materials that patrons want is not the move you want to make.

A sad story that keeps getting sadder. There’s really not much more commentary that I can add.

poncho poncho poncho!

Oh, my goodness, people! I sent a two sentence e-mail to E. Lockhart‘s (1) publisher/social organizer, and I got picked to attend a schmoozy librarian dinner! I am currently looking for a teen to take with me. I am so incredibly excited, y’all, you can’t believe it. I hope I don’t come across like a blithering idiot. (2)

(1) Author of the brilliant The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, the book that taught me the word “panopticon.”

(2) Which I suppose means I can’t spend the entire dinner yelling “Poncho poncho poncho!”

take this job and shelve it

I love shelvers/pages/whatever you call them at your particular library. I love them so much because they perform such a vital job in the library. Excellent shelvers are a rare creature, I think. My ideal shelver puts away materials briskly and efficiently, asks for help when needed, and takes pride in the appearance of the materials s/he shelves. Without shelvers, nothing else that happens in a library matters (well, I suppose patrons could still use the internet, but indulge my hyperbole, will ya?).

So all of my feelings on the subject make the firing of Chicago Public pages particularly sad for me to hear. These employees are near the bottom of the hierarchy and the pay scale, yet they do so much of the work that makes a library go, and now CPL has lost almost half of them. I have a feeling that this is going to be even more painful now than it might have been, considering library use across the country is up up up, and I don’t think that Chicago is an exception.

How do you feel about shelvers? Are you or have you ever been a shelver/page?

The Giving Tree

The Pioneer Woman wrote a post about The Giving Tree, which inspired me to write a brief little note about how I think the boy in that book is a complete jerk.

It is still a lovely story about unconditional love, but that doesn’t change the fact that that boy is awful. He takes, takes, TAKES, and the Giving Tree gets so very little in return (also brings to mind that domestic violence classic from Oliver!, “As Long as He Needs Me“). Maybe I’m extremely sensitive because I feel like I am a Giving Tree in a world of Taking Boys.

How do you feel about The Giving Tree?

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box Game Review

Does anyone still deny that video games belong in libraries? Well, yes, yes they do, but I hope no librarians do. Video games in the library can promote social interaction, which is an excellent thing to encourage when you consider that libraries can also be seen as community centers.

But have you thought about all of the video games that have storylines (like the one in the article, that I am totally going to encourage my library to buy)? Final Fantasy, Fable 1 & 2, Dragonquest, Super Mario Brothers (old school), all have fairly intricate plots, and honestly, almost all video games at least have CHARACTERS, which, when last I checked, were an important part of stories, along with plot, symbolism, etc.

Stories are stories, whether they are printed on a page, a screen, or brought to life by actors or animators. We need to realize this, and encourage kids (and, frankly, adults), to TALK about these stories. The talking, I think, is the important missing link. TALK to these kids about how the plot of their favorite video game(s) progresses. TALK to them about how the characters act. Are they cocky? Shy? Do they get angry when they are hurt, or do they cry? Even Mortal Kombat has a diverse cast of characters with rich backstories. It’s like the Forsyte Saga with (more) punching and kicking (and if you can get a gamer to read the Forsyte Saga by reader’s advisor-ing the similarities, please let me know so I can laud you to no end).

But you don’t have to take (only) MY word for it. Check out some of the things that come up from a google search of “storytelling and video games”.

What do you think about video games? Do you agree or disagree?