Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Well, I survived. I didn't turn into a zombie, either. There was a juicy brain, but I had eaten too many cookies to sample John Doe's brain.

The last few weeks were rough. A brief recap won't do. Instead, I'll focus on the positives in the last couple of days.

Yesterday, I had a short shift, 5-8pm. With all of the overtime in the last week, I could take time off, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, which I desperately needed. I walked into the door and super swooned when I saw all of the furniture in place. Thanks to my coworkers and amazing volunteers (a very special family especially), it seemed as though things fell into place. (I can't leave out the contractors who hung the monitors on the wall.) Computers were up and running, my desk was situated in its home, and the kitchen/programming space was completely furnished. Later in the evening, around 6pm or so, I got a call from a gal who would bring the cushions after hours. I was only too glad to stick around after hours to ensure that they were there for the grand opening . . . 

Today: Grand Opening/Halloween party. The weather was not ideal (wet and cold) but there were many people who turned out for the event. Our introduction speech was cancelled at the last minute (whew) when we realized people would not be paying attention to us. They were mesmerized by all of the cool gadgetry, space, and colors of the new space. There were free books for trick-or-treaters, as well. In the Kiwanis room, now that we're finally out, scientists from DePauw brought a few fun things. Patrons stood in line for ice cream (made from liquid nitrogen) and cookies, and to hold a snake and a hissing cockroach, ew ew ew! One of the board members thought I was joking when I freaked out at the rodent sized insect. Uh, no.

All day I had been wearing my costume.With a fake moustache, worn to heck jeans and jacket, I was an undercover cop. I had a badge and everything. Every so often I would deepen my voice and throw people off. "Hey, only one book per person. Hey." It was so much fun to be able to mingle with patrons. (In the past, as a volunteer for Milwaukee Public Library, I was stationed in one spot for 3 hours.) I saw many new faces, and plenty of friends around.

In the last 30 minutes or so, I discovered that we had about 700 cookies left! Oh no! There's no way I could eat all of those myself, so I took a bin of about 500 of them upstairs to circulation. "Take 2 and call me in the morning," was my catch-phrase. I also sang "Cookies!!" and that caught everyone's attention. A few of the circ gals were laughing at my antics. It seemed to work. By the time we closed the bin was empty.

Tomorrow we partner with Greencastle Parks and Recreation Department (GPRD) for Dia de los Muertos (which means I could leave decorations up tonight (muwahahahaha)). Two-fer, my TAB meeting is tomorrow. The kiddos can help clean up the rest of the mess/decorations from tonight. They can also help count left-over books to determine how many kids turned out. It's a good thing I have a ton of cookies to reward them with.

Moral of the story: A positive attitude can go a long way. As I told my boss today, "It can only go up from here." The Imagination Portal is open for business. I can't wait to see where we go on this adventure. #dreamjob

Monday, October 20, 2014


"The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor." (

This image is perfect. We're still under renovation. And my next step is redo everything I've done.

Our shelves are about a foot too far away from the wall. *so move them* Right, well, there are thousands of books on the shelves. The shelving guy won't move the shelves unless all the books are off.

I kind of have to laugh at this scenario. Granted, and a million thanks to my volunteers, I didn't do a whole lot of unpacking/shifting/moving, it still seems like a punishment for something. Perhaps because I wasn't hands-on enough with the project. Either way, the books have to come off the shelves so the shelving guy can do his job just to put the books back. On the bright side, he'll move the shelving units from the temporary location into the permanent location.

For the next week, we'll be moving books. The Kiwanis room (temporary location) will have a very limited browsing collection since patrons can't access the construction zone, aka IP. The payoff, there will be more books available. Picture books will finally be able to come out of storage. As I've written for my "professional" blog, there are searches one can do in order to find and request a book. My goal is to have the limited collection for a matter of days: Monday-Thursday. With the Grand Opening/Halloween Party next Friday (yikes) we've got to be as ready as possible.

Moral of the Story: Never take anyone's work for granted? Don't sweat the small stuff (books instead of a boulder)? In any case, I think I'll have to thank my volunteers with gifts.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Zen Den

Breathe in . . . Breathe out . . . repeat.

I had a meeting with my boss the other day. We discussed options regarding alternatives to shelving. Today, the guru came in. She was much better at finding a solution to our shelving problems. It turns out the shelving guy put too much room between the wall and the tall shelves. Simple solution: move the tall shelves back 12" and everything should fit as planned. (Whew)

She also approved of incorporating shelving units into the other parts of the library, which wasn't part of the original plan. This is great news since we no longer feel like we're hiding our collection.

Youth Services is in a "T" shape, sort of. In one upper portion will be computers arranged along the walls. In the opposite upper portion will be the majority of our collection. The glorious tree is in the center of the "T"; it is the focal point when walking in the room. My kitchen is in the lower half of the area, designated as the programming space. Finally, there is a puppet stage/storytelling area opposite the kitchen. (Guru's goal is to have our library featured (*cough* win an award *cough*) in a magazine. Keep your fingers crossed.)

Knowing that PCPL will still look and feel like a library (of the 21st Century) is such a relief for all of us on board. We're proud of our books, classic and modern tales, and our approach to other literacies, including information, digital, media, multicultural, et cetera. I found this helpful link to other literacies and their definitions:

Moral of the Story: Everything happens for a reason. Cliché, I know, but without this snafu, we might not have found ways to bring books into other areas of the Imagination Portal.

Side note: the kitchen has frog handles on all the cabinetry. Yes, the kitchen will help to bridge multicultural literacy with standard literacy. (I can't wait!) 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jazz Hands

Back story: In my first semester of grad school, I met a funny, quiet guy, "The Don". We had all of the same classes. After that first semester, I made a pact with him to take at least one class with him per semester. Our second semester, we joined forces for a group project and called ourselves "Team Jazz Hands". We did our presentation complete with hand gestures. My third semester, I dropped our "approved" class for a recommended class, and, lucky me, he was also in the class (video game literacy (the sole purpose for my current position (or so I think))). Our final semester, we reunited with fellow SOISers and formed "Jazz Hands Four". Let's just say, we were a huge hit.

Fast forward: I was stressing about the move from the temporary location to the new Imagination Portal. Library dad is back, and I was moderately relieved. He shared his wisdom with me and put the move/transition into perspective. (I'm going to use quotes, but these are obviously not his exact words.) "It's kind of like jazz. You know where your solo is; you know that the other players are going to do their pieces, but you don't know for sure what it will sound like. You just have to trust that it will work out." When he gave me that analogy, all of my anxiety vanished. It was a perfect fit to put me at ease.

As I said, I know that our grand opening/Halloween party is set for October 31st at 3:30pm. I have arranged for cookies to be there. Books have been shipped, stamped, and waiting for display. And, I have my costume picked out. My part is done, mostly. I just have to sit back and see what happens next.

Moral of the Story: I have to play backup bass while the drummer has his solo. See what I did there? I played bass in a band (kinda) and the construction team is the drummer . . . you know, with their hammers and other loud equipment . . . oh, I don't claim this analogy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Veruca Salt

"Daddy, I want a golden goose!" That was me all week: stomping my feet, crying about not getting my way, etc, etc. "Not cute," is all I have to say about that.

Who would have thought that I would have to be an interior designer in addition to a librarian. Okay, so I'm a writer, too, but I have experience in that field. Interior design? That's another story (no pun intended).

The blue prints show 4 tall and 6 short units. In reality, we have 4 tall units and 4 short units. I created an alternative layout for the reality of the shelves. We have 4 tall shelves comfortably in place. However, after moving one short unit to the space, I learned that it is almost four inches wider than the tall shelves. The previous layout that I configured just won't do. Now I have to start over. In other words, to prevent a claustrophobic attack on patrons and staff, I have to figure out how to make things fit. Have I mentioned that I have three weeks to make it happen?

I've written about the Grand Opening/Halloween party. The date has been confirmed all over town. It's been printed, documented online, verbally communicated with patrons, and so on. However, we're at a stand still on the transition for many reasons, most importantly of which is that my boss, "dad (of the library)", is out sick, hence my stomping around like Veruca Salt. He has the final say on shelving positions and such.

Thankfully, I can occupy my time with other library related tasks, especially preparation for the kitchen. My Servsafe certification test in less than 2 weeks. Perhaps I should focus my energies on that, rather than on not being able to do anything in the IP. After all, I won't be able to utilize my kitchen if I'm not certified. 

Moral of the Story: I have to learn to be more patient with the construction process, otherwise I may end up down a garbage chute.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Happiness is a Warm Pastry

Two weeks ago, Putnam County had a food fest. I was busy hosting my TAB so I couldn't attend, but one of my co-workers informed me of a local bakery in Coatesville, Cinnamon Girls Cafe, that was there. Since Greencastle doesn't have a local bakery, I decided I would investigate how much CGC would charge to prepare cookies for the Grand Opening/Halloween event (the chain bakery in the grocery store wanted way too much and basic Halloween Oreos wouldn't do for my event). Being a local business (and it shouldn't have been a surprise) their hours were very limited. I missed calling the shop by 20 minutes. By 2:20pm, I was late and missed connecting with anyone. Fortunately for me, they had Saturday hours. Fortunately for me, I had an upcoming 3-day-weekend.

On the Saturday of my lengthy weekend, I hopped on Bertha, my bike, and started pedaling for Coatesville, a modest 12 miles. It was a scenic route, lots of cornfields and farmlands. Again, no surprise in store. When I got there, I ordered a meal and a delicious pecan roll (which I totally earned!). Yum! Then I got to business.

The owner and I chatted regarding what I needed, and my budget. Since my budget was potentially non-existent, I asked if she could bring a sample of cookies to the library. You could say I was a clever cookie to persuade other departments to contribute to the Grand Opening by having warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies, and scrumptious Oreo cheesecake cookies.

Well, wouldn't you know it? My tactic worked! Friends of the Library (FOL) is very generously contributing to the cookie fund. We're going to have 1,500 cookies for our bash and we'll be under budget! Perhaps it was the fact that we're going with a local bakery (Greencastle, and much of the area, is very fond of local business, as am I). Perhaps it was because it was to make a statement for the Grand Opening. I'm not really sure what sold the FOL, but I'm very grateful that we will have a phenomenal bash.

Moral of the Story: "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."--Carl Sagan