Update: HB 516

A few weeks ago I shared my thoughts on Virginia HB 516, which would require schools to label works as sexually explicit and inform parents if a title is on a child’s required reading list. In my discussion of the bill, I mentioned the slippery slope labeling entails, citing the opposition of the Virginia Library Association, although the Virginia Association of Teachers of English later issued a similar statement. With exactly a week to go before Governor McAuliffe would have been forced to make a decision on whether to veto or sign the bill into law, the Governor has vetoed the bill. Continue reading

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Library Links: Grab bag time

While reading The Productivity Project, I learned that our obsession with media and screens is sneakily reducing our productivity, even while it makes us feel more productive. It all has to do with the limbic system, which is extra-stimulated by our devices, and how engaging that portion of the brain tends to reduce our focus while releasing hormones that make us feel satisfyingly productive even though we’re really not. I have two words for that:

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And despite efforts to reduce my own screen time as part of my personal productivity project, I still find myself hungrily devouring bits and pieces of information gleaned from a variety of scrollable sources. The good news is that I now have plenty to share with you. So without further ado, a grab bag of library- (and not-so-library-) related links: Continue reading

More than just productivity: The Productivity Project

51Pi1JKgDpL__SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Within the first chapter of The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey spills the beans on the three ingredients to productivity: Time, attention and energy. He says the balance of these leads you to accomplishing your goals. And if you flip over to the back cover, you’ll find Bailey’s top four recommendations for becoming more productive. But the value of Bailey’s book is not in knowing these factors, but following along on Bailey’s journey and absorbing the lesson that productivity has more important benefits than getting more done every day.

But don’t worry, Bailey does spend some time giving you tips on how to get more productive. Each chapter closes with a challenge that aims to both drive home the theme of the chapter and begin actively working on your productivity. His truthful anecdotes endear you to him and his process, while making you feel that the goal of becoming more productive is something you believe in wholeheartedly. I say that because I grabbed the book not because I wanted to read it, but because I wanted to increase my knowledge of the types of books available in the 600s. By the end, I’ve found myself implementing and valuing many of the lessons Bailey’s imparts. Continue reading

Fictional libraries and bookstores I want to visit

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The Sunnydale High School Library, featured in the first three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is on my list of fictional libraries and bookstores I would love to visit.

As I was listening to The Waste Lands by Stephen King (the third book in The Dark Tower series), I  suddenly found myself wanting to visit a particular shop described in the series: The Manhattan Restaurant of the Mind. It occurred to me that there are a number of libraries and book stores described in literature (and television), that I would love to visit. So, here is my list:

  • Sunnydale High School Library: Hellmouth? Check. Ancient tomes on magic and vampires and demons? Check. Cute British librarian with a secret mission? Check. Who wouldn’t want to visit Giles in this West Coast landmark? I’ll need fair warning not to visit when the next big bad is attempting to open that nasty Hellmouth, though. (Featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Manhattan Restaurant of the Mind: Stephen King’s the Dark Tower features some strange sights, but this quirky neighborhood bookstore is easy to miss among the other outlandish settings. But Calvin Tower (Tower! Get the connection?) runs a fun themed bookstore that feeds the mind with hard-boiled detective works, southern-fried Faulkner and many more. (Featured in The Waste Lands, Book 3 of The Dark Tower series)
  • The Book Apothecary: Imagine a bookstore where you go to discover books to heal your soul. Nina George did, in The Little Paris Bookshop, which introduces us to Jean Perdu, the bookseller who retrofitted a barge to serve as his bookshop. One conversation with him and he can recommend the best book for solving your inner pain. For example, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is prescribed “for the world-weary and the dangerously naïve.” Get your own recommendations from Penguin House’s companion site to the novel. (Featured in The Little Paris Bookshop)
  • Hogwarts Library: You know I had to include a location from Harry Potter. What better one than Hermione’s favorite hangout, which deserved a mention for its intriguing “Restricted Section.” And, you have to respect the librarian’s reaction to Harry’s copy of Advanced Potion Making. (Featured the Harry Potter series)

Timothy Zahn and my Star Wars obsession

Let me introduce you to a few of my favorite books of all time:

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For those Star Wars obsessed individuals among my readers, you likely easily recognized The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn. What you may not know is that this is the trilogy that relaunched the Expanded Universe. Without Timothy Zahn and his incredible ability to evoke the heart of Star Wars while injecting much needed life in the form of unique new characters, I’m not sure what Star Wars fandom would be today. We might not have even had any of the other content that has come out since the early 1990s. Indeed, we might not even have the die-hard fans our fandom has. I say this because for many, me included, it was the Expanded Universe novels that solidified and fed our love of Star Wars when there was nothing else new out there. Fun fact: We also wouldn’t actually know that the name of the planet that housed the Imperial Center was Coruscant if Zahn hadn’t dreamed up the name (See “Legends” Wookieepedia page for “Coruscant,”and scroll to “Behind the Scenes” – I’m not making this up!).

So when a friend told me Zahn would be attending two panels at a local science fiction convention, I knew I had to go. I gathered the hallowed above paperbacks from their honored place on my fiction bookshelf to be signed. (Yes I have a whole other bookshelf for nonfiction.) And then I spent several days freaking out. Continue reading