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

Review: Eleanor by Jason Gurley

eleanorIt was the cover that first grabbed me. Watercolor swirls of blue, outlining brimming eyes dripping tears down into rolling waves on an ivory background. The title and author were afterthoughts: I had to read this book because I had to read about this cover.

Lucky for me, the cover evokes both the topics and themes of the book – a young woman grappling with the tragedies that have derailed her family, as well as the healing power of water and the sea. Sometimes it pays off to judge a book by its heartbreakingly emotive cover. Continue reading

Understanding fair use

This week is Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, which is a pretty big deal. According to the Association of Research Libraries sponsored website:

“Fair use [in the U.S.] and fair dealing [in the U.K.] are essential limitations and exceptions to copyright, allowing the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances.”

Fair use is important to librarians, since it governs how content can be “fairly” used without breaking copyright. The American Library Association has created this resource for librarians to share with their patrons. And the following graphic, commissioned by ARL and created by YIPPA, offers some essential thoughts on fair use. (Get the full graphic by clicking on the image below.) ARL-FUW-Infographic-r4-page-001

The impact of fair use on scholarship is especially important in research and academic libraries, because that’s where most people affected by fair use go. But that doesn’t mean all librarians shouldn’t be familiar with the concept. At my own public library, plenty of online students, as well as some local community college students, use our public internet and computers to get their work done. This means that when they have questions about citations and the like, we are the people they ask. Public librarians, though not forced to publish, may also wish to do so at some point in their careers. Fair use will be important in that context as well. During an “appearance” on the Circulating Ideas podcast, Jessamyn West discusses how fair use affected the publication of her own book.

But fair use is important in many other contexts as well.  Continue reading

Review: The Birthday of the World

In an attempt to read more women authors, I grabbed a book of short stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, who has been on my to-read list forever. But with a to-read list like mine (487 and counting), it seemed like a collection of short stories was easier to tackle then a full novel.51n5X6yiSlL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
The Birthday of the World is Le Guin’s musings that are set in her already incredibly complex universe. Imagine you are dropped onto a world that is so different than your own and you have to figure out what’s going on. For some of the stories, this was incredibly easy to do. In others, I was a little lost. But these little windows into the Le Guin universes made me want more, which is also the value of this collection of short stories.

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Women and Comic Books

I did not grow up on comic books, although that was for no other reason than they seemed like a lot of money to invest in such flimsy bits of colored paper with very few pages. Books seem like way more bang for their buck, if you are basing it strictly on page count. So I didn’t care for many of the famous super heroes, though I didn’t really know anything about them. The old Batman and Superman movies were okay, but they really weren’t my thing.

And then the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Iron Man movies all came out. I was in love, though not any more capable of affording the past-time. And then libraries started getting into the graphic novel/comic book game, I decided there was nothing standing in the way of my getting my comic-book-nerd on.


Get a list of the top 50 female comic book writers, compiled by

At first I grabbed some classics (including Rocketeer and a compendium of D.C. Universe Secret Origins stories). Then I grabbed an issue of the new Guardians of the Galaxy. They were okay but they didn’t seem worth it. And then Ms. Marvel arrived. Followed by my discovery of an awesome parade of kick-ass females helming their very own books. And a genuine love was born.

Women authors have been on my mind lately, and many of the best comic books (including Ms. Marvel) feature women writers,  but they remain a minority. So I thought that a great follow-up post about reading more women authors, would be a post about reading more women comic book characters, since there aren’t that many female comic book authors. Keep in mind that I am a relative newbie when it comes to comic books. Many of these characters existed long before I discovered them, and, since my library is focused on building current series since we don’t have an unlimited budget, my experiences are with current runs that have generally debuted in the last  one to two years. If you have any suggestions for me to read, please leave them in the comments below. I’m constantly looking to expand my comic book/graphic novel knowledge.

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