Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Librarian Post - Bad Art Day!

This program was SO much fun y'all!

The entire point of the program is for patrons to make the worst art they can possibly make with whatever weird stuff we have floating around. The one thing I did have to purchase was Canvas Paper ($6 or so for about 10 sheets, available at any art supply store) but you can also do it with Watercolor paper, which is slightly cheaper, actual canvases if you can find a good deal or heavy card stock (but I don't recommend card stock as it can get too wet too fast depending on what supplies you set out).

Each person who attended the program was given one sheet of the paper, and told they could use any of the other supplies they wanted to. Supplies they were provided included:
 - old magazines removed from the collection
 - old books removed form the collection
 - old newspapers removed the collection
 - glue sticks
 - scissors (regular and the fancy scrapbooking kinds that cut pretty patterns)
 - Washi tape
 - markers
 - crayons
 - different types of foam stickers
 - ribbons
 - "puffy paint" (the kind you use for decorating clothes)
 - a bad of old photo booth props I had floating around
 - feathers
 - fuzzy pom poms
 - acrylic paints and brushes

Anything else you have can go in the pile - colored pencils, drawing pencils, sequins, googly eyes, butcher paper, construction paper, glitter (if you are a bit of a masochist and enjoy the cleanup, otherwise stick to glitter-glue) etc.

I told the group they had 45 minutes to make their masterpieces and come up with a super awesome name for them. Then we would have a 15 minute show and tell where we would discuss their artistic achievements and they meant to them. Let me tell you, the group was cracking up the entire time and doing super fun things! Bonus points - we had kids AND adults doing the same project and having a jolly good time. I even had several people ask me if we would consider making this a monthly program and let me tell you, I am really considering just that because it was so cool! Below are some of their gorgeous achievements and the titles they chose.

The Day of the Eyes

Floating Into Confusion

Doesn't Follow Instructions

Orange Crush Meets Purple Rain: A Senior's View

Colorful Rainforest

Nana's Day

The Eye of Day

Confused: A Day a the Circus

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Librarian Post - Peeps Dioramas!

     When I first started working within my current library district, we hosted a district-wide Peeps Diorama competition in the style of the Washington Post's annual contest. At that time the adult programs were run by a lovely woman named Mimi. She has since retired, but I still keep in touch with her through the magic of Facebook.
    At the time of Mimi's retirement, her job functions were taken over by someone new who was... let's say "less enthusiastic." She decided to let the annual contest die, and I have always been a little sad about it, because it was one of my favorite events, and one of the few things we participated in as a district. (Because it was a completely anonymous judging, even employees and their families were encouraged to participate).
   This year, I said to heck with it and decided to bring the contest back within my branch. I asked Mimi for some input, and got great advice from other libraries that have been holding their own versions of the competition to come up with guidelines and now I am just sitting around hoping some dioramas actually get turned in!

The guidelines are quite simple:
1. The theme is Peeps in Literature so all dioramas must be somehow based on a book.
2. All parts of the diorama are to fit within a maximum 14" X 16" box.
3. The scenes depicted must be appropriate for all ages.
4. The title of the diorama must be somewhere on the front of the box, and Peeps related puns are highly encouraged.
5. One entry per person or group, by which I specified that someone is welcome to turn in an individual entry IN ADDITION TO participating in a group entry.
6. 5 people max per group entry.
7. Judging will be blind, so upon receiving them, each entry is given a number.

The entrants also have to turn in a form with the names of who made the diorama, the title, their age or ages, a phone for contact and note with category they are entering into so I can contact them if they win something.

The categories are:
Children age 12 or under
Teens ages 13-17
Adults ages 18 and older
Group.

One diorama will also be crowned Peeple's Choice through later voting by patrons. I have made cute little certificates and have a few small prizes for the winners. I even made a super slapdash simple diorama as a sample. Can you guess what book it's based on?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Book Review: Kim Reaper Graphic Novel


     Sarah Graley's new Kim Reaper graphic novel series is a promising new title for the tween and teen set.
     The story revolves around Becka, an adorably dorky University student who is mega-crushing on Kim, a cute Goth girl in one of her classes. Becka has never even spoken to Kim but has decided they are meant to be, and finally works up the courage to ask her for a drink down at the pub when she sees Kim whip out a GIANT scythe and open a portal to who knows where. Becka follows and realizes that Kim is a part-time Grim Reaper.
    A series of hilarious adventures follow - including an attempt at reaping the soul of a cat owned by a crazed, steroid-using body builder (because Kim is only part-time she can only reap animal souls). But, when Kim breaks the rules and gets in MAJOR trouble with her bosses, Becka needs to decide if this potential relationship is even worth it. Meanwhile Kim learns a big mistake she made could cost her not only her job but her life (if you get fired from reaping, you're fired from LIFE) UNLESS she reaps Beka! Drama ensues!
    The only negative I have here is that the art style is really juvenile - and the story is so cutesy that the story would probably most appeal to tweens... but the characters are all University students who party hard and drink a lot, and that aspect probably would not appeal to a tween audience. I do think it's a promising start to a series that shows a lot of potential - and the fact that the main characters are a bi-racial lesbian couple is definitely a refreshing aspect that will definitely appeal to younger LGBT-etc. girls who want (and need) these types of positive role models.

      Kim Reaper hits shelves tomorrow, March 13th, 2018.

3/5 bookmarks! Loses points for the visuals not really matching the character backgrounds. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Book Review: Photographic


     Photographic is a biographical graphic novel about the life and art of the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, who made it her life's mission to capture the unusual in the everyday, and made it her life's work to especially capture the beauty of women - including one of her favorite subjects, the Muxe (pronounced moo-hay) - a group of transgender women in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
     As a Mexican woman it hit me deep to read about a fellow Mexican woman who has become internationally renowned for her art and her vision of our very unique culture. There just are not enough books like this ESPECIALLY in beautiful graphic novel form that incorporates both the artists actual works with new images interpreted by a new author.
     The style of the book will certainly appeal to people of all ages, since it is simple enough for kids to understand but interesting enough that adults will enjoy it and learn from it as well. 

Photographic hits shelves tomorrow, March 6, 2018

4/5 bookmarks!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: Fantomah


     Fantomah is a pretty problematic graphic novel for me. What it basically amounts to is a middle-aged Canadian guy trying to tell the story of a teenage Hispanic woman living in the inner city, while trying to incorporate (incorrectly, I might add) elements of Latin American folklore into the mix.
     He's basically taken the story of a specter known as "La Llorona" (The Weeping Woman) and re-named her "La Fantomah," for some reason, though I have never heard her refereed to this way before, then attempted to turn her from a boogie-man type character meant to scare little Mexican kids into being good, into some kind of heroic, but also crazy and murderous entity out to save the lives of little kids.
    The basic gist is that the local gang is kidnapping children, ostensibly to sell them into sex-trafficking. The protagonist's little sisters get kidnapped, the protagonist gets thrown in the river by her gang-member ex boyfriend while looking for the girls and she is somehow (though it's never explained how to any degree of satisfaction) becomes "La Fantomah" and can hear the prayers of people in crisis. She also becomes super strong, is able to fly and is invulnerable to bullets (though maybe only when she is La Fantomah and not when she reverts back to being human, though THAT is also not very clear). In the process of rescuing the kids, she goes on a massive killing spree of gang members and eventually encounters a demon (or maybe an alien? Who knows.).
     A lot of the plot points are confusing and never fully explained, plus we don't get to know really ANYTHING about the main character before she becomes a revenge-ghost, or after for that matter, so it's pretty hard to know if we're supposed to be horrified or empathetic or what. 

Fantomah is on shelves now, but leave it there, it's not really worth picking up. 

2/5 bookmarks. The art is nice. Otherwise it's pretty bad. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Pestilence



     Well, here's a new concept in the deluge of Zombie graphic novels! Pestilence is a fantasy/sci-fi/Speculative fiction title that asks the question: what if the black plague of the Medieval era actually turned people into zombies? And what if the Catholic Church worked REALLY hard to make sure people never found out about it?
    The story centers around the members of Fiat Lux, a group of former templar crusaders who are called to the Vatican to help rescue the pope from the swarm of undead hoards that are causing destruction throughout the land. Of course the men start getting picked off one by one on their way to fulfill their quest, and there is a ton of gross, gory violence and cursing going on all around. It's good action for the gore-lovers all around UNTIL we find out that the church is a bunch of jerks trying to suppress the fact that the "plague" makes people into zombies because... drum roll please.... Jesus came back from the dead, and the zombies are coming back from the dead, and they don't want anyone to say "Jesus was a zombie!"
    Seriously. That's the Catholic Church's ACTUAL stance on Zombies in this book. Oh, did I mention there is a Zombie Pope? Yup. Zombie Pope.
    Pestilence is certainly not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I have to admit it was actually kind of a breath of fresh air, since it's one zombie back story I had definitely never heard before!

Pestilence is on shelves now.

3/5 bookmarks. Loses points for silly Pope stuff.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Librarian Post - Family Feud at the Library

Recently I hosted a very successful Family Feud program that was popular with both teens and adults.

I have to warn you guys, the program takes a lot of work to put together, but if you do it right, it is definitely something that will appeal to a wide audience.

The first thing I did was decided that all of my questions were going to be library related. But I also did a second round of surveys with a music theme, so I can use them for Summer Reading.
For the library themed game, I asked things like "how many hours a week do you spend reading" and "how many books do you normally check out at one time." Then I put these questions into a Survey Monkey survey in order to solicit respondents. (Keep in mind, Survey Monkey's free platform allows you to create surveys of up to 10 questions each. I ended up with 16 questions so I created 2 surveys to avoid paying). I then posted survey links on my personal Facebook, as well as on a few groups I am a member of, and e-mailed them out to my coworkers.

I got my 100 respondents shockingly fast, so make sure you keep an eye on the numbers and close the survey as soon as you get 100 responses. It's going to be hard enough to cull through all the answers with just those 100 trust me.

Also worth noting, the free version of Survey Monkey caps your surveys at 100 responses, which is actually perfect.


Once I had my responses, I had to go through them, and that was a tiny little nightmare. Do this any way you think will work, but what worked best for me at the end, was, once the survey was closed, I copied and pasted ALL the answers for each question into a Word document. Then it was easy, though highly time consuming to group like answers together and see what my top answers were.

Like on the game show, I kept only the top 5-6 answers that were given and threw all others out for playing purposes. (Someone actually asked during game play why point totals were not adding up to 100 so I felt that ought to be explained on here as well). I printed out answers and number of responses and attached them to poster boards and just used construction paper taped over them to create our super low-tech "board" which worked out fabulously!

My "boards." Simple, easy to make, and easy to use during play. 


This was one of the very few times I asked for registration in advance. This was because I wanted to have an idea of which teams to pair against each other, since the game was open to ages 8 and up... it didn't feel very fair to have, say a team with a bunch of elementary school kids up against a team of adults.

I got good coverage for the event through posts on social media, the local paper and even a DJ on a local radio station who signed her family up and mentioned the program on her show.

Gameplay was just like on the show... 2 teams pitted against each other per round and one person from each team doing a face off to determine which team would play the round. Steals were allowed after 3 wrong answers, and top score after 2 rounds was considered the winning team. We were able to get through 6 rounds in about 50 minutes, and this was after throwing out one "round" which not person could give an answer to. I had a table with random prizes that the winners got to choose from, and there was enough for every person to take something home. In the end I would call this an extremely successful program! I even got a call from a player the next day telling me how much fun they had and thanking me for hosting.