Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today At The Desk....A Mystery At The Library

Today was a rough day.  Not because it was too busy, not because customers were difficult, but because I had an oppressive headache all. day. long.  It felt like a weight, dragging me down and making it difficult to focus, and of the course the harder I tried to concentrate, the worse the headache got.  It was the kind of headache that also makes you feel sick at your stomach as well.  I felt guilty I wasn't at 100% but I did my best.

It was actually kind of a strange day.  I had no families come into the department for the first couple of hours, but quite a few, shall we say, eccentric adults.  I had to call security twice to check out people that were hanging around and behaving like they might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or having a mental health issue.  I tried to help one man find a ballet book for his niece, but we didn't have quite what he was looking for, so he asked me to recommend a bookstore and find him bus information to get there, which I was happy to do. 

Then a woman came in who needed materials to help her with tutoring a teenager who was recovering from a stroke, and she was looking for some kind of test or assessment tool to help her determine where he was at to start with.  Unfortunately, all I could find where things related to the GED, AP tests, and college entrance exams.  She decided to try the GED practice tests and fortunately we had one study guide in, so I gave her the information and directed her to the appropriate floor, and also suggested she try the library for the College of Education at the local university.  Fortunately, once she got upstairs, the associate that was working at that desk knew exactly what she was looking for, even though neither the patron nor I had been able to find anything in the catalog, or using Google.  Without a title or author, it was hard coming up with just the right search terms to find it.  I felt bad I hadn't been able to find it, but was very glad someone else knew just the right book for her.  It was a series called Making The Grade, by the way.

We did have a little bit of excitement.  We are renovating our staff room a little bit, in order to give us more workspace, and in the process of clearing stuff out one of the children's librarians discovered a tiny safe, bolted to the floor, hidden in the very back corner.  It was only about 4"x8"x4" or so, and had been hidden by all the things piled around it for so long, there was not a single staff member left in the building who knew anything about it.  Of course we were all intensely curious as to what it's purpose was and what might be inside it.  Perhaps some long-forgotten petty cash?  Important documents?  A shrunken head?

At the manager's suggestion, they looked through the senior children's librarian's desk, where they found an assortment of miscellaneous keys.  Soon, they found that one of them fit one of the locks on the safe, but we still needed a second key.  So the search continued, and another set of keys was located.  Lo and behold, one of them fit the top lock.  The manager turned both keys, opened!  And inside it was.........

.......wait for it...........

...............wait for it.........

.................................another set of keys!  Ha! 

Very anti-climactic, reminiscent of Geraldo Rivera's embarassing  docu-melodrama of the opening of Al Capone's [empty] vault.  So much for our bit of mystery and intrigue ;)  But at least it made the afternoon a little more interesting.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Review of The Water And The Wild, by K. E. Ormsbee

The Water And The Wild by K. E. Ormsbee, April 14, 2015.  Chronicle Books, 448 pages.  Ages 8-12.

Lottie Fiske is a young girl who has had a fairly solitary life.  She was orphaned as a baby, and taken in by kindly Mr. Yates, who's untimely passing left her in the care of his not-so-kindly wife.  Mrs. Yates was not cruel, but she was rather cold, brusque, and uncaring.  Lottie never fit in with the other children on Kemble Isle and was often bullied.  She found solace in her apple tree, and her only friend Elliot.

On her 6th birthday, she received a mysterious letter telling her about her parents, with a picture of them enclosed.  On the back of the picture was written "If you should ever need anything, write back."  She wrote back requesting hair ribbons, but had no address to send it to, so she stuck the note inside the apple tree.  To her surprise, on her next birthday, she received the hair ribbon she had requested from "the letter-writer."  This continued until her twelfth birthday, when Lottie made a much more serious request.  Her only friend Elliot was very sick, and getting sicker, so Lottie asked for Elliot to be cured. 

Six months later, however, she gets some very dire news.  Elliot's condition has continued to worsen, and his doctor predicts that he had only 2 to 3 weeks left to live.  As Lottie bikes home in the rain, she is nearly crushed by a falling tree, but is yanked out of the way at the last minute by a mysterious hero who leaves his mark on her arm.  Then, when she gets home, she finds a strange girl named Adelaide in her room who claims to have been sent to bring her to Adelaide's father because she was in danger here.  Adelaide leads her to her beloved apple tree, pulls down on one of the branches, and a door opens up!  Then Lottie is whisked away through the apple tree on an amazing journey to a magical world full of sprites, will o'wisps, barghests, danger, and intrigue.

What does Lottie learn about herself and her parents?  Will she be able to find a cure and get back in time to save Elliot?  Why is the sprite king after her?

My Thoughts
My library was a little late getting this book, but I chose to read it because I found out the author happens to live in my town.  It is a fast-paced story full of magic, mystery, and adventure.  I think the author did a fairly good job creating a magical world of her own imaginations, re-inventing some familiar terms, such as sprite and will-o'-the-wisp and making up new magical creatures from her own imaginations.  I think anyone who likes this genre will like this book as well.

I would recommend this for middle-grade (and up) readers who enjoy magical fantasy that is fast paced and not too dark.  I think it might appeal in to fans of The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice In Wonderland, The Circus Mirandus, and readers who were fans of fairy stories, Peter Pan, etc., but are now ready for something longer and more complex.  It might appeal to fans of Harry Potter, though the plot is considerable faster, or Percy Jackson, as they all deal with magic or special powers, and main characters who find out they are only half human and must negotiate a magical world they never knew existed.

I only have two criticisms of this book, (1) the title really isn't related to the story at all; I like titles that make sense and are more indicative of what the book is about, and (2)  It didn't really have an ending, many issues in the magic world were left unresolved, and it wasn't really made clear if that was it, or if there is going to be a sequel.

Other Books By This Author
The Water And The Wild is K. E. Ormsbee's debut novel, with an un-titled sequel due out in Fall of 2016.  A stand-along middle grade fantasy, The House In Poplar Wood is due out in 2017.  Her first YA novel, Lucky Few, is expected to be published in Summer of 2016 by Simon & Schuster and is about a homeschooled teen confronting his anxiety about death.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Review of Are You Still There by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

Are You Still There by Sarah Lynn Scheerger.  September 1, 2015.   AW Teen, 288 pages.  Teen & up.

Gabriella Mallory is a parent's dream:  straight-A honor student, athlete, community volunteer, and too focused on school to deal with dating or drama.  Until the drama finds her.

First, a bomb threat which was all too real and left her hiding in the bathroom in fear for her life, and afraid for her sister Chloe and best friend Beth.  Fortunately, the bomb was safely disarmed and no one was hurt, but the bomb-maker is still out there somewhere.

In response to the bomb incident, a drug overdose the year before, and the suicide of a student before that, the school decides to set up a peer hotline, staffed anonymously by students.  Gabi is asked to be one of these students, and is a little bit surprised when she meets the others and finds how diverse the group is, with representatives of nearly every social group in the school.  Despite their differences, the group begins to bond and Gabi finds herself forming close friendships with some of the others, and even begins dating one of the volunteers, Miguel, who comes from a very different world than Gabi.

But the bomb-maker is still out there, leaving clues for the police.  But then he/she begins to involve Gabi in his "game", leaving clues in her locker and calling the helpline and only talking to her; somehow knowing she is one of the staffers, even though she uses a pseudonym and it is all supposed to be anonymous.  At first Gabi is frightened, but then she feels compelled to try to help the bomber before he hurts himself or anyone else.  Will she figure out his plan and his identity in time?

My Thoughts
I found this to be a very compelling story, part who-dunnit and part anti-bullying statement, with a little romance and coming-of-age thrown in as Gabi starts to break out of her shell and figure out what SHE wants, rather than running on automatic and simply living up to everyone else's expectations of her.  Gabi learns to move beyond her limited social circle and braves the dating game for the first time, having to re-negotiate her existing friendship and her relationships with her mother and sister, all the while trying to figure out who the bomber is and what his/her motives are before it's too late. 

I loved the multi-faceted story and the fast-paced plot, and feel the book makes a strong statement about bullying without being too preachy, and makes points about breaking down boundaries between social groups and finding your own path in life as well.  I also liked how journal entries by the bomber, written in free verse, were interspersed throughout the book, giving the reader a little firsthand insight into what he/she is thinking and feeling.  

I think most teens and some tweens could relate to this story, seeing themselves and people they know among the characters, and it might make a great choice for a discussion group.  I would suggest this book to all teens, but would especially recommend it for those who want realistic fiction with compelling stories about timely topics, and those with a particular interest in coming of age stories, psychological dramas, and stories dealing with bullying and school violence.

Other Books By This Author
The Opposite of Love, September 2014, is about a seemingly unlikely couple who have one thing in common, both coming from a troubled homelife , and also deals with serious teen issues most readers will be able to relate to.

She has also authored or co-authored several books for younger readers under the name "Sarah Lynn".

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Today At The Desk....Reluctant Readers

Today was a little different than my typical Thursday afternoon shift, and that's a good thing.  It's nice to have routines, but then again, it's nice to have it disrupted a bit to keep things interesting.  It wasn't super busy exactly, but as soon as I took the desk I had several people need help, whereas usually it is very slow at the beginning and I take advantage of that by cleaning up, straightening the shelves, filling displays, maybe shelving a little or sorting carts.

But right off the bat someone gave me a stack of books to check in, then a patron asked for help finding books that the catalog said were there but he couldn't find.  Most of the time when that happens, they either (1) didn't really know how to find it and were looking in the wrong section, or (2) didn't realize when the catalog says "Available" that means at any of our 6 locations, and you have to click on it to see at which branches.  But I double-checked the catalog, and it was really supposed to be in at our location, then I checked the shelf and displays, but no luck.  I thought maybe it had been returned very recently and just hadn't made it's way through circulation back to our department yet, but when I checked the circulation record it showed the book was last returned over a year ago.  That most likely means it had been stolen.  Worse yet, no other branch in the system owned it either.  I explained that I would report it missing and it would be replaced, but I wasn't sure how long that would take.  I tried to offer other options, but he was only interested in something he could take right then. 

Then I had a patron who needed help selecting books for two 12-year old boys who generally didn't like to read much, and she had no idea what to try, but that they did enjoy S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders when they read it for language arts.  Unfortunately, we did not have any of Hinton's other books, and I could not think of any obvious read-alikes off the top of my head.  I consulted Novelist, but wasn't thrilled with most of the suggestions nor did we have many of them, anyway.  Fortunately, the customer was at the library for a meeting, so I told her I would do some digging and pull some selections and have them ready for her when she came back by the desk after her meeting.  This took the pressure off and gave me time to give it some careful thought, and get some great suggestions from an online group of Youth Services professionals who gave me some great ideas.  So I was able to pull a couple of Walter Dean Myers' books, Scorpions and Lockdown; Miracle's Boys, The Chocolate War, Bronx Masquerade, Fat Boy Rules The World, Hatchet, Holes, Small Steps, and Ender's Game.  I wanted to give her a cross-section with some gritty, realistic fiction, some teen angst, some lighter realistic fiction about survival/fighting the system/overcoming difficulties, and a range of length and reading level. I threw in Ender's Game, even though it is sci-fi, but I just had a gut feeling they might like it.

When the patron returned, I gave her a brief description of each one, told her which ones had sequels, and which ones I had not personally read, and suggested she might want to look through them first to check for any content she might object to.  I offered to take the stack over to a table so she could look through them and decide what to take, to which she replied, "Oh, these all sound perfect for them; you put together a great selection.  I'll just take them all so they have plenty of options".  Then she didn't have her card, so I looked her up to check her out myself, but then discovered she had fines over the limit.  So then I had to take her books back over to the self-check and manually enter her card number since that is the only machine equipped to take credit cards.  She was so appreciative for everything and I was really glad I was able to help her.  I hope I see her again so I can find out if her boys like them, and if so, which ones.  That's always the best part; it's good to know the parents appreciate your help in selecting books, but it's even better to find out the kids liked something you suggested!

I also helped a couple of people with checkouts and parking validations, find books they were looking for, pulled books for the send list, and helped an early education major with a project for her kiddie-lit class, which was to propose a book for this year's Caldecott award and defend her choice.  So first I explained that Caldecott winners were usually picture books, but sometimes non-fiction, and showed her where those respective areas were.  Then I showed her how to use the catalog, and how to set it to only show books we had at our location, and what to look for to know the shelf location and how to find them.  She said she thought she got it, and I told her I'd be happy to help her and just to let me know if she had any trouble finding anything, and let her get to work.  She soon found a book she was happy with and we chatted a bit about early education and working with preschoolers, then she went on her way.  It was refreshing to have a college student who only wanted to be shown how to use the catalog, and not expect us to do all the work for them.  That's a future teacher I would want my child to have.

All in all, it was a very satisfying day, even if I was a little disappointed "Batman" didn't make an appearance.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Middle Grade Mini-Reviews

I recently read several middle grade novels in preparation for a book club at the local middle school I help with.  The school librarian selects about half a dozen books each year, and each month kids sign up and read one, and various adults volunteer to lead one of the discussion groups.  These are some of the books selected for this year:

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen, 2010.  Wendy Lamb Books, 164 pages, ages 12 and up (I'd say 10 and up).

13-year old Samuel lives with his parents in a tiny un-named settlement in the wilderness of western Pennsylvania at the beginning of the Revolutionary war.  He is an accomplished woodsman, and provides meat not only for his parents, but the rest of the settlement as well.  One day while out hunting he spots smoke coming from the settlement and rushes back to find that Redcoats and Iroquois natives have burned the cabins and killed most of the inhabitants.  But, he is relieved that he doesn't find his parents among the dead and can only guess they were taken captive instead.  Samuel tracks them, determined to catch up with them and somehow rescue his parents.  Along the way, he faces more danger and death, but also finds help in unexpected places.

My Thoughts
This is a fast-paced story full of action and adventure, that does not sugar-coat the horrors of war.  I just have two criticisms:  one, is that it was a little too short and the situation resolved a little bit too easily in the end.  I think adding some kind of obstacle or unexpected problem during the rescue would have been more realistic and added to the drama.  The second is that after every chapter or two the author inserted notes with factual information about the war and conditions of the time, meant to give context to the story.  However, I found this additional information an unnecessary interruption to the story, and really took away from the flow rather than adding anything.  I think it would have been better to put all this information at the end of the book

I would recommend this book for middle grade readers interested in historical fiction, (particularly the Revolutionary War), survival stories, and adventure.  I think it would be good for reluctant readers due to it's short length, fast pace, and high interest.

Someone Was Watching by David Patneaude, January, 1993.  Albert Whitman & Company, 224 pages, ages 10 & up.

The Barton family is mourning the loss of their 3-year old daughter Molly, lost and presumed drowned in the river by their summer cabin.  Three months later, they are still having a hard time dealing with their feelings, and on the advice of their therapist, they return to visit the scene, and later watch the home video they took during their vacation, up until the time Molly disappeared.

But something keeps bothering 13-year old Chris, and he just has a nagging feeling all isn't what it seems.  Reviewing the video reveals a possible clue, and visiting the resort town only seems to confirm his suspicions.  He tries to explain it to his parents; however their fear of getting their hopes up keeps them from listening.  So Chris and his best friend Pat embark on a daring adventure to find out the truth.

My Thoughts
This is an intriguing mystery that middle-grade readers will find full of action and suspense, though adult readers will note there really aren't any plot twists or big surprises after the initial clues that lead Chris to suspect his sister didn't really drown.  I enjoyed reading it, but I also couldn't help noticing how dated /or unrealistic some of the plot is.  For example, there is no way two underage boys would be able to buy plane tickets and board a plane by themselves, and no decent motel will rent a room to anyone under 21, and usually not without a credit card.  I'm sure kids today will wonder why Chris didn't just use Google to find out where places were, as well.  But I would still recommend it to readers who enjoy mystery/adventure stories.

Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor.  January, 2008.  Katherine Tegan Books, 290 pages.  Ages 10 & up.

Twelve-year old Addie lives in a trailer with her mother, after her mother's erratic and impulsive behavior cost them their house and their family.  First Addie's mom divorced her husband after he attempted to control her spending, then he gained custody of Addie's little half-sisters after their mom abandoned the girls for a week.  Though he loves Addie like a daughter he was not able to get custody of her as well because he was not her biological father.  Then the bank took the house after Addie's mom blew their mortgage money on her latest scheme.

Now Addie is left to deal with her mother's extreme behavior alone, though she does find support and friendship from Soula and Elliot, who work at the convenience story next door.  She finds the brief periods of normalcy when she visits her step-father and little sisters start to become too painful, knowing it's only temporary.  Will Addie ever get to have the normal life and stability she needs?

My Thoughts
This book was longer and definitely "meatier" that the other two selections I reviewed above.  This was a very touching, sometimes heart-wrenching, story about a child having to grow up too fast and take on adult responsibilities because the adult in their life does not.  Some readers will probably recognize that Addie's mom is likely suffering from bi-polar disorder, with her erratic, impulsive behavior.  The characters are well-written and Addie's pain and feeling torn between loyalty to her mom and her desire to live a normal life with her step-father, which she defines as having some idea of what each day is going to bring.

I would recommend this for readers who are interested in realistic fiction with a meaningful story, stories about regular kids dealing with real problems that they might be able to relate to, or anyone particularly interested in stories about living with a family member with a mental illness (though this isn't spelled out in the book). 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Today At The Desk....

When I went down to the children's department to work my afternoon shift at the desk I was a bit surprised at how messy the shelves were and how much of a shelving backlog there was.  There weren't really any toys or books to clean up on the floor or tables, but the shelves didn't look very tidy and had lots of gaps.  So I spent a fair amount of time at the beginning while it was slow straightening the shelves, edging the books, closing the gaps, and picking up strays. 
Then when I headed back to the desk to write something on the calendar, I realized that one of the pages was on vacation that week, leaving the newly-hired page to do all the shelving.  It's to be expected that one will be a little slower in the beginning until they get used to the layout and figure out the most efficient way to do things.  Plus I'm not sure if anyone told her she should try to straighten and edge as she shelves.  Though that was obvious to me as a page, I know it isn't obvious to everyone.  So I tried to help out by sorting the carts to make it easier and faster for her to shelve, and shelved the DVD's we had security cases for.
Batman and his father were back again today, and he was in full costume, with mask, cape, the works.  We also had a visit from the circulation supervisor at one of the branches with her newborn baby and toddler, and it was nice to see them and visit for a bit while there were no other patrons in the department.  Next I helped a father get information about the series his son is currently reading.  He wanted to confirm what the most recent book was, and in addition to that, I was able to find the titles and release dates for the next two books, which he was very appreciative of.  I know he has struggled with his son being a reluctant reader, so it was really nice to hear that his son had finally found something that he liked and motivated him to keep reading!
Of course there were the routine questions, parking validations, and check-outs, and I did a little storytime prep work as well.  There were a couple of strange incidents.  First, when the children's librarian can back from lunch she said some weird guy seemed to be following her and acting strangely and was now in the library.  So we called security and she described what happened and pointed him out, and it turns out it was someone they were familiar with.  They debated on whether to ask him to leave or just keep an eye on him, and I'm not sure what the final outcome was.  This kind of thing happens from time to time and is just part of working downtown, but fortunately it doesn't happen that often and we are so fortunate to have a security team to look out for us and handle some of the more difficult situations!   
Then after that I had to run a male patron out of the ladies' room.  At first I thought he just wasn't paying attention, but when I went in and said "Excuse me sir, but this is the ladies' room" instead of being embarrassed and quickly leaving, he says "Oh, but I just needed to get my phone from her [his significant other]".  Like that makes a difference??  I told him "I'm sorry, but you still can't go in the ladies' room".  Another time, a co-worker had to go in to tell a man he couldn't be in there, and his excuse was because he had his young daughter with him.  I can understand why he wouldn't want to take her to the men's room, but I don't know how he could think he could just waltz in the ladies' room!  You'd think he'd ask a staff member first, not to mention we have a family restroom for that very reason!  I just don't know what people are thinking sometimes...
And to end on a lighter note, the assistant manager told me to be sure and check out the new book sitting on the desk, which was Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly Dipucchio.  It starts out talking about how everyone likes bacon, how everyone was friends with him (except French Toast, but he doesn't like anyone), and how good he smelled.  Then, his fame grew and he began to forget his friends, deciding fame and fans were better that friends.  "Until....."   .and you turn the page and there is an empty plate and fork, and it says "Everyone does love bacon".  I thought it was cute and funny, and I'm sure the kindergarteners she's planning to read it to tomorrow will love it!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Review of Sashi Kaufman's The Other Way Around

The Other Way Around by Sashi Kaufman, March 1, 2014.  Carolrhoda Books, 288 pages, Teen.

Sixteen-year old Andrew Kaufman isn't really happy with his life, but isn't really motivated to do anything about it.  He's tired of moving and changing schools every 2 or 3 years, tired of not having friends, tired being ignored by his father and treated like a disappointment by his mother, and tired of being told he isn't living up to his potential.  But he feels powerless to do anything about it.

Then, the last straw comes on Thanksgiving when instead of going to his grandmother's as expected, his mother tells him they are staying home and his uncle and annoying cousin are coming to their house.  After putting up with his cousin's annoying jokes and put-downs, discovering he had wet Andrew's bed sends Andrew over the edge, and he takes off, deciding to take a bus to his grandmother's.

However, when he phones his mom from the bus station to tell her of his plans, he finds out that his grandmother had actually died several days before, and his parents just didn't tell him.  Devastated, angry, and confused Andrew doesn't know what to do, but he doesn't want to go home.  Then, he meets a group of slightly older "hippie" teens who invite him to join them as they travel around, busking for cash and dumpster diving for food.  Along the way he not only learns more about his traveling companions and their "freegan" lifestyle, but he learns about himself and begins to figure out what he does and doesn't want from life.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed reading this sometimes funny, sometimes moving, coming-of-age story that is a little different from most.  Andrew is probably typical of a lot of high school kids who are all pushed along the academic track to college, whether that's the best fit or not, and set up for under-achievement, if not outright failure.  I think teens would find him very relatable as they are all dealing with similar pressures, decisions, and expectations, as well as adults who feel stuck in a rut.

As a mother I wouldn't recommend a kid take off with a bunch of strangers like Andrew did, but it was still an interesting journey to see how first he was just escaping, then learning about an alternative lifestyle.  Then, he began to learn more about his traveling companions and finally understood that for some of them, it wasn't a fun adventure or an escape; THIS was their life, not a choice.  He begins to appreciate the good things in his life, that he had a home and parents that did care about him, even if they were divorced and his father a little neglectful and his mother a little hard on him.  I also liked the comparisons between his adventures and Into The Wild, and how Andrew's perceptions of Chris McCandless's life and death off the grid changed as he read the book a second time while on his own journey.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a coming-of-age story or anyone who fantasizes about running away from their life, and for teens in particular who are dealing with trying to live up to other's expectations and figuring out what they really want to do with their lives.  This book has a bit of adventure, romance, finding oneself, and a glimpse into an alternative lifestyle, so should appeal to a fairly broad audience, both male and female.

Other Books By This Author
This appears to be Ms. Kaufman's first novel, though she was a contributing author on a textbook called The ABC's of Ecology, published in 2006, and her second YA novel, Wired Man and Other Freaks of Nature is due to be published in 2016.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Today At The Desk....

Today was a little quieter than usual; it usually starts out very quiet, but gets pretty busy once school lets out, but for some reason we didn't get the usual after school crowd today.  There was a steady trickle of families with small children, though.  There weren't many toys and puzzles to clean up, but several faceouts needed replacing and the shelves needed quite a bit of straightening since a middle school group had been in earlier.  I also ran the report of requested items and got them all pulled, processed, and ready to send out to the respective branches by the time the evening crew came in.

I had a chance to look over some new books that had come in, but nothing really stood out.  There's usually a bit of a lull after the big summer release boom.  In between helping patrons and straightening shelves, I worked on storytime planning and collection development for the storytime bus.  I have been trying to put together a kit (assorted books & activities for a theme) for a cowboy theme, which has turned out to be a bit of a challenge.  Though there are a number of picture books related to cowboys, most of them are far too long for a preschool storytime. 

I have found 4 or 5 that I really like, and another 4 that are maybe's, and I found a few more at my local library that we do not have where I work that I've reserved so I can look over them tomorrow.  I thought expanding it to include horse books would help, but there really aren't that many picture books about horses that aren't too long, either.  There are quite a few early readers about horses, but they usually don't make the best group read-alouds.  If I can get at least 6 books I really feel good about, I think it will be doable, though.

Today all the customer service was routine, checking in returns, checking out items, helping people find materials, and validating parking.  I did see a few regulars, including the little boy who usually comes in as Batman.  However, he surprised me today by switching things up and showed up as Raphael, of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, complete with shell, mask, and ninja swords.  It was nice to see how he and the other little kids that were there played at the train table together, and then I noticed another patron's daughter helping him figure out a game on the computer.  It's always refreshing to see polite children willing to share and help others!