Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Review of Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia.  April 21, 2015.  Amistad.  304 pages.  Ages 8-12.  2016 Coretta Scott King Award Winner.

The three Gaither sisters are sent by Greyhound bus from Brooklyn, New York, to visit their relatives in Alabama for the summer of 1969.  The oldest, Delphine, tries to look after the younger two, but Vonetta and Fern have minds of their own.

Once in Alabama, they become reacquainted with their grandmother Big Ma, their great-grandmother Ma Charles, their uncle Darnell, and cousin JimmyTrotter and must adapt to life in the South during the turbulent Sixties.  They soon begin to learn about family secrets, and why Ma Charles doesn't speak to her half-sister Miss Trotter that lives next door. 

The girls get caught up in both the ancient family feud between the matriarchs, and in feuding amongst themselves, as well as adjusting to the news that their father and new step-mother are expecting a baby.  However, tragedy strikes, ultimately bringing all of the extended family members together, even their estranged mother Cecile.  They all realize that while they may have their squabbles, fights, and craziness, family is what matters.

My Thoughts
This is a wonderful, rich story with many layers that presents the realities of life for many black families during the late Sixties, when the South was still far behind the rest of the country in civil rights and freedom. This story deals with so many issues; civil rights, feminism, blended families, absentee parents, family feuds and grudges, tragedy, having to adapt to different realities, and more, but puts it all in the completely believable and relatable context of the Gaither sisters' extended and complicated family. While the story deals with serious issues, it is told with heart and a touch of humor, which makes it a truly enjoyable read. No doubt these are complicated issues, but it is told from a child's viewpoint and serves to provide a rich context and background for the central story about sisters and family.

I fell in love with all of the characters, but especially Ma Charles, who was never afraid to tell it like it is and kept everyone in line. I enjoyed the complex family history and the on-going feud, with everyone coming together in the end. I have not read the previous two books in this trilogy, which I now regret. I enjoyed this one so much I will definitely go back and read the first two. I would recommend this to anyone interested in reading historical fiction about this era, particularly as seen from a child's point of view. Obviously I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed either of the first two books, but also to anyone who could related to the special relationship among sisters, and extended families. 

I would probably skew the suggested age range just a little higher, maybe more like 8-14. Younger children might not quite understand some of the broader issues, but it would not prevent them from enjoying the central story, while older kids would appreciate all the details. 

Other Books by This Author
The first book about the Gaither sisters, One Crazy Summer, tells about the summer Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern traveled to Oakland, California to visit their estranged mother, Cecile, who abandoned them when they were little. It was a Newbery Honor Book, a Coretta Scott King award winner, and a National Book Award Finalist, as well as winning the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. The second book in the trilogy, P.S. Be Eleven, also won the Coretta Scott King Award.

Rita Williams-Garcia has also written several books for teens and a picture book for preschoolers.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Review of Newbery Honor Book "Roller Girl" by Victoria Jamieson

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.  March 10, 2015.  Dial Books.  240 pages.  Ages 9-12.

Astrid and Nicole have been best friends forever, and always do everything together.  But then, the summer before middle school everything suddenly changes.  After watching the roller derby, Astrid falls in love with the sport and signs up for a roller derby summer camp, assuming Nicole will as well.  But, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead.  Even worse, Nicole starts hanging out with Rachel, Astrid's sworn enemy.

On top of everything else, once Astrid gets to roller camp, she finds that all the other girls already have experience and she is by far the worst.  She becomes very discouraged, but eventually things start to look up, for a while.  Then she inadvertently alienates her new skating friend, Zoey, things get even worse between her and Nicole, and her mother finds out she hasn't been completely honest about how she's been getting to and from camp or spending her free time. 

Could things be any worse?

My Thoughts
This is an entertaining, at times poignant, look at the angst tweens face making that difficult transition from elementary to middle school, a time when interests and friendships often change.  Many kids that age will be able to relate to Astrid's struggles when her skill doesn't match her interest level in roller derby, and trying to maintain friendships when everyone is changing.  The story is well told, and Astrid's voice is very authentic and relatable, and her sarcastic asides to the reader quite funny.  I would recommend this to all tweens, but especially those who enjoy graphic novels, and particular fans of Raina Telgemeier's Smile.

I typically don't read many graphic novels; while I recognize their value, the format just isn't as appealing to me personally.  I read this one because it was named a 2016 Newbery Honor Book, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it.  It took me a chapter or two to adjust to the format and get into it, but I found the main character very relatable and the story well told, both in text and pictures.  Even many years later, I still remember going through similar difficult transitions in middle school and high school and the pain of losing old friendships as we grew in different directions and each found new friends.  I'm not certain I would have chosen it as Newbery Honor book, but I would highly recommend it.

It is interesting to note that the author/illustrator is in fact a roller girl herself, skating with the Rose City Rollers under the name "Winnie-the-Pow".  Adults who enjoyed Roller Girl might want to check our her illustrated roller derby journal, Roller Derby Comics.

Other Books By This Author
Victoria Jamieson has also written and illustrated three picture books, Pest In Show, Olympig!, and Bea Rocks The Flock.  Roller Girl is her first middle-grade book, and first graphic novel.

Other 2016 Newbery Award/Honor Books
Last Stop On Market Street, Echo, and The War That Saved My Life

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Today At The Desk....The Day Before Snowpocalypse 2016

So if you're on or near the east coast, you've probably been checking forecasts all day to see how much snow you're going to get and when it's going to start, and making one last run to the grocery store.  In my area, the predictions have been all over the place all week, but most seem to have settled in the 10"-14" range, starting early tomorrow morning and lasting into the following day.  We already had about 1-1/2" yesterday; not much, but enough to close the public schools for 2 days.
In light of this, I expected my shift at the desk this afternoon to be very busy with people trying to get out of the house for a bit in between storms, and stocking up on books and movies.  I fully expected our DVD section to be decimated by the time I took the desk at 1:00pm.  But, to my surprise, though there had reportedly been a steady stream of families in all morning, there were still quite a few DVD's left.  Dare I hope people stocked up on books instead?? 
I continued to have a steady stream of people throughout the afternoon, but people were mostly checking out books, along with 1 or 2 DVD's.  Nobody came in maxing out their cards checking out 35 DVD's like I expected.  I did have one patron who was looking for several books on advanced algebra and calculus; unfortunately she had written down the ISBN numbers, rather than the shelf location and call numbers.  So I looked them up for her and put in requests for the two that we didn't have and found the one that I had in the children's section.  The rest were adult books, one in the new book section on the first floor and the rest upstairs in adult non-fiction.  So I wrote down the call numbers for her, directed her to the appropriate floors, and called ahead to let them know she was on her way and what she was looking for.  A little while later she came back down with an armful of math books, so I guess I know what her teenage daughter is going to be doing while snowed in this weekend!  They did get a couple of fun books and movies, too, so it won't be all work :)
I also got to issue library cards to a couple of little girls, who were very excited to get them.  I always feel like it's a privilege to issue a child their first card.  It's not quite the same milestone as it used to be since there is no minimum age anymore, but it's still special.  Then they each got to pick out two books and bring them to me to check out, and they were so proud.  Later I had another child who had gotten his first card today as well, though not from me.  But, I still got to help him check out his first books with it, which is the best part.
Later we got word that not only had the decision been made not to open tomorrow (which is very unusual; they usually wait until the morning to make a decision), but we were even closing early tonight at 6:00pm instead of the usual 9:00pm at the mayor's request, to get everyone off the roads sooner so crews could start pre-treating.  So we let patrons know so they could get their final selections made and make transportation arrangements if necessary, and then it was time for me to go home and let the evening crew finish the last hour.
And what will I be doing while snowed in this weekend?  Well, I have plenty of work to keep me busy:  a book review to write, two more books to read and review, and ......drum roll, please......a library school admissions essay to write!  Yes, after two years of feeling like I had missed my calling and wishing I had been a children's librarian, but feeling like it was too late, I have decided to start working on an MLIS! 
I have wanted to for a while, but the tuition for the local program was just too high, that I just didn't feel it was worth it considering how many working years I have left and how saturated the job market is, especially here.  I also didn't care for their curriculum; it had little room for flexibility or specialization with so many required courses and few electives.  But then I came across a program that was almost half the cost, had fewer required courses and more electives, and just seemed much more practical than the one on here (and yes, it is ALA accredited).  So, I'm making the leap, and while I know there's a good chance I will never have an official "librarian" position, I hope it will at least help me get some kind of full-time position before my husband retires and I lose his health insurance.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review of The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle

The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle.  October 12, 2015.  Delacorte Books for Young Readers.  288 pages.  Ages 10 & up.

Charlie Han believes that everyone has to be good at something.  But, no matter what he tries, it always seems to end in disaster, thanks in part to his small size and severe clumsiness.  He gets teased and bullied at school along with his friend Sinus, and his irrationally over-protective mother just makes things even worse.  Charlie is fourteen years old, yet she still insists on having a baby gate at the top of the stairs, and she makes him ride a tricycle instead of a bicycle!

Then one day Charlie tries skateboarding, and much to his surprise finds that for once his small size, and resulting lower center of gravity, are an advantage and he is actually good at it.  However, one day his mother catches him at the local skatepark and humiliates him in front of the other skaters with her over-protectiveness.  Later, as a prank, the older skaters lure Charlie back to the park, hold him down, and wrap him in layers of bubble wrap, thus earning him the nickname of "Bubble Wrap Boy".  Once again subjected to humiliation at school, Charlie is miserable until his friend Sinus comes up with a plan for redemption.

In the meantime, Charlie accidentally learns of a big family secret about a past tragedy that helps explain his mother's irrational obsession with his safety.  Charlie is angry and upset that his parents kept this secret from him, and doesn't understand why they thought he shouldn't know.  He comes up with a plan to confront his mother in a way that he hopes will convince her to relax, and let him keep skating. 

My Thoughts
This story starts out slow, but the pace picks up in the middle, after laying the groundwork for understanding Charlie's life and relationships up to that point.  This is a moving, yet entertaining story, that touches on so many things:  coming of age, bullying, guilt, family secrets, and triumph.  I found the characters to be very relatable and interesting.

I chose to read this book in part because of the words "bubble wrap" in the title; my daughter and I both love popping bubble wrap, and coincidentally she dabbled in skateboarding for a few years when she was younger, so I was familiar with all the terminology and tricks mentioned in the story, though I don't think having skateboard knowledge is necessary to enjoying the story.

I think most tweens and teens could relate to Charlie, with both his conflict with his mother and his difficulties fitting in at school.  This story has a little something for almost everyone: a little action, some humor, and drama.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes realistic stories dealing with issues that all kids have with families, friends, and middle/high school society.

Other Books By This Author
Phil Earle has written three other young adult novels: Being Billy, Saving Daisy, and Heroic, as well as two books for younger readers, Demolition Dad and Albert and the Garden of Doom.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Another Day At The Desk...

I'm a little late with this installment of "Today At The Desk" because I've been busy researching the MLS program I'm considering applying to and started getting things together for my application.  This week's shift at the desk was pretty typical, very slow for the first couple of hours, and really busy at the end once the kids were out of school.  But, today I had a number of questions and situations beyond the routine checkout assistance, answering basic questions, and locating materials.

I had one patron looking for the 3rd book of a particular series, but we only had numbers 4, 5, & 6 on the shelf.  No problem, I thought, we'll just request it from another branch.  But, to my surprise, when I checked the catalog we did not even own a single copy of the third book in the whole system!  We owned several copies of 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6, but no 3's at all, which seemed rather strange.  The patron took the books we did have and I told her I would be sure to let the manager know we needed to get some copies of the third book.

Then, before I could even finish writing an e-mail to the Youth Services Manager about missing that book of a series, I had another patron ask about a different series.  We had books 1 through 6, but not 7 or 8, and she wanted to know if we would be getting them.  I checked the catalog, and they were not listed at all, which usually indicates it has not been ordered.  I tried to call my manager to double check, but she wasn't in.  So I had to tell the patron that it didn't look like we had ordered them yet, but that I would be sure to recommend that we do and let management know patrons were asking for them.  We were able to find a different book and request another book she was interested in from another branch, but the poor girl was so disappointed to be leaving with only 1 book I really felt bad for her.

So I quickly sent an e-mail to both my department head and the Youth Services Manager of the whole system about both the series that we were missing a book and the incomplete series, and soon got a response that she had just ordered the latter two books a few days ago, but that it hadn't gotten all the way through our bureaucracy yet which was why they were not yet showing in the catalog.  I wanted to let my disappointed patron know, but they had already left, and had used self-check for the one book they checked out.  Then I remembered I had placed a request for them, so I was able to backtrack through the system to get her name and phone number and called to let them know that the books she wanted so badly were in the process of being ordered and would hopefully be here in 2 or 3 weeks.  I was so glad to be able to give her good news!

After that I had kind of a strange situation with a patron that came to the desk because her account was blocked.  As it turns out, she had a number of issues with both her card and her child's card.  She had a number of overdue books that had not been returned, which is why the self-check wouldn't let her check out.  She said she had just returned them, so we called down to circulation and asked them to please check the books she had just returned in so she could check out more.  But then, once they were checked in and all the overdue fines were assessed, both accounts were now blocked due to the fines.  She paid the fines for her son's card and was then able to check out.  I noticed there were still a couple of items on each account that had not been returned and were overdue, so I brought those to her attention. 

Here's the strange part.  She says she has them and that she had overlooked them before because her son must have peeled the bar codes off, and hands me two books.  I checked her account and she did have those titles checked out, but neither book she gave me had any library markings on them whatsoever, or any indication that they ever had.  I thought I had misunderstood and asked if she meant she had purchased those to replace books that had been lost or damaged (which we allow as long as it is the same edition and like new condition), but she said "no".  So I was a bit confused as to what was going on and asked my manager to step in and confirm that these were not our books and rule whether to accept them or not, and she confirmed they were not and gave them back to the patron.  So I renewed the items on her account so they would not continue to accrue more fines and give her more time to find them. 

Of course in addition to all that were all the routine questions and tasks, like straightening up, filling displays, withdrawing weeds, and pulling the request list.  I also had a brief chat with our executive director and it turns out we have somewhat similar backgrounds, both having biology degrees and starting out doing lab work in microbiology before taking time out to have kids and then getting into the library field.  It's not often I run into someone else with a science background at work, so I thought that was kind of neat. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Review of See No Color by Shannon Gibney

See No Color by Shannon Gibney.  November 1, 2015.  Carolrhoda Lab. 192 pages.  Ages 14 to adult.

Sixteen-year old baseball phenom Alex Kirtridge is having a major crisis of identity.  Not only is she bi-racial; she was adopted by a white family and has two blonde-haired, blue-eyed siblings.  Thanks to bullying from the black kids at school and comments from strangers, she is now acutely aware that not only does she look very different from her family, she is also not accepted by others who look like her because she does not act "black" enough.  Her well-meaning parents make things worse by refusing to even acknowledge that Alex is black and refusing any discussion of the subject.

To make matters worse, she can no longer find solace or redemption in the game of baseball.  Baseball has been practically her whole life, thanks to her former minor-leaguer father who is obsessed with turning his kids into baseball stars.  But Alex finds that her maturing body is throwing off her game and realizes that she will probably never be the star her father wants her to be.  At first she is upset, and worried about her father's disappointment, but eventually begins to realize she really doesn't love the game anymore anyway.

As all this is going on, two things happen to bring the all her issues with race and adoption to a head.  First, her sister shows her letters from her biological black father that she never knew about, and then, she begins dating Reggie, the pitcher for an opposing team.  Reggie is the first black boy who has ever shown an interest in her, and she constantly feels afraid he will realize how "white" she is and walk away.

My Thoughts
This is a poignant coming-of-age novel that might resonate with anyone who feels they don't fit in with their family, community, or peers for any reason, but obviously it would be of particular interest to children or parents of interracial and/or adoptive families.  Another book that might be of interest is Black, White, Other by Joan Stenauer Lester.  This book tell the story of Sara, the daughter of a Jewish-Irish mother and black father, who are now divorcing.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed in this book.  I think is an important topic and that there is probably a definite need for stories like this considering the increasing number of interracial families, formed with or without adoption.  But for me, the story fell a little flat and was too short and superficial.  I didn't feel very connected to any of the characters and thought they, and their relationships, could have been more well-developed.  I felt like the story ended prematurely, just when Alex was starting to deal with her identity issues.  I would have liked for the book to be longer, and delve deeper into Alex's thoughts and relationships, and follow her as she began to form a relationship with her biological father and to see her force her family to stop being in denial about racial issues and begin to be more open and honest about it and deal with it rather than ignoring it.

I also felt that the whole baseball story with the domineering father obsessed with his kids becoming star athletes was a distraction.  It was like two separate stories mashed together into one book.  Of course real life is complicated and people often have more than one issue going on in their lives, but the two stories in this book did not seem integrated very well and I think it would have been better to focus on one issue or the other.  Or perhaps a longer book would have allowed the story to encompass both issues in a more cohesive, integrated way, especially if one was made more of a backstory rather than fighting for equal focus.

One thing I did particularly like, which should come as no surprise, is that it showed Alex going to the public library and successfully getting help finding information about interracial adoptions, both books and online resources, showing that the library is indeed still relevant.

See No Color appears to be Shannon Gibney's first book.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

So, I am at a crossroads and need to make a decision about how to move forward.  I have been working in the library system for almost 3 years now, and I really enjoy it and feel that I have finally found my place.  If only I had known this 30 years ago....

If I could go back and do things differently, I would major in early childhood education and get a MLS and be a children's librarian.  I love working with all the families that come into the library, helping them find and select materials and getting to know the regulars.  I love doing programming in particular. 

While I am very happy with my current position working as a part-time library assistant in Outreach and have no immediate plans to change, I have this fear in the back of my mind that circumstances could change and someday I may need to work full-time to support myself.  In our state, full-time public service staff are required to be certified and I need to take two college-level courses in library science in order to get paraprofessional certification.

Now, my dilemma is what classes to take and where.  There is an MLS program in our area, but it is very expensive, has so many core requirements you have little chance to take classes you want to take, and doesn't seem to teach practical skills.  So that's really not an option.  But, there is also a program at the local community college for a paraprofessional certificate.  It costs much less, and the courses sound infinitely more practical.  

Then I recently found out about an out-of-state online MLS program that is half the cost of the local one, and has a curriculum that seems much more practical and flexible, and even if I only took the two classes, it would at least be graduate credit and carry more weight on my resume, and I would have the option of continuing on to get the MLS.  I would like to have the degree, but I have a hard time justifying the expense when I know it is highly unlikely I would ever get a librarian position due to the over-saturated job market, being geographically restricted, and my age (those of us over 40 know that ageism is definitely out there).  The other thing is that while this program is all online, it does require one in-person orientation at the beginning, which would incur fairly significant traveling expenses, and of course the hassle of writing admissions essays and getting letters of recommendation.

So, do I stick with the local community college classes that are much less expensive and less trouble and would get me the certification that would allow me to get a full-time program specialist or assistant position, or go to the extra expense and trouble to start the MLS program that I may or may not finish, and even if I did finish and get the MLS, I'd probably just end up with a paraprofessional position anyway.

I just don't know what to do....

Yesterday At The Desk...

Yesterday when I headed down to work the children's desk I expected it would be a fairly slow day since school was back in session after the winter break.  I was a little worried I might have a little trouble finding enough work to keep my busy, but as it turns out, that wasn't an issue!

While the first hour was a little slow, the rest of the shift turned out to be incredibly busy!  Very uncharacteristic for a Thursday afternoon, and even busier than when the kids were out of school on winter break.  In fact, the only time I have seen it that busy is in the summer when we have groups visiting or a very popular program, or on weekends.  Not a problem, just a little surprising.

There was a steady stream of patrons in and out, and most stayed for a while, and everyone seemed to need help!  Several needed help locating materials, placing holds, some needed reader's advisory, one person had major account issues with both her and her child's cards due to several overdue and lost books, a school group came in to check-out biographies, and the usual general questions, tidying up, and pulling requests.

One issue came up with a patron who really needed to print out her confirmation for her FAFSA, but didn't have any money.  With a child in college, I can certainly sympathize with the stress and urgency of submitting the FAFSA and felt this was a case that justified us giving her a little help.  However, I had never dealt with a situation like this so I had no idea HOW to over-ride the system and get it to print out without her having to pay for it first.  Luckily, one of the assistant managers was working at the adult service desk nearby, so she was able to take care of it.  Unfortunately, because it was so busy and so many people needed help, I was not able to observe what she did as I had to assist other patrons.  But I will be sure the next time we have slow period to have someone go over that with me so I know how to do it the next time the situation arises.

One thing I didn't need to do today was shelve or sort carts because the new page started this week, and everything was all caught up!  I got to meet her at the end of my shift, and as it turns out she has a good bit of experience working in libraries, so I thinks she will be a great addition to the team!  Hopefully now with two pages we can stay on top of keeping the shelves straight and in order and keeping displays filled, in addition to getting things shelved in a timely manner.  A good start to the new year!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Review of The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki

The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki.  August 1, 2012.  Scholastic Press.  372 pages.  Ages 10 - 14.

After their father abandons the family to pursue his dreams of Hollywood and their mother sinks into a deep depression, Neil Cady and his sister Bree are sent to live with their aunts in rural Pennsylvania. 

Once there, Neil is befriended by a local boy named Wesley who tells him about the legend of Graylock Hall, an abandoned psychiatric hospital where several teenagers died mysteriously.  A nurse who worked the graveyard shift, Janet Reilly, was believed by some to be responsible for the deaths.  Legend has it she hung herself before the investigation was completed and that her ghost now haunts Graylock Hall, looking for new victims.

Neil and Wesley plan to explore Greylock Hall, and are joined by Wesley's older brother Eric.  After Bree sees Eric, she decides to go as well.  The foursome finds the abandoned hospital to be dirty and very creepy.  As they look around and get briefly separated while checking different rooms in the youth wing, Neil finds Bree in Room 13, acting strangely.  After he goes inside, the door mysteriously slams shut, trapping them and Neil feels something brush up against him, then he sees a mysterious female figure dressed in white with long brown hair.  Finally, the door opens and they all eventually find their way out of the building.

Once safely back at their aunts' house, Neil convinces himself it was just his imagination.  But then strange things start happening.  Neil and Bree have the same nightmares of being drowned in the lake surrounding Graylock Hall, and awake finding puddles beside their beds.  Neil thinks he's sees the mysterious girl in their house and in town.  Neil and Bree finally come to the conclusion that they did not leave Graylock Hall alone.  Who or what is it, and what does it want with Neil and Bree?

My Thoughts
This is a very fast-paced and creepy ghost story, perfect for the older kids who can handle it, or for adults such as myself who are not a fan of true adult horror, but like a good ghost story with a happy ending and no gore.  This would not be a good book for more sensitive or suggestible readers.  The suspense starts to build immediately as the tweens & teens break into Graylock Hall in the second chapter and have their first encounter with the ghost, and continues throughout the book.  I thought the characters were relatable and I liked how they stood up to their self-absorbed father in the ends.

I decided to read this book after one of the tweens in my middle school book discussion group suggested it as a read-alike for Holly Black's Doll Bones.  I found The Ghost of Graylock to be even creepier and spookier than Doll Bones, partly because it starts out with them exploring the creepy asylum right in the beginning.  Also, I think what made it even scarier is that in Doll Bones the identity of the ghost and what she wanted were known right away, whereas in Graylock, they do not know who the ghost is or why she is haunting them until the latter part of the book. 

I would recommend this for anyone requesting a good, scary story.

Other Books By This Author
Dan Poblocki has written several other supernatural thrillers for older readers, including The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe, The Stone Child, and The Nightmarys, as well as a milder mystery series for slightly younger readers, The Mysterious Four, in which four friends solve all kinds of mysteries in sixclues or less.

Friday, January 1, 2016

My New Year's Resolutions

Like many, I have the same resolutions to eat better, exercise more, and get in better shape every year.  But this year I also decided to take the time to plan some professional resolutions as well:

     (1)  Read more.  I do read quite a lot, but found that I have tapered off a little in
            the latter months of this year.  I attribute that to my job change.  When I was
            a page, I didn't have to make any special effort to select books to read; I
            would read whatever caught my interest while I was shelving.  Now that I'm
            in Outreach, I have to take time to go into the library and choose something,
            and I often don't think about it until after I've left.  I need to make more of an
            effort to check out something every week.

     (2)  Work on Reader's Advisory.  This is the area I have the least confidence in. 
            Even though I read alot, there are still so many books out there I am not
            familiar with.  Working in youth services further complicates it because we
            also have so many reading levels to consider, as well.  I plan to start giving
            myself assignments to put together reading lists to give myself more practice
            in this area.

     (3)  Take at least one library science class.  I have been thinking about this for awhile,
            and started to, then changed my mind several times.  Part of this is that I am
            skeptical that I will really learn anything from a class that I don't already know
            from work experience, and that I am very skeptical of online classes in general,
            and I don't want to waste my money.  But, if I ever decide I want a full-time
            position, then I will need to have 6 credit hours of library science to get the
            required state certification, so I just need to bite the bullet and hopefully I'll be
            pleasantly surprised and actually get something out of it.

     (4)  Continue to develop and expand my storytime skills:  use more non-fiction in
            storytime, incorporate early literacy tips in storytime, continue to improve
            existing storytime kits and develop 3 new ones, and get experience with,
            or at least observe, storytimes and programs for ages other than preschool.

So these are my professional resolutions.  What are yours?