Monthly Archives: January 2007

Bend it

If David Beckham has been signed to a US soccer team, do we also get Posh?

That’s the most interesting thing I’ve thought today. I’ve done a fabulous job of slacking all day, in preparation for my first day of work, which would have been today, if it weren’t for Martin Luther King, Jr.


Good sweet mother of pearl. Here’s what’s happened since I last had interslice.

Jason and I drive the Minion in the rain to MA. We meet Janice, who is the wonderful woman who is graciously letting us stay in her summer house until we get settled. She’s offered the place until May, but we decided that we’re going to need our own space. Wadsbone and I are what you’d call minimists, and Janice’s house is crammed full of wooden seagulls, tin horses, and hutches full of dinnerware. It’s a lot like living in a doll house – it’s neat to look at, but hard to do more than sit uncomfortably in.

So, we began searching for an apartment today. We tried the ol’ Internet, and found a bunch of places, but they were all crapholes. One was even on Crapo Street. So, we decided to start scouting the downtown area for For Rent signs above the businesses. The New Bedford downtown is awesome – full of coffeeshops, restaurants, banks … you know, like a downtown is supposed to be. We found THE PERFECT APARTMENT:
1. It’s above a coffee shop called Green Bean
2. It’s better than our last apartment, which is hard to do
3. It has a deck
4. It’s new, and it has gorgeous granite countertops and appliances (new, not granite)
5. In-unit washer and dryer

If only it had a roof deck for a garden, and parking, it would be perfect. Now we just need to move into it.

Baby face

On the last day of Americorps, I said goodbye to about 30 people who were like Army buddies. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever stop crying. Finally, I had no more tears. I would have kept crying, but my tear ducts were completely depleated.

Now I’ve been saying goodbye to folks here for about three days. The difference is that I keep saying to each myself

“These are professional contacts. We’ll be at ALA together, and there’s no reason to lose contact. Even if I don’t talk to them in a long time, I can come up with some librarical reason to email them, and contact is re-established.”

Posted from Shane+E’s

We’re off to see the castle

Anton came yesterday and we all spent the whole day loading up the truck. In the rain. Jenn stopped by to pick up some sweet Ikea stuff I couldn’t take with, and stayed to help move. She gets +8.

I’m so tired, and my arms are so sore I can’t type comfortably, so this is a truncated post. I can’t even muster the strength to link Jenn’s name, or the map. THAT’S how tired I am.

Jason and I are going to start our drive today, and just go till we’re tired. It’s about 17 hours to New Bedford, and we’re going to be there by the end of the day tomorrow. I’m not sure when I’ll have interslice, but I’m sure the drive will go well (if not rainy) and I’ll post from my new home.

Drivety drivety!

Posted from Kim’s

NYTimes article: Lock the Library! Rowdy Students Are Taking Over

My mom (a LIS student and librarian) emailed this to me. I’d like to know how big the library is, and if they have an estimated number of trouble makers out of the quoted 50 students that show up each day. If the library isn’t equipped to manage that many junior high students, and safety becomes an issue, I can see shutting down as an option. Creating a rec center looks like the best option. I hope things get figured out quickly.

Lock the Library! Rowdy Students Are Taking Over
January 2, 2007

MAPLEWOOD, N.J., Jan. 1 — Every afternoon at Maplewood Middle School’s final bell, dozens of students pour across Baker Street to the public library. Some study quietly.

Others, library officials say, fight, urinate on the bathroom floor, scrawl graffiti on the walls, talk back to librarians or refuse to leave when asked. One recently threatened to burn down the branch library. Librarians call the police, sometimes twice a day.

As a result, starting on Jan. 16, the Maplewood Memorial Library will be closing its two buildings on weekdays from 2:45 to 5 p.m., until further notice.

An institution that, like many nationwide, strives to attract young people, even offering beading and cartooning classes, will soon be shutting them out, along with the rest of the public, at one of the busiest parts of its day.

Library employees will still be on the job, working at tasks like paperwork, filing, and answering calls and online questions.

“They almost knocked me down, and they run in and out,” said Lila Silverman, a Maplewood resident who takes her grandchildren to the library’s children’s room but called the front of the library “a disaster area” after school. “I do try to avoid those hours.”

This comfortable Essex County suburb of 23,000 residents, still proud of its 2002 mention in Money magazine on a list of “Best Places to Live,” is no seedy outpost of urban violence. But its library officials, like many across the country, have grown frustrated by middle schoolers’ mix of pent-up energy, hormones and nascent independence.

Increasingly, librarians are asking: What part of “Shh!” don’t you understand?

About a year ago, the Wickliffe, Ohio, library banned children under 14 during after-school hours unless they were accompanied by adults. An Illinois library adopted a “three strikes, you’re out” rule, suspending library privileges for repeat offenders. And many libraries are adding security guards specifically for the after-school hours.

In Euclid, Ohio, the library pumps classical music into its lobby, bathrooms and front entry to calm patrons, including those from the nearby high school.

A backlash against such measures has also begun: A middle school in Jefferson Parish, La., that requires a daily permission slip for students to use the local public library after school was threatened with a lawsuit last month by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Librarians and other experts say the growing conflicts are the result of an increase in the number of latchkey children, a decrease in civility among young people and a dearth of “third places” — neither home nor school — where kids can be kids.

“We don’t consider the world as safe a place as it used to be, and we don’t encourage children to run around, hang around and be free,” said Judy Nelson, president of the Young Adult Library Services Association, part of the American Library Association. “So you have parents telling their kids that the library is a good place to go.”

Rowland Bennett, who served as the director of the Maplewood Memorial Library for 30 years and is now president of the local school board, said libraries had become “the child care center by necessity.”

Linda W. Braun, a librarian and professor who has written four books about teenagers’ use of libraries, said the students want only to be treated like everybody else.

“If there are little kids making noise, it’s cute, and they can run around, it’s O.K.,” Ms. Braun said of standard library operating procedure. “Or if seniors with hearing difficulties are talking loudly, that’s accepted. But a teen who might talk loudly for a minute or two gets in trouble.”

She added: “The parents don’t want them, the library doesn’t want them, so they act out.”

That leaves librarians doing a job they did not sign up for: baby-sitting for kids old enough to baby-sit.

The Maplewood library has created a gallery space for young people’s artwork, put on an anime film festival and formed a Teen Advisory Group that attracted 30 youngsters for a recent pizza party.

But problems persisted.

In consultation with a lawyer, the library board came up with behavior guidelines in May 2005 that prohibited activities like “hairdressing or grooming of another person” and “refusal to leave the building.” The policy includes some politely precise language common to those who speak softly from behind a reference desk: “If a patron seems to be placing a staff member in the position of providing a nonlibrary-related function, the staff member may bring the interaction to a prompt conclusion.”

But library officials felt that a bigger stick was needed. Last week, the board posted a notice on its Web site and library doors saying it had “struggled with this problem for over 10 years” and voted “with great reluctance” on Dec. 20 to close after school.

“Having as many as 50 young people with nothing to do creates an untenable situation,” read the note, which pointed out that many students did not use library resources but simply socialized in the building. “It interferes with patrons of all ages who want to use the library and with the staff members who are there to serve them. The library can no longer deal with large numbers of students who come after school and wait, sometimes into the late evening, to be picked up.”

The decision has not been popular in town. In a posting on, the community’s Internet bulletin board, one resident, Joan Crystal, said an alternative needed to be developed before closing the library. “I also think it improper to close the library during hours when adults, older students and M.M.S. students find it most convenient to use the library,” she wrote.

David Huemer, who represents the Maplewood Township Committee on the library board, said he would like to see the current police station, which is being retired in favor of a new one, converted to a youth center.

“What we have to do now is build some long-overdue facilities and fund some programs so kids can have alternatives to hanging out,” he said. “To the extent that the vote of the library board is going to wake people up and get them to do something about kids from sixth grade to high school, that’s a good thing.”

About eight years ago, the library in nearby Irvington, N.J., struggling with similar problems, was shuttered for an hour each afternoon. But it was only for three days, until the students managed to settle down, officials said.

Veronica Morton, who was returning a Magic School Bus book to the Maplewood library the other day with her 8-year-old daughter, Alexandra, said she had become a “shush mommy” after watching librarians struggle to “get kids to calm down.”

Outside the library, students who use it gave the new hours two thumbs down, way down.

“Kids will get into real mischievous activities” with the library closed, warned one teenager, Jonathan Brock, a student at the district’s alternative high school program.

“I’m kind of annoyed,” said David Carliner, a middle schooler who was rushing up the library steps ahead of his father. “It closes right when my school gets out, so I can’t check out any books.”

Happy Blitt contributed research.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe first book I read in the new year was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.

Jason and I went over to Steph and Sasha’s for brunch, and we both ended up pulling books off a shelf and devouring them. We all spent the afternoon in various states of repose, and I finished the book in time for dinner.

My only criticism is that although the book is written in a wholly believable voice, and has wonderful insight, I can’t ignore the fact that the teens in the book are not realistic. They’re what we all wish we were like in high school, with poignant scenes we all would love to have experienced. Oooh, also there was the usual dosing of regular teen novel angst: a pregnancy, homosexuality, and molestation. I think it’s a young adult book, based on the age of the main characters, and said angst topics.

My reaction was emotional, built up from about page 20 on (of 244 pages), and there is a whole lot of good story in the book. I guess it crescendo’d before it was able to finish in a satisfying manner, but that’s asking a whole lot out of a book. Two hung-over, sleepy-New-Years-Day thumbs up.

Huppy New Year and such

Rabbit rabbit rabbit!

new year
That’s E, El, Keem, and myself in front of the boxes that hold my worldly belongings.

It’s 2007! This is the year of big things, for me. I’ve finished my library degree, so this will be a year in the professional world. Perhaps, for the first time ever, I’ll only have one W2 to file. I don’t think I’ve had any less than three, and seven at the most.

Also big time stuff is moving to Massachusetts, to start my career as a librarian. Jason and I have been packing since the 29th, and we’re getting down to the end (which means stuff that doesn’t fit in a box, or is too random to pack with similar items). On the upside, we’re a librarian and a programmer, so organization of objects is what we’re good at.

This year I’m getting married. I think we have a plan, finally. We’re thinking that we’ll get married in MA, then have two receptions – one in IA and one in NY. The wedding will be just immediate family, and the receptions will be everyone else. And then a honeymoon at the underwater hotel.

My intention for this new year is to blog every day. My posts have been erratic since I came to school, and I’m looking forward to having a set schedule that is less than 60 hours per week. I was also thinking that perhaps it’s stupid for me to blog, since the interest level is not very high, and for not that many people. Then I checked, and saw that I get an average of 24 hits a day. I have no idea if they are all legit, or if RSS readers count, but either way, I enjoy summoning my thoughts and writing, and what’s the Internet for, if not to be able to have a blog? It’s going to implode anyway.

Yes, it is. The Internet is going to implode.