Monday, April 30, 2007

The Floor of the Sky

It has been quite some time since I have posted about lunchtime reading. Not because of a lack of books, far from it, but I have really been looking for something that would hold my interest after I finished reading. Last week I perused the 2007 Alex Award winners in our collection, these books are generally shelved with the recreational books due to their content and the fact that we do not have a specific YA collection.

"The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing" (ALA, Alex Awards).

This afternoon I finished reading 2007 Alex Award Winner The Floor of the Sky, by Pamela Carter Joern. Toby Jenkins is a sister, mother, and grandmother Nebraska farmer facing the all too familiar reality of many family farmers; she's on the verge of either losing her family farm to the bank for back taxes or being sold to an outside conglomerate. Toby's pregnant 16 year old granddaughter Lila arrives to spend the summer and during the course of her stay uncovers long buried family secrets that show both women have more in common than either thought. This thoughtful novel, told in short, poignant chapters, from different character points of view, allows readers to experience their lives and understand how families are woven together through good times and bad.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The order of the day: My Daemon

After seeing Daemons from the Golden Compass Movie on no less than three children's literature related blogs today, I succombed to implied peer pressure and created my own. That's him pictured above, Araphon. I am modest, shy, dependable, a leader and responsible.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

One year, one week, & one day

This evening I noticed the one year anniversary of Hypothetically Speaking has come and gone with little or no fanfare. My first post was April 17th, 2006 and one year, one week, and one date later this is post number 296. Though I did not meet my goal of averaging a post per day, I fell but sixty-nine entries short, I managed an 81% posting rate. A lot has changed since my first blog efforts; mostly because of focus and purpose being determined after ALA last June. Generally speaking I am pleased with the outcome and will continue blogging about children's books, recreational reading, libraries, technology, and what ever else strikes my fancy.

What's up on deck? On my list right now is "tweaking" the new resource center web page, preparing my poster sessions for ALA, and spending the remainder of my budget on children's books (the last order until the new fiscal year).

Time will tell what year two will bring.

Tags: No tags for personal blathering!

Revisiting "Lucky"

The same issue of School Library Journal (April 2007) that presented letters to the editor about Pajamas also had several short entries regarding The Higher Power of Lucky, aptly titled Scared of 'Scrotum?'. A nice follow-up to The Higher Power of Patron featured in the previous issue, I found it refreshing a school library journal was profiling the newest Newbery author after many school librarians were scoffing at the selection (see Hitting Below the Belt). While I personally thought the Newbery honor book Penny from Heaven was better, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The letters published were admittedly supportive and SLJ has done a nice job of presenting both sides of the controversy. Of interest, the following from three Newbery honor authors

"As the Newbery Honor recipients, we wanted to share our feelings on the currentNewbery discussions. We are delighted and honored to be in the wonderful company of Susan Patron and her incredible book, The Higher Power of Lucky. We support her creative vision and hope that the present controversy will not overshadow her remarkable achievement. Readers everywhere, young and old, are truly lucky to have such a book in their schools, libraries, stores, and in the world. " -
Jennifer Holm, Kirby Larson, & Cynthia Lord (SLJ, 4/07)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Revisiting Pajamas

It has been several months, seven to be specific, since the pajama book has been mentioned here; and yes, I remember promising not to blog about it again. I am now officially going to rescind that announcement and blog once more about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. What brought about this change? Two things: (1) I have been discussing the book with students taking a young adult literature class, and (2) I read two very different letters to the editor in the April issue of School Library Journal.

First, a quick review of my other blog entries on this topic:
  • Advance Reader copies (6/10/06) : Disturbed by the book and it's classification as a fable, I decided it might have some use in the classroom.
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (7/13/06): Still ranting about the title, specifically elements of "creepiness, cute words for real words, the ending, and it being a 'fable.'" Includes short discussion of book reviews.
  • Last of the Striped Pajamas (9/2/06): Discussion of book reviews and particular mention of SLJ having a starred review. Actually, I said: "A well written review that includes a professional opinion, I beg to disagree with her conclusion and am a bit horrified by the star it was given."
I made a concerted effort not to overstate my gathering dislike of Pajamas when discussing it with students in the library. However, when my opinion was asked it was freely given and more often than not included issues of fable, allegory, concern over the perpetration of the "Holocaust as a myth" theory, and dislike of the main character's simplicity/stupidity. Two very different viewpoints are presented as letters to the editor and were very edifying.

"If Boyne wishes readers to see his glib and life-cheapening work as a fable, so be it. Maybe we should remember that fables carry within them a “narration intended to enforce a useful truth.” By the author’s own definition it is not an allegory."

"When they explain all the mysteries of Pajamas to readers, will they explain what the pajamas signify (a penultimate dehumanization of Jews and others, “sub-humans.” Is Shmuel really sub-human?); that “out-with” is humanity’s ultimate degradation of humanity? Will our guides explain what “out-with” was? Boyne’s book never does. Boyne’s book never explains to readers whose knowledge of history is weak or nonexistent exactly what happened—and why."
- (SLJ, Gordon, p. 13-14)

And the reviewers response:

"In my point of view, the book, read as historical allegory or fable, clearly presents the atmosphere in Nazi Germany, hinting at violence, blind hatred, deplorable conditions, bullying, and fearfulness. At the end of Boyne’s tale, however, the realization of the evil that has been done extracts a measure of justice from the Commandant and his family. I am confident that this book will spark lively and thoughtful discussion of genocide, how it is allowed to happen, and that there can be no confusing innocence with ignorance." - (SLJ, Scheps, p. 14)

I still can not agree that this is a good book about, or representative of another viewpoint regarding the Holocaust. On Sunday afternoon I was channel surfing and happened across Band of Brothers and the GI's were in a Nazi concentration camp, looking for a friend and viewing the carnage. The graphic images stayed with me most of the afternoon and even now, make the idea of the Holocaust being presented as a fable distasteful. Instead, read Dark Hours by Gudrun Pauswang.

Both of these reviews are available online from School Library Journal editorials page titled, Scared of 'Scrotum.' That, I dare say, is fodder for another blog post.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Many things, but one

Fresh from a recent trip to Columbus where I am always able to knock off a half hour from the return driving time, there are so many things bouncing around aimlessly in my head this afternoon I am fearful of blathering on about all, or none, of them in my haste to post. However, at the forefront of my cheerful little brain is a simple statement of joy regarding the resource center web page.

Drum roll please....and make note of the cheering girl to the right...

As of yesterday afternoon, at approximately 5:00 pm, the page is FINISHED, POSTED on the university server, and actually LIVE for the world to see. Even better, it works! Previous to writing this post I pulled the page up on my ancient computer (with its 800 X 600 display and abysmal dial up connection) and was able to successfully navigate the entire site.

My personal favorite new part of the web is the "what's new" page as it includes; links to all of the available blogs and accompanying rss feeds so users may subscribe right from the web page, a LibraryThing book cover widget displaying recently reviewed books on the book review blog, a "blidget" of the resource center news and information blog, and the library catalog widget that allows users to search the catalog directly from the page.

Now I am relieved, joyous, slightly smug, and a little bit bemused at the let-down of having the project complete.

Of course, I am already planning on more authors and illustrators to add to the existing list.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Listening ...

Yesterday morning I was overwhelmed with the amount of work awaiting my attention; student time sheets due, weekly updates to write, purchases to post on a blog, book covers to place on a bulletin board, a book order and budget evaluation to process, an overdue article to be edited and submitted, and various other important issues that right now escape me. As I juggled these responsibilites, virtuous in my ability to multitask, I paid little or no heed to the email notifications from MSNBC that continued to arrive in my email in box.

Lunchtime arrived and patrons were discussing the campus shooting and asking what we had learned. Feeling, as many college and university student will, a kinship with their fellow students. Time stopped. Discussion in many night classes centered around the days events. Last evening a prayer service was held on campus at the university chapel and many attended to add their individual voices to the prayers from around the country.

Today was a day where every student had something to add to the ongoing discussion of what had happened and inquire in a bewildered voice, "why?" I do not know why. And no matter what the experts decree, we may never know why. What I do know is today was a day for sharing thoughts, fears, and voicing confusion. While we tried to insert normalcy into the day, it was also a day for listening to each other.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Virginia Tech community.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Quandry: what to do, what to do?

Today my plan was to finish writing two article submissions, due on Sunday no less, that have had abstracts accepted for publication. A serious practitioner of the fine art of procrastination since high school (I was up all night finishing term papers more often than not), I had convinced myself it would not a difficult task to accomplish. I failed to take into consideration my obsessive behavior where submissions are concerned and to this point have not yet completed one of the articles. You would think having a word limit of 1300 would make things less stressful. But alas, it really means I have to write making every word count.

Normally I would email the work home and finish crafting my joyous rendition of blogs in academic libraries while watching Grey's Anatomy (a stupid clip show this evening and no great loss). Tonight writing is at the back of the proverbial line behind various dreadful, necessary tasks. What's more important than a writing deadline for professional development you might ask? My answer would sadly be balancing my checkbook and paying doing my taxes, the latter proving difficult since the forms have gone AWOL in the bowels of my apartment. On the bright side, I do have all the necessary financial paperwork, just not the forms in question.

Complicating things and presenting a wonderful means to procrastinate even further was the appearance of The River Knows, a new Amanda Quick novel, in my mailbox (a bit early to boot, don't tell). How am I to work when an evening of enjoyable reading is so much more palatable than taxes?

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I have stalled a good fifteen minutes writing this diatribe after balancing my checkbook (to the penny thank-you-very-much). I will soldier on and do my civic duty to the IRS, then force my sorry self to hunt through piles of paperwork to find the missing forms.

Update: 4/13/07 - Confession & Success

Unable to find my tax forms, I elected to pay the $15.95 and submit both federal and state taxes electronically to save my sanity. The free tax program sent to me by H & R block did not have the state info included and I had to purchase and download. But, the smile of my umbrella here was using my charming dial-up connection it took almost half an hour (let me reiterate how much I really have to upgrade) and I was able to use that time to start reading. By the end of the evening I had both set of taxes submitted, paid, and a good quarter of my book done.

I have finished one of the two articles and my boss is editing it as I type. I have time to attempt the second article today and maybe finish it on Sunday before the submissio deadline. Here's hoping that'll teach me.

Tags: Still no need for tags here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hypothetical web updates

Another day (yesterday actually), another group of author/illustrator web page updates are finished. Alphabetically speaking, it was with resounding relief I moved out of the "p's" and into the "s's." The latest group includes Philip Pullman, Chris Raschka, Margret Rey, Faith Ringgold, JK Rowling, Cynthia Rylant, Louis Sachar, Robert Sansouci, Jon Scieszka, and Maurice Sendak. Researching article resources for each of the authors I am finding a few quirks, oddities, and general weirdness in several of the EbscoHost databases.

Utilizing the "choose database" option, I am doing quick surface searches in several different ebsco databases at the same time. As previously mentioned, I have selected academic search premier, education research complete, professional development collection, library and technology abstracts with full text, and in some cases master file premier (sometimes useful) for interviews with the authors, articles written by the authors, and general information. Boolean, rather "advance searches have proved particularly successful as I am able to declare not and review to weed out the plethora of book reviews included in academic search premier. Here are some of the unusual occurrances; some of them are definitely a cataloger or indexers nightmare:
  • Searchin for Christopher Raschka, I was only able to get results with Chris instead of Christopher.
  • Searching for Robert San Souci, I had to use Robert D. San Souci.
  • There were only popular magazine references, as opposed to academic journals, available for J.K. Rowling. It will obviously take time for her work to be considered literature as opposed to popular fiction.
  • When searching, different results were returned when searching first name and last name than when searching using last name, first name.
  • Instead of limiters returning fewer hits, hence the term limiter, the returned more results than broad searching.
  • The actual number of results often changed when I began going through them one at a time. For example, a query for a particular author detailed 158 results on the main list. I clicked on the first article for additional information and instead of seeing article 1 of 158, it said article 1 of 49. (What's up with that?)
I am a fan of the ebsco databases, mostly because they do provide pretty instant results for students. We have to get a bit of immediate success to prove the database has better information than google before moving on with many a reference interview. But if I had not known to try different variations of an author or illustrators name, several of them would not have had article resources listed. And we wonder why students would rather search the internet than a database?

Lastly, did you know that the word database and/or databases can be typed using only your left hand? Something I realized after typing the word databases on each and every one of the author information pages.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Public Libraries & Harry

Yesterday, In the Bookroom, a Library Journal blog, posted about two brothers calling themselves Harry and the Potters; a band they formed that plays songs about Harry Potter books. I haven't had a chance to look closely at their Harry and the Potters MySpace Music site, but it sounds like fun. If their total plays (3,342,933) or single day play statistics (3510 as of 8:57 am this morning, not including me) are any indication, I am not the only one who thinks so. Two of the songs listed are: Wizard Chess and Save Ginny Weasley.

Almost as an afterthought, there was mention at the bottom of the page concerning a recent AP article,
For libraries, 'Harry' carries rules. It seems Scholastic, publisher of the Harry Potter Series, is requiring public libraries ordering the book through Baker & Taylor to sign an agreement listing, among other things, the names of libraries and librarians who will be processing the book before the release date.

Please. I may be a bit biased, but the last person who would want to ruin the fun for a child reading the Harry Potter series conclusion is a librarian.

Wonder how academic libraries with children's collections are being affected? We have two copies ordered here and to my knowledge there was no mention of contract. It is time to make a trip downstairs and ask our requisitions librarian.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

The Alibi Man

Elena Estes, the interesting heroine from Tami Hoag's novel Dark Horses, returns in Hoag's newest novel, The The Alibi Man. In this novel the lushly rich setting of Palm Beach, complete with pampered wealthy members of society and international polo stars, is seamlessly placed with the seamier side of the same life. The morning after her break-up with James Landry, Elena stumbles on the dead body of Russian immigrant Irina Markova, a friendly co-worker. Driven to find Irina's killer, and battle her own personal demons, Elena becomes immersed in a dangerous game being played by a group of rich playboys who call themselves the Alibi Club; each pledging to be the other's alibi when needed. Complicating the case are her ex-fiance, a playboy polo star, her estranged father, the Russian mob and the quietly demanding presence of Landry. Elena draws closer to the truth and must fight for her life. Someone with his own agenda wants a different brand of justice meted out for Irina's death.

This is a fast paced novel with short, concise, chapters and an interesting cast of characters. Though Russian mob scenes were a bit type cast, they did not distract from overall dynamics of the plot. It would have been easy to write Elena into a box, making her bitter and unfeeling. Hoag resists this temptation and presents Elena as a complex individual with human failings and potential for growth. Here's hoping there are more books planned for Elena and James.

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Hypothetical musings: vocabulary, part 2

Yes, I lied.

I would say I'm sorry, but it would be another lie.

This is one more post about completing my performance evaluation for the past academic school year. I started thinking last evening after finishing the previous post and early today I took a quick look at my evaluation and pulled out a few of the "action" words I used in my statements of goals fulfilled:


Naturally, some are better than others, but all in all it is not a bad representation and it reflects a portion of my daily activities in the library. I checked our catalog holdings for resume books this morning; there are over 60 of them catalog, including several electronic books. With one month left in the term (not counting finals), most of them are currently circulating.

Let's not talk about what a royal pain it was to created a viable table for this blog post. One would think you could copy and paste from word, or even a lovely web editor such as dreamweaver, with a modicum of success (to be fair, it was a modicum of success and I was not satisfied). I had to hand code the table into this post.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hypothetical Musings: vocabulary

An impromptu (offhand, unprepared, extempore) stop in my local Border's resulted with a purchase, the newest Tami Hoag novel, The Alibi Man. I have yet to start reading, it is on the nightstand with four other novels-in-waiting, but according to book reviews on Amazon Booklist says it is,

"Written in a staccato style that will have readers racing through the pages, Hoag conducts a whirlwind tour of the high-flying world of the superrich and its tawdry underbelly that will leave readers breathless and satisfied" (Patty Engelmann, reviewer)

and Publishers Weekly says,

"Elena, who eschewed her elitist Palm Beach family to preserve her integrity, is a heroine readers will want to see more of."

What more could I want? Once my reading brain regains it's ability to concentrate (scrutinize, ruminate, peruse) longer than a five-year-old, I will enjoy all of the books in quick succession (consecutively, in sequence, one after the other). Until then, I am going to spend a few moments delving into one last blog post obsessing on my performance review, gleefully delivered to my boss bright and early last Thursday morning.

The final copy of my annual performance review, complete with careful and concisely bulleted statements of success for each goal fulfilled throughout the current academic year, was a well-edited and charmingly flowing five pages in length that succinctly noted my contributions to the library, it's mission, and the university (really). I agonized over each word, wondering how many synonyms there were for facilitated, prepared, and taught, just to name a few, and wished not only for a better thesaurus (working in a library I thought there would be more selection), but also for a healthier vocabulary. At times the process (method, means, manner) reminded me of writing papers in college, both grad and undergrad, with a thesaurus on my lap and chuckling at a particularly interesting turn of phrase. It made me smile. Other times it harkened back to writing lesson plan objectives and searching for just one more way to say what or how the student would learn from the lesson in question. Either way there is often a fine line between eloquence (wit, appeal, articulation) and drivel (babble, ramble, talk foolishly).

On my way out the door on Thursday afternoon, one of the other librarians was agonizing over her review document. For the first time this year, we were asked to be a bit more verbose with our reviews and it was causing a bit of angst among the library faculty. Completed reviews, our self-evaluations with comments from the director, are due on Friday, the 13th no less, in the personnel office. I will learn my "fate" this Tuesday morning during a one-on-one meeting with the library director. Secure in the knowledge of a job well done, it is nerve wracking waiting for the meeting.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Blogging Holiday

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Continuing the down hill path to completion of the resource center web site, I finished fourteen author pages in the last two days in between obsessing over polishing my review. I have successfully updated authors "K" through "L" and hope to finish with the "M's" tomorrow. These authors have joined their illustrious counter-parts with updated library holdings in formation, database references, and internet resources: E.L. Konigsburg, Steven Kroll, Madeleine L'Engle, Julius Lester, C.S. Lewis, Robert Lipsyte, Arnold Lobel, Lois Lowry, Lane Smith, David Macaulay, James Marshall, Bill Martin Jr., Mercer Mayer, and Patricia McKissack.

I should have searched for a countdown clock to track the author page progress, hindsight.

As the project progresses, I am noticing journal article trends. Obviously there is a large chunk of information on children's authors and illustrators available from Horn Book Magazine, Book Links, and Publisher's Weekly. Since these titles are part of the Academic Search Premier database, many of them are part of the journal bibliographies. I am finding relavent entries in a few of the popular magazines, language arts journals, library media center journals, and to some extent newspapers. Compiling the resources, I have begun to see many articles written by people that I recognize, such as Horn Book editor and prominent blogger Roger Sutton and Kent State University professor Caroline Brodie. The same databases are proving to be a bit constrictive when locating articles on older authors and illustrators. It is frustrating to only locate obituaries, and short ones at that.

It has been a while since posting about a book I have finished at lunch. In fact, I did finish one this afternoon but am not compelled to write anything at this point. I am still reading recently purchased titles at lunch, just nothing I am ready to blog about yet. However, the back in the juvenile stacks section of the sidebar reflects recent reads regardless of whether I blog about them ... or not.

Even worse, I have four recreational books by favorite authors waiting to be read!

Tags: No need for tags today.

Harry's happy feet

Unveiling of cover art for the latest Harry Potter last week led to the inevitable discussion regarding when the next movie would be premiering. As fans have noted, movies are falling a bit behind natural aging of the actor's portraying the characters, and with the last installment of the HP series due out in June one is left to wonder "what's the hold up?"

Last Tuesday after work, I bought the DVD
Happy Feet for my dad (and one for me as well). While relaxing on the sofa and partaking of pizza delivery, we popped in the DVD for entertainment. Normally I skip past the movie previews, but before I could hit skip, a trailer for Order of the Phoenix appeared and my questions were answered. Phoenix, aka book five, arrives in theaters on July 13, 2007. A mere week before the series finale arrives in books stores and mail boxes.

I enjoyed watching Happy Feet, animated films are one of my not-so-secret vices. The music selection was great (I may have to check out the soundtrack), character voices wonderfully chosen (LOL, Robin Williams), and the animation a great deal of fun. I have to admit disappointment with the heavy handed environmental ending, but the story had painted itself into a corner at that point. It is fun.

Lunch break is over, it's back to those author web pages.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

To go, or not to go?

A friend of mine recently accepted his first post-mlis job in academic librarianship. I have been an unofficial mentor through the degree process and have fielded many interesting questions in regards to academic libraries and what to expect with a first job. Along the way I learned from him because those questions presented me with opportunity to reflect on my own intrinsic values and role as an academic librarian. Last week the question was both simple and complex; should he attend ALA annual in DC this June, or wait and go to ALA midwinter?

My initial knee-jerk response was, go to ALA in June! We can meet, gossip, and "do lunch." But aside from the selfishness of the answer, I did take some time reflecting what each has to offer and hope it helped the decision making process. First, quick background information: I have conference experience with the state level organization ALAO and attended the ACRL conference in Minnesota two years ago, however the mid-winter meetings last January in San Antonio were my first ALA conference experience. As a new EBSS committee member, it was the first time I was required to attend mid-winter meetings. Last June I attended my first ALA annual conference in New Orleans and was also a first time poster session presenter. For me the decision of which conference to pick as his first depends on what you, as a conference attendee, want to get out of the proceedings.

I enjoyed a mid-winter meeting event as my first ALA endeavor; about the same size as the previous spring's ACRL conference, there was a more diversity offered in programming. With that said, what needs to be noted is the mid-winter event is called mid-winter meetings for a reason, the bulk of programming available is meetings. The ALA conference in June was a larger event with more session opportunity, less meeting time, and a chance to give to the community. If you want to get your feet wet, do midwinter first. But if you want to immerse yourself in librarianship, do ALA annual and be prepared to be exhausted and invigorated.

Along this same conversational vein, there was a conference blogging post on ACRLog this morning, an ACRL Conference review by Marc Meola. He touched on something I noticed when attending ACRL in Minnesota:

"Some librarians need work on their social skills. C’mon people, this is a conference. Part of the point is to talk to other people and network. Buses, lines, conference receptions are all great places to spark up conversations with semi-strangers and learn something new. You can’t talk to anyone, however, if your head is buried in a paperback or if you are listening to your ipod." (Meola, ACRLog, 4/3/07)

Many times librarians are attending conferences alone and use this opportunity to make a few new library-friends. Newbies to the field, and in many ways I one, have interesting things to say and want to learn from our peers. I struck up a conversation with a librarian on the streets of New Orleans last summer. As we walked and talked in the sweltering heat, I learned I had traveled all those miles and met a librarian from Ohio! We had dinner, chatted about graphic novels, exchanged business cards, and parted for the evening. I did not see her again over the course of the conference, but it was nice to have a dining companion my first night in NOLA.

Thanks to Karin for commenting yesterday and sparking my memory about this topic! With so many oddities going on at work, performance reviews, Easter break, and web pages, I had forgotten.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

ALA, Posters, and Expedia (oh, my)

Good news came last week in the form of not one, but two acceptances for ALA poster sessions I submitted in January. University funding for conferences, professional development grants, is tied to presenting as opposed to only attending, therefore the good news was also a fiscal relief. Early bird registration ended several weeks before session acceptance and/or denial were slated to arrive. What are the topics? One poster is on a successful library and college of education conference collaboration we held at the university last spring and the other is on different library blogs I am currently using both in the resource center and for professional development.

A quick aside: It is interesting to me that the ACRL committee rejected these topics, yet ALA accepted them. I would hazard a guess that the longer ALA conference has more poster session time slots, a larger pool of poster applicants, and a wider variety of needs to be met (academic, school, public, etc.). I would be interested to see the statistics for acceptances and applications on both. But, as advertised, I digress.

The most exciting part for me, beyond the conference money and presenting of course, is I have plenty of time to design and polish these presentations. Unlike last year's ALA conference when several conference gods were laughing as I had a session accepted, then had to decline due to the roaming gnomes travel plans, only to have a last minute chance at presenting after all with only a week to prepare. Last year I went from wanting to be brilliant ... to settling for not wanting to embarrass myself. This year I am going to plan more diligently (not to mention earlier) and set reasonable goals for the sessions.

Flush with the good news, I had already placed my travel plans on Expedia with hopes of acceptance for at least one of my proposed posters, I was thrilled (sarcasm alert) to see an email message from Expedia arrive over the weekend. After much dithering about choosing an airline and airport, all the flights out of Columbus flew from Columbus to Cleveland before departing to BWI, I went with Continental Airlines and Cleveland Hopkins. My joy was complete as both flights were non-stop at reasonable times. Hesitant to hear the flight news, I put off calling until this evening. Praise be, the only change was in departure times; instead of 7:35 am it is now 8:45 am.

Now I am editing this post while going in to the next room to see my favorite couples on Dancing with the Stars. It is now officially after 9:00 pm and my evening and weekend minutes are reading and waiting my vote. So far my favorites are Ian and Cheryl and Apolo and his partner (her name escapes me).

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