Monday, February 16, 2009

New J.D. Robb!

Saturday's trip to a not-so-local Target bagged not only a new Linda Fairsten book, but also alerted me that I'd missed the latest J.D. Robb ... In Death title announcement. Due out next Tuesday, February 24th - my birthday no less, is Promises in Death.
Here's the publisher's description from Amazon:

A Amarylis Coltraine may have recently transferred to the New York City police force from Atlanta, but she’s been a cop long enough to know how to defend herself against an assailant. When she’s taken down just steps away from her apartment, killed with her own weapon, for Eve the victim isn’t just “one of us.”

Dallas’s friend Chief Medical Examiner Morris and Coltraine had started a serious relationship, and from all accounts the two were headed for a happy future together. But someone has put an end to all that. After breaking the news to Morris, Eve starts questioning everyone from Coltraine’s squad, informants, and neighbors, while Eve’s husband, Roarke, digs into computer data on Coltraine’s life back in Atlanta. To their shock, they discover a connection between this case and their own painful, shadowy pasts.

The truth will need to be uncovered one layer at a time, starting with the box that arrives at Cop Central addressed to Eve containing Coltraine’s guns, badge, and a note from her killer: “You can have them back. Maybe someday soon, I’ll be sending yours to somebody else.”

But Eve Dallas doesn’t take too kindly to personal threats, and she is going to break this case, whatever it takes. And that’s a promise.

Morris is one of my favorites and I'll admit to a bad feeling about the blonde ... Anyway, read an excerpt from Nora's web site: Promises in Death.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Abe!

I'm listening/watching the History Channel's live teach-in at the National Archives in Washington, DC, part of a mini-site of Abraham Lincoln resources currently available. Teacher resources are available and include handouts, lesson starters, hyperlinks, and video clips:

Don't forget the American Presidents page on Abraham Lincoln. Lunch is over, but I can listen as I work!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Penguin Story

A Penguin Story, is the latest book by Antoinette Portis author/creator of Not a Box. Edna the penguin's life is snow white, dark nights, and blue water and sky. Craving color and something different, she ventures out into the world and finds ... orange! Eager to share her discovery, Edna rushes home and leads the others to a camp of scientists living in vivid orange tents with matching coats and gloves. The two communities become friends and when the scientists depart, Edna is given an orange glove as a reminder of their adventure. Portis cleverly uses a limited color palette of white, black, blue, and orange juxtaposed against the penguins for maximum effect; even the text is presented in black and white. Readers are left wondering what color Edna will find next on her next adventure, "What else could there be?"

Eagle-eyed readers will spot the low flying orange air plane foreshadowing color to come and might enjoy guessing what Edna will find during her journey through the frozen tundra. Children who have seen some of the recent penguin movies, such as Happy Feet, may have added questions concerning the scientists. However, this adventure will please anyone who has ever craved something different.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pete & Pickles

Pete & Pickles, by Berkeley Breathed is a delightful story of unlikely friendship, acceptance and love between a "perfectly, predictable, pig" named Pete and a wonderfully exuberant circus elephant named Pickles. The pair meet during a stormy night when Pickles, an escapee from the circus, attempts to hide under Pete's couch. Found and returned to the circus by a tired clown, Pickles leaves behind a gift of bright, yellow dandelions. Pete's walk the next day takes him to the circus where he helps Pickles escape; soon the two friends are sharing Pete's home and wonderful adventures directed by the free-spirited elephant. Friendship hits a snag when Pickles begins "getting into things she shouldn't have been in" and Pete asks her to leave. The resulting fiasco causes mayhem and puts the pair in danger. Told with vibrant and lush digitally mastered artwork, Pete & Pickles is an appealing tale perfect for sharing.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Won over ... kind of

I am a firm believer that books are not ever going away. There is not a technology available that can replace the pleasure of holding a book in my hand, smelling the "new book" smell, turning the pages, and having that worn spot in a favorite book. As I've been fulfilling my adjunct duties over the last several weeks, instructing an online educational technology course, it became obvious students could benefit from electronic book access. They need to view literature inside the course management system domain on Saturday evening when libraries are closed.

My library subscribes to Safari Tech books by ProQuest. Though billed as "the e-reference library for programmers and IT professionals," the number of beginner level technology books for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Movie Maker was expansive covering 2000 - 2007 editions. I was also able to locate titles for iMovie and the broader topic of blogging. Add a proxy url to the resource and soon students are able to view the books at their leisure on or off campus at any time of the day or night. I suspect my excitement is due to the fact that they are e-books for an online technology course, but they definitely filled a need.

Two of the students have already commented on the access and appreciate the added resource. Excellent! This also has the added benefit of pulling more education students into the library web site and database resources.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Librarian, know thy budget

It's no secret academic libraries, or any library for that matter, are closely guarding budgets. I oversee specific sections of the overall library budget (education, education research, and general purchases) as well as a separate multi-line resource center budget (technology, instructional supply, office supply, non-print, etc.). While both sets of expenditures serve the same community of patrons and professionals, there is a line of demarcation when spending said funding; library budget purchases are for the library circulating collection and resource center purchases are for the resource center circulating collection. There is one notable exception to this policy, a gray area of interpretation to be sure, the juvenile collection.

Part of the overall circulating collection, juvenile books are also an integral component of the resource center. When I first started this job, the juvenile collection was woefully under represented because of the existing structure's lack of funds. A small endowment was set aside for juvenile and often only award books were purchased. With the resource center came the resource center's budget, including opportunity and responsibility. Recognizing the need for juvenile purchases and noting the resource center budget is relatively healthy, I made the decision (with director authorization) to purchase juvenile books using resource center budget.

Significant juvenile collection purchases have been made over the years and as the number of juvenile titles increased, so did the circulation of the juvenile collection. Slowly but surely the number of juvenile books requested from other libraries decreased and the number of our books requested by other libraries increased. Patrons do not check out one children's book, they check out a stack of them for the classroom, for assignments and for pleasure. Each year the director shares circulation statistics, juvenile circulation has close to doubled in the last five years.

Last year the library purchased 1500 - 1800 books for the circulating collection, 877 of those books were juvenile; different budget, same catalog circulation classification. Thanks to my budget spread sheets, I can easily locate the percentage of my resource center line budget spent on children's books and relate it to the circulation statistics. Why is this important? Today my boss asked me if I thought it was time to curb spending on the juvenile collection. He noted that every third cart arriving in technical services was juvenile (very true, though an argument could be made that I simply spend earlier than others) and my general spending purchase line was exhausted before the half-way mark of the academic fiscal year (a recent purchase of Alex Award titles - adult books for young adults - had put me over my limit).

I was able to expand on budget allocation for the juvenile collection, make note of the number of juvenile titles purchased in regard to the entire circulating purchases last year, and reference the circulating collection increases supported during the same time frame. He was pleased with the break-down and inclusion of statistics. I am pleased to be able to proceed as usual, balancing need with available budget.