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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Waiting

Dr. Seuss's birthday is coming up this Friday, March 2. I encourage you to re-read one of your Seuss favorites (everyone has one, right?). My top picks:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Butter Battle Book

Horton Hatches an Egg

And, my all-time favorite...

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

It's actually a pretty profound book. My favorite teacher (thanks, Mrs. Anders) gave it to me when I graduated from high school, and I read it to the kiddos at the end of every school year.

One of the parts that always hits home is when he talks about "the waiting place."

"Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting."

Have you ever felt like you're just waiting around for your "real" life to begin? I used to feel that way all the time, when I was growing up and waiting to go to college, when I was in college and waiting to start my career, when I was single and waiting to get married.

It seems, in life, there are always things we have to wait for. Not to sound like I know it all (because I still get super-impatient way too often), but what good is life if you're not living it to the full each day, no matter what your situation? That's why Jesus came--to give us a full life--both eternal and earthly. I don't want to waste it!

Now, from one great artist to another...as the magnificent Tom Petty says...

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
If you're waiting for whatever (and aren't we all waiting for something?), remember to "take it on faith." God is in control, and His timing is perfect.

Have a wonderful day, and happy March!

Seuss-a-Palooza



What's your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Of course I love The Butter Battle Book, Great Day for Up! and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (The Cat in the Hat is a bit too messy for my liking--I was never a fan.)

But I'm most partial to Oh, the Places You'll Go! My all-time favorite teacher gave it to me as a graduation gift, and now I give it to other graduating students, whether they're 18, 28 or 108! (I think Dr. Seuss would approve.)

Celebrate his birthday Friday, March 2!

Happy reading!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Last Links--at least for now

I apologize for the messy-looking links, but the link function on my Blogger still isn't working. Anyway, I promise this is the last post for today. Just wanted to catch up!

Taking Book Art places:
http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660196020,00.html

“Why I Love my Job” by SLIS alum Lisa Glasscock. Very nice interview, and I wholeheartedly agree with the "preparation needed for this job" section.

http://jobnews.ajcjobs.com/news/content/careercenter/articles/2007_0218_lovelibrary.html

OK, this is just a little weird, but, hey, what's a blog for...
http://www.ivytech.edu/library/fortwayne/lib-info/handouts/EdibleBksbrochure.pub.pdf

iCranky?
http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/02/22/musgrove

Happy weekend, and I recommend you check out Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead. Not nearly as bad as it sounds.

Snowbirds Descend on Library (not as scary as it sounds)

Circulation skyrockets, Classes overflow and Parking spaces become scarce at Orange Beach 's library
By RYAN DEZEMBER
Mobile Press-Register Staff Reporter

ORANGE BEACH -- During the slow winter months on Baldwin County's beaches, when clubs are near empty and some restaurants are shuttered, there's one sure-fire place to find a crowd: the public library-www.orangebeachlibrary.org .

With the arrival from the North of thousands of seasonal residents, or snowbirds, circulation soars, special events overflow and class offerings must be doubled to accommodate the crowds.

"The chambers ought to recognize us as one of the main tourist attractions," joked the library's director, Bonnie Lee.

The influx begins immediately after the New Year's holiday, Lee said. Take, for example, Jan. 3, the first day the library opened after the holiday: 650 patrons walked through the door by 5 p.m., Lee said.

On a normal day, 100 might make it in by that same time, she said.

In September, a typical month in terms of library use, just less than 3,500 of the library's 40,000 items were checked out of the facility over a period of 22 days, according to library data.
As of Jan. 22 more than 7,900 items had been loaned -- and this month also featured two weekdays in which the library was closed, according to the data.

There were 177 borrowers processed by the library's circulation desk during the September period. As of Jan. 22, the clerks had seen 828.

When winter rolls around, an extra employee is brought aboard to help with the backlog of books that need shelving and the crush at the circulation counter, Assistant Director Patti Underwood said.

The library's Monday morning laptop users group became in such high demand that the library started offering a second class on Wednesday afternoons.

And, Lee said, "they come an hour early to keep from fighting over chairs."

Last Wednesday, 19 pupils toting laptop computers filled the library's front conference room for a lesson on the basics of word processing taught by Librarian Alisa McLeod. During most of the year one-on-one instruction is offered for beginner computer users, Lee said. In snowbird season, she said, the numbers force personal instruction to a five-to-one student-to-teacher ratio.

The library's special events, which range from readings from authors to musical performances, have become so well-attended this time of year that they must be held next door at the Senior Activity Center , Lee said.

When Gulf State Park Director Hugh Branyon gave a talk on the future of the park on a recent Thursday night, 173 people showed up, Lee said. The Senior Activity Center holds 110.

For two performances last week by classical guitarist Peter Fletcher, the library sold tickets. It wasn't that the library was trying to raise money -- they only cost $2.50 -- but it was a way to ensure some sort of crowd control, Lee said.

Despite the accommodations it must make, the library's staff is grateful for the snowbirds, Lee said: "I think they are part of the reason that the city supports the library so well."

Therese Oja, a snowbird from Michigan , perused the stacks while the computer class went on nearby. A former newspaper correspondent who has been wintering on Baldwin's beaches for the last 15 years, Oja said she and her husband, Ralph, voracious readers both, visit the library about once every two weeks, checking out several books at a time.

"I make sure I have a big stack so I don't run out," she said.

Oja surmised that snowbirds are drawn to the library not only for its collection and free wireless Internet but also its waterfront location and the friendliness of the staff. For those reasons, she said, the Orange Beach Public Library brought to mind an old way of saying some place was where the action's at.

"It's like Grand Central Station," Oja told a reporter. "You don't remember Grand Central Station, but we used to compare everything that was big to Grand Central Station."

Helping the Elderly...books, that is

How cool is this? This is the first of several of those "longer links" I mentioned. I would love to work in an archives one day, but I don't know if I have enough of a history background for it. I loved the archives class I took while at SLIS, and a friend of mine is a bona-fide archivist at UA.

Happy reading...more to come...

$2M grant to digitize brittle books
By DAN CATERINICCHIA, AP Business Writer

Scholars and others interested in flipping through some of theLibrary of Congress' most fragile books will be able to tap the knowledge without damaging the artifacts. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to the world's largest library for a program to digitize thousands of works with a major focus on "brittle books."

The project supplements other efforts at the Library of Congress along with private companies such as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Those massive book digitization projects, however, have typically shied away from materials in vulnerable conditions. The new "Digitizing American Imprints" program seeks to identify best practices for handling and scanning those books and collections, according to its managers.

"It is inspiring to think that one of these books, many of which are in physical jeopardy, might spark the creativity of a future scholar or ordinary citizen who otherwise might not have had access to this wealth of human understanding," Billington said in a statement.

Scanning is expected to begin within a few months. The library also plans to develop suitable page-turner display technologyand the ability to scan and display book fold-outs. The new project will also digitize American history volumes, U.S. genealogyand regimental histories that hold personal collections from the Civil War period, and six collections of rare books including the Benjamin FranklinCollection.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

First Day Without Coffee...

Headache.

Nausea.

Headache.

Cookies!

Headache.

Cider (ahh...)

Well, at least I know my "drink offering" is not in vain.

A couple of verses helping me through today...

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%202:17;&version=72;

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2012:1;&version=65;

Have a good Wednesday, and enjoy the beverage of your choice!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lent and Other "Sacrifices"

Can I just say how glad I am it's Friday? The Friday before a three-day weekend? And only three weeks until Spring Break?!

I'm hoping, with an extra day, I can actually get some stuff done...like clean the house, celebrate Fred's birthday, have a nice long lunch with my husband. Fun stuff.

And I'm hoping to get back on track with my diet/workout Monday.

This week was tough! At school we were inundated with cakes, cookies, all kinds of delicious...I mean horrible...stuff. And I caved. I caved like a Democrat debating Ann Coulter. It has definitely been an "off" week as far as my healthy-eating is concerned. But I'll do better!

Speaking of next week...does anyone else celebrate Lent? More specifically, does anyone else who doesn't go to a Catholic (or similar) church celebrate Lent?

I've actually been observing Lent for about 10 years now, and it's become something kind of cool for my spiritual walk. It's not that complicated...I just give up something (usually some kind of food), and, when the craving for that thing hits, I try to spend time in prayer or Bible study.

Well, this year I decided to bite the bullet and give up coffee. It's something I've avoided before because I'm such a coffee-holic, but I didn't want to say "I can't give up something." So, it's coffee. I've been weaning myself off of it all month, but I really do miss it already! Oh, well. It'll probably be good for me...on a number of levels. At least it'll be good for the hot tea industry. (groan)

Also, in case anyone's keeping up, I am still making progress on my "27 by (ahem) 27" list.

I finished off my 27 recipes. I'll try to post a few of my favorites.

Jason's also working on re-directing www.tiffanynorris.com to this blog. I kept trying to come up with what I wanted my web site to be, and, truthfully, since blogger has such cool features, I couldn't think of anything else to do with my web site! Maybe one day...if I ever do podcasts or something...I don't know...

So that's all I've finished on that list for now, but I am still working! I should probably spend a little more time working and a little less time watching TV and eating Valentine candy...but, hey, isn't Lent going to be tough enough?

Happy weekend!

Links as Promised

OK, this is the third time I've tried to post, and it's not working right.

Sorry it's taken me so long in general. Here are some cool links that, I hope, will work this time.

"A Stand Against Wikipedia"

Are libraries a place for free child care? Interesting article.

Even though I've not been a huge "Prairie Home" fan, I have to say that Ruth, the reference librarian, always always makes me laugh.
Check out this skit featuring Terry Gross (not my favorite either--but it's still funny). [Hope it works for y'all. My computer has "sound issues."]

Adventures of a Baghdad librarian (You have to pay if you want to read the whole thing, but it's still an interesting story.)

I like this Flickr thing my husband sent me to check out.

Also, I wanted to get this Star Wars thing just for Jason! Pretty groovy.

Supposed SLIS alum page

More to come, I hope! Have a happy Presidents' Day! (I still love Wikipedia, by the way, despite the earlier article.) I'm not working Monday, so I know mine will be a good day.

;)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mentor Day

I have so many links piling up that I want to post, but other "library issues" keep coming up!

Oh, the beauty of blogging. Virtually unlimited space.

Anyway, SLIS had a "mentor day" this week, and I was honored to speak to a group of students there. I was in their position not so very long ago, and I remember the excitement/panic that went along with thinking about the next phase of my career (especially those couple of months after graduation when I couldn't find a job--yikes!).

Basically, I was supposed to tell them about my job--responsibilities, likes/challenges, that sort of thing.

And although I don't get terribly nervous when I speak in public, my talking speed tends to increase past Gilmore Girls levels...and I speak pretty quickly as it is.

So, in case you were there and missed anything because I was Speedy Gonzales-ing...or in case you want to know what I think about my job...I thought I'd post my "remarks."

*Disclaimer* I normally try not to talk too much about my job, but I thought I'd make an exception in this case because a) I've already said this stuff in public and b) it's not like I'm trashing the school or anything. haha

About me:
Tiffany Norris
Finished at SLIS May 2005
Started at ACA August 2005

About ACA:
K-12 school in Tuscaloosa
About 900 students

Responsibilities:
Students in 1st-12th grades do Accelerated Reader at our school, so that makes up a huge part of my job. Ordering tests, making tests, giving tests, troubleshooting...

Our elementary students (up through 6th grade) have weekly library times, so I get to plan stories, activities, displays, let them check out books, that sort of thing. Also, since our high school students also have the AR requirements, they have a daily reading class, so they're in the library a good bit as well.

I'd say about 80 percent of our books come in through donations, so I spend a lot of time cataloging, too, which is one of my favorite activities, believe it or not. We also hold Book Fairs in the Fall/Spring, so I'm responsible for those as well as going to faculty/staff meetings.

Challenges:
I was surprised how much of my time goes to dealing with things like making copies, talking with salespeople, dealing with detentions, lost and found, that kind of thing that you don't think of as your "job description."

We have students check out books from the time they're five years old on up until they're 18 years old...and all the books are in one big library. This means we have to make judgment calls on when certain books are "age-appropriate." You don't really deal with that in a public library!

Also, because we are a Christian school, we have to make judgment calls about which books to include (or not include) in our collection. I'd say, for a Christian school, we have a wide range of literature; I'm really pleased with the things we've been able to include. I think a lot of this has to do with not being affiliated with a particular denomination...having a more broad definition of "Christian." We also try to use the books our kids read (from our collection or elsewhere) as a jumping-off point for discussions. That's a lot of fun.

My Favorite Things About My Job:
The first day our five-year-old kindergarten class checks out books. Hands down...my favorite day of the year. We do "story-time" with them for the first semester, and they start checking out books when they come back from Christmas. It's chaotic, let me tell you, but their little eyes are popping, and they are so excited about reading/books that I'm reminded of why I wanted to get into this field.

Also, I love doing mini "book-talks." When a student asks "what's a good book?" or asks me about a book I've read and enjoyed...that's so much fun. And it's great to be able to talk with them after they've read it as well...discussing literature with all ages...I love it.

If you want to be a school media specialist...
Read, read, read, read, read. Not just industry stuff (reviews, newsletters, web sites, blogs), which is great...but I would also really encourage you to read stuff on kids' levels. They want to know if you like Junie B. Jones or Eudora Welty, not if a reviewer liked it.

Get comfortable shoes because you'll run around a lot. Take lots of Airborne, especially if this is your first experience in a school because you will get everything the kids have. Your lunch will frequently get cold. And you will want to cry the first time you get the "500s" in perfect order, a second-grade class comes through to unearth them, and you have to start all over again.

In fact, a moment of true confession, I like my library clean. I love the books on the shelves just the way they're supposed to be, the chairs pushed under the tables...and it's so nice when it's quiet.

BUT...and this is a big BUT...

If you are going to work in a school library...you will have to accept that it will not always be clean and organized. It will mostly be that way at the beginning and the end of the day. And I really had a tough time with this at first! (For more information, see Monk.) But then I realized that I was not there just to clean or reshelf books or hide in the teachers' lounge, as tempting as all those things are.

I am primarily there to serve the students.

And what that means to me is to develop a love of reading in them...to make them better readers...and (trying) to show them how a Christian librarian is supposed to live. I'm still working on that last one especially, so pray for me!

So there's my job in a blog-shell. Again, I was honored to speak at Mentor Day. I was inspired and had a great time, so thanks SLIS!

"Our" Valentine's Day

I call the number 212 my "significant" number (see my e-mail address). This sounds crazy to some people, but the number just keeps popping up in my life...has for years. Hard to explain, but that's the way it is.

Jason, bless his heart, knows this and chooses to love me anyway!

That's why, two years ago, he chose to pop THE question on February 12 (2-12). Pretty clever, huh?

So...since that day is coming up Monday, I thought I'd post about how "we" got here.

Jason and I had been dating almost five months at that point. We'd known each other much longer...around three and a half years. Anyway, I had a Saturday class that day, and Jason was working the "Kitchens of Consequence" tour for APR (which just wrapped up today, by the way).

He said he wanted to take me out afterwards to celebrate Valentine's Day, which has never been one of my favorite holidays, incidentally.

But he came to my apartment, and I knew immediately that something was up. His car was spotless, he was dressed up, opening doors, all that good stuff.

I was wondering, but I didn't want to get my hopes up that this might be more than a Valentine's Day thing. After all, we'd never spent V-Day together...I didn't know what his "normal" was!

We went to Outback Steakhouse (where we're going Monday night-yum), and he asked me after dinner. Without going into further details (not everything belongs on a blog), the proposal was perfect...the evening was perfect. And, not to sound too mushy, but sometimes, I really think my husband is perfect.

So, now we say Feb. 12 is "our" Valentine's Day...and I'd love to hear about yours!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Prayer Request

I wanted to send out a prayer request. One of our four-year-old students at ACA passed away this weekend. It was a tragic accident. This is the Tuscaloosa News story about it.

Please just pray for the kids here...that they'll know how to comfort each other...the little girl's sister is in 10th grade.

Also, pray for the teachers...how do you explain this kind of thing to a four-year-old...or an 18-year-old for that matter?

At our teachers' convention last week, one of the speakers said "When God's purpose for you [on this earth] is finished, that's when he calls you home." He does give the "peace that passes all understanding."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My First Convention

Please excuse the double post...but this was a personal as well as professional issue. Plus, I'm a bit short on time...as usual!

I just finished up my very first ACSI convention in the Magic City, and I have to say...I was pleasantly surprised. You just never know what you're getting yourself into with a day of meetings, but I actually took away a lot.

The presenters talked a lot about working on the character/heart of students, rather than just focusing on behavioral issues. Hopefully things I can use not only now...but also in the far, far future when Jason and I add something other than puppies to our family!

More highlights...

  • Amazing music by the Annie Moses Band
  • Incredible presentation on the "Lost Heart of Parenting" by Phil Tuttle
  • Abstinence seminar, which is a big issue for all teenagers now...yes...even in a Christian school
  • Discussion on how to develop a Biblical worldview
  • Research presentation on how schools can work with teachers and parents to play a major role in students' academic performance

Overall, it was a great experience, and I would love to go back. Thanks, ACSI!

Meanwhile, I had an amazing Thai lunch (with my former news director Melanie Kearns Davis), had coffee at one of my favorite places in B'ham and realized I can still navigate downtown traffic!

Normal posts...lots of links and library thoughts...will resume next week!

My First Convention

Please excuse the double post...but this was a personal as well as professional issue. Plus, I'm a bit short on time...as usual!

I just finished up my very first ACSI convention in the Magic City, and I have to say...I was pleasantly surprised. You just never know what you're getting yourself into with a day of meetings, but I actually took away a lot.

Not to weigh you down with library/teacher details, but the presenters talked a lot about working on the character/heart of students, rather than just focusing on behavioral issues. Hopefully things I can use not only now...but also in the far, far future when Jason and I add something other than puppies to our family!

More highlights...
  • Amazing music by the Annie Moses Band
  • Incredible presentation on the "Lost Heart of Parenting" by Phil Tuttle
  • Abstinence seminar, which is a big issue for all teenagers now...yes...even in a Christian school
  • Discussion on how to develop a Biblical worldview
  • Research presentation on how schools can work with teachers and parents to play a major role in students' academic performance
Overall, it was a great experience, and I would love to go back. Thanks, ACSI!

Meanwhile, I had an amazing Thai lunch (with my former news director Melanie Kearns Davis), had coffee at one of my favorite places in B'ham and realized I can still navigate downtown traffic!

I'm sorry I don't have pictures, but I plan to resume normal posts next week...and I'll try to have some interesting pics then!

Read from the beginning...