Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another day in a librarian's life

I was late this morning - I have to change trains three times and I missed the second one. So I arrived just in time for the first recess, but it wasn't that crowded.
After recess, I got to sit on the jury for the reading competition. Four sixth graders took part to decide who will represent the school in the next round and they first read texts of their own choosing. Two had picked Inkheart (a wonderful book for reading aloud), the others Children of the Lamp and Nocturna (a German book). It was a hard decision and there had to be a read-off with a German book called Rico, Oskar und die Tieferschatten. The winner did an awesome job of reading that unknown text and made it hilarious, with different voices and spot-on accentuation.
Since the audience enjoyed the book so much, I'm going to buy it so that we can offer it next week.

Time for the next recess, with a loud group of older students reading to each other from a sex-education book. We have a few of those and while they are never on loan, we always find them somewhere else after each recess.

Friday the school will have a Christmas bazaar and we'll sell old book discared from the library as well as donations we got from parents that we didn't use for the library. I packed all those books into boxes and added a few more, like the cook books. They never got loaned and since the school doesn't have a kitchen for the students, I don't think they will be missed. But they are in perfect shape and I hope they'll fetch a good price.

Meme of Solace

I'm stealing this meme from Ramblin' with Roger and I'm amused that although we have a totally different taste when it comes to music, we still both ended our list with The Police.

List 10 musical artists (or bands) you like, in no specific order (do this before reading the questions below). Really, don’t read the questions below until you pick your ten artists!!!

1. Deine Lakaien
2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
3. Dead Can Dance
4. Skyclad
5. Oysterband
6. Helium Vola
7. Chumbawamba
8. Soman
9. VNV Nation
10. The Police

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?

"Omnis Mundis Creatura"
you can listen to it here

What is your favorite song of 8?

DATC and Mask (highly dance-able)

What kind of impact has 1 left on your life?

I was really into heavy metal and I went to a festival to see Crematory, a metal band. Deine Lakaien were headliner and I had never heard of them. The venue (an old castle) filled with Gothics until almost no metalfans were left...maybe they just ran away after the dismal performance by Crematory, though. Oh, I though, those people look interesting. Deine Lakaien started to play and I was fascinated. I've been a Goth ever since.
Love me to the End
Second Sun Acoustic

What is your favorite lyric of 5?

Oh, so many. For example Blood Wedding and We'll Be There and the long that I like best Put Out the Lights

How many times have you seen 4 live?
Four times. Two times at festivals and two times in tiny clubs - I have no idea why no-one wants to see Skyclad in Hamburg. They have such wonderful acerbic lyrics

What is your favorite song by 7?

The Bad Squire from the English Rebel Songs album.

Is there any song by 3 that makes you sad?

The Wind that Shakes the Barley and I am Stretched on Your Grave.

What is your favorite song by 9?


When did you first get into 2?

I think through "Where the Wild Roses Grow", the duet with Kylie Minogue. That was back when MTV used to play music videos. I loved how the beautiful melody mixed with the dark lyrics and bought the "Murder Ballads" album - more of the same. Nick Cave's skill of telling stories in his songs has fascinated me ever since.

How did you get into 3?

A friend introduced me to them, with the Aion album. A month before that I had declined an invitation to a concert by them because I didn't know them. It was their last tour. Go me.

What is your favorite song by 4?

Anything from Irrational Anthems, but if I had to choose, I'd pick History Lessens (no, that's not a typo)

How many times have you seen 9 live?

I think 10 times, sometimes twice in one tour.

What is a good memory concerning 2?

Just about every concert I saw, he's amazing. But I also had a very nice conversation with a guy twice my age in the subway about music when he commented on the Nick Cave LPs I had just bought.

Is there a song by 8 that makes you sad?

Um, no.

What is your favorite song of 1?

Love Me to the End.

How did you become a fan of 10?

"Message in a Bottle" was the first song I ever understood the lyrics of, English is my second language. I still remember the moment when it no longer was just a song, but a story that I could understand (and the mental image of a million bottles floating around the island still amuses me).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

I work as a school librarian in four different schools, three grammar schools and one comprehensive school. I also work as a library assistant in a public library for one day per week, although I don't have any official training for this, I have a lot of on the job-training in several public libraries.
The library in the comprehensive school is fairly big and apart from me, another librarian and a library assistant work there. The other libraries are fairly small (less than 3000 media) and there's just me. This post is about one of the small ones, my Wednesday library.

Today I arrive to a group of fifth grade students already hard at work, looking for information about deserts and tropical rainforests. They had been to the library last week and most of our books on the topic are checked out, but we still have some and there's always the encyclopedia.

While the students work in the library (we don't have much room, but enough for a small group), I catalogue some new books. Of the three small libraries, the Wedneyday one is the only one with a budget and I really enjoy buying new books, especially since the existing stock is fairly old. By the time I'm done with that, the group has left and it's time for the first recess.

There are a few students that come every recess to read or just to chat and I tolerate that they hide books in the shelves that they want to continue reading. The library is small enough that I know exactly where something is hidden in case someone else wants to check it out.

After recess, I take a quick break myself and then the next class, this time sixth grade, comes in looking for books on Egypt. Hooray, I just bought some new books onm that subject and they leave with the books on a one period-loan, although some decide that they want to keep the books for the normal four week-period later.
The library still has a card index and loans are also done with cards, which I put into the "library cards", that's mine in the picture and I just loaned the Graveyard Book. The library card stays in the library.

After the second recess, I put away the returned books and organize the shelves. Some days, it looks as if Taz the Tasmanian Devil has come for a visit. Now I have time for book repairs or for choosing books for a display (right now, we display our new books, but next week, the Christmas book will come out of storage) or for anything else that needs to be done.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Scorpion?

Why Book Scorpion? Because I'm a librarian, I love reading and I love critters other people go eewww at (well, and critters people go aaaww at, too).
There really are book scorpions, but they are not true scorpions. They are arachnids and belong to the order of the Pseudoscorpions. Their scientific name is Chelifer cancroides and they live in books, hunting for book lice and other insects. If you should find one, don't worry, they are harmless and useful. Pseudoscorpions have no stinger and their pinchers are way too small to hurt you. The photo (click for a full view) is about four times the actual size, it's Kira, a female book scorpion I used to own:

You'll find stuff about books, libraries and my pets in the Book Scorpion's lair, along with some non-photo memes. I work in school libraries and a public library and in my free time I volunteer for a rodent rescue organisation, fostering fancy mice, exotic mice and other rodents until they can go to a new home.