Friday, March 28, 2008


Yesterday. What a busy day. I finally finished Brookland by Emily Barton. It takes place in the late 18th and early 19th century in Brooklyn, New York. The primary characters are the daughters and owners of Winship Daughters Gin distillery. Although I did love the characters and felt very attached to them, their lifestyles, actions and conversations were hardly believable for young women in the late 1700s. The narrator is the eldest daughter, Prue, who is the main owner of the distillery and the behind-the-scenes architect of the first Brooklyn bridge. Throughout the novel she is at times writing her story as a letter to her eldest daughter who has moved away and is about to have her own first child. Despite the twin flaws of believability and plot points, it was a really nice book. As I said, I felt very drawn to the characters and there is a part in the beginning where the river has frozen over and Prue and her sister are escorted across the river for their first trip to Manhattan, by their father. I loved the image of a family in the 1780s making their way across the river from their little hamlet to a 'big' city filled with new and exciting adventures. It was wonderful to imagine this trip. All in all the novel had it's fatal flaws but was an enjoyable journey. And I learned more about the distilling of gin than I ever thought possible.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On my way home from my PVAAL meeting...

Oops. On my way home, I was so excited about library stuff that I ran a red light and got stopped by a cop. So, He asks me for my license and reg and asks me: "Where are you coming from?" And I say: "Do I really have to tell you, you're gonna laugh at me". And he says: "Well, no, not if you don't want to". And so I told him: "Well, I was at a meeting of Academic Librarians." and in fact he did laugh. So I proceed to tell him that I was so sorry for running the red light and I'm usually very careful, but I was so excited about some stuff that I heard at the meeting that I must have just missed seeing the light. And by this time he was laughing so hard at my honesty routine that he let me off with a warning.

Truthfully, I knew he'd let me off. Who would ticket a librarian driving home from a meeting?! It was pretty funny though.

PVAAL meeting

I am so psyched! I went to a PVAAL (Pioneer Valley Academic Librarians) meeting tonight and I feel so energized. I talked to a lot of librarians and got so many ideas. It was totally great. I think I haven't been so excited by new ideas in a while. G. told me about how he's using libguides to do instruction in his library. I heard a great talk about adjunct faculty, publishing and, generally, being excited about reference and stuff we do in libraries by one of my favorite professors from Library school. Here's a link to her talk

It was so nice to be around librarians who are excited about what they do and who come up with new ideas and thoughts about how to get our services to people. It was really refreshing and it made me realize that it's totally nice to get out in the world and talk to other librarians, not about the piddly politics in our libraries or how much work we have, but about what excites us about librarianship and how we can use new technologies to reach people...
not to mention, older 'technology' or no tech at all. I was talking to two librarians after the shindig and I mentioned that I created a account for one of my departments, and I emailed it to them with instructions on how to log in and add resources, etc. and they didn't respond to my email. And (duh) my librarian pals said (in much nicer terms): "get off your ass and go to them. Make a connection. Have lunch and discuss it". Now why didn't I think of that?!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bookstores in W. Mass

Yesterday I took my mom bookstoring, one of my favorite activities, in honor of my 40th birthday (which was a few weeks ago). We followed the advice of an article in the New York Times titled: Well-Marked Trails for Bibliophiles. We visited Whately Antiquarian Books and The Meeting House in So. Deerfield. They have been on my list to visit for a while, but I hadn't gotten a chance to go before yesterday. So, Whately Antiquarian is home to 35 rare book dealers. I found a first ed. illustrated Rudyard Kipling for $25-- absolutely a beautiful book with a mix of color and b/w drawings. I can't wait to read it with Max. I also picked up a mint condition Pickwick Papers, with type large enough that I may actually be able to read it. What is the problem with some of these old Dickens editions from the 1920s and 30s? The type is so small and the kerning so tight I can never read for more than 5 minutes. But this one is totally readable. Now the trick is to read it!

I also bought a first edition of my favorite Vikram Seth book-- The Golden Gate and a Dave Eggers novel.