Thirteen Reasons Why


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hermionish.thirteenreasonswhyThis week, I finally read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to pick it up. Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, the book resonated with me and I found it to be poignant, thought-provoking, and…very necessary.

I’d like to first start by listing the awards associated with this book:
South Carolina Book Award: Young Adult Book Award (2010)
Georgia Peach Honor Book Award (2009)California Book Award
Abraham Lincoln Award
New York Times Best Seller
Starred Kirkus Review

Having attended a high school which earn the nicknamed “Suicide High” – complete with a CNN helicopter hovering over the field during my soccer practice – I became well-informed about suicide as a young adult by way of incessant teacher talks, dramatic assemblies in the field house, an endless barrage of fact sheets and surveys, and even a group called “SOS” which stood for “Save Our Students.”

Working as a Page at Oxford Public Library, I even sported an orange “SOS” t-shirt as I shelved young adult literature in the newly-built library; however, the books I was shelving back then didn’t even come close to today’s contemporary realistic fiction. What was common: stories about the first kiss, winning over the most popular guy, and books about girls working an after school job and saving up for the perfect prom dress while desperately hoping that their crush is a mind-reader and asks them to prom.

Even though I was handling those books several times a week — checking in and shelving — I wasn’t even the slightest bit interested in reading any of them. My lack of interest was not because I thought they were poorly written, but rather because I found myself unable to relate and ended up feeling frustrated and even more ostracized.

I didn’t need escapism, what I needed was reality. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone. (“It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.” –John Green)

Trending on Facebook right now is a picture of Judy Blume with a powerful quote about librarians: “Librarians save lives by handing the right book at the right time to a kid in need.” It’s been shared on my timeline twice and sent to my inbox several times. hermionish.judyblumeI’ve already blogged, several times now, about the importance of contemporary realistic fiction for teens. Judy Blume summed it up. I’ll spare you… (…it’s a topic that I can go on and on and on about.)

hermionish.judyblume.freedomThirteen Reasons Why is not a book for everyone, but it could be the right book at the right time for the right kid. Back in the day, if it had published, it might’ve been the right book for some of my classmates. It would’ve helped to put some things into perspective for me.

Quotes which resonated with me:

“Like driving along a bumpy road and losing control of the steering wheel, tossing you — just a tad — off the road. The wheels kick up some dirt, but you’re able to pull it back. Yet no matter how tightly you grip the wheel, no matter how hard you try to drive straight, something keeps jerking you to the side.”

“And after I dropped him off, I took the longest possible route home… I explored alleys and hidden roads I never knew existed. I discovered neighborhoods entirely new to me. And finally… I discovered I was sick of this town and everything in it.”

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”

“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”

 “Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true — that aren’t how we feel — but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about.”

“Just knowing that I’d be going to Monet’s to write poetry made the days more bearable.”

“If you hear a song that makes your cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore. 

But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”

“You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is now.”

“I was breaking. If only I’d talked to you sooner. We could have been…we could’ve…I don’t know. But things had gone too far by then. My mind was set. Not on ending my life. Not yet. It was set on floating through school. On never being close to anyone. That was my plan. I’d graduate, then I’d leave.”

“‘I didn’t know what to make of that night. Everything that happened. I’d liked her for so long from away, but I never had a chance to tell her.’ I look down at the Walkman. ‘We only had one night, and by the end of that night, it seemed like I knew her even less than before. But now I know. I know where her mind was that night. Now I know what she was going through.'”

Story and a Craft: The Very Ugly Bug


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The theme for this year’s summer reading program was “Fizz Boom Read!” — a member of the staff, a retired teacher, selected several “sciency”-themed books and I developed the crafts. (I’ll work at sharing our selections and crafts in a series of blog posts.)


The Very Ugly Bug by Liz Pichon
Wilton, CT : Tiger Tales, 2005
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 27 cm.
ISBN: 9781589250482; OCLC: 56129391

Story Summary
There once was a very ugly bug, with spotted legs, googly eyes and a horrible hairy back. She wonders why her friends have pretty small eyes, shiny green backs, or nice fluttery wings. The ugly bug thought that if she looked like her friends, then she would be more beautiful. So she made herself a disguise. But her new costume made her even tastier looking to the birds! When a bird swoops down to gobble up the disguised ugly bug, something strange happens… The big scare made the very ugly bug even uglier! So ugly in fact, that the bird was scared away. The ugly bug learns that just being herself is the best defense. Liz Pichon’s witty text and colorful artwork highlight this story about self-acceptance.

Children in attendance made a very ugly (or pretty) bug of their own to take home.

Staff, volunteers, and patrons saved their paper/cardboard egg cartons. I preferred this variety versus styrofoam cartons because paint would and glue would likely adhere better to the surface.

I cut each carton into four 3-segment bugs — think: ants — and painted them with red tempera.

hermionish.bug1Due to the ages of the children we were expecting, I opted to do all of the basic prep work; punching holes in the cartons to run pipe cleaners through the underside to serve as legs — one for each segment of the ant.

I used self-adhering googly eyes for the bugs and attached the antennae using Glue Dots.

mini-glue-dotsWhen selecting decorations for the bugs I opted to go with colored puff balls, colorful buttons, feathers, and a member of the library board donated some faux leaves from an old wreath.

As always, the night before the craft, I divided the decorations into small paper bowls to make it easier for sharing amongst the group. I had several sheets of Glue Dots in a couple of bowls.

I’d say the most challenging part of this craft was getting the kids accustomed to using the Glue Dots — peeling the protective plastic sheet and pressing the dot against their bug. It was difficult for some of the younger kids to do, but thankfully, we had lots of adults on hand to help them along with their projects. Overall, it was WAY less messy than using traditional glue.

Daughter of Carolingian Minuscule

gothic.text.backgroundBack when I first started library school, I had a recurring dream about rushing into burning archives and trying to save the contents which usually consisted of works written in old German blackletter. Sometimes my efforts were successful and other times…not so much.

More recently, I’ve had dreams about weeding books…
I take a cartload of items to my desk and remove them from the catalog. When I return to the stacks in order to get more books, I find all of the items that I just weeded have been magically returned to the shelves. What gives?

I’d much rather dream about Mr. Darcy, Severus Snape, and Toshikazu Nobu.

Other dream posts I’ve shared:
Riding with Severus Snape
Corporate Archive
Lepo Pozdravljeni
Buddha On My Mind

Ibuprofen and IcyHot


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rosieIt’s been over a month since my last blog post. Tsk tsk… I’ve been a very busy bee. It’s been a summer with Ibuprofen and IcyHot.

Summer Reading Program wrapped up at the end of July and I must say that it was a HUGE success. My craft choices for the stories turned out wonderfully and we didn’t have any major bumps in the road. Pinterest really helped with the brainstorming process. I am pleased to say that I’m excited for next year and I’ve already started brainstorming ideas and looking at grants to help offset the cost.

(Update: when my library life returns to normal, I’ll write a post about the crafts we did for SRP.)

While the summer reading program was going on, I worked my way through the collection weeding items in preparation for our annual book sale and the carpeting project — why box up and move items which are damaged and in poor condition or not circulating? The weeding project also went extremely well and we were able to sell many of the items in our book sale. Items in which I did not think would sell well (based on previous sales), some science fiction/fantasy and specific classes of non-fiction works, were boxed up and sent off to Better World Books — we’ll get a proceed of the revenue generated from any sales.

I was very disappointed and shocked to see that the majority of the Penworthy books had near ZERO circulation. While their overall quality is high and they’re nearly indestructible thanks to the library binding and hard covers, they are — unfortunately — not visually appealing for the younger audiences. Kids are pretty judgy about the way a book looks. With plain white spines and black lettering, they don’t jump out at you while combing the shelves for an interesting book to check out. At a cost nearly 3x the price of other publishers, it was a bitter, jagged pill to swallow as I weeded many of them from the library’s collection. They might be a good fit in other library’s collections, they are not at Deckerville; therefore, I won’t be adding any more Penworthy books to the collection at this time.

The library’s annual book sale rocked! While weeding, I was cognizant of organizing books and kept them grouped together. I bought some small dowels from Walmart and crafted cute signs little for the different material types which I taped on the boxes. I believe for the first time, the book sale had a collection geared specifically for the home school population. It went over quite well! As a result, I think I’ll continue adding juvenile non-fiction into the home school collection.

As I write this blog post, the library is getting new carpeting. We closed last Saturday afternoon and we’ll remain closed until Tuesday, August 26. The installation should wrap-up sometime this afternoon and the library will be hosting yet another work “party” — the first two focused on boxing and moving the library’s collection and tonight’s gathering will focus on washing down the walls and book cases before they get set-up again. Tomorrow and throughout the weekend, I’ll work with volunteers to begin restoring the library to working order again.

Getting new carpeting in the library has been quite the undertaking. Method: each shelving unit was numbered, a map of the library’s arrangement was drawn, and each box/tote was labeled with the shelf number and a notation about what’s in the box. My biggest worry: the condition of the sub-floor. It’s an old building and the floors creak quite loudly in different areas. The cost of the project would dramatically go up if replacing any of the sub-floor was required. I was relieved to learn that the sub-floor was in great shape and nothing had to be replaced.

I’ve been blessed with an absolutely AWESOME group of volunteers. Last weekend, we even had to turn a few people away because the people was so full of people helping out. This outpouring of support has been the highlight of the project for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working alongside of them and sharing their enthusiasm/love for the library.


A few of Saturday’s Boxing Party attendees

hermionish.dpl.eastgutted hermionish.dpl.westsidehermionish.dpl.west2eastmove

For the most part, the majority of the project has went smoothly without any major hiccups or surprises — an ignoramus who ripped open the screwed shut drop box despite the sign, and several patrons who refused to follow directions and handed their materials to the contractors (yes, the contractors!) despite being told that all items would be automatically renewed, fines waived, the drop box would be unavailable and to PLEASE hold onto ALL library items until Tuesday, August 26…and there was a cute/informational sign on the library’s door.

The latter really irked me the most because the patrons walked into a library which was obviously CLOSED and nearly shelf-less! (As if the sign on the front door wasn’t enough indication.) The entire collection was in boxes and the carpeting ripped out thus exposing the sub-floor complete with plaster patch drying. The patrons spoke to contractors, not library staff, who were obviously busy working on a project — yet they insisted on interrupting their work, handing over library materials, and that the contractors play “librarian” for them. Even more: the contractors told them about the sign on the door and that they should hold onto their books for safe keeping. Unbelievable.

All in all, those are VERY minor issues for a project of this magnitude.

I have a slew of projects that I can only begin after the new carpeting project — among them:

  • weed the paperback collection
    • re-classify and shelf with the main collection
  • create a non-fiction display area
  • investigate LEGO clubs
  • collaborate with a graphic designer to develop a logo
    • order new library cards — we’re almost out
  • begin planning a fall/winter story hour program
  • design a new library website
  • develop a library newsletter
  • chat with the local museum about hosting a rotating display of Deckerville artifacts and memorabilia
  • continue developing the outreach program and launch
  • implement “favorite item” project with staff and volunteers (more on this later)
  • investigate options for book drops and replace
  • wrap-up the replacement/upgrade of exterior doors

Library Fallacy: “Something is Better Than Nothing”


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hermionish.weedmeLike a garden, in order to make run for new growth, a library needs to be routinely weeded. Weeding or deselection also serves as a time to get rid of materials which are dated — think: non-fiction published 10 years ago — and those which are no longer circulating — think: early Dean Koontz books.

The practice is vitally important to all circulating libraries. It’s important enough that most library schools offer an entire course on collection development which features a unit on deselection of materials and the various best practices. The School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University offered LIS 7340: Collection Development and Selection of Materials and I must say that it’s one (of several classes) which I utilize on an almost daily basis.

The Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science (ODLIS) by Joan M. Reitz defines ‘deselection':

In serials, the process of identifying subscriptions for cancellation, usually in response to subscription price increases and budgetary constraints. In book and nonprint collections, the process of identifying titles for weeding, usually on the basis of currency, usage, and condition. The opposite of selection.

I believe the practice of deselection to be especially important for the small, rural public library because shelf space is very limited and at a premium. Due to the library’s geographic location, access to materials via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service can sometimes take several days to even weeks; therefore, it’s imperative that staff keep up and maintain rural library’s collection.

I’d like to break down the fallacy: “Something is Better Than Nothing.”


I’ve been working at weeding areas within my library’s collection and opted to get rid of our World Book encyclopedia set which was published in 2000 and which were rarely utilized.

Did I commit a “library sin”? Is it better to have something on a subject rather than nothing at all?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:hermionish.think1

  • Would you have a book on Iraq or Afghanistan which were published in 2001 sitting on the shelves in your non-fiction collection?
  • Would you have the book “Windows for Dummies” (published in 2002) sitting on the shelves?

Your answer should be a definitive and resolute: NO.

In the case of the World Book encyclopedia set: yes, it was expensive when it was initially purchased for the collection; however, it is now FOURTEEN YEARS OLD — well beyond it’s useful shelf life.

Think about how much has changed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. A Windows book published in 2002 would’ve likely been focusing on the XP-operating system – which Microsoft is no longer supporting. And the millennium edition of World Book encyclopedia? It would have no mention of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Mumbai Attacks, Boston Marathon Bombing, or the death of Ariel Sharon…not mention the strides we’ve made in AIDS research.

Best practice: non-fiction items 10 years or older should generally be weeded from the collection – exception: pieces with historical focus such as books on the World Wars, Jim Crow, women’s suffrage, etc.

When it comes to time-sensitive topics involving medicine, law, and technology, those areas of the collection should be weeded/replaced every couple of years. Dated information on those subjects could be quite misleading and end up being downright dangerous for patrons. Clearly, having just ‘something’ on a subject for the sake of having it is NOT better — it’s foolish.

A memorable quote from librarian, Erin Schmändt – a 2005 SLIS alumna whom has been practicing librarianship for 13 years and the current director of Caro Area District Library:

Weed anything that doesn’t fit your community, no sinning necessary.

hermionish.think2In the case of the Dean Koontz’s early works — some of which are from the late 1970s — ask yourself the following:

  • Are they circulating? When was the last time? Within the last 3 years?
  • Are they available elsewhere and easily accessible? Does your library belong to a cooperative/consortium which partake in shared automation endeavors such as TLN or VLC? Are the books available via ILL — e.g. if you live in Michigan: MeLCat?

Want some more background on deselection/weeding? Check out these resources:



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Yesterday in the stacks, I overheard the following: “You’re just jealous that I’m reading a thick book!”

That completely made my day.

What also made my day: the fact that I finished editing an enormous batch of our bib records — everything that has been cataloged since February — which were then mapped as “not requestable” by MCLS and subsequently uploaded to the MeLCat server. My eyes were pretty shot by the time I finished that project, but I felt like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Managing new items in our collection will be made easier by using labeled lists within our ILS which serve to remind me to change their circulation status in 6 months thus triggering another upload to the MeLCat server.

Since I took a working lunch, I stepped out for about 20 minutes and finished reading Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein — companion novel to Code Name Verity. Excellent read!

(Earlier this month, I read Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and could hardly put it down. I’m geeked to read the next book when it comes out!)

While outside and about to leave for my book break, I spotted our garden gnome doing some work in one of the flower beds.

hermionish.snail1aThe gnome introduced me to a few friends:

hermionish.snail1 hermionish.snail2 hermionish.snail3Last night, before leaving, I checked out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I read some before bed last night and really got into it.    

It was a gnomtastic day.

Giveaway Winner


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And the randomly chosen winner via the Rafflecopter app is…

Sarah Y!

Her response:
“it’s a tie between the shire (the hobbit) and the weird land from “the phantom tollbooth.” i remember loving both books as a child.”

Sarah will receive 1 digital caricature by Eddie Renner – compliments of me.

Thank you to everyone who participated. You’re awesome and really made the past week special! I got a kick out of reading about your favorite places – many of which you described with great detail. I added the books in which I haven’t yet read to my TBR pile and hope to travel there soon.

And a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog as well to those who have encouraged me to keep writing.

Thank you!

A Hermionish Giveaway


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After four years, nearly 600 posts, and graduation from library school, Hermionish is still going!

A caricature sketch of me by Eddie Renner!

A caricature sketch of me by Eddie Renner!

On June 15, 2010, during my very first semester, I started this blog for the purpose of immersing myself in the Web 2.0 technologies cited in LIS 6010 and as a way of sharing my thoughts as well as experiences in library school. As a result of this blog, I’ve toured some beautiful and innovative libraries plus met some pretty fabulous people along the way — several of which have become dear friends of mine.

I’d like to celebrate this milestone by having a giveaway! It kicks off on Friday, June 13 @ 12:00 a.m. and runs through Friday, June 20 @ 11:59 p.m.

What I’m giving away:
A custom, digital caricature by Eddie Renner – the perfect profile picture for your social media accounts. (According to FTC rules, I need to disclose that I did not receive the prize for free and I was not paid for writing my blog post or for putting on this giveaway. In fact, I am personally paying for the digital caricature drawn by Eddie Renner at

For further information and to register for the giveaway, please visit my Rafflecopter page:   Hermionish Giveaway: Digital Caricature

Thank you for reading and good luck!

Better Romance Novel Titles


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Friend and Shades of Tangerine blogger, Heather, noticed a recent hashtag trend on Twitter: #betterromancenoveltitles

Being awesome…and an artist, her response was to create a book cover – a spoof of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. Here’s her creation:

hermionish.shadesoftangerine1Brilliant! Well done, Heather!


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