LIBRARY DISPLAY of OZ-RELATED BOOKS, ETC (Tommy's private collection)

Everything in this glass display case belongs to my "private collection." And yes, that makes me, like, super, SUPER gay. What I'm bummed about is that I can't seem to find my original 14 books by Baum! I had the entire series in paperback editions from the '80s, with really cool covers. I know they're in the garage somewhere, but for now, this is definitely enough Oz stuff to fill the display. Most people don't even know there were more stories beyond just The Wizard of Oz. They're totally missing out on things like the Patchwork Girl, and Santa Claus making an appearance, and a town of bunnies and a town of pastries, and so many other really bizarre and fun creations.

BERTINA, THE BITTER LIBRARY WORKER

     Look, it's Bertina! your favorite library demon from SMELLS LIKE LIBRARY (the comic)!

You can get this delightful image on a coffee mug HERE,

-or as a quality art print HERE!

     This is one of Bertina's darker moods. She actually loves her job, and feels passionate about books and reading. But she's also an overachiever, and sometimes that can wear you down, especially at a time when libraries are under-funded and under-appreciated.

     Other products available in my Society6 store HERE.

DISCARDED LIBRARY BOOK : "Deputy at Wild Card"

"Oh, go roast a marshmallow, Clelland."
(out of context quote)

"Deputy at Wild Card" by Margaret Scariano
     All he ever wanted to be was a librarian, but suddenly, through a series of unexpected events, Lance is forced to serve as deputy to the town of Wild Card. A dangerous prisoner escapes, and Lance is determined to "bring him back alive," using his wits instead of weapons. Eccentric Aunt Charlotte and Jamie, the town blacksmith, add to the color and action of the story.
(from the back cover)


     According to the title page, this is a "PERSPECTIVES BOOK," published by Academic Therapy Publications in Novato, California. So... that sounds... fun?

     Table of Contents:
1)  First Look at Wild Card
2)  Deputy or Cook?
3)  Wanted: a Library in Wild Card
4)  Clelland Tries Again
5)  The Coffee Break
6)  The Plan
7)  Tricked, Trapped, and Wised-Up
8)  Aunt Charlotte's Trick

     I think there should be a band named "Aunt Charlotte's Trick," and their first album could be called, "Tricked, Trapped, and Wised-Up."

NO GOOD DEED... (this library needs an enema)

     In the middle of the lunchtime rush today, one of the students said, “Mr. Kovac, I want to get you an enema as an end of the school-year gift.”
     I was like, “Whaaaaat???”
     The student seemed perplexed at my response, and said, “It’s a little figurine, called The Protector of Books. You know, an enema.”
     I could barely control myself, snorting and doubled-over. “Um… I don’t think you mean ‘enema.’ That’s something else, entirely!”
     “Crap. Oh my god. Well, it’s a word that sounds kind of like enema.”
     I told him he needed to go look up the word “enema.”
     Now thoroughly embarrassed, but not sure why, he said, “Don’t tell anybody I said that! I don’t know what it means, but don’t tell anybody!”
     I was still laughing pretty hard, like a Mean Girl, and taunting him. “I’m going to tell EVERYBODY.”
     “No, just forget I said that!”
     I began to finally take pity on him, and said, “Thank you, though, that sounds awesome. I like that, ‘Protector of Books.’ But really, you need to look up the word ‘enema,’ it’s pretty funny…”
     “No! I don’t want to know what I said!”
*
    So, to sum up this little episode: A student told me he was thinking of buying me a very thoughtful gift for the end of the school year, and I mocked him mercilessly. I will work on being less of a dick.
*

CASUAL LUNCH

     So, we have a district meeting today for all library staff. There are about 18 of us, 19 counting the District Librarian. We try to get together for lunch before our afternoon meetings, because that’s nice, or whatever. Last time it was Ruby’s, and everyone was fine with that.
     This time, however, things are not so simple. Oh, no, my friend.
     I will convey the gist of things below. And believe it or not, this is almost verbatim.

LIBRARY TECH 1 (via email to group): Hey, are we doing lunch together before the meeting?

LIBRARY TECH 2: Sure! Where should we meet?

LIBRARY TECH 1: I don’t know that area very well. Suggestions?

LIBRARY TECH 3: Tommy, how about that Mexican place you usually go to? Or how about this Country Café Place? (includes link)

LIBRARY TECH 4: I don’t like that place, it’s not very good.

LIBRARY TECH 3: I think there’s a Spires nearby…

TOMMY: Yes, there is a Spires right across from where our meeting is being held. I vote Spires.

LIBRARY TECH 4: Yes, but there’s also a Chipotle, and plenty of other eateries in that same area.

LIBRARY TECH 5 (privately to just Tommy): That’s where Library Tech 6 and I usually go before meetings! (Presumably referring to Spires)

TOMMY (privately to Library Tech 5): Great! Let’s go there, then. Should we make reservations?

LIBRARY TECH 5: Well, let’s find out where everyone else is going, first. Library Tech 6 and I haven’t figured out where we’re going, yet.

LIBRARY TECH 1 (to entire group): I’m totally down for Spires!

TOMMY (to group): Okay, how many of you are good with Spires, other than me and Library Tech 1?

LIBRARY TECH 7: I have errands to run first, but I’ll be there.

LIBRARY TECH 4: I’ll be there.

LIBRARY TECH 8: Have you eaten at the Sandwich Place across the street from Spires? It’s really good! We might want to try that.

LIBRARY TECH 9: I vote for Chipotle, because it’s better and healthier. Library Tech 4 is going there, too.

LIBRARY TECH 4: Well, actually it doesn’t matter to me! Either place is fine.

ANONYMOUS (sent via private text to Tommy): Library Tech 9 wants me to go to Chipotle with her. I know you committed to Spires, but I vote you come to Chipotle with us!

TOMMY (after discovering no cell coverage anywhere in library, and wandering out to quad in the sun, holding phone at various angles and directions until weak signal finally appears): Who is this?

LIBRARY TECH 3: It’s Library Tech 3.

TOMMY (hot, frustrated, getting crabby): Oh! My cell is fucked up, not showing me who’s texting. Already told Library Tech 1 and Library Tech 7 I’d go to Spires with them. ALL THESE BITCHES NEED TO MAKE UP THEIR DAMN MINDS!

-Tommy has to get some work done, and goes to counseling office to scan some documents. While there in the copy room, he mentions the frustration of the library techs not being able to figure out where to meet for lunch.

OFFICE ASSISTANT: Oh! You should go to this really great place on Euclid—

TOMMY: No way, I don’t even want to CONSIDER adding another option at this point! That’s the last thing we need!

OFFICE ASSISTANT 1: --and Broadway, it’s a gourmet hamburger place, the chef is amazing, and—

TOMMY: Thanks, but no.

OFFICE ASSISTANT: --it’s cheaper than that other place we went last time, remember, Office Assistant 2?

OFFICE ASSISTANT 2: Oh, yeah, Fancy Burger! It was good, but they were, like, $15 burgers!

TOMMY: Hm. I HAVE been wanting to try that Fancy Burger place! No, wait! That’s not helping! I’m not suggesting another place!

-Tommy runs back to his office.

TOMMY (via email to Library Tech 1, Library Tech 4, and Library Tech 7): So, apparently lunch is a big issue and requires much heated debate. Are you guys switching to Camp Chipotle, or staying with Camp Spires?

LIBRARY TECH 1: Well, I’m not really in the mood for disease with my rice and beans. Remember that contamination issue with Chipotle? But this is a community thing, so I don’t know. Where are you going?

TOMMY: I don’t know. My brain is dead and I am now incapable of making a decision. I say we let Library Tech 4 or Library Tech 7 decide.

LIBRARY TECH 4: Who knew lunch would divide us? I’ll go to Chipotle. But there is a Northgate Market there, too, and they have a HUGE food court!


THE END???

T-SHIRT : Cheshire Cat With Dewey Decimal Hat

     Did you know you can buy a t-shirt with my version of the Cheshire Cat from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland on it? Only with Library Dewey Decimal Number 636.8 on the hat? Well, you CAN! It's amazing, right? Click the image below to see the product page on Amazon. It's available in sizes for Men, Women, and Youth, just lick on which one you want. (I mean "click.") Also color options.
     Shirts run a little small, so order a size or two larger than you think you'll need. 

Imagine this with "In This Style 10/6" replaced with "636.8" Because that's the Dewey Decimal classification for cats, you know!

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Ladies & Bunnies

     This is what I did in March, between our Read Across America Alice In Wonderland extravaganza, and April's Poetry Month stuff.


     The quote and illustrations above are from the Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward and Marjorie Hack. I thought it perfectly represented Easter/Spring AND Women's History Month because that is one sassy, forward-thinking little bunny.
     "Wait and see!"



READ ACROSS AMERICA WEEK 2016


     I'm just going to dump these pictures here, and assume they're mostly self-explanatory. Basically, I'm so over Dr. Seuss as a theme for Read Across America Week, so I'm doing Alice In Wonderland, and using the Cheshire Cat wearing the Mad Hatter's Hat as a "different cat in a different hat."

(All artwork by yours truly)





     The Nonfiction section is now the Tulgey Wood...


     And look what's lurking at the back...


     The Jabberwock! (The lighting in this photo makes it a little hard to see, but in person the drawing is more visible)


     On Friday our Alumni Association is hosting an Author Forum of Alumni Authors, and we're inviting everyone back to the library afterward for a Mad Tea Party Reception. Hence, the paper lanterns.


     All week long we have daily activities and/or contests. I'll post more pictures and details later. I even have prizes to give out. :)


     This easel is positioned just outside the library door, with these fancy "ultra-shape" balloons that cost $6.00 each and are supposed to last all week but dammit if some turd didn't steal one, poke a hole in another, and leave only the blue one intact. And this is just the FIRST DAY.
     But it's a learning experience. Next year I will fill the balloons with napalm.

ORIGINAL LIBRARY ART : The Cheshire Cat (in the hat)

The Cheshire Cat for Read Across America Week

     This year I am eschewing Dr. Seuss and the Cat In the Hat for Read Across America Week. I work in a high school library, and Dr. Seuss is for BABIES. Yes, I said it. For BABIES. It's fine up until you're 5 or whatever, but to me Seuss does not have the lasting quality that Sendak, or some other classic children's writer/authors do. Anybody can just make up shit to fit a rhyme. I appreciate Seuss's art a lot more than I do his "writing."
     I'm fully aware that Read Across America Week was created to coincide with Seuss's birthday on March 2nd, and that's nice. It's fine to give a nod to Seuss. But it's short-sighted and simplistic to think EVERYTHING about Read Across America Week has to be ALL SEUSS, ALL THE TIME, EVERY YEAR. Unless you're just not familiar with the great wealth of children's, teen, and young adult lit we have to draw on.
     Especially for junior high and high school.
     So I came up with the idea to decorate the library like Wonderland for the week of February 29th through March 4th, and my flyers and promotional stuff will all feature my version of the Cheshire Cat, wearing the Mad Hatter's Hat, and the tagline,
"Uh-oh! A different cat in a different hat is taking over Read Across America this year in the library!"
     This will give me a chance to highlight Lewis Carroll's original works, plus related works like Beddor's Looking Glass Wars, Gaiman's Coraline, books on mathematics, chess, poetry, dream interpretation, Victorian England, etc. (And yes, even my own Wonderland graphic novel that I wrote and Sonny Liew illustrated for Disney Press/SLG)
     My campus is doing a week-long celebration in cooperation with our Alumni Association for RAAW 2016, and I'm on the planning committee, along with our admin. The Alumni are spotlighting alumni authors, and published works that are influenced somehow by our school. We have a bunch of local authors scheduled to do author forums in the auditorium on Monday and Friday of that week, and there will be a display in the library of books by alumni, and books about our school.
     Throughout the week I have planned Wonderland-themed contests, and will give out prizes. There will be a Cheshire Cat scavenger hunt, a house-of-cards building contest, and a Queen of Hearts "guess how many candy hearts are in the jar" contest. Plus the library will serve as a hospitality room for any guests during the week, so I need to make sure it all looks really nice.
     The culminating event of the week will be the author forum on Friday, and immediately following that will be a Mad Tea Party Reception in the library, which I'm currently planning with my awesome Volunteer Mom. Petit fours, multi-colored macarons, cucumber sandwiches, and a selection of teas will be offered.
     I suggested that maybe for that week the Main Office could be Seuss's "Whoville," to appease Seuss-enthusiasts, and maybe the English building could be Hogwarts or something like that. I think all it would take would just be a little effort to decorate, and put some signs up. They could even have students do that part of it.
     We have SSR at my school, although sadly many teachers don't observe it. For RAAW, we plan to reinforce SSR by having a different staff member on the video announcements for "Staff Book Breaks," in which they can share a favorite book, and maybe read a passage from it.
     I've ordered paper lanterns that we're going to string across the library, and we're creating a Read Across America-themed backdrop for the presentations that will take place during the reception and also serve as a photo op. There is a very long, old, heavy wood table in the library that we're going to place in the center of the room and decorate as the Mad Tea Party table. One of the strange things we found in the library's back room when I started working there was a full silver tea service, so of course we'll use that! Plus the Nonfiction section will be transformed into the Tulgey Wood. I'm making myself insane with all of this, but I think there's enough time to get it in order by February 29th.
     Incidentally, I recently finished reading Gregory Maguire's After Alice, and really enjoyed it. LOTS of food for thought. A very smart, multi-layered little book. Probably above the heads of most teens, though. It was almost over MY head.
   

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Rainy Day Reading


     My mom (Library Volunteer Extraordinaire) found the slogan, "It Starts Raining, I Start Reading," so we created this bulletin board in the hallway just outside the library. We had to work fast, because soon we'll have to focus on preparing for Read Across America Week, and some big plans for that.
     It was overcast when I took the above photo, and it made the color look super weird.
   

     Above is a nice little alcove the students pass on their way out the door of the library, so it seemed like a good place to remind them to keep their books dry. Those purple things are supposed to be storm clouds. Do they read as storm clouds? I was in a hurry.

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Book Thief Rain Quote

"She gathered books like clouds and words poured down like rain."

     Working on January displays a little late, and my awesome volunteer Mom went online and found the slogan "It Starts Raining, I Start Reading." So we were working with that, and then I found this great reading- and rain-related quote from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and did some cut and paste to create this display on one of the stack ends.
     But wait, there's more cleverness...
     In the close-up, look what I used for the streaks of "rain."


BLOODY UNICORN

     This is just a brief glimpse at what it's like working with kids.
     In the high school library where I work, kids were dressed up for "Pajama Day," and one very slight and childlike 9th grade boy was also clutching a stuffed panda that doubles as a pillow. Here's the gist of our conversation:

ME: Nice panda pillow!
KID: Thanks. My little sister wanted to borrow it, but I was like, "You have your own!"
ME: She has a panda pillow, too?
KID: Well, hers is a unicorn.
ME (distracted, trying to work): Mm-hm...
KID: But she always wants to take mine...
ME: ...
KID: Because a couple of years ago I accidentally knocked into her when we were playing around, and my elbow hit her head and her head cracked open a little and bled all over the unicorn pillow.
ME: Wh-- Yikes! So... there's not STILL blood all over her unicorn pillow, right? I mean, your parents must have cleaned it?
KID: Well, they tried, but it didn't really come out, so it's still covered in dried blood stains.
ME: And your sister still uses it.
KID: Yeah, she still uses it.
ME: Huh.
KID: Well, I guess I'll go find my friends outside. See you later!

*

DISCARD TIME! Your Cat...



    (Is it, though? Is it really?)

     You're ok, your cat's ok by Marcus Schneck & Jill Caravan. Sigh.     
I guess I should just be thankful that they used "you're" and "your" correctly, and also used an apostrophe correctly.
     I know this is probably (hopefully) supposed to be funny, especially with that "meaningful relationship" part. But it's really just, like, "Ugh..."
     Right?
     Anyway, it's old, nobody has checked it out in at least a decade, and it's on its way out the door.
     Good DAY, sir.

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Star Wars Reads Day 2015


     Hopefully these pics will be self-explanatory, because this is another one I'm posting a while after the fact. Good thing I took pictures.
     Basically, a few of my fellow library techs in our school district shared that they were doing displays and activities/events for Star Wars Reads Day, which I had never observed before. So I felt like, "Shit, I guess I better add this one to my October file..."
     I mean, I wanna be cool. And Star Wars is cool.
     All the other techs were submitting requests for these free giveaways some of the new Star Wars books' publishers were doing. I got some cool card thingies with that new droid, BB-8, that punch out and make little stand-ups of the character. I gave those away as part of the "consolation prize" to all the contest entrants who didn't win one of the 3 grand prizes.


     Luckily, my high school library has plenty of Star Wars novels, chapter books, even some nonfiction about the vehicles and creatures, etc.

BTW, one of my library tech friends noticed my error on the sign above, and I quickly fixed it, my cheeks burning with shame.

     The prizes I gave out were:

  • A 6' tall cardboard character stand-up of The Force Awakens' Captain Phasma
  • New hardcover book Aftermath: Star Wars: Journey To the Force Awakens by Chuck Wendig
  • The Darth Vader head bank you see pictured above, which we used as a raffle box during the contest.