Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

Front CoverAre you a closet voyeur like me? When I am driving at night, particularly on back roads rather than on the Interstate, I will pass a house with one light on in the window, and wonder what the story is for why that one single light is on.

Well, that is part of the premise of this new and popular (among my friends, anyway) novel.

Part of the plot centers on one of the main narrators talking about her thoughts as she watches a particular house on her daily train commute.

The story is much more complicated than that simple premise, since the first narrator used to live a couple doors down from the flat she is imagining the story of.

Hawkins uses shifting narrators (clearly labeled) and shifting time sequences (also clearly labeled) to tell an interesting tale.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Books Read 2014

    How We Got to Now: Six innovations that made the modern world by Steven Johnson ARC
    Hand to Mouth: Living in Boostrap America by Linda Tirado ARC
    My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh ARC
    Perfectly Miserable: Guilt, God and Real Estate in a Small Town by Sarah Payne Stuart ARC
    Small Victories: Spotting Improbably Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott ARC
    Hope and New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names by Sally Asher
    America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
    Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique ARC
    The Orphan and the Mouse by Martha Freeman, illustrated by David McPhail ARC - Holiday House party at ALA/Vegas
    The Girls of Gettysburg by Bobbi Miller ARC - Holiday House party at ALA/Vegas
    Mambo in Chinatown: A Novel by Jean Kwok ARC
    Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi ARC
    Begue's Recipies of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery by Elizabeth Kettenring Dutrey Begue, forward and revised recipes by Poppy Tooker
    Creativity: the perfect crime by Philippe Petit ARC
    At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcon ARC
    When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs graphic novel [See blog post]
    The Poisoned Pawn: An Inspector Ramirez Novel by Peggy Blair ARC
    Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
    Minister without Portfolio: A Novel by Michael Winter ARC
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    In Paradise: A Novel by Peter Matthiessen ARC
    Secret of Magic: A Novel by Deborah Johnson ARC
    The Panama Hat Trail: A journey from South America by Tom Miller
    The House on Coliseum Street by Shirley Ann Grau
    Some Nerve: Lessons learned while becoming brave by Patty Chang Anker ARC

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

ALA Midwinter 2015 - Monday/Tuesday Notes

Monday Notes

Mondays at Midwinter always begin early. The 15th Annual MLK Celebration took place at 6:30 am. There was a larger turnout than in prior years – even with the bad weather. After a hymn, there was a selection of readings from the works of Marin Luther King, Jr. by representatives of the organizing groups. This was followed by the keynote speech by Cornel West and a call to action by my friend Satia Orange. The singing of “We Shall Overcome” was very poignant.

A friend invited me to sit in for the LITA breakfast, which precedes the “LITA Town Hall Forum” which is part of LITA’s planning process. I had the opportunity catch up with some friends with whom I had not yet connected.

 PLA is in the process of developing some tools to use as measures of outcomes of library services. It is being developed by the Performance Measurement Task Force. Their meeting was scheduled for 6 hours (!). I attended the beginning.

 I attended the beginning of the second session of the ASCLA Board of Directors and had the opportunity to hear ALA Presidential candidate Julie Todaro. I left to attend the ALA Executive Board Candidates Forum because several of those candidates had asked me for advice. However, the session was moved up in time because the business at ALA Council II did not last as long as budgeted. I did attend the APA [American Psychological Association] Lunch & Learn @ ALA Midwinter 2015 where some new features of their products were presented. It is interesting that vendors/exhibitors are the ones who provide most of the “content” or learning opportunities at Midwinter. Midwinter is technically a “meeting” not a conference, but a time and place for the Association’s committees to meet and do business. In the evening, I attended a social/networking event which I have been attending for over a decade.

Tuesday Notes

I packed and headed to the Convention Center. I wanted to get there early to be sure that I was there for the Memorials and Tributes. (I helped write, and seconded one of the Memorials.) I also wanted to get set up to be part of the LSSC course webinar this morning. I am pleased to report that the webinar went well – without a hitch. I purposely did not have a microphone, but I did try out my laptop web cam, and at the end of the session was able to show the room.

Monday, February 02, 2015

ALA Midwinter 2015 - Sunday Notes

My morning began with breakfast with a state librarian from another state (whom I consider a friend as well as colleague) and a vendor which let us talk about our vision of the future for delivering e-books to state populations.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity, at two different times, to visit the exhibits. It is always interesting and a way to find out about new technology and trends. E-book platforms (delivering materials from various vendors/sources) seems to be a growing field. Maybe this falls under the topic of “user experience.”

My lunch was at the OCLC Update which is always a well-attended event. I had the opportunity to spend a little bit of social time with someone with whom I had spent some time in service on ALA Council.

The Washington Office program “Tell the IRS” was disappointing and encouraging at the same time. The IRS representative did not make it to the conference due to the weather. However, it was Emily Sheketoff, Director of ALA’s Washington Office who ran the program and committed to getting libraries/librarians at the table in discussions with the IRS.

2015 Chicago Blizzard from the
Conrad Hilton Suite
I was pleased to see the attendance at the BARC/Division Leadership Meeting. There were many more people who attending this year that I remember from when I was on the Planning and Budget Assembly or on the ALA EB Finance and Audit Committee.

The PLDS Statistical Report Advisory Committee Meeting was very focused on that particular survey.

My official day ended with a gathering to remember Don Sager. Don was long active in ALA and was someone who had quietly helped me in my days on Council. Don also was the husband of former ALA President Sarah Ann Long.

I watched the Super Bowl with mostly Seahawks fans in the Conrad Hilton Suite. The suite sits very high, at the top of the Hilton on Michigan Ave. The snow was swirling and I could hear the wind constantly whistling (in the fireplace of the suite).

ALA Midwinter 2015 - Saturday Notes

First thing on Saturday, I attended the ASCLA Board Meeting. Since I am standing for election as President, I figured that it would be good to show up, and see who is currently on the Board, and meet those whom I do not already know. As a bonus, I got to hear two of the ALA Presidential candidates. After the business part of the meeting, the Board began a discussion related to the developing new ALA Strategic Plan. I had to leave to go to other events.

I briefly attended the beginning of the Digital Inclusion Survey: Update. Since I serve on the Advisory Committee, I did not stay because I

    • Had heard some of the info before and
    • Knew I would hear more at the committee meeting.

I briefly attended the discussion which was preparation for the RUSA President’s program at Annual. That will be a presentation by dana boyd and discussion of her new book It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (available for free download at I have now downloaded it to my phone (my first iBook), and have started reading it.

Lunch turned out to be an interesting vendor presentation. It was billed as “The Big ‘B’ - What branding can do for your library” presented by Springer. There was some “content” followed by presentations on how they are working with libraries in trying to apply some of the concepts. Their campaign is called “Where do you library?”

The Digital Inclusion Survey Committee Meeting may have been the last, and certainly was one of the last. We reviewed a number of issues about the data collection and about the reports.
The ALA Presidential Candidates Forum was an opportunity to hear all four of the candidates. I even had the opportunity to ask a question!

Various receptions offered an opportunity to meet with friends and make new ones. My evening ended at ALA-APA Networking Reception. The Library Support Staff Certification Program is near and dear to my heart. This was a chance to chat with some others who share this passion and the staff who are the ones who actually make it all work.

ALA - Midwinter 2015 - Friday Notes

I attended the meeting of Managing With Data: PLAmetrics. That meeting focused more on the practical issues of running the survey.

Later I was at the beginning of the RMG Annual Presidents’ Seminar. This program has been going on for 25 years, and traditionally occurs on the Friday afternoon of Midwinter. This year, I was only able to stay for the beginning of the introductions (in part because the Scheduler listed it as starting at 1:30, and RMG listing it as starting at 2 pm). I left to go to the informal (i.e., not in the ALA Scheduler) ASCLA E-Books Interest Group which was held in the Executive Director’s Suite. There is a separate blog post about that.)

The evening ended with the Retired Members Round Table Dinner which was a wonderful event where I was able to meet up with a number of colleagues, some of them recently retired. This one was organized by Michael Gorman (former ALA President).