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Engaging Methuen Readers


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My First ALA Conference Experience

This past June, I had the opportunity to attend my first American Libraries Association Annual Conference.  This Conference is the largest conference for librarians, with nearly 20,000 librarians in attendance from around the world.  This is the prime opportunity to meet and network with colleagues, see the latest products available for libraries, check out what great things other libraries are doing, meet great authors and illustrators, and hear some wonderful and inspiring speakers.

Leading up to the conference, the schedule starts becoming available in bits and pieces so that before I knew it – I had “favorited” 4 things to attend all at the same time over and over again!  Therefore, as the conference drew closer, I refined my personal “schedule” to something more manageable that kept in line with my conference goals.  My goals including finding out more about participating in round tables, award juries, and other committees as well as professional development sessions and meeting a few vendors for our library.  At the conference, I found that it was great to have my personal “schedule” as a guideline – but the locations of said events really matter as some were about a half mile away within the conference center, or located in a hotel somewhere else in Chicago.  So that was a learning experience.

I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to meet with the Feminist Task Force, which I hope to become more involved with as well as the EBSCO Scholarship winners – a scholarship for which I had the pleasure of serving on the jury last year.  I hope to serve on a jury again in the future.  I spent a good deal of time in different sessions, during which librarians from all over the country created panels on various topics and shared what they were doing in their libraries.  I also went to the “Ignite Sessions” in which different librarians spoke for 5 minutes each on what they were doing, but each speaker was in no way connected to the other.  I loved these Ignite sessions, and hope to bring some of these ideas home to our library.  As a side note, one thing I learned was to get to any of these sessions early unless I wanted to sit on the floor!  The Exhibit Hall itself was huge.  I had specific vendors that I needed to speak with for various reasons, but I always swept by the publishers to see which pre-published books they might be handing out or what authors were signing books.

Chicago itself is a wonderful city!  I had never been before, and spent a few hours on either end of the trip doing some walking around and sightseeing.  I didn’t get to see or do everything of course, but my three favorite things were to go to the top of the Sears Willis Tower and step out onto the glass ledges, visit the Art Institute of Chicago, and take an architectural boat tour.  I highly recommend all of these things!

Overall, the conference was more than I expected.  I was overwhelmed and exhausted a good amount of the time, but I really felt plugged into the great library conversation taking place across the country (and world!).  I came back not just with ideas of things to do here in Methuen, but with a sense of confidence about my own librarianship and professional philosophies.  I’m still a pretty young librarian, professionally speaking, and I will always love to learn and experience new things.  I hope that I will be able to continue to attend conferences like this throughout the rest of my professional life.

 


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Summer Reading isn’t just for kids!

It is true that most of the time, when talking about “Summer Reading”, we are talking about the books & projects our students complete over the summer for school.  But this isn’t one of those times.  We believe that Summer Reading can be fun, and we can include adults in that fun!  And don’t worry, there are no project assignments.

Right now, if you head to our Main Desk, you can sign up for our Summer Reading Program for Adults.  Between now and mid-August, all you would need to do (once you’ve signed up), is come in and log a book you read or listened to during the week and you’ll get a raffle ticket!  We draw a winner every Monday for six weeks.  The winner receives a $25 gift card to a local establishment.  It is really that easy! Please let us know if you have any questions – we’re happy to help!

Many thanks to the Friends of the Library for supporting our Summer Reading Program.


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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon

april2017

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon happens twice a year, and it is scheduled to happen next on this Saturday, April 29.  On this day, thousands of readers from around the world will set aside everything they can and attempt to read for a full 24 hour period.  Yes, I am one of them.  I’ve participated several times in the past, and while I’ve yet to make a full 24 hours, I’ve never had a bad experience.

Life is busy.  Between family, friends, and work – it is easy to feel constantly pulled in several directions at once.  On this day, I love that I actively put time aside for me and my books.  Sure, I still manage to get some laundry done and I’ll put some dinner on the table (though it’s usually from the crock pot or delivery) so I’m not completely ignoring my family.  But I am reading for that day & night, and they know it and respect that.  I can’t always rearrange my schedule to do the readathon, but when I can – I’m all in.

I do have some tips to pass along, if you think you’d like to participate.  First, I tend to stay with shorter, fast paced books.  Graphic novels work really well for readathons (especially late at night).  Also, when my eyes get tired, I’ll listen to an audiobook for awhile and either do a jigsaw puzzle, fold that laundry or go for a walk.  Hydration is key – I always keep ice water nearby (though others prefer coffee or tea).  Snacks are very important!  I keep healthy snacks for the day, and sweet snacks for later when I need some cheap energy fast.

The best part is reaching out and connecting to other readers.  I use various social media platforms to do this.  Not only is it great encouragement when you start to feel a little sleepy, but it is exciting to know that people around the world are with you, perhaps even reading the same book!  It’s easy to find groups on Facebook and Goodreads, and #readathon will be trending on Twitter (it will also be used on Instagram and Litsy).

Give it a shot if you can!  Or feel free to casually check it out during the day….  and then be ready for the next one in October!  Happy Reading!

 


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Poetry Contest Winners!

April is National Poetry Month, a time we librarians LOVE because it gives us every excuse to show off the beauty of poetry.  This year, to get ready for this celebration, the Nevins Library held a poetry contest for Methuen residents.  We had no idea that we had so many aspiring poets in our midst!  45 different poets submitted 55 poems for consideration in the contest.  There were different age categories, as well as a special prize for “Best on Theme”, the theme being Earth, Sea and Sky.  Panels of librarians read the poems in different category groupings, and after much deliberation, came up with these wonderful winners!  The winners have been announced in this month’s MethuenLife Magazine and on our Facebook page.  We also have a display of the winning poems inside the library, near the main desk.  The winning poems will also be featured on our Facebook page every Monday during the month of April.  Thank you to all who entered.  Congratulations to the winners!

Kindergarten – 4th grade category: Samiha Jaffar Ali for the poem “Love is Peace!”
5th to 8th grade category: Ablah Maryam Siddiq for the poem “The Earth”
Adult category: Anna Hadley for “The Days of Earth, Sea, and Sky”
Best on Theme of Earth, Sea, and Sky: Poem #2 by Patty Coco

 


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It is National Library Week!

Did you know that?  Every year there is a week dedicated to the appreciation of libraries in the United States and this year it is April 9-15.  We hope that you can take time from your busy week to stop in and say hi, or visit us digitally through our web pages or downloading e-books or audio books!

Have you misplaced your library card?  Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.  As part of this week’s celebrations of libraries, we will be offering you a FREE replacement card (normally $2).  As always, a NEW library card is always FREE!  Please bring in your photo ID and proof of Methuen residency and we’ll take care of the rest.

See you soon!!

 


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Bookish Confession: Changing Tastes

Reading is such a personal thing; and reading tastes even more so.  There are some readers who devour cozy mysteries one right after another.  There are others that are all about the comics and nothing but the comics.  So imagine if either of these readers find that their reading tastes are changing, they will notice pretty quickly.  And I wonder, is it a conscious or an unconscious shift at that point?

My reading tastes are all over the place.  I’ll read almost anything.  In fact, when I used to receive books to review from publishers, I would tell them that I’d read anything except spiritual based fiction or nonfiction, political nonfiction and steamy erotica.  Well, lately I haven’t been doing much of that kind of reviewing, but I’ve noticed that I don’t even necessarily push those books away anymore.  Granted, I’m pretty picky about them, but I have reopened that door again.

In my case, I can say that it is a conscious decision on my part to make this change.  Given the current political state of American affairs, I am very interesting in learning more about the topics I feel deeply about.  This has meant that I’m reading more on feminism than say memoirs of political figures, and things like that.  I’m curious about reading about the true nature of Islam, so I may pick up a book on that and I have realized that I should read some spiritually based fiction so that I may better recommend books to patrons who enjoy that genre.  So, yes, in this regard it is a conscious shift for me.

But I’ve also noticed an unconscious shift as well.  Five years ago, I joined this online community of classic literature readers called The Classics Club.  I had made a list of 100 classic titles that I wanted to read, with the hope I’d cross 50 of them off within five years.  Well, that deadline passed in early March and I found that I had read 42 of those books.  I call it a win, but I started looking over the list of books I didn’t read.  And you know what I discovered?  I have zero interest in some of those books now.  Dickens?  No thanks.  I’m rewriting a new list of books, and I’m not carrying over half of what left on the original list.  My tastes changed when I wasn’t looking.

Have you noticed your reading tastes changing over time?  I think it is perfectly natural, obviously, but I find it curious in a philosophical way.  Though it is possible I’m thinking too much on it.


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Bookish Confession: Buying Books

Have I talked with you yet about my little book buying problem?  Even if I had, it has gotten worse.  I don’t know when it happened this year, but all of a sudden I realized that my “to-be-read” book case of books has now officially overflowed.  There is a nearly 2 foot tall stack of books next to that book case, all waiting patiently to be read.

The most ridiculous part about this is that I work in a library, where I can borrow any book I’d like for free, just like you.  But I still buy books.  I buy them new or used.  I buy them online or from book shops.  People are kind enough to give me books.  I have far too many books.  On the positive side, I always like to point out that I am very good about donating the books I’ve read so that book case isn’t overflowing as well…  but that doesn’t solve the very real problem that I have going on in my house right now.

So this is why I am putting myself on a Book Buying Ban for 2017.  I will not buy any books (for myself) next year.  If there are new releases that I really can’t wait to read – I will use the library.  And I’m telling myself that this is going to be awesome and I will feel so productive watching my book pile shrink.  But the truth of it is that I’m feeling a little anxious about it.  But it is going to be okay.  Really, it is.