Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An Hour in Reference...

I worked the Reference Desk in the Adult Services Department today alone for an hour and these were my favorite reference questions from that hour:

1.) "please list all states that have forest fires and then list every governor of those states along with their addresses"

2.) "please name all the newspapers serving Itasca, IL"

3.) "I have a 2 foot statue of Native American holding a pan. It appears as though he has nails in his stomach (not real nails but the illusion of nails). What is the history of this statue and how much is it worth?" Sadly, I haven't found the answer to this one yet.

and finally...

4.) "Do you have any of the W-D40 tax forms?"

Allison Beasley
Head of Adult Services

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Where is All the Black Fiction?

I am disheartened.

Two years ago, nearly to the day, we launched a book discussion group called Soul Collections. It was created as a book group dedicated to reading and discussing books by African American authors. KPL has had great success with this; however, the biggest challenge is finding books to read! There are so few books by African American authors in the Praire Area Library System's online catalog. Now, there are nearly 400 member libraries in this system. Our newly merged catalog will have 8 million holdings. And very few of these are black fiction? Certainly, we buy our own copies for KPL but we need at least 15-20 copies of these books so the group can all read them. Is it the responsibility of the other libraries in the system to buy books for a KPL book group? No. But, my question is - are we the only library that has readers who are interested in black fiction? Surely not.

Yvonne and I have racked our brains trying to come up with a solution to this challenge. My idea was to create book sets of our own and hope to find a couple of libraries in the system who would be interested in doing so, as well, until we can find a grant to apply for that would fund this. I sent an email out to the system libraries asking if any of them had book discussion groups that featured African American authors. And then I waited. And waited. And heard crickets chirping. Not one library replied. I did some searching and could not find any other library in the entire system who featured a book discussion group like this.

We decided that we would buy these book sets on our own. We went to Baker & Taylor's website (major book distributor) to purchase them and were disheartened there, as well. There were very, very few copies of any of the popular black fiction books in any of the B&T warehouses across the U.S.

KPL is buying the book sets (through Amazon.com, no less) on our own and we will launch this service in February for Black History Month. We would happily share these sets with other libraries; however, I'm guessing the system-wide demand will be low. I am hopeful that we will find a grant that will help us fund these in the future. Yvonne and I have not given up. We are reminded of this in particular because Monday we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday and all that he stood for (and still stands for today). As Dr. King once said, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."

Information for the books we are reading and when Soul Collections meets can be found here.

Allison Beasley
Head of Adult Services

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tag - We're It...

Over the past couple of months a game of tag has been going around the Blogosphere called 5 Things You Don't Know About Me. Guess what - we've been tagged. Tagged by our good friend, Ivan Chew of Singapore. It's hard to believe that we have readers in Illinois - let alone Singapore! Here are 5, er, 20, Things You Don't Know About 4 of Us...

5 Things You Now Know About Mitchell:

1.) I've spent over a grand on James Bond memorabilia. Why? Because.
2.) I'm allergic to most fruits. Usually, when I eat fruit, my throat itches inside and I start hacking obnoxiously.
3.) I've been bludgeoned in the face with a metal baseball bat.
4.) I was an altar boy in junior high.
5.) For a short period of time in my life (thankfully) I was a non-showering hippie.

5 Things You Now Know About Vicki:

1.) I used to be shy. Anyone who has met me since college is always stunned by this. I went away to college and totally came out of my shell. I haven't stopped talking since. (Editor's note: This is true. Vicki never stops talking.)
2.) I can out-belch almost anyone. The doctors say it's harmful to hold them in! It's a great party trick - it really impresses the guys.
3.) I am a proud cancer survivor of almost 5 years. Wow, that goes by fast.
4.) I know absolutely nothing about current music, with the exception of Gwen Stefani. My favorite group of all time is Simon and Garfunkel. I am 31 years old. Also, people are surprised to find out that I was a head banger. When all my friends were listening to New Kids on the Block (barf) I was frequenting the concerts of Poison, Motley Crue, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tesla.
5.) I am a huge fan of talk radio. Hmmm, maybe that is why I don't know anything about current music. I am a rabid fan of all things WGN. Again, I am 31 years old. Not 50. Go ahead and make fun of me if you want, you have no idea what you are missing.

5 Things You Now Know About Nick:

1.) Before I graduated high school, I was FAT. No joke. 200 pounds. Where did it all go after high school? Beats me.
2.) My actual birthdate has been disputed ever since I was born. My birth certificate reads "12:00 am, 29 January." Legally, a new day is not set until 12:01, so no one knows if it's on 28 January or 29 January. I just picked a date and ran with it. Arguing semantics is too tiring.
3.) Even though I am now an enthusiastic vegetarian and animal-rights activist, the catalyst for my lifestyle is a bit less honorable. My first girlfriend bet me that I couldn't go meatless for a week. I bet her that I could. I started this bet on 2 January 2000 and I've never looked back since, even after she dumped me.
4.) I love videogames. I'm a closet videogame lover, actually. When I'm not being a snob, Nintendo rules my life. My current addictions? The Metroid series games, Wii Sports and Animal Crossing.
5.) I collect Hello Kitty - calendars, toys, clothes, anything. My favorite item? My brown-and-tan Chococat wallet.

And Lastly...

5 Things You Now Know About Allison:

1.) Many years ago when I first met my friend Steve, I jokingly told him my middle name was Kashmir like the Led Zeppelin song. I whole-heartedly believed that he knew I was joking. It wasn't until about 10 years later when he referred to my middle name that I explained that that was, in fact, a joke. He was appalled that what he though was true all that time, was actually false!
2.) I am related to Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain)
3.) I was raised to celebrate Jewish Holy Days in this church and didn't celebrate Christmas for the first time until about 10 years ago.
4.) In college, I was the first straight president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Allies Union!
5.) My 5 year-old-son, Andrew (rabid Spider-Man fan) named his baby brother Parker after Spider-Man's alias Peter Parker.

And that is WAY more than you wanted to know about us. Now in an attempt to turn this blog entry into something Library-related we will tag the following friends of the Kankakee Public Library - these fine folks have visited us by doing a program or performance: Pulitzer-nominated author Luis Urrea, folk legend Arlo Guthrie, DC Comic artist Don Kramer, Kankakee-native author Kalisha Buckhanon, and newly published author and soon-to-be KPL podcast interviewee Adam Selzer.

Vicki's Version of "Saturday @ the Library"

Okay, so Allison's account of our Saturday working together is correct. I'll give her that. However, she left out the important part of the story! What she neglected to tell you was that I found a whole lot of shenanigans going on in the Oversized Book section, in addition to a CD jewel case that had been busted open and a CD stolen!

During the course of the day I sensed the shenanigans and theft going on and it was just a matter of time until I was able to put all the pieces together. I knew the books weren't just being "used" by a patron! They were being violated! The books were taken off the shelf and put in unusual spots and turned backwards by some bored youth. The disheveled books were calling my name, pleading for me to save them from the kid who was back there abusing them. They didn't want to be thrown around with the paper garbage I found and the chewed up lollipop sticks!

Thanks to my sleuthing I have a lead on who did this "crime." Remember, you are always being watched!

Besides, Allison loves working with me. I am an endless source of entertainment! I like to keep things interesting around here.

Vicki S.
Adult Services Dept.

Do You Trust Me? I Trust You....

Sometimes the Library staff just likes to have a good Trust Fall.

Joanna: "Do you trust me, Pam?"
Pam: "I trust you, Joanna."

Allison Beasley
Head of Adult Services

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Saturday @ the Library

I asked Vicki if she could go around the non-fiction stacks and clean
up some of the books that are just sitting around on the empty shelves so that the shelvers would put them away. It was just a quick Saturday project - I didn't even think much about it. So, she does and then continues on with her work. Well, a couple of hours after she finished cleaning up the stacks, she comes up to me with this big stack of oversized books and a stick from a Blow Pop, and she just gives me a look that is a mix of skepticism and fury.

Allison: "Yes?"
Vicki: "Do you SEE these? Do you know where I found these?? They were in the stacks!"
Allison: "Um, yes?"
Vicki: "I *just* cleaned up in the stacks and someone took these out and had them all lying around! Who was back there do you think?"
Allison: "Well....I'm guessing....a patron."
Vicki: "But I *just* cleaned up and I found this Blow Pop stick, too!"
Allison: "Ewww, Vicki, throw that away."
Vicki: "I will, but *someone* is going around and taking books off the
shelves and using them and then just laying them around!"
Allison: "Oh my Gosh! Someone....has....been....using....BOOKS....in the library? What next??"
Vicki: "Now you're mocking me."
Allison: "Yes."

Allison Beasley
Head of Adult Services

Friday, January 05, 2007

Make Your Vow

I'm a big fan of televangelists. Robert Tilton is my favorite, hands down. I searched Google for the best picture I could find of Robert Tilton.

He's definitely cute.

And Holy.

Did you know that if you send Robert a large sum of money, god will ensure some wonderful things to come to you? He typically asks for one thousand dollars, but you can give any amount you wish, and in return, Tilton will place his hand over your money, bless it, and put it in his bank account. If you don't have any money to send then I'm sorry, Tilton won't bother to give you any benediction, you cheapskate. Tilton says, "Your tithe (10%) of your income belongs to God and is what you owe in Thanksgiving for past blessings." Remember how it is claimed that god is omnipotent? Well, wouldn't an omnipotent god be able to control his finances?

As of late, I have developed an obsession with Robert Tilton and those alike. I try to catch as many Tilton broadcasts as I can, which is difficult since he has secured the prime time of 3:00 in the morning. I have noticed something about his broadcasts. He spends more than fifty percent of his time asking for money (this was estimated to be much higher in a recent study), and zero percent of his time talking about the scandal that arose in the early nineties. What?! How could you suspect a scandal?! Well, ABC did an investigation on Tilton's ministry, and they found that Tilton and his servants never paid any attention to the prayer requests that came in the mail, but they certainly attended to the money. In fact, they narrowed down the final location of the prayer requests; I believe it was a dumpster.

So, here is where I struggle to find a reason to talk about Robert Tilton on a library blog.

Let's see, Let's see.

Ah, Yes! Robert Tilton has written a handful of books with titles like, Dare to Be a Success, Face Your Problems with Christ, and Solving the Mystery of the Miracle Money. Basically, they're all about how to make money with the help of god, or in his case, the exploitation of god.

Now, in order to save all of the Kankakee area Tilton fans some time, I went ahead and checked the catalogues of all the libraries in our HAL system. The HAL system includes libraries within Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, LaSalle, Putnam, and portions of Bureau, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Lee, Marshall and Will counties. Guess what? I couldn't locate a single Tilton book within the system. I was kind of disappointed because I had considered reading one. Surely, I thought, BarnesandNoble.com will have his books. Well, they don't, unless you're interested in an unwanted, used copy. Gee, Tilton, not even Barnes and Noble wants to infect the world with your farce words.


Mitchell Haug
Adult Services