Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So, how did the workshop go? you ask.

     Well, I have to tell you that it was just fabulous!
     Author, activist, and environmentalist Janisse Ray presented an outstanding workshop Saturday, the 21st.  It was exactly what many of our writing friends had wanted...memoirs and creative nonfiction.
     Twenty-four people from Moultrie, Tifton, Thomasville, Albany, and even Newton, Georgia, showed up for the almost six-hour workshop and, believe me, they were not disappointed.
     Janisse not only talked about her own writing experiences, her books, her MFA instructor and exercises, her sustainable farm and her son, but she gave us pointers on how to uncap our memories and write about them.
     The exercises were thought-provoking...such as, list what you obsess about, which also made us wonder about our passions.  We pondered about things we didn't want to write about, the things we knew we should write about, and the difference between memoirs and creative nonfiction.
     We worked hard for three hours, then broke for lunch, and came back to learn more.  We shared our writings, shared our frustrations and desires, and we formed a really wonderful writing community.  We left the workshop with tools in hand and ideas in mind.
     We've had many folks ask us when we're going to have another Janisse Ray writing workshop, and we've had to say, "Whenever she has the time."  Janisse's schedule is one I would not want to follow.  She's traveling, reviewing her books, giving workshops, and still trying to maintain a healthy home lifestyle (and stay sane!).
     Sometime this year we will again have Janisse here.  She has a new book about seed saving coming out in July (The Seed Underground: an Outlandish Revolution to Save Food).  Hang in there if you're interested in another event of writing or book reviewing.  We're working on it.  In the meantime, enjoy her website.
(website: www.janisseray.weebly.com)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's nice to see you're there.

     For as long as we've been the MCCLS Bookworm, we've known you're out there, even if we don't receive comments from you.  That's all right, you see, because we know if you really have something to say, you will.
     But occasionally I like to check the Stats that Blogger offers to those of us who use this program.  In fact, occasionally we give the information to our Library Board members.  It gives us a better insight into where you are and what you're interested in by reading about our library.
     Now, we're not a very big library, but "big enough," as they say.
     Moultrie, Georgia's latest population count was 15,500.  We're about 59 miles from Tallahassee, Florida to the south and 113 miles from Columbus, Georgia to the northwest.  And to the north, as my friends say, we're about 3-1/2 to 4 hours from Atlanta.  (Sometimes it's easier to tell you how far away we are from some place by using hours instead of miles.) 
     The higher powers that be have estimated that in the first five years of the past decade the population of Moultrie has grown by about 4%.  And that since 2005 Moultrie's population has grown by about 6%.
     That being said, it's amazing to me that our Blogger audience statistics show that you, who are reading this blog, are not only from the United States, but India, Russia, Germany, China, France, Ukraine, and Greece, as well as the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Israel, Brazil, Canada and Iran.
     And you're using as your browsers the Internet (49%), Firefox, Mobile Safari, Opera, Chrome, Safari, and NS8.
     The operating systems you're using are not only Windows (67%), Linux (17%), Android (11%), and Macintosh (3%), but you're using iPads, iPhones, Blackberrys, Nokias, and iPods.  Isn't that interesting?
     Our Board members were delighted to know that people from all those countries are reading our blog.  And I have to say, I was really delighted to know that so many people are using their iPads, iPods, and iPhones to read it.  I sure hope that's not out of boredom, while their riding in their carpools, golf carts, or subway trains.  But then, I really don't care where you are reading it, just as long as you're reading it.  Bathrooms, included.
     Comments are appreciated, of course.  However, one friend told me that she doesn't feel she has to respond.  She said she just likes to read about what we're doing here.  If we have certain displays that interest her, or some good book on our shelf I've talked about, or an event she'd like to attend, then she said she's on her way to the library, coming to visit us in person.
     So...it's nice to see you're there.  Even if you can't come visit us in person. We welcome you each time you come for a visit and hope you take away with you some bit of information that will make your day a little brighter.
     Friends around the world.  I like that idea.  It's nice to see you're there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Has a library changed your life?

     Once in a while, I get the chance to read other websites and blogs.  Today I clicked on ilovelibraries.org, a place that I find interesting since it's library-related.
     I read the article "How a library changed my life" by a young woman from India.  And it got me to thinking.
     Has a library changed my life?  And has changed your life?
     When I was growing up, I don't remember my mother or father taking me to a library.  I remember reading lots of books, but I don't really remember where I got my reading material.  Except, of course, for what we called "funny books," comics later, graphic novels now.
     So, I must have taken home books from my school library.
     As I look back over my life, it must have been when I had my own children that the library became important.
     I know I read to them, especially at nap time.  And later with the younger ones, anytime we could sit down together on the couch and share even the comics of the Sunday paper.
     So, when did the library really change my life?  When did books, and reading materials, and the quietness of a place to sit and read, really enter my life?
     I seem to remember every time I moved to another city, which was after I married, I sought out the local library.  Some were very small, pieced together by the faithful few who cared about books and  people reading.  Some were large city libraries; the kinds with long, marble steps up to the double-wide doors and big open foyers.
     A small one was in the city of Ralston, Nebraska.  It was all on one floor for the public; storage in the basement.  It was actually one big room, divided by what I then called bookshelves, now call stacks.  (But I understand we're going back to the user-friendly word bookshelves.)
    A really big library was in Dallas, Texas; a place where it was easy to get lost and where it was difficult to find the restrooms.  That was then, however.  I'm sure their signage has improved that problem.
     As I moved, I frequented the libraries even more.  They became an obsession to find, to visit, to sit in and enjoy just being there.  I not only went to read, but to write and to get away into a quiet space for an hour or two.
     College libraries, oh yes.  There were even those.  In fact, I remember working at a college bookstore and envying those with the time to pick out various books they were required to read and actually having the time to read them!
     I guess a library really changed my life when I went to work at one in a small Illinois town.  It was a Dale Carnegie library...had the round dome and everything.  It was a two story building.  The main library was on the upper floor (up those marble steps, you see).  The children's library and a large meeting room was in the basement.  I was hired to straighten and clean the books and shelves, and to help patrons return their books and check out new ones.  And one week, when the cleaning lady was sick, I was paid to clean the entire library, top to bottom (that included the bathrooms).  Yes, maybe that was when a library changed my life.
     I not only checked out books from that library to read, but I checked out their videos and magazines; I went to meetings in the large meeting room in the basement; I sat at the tables in the main library and wrote stories; I snooped through all the old donated books; and I used one of their three computers when I got curious about something I couldn't find in a book.  I also became an advocate for the library.
     Then I moved from Illinois to where I am now and knew that I wanted to work at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library.  Of course, I didn't have a degree in Library Science, but I had other talents and skills I could offer.  So, I applied.  And one day I was hired.  And today, here I sit.
     It was the best move of my life.  I feel I'm where I belong, where I've always loved, where I've always wanted to be.  In a library.  And this is a good one, a really good one.
     Did a library change my life?  I believe so, in more ways than I could put down right here.
     So, I take every opportunity I have to tell others in our community to visit our library...their library.  It may change their lives also.
     Now, how about you?  Do you have a story to share?  Has a library changed your life?  Why not share it with us here?  I'll be watching for you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Filling in the blanks

     Every year our director gives us a new calendar.  For the past two years, they've been green.  Before that they were wine-colored.  And every year in January I know I have lots of blanks to fill in.
     You see, I'm one of those people who takes last year's calendar, puts it beside this year's, and starts transferring reoccurring events, noteworthy notes, and other stuff that I just must remember.  Do you do that?  Well, if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to function here at work.  Things would just slip past me (like they did the other day when I didn't have on my calendar to make the signs to post for our Monday, January 16th, closing for the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday).
     Anyway, today has been my day of "filling in the blanks" on my new calendar.
     And you know what?  I didn't realize how much stuff we did last year!
     My son-in-law used to tell me that my house calendar read like a diary.  Well, you should see my work calendar!  It's definitely one I don't want everyone to see.  It is one of the most marked up tools I've ever had and one of the most used tools I've ever used.
     And the Day Planner in my purse looks just about the same way.
     It's beginning to sound like I'm a compulsive planner, huh?  My daughter says I'm just organized.
     I don't think I'm a compulsive planner.  But I sure hate to miss a meeting I was supposed to go to, or forget to put up a sign that the public needs to read, or forget to plan for Black History Month or National Library Week or the Summer Reading Program.
     See what I mean?
     Well, it's already 3:15 p.m. and I'm only into August.  During that month we close for a week for inventory, when we do all the yearly cleaning and weeding of books, etc.  When maintenance comes to do their annual inspection, cleaning and repairing (other than when we call for help right now).  When we all pitch in to dust, rearrange, and check on all kinds of equipment.
     We have lots of good things planned for this year that I put on my calendar.  And of course, there will be some things I don't have on there that we haven't even dreamed up yet that will be exciting for our patrons and the community in general.
     I think it's going to be an exciting year, but then I think that every year.  This is the one place where I've enjoyed working more than anywhere else.  I suppose my calendar shows me that.
     But, boy! I'll tell you.  If I didn't have that calendar I wouldn't remember that next week we have to mail the fliers for the Janisse Ray writers workshop (which is already filled a week ahead of the event) or get the staff newsletter to our director or send out the February Board meeting announcements or...or...or....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Did I tell you about my "bucket list" for 2012?

     I had a couple of friends over on Christmas Eve for my "Christmas Simple."  (What's a Christmas Simple? you ask.  Just soup, salad and dessert.  Simple!)
     While we were sitting around the table eating our Country Chicken Chowder, I handed them a piece of paper and pen, and said..."Now you get to write down 10 items for your 2012 bucket list."
     I can hear you now.  "What's a bucket list?"
     There's a movie by that name..."The Bucket List"...with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  They played characters who had only a short time to live and came up with things they wanted to do before they kicked the bucket.  Hence, a bucket list.
     So, I asked my friends to come up with their bucket list, but not of things they wanted to do before they died.  No, we all had to do a 2012 bucket list.  After all, let's keep it simple.
     It's harder to do than you think!
     There are just too many things I want to do before I kick the bucket.  And trying to put some of those things in a 10-item list for 2012 was even harder.
     I didn't put down read 100 books in 2012!  Or even 50.  Or even 25.  I'm going to read as many as I can anyhow, so that was not even a consideration for my bucket list.
     No, I put down things I thought I could accomplish in reality for 2012.
     Like walk the beaches of Jekyll Island again.  I haven't done that in about four or five years now.
     Like help five complete strangers in some way...and not let them know it was me.
     Like see something majestic (that was in the movie, by the way, and a good one too.  But I'm going to have to change it, because I think I see something majestic most days here in South Georgia when I look at the blue sky through the tall green pines and see billowing white clouds.)
     I can't remember all of my items right now, but you get the idea.
    Of course, like I've told you before, everytime I write the blog about my world away from the library, I always try to see how I can fit it into something at the library.
     So, I've decided to ask the staff to give me one thing each they'd like to see on the 2012 library's bucket list.  Things we want to see accomplished in our library during the year.
     You never know what people will come up with.  Right now we need another permanent full-time janitor, since our last one has left the premises (we hope to go back to his hometown).
     Maybe we need to have more specialty programs.  Maybe we need to have all the furniture in the adult reading area cleaned.  Maybe we need to have better signs up for where things are...like the fiction novels, or sci-fi books, or young adults books...or large-print books.  Whatever.
     Hey, you, out there!!!  What would you like to see accomplished in our library?  If you live in the Moultrie-Colquitt County area, then this library is your library, too!  And we'd like your input. 
     A bucket list.  What do you think about that?  Maybe you should consider doing your 2012 bucket list.  Might surprise you what you come up with.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oh, my gosh, it's the new year!

"What are you doing in here?" she said.  "It looks like a bomb hit this place!"

"I know," I moaned.  "But we just came back to work and I have so much to do."

"Well, no more than anyone else," she moaned back.  "You should see my desk!"

"That's just a desk," I said.  "This is a whole office place!"

     She saw my point.  Even though it is a two-person office place, we have this little place stuffed!
We have boxes on the floor filled with left-over Christmas stuff, table tops covered with old calendars, new calendar stuff that goes in the lighted hall display case, old red December newsletters, books and papers, an extra rolling cart that we wheel up and down the hallway, and too many other things to mention.

     So, what am I going to do about all this stuff?

     Well, I'm going to put up the January 2012 calendar in the lighted case right after lunch.

     I'm going to get the rest of the Janisse Ray Writing Workshop's publicity out, send the staff their emails about the event, and fix up the receipt for the event.

     I'm going to call the lady about the February Black History Month display.

     I'm going to do the Novel Destinations Book Club's bookmark to announce the meeting on January 10th, which will be about Hawaii.

     I'm going to post the soup flier for our staff soup day the last of the month.

     I'm going to finish the AARP Tax Aide sign-up sheet to give to Johnnie.

     My coworker is just as busy as I am.  She's going to work on the January newsletter and calendar, add Tumble Books to the children's website, update the website (which is an enormous job), do publicity for upcoming events, and she said she's going to clean her desk.  She just bought a new three-shelf bookcase to put on the top of her desk.

     So!  There you have it!  That's about all we can do in the short time we work this week.  We are, you see, only part-timers and must schedule tightly all the things we have to do.

     Now you know.  And it's the new year and I'm already tired!  Coming back to work is not to rest!