Friday, August 31, 2012

BOOK PROCESSING : Covering Paperbacks With Contact Paper

     First it puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again--
     Oh, wait. Wrong directions. This is for covering paperbacks with clear Contact paper to make them last longer and stay cleaner in a school library. 


GET SOME CONTACT PAPER, & MAKE SURE IT'S CLEAR. (Target, Home Depot, wherevs. Look for shelf liner.)


TAKE THE BOOK YOU'RE GOING TO COVER AND LAY IT ON THE CONTACT PAPER SO YOU CAN ROLL OUT THE RIGHT LENGTH.

     (By the way, see that bottle of generic-brand Windex next to the keyboard? It wouldn't kill you to wipe off the donated books, because you don't know where they've been, what crack-heads have been handling them, or what babies have drooled on them. Seriously, gross.)


THE LENGTH YOU CUT SHOULD BE LONG ENOUGH TO EXTEND ABOUT AN INCH OR SO BEYOND THE FRONT AND BACK COVERS. YOU ALSO WANT ABOUT THAT MUCH EXTRA AT THE TOP AND BOTTOM OF THE BOOK.

(Why? So you can fold it over, but that comes later. Don't get ahead of yourself.)

(Yes, we actually labeled the scissors "Library," so nobody steals them. Shut up--you don't know how hard it is to keep office supplies from wandering off in a school library.)

I usually find that I can fit two books for each length of Contact Paper, as shown above.

Here's the paperback and the Contact Paper cut to size.


TAKE ONE EDGE OF THE CONTACT PAPER AND PEEL THE CLEAR PLASTIC AWAY FROM THE PAPER BACKING.


PEEL ABOUT TWO INCHES BACK FROM THE EDGE AND LAY IT CAREFULLY ON THE EDGE OF THE BOOK COVER, SO THAT ONE INCH OR SO HANGS OFF THE EDGE. PRESS THE CONTACT PAPER DOWN FIRMLY AND SMOOTH IT OUT. START PEELING MORE OF THE PAPER BACKING AWAY, A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME, SMOOTHING AS YOU GO.


IT IS BEST TO USE A BONE FOLDER, OR "BOOK BONER" AS THEY ARE SOMETIMES CALLED (Don't laugh, this is serious) TO GET ALL THE AIR BUBBLES OUT AND MAKE SURE THE CONTACT PAPER GOES ON EVENLY AS YOU PULL MORE OF THE BACKING AWAY FROM THE PLASTIC.


ONCE YOU'VE WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE SPINE, STOP TO TRIM THE CORNERS AS SHOWN ABOVE.


(Don't look at how fat and weird my hand looks in this picture. It looks like my Slovak Gramma's hand.)
HERE COMES THE FOLDING OVER PART. FOLD EACH EXTRA FLAP OF CONTACT PAPER INWARD AND PRESS DOWN FIRMLY. (If they overlap a little, that provides better protection for the book.)

See how nice that is? Now the corners of the paperback won't get all ragged.

(In case you didn't know, it's awkward trying to do this left-handed, with my right hand holding my cell phone to take pictures)

NOW THAT YOU'RE DONE WITH ONE COVER, CONTINUE APPLYING THE CONTACT PAPER BY PRESSING IT TIGHTLY OVER THE SPINE. (I said TIGHTLY! Do you WANT air bubbles to ruin it?!)


 USE YOUR BONER TO APPLY THE CONTACT PAPER TO THE OTHER COVER, JUST AS YOU DID THE FIRST.


TRIM THE CORNERS LIKE YOU DID ON THE OTHER SIDE, SO YOU CAN FOLD THEM OVER AND SEAL THE BOOK FOR ALL ETERNITY, INVIOLATE.


 IF YOU PUT THE BOOK POCKET ON BEFORE COVERING THE BOOK, PRETEND YOU MEANT TO DO IT THAT WAY, AND CUT A LITTLE NOTCH SO THE PLASTIC DOESN'T COVER WHERE THE CHECKOUT CARD GOES INTO THE POCKET.

EITHER THAT OR JUST REMEMBER TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE CONTACT PAPER IS APPLIED TO PUT THE POCKET IN.


TRIM OFF THE EXCESS CONTACT PAPER AT THE TOP AND BOTTOM OF THE BOOK'S SPINE.

YOU'VE COVERED ONE PAPERBACK!

NOW DO ALL THE REST.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SPOON OF SHAME

     I like to take my lunch break alone, and I typically barricade myself in the Library's back storage room, which does have a little desk to sit at. I'm forced to hunker back there, because if I stay in my office, I can hear the choir next door practicing, and that is not conducive to healthy digestion.
     At least the back storage room is quiet, and there's no phone. I can eat and read in peace.
     Back in my secret hideaway I sometimes have a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of Nutella, and well... you know how things just kind of HAPPEN. The spoon spends time in both jars, and things get a little crazy, like a '70s love-in.
     The really bad thing is that I'm usually too lazy to wash the spoon after lunch, so it sits there for at least a day in its smeary filth, hardening and probably being licked by rats and cockroaches. That's my worst fear.
     Yesterday I finally shooed all the students out, turned off the lights, locked the door, and closed for lunch.
     I crept back to the scene of the previous day's lunch crimes, and grabbed the spoon. Disgusting. I headed for the sink, holding the spoon out in front of me like a dirty diaper.
     Suddenly I heard someone fumbling at the locked door, and the principal barged in, apologizing for interrupting my lunch break. There I stood, in darkness, with my spoon of shame. I quickly shifted my grip on the spoon so the dirty business end was enclosed completely in my fist. I casually dropped it to my side, hoping she wouldn't notice.
     I slipped behind the circ desk while she asked me the quick question that was the purpose of her visit. As she spoke I surreptitiously dropped the spoon on a storage shelf below the counter. It made a "CLANK" sound, which I ignored.
     As soon as she was gone I took it to the sink and scrubbed away the shame, and the specters of rat tongues and dancing cockroach legs.
     Today it occurred to me that she probably noticed I was weirdly hiding something in my hand, and she probably heard the sound as I dropped it to the shelf out of her view. What if she thought I was concealing a hip flask of vodka? Who knows what she might imagine that could be even worse than the spoon of shame. It briefly crossed my mind that I could fess up and explain that it was a dirty peanut butter-and-Nutella encrusted spoon I was hiding, not anything illegal or perverted.
     But I know that would only make it worse, especially if she hadn't noticed anything.
     Sigh.
     Let her think it was a crack pipe.
   
   

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SPRUCING UP DONATED (USED) BOOKS : Missing Dust Jacket


     See this hardcover copy of Michael Crichton & Richard Preston's Micro?
     It was donated to our little school library by a Science teacher (figures, right?), but was missing the dust jacket. Just a plain black cover. So I found the cover image online and pasted it into a Word document so I could size it correctly for printing. Then I opened up another Word doc and copied and pasted the book description from Amazon, plus a crop of an image from another edition of the same book (I think the paperback) so there'd be some sort of graphic on the back.
     After I printed both pages out and trimmed them to fit the covers, I glued them down, then covered them with clear contact paper, which overlaps onto the inside endpages, so hopefully it's all very secure and will survive intact. 
     
Details of graphic and text glued to back cover
      Yes, I know this is very OCD. Hopefully kids will borrow this book, and it will be worth the small amount of time/effort. Nobody's going to select a book from the shelf if it has no cover image and no description or summary anywhere on it. I think it stands a chance now, though, because we always have some students who are Crichton fans.
     Also, we have no book budget at all, and depend completely on donation programs and the generosity of parent groups. I take what I can get!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

80s TEEN NOVEL : "Probably Still Nick Swansen"

Probably Still Nick Swansen by Virginia Euwer Wolff
     One of my English teacher friends asked if I wanted about three bins full of old books, and I said yes. There's no library funding, so I'm big on donations. Whatever we can't use for our library I take to a used book store to trade in for store credit, which I use to get things we CAN use.
     As I was going through all the old books, I found this little paperback gem from 1988. The cover illustration struck me as pathetic, along with the tagline, "What's wrong with being Nick Swansen?"
     If you have to ask...
     Then I flipped it over and read the synopsis on the back:

Nick has a problem. No, problems.
Nick is 16. He is still trying to learn how to drive. He's an expert on some things, not so good at others. He's haunted by the memory of his sister who drowned nine years ago. Nick is a "Special Ed" kid.

He's been teased about it. But that doesn't stop him from asking Shana, a former special ed classmate, to the Prom. That, Nick thinks, will be really special.

But things don't always go the way you plan.

Suddenly Nick wishes he was anybody but who he is... anybody but Nick Swansen.

     Oh, dear. Poor Nick Swansen in his awkward tuxedo, waiting for his "special" date. And what's up with that seemingly random brick of tragedy tossed in, about Nick's dead drowned sister? Like Nick's struggles aren't enough "teen issues" for one book without a haunting accidental death from the past? Virginia Euwer Wolff, you are one hard and unflinching writer.
     There's even a nice little insulting "Author's Note" at the beginning of the book, which reads:

This book contains some incorrect grammar and punctuation in order to tell Nick Swansen's story in language that is consistent with his.

     Wow, Virginia Euwer Wolff, I'm not sure who's more insulted by that, poor Nick Swansen, or the reader.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL LIBRARY BULLETIN BOARDS : part 2

"TIME TO TURN YOUR BRAIN BACK ON"
     Since I'm struggling to get my OWN brain re-focused on school stuff (weh), I figure it must be even harder for the kids. Anyway, this is my slogan, and I think David Sedaris is a great example of a smartie-pants thinking person. Plus I put up some articles on the enduring popularity of print books even in this era of (relatively) affordable ereaders and free ebooks.
     I used the Bone poster because it's not like graphic novels are DUMB, right? Represent.

"TIME TO TURN YOUR BRAIN BACK ON" detail
     I just Googled "brain" and "light switch" images and pasted them into a Word doc, one on top of the other, then printed it on nice brainy pink paper.

"BIG IDEAS MAY COME IN SMALL PACKAGES"
     For both of these boards I also Googled "light bulb" images, and printed them out in varying sizes. Easy and cheap, like yer mom.
     Fuchsia is a cool color, but the spelling of the word is seriously f***ed up.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ALA ZINE PAVILION : Nobody told ME about it.

     Back in June I spent one really frantic yet fun day at the American Library Association Conference in nearby Anaheim. I picked up a copy of ALA Cognotes, and just now finally had a chance to leaf through it while I'm working my Library station during registration for the new school year.
     I came across THIS picture:
The Zine Pavilion on the ALA Annual Conference exhibit floor
     Enraged that I had missed out on this opportunity to promote my OWN zines, "Library Bonnet," and "Disenchanted Moue," I Googled it and discovered that it was this awesome conference-long exhibit with a bunch of events taking place at different times each day, such as raffles, group zine-making, etc. Sounds totally FUN, and I'm really pissed off.
     How did I miss that booth?! And why didn't someone tell me about it AHEAD of time, so I could have participated?! My friend Julie and I did 8 issues of a zine called "Library Bonnet," for f***'s sake, we would have been PERFECT for that. We should have been special featured guest stars of the Zine Pavilion, worn crowns and/or tiaras, and arrived on diamond-studded library carts, drawn by miniature ponies.
     Or not.
     Anyway, I was sitting here gritting my teeth with chagrin to have missed out. That picture is killing me, I wanna know what other awesome zines were there! I'm pouting about it, but there's nobody to see me pout. Except for the students and parents who come in to register for school, but as soon as the door opens I drop the pout because... well, it would be too much to explain, and they probably wouldn't care anyway.
     Now I'm DOUBLE-pouting.

Read more about the Zine Pavilion here:  http://www.alaannual.org/content/zines

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BOOK REVIEW : "Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane" by various authors, edited by John Skipp

Get Psychos, edited by John Skipp, from Amazon HERE.

     I got an advanced e-copy of this book through NetGalley. This anthology is edited by John Skipp, and collects a very wide selection of stories involving murderous psychos from various perspectives, some humorous, some chilling. Authors include classics like Poe, Bradbury, Gaiman, Thomas Harris, Lansdale, Bentley Little, Elizabeth Massie, Robert Devereaux, Kathe Koja, and others. 
     To me the absolute chills-down-the-spine standout piece that made the whole anthology worth it was "All Through the House" by Christopher Coake, an author I was unfamiliar with. Skipp gives a brief intro to each story, and in numerous places "warns" the reader how freaky the upcoming story is going to be, but "All Through the House" was one of the only ones that really lived up to that for me. It focuses on a mass murder mainly from the viewpoint of the murderer's best friend, who suffers tremendous survivor's guilt. But the genius of the story is the way it creates a truly haunting (and haunted) sense of history about the location by slipping back in time before the murders, then moving forward to even after the house is burnt down, then backing up to before it was burnt down and a true crime writer was visiting to exploit the event for her own purposes. 
     Another stunningly horrid (in a good way, for a psycho anthology) story was John Gorumba's "Mommy Picks Me Up at Day Care," written very believably from the viewpoint of a little boy. The boy's mother "snaps" and the author is unflinching in the way he shows this young child's mind trying to process and cope with the situation in his limited way. Meanwhile, as the reader you're able to translate the child's perceptions, so you realize what's really happening. Very clever. 
     Included in the appendix is a very thorough and thoughtful afterword about psychos in popular culture by Cody Goodfellow, and then the actual letter sent from cannibal murderer Albert Fish to the mother of one of his victims. It's not for the squeamish. 
     I feel the book as a whole is pretty well done, the second half being more rewarding than the first. The "centerpiece" of the book is a novella by Adam-Troy Castro called "The Shallow End of the Pool," but unfortunately for me it was one of my least favorite in the book. That might just be because it wasn't what I was really hoping for, based on the theme. For other people it might be very worthy precisely because of that, since it's not what you would expect.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL LIBRARY BULLETIN BOARDS : part 1

Coming Soon in late 2012...
     So, I'm back at work after summer break.
     Things feel a little grim because the district is in such dire financial straits, and they followed through with their threat to eliminate all but ONE of the credentialed Librarians in our district. Which means all of us Library technicians will be running our libraries single-handedly ALL the time, rather than just half the time. It's a sad joke to expect ONE credentialed Librarian to manage 18 libraries.
     As of this writing the district hasn't even told our lone Librarian where she's supposed to report on her first day, whether she'll have an office at the district to work out of, or if she's supposed to just float between all 18 campuses, or what.
     Anyway, at least I still have MY job. For now.
     7th grade orientation is this week, likewise registration for all students, so I realized I needed to get something up on all the bulletin boards and display areas in the Library.

Ray Bradbury memorial wall
      One of the students asked me in mid-June right before school was out if we could do some sort of tribute to Bradbury in the Library, and I felt bad that I didn't have time right then to get something together. Better late than never, right?

Vintage Muppets library-themed poster featuring Kermit and Miss Piggy
      My site Librarian who just retired (since she would have been eliminated anyway), brought in this awesome old Muppets poster, which had a little bit of mold damage on it, but I carefully used some Windex and then laminated it. I love the Muppets and this old poster is great because there's absolutely NO nod to any current obnoxious trends. I'm guessing it's from the late '70s because of Piggy's outfit.

James Patterson article, plus "Maximum Read" poster, and various Patterson book cover images
      The now-retired Librarian was always bringing in book- and reading-related articles from the newspaper (the actual print version!), and I tried to use them around the library when possible. I figure it's a good idea to visually remind kids of various formats, and that it all counts as reading. Know what I mean? Print-rich environment, etc.

New book posters, plus My Little Pony calendar
      Behind the circ desk I did a simple board with some free book posters the Librarian and I grabbed at ALA in Anaheim this summer.
     We have a lot of Asians at this school, and I predict that the Koreans, Vietnamese, Chinese, etc. will make some snipey comments about the poster that proclaims, "THE FUTURE IS JAPANESE."
     (I would)

"BEWARE: QUIET READING TIME IS SACRED." "A Library is for Peaceful Reflection..."
     Since the Librarian is now officially retired, not to be replaced, her old office was just sitting there, and even though it felt a little weird... Well, it's MINE now.
     To put some of my stink on it, I took an old Sweeney Todd movie poster, printed out my own slogans, and glued them over the original wording. Now it's a threatening library poster complete with a straight razor!
     I love working with the kids, and create a welcoming environment and stuff, but seriously- when it comes to my breaks, I want my book, a cup of coffee, and SILENCE.