Monday, August 22, 2011

Musings on Literacy

Just a quick post with some thoughts I've been mulling over the past few days. Recently, I came across the wonderful project Little Free Library, which has gotten quite a bit of press. I'm loving the idea, the execution, and most importantly, the purpose.

Seriously. Who wouldn't love to have a cute little library just waiting to be discovered somewhere right around the corner? It kind of makes me want to start one here in town... It would be such a great idea for parks, hospitals, nursing homes, doctor's office waiting rooms.... you name it. What other places can we think of to include these Little Free Libraries?

Literacy is such a huge issue in the world, even today.  Unfortunately, it seems that our society takes literacy for granted these days, often ignoring the needs of those not quite as literate. Yet literacy has not been forgotten by all. This project is just one example of how people are promoting good in their communities and encouraging others to pay it forward.

There has been quite a bit of debate in the LIS circles of recent as to the definition of literacy. Does literacy only include the ability to read and write these days? Or does it go further, grasping deeper concepts upon which our society has become dependent- namely technology and the internet? I personally know many people who are afraid of losing their job because the technology skills required have changed so drastically from when they entered their professional field. These days, social media plays a huge role in marketing, networking, and just plain communication. Many people argue that the true definition of literacy is that of computer (and technology) literacy. And while that is true considering how technologically dependent our society has become, let us not forget those who are still illiterate in the traditional sense of the word. Let us not forget those who still struggle to read, comprehend, and express their thoughts through the written word. Let us not forget the purpose behind the Little Free Library.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Forrays into Domesticity

Ah, housewifery. Before D and I got married, I dreaded the thought of being a stay-at-home-wife, clearly assuming that meant cleaning and cooking all day. I'm delighted to discover I was W-R-O-N-G. Yes, school starts up again in a few short weeks, which I am eagerly anticipating. But for now, I'm kind of enjoying the whole staying at home, relaxing, going on adventure walks, and settling into life in a small(er) town thing.

One of the perks I've enjoyed immensely from our Sedalia experience so far is that of farm fresh fruits and veggies. A member of our new congregation brought over some delicious tomatoes the other day. In an attempt to broaden my culinary horizons, I've also been wanting to make some homemade salsa. PERFECT TIMING.

Getting ready for a grand culinary adventure.
And so today, while my husband was at work, I decided to go for it. It didn't sound that difficult. In fact, I think the most difficult part of the entire experience was trying to find a recipe. Why bother googling something from (or some other site) when I received a plethora of cookbooks for my bridal shower/our wedding? After consulting all my cookbooks, I found two- count 'em, TWO, recipes. And after realizing my kitchen did not possess all required items for either recipe, I did what any good, seasoned cook (aka my mother) does- I improvised.

The result? Success! Although I was worried that two different kinds of hot sauce would make it too spicy for my liking (although D would most certainly approve), we agreed that its flavor is more tangy than spicy. I can live with that. And of course, because I improvised, there's no guarantee that it will taste the same next time. But that's what makes it grand. That's what defines it as culinary. And that's why it's an adventure.

P.S. My new hand blender? Awesome.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Still 5, but Wiser

When I was 5 years old, I got my very first library card. I remember the thrill of having my own card! The doors now swung widely and beckoned me into that blissful world of information (and I could check books out on my own card!). I also remember the impatience at having to wait for the library to process my application, make the card, and notify me of pick-up availability. I'm pretty sure my mom got very tired of my daily query as to whether or not we could go pick up my card. (Shame, shame for making an eager 5-year-old wait to receive her very first library card...)

No longer 5, but still excited.
Yesterday, I reverted back to my 5-year-old self and got my new library card for our public library. (Applied and received it all in one day! Imagine that...) Amidst my excitement at the new privileges now bestowed upon me, I also experienced a bit of trepidation which I have come to accept as part of the degree-seeking MLIS world. Would this library meet the needs of their patrons (and consequently my needs)? Would the collection be relevant, up to date, and broad yet deep? Would the librarians be friendly and helpful? How many are degreed librarians? (Will I find a colleague among them?) Will the patrons be polite and possess the ever-elusive library etiquette?

I chuckled to myself at how differently I now see the library from that first library card experience. Dare I say I even view the library differently than I did in high school, or my first few years of undergrad? It's encouraging that I've grown up, recognized greater information needs, and can now assess and critique things on my own. But it's also a bit disheartening. I'm no longer the care-free, happy-go-lucky 5 year old that sees the library as the brand new playground. Now I immediately identify positives and negatives, things I love, areas of improvement, and the ever-present "If I were the Librarian of the Universe...."

What? I like books!
I'll save my critique of my new public library for another day. For now, I'll leave it at this: The library may have changed dramatically since my childhood summers spent idly with books, but the information world still beckons in its many forms. And for now, I've happened upon an armful of books to keep me entertained for the next two weeks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today is a day of cute

My friend M shared this link with me, and I thought it was too cute; I had to share! I'm definitely keeping this idea in the back of my mind for any library parties, birthday parties, library school graduation events in the near (or distant) future.

I am constantly amazed at how creative people can be, and this is something I never would have really come up with on my own. I love books, I love reading, and I love book-related crafts, snacks, and decorations.

Cute Little Library Books! And the best part? They're made with fruit and without corn syrup. They have to be healthy, no?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Archivist to the Rescue!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, we're settling into our new apartment in Sedalia. Although the apartment buildings are relatively new, we've been coming across lots of little problems with the place, as any new tenant is wont to discover. One of these problems is the dining room corner appears to leak every time it rains, just a puddle on the floor by the air conditioning unit, and easily cleaned up with a towel. Now, we've had a ridiculously dry summer, and the farmers are all starting to suffer for it. Thank God that it's finally starting to rain and substantially at that! However, that means we're also discovering the extent of our puddle leakage.

Today the puddle, apparently with a mind of its own, decided to travel along the wall and get the other corner wet. Not that big of a deal, except I had a bag of Library Journal back issues, assorted knitting magazines, and bank statements sitting in that corner. Oh. No. Shouting "Save the LJ!!" and dashing toward the mess, I unpacked the bag and discovered that only the bank statements suffered water damage (and not all of them at that!). Thank goodness. Immediately springing into action, I set up my own little preservation lab. Although not professional by any means, I am quite proud of the creativity which this little lab involves. The not-so-sodden pages are currently drying courtesy of my Vornado- seriously one of the best fans ever. Other ridiculously-sodden-but-not-yet-ruined pages are drying in front of my other two A/C units in the living room and bedroom, which have longer vents and therefore better drying capabilities. Finally (the part about which I am most pleased), the rest of my pages are hanging up on hangers over my bathtub. I always knew there were good uses for those little hooks that hang off the plastic hangers!

Of course, true to Information Professional form, I attempted to keep all the papers in some sort of organizational form. And as I was hanging these papers up, I decided our household needed to come up with a disaster response plan for our own information media. Nerd, party of me. Perhaps it is time to go paperless. [Cue post about ERM... but maybe at a later date.]