A few weeks ago Mr. and I received postcards from the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library informing us that there would be a party for the grand re-opening of our neighborhood library today. I marked my calendar and Mr. looked forward to the re-opening so that my constant miniscule updates about the progress I could see through the cracks in the windows would cease. Plus, we were both stoked (sorry, there really is no better word for it) that we would no longer have to trek to our second favorite library, the Mission library, to pick up our reserves! No longer would we have to plan to go the library, we could just throw on some pants and walk down the street. Hurray!
Today, around 12:40pm I heard the familiar drumbeat of lion dancers outside the window. I quickly got dressed and tried to wait for Mr., but once I looked out the window and saw the parade of locals and librarians with book trucks headed for the library I was out the door.
Is lion dancing a tradition where you live? If so, then perhaps you are like me and feel a tad verklempt when you happen upon a produce store opening with a dozen or so teenagers in dragon costumes while others drum on the sidelines. Lion dancing is part of the culture of San Francisco. If there is a big (or even small) community event, it is likely there will be lion dancers. Pretty much any parade in San Francisco is a guarantee of lion dancing, and not just Chinese New Year, but Pride, Carnival, you name it--there will be lion dancers there. And it seems that everyone in the crowd gets into it regardless of their cultural heritage.
The lion dancers led the way into the renovated library, which looks fantastic. (Of course, as a librarian, it was hard for me to not wonder how they will grow certain sections, which already seem a little crowded.) Everyone in the neighborhood was so happy to be back in the library--everyone loading up on books and videos to check out. The bigwigs came out. They even had a little catty exchange about how it was that we got the first renovated library and how the Excelsior is traditionally underserved by the city government so it seemed even more amazing that our library was the first to be renovated.
While I might normally have an issue with political back-stratching, today, I am just happy to have my library back. Welcome back, Excelsior Branch.
Even though I work in a high school library, I am shockingly uninterested in Young Adult (YA) librarianship. That said, a couple of pieces of noteworthy YA information have come my way in the past few days (Andrea, this one's for you!).
While surfing knitting blogs I came upon a reference to an article from the Guardian UK--"Read to Live, Live to Rock" about a band called BloodHag. This Seattle band writes and performs songs exclusively about science fiction writers and frequently gigs libraries in hopes of encouraging reading among teenagers. A long interview with three of the members (including Professor JK Stratton, whose parents are both librarians) can be found on the SciFi website, Strange Horizons. I am not a big fan of the speed metal, but I think that I could drag myself out to see a band that tosses books into the audience at every one of their shows.
As I scoured the web for more information about my new favorite band, BloodHag, I found myself at the Library Grrls livejournal where I learned the sad news of the death of Paula Danziger. In recent years Paula had become well-known for her Amber Brown series, however I knew Paula's work from when I was a young girl.
I don't know how the YA age bracket breaks down, but as I remember I read her books when I was around 11 or 12. The protaganists in her books were maybe a year or two older than I was at the time. I guess that sounds about correct. You want to read about what comes ahead, right? I suppose that would explain my love of George Saunders' view of the not so distant future.
Anyway, I used to babysit for a couple down the street--a pediatrician and a school teacher (maybe not so oddly, their children were terrible brats). When my parents split up one of them handed me a copy of the Pistachio Prescription. I was a regular reader even at that age, but beyond the beloved Judy Blume most of the books I read were set in another time or place distant from my reality. I loved that first Paula Danziger book and went on to read several others and each one held a little piece of what was going on in my life at the time.
I was terribly sad to hear of Paula's passing on July 8th. However, I am comforted that her work will live on through There's a Bat in Bunk Five and The Cat Ate my Gymsuit.
Well, Exene Cervenka of the seminal LA punk band X rocks. And guess what? She's a librarian. I had no idea until I came across a blurb in People magazine about her petition for increased child support from Viggo Mortensen. A quick search turned up a copy of her petition, where she testifies that she is, in fact, a librarian. I think Viggo has the cash to pony up, now that he is king of the gamers.
Of course, if you asked me a month ago if I knew who Johnny Damon was I probably would have looked at you blankly. And, in fact, I that is just about what I did when Mr. Big Sister said that he was going to quit shaving just like Johnny Damon. He then explained that Johnny Damon is some pretty boy baseball player who had stopped cutting his hair and shaving in the off-season and was continuing into the season. "Does he look like one of the guys from ZZ Top?" I asked. "Now that would be cool."
Mind you, I don't even like baseball that much. In part because they wouldn't let you knit in the ballpark for so long (maybe they still don't) and in part because it is so. freaking. boring. On top of that I HATE base stealing, which is apparently what Mr. Damon is known for. Base-stealing would be great if it made the game faster, but there is inevitably a delay in game while the pitcher tries to get the stealer tagged out. Inevitably, both the pitcher and the runner fail and no one is better off than the were before the base-stealing began. Of course, if Johnny Damon is good at base stealing presumably he is making the game quicker so that could be a good thing.
However, not as good as this. Apparently Pretty Boy Damon has been convinced to shave his beard for charity. His charity of choice? The Boston Public Library's reading and tutoring programs for children. Frankly, people, I am a sucker for anyone who loves the library. I love people who love the library. So, I guess that means I love Johnny Damon.