It may not be for you, but maybe it’s for someone else.   Leave a comment

Well, this is awkward — both my long absence from posting (I got a job!) and what’s going on over in Utah.

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Image is from Wikipedia.

Basically, some (heterosexual) Utah parents are grumpy about a book that features a family of two lesbian parents and their adopted children. One parent is quoted as saying it is “not a natural process to have a complete family without a male and female.” I was raised by my single father. Was my upbringing unnatural and incomplete too? Something may not be the best option for you, but that doesn’t give you license to control the lives and dictate the values of others. Live and let live. If you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t have one! If you don’t like what is in this book and your child reads it, then have a conversation (gasp!) with your child about it. Part of parenting is answering tough questions. But don’t worry, there are books to help with that!

Posted November 26, 2012 by Alicia Schofield in intellectual freedom

Useful Resources for Those of Us in the Job Market   Leave a comment

As many of my readers know, I am a librarian in the job market. I’ve been looking for full-time work in my field since I completed my Master’s degree in 2009. During the course of my search, I have come across some very helpful resources to aid my efforts. I know that many of my fellow librarians (and fellow people in general) are in the same situation so I thought I would share some of the best (mostly) library-oriented resources that I’ve come across in my job hunting journey.

Job hunting is exhausting, especially for cats.

The Torment of Terrible Cover Letters – A blog post written by Jennica Rogers in 2011. Rogers is Director of Libraries at the State University of New York at Potsdam and offers some excellent and easily applicable advice on writing a good cover letter. Or, at least, she tells you what NOT to do. Highly recommended.

Foundations of Libraries: So you want to be an academic librarian series – I only recently found this through a LinkedIn group discussion and I haven’t had much time to explore it. Judging from the initial entry and skimming the discussion on LinkedIn, it promises to be a very useful and insightful resource for those of us interested in academic library jobs.

Hiring Librarians – A blog by Emily Weak, a fellow job-hunting librarian. She surveys hiring librarians (just like the title says!)  about the process of reviewing applications, interviewing, and hiring. Straightforward and clear information. Recommended.

Ask a Manager – I found this only today and I’m already in love with it! The author, Allison Green, managed a business for years before she decided to leave and do independent consulting. She answers reader questions on everything from following up on rejection letters to interviewing in odd situations to working with gross coworkers. Her blog is not industry-specific but she offers sound, no-nonsense insight.  Highly recommended for anyone in the workforce or trying to get in the workforce.

Open Cover Letters – A blog of cover letters that eventually lead to job offers in library work. Good for getting ideas on improving your cover letters. Compiled by Stephen Flynn, the Emerging Technologies Librarian at the College of Wooster.

Good luck, fellow job-seekers!

Posted March 20, 2012 by Alicia Schofield in Uncategorized

Much needed positive female role models   2 comments

Ms. Tamora Pierce is the author of, well, let’s just say “oodles” of books. I’ve read all but the most recent of her Tortall novels. What I love most

Next on my to-read list: Tamora Pierce's Mastiff

about about Ms. Pierce’s novels are her heroines. Not only are they strong, quirky, and unique, but they are also allowed to be believable sexual beings. Most of her heroines who are physically and emotionally mature have had multiple sexual partners. What is great about this is that her ladies are responsible about it. Birth control is discussed. Romantic notions of “giving” your virginity to the man that you are certain you will marry are not brought in to the discussion. They don’t feel devalued in anyway for not being virginal. Not only that, but her heroines actively enjoy their sex lives. And they are not punished for it like in a stereotypical horror film when the sexually active teens are killed off. Yes, Ms. Pierce’s ladies suffer from heartache when their romantic relationships end, but these ladies recover and move on. With all these strong, relatable, and responsible women running through Ms. Pierce’s novels who could complain?

It would seem that some people disapprove of women taking charge of, and responsibility for, their sexuality. Ms. Pierce’s novels have been challenged repeatedly and at least one, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, has been banned by at least one institution. One of the reasons was “use of an amulet to prevent pregnancy.” Rather than be challenged, Ms. Pierce ought to be applauded for her portrayal of female sexuality. She offers young women good examples to follow. Her heroines are discreet, selective in choosing their partners, and responsible about preventing pregnancy. Additionally, when a relationship turns sour, the woman gets out of the relationship; she doesn’t hang on to an incompatible lover. She respects herself enough and has the good sense to extract

My Tamora Pierce collection

herself from bad relationship, mourns the romantic loss, and moves on. That is what I want my daughter to learn. I want my future daughter to know that sex is for pleasure but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sex is serious enough to require that precautions be taken but it does not determine your worth as a person.

Ms. Pierece has a good handle on the heroines that a modern young reader needs. Kudos to her.

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Posted February 22, 2012 by Alicia Schofield in intellectual freedom

Spring training can’t some soon enough!   1 comment

I’m ready for baseball season to come back again, but players don’t report for spring training for another month. In the meantime, I am left with baseball documentaries and books. Recently, I finished reading Larry Tye‘s Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend.

The life of long-lived pitcher LeRoy “Satchel” Paige is a difficult one to report on accurately. Not even Satchel could tell the truth about himself. He couldn’t even give a straight answer about his birth date. Satchel relished tall tales and changing his story so as to keep people guessing and build his mystique. Tye did not have an easy task ahead of him, but he did a great job of researching and, I believe, wrote a very clear and detailed biography that is as accurate as the subject allows.

The research was sound, even if the prose wasn’t always. There were many awkward sentences and a few times when his statements weren’t quite accurate. For example, on page 150 (of the 2010 Random House Trade Paperback Edition), Tye states, “[Satchel] ended the 1941 season with a 5-0 record in Negro League games, pitching a modest sixty-four innings and striking out fifty. The next year with the Monarchs he nearly doubled his innings, to ninety-five, and his strikeouts swelled to seventy-nine.” I may be splitting hairs here, but 95 is not almost double 64. It is approximately half again as much, but not nearly double. I feel, and here I’m speaking as the copy editor that I am, that it was a failure on the part of Tye’s editor to catch an inaccuracy in prose like that. Of course, that is minor.

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My copy of Mr. Tye’s book and a baseball I’ve had for a golly-danged long time.

More disagreeable is the way Tye would leave loose ends. For example, Tye states that Satchel’s first wife did not like living in North Dakota so she moved back to Pittsburg “to wait for him.” This is the last mention of the woman until Satchel marries another woman, and only then does Tye remind readers that Satchel is still married to his first wife at the time of the second marriage. I want to know what happened to his first wife in the intervening years between when she went to Pittsburg and when Satchel decided to marry again and what she was doing with her time. Did she know that the marriage was over or was that Satchel’s unilateral decision? Any additional information would have been appreciated.

An additional word of caution goes to non-baseball fans. Tye assumes the reader has a thorough understanding of baseball fundamentals. For example, he does not explain how batting averages are calculated, how strike zones are determined, or what constitutes a balk. As an avid baseball fan, this was not a problem for me, but if you are new to the sport, you’ll want to have Google open so you can look up terms that puzzle you.

Despite some small downfalls in prose and pace, Tye’s biography was an excellent read. He covers the legendary pitcher’s humble beginnings; attempts to explain Satchel’s psychology; gives a beautifully detailed account of what it was like to play in the Negro Leagues; and addresses racial segregation and how it affected players, owners, and fans. In addition to giving readers a good look at an American icon, the book also gives readers a snapshot of American life during the gradual decline of Jim Crow just before the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. Excellent book for baseball fans and those interested in race relations in the United States after Reconstruction and before the push for Civil Rights. Recommended.

Posted January 11, 2012 by Alicia Schofield in review

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Better World Books – A Great Way to Start Another Year of Book Buying   Leave a comment

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While doing some book shopping to get a jump on Valentine’s Day, I came across Better World Books. Calling themselves “An Online Bookstore with a Soul,” they are a bookseller that donates a book for every book purchased, works to help the environment by keeping books out of landfills, offsets its carbon footprint by purchasing “Green-e Climate certified offsets from 3Degrees,” AND offers FREE shipping on every purchase! (As an added bonus, if you are a member of MyPoints, you get 2 points for every dollar spent at the website.)

An ethical online bookseller. Heck yeah! If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to shop more ethically, here is a place to start.

Happy New Year!

**The graphic is a photo of my 2012 Squirrels wall calendar published by BrownTrout Publishers.

Posted January 5, 2012 by Alicia Schofield in activism

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http://www.betterworldbooks.com/   Leave a comment

http://www.betterworldbooks.com/

Posted January 5, 2012 by Alicia Schofield in Uncategorized

Occupy Wall Street and The People’s Library   1 comment

I learned a few weeks ago (Yes, I know I’m long overdue for a post. Don’t fine me!), that Occupy Wall Street has a library! If I were opposed to the movement, I would be scared pants-less. Libraries belong to communities, and OWS has definitely established itself as a community that does not intend to leave until it sees the country change for the better.

Unfortunately, the NYPD has repeatedly destroyed the library. That’s right; in twenty-first-century America, books are still being destroyed as a way

The People's Library of the Occupy Wall Street Movement has very flexible hours.

to control the population. The People’s Library of the Movement (also referred to as Library 3.0 because it has been destroyed and resurrected twice thus far) has been collecting poetry about the protests, legal reference works, and books about past revolutions, as well anything a kind donor brings or sends to the collection. You can check out their collection on LibraryThing.

The library is a living, breathing entity that is doing its best to serve a community with specific needs. Being a librarian is difficult enough when your work is paid and sheltered from the elements. Imagine being a volunteer librarian in a makeshift shelter in constant fear of the police. Occupy Librarians and Library Volunteers, I salute you.

Presently, the library is entirely mobile as a way to protect it from city officials looking to destroy it. Librarians are currently using carts to ferry books to and from the protest site until a better solution is found. If you would like to help, the People’s Library needs volunteersreading and reference materials, storage containers, and shelter material.