Never Seen One Before

This afternoon when I got up for work, I sat by the window in our living room with my cup of coffee. On the baseball field behind our house, two teams were playing one of the final games of the season. Ella was sitting on my lap, and Sam was on the floor with Andrew.

Suddenly, I saw a bird that I had never seen before land on one of our outdoor chairs. I stared at it for a minute because I though it was the weirdest looking robin I had ever seen. Only it wasn’t a robin. It had a red chest like a robin, but it was blue!

I called Sam over so she could see it too, but it flew away before she got a look at it. All the way to work, I felt like I must have seen it wrong. Was it really blue? Yes. I was sure it had to be. Thank you Google – I wasn’t seeing things.

Come to find out, I saw my first ever Male Eastern Blue Bird. Google says that they “are vivid, deep blue above and rusty or brick-red on the throat and breast.” When I saw a picture, it confirmed that it was the bird I saw.

Sam and I have talked about getting a bird feeder to put near the back of the house. I think the kids would love watching them. All those birds will certainly drive our cat crazy, too. Oh, and we’d have to make sure it was squirrel proof. We have plenty of those chubby critters hanging around. (I wonder if I have told my squirrel story on here before… I may have to check the archives!)

When I think about birds, two things come immediately to mind: (1) Wallace Wimple from the old Fibber McGee and Molly radio show. (He sounded like the cartoon character Droopy and often spoke of his Bird Book) and (2) Monty Python’s Book Shop sketch. The first photo above and the next one are totally taken from the sketch.

If you have never heard it before, you have to listen to it. It is one of those very well written and very funny comedy sketches. John Cleese is brilliant in it and it was one of his favorite sketches.

Here it here:

Grab a Piece of Paper …

Who knew that there was a holiday that celebrates aircraft made from paper?!

Go ahead, grab a piece of paper and make your best paper airplane! Toss that thing in the air and see what kind of flight you can get out of it! If the boss asks, tell them you are not wasting time or fooling around – you are celebrating a special holiday!!

Just don’t put out anybody’s eye!

Taxi up to the runway and fly!!

Angry at the Queen – Dairy Queen!

A lot of people are angry after hearing that Dairy Queen has discontinued their Cherry Dip Cone! The item has disappeared and reappeared from the DQ menu for a few years now, but it seems that it had officially been discontinued according to an MSN article.

A Michigan Dairy Queen shared the news on their TikTok page. “Unfortunately, today I have some bad news, and I feel like a lot of people will be upset about this. I don’t know when or if it’s returning, but Dairy Queen is discontinuing their cherry cone dip,” the narrator of the video says. “It’s already sold out in our warehouse, so once we deplete the inventory in the store, we’ll be sold out until further notice.”

When a local news agency reached out to DQ for some answers, they issued a statement:

“At this time, the Cherry Dipped Cone at Dairy Queen is being discontinued,” DQ confirmed in a statement that seems to allude to the possibility of the item returning in the future. “Fans should check with their local DQ restaurant to learn which flavors are available,” concludes the statement.

For me, the Cherry Dip allowed me to enjoy the best three flavors. I loved getting the chocolate vanilla twist cone dipped in Cherry. I truly hope that it is not gone for good.

Post Weekend Update & Trivia

Before I get into the events of the weekend, I thought I’d throw a funny Jeopardy question your way. The answer, which will be easy for those who follow this blog, will appear at the end of this post.

Saturday morning was nice. The entire family spent the morning together. At one point, Sam, the kids and I were all snuggled up on the couch watching TV. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice that was.

There was plenty of outdoor playing and walks around the neighborhood.

Sunday, Sam was sleeping and it was, what Ella calls, a “Ella, Bubby, Daddy Day.” I had to drive Sam’s brother to his football practice and then I planned on taking the kids to the park for a picnic. On the way, my eye caught a Dairy Queen with outdoor seating. So instead, we stopped there!

By Ella’s reaction, I think it was a good choice!

After our picnic lunch, we went to a little park that is enclosed. The kids could run everywhere and play on anything. I played with them and actually got a minute or two to just sit back and enjoy watching them play.

Funniest line of the weekend – and also one of those things you never thought you would say out loud: (Sam to Andrew) “Bubby, don’t put the Playdoh in your nose!”

Boy, does he keep us on our toes! While we were out in the back yard the other day, he picked up one of the dandelions – not the yellow ones, the white ones – and stuck it in his mouth. All those things were on his tongue and I am really surprised he didn’t throw up! Urgh, just thinking about it makes me nauseous!

Two of my favorite pictures from the weekend

First, Ella looking like a movie star! Priceless

Second, Andrew wearing what his sister picked out for him to wear…. one of her dresses!


Project Update

I took advantage of the kids falling asleep early Sunday night and figured I would prime and paint the nook I was working on.

This is what it looked it before:

We used OSB board this time, and after painting I wish I had used just regular shiplap. It still looks good. It has a rustic look to it, I think. We need to get a cushion for the bench seat and a decorative throw pillow to go on that, but it is painted and coat hooks are in place.

The angle at which I took this picture makes the hook on the left wall look higher than the others, but they are all on the same line, believe it or not!

The kids seem to think that this is a new play area now, or at least a spot for photo ops.

I’m so glad to have this project 98% finished. I have a few touch ups to do, but it is mostly done. I also love having the baskets under the bench.

All in all a very productive and enjoyable weekend!

Your trivia/Jeopardy answer? Of course, you knew it was …

The Three Stooges! A 1936 classic!

What If There Were No Sides At All? – New Bryan Adams

In reading through the blogs I subscribe to, I came across a recent post from Lesley at . Bryan Adams has released a powerful new song that I hope makes people (and governments) think.

The video can be found on YouTube and I will share in this blog, too. The description accompanies the videos says, “This is an anti-war peace song written with aim to provoke thought and perhaps even encourage governments to sit down and talks peace.”

Lyrically, the song is simple – and deep. It proclaims a message of peace.

What If There Were No Sides At All

What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all

Just a big blue ball – floating in space
It’s a beautiful world – but a dangerous place
It’s perfectly round – it’s perfectly clear
There are no sides – on a perfect sphere

What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all

Don’t make me hate – don’t make me choose
Why should one side win and the other side lose

I don’t understand – why take sides at all
There are no sides – on this big blue ball

We tell ourselves it’s a stand we take
But there’s no sides except the ones… we make

What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all

In her piece about the song, Lesley says that the song reminded her a little of the Beatles. I felt the same way. It does have that John Lennon “Imagine” and Ringo Starr’s “Peace and Love” vibe to it. Today’s songs often clock in at 4 or 5 minutes, but this song sends a powerful and thoughtful message in just over 2 minutes.

As a former radio guy, I know that there are times where songs like this are often avoided by programmers. I truly hope that this one gets some airplay – not just here but world wide. It is one of the great “What if” questions.

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve heard new stuff from Bryan Adams, and I am grateful to have stumbled on Lesley’s blog about it. Give the song a listen …

Rockin’ Some Felt

Last month, I mentioned that Disney+ would be airing a new Muppet show. The show focuses on the original house band of the old Muppet Show – Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. I’ve been holding off on watching it because I just wasn’t sure what to expect.

One of the silliest reasons to not watch is knowing that the voices are not the originals. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, and Richard Hunt will forever be connected to these characters for me. I just wasn’t sure I could get past this. I decided to check it out this weekend and I have to say, it isn’t bad.

Season One of The Muppets Mayhem consists of 10 episodes. I have watched 4 so far and I don’t hate it. The premise is that the band has been touring non stop for years. They were supposed to make an album for a small label after the tour, but that tour continues. The label seems to be ready to close their doors, when an assistant stumbles on the paperwork showing the band owes them an album. In hopes of saving the company with one big album, she’s off to get the band in the studio.

Like many of the great Muppet movies, and the Muppet Show, there have been some really neat cameos. The cameos can appeal to people of all ages – Zed for the younger folks and Cheech and Chong for the older folks. The show is funny, and emotional, too. I am actually pretty impressed and glad I started watching it.

We’ll see how I feel after episode 10, but if the rest of the episodes are like what I have seen, I will be awaiting Season 2!

A Happy Weekend

Tuesdays mean back to work for me. Technically, Mondays are still part of my “weekend.” Yesterday, I wrote about the amazing birthday I had Monday, but wanted to share a few other highlights from the past couple days.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. Sadly, Sam had to work that night. That didn’t stop us from celebrating. The kids made sure to spoil mommy with a card and cake.

We also made sure she had plenty of flowers to brighten her day.

We got her a Grey’s Anatomy sweatshirt that she wanted and of course, she got the porch rocker we built. Before she left for work, I was able to snap one of the best photos of her and the kids!

Today, the weather in Michigan was perfect. I wanted to go to Menard’s to pick up the wood that I need to rebuild part of the playscape in the back. However, because it was so nice, I took the kids up to the park to play first. They had a blast!

For Andrew, there were so many things to play with. Slides, rocks, and even tic tac toe.

Ella just loved running around and playing with the other little girl who was there, too.

Every once in a while, they stop at just the right time for perfect pictures.

After the park, I ran up and got the wood. I also got a couple shepherd’s hooks and two hanging flower baskets for the front of the house. On the way home, I stopped and got the kids lunch and we had a picnic on the porch before naptime.

Along with the fun of my birthday, this weekend was just loaded with wonderful memories! I hope your weekend was just as happy!

Book Recommendation: The Wager – David Grann

I came across this book while scrolling through a Good Reads list. When I saw the subtitle of I assumed this was fiction book, but it is actually a true story. I had never heard of The Wager before and by the time I read the synopsis, I added it to my “Want To Read” list.

From Good Reads:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon, a page-turning story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. The powerful narrative reveals the deeper meaning of the events on The Wager, showing that it was not only the captain and crew who ended up on trial, but the very idea of empire.

On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty’s Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as “the prize of all the oceans,” it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing nearly 3,000 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.

But then … six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes – they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death–for whomever the court found guilty could hang.

The Wager is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. Grann’s recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick O’Brian, his portrayal of the castaways’ desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as The Endurance, and his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with Grann’s work, the incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound.

I recently finished listening to the audio version of this book, and I really enjoyed it. I understand that the book might be for everyone. As a lover of history and true stories of survival, I couldn’t wait to read it.

It was the perfect audio book for the drive to and from work. There were times that I was amazed that they survived as long as they had. It was no Gilligan’s Island, that’s for sure. It was a unique and eye opening read.

Another year passes …

Today I finished my 53rd trip around the sun. Birthdays stopped being special to me a long time ago. They are just another day. However, I will tell you that today was a birthday I won’t soon forget. Let me tell you why …

Ella has been talking about my birthday for months. She’s known that mine was coming up and eventually the “next” one. So she told Sam that she was going to get all the stuff for my “party.”

So her and Sam went to the store to order my cake. She told the woman that she was positive that I loved princesses, so this was the cake they brought home:

Ella sang Happy Birthday loud and proud and both kids helped me blow out my candles.

Yes, I did wear the tiara and hold the scepter after cutting the cake.

Sam and the kids got me the coolest card and a book I have had on my Amazon wishlist for some time. Once I get through the library books I have, I will be diving into this one.

They also got me an amazing shirt. The card and shirt go together as they are both from Bluey, the cartoon I just love! Perhaps mom was trying for a Bluey theme, but the princess won out!

We even had princess plates!!

If you are wondering about the tiara and scepter – don’t worry, there is a princess at our house making good use of them!

I also heard from my dad first thing this morning. He got a chuckle out of my cake. My oldest son called me this morning too. My middle son texted on his way home from the bus stop to send birthday wishes. There were countless text messages and birthday wishes on Facebook, too.

As much as I hate counting the years (and still claim to be 39 every year like Jack Benny) it is nice to know that so many folks will take a brief moment out of their day to send a birthday greeting. It’s almost overwhelming, but it is a reminder of just how blessed I am.

Guest Blog: Libraries Are Important!

You have probably noticed that I have been talking about a lot more books recently. This is not by accident. I am reading more. I have always loved to read, but never seem to find the time to do it. I have made it a point to read more and am utilizing the local library more than ever.

It is sad to think that people don’t believe that libraries are important anymore. It is true, though. Many just don’t realize how important they are. My brother, Christopher, has worked in a library for many years and I thought it would be interesting to take his answers and post them here as a guest blog. I truly hope that you will enjoy reading this as much as I did.

Without any further ado, here is my brother Christopher:

My Journey in the World of a Public Library

Libraries have always had a special place in my heart and being offered the opportunity to spend some time sharing my experiences, answering questions, while also providing some thoughts on what I see as the future of libraries is special gift and I am grateful for it. I’ll start by providing a little background of my career.

I started my library career as a Page at the Walt Whitman Branch of the Warren Public Library in Warren, Michigan in 1991. At the start, it was simply a much better after school job than working in fast food and would be a means to allow me a decent pay check to do what I wanted to do. However, the longer I worked there and the more I demonstrated my enthusiasm, the more responsibilities I was assigned. I loved it. I was learning so much and enjoying what I was doing.

However, despite the director telling me multiple times that they’d get me full time, the bureaucracy of the city and the unions, made it seem impossible. At first, I was determined to stick it out, but then I visited a library in Columbus and it changed my mind. I had been contemplating moving out on my own for a while and seeing this beautiful library inspired me to take an application (yes, this was still when applications were on paper) that day and truly considered moving.

In August of 1994, I was hired as a General Aide in the Technical Services Department of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. It was the start of one of the greatest journeys I’ve ever taken. I’m proud to say that I started at the ground floor and worked my way up to where I am today, a Customer Service Manager.

On to the questions:

(Keith: So I asked a bunch of random questions, in no particular order. Please excuse the “all over the road” order of them.)

At one library branch close to home, they actually have a booth for podcasting!  What do you think the future of libraries looks like?

The role of libraries has evolved dramatically over the years and many will debate if all are true fits. Library’s are no longer the solemn little rooms where librarians shush you for making too much noise. Libraries today are vibrant and active community hubs where customers from all walks of life enter to enrich their lives. We have to continually adapt and evolve to meet the needs of our customers and sometimes that means offering services and programs beyond books. For example, during the pandemic we immediately saw the impact moving the majority of resources to online only was to our lower-income families. Customers who never used a computer before were now desperate for help in filing for unemployment, job searching, getting their children logged in for school. Libraries were the lifelines for so many people. Where else can you go and get help for free?

What’s the most interesting question you’ve been asked by a patron?

When a customer doesn’t know the title of the book, but knows something about it. Sometimes this can lead to some of the most fun or the most frustrating interactions because it becomes all about the hunt. There are some amazing resources available to libraries that help with storyline and plot and others that are great with generalities. Speaking for myself just hearing a question along the lines of “it is a juvenile book about a female who worked for NASA”, brings me excitement. There are so many questions to ask because sometimes you might know right away and other times it could be something you have no knowledge on. The look of surprise and satisfaction on the customer’s face when you find it, it is priceless.

Is there one genre of books that seems to be the most popular?

This is truly based on the community the library serves. For example, there are 23 locations in my library’s system and while we try to ensure that all locations have materials and resources that meet the needs of a fair and balanced collection, the neighborhood itself has different needs and interests and will tend to have more on subjects and genres that are popular for that community. I’m going to purposely avoid children’s materials (picture books, board books, etc.) as they are always high circulating items, so my answers here are going to focus more on adult materials.

My current location is a high circulating branch where fiction and non-fiction both circulate really well. General fiction tends to be high here and subjects like cook books, graphic novels, and biographies are also popular. At other locations Mysteries or Urban / African American fiction might be the higher circulating items, while at another it could be Horror or Decorating. One of the biggest growing non-fiction collections over the years is Graphic Novels and Manga. It seemed for a while (early-mid 90’s) that libraries didn’t give much value to Graphic Novels as they were deemed “just comic books” and Manga was just a passing fad. I truly believe that part of that changed because libraries really started thinking about Teens and discovering that we couldn’t offer them the same programs or spaces in our buildings as we did for children. Once we started tailoring collections and programs to teens, Graphic Novels and Manga just exploded and it is an amazing cross-over between children and adult materials. I’ve read some graphic novels that are far better written and with a better storyline than some popular fiction.  

Do your library host a community event that you enjoy or look forward to?

My library system hosts numerous events throughout the year. This year in particular is our Sesquicentennial (150) celebration so we are doing far more programs and events that we might in a normal year. On March 4, 2023, each location hosted a birthday celebration for their communities and offered special programs all day.

How has technology changed the role of a librarian?

One of the most noticeable changes is that libraries no longer have massive collections of reference materials. Before the internet, to locate the answer to many questions you had to look it up in a book. Libraries purchased more maps, atlases, encyclopedias, almanacs, car repair manuals, price guides . . . you name it. The internet changed that and now we have electronic resources that provide vast arrays of information; and actually, the information is timelier and more accurate.

Back when we were kids, dad used to rent that 8mm projector for us to watch movies. What kind of equipment is popular to rent today?

This is another of those questions that I just love to think about. I’ve worked in libraries for over 30 years now and I’ve seen things come and go (e.g. VHS tapes, Audio-tapes, CD-ROMs). Additionally, working with a cooperative of library systems in my state, I also see how vast and diverse the offerings can be. Some examples of things I know library systems circulate are: video games, records, hotspots, board games, and guitars). Some libraries also offer in-library use only for laptops and tablets. One of the newer editions we’ve added at my library system is Culture Passes. A culture pass allows admission to other Ohio organizations. Some of our passes included the Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus Zoo, Columbus Symphony, and Ballet Met.

What’s the most unique item in your library’s collection?

I had to reach out to a friend who works in our Local History and Genealogy department for help on this.  This stereograph is one of the earliest known photographs of downtown Columbus.

This postcard of the Ohio Penitentiary is actually made from leather.

A few more links they shared with me.

Our LHG department has really been working hard for many years to digitize as much of their collection as possible. During COVID closures and partial re-openings we were able to send them extra staff to help with scanning and they were able to get over a years-worth of work done in just a couple of months.

What is the biggest misconception about libraries?

“It must be such a calm and peaceful job where you can just sit and read all day”. I always laugh when people say that to me because it couldn’t be further from the truth. As I said before, libraries are vibrant and exciting community hubs where customers come to get support and information. As with any job, there are indeed quiet times but those are rare. On any given day you have story time taking place, customers have conversations, people using computers for research or job hunting, staff performing tasks as shelving and checking in materials. This is movement and life happening in our buildings.

At the same time, we are also open to all which means that we get customers from all walks of life coming in. We are a public institution which means we are dealing with the public all day long and some times it isn’t always easy. We have incidents where customers yell, argue, fight, sleep, and threaten staff. Thankfully, for many of our locations these are rare – but it is a fact of dealing with the general public.

What is the most important role that the library plays in the community?

Libraries are Open to All. That means we welcome everyone into our spaces without judgment. We are a vast resource to communities whether it is for education or enjoyment. You want a great book – we’ve got it. You to do research on your family – we can help you. You need to apply for a job online for the first time – we’ll help you. You need resources on shelters and food pantries – here is a list. You need a space to study – we’ve got study rooms. You need a space to host your business meeting – we’ve got meeting rooms.

We may not always have exactly what you need, but we’ll do what we can to help you locate it or tell you where you can find it.

How do you stay up to date with new material?  Do they advance books to you?

Most libraries purchase materials through one of two major book vendors, Baker and Taylor or Ingram. My library system uses Baker and Taylor and we are able to purchase items approximately 3-4 months before they are released. In our Collection Services department we have a team of selectors who primary job is to purchase materials for the entire system. Obviously, there are authors and subjects we’ll always buy (James Patterson, Danielle Steele, Cookbooks, Medical) and distribute throughout our locations, but the selectors also know what subjects are popular at each location and will attempt to send those items to those locations.

My library system is fortunate in that we have a very healthy budget for materials so we can order high quantities of materials to ensure we have plenty of copies and meet demands in a timely fashion. 

What’s the most rewarding part of working in the library?

That I work for an organization whose values (Respect, Integrity & Inspiration) are ones that I believe in and support. That on any given day I could make an impact on a colleague or customer’s day just by being kind and approaching situations with an open mind. Seeing a customer cry with joy because I was willing to waive the replacement cost of an item is a feeling you can’t forget. I’ve had my fair share of customers who have called me every derogatory name you think of or use every curse word known to man, but those pale in comparison to the far more joyful examples I could share.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned working for the library?

When I started working in libraries I never realized how much I would learn about mental health, socio-economic issues, diversity, and education gaps. Being Open To All truly means you see all works of life every single day, no matter what part of the city you work in. Issues effect all classes, all genders, and all races, you have to be willing to put your own issues and bias aside and do what you can to provide service. Sadly, we can’t do it all and unfortunately some are not willing to hear that. However, you have to be willing to keep smiling and push on try to not become jaded.

Libraries are important to many people who don’t have Internet access.  Do you have issues with people accessing things they shouldn’t?

In order to receive certain funding, we do have to have a filtering software on our computers to ensure that content harmful to minors is blocked. As with any software it is not 100% accurate and sometime things slip through or topics that shouldn’t be blocked (breast cancer) are. However, according to the law anyone over the age of 17 who provides a photo ID can request to have the filter removed. In those cases, a security screen is provided to the customer. We also will not remove the filter on computers located in children or teen areas or in School Help Centers.

Now, that is not to say that customers who request the filter to be removed are indeed viewing inappropriate things, as I said the filter is not always correct. However, it is possible. We have had police arrive in our buildings before and arrest someone at our computers for viewing child pornography. It is rare, but again a sad fact of life.

However, I would also say that since my library system re-opened during the pandemic I have not once removed the filter. The majority of customers using our computers are doing research, job hunting, resume writing, or just simply watching videos on YouTube.

With thousands of books coming out every day, is there a process for “weeding out” old material?  Is there always one copy of something saved somewhere?

Libraries have to weed their collections regularly or they would simply run out of room on their shelves. There are many factors that go into how often your collection is weeded. Some of the things to think about would be: popularity (is it still circulating well, is the author still popular); does it include out of date information (e.g. old medical practices or out of date laws); has it been superseded by newer editions (encyclopedias); do we have the funds to replace or buy more. There are always certain authors and titles that we will routinely purchase replacements for. Examples would be titles considered classics like Hemingway, Shakespeare, and etc.

My library system would be considered a popular library because we tend to focus our materials on high interest and topical themes. However, that isn’t to say we don’t keep some older or rare titles. At our Main Library we have a department called Local History and Genealogy that focuses on rare materials related to Ohio. They have a rare book room but you aren’t going to find every copy of someone like James Patterson sitting there or even an old edition of something like A Christmas Carol

How do donations or book sales/fairs benefit the library?

Libraries are non-profit and our budgets come from levies, taxes, and here in Ohio a public library fund included in the state budget. We have an organization called The Friends of the Library and a Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation that are separate entities from us and can actually raise funds to help supplement our budget. Book sales are huge events that bring in lots of money that the Friends of the Library then use to run a store in our Main Library as well as provide support to our Summer Reading Challenge and other events where our budget may not allow us to do all we want to do. The Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation also fundraises and seeks donations to help with building projects, support programs.

Is there an author that you have met that you found interesting? 

While we have hosted many, many famous authors over the years, it is not always possible for staff to do much interacting with them unless you are working directly with their event. I’ve been able to meet numerous local authors and some famous authors in the Graphic Novel genre since we host events for a festival called Cartoon Crossroads. I got to meet Judd Winick who has written and drawn for Marvel and DC. He was so kind and personable.

When a book or item is checked out, it isn’t always properly treated right.  How often do you find yourself replacing items because of this?

Damaged items are something that each location encounters on a weekly basis. Sometimes it may range from something as simple as a torn page to something as grievous as a book that is warped and mold due to some type of liquid damage. We really try to look at each damaged item and determine is this normal wear and tear or is this malicious. Something like a tear or a dust jacket that is coming loose or ripped would fall into the category of wear and tear and we would not charge the customer for it. It also depends on what type of material is damaged. Is it a kid’s paperback or board book? We probably have enough copies in the system that we don’t worry about it and don’t charge. Water damage, mold, urine, burnt, dog chewed, those are the types of damage that don’t happen just from every day use. We’re going to charge the customer for the replacement cost. Some libraries include processing fees and possibly overdue fees as well, but my library system doesn’t charge overdue fines or processing fees. Fees from damaged items goes back into our materials budget and our selectors decide whether to replace that item or purchase another item.

How often do you host signing events with authors – local or famous?

My library system hosts authors every couple of months and for different events. We have a series called the Carnegie Author Series where authors are hosted at our Main Library downtown with seating up to 500-800 people. During themed weeks like Teen Read Week we host Teen genre authors who do a presentation at Main and then maybe visits one or two branches as well. Local authors are also hosted, usually at the branch in their neighborhood.

Our local library has a story time for kids once a month.  Does the library ever host something like that or maybe a book club meeting?  

We love to program. Each location can tailor programs to their community’s wants and needs, but each location is doing something at least once a week. Here in my current location Story Time takes place twice on Monday through Thursday with each day geared to a specific age group (Babies, Toddlers, Pre-School, and Family). Monday through Friday we have a School Help Center open from 3:30-6:30. We have an art café’ program for teens twice a week and a once a week D&D club. We tend to take a three week break in May as we prepare for Summer Reading Challenge where we will have 3-4 programs a day June – July. August gets another three weeks break and then its right back into our standard story times and teen programs.

We haven’t done much adult programming here in a while and it is definitely something we want to bring back. We’re really hoping to bring more diverse options for not just adults but for all ages as well. We’re hoping to kick this off more once Summer Reading Challenge is over.

For the first time ever, we are hosting a Book Festival this July in honor of our Sesquicentennial Celebration. It will be a huge two-day event at our Main Library and the Topiary Park directly behind the building.

So many people feel like libraries should go away.  Personally, I have been actively using the library for books, music, and many other things.  What is your argument for why they are vital?

If the COVID pandemic taught me anything, it was how incredibly necessary libraries are for a community. The vast majority of customers who needed help navigating a new digital world that was not ready for it was overwhelming. Everything went online and sadly, if customers didn’t have the skills or comfort dealing with technology they just gave up.

Libraries across the country became the places where companies and organizations told customers to go – because they didn’t have the time or patience to help their own customers. Even before we allowed customers back inside the buildings we were copying and faxing through curbside service. Once we allowed people inside, it was helping people complete job applications, submit payments online, complete unemployment applications. Additionally, many of our locations offer summer lunch or afternoon snack for children and we had to adapt move to a grab-and-go service instead of being able to offer children a chance to sit down and eat a healthy meal.

Libraries became and continue to be lifelines to our community whether it is for education and knowledge, social services, and basic life skills.

Did a love for books growing up influence you to work in a library?

I would say that at first, I didn’t make that connection as I thought it was just a part-time job. However now that I am a bit older, I see my love of books helped me truly see the value and joy in what I was doing.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of working for a public library?  Any suggestions for what they need to do?

Be realistic in your expectations. Visit a library and actually look at what staff and customers are doing. Don’t assume that we just sit and read all day – we don’t. We’re there to serve the public and provide service to customers from all walks of life. It isn’t always going to be easy. Some days are definitely better than others. Budgets are not always great. Children will make a mess and be loud. Technology changes all the time. Be realistic and true to what it is you want. You can make wonderful connections and truly impact someone’s life without even knowing it.


I cannot begin to thank my brother, Christopher for taking the time to answer these questions. Let me say here publicly that I could not be more proud of him. As he stated, he came up through the ranks and is a respected manager now. He is passionate about his work and his work makes a difference in his community. His library system is lucky to have such an amazing employee who truly cares about his co-workers and the patrons.

Final Thoughts

As I began to check more and more books out of the library, I knew I wanted to write a blog that would stress the importance of a local library. I kept trying to find a way to express this, but always seemed to come up short. Then I asked my brother if he might be willing to help. In a sense, he wrote this entire blog!

I guess the point I was hoping to make was that libraries are not obsolete, if anything they are the exact opposite. They are essential to local communities. They are more than just lending out books. They serve a vital role in our society.

Today I encourage you to visit your local library. Renew that library card. Check out the best seller lists. Get a Good Reads or Story Graph account. Find other blogs that feature book recommendations. Get lost in a good book. Let your imagination run wild! You will not regret it!

(Thanks Chris! I appreciate you taking the time to be a part of this, I love you!)