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1. The Book Review Club - Shift

Shift
Jennifer Bradbury
May 2008
Atheneum
ISBN: 978-1-4169-4732-5
Retail: $16.99

Jen and I spoke together on a panel at NCTE, and I got her book then. I've been meaning to read it ever since. I'm so glad I finally did.

Shift
is the story of two 18 year-old high school graduates, Win and Chris, who bicycle across America the summer before college starts. It's a journey of self discovery, a YA coming of age story about how the journey is the goal, where you end up may not be where you were headed.

The story is told in retrospective. Chapters alternate deftly between reflection and present day events. Win disappears on the trip shortly before the two reach the West Coast. When he doesn't show up to start college at Dartmouth, his wealthy and influential father begins a search for him. He sends his FBI buddy to Chris at Georgia Tech to start the search, ultimately forcing Chris to find his friend before Win's father ruins Chris' life.

Author, Jen Bradbury, took a similar trip with her husband after they were married, a two month trek across America on a bike. Her experiences give this story an organic, I've-been-there feel. It makes me want to pull my mountain bike out of the garage and give it a go. It also reminds me a little of Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance and the idea that nature, landscape, the world around us can only truly be experienced if you put yourself in the middle of it,not watch it pass by through a window.

This is a great summer read. It'll have you longing for open spaces, the taste of a hearty meal after a day of grueling exercise, the welcome softness of the cool earth against your back and the glory of the wide open spaces, creeks, rivers and plains that beckon us to experience them firsthand. If ever there was a road trip book, this is it! Sign me up.

For more great reviews and must reads, head over to Book Review Club central, Barrie Summy's site. There are some real temptations waiting there that even the most reluctant reader won't be able to pass up.

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2. Shift

Every now and then, what we all need in our lives is a bit of suspense. I've been reading quite a few young adult novels lately and I can't really tell you that I've come across a whole lot of suspense during my reading. That is, until I read Shift.

Written by Jennifer Bradbury, the suspense starts within the first few pages when we meet Chris and his best buddy Winston. The pair are graduating from high school and as one last adventure before they go off to the colleges their parents are insisting they attend, they've decided to take a bike trip across the country. Unfortunately, once the trip has ended, only Chris returns. Win is nowhere to be found and Chris doesn't have any answers to give the people that want them.

Alternating between Chris's first week at college, intertwined with the investigation launched into finding Win, and the actual bike trip the guys took, allowing the reader to search for clues as to where Win might have gone and how he decided to leave. Though the boys had been best friends forever, it becomes clear that Chris didn't know his friend nearly as well as he thought he did, leaving him to question if he even knows himself.

Though a tad bit predictable, Shift is definitely one of the better coming-of-age books I've read this year. Chris is a great main character, carrying an air of sadness around with him, leaving the reader to sympathize with the situation he is in because of his friend. The suspense is constantly felt as well, not to mention a great sense of adventure when the tales of the bike trip are being told. It made me want to break out my bike and helmet (though I would probably ride around the block, not across the country)!

If you're interested in learning more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.

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3. Shift by Jennifer Bradbury


shiftChris and Win have been best friends for years, less because of anything they had in common than for the simple reason that neither one had any other friends. And while Win’s antics sometimes aggravate Chris, their friendship lasts through their senior year of high school, when they set off on a post-graduation bike trip across the country.

Chris’ mother was afraid of what might happen to Chris on the trip; Win’s parent’s frankly didn’t care. None of them expected that when Chris returned home at the end of the summer, it would be without Win, who ditched Chris with no explanation just short of Seattle, their final destination.

As Chris starts his freshman year at Georgia Tech, he learns that Win didn’t just ditch him, he’s disappeared. Win’s wealthy and powerful father, who never seemed to approve of anything Win did, is now desperate to find him. And since Chris, as far as anyone knows, was the last person to have seen Win, Chris is the one under pressure—or is that suspicion?—in the form of questioning by an FBI agent and not-so-subtle threats from Win’s father, to discover what exactly happened to Win.

After a bumpy first couple of pages, I really enjoyed Shift, Jennifer Bradbury’s debut novel. Bradbury’s author bio notes that “she and her husband took a two-month long bicycling trek from Charleston, South Carolina, to Los Angeles, California,” and you definitely get a sense of this in the book, from the people and small towns Chris and Win encounter, to the technical details of planning and actually completing such a trip. The story is told by Chris, but the time frame alternates with each chapter, switching back and forth from Chris’ current perspective, as he learns that Win never returned home and attempts to find out what happened, and flashbacks covering the events of the bike trip. And it’s all told in such a way that unfolds smoothly, that never left me feeling cheated or upset that certain information was (or was not) withheld. Instead, I was drawn into the story and invested in the characters.

Plus, I’ll admit that it was very refreshing to read a book about the friendship between two teenaged boys and growing up, with no wars, no trying to hook up with a love interest, and no spying involved.

Shift is a Cybils YA Fiction nominee.

      

3 Comments on Shift by Jennifer Bradbury, last added: 11/24/2008
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4. In the Book Reviewer Hot Seat: Reader Rabbit

Next up for the hot seat, Reader Rabbit! Erm, or should that be hot seats--I see there are actually two of you! Okay, well this should be interesting... But just in case, let's also give away a book--just leave a comment to be entered to win Shift by Jennifer Bradbury! (Deadline to enter is June 29th, winner announced June 30th).


What's your handle? Reader Rabbit 1 & 2
What kind of books do you review? We primarily review YA but we'll review anything if it sounds good.
Approx # of books reviewed? About 40 and counting!
Where can we find your reviews? Readerrabbit.blogspot.com/ or on Chapters.ca
Reading turn-ons: Strong, well-developed characters, and descriptive writing. Any genre's good, though.
Reading turn-offs:
RR2: Annoying, and unrealistic characters, who get on my nerves. And then I want to shoot them. *waves gun, enthusiastically*
RR1: Ummm, RR2?
RR2: Uh, sorry *hastily puts gun away* Maybe not to that extent.
RR1: Agreed and slow moving plots can really put me off.
RR2: Slow beginnings are okay, though. Some of the best books I've read have slow beginnings.

Class of 2K8 books reviewed:
RR2: May I take this opportunity to gush enthusiastically about Shift? *gushes*
RR1: Ooh, yes, we loved Shift. One of the best books I've read this year.
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
Read my Lips
And expect reviews of A Difficult Boy, Bewitching Season and The Lucky Place are coming up soon!



Yay, we can't wait! We love the crazy handles book reviewers come up with—tell us how you came up with yours! A little bit about how you got into book reviewing would be cool too.

RR1: Do any of you remember those old Reader Rabbit Children's games...we were avid players. (LALAA WE'RE TOTALLY ORIGINAL)
RR2: *hums Reader Rabbit theme song*

Describe your grading system and how that translates to the reader?

RR1: Basically we average the score that we think the book deserves in rereadability, originality, characterization and it all adds up to how much we like it, out of 10. We're planning on changing the system soon so that all the categories are separately scored per review so look out of that coming soon...

That should be interesting! How do you pick the books you review? Or are they picked for you? Do you ever read books that wouldn't normally interest you—and if so have you ever been surprised by what you've read?

RR2: If we're sent a book by an author or publisher, then we'll review it for sure. Other books we might review because we have something to say about it, or we just want to recommend it, because we think it's great.

What are the best ways to find new books? Any advice for authors about getting their book noticed by reviewers?

RR1: The best way to find good books are to read our blog, of course.;) Ha, just kidding. But that is one way.
RR2: Another way is to read authors blogs. They often have recommendations. Or I suppose you could ask your librarian. Or, if you're anything like me then you may just stare at the bookshelf and choose whichever book pops out at you the most.
RR1: Advice? Hmm..well, sending us a review copy works…or really, just write a really good book. Good books speak for themselves.
RR2: Or if you want to be sure that we'll read it, then, you could just wave it in our face. That is a sure way to get it noticed.
RR1: That too, I suppose.

And don't forget to send carrots, right? Sorry, bad interviewer. Moving along, if you really aren't feeling a book—will you make the ultimate sacrifice and finish it for the sake of the review?

RR1: For sure, especially if someone has taken the trouble to send it to us for reviewing.

If you really love a book—will you read it again? If so—what are some of the books you just had to read more than once?

We adore rereading. I swear I've read every single book on my shelf at least 10 times, so I'll pick the ones I've reread a gazillion times!
RR1: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas and City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
RR2: Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Both: All 7 Harry Potters <3>Great choices!

Do you have a basic philosophy on what should be included in a review—or does it depend on the book itself?

RR1: Well, we always include a summary, and some points on why we thought the book was good or bad.
RR2: But, really it depends on the book. Some books we'll have more to say on than others.

Tell us about the last time your jaw dropped open, you laughed, or you cried while reading a book.

RR2: Hey, I never cry.
RR1: Uh, yeah, you do. You totally cried when you read The Book Thief.
RR2: Uh, no I didn-oh, fine, I did. But it was only a little. And, you cried when , when…
RR1: HA, you can't think of anything.
RR2: Well, you laughed when you read The Squad books. You laugh when things aren't even funny.
RR1: But Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Squad books are great, so check them out!

Did you know Book Chic almost cried reading Alive and Well in Prague, New York? Just sayin'. Is there any character in a book that you wish would come to life? Or any place you wish existed?

RR2: Oh, yes, I wish that Eugenides from The Thief would come to life. (I mean, who doesn't?) And Flannery from the Basic Eight so I can figure out how mentally stable she really is.
RR1: *dreamily* I wish for Edward. No explanation necessary of course.
RR2: Uh-huh. Well, for places I was going to say Bayern from Shannon Hale's books, but then I realized that Bayern was real.
RR1: uh…no, it isn't.
RR2: Uh, look over there, I can see Enna Isilee galloping across- oh
RR1: yeah.

Focus rabbits! What books do you find yourself recommending over and over and why?

RR2: The King of Attolia, and The Book Thief because they ROCK.
RR1: Uh, I don't think that's a good enough reason…
RR2: But it's true. Besides, I bet you can't do any better than me.
RR1: Bet you I can. *smugly* I do everything better than you.
RR2: Oh, yeah! Well, what about that time when you-
RR1: *whispers* Be quiet or I'll tell them about that other time-
RR2: I mean, do continue.
RR1: Harry Potter because-
RR2: You don't need to recommend that. Everyone's heard of it.
RR1: *elbows*
RR2: Owwww…
RR1: Anyway, Twilight because Edward's in it.
RR2: Typical. Jacob's better! UNITE, JACOB-FANS, UNITE!
RR1: *ignores RR2* And Fearless by Francine Pascal. They're so entertaining and the story just absorbs you with its quick pace.
RR2: Well, The King of Attolia because I love the way that the author allows you to figure out things on your own and I love the surprises that she throws in (and then you go back and realize that were she was hinting about it all along). It has a little bit of romance, quite of a lot of trickery and believable characters. The Book Thief, on the other hand- hey! Are you listening?
RR1: *snores*
RR2: ahem.
RR1: Wha-? Umm…that was brilliant. Wait, what were you talking about again?

Okay, this should wake RR1 up, our Extra Scandalous Question (note the capital letters! That means wake up!!)—really bad reviews—do you ever fear giving them? Ever had an author get upset with you? (It's okay—you can tell us, just don't name names!) And what advice do you have for authors who get a bad review?

RR2: Yes, I hate the idea of giving a bad review because I can hardly imagine the time and effort spent on such an enormous task. You'll notice that on our blog there are very few negative reviews. This is mainly because our blog was created to recommend books and we don't like to review books we don't like because we know that a book we may hate may be loved by someone else.

So, chances are the negative reviews seen on our site are reviews of books sent to us for review-as per our policy we review every book we receive. And if we dislike a book, we will give an honest review.

Advice? Hmm...just to not take it personally- remember that it's only my opinion. It's nothing personal. And I may hate a book that the rest of the world may love. Besides for all you know, I was grouchy the day I read it or maybe it was just personal taste. Either that or I spent too many hours listening to RR1 worship Edward…

Note: This conversation is (almost) entirely manufactured. In case you're wondering, this blog is not written by one schizophrenic-there are actually two of us. And we are not as crazy as we sound. RR1 is not an Edward-worshiper (well, not that much anyway). RR2 has never touched a gun in her life, and plans to keep it that way, and also, she does not hallucinate. (At least as far as she knows).

Yeah, right....we believe you (erm...both). We also believe you love Shift by Jennifer Bradbury--so much so we are giving a copy away--all you have to do is comment to be entered to win! (deadline to enter is June 29th--winner will be announced Monday June 30th)

"(Shift) is riveting, from the start to the finish, once I started I was unable to stop until I'd consumed the entire book.So basically, anyone (boy, girl, alien...) should pick Jennifer Bradbury's debut (Class of 2k8 baby!) up." Reader Rabbit

35 Comments on In the Book Reviewer Hot Seat: Reader Rabbit, last added: 6/29/2008
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5. Shameless Saturday

Give us a week and SHAZAM good news bursts forth. It's literary lava and we are HOT!


RAVE REVIEWS

Nina Nelson’s Bringing the Boy Home received a glowing review from Kirkus. “"Told in two distinctive voices, this imaginative and beautifully realized novel, set in the Amazon, tells the story of two boys from the fictional Takunami tribe…their stories connect in a surprising yet totally believable way, giving psychological depth to this richly hued novel about the winding turns of destiny and the bonds between father and son, tribe and family.”

The Story Siren said Regina Scott’s “La Petite Four has a little bit of everything; mystery, suspense, romance and of course really beautiful dresses! The plot is interesting and captivating.” They also refer to Regina as an “awesome writer.”

BIZ BUZZ

M.P. Barker got an excellent write up in The Republican and was a featured author on Red Room.

Jennifer Bradbury’s Shift will be published in Dutch!

Teri Brown’s book trailer for Read My Lips is featured on CBS’s You Tube.

Laura Bowers is known for her amusing author interviews. Check out her latest 1-on-1 in which Daphne Grab confesses to singing to her cat.

Not only has Marissa Doyle been a featured author on the Fantasy Debut blogspot, her Bewitching Season was named in the editor's ten best summer reads for older readers in Scholastic’s Instructor, a magazine for teachers.

Sarah Prineas talks about killing your darlings aka revising as a guest blogger on Darcy Patterson’s Revision Notes. Even better, Czech and Slovak rights to The Magic Thief trilogy were sold to publisher Fortuna. That's a total of 12 languages, plus the UK/Australia!

Who knew Lisa Schroeder was an expert juggler?!? But she says as much in this great interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith. And I Heart You, You Haunt Me is going to be published in Polish. It’s official…2k8 is international!

Pittsburgh’s Lux did an awesome interview with Brooke Taylor (her first!). Check it out!

Sarah Beth Durst (Into the Wild) recently interviewed our Zu Vincent about her essay in the Teen Libris anthology, Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia.

Annie Wedekind’s new website is a must see in addition to her post about the love affair between girls and horses on the Feiwel and Friends blog.

1 Comments on Shameless Saturday, last added: 6/5/2008
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6. Day 4: Learning From Mistakes

As writers we often learn things about our industry and craft through trial and error. It can be painful at times, but inevitably we survive these experiences being smarter and stronger. We asked Jennifer Bradbury if there was anything that made her think she might never get published.

I never thought I'd get published when I started trying to write YA back in 2002. I learned about the Delacorte press contest for first Young Adult Novel and decided that I would try and write and submit to this contest—having a deadline has always helped me be more productive. That first year, I actually got a really nice, detailed rejection, and ended up speaking with the editor and resubmitting later. I blew it, but felt the next year, when I submitted a story that I thought was way, way better that things would go differently. And they did. But not well. I got the standard, speedy form rejection.

And I was devastated.

Now when I look back at that manuscript, I realize it isn't even close to as wonderful as I thought it was then. But at the time, I was certain it represented the best I could ever pull off. Was certain it was superior to the one I'd submitted the year before. And I sort of folded up and felt sorry for myself for a while.

Eventually, I started revising, bought a copy of The Children's Writers and Illustrators Market, and started querying agents with that same story. And though no one ever bought it, getting through that disappointment was necessary and made me a better writer.

Incidentally, I submitted an early, very rough version of SHIFT to the contest as well (because by then, I'd sort of established a pattern of writing a novel a year and getting rejected). And whether it just wasn't ready, or the people opening the envelopes were put off by the fact that my well-meaning friend (who I had print and submit it for me because we were still out of the country) printed it double sided, I'll never know. But that rejection came back even more quickly than the two before it!


Double-sided? Eek! We're betting that's it. Tomorrow we're going to get to know Jennifer a little better by flipping through her photo album. We'll find out why she was in jail and where she found state-shaped blocks of cheese.

1 Comments on Day 4: Learning From Mistakes, last added: 5/16/2008
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7. “web services” doesn’t mean just getting a better website

Karen Coombs explains why web services isn’t just about a better website and also explains what some of the sacred cows are that keep library websites from being better.

[M]eeting your users where they are isn’t about making them come to the library website. In considering our long term virtual presence plans, the library website is a given. People who come to the site know we exist and want to use our services. To truly be successful we have to get our content into the path of the people who wouldn’t walk through our door (physical or virtual).

I like Karen’s talks about her work website specifically because she’s part of a larger team that all needs to work together to roll out new services to their faculty, student and staff population. I feel lucky because I often have carte blanche in the tiny sites for tiny libraries that I design. I also have very little reach with those sites. That’s okay for what I’m trying to do, but if I had to bring together multiple different stakeholders and make them happy with a website — including those designing, for example, for 800 x 600 resolution screens — I’m sure I’d find it very challenging indeed.

I’m en route to Nova Scotia today, speaking at NSLA and at a Learning 2.0 program with Ryan Deschamps, but when I get back I hope to show off my own collaborative project, turning the Vermont Library Association site into a bloggish group-maintained site from a static single-admin site. It’s gotten so that I have enough WordPress admin login pages to keep track of that I’ve shunted them into their own folder on my bookmarks toolbar. Exciting times!

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8. five talks in five days in two countries

So. I just got back from a weeklong trip that took me to Somerville, Nova Scotia and environs, and the Manchester/Hooksett New Hampshire area. You can see some photos. This is what I did there.

  • I went to a brown bag lunch with the Dalhousie students which I mentioned a few days ago. It was really a good time. It was the first brown bag lunch session of the year and there was a big group of first and second year students there, as well as a few faculty members. People had done their homework and had really interesting questions to ask me from many different facets of what I do. We had a nice talk.
  • I helped Ryan Deschamps kick off the Learning 2.0 program he is doing at Halifax Public Libraries. I gave a talk on Learning 2.0 called Smart Tiny Tech and hung around for some of the other activities. The Learning 2.0 program is such a fun and non-threatening way to get people really digging under the hood learning some technology topics, I love seeing it being rolled out.
  • I gave a talk at NSLA about Library 2.0 topics, a little more “big picture” and a little less specific. I like doing this talk because I can always take the general outline and add local 2.0 examples so it doesn’t look like all 2.0 development is at Ann Arbor District Library and a few other techie-seeming places. My favorite new find was the Natural Resources Library of Canada (Ottowa) and their del.icio.us links.
  • Sunday I came home to the states, but not quite back to Vermont. Today I went to the NHLA Everything You Always Wanted to Know About 2.0 workshop where I presented with Andrea and Lichen. I gave a talk about Flickr and del.icio.us and one about Open Source Software which was a modification of Eric Goldhagen’s open source talk that I linked to here (direct link to his ppt). Then we stuck around for the gadget session and the geek session where we actually got a significant amount of hands-on time with the things we had been talking about. This was a really great and often-overlooked thing to be able to do.

Now I’m home and I’m uploading pictures and digging through backed up email and getting ready to start my work week tomorrow after some serious time off. Thanks to everyone who made the trip not just possible but enjoyable. update: Lichen has links to her talks and notes from the day up as well.

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9. Access 2007 - quick report from the floor

My talk went well. It was scary (keynote!), early (8:30!), and multimedia (slides, video, me doing the blah blah part). I have this problem basically not being able to remember a thing I said after I get off the microphone BUT this time I wrote the talk out first, and this time I think it was even recorded. I’ll keep you posted on that. Here are my slides, notes and some more links. Thanks to everyone who paid close attention, blogged about it, and/or laughed at my jokes, and thanks to the conference planners for inviting me and encouraging me to make the trip.

5 Comments on Access 2007 - quick report from the floor, last added: 10/12/2007
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10. four talks in six days in two countries

If the title sounds familiar, it’s because it is. I’ve been trying to combine more of my public speaking trips which means more weird weeks like this one and that one, but it works out a lot better on my end. After I got back to Massachusetts from Access, I drove over to NELA and gave three talks there. I really enjoy NELA but there were some complications this time around mostly involving iffy wireless (and hotel staff who were just repeating what their outsourced IT told them which the IT-librarians knew was a little fishy-sounding, but I digress) which means I wasn’t doing much blogging and had a period of radio silence here and on Flickr and on Scrabulous, etc.

I got home today and I’ve uploaded the latest talks. One was all new, one was a modified version of an earlier talk and one was a talk I gave earlier, but with twice as much time. All of them went really well but I have a sore throat and will be heading to bed as soon as they’re linked here so that I can be bright and bushytailed for work which starts tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who made my trip easier, more pleasant, and fun.

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11. New (YPL) favorite blog

Not super fleshed out, but how cool is it that one of our venerable library institutions has a blog outlining some of the new things they’re trying and evaluating what they’ve already been doing? Please subscribe, right now please, to labs.nypl.org. [thanks pk!]

4 Comments on New (YPL) favorite blog, last added: 10/22/2007
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12. a 2.0 story that doesn’t really involve libraries but does involve saving $12 and a car trip

One of the things I tell people in my 2.0 talks is that the digital divide is becoming about much more than people who have computers/email/web sites and people who don’t. The difference, to me, is people who have folded the web into their day to day lives and those who haven’t. This matters for a few reasons. As I have said before, I think it’s anyone’s personal choice whether they want to use a computer recreationally or not. However as more and more of our government’s services are available either primarily or most easily online, being able to at least navigate the online world becomes important, if not mission critical.

I’ve often thought that I should do a program on “The life of a 2.0-pian” (pretty sure I’ve seen that before) where I outline the many ways in which being able to use the web as another resource makes my life simpler, easier and saves me money. Here is the example that came to mind this week. As some background, when I worked at a public library of medium size, when we needed supplies we had two main choices, possibly three. 1) buy the supply from the Big Catalog 2) send the systems librarian out to Staples to buy the item 3) get the supply ourselves on the way to work (on our own time) and get reimbursed. While I am not one of those “My tax dollars at work!” people, I have to note that this process was rarely cost- or time-efficient for anyone involved except, sometimes, the accountant.

In any case, I was printing out holiday cards this week — I have a group of online friends who swap cards every year, I do not normally do a holiday card thing — and ran out of printer ink. As you know, printer ink is one of those notoriously overpriced items and if it’s something you buy often it’s best to have an angle. The ink I need at Staples is $20. At my local office supply store it is $27. My angle is a price comparison site called dealink.com which lets me search competing ink prices. They told me I could get it for $18.50 shipped, HP brand ink, no knock-offs. That was pretty good. Then I headed over to my favorite coupon site, RetailMeNot to see if they had any online coupons for DataBazaar which had the lowest ink prices. They did. I hope you are noticing that I can link to all these things. I can’t link to the ink page at Staples.com. So, I got an extra $5 off if I bought three (I needed a few anyhow) making my total $48.85, delivered to my door, for three ink cartridges for my photo printer.

So, the reason this matters and why I’m putting this on a libraran-oriented blog is that first, we tend to not buy things this way where I am, in libraries or elsewhere. Getting to Staples from my house takes at least 90 minutes round trip and $5 worth of gasoline and yet we still sometimes act like buying things online is somehow risky or uncharted territory. What’s risky for me is getting on the highway this time of year, to say nothing about the time I’d have to take off from work when there’s work do be done. Second, this is the type of efficency that 2.0 stuff gets us. A computer can compare prices. A computer can stockpile and share coupons. A computer can show me a photo of an item so I can see if it’s the one I want. Letting the computer do these parts of the shopping-for-supplies experience that is one of the less fun parts of librarianship leaves our bodies and big old brains free for doing what a computer can’t do like helping someone navigate their first email account, or doing a storytime puppet show, or having a book group discussion or forgiving someone’s library fines because it’s the holidays or making a book display about the Solstice.

Working on the web isn’t just about collecting real and/or imaginary friends and new interactive ways of sharing photos of your cat, it’s also about saving real time and real money so that you can do real things in your offline world. That’s my twopointopia report, over and out.

11 Comments on a 2.0 story that doesn’t really involve libraries but does involve saving $12 and a car trip, last added: 1/1/2008
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13. LoC goes 2.0!

The Library of Congress is on Flickr! I am charmed by their profile. “Yes. We really are THE Library of Congress.”

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14. Web 2.me - a talk in Montreal

I’ve been getting pretty bad at doing advance notice for some of the public speaking that I’ve been doing and have a resolution of sorts to get better about it. So, this is a few days advance notice that I’ll be in Montreal at the end of the week — have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE Canada lately? I am so lucky it’s close by — to do two things.

  1. Chitchat with McGill students on the evening of the 14th. Yes, I have a date with the McGill School of Information Studies (quick, Google still shows the L word in the school’s name) on Valentine’s Day and think it will be great. McGill is home to The Marginal Librarian which I linked in librarian.net when most of this current group of students would just have been entering high school. How hot is it that their URL still works? Answer: very hot.
  2. The next day I’ll be giving a talk at a “Workshop for Information Professionals” called Web 2.you. There are a bunch of nifty people speaking on topics ranging from the predicted death of Boolean to libraries in Second Life. I’m speaking late in the day about the Library 2.0 idea and social software and their place in libraries generally. If you’re in the Montreal area, it’s a cheap and fun day of talks you might want to check out.

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15. Notes from Montreal talks

I managed to do two talks in two days from the same set of slides that were, in many ways, totally different.

I talked about Library 2.0 stuff to McGill SLIS students on Thursday and then to professional librarians (mostly) today. Good talks, interesting people, all followed up with some delicious food and grand socializing in Montreal, one of my favorite places. If anyone would like to see my list of links and handout, you can see them on this page: Library 2.0 - links & resources. The pdf is sort of large, but the list of links goes to almost all the websites I talked about, and the handout is the standard “places to find me online” if you want to explore a little but don’t know many people using the tools yet.

Thanks to everyone who came out and listened and responded and limboed and chatted with me.

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16. The next batch

If you've just discovered our game, see Monday's blog for details. And remember, this is for fun. The only prize you get is the satisfaction that you're a darn good detective! And the opportunity to get a sneak peek at some gorgeous covers, of course!


Aren't these covers AWESOME?!
Ready for 3 more?


#1 A ghostly character in this novel would not be "clue"-less in our game.
a. I Heart You, You Haunt Me b. I So Don't Do Mysteries c. La Petite Four









#2 This author's success is McDonald's loss.
a. Terri Clark b. Teri Brown c. Courtney Sheinmel



#3 In this novel, readers get twice the fun when it comes to main characters.
a. A Horse of Her Own b. Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains c. Bewitching Season



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17. TIPS, TIPS, TIPS...



Raising hand. Waving hand. Frantically. We have some Totally Important Posts!






Brooke Taylor's Undone and Lisa Schroeder's I Heart You, You Haunt Me have been nominated for ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers. Double congratulations!


What Shelf Elf has to say about Elizabeth C. Bunce's A Curse Dark as Gold: "Highly recommended." And, Shelf Elf, thanks for posting the video too!

Others adoring fans (in alpha order) of A Curse Dark as Gold: Bookshelves of Doom, Bookwyrm Chrysalis, Miss Erin, Sarah Miller,


And Jennifer Bradbury's Shift is a Richie's pick.


Wow! Go Class of 2k8!

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18. Lit Vids


We're unreeling three new book videos for your viewing pleasure....




A Difficult Boy by M.P. Barker



Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab



Shift by Jennifer Bradbury

And Jennifer is our first debut author of the month, so return tomorrow for a proper introduction!

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19. Twenty-three 2.0 tasks for librarians

I saw it at Wired and the Chronicle of Higher Education. I read about it on Everything is Miscellaneous. They’re talking about 23 Learning 2.0 Things, a little blog post with a big impact.

The idea is simple and easily explained: “23 Things (or small exercises) that you can do on the web to explore and expand your knowledge of the Internet and Web 2.0.” Helene Blowers is a librarian, or rather the Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. The project as outlined is a two month project, so you have about eight weeks to learn about two things a week. Best of all, it’s all available on the web, via an easy to read and understand hyperlinked blog, so you can try it out at your organization. Christine MacKensie, the director of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne, Australia (who did a four month version of the program) makes a great point in the Wired Article “The last thing we want is for people to come into our libraries and ask about Flickr or Second Life and be met with a blank look…. And they certainly won’t now.”

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20. Twenty-three 2.0 tasks for librarians

I saw it at Wired and the Chronicle of Higher Education. I read about it on Everything is Miscellaneous. They’re talking about 23 Learning 2.0 Things, a little blog post with a big impact.

The idea is simple and easily explained: “23 Things (or small exercises) that you can do on the web to explore and expand your knowledge of the Internet and Web 2.0.” Helene Blowers is a librarian, or rather the Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. The project as outlined is a two month project, so you have about eight weeks to learn about two things a week. Best of all, it’s all available on the web, via an easy to read and understand hyperlinked blog, so you can try it out at your organization. Christine MacKensie, the director of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne, Australia (who did a four month version of the program) makes a great point in the Wired Article “The last thing we want is for people to come into our libraries and ask about Flickr or Second Life and be met with a blank look…. And they certainly won’t now.”

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21. MLibrary 2.0 this Friday

I’ll be giving a short talk on 2.0 topics at the University of Michigan’s MLibrary 2.0 kickoff event tomorrow. Admission is free but the registration process is onerous. If you’re in the area, please persevere and come hear me and Peter “ambient findability” Morville and Kristen “NCSU digtal library” Antelman talk about techie library topics. Update: please read the comments for more information about this event, looks like it may be full up, or close to it.

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22. Hello New York Times/Sun readers and other “hip shushers”

The fashion section of the New York Times has an article titled A Hipper Crowd of Shushers which, despite the title is less annoying than the usual “librarians, they’re not as lame as you think!” articles that we see about the profession. I’m quoted in it, there’s a great picture of Peter Welsch DJing, a quote from Sarah Mercure and a bunch of other fun pictures and quips. The New York Sun has its own article on a very similar topic.

Jessamyn West, 38, an editor of “Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out” a book that promotes social responsibility in librarianship, and the librarian behind the Web site librarian.net (its tagline is “putting the rarin’ back in librarian since 1999″) agreed that many new librarians are attracted to what they call the “Library 2.0″ phenomenon. “It’s become a techie profession,” she said. In a typical day, Ms. West might send instant and e-mail messages to patrons, many of who do their research online rather than in the library. She might also check Twitter, MySpace and other social networking sites, post to her various blogs and keep current through MetaFilter and RSS feeds. Some librarians also create Wikis or podcasts.

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11 Comments on Hello New York Times/Sun readers and other “hip shushers”, last added: 7/9/2007
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23. do library users care about our new initiatives?

Rochelle links to a survey done by the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (pdf) which looks at how library users and non-users look at library services across the state of Wisconsin. It also compares results this year with results from the same survey four years ago, so looking at the trends is also revealing. The report is about twenty pages long and worth a pretty good scan. I have a few comments on the survey and the results.

First off, I am the typical “most likely to use the library” user according to this survey. Late 30s, female, comfy with computers and a regular internet user. And, guess what, I use the library all the time! Secondly, the survey puts people into user and non-user groups based on how they answer the question “Which of the following terms best describes how regularly you personally use your public library?” If you answer rarely or never, you’re a non-user. If you answer very or somewhat regularly, you’re a user. I assume there is a decent reason to do this, but I’d think even if you went to a library a few times a year, I’d consider that a rare user but also not a non-user.

One of the most interesting parts of the survey results is on page 16 entitled “New Initiatives” where they ask about how interested patrons are about using some new technology initiatives. To me they are asking all the wrong questions (mostly about content, less about context). They ask a lot of questions about downloadable content, which makes sense since the library probably has to shell out money for these things and wants to figure out if they’re worth it. However, they also ask about 24/7 librarian access and IMing a librarian and also find that people tend towards the “slightly disinterested” side. In fact the only new technology initiative that got anything that fell towards the positive side was wireless internet access. I wish they’d asked more questions about computers generally. Do people want more classes? Do they want more Macs? Do they want more public access PCs?

The next fascinating page follows: what would make you use the library more. The two runaway favorite answers are “If it were open more hours” and “If it had more CDs/DVDs/videos that I wanted” This will definitely be helpful for libraries who are facing funding drives since they can direct appeals appropriately, but I’m curious how the hours question breaks down. Do people want late night hours (as I do), or morning hours, or consistent hours, or weekend hours, what? Similarly, the difference between people wanting more classical music CDs (or any music CDs if your library doesn’t have a music collection) is worlds away from wanting popular movie DVDs.

Lastly, I’d like to point to the Internet question which was sort of glossed over. Of all the people surveyed 26% had no Internet at home and 23% only had dial-up. That’s nearly half the respondents having a level of connectivity at home where a downloadable audiobook is worth basically nothing to them, and likely a group that doesn’t spend a lot of time online. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t still stress technology initiatives, but that’s a pretty sobering takeaway when you’re trying to provide more and more services online.

The summary from the group that did the survey has an odd, to me, conclusion.

So, this information presents a juncture: On one hand, if you interpret the results literally you could make a decision to reject technology and focus on building a collection around personal enjoyment for Wisconsin residents. On the other hand, these same results may suggest that initiatives and library services need to be marketed in such a way that resonates with current conceptions of a public library. To this end, I would suggest an exploration of branding Wisconsin library services to more effectively market services. But, regardless of the direction taken from the juncture, a heightened focus on Wisconsin public library customers and customer service is essential in order to expand and maintain your current brand loyalty.

Do they realy think that the solution to getting more people to perceive value from the libraries technology initiatives is to just find a more effective way to market them? Aren’t there questions they could have asked about the services that would have helped nail this down more effectively such as “Are you aare that the library offers downloadable audio books?” “Do you use this service, why or why not?”

As I’ve said before, I think that before we can fully immerse ourselves in a 2.0 initiative as librarians, we have to make sure we’re counting the right things. If you only collect internal statistics on reference interactions that happen in-person or on the phone, it’s no wonder that IM reference seems like a “flavor of the month” thing for the library to do. And, after the fact, if you can’t show that people are really using the new techie things that you do provide it’s harder to stress that those things that should be part of what your library is and does. Many of these things are countable — website stats, flickr photostream views, IM interactions — the question is: are we counting them?

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24. yes, I speak 2.0…

Ryan Deschamps has an interesting and thoughful post about his impressions of people’s tendency to shift “from a rational criticism of the so-called Library 2.0 movement/manifesto follow[ed by] an irrational trashing of anything having to do with Web 2.0 services and user-centered library services” The dilemma, simply stated, is when you see someone who has a critique of something you care about and are knowledgeable about — could be Library 2.0, could be tech support, could be apple pies — how do you inform or correct their misunderstandings without seeming like a prostyletizer or part of the Apple Pie Bandwagon? Or should you? Anyhow, the original posts that spawned Ryan’s post was over at the Annoyed Librarian. I left a comment.

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25. 2.0 keeping us connected

Kathryn Greenhill has a great sensible post on why learning emerging techologies is part of every librarian’s job. Kathryn worked with other Australian librarians on Library2.0 on the loose, an unofficial unconference for Western Australian library folks (and a few from other places). Kathryn is one of the many international librarians that I feel comfortable calling a colleague because even though we’ve only met in person once, I see her “around” many of the online places that I frequent and keep up with her via blog, twitter, flickr etc. I know this is sort of old news online, but I found it again via Manage This which is quickly becoming one of my favorite library blogs.

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