Life at the Library

Listening at the Library

Love this conversation snippet I overheard at the library this weekend between two 10- or 11-year-old boys as they were playing a video game at the public computers.

Boy 1: “There’s nothing holding me back now!”
Boy 2: “Yeah, except your mother.”

Kids, telling it like they see it.

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Save a Circ Clerk’s Sanity

One common question I’m asked at the library is which of an author’s books comes first…or next. You know, like if an author has a series or some related books that don’t already come with “Book 1” or “2” or “Stupendously Super Series #3” stamped on the cover or spine, people want to know which one to read first…or next.

And I want to help them find out.

But I usually don’t have a lot of time to do this because the person who wants to know is standing there at the checkout desk waiting. And there might be a lineup behind them. Yes, I can look at the book’s copyright date. But sometimes an author will write a prequel, and I’d like to be able to pass that info along. The bigger problem with checking the copyright is I’d need to have all of the author’s books there in front of me–which means leaving the front desk to go to the shelves or assumes the patron has brought a stackload up to the desk with them and none of the ones they want are already out on loan. Wading through holding or bib records is also a serious pain–you should see how many fields there are to scroll through for each book.

Or what if a particular author has several series’ out, each with quite a few books in it (eg. Wilbur Smith)? You have to both sort which series each of the books goes into and then put the book in its order within the series. Searching, which often states book order for physical books, gives me too many results to wade through (movie adaptation, kindle edition, audio book edition, paperback edition, original edition, hard cover edition, etc.), especially for prolific authors, even if I refine the search. How long do you want to stand in line while I figure that out?

So I go for the author’s website. Because they should be able to tell me pretty quickly, right? Sadly, I’m often disappointed.

Please, please, please, authors. Please, under the heading of “Books,” clearly identify the chronological order in which your books should be read, and please identify which books are part of the same series.

Do this and circ clerks everywhere will be highly appreciative and, with sanity intact, be able to continue serving book lovers in our communities for a long time.

(Oh, and while I’m at it, you get bonus points for identifying a book title that’s different in another country!!)

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Bad, Boring Blogger?

I am a bad, boring blogger lately, aren’t I? I mean, if I don’t post it’s just bad and boring by default. Better to post and be bad and boring while trying. Maybe?

My problem seems to be I constantly put other things before my writing or my blog. It’s a sickness and I have to figure out how to cure myself of it. It’s the *constantly* that’s a problem, because there are legitimate times other things have to come first. But surely I could learn to put myself first sometimes, couldn’t I? Here’s me saying I’ll try.

So to make this post not entirely whiney, yesterday I went to the local library and it’s not everyday this greets you in your library parking lot:

Yes, the Canadian military is conducting exercises in the area and they were camped out at the community centre. But they were more than happy to answer peoples’ questions. My kids and many other kids were able to peek inside the vehicles and find out more about what it’s like to be in the military. Here’s a brief article on the background for them being here:

So let that reinforce the lesson about libraries again–you never know what you’ll learn at the library.

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Cabin Fever But By a Better Name

At the library the other day we kept a couple ladies waiting when we opened the library doors a few minutes late. (We were having a health and safety talk). So we got to talking with those ladies about how much the library is needed in peoples’ lives in our small community—for a minute there they were thinking we weren’t going to open, and that would be a bad thing. One of the ladies even suggested that the library was essential because she lives in the bush, and without the human interaction the library provides she’d easily go shack wacky.

Say what?

Uh-huh, shack wacky. I’d never heard that expression before. My writer’s brain turned the phrase over, tasted it, tested it. A new expression! A funny expression! An expression that succinctly and superbly expressed its meaning.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking I’m acting a little shack wacky for gushing over a couple of words. But part of the fun of being a writer is collecting these little tidbits wherever you can. No, it’s not a new expression as I see it’s out there and part of the urban dictionary. But it was new to me. I would’ve just used the term I was more familiar with: cabin fever. But isn’t there an interesting difference in feel, in nuance, to the two expressions? Yes, I’m tucking “shack wacky” away for future use. Maybe you’d like to, too.

So yes, believe those PSAs because it really is true: you never know what you’ll learn at your library.

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.