Signal Boosting: Help Families of Charleston, SC Mass Shooting Victims

This Is Important

I’m signal boosting efforts to help out after the mass killing in Charleston, South Carolina. Please consider reaching out for example by:

Screencap from CNN.

Screencap from CNN.

Image above: screencap from CNN.

Reddit User Visits GRRM’s Manuscript of A Dance with Dragons

Books & Mags, Geek out!

Remember when I blogged about the George R. R. Martin archives at the Texas A&M University Libraries? Reddit user _honeybird visited the archives to look through the full manuscript of A Dance with Dragons and shared their findings, including photos and possible spoilers!

honeybird GRRM MS ADWD

A part of the manuscript for A Dance with Dragons in an archival box. Photo by Reddit user _honeybird.

One of _honeybird’s observations deals with (suggested) edits to the manuscript:

“Notes from GRRM’s editor were in green, with GRRM’s own comments and edits added in red. Most of the suggested edits were technical and grammatical notes that had little to no bearing on the tone of the writing. There were, however, a few interesting moments where the editor tried to reshape GRRM’s writing style.”

Indeed, _honeybird’s photos of the manuscript bear witness to this:

honeybird GRRM Page ADWD

A part of the manuscript for A Dance with Dragons with editor’s commentary. Photo by Reddit user _honeybird.

It’s fascinating to see these glimpses of the dialogue between an author and their editor. During the visit, _honeybird even teased out one major, spoiler-y detail regarding the identity of Coldhands. Read the full account on Reddit (with links to more images)! Thank you for sharing, _honeybird!

Never let it be said that libraries and archives are full of old, unusable crap that no-one has any interest in! 🙂

Banned Books Week 2014: Quotes and Links

Books & Mags, This Is Important

As a follow-up on my Banned Books Week 2014 post, I’ve collected a few interesting and thought-provoking quotes and links below.

Weird Al Yankovic, Neil Gaiman & George R.R. Martin support the banned comics week:

Neil Gaiman Banned Books Week 2014

Neil Gaiman.

Photo from Neil Gaiman’s Google+ profile.

Neil Gaiman is also quoted in the Comic Riffs feature of The Washington Post:

“Say you’re a kid in a school district [that banned a book] and there’s not a local Barnes & Noble and you don’t have 20 or 50 bucks in disposable income. …

“That book is gone. It was there and now it’s not. The fact you can buy it on Amazon doesn’t make that any less bad.”

(The Washington Post / Michael Cavna, Sept 24, 2014)

Barbara Jones, the director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, on why we need gay characters in literature:

“Many of us at one time or another have belonged to a minority. Maybe you grew up a man with many sisters. Maybe you’re the only one who likes a juicy hamburger in a crowd of vegans. Left-handed? Night owl? Deaf? At some point you may have looked to the left and looked to the right and wondered, ‘Where are others like me?’

“Banned Books Week is an annual reminder to embrace the freedom to seek ourselves in books. The First Amendment awards each and every single person the right to read and speak freely. Celebrate the characters that help us discover ourselves.”

(Huffington Post Books, Sept 22, 2014)

In Defense of Banned Comics: 10 of Our Favorite Challenged Works by Robert Tutton at Paste.com. Almost identical to the CBLDF list.

Malinda Lo’s analysis of the most banned/challenged books in the U.S. shows that diverse books are disproportionately targeted for book challenges and censorship:

“I think it’s important to note that the reasons for a book’s challenge may be beside the point when the result is a broad silencing of these minority perspectives. Though some might protest a book’s explicit language, the real result is closing off dialogue and preventing readers from experiencing stories and lives outside the mainstream.

Recent academic studies have shown that reading fiction leads to increased empathy, which suggests to me that it’s more important than ever to make sure books with diverse perspectives are widely available, not censored. I hope we can remember this during Banned Books Week, which takes place Sept. 21–27 this year, and every week.”

(Diversity in YA, Sept 18, 2014)

Maddie Crum’s article puts book ban/challenge information from ALA as graphics (Huffington Post Books, Sept 22, 2014).

Author N.K. Jemisin’s reading of the above supports Lo’s findings:

Edit: Here, finally, is my complete collected ElfQuest set (albums 1-8) and my Banned Books Week library loans.

Banned Books Week 2014 ElfQuests
Banned Books Week 2014 from Library

Banned Books Week 2014: September 21-27

Books & Mags, This Is Important

Long post warning. TL;DR – Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign for the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to reading and information. This year, the banned books week focuses on comics and graphic novels. Below are some basic information and links, and my thoughts and a commitment.

ALA fREADom 2014 ABFFE

Banned Books Week

George R. R. Martin Archives at Texas A&M University Libraries

Books & Mags, Movies & TV

Twenty years ago, author George R. R. Martin donated his archives to the Texas A&M University Libraries. Martin’s archives are housed in the library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection and consist of manuscripts, editions of his works, correspondence and other materials. Martin has continued to donate materials to the collection; it now includes almost 1,000 volumes of first editions and translated works, plus 200+ boxes of manuscripts and memorabilia.

Texas AM Uni Libr Martin Exhibit

Texas A&M University Libraries.

From March 2013 to February 2014, the library ran a large-scale exhibit, Deeper Than Swords, together with events including a book signing and a lecture / Q&A with the author.

Texas AM Uni Libr Martin Booksign

Texas A&M University Libraries.

Apart from A Song of Ice and Fire cycle / HBO’s Game of Thrones series, the exhibit highlighted Martin’s earlier work (including juvenalia) and various accompanying artifacts and visuals.

Texas AM Uni Libr Martin Case1

Texas A&M University Libraries.

Texas AM Uni Libr Martin Case2

Texas A&M University Libraries.

Although the exhibit is no longer open, the Texas A&M library has kept some Deeper Than Swords materials online. Apart from several photosets, the hour-long talk with Martin is available on YouTube.

In his talk, Martin discusses among other things his childhood and the importance of comics, books and libraries to his career.

(Additional details of the exhibition are available in the article How we brought 3,000 people to the library … With the help of Mr. George R. R. Martin by Todd Samuelson and Cait Coker, published in College & Research Libraries News July/August 2013, and Allen Reed’s article ‘Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin returns to A&M published in The Eagle on February 10, 2013.)

I’m impressed at the amount of work that Texas A&M librarians and administrators invested in this Martin exhibition and in their Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection. They’ve even built a Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database with close to 90,000 items of SF/F history and criticism. I’m sure their special collections will continue to be an invaluable resource for scholars and enthusiasts alike.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing. Because librarians rock! 🙂

Making Progress: First Impressions on Changing Tack

Books & Mags, Geek out!, Leveling Up

What would be better for the last proper post of the year than reflection? Below I’ll share some of my thoughts on changing careers. But first a little sidenote to show off my last library project.

My previous job was at a (great!) high school library. Although the Doctor Who 50th anniversary took place after I left, I wanted to do something. I turned one of our blue bookcarts into a Tardis – so fitting, right? – and decorated it with snippets of Doctor Who history plus pictures of Who-fan projects found online. The librarians kindly rolled my display out at the proper time and posted these photos on their Flickr feed.

PeskyLibrary DrWho Front

Display: Eppu Jensen; photo: Carl A. Pescosolido Library.

PeskyLibrary DrWho Back

Display: Eppu Jensen; photo: Carl A. Pescosolido Library.

PeskyLibrary DrWho Side

Display: Eppu Jensen; photo: Carl A. Pescosolido Library.

All photos from the PeskyLibrary Flickr (Carl A. Pescosolido Library, Governor’s Academy).

I’ve been working for myself for 6 months now. The decision to make the change was very difficult. I felt I was trying to balance such an incongruent amount of wishes and wants that there was no good solution. In a way, that helped: knowing there was no way to accommodate *everything*, I had to focus on *something*. It forced me to decide what I wanted most out of a change, concentrate on achieving that and re-evaluate every other consideration as honestly as I could.

There are times when I miss the library, my colleagues and students, very much. I miss being an active part of the book world. I miss using my academic skills. And quite honestly, I miss a steady paycheck. However, I’ve gained what I most wanted out of the change: more family time and more control. Almost all of my library career involved evenings. I hardly got to see my husband, let alone share daylight with him. Now I have both. I’ve gotten to stretch myself and learn new skills. I’ve also gained new contacts. Although I got to be creative at the library, too, I now get to flex different creative muscles, ones I feared were in danger of atrophying.

Change is unsettling, even frightening, but change is also challenging and rewarding. Even in hindsight, given the same circumstances, I’d make the same decision again.

7-Word Bio

Inspiration

LIVE from the NYPL is The New York Public Library’s event series that offers “programs that are as unique and engaging as the Library itself, and embody the institution’s mission to educate, inform, and inspire the diverse community it serves in New York and beyond” (quoted from About LIVE from the NYPL).

One of the nifty touches that the program director established are the seven-word autobiographies that he asks each guest to provide. Brain Pickings quotes quite a few in their article. The only people on the list that I recognized are William Gibson (“Postwar. Cold War. Stop the War. Later.”) and Dan Savage (“asshole, blond, slut, shy, sunny, father, husband”). The best one, though, in my opinion is Joan Didion’s: “Seven words do not yet define me.”

I was inspired to try my own version:

Crafty gamer, geek, linguist, librarian from Finland.

(In case you’re curious, the font is Segoe UI. A similar one, WeblySleek UI, is available at dafont.com.)

What would yours be?

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

P.S. I tinkered with the website look. The header scrolled a little oddly, and there were so many fonts it made the head spin. (I got feedback about that. Thanks – it’s appreciated!) Much, much better, if you ask me. Let me know if you have any other feedback! 🙂