Sunday, April 25, 2010

This is both amusing and shameful

According to the Huffington Post, my alma mater is one of the nation's top ten anti-party schools. Also on the list: West Point and Brigham Young University.

Personally, I think they miss the crucial distinction between not having parties and not having fun. Just because professors expect you to read, say, 300 pages a week (for a single class) doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself in between those moments of brain-bludgeoning.

Exhibit A.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Because I love the taste of innocence as it dies, that's why

Hey, there's a lady in a nearby school district who wants to ban every volume of Jeff Smith's comic series Bone because it features smoking, drinking, violence, and fixing horse-races! (Well, okay, cow-races, technically.) You know what, lady? Not only did I have a group of 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade boys read and talk about the first volume of that series as part of a library reading group, I'm going to be a librarian myself!

That's right! I will be the one corrupting your children with the ten-time-Eisner-winning, eleven-time-Harvey-winning, one-of-Time-magazine's-Top-Ten-Graphic-Novels-of-All-Time series Bone! Listen to me cackle as they witness characters drinking beer! Watch my eyes glimmer with evil as I distribute copies of this evil book, in which the layabout Smiley Bone smokes a cigar! You send your children to the library, thinking they are safe—but you are wrong!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ted Reviews Yuki Urushibara's Mushishi

Yuki Urushibara's series Mushishi might be not just one of my favorite manga ever, not just one of my favorite comics ever, but possibly one of my favorite things ever. It's beautiful, fascinating, thoughtful, elegant, and endlessly original; it's thoroughly and firmly rooted in Japanese culture without being inaccessible to non-Japanese readers; it's difficult to define but easy to pick up.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Curious and Coincidental Confluence of Classroom Concepts

(For those of you who dislike that title: tough noogies.)

This semester of library school, I'm taking three courses: Reference and Information Services, Administration and Management of Libraries and Information Centers, and Storytelling. I chose to take the first course because answering reference questions is a pretty central part of many librarians' duties, I chose the second because it was recommended to me by my advisor as a good thing to have under my belt, and I chose the third because I needed something fun to do.

But it's interesting how those last two classes have started to overlap. One of the big ideas in the Administration class that keeps coming up is "telling the library story," convincing people—users, administrators, directors—of the importance of the library. This doesn't necessarily mean telling an actual narrative-style story ("Once upon a time there was an underfunded librarian who had to make do with really old books"), but it does mean considering the situation, the audience, the salient facts and how to present them in the best possible light.

These are all necessary tools for the conventional storyteller as well. One must always be aware of these elements while telling the story in order to be successful. Now, 'success' means two different things in these two situations: in one, it's to convince someone that your work is worthwhile (and, potentially, to give you more money), while in the other, it's to entertain. But in both situations, someone is listening to you, which gives you the opportunity to put something in their head that wasn't there before—and in both cases, the best way to do that is through a story.

I think it's kind of neat, myself.