January is kind of a quiet time at the library, so I thought it would be a great time for a contest! I had the Where’s Waldo idea for a while and I wasn’t able to do it until now! The idea is basically a scavenger hunt around the Children’s room with characters from the Waldo series. So far it has been getting a good reaction and it is a lot of fun to watch kids try to find all of the characters.

Brilliant idea from blogger Nerd Craft Librarian. Tumblarians, do you hold scavenger hunts in  your libraries? Share your photosj!

Want to know more about incorporating fandom programming at your library, how to host an awesome mini-convention on any budget, and why these things are important? Then register now for this webinar cohosted by yours truly, thelibrainiac.

You have ONE (1) WEEK left to register. The webinar will be at 2pm EST on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Be there or be square…unless you like being square and then no judgment.

Hearing this from a patron’s mouth after completing one of my Punk Rock Aerobics workouts made me beam like Iggy Pop was signing autographs and I was next in line. Having worked in the programming department of Sacramento Public Library, CA, where we were encouraged to innovate in order to create programs that would draw in nonusers, I became accustomed to bringing my own passions to my job. As a roller derby skater (Lipstick Librarian of the Sac City Rollers) and fitness fanatic, this led to the genesis of Punk Rock ­Aerobics.

Inspired by Maura Jasper and Hilken Mancini’s book Punk Rock Aerobics, I figured that ten years of workouts had to be good for something. Under the guise of alt+library—which offers programs for people in their 20s and 30s—I decided to make a library fitness program happen. I developed an online playlist, combined different strength and cardio moves, and did the requisite publicity. Then, boom: I had eight to 35 people, twenty- and thirtysomethings, stretching, bending, and flexing in the library. This is a completely free program that only requires the time and willingness to get red-faced and panting in front of colleagues and patrons.

This is the first installment of a new monthly column in which librarians explain how they have run an innovative program that has been successful at their library.


I recently had my first solo program at the library - I hosted a brown bag lunch on books to movies, with an emphasis on movies that are coming out within the next year or so (Gone Girl, Wild, Unbroken, etc.) It did pretty well - we’re actually going to make this a monthly book discussion series at the library!

I wanted to do something a bit more creative than a regular handout, so I made these little popcorn bags (template here) and filled them with ticket stubs (template here), with each stub discussing a particular movie adaptation. It was…an ambitious undertaking. 

Minneapolis-based artist and writer, Eric Hanson, will spend part of his summer as an artist-in-residence inside the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ Research and Reference Library.

Hanson, whose illustrations and writing have appeared in Vanity Fair, Harper’s, New York Times, Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s and The Atlantic, has been selected as the next resident in Coffee House Press’s CHP In The Stacks: A Writers and Readers Library Residency Program.

A longtime resident of Minneapolis, Hanson has made a career out of his pencil, ink, and watercolor illustrations, publishing them in magazines and newspapers across the world. In 2008, he published A Book of Ages: An Eccentric Miscellany of Great and Offbeat Moments in the Lives of the Famous and Infamous, Ages 1 to 100 (Crown). More recently, his work has appeared on the covers John Waters’ bestselling autobiography, Role Models (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2011) and former New Yorker editor Daniel Menaker’s memoir, My Mistake (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

In addition to his time in the library’s Reading Room, Hanson will receive a special opportunity to meet with museum curators inside the museum’s Photography & New Media and Prints & Drawings Study Rooms.

“For years, historians and art-lovers alike have used the library to conduct in-depth research of art and artists,” said Assistant Librarian Jessica McIntyre. “We’re especially excited to give someone an opportunity to use our space and our archives to make art.”

Hanson will give a public presentation and present new work on Thursday, June 19th at 7pm in the MIA’s Friends Community Room. This free event is part of the Museum’s Third Thursday event series. The evening will include a conversation with Hanson, McIntyre, and Chris Fischbach (Publisher of Coffee House Press), as well as a display of Hanson’s illustrations.


SUPERHERO TRAINING. We had the safest building in the land. 

Two weeks ago the library played host to a bevy of young superheroes-in-training, as they navigated a balloon mine field, a laser maze, and rescued our dinosaur citizens using only their super senses and the directions of their compatriots. They made ID cards and had a…dare I say it…super time.

Before deciding librarianship is right for you, make sure you understand what today’s librarians do all day. If you want quiet and lots of time to read, think again. Today’s libraries are full of collegial, and sometimes even downright noisy, collaboration, creation, and community activities, and are as much about technology as print on paper.

Meredith Schwartz’s "How To Be a 21st Century Librarian," from Library Journal. A fantastic, digestible overview of the profession and absolute required reading for those researching MLS/MLIS programs.

It reminds me that I need to write my “Why I Didn’t Go to Library School” post.


To celebrate Teen Tech Week, each location of the Naperville Public Library brought back our popular Post-It Note Art! Each building’s TAGTeam (Teen Advisory Group) created something different!

At the Naper Blvd Library location, the teens recreated characters from the Cartoon Network Show, Adventure Time! Our 4 volunteers and the Teen Librarian used 3,313 sticky notes to complete pixel versions of Finn the Human, Jake the Dog, Princess Bubblegum, Ice King, Beemo, and Lumpy Space Princess on our computer lab windows. (Gunter the Penguin might be making an appearance later. GUNTER!)

Check out the rest of the photos on our Facebook Page! ALGEBRAIC!!

I’d like to take a break from our regularly scheduled book/Connecticut/libraries tumblr-ing to invite librarians and library professionals with the ability to travel to Darien, CT to a programming unconference this September.

Over sushi in Seattle, Janie Hermann (Princeton Public Library) and I were talking about how it would be cool to organize a little “unconference” for programming librarians to network, share ideas, and learn from one another. Then we got Andy on board and he wouldn’t stop bugging me.

Hence, Programming Unconference Northeast was born!

The stats:

  • This unconference is completely free and lunch will be provided. You only need to pay for your travel.
  • Lisa Carlucci Thomas will deliver the keynote.
  • You can register here and if you’re feeling really sassy, start adding your break out session ideas to the Google Doc spreadsheet.

Please reblog and share with all your librarians who may be interested! We thought this would be a good professional development opportunity especially for those who do not attend the national conferences.

In honor of his birthday, we figured it couldn’t hurt to post about our next big program-a 20’s Somethings Harry Potter Party!

But what, dear readers, would a Potter Party for the college set look like? We’ve got Quidditch, a table of goodies from Honeydukes, sorting into your houses, and house points, all leading up to the house cup! 

Put your wizard robes on. Grab your wands. We gotta get back to Hogwarts.


Cinderella For A Day: A Beautiful Partnership

Three years ago, community member Natasha Celestin-Civil approached Paterson Free Public Library’s Teen Librarian Michelle Petrasek with the idea of hosting a prom dress drive and giveaway for the city’s teen girls. Cinderella For A Day was originally conceived as a small event, but thanks to a successful collaboration with local merchants and community members, the program has outgrown the Library’s meeting room and will now be held at Whole Life Community Church. Michelle is especially pleased with this development, since the church offers “a big hall, a changing area, storage space, on-site parishioners who help sort the gowns by size, a pastor and other strong men to carry piles of dresses around the building for us, and access to a kitchen area so that we can provide more refreshments!”

Petrasek has registered 110 girls for this year’s event — up from 30 in 2012 — and she and Celestin-Civil have accepted dresses from colleagues, library patrons, parishioners at their churches, local businesses and more. Petrasek is particularly proud of the positive outcomes from the program: “We make sure every girl leaves with a dress. Staff & volunteers from both the Library and the church work the event, helping girls when they come out of the dressing room, and helping them choose dresses that suit their body type. Additionally, many girls win raffles for free makeovers, thanks to the generosity of local salons & hairdressers. Moms and daughters rave about their experiences every year.”

More photos from this weekend. And from 2012's event.