"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Score at the Library!

Thanks to everyone who listened to me on Blog Talk Radio! And if you want to read a quick interview with me, head over to The First Book for five short questions and answers!

On Wednesdays I volunteer at our elementary school library. I joke that the job is a bit Sisyphean (google that one, OK).
  • Check in the books.
  • Shelve the books.
  • Check out the books.
  • Check in the books.
  • Shelve the books.
  • Check out the books.
When a class comes in I grab their books and try to check them in and get them shelved before it's time for them to check out new books. Why? Because kids will run to check out what their friend had checked out the week before. They see their friend with a book that looks cool and want their turn with it this week.

Which is kind of a statement on marketing, right. Word of Mouth. Cover exposure. Read what your friends are reading. That's what it's all about.

Another reason for trying to shelve all the books as fast as I can is that I spend any extra time I have reading. I grab a book each week off the shelves (or bring one from home if I'm way excited about reading it) and sit reading until they're ready to check out more books.

This week, while shelving a graphic novel (maybe The Hardy Boys or something like that) I spotted a brand new copy of Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, Illustrated by Nathan Hale beckoning me from the shelf. I grabbed it and immediately checked it out under my son's account.
You might think it's bad that I grabbed the book before the kids could, but it brings us to the whole new books topic. What would make a kid grab a brand new book, maybe one they've never heard of, off the shelf?
The answer...I'm not sure. They don't have a bunch of time to look for books. So how cool the cover is would be the main factor if they've never heard of the book.

So when my son came up to check out his books, I showed him Rapunzel's Revenge. Immediately I had twenty eyes on me and the book - them asking me what it was about, them commenting on how cool the title was, them seeing the inside was a graphic novel and getting excited.
My guess is once I check it in, one of his classmates will clamber to check it out next.
The message: Talk about books to kids/adults. Recommend books to kids/adults.
(Oh, and if you're looking for something to recommend, don't forget about The Emerald Tablet.)

I'm actually getting to be a bit more useful at the library. When the kids came over to get shelf markers, I suggested they go check out the books on monsters and mummies, and even showed them where they were (I'd just shelved some the class before). Ten kids followed me over, and sure enough plenty of monster books were checked out.
BTW, shelving those books with the Dewey Decimal numbers on them is totally tedious and amusing at the same time. Because 599.4 is not the same as 599.42 and is definitely not the same as just 599. And don't forget to keep them in alphabetical order within the thousandths digit.

I shelved a darling book which I really had to mention.
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron.
I've never read it, but I will. Why? Because I love this cover.
BTW, this is the cover the library had. The book looked like it had been there since 1954.

And here's a couple more recent covers.

Makes you want to order it right now, doesn't it! It would make a nice addition to my library (if I could get an original cover).

Have a great Thursday! We have the energy efficiency people coming tomorrow to caulk our house and save us tons on our electric bill each month. The company we're using, Green Collar Operations, is great (in case you live in Austin and have been contemplating getting this done). And the owner is also co-owner of a winery. I swapped a copy of The Emerald Tablet signed to his daughters for a couple bottles of wine!


Vivian said...

I love your swap system! A win-win system all around.

Rapunzel's Revenge is great. My daughter loves it.

Have a great day!

PJ Hoover said...

I loved the swap, too, Vivian!
And I've so been wanting to check out Rapunzel's Revenge because I've heard such great things about it!
You have a great day, too!

Barrie said...

I must listen to you on blog radio! How very fun!

PJ Hoover said...

It was fun, Barrie! You should do it!

adrienne said...

An interesting cover still grabs me! I'm curious to read the Mushroom Planet, too, just for the great title.

Sheri said...

I love your word - Sisyphean - and I did look it up! You're right, it is a Sisyphean job!

Also, this is why librarians are so important to us writers. If they read our book, they will recommend it to kids, parents, teachers... anyone who will listen. And is the Caldecott given by the librarian association???

I want to hear more about your experience with Green Collar Operations! You know I also run a How to Greenify Your Home blog for a real estate co. and this is right up my ally. Also, let us know, if you do start seeing a difference in your energy bill. Inquiring minds want to know!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Yah for libraries! I practically lived in my school library. And for me it was not only about what my friends were reading, but also about what looked interesting/new. And once I found an author I liked, I read every book by them I could find before moving on.

I still do that, actually....

Is it weird that it made my day that I knew who Sisyphus was already? (I'm a mythology nerd.)

beth said...

Oh, tell me how Rapunzel's Revenge is!! I totally want to read that one!

Kelly Hoeckelberg-Young said...

Oh, this was a great post! Loved the library stories ... I've always been amazed that my son can either come home with the same book he had the week before OR one his friends just had ... because the librarian is so speedy and quick with the turnaround!
Since you've read it, what would you say is the age range for Rapunzel's Revenge ... I love the title, and thought it might be fun for my nieces!

lotusloq said...

I just bought Rapunzel's Revenge yesterday. I'm looking forward to reading it.

I'm another one of those mythology nerds. It's always nice to see it referenced around!

PJ Hoover said...

Ditto, Adrienne! The cover and the title are perfect. They just scream "fun"! Now to capture that for my own stuff.

Totally, Sheri! And the odd thing is I've heard rumors of librarian jobs being cut. Sad. And I will give an update on Green Collar Operations!

Miriam, I believe you and I are kindred spirits! We'll have to get together. We could talk Star Trek and Mythology ad nauseum.

I'll totally give an update, Beth, and I'm fairly certain I will love it! Everything about is seems great!

I'm actually currently reading, Kelly! I'll update on the age when I'm done, though I noticed on Amazon it's categorized for 9-12, so I'm guessing it's tame and for advanced 7 and up.
And thanks!

I love seeing mythology referenced in everyday life, Lois! It always makes my day. And if it's picture-worthy, I take a picture. I'm trying to get a collection of photos of mythology influencing the world around us.

Thanks so much for visiting!

MizFit said...

hosting a fundraiser today at MizFit if you get a moment.


raising money for a domestic violence shelter.

you comment I donate ;)

Devon Ellington said...

I love the barter system, don't you?

Hmmm, when I was a kid, I pretty much started at one end of the library and just read my way through it.

RAPUNZEL'S REVENGE sounds great -- can't wait to hear all about it.

What fun, volunteering at the library!

C.R. Evers said...

I've never heard odf Rapunnzel's Revenge, I'll have to check it out!


PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Mizfit! I left my comment(s). You rock for doing this!

Barter system is awesome, Devon! And volunteering at the library is a joy in so many ways!

It is darling, Christy! Totally check it out!

Thanks for visiting, and happy Friday!

Gottawrite Girl said...

I always have thought this, too, PJ ~ that it's the covers that attract, if you don't know the author or title. I would peruse the library like the books were melons for squeeze-and-purchasing at the grocery store... just wondering and savoring the covers before checking one out that grabbed me....

PJ Hoover said...

The power of the cover is amazing, Susan. And different things appeal to different people!
Thanks for visiting!

Kimberly Derting said...

Hey, PJ, I just tagged you for an I Heart Your Blog Award on my blog!


Angela said...

Swapping is definitely the way to go.

That Repunzel cover looks awesome--love her hair; it reminds me of a scorpion tail.

Lenore said...

I liked seeing all these different covers.

PJ Hoover said...

Aw, thanks, Kimberly! I love your blog, too! Thank you for nominating me!

Scorpion tail - good one, Angela! Also, I thought a whip. It just is so cool, and I'm psyched to read it! Must finish Graceling.

Me, too, Lenore! It was fun finding them on the web!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Marcia said...

Titles can trigger the funniest things. When I was a tween, my BFF and I stopped at the library after our voice lesson, at which we had sung a song with the lyrics "Little lamb, who made thee?" We browsed the shelves and came upon a book called WHO MADE THE LAMB? After laughing so hard we almost got kicked out, did we look at the book? Of course!

PJ Hoover said...

How fun, Marcia! There's nothing like a good laugh!

Keri Mikulski said...

Great idea - the swap. :) And great interview. :)

Amy said...

I love reading the books the kids bring home. I get to read some of the best stuff! And a lot of what 10 brings home is based on what his friends read the week before, so talking about books is definitely a powerful tool.

Beth Kephart said...

You've brought back such great memories of my days spent volunteering in children's libraries. Thank you for that.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Keri! The wine was delish!

Amy, I'm amazed each and every day when I talk books how much it reaches people who've never heard of books I consider top of the pile.
And I love that kid's library benefit!

You are welcome, Beth! I love volunteering at the library!

Tiddly Inks said...

Looks like one we need to get at our house! :)

PJ Hoover said...

Definitely, Tiddly Inks!

Vivian said...

I saw 2 different paperback covers of The Wonderful Flight of the Mushroom Planet in the book store and couldn't remember where I saw them before...

And here they are! Now I'll have to go back to see if any of these covers look like the original.

Hope you're enjoying the holidays!

PJ Hoover said...

I'll have to check it next time I'm at the bookstore, Vivian!
Great holiday here. Hope you are, too!