The Library Girl Speaks Out | Budget Cuts

I won't often talk politics in public, mainly because I don't consider my knowledge broad, nor complete enough to hold a valid opinion on many issues without making a fool of myself. But with the Trump administration's recent budget proposal, I find myself not only moderately qualified to speak to this situation, but compelled to, out of dedication to the work that is my passion, and my mission.
 The Trump administration has proposed completely cutting out funding for the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), without which, communities with libraries like my own will suffer. 

Federal monies buy many of our books, and most of our computers. On any given day, I can guarantee that you can find at least one person job searching from our computers, and at least one person working on finishing up their college education, not to mention the hordes of kids who can access free preschool curriculum through ABC Mouse. Those people depend on us because they don't have a computer of their own, or they don't have access to affordable internet. (Which is an issue for another day) Cut the IMLS, and you take away those avenues for growth and self betterment. Here's a thought for you, Mr. President - The more access people have to libraries, the sooner they can get jobs. When they get jobs, the sooner they'll be able to to be independent of government aid.

 But, that's not all! (oh, did you think I was done? I'm only just warming up. Get comfortable y'all.) The National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) is also on the chopping block. Do you know what they fund? Let's just get local here. Humanities Tennessee -- the organizer and sponsor of Nashville's weekend of beauty, the Southern Festival of Books (SFB). Okay, Sarah, you say, we know you love books, but the SFB isn't a necessity to Tennesseans in the same way libraries with computers are. How is this important? 
I'm so glad you asked.
 You see the word "Humanities"? yeah? okay, take off the "-ities" part of the word. What do you have left? Human. To quote my favorite author:
 "Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving." - Madeliene L'Engle 
what's that now? Stories make us more human? Reading can build our levels of empathy for others? You mean the humanities might aid in making us a nation of tolerable, decent human beings?
 (but you wouldn't know, Mr. President. You don't read books.)

When the NEH was established in 1965, some of the reasons included in the congressional act include the importance of understanding our past, present and future, and cultivating wise free thinkers, not bots and followers. (My interpretation. You can read it yourself) Cut the NEH and we run the risk of becoming a nation of muggles. Sheeple. Lemmings. PEOPLE WHO DON'T THINK FOR THEMSELVES. moving on.

 Speaking of... do you know who else funds Humanities Tennessee? the National Endowment for the Arts who is, (yep, you guessed it) also facing its possible demise. The SFB isn't the ONLY Tennessee establishment that gets it's funding from the NEA. Among others, the Arts Build Communities grant, administered by the Tennessee Arts Commission has funded many a Tennessee librarian's dream program with awesome storytellers and performers that they wouldn't be able to afford with a small city or county budget. Take it from someone who puts on her prettiest smile and dies from social anxiety every April while fundraising for summer reading programs, most of us DO NOT have local funds allocated to our programs (Don't ask me WHY, I don't understand it). Without grants like those the NEA makes possible, yearly institutions like the Summer Reading Program that nearly EVERY library in the nation holds in one way, shape or form, would be sparse and dying on the vine. Those summer programs are backbone of the summer slide prevention effort for low income families.  A child's literacy by third grade affects their likelihood for high-school graduation and graduation affects likelihood for incarceration and so on an so forth. In a round about way, Cutting the NEA could negatively affect the future of our kids. And this problem is only gonna repeat itself.

So, now that the rant is out, what can you do?

Wise up. 

Educate yourself on this issue. Read through all the links I've included here. There are alot, I know, but they will allow your to form your own opinions on the matter. I don't want you to take my word for it. That would be counter to my own arguments here!

Rise up. 

Speak up. Speak out. Sign petitions like this one at and this one at Every Library. Contact your representatives and tell them how important it is that libraries have this funding source. Figure out who that is for your area here. 
Or maybe you think that the government SHOULD cut that area of the budget, but you still agree with my thoughts here... That's a possibility! In that case... see how you can take the burden off the federal government and help yourself! Donate to your local library. Join a Friends of the Library group to see your library in action from a different perspective.

Eyes. Up. 

Don't bury your head back under the pillow and fall back asleep. Keep your eyes open. Pay attention to what's happening in current events. Look ahead to the future, see if you like where its headed and then do something about it! 

Library Girl out. 

UPDATE: Chuck Sherrill, the Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist, gathered together data that shows what exactly cutting the IMLS means. Another lovely library advocate and LIS student then made this great infographic to visualize that data. check it out!

From the Archives | Dear Mr. Wilding

Facebook's On This Day reminded me of this today... 
Six years ago, I was a fledgling library-girl. I was 19, working part time as a page at South Cheatham Public Library, the library that will always have my heart. There was one patron who was a favorite of all the staff there. He was invested in my education, and particularly rooting for me to get to library school someday. Dear Mr. Wilding, If you could see me now.

Dear Mr. Wilding,
It seems like not that long ago that I was signing a get well soon card from all of us library ladies for you.
It seems that they neglected to tell me that you weren't getting much better.
If I had known, I would have written this all to you sooner, while you could still receive it.
I wanted to tell you, that I was accepted at Bryan.
I couldn't wait to have you back at the library again, so I could tell you.
I knew that you'd be proud of me.

I remember the first time I met you, I wasn't even working at the library yet.
You were there telling stories, when I returned some books for my mom.
It was the middle of the day, and you asked me why I wasn't in school.
I told you that I was in college... and for some reason, that was hard for you to believe.

I remember all the stories you've told me.
about working in the labs with mosquitoes,
and sailing with your kids,
about caving exploring...
Some day, I'll tell my children about you.
I'll tell them those stories.

You were my favorite Mr. Wilding.
Curmudgeonly though you were,
I was always very pleased when you,
my favorite of the Three Interesting Men,
came in for a book.
Because, even though you may have given the other ladies a hard time when it came to finding a book,
I know that you were really a softy at heart.
You may make a face at that statement, (and boy could you make some beautiful faces)
but I know this for a fact.
'cause you were genuinely concerned when I wrecked my car,
and made sure that I was getting a good one when I replaced it.

in fact,
the last time I saw you,
you told me to get home and take care of my cold.
then preceded to tell me that if my car continued to make that clacking noise there might  be something wrong with the...timing belt was it?
I'm gonna miss you Mr. Wilding.
Thanks for making my life so interesting.

Sarah the library girl

Du Iz Tak? | The Library Girl Reads

Du Iz Tak by Carson Ellis 
Published by Candlewick Press
Genre: Picture Book 
Source: Library 

What a magical thing of beauty this book is!
My curiousity was piqued when I read reviews on this new picture book when it came out this year, but I didn't actually get around to ordering it till it won a Caldecott honor at this year's ALA Youth Media Awards. The story of a community of bugs and a curious new addition to their little neighborhood, this book is far from ordinary. Here's a scene from my recent order unboxing:

Fade in to SarahTheLibraryGirl sitting on the floor in DirectorDiane's office, checking titles off the invoice slip
STLG: *picking up Du Iz Tak, thinks* ooh! I've been curious about this one! *begins flipping through*
STLG: *is hit with the made up language.*
STLG *is stymied for a second*
Made Up Language: *begins to sink in*
STLG: *Starts giggling because genius book is genius*
STLG: *to DirectorDiane* Here! look at this one! you're gonna hate it!
DD: *takes book and begins reading out loud* "Du iz tak? Ma Nazoot" What is this?!?
DD: *Skims rest of book* This is wierd, you're never picking books again! *doesn't mean that last bit*
STLG: It's an award winner! We had to have it!
STLG: *takes book back and resumes giggling over it*

After that little exchange, I was curious to see how it would go over with other people, so I took it home with me this weekend and literally shoved it in the hands of everyone who walked into my house.  My roommate read it and picked it up faster than I had even, (she figured out ribble when I couldn't!) a friend of ours read it out loud, with great vigor and a German accent (which somehow seems appropriate) and declared gladdenboot to be his new favorite word.

Far from nonsense, Du Iz Tak is perfect for the word-nerd and budding linguist. The illustrations are not to be forgotten as well! Everything from color palette to the tiniest details (and one special surprise bug) calls out to be studied over again and again. Iz unk scrivendelly boont. 

I'm Still Going... | What's saving my life right now

After my coffee, but before my morning bullet journal dump, one of my favorite morning activities of late is check up on my blogs. Modern Mrs. Darcy always on the top of the list, because books. Today, (a day which is wretchedly cold in comparison to other recent days) Anne  shared her "What's saving my life right now" list... because February is cold and blah, and its often hard to see good things in the middle of winter.
Since you know I'm all about those little things in life, I thought I'd jump in on this happy party. So, here are the little things that are keeping me going right now!

1.) Shine Text. Every morning I get a motivational text from this great little thing called Shine. Filled with encouragement, and helpful tips for being productive at work, or taking time for self care, its a great reminder to just take time breathe every morning!

2.) Rotisserie Chicken. This is literally keeping my menu going at the moment. I'm so thankful that I had the foresight to grab a chicken from the hot box at Kroger, because I've been eating left over in one form or another all week, and it's a grand step up from ramen--even if it IS the fancy  kind.

3.) Mah Girls. I literally don't know what I'd do with out the Meg(h)ans (my roommates) right now. No one else would let me sit on their bed and judge their bookshelves, or put up with my reading excerpts of Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life while they try to eat breakfast.

4.) Lin-Manuel Miranda's social media presence.  (And you thought I wouldn't go there.. HA!) The man made us a spotify playlist this week and he's a certified gift from heaven.

5.) Book Club. I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am these ladies welcomed me in! We're reading Emma right now, and our discussion gathering this month will take the form of a tea party! I'm so excited, I literally can't EVEN. (to borrow the colloquialism)

6.) My Kindle Fire. I never thought I'd say this... but I love the freakin' thing. I read a lot of ebooks for Netgalley, and it wouldn't be very easy on any other device. PLUS, I have netflix on it, and can watch my shows at lunch (my method of choice for keeping people from bothering me while I'm off the clock) ALSO, I just bought this amazing cover for it that looks like a vintage Penguin Classic.  ALSO, with the secrets I recently discovered (from both MMD and Read Aloud Revival) about getting great deals on audiobooks from Audible... I can keep up with my reading in the car!

7.) The ever expanding world of books. Most days I start to panic when I think about all that I haven't read yet, and how I'll never ever have the chance to read it all. These days however, its more of a comfort, to know that there'll always be something out there for me to read. and my reading journal helps me feel like I've got more of a grasp on organizing all that stuff so we're good.

8.) Quiet Resistance. I deleted facebook from my phone post Women's March because I was reading too much and getting worked up. the pro-human-life-in-general, baby-feminist in me has been internally screaming about current events, while the conservative, homeschooled, cheaper-by-the-dozen, staunchly pro-birth girl has been has been (rightly) holding me back from participating in the larger organized public outcry for obvious reasons (and my heart breaks because of it). But I've found solace in doing my small part through world-focused book displays at the library, and ordering hundreds of dollars worth of diverse books for collection development. If I can at all influence my kiddos to become readers who have empathy for others, I will be satisfied.

So... that's me! What's keeping you going in these cold months?

(linked up at

From the Archives | The History of a Librarian-in-Training

The following post was previously published on my library internship blog, oh so nerdily titled The World Is Quiet Here, and found at the following address: If you don't know what the title references, go read A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 People often ask me what made me choose librarianship as my career path to follow, and I'll usually tell them "I just love being around books," mostly because I can't think of any deeper reason on the spot. But after they've walked away, and I'm left with the question still hovering around in my mind, I can begin to pull together the real reasons why I want to be a librarian "when I grow up."

 Yes, I love reading, and even just being around books. I can't remember a time when I couldn't read. At six, I got my first library card, signing the back in ballpoint chicken scratch. My first pin number was 1111 (I was the first child and ones were easy to remember. My sister had twos.) I remember the old DOS-based computer catalog that sat in the children's section. We became well acquainted even then. At the age of eight or nine I figured out how to use the library website to place holds from the comfort of my home. My dad only let me check out three of the twenty books that showed up at the library for me later that week. At ten, I was allowed to walk the half-block the library by myself, for a half-hour at a time. My mom has a picture of me walking across the street in the rain with our giant red and white golf umbrella. She was afraid that I was going to be abducted and that it'd be the last picture she'd ever have of me. A love of the contents cultivated a love of the place. I loved books, so therefore, I loved libraries.

  It wasn't till I was in late middle school to early high school that I started to think that I might want to BE a librarian however. There were two spectacular librarians in my life at this point that I believe started shaping this desire in me. We lived in Tallahassee at the time, and would frequent the main branch library as a family on Friday evenings. We'd pick my dad up from work, grab some mexican food at On-the-Border, then head to the library to stock up for the next two to three weeks. Working the Youth and Children's services at the Leroy Collins Leon County Public Library was a wonderful young librarian by the name of Sarah. Maybe it was the fact that she had the same name as me; maybe it was her amazing red hair, but I wanted to be just like her. She had the best job ever.

  When we weren't visiting the downtown library, my mom would take us to a smaller, closer branch for home-school book club in the afternoons. That's where I met Karen White, also young, lovely and working in the best job ever. She facilitated our club meetings, leading conversation of 10-15 home-schoolers in her little office where we'd sit on the floor, on the desk, on boxes, wherever we'd fit, discussing Shane, Eragon, The Outsiders and other books of our (and our mothers) choice. I still remember the first time I saw her diploma on the wall in the office. She held her Masters in Library Science from Florida State University, and that was the first time I realized that you could go to school to be a librarian. So in my junior year of high-school when my dad asked what I might want to go to college for, we started researching library schools.

  It wasn't till half-way through my freshman year of college that I actually got my first shot at working in a library. I think that it probably solidified my desire to make it through 4-6 years of school. I found that I received intense satisfaction from being able to point people in the direction of the books they wanted, and from keeping my little kingdom of stacks well-ordered. But what I found I loved the best was helping kids find that perfect book, the one that made their eyes light up and got them excited to read. That on the deepest level is my reason for becoming a librarian. I want to share my passion for books with others, to grow young readers, and to cultivate the next generation of the Knowledge Keepers that are Librarians.