Your Library Staff at Home-Racism In the News

As regular readers of my ramblings know, my focus during this quarantine has been on anxiety and uncertainty. As we are slowing transitioning back to library for some of our shifts there will still be anxiety and uncertainty, but I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces in a familiar setting. So I want to use my final Your Library Staff at Home post to present readers with a list of books that I have found helpful in my own personal quest to learn more about race and racism in America. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but I have found them to be easily accessible.

If you only have time for one book, I highly recommend it be White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. DiAngelo coined the term white fragility to refer to the tendency for white people to become defensive when confronted with their racial advantage. I appreciated this book so much that after listening to it I ordered a print copy to have to refer back to. It IS hard to talk about racism. This book can help make it easier.

So, you’re ready to talk about race. That’s a great start. Yes, it’s just a start. This next book was an eye-opener for me. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi is another fantastic social justice read. Kendi asks readers to think of what an antiracist society looks like. He digs into history and science as he outlines many different types of racism. He thoughtfully examines his own past thoughts and behaviors that he deemed to be racist. This is an engaging look at race and provides many excellent topics of discussion as well as practical ideas to implement in order to create an antiracist society.

Finally, I recommend Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson. Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, argues “The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don’t act now, if you don’t address race immediately, there very well may be no future.”

These are just a few of the nonfiction titles that have had a profound effect on me. One of the things I love about books is that they are a safe way to confront tough topics and they can give us the tools we need to grow.

We are all in this together. Let’s be kind to one another.

~Megan

Your Library Staff at Home — Thanks, Universe?

It has been nice to be able to continue with exercise classes online during the quarantine, but it was not so nice when I overdid it a couple days ago during such a class and felt an ouch. Bummer! Nothing serious but my routine is thrown and now my body is insisting that I need a few days off. I’ve been icing the swelling, elevating and resting and feeling a bit better, but it’s hard not to be discouraged– I had a schedule and a plan and life instead told me to slow down.

Pretty sure many of us had to swallow a truth sandwich as a result of the pandemic and the need for sheltering in place. Vacations were cancelled and postponed; graduations are being held remotely; and some of our really big events have turned into intimate ones. None of this is by choice.

But as I was recouping over the weekend with a Downton Abbey marathon, I’m determined to focus for a silver lining. Perhaps though fictionalized, Downton Abbey provides an excellent example of how humans are capable of growth and change. Along with all the scandal and drama that make compelling television, the Crawley family of Downton face the real-life challenges of surviving first World War, the Spanish Flu, and changes to their Aristocratic way of life. Generations before us have learned to play by new rules. It’s not easy but humans are resilient. We rest, evaluate and then, adapt. We’ll get through this–it’s human nature.

And meanwhile, let’s look at the silver lining. For me, today, the windows are open, the birds are singing, Downton is on and a copy of Denise Mina’s latest mystery Conviction is available for me on Overdrive. It’s going to be a fine day. Thanks, Universe!

Your Library Staff at Home -and at curbside -and celebrating Memorial Day!

After so much wait and see, this was very much a #doersdoing kind of week. The Library began offering curbside pick-up of materials for patrons notified that their holds were available and everything went pretty well! I spent time working in Children’s, Adult Reference, and Circulation, and I’ll be doing the same this coming week. I hope I get to talk to you -and be ready to suggest a new favorite snack if we chat!

If you’re still going strong on digital stories, I enjoyed all these three: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, Weather by Jenny Offill, and Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown. Megan and Nick are funny and charming, Ms. Offill’s book is short in length but long lasting in impact, and Ms. Brown is new to me but this book has convinced me we should become good (book) friends! If you try any of these, let me know what you think (or thought)? Or maybe you’re still enjoying soothing tunes from Freegal– no worries, there’s plenty of time for all the things!

And if you want a quick, but interesting, look at the history of how Memorial Day began and changed over the years -check out this article on History.com.

Don’t forget to be kind to yourself this week!
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home – Book Recommendation

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer Amazon.com: Hope Rides Again: An Obama Biden Mystery (Obama Biden ...

There certainly is no shortage of books by and about politicians these days–be they memoirs, analyses, or biographies. So it’s fun to step back and enjoy a fun novel about some of these figures. The Obama-Biden mystery series by Andrew Shaffer, with two books so far, are fun stories featuring these storied figures as main characters.

In Hope Never Dies (2018), Finn Donnelly, an Amtrak conductor and friend of Joe’s is dead. His remains are found on railroad tracks. Was it an accident, a suicide, or a murder? As the story unfolds the reader learns more about Finn, his sick wife,  his financial woes, and his connection to a motorcycle gang dealing drugs. The former vice president no longer has secret service protection but the former president does. Joe, Barack, and Secret Service officer Steve work to solve the mystery.

In Hope Rides Again (2019), we find Joe, Barack, and Steve all in the Obama hometown of Chicago. Obama’s foundation is working hard to make a difference in the lives of young Chicagoans. Joe makes acquaintance with a young man at one of the foundation’s programs. Soon, though, the young man is embroiled in violence and scandal that exposes a seedier side of Chicago that runs the gamut of Chicago’s power structures. This book features cameo appearances from several other figures from the Obama administration, including Michelle Obama and Rahm Emanuel.

Fictional forms of political figures aren’t exactly uncommon–whether it’s TV’s The West Wing (1999-2006), a fully fictionalized world that mirrored real-life figures and events; an anonymously published novel Primary Colors (1996) which fictionalizes the 1992 presidential campaign; or books like Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife (2008) and Rodham (2020), novels about Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, respectively. These, though, tend to be serious analyses or treatises with occasional moments of levity. Andrew Shaffer’s Obama-Biden Mysteries are the exact opposite–silly, over-the-top, and fun.

It’s fun to witness the relationship between Joe and Barack in these stories. Joe is definitely in charge of the investigation  I am curious if Joe Biden and Barack Obama have read the books and, if so, what they think of them.

~Emma

Your Library Staff at Home-ABCs

A is for Anxiety. As we work on our plans to expand services to our patrons my anxiety has crept back up on me. It’s weird but also expected. I am excited to be able to get new materials to everyone (and myself) and I am looking forward to talking patrons and seeing coworkers again. But also, I am worried about all the things we don’t know. My rational brain knows that the library is taking everyone’s health and safety very seriously. My lizard brain won’t shut up with the “what ifs.” So this week I have headed back to my neglected yoga mat and have found some peace and solace. There are plenty of yoga instructors online. I love Yoga with Adrienne. But the library also has a great collection of yoga and meditation materials-books, dvds, and soundtracks. So if you want a dvd, give us a call! It’s totally normal to be stressed about what’s next. Deep breathing really does help. The library is also here for you. Let us know what you need.

B is for Billboard fame. I am not bingeing anything these days other than podcasts and Best Fiends. So this week’s B is a Brag and a Billboard. Look at how amazing this is! We are on a billboard and it’s gorgeous. Curious about RiverCon 2020? Sign up here for more information.

C is for Connecting and Cookie Dough. Today was a gorgeous day for some social distance connecting. It was so wonderful to see some familiar faces over cookie dough from the Cleveland Cookie Dough Company. Who doesn’t love edible cookie dough? I took my dog, met some coworkers, and got a little fresh air and exercise (psst…also good for anxiety). We have to be creative about how we connect these days and I am thankful the library porvided this opportunity.

Don’t forget, we are now open for curbide pick ups, so place your holds online or give us a call and we will walk your new books, movies, and magazines right out to you! I look forward to hearing from you when I get back in the library in June. Until then, hang in there. We’ll get through this together.

~Megan

Your Library Staff At Home… Staff Highlight

Glenn

Circulation Assistant

 

What is your favorite book you have read this year and why is it your fave?

Leviathan Wakes - ebook

   Leviathan Wakes by James Corey.  Excellent Sci-fi thriller book.  It has mystery, intrigue, plots and subplots, and is an excellent read.  I have heard that this book inspired a tv show and am now looking forward to checking out the show once the RRPL opens again:-)
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What book are you looking forward to reading next?

The Well of Ascension - Audiobook
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What are you currently watching?

Battlestar Gallatica reruns, Masked Singer, American Idol, and a new cheesy sci-fi series entitled “Vagrant Queen”

 

What are you listening to…music, podcasts?

Sports talk radio and numerous CD’s of classic rock & 1980’s music

 

What are you doing to occupy your time during these uncertain times?

Taking daily walks with my dog Ellie (pictured below), reading my first eBooks using the Libby App, doing yard work (trimming, mowing, mulching),  and repairing my cedar picket fence.

 

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Your Library Staff at Home – A Book and Two Cats

This week I’ve not only made my way through a whole novel, I loved it! Oh, and I am currently reading and enjoying a second. I don’t want to jinx it, but maybe my “cold” stretch of picking duds of books to read (and/or not having enough staying-with-it-ness to, well, you know) is over…but I sure hope so!

The book I loved was Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by Kate Racculia. Tuesday is 33-year-old researcher who lives in Boston. To the outside world, Tuesday is an antisocial weirdo who got stuck in her goth chick days, but in her head she has ongoing conversations with the ghost of her best friend Abby, who disappeared when they were 16-year-olds in Salem. Tuesday breaks out from her solitude when a dead eccentric billionaire’s will is made public, inviting the citizens of Boston to participate in a macabre search around the city to compete for his hidden treasure.  She can’t resist going in and neither will you. This book has it all: mystery,  madcap adventure, Oujia board-wielding teenagers, mistaken identities, witty banter, intelligent writing–not to mention some heart-rending examinations of grief, guilt, friendships and romance.

tuesday

Are you convinced?  Place a hold in our catalog here

The book I’m reading now, All Adults Here by Emma Straub is brand new. I’ll keep you posted, but so far I can’t put down this novel about the flawed family of Astrid Strick and her adult children.

All this book reading has me sitting a bit more recently, much to the delight of our two cats, who I’ve decided are indeed the best of coworkers (no disrespect to my husband who is pretty good at sharing a workspace too). The cats, though, are excellent lap warmers and are the perfect partners in crime for when I’m looking for an excuse to stay seated and read just one more chapter. Thanks furballs!

Have a good week and if you’ve got one, give your own  furry coworker a head scratch for me.