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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Losing the Blues

I hope you enjoyed the long holiday weekend.

I didn't! I allowed one rotten experience on Saturday to drop me into a funk for the remainder of the weekend and there I stayed. At those times, I find that an excellent cure is to distract myself with something worthwhile, so I plunged into some books and, a rarity for me, a movie ("Julie and Julia" - loved it!).

I often feel like the only librarian in the world who doesn't carry around a tote bag full of books, spend weekends curled up with a juicy novel and know all the latest indie film actors. I'm a Web librarian, so I do a LOT of reading - on screens, big and small. I'm also a musician and music is both my passion and my escape. But now and then I crave a great read just as much as normal people do! This weekend I was extra grateful for my savvy colleagues and the many resources we have here at DPPL to help people connect with a good book.

I began the weekend with Dave Thompson's hilarious and over-the-top "classic rock manifesto," I Hate New Music. I didn't always agree with Thompson's premise that rock music died around 1977, but I roared out loud at his jokes and nodded in agreement when he nailed a point. I'm now about halfway through with Serve the People: a stir-fried journey through China, by Jen Lin-Liu. I almost exclusively read non-fiction and this book has my favorite characteristics: exotic locale, colorful descriptions of meals, places and characters, and a narrator who is smart, curious and kind. The word "dumpling" appears many, many times.

How did I find these enjoyable reads that seemed just right for me? First, by tapping into the knowledge of our wise Adult Services staff, in this case, our Head of Adult Services, Roberta Johnson. She suggested I Hate New Music, knowing that if I'm not making music, I'm very happy to read about it. I found Serve the People by browsing Roberta's suggestions on our Shelfari "virtual bookshelf." You can browse that bookshelf, too, simply by visiting Positively Ellinwood Street, our blog about books, movies & music.

Need more suggestions? Try:
By the way, another comment from our Web Site survey: someone said they missed an old function of the Catalog, when a searcher could enter something like "New Fiction" and get a list of just that. I have never seen that functionality in the Library Catalog and cannot explain to you why it disappeared, although I suspect a change in the way items are catalogued. The "Power Search" can be used for that type of search but because we share item locations and types with 24 other libraries, it is confusing to say the least.

My recommendation? Bookmark our "One-Click Searches" page. There you'll find links that search for the newest Fiction & Non-Fiction in our Catalog, along with DVDs and other item types. There are lots of one-click searches on the page, but if you have a specific type of book for which you often search, feel free to recommend other one-click searches to us. Next time you've got the blues or just feel the need to read, let our experts and resources guide you to something wonderful.

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