Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Looking for helpful sites on the Internet?

Then check out this link for The 100 Most Useful Sites on the Internet.
I'm currently putting together a presentation on where to find consumer information and this article has been invaluable.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Secret World of Haute Couture

So after working in my garden last night for a few hours I headed inside as it started to rain and channel surfed while sipping a pina colada my husband made me. I came across a documentary on PBS that had me riveted. Secret World of Haute Couture is a behind the scenes look at the design houses of legend like Chanel, Dior and Christian Lacroix. Filmmaker Margy Kinmonth takes the viewer from Los Angeles and New York to Paris to interview legendary designers as well as the wealthy clients who purchase couture. The women of this exclusive shopping "club" are fascinating if a bit frightening, women with names like Bloomingdale (yes the store) and Guinness (yes the beer) who don't hesitate to drop a hundred thousand dollars on a dress. These women collect couture like others collect art and have little patience for celebrities who appear in the front row just to be seen. This little seen world was absolutely fascinating and while I don't aspire to collect couture I appreciate the glimpse into the land where Coco Chanel and Wallis Simpson played.
For more information check out the BBC link at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

If there is a day during the year when we should all take a look at the impact we have on the Earth it's today.
Here are a few things to ask yourself and a few answers:
1. Do you know how many plastic bags are used and disposed of each year by
2. Do you know how many plastic water bottles are thrown away each year?
3. Do you know what you can do to decrease that number?
STOP USING PLASTIC BAGS AND STOP BUYING WATER IN A BOTTLE. There are so many options instead of having your groceries packed in plastic bags, try reusing paper bags, buy bags made from recycled materials and keep them in the trunk of your car. Only buying a few items? Carry them! Get a reusable water bottle made out of steel such as Thermos or Klean Kanteen. When you are hosting a meeting or throwing a party
don't buy plastic water bottles!
4. Are you leaving your electronic appliances plugged in when you are not using them?
WHY? Unplug that coffee pot, toaster, television, washer and dryer, cell phone charger, DVD player, etc. Even when an electrical device is turned off, if it is plugged in it is consuming phantom usage. So turn off everything you reasonably can.
5. Do you eat meat every day or more than 3 days a week?
MODERN MEAT PRODUCTION USES ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF ENERGY AND CREATES GREENHOUSE GASES AND POLLUTES WATER SUPPLIES. Don't want to become a vegetarian, than even reducing your meat intake 1 day a week will make a difference.

In the past couple of years I've made some small but important changes in my household. It's been 112 days since I've allowed plastic bags into my home. I reuse paper bags, recyclable cloth grocery bags and my Reisenthel bags (see link under the things I can't live without)for all my groceries, produce from farmers markets, items from department stores and Target etc. Sure it drives my family a little crazy but if they don't want to tote a bag into the store I tell them they can only get what they can carry. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing someone at the Walgreens or Target who is getting 1 or 2 items and allows the cashier to throw them in a plastic bag. Really? You can't carry that bottle of Coke or prescription out with you?
Anything I can unplug in my household I also pull after use. Hairdryer, lamps, kettle, toaster, cellphone charger, wash and dryer, unused televisions etc. I keep my nightstand clocks plugged in and my flat screen tv (the plugs are behind heavy furniture) but I'm trying to find an alternative to even turn those off (battery operated clocks and using power strips are an option I am considering).
Each year I increase what I grow for my family to eat. If you don't have the space for a garden then grab a couple of pots or even recycle jelly or spaghetti sauce jars and grow your own herbs in a window. There is nothing like fresh basil, chives and rosemary!
In the spirit of Earth Day, take a couple of small steps and make a difference.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

National Volunteer Appreciation Week

This week is Volunteer Appreciation Week and as one of my responsibilities at work is volunteer coordinator I have a luncheon planned to honor the library volunteers. Volunteers at the library contribute hundreds of hours a year assisting both staff and patrons and truly the library could not operate with out them. I've had the privilege to work with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds and have enjoyed getting to know everyone who cares enough to give the most precious gift...time.
Over the past year I have been co-chairing a fundraiser for a local woman's club along with 2 close friends and after months of planning our fundraiser was held this past Saturday. The luncheon was a celebration of 75 years of the club as well as a fundraiser for The Cynthia L. Bischof Memorial Foundation, the Northwest Community Hospital and other local charities. With just a few dozen volunteers, wonderful donations from local businesses and the support of the community, the fundraiser was a huge success and thousands were raised to make a difference. Being a part of such an event and watching volunteers dedicate their time and creativity is truly a privilege.
I'm blessed to work with volunteers in my work and personal lives and am so appreciative of the work that gets done.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fairy Tale

A week ago there was a story in the London papers about a 47 year old, unmarried, unemployed woman who lived with her cat and dreamed of becoming a professional singer. She auditioned for the 3rd season of Britain's Got Talent and when she walked onstage in her frumpy dress and messy hair the judges (including Simon Cowell) and the audience laughed at the sight of her. Well then she opened her mouth and sang and she shocked them all.
The article in the paper appeared BEFORE the show had even aired on television and as soon as I read it I searched for a video clip and since it hadn't aired yet there was nothing. By the time the episode aired last weekend and a clip of her performance was uploaded to YouTube, she was already an internet sensation. Similar to the story of Britain Paul Potts the car phone salesman who won the first season of Britain's Got Talent in 2007 with his opera voice, last week Susan Boyle the unemployed Scottish woman with the voice of an angel shocked the world by singing the song I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables.
A few days ago when the clip was first posted I was able to embed it in my Facebook page but now that the clip has been seen by more than 14 million people the embedding has been disabled, but here is the link:
I've watched the clip about a dozen times and it never fails to send shivers up my spine and make me teary. Each time I watch it, just a short 7 minute video, I'm amazed at how astonishing what happened at that audition really is. I'm sure part of the appeal of the video is a result of clever editing and the hype about the audition that shocked even hard hearted Simon Cowell, but really... what is the emotion that affects the millions who watch it?
Susan Boyle has all the makings of a fabulous fairy tale or a blockbuster movie... an ugly duckling middle age woman who by her own admission has never been kissed and lives with a cat for companionship. She decides to make her own dreams come true and auditions for one of the most cynical men in the music business and with 1 song changes everything. Not only has Susan changed the course of her life when most of the world would have written her off, but she truly, truly touched that part of so many of us who have always believed that their lives were meant to be extraordinary but things just didn't go as we planned. For me it's not just the sheer beauty of her voice or the courage it took to finally chase your dream. It's the magic of watching a real dream come true.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Walking the Runway

A few months ago I spotted a notice in my weekly online American Libraries Direct about a fashion show at ALA in Chicago this summer about what TO wear. ALA's YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) was looking for librarians who could demonstrate how to dress professionally and stylishly while staying affordable. So I recruited my son, handed him my Flip video camera and he shot a short video application of me giving shopping and wardrobe tips while pulling outfits and accessories out of my closet. Last week I found out I'd been chosen for the show so during ALA's annual conference this summer I will be walking the runway with other librarians. The show will be hosted by Steven Rosengard from Season 4 of Project Runway on Friday July 10 from 5-7. If you are attending ALA in Chicago this summer, stop by and watch me and other librarians blow the stereotype of hair in a bun, frumpy clothes and glasses away.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ahhh more books to read

A couple of times a month the magazine Publisher's Weekly crosses my desk and I blissfully devour the pages from cover to cover. Technically I use PW as a tool for collection development at my library (I order all large print, science fiction, fantasy and reference) but it's surprisingly turned into a can't miss for my personal "have-to-read-list".
I happily browse through the reviews sections and after I've ordered books for the library I start my hold list in the catalog for my personal reading. My favorite review sections are non-fiction and lifestyle and usually find about half a dozen books I just have to read. In the March 23rd issue I found gems like, Field Days: A Year of Farming, Eating and Drinking Wine in California as well as Eat My Globe: One Year to Go Everywhere and Eat Everything and The Big Picture: Lessons from a Life on the Set and Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time: My life Doing Dumb Stuff with Animals. I also enjoy the Q&A sessions which highlight an author and the links to Recently Reviewed Online at
If you are looking for a terrific resource on what to read next, check out the magazine or drop by their website and browse.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back to Blog

Well after a busy week, 3 days at Synergy (The Illinois Library Leadership seminar), working my weekend shift at the library and trying to catch up with family and friends, it's back to the blog. Funny thing is when I met people at Synergy a few of them said, "Oh are you the librarian with the blog?". "Yup", I'd say, "I'm the Lively Librarian". Nice to know you are reading my blog!
So today is Election Day and there are many highly contested races and referendums on the ballots. In my hometown not only is the Mayor seeking re-election but there are a number of openings for Village Trustees, Library Trustees, Park District Commissioners and High School Board Members. Obviously the candidates who are elected to fill these positions will directly affect my life, my husband's life and most importantly the life of my teenage son. (Even my dog, 1 guy is running because he wants a dog park which my city DEFINITELY needs!)
I will not be listing my endorsements of candidates on my blog, not even who I support for Library Trustee. This just isn't the place, if I want to talk politics I do it face to face. I will however tell you that all elections are important so please get out and vote today. If you live in Cook County you can view your ballot and read about the candidates at