winning awards

Around our workplace there’s a joke that we should all be putting “award-winning librarian” in our bios when we show up in the outside world. After all, who is to say that the participation award from your grade 4 track meet isn’t what made you the professional you are today? I’ve totally done it though. I called myself award-winning in the bio for a talk Jason and I gave at the Vancouver Island Library Staff Conference a few weeks ago, because I really did win an award for making radio back in journalism school. It seemed relevant as part of my radio librarian bona fides. But whatever.

I worry about winning awards in librarianship. The things I tend to do are, while not designed to be high profile, a bit different from the standard librarian things. Which isn’t to say I don’t love the nuts & bolts kind of work of figuring out the answer to a tricky question – that’s the reason I librarian at all – but I’ve always always always wanted to do something different from what other people are doing rather than do what they’re doing better. So I see people who are amazeballs at storytime, bringing in huge crowds and getting all that awesome early learning stuff in there and I want to leave that to them and go do something else, like our radio show, or e-privacy workshop type stuff. Which is fine and all. I get to do things I’m good at and let the people who are really good at the core libraryish things do them.

But then I get twitchy about this because I’m basically just taking advantage of the novelty of what I’m doing to get recognition or whatever. It feels like an ego-stroke, a lot like going to the BC library conference is the only place in this world where I “know people” which can be weirdly ego-inflating. And then the people who are doing the really great normal librarian stuff get left out of the recognition party, which sucks. I don’t want my flashy, kind-of-tangential-to-traditional-library-work projects to outshine my colleagues who are awesome in lower profile ways.

Anyway yeah. Which is to say, I’m sorry for self-promoting. I think what we’re doing with Librarians on the Radio is fun and a good use of my talents such as they are. We won a BCLA Merit award for it (well, our library did). It goes on the CV and we’ll try to keep on making shows I hope are deserving of the recognition all my colleagues should be getting.

book review: agatha awakens (girl genius omnibus vol. 1)

Girl Genius is a comic that wins loads of awards, and that I’d never read. Now that I’ve read the beginning of the story in Agatha Awakens I can’t say I’d vote for it. Agatha is an assistant in a lab and through some mistaken identity she’s shanghaied into service because she’s got The Spark (which is what powers all the steampunky robot inventions).

The art probably gets more polished in later volumes as the story goes along, but I just didn’t like the style the Foglios use. The jokes weren’t that funny and I just didn’t like the characters. For a similar tale I liked much better, see Fullmetal Alchemist.

book review: anya’s ghost

Vera Brosgol wrote and drew Anya’s Ghost so well it’s widely regarded as one of the best graphic novels of 2011. I see no reason to disagree with this wide recognition I will not provide evidence of. (Okay fine: Here’s evidence she’s on the YALSA 2011 top ten list. Don’t go expecting anything more than cryptic un-referenced opinions in future reviews.)

The story is about a girl, a Russian immigrant girl in a crappy private school, who falls down a well. As a Haruki Murakami fan I am contractually obligated to love stories featuring wells. True fact. But then in the bottom of the well, Anya finds a ghost, which she brings up to the surface when she’s rescued.

The rest of the story is about her and the ghost and negotiating high school and the usual teen stuff about insecurity and being different. It’s beautifully done. Brosgol’s art is simple and clean and communicative. I heartily recommend it if you like ghost stories.