Awful Library Books CMS Style

So I’ve now been at CMS for 4 months. And what an awesome 4 months it’s been! I have already successfully weeded the fiction section and I am pretty happy with the results. With 1000 less fiction books (that were not circulating) cluttering the shelves, it’s much easier for students to find what they want. I was very happy about weeding fiction. However, I have not been very happy about the prospect of weeding nonfiction.

I knew it was going to be bad. I knew I was going to need to weed A LOT of books. Just thinking about it made my stomach drop. I’ve pretty much avoided nonfiction for the past 4 months, which as been pretty easy to do. It’s a very rare occasion that a student comes in looking for nonfiction — especially since I pulled all of the graphic novels and gave them their own home. Now, though, we are in the home stretch. And we all know that the end of the year means inventory time. So on Thursday, I decided it was time to suck it up.

Here’s the approach that I’ve decided to take. It’s kind of weird, but it’s working for me. I opened a partial inventory of just 000-999.999. This way if I scan something that doesn’t belong, I catch it right off the bat. I’ll go straight through and scan a section of shelves. Then I go back and I sort the books — keepers in one area and probable weeds in another. I’m not actually weeding them from the system at this point, I’m going to go back and do this to give them one more look. I was nervous to start this because I thought I would lament over these books. But after actually digging into them, I am SO over that. Oh, the horrors I have seen. The books that have been lurking on these shelves, laughing at me every time I pass by. They were laughing because they knew they didn’t belong. Many of them laughing because the information they hold is so outdated that it can’t even qualify as nonfiction anymore. Seriously.

But now, it is your turn to laugh. Laugh away at these awful library books that have been living in the CMS library for only heaven knows how many years.

This is one of my favorites — Vans: The Personality Vehicles by Paul R. Dexler. Copyright 1977.

My principal loves a good van, so he got a kick out of this one. In this gem, you not only get to see loads of custom paint jobs and their snazzy bubble windows, but also the wide range of interior decorating options. See pages below:

There were loads of old vehicle books, including quite a few about mopeds. But the next one I want you to see is New Automobiles of the Future by Irwin Stambler. Copyright 1978.

This books made some jaw dropping predictions about how cars were going to transform over the next few decades. Personally, I’m more than a little upset that the sliding car door trend never came to fruition. Hmm…I guess vans get all the fun past AND present.

Imagine one of my precious darlings doing a research project on computers. Let’s say their teacher required them to use a print resource (the horror!!) and they came across this book, Micro-Computers. Imagine their confusion when they KNOW that micro means small, yet they see images such as the ones below. They’ve got a computer in their pocket, for crying out loud! Then they go to reference this book in their bibliography and see it’s Copyrighted 1981. Hm.

I just like this one for the subtitle, “Telecommunications in Your High-Tech World.” The only thing high-tech about this book is the hot pants the chick is wearing on the page below:

I saved my favorites for last. In her day, Harriette S. Abels knew a lot about “Our Future World.” So much so, that she decided to write a few books about it. Check out the cover of Future Food. Our diets should (according to Ms. Abels) now be seafood based, with very little red meat. This is because we are supposed to be harvesting the oceans (I think that the cover image is an ocean harvester machine, in fact). AND some of us should be lucky enough to have a pool in our backyard where we breed and feed our dinner. Sadly, none of my friends have a crop of fish in their backyard.

Harriette also speculated about Future Space. The first image below is our space colony, where living in space is just a normal part of everyday life. I’m pretty devastated that I don’t have a space scooter. It looks like a safe way to get from my home on the living colony to my job at the factory colony.

Obviously, these books will no longer be part of my circulating collection. I think I will probably keep my favorites just for giggles. But it really makes you think about what will be said about us several decades down the road, doesn’t it?


A special thanks to Kathy Kaldenberg who shared the Awful Library Books site with me, which inspired this post!

Recent Reads

Note: This is a draft was saved from several weeks ago. I planned to add to it then post, but I’ve been in a reading funk and completely preoccupied with my upcoming move, so at this point it is what it is…

Eleven by Laruen Myracle

So I read this one several weeks ago but forgot to post it. It was a cute story – I didn’t love it – but it’s definitely something that girls can relate to. There’s nothing heavy here, just the drama and emotion of being an eleven year old girl. Winnie deals with her BFF pretty much dropping her for a new friend, so this would be a good one to suggest for a girl dealing with those types of issues. I thought it was very realistic. It made me think of how I felt at Winnie’s age and I think tweens today would also be able to closely relate to this character.

Daniel X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

It took me a long time to get through this one. Not sure what it was about it, but I just wasn’t into it. Daniel is an alien fighting alien living on earth and protecting the humans from psycho aliens. It sort of reminded me of a cross between Percy Jackson (think about going on those quests) and Men In Black (think gross, weird aliens). I’m sure there’s an audience out there for this book, especially since it’s by James Patterson. I just wasn’t the right person for this one.

Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renee Russell

This is the second “diary” of Nikki, who writes each day about her life in middle school. It’s a quick, easy, fun read. I know that middle school girls would be all over this series. I’m sure even my third grade girls would love it. And I think it would be totally fine for my girls. Good clean fun, formatted Diary of a Wimpy Kid-style. What’s not to love? Mackenzie, the resident mean girl of the series. You’ll love Nikki’s witty (written, never actually spoken) responses to her bully.

Busy days and awesome reads

I’ve spent the last week writing my last big paper for the curriculum class I’m taking this semester, which I submitted yesterday afternoon. So, YAY! I cannot believe how quickly time is flying this year. It seems like every time I blink it’s Sunday night and I’m getting ready for a new week. It’s pretty scary!

Let me give you the run down on what went on at the library last week.

With my third graders, I read “Molly the Pony” by Pam Kaster. This was the third Louisiana Young Readers Choice book that we’ve read together. I think this is their favorite so far, even though I so so so love “Two Bobbies.” It’s a great story, though, and we even have a teacher at our school who has met Molly, so I think that won bonus points with the kids. I also showed this video, which had some really great footage of Molly walking in her cast after surgery and having her prosthetic leg being put on.

With second graders, I was planning on doing a Reader’s Theatre on “Book, Book, Book.” I did the activity with my Monday classes and it was painful. They were not yet ready for that activity. So for the rest of the week we read “The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin” and some really fun discussions about the word “FIERCE!”

We had a special guest performer on Friday afternoon, and he was AMAZING! Rick Kelly did an awesome job with his performance, “Don’t Just Sit There, READ!” We were able to have him visit through a program by the State Library of Louisiana.  He really knows what he’s doing and was entertaining (and hilarious) to both students and teachers (which says a lot). He also knows how to interact with the students well — getting them pumped up but not out of control. I can’t say enough good things about him and his program.

I’ve also been reading some great books. In my last update, I shared that I was loving Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. Well, I still am! I read the second book, “Ninth Key,” and it was great. Definitely a series that I’ll keep reading.

After reading two in a row, I needed a little variety. Plus I had an awesome stack of books I’d just picked up from the library. The first one I grabbed was “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine and OMG it was awesome. Like REALLY awesome. It’s about a 10 year old girl with Aspergers who is dealing with the recent death of her brother. I sobbed for the entire second half of the book. Now, I may not exactly be emotionally stable right now, but it really was heartbreaking and eye opening at the same time. This was the first book I’ve read from the perspective with someone on the spectrum of autism. If you haven’t read this book — especially if you work with children — then put it on your list (near the top).

The next book I grabbed from the stack was “Th1rteen R3asons Why” by Jay Asher. I picked this book up after I finished writing my paper yesterday afternoon and read the entire thing in one sitting. Like Clay, the main character, I was COMPLETELY absorbed in following Hannah’s journey. The premise sounds awful — Clay receives a box of tapes that were recorded by Hannah, his crush who recently committed suicide — but the book is sooo good. This is an amazingly well written book and I highly recommend it.

So it’s a busy week ahead. Monday and Thursday classes will get my usual Halloween Week lessons (Legend of Sleepy Hallow for 3rd, Stellaluna for 2nd). Tuesday and Friday will be watching the Book Fair sneak peak video to pump them up since I won’t see them again before the fair begins on the 5th. Wednesday is a half day for kids since we have staff development, so I’ll only see them for long enough to exchange library books. More busy days ahead, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Free to Read

As you (better) know, this week was Banned Books Week. Although it isn’t something I really celebrated with my 2nd and 3rd graders who are pretty young to get the concept, I celebrated this week personally and professionally. My interview with the AMAZING Story Snoops made this my favorite BBW eva! If for some absurd reason you did not read the interview, STOP reading this post and get over there to read it!!! While you’re over there, make sure to read their other interviews with Judy Blume, Abby the Librarian, Meg Cabot, Carol Rasco, Ellen Hopkins, and Karen Yingling. I also got a shout-out from my community’s local paper Central Speaks. And to top it all off I was psyched to see that article made the print version of the paper, which arrived in my mailbox yesterday afternoon! So as you can tell, this has been a week filled with excitement, pride, and joy for me! I love my job and being involved in events like this week completely affirm that I am doing EXACTLY what I am supposed to do. To say this was the highlight of my week is a major understatement!

A couple of weeks ago, I committed to reading three challenged/banned books for the “Ban This!” challenge. I finished my third book this morning so here are my thoughts on those three books:

The first book I read was My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr. From the minute I picked this book up, I could not put it down. My husband says that I crave drama in what I read and watch because my life is so tame. This book proved that point! Ellen, who is extremely close to her brother and his best friend, James, whom she’s always had a crush on. When she starts high school, she begins to wonder if they are best friends or if there’s more to their relationship. Her brother refuses to consider the fact that he may be gay, and a rift forms between the trio, pushing Ellen and James closer together. This story does an incredible job of showing the turbulent emotions of teens as they explore their feelings and sexuality. The family dynamics in this book is also very real. This novel deals with many tough, controversial issues that many teens aren’t comfortable discussing in a way that they may be able to relate to. There is mature content in this book that would not be appropriate for most middle schoolers.

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher is absolutely, positively amazing. This book has been challenged because of the issue of racism, but that is one of the issues addressed in this novel that makes it so moving. This is an incredible story of underdogs pushing forward, coming together, and finding victory in an unexpected way. It’s about overcoming hate and finding a way to live your life in a positive way despite tragedies. I don’t want to give too away much of this story, I just want you to read it. One of the best books I’ve read lately!

So Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan is definitely out of my reading comfort zone. This story pushes the feminism to a whole new level. The Daughters of Eve is a club that finds itself moving more in the direction of a man-hating cult. I found this hard to follow because there are so many characters involved. Although this isn’t a book I’d rave about, I know there’s an audience out there for it since it’s been republished since it’s original publication in 1979.

So I’m counting all of these toward my self created challenge to read more YA…I need to go back through and see what number this makes. (Edit: These three additions make 14 out of 20)

It’s election day in my town, so I’m off to vote. Just like I make use of my freedom to read, I always exercise my freedom to vote. It’s a great country we live in, and I hope you do the same!

Stop the madness!

I feel like I’ve been sucked up into a tornado or something. The past few weeks have been CRAZY. Last week was my first official week back to work. It was also my first week of the fall semester for grad school. My week consisted of work, homework, sleep, repeat. It’s going to be tough finding a balance this year and it’s something I’m really going to have to work at. I’m determined to keep up with my blog — that’s a priority for me. It’s going to be a struggle to keep up with my social media addiction (I didn’t even sign on to Twitter until half an hour ago!!) and I’m pretty sure something’s going to give. My only plan at this point is to take my vitamins, so I’ll let y’all know how that works out 🙂

I was pretty much a magician (with a lot of AWESOME help) and got textbooks passed out in two days. There are still some textbook issues to be resolved, but you know how that goes. Today was my first day to see classes and all went well. My plan is to post my lesson descriptions on Thursdays, so we’ll see how that works out. I figure I’m going to have to set some type of schedule for blogging.

I have three books for my YA self-challenge that I haven’t posted about yet. My descriptions shall be brief. Here goes:

Right before I went back to work, I wanted to read some high-controversy books. “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman was the first one I read. I took this book on our trip to North Carolina. My sister-in-law saw me reading it and said that her mother-in-law sent her an email a while back saying to boycott this book and it’s movie because it was anti-Christian. My opinion after reading it? It’s a FANTASY book. So many people flip out over the Sci-Fi and fantasy genres. I personally love them. And I’m a Christian. I just don’t feel like everything I read ties in directly and overwhelmingly to my personal faith. But to each their own. I thought it was a good book, but I’m not rushing out to devour the next in the series or anything.

So for a different type of controversy, I re-read Judy Blume’s “Forever.” Judy Blume is my hero. She does an unbelievable job of portraying teen love and sex in a novel that can clear up misconceptions and stress the realities of sex without being preachy. This book is timeless, and teen girls will forever pass this book around in secret, because it’s that great. And yes, I did use the word “forever” on purpose.

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins was my gift to myself for surviving the first week of school. I inhaled this book this weekend. I know I’ve said it several times before, but the Hunger Games series is unbelievable and you must read it. The writing and the world she creates is Harry Potter-level good. Blows that vamp stuff out of the water. But that’s just my humble opinion. Read it for yourself and let me know what you think.

One Semester Down (5 to go)

Yesterday, I submitted my final two assignments for my two summer courses! I’m quite proud of myself for surviving my first semester of grad school. I’m working to earn my Masters in Educational Technology Leadership from NSU. My program is 100% online. I took several online courses during my undergrad program, so I sort of knew what to expect. A lot of people think online classes are easier or require less effort. Obviously, those people have never taken an online class before. Both of the classes that I took this semester were very intense. I’m really loving this program and feel like I’m getting just as much out of it as I’m putting in.

One of my courses was called “Technology Leadership in Schools.” This was a great first course for me to take because it really focused on the different roles of a technology coordinator. I wrote a research paper on assistive technology that I really learned a lot from. Another assignment had me research and write a grant proposal. I decided to write mine for gaming in the library, and I plan to actually apply for it within the next few years.

My other course was “Advanced Telecommunications and Distance Learning.” I really enjoyed this course and learning about the many ways that distance education can be incorporated within a school district. My favorite project was one that I was able to use for an assignment in both of my courses: creating an online course. Eventually, I plan to set this up on my district’s Moodle site used for professional development, but you can also view it on my Wikispaces page.

I love what I do and I know that this program is going to teach me so much that I can apply in my school. I’m looking forward to my next two courses, even though I’m very nervous about keeping up with everything with the crazy start we’re having to this school year. It’s going to be very challenging, that’s for sure! In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy my vacation next week, then come back and dive into the chaos that will be moving back into the library.

I finished two more books for my reading challenge, first was My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald. Anyone else amused by the fact that “green” is in the title and author’s last name?? This is a cute, girly book. It has a cute girl power, even a kid can save the world theme. Plus, it made me want to get a facial and buy some new make-up. It took me a little while to get into it, but it ended up being a good story.

When I got the email from my public library that this book was ready for me to pick up, I literally jumped in my car to go get it! Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is an AMAZING second novel in the Hunger Games series. My husband even noticed how quickly I got sucked into this book. He kept trying to talk to me about it and I almost lost my temper…I just wanted to find out what happened to Katniss!!! I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in this series. If you haven’t read these books, you need to. Immediately.


Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is a beautiful, heartbreaking novel. It tells the story of the close relationship shared by two Japanese-American sisters. Their family must move from their home in Iowa to a hatchery town in Georgia. The story, told from the younger sister Katie’s point of view is easy to relate to. Katie feels inferior to her smart, beautiful older sister even though they have an amazingly close friendship. When her sister becomes terminally ill, Katie battles through a range of emotions as her family tries to make sense of their tragedy. This is a beautifully written story. It was as good as I expected it to be with it’s gold Newbery Medal on the cover, even! Definitely one I’ll recommend.


Here’s book 5 of 20 in my reading challenge! Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

This morning I finished reading Fairest. It’s a cute fairytale story of a girl who lives in a kingdom where singing is at the center of everything they do. Aza has an incredibly beautiful voice, but she does not have the physical appearance to match. She finds herself in a situation that brings her into the royal court, where she befriends the new queen. However, things get complicated when the queen uses Aza’s amazing voice to deceive those within the castle. Naturally, drama ensues. This story is quite the page turner and even has the sappy love story to make any girl swoon. For a while, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the “I’m ugly and want so badly to be beautiful” theme, but it worked itself out in the end. Definitely a story to recommend to the girly-girl tweens, it’s one that they’ll love!


So we’ve been remodeling our kitchen for about a month now. The hubs started the remodel while I was in Denver for ISTE and was sure he was going to be almost finished when I got back home. Now we remodeled the bathroom last fall (which he predicted we’d be without a toilet in there for 2 days but it ended up being 10 days), so I knew this would not be a quick fix. My darling husband is very handy and talented, so he’s able to do the work himself, but even he’ll admit he isn’t the fastest worker as he likes to obsess and perfect everything. So we’re in the homestretch (with a dinner party planned for tomorrow night, of course) and it was time for me to do the finishing touches with the painting. I thought that listening to an audiobook would make this a less painful task.

My public library gives me access to Overdrive, which is GREAT! I looked on iTunes and was not paying $20 for an audiobook. The downside was Overdrive and Tiff’s MacBook don’t get along too well. After about an hour of trying to find a book that I could download and put on the iPod with zero success, I pulled out the ole Dell laptop that I so passionately hate. I installed Overdrive and downloaded Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Of course I loved Speak when I read it several years ago, and I thought this cover was pretty nifty. I shall not lie — I judge books by their covers. I checked out the Story Snoops review because they’re my new BFFs, and decided to go for this one. So I cranked up the volume on the Dell, grabbed my paintbrush, and got to work. Honestly, I let out a groan after the first few minutes because I was not feelin’ the narrator. He just sounded weird talking about feeling all lusty for the sexy tennis player chick. I’m a huge fan of audiobooks (the guy who reads the Harry Potter series is da bomb dot com), but ya gotta be feelin’ it to really stick it out most of the time. It was listen to his voice or the hunting channel that the hubs had going in the living room, so I stuck with it. His voice grew on me a little, but if I wouldn’t have been painting I would have gone to the library to get a paper copy to read.

Audiobook issues aside, I really liked the characters and plot of this story. It involves an instance where nude photos of a girl are spread across the internet, so this could really open up some discussions about being safe and cautious when it comes to this sort of thing. There are so many important issues in this book that could really be used as discussion openers or helping students with specific issues such as these. Just as with Speak, Anderson does an incredible job of dealing with a very tough subject matter. Definitely worth a read, but I’d recommend actually reading it as opposed to listening to the audiobook.

By the way, this is book 4 of 20! And please excuse my goofy train of thought in this post — I think the paint fumes are effecting my brain.

The Hunger Games

I just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Ohh. Emm. Gee. This book is incredible. I cannot believe that it’s taken me this long to pick up this book and read it! Now I can’t wait to get the next one in the series. I’m fanatical about dystopian and science fiction novels, and this one does not disappoint. Even if you aren’t into the the 1984/Handmaid’s Tale/Brave New World type novel (and if that’s you I promise I’m trying not to judge), you should still give this one a shot because the characters and plot are so incredible. I dove into this one without even reading the blurb on the back (which I’ve been doing lately to add to the fun of reading) and I was hooked from the start. I brought it along on a girls weekend trip and my BFF had to say, “Tiffany, put the book down!” It’s that good, I promise. I will recommend this book over and over again, and it’s going on my list of favorite books I LOVE! Honestly, I don’t want to tell you what it’s about. Don’t read a summary, just read this book, already! Like right now. I’m serious.