Showing posts with label Library Services. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Library Services. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's A Librarian's Wonderful Life Redux

[Here is my own version of "It's a Wonderful Life," that was first published a couple of years ago.  I think it is particularly relevant now, so I updated it a bit and share it with you again as my holiday gift to you!]

OK, now be honest. 

How many times have you already watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” this holiday season? 

Cmon, be honest.

Most of us know the story –

Clarence, an angel who needs to earn his wings, comes down to earth to help a despondent George Bailey, who is contemplating suicide, to show George what life would have been like if he never existed.

It’s a fairy tale, but we watch this uplifting tale over and over because we all need reminding that we matter…that the world wouldn’t quite be the same if we were not in it.

Remember this?

(George has discovered his brother Harry’s tombstone)

Clarence: (explaining) Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine.
George Bailey:  That’s a lie!  Harry Bailey went to war – he got the Congressional Medal of Honor, he saved the lives of every man on that transport.

Clarence:  Every man on that transport died!  Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry (when he broke through the ice).

Clarence goes on to tell George, “You’ve been given a great gift, George.  A chance to see what the world would be like without you.”

So this got me to thinking.

What would the world be like without libraries?

(sound of me thinking) Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do


CLARA’S VOICE (that’s me – I’m Clara the Angel)

You sent for me sir?

FRANKLIN’S VOICE (He’s the Head of the Angels)

Yes, Clara, People on earth need our help.


Splendid!  Are they sick?


No, worse.  They are not appreciating their libraries.


Oh, dear, dear!  Their libraries!  Then I’ve only got an hour to dress.  What are they wearing now?  (I must be fashionable! – wink)


You will go to earth and show the people what the world would be like without libraries.


Sir…If I should accomplish this mission – I mean—might I perhaps be able to secure library funding in perpetuity?  I’ve been waiting for over two hundred years now, sir…


Clara, you do a good job showing the people how valuable their libraries are and you will get that funding.


Oh, thank you, sir.  Thank you.

The stars fade out from the screen, and a light, an indistinguishable blur is seen. The blur on the screen slowly begins to take form.  We see a group of young boys on top of a snow-covered hill. 


A group of boys is preparing to slide down the hill on large shovels.  One of them makes the slide and shoots out onto the ice of a frozen river at the bottom of the hill.

BOY: (as he slides down and reaches the bottom)

Yippee!  I can’t wait to get to the library and get the last book in the Raven Cycle series.  All the kids are reading that right now.

OTHER BOY: (shaking his head)

You idiot.  Don’t you read the papers?  All the libraries have closed.  Everyone took them for granted and they disappeared.

BOY: (crying) Oh, no.  My dad lost his job and said there is no money for anything extra.  How will I get that book?


Boy’s home


BOY’S DAD: (talking to his wife)

Sorry, honey.  I have been looking for a job for six months now and there just isn’t anything.  I had to cancel our Netflix, newspaper, Book of the Month, magazine and investments subscriptions.  And we can’t afford our Internet access anymore either.  But we can always go to the library for free DVDs and books and can read the magazines and newspapers there.  We can use their computers and I know they have investment materials too.

BOY’S MOTHER: (gently)

Oh, George, haven’t you heard?  There are no libraries anymore.

BOY’S DAD (let’s call him George.  I’m tired of typing “Boy’s Dad):

Oh, no.  I was taking their free computer classes to improve my computer skills to help me get that job. 

And the librarians were so helpful when I needed assistance filling out the online job application forms.  What am I going to do?

MILDRED: (the wife)

Well, at least we can go to Starbucks for internet access, can’t we?

GEORGE: (shaking his head)

I had to sell the laptop.


Remember the last time we were asked to vote to support the library and we thought it was too much?  Now that we have to buy our books, DVDS, subscriptions, Internet access, investment newsletters, and all of the other services the library provided, what will it cost us?

GEORGE: (looking miserable)

I can’t even contemplate it.


When I put it all together, what we would have to pay to get everything we were able to get at the library – all in one place – it was really a bargain.

I guess I will have to give up my genealogy research too.  I was using Ancestry and HeritageQuest at the library. They provided those databases for free.  Even if we had a computer and Internet access, we wouldn’t be able to afford our own subscription.  What will I do?  I had just found my ancestor from the Revolutionary War, Ezekiel Tufnell.




OTHER BOY (let’s call him Bill so I don’t have to type OTHER BOY all of the time) is sitting at the table with his mother, Mary, and his little 3-year-old sister, ZAZA. 


Mama, Mama, can’t wait to go to library to see Miss Susan and hear stowy.


Oh, Zaza, Mama is so sorry.  There is no library anymore and Miss Susan is gone.  She had to move away because people didn’t realize how important her story times were and how many children she was helping with the skills they needed to be successful in kindergarten.

Last I heard she was working in a diner in town.

ZAZA:  (crying) 

No stowy?


Mom, I need you to help me with my algebra tonight.

MARY:  (sighing)

Oh, Bill, you know I’m not good at math.  Can’t you use the Homework Help at the Lib…Oh, no….No more free Homework Help either.


And where will I go tomorrow after school when you are at work?  You know I always go there to get my homework done and use the computer. The teen librarian has some great programs on Wednesdays for teens too.


I’m sorry, Bill.  I, I, I just don’t know.  Let me think…


Oh why did I take my library for granted?



Several adults of all ages are sitting around a table.

ADULT #1: 

I am glad we can meet here for our book club now that the library is closed. 

I hear Maury and Angela won’t be joining us anymore because they can’t afford to buy the books.  I don’t think people realized what an asset the library was for people like us.  I’m a senior on a fixed income and going to the free programs at the library enriched my life immensely.  It also got me out of the house to meet my friends and other seniors.  I don’t know what I’m going to do now.

ADULT #2: 

I know. 

My cousin has his green card and was taking citizenship classes at the library.  Who knew? Those were the only free classes available.  Not sure what he will do if he has to pay someone.  He was also getting help with his English at one of their English as a Second Language classes.


I was going to the library to get help researching my book.  The librarians were really helpful with the computer and making sure I was getting accurate information.  I don’t know what I am going to do now.  And without libraries, I am sure book sales will suffer.  Libraries buy a lot of books!

ADULT #4: 

I didn’t really think about the library.  I just thought it would always be there.



An indistinguishable blur is seen. The blur fades to a starlit sky.


Strange, isn’t it?  Each library touches so many lives. 

When they aren’t around it leaves an awful hole, doesn’t it? 


I think you made your point, Clara.


CLOSE SHOT - Back to the presentZaza and her mother and father hearing a bell ringing on their Christmas tree.

ZAZA:  (pointing)

Look Mama.  Miss Susan, the children's librarian, says, every time a bell rings a library gets funding.


That’s right, that’s right.


I said it was a fairy tale. 

But it's not a fairy tale that...

Libraries change lives.

Change yours and have a wonderful life by using your library card and supporting your library this holiday season and into the
New Year! 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends

See you here Friday for the Week in Reviews!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Retired Librarian's New Year's Resolutions


I can't believe that 2014 is almost here.

So once again it's time to make those New Year's resolutions. 

As you have probably surmised, I like to include my dogs in costumes in my blogs, but I realize that is just a way to get a cheap laugh, so my first resolution is to stop using dogs in costumes as a cheap way of getting a laugh, and instead, I will work to be more serious about the topic at hand.


Every year I make New Year's resolutions, but I usually don't go back and review them.  I think that's a good idea. 

So, in 2013, did I do what I said I was going to do? 

Let's see...

2013 Resolution #1. Lose weight.


2013 Resolution #2. Exercise more.


2013 Resolution #3. Pay more attention to my husband.


2013 Resolution #4. Watch less TV.


2013 Resolution #5. Stop buying clothes (especially since you will be retiring and won't need so many)
Uh-uh...that's a no for "I can't believe how badly this is going."

2013 Resolution #6. Retire

I did do that.

Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.  But one out of six isn't so bad...
is it?
Most of us don't do so well keeping our New Year's resolutions.  Some statistics say we quit during January!
However, if you want to make some resolutions you can actually keep, why not try

The Library 

Pick at least three of the following and I promise you, your life will be changed for the better.

  • Download free e-books for your Kindle, Nook, IPad or other device from your library's website.

  • Take your child or grandchild to library story times.

  • If you don’t have a library card, get one. It’s free and is your ticket to so much: free DVDs, computer usage, and databases where you can find car repair information, genealogical research, newspapers and much more, all from the convenience of your own home. And you can't find this free on the Internet.  Libraries purchase this information for you.

  • Speaking of DVDs, why pay a service for them when you can check them out for free at the library?  They have the latest releases and you can place your requests online via the web page and check out a bunch at a time.

  • Never got around to learning how to use a computer? Many libraries provide free computer classes and learn how to use a mouse, find what you need on the Internet, use your email effectively, send attachments, copy and paste, all those things that have you stumped. And if you are a job hunter, we have a class highlighting job hunting resources on the Internet, as well as a laptop you can use in the library for as long as you need to.

  • Need help preparing your tax return?  Libraries partner with the AARP every year to help people fill out their tax returns. The service is free by appointment.

  •  New in town and want to meet your fellow residents? The Library is a community gathering place. 

  •  Is your little one just starting to read?  Libraries have books especially focused on new readers. And baby and family story times are designed to help your little one succeed in kindergarten.

  • Have a slow Internet connection or no Internet? Free computer usage is available at the library, and if you have a laptop, most libraries also provide free


This is just a taste of what awaits you at the library if you resolve to make your life better this year.
So get yourself to the library and start on those resolutions!

Now for those other pesky personal resolutions for 2014...


Let's try one more time...

1. Lose weight.
2. Exercise more
3. Pay more attention to my husband
4. Watch less TV
5. Stop buying clothes

But this year, I am going to take some tips from my friend Juhli over at Boomer Girl's Guide, a blog I highly recommend and add these:

6.  Keep learning
     I am working on my meditation practice and reading, reading, reading

7.  Focus on being happy in the present

      I am keeping a gratitude journal

8.  Give of yourself through volunteering

      I have been appointed to the local Council on Aging - my mother didn't have a
      good "end of life." I am passionate about people being able to end their days in
      their own homes or in the care of their loved ones

9.  Fill my days with meaningful activity

      All of the above and more

10. Laugh

      This is difficult sometimes when one is feeling down, but I do tend to have a
      wry take on things and can still find some humor in despair.

What are your New Year's Resolutions? 
(Besides getting yourself to the library, of course).

Best wishes for a happy and productive
New Year!

                                           Old habits die hard.

See you Friday for my Oscar Predictions
and the Week in Reviews.

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends

Friday, November 8, 2013

Retirement and the Library and the Week in Reviews

[I review movies "About Time," "The Look of Love," "Lovelace," "Nobody Walks," "Down by Law" and "The Red Riding Trilogy" as well as Linda Ronstadt's memoir and some local theatre.]

But first

Retirement and the Library

As you can see from the picture above, I was an early library user (I'm the one third from the left - looks like Dutch Boy haircuts were in vogue).  My mother took me to the library story times as a preschooler, and as I have said in a previous blog ("20 Books and Films that Shaped this Baby Boomer's Life"), when I was older, I went to the library regularly as I worked my way through the "Masterpieces of Literature."  It was also a great place to meet up with my friends.

Libraries are still about childrens' story times and books and a great place to meet your friends, but today they are so much more.

I am always amazed that people don't know much about what libraries offer these days.  They are not what libraries were 60 years ago and librarians don't look like that anymore either (most of them anyway).

I can't tell you how many times I will give someone my little "elevator speech" about the library while standing in line somewhere and the response is usually, "I didn't know libraries did that" or "I haven't been to the library in years, not since my kids were little."

When I tell people I am a librarian, I still get the "shushing" motion or the "You don't look like a librarian" comment, comments I have been hearing for 40 years. These comments just indicate to me that libraries have not done a very good job about getting the word out about what is available for adults and for free!

Since I was a librarian for 40 years, it makes sense that the library was on my mind constantly, and I realize that it isn't the first thing that pops into the minds of civilians but it should be.  I have always been convinced that if people really knew what libraries provided -- for free -- they would be breaking down the doors.  But for some reason, word hasn't gotten out.

But now it has!

I am going to provide a public service and share some information about the library that you might not be aware of and might spark your interest, especially if you are retired or thinking of retirement.


If you go to your library's website, you can manage your account, use premium databases, read magazines and newspapers and download e-books to your computer or mobile devices -- all for free.

By managing your account, I am talking about renewing items online, placing requests for titles you want to read and many libraries provide the option of "freezing" your requests so you don't lose your place in the queue if you are on vacation when it's your turn for the book.

When I say "premium databases," I am referring to providing access to content that is NOT free on the Internet.  There is this misconception that everything is on the Internet.  That is partly true. Much is on the Internet but much of it is NOT free. For example, if you are into genealogy, you might want to use or HeritageQuest, neither of which are free if you went to those websites directly.  However, your local library probably subscribes to those databases and you can access them for free through the library's website using your library card.  The content available in other databases that the library subscribes to runs the gamut from auto repair data, home repair information, job hunting help, financial information, computer instruction and more.

The same goes for magazines - the entire issues - which you can download to your computer or device (Zinio is one vendor), and Overdrive and 3M Cloud provide FREE downloadable print and talking books. 

Why buy them when you can download them for free from your library?

You don't even have to go to the library to ask a question 

You can chat live with a librarian right from the website and ask your questions about Social Security, finances and other areas of interest to retirees.

Books, Audio Books, CDs and DVDs

Yes, I know you know that libraries have books. 
But did you also know that you can get talking books to listen to in your car or at the gym, the latest music CDs and movies on DVD?  Especially if you are retired and on a fixed income, why pay Netflix when you can check out the latest DVDs for free?  My library allows me to check out 10 at a time.


Many libraries offer computer classes, citizenship classes and classes on a wide variety of topics of interest to adults:  finances, planning for retirement, gardening, resumes and more.  And it's all free.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you are retired and feeling like you need something purposeful to do, volunteering at the library can be fulfilling.  You get to hang around really cool people (librarians are very cool) and serve your community at the same time.

And libraries are just wonderful community gathering places
If you make your way to the brick and mortar library, you will find free Wi-Fi, computers and printers, photocopy machines and other services. Many libraries have meeting spaces for your group or study areas where you can meet with your friends to work on a project or have a quiet place to study.

So next time you and your friends are wondering what to do,
why not say
"Meet me at the Library!"

Share your library memories and experiences!

Cooking Classes

I am enjoying taking cooking classes. 

I love to cook and do it often, but after taking a couple of classes, I have already learned some things I didn't know.

My second cooking class was "Simply Seafood."

I tend to overcook my fish and shellfish.  I guess I can't quite believe something can be done in just a matter of minutes.  In fact the teacher said that you don't actually cook fish so much as "threaten it with heat!"

Anyway, here are some tips you may or may not know.

       This is what they do in restaurant kitchens.  You do all of your prepping  
       first: chopping, measuring, etc. so everything is ready before you start
       putting things together.  Good advice, especially if you have found yourself
       in the middle of putting a dish together and discovered you lacked a
       particular ingredient. I am going to make myself do this from now on. 
       Plus I like to say "mise en place."

  • You can peel a piece of raw ginger with a spoon.  It's actually better than using a peeler as you don't pull off as much flesh this way.

  • Use a zester for all of your grating needs when you need it grated very finely.

  • No matter what Rachael Ray says, don't use olive oil for anything you will heat higher than medium.  It changes its flavor at high temperatures.  Use canola or nut oils instead.

  • Heat your pan first without the oil, then add the oil.  If you add the oil and then heat the pan, it takes forever.  Then when you add the food, it gets cool again.

  • When frying or searing fish or meat, don't crowd the pieces in the pan.  When the fish or meat is crowded together, it actually stews it.

  • When searing fish, it will release from the pan when it has a nice sear.
I feel myself becoming a better cook already!  Now I am going to say mise en place again. Mise en place.
Have some cooking tips?

About Time (2013)


When Tim turns 21, his father tells him that the men in his family can time travel.  Tim uses this new power to find love and much more.
Richard Curtis, who wrote and directed "Love Actually (2003) "  and "Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)," has produced another affecting and life affirming film.  A little bit "Groundhog Day (1993)," a little bit "Somewhere in Time (1980)," this film has everything I love:  English Countryside, London, recognizable British actors (Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Lindsay Duncan), British humor, pathos and a love story.  (The baby is even named Posy and Posy, you know who you are).
Though Domhhall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter series) seems an unlikely leading man, he reminded me of a young Hugh Grant and he was delightful.  Rachel McAdams was also delightful as Tim's love interest.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Utterly charming.  A must see, but fathers and sons should especially see this together.

Movies You Might Have Missed
And some you will be glad you did!
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)
Note:  Funny how my weekly DVD watching seems to run in themes. 
Last week it was blood and gore and this week seems to be sex and porn!

The Look of Love (2013)

Biopic on the life of Paul Raymond, often called the Hugh Hefner of Britain and once Britain's richest man.
Lots and lots of nudity and sex in this one, but that aside, I love biopics and this one captures the "Swinging London" of the 1970's and the sad ends that often besets the children of the very rich. Moral:  Money can't buy you happiness.
Rosy the Reviewer says...A good biopic, but only recommended if you are not offended by lots and lots of nudity and sex.
Lovelace (2013)
A cautionary tale about growing up in a strict religious household and meeting the wrong guy.
If you haven't heard of "Deep Throat (the porn movie, not the Watergate code name), you are either under the age of 20 or over the age of 90.  "Deep Throat" brought porn to the mainstream, as it was one of the early ones where there was actually a plot and some humor. 
Peter Sarsgaard and Amanda Seyfried star, but it's fun to see all of the cameos by big stars (You might not recognize some of them):  Sharon Stone without makeup as her mother, James Franco as Hugh Hefner, Juno Temple (she's everywhere these days), Chris Noth, Eric Roberts (who starred in a similar story of domestic abuse, "Star 80, the tragic biopic about Playmate Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered by her abusive husband.)
If you watch this film for prurient reasons, you will be disappointed.  There is some nudity, but this movie is based on Linda's book "Ordeal," which describes the abuse Lovelace took at the hands of her husband and is more about domestic violence than porn and how women are used by men. 
"Deep Throat" made millions.  Linda Lovelace made $2500.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like biopics, this is a good one.  If you like porn, you might be disappointed.
Nobody Walks (2012)
A young woman comes to LA to get some help with her film and wrecks havoc on a marriage... of course the husband cheats.  Yawn.
I kept checking to see how many more minutes until this was over.  You wonder sometimes why some films get made.
Rosy the Reviewer says...everyone in this film is so annoying and inappropriate.  You can skip this one.

Down by Law (1986)

Three guys from disparate backgrounds find themselves in a Louisiana jail together and plot their escape. 
Roberto Benigni stars along with Tom Waits.  This is Benigni pre "Life is Beautiful." Have been a big Jim Jarmusch fan ever since he did Stranger than Paradise in 1984.  He does quirky films often in black and white.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Reminds me how beautiful black and white can be.  If you haven't already and fancy yourself a film expert, you need to add Jarmusch to your repertoire.
Red Riding Trilogy (2009)
Riding is the nickname for West Yorkshire in England and this series of three films, that first appeared on UK television, follows the disappearances and murders of young girls from 1974 through 1983 and the police corruption that covered them up. 
All three films are related and there are some recurring characters in all three.  In addition to some familiar British actors such as Jim Carter and Michelle Dockery (Mr. Carson and Mary in "Downton Abbey" respectively), this was some early work by Andrew Garfield before he hit it big in "The Social Network" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" and Rebecca Hall, before she got noticed in "The Town."
Sometimes I think I am too stupid for British crime films as they are usually so intricate with so many red herrings that I lose track of the plot.  But I am still hooked. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like your British crime films gritty and smart, these are for you.
***Check your local library for these DVDs.
***Otherwise, they are available through Netflix and Amazon.
Simple Dreams by Linda Ronstadt (2013)
Linda recounts the ups and downs of her life and eclectic musical career.
She doesn't give much in the way of personal details.  She mentions her two adopted children but does not address the issue of never marrying and only briefly mentions famous liaisons such as Jerry Brown.  But if you are interested in the LA music scene circa 1970's and 80's, it's fun to see how those performers all intermingled e.g. the Eagles were formed when Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Bernie Leadon and Glen Frey came together to form Linda's touring band when she was first starting out.

It was sad to hear that Linda can no longer sing because of Parkinson's Disease.  What a cruel fate for a singer.  But she doesn't lament her situation. 
She is nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for 2014 and deserves this recognition as one of the most successful female singers of our generation. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...A straight-forward tale of the music scene of the 1970's and 80's that Baby Boomers will especially enjoy.


Anything Goes

This is the Tony-winning production (2011 Best Musical Revival) currently on tour.  You can enjoy the witty Cole Porter songs and lively dance numbers, though the book is sheer farce.

Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like Cole Porter and lively dance numbers, you will enjoy this.  See it if it comes to a town near you.  Click on the link for tour dates.

That's it for this week.

What did YOU do this week?

See you next Tuesday
for the
10 Signs You Are Getting Old!

Thanks for reading! 
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