It’s ART FAIR Week!

This week is one of the biggest, busiest weeks of the year in Ann Arbor. It’s ART FAIR week! The Ann Arbor Art Fair is actually 4 separate art fairs that all happen during the same 4 days all across the city. There are over 1200 artists within those 4 fairs, working in pretty much any medium you can think of, with booths to sell their wares. Then there’s all the food trucks, local restaurants have booths, some of the areas have entertainment with musicians and the like, nonprofits in the area have booths set up for fundraising and just informational purposes, national brands often have giveaways in their booths. It’s 4 days with 4 fairs and it usually brings in upwards of 300,000 people to the area. It’s definitely a boost to the local economy.

One thing about Art Fair that rarely fails – it’s hot and humid during those 4 days and there’s USUALLY a storm at some point. Often times it’s a severe storm with hail and even possible tornadoes. It used to run Wednesday thru Saturday but this is the 2nd year where they’ve changed it to Thursday thru Sunday, which those of us who work downtown say “THANK YOU!” to those who made the decision to switch which days it runs.

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Dealing with the crowds of Art Fair!

Now, the Downtown branch of the library is only one block away from one of the Art Fair thoroughfares and two blocks away from another. Therefore, we get a lot of out-of-town visitors who come in to cool off, use our restrooms, and in the case of storms, we become a storm shelter as well. But that’s about all who come in. Most of the “regulars” stay away because they just don’t want to have to deal with all the traffic and the crowds and the craziness that is Art Fair. Many of my colleagues even just take the days off from work because it’s difficult to get around downtown, finding parking is difficult, and there’s not usually much to do around here at work. Next year, I may join them in taking the two days off, but tonight, tonight I’m okay with working and dealing with the Art Fair chaos.

I get to be on our “Tools” desk tonight, which if you’re going to work during Art Fair, this really is the desk to be working. Our “tools” are what we call our collection of unusual items that we have available to borrow (you can check out the list of things HERE – it’s really pretty cool). It’s so fun to see their awe and excitement over all of the really awesome things we have for people to borrow. ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy introducing people to our “tools” collections. I enjoy watching their faces light up at all the possibilities. You see, when libraries first started, books weren’t easy to obtain access to. Books are a lot easier to access these days, so our library is working on creating other collections of items that people may want to borrow, but might not want to own. We have all sorts of great things. Lights, amps, and guitar pedals for music (as well as more unusual instruments like thereminis, boomwhackers, etc.). We have models of the human body’s various organs and things. We have telescopes, microscopes, sewing machines, spinning wheels, all kinds of fun things! And tonight, tonight it’s my job to man the desk where I get to tell all the out-of-town people who are here all about them. I love my job. I love being a librarian.

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This doesn’t take any excitement away from the new job that I’m taking over within the library. I’m excited about being behind-the-scenes. My little introverted heart is just beating wildly with joy thinking about not having to be social all day long. Now I get to look at it from the other end. Instead of getting to tell the people all about it, I get to be the one ordering the things and preparing them for all the checkouts and glory they will have as part of our “tools” collections. ๐Ÿ™‚

Being a librarian is awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ Art Fair is an acquired taste. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The next few weeks

Since I’ve started training for my new job, I haven’t had as much time to write blog posts as I’d like. I’m still trying to work on my room on the weekends, so that only leaves the little bit of time on the desk in the evening (depending on how busy it is) and the small amount of time between when I get home and when I go to bed.

I’m still reading up a storm, I’m just not getting as much time to post. I have two review posts started that will hopefully go up in the next day or so. I have a couple of blog tour posts coming up, so I’ll be making sure to get those up on time.

Bare with me during these next 2-3 weeks, as I’ll be quieter with less posts than usual. Once I’m all trained, I should be back to my normal posting schedule. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks!

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New beginnings

As we start a new year as Americans, I’m also starting a few new things in my life. Some of it I started last month, but I’m counting those as still new enough to include in this post.

I’m actually starting to feel like I’m finally getting used to and flourishing as an adult. I’m a little slow on the uptake being that I’m already 41, but it’s still a good feeling!

In the last month, I’ve started cleaning out clutter and reorganizing my room, creating an art/photography workspace in the basement, working with a financial counselor to get my finances in better shape, andย finally getting a combination of medications to really help with my mental illnesses (it’s difficult to find the right combination because you have to try each med and they can take a minimum of 4-6 weeks to really work and then you have to hope you can tolerate the side effects). ย My room is coming along slowly but surely. I didn’t get much done this past weekend, but I plan on tackling it this coming weekend and trying to work through another section.

The biggest news is that I’m getting a NEW JOB!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ย I’m super, super excited about it. I’m still working at Ann Arbor District Library, but I’ll be taking a position in the Acquisitions/Cataloging department instead of on the public desks. Right now (through the end of July), I’m training during the first half of my day and then after lunch/dinner, I’m working on one of the public desks. August 1st, I will take over in the position. It is a lateral move in the company as far as pay is concerned so I won’t be getting a raise, but it will hopefully mean a lot less stress.

I’m really excited because my concentration in library school was cataloging. While I may not be doing a lot of original cataloging (creating records from scratch), there’s lots of copy cataloging to do (downloading catalog records from reputable sources) and cleaning up records. I’ll also be putting in the orders for items and processing them when we receive them. I’m not the person choosing what gets purchased, I’m just the one making the purchase orders and actually ordering/receiving the materials. ๐Ÿ™‚

While I will miss some aspects of working at the public desk, I’m looking forward to having less stress in my life. Working with the public makes me so exhausted that I can’t really do much of anything else. By working in an area that doesn’t have to deal with the public, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to “have a life” outside of work, or at the very least have the energy to enjoy painting ceramics and taking nature walks again!

Happy Birthday, America!

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Happy Independence Day!!

If you’re in the USA and celebrating, I wish you a very Happy Independence Day! I hope you have a fun time in your celebrations while taking safety around fireworks seriously.

*** Spoiler Alert: I get on a bit of a soapbox about the state of my nation in the following paragraphs. Feel free to skip if you want to just have light-hearted fun today (which I totally respect). ***

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Today, the United States of America turns 241. We’re not as old as some nations, but older than others.ย  Many, many people have fought and given their lives for the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. We’ve been through many trials and tribulations throughout the years, but I honestly believe we’re in the midst of some of the most important battles we’ve faced.

The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal”. Did our founding fathers mean that? Not really. They meant that all white men were created equal. They didn’t include women or people of color in that statement. The sad thing today is that many people in this country still believe the original context, that all white men are created equal. We see it in the systematic discrimination against women, people of color, immigrants, etc. We see it in how our brothers and sisters of color, immigrants, and those who are LGBTQ are treated in our society. We see it how rape victims are blamed and rapists are protected time and time again. We see it in police brutality and how mental illness in whites is treated as acceptable, while mental illness in a person of color is usually seen as grounds for them to be shot.

I firmly believe that if this country is going to survive another 241 years, this has to change. I’m a white, cis-gendered female. I will not claim to have any understanding on what it feels like to be a person of color or an immigrant or part of the LGBTQ community. I will likely never understand that. BUT, that does not mean that as a white, cis-gendered individual that I can sit idly by while my friends and loved ones suffer.ย  Nor do I believe that ANYone should sit by while others suffer. If you can’t get out in march in protest marches (like I can’t), join a letter-writing campaign, call your senators and representatives. Tell them that if they don’t start making policies that are inclusive and protect equal rights, they’ll find themselves out of a job.

Some people believe that this nation was formed based on Christian principles. I personally don’t believe that’s true, but even if it was, we are certainly not living as a Christian nation. Would Christ really be happy with the fact that 1 in 5 children in this country are in danger of being hungry every single day of their lives? Would Christ really be happy that people cannot get adequate health care when they’re sick without going into bankruptcy? Would Christ really be happy that you only seem to count if you’re rich? Would He be impressed with our recent immigration policies and deportations? Would He be happy with the recent passing of laws that advocate discrimination? I don’t think so. Granted, I’m not on the best terms with God/Christ at the moment, so maybe I’m wrong. But I think if we were truly acting as a Christian nation, we would be expanding our programs to help the poor. We would be enforcing equal rights for EVERYONE, regardless of their country of origin, their race, their immigration status, their sexual orientation, their gender, or their religion.

Part of being a responsible citizen in this country is speaking up when things are wrong. Right now, there’s a whole mess of wrong in this country. Unfortunately, the only people really banding together and talking about what’s “wrong” are those who want to make us more divided and less unified. It’s time to get our friends and loved ones who want to talk about unifying us and fighting against discrimination to come forward and organize. No politician is perfect; they should all wear patches on their suits with which lobbyists support them like race cars. BUT, that doesn’t mean we can’t make educated, informed decisions based on the whole of a person’s voting record, not just their stance on one issue.

I really don’t know if America can weather the storm we’re in right now. I truly don’t know. I hope we can. There are good things here when they’re enforced. Our 1st amendment rights are important, tho’ they’re being besieged right now.ย  The Declaration of Independence also talks about how when the current government perpetuates abuses and becomes destructive, it is the duty of the people to rise up and say “NO” and take whatever steps necessary to break ties with that government.

My challenge to you today is that if you truly believe in equal rights for all regardless of race, religion, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, etc. that you find a progressive group in your area and participate in some fashion. If you live in an area where you have politicians who already fight for these things, make sure you send them letters to thank them for their continued fight. If you live in areas where your politicians do not believe in these things, make them aware that you are a constituent and you will work to see them voted out of office in the mid-term elections next year unless they actually start voting the way their constituents want them to. Finally, when it comes to those elections, get out there and VOTE VOTE VOTE!! None of the letter writing and calling really matters if you don’t get out and VOTE to put politicians you want into office.

Nothing’s going to be fixed overnight, but we have to start somewhere! Let’s go out and fight for the freedoms that our forefathers wanted us to have!

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Happy Independence Day!

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Summer festivities and joy in life

We’re a week into our large Summer Game here at Ann Arbor District Library (the library I work for) and it’s off to a great start!

It’s wonderful to see kiddos and adults alike who are excited and having fun; they’re just so joyful! ๐Ÿ™‚ To me, the difference between being joyful and just being happy is how much it reflects in the eyes. A kiddo or an adult who’s having a fun time and is happy is still smiling and giggling/laughing, but it doesn’t always resonate in their eyes. When they’re joyful, it just lights up their whole face, including their eyes.

It’s not something I tend to see much during the school year. The school year is more seriousness and less joyful. But the minute school is out and the Summer Game starts (it starts the same day school lets out usually), the serious faces melt into joyful ones and it’s lovely to see.

While I love the Summer Game, I’ve found that I’m not quite as gung-ho about feeling like I must haveย all the points and be at the top of the leaderboard as I used to be. I found that being that driven took some of the fun out of it for me. Since above all, the Summer Game is supposed to be fun, I’ve scaled back my competitiveness to make it more fun for me.

I was working in the youth department this evening and it was fun to see all the kiddos that came through looking for the codes that are in the building (see my previous post about Summer Game for more explanation of codes and points). I was also thrilled to be able to help a mom encourage her children to read by letting her know that every minute they spend reading, they can enter those minutes they’ve recorded into the Summer Game system and they get 1 point per minute and an extra 100 points for finishing a book! It made me want to share the joy and happiness with all of my readers.

It reminded me how lovely the little things are and how much joy they can contribute to our lives. I had opportunities to snuggle with my adorable niece and sweet nephew individually today before work and it was just lovely. It made some of the not-so-great parts of today’s work day less annoying and easier to deal with. ๐Ÿ™‚ Those little munchkins are part of the joy in my life and I’m grateful to have them and grateful they live nearby.

What are the little things in your life that bring you joy?

 

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