Hippo! by Jeff Newman

I am clearly lazy when it comes to writing but in my defense, I have been crazy busy over the past couple months. I am down to two classes left before getting my M.S.L.S. and I just received a promotion at work. Throw a husband and a 3-year-old in the mix and there is little room left to do anything else.

So, that’s why I am back with my first book review in months and it was written by my 3-year-old, Roman!

I’ll preface by saying this was a cute book that lets the pictures do most of the storytelling. You will want to read it with a lot of expression to elicit the type laughter I got from Roman. With that said, here we go.

Tell me about your book Hippo, what do you think about it?


Did you like the book?

Yeah, that was funny.

What was funny about the book?


Because why? What was funny in the book?


Who is in the book?

Rhino. Hippo-ma-pomanus.

Do you think other kids should read Hippo?



Because they want to.

Well, there you go. A professional, high-quality review by a toddler. Seriously, guys, check it out for your 3+-year-olds. ūüėČ


#EarthDay and #libraries – what the what?

Traditionally, Earth Day has been about recycling, conserving water, biking and walking instead of driving, and picking up litter. In this new era, that simply won’t suffice. Today, I want to talk about the significance of librarians and libraries to Earth Day.

If you believe in alternative facts and do not find fake news to be fake at all (or a real issue) then this post is for YOU. And there are a lot of people who believe fake news. Check out this infographic from Statista, a credible, research and statistics database.  On the left you will find fake headlines, and real headlines on the right. Beneath the headline is the number of people who remember seeing the headline and believed it to be very or somewhat accurate. What this says to me is that people are believing nearly everything they read! This is dangerous!


I don’t condemn these individuals, rather, I think more education is needed. Somewhere along the line, the ball has been dropped in teaching individuals how to evaluate sources.

But since this is an Earth Day post, let’s talk about¬†the scientific method, a tried and true method for evaluation. There are¬†six steps in the SM.

  1. Observation РWhat is occuring? What do you see? Are you interested in discovering more? What is happening?
  2. Question Р Create a question you can use in your experiment. Why is this happening?
  3. Hypothesis – This is where you suggest an answer to your question based on your observations.¬†I think this is happening because…
  4. Experiment – This is where you test your hypothesis (an educated guess). It’s not just ONE experiement, but rather a series, and the data from each will help you in Step 5.¬†I will test my hypothesis.
  5. Analysis – In this step you will review your data from your series of experiments.
  6. Conclusion –¬†What did you discover from your experiments?¬†


Of course, facts don’t come from¬†one¬†scientist employing the SM. At first theories are developed based on tests using the SM. Remember theories, laws, etc. from school?

When multiple scientists have conducted the same experiment and receive the same result, we generally consider that knowledge as fact. Why? Because it has been tried several times and there is evidence of the truth. So does that mean if you read that a study concluded XYZ to be factual I can share that information as truth? NO! Let me give you a famous example:

We are all aware of the on-going vaccine debates. Many individuals believe that vaccines cause autism but there isn’t any actual evidence. But what about that study? In 1998, a study was conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that showed a significant link between autism and vaccines. The report spread like wildfires and is¬†still spreading today. But it was wrong. In 2011, the British Medical Journal conducted an investigation that discovered Wakefield deceived the public and damaged public health. Wakefield’s study was full of errors,¬†admitted errors. Furthermore, it’s been reported that Wakefield was not honest in the medical history of his patients. And finally,¬†no other studies¬†have come to the same conclusion as Wakefield. As a result of his misinformation and individuals not following proper information evaluation, vaccines administered against measles, mumps, and rubella dropped. And sure enough, diseases that were nearly eradicated reemerged a few years ago, most notably at Disney Land in California.

So how does one evaluate information? In this digital age it involves a few clicks of your mouse and keyboard! Let me give you a few infographics! The first one has been shared by libraries everywhere and is concise. The second gives you more information!



If you are unsure if something is trustworthy, you can always seek out a librarian. We can help you come to that conclusion. In fact, many of us are actively involved with universities and the public to help fight the spread of misinformation (also known as fake news and alternative facts). Which brings me to my next point: why libraries matter in this fight against misinformation and fight for science.

In addition to teaching individuals how to evaluate information, we also provide access to that information for many who do not otherwise have the means. Local and university libraries spend millions of dollars on research databases, online news subscriptions, books, magazines, and films. We can help students and the public locate quality information! Check out what your libraries are up to, now.


On this Earth Day, I implore you to read, research, cross-check, and question what you see on the internet, TV, and in newspapers.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Suicide Hotlines:

1-800-273-TALK (8255) or TTY 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

Red Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio 1-888-628-9454 

Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 

This is a serious post.

When we think of mental illness, what comes to mind? We’ve all looked at our incident reports. We’ve internally rolled our eyes when that patron has come in. But this isn’t just about the patrons. Yes, some of them do have mental illnesses but they aren’t the illness, they have they illness. We can’t call them crazy. We can’t make them the joke. We need to take the issue seriously. Look around you, the chances are one of your coworkers has battled with or is currently battling depression or anxiety. Maybe you have experience with a mental illness?

Student Council

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Mental Health Myths and Facts. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/myths-facts/

Changing the way libraries work with mental illness

When I was researching information for this post, I came across this article written by Josh Berk, director of Bethlehem Area Public Library. It examines the “homeless problem” his library faced. He realized one of the biggest issues he had was that his staff did not know how to properly react around this demographic, many of whom had some sort of mental illness, whether it was paranoia, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc. Rather than call the police or kick the patron out, Berk went to several trainings with a few of his employees where he learned to recognize some of the symptoms of these illnesses. He also learned that many of these illnesses did not make these individuals harmful or violent. He requested these trainings be taught to all of his staff. His library system is now working together with community health agencies.

This article changed my thinking. I’ve seen periodic trainings offered on how to interact with individuals with disabilities but never ones offered on those with mental illnesses yet its such a prevalent issue in every community. Imagine how our perspectives might change, how our services might change…

The Huffington Post recently wrote about how the San Francisco Public Library is revolutionizing its work its homeless population by offering mental health services.

Their program began when SFPL hired a full time psychiatric social worker, the first library in the nation to do so. Their social worker, Leah Esguerra, worked to assist the approximately 750 homeless individual who visited SFPL daily. A total of 150 have received permanent housing while around 800 have received mental health and social services. Moreover, the library has begun to employ the formerly homeless after they complete a a 12 week vocational rehabilitation program.

This is such a revolutionary and commendable program for a library system to take on. It certainly is not doable or necessary in every system but there are many lessons that can be learned here, especially about humanity and how a the help of others can take someone a long way. 

Suicide Hotlines:

1-800-273-TALK (8255) or TTY 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

Red Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio 1-888-628-9454 

Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 



Just a little April Fun

Happy April!

I saw this idea on¬†a Facebook library¬†group and decided to run with it! Why not have some fun with our Thoaks patrons? One of my regular youth patrons said, “I think there around 200 or 300.” I suggested he look to see if he was right. When he checked, he gasped and called me cheap! Haha. I also got a couple of our aids and one of our circ attendants. ūüėČ

I also put up a comedy display with the below signage. It features comedy fiction, books by comedians and humorous biographies, as well as comedy films and stand-up.



International Women’s Day

¬†“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” ‚Äď Melinda Gates‚Äč

women's history month book display featuring books by women and about women's history

March 8, 2016 is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month. The role of women ¬†in the United States has changed throughout history. For many hundreds of years women were relegated to the home where they were caregivers and homemakers. In times of war, women took on more responsibility, often taking the place of men in the workforce but then returning to a cult of domesticity at the end of the war. The twentieth and twenty first centuries saw suffrage and feminist movements and the advancement of women in many ways. I have gathered below some links on US women’s history and IWD; feel free to browse!
Women’s History Month

The Future is Ours to Lose: Timeline Special

National Women’s History Project

International Women’s Day 2016

National Women’s History Museum

National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites

And last month Time Magazine examined why there is an entire month dedicated to women’s history…¬†