Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Librarianship’ Category

Yesterday’s blog post was, quite literally, sugar sweet, so today seems like a good day as any to spice the dish with something rather more sinister.

When I was still in primary school, I occasionally went to the secondary school in which they worked, where, to my delight, there was a school library, run by one of my earliest real life childhood heroes, Mrs MacKay. I spent a lot of time in there, and while I had already read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was, at age 7, yet to encounter the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia. Mrs MacKay lent me the rest, and, when there was a fire in the school – don’t panic: the library survived intact, and replaced the small amount of smoke-damaged stock. For me, despite the initial horror, there was a silver lining to this dark cloud of smoke, as she sent home with my parents a full set of the Chronicles which smelt only slightly smoky. They were wrapped in strong plastic covers, and still have the typed library cards inside them. They are some of my most treasured possessions.  The Magician’s Nephew and The Silver Chair are my two favourites, and to my mind definitely the strangest.  As a lifelong medievalist (albeit unconsciously, at first), I suspect that part of the attraction are the mysterious women to be found loitering in woods and by lakes; for an authentic medieval example of such a woman, may I direct you to my post about Marie de France’s Lanval, also part of this Christmas Feast blog sequence? Given that C. S. Lewis was a real medieval scholar, not a dabbler like me, I’m pretty sure that such stories were, at least partly, his inspiration for Jadis and the Lady of the Green Kirtle, but that’s a discussion for another day. Now on to the feast! (more…)

Read Full Post »

I seem to have started every blog post in recent years – yes, years; that’s how bad it has been! – with an apology for not having written in so long. Despite all my good intentions, I have not been able to turn things around to start writing more regularly. Life and work are equally busy, and there was no sign that was going to change, until … (more…)

Read Full Post »

As almost everybody I know is currently saying, how can it be 20 years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired? It’s been such an important part of life, and I can still remember the first time I saw it, completely by accident. I was at university, with less than regular access to a television, so had somehow managed to miss the first series. One day at the family seat, I was channel hopping, and stopped at the sound of Cibo Matto. Hello, ‘When She Was Bad‘, where have you been all my life? Note: before you proceed, if you’ve never watched the show, there will be spoilers in this post. (more…)

Read Full Post »

It’s National Poetry Day on Thursday! And so I have two school libraries to festoon with verse over the next three days, and two poetry competitions to organise. (more…)

Read Full Post »

It’s been almost three weeks since my last blog post; I have survived the first two weeks of running a school library. It’s started really well, but the work is nonetheless hard, with so much to learn, and thus has been incredibly exhausting. Consequently, blogging hasn’t really been a priority. You might suspect me of withdrawing my allegiance from Rupert Giles, given this blogpost’s title, but this will never be so. The truth of the matter is that I wanted to break the ice with the pupils by showing that we had some shared interests; the regrettable truth is that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is older than a good few of the kids, while they are mostly likely to know who Batman is. I haven’t tested them on their knowledge of  the Buffyverse but invoking the Batverse has worked out well. (more…)

Read Full Post »

I spent last week in five different libraries in the Glasgow area, in my new job as a school librarian. Over the Christmas holidays, I applied for a secondment to Glasgow Libraries’ School Libraries Outreach department. Readers mine, I was successful! Exactly one week ago today, I began work at my beloved Mitchell Library, a place I have known and loved since my grandparents first took me to visit it. (more…)

Read Full Post »

8184695044_db264720a6_m

Jacob Marley appears to Scrooge. Etching by John Leech. Source: Glasgow University Library Special Collections

Over the summer, I started writing a bi-monthly newsletter for Dennistoun Library‘s Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, and Supernatural collections, which are under my particular care. It’s been rather successful, and, feeling festive, I decided to produce a special Christmas edition. Each issue opens with some book recommendations and/or list of new books, and in this issue I focused on books about Christmas or winter. How could I not include Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, o so conveniently published on this day in 1843? It is after all a story which includes ghosts and time travel – it should by rights be shelved with fantasy, horror, science fiction, and supernatural collections. Dickens, always concerned with social problems, found a way of writing a story about the hardships faced by the Victorian poor, without making said story unduly worthy or “preachy”. I chose this particular extract because it features the first appearance of a ghost in the story – Jacob Marley – but also because the language is quite wonderful. The comparison of Marley’s face in the door knocker to “a bad lobster in a dark cellar” is quite wonderful.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

We decided to play some Christmas music in the library today, as lots of children had turned up and we wanted to encourage them to feel the Christmas spirit. One of our most adorable regulars was particularly pleased to hear Frosty the Snowman, and in her honour, that’s today’s example of Christmas literature: (more…)

Read Full Post »

BWS-Logos-RGB-(red-HR2015) It’s Book Week Scotland 2015! How do you plan to celebrate? There’s lots going on across the country, and you can find out what there is to do near you here.  This year, professionally speaking, I will be assisting at an author event organised exclusively for Dennistoun Library Book Group; I have been working with the group since January this year. As part of Glasgow Libraries’ A Book, a Brew, and a Banter series of author events, Tom Ogden Keenan will be talking to the group about his novel The Father, set in his hometown of Glasgow, at their meeting this Thursday. I hope it will be the first of many such events for the group. We’ve also put together a display of the group’s reading over the past year in Dennistoun Library proper; I’ll be posting some photos thereof once I’ve done some last tweaks tomorrow. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Richard Rothwell. Oil on canvas, exhibited 1840 29 in. x 24 in. (737 mm x 610 mm). Bequeathed by the sitter's daughter-in-law, Jane, Lady Shelley, 1899. Primary Collection ; NPG 1235. Copyright: National Portrait Gallery.

The First Lady of Horror: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
by Richard Rothwell. Oil on canvas, exhibited 1840
29 in. x 24 in. (737 mm x 610 mm). Bequeathed by the sitter’s daughter-in-law, Jane, Lady Shelley, 1899.
Primary Collection ; NPG 1235. Copyright: National Portrait Gallery.

A few weeks after I started working at Dennistoun Library, our boss told us that we would be assigned a collection to look after. I immediately put my name down for the Fantasy and Science Fiction collections, and, lo, my wish was granted! Glasgow Libraries include horror and supernatural books in these collections, so those fell to me as well, as did Young Adult Fiction and Graphic Novels. There’s a lot of overlap between these collections, and I am enjoying the work. Last week I was asked to compile a list of women authors of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and supernatural works, to put forward to Library HQ for collection development purchases. In addition to my own lengthy list, I enlisted the help of the Iggles (the collective noun for members of the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club) on Twitter:

I also put the call out to my friends and family via Facebook, and in real life. The response from everybody polled was excellent. Now that I have compiled and organised all the suggestions, I thought that you, dear Readers, would be interested in the results. So here they are:

    Women authors of Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction and the Supernatural (8 September 2015)

  • Lynn Abbey ; Kelley Armstrong ; Madeline Ashby ; Margaret Atwood ; Victoria Aveyard
  • Rachel Bach (also called Rachel Aaron) ; Elizabeth Bear ; Leah Bobet ; Leigh Brackett ; Paula Brackstone ; Patricia Briggs ; Octavia Butler
  • Meg Cabot ; Pat Cadigan ; Gail Carriger ; Charlene Challenger ; Suzy McKee Charnas ; Elaine Chen ; C.J.Cherryh ; Suzanne Church ; Julie Czerneda
  • Ellen Datlow (editor) ; Alyx Dellamonica
  • Diana Gabaldon ; Kate Griffin (also writes as Claire North)
  • Laurell K Hamilton ; Charlaine Harris ; Kim Harrison ; Zenna Henderson ; Robin Hobb ; Charlie Holmberg ; Nalo Hopkinson ; Tanya Huff
  • N.K. Jemisin ; Diary da Jones
  • Patricia Kennealy (or Kennealy Morrison) ; Julie Kenner ; Nancy Kilpatrick ; Rosemary Kirstein ; Mary Robinette Kowal ; Nancy Kress ; Katherine Kurtz
  • Madeleine L’Engle ; Mercedes Lackey ; Tanith Lee ; Ursula K Leguin ; Doris Lessing? ; Tonya Liburd ; Elizabeth Lynn
  • R A MacAvoy ; Anne McCaffrey ; Seanan McGuire ; Fiona McIntosh ; Vonda N McIntyre ; Patricia McKillip ; Robin McKinley ; Lois McMaster Bujold ; Julian May ; Shirley Meier ; Judith Merril ; Sarah Monette (aka Katherine Addison which is SM’s pseudonym) ; Devon Monk ; Elizabeth Moon ; C L Moore ; Erin Morgenstern (only one book out currently, The Night Circus, which we already have, but another is being written)
  • Audrey Niffenegger (graphic novels as well) ; Andre Norton ; Naomi Novik ; Jody Lynn Nye
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman ; Ursula Pflug ; Doris Piserchia ; Emily Pohl-Weary ; Tamora Price
  • S.M. Reine ; Anne Rice ; Kelly Robson ; Joanna Russ ; Mary Doria Russell
  • Michelle Sagara West ; Pamela Sargent ; Jessica Amanda Salmonson ; Elizabeth Ann Scarborough ; Gail Simone ; Mary Shelley ; Melinda M. Snodgrass ; Midori Snyder ; Amanda Stevens ; Caitlin Sweet
  • Sheri S Tepper ; James Tiptree Jr (pseudonym of Alice Sheldon) ; Lisa Tuttle
  • Catherynne M. Valente ; Joan Vinge
  • Diane L. Walton (editor of On Spec magazine) ; Karen Wehrstein ; Margaret Weiss ; Martha Wells ; Kate Wilhelm ; Terri Windling ; Janny Wurts
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley

I haven’t read every author on this list, but will work on it. I deliberately didn’t include book titles, for all that some of the authors are included on the basis of one book alone. I’m also expecting, even hoping, that there may be dissension and debate among readers of the list. It would be great if you could leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comments on this post. I’m hoping to keep the list going, with new additions, and any suggestions you give will be added.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »