Monday, July 02, 2007

What Are You Reading Now?

It used to be that I could only read one book at a time, but sometime during the last few years (grad school?) I graduated to reading several at once. Here is what I am reading now...feel free to chime in with your current reads!
This novel is the story of a aimless intellectual who is floundering in the occupational ocean after receiving her doctorate and ends up working for the CIA. As she goes through her training, she learns many lessons about trust, betrayal, and the real reason why they teach people to "Admit Nothing. Deny Everything. Make Counteraccusations." I bought this book at the Spy Museum in D.C. and I was surprised by the complexity of the story at the end...and how I am still thinking about it! I'm excited to learn that she has written more!
Truman by David McCullough
You might guess that Harry Truman's life is the story contained in this award winning book. I'm turning over a new, nonfiction, leaf this summer!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Life As We Knew It

After a rousing and thought provoking discussion about Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It, I offered to post some of the titles mentioned here in this blog. Feel free to add others in the comments if I missed any! I'm hoping to put together a wiki for us to use that will be a little more interactive and useful for our bookclub!

Author Information: Susan Beth Pfeffer's Blog

Suggested Read-alikes for Life As We Knew It:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Other Titles Mentioned:

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Movie Link:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (There is a page on IMDB about a movie...who knows if anything will come of it!)
One for the Money (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich
Them Bones by Carolyn Haines (Southern belle version of Stephanie Plum)
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Future Books:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Lady Chatterly's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ask Me About ALA

My remaining time at the ALA conference was been spent learning about staff development, networking with interesting and diverse librarians, meeting with vendor representatives, and working the exhibit floor. Want to know more? Ask me (or click below) to learn more about:

Faceted Searching (give it a try here:
Federated Searching ( or
Burgeoning Babies (
English Only Censorship (

Final calculations:
Passports Stamps: 13
Programs Attended: 14
Luggage Weight: At least 1000 lbs. Seriously.
Miles Walked: 1 Billion
Impact on future programs and services: Priceless

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Social Sunday

Wow! Another day of beautiful weather in D.C. and a great day spent at the ALA conference! The conversations of yesterday are transitioning into the social aspects of library programs, services, and spaces. I did quite bit of social networking in my first life today, and I shared information with new colleagues and learned quite a bit from them about various vendors, programs, and Anne of Green Gables folklore!

I began the day by eating breakfast with Stacy (at the crack of dawn for the second day in a row-what a trooper!) and then I attended Stephen Abrams' program about the new technologies and their impact on library public relation plans. By the end, my brain was full and all I could think was "I have a lot of work to do." In my mind, leaving a session in an idea-induced haze is what I want from a program at ALA. (BTW, one link you can't overlook from this handout is the site where you can make your own Simpsons Avatar!)

I attended two more sessions today, and one was about Transforming Your Library Space, from a completely new building to remodeling on the cheap. The most moving experience of the conference thus far was the viewing of a video about the Robin Hood Foundation that is funding the L!BRARY project to renovate/revitalize libraries in the NYC school system. I also toured a few more of the exhibits and I found some very interesting things to consider for transforming our own future space!

This evening I attended the 2007 Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet and I felt honored to witness the awarding of these prestigious medals and honors. All of the speeches were moving and, as usual, shed another perspective on the works being honored. By the way, if you haven't actually watched the Weston Woods film based on Mo Willems' book, Knuffle Bunny, then you must check it out!

Conversations on Saturday

Saturday was a jam-packed day that started off my ALA conference experience. My first session was all about books and babies and included a very inspirational presentation about the Brooklyn Reads to Babies campaign (which won the John Cotton Dana Award Public Relations Award this year), the Read to Me program, and the Mother Goose Program. All of these programs are rich in content and gave me some ideas to think about for future prenatal and new parent reading parties. One of the things stressed by each presentation was the importance of the conversation with the baby because this is how the baby makes sense of their world. I think this is a great concept for us to be reinforcing in more obvious ways.

I attended three more programs this day (whew!) and one was about information seeking patterns in children (and adults), and another was about online social learning theory. The theme of "conversations" continued to repeat throughout many of these discussions (and on the exhibit floor) and I feel this underlines the change in philosophies and expectations of libraries today. Making connections with people, connecting people with information, connecting people with their communities...these all can only be accomplished by initiating a conversation in some form.

In other more mundane news, after I finished with the conference for the day, I joined up with Stacy and Dave for a marathon walk/jog through all the monuments. The good news is that I have nine more stamps in my passport! The bad news is that I wore out my shoes.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Da Udens Visit D.C.

Stacy and I managed to squeeze in quite a few amazing sites as I wait in anxious anticipation for the conference to begin. We arrived with relatively few problems (missing luggage and malfunctioning trains aside) to find beautiful weather in our nation's capital.

Recently, I purchased a National Park Service passport (ignoring the fact it is probably aimed at nine year-olds) and we have found it a treasure map leading us to unique gems throughout the country. Using it, we found the Old Post Office where we toured the clock tower that is the home for the Bells of Congress. Another happy accident occurred later when we wandered by when the bell ringers were practicing!

Our other activities have included inadvertently merging with a protest group and unknowingly meeting a high-ranking official in the administration (mutually exclusive events, thankfully). We went on an unforgettable tour of The White House and the Old Executive Office Building escorted by our friend Dave and his friend who was an amazing tour guide. Currently, The White House website has a picture of two violinists performing for the president in the East Room. We were there earlier that day and the room was set up for this performance. Look at the painting of George Washington on the right and you might be interested to learn that it was the Gilbert Stuart painting saved by Dolley Madison, who rolled it up and took it with her when The White House was burned by the British in 1814. Well, hello Dolley!

Two more passport stamps later (Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House), I successfully completed my mission and kept my cover intact while learning a ton of interesting history at the International Spy Museum. If we have time, I would love to return to do Operation Spy, where we have a "real" mission to complete!

Check back tomorrow to learn what will happened during the first full day of the conference!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Podcasting Udens!

Hello everyone! It's been awhile since I've blogged and here is something new! Our very first podcast, which consists of Stacy and I discussing our views on technology and the real world. This episode is all about cell phones.