Thursday, December 31, 2015

On Going Full Circle in 2015

I always seem to remember to post on 31st of December! A quarter of a year has passed since my last update, and now - looking all the way back to January - everything from the first half of the year seems to blur together. In some ways I've come full circle - but I'm looking forward to the new year and what it brings.

One of the best experiences of that first half of 2015 was hosting a foreign exchange student. Giovanni (who we all called Giovi, because we couldn't quite pronounce his name correctly) was one of the best students we could have asked for - kind, outgoing, did extremely well in school, and we got along really well. He taught us a lot about his home country, Germany, and I hope we helped him have a great American experience. It also gave my husband Nate and I an idea of how we could work together as parents - if we ever are fortunate enough to adopt. We obviously weren't perfect - but we survived and learned much about each other as well. It was hard to say goodbye when the time came in May!

Exciting things at the Oskaloosa Public Library this year included another round of Teen Tech Week, a fun program on prohibition that included a beer tasting at the library thanks to a partnership with the fantastic Cellar Peanut Pub, and the planning and execution of the summer reading program. One of my proudest moments was the kick-off party for the summer program - we had nearly 400 people from the community in attendance! Free hot dogs from the Oskaloosa Summer Lunch Program and free snow cones from SnoBiz were a draw - but it was still nice to see so many people excited about reading and going to the library.

In June, Nate accepted a position at the University of Kansas Libraries, and moved back to Lawrence, Kansas. It was a tough couple of months apart while I hunted for positions in the area and submitted my letter of resignation to Oskaloosa. It was tough leaving the Oskaloosa Public Library - I really enjoyed working with the kind, dedicated staff and the community. I'll miss developing programs and working with the teens and so much. But Nate and I were itching for more than Oskaloosa - the city - was offering us...

Nate and I then spent two weeks in Europe in August and September. Each new trip we take, we'll probably say it's the best one we've done yet - but it truly was a great experience. We visited many historical and touristy sites in London and the surrounding area, including the British National Library, King's Cross station, Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey), the Harry Potter Film Studios, and Stonehenge. Then we took the Eurostar over to Paris where we saw the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the gardens of Versailles, and had a memorable dining experience at Dans le Nior - a restaurant where you eat in total darkness and are served by the visually impared.

In September, I also returned to the now renovated Lawrence Public Library - this time as a part-time Readers' Services assistant. After applying for a number of positions in the area, this was the first opportunity offered to me, and I just wanted to be able to make the transition to Lawrence with Nate. It's been an adjustment going from a full time administrative position to nearly entry level position, as anyone could imagine, but I'm still loving what I do. I'm in a brand new department totally dedicated to helping readers find their next books, and I've been challenged to improve my readers' advisory skills.

Swanky new LPL headshot!

Way back in May or so, I was invited to give the closing key note presentation at the joint Kansas and Missouri Library Association conference in Kansas City, Missouri the first weekend of October. Definitely another highlight of my year, I got to share Librarian Problems with about 400 librarians! The somewhat well-known tumblr I created nearly four years ago has gained over 20,000 followers and more than 15,000 likes on Facebook. I had tons of fun sharing and laughing with the crowd!

Though I'm kind of back where I began in libraries and in Lawrence, Nate and I are really glad to be here. We really love the city, and there's much more going on for us - restaurants, cultural events, a larger university, etc. In order to help make ends meet, I also took on a part time job at a local grocer - but that didn't last too long. Between worrying about scheduling conflicts to working with (sometimes) impatient customers to freaking out about my drawer being short, I felt it was too much stress and that I could spend my time doing much more productive things. Like writing. 

So perhaps you'll see more posts from me in 2016? Who knows! Thanks for reading - and I hope you have a happy and festive New Year!

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