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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: A Literary Gloatation Device

You know what libraries should not do?  Libraries should not get new cataloging systems.  Sure the old Dynix interface on the reference computers looked like it was half a glitch away from either sucking us into a Tron-like world or, if not that, starting WWIII ala Wargames.  But now we’ve started on a new Millennium system, and I gotta tell you, I’m missing the old one.  Granted, it was old, but I think I used to scream a lot less.  It’s hard to remember.  I definitely screamed a lot yesterday as I fought with the computer over and over in front of my very frightened patrons ("WHY AREN’T YOU LETTING ME DO THIS?  YOU LET ME DO IT FIVE MINUTES AGO???).  Oh, I’m going to be all charm for the next two days.  Then I high tail it to Chicago for the ALA Convention.  Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha.

  • Child_lit was all ah-flutter over a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece The Best Kids’ Books Ever.  Ain’t no way a piece with a title like that would draw ire, right?  Ho ho.  It’s by one Nicholas D. Kristof.  The man happened to post the same piece on his blog and the result is, as of this writing 2,158 comments from various people talking about their own favorite children’s books.  Someone on child_lit mentioned that his list is lacking in any kind of diversity.  Heck, his kids include more diversity on their lists the he does on his own.  Best that you high thee hence and read Monica’s take in her post In the Classroom: "Poor Kids" and Reading.  She’ll say everything important over there.

  • Generally, there are some blogs you cannot actually look at while working the Reference Desk.  I am referring, unfortunately, to Golden Age Comic Book Stories.  The title is a misnomer as the site contains plenty of children’s literature references and motifs, insofar as they’re done by old timey artisans.  Old timey artisans like N.C. Wyeth, let’s say.  Unfortunately while I can appreciate the pin-ups and comic book babes on an aesthetic level, that’s not the kind of thing you glance at while at work.  Fortunately this week he’s posted full color paintings from the Anthology of Children’s Literature (circa 1940).  See if you can name all the stories (Snowdrop anyone?).  One commenter said of them, "The original paintings are on display in the Children’s department of the Philadelphia Free Library."  Hope that’s true.

  • I’m a big girl.  I know when I’m beat.  I thought that if I took my husband’s name then "Betsy Bird" would be the best possible children’s librarian moniker.  Turns out, I’ve come in second because there’s always Travis Jonker.  He’s the genius behind 100 Scope Notes (one of my daily reads) and now the veil has been removed.  He has been interviewed over at James Preller’s blog.  Clever James.  Plus now I’ll know how to spot the fella when I’m in Chicago later this week.  Woot!

  • The 3rd Annual Kidlitosphere Conference is on the schedule.  Preparation is ramping up.  Folks are checking their schedules.  I’m trying to figure out if I’ll be able to go or not (it’s complicated).  Gotta love the picture they went with for the opening shot, too.  Mother will be so pleased.  Thanks to Finding Wonderland for the link.

  • How to kill off the ‘rents.  Basically, it’s a piece discussing the inevitable destruction of the old family unit in literature.  Is it a problem for the child reader?  I dunno.  Suited me.  When I was a kid I wrote stories in which all the grown-ups on my block were killed off in some suitably vague manner and the children had to fend for themselves.  Had I discovered The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson I wouldn’t have bothered since its essentially the same plot.  Now there’s a 1970s dystopian middle grade novel with staying power!  It’s like Ayn Rand for kids.  Thanks to Jen Robinson’s Book Page for the link.

  • Daily Image:

Dear NYPL,

I would like us to make the trucks that carry holds from one branch to another in our system look cool and advertise us in a clever fashion.  My proposal?  Rip-off this idea from the Johnson County Library system:

Fake literary ads.  Seriously.  Johnson County would never know.  It could just be our little secret.  I won’t tell a soul, I swear.  So can we, can we, huh, can we?  Puh-leeze?

Signed, Your Faithful Children’s Librarian

Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Ah, Millennium. It is wonderful except when it is MIND-BOGGLINGLY AWFUL.

  2. Fuse #8 says:

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. Now tell me, how do you print out a daily holds list from it? We are all uniformly baffled.

  3. FRAN BURKE-URR says:

    I felt the same way when we upgraded to the latest Microsoft Word.

  4. Jennifer Schultz says:

    OK, don’t know why it’s saying I’m Fran. I keep typing in my name. Anyway, carry on.

  5. I loved The Girl Who Owned The City. I discovered it in eighth grade. It alternately fascinated and scared me. Now that I am a mom I find myself thinking (now & again) that I need to prepare my children with some skills in case they are ever left in a world with no adults!

  6. Yay! The Kidlitosphere Conference is in my neck of the woods! Have they posted a schedule? Our library’s doing “Mystery at the Library” that night – and I want to do both!

  7. Fuse #8 says:

    No schedule yet. Pam is working out the details. I’ll keep you posted and most of the events are during the day, so I think you definitely do both. Stay tuned…

  8. pamelalibrarian says:

    Love those Johnson County Library trucks! What a great way to advertise & make people giggle! :)