Friday, December 20, 2013

End of the Year Reflection

We've wrapped up another semester here. The students are home (or on the road to Rome, GA for the NAIA football championships), and things have gotten a little quieter around the library (at least for a few days).

Yesterday we held a summer book club winter gathering, an Apple Cider Lunch at the Library (instead of Lemonade Lunch at the Library), to talk about what we've read over the semester and just get together to celebrate having the time to get together after a busy term. It's nice to have the time to connect with students, staff, and faculty in a less formal way than the usual classroom and meeting interactions. 

A project I've been working on is starting to come to fruition for next semester: animal therapy dogs for that stressful time just before finals. I've gathered some information about other institutions and their use of therapy dogs, and have found some helpful articles as well. There is a local organization that trains service dogs and they have expressed initial interest in partnering for this, which I am really excited about. I think our students will love the program and it will help them de-stress before jumping back in to work on projects and studying for finals. 

This past semester was busy for everyone around the library with the roll out of the new college structure, committee involvement, increased class loads, etc., but it was great to work with so many students and help them be successful! 

Here are a couple quick shots of the new plaza, all lit up for the holidays:


And, because it's the end of the year and there are lists, here is my list (in no particular order) of top rated books on Goodreads from this year (though there's still time to add a few more... 11 days left):
  • The Snatchabook by Docherty, Helen (Adorable and perfect for young preschoolers' bedtimes.)
  • Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Persepolis, #3-4) by Satrapi, Marjane (better than the first, but you need the first to give you the context for the 2nd.)
  • Fortunately, the Milk by Gaiman, Neil (Charming for young readers and older readers alike.) 
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Kerman, Piper (I enjoyed this memoir more than I thought I would--better than the TV show.)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Gaiman, Neil (Again, charming!) 
  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Lawson, Jenny (Funny, honest, worth your time)
  • American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Ferguson, Craig (I enjoyed this one more than I though I would--He is insightful, honest, and good at sharing his story with self-deprecating humor which makes him all the more human and the book all the more enjoyable.)
  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by Sedaris, David (Duh. Go for the audio book, read by Sedaris himself.)
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Sáenz, Benjamin Alire (Loved this!) 
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Crosley, Sloane (When she talked about toy dinosaurs under her sink, that was when I was hooked on this book.) 
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Kelly, Jacqueline (I loved that this book was so empowering to young women interested in scientific inquiry!) 
  • Okay for Now by Schmidt, Gary D. (I loved the realism and honesty of the characters, the way they navigated and reacted to challenges, and just the way the whole story came together. Definitely worth your time!) 
  • The House of Tomorrow by Bognanni, Peter (I wasn't sure about this book when first I read the synopsis, but I found the characters to be so human and honest and engaging.)
  • Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers by Edwards, Elizabeth (I was drawn to Edwards' honesty, her down-to-earth nature, and her humanizing flaws. Her writing draws you in and it feels almost as if she was just sharing her story with a friend. It was painful when it was supposed to be painful, hopeful when (had I been in her position) I would have found it beyond difficult to find hope, and honest and humble.)
  • Maus: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus, #1) by Spiegelman, Art (Once I started I couldn't put this down. The way the story is portrayed is engaging and moving.) 
  • The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3) by Pullman, Philip (Just read all three. Simply put, they are good.)
  • The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Pullman, Philip