Category Archives: Nonfiction

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy by William Poundstone

I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the challenging questions or depressed at how many make me scratch my head in confusion. But my answer is no, I do not think I’m smart enough to work at Google. Think my attitude is defeatist? Go ahead, tell me that after you read this book.

There are a lot of how to deal with the new economy and get a job books out there. What I like about this one is that it doesn’t cater to the lowest common denominator and really encourages the reader to think creatively and critically at the same time. 2012, 290 pages.

My favorite question that smacks of librarianship: “Explain what a database is to your eight-year-old nephew, using three sentences.” HA!

Their answer is brilliant: A database is an iPod for information. With an iPod, you can store thousands of songs and still find any track you want quickly. A database does the same thing with information that people have stored on a computer or the Internet.

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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Nonfiction


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The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement by Wyoma VanDuinkerken & Pixey Anne Mosley

“Common sense is not so common.” ~Voltaire

I liked this book! Most books geared towards librarians bug the heck out of me. Either they are simplistic or they are so focused on theory with no realization of the real library world (especially public librarianship) that I want to throw the book across the room only I have to go break up an argument over a .50 cent fine. Was that snarky of me? So, sorry.
The authors really made me open up my brain and think more about the process of change and how we need to understand it on an emotional level. This is a perfect librarian companion to Resonant Leadership. Change is disruptive and messy. It is human nature to resist this and resistance can only be truly turned into acceptance and empowerment with clear cut information, discussion and buy-in on all levels. I think it really all comes down to respect and compassion for every person you work with and interact with. A huge, huge task but in the end a very necessary one. 2011, 169 pages.
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction


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Transitioning From Librarian to Middle Manager by Pixie Anne Mosley

“Your time is no longer your own.”

I really think that sums up the most important lesson you can learn about being a manager. Where once you were able to focus solely on the public you serve and the advancement of your career, you are now responsible for a multitude of people and all the issues they bring to the table as well as patrons and the building you work in. Weeee! While dated (2004) a lot of principles in this book will help the new manager with the basic things such as meetings, time management and how your role has shifted in the library culture. This is a lonely gig. As someone moving back into public service management, I looked at it as more of a refresher course in things I already knew.  2004, 211 pages.

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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction


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Advanced Black Belt Librarians: Answers to the Questions Librarians Always Ask Me by Warren Graham

A continuation of Graham’s first book Black Belt Librarians, this book answers the questions that he gets asked time and again while doing his presentations. I like both these books and I would just love it if he took it a step further by not just providing real life examples of things he has dealt with but also walking people through the steps he took to resolve the situation. While the situations faced by librarians will obviously not be identical-it is a nice way to keep some ideas in the back of your head. 2010, 51 pages.

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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Nonfiction


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Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee

“We are in the customer service industry. We just happen to fly planes.” ~employee from Southwest Airlines

I admit that it wasn’t very long ago that I was burned out on public service. I’d spent many years doing front line reference and front line management. I was tired, overwhelmed and most importantly very disappointed in myself. Where did my drive go?  This book is the first one I’ve ever picked up that held my hand and said, you know what? This happens and we’re going to show you why and how you can get the leadership you back. Whoa. I’m not a fan of business books in general but I like this one. Their whole philosophy starts with compassion and hope-what isn’t to like? 2005, 304 pages.

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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction


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Black Belt Librarians: Every Librarian’s Real World Guide to a Safer Workplace by Warren Graham

I’ve read Graham’s books before and we’ve even had him talk at our staff development day, but I’ve never reviewed them and it was time to refresh my memory. Graham worked security but did not know libraries until he talked with the director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library in North Carolina. What happens next is my favorite thing to watch-the initiation of the unknowing to the knowing about public libraries and what we all deal with on a daily basis.

A small practical book, Graham shares his knowledge about handling different situations and feeling empowered to deal with the public. It’s easy-going tone laced with humor will set many readers at ease-even those who are not at all certain they have what it takes to play security guard librarian. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more real examples followed through with how they were handled. Visuals can be very helpful. 55 pages, 2006.

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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction


Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010

“Spooky those streets of minds
shuttered against the shatter

articulate those walls
pronouncing rage and need”

Adrienne Rich has over 30 books of poetry, almost all a compilation built on the years the poems were written. At 81 years, I would be remiss if I didn’t proclaim loudly that she is one of the most influential poets of our time. This collection is a reflection of a long life, love, trust, betrayal and as always social commentary.

Adrienne Rich is not an easy read but she is a necessary one. She pulls you into each sentence and demands you focus on the message she is sending. A gasp here; a shudder there; an overwhelming sense of awe as her words take your breath away. As Rich says, “I believe almost everything I know, have come to understand, is somewhere in this book.”  Indeed. 2011, 89 pages.

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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Nonfiction, Poetry


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