End of year wrap-up: my favorites

2012 is peeking its brand spankin’-new head around the corner. Which means before we can look forward to all of the weight we are going to lose next year, we must look fondly back on the year 2011. Since librarianship is all about education, information and access, I’m not sticking to a Best Books List or Fave Apps rundown. Here are the best books, media, practices, etc. in librarianship for 2011, according to me. And sorry, calendars with nekkid librarian dudes is not on the list.

  • “Down the Mysterly River” by Bill Willingham (YA book, middle grades and above). I am disappointed to not see this book on more best of lists. The ending is a bit weak and slightly unsatisfying, but the meat of the book more than makes up for it. Max the Wolf, a Boy Scout, finds himself in a strange forest where he meets three talking animals. The four must figure out where they are, what are they doing there and how to stay alive as they are chased by the Blue Cutters, which are just what they sound like. Very satisfying tale for anyone who loves Story.
  • DIY librarianship, or service outside the box: we are not the sum of our books or the walls around us. This young couple in Mexico has created their own bookmobile with a suitcase  one afternoon a week. The Little Free Library offers any interested party with $350 the opportunity to share information freely. And of course, the Occupy Wall Street Library movement illustrates how freely accessible information is indeed the cornerstone of democracy.
  • Video Game Collection Development and Management”  by JP Porcaro and Justin Hoenke. JP and Justin are an academic and public librarian, so they know how to talk both sides of the street. These two young movers and shakers offer a guide for anyone wanting to start a video game collection, but might have last played Frogger. Or might never have picked up a joystick in their lives. No longer do libraries need to have someone “in the know” in order to provide this resource to their patrons.
  • Database and catalog changes for the better! Databases and catalogs seem to have been changing A LOT this year with the actual searching preferences of users in mind. MP3 downloads of articles, experimentation with “find more like this” features, and more clearly defining types of sources discovered have all earned raves from our students. Plus I’m very excited for OCLC’s WorldShare to start popping up all over LibraryLand. General users want to find everything in one place, but most federated search functions are clunky at best and the physical results make my eyes bleed. I think those who start using WorldShare now will be glad they did when it becomes the norm in 10 years.
  • “It’s A Book” by Lane Smith. (Also “It’s a Little Book,” the board book version). A young monkey tries to figure out what the heck this thing is. Is it for eating? For emailing? My three-year-old nephew laughs every time I read it. And he’s three, so I read it a lot.
  • YALSA’s App of the Week blog posts. I don’t have an iDevice, so I depend on this blog to keep me abreast of what’s new and noteworthy in the app world. Since my ideal app would tell me whenever a rerun of 30 Rock was playing, these posts provide excellent information for keeping up on ALL of the media our patrons want to consume. And if you only know Angry Birds, you need to start reading this column.
  • Pinterest.com. (I have invitations, so hit me up if you want one! Lizz@carthage.edu). Finally, a way to organize visual information that is VISUAL! Pinterest is an online bulletin board that allows users to “pin” pics and videos to any number of boards they create. I love Pinterest so much I want to marry it. Most bookmark tools are so linear and text-based that the visual people out there get the shaft. Pinterest has become the YA librarians tool of choice (craft ideas!) and I am hooked myself. Pinterest has a sparse aesthetic to keep from competing with all of your pics. I’m working on getting our theatre department to use it. It’s the perfect tool for costume designers to collect ideas for characters and comment on the process without wasting tons of paper and color ink cartridges.
  • Under 20s getting on Twitter. They said it couldn’t be done. That under 20s would NEVER join Twitter because it was already out of date and unfashionable. They said teens would by-pass it and wait for the NEXT BIG THING. But they didn’t. Thanks to celebrities both witty and plain stupid, Drunk Hulk, and prolific authors, Twitter is enjoying a new, decidedly adolescent crowd of Followers. Libraries who gave up on their Twitter accounts last year can revive them in 2012 knowing it’s worth tweeting about. (Nathan Fillion, Neil Gaiman, Mindy Kaling, Feminist Hulk and numerous librarians are my favorites.)
  • The release of the second-to-last Twilight movie. Because then maybe it will go away, please.
  • YA and kidlit in general. I think the best, most innovative, interesting reading comes out of these genres. Love zombies? We’ve got hundreds of books for you way before the adultlit world or cable TV picks up on the trend. Looking for positive gay characters who worry more about a prom date than whether something’s wrong with them? Or perhaps you want a scathing, hilarious satire on society. YA and kidlit have it all. And because these books must appeal to kids in varying stages of emotional and intellectual development, they must be better-written to catch fans. Look beyond the Hunger Games series (which is wonderful) and see all that YA and kidlit have to offer. Plus it’s fun to finish a book in three hours.
  • The Zombie Guide to the Library. Yeah, this thing just rocked our worlds this year.

Thanks for reading. As always, I welcome your comments and offers to guest post!

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