why is it that i never really know what i'm doing?

i went to school. got the 27k in debt to prove it. they taught me all kindsa nifty stuff.

and yet, what do i do when an 8 year old pees on the floor in a stream from the self checks to the kids computers? (and just how big is an 8 year old's bladder anyway?) what do i do when a man with garlic and steak breath professes his undying love to me. again. for the 3rd time today.
this is a chronicle of what i did, when the crazy happened. which, in a public library is much more often than you'd think. and which, they also don't teach you about in liberry skool.

check out my YouTube Channel for live videos of liberry craziness!

oh, and there's also a book review or two.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

future tech - 3D printed hands!

Future Tech – 3D printed hands

this summer MACH1 will be working with Project eNable, so this week Alex 3D printed a test project so that I could put it together and get a look at it.
here’s the basic lowdown for those of you who don’t want to follow a link:
-we use a pre-designed hand that we 3D print in parts in MACH1 and assemble
-we work with local teens to modify the 3D design to fit a kid who doesn’t have a hand, we get their measurements and find out what they want the hand to look like
-we give the new hand to the kid and boom, they now have a cool cyborg hand that they can *actually use*

so, there I was with a bunch of plastic parts on my desk and some wire and a computer tutorial:

 dudes, this tutorial is over an HOUR long!
this is when I discovered that putting together a 3D printed hand is *hard to do*

those tabs inside? man, they had to be hammered in, and the space to work in  was like 2 inches. the knots that I had to tie in the string… not easy either! I spent 2 hours working on the tension to get all the fingers to come down at the same time. needless to say, I got very sweaty and I cussed a little.
but, check this out: 

 it’s a hand, and it works!!! a kid could actually wear this hand and use it!! isn’t this world rad?
here’s the hand with Katie, daughter of the Scientific Mom:

 and here it is with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton:

next stop? we are going to be looking for someone who can teach teens how to modify the files in a CAD software (a free one) and we’ll start printing hands this summer!
in case you are interested, here’s the parts list for all of the non-3D printed parts. if you happen to have any of it laying around, send it our way!

special thanks to my new friend sarah and her awesome high school students who have inspired us to do this project as well! check out the news article about her and her students!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

hot H2O spurts

so, the joys of running a make-shift makerspace never end. ever. literally ever.

ok, that's sarcasm. i don't mean to be sarcastic, but when i've just spent an hour rinsing plastic cylinders in a sink that has a push button water flow and the flow lasts EXACTLY 3 SECONDS and the floor is concrete and i'm wearing 3 inch heals, then i end up wanting to kill someone.

probably a plumber first.

the thing is, our makerspace wasn't built for makerspacing. it was a part of the library. and for many years it was a room full of books and very quiet people. now, it is 5,500 square feet of awesome, noisy mess. and we do amazing things like density columns where we drop random liquids into graduated cylinders and see where they settle.

then we add paint.

then we add screws and paperclips and plastic spiders:)

and then i have graduated cylinders that are full of oil, tempra paint, bakingsoda clumps and some hair. and i don't have a bottle brush.

and all i have is a sink in the employee area that does hot water in 3 SECOND BURSTS. for the love of all that is holy, who the hell can even wash their hands that fast????????

and then, i remember that i am the gal who did this when i forgot my  hand mixer at home:

so, when you come up to our space and you see the handle of the sink completely covered in duct tape, you know i needed to clean some cylinders.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Story Thieves

Story Thieves (Story Thieves, #1)Story Thieves by James  Riley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gr - 4-6
When Owen sees Bethany climb out of a book he learns that she is half fictional and is searching for her missing father. While Owen sympathizes, he also immediately sees the possibilities for fame, fortune and glory. Owen’s real life is boring, his mother works too much, his teacher gives him stupid assignments and his classmates don’t get him at all. If Bethany would just take him into the new Kiel Gnomenfoot book, he’d save the day and be a hero! When Owen sneaks into the story and sets in motion a series of really terrible events, he realizes he wasn’t really ready for fame and glory. Owen learns a lot about how to be a true friend and what courage really is in this fast paced, action packed tale. A fun book that fans of Riley’s Half Upon a Time series will not be disappointed in.

View all my reviews

High Crime Area

High Crime Area: Tales of Darkness and DreadHigh Crime Area: Tales of Darkness and Dread by Joyce Carol Oates
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

8 new short stories by Oates tell the tales of several seemingly unrelated people. A terrified professor who thinks she’s being chased, a rich man who is at the end of his life, a sister who tries to help her brother out of a desperate situation, all people who are facing personal demons and who may or may not be fighting the right one. In several stories Oates investigates some of humanity’s less desirable traits such as racism and classism. Read by Julia Whelan, Ray Chase, Donna Postel, Luci Christian, Tamara Marston, and Chris Patton, this full cast creates a variety to the stories and gives the audiobook depth.  The strange and unusual tales don’t always make sense and aren’t really frightening, but Oates fans will enjoy her famous sparse prose and and tense style.

View all my reviews


HydeHyde by Daniel   Levine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hyde, brutish and frightening; the monster we all know, or the misunderstood victim? At the end of his life, holding the confessions of Dr. Jekyll, Hyde finally gives his perspective, differing greatly from Dr. Jekyll’s. Hyde protected Jekyll as a child from an abusive father and seems to have been brought back to protect him again as a middle aged man. As the tale unfolds, the listener is left wondering, who really is the evil one? Is it Jekyll, is it Hyde or is it the mysterious person who seems to be stalking them both? A unique take on a beloved tale, Levine incorporates traditional techniques to create an authentic narrative bringing the seedy underbelly of Victorian London to life. Narrated by John Curless who captures both Hyde and his surroundings. This dark and suspenseful re-imagination of the iconic classic will be pleasing to fans of the original.

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Friday, August 22, 2014


so, for the past two years, i've listed my library as a makercamp affiliate. super affiliate, actually;) if you aren't familiar with makercamp, get thee to the website ASAP! i'll wait.

this is an amazing resource for librarians and educators. here's how my experience with them last and this year went:

in may 2013 i contact makercamp (make magazine and google+) when i heard about it and asked them what the projects would be for the july/august camp as they were not yet listed.

they said, 'we won't be listing them until a week before'
i said, 'crap, that ain't gonna work for me. i have expectations of 20+ kids and gathering supplies and such isn't easy without a lot of advance notice.'
they said, 'don't worry! they will all be projects with stuff you have laying around the house and really inexpensive!'
then, they said, 'hey, dude, wanna be an affiliate?'
and i said, 'i can't answer that without knowing what the projects will be!'
and they said, 'congratulations, you're a SUPER AFFILIATE!'
and then, they sent me a humungo box of amazing stuff. witness said stuff:

 so, i was like, 'yeah, ok, i'll totally be a SUPER AFFILIATE, now what the hell are the projects???'

turns out, that i was right, LOTS of the makercamp projects, while using household materials are SUPER impractical in a library setting with 20 kids. i mean, who the hell has 20 babyfood jars, 20 feathers, 20 copper wires, 20 LEDs, 20 batteries and 20 battery holders laying around to make wind triggered lanterns? not me. i mean, i'm working on it and all, but shit. it takes a while to eat that much damned baby food.

on the other hand, we created Hacker Haven from this bountiful pile of goodness by putting out all this awesome stuff and just letting people play with it. and Hacker Haven has been one of the most successful programs i've ever set up and i've created a ton of partnerships from it and we've gotten the MACH1 makerspace off the ground and now i even have a MACH board! yes! go makercamp!!!

so, i was game, and a few of the projects worked really well in a library like learning to solder (only one kid got burned!), 2 liter motor boats and balloon blimps. and then, halfway through the summer, LEGO sent me a LEGO educational kit. seriously, wow. what a cool program! so, this year, i signed up again even though they did not promise to change ANYTHING:)

and, they made good. they haven't changed at all with the timeline. they still make you wait until a few days before the project to see it. as a librarian, it sucks to scramble and try to get materials for that many kids with no budget and no advanced planning, so this year, i incorporated the projects into existing programming.

we added to Paper Engineering, Hacker Haven and some of our other programs, i waited an extra week and did the prior week's projects to give myself more time to gather all the crap and i only did projects that made sense for us.

so, this year, because they had way more affiliates, they sent WAY less free stuff, which is fine! i get it. they sent another microcontroller pack with an Uno though and lots of LEDs and coin cell batteries, so they still get my many many thanks. who doesn't like free shit?

so, check out makercamp, they've archived the schedules here. just go to the bottom of the page and you can see 2012/2013.

try out some kryptonite kandy, make a potato cannon, do a needle tower. and next year, sign up for makercamp or come see me, i'm a SUPER AFFILIATE FOR LIFE, yo!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

pasta rovers

the simple car
so, we've been talking pasta rovers all over my library system. they are fun, great for any age group, cheap as hell and they really do work! we did them at beginning of summer and had a blast. here are some recent tips i gave to one of the librarians in our system:
sharing the specs
  • Have lots of hot glue guns on hand in the gluing area, that glue works way better than elmer's or anything else. 
  • Also, have LOTS of lasagna noodles, those were in high demand and we ran out of them. 
  • Every other type of noodle is usable in some way, whether decoration or functional. Lots of kinds of noodles also make for great little 'people' who 'drive' :) 
  • I could not find wheel noodles anywhere, so I used life saver mints with the hole in them.
  • The hollow spaghetti is more structurally sound than the filled spaghetti. 
  • launching
  • Don't show too many examples of cars already constructed, it kills their creativity and they just end up making the car they were looking at instead of going crazy and making a giant pirate boat:)
  • Use the opportunity to have the kids give a presentation about their vehicle.
a pirate boat!
sharing the specs

I'm almost positive that Design Squad also did the noodle cars somewhere in their lesson plans definitely check them out if you get a chance!