Spot the Empire Librarian's blog

Welcome to a librarian's online musings on libraries, literature and information media.

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An observation of a recent cookbook

Let’s face it. I read a lot of cookbooks.
A lot.
And I read a lot of cookbook reviews.
A lot.


The Pollan Family Table: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom for Delicious, Healthy Family Meals by Corky Pollan, Lori Pollan, Dana Pollan , Tracy Pollan, Michael Pollan

This one stood out for me.  I loved the colour photographs. I loved the personalize approach to cooking as a family activity.  However, I will admit a personal connection to this book. Not only is Micheal Pollan, author of the The Omnivore’s Dilemma   a brother of the Pollan sisters,  though one of the sisters is a neighbor of mine. Can you guess which one?
Yes, while living in Vermont,  our neighbors were  the Fox/Pollan household.  Much of the cooking listed in this family cook book is indiciative of the simplicity of cooking  we enjoyed while living in Vermont. Corky, Lori, Dana, and Tracy Pollan bring the reader into their  inspiring kitchens, sharing their family’s best recipes.
For generations, the Pollans have used fresh, local ingredients to cook healthy, irresistible meals. Michael Pollan, whose bestselling books have changed our culture and the way we think about food, writes in his foreword about how the family meals he ate growing up shaped his worldview.
This practical cookbook gives readers the tools  and inspiration  needed to bring the Pollan food philosophy in their everyday lives. This isi a cookbook about  making great,nourishing,  meals which bring families back to the table.

 The Pollan Family Table includes the Pollan’s top cooking techniques, time-tested shortcuts, pantry lists that make shopping for and preparing dinner stress-free. Destined to become a kitchen classic,  this cookbook helps the reader cultivate traditions that improve health, well-being, and family happiness.  And in my opinion,  remind me of  the simplicity  and goodness of life in Vermont.

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Happy Anniversary!

Happy Blog Anniversary to me!  In an attempt to  better document good work, as per a past work evaluation by my superior,  I began a blog  about activities I was under taking,  issues in the library field  and such.  While I cannot claim to be the most brilliant blogger in the  cyber-universe,  it is a fun  exercise.  Thank you dear reader, for following my  blog  since November 26, 2007.


Perhaps balloons and cake are in order?  A seventh anniversary deserves cake for everyone…….

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NYLA 2014 in Saratoga

Thank you to the Public Library Services division of the New York Public Library association.  I throughly enjoyed  participating , learning, volunteering  and interacting during your recent  annual conference.  As promised, I vowed to document my experiences here as part of my professional development.


Upon arrival  in Saratoga, New York on Wednesday Nov 5th,  I proceeded to help out at the registration desk by handing out registration bags and name tags at the check in desk.  Surprisingly,  I ran into Tom Lawrence,  the Library Director in neighboring Poughkeepsie/Arlington proper.  We both volunteered at the registration desk, handing out conference badges for the afternoon, catching up with fellow librarians from across the state as they arrived to check in. And truth be told, Tom is a blast. It was a hysterically funny afternoon.


Wednesday evening, I joined  the PLS members for  dinner at the Sushi Thai Garden Restaurant.  Not only was it great to meet so many librarians from around the state,  though many of them  I knew or work with librarians that I know!   And , it goes without saying that the food was artfully presented.   One member of our table had their meal presented in a ceramic boat.

suhithai sushithasaratoga03

The keynote address , Rich Hardwood,  founder of the Hardwood Institute,  spoke of  the need to building community.  As a national leader in rethinking how to improve politics and public life, generate the civic capacity needed to move communities forward, and spur news media to reconnect with their communities, provide more relevant news coverage, and improve public discourse. He spoke about reclaiming Main Street, being a public innovator to push forward for betterment in the community, the need for librarians to take on this role of  public innovator.   It was very inspiring and fit in with the conference’s theme of ‘connecting communities’.nyla9

Despite a filled conference room of 2000 people,  Tom Sloan,  the Mid Hudson Library System Director found an empty chair and sat beside me.  He is one of my favorite Poughkeepsie library peeps…..such a smart fellow and strong leader.  I will admit to having a librarian crush on him.

From there,  I was off to the Trade Floor,  to help staff the Public Library Section’s booth with fellow PLS member Judith Wines, Library Director in Altamont, NY .  I helped sell tickets for an iPad raffle, demo-ed our squishy circuits exercise to engage participants to ‘connect with their community.’.  We also gave out  mobile device charges  with the NYLA logo; a wall charger brick of a car charger.  Apparently, they were the talk of the conference. A s a result, 23 librarians joined the  PLS division that day  in order to  claim a charger.


I was fortunate to attend a number of engaging and inspiring learning sessions: Making a Maker Space and You got the job, now what?  w/ Sarah Houghton  ( my Librarian in Black hero) and Frank Rees ( a fellow library director from Saugerties)


In the evening, the  PLS Author! Author ! event was held at the Saratoga Library and hosted  New York author Gary Shteyngart.  He spoke of his childhood growing up as an immigrant family in New York City and adapting to  American traditions.  Little Failures is his most recent book.  I throughly enjoyed his presentation, as that Gary’s sense of humor is akin to Woody Allen.


Afterwards, I met up with  some of my Mid Hudson Library System peeps  for a meal at Chianti Ristorante.  It was lovely to unwind with my Beekman, Poughkeepsie, Red Hook and Pawling  cohorts.

The following day,  I attended the PLS Annual Membership Meeting w/ President Sara Dallas , in which my award was announced.  I was also fortunate to  listen to Rebekkah Smith Aldrich (another one  of my MHLS co-horts) speak at Sustainable Thinking.

nyla-1LAMS hosted Luncheon w/ Sarah Houghton was a highlight.  Sarah spoke about the evils of net neutrality and  the ethics of on-line vendor overloads collecting data on our patrons.  A need for librarians to be vigilant and protectors of our patrons’ was highlighted. ( We love you Sarah!)

From there, I attended Opening Creativity: Maker Spaces for Youth Libraries and Funding Innovative Projects in your library. The final day, Saturday morning,  Fundraising with Annual Appeals w/ Kathleen Naftly ( the current director of the Crandall Library and former Rutland Vermont librarian.) and Libraries as a digital media creation hub.

I extend a hearty thank you to the Public Library Sections’s division of the New York Library Association for sponsoring my attendance.  I left feeling inspired,  professional energised and refreshed.  Thank you.  See you in Lake Placid in 2015!  #PLSNYLA #NYLA

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Remembrance Day

This year, November 11th takes on a different tone.  Not only is it  a day to remember those who currently serve in the Canadian Armed Forces at home and abroad,  keeping peace,  but those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.   It is a day to remember the tragedy of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s  death while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier last month.

Remember Them
by D. Ross Campbell

tomb of the unknown soldier
They heard the call, they answered yes,
They proudly wore the battle dress,
For us who live they gave their all
That our great flag would never fall.
Let us this day remember all
Who answered yes, who heard the call,
Who gallantly opposed the foe:
On them let us our praise bestow.
They bravely died that we might live,
unselfishly their lives did give
For King and Country and all men,
That we might live in peace again.
Let us with praise these men salute,
Let peace and love be our pursuit,
Let’s daily lead a life humane
That they will not have died in vain.

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Reasons to be thankful……

I admit that I love this time of year.  The cooler weather. The crispness in the air.  Tart apples.  Bright orange pumpkins.  The desire to start nesting and preparing our homes for increased inhabitation.  The clarity of Autumn sunshine.  It all reminds me  that it is  a time to think about what we have and  to be grateful for  the blessings in our lives.


I think about

  • having a healthy family
  • Eoin excelling in school
  • Ben and Jerry’s ice cream
  • holding employment which my talents /  skills / ideas are appreciated
  • many great novels to enjoy
  • a lovely Vermont  holiday  this past June
  • the possibility of another lovely Vermont holiday  next June
  • a husband who bakes like a mad fiend ( love you , hon!)
  • a Mummy who understand the fun graphics of a lobster motif table-cloth
  • living a safe county with many freedoms
  • a husband who will cook the turkey on Thanksgiving
  • a husband who will surprise me each year with the Black Friday newspaper flyers while I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as he cooks the turkey on Thanksgiving.

I  send you happy thanksgiving wishes, dear reader.   I hope that you have just as many things to be thankful for in your life as I do.

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DIA -STEM and Chicago

In expression of thanks to the American Library Association, and the Día initiative,  I am posting a cyber ‘thank you’ for my Building STEAM with DIA award.

In our LaGrange Association Library  efforts to  bring programs which are culturally diverse and appropriate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities to our communities,  we received one of  20 grants of $2 000 each. Awardees are also invited to attend a  ALSC”S diversity Forum  which will be held at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting on Friday, January 30, 2015 in Chicago. Dia2013_12x18Poster_download_01

Intended as an expansion of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día), the mini-grants will be awarded to libraries that demonstrate a need to better address the diverse backgrounds within their communities and demonstrate interest in hosting culturally diverse and appropriate STEAM programs.

The mini-grants are part of the Everyone Reads @ your library grant awarded to ALSC from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Thank you for supporting our LaGrange community!  See you in Chicago , Mid Winter ALA Conference, January 30 – February 3, 2015.