Librarian Lump of Coal Gift Guide

Following on the heels of yesterday’s post about book related gifts comes this “2016 Librarian Lump of Coal Gift Guide” that I found on the School Library Journal site. While these aren’t exactly gifts that everyone would want, I must admit, I’m kind of obsessing over the Bookworm Starfish Ornament, and I’m pretty sure there would be many library staff members who would go for this HarryPotter/Gilmore Girls mash-up:

il_570xn-1086005178_mndyStill, it’s a funny list. Take a minute to look through it. There are many wonderful things out there in Etsy land….

Owls everywhere!

Today, I  put up a few fun items in the children’s area of the library.  This past summer, we found out we were once again the recipients of an Honorable Mention in the TD Summer Reading Club Awards for outstanding summer programming. With the little bonus, we purchased some colourful designs to place on the walls.  Hopefully, they’ll perk up the place and give the kids a little something fun to spot.

Thanks to the fabulous designer Wall Art Design out of Sudbury, ON (I found them on Etsy), we’ll be looking forward to spring with a little more gusto!


Pop up books are a favourite of the children at our storytime. I often have a completely focused audience when I open a pop up book.  They are really fascinating, actually, with gorgeous colours and wonderful shapes, so why wouldn’t a child be entranced?  But how exactly did pop up books begin?

The first of this type of book, which also encompasses movable objects in books, was made even before we started printing books, in the mid 1200’s. The first example is by a poet and mystic, Ramon Llull, who filled a book with moving circles which were stuck to pages in order to show the difference between superior and inferior things.  He believed the moving of circles which were of different sizes, was “a method of obtaining a higher knowledge of all things by simple mechanical means (the turning of circles) in the shortest time”.

In the fourteenth century, books with lift up flaps were used but mostly in medical journals of anatomy in order that a student could lift a flap to see multiple levels of a particular part of the body, from skin down to the bone and everything in between.

Children did not have their own pop-up books until well into the early nineteenth century, and even then, it took some time for them to catch on.  All of these interesting facts and more can be found at a fabulous site done by the University of North Texas here.

Puss in Boots. Illustrated pop-up ed. New York: Blue Ribbon Press, 1934. Illustrated by C. Carey Cloud and Harold B. Lentz.

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own pop-up book, Joan Irvine has a wonderful and easy way to do so if you visit her page all about pop-up books.  I have planned my own version of this pop up card for a later storytime, and I know the kids will have a blast! You can also find a few more ideas at

Pop ups are even becoming popular once again as handmade cards.  I have bought several this year, and all are quite beautiful and very unexpected, and most were for adults!  I love Etsy for the best ones, and some of my favourite card makers can be found here and here.

Tracy Chong Giraffes Pop Up Card

Crankbunny Hummingbird Card (The wings flap on this one when you pull the little flower petal.)

So the next time you see something with a pop up, think about all the work that goes into making it so enjoyable and you’ll love it even more!

Christmas shopping

As I was standing on my front porch this morning dead-heading my hanging flower basket, a man walked up the walkway and handed me my Christmas Wish Book from Sears. It is August 18th, my friends. The Wish Book….in August????

I started thinking that maybe it is a marketing ploy to get to the kids before they go back to school. The Wish Book arrives and suddenly, every child is quiet in the corner, flipping through the pages and folding down corners or circling items that they want. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Sears Wish Book, it is the annual Christmas line up of toys, clothes and specialty items that they are promoting for the holidays.)

I will confess to enjoying the Wish Book as a child, and even now, there is a little thrill upon seeing it arrive (even if it is in August). But this makes me think about catalogs in general and how they are used, or not used, these days.

Years ago, people mainly shopped at a store, and although catalogs were available, most people preferred to go to an actual building and see the merchandise before buying. The exception seemed to be Sears, originally with their hand-drawn catalogs and then to their now-glossy version. The draw with Sears is that there is usually a depot in every small town s well as the bigger cities, and you can return the merchandise without any hassles or costs. That’s a plus when shopping these days.

I do the majority of my shopping online now. I still like to see the catalogs when I can get them if only because I can pick it up and look at it at my leisure, but I do purchase online without catalogs from a variety of stores. Most times, stores offer great deals, the shipping is usually pretty good, and these days with the Canadian dollar being so strong, there isn’t a down-side to shopping online across the border. Even the return policies are pretty good these days. Even so, I still hear that people are afraid to buy online. They seem pretty sure that their identity or credit card numbers are going to be stolen, each person having a “friend” who has horror story about shopping online. But I think if you are a smart shopper, shopping online is a safe and fabulous alternative to going to the store. Plus, it saves gas and these days, that is a bonus in itself!

One of my favourite places to shop online is Ebay, which always has great deals, and you don’t just have to bid in auctions. They have buy-it-now options as well, and many of the things you are looking for are brand new. Plus, you don’t have to give out your financial information to someone you don’t know. Most sellers accept PayPal which is a fabulous site for online purchases, and they don’t share your information with anyone else. is great to use in Canada, but you can also buy on Many times, I have come across something I am looking for on one site but not the other, so don’t be afraid to look.

The other great site that I am in love with right now is Etsy is the place for people who make handmade items to sell their wares. This is a growing site and the search possibilities are very creative. You can find an item by geographical zone, by colour or by name. This is going to be really big soon, so get in on it if you have a talent!

What will shopping be like for children of this generation? Will online shopping be the norm? Will they even remember catalogs? I’m not sure what’s coming.

So, even though we have just over four months to shop for presents, you might want to get a head start on it now. You might even get finished before September rolls around!