165 Feet

I rolled into work early this morning as I had traded my desk hours to attend the Facebook Analytics class. It was slow at first and I was able to publish some booklists. A patron I met recently sent me a PSD file to take a look at. Just about then it began to get busy and I never got any further on it. The questions were coming steady. Scanning photos was a popular request. I was late leaving my shift since Photoshop decided to ignore my batch processing for re-saving TIFFs to JPEGs. I recorded the steps repeatedly then watched it fail again and again. Even as it flashed through the actions, it showed “Save as JPEG” but spit out more TIFFs in the destination folder. It was very frustrating.

I ran out the door and through the parking lot to head the 90 minutes away to the class. Google Maps has this cool new feature where you can now say “find me a [restaurant]” after you setup your final destination point. When I got close, I did this and had it route me to grab a burger. I sat in the parking lot outside the center shoving the burger in my mouth two minutes before class started. Trying to fix that Photoshop error had made me really late.

The class’ first half was pretty great. The main thing to point out is when you’re on your Facebook page, click on Insight then on Local. If you scroll down, you can see a radius of 165 ft of your location. It will tell you some basic stuff about how many Facebook users were logged in (visiting FB?) within 165 ft of your location. These include FB users who are not following your page. I thought that was the best part. We have a graveyard to the south, a car dealership across the road, a police station behind, and a sandwich/floral shop to the north. People within 165 ft of us are likely visiting the Library.

Bad Google.

Bad Google.

Facebook also tells you about the popularity of users being at your business based on day of the week and time of day. I brought up Google to see how FB compares to Google’s ratings. Similar. Then I saw a mess up. Last week or so, I spoke on the phone with Google Business about there being a knowledge pane (shows up on the right in search results) which listed the library’s name with three additional words. The guy promised he’d ditch the 5-word name and have just the real knowledge pane. Welllll, now only the wrong 5-word pane shows up. It isn’t even attached the official Google Plus page for the Library. My photos aren’t there. Instead there is a photo of some folders with the Library’s logo. So I reported it again. Here’s to hoping they get this cleared up soon.

My new job isn’t really that different from my old one. I’ve been chasing down how we appear in search engines and our rankings for years now. It’s just now officially my job to do so. Before I was just the webmaster. Now it’s about publicity management.

Finally, the state library training center has loads of professional books. After hearing about the three month lending period, I went wild. Eleven books are sitting in my house now waiting to go with me to work tomorrow. Hopefully by reading them, I’ll get a real handle on this whole publicity thing. My brain is already constructing charts and spreadsheets to track the data. I can’t wait.

Quotes from Judy Blume’s Talk

Look at those smiles!

Stephanie Anderson interviewing Judy Blume at Greenwich Library in Connecticut

My colleague, Stephanie Anderson, interviewed Judy Blume last night. Ms. Blume is on tour for her book, In the Unlikely Event. The text below was captured as fast as I could manage it during the Q&A session.

“Teachers and librarians are the ones to put the right book with the right characters in the right hands at the right time.”

“Reading should be something you do for pleasure. I’m so worried about tests turning kids off from resting.”

Thank God for George. We talk to each other in code.

“I can know all those secrets (of adults), and if I don’t know, I make them up.”

“Dystopian fiction isn’t my thing, but so what.” That’s why it’s so important that they have lots of options in their reading.

“Tony Bennett singing Because of You. happens in a very important book. It’s the sexiest part.”

Writing advice: start with the day that something different happens. You need a great editor. We all do.

I track them. I’m very proud of Blubber. I’m glad I wrote that.

I made a calendar to track things in Blubber.

For characters, I know where it’s going, but in the middle that’s where it gets really scary. I think of books like jigsaw pieces. I then have to put them together. The first draft is me figuring it out. Everyone figures out their own process.

My mind is cluttered and messy. There is no one way. Whatever works.

I only work on one project at a time. John Updike did fiction in one room, then essays over here, and reviews over there.

Now when I start something, I stay with it. In the beginning, I started a lot of things. I kept them. It’s good to see where you came from.

I hate beginning.

If someone talks on the phone in my hearing, I’ll listen.

Party Like You’re 30

Birthday cupcakes

Birthday cupcakes

My coworker, Daniel, asked me last week what my favorite cupcake is. He danced about and then confessed that he wanted it to be a surprise for my birthday, but he wanted to know what I’d like best. I told him strawberry. He had never made strawberry anything before, but he absolutely outdone himself.

The strawberry on top was just sweet enough. Then the icing was delicious. Ah, and the cupcake itself? So moist and it melted in your mouth. I think I — and everyone else — had a religious experience consuming these.

Funny part: word of the cupcakes went through the building so the UX office turned into an impromptu party.

Emerging Leader Appearance in American Libraries


Here are the photos from the American Libraries issue which feature this year’s crop of Emerging Leaders — a group that I am lucky to be a part of. I haven’t written much about this yet, mostly because my part of the project (building a website) won’t come up until May. Right now, we’re conducting a survey to see who reads the New Member Round Table’s newsletter, Footnotes. Confession: I wasn’t aware NMRT even had a newsletter or a journal.

My group has joined up with the journal group for the purposes of the survey. Both groups have more or less come to the same conclusion which we discussed at the all-day Emerging Leader workshop on Friday, January 30th. However, the survey results will reveal if we were right. We will then give advice as to what we think the future of both publications should be, if they should move to a new platform (we’re favoring WordPress), and how to increase readership with publicity efforts.


Now to the thing which I’ve disappointed in: my name appears wrong in the magazine. I repeatedly told the magazine people the day of the photoshoot that my name was wrong on their paperwork. I then reached out through official channels to ensure that my name appeared correctly as Amanda L. Goodman. So when it came to my attention that the issue was released, I was very unhappy that my insistence on getting my name correct went unheeded. Other members also had their names appear incorrectly (or whole names were dropped out). However, I’m not sure if they want to bring public attention to this fact, so I won’t name them.

I’m frustrated. I feel disrespected. In stories, people believe that names hold power and so hide away their True Name. The naming of a thing has meaning. My name and its appearance is how I choose to appear before the world. I do not like being misrepresented.

Another confession: I actually prefer my middle name, but since I’ve never been called it (and thus feel that it’s far too late to change now that you all know me by Amanda), I instead honor the beautiful swooping shape of the cursive L and immoralize that instead in my signature.

To Dollbaby On The Third Anniversary Of Her Death

The most wonderful friend in the world.

Dollbaby and me, 2006

Time is not a healer of loss. Every day is a motion of going on with life, but who I am is still immovable from where Dollbaby’s life stopped. As she stopped, so did I. The difference after three years is that my unconscious knows that she’s not physically here anymore. I don’t see her walking just in the corner of my vision anymore — that’s her younger sister. I don’t wake up reaching for her in her place by my head. I am slowly building up a rough coat that keeps me from breaking down just by mentioning her to someone. I still cannot bear to have a photo of her on display. What is a photo when she’s still a living, breathing part of my heart? I only have to close my eyes to feel her breathe under my hands or under my cheek. My heart is full to bursting with love for my dearest friend, the one that has left me.

My fury, my rage, towards her murderer has not been set aside. Perhaps this anger is what continues to make it hurt so much and why I can’t shift past the horrible way Dollbaby died. I write this as a testimony that time is not easing the pain. I still can’t think of Dollbaby and just be happy about our thousands of happy hours together because the awful cruelty of her end is so immense.

As I’m writing this, Chii has settled next to my right wrist in front of the keyboard. She appeared as soon as tears started to fall. She’s purring faintly and is just being near. I scheduled myself to teach a class tonight during the hour that Dollbaby took her last breath. I don’t know if that’s a shield or not.

Behind the Scenes with the New Darien Library Tumblr

Darien Library's new Tumblr!

Darien Library’s new Tumblr!

My brilliant colleague, Stephanie Anderson (@bookavore), approached me a little while ago with the idea of creating a new Tumblr for Darien Library called Darien Reads. The purpose is to:

At Darien Library, we provide great online reads every day, sorted the same way our non-fiction is organized in the stacks.

That is to say, Stephanie is a big fan of long-form journalism on the web. She wanted to curate this site for our commuters so they can connect with us for their train rides without them having to commit themselves to a book.

We discussed some ideas for themes and she went with the Venice theme by Style Hatch. I then did some preliminary digging around to see how hard it would be to alter it so it’d have a completely customized frontpage like a “real” website. After a few hours of research and attempts, I sent Stephanie an email asking the theme creators if we could hire them to make the adjustments. No dice!

So we went back to the drawing board and I studied some other Tumblr themes for inspiration. Examples: One, Two, Three. I then sketched out some designs (I really need to scan these sketches!). Once we settled on one, I went to work making the current theme as seen above.

Tumblr code is not the same as regular HTML since everything (HTML and CSS) are all on the same very, very long page. Tumblr also uses it’s own tag system for dynamic content. It behaves in unexpected ways. It took awhile, but I finally found the trick to get the double-column layout is called Masonry. Then I had to learn how to implement Masonry for that grid look. I didn’t get a chance to use this resource, but it looks very helpful.

Hold Backs
Tumblr did present us with a few stumbling blocks. For example, if you have Darien Reads on your Dashboard, you can see the images which are being pulled from the article. However, by visiting Darien Reads’ frontpage, you don’t get the image. This is a bit distressing, but it’s the default behavior. I’m also having trouble getting Body & Soul to link correctly for the pages.

Future Changes
I’m not 100% satisfied with the current appearance. However, “done is better than perfect,” so we decided to go ahead and start promoting it now that we’ve secured a URL for the page. We’ll be working on how to integrate this new Tumblr into our workflow.