I’m that librarian your parents warned you about.

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The one with the comic books, and video games. The one who thinks reading fan fiction is A-OK, and the one who counts two episodes of subtitled anime as one hour of reading during summer reading time. I’m willing to do teen programming that celebrates Hawkeye as The Best Avenger Ever, and another explaining why Santa Claus is actually a vampire.

It’s perfectly plausible that I have never read a book in my life, and that I stay up late every night playing video games, and that is why I work evenings at the library. The second one is only partially true; I’m not sure if Bejeweled counts as a video game and I only play Pokemon on Sundays, when I have four to six straight hours to dedicate to my Pokemon Journey.

Somehow, I managed to get through a theater conservatory, a writing program and library school. So I assume my ability to read remains in-tact (but it’s far less thrilling without Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizzas as a prize. Oh my 80’s youth.) I thought about doing a PhD in history, but a bunch of history professors keep trying to talk me out of it because the field is filled with drama and squabbling over dead people and wars that only they care about. Sounds like my kind of gig, actually. I want to argue with white-haired academics about whether anything at all should be named after General McClellan, since he was obviously The Worst general of the entire Civil War.

I say this because I want you to know your kids will be alright. My mom was worried for a while; I spent several years in high school only reading Batman comic books, and speaking solely in Star Wars quotes. But I think I turned out ok. There’s no shame in being interested, nay, consumed with popular culture. It is our culture, after all.

While I love classical music and took bel canto voice lessons for fifteen years, I actually have more in common with The Faceless Old Woman Who Lives In Your House, from Welcome to Night Vale, than I do Puccini. At least The Faceless Old Woman and I like the same TV shows. Puccini is a dead white guy from a musical dynasty in late 19th century Italy. My Italian knowledge begins and ends with the words on the menu at Ruffino’s.

Star Wars and comic books were my mythology growing up. I didn’t have an oral history of tales remembered in the stars, nor did my grandmother fill me with fairy tales meant to scare children straight while teaching them the hard lessons of the world. My mythology, and in some ways, heritage, is owned entirely by large corporations. That’s why fan fiction exists. It’s a way for people to take charge of their mythology, and to own it and evolve it. Pop culture has begat still more pop culture, in that sense. And that’s OK.

Master Chief from the Halo franchise is apparently going mercenary, and Iron Man and Captain America are about to go head to head on the big screen over the issue of superhero registration (the complete Civil War graphic novel set will soon be released, and available for your reading pleasure at a library near you–namely, ours). Mr Holmes, a sleeper Indy hit starring Ian McKellen focuses on the later years of the great pop culture icon Sherlock Holmes, and is based on the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin (also available for checkout at Your Friendly Neighborhood Library), reminds us that our cultural heroes do get old. Memory fades and friends die, even for The Great Detective.

Right now I’m enjoying Batman: Arkham Knight, a game that came with our new PS4. The art and graphics get better and better with each new game in the series, and the story line is growing increasingly complex. Batman begins to hallucinate his dead arch-nemesis, the Joker, at one point. Which is a clever story-telling way to make the hero, and the player confront our own complicated relationships with the nature of evil. And I love watching the afternoon kids play Madden 2016, which has evolved into a game requiring teamwork, strategy planning, and quicker hand-eye coordination than I can manage.

I think those kids are turning out alright, too. They problem-solve levels of games together, they create strategies, and they share. They actually pass the controller over when their turn is over. Which isn’t too bad for boys and girls who are learning all kinds of creative and technical skills through video games.

I’m glad I get to share that time with them, and my love for popular culture. And if I can sneak in some history or science, I will do that too. Did you know that O Mio Babbino Caro, a standard of the classical music genre, is about an overly emotional teenage girl threatening to throw herself into River Arno if her dad doesn’t let her marry her boyfriend, and also she wants dad to pay for the ring? And let’s talk about Batman villains and the Epic of Gilgamesh. There’s always a little something for everybody at the library.

Until next time–see you at our Friday Movie Day on Friday, Anime and Doctor Who clubs on Saturday, and our Family Halloween Party on the 31st! I expect to see you all in plenty of pop culture-oriented costumes!

The cool thing about being a librarian is that learning never ends

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Our Afternoons @ the Library program is in full swing for school-age kids. We’ve had a lot of game play, building of things, and creativity expressed by everyone who has shown up.

Having a weekly door-prize drawing does help, of course. From 4-6pm, Monday through Thursday, the Learning Center and the rest of the library is buzzing with children and young adults. On Thursdays, we let the young adults have a special area away from the other kids, where we can do slightly older stuff. It’s nice to hear the children playing and learning, and to talk to them. Boy do we talk. I know absolutely everything there is to know about the town’s water park, thanks to one girl, and about one young man’s frustrations with Ant Man not being part of the Avengers yet, in the movie universe. We play, we experiment, and sometimes the craft project actually comes out the way we intend. Apparently that tiny triangle piece goes on the owl’s head. It only took us two hours to figure it out, the other day.

I know the kids enjoy it; they wouldn’t keep coming back. But I enjoy it too. I get to hear their ideas, watch them have fun and discover things, and maybe have an impact on their growing and learning.

I’m getting another chance to do that, starting tomorrow, the 21st. Monday at 5pm, the library is hosting it’s first Girl Scout meeting. Troop #690559 is about to start a year of discovery for girls in grades kindergarten through third. It will be my first time as a volunteer, and not as a scout, so I have as much learning to do as the girls! It should be fun for all of us. (If your child is interested, there is still time to register either at the meeting, or online at kansasgirlscouts.org)

We’ve also discovered adult coloring books. It seems that we’re a bit on the back end of this trend; people all over the Internet are enjoying these intricate pages, meant to reduce stress while inspiring creativity. We’ve been passing around a book at the library, so everyone that works here can color a page. And next month we’ll be having two coloring play dates for adults. Thursday, October 15th at noon, and Thursday the 22nd at 6:30 pm, we’ll be hosting an adult color-in, so we can all enjoy this new hobby together.

Lastly, my major learning experience for next month is going to be all of our makeup and costuming classes. I’ll be working with the younger kids on Tuesdays, and the older kids on Thursdays, and a professional artist will be coming into the library on a Thursday night and Saturday. We’ll be making animal ears and tails, painting faces like creepy dolls, making hoods out of pillowcases, and working on the occasional obligatory zombie face. I have a theater background, but it’s sure to be an interesting time, doing so many makeup and costume programs in such short succession. I’m hoping to be a red fairy for Halloween, so I’d better get my practice in, now!

What’s happening at the Library

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I know we often use this space to tell everyone what is happening with the library. We have a lot to tell you. Something is always happening.

Tomorrow, our After School Learning Club (ASLC) begins for all school age kids, and it will run 4-6 pm, Monday through Thursday. Our children’s story times are in full swing, and this month we are having a special Doctor Who party, on Saturday, September 19th at 10 am, to celebrate the return of Doctor Who on BBC America. And this party is going to be great. We have Doctor Who crafts you can make, like your very own tiny TARDIS. There’ll be Doctor Who snacks, Doctor Who costumes (wear yours!), episodes to watch, and discussions about your favorite characters.

I’m still working with young adults, and we want all of them to visit us on their special After School day on Thursdays. We’ve even gotten a new PS4, to make even more multi-player games available. We’re also starting a Girl Scout troop (register at www.kansasgirlscouts.org) and are looking forward to bringing guests into our after school club.

Something is always happening with the kids and the young adults. We have lapsit for 0-18 months, and we have game days for teens. There is one thing that sometimes flies under the radar, though. Our adult programs. Yes, programming isn’t just story times, and hands-on learning for school-age kids. We have learning, enrichment and relaxation opportunities for adults.

Our most popular adult program is Recipe Swap (last Monday of every month, 6:30 pm). I know what you’re thinking–it sounds like something your grandmother would do. But the secret part of recipe swap is that we all bring a sample of that recipe for everyone to taste. It ends up being a tiny buffet table every weeks. I’m sure you can see why a lot of people come. Last month’s theme was ice cream, and September’s is crock pot foods. We’re a fun, easy-going bunch.

The Library and Lunch book club meets the second Tuesday of every month at noon, and is an opportunity to discuss a new book, and relax with fellow readers. We also have a non-fiction book club on the last Tuesday of every month (6:30 pm), for people who like factual books with strong narratives by intelligent and thoughtful writers.

Rounding out the group is our Third Tuesday Adult Crafts evening (6:30 pm). It’s an opportunity to learn how to make something new, and be creative in a relaxing and friendly environment. If you talk to kids all day, enjoy some time talking to us grownups. If you talk to grownups all day, enjoy a conversation with some new friends while we release stress and learn some new skills. I like to think we are a calming, happy bunch. Join us and let us know for sure!

Like I said, we talk so much about what’s going on at the library, which we like. And we are very good at. But we’d also like to hear from you! What else do you think we should do? We’ve had ideas for Doctor Who and Anime clubs, coloring nights for adults, dedicated video console and computer game play, crocheting, lectures with experts and community members with stories to share, writing groups, and daytime adult programs for parents and others who have time in the mornings.

What should we do? Do you have more ideas? Have questions about the programs we already have, for any age group? Do you want to help? Come visit us at the library, and let us know! Or email tammyg@lmlibrary.org and shoot us some ideas!

Go Set a Watchman

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to kill a mockingbirdHarper Lee only published one book in her lifetime, the well-known and well-loved To Kill a Mockingbird. It was a story rooted deeply in the attitudes of the 1930s south, taking on racism, classism, how people who are good at heart can do bad things, and how frightening outsiders can do good, even when they have no reason to.

There are dozens of other themes and nuances in the book. That is why it is often taught in high schools and colleges around the country, and used in book clubs and One Book, One Community programs over and over.

Even after the success of her book, Ms. Lee shunned the spotlight, even as her life-long friend Truman Capote (In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) seemed to crave it, spending his time living fast and large in the literary circles of his age. After the publication of her only novel, Harper Lee assured the world over and over that this was the only book she had within her, and that nothing else would be forthcoming.

Ms. Lee is in her 90s now. It’s said that she is hard of hearing and sight and the sharp wit that kept even the likes of Truman Capote on his toes is long gone. That is no sin; time and age come for us all. For many years, her sister had been her lawyer and executor of her estate. Her sister protected her interests, including her feelings and preferences toward her written works. Then her lawyer, confidant and protector passed away, leading to some interesting developments.

go set a watchmanRather suddenly, a “new” book by Harper Lee was announced. Technically, it was a lost manuscript written by Ms. Lee in the 1950s. Publishers and agents declared that Ms. Lee was delighted to see the release of Go Set a Watchman, which was being billed as a sequel to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird. And it does very much sound like a sequel. Scout, the child protagonist in To Kill a Mockingbird  late from New York,  returns to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama and reconnects with lost friends and family, and attempts to reconcile the racism in her family and community.

The book, however, was written before To Kill a Mockingbird.  In fact, Harper Lee worked with publishers on repeated drafts, trying to craft the disconnected look at racism and small town life into a solid narrative. Then, at some point, Go Set a Watchman evolved into the story of Scout as a young girl, living with her single father, a lawyer with a kind heart for his poor and disenfranchised neighbors.

This version of Scout’s story was published to great fanfair. It became the beloved classic that we all know the name of, and can readily recall the orchid color cover with just the slightest memory jog.

So why Go Set a Watchman?

Is Harper Lee really excited about the release of this long-lost manuscript? Is she being taken advantage of in her old age? We may never know.

But it isn’t fair to judge a book by its cover, and it may not be fair to judge a book by its provenance. My suggestion is that we all give it a read, and make up our own minds. Was this book publishable in the 1950s? Did it miss its market then, only to find it now, in a future wildly different than that of seventy years ago?

Now comes the part where I suggest you give it a read. Check it out of the library, then tell us what you think. Even as One Book, One Community is meant to stir up discussion in the community, I think Go Set a Watchman can do just the same for us. Not only about the content of the book itself, but the surrounding mythos and scandal surrounding the book’s publication.

Go Set a Watchman is available at Liberal Memorial Library now. Please check it out, and tell us how you feel!

Hidden Gems at the library

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rise to greatness playawaySummer Reading has wound down at the library, and hopefully everyone in the community will have a chance to take a break this month. And while you’re either sitting in a slightly far-off place, or at home in the air conditioning, the library has plenty of materials to help you pass the time.

Our DVD collection gets a good workout, and so do our new books and bestsellers. But we have some hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Our Playaway collection has recently grown, and is waiting for anyone who enjoys audio books to pick up a book or two. What in the world are these precious gems? They are MP3 players that contain only the book you wish to listen to. You don’t need to download anything from the state library, you don’t need to change audio CDs in your car or home CD player, you just plug in earphones, hit the power button, then play. The end.

I like to listen to books on Playaway when I am doing things with my hands that also require moving around, like cleaning, yard work, or crafting. I can pause and hold my place for several days, then press play and continue on with the story, or I can speed up the playback. This is a nice feature that does not alter the voice of the narrator, it just increases the speed at which I can listen to the story.

Right now, I am working on Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year by David Von Drehle. I’m a military history buff, and it’s great to get in some reading while I am doing important summer chores like watching my dog sniff every plant in the yard before doing her business.

Next, I may move on to some of the young adult or children’s Playaway audios, so I can sneak in a few more books while driving or walking, in addition to what I read on my Kindle or in paper book form before bed.

Audiobooks and Playaways aren’t just great for getting an extra story or two in  while doing other things. Listening to books engages our language centers differently than reading books. Both are valuable and keep our minds fresh. Audiobooks are great for reluctant readers and children in general. They don’t just give us wonderful stories, being read aloud to teaches us the pronunciation of words, their context, the rhythm of language, and the shape of dramatic prose. A good narrator can give dramatic rise and fall to even something as distant and strange as union general McClellan’s consistent over-estimation of the size of Confederate forces. You can hear Lincoln’s frustration and the politics that made potentially firing McClellan an incendiary issue.

Being read-to is a long tradition in the history of literacy that has been replaced by the television and cat videos. Granted, if they made a television show about a vampire kitten detective, I would never miss an episode. But I still like to squeeze in a little reading between mainlining Daredevil and Once Upon a Time.

So give it a try! Sneak one into a teen’s pocket, keep a child engaged and out of trouble on a long car ride, or give it a go on a long walk on a summer evening.

Teens and Pre-teens

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caution teenagersI have a special place in my heart for teens and pre-teens. I know a lot of adults don’t. But I think that’s just because we’ve forgotten what it is like to be that age. Whether it’s like the pain of childbirth, where new mothers forget as soon as they look into their children’s faces, or if it is a self-preservation tactic, I don’t know. We walk through the world, just as generations before us, bemoaning the antics of “those teenagers today,” and declaring that that was not how things were in our day, and we’d never have behaved that way.

Every generation does it to the next, and one after. There is some universal rule about this. Adults who were children in the fifties talk about how today’s kids are out of control and running wild. But how many songs play on the oldies station about teenagers disobeying parents and dating Johnny, that biker lad, or, heaven forbid, getting the T-Bird taken away? If you want more assurance of this habit, read opinion columns from 1920s newspapers, where adults brought up at the end of the Victorian era despair over flappers and the underground drinking clubs that prohibition had encouraged. Those byproducts of a more reserved time seemed to forget that everything vaguely associated with vice was available in red light districts or in back parlor rooms, just out of sight, and therefore away from scrutiny.

Shakespeare himself had a teenage shotgun wedding after impregnating his (older) girlfriend, Anne Hathaway (yes, that’s really her name). In fact, during that period of English history, one third of marriages were  due to pregnancy. So much for a more civilized time.

And if you want to preserve your sensibilities, please don’t go looking for texts from the medieval period in European history. The vibrant inks of illuminated texts have provided stylized views of religion and the learned individuals of the time. They pop up in calendars and artbooks until this day. They are true works of art. Just don’t look in the margins of those books where you will see vulgar images involving fat men and dragons, women plucking penises like pears from a tree, and scribblings ranging from cheeky to disturbing. Somewhere, fifteen hundred years ago, a young scribe was cuffed around the ears for drawing a monk with a giant phallus in a book about herbal remedies. Somehow, I don’t think that teenagers had a better work ethic at any point in history than they do today, either.

In a quote attributed to Cicero, who lived in the century before Christ, he is said to bemoan how children don’t listen to parents and how everyone is now writing a book. There is nothing new under the sun.

Teens running around the library and making noise aren’t new. We just hush them less. I remember being terrified of the librarians (and even the library aids) at the large marble palace of knowledge that was The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It kept me from asking them questions, or having anything resembling a relationship with them that would let me bother them about stuff I was just curious about. If I couldn’t find it, I obviously didn’t need it, because man, those librarians were terrifying. And I remember myself being a fairly good teenager. Which may or may not have been true. We all look at ourselves and our pasts through rose colored glasses.

And when these young adults come back in fifteen or twenty years with their own children, they will marvel at how the books have gotten more ‘adult’ in subject matter, how I let them get away with everything just shy of running, shouting, and actual murder. Their grandparents will shake their heads and and tell their own adult children that they were much better behaved than the children of today. They would have never been allowed to get away with it, you see.

I’ll nod, then. I’ll pretend like I don’t know the secret no one talks about: we were all rowdy and emotionally confused. That when we were that age, our amygdalas, that control our primal impulses, were more more matured than our frontal lobes, the place where sound judgement resides. We were all physiologically predisposed to making poor decisions. I’ll tell the truth, though: the kids of today have their acts together far better than I did. I couldn’t remember a pencil for class from seventh through twelfth grade (and well into college) and if I had one, I couldn’t hold onto it from one class to the next. I had a dozen other “issues” that made me less than the ideal child and at home. If a kid is asking me for a pencil to finish their homework, they are far ahead of me, when I was their age. And I think I have turned into a moderately respectable adult.

Just don’t come into my office  and see the enormous toy collection I’m hoarding there; your opinion of me will quickly change.

And a friendly reminder: summer reading runs through July 3rd, including activities for young adults, like our Fandom Free-For-All next Saturday, and our big RP/board/video gaming day. Walk fast, don’t run.

What’s going on at the library?

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darth vaderWhat’s going on at the library? What isn’t going on at the library! Last Saturday we had our first comicon, which was incredibly successful by all standards. Three thousand people attended, and got to meet Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper from the 501st Legion (http://501st.com), talk about their favorite comics, and participate in a host of other activities, including more door prizes than I could count.

Am I making you envious that you didn’t attend? Good! Save the date. Next year’s One-Day Comicon will be on Free Comics Day, the first Saturday in May. Even better, we may be moving to a much bigger space, so there will more to see and do, and maybe some vendors from whom you can buy your all-important comic book memorabilia.

So, that’s it for all the stuff you missed. What about the things that are coming up?

Summer Reading! You knew I was going to drop that bomb, didn’t you? As usual, we’re having events and activities for adults, young adults and children. Our sign ups have begun, and run through the end of the month, and Summer Reading itself starts June 1st. I know the adults are going to have a nice time with the casual, social events planned, and as always, Casandra consistently schedules great performers and activities for the kids for the summer. I am sure that you will find out all about that in the coming weeks.

UnmaskSloganRight now, I am here to make my pitch for Young Adult summer reading. Summer is a time when you should be able to read whatever you want, without the restrictions normally placed during the school year. It’s a time to read for fun, to satisfy curiosity, and to go down pathways of discovery. I think young adults are at a prime age for this–they have interests they love to delve into deeply, and unlike adults, they haven’t gained a fear of creating and being excited for their creations.

This summer, I will be your Discovery Dealer. And while discovery is addictive, it’s good for you and won’t cost a thing.

We have a brand new anime and manga on-demand service through CrunchyRoll, so that young adults can watch and read things the library doesn’t own, just about as quickly as they come out in Japan. There’s going to be gaming, an intro to spycraft and cryptography, and we’ll be delving into the world of Marvel’s archer-in-residence, Hawkeye (with free graphic novels for everyone who participates) and the sport (and life-skill) of archery. You will also have a chance to write and share fanfic, or just recommend your favorites to all of the rest of us.

One thing that the Young Adult program has going this year is that door prizes will be available at all YA events. We will also provide opportunities by going to events and doing extra activities to earn an extra prize not available to the children’s summer reading program.

Our Summer Reading Fire Up party for the Young Adults will be Monday, June 1 at 4pm. We can get excited together, and get ready to have fun!

Comicon

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comicon dragonball ZComicon. You may have heard about the library’s comicon from radio spots, or from flyers around town, or even at the library. I’m here to make one final pitch for why you should come.

But, you’re saying to yourself, what if I don’t like comics? I have seen that San Diego Comicon (SDCC) monstrosity on the news and it looks terrifying!

Fortunately, comic and entertainment conventions come in all shapes and sizes. There’s everything from the SDCC city-of-nerds to smaller regional shows like Pittsburgh’s annual comic convention which features a variety of booths where attendees can visit with stars (I met Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters one year!) or purchase art, or other unique prizes to show their pride in the entertainment they love. Probably every t-shirt I own has come to me from a comic, science fiction, or Doctor Who convention.

Why do I go? It usually starts out because I love a thing. A TV show, or a comic, or even a book. Going to an entertainment convention allows me to have more fun with the entertainment I love, and to make friends with similar interests. All of my friends are people I have met and connected with at conventions. I even met my husband over our mutual love of Batman. And there’s a convention for everything out there, if you’re willing to travel. Science fiction and fantasy novels, specific television shows, even My Little Pony and that cartoon show from the 1980s, Jem.

I don’t think that most of us can spend the time or the money that it takes to travel around the country to these events, so our library is bringing one to Liberal. We’re going to be celebrating everything from Superman to science fiction to fantasy, and even a tiny bit of Sherlock Holmes. We’re having Star Wars Story Time for the little ones (complete with tiny foam lightsabers for the young Jedi-in-training) to presentations about making your own fan works, to discussions about BBC Sherlock and Superman.

We have so many other things planned, like gaming and trivia that I can’t even list them all. But there will be something for almost everyone, big and small. There will be quiet spaces, and spaces where you can be as enthusiastic as you want.

And like any good convention, we will have the traditional costume contest, which is open to all ages. Even if you don’t want to be in the contest, come in a costume or fannish t-shirt, just to join in the fun.

Lastly, the advantage we have over the bigger conventions is that everything is free. There is no price for walking in the door, and all of our events, prizes and give-aways require absolutely no money. And our convention takes place on Free Comics Day, so every single person who comes will receive SOMETHING.

I hope to see all of you there. I will be dressed like the Eleventh Doctor, from Doctor Who, and I will be explaining to anyone who will listen how Lex Luthor is really the hero of the Superman story!

Learning Language in Liberal

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How hard is it to learn a new language? Most of us have taken foreign language classes in high school. But I bet for most of us, those languages remain just that–very foreign. We start by learning numbers and colors and the alphabet, then progress to basic phrases like saying our name, asking how someone is doing, and locating the bathroom. I think with one of my foreign language courses we actually progressed all the way to asking which train went to which foreign city, before the school year was over.

After three years, I still struggled with basic sentences. It was like I could understand intellectually what needed to happen, but somehow it never made it to my tongue. Learning a new language in the sterile environment of the classroom does work for some. My sister became quite good at German after only a year. When they got lost on a trip to Germany, she managed to get a cab and get her group to the right city.

Is she smarter than me? I admit. She probably is. But she was clever enough to do something I wasn’t. She was chatting on IRC (am I dating myself?) with German speakers who were more than ready to correct her phrasing and word usage via text. She also took to watching TV shows from Germany on YouTube, with the subtitles off. She learned more in that one year than I did in all of high school.

As I have said before, one of the reasons I came to Liberal was for the challenge of learning Spanish. I came knowing a little, mostly those embarrassing lessons from Spanish class that never really stuck in my head, and seemed to make me more anxious than anything. I have been taking lessons from my sister, I listen to the Spanish radio station to and from. The library. I keep an ear in on every conversation with our front desk staff and our Spanish speaking patrons. I have recently gotten teenagers to help me with very basic Spanish. No, not those phrases about finding the bathroom. We have been reading baby books.

I figured, babies have to learn somewhere, right? They learn from their parents’ voices what the sound of their culture is, even before they learn the words. And then slowly they begin to associate images or actions with words. It could work for me too, right?

I can say, right now I am very solid on my vegetables and circus animals. And soon I may be ready to move up from the library’s collection of Spanish baby board books to picture books for three year olds. I can understand parts of Spanish conversations in the library, and I can read over Spanish books enough to (mostly) be able to figure out what they are about. I still keep up with the DVDs and audio books I am using to learn, but I can say diving straight in has been far more effective than all of the classroom time in the world.

I have a lot of respect for anyone, anywhere, who goes to a new place for a visit or to live, if they don’t know the language. It is difficult to get around. I also have respect for those who have learned second or third languages on their own. It isn’t as easy as it looks to incorporate yourself into a new culture with a whole new language.

There are those of us for whom learning a new language isn’t second nature, even with immersion. But we are all trying. So I hope you will be patient with me, and them. Our brains will eventually wrap around it.

Also, I am sorry I have two of the Spanish language DVD sets checked out right now, if you are looking for them. I will return them as soon as possible. However, if you are interested in learning German or Portuguese…