In Case You Missed It: Top Posts for 2014

Dear Internet,
2014 was a banner year with my dog dying, my marriage busting up, finding new love, getting sued for defamation, getting back on the bipolar drugs, and losing my job. But the big question is, what did you favor on my site in 2014. Below is a breakdown of the top posts written and viewed in 2014.

  • About That Job Description In which I reveal that my position at GRCC was announced in January and my decision not to reapply. Add in the Internet getting my back for this line in the posting, “Ability to demonstrate the mental health necessary to safely engage in the librarian discipline as determined by professional standards of practice,” and you now know why I decided to move forward with my career.
  • I am the bitter fat chick who told you “no” In which I reveal an ex-high school boyfriend who kept sending me Facebook messages every couple of years in some fucked up attempt to “win me back” and his responses each time I said “no.”  Also explained my decision to change my name across various social networks only to be forced to change it back on Facebook due to “valid name” concerns.
  • For The Case of Humanity In which I reveal why I will not shut up about my feelings in regards to the $1.25M defamation lawsuit, job hunting, and other unpleasant topics.
  • About my article in American Libraries on libraries, technology, and gender  In which I reveal the background on an article I wrote for American Libraries Magazine, a publication of the American Library Association.
  • Librarian How To: Graphic Novel Collection Development in Academia In which I reveal my process on collection development, promotion, use, social media (and more) of graphic novels in community colleges.
  • into which the cosmos will collapse once again In which I reveal the break up of TSTBEH and myself.
  • #teamharpy tweet clarification In which I reveal that no, we’re not deleting online content in regards to the lawsuit.

Thanks for a wonderful year, dear readers.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2002

for the case of humanity

Dear Internet,
When I was out on the east coast for those two months, I applied for jobs. The original plan was I was going to wait until the new year to do so, to give myself some breathing room, but with the selling of the house, divorce then in limbo, and my savings running low, that seemed like a luxury, not a necessity.
I applied for eight jobs. Most were public librarian positions while the rest were academic. Out of the eight, I had two interviews and one hint of an interview that fell through due to funding. The last interview I had, I felt like I was a shoe-in for the job.
For that particular interview, I was asked to give a 15 minute presentation on an emerging technology that I either used and built myself or collaborated with others. I presented on my use of social media to do collection development, teaching, and promotion of graphic novels in academic libraries. I talked about a wide range of tools from using individual services such as Twitter and Pinterest, to my own site, to using LibGuides and other similar software.
My deck was awesome. I practiced before the interview (something I typically do not do) and made sure I looked as regular as humanly possible (nose ring out, hair reasonably coiffed, tattoos covered).
The interview was brilliant and they loved me. We had long discussions about upcoming projects, how I was to either run or contribute to said projects, and they were even more impressed with my topic. I had my deck online for the off site interviewers that I was able to give to them with a specialized link. Because yes, I just am that thorough.
They were so excited about me, they started discussing my second interview with the dean and president of the college. The director was coaching me on how to handle myself at the second interview while she walked me to the main library entrance. I posted in FB I was 90% sure I scored the second interview and 85% sure I got the job.
Finally, a break.
Weeks have gone by and I heard nothing from the college. I emailed them over this past weekend and received a note from the administrative assistant that they have already interviewed the three candidates for the second round.
I was not one of the three.
I lamented about this on FB today that I was reasonably sure the reason why I did not get the job was because of my involvement in #teamharpy. A clean search (not logged into any service, using incognito mode) through Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo showed me what I already knew: The first hits were my websites (EPbaB,, and and after that, within the next 10 search results, were links to and about the #teamharpy case.
I am, as I speculated months ago, untouchable thanks to this case. I am a risk. I am a liability. I am an unknown that carries massive amount of danger to her name. Hiring me would be like hiring a bomb because you never know when this case will go off and with it, the potential damage and or liability that would affect my then current place of employment.
Some have speculated what I got from the interview committee was nothing more than mouth service at the time of the interview – I get that I do. But as I said, when they are openly talking about your second interview and the director is coaching you about the second interview, it’s hard not to want to believe them. Or start planning for the second interview. Or start thinking about your career future.
It could also be that I really wasn’t genuinely chosen for other reasons. That’s a reasonable suggestion, but, given what transpired during the interview, the interviewers excitement over me, and how well I seemed to fit within their culture, I’m arrogant enough about my skills as a librarian to think this is not necessarily true.
It’s also been suggested that I not discuss any of this publicly – who knows who may be watching. Again, good advice but one I will not heed. Everything here is already public; for their worth, search engines do not lie. But I decided that I’m also not taking their advice for one very simple reason: my humanity.
#teamharpy has been racked over the coals across the comments, blogs, reddits of the internet. I’ve been called everything from unstable to a fat whore to a lot worse. The platiff’s American and Canadian lawyers have taken to disparaging us on Twitter (I have screenshots) before we even set food into a court room. This is intimidation, pure and simple, but it’s also a matter of oppressing our humanity.
I won’t back down.
I refuse to do it. I won’t do it. It is not happening. Even if this means I have to live in my car and my savings are depeleted, I am not letting them take away my dignity or my humanity.
I have every right to factually discuss the case as well as discuss my own emotional involvement of the ramifications of the case. I do not, and will not, shut the fuck up. If I don’t get a job now or in six months or even in a year; even if I have to leave the profession permanently, I am not backing down.
I am scared. I am frightened. I am angry. I am frustrated. But this makes me human. The ability to feel and to rationalize and to process these very stressful things  is what makes me, well, me. Did I not get the job because of #teamharpy? More than likely but I will never really know. Will my job hunt be successful in the future? Again, more than likely but until I get back in the game again, I can only reasonably guess what’s going to happen.
I really, really hope I’m wrong.

Bagged & Boarded: Athos in America

Athos in America by Jason
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Rating: 4/5 stars
tl;dr summary: Six thinly connected short stories by the master of minimalism. A must read.
Review: This is my first Jason book and it won’t be my last. You would be hard pressed to find another engrossing, and quickly read, collection wrapped up in 200 pages but here we are.
Beautifully drawn, complexly connected, and raw, Jason’s stories illustrate the underbelly of human condition dressed up in anthropomorphic animals. This does not (surprisingly) detract from the stories but make them more strongly felt. The last story, Athos in America (which also names the book), is the prequel of sorts to Jason’s The Last Musketeer, which is also heavily recommended and reviewed.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 1999

Bagged & Boarded: Agent Gates and the Secret of Devonton Abbey

Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey: A Parody of Downton Abbey |  2/5 stars
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
 tl;dr summary: A satiric romp through the underbelly of Dovonton Abbey, where the next heir is a dog, the under butler is working with a secret organization, and the Dowager Countess is the head of a secret intelligence agency, all while love, the philosopher’s stone,  and intrigue abound.
Review:  Just. No.
Yes, I get it. It’s a parody of a blockbuster TV show that everyone and their tithed second cousins have either watched or at least heard of. Even TheHusband, who has tends to yawn when other similar shows are on, watches DA for the drama and the occasional backstabbing.
AGENT GATES’s purpose, I suppose, is taking the best elements of Downton Abbey, a drawing room mystery, throws in a bit of James Bond action, and pulls the downstairs staff in as secret agents working for a royal secret intelligence unit.
But it fails. It fails on a lot of levels. The ability to capture the characters quirks from the TV show is in fits and starts. The art seems like it was rushed, some characters seem to to have more details attributed to them, others are given a few strokes of the pen to give their likeness. The dialogue is beyond over the top and doesn’t even attempt to catch the character’s personalities and attributes.
It felt like someone watched a few episodes of the first season, saw an opportunity to make a few bucks and had some spare time, and came up with this dribble.
There is a subtle art to parody and satire, and this graphic novel is miserable with attempt. Library loan? Sure. But to buy? Only if it is in the clearance bin.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2003, 1999

Bagged & Boarded: Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections

Bagged & Boarded: Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections | 3.5/5
Quick summary: As the title states, it is a collection development book aimed at librarians who work with k-12 on purchasing, promoting, justifying, and defending their graphic novel collection.
tl;dr summary: Despite the fact this is geared for public librarians, there is a lot of rich material and resources that are relevant to academics or special librarians. Miller ditches chatter and presents the content in a clean, organized style. While I read this on consecutive order, you could easily jump from section to section. Each section is summed up with main points presented, which I found refreshing and easy to track. While the most content is still relevant nearly a decade after publication, it is not without its flaws. Which brings us to tbe problem of the book: It was published in 2005 and many of the recommended titles are out of print or recommended web resources are dead. This title should should not be a one off, but should be revised every few years to keep it fresh.
When looking for titles for support in graphic novels, titles are usually geared for public libraries, school libraries, hard core research,  or the youths; basically everyone and thing other than what I’m looking for. I’m an academic librarian at a community college whose demographic is older then teens but whose collections are not geared for serious research. We’re kind of in a no mans land when it comes to available materials to support some of our topics, graphic novels being one of them. There has to be something that can answer my questions about collection development and be easily accessible.
So when I was shelf walking one day, I saw this title sitting with other collection development titles. I was intrigued but skeptical because we’re neither a public library nor is our core audience teens, so it seemed out of place. I picked it up regardless of my first impression.
Boy was I wrong.
At only 130 pages, Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections, doesn’t seem like it would offer a lot of guidance on collection development or offer  practical advice. You would be wrong. Organized in an easy to follow manner, DaPGNC cuts to the quick starting with history of GNs to genres, and then moves briskly along to collection development guidelines (Use the 5 Cs: credibility, circulation, commitment, collection, and cost), maintenance, suggestions for circulation, marketing, and programming,
Each section is broken down to a paragraph or two of what it is, then examples (if needed), then a summary which includes bullet points of what you’ve just read. I thought this set up was brilliant because it makes it easier to find information later if you’re scanning bullet points. I also liked how he wrote with a very minimalist style and dropped the theory behind all the information he was presenting. Just the facts please.
Additionally, what makes DaPGNC intriguing is that the use of “teen,” “YA,” “juvenile” or anything to signify the youths is kept at a very bare minimum. For example, in promotions, Miller refers to using both Teen Advisory Board and general public when soliciting ideas. In fact, Miller’s lack of mentioning the youths was so infrequent, I kept checking the title of the book to make sure I was reading the right book because after all, this is part of a Teens @ The Library series.  This is not to say there isn’t sections about working with teens and the collection, but it’s so subtle you almost miss it.  Someone looking for a how-to book geared to working with teens might find this bit annoying. Personally, I loved it.
This for me is a good thing – I am thrilled to not only have a great resource but I needed it to be a resource I could practically use that was not heavily slated to one demographic over another, which was my big worry. This title definitely fits that bill.
All through the book, Miller makes recommendations for print titles as well as websites to support the collection. While many of the suggestions are still easily available and the websites are still active, due to the age of the book (8 years), many were not.  This was pretty frustrating when Miller makes a great recommendation only to find not only is the link dead, but it was never picked up somewhere else.
In addition to succinct  information, Miller also presents lots and lots of ideas on marketing, programming, and collection development. While some of them are not feasible at my current library, but his suggestions and recommendations will become handy one day. Additionally, he includes cross reference of recommended titles in the back, along with an index and list of additional resources (many of which are now dead ).
I give this book 3.5/5 because of the currency issue and some of the content issue, but overall this book is stellar for anyone needing a reference title for graphic novel collection development, regardless of library.

Introducing Graphicdemia: Collecting Comics and Graphic Novels in Academia

On March 2, I presented, along with two other colleagues, at the MSU Comics Forum on Golden Age: Comics and Graphic Novel Resources in Libraries. Our schtick, if you will, is to present the collection and outreach methods from three different types of libraries: academic, public, and special; and present specifically at a non-library conference.
In 1974, Will Eisner (yes, that Will Eisner) penned an article in School Library Journal entitled, Comic Books in the Library. For at least 40 years, libraries have been well aware of the importance of collecting comics and graphic novels. Librarians write and present on this topic to other librarians at librarian conferences and publications across the country all day, every day.
But what about interaction with the public, the communities we serve, comic stores, artists, etc? Do they know we’re doing this?
The answer is: Not so much.
My presenting colleagues and I recognized there is a disconnect between what librarians are doing and the community and artists we’re doing it for and this is where our presentation comes in. We’re also going to be doing similar presentations at C2E2 in April and Grand Con in September. The C2E2 presentation is going to be more of a how the collection is promoted and utilized, while the Grand Con presentation will be similar to MSU Comic Forum presentation or a hybrid of the two.
At the MSU Comics Forum, our Q&A after was pretty awesome and we got a lot of great questions. I felt really confident about our work and the audience seemed to really respond well to what we were saying. The confidence/passion of how we feel about our topic is evident, and we had a great rapport with each other to back up the other’s points. I’m excited about our future presentations.
Now, I began collecting graphic novels at GRCC for a couple of reasons. We literally only had a few titles, like Astonishing X-Men Vol 1 and Cartooning for fun and profit (circa 1945), but there was absolutely no cohesion to our collection (series titles were not continued, some of the books were older than dirt, and so forth). In addition, I was told someone local was going to donate a few boxes of graphic novels several years ago but they were all rejected by the librarians at the time as not being relevant to our curriculum. Even despite the fact someone was obviously buying titles since the library already a small growing collection in the stacks. So, no consistency or cohesion to the collection.
The other reasons I wanted to collect graphic novels was the value and diversity they bring to the collection, they would or could be supported across various curriculums and lastly, they could introduce students to new topics or be a bridge to a difficult topic.
I took my proposal to the librarians and my director, and they supported the idea of collecting graphic novels. I worked with our cataloger on how to best catalog our collection. By mid-spring 2012, I started collecting graphic novels and peripheral books.
When you hear librarians talk about collection development, they often mention the core collection. Typically this means titles that should be standard in your stacks, for whatever reason. To bring cohesion to the collection, I needed to find fairly recent core collection lists, websites, and books to start gathering titles as well as start tracking newly published titles to purchase.
This is when I started running into a number of problems.

  1. 90% (if not higher) of professional literature (print and online) on comics/graphic novels is geared for teen, tween, or younger
  2. General core collection books were outdated or the titles recommended would be out of print or geared towards teen and younger
  3. Suggested reading lists from various organizations (library and non-library based) would include out of print or age inappropriate or content inappropriate titles
  4. Review lists from in the profession literature or general newspapers and magazines, concentrate more on teen/youth over adult titles
  5. Academic institutions that carry comic / graphic novel collections either had their collections in special collections (typically non-circulating), focused on a specific type (golden age, silver age, etc), or  the emphasis was on research only
  6. Catalogs by publishers or book distributors concentrate on youth  over adult books. A recent spring catalog by a large distributor was 20+ pages on graphic novels, maybe 3 pages were geared for adult content.

First let me clarify, when I refer to something as being “adult,” I am not referring to something as being racy or pornographic. I am referring to materials that contain situations, language, or ideas appropriate for 18+.   It is generally accepted most weekly comics are rated as such, but per my list above, publishers, reviewers, and such concentrate on the under 18s. Which is maddening!
I am also get that adults will read content geared for the under 18s, which is fine. But my first goal is to support our curriculum so I have to be very specific on what I can and cannot buy. I can also afford to be picky as our local public library is one block away, whereas if it weren’t, my range would be much more diverse.
As I started researching and creating my core list, I was finding a lot of great sites that I thought would be of interest to my students, so I started a graphic novels subject guide. In order to get a better idea of what to put on my guide, I searched for other guides on graphic novels and became disheartened by what I found.

  1. Guides that were obviously templates and could be for any subject, with no relevant information on the specific topic (general database links, general how to pages, etc)
  2. Guides with dead links, broken embeds, out dated information or rarely updated
  3. Guides with mixed messages: Instructions on how to use databases, cite papers, find materials and then provide available books geared for instructors / researchers.
  4. Guides that did not provide additional information outside of their own resources, so no list of blogs, websites, societies, museums, etc for future investigation.

Many guides had one problem, but most had multiple. I imagined myself as a student gettings super frustrated if I was doing homework on the inability to find information.
This is what got me thinking about how graphic novels are perceived in academia, from a student’s point of view and a librarian’s point of view.  And to be honest, it’s a mess.
This is when I sussed out I had numerous goals I wanted to achieve when it came to graphic novels in academic libraries.

  • Present at non-library conferences how libraries of all shapes and sizes are collecting, promoting, and circulating graphic novels
  • Inline with collecting the collection, promote the heck out of it to my patrons and community
  • Keep the subject guide as divergent and current as possible for not only my students, but others as well
  • Start Graphicdemia, and keep it as current and robust as possible as a resources for librarians who are collecting at non-research institutions,  special libraries, adult services public librarians, or something else entirely
  • Perhaps write on this topic for publication

Currently I’m debating on what to put on Graphicdemia vs putting it on the subject guide, so currently my rationale is, “If it helps someone on the development and collection side, that goes on Graphicdemia. If it is of general interest, that goes on the subject guide.”
The response to this has been fantastic so far, and it’s interesting to see how many librarians are struggling with the same problem. This is what makes working at a community college so unique is we fall into that sphere between public and four year academic institutions  and we can pull from both on many things but others, we get lost in the shuffle.
I have a lot of work to do.

It was a dark and stormy comic

Dear Internet,
TheHusband recently said to me:

Not only are you one of the most ambitious people I know, but you’re also one of the laziest.

Here’s an example of that statement:
Within the last year or so, I’ve suddenly got a huge lady boner for comics. Having dipped in and out of the various comics (web and print) & graphic novels on and off for years in a variety of formats, as well as knowing a few comic books artists, this is not really that surprising I should have such a huge interest in them. What’s surprising is that the re-sparking of this passion came fairly heavy in my late ’30s and with a fervor of lust usually reserved for my love of chocolate and writing instruments.
Continue reading “It was a dark and stormy comic”

Bagged & Boarded: The Best American Comics 2011

The Best American Comics 2011 (anthology) | 3/5
Quick Summary: Collection of sequential art works by upcoming and established artists, edited by Alison Bechdel
tl;dr Summary: The book merits a “meh” and is recommended to buy used or to get from the library but not something you want to necessarily keep in your collection, even for reference.
The Best American series and I have an interesting relationship. Something compels me to think I have to read the damn things, thus year after year I buy copy after copy of titles in the series, used/new/eBook, on the premise that I’m going to read them and each year, the books get stacked higher and higher on my to be read shelves, taunting me and of course, never read. (But don’t I look smart with them on my shelves?) When Amazon recently had a one day sale of the Kindle versions of the entire 2011 Best American series for $.99 per title, I snapped up what was available save for Comics (not on Kindle format) and Sports (zzzz). Much like my groaning bookshelves taunting me with unread words, my Kindle app winks at me with updates at its growing collection of books that gather digital dust.1
Now that we have started this review with an oddly charming, yet not terribly related back story of my passive aggressive affair with Best American, let me go into the review of the book.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Best American series, the purpose is to anthologize and introduce a wide range of work in a variety of genres that may go unnoticed (or unappreciated) by the public at large. Each year presents a celebrated guest editor, coupled with the regular series editors, that are big draws in that particular field. In a way Best American is a cheat sheet to being culturally educated. Don’t have time to read all the things? A Best American series has you covered!2
Edited this year by Alison Bechdel, known for Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Dykes to Watch Out For, this years entries ranged all the gamut from the existential to the profane to the heartwarming. As someone who is fairly new world of sequential art, new at least in the sense that I dipped my toes into the water and now safely wading in water up to my ankles, I’m naively expecting anthologies such as Best American to help me down that primrose path. When I sat in a panel at C2E2 a few weeks back, one of the presenters mentioned there was something like over a thousand new release titles for graphic novels per year, with most stores maybe getting in a hundred or two. This is, of course, not including single issue books of comics and other works such as manga, which for someone who is geting interested in this world, it is really overwhelming. It’s also exciting because of all the content that you could be missing
Best American Comics 2011 isn’t a bad book, I was enthralled and engaged on various levels, but it’s not an awesome book either. In some of the works, we’re given snippets of story rather then the entire story line, which can be jarring when the editing between artists is not made clear. So if you’re reading a page about rainbows and sunshine and the next page is about dragons and pillaging, and the work between the artists is similar enough, you get really confused on what story is ending and what story is beginning. Additionally, some of the work apparently required explanation, which is provided the back of the book in the introduction to the artists and writers section. Being lead by the artist/writer on what I should be thinking indicates they themselves don’t know what the hell they were doing3 and that irritates me to no end.
And other problem with the work, is that since some of the pieces are taken as snippets, and thus out of the original context, some of the meaning is lost. If this art form, for it is art, is to be understood with the images AND words, moving it from its orignal location, in some instances, loses the intent of the meaning. This wasn’t prevalent in all of the snippets, but in others it was definitely was noticeable.
Maybe, ultimately, I’m disappointed because I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters, writers, or artists in this anthology. I felt like, even ironically, there should be some kind of guarantee with Best American that I will love at least one thing, but I didn’t. My interest was piqued by some of the work showcased but I felt like overall it was too hit or miss. I felt like some of the editing choices were phoned in and as a reader, I picked up on that. I did, however, appreciate that the series editors added a list of notable works for the year, that were not included in the anthology, in the index. The sheer number of titles alone here, many highly regarded, does give me other options to explore.

1. This smells like a new project. And yes, I concede that I’m hoarding Kindle books but in my defense, they were (mostly all of them) free! And they are (mostly all of them) classics! Except for that bad free porn I downloaded, which scared my eyes and brain, but that is neither here nor there.
2. Which explains why I am totally into this series. A lot.
3. I have a vague crankypants attitude towards Salman Rushdie for this very reason, In a fairy recently interview, someone asked Rushdie his thoughts were on critics or people who were not fond of his work and he stated that he hoped one day their tastes would be sophisticated enough to enjoy him.

Bagged & Boarded: House of Night

[If you’ve been following me on Twitter lately, you know that I’ve really gotten into comics in the last six or so months for personal reading as well as I’ve also been collecting graphic novels for work. Starting today, and every Wednesday, I’ll be reviewing comics and graphic novels that I’ve recently read. Some will be new stuff, some will be old, others will be about the theory and practice of sequential art, with the goal to not only learn more myself but to help other comic virgins navigate this world.]
House of Night (5 book miniseries) | 3.5/5
Quick Summary: Miniseries that takes place behind and between the scenes of Betrayed, the second novel in the HoN series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast.
I picked up House of Night for two reasons: Issue #1 was staring at me in my face AND I liked the cover art. Since House of Night was released in November, I was able to find all five issues fairly quickly and read the series in quick succession. The story was pretty simple: main protagonist, Zoey Redbird, has become the unwilling leader of the Dark Daughters, an elite society at her vampire boarding school. Each issue covers Zoey’s journey to leadership while she masters the five elements bestowed on her while figuring out the lesson behind each element. As each element has its own goddess attached to it, much of the comic is spent on that back history of the goddess and the lesson Zoey is to learn. Think of this as Hex mashed with Twilight.
Continue reading “Bagged & Boarded: House of Night”

Exit mobile version