Brash Jobs: Apps! (And Reasons To Love Them)

Hey Friends!

This week, I wanted to talk a little about apps. When I polled you guys in a recent post, you said you’d like to know more about useful databases. Since I covered a database last week, I thought I’d cover apps this time! Most of us in the world today own a smart phone, tablet, phablet or other mobile device and are fairly familiar with apps. Sure, many of them are games or just ways to pass the time, but some can be incredibly powerful tools that help make your life WAAAAY easier. A good knowledge of apps can save you time, money, and headaches.

This week, I’m going to save you a little money at the pump with GasBuddy!

gas buddy

GasBuddy is a free app and website that helps you find the cheapest gas prices anywhere with just a few taps on your phone, tablet or computer!

(USA and Canada only, sorry international peeps.)

“But Justin, what does this have to do with librarians and libraries?”

Fair question, voice in my head. Let me ask a few questions:

  • Do you and your patrons like saving money?
  • Are you and patrons always trying to find ways to save money?
  • Have you ever been asked reference questions about the nearest/cheapest gas?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then I rest my case.

Just simply download the app, open it up and BOOM! Tap to find the cheapest gas in your area.

gas buddy phone

No, I’m not JT.

“But Justin, how do I know those prices are accurate?”

Because they are updated by users like you! Sign up for a free GasBuddy account and you can log gas prices wherever you are. Why would you take the time to update prices? Because you earn points for prizes and you’re entered to win $100 of free gas. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Think you can take 2 minutes out of your day to earn points and win $100? At current prices, I could fill the tank almost 3 times.

fill up gas

Whether checking by list or map, finding and reporting gas stations is super easy. Even if you’re not sure how to get there, just click the one you want and you can set GPS directions to get there on your smart phone!


Just think: if you can save just 10 cents a gallon filling your tank, it would be worth it. Take me for example – according to my Honda manual, my car’s tank that can hold 17.1 gallons. For this example, I’ll just make it 17. Assuming I’m saving at least 10 cents per gallon and filling up twice a month, the math should go like this:

gas price saving

And that’s with saving only 10 cents. If I were to save 15 cents, it would be over $90! Many places offer an additional discount if you pay cash, so you could easily save over $100 in a year.

“But Justin, I’ve heard of GasBuddy – this week’s post was a waste of time.”

WRONG. I guarantee that for every person who says, “I’ve already heard of GasBuddy”, there will be two people who go, “OHMYGAWD! HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?!?” and will be saving bookoo bucks this year.

Did you know about GasBuddy? Got any cool apps you want to recommend? Comment here or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusively Brash content and to share your thoughts!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian




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Unusual Databases

Hey Friends!

So I posted a poll in last week’s post asking about what you’d like to see coming up; it seems the lead answer is databases, closely followed by apps…since this is my first time jumping into databases with you guys, I thought I’d share a fun one!

Last month, Warner Bros. released a spy movie called The Man From U.N.C.L.E., based off the original 1960s spy TV show by the same name. Most millennials my age won’t remember the original show, but I know some baby boomers and fellow spy movie nerds (like myself) enjoyed the show. What does this have to do with databases? Patience…

So both the film and original show follow American secret agent Napoleon Solo and Russian spy Illya Kuryakin and their adventures working for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.), undertaking daring secret missions to stop evil criminal syndicates. During the 1960s, it was hourly segments of “America and Russia working together! See, there’s no Cold War!”

In case you like spy movies, the trailer for the film is below:

Pretty cool, right? If you noticed, Illya has a really interesting looking gun. It’s like a half-pistol, half-rifle combo thing.



As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who liked it. I had a patron come in asking about it after seeing the film and wanted to know more. “It looked so cool! Is it real?” While I enjoy spy movies, I’m not a gun expert by any means. TO THE INTERNET!

By this point, you’re probably thinking the same thing I was.

How do I go about tracking this thing down beside Googling “man from uncle gun”? It’s not like there’s some database that shows what guns are featured in films and shows, right?


Say hello to the Internet Movie Firearm Database (or IMFDB).

(Click to see bigger!)
OF COURSE their featured article is Indiana Jones.

It’s like the lesser-known cousin of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), but for guns.

Okay, so let’s look for this gun…this movie is still in theaters and it already has a page up listing the film’s arsenal. One click later, and I’m at the page for the pistol itself. These people are dedicated, I’ll give them that.


Upon closer inspection, that is pretty darn snazzy.

The history of the weapon, what films and shows it’s been used in, and who used it – both actor and character – and even where to get one! That’s right, you can buy a faithful replica of the U.N.C.L.E. pistol from The Uncle Gun Company. While Uncle Gun only sells non-firing and BB gun replicas, I found some guy in Texas who made a live version that fires real bullets. Because Texas, that’s why.

Needless to say, this guy was very pleased with the information I gave him. When I showed him that it’s the same weapon from the original show, he went crazy:”There’s a show?!? When? Who was on it?” That’s when I introduced him to IMDB. If you’re an NCIS fan, you’ll like knowing that the original Illya Kuryakin was played by David McCallum, also known as Ducky! Actually, there’s a joke about it on the show:

Pretty cool database, right? I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Now to go look at at that Indiana Jones page…

Do you know of any cool databases you want to share? Want more cool stuff like this in your life? Comment here or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusively Brash content and to share your thoughts!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian





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Happy Labor Day And Other Happy Things!

Hey Friends!

Sorry I didn’t get around to posting last week – it’s been real busy here, but it’s all been the good kind of busy! Let’s catch you up on some of the Brash Life…

First off, Labor Day!

Nothing really eventful here, just a little food, drink, and mostly relaxing.

Terrifying, but awesome.

Thumbs up to Labor Day. WHEE!

I got to visit Florida!

That’s right! It wasn’t for very long, so don’t feel bad if I didn’t visit you. As it turned out, one of my friends here in Texas, Colleen, was moving back to Gainesville right where my family lived…I help do some packing, a little truck loading, a little driving and such and BOOM! Free trip to visit the folks.


Cue the “OMG HE’S HOME” and “OMH HE’S LEAVING” hugs.

I had to fly back to Houston for work, so I only got about 36 hours with my family – take away the time sleeping (to recover from Colleen and I driving non-stop for about 18 hours) and I had about 10 hours on both days. It wasn’t so bad though – I got to see the dogs, visit with my parents, meet my brother’s girlfriend, and even got picked up at the airport by my super-rad-awesome coworker! It wasn’t a long visit, but it was something and I’m grateful for the little things.

I had my one-year anniversary with my library!

Wow, does a year fly by quickly! My first day was September 3rd last year, and what a great time it’s been both in and out of the library. My coworkers are pretty cool, my boss is awesome, and I’m pretty darn good at my job.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, everyone.

Thanks, Neil.

Work has kept me pretty busy lately, but certainly given me lots to write about! Most library fiscal years run from October 1st to September 30th, so everyone is in crunch mode right now before October arrives. (The terror!)

That’s all for this week. Create your own adventure time! Help decide where the next path should lead to…


Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusively Brash content!


Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian




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Brash Jobs: How to Succeed in The Job Market

Hey Friends!

This edition of Brash Jobs is brought to you by some friends who make for a good story. As a member of the Florida Library Association (FLA) and a member of the FLA Facebook group, I often read posts regarding job openings, job posts, resume/job hunting questions, etc. and I came across a young lady looking for help.

fb advice

Meet Kayla.

Kayla is a 4th semester student of USC’s Masters of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) 5 semester program. When she’s not baking/cooking, waiting for the next Lindsey Stirling album, being a mom, or reading (shocker!), she’s trying to get her foot in the library industry’s door. Normally, I would censor out Kayla’s name, but she seemed pretty adamant about getting her name out there in as many outlets as possible – including this one. Well played, madam.

When I read her post, I flashed back to mid-MLIS Justin who was trying to find a job as well and having considerable trouble doing so. Thankfully, I had friends like Katy to help me network and get my foot in the door; I try to pay it forward whenever I can because of good people like that, so I messaged her to offer any advice possible.

While Kayla has no problem working in libraries, she expressed an interest in the private sector, particularly ProQuest. When I mentioned a just few other companies like Baker and TaylorDemco, Brodart and Ingram, she got all bug-eyed. She didn’t know how many private companies there are out there! Then again, “private companies in the library industry” isn’t usually a conversation you have over coffee with friends.



During my travels, I’ve met many great library professionals who work in the private sector – some amazing people, some leaning towards the shark variety. My friend Jamie, however, is one of those amazing people who is always helping out, giving advice, or trying to get you to join a board and/or committee.

(If I come back to Florida, I promise I’ll join one.)

Jamie has pretty much been the private sector since always, and jumped from Brodart to Ingram a while back. That made it very handy when Kayla wanted advice from somebody about a job at Ingram.

Kayla asked about my friend Jamie, I asked Jamie if it was okay to give her contact info, Jamie said yes, and BOOM – connections are made!



This conversation has too many exclamation points.

Traveling in both the acting and business worlds before libraries, I’ve heard, “it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know” a bajillion times before. I say that’s great and all, but it’s not what OR who; I think it’s about how you help others – to be catchy, “It’s about WHAT you do to help WHO you know”. Scratch that – It’s about who you COULD know.

Sure, I could have said or done nothing and let Kayla flounder.

“I don’t know this lady, she ain’t important to me, that’s her problem.”

That’s not who we are. Librarians are dedicated to helping people learn, and we learn best with the right tools and resources. By providing information and giving Kayla a leg up, she could be well on her way to becoming a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist that hires ME years from now.

In that case, maybe it needs to be, “It’s about WHO you knew back when they were starting”.

Quotes aside, let’s recap some of the lessons for this week:

  • If you can help somebody, help them.
  • If you can’t help but know somebody who can, bring these people together.
  • If somebody helps you, pay it forward.
  • Ingram, if you’re reading this…keep an eye on Twitter for @KaylaKim_Bell because she’s hungry for work!

One of my favorite gangster movies is the British film Layer Cake, starring Daniel Craig and Tom Hardy (before they were James Bond and Bane). While it has several memorable quotes from it – my favorite quote?

“The art of good business is being a good middleman.”

If you’ve never seen this gem of a film, watch this scene below!


That’s all I have for this week – now get out there and make some connections! If you want to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for job help, I’ll do what I can to make sure we all succeed!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian




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Summer Reading Programs

Hey Friends!

Today, I’m going to talk a little about the everyday stuff inside the library…I’m hoping to give non-librarians a glimpse into what we consider the norm. For those of you who don’t know, libraries decide on a theme is for each annual Summer Reading Program (SRP); to keep things easier and more coherent, most state libraries agree on a certain theme nationally.

Contrary to popular belief, the American Library Association (ALA) DOES NOT decide the themes, but often works with the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) or the Illinois Reading Enrichment and Development (iREAD) program.

(You can read about it all here if you really want.)

Previous themes have been “Dig into Reading” for those like dinosaurs and/or buried treasure, “Spark A Reaction” to get kids into science, and lots of other generic themes. This year, it’s “Escape The Ordinary”. That’s right…THIS YEAR WAS SUPERHEROES.

So let me ask…How was Summer Reading Program?

tony stark

Iron Man was too perfect for this.

What insanely cool stuff did you have that worked? Anything that didn’t? Anything you thought would flop but turned out to be a big success?

For our library, we started with having a city skyline, complete with villains and heroes at our circulation desk.


The trash can is where you put criminals.

Once you got to our reference desk, you’d swear we had the Bat-computer!

reference wall

I bumped that ball with the masks EVERY day. Tall people problems.

We took comic books that were being withdrawn and put them to good use lining the wall behind our desk. If you’re curious, the comic book ring is strips of comics taped around an inflatable pool ring. Genius!

The use of spare comics didn’t end there. String up some comic book pages, a little rope, a Spider-man made from cardboard, and you have a web-slinging display!


Reads whatever a spider can…

Not only did we make our areas fun, we even made them interactive! One wall in our children’s area was made into a photo op wall where you could fly with a cape!



I know, greatest shirt ever.

How do we get capes flying, you ask? Quite simple really!

  1. Cut up a t-shirt so you only have the neck and back for your cape.
  2. Tie clear fishing line to the cape corners.
  3. Have another librarian pull on the fishing line to give the flying effect.


    LIKE SO!

  4. Crop said librarian out of the picture. Ta-da, you’re a superhero!

We also had a wall where you could post your funny pics, but only about three people posted. Hey, you can’t win them all.

All of our posters and flyers were a big success. Superheroes reading?



The one that really surprised me was the Batgirl poster I made. I made it to show patrons that librarians are heroes too, but it turns out all the librarians want one!

batgirl librarian

Now accepting orders.

One of our staff even made fashionable fighting head bands!


That’s right, our ladies were walking around with BOOM!, BAM!, WHAM! and many others during the summer. Awesome, right??? I work with such talented people who need to start their own Etsy shops.

Speaking of Etsy shops, you guys should take a look at my sister’s Etsy shop, Phoenix Fire by Ash! She makes scarves, pencil/dice bags, tote bags, baby bibs, pot holders, and does custom orders as well for all the nerdy librarians and book worms in your life. I’ll show off some of her great stuff in an upcoming post, be sure to check out her Facebook page in the meantime!

That’s all for this week. If you want to see more awesome photos and ideas, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get every update and photo!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian













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How Much Do You Love Your Librarians?

Hey Friends!

This week, I have a favor to ask. It’s not too big, it’ll require a little bit of your time, but it’s for a good cause. The American Library Association (ALA) initiative group I Love Libraries is having their annual I Love My Librarian Awards and they are currently accepting submissions for the top 10 librarians through September 28th. As found on their nomination page,

“Librarians touch the lives of the people they serve every day.  The I Love My Librarian Award encourages library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians.  We want to hear how you think your librarian is improving the lives of the people in your school, campus or community.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.


No, the big favor isn’t that you nominate me.

The favor is that you take to time to nominate a librarian in general.

It doesn’t have to be me. It can be your librarian friend, the local librarian who helped you find something, your roommate who works at the college library, your sister who works for a library in another state, anyone! Just show them that you care and appreciate what they do for you and others around you. Every day, librarians are helping kids foster a love for books and knowledge, providing teens a safe haven where they can learn, play and put their creativity to good use, and teaching adults the skills they need to compete in a world of technology. It’s a tough job, and sometimes we need some motivation and gratitude. Librarians put up with angry patrons, screaming children, and just flat-out crazy people who wear tin foil hats; a little bit of praise can it make it all worth while.

Keep in mind that they do have to be a “real” librarian – by that, I mean they have to be:

  •  a librarian with a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited college program  in library and information studies OR a librarian with  a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university or at an accredited K-12 school

I know September 28th is a far ways away, but it will approach faster than you think. Nominate your favorite librarian here, and remember to show your love of librarians on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all to envy you and your super smart friends!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian






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Upcoming News and Events

Hey Friends!

Whew! It’s been a long week or two, I hope everyone is surviving the summer heat out there!


Just another summer patron.

Not a super-heavy post this week, I just wanted to keep everyone in the loop of some upcoming news and additions to Brash Librarian. In the future, I’d like to post more about items, services, apps, interviews and other stuff that might help keep librarians up-to-date and fresh-to-death. (Yes, my lingo lives in 1987.)

  • Do you have a service/app/product that you think we librarians would love? Tell me about it!
  • Do you have ideas or would like to be heard on my blog? Maybe you’ve been reading Brash Jobs and have some wisdom you want to impart? Let’s do a post together!
  • Are you an author who would like be heard and to promote a book? It’s not the first time I’ve helped out an underdog author!

Don’t forget you can reach me on Facebook or Twitter! I’m also fairly fun to follow on Instagram, too. Have fun and keep cool out there – or if you’re in Florida, keep dry and don’t drown!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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