Where has the Brash Librarian been? Time to know.

Hey friends!

I know I’ve been incognito for a bit lately, though for good reason. You know how packing and moving can be…

That’s right, The Brash Librarian has taken a new job – IN TEXAS!

...Well then.

…Well then. I guess we’re not in Florida anymore.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been packing my apartment, taking a U-haul a thousand miles away from friends and family and joining a new library system. I had a great time with my last library, and I made some amazing friends I’ll never forget and will take away more lessons than I can remember. (Good thing I wrote the rest down.)

During my time of moving, I’ve given more thought as to what kinds of posts I should be making and what topics to cover besides me. As much as I know you guys love to hear adventures of mud races, Disney World, and other shenanigans, I know that you’re also here for the down and gritty librarian stuff as well. In the past, I’ve asked you guys for advice – thing like “What do you guys want?” and “What would you guys like to see more of?” with Katy and other people chipping in.

Over the last few months, I’ve been doing more business corresponding. Whether it’s spit-balling side project ideas with Amy Herman from Art of Perception or my former grad school classmate Lizzy asking for advice for breaking into the Texas library market, I’ve noticed that much of my Brash Librarian questions and projects have been more and more business related and less Tough Mudder stuff. Less Brash, more Librarian.

It’s only now that I realize I shouldn’t have asked “What do you guys want?”, but rather “What do you guys need?”

 As questions for help in the job market have risen, I have decided to rise to the occasion. I will be shifting my focus onto more business-related topics, i.e. resumes, interviews, and other advice geared specifically towards librarians. As always, please feel free to post comments or questions on here or on my Facebook page should you feel inclined!

Don’t worry, it’s not like the blog itself is changing. I started this blog to show how awesome librarians are to the world and kids who were on the fence about library science, or “breaking librario-types” as I’ve heard it. Let’s be real: If you’ve followed me on here or Facebook for more than a week, you know that librarians are some of the most fantastic, rad, super-rockin-wicked-mad-awesome people you’ve ever met.

(If this is your first time here, hi. I’m one of the most fantastic, rad, super-rockin-wicked-mad-awesome people you’ll ever meet.)

Howdy! I'm on a plane.

Howdy! I’m on a plane.

I promise I’ll still post things like my upcoming Spartan Race in October, but they will just be a little less frequent. Only six weeks away until I complete my Trifecta!

That’s all for now this week. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to comment here or ask on the Facebook page!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Some Brash Changes

Hey Fans!

For some reason, my WordPress went haywire and deleted my last posting. We’ll have none of that!

I have been some very exciting things on the horizon, and I thought I’d share a few with you. If you haven’t been here since my last post, then you might not have noticed a few new upgrades to my page.

If you look over to your right, you’ll notice that we now have an improved search bar, a stats box, and even a nifty little Facebook box that will take you right my Facebook page. Sweet, right?!?

 

image

Yup, right there. YOU LIKE ME NOW!

“But Justin…Why on Earth would we like you on Facebook if I’m already subscribed to your page here?” Good question, logic! You see, finding time to write blog posts, pull ideas together and such can sometimes be rather cumbersome in the big picture of work, play and everything else in my life. Besides, weekly blog posts mean I only get to entertain and inform you once a week and that’s just not enough! With my Facebook page, I’ll be able to post stuff daily to the whole world. Sweet, right?

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for.

I’ve posted before that I’ve been looking to upgrade my logo, banner, etc and I just haven’t had the right one. I’ve seen a few, but none really jumped out at me. A few from friends like my former sidekick Katy and others from fans, but I think we finally have the one. More than anything, I think it was time we retired Harrison Ford’s face from the blog.

Drumroll…..

Wait for it…

Oh man, I haven’t been this excited since I learned 90s Batman was on Amazon streaming!

(Thanks, Dylan!)

Best Batman ever.

HERE WE GO!

Behold, the new, shiny Brash Librarian!

(Click on it if you want to see the big HD version!)

Dear Paramount Pictures: This is a parody, not copyright infringement.

TA-DAAAA! This work was done by my friend and coworker Shane. If you like his work, let know in the comments below! If you have a photoshop need in your life, Shane is definitely available for hire. I’m pretty sure “Photoshop Mercenary” is on his business card somewhere.

In the next coming week, this will become the new banner for the page! I also have some special news that I will save for next week.

Love it? Hate it? Share your thoughts below!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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A Brash Salute to a Boy Hero!

Evening, fans!

Quite the storms we’ve been having in Florida. Most days seem to be “Oh, what a lovely sunny day we’re hav-” RAAAAWR NO MORE SUNNY DAY FOR YOU, RAIN RAIN NONSTOP FOR ??? MINUTES. Seriously, could be 5 minutes…could be all day.

…What the heck just happened? Mother nature likes to sucker punch us Florida folk.

Eco-terrorism at it’s finest.

For realsies, I’m scared to check my mailbox for fear that a hurricane will take me out before I get back inside.

This week on Brash Librarian, I’m saluting 9-year-old Spencer Collins from Leawood, Kansas – a boy who just wants to share his love for books with the world! Young Mr. Collins runs a free little communal library called “Take a book, Leave a book” inside a small homey box on his front lawn where people can try new books or donate old ones…or rather, he ran it before it was closed down his story aired backed in June.

Capture“When we got home from vacation, there was a letter from the city of Leawood saying that it was in code violation and it needed to be down by the 19th or we would receive a citation,” said Spencer’s mother, Sarah Collins.

This trouble started when two people filed complaints against Spencer’s library, as Leawood bans buildings that aren’t attached to someone’s home. The family moved the little library up into the garage, but Spencer said he plans to take the issue up with the city and “tell them why it’s good for the community and why they should drop the law…I just want to talk to them about how good it is.”

Richard Coleman of Leawood’s City Hall responded saying, “We empathize with them, but we still have to follow the rules…We need to treat everybody the same.” Basically, they can’t grant them special favors just because it’s a cute little library. I totally get that, I’m all for policies and procedures. The real question I have is what horrible, maniacal, heartless person would file a complaint against such a thing? Kids do lemonade stands, girl scout cookies, church things and such all the time. I get the homeowners association “we don’t want activity that lowers our property/neighborhood value” mentality, but this ain’t that kind of party. This isn’t the unauthorized purple/pink/lime green shanty of a shed that’s an eyesore; this is a kid who loves books and is encouraging others to read. THIS IS WHAT LEARNING LOOKS LIKE.

Collins, the ever resourceful boy and maybe future librarian, is using his smarts to fight the system. He states at one point, “I thought, why not get a rope and attach it to our house and the library?” with perfect loophole genius. What’s even better is that his genius is spreading and his cause is gaining ground and support. Since his story aired in June, Collins has been granted temporary permission by the city, he has partnered with Little Free Libraries, a nonprofit organization, and his own Facebook library page has over 32,000 likes, and even celebrities are taking notice!

YOU DON’T MESS WITH LEMONY SNICKET.

Thanks to hard work, perseverance, and a love of books, Spencer Collins got his library opened back up on July 7th. Sorry it had to wait until after the 4th. ‘Merica. Don’t have a little library in your area? Build one!

Spencer Collins, I salute you! You are definitely a Brash, Brash man. We all look forward to your future endeavors and can’t wait to see what else you do!

That’s all for now this week, be sure to like his page on Facebook or mine if you haven’t already!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

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Amazon’s Brash New Phone?

Hey Gang!

So for the last week or three, I’ve been hearing much buzz about the new Amazon Fire, Amazon’s entry into the smartphone market. Between Android and iOS, I’m not sure if this little guy will make it. On the other hand, the Kindle Fire HD and HDX are selling better than the Nexus 7 or the iPad. Personally, I really like the Kindle Fire HD (though if you looked at mine, you’d think it’s only an Amazon Video/Netflix device).

No, clicking the play button won’t work.

Amazon’s page has a few demo videos, but CNET has a pretty nice first-look video seen below:

 

As far as phones go, I’m happy with my Droid Maxx, which I’ve had for about 6 months now.

Droid Maxx, carbon fiber on left and glossy on right. I went with carbon fiber!

Phone part aside, it seems to have pretty nifty features, though I’m not totally sold. Let’s look at some of the features “not available on any other smartphone”:

Dynamic Perspective is touted as “A custom-designed sensor system that responds to how you hold, view, and move your phone.” I’ll let Amazon do the talking on this part:

Immersive apps and games

Peek in maps to show Yelp ratings. In StubHub stadium view, see 90 degrees to the left and right of your seat, as if you were actually there, looking around. In games, like Lili, take on the character’s viewpoint and move your head to look around corners, obstacles, and other objects.

One-handed short cuts

Access menus, shortcuts, and useful information with tilt, swivel, and peek.

Tilt for panels—use the left panel to navigate menus, and the right panel to access useful information and shortcuts, like attaching photos to a text message, viewing song lyrics, and more.

Swivel for access to important notifications and quick actions like Mayday, Flashlight, Settings, and more.

Peek keeps your display uncluttered by revealing additional details and quick actions only when you need it.

One-handed reading

With auto-scroll, scan long web pages without ever having to touch the screen.

Okay, I’ll say it…The 3D screen is awesome. Looking at 3D maps is super cool.

Is it just me, or does it look like Time Lord art?

Another weapon it boasts in its arsenal is Firefly, a super-duper scanner than can scan anything. With one push of a button – yes, they have a button JUST for this feature – you can scan phone numbers, music, TV, pretty much the universe.

Firefly can identify printed text on posters, magazines, and business cards—make calls, save new contacts, send emails, and visit websites without typing long addresses. According to Amazon, “Firefly recognizes over 240,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels. Firefly uses X-Ray, powered by IMDb, to show information on actors, plot details, and related content—add titles to your Watchlist or download to watch later.”

As for music, it can also listen to songs so you can access artist information, play related songs, download albums direct your Fire phone, or add them to your Wish List to later buy if you want. Firefly-enabled apps like iHeartRadio and StubHub, “you can create radio stations based on an identified artist, or even find tickets for their next show.” I don’t how many people make the jump from “Cool song, I’ve never heard this band before” to “OHMYGOD I HAVE TO SEE THEM IN CONCERT”, but I guess that feature will serve them well!

In case those didn’t catch your attention, Firefly can also scan pretty much anything sold on Amazon and add it to your Wish List – over 70 million items and climbing. I don’t really see that as the ultimate selling point, but I can roll with it.

Next, let’s talk about Mayday, the only smart phone to have 24/7 no-waiting assistance. Amazon assures you that “Our tech experts can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best. Throughout the process, you’ll be able to see the Amazon expert live on your screen, but they won’t see you.” Awesome, my two fears about doing something myself or being seen in my pajamas have been allayed. I almost worry that this feels like a phone version of AOL. Help is guaranteed in 15 seconds or less – I hope that will stay that way when a few million people have one.

That’s alot of shiny, but do you need the Fire to do all this? Probably not.

  • Dynamic Perspective: Cool 3D element and interactive games, but I otherwise read “Tilt”, “Swivel”, “Peek” and these other hands-free actions as “you must be too lazy to use your finger, we’ll do the work for you”. I’d probably expend more energy twisting and flicking my wrist using these features.
  • Firefly: Plenty of other programs can identify music, products, and things of the sort. With IMDB, Google Goggles and SoundHound, I’m almost at the same level.
  • Mayday: I’ll admit, 24/7 assistance is handy but I imagine I would use it very rarely. This feels more like a feature for Grandpa who just got his smartphone for Christmas.

Why do I care about this new toy, do you ask?

Because someday, somebody is going to bring that into the library and ask for help on it. And by “ask for help”, I mean “beg me to teach them how to use it”. That’s when I’ll remind them that they Mayday, but “Mayday can’t help me/I don’t know how/I don’t trust them Mayday people/I want YOU to do it” will emerge and I’ll have to work with it. And I’ll be ready because I’ve done my homework. And I’m just very clever!

Bring it in, I’ll still fix it. There isn’t a smartphone that’s out-smarted me yet.

Thanks, David Tennant! He really summed up how I’m feeling about it.

Leave comments below! I want to hear your thoughts on this week’s post!

 

Any other questions in the meantime, post here or ask me on my Facebook page!

Might have another tech one next week, we’ll see…That’s all for now, have fun kids!

Brash Librarian, Justin Brasher

 

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Happy 4th from the Brash Librarian

Happy fourth of July, everyone!

It’s time for some fireworks, BBQ, beer, and something red, white and blue.

Enjoy some fun American tidbits, like a map of brands:

Not enough? Try a map…for BEER!

Waffles!

I’m keeping it simple this week. Now get back to having fun!

Justin Brasher, American Librarian

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Unusual Librarians Who Rock

Hey Gang!

I know it’s been awhile since I did my ULWR post, so I thought I’d share a favorite! This time, I thought I’d venture off the beaten path and try one most people wouldn’t know. I was recently in the mood for some beat-em-up martial arts movies and put on a few favorites while I write and clean – Ip Man, Fearless, Hero, Operation Condor, Drunken Master (all fantastic, if you’re bored on Netflix tonight) and I remembered one I haven’t seen in ages….BLACK MASK!

Yes, I know he’s not wearing a Black Mask. That comes later.

This was a pretty cool movie when I was a kid, just when Jet Li was becoming popular in America. What super cheesy 90’s Hong Kong action, I love it! It’s been years since I had seen it, so I thought I’d fire it up. Sadly, it is not on Netflix. As I watched this again, I realized that the hero of the story is in fact A LIBRARIAN. How did I miss that? Oh right, not seeing it for 10 years will do that.

So let me give you the overview! Black Mask follows a librarian named Simon, who is secretly a former test subject for a highly secretive super-soldier project dubbed “701.” The 701 squad was used for top-secret missions, but was aborted after one of the soldiers goes crazy and kills several innocent people. Too dangerous to go free, the government tries to kill the 701 squad (bad idea, I know). Simon helps his fellow soldiers escape to safety before parting ways and starting a new life.

Simon explains, “I live in Hong Kong with a new name and a job in a library, something as far removed from my violent past as I could find.” He says he enjoys library work because his boss leaves him alone. “I like it here. It’s quiet. Nobody ever bothers a librarian.” (Clearly, this library has no children’s section.) It’s not just a cover – Simon benefits from all those books, learning how to disarm bombs with a pager and all sorts of awesome things; to quote Simon, “You’d be surprised what you learn on this job.”

I’m just a super soldier chillin’ with my book, don’t mind me

It’s a quiet life for Simon…until a violent crime spree rips through Hong Kong! The police are outmatched, and it isn’t long before Simon pieces together that the 701 squad has teamed back up and are living in Hong Kong. He sets out to get rid of them, donning a mask and hat using the superhero alias “The Black Mask”. Having lost the ability to feel pain due to the surgery performed on the super-soldiers by the military, Black Mask is almost invulnerable.

 

I don’t get the ridges in the mask, but still pretty cool!

Still not sold on this movie? Watch the ridiculous 90s trailer below.

Watch it and let me know what you think!

Justin Brasher, Brash (super soldier) Librarian

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Haaaappy Birthdaaaay to MEEEEE!!!!

 SO MY BIRTHDAY HAPPENED! YAY!

What a great time it was! I treated myself to a little trip to Texas for the Spartan Super race and a day or three off from work. (Sorry, no library stuff this time. It’s all about the birthday boy in this week’s post.)

“So Justin, how did your race go?”

It went great, voice in my head! Let’s roll some highlight photos of race time!

I ran the race outside Austin with my sweetie Heather and her friends Dana/Keith/some other guys who slip my mind right now. It was Heather’s first mud race, and it went well!

Made me some new friends!

Now those of you who have followed me for awhile know that these dangerous races are kind of my jam. Swamp Dash, Superhero Scramble, Tough Mudder, Zombie Dash, I’ve ran me plenty. This was by far the toughest one I’ve ran – I wasn’t expecting 2 miles UP A MOUNTAIN.

After-race dirty!

It wasn’t difficult in the “test your might” kind of way, it was difficult in the “let’s have you run 9 miles (almost 2 up a mountain in the summer Texas heat) and then do a bunch of obstacles at the end.” That wasn’t fun, and that’s not what I sign up for. I have a list of complaints about the Spartan race I ran in Tampa, but I digress.

This medal tested my mettle. (Heehee!)

I really just wish that those who were new to it had gotten a better first impression. Sorry Spartans, but Tough Mudder and Superhero Scramble have you beat.

That mud patch almost looks like an injury.

So, it was indeed my birthday. Like any other day, I went to work, did the usual daily stuff, and came home to a full decorated place. Happy birthday banners! Streamers! Balloons! Presents! Birthday cake! It was amazing.

Some goodies I got include Batman towel holders for when I’m at the pool (I think that was a “you’re too darn pale” hint), Batman swimshorts, pre-workout powder and Deadpool the game! A simple birthday, but one that felt good. All because of a special sweetie!

Now then, enough about me, more about you guys. As time goes on, I’ve been getting more heavily involved in work stuff and I’m learning alot on the technology side. I want to rave more about library technology and products, but I don’t want to alienate my non-library friends as well. I’ve been thinking about consumer electronics, products and services along with social media as future posts ideas. Talk to me people.

Don’t be shy to talk to me about these things, I’ve been feeling a little stagnant lately and want to write about SO much…but the freedom is stifling, give me a wind or two to steer by. You can comment here or on my Facebook page, so give me more ideas on what YOU as a reader want to read about. Next week…I’ll hopefully have some interesting news for you!

Take care, have fun this summer and don’t get too hot 2 MILES UP A MOUNTAIN.

(Stupid mountain.)

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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