Love Books? Love The Art of Perception? Read On!

Hey Friends!

I have some exciting news if you’re into making yourself more observant and aware of yourself and daily surroundings. Those of you who have followed me for a skip and jump may recall me writing about Amy Herman, most famously known for her Art of Perception series and her website where she teaches others how to become more perceptive – or as I like calling it, “How to be Sherlock Holmes”. If you have no idea who or what I’m talking about, you can read my original post about her or you can watch the video below.

Are we all caught up on who Amy is and how awesome she is? Sweet.

So the rumor mill has been cranking out word that an Art of Perception book was on the horizon. I’ve only heard just whispers here and there, but paid no attention to it; Amy would let me know when something concrete was happening. True to form, I heard from Amy that there’s a new book coming in October that I should pre-order.

Oh wait – HER BOOK!

index

“Could looking at Monet’s water lily paintings save your company millions? Could studying Edward Hopper’s Automat alert you to symptoms of your child’s ADD or help identify the pickpocket who just lifted your wallet?

Art historian Amy Herman has trained experts from many fields in the art of perception. By showing people how to look closely at extraordinary works of art, she enables them to see more clearly, analyze more intelligently, and use seemingly hidden clues to better understand any situation. She has spent over a decade teaching doctors to pay attention to patients instead of their charts, helping police officers separate facts from opinions when describing a suspect, and training professionals from a wide array of fields, including the FBI, the State Department, and the military, to recognize the most pertinent and useful information. Her lessons highlight far more than the physical objects you may be missing; they teach you to uncover the hidden talents of new employees, and to reduce costly miscommunication among members of a team.

Whether you’re an executive who wants to run your company more effectively, a parent who wants to better understand your child, or simply anyone who wants to perceive any situation more clearly, you will see what matters most in a whole new light.”

OH SNAP.

OH SNAP.

Yup, I’d say it’s time to pre-order my copy. Hey, you should get on Amazon and get yourselves a copy, too! Librarians, don’t forget to order a copy for your library!

Don’t forget, library directors: If you like her book, she can come to your library and give a seminar as well!

($100 says she’ll sign your book, too.)

That’s all for this week, but don’t worry – I have another pretty awesome book to talk about in the future. I’m starting to gear up for some awesome stuff now that I don’t have the “sickies” from last week!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Out Sick This Week

Hey Friends!

Sorry, no major ultra-cool-sweet-awesome rad post this week. As much as I wanted to finish my next Brash Jobs post, I just couldn’t. Sadly, my sweetie came down with the flu during the MLK weekend and I spent most of my weekend helping her rest up and recover.

And that’s when I woke up with a cough. NOOOOO.

How I feel after that first cough.

How I feel after that first cough. Did anyone else like this movie?

Good news: I went to the doctor and tested negative for the flu, but I’m on Tamiflu as a preventative just in case!

Bad news: It’s hard to sleep during a coughing fit. Don’t worry! I’m not contagious and I’m starting to feel better. However, less sleep = less time/energy = substandard posts.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, I suppose. In this field, you run into all kinds of people from all over the area who carry all kinds of germs. Libraries serve as a community hub, and large groups of people will always pass around what my teaching friends call “the crud”.

(Pretty much every school teacher ever can relate to this one.)

But there’s a bright side – this is another one of those times I’m glad I work in libraries! As far as I can surmise, my daily exposure to the library environment has helped keep my immune system on its toes and helped fight off the flu. Had I been working a more private job in an environment that didn’t temper my immune system, I might have the aches, pains, fever, chills and everything else my sweetie caught right now.

In other words, libraries are good for you – and not just to help you learn.

I WAS TEMPERED IN THE STACKS

I WAS TEMPERED IN THE STACKS

 

It’s now the weekend, so I intend to rest up to 100% and really get going on next week’s post!

Stay healthy this flu season,

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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We are all Charlie, we are all Brash

Hey everyone,

My apologies for the lack of post this past week – I’ve been reflecting on the recent events at Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters.

For those who may not be acquainted with the news, the French satirical newspaper known for their controversial cartoons, Charlie Hebdo (The Weekly Charlie), sustained a terrorist attack in Paris on Wednesday of last week. Two gunmen – brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi – dressed in black and wearing bulletproof vests forced their way in and executed the publication’s editor, four cartoonists, other staff journalists, a security guard, a guest and a police officer while escaping, totaling 12 dead, another 11 wounded. Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins told CNN that gunmen claimed they were avenging the Prophet Mohammed and shouted “Allahu akbar,” which translates to “God is great”. After a gas station robbery and a manhunt over the following days, the Kouachi brothers were shot and killed.

These kind of attacks are meant to intimidate people and scare writers into self-censorship, lest they be shot as well; however, this isn’t the first time Charlie Hebdo has dealt with terrorists. While their Wikipedia stub describes Charlie Hebdo as “Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as strongly anti-racist and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, religion (Catholicism,Islam, Judaism), politics, culture, etc,” I describe them as writers who exemplify the need for  freedom of the press and the right to put things under the magnifying glass. Sure, their cartoons were often classified as extreme, over-the-top, crude, distasteful or even blasphemous (depending on your religion), but that doesn’t mean that they should be censored.

(More importantly, they shouldn’t have been killed over it.)

My point in all of this is that regardless of where we come from in this world, we all deserve freedom to information to better ourselves and our lives. Whether you’re trying to find a job, learning Skype so you can see your grandchildren, just learning E-books for pleasure reading or reading Charlie Hebdo, we all should have the right to learn and become more than what we are now. Rather, we have the right to learn and become better without fear and censorship.

Unfortunately, many countries are considering going the opposite way and taking a censorship-style approach; the New York Times reported that some European politicians are proposing “the kind of Internet censorship and surveillance that would do little to protect their citizens but do a lot to infringe on civil liberties…calling on Internet service providers to identify and take down online content ‘aims to incite hatred and terror’.” I don’t believe a rousing game of “let’s censor the internet!” is the way to go either. This is a very slippery slope into an eventual online police-state that was half Patriot Act, half SOPA and strip our freedom of information.

In the middle ground of reason, Pope Francis said last week that free speech is not only a fundamental human right, but a duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good. However, there are limits to freedom of speech, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith. Francis told ABC news, “If my good friend [Dr. Gasbarri] says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch…It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” Disclaimer: Francis didn’t mean the attack on Charlie Hebdo was justified but that a reaction of any degree could be expected, freedom of speech or not.

We are very blessed in America to have the right of free speech protected by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Thankfully, France has the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, a document passed in 1789 which takes from our American constitution in some regards, particularly article 11:

“The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, save [if it is necessary] to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law.”

Even with these rights set in stone, there are still people out there who would try to limit those rights and censor what they didn’t agree with, regardless of what havoc is incurred.

Librarians, this attack was not just an attack on a French newspaper; it was a fundamental  attack on rights, values, thoughts, the exchange of information and the freedom of that information. This week and for the times to come, we librarians are all Charlie.

Sorry for such a serious post, guys. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to my lighter self this coming week!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

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Happy Brash New Year!

Hey Friends!

It’s New Year’s Eve, lots of energy in the air and plenty already planned for 2015! It’s been a long year, so let me recap some of the good things that happened:

  • At the start of this year, I was approached by my good friend and colleague MJ to help do fundraising for the Dr. Harold Goldstein Endowed Scholarship at FSU’s School of Library Science. This was slightly daunting, as fundraising was something I had never done before. Thankfully, The Brash Librarian raised well over $1000 – and $232 alone at the Florida Library Association conference in May!
Mafe and I after selling off a chocolate basket at the FSU mixer!

Mafe and I after selling off a chocolate basket at the FSU mixer!

I moved from Florida to Texas! I came for my sweetie Heather and my new library job in Houston, but I stayed for the food. Why lie?

Fried jalapeño cream cheese balls with ranch. FRIED CREAM CHEESE.

Fried jalapeño cream cheese balls with ranch. FRIED CREAM CHEESE WITH RANCH.

  • I ran in all three of the Spartan Mud Races! I ran in the Spartan 5K Sprint in February (with sister Ashley and Nigel to support me!), the Spartan Super 8-miler over the summer, and the Spartan Beast 13-miler in November! Each race earns you a third of a medal that lock together, creating a trifecta. It was tough, but worth it.
An example of all three pieces combined!

An example of all three pieces combined!

Now, about those resolutions…let’s take a look at last year’s promises to myself.

  • “Improve and maintain my body! In the last two years, I’ve rather gone through some extremes. I went from 190 down to 163 all the up to 210. I really need to figure out how much muscle and definition I want.”

190, 163, 210, 190, 225…my waistline and clothes really hate me. I think I’ve decided that 190-200 is my new goal, with more muscle this time. After seeing Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow, I pretty much wanted to get into crime fighting shape.

Abs and arms are nice, but I can do without the scars and tattoos.

Abs and arms are nice, but I can do without the scars and tattoos.

I will continue to do mud runs and all that other good stuff, but my life changed when I learned that they make dress pants with a hint of stretch in them. After epic stretchy dress pants, I can never go back to regular pants.

  • “Try to get back into frequently posting. I know y’all have missed me!”

 Eh, still working on it. My new intro into Brash Jobs has helped keep me on track.

  • “De-clutter my life, and enjoy living with less stuff.” 

Holy crap, have I weeded things out of my life. There’s still plenty more to go, especially with clothes. All that weight loss/gain has meant many clothes no longer fit and went bye-bye to various people larger or smaller than me. At least it all goes to nice homes! All the trinkets, knick-knacks, and things I’ll never use have been going as well. I’m not as ruthlessly disciplined as Katy, but I’m getting there.

  • Be better to myself! I think I’ve decided to have a cup of coffee or tea a day and to burn one candle a day.

I kept up with this one pretty well! I definitely burned more candles this year and drank the occasional beer instead of tea.

This year, I’ll keep my goals fairly easy and manageable:

  • Try to read more books! Given the work we do, it sometimes feels like we’re taking work home with us.
  • Keep working out! I started getting back into it during winter and I just want to keep that up. Fingers crossed…
  • Keep de-cluttering! I want to live in a home with less stuff. Not things, but just stuff.
  • Learn stuff! More camping, practicing another language, just stuff in general that may one day prove useful during trivia or the zombie apocalypse.
  • Basically, keep moving forward and being awesome.

That’s all for this year kids. Now go and have a SAFE and happy New Years! Don’t forget this is the year Marty McFly comes to visit in Back to the Future II.

These damn YOLO kids.

These damn YOLO kids.

 

See you next year!

 

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Happy Brash Holidays…And last minute shopping?

Happy Holidays, friends!

(I wanted to cover the whole spectrum but “Merry Kwanzukkahmas” sounded catchier in my head.)

So whilst crafting my next Brash Jobs post, it occurred to me that perhaps I shouldn’t be writing about that kind of stuff this time of year – I should focus on a warm-hearted holiday post…Mostly because my friends and family said, “You shouldn’t be writing about that kind of stuff this time of year – you should focus on a warm-hearted holiday post!”

So, here we are. I’m sure many of you will be offline during the holidays, so I’m taking my chance to say hello before everyone goes to hibernate!

But before you hibernate…do you need any last minute gifts for the librarian or book lover in your life? Here are some Brash ideas I’ve stumbled across:

Card Catalog Necktie

il_570xN.654139901_r7wiAvailable in cream, platinum, champagne, pink, sky, cream and butter. Feel free to buy me one here!

Librarian Magnets – Lots more on ALA’s Gift shop

We like knick knacks that don't take up counter space.

We like knick knacks that don’t take up counter space.

Anything for Duluth Trading Company (For when we’re off the job!)

No lie, their stuff is pretty tough.

No lie, their stuff is pretty tough.

I like camping, hiking, and adventure in general when I’m not in the library. Man or woman, Duluth has something ranging from underwear to jackets to gloves…I just got the most amazing jeans and cargo pants ever!

A Librarian Mug to keep you calm

Because this is something that will actually calm you down.

Because this is something that will actually calm you down.

The Librarian Films on DVD or Blu-Ray! (Available on Amazon)

This will go perfectly with your new-found addiction to The Librarians on TNT.

I wish I dressed that cool every day.

This is WAY better than the TBS Christmas Story marathon.

Anything from Stand-Up Librarian, Meredith Myers gift shop!

il_570xN.584145127_b2daPurses, wristlets, cosmetic bags, scarves, bow ties…whatever you need, she’s got you covered. Meredith makes these by hand – I actually have a sweet Christmas stocking from her as a gift from when we did our comedy show together! Check out her Etsy shop to see the other cat/boating/Edgar Allen Poe stuff she can do as well and make your friends jealous.

For those on the naughty list, the fine folks at The Worst Things for Sale scour the internets looking for the most horrible presents you can imagine to give people. A few examples include:

Nose-Free Wine Glass (for the wine savant in your life)

silhouette-wine-glass

$49.95…FOR ONE GLASS.

Jars of Bacon Jam!

I feel my arteries clogging already.

I feel my arteries clogging already.

A Knight’s Umbrella!

I actually see a few people I'd get this for. I'm looking at you, Diego.

I actually see a few people I’d get this for. I’m looking at you, Diego and Tiza.

A Big Ass Brick of Soap!

This is actually sold by Duluth Trading Company as well!

This is actually sold by Duluth Trading Company as well!

A…Thing…that makes your eggs into cubes…?

Why you would want cube eggs is beyond me.

Why you would want cube eggs is beyond me.

 

There’s still time to get overnight shipping if you need it!

Happy holidays (and shopping!),

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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We Have Our Own TV Show!

Hey Friends!

So this last weekend was a good weekend for television. Sunday was the series premiere of The Librarians, a new series on TNT based off the TV movie series The Librarian starring Noah Wyle. If you haven’t seen the movies, get your hands on them! In the meantime, you can catch the season premiere online here. That’s right, we librarians are  officially cool enough to have our own TV series.

Take your time to process it, I'll be here when you're ready.

Take your time to process it, I’ll be here when you’re ready.

The films follow Flynn Carsen, the Metropolitan Public Library’s newest librarian. What Flynn doesn’t learn until later is this library houses more than books; it has secretly housed and protected ancient relics including The Ark of the Covenant, Pandora’s box, Excalibur and more for hundreds of years. Of course, things get stolen from the museum or something new is discovered and it’s up to a librarian to keep artifacts from falling into the wrong hands, Indiana Jones-eque style!

The first films (in order) are as follows:

The Librarian: The Quest for the Spear (2004)

This came out in 2004. 10 years we librarians have been waiting!

This came out in 2004. 10 years we librarians have been waiting!

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines (2006)

THERE BE GOLD IN THEM HILLS

THERE BE GOLD IN THEM HILLS

The Librarian: The Curse of The Judas Chalice (2008)

I wish I dressed that cool every day.

I wish I dressed that cool every day.

Feel like binge watching them this weekend? Me too. Now I just have to figure out how to work it into my schedule…all three movies, the premiere AND the next episode?

I can fit all three movies in my schedule, right? It'll be tricky...

I can fit all three movies in my schedule, right? It’ll be tricky.

Be sure to catch The Librarians on Sundays at 8pm Eastern. Stay warm this holiday season – now TO ADVENTURE!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

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Brash Jobs: The Job Hunt

Hey, job seekers!

Welcome again to Brash Jobs, my series designed to help you get into the library profession. Are you looking for a library job? Read on! Looking for a job in general? Read on, many of the tips here will apply to any job hunt! Not looking for a job at all? Send it to a friend!

Set your sights on that job!

Set your sights on that job!

So, you’ve finally decided you’re ready to jump into the library profession! Now come some of the harder questions to help you narrow your search down:

  • Where do you want to live?

If you’re happy with the town or city you’re in, by all means search locally. If you’ve always wanted to move or live somewhere else, librarians are fairly portable. (It’s hard finding a city or town that doesn’t have at least one library nearby.)

  • What kind of library do you want to work in?

For the most part, libraries are divided between public libraries and academic. If you haven’t read my previous post on libraries 101, then PLEASE read it first and save yourself many questions. Everything you need or want to know about different libraries will be there! If it isn’t there, you can always post a question below!

  • What area/field/department do you want to work in? 

Are you more into reference and looking things up/helping people? Do you have a knack for computers/tablets/e-readers/devices in general and would like do the more gadget assistance? Maybe you’d like to work in Technical Services where all the behind-the-scenes stuff happens? If you’re in public libraries or elementary school libraries, working with teens or children are also options. This is the part where you have to be really honest with yourself and know what you want. If you can’t stand being around kids, don’t make the children’s librarian job your first choice.

Even if library work is not your exact cup of tea, there are plenty of other jobs available. Libraries still need people on the financial and administrative side as well! I’ve heard plenty of these.

“But I’m a receptionist/aid/assistant, what would a library do with me?”

Library directors need administrative assistants, the perfect fit for you!

“But I was a finance major, a library has no use for me.”

Wrong! Libraries spend lots of money, and they need somebody to keep track of finances and accounting. Where do you think all those books come from?

  • Do you have a specialty?

Depending on what you have experience in, you can be  can help guide your decision. This primarily applies to academic libraries which serve colleges and universities, their students, staff and faculty. Many academic librarians become specialists in an area of knowledge and can have faculty status. Larger institutions can contain several libraries on their campuses that cater to particular schools, including:

  • Medical libraries (For those with a biology/chemistry/pharmacy background)
  • Science libraries (Engineering, architecture, this one is pretty wide)
  • Law Libraries (Paralegals, notaries, retired lawyers, etc)
  • Business Libraries (Anyone with a business background)
  • English/Drama libraries (English, fine arts, theater majors will be right at home)

HOWEVER!

Special skills and talents are also applicable to the public library sector as well. The majority of people who go into library science often went into something else first – in fact, it’s often a second career. Whether it’s the lady who has been in the corporate world for 20 years and is ready for a change, the guy who wanted to attend medical school but changed his mind, or even the 60-something who just isn’t ready to retire yet, we all have skills that we can apply to our library.

If you look at a library as just a company, it’s not different from many businesses. Both require a figurehead – you say CEO, we say library director. Middle management? Budget wars? Fiscal years? Finance department? Board of Directors to report to? IT support? Yup, we librarians have all that, too. A CEO with a million-dollar company and a library director with a million-dollar budget are the same in many ways.

“No way, Justin! Those are totally separate, you can’t compare them at all!”

Oh really? Prove it. Show me these differences. I’ve heard a few nay-sayers try to convince me otherwise, but I’ve yet to have anyone actually bring me something solid.

Still not enough for you? Speaking of million-dollar companies, Forbes magazine ranked librarians 8th place in the 2014 America’s Least Stressful Jobs Report with audiologists taking 1st place this year…who knew? I hope they’ve heard the good news (ba-dum tsk!)

That’s all for this episode of Brash Jobs! If you have questions/comments/observations between now and the next Brash Jobs, please post them below! I just LOVE when people ask questions.

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

 

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