50-in-5 – Week #4

Apologies, but the last week has been pretty busy, so I’ve not been able to give you an update on where I am with this challenge, BUT, that is not to say that I haven’t been reading!

As of today, I can say I have completed 12 books, totaling 4231 pages!

That includes completing:

Run Baby Run, by Nicky Cruz
The Girl with Dragon Tattoo
, by Steig Larsson
When Mountains Move, by Julie Cantrell
Pillsbury Pizza Night, by Pillsbury
Safe Haven, by Nicholas Sparks

I have to admit I’m still reading Strategic Human Resource Management, but who wouldn’t put a dry management textbook to the side when you can read books like those listed above!

On the fundraising side, things have slowed down – we’re at $208 – but I am hoping to see some new people either join the challenge or sponsor me, thanks to the official ‘endorsement’ at our last SSMS PTA meeting by our Principal, Dr. Jackson.

We’re really excited about the plans ahead, and providing our students with the tools they need to succeed! GO PANTHERS!


50-in-5 – Week #2 Update

I’m now 2 weeks and I’m pleased to say we’re at $200 pledged!

This weeks completed books have included:

The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis

Postcards: True Stories That Never Happened, by Jason Rodriguez, ed.


I’ve also started the following:

Strategic Human Management: A Guide to Action, by Michael Armstrong

Run, Baby Run, by Nicky Cruz


If you’d like to donate, you can click on the link below the “Support the ’50 in 5 Read-a-thon Challenge” at the top of the column to the right. Thanks in advance!

Quick Post – 7 Days in to 50 in 5…

So, we’re now 7 days in and where am I on the totals? 3-1/2 books out of 50 read including:

Just As I Am, by Billy Graham (735 pages)

Arclight, by Josin L. McQuein (428 pages)

Meridian (Arclight #2), by Josin L. McQuein (458 pages)

And I’m about half-way through:

Lady Susan, by Jane Austen


I’ll be joining up for the Bermuda National Library’s “Winter Reading Escape”, which starts next week, so that’ll count for a few great reads, too!

50 Books in 5 Months…

Okay… I’m going to take the plunge!

I’ve set a wonderfully crazy goal of reading at least 50 books between now and June 15!  So far, since January 1, I’ve already managed to read 4 books. They are all posted on my GoodReads page…

Do you think I can do it? Even when life gets crazy with family, work and school?

To bring the challenge up a notch, I’m also reading for a reason – to help raise funds for the Sandy’s Secondary Middle School Library!

Sandy’s Secondary Middle Schools library sustained structural damage a few years ago after a severe storm. Some of the books inside were rescued, but much was lost. We are now in the process of completely rebuilding the library into what we hope will be a top-notch library and multi-media centre.

How much do I hope to raise? I’ve not set a specific monetary goal at this point, but the more the merrier of course!

If you’d like to sponsor me in this challenge, please let me know. I have also set up a fundraiser on YouCaring.com, “50 in 5: SSMS Read-a-thon Challenge,” to accept online donations.

So, please, share!!!

The 2015 Reading Challenge?

26+BooksSo… I came across this cool reading challenge on Facebook (a page I follow shared it…) from the blog “Bringing Up Burns”. Pretty cool, huh!?! 26 different kinds of books to read, to keep your mind active.

Reading, obviously, is something I enjoy, though I do wish these days that I had a little more time to invest in it. In fact, last summer (during July and August alone), I read more than 20 books (according to my records on GoodReads, it was 21, but I think it was more like 24…) so that led me to an idea….

How many books do you think I could read between now (okay, yesterday – I just started a new book), and the middle of June, when the school year is just about coming to a close. Keep in mind, I will be in school myself, finishing up my last semester of course work towards my MSc… I have an idea for doing a fundraiser for my son’s new school library, but part of it will totally depend on a random number of books – one that is both a challenge for me to read, but not completely out of reach (considering family, school, work, etc.).

So what do you think? How many books do you think I can read between now and just before school lets out? PLEASE, share!!!

ILN: Dispatch from Bermuda

The ILN has now posted my mini-article! You can see the original post here:

Libraries in Disasters: Dispatch from Bermuda

The final post on our libraries in disasters discussion topic comes from one of our current ILN participants, Sara Westhead. Sara wrote to us just days after Hurricane Gonzalo had hit Bermuda, where she works and studies. She offered to write the submission for us below – but was somewhat delayed by the lack of power and internet at her house due to the storm. We’re honoured to be hosting this very topical post from Sara, and wish her community all the best with the recovery effort now underway.

In the space of just five short days, the tiny island of Bermuda was hit not once, but twice by severe tropical storms.

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (about 700 miles due east of North Carolina, USA), Bermuda is a mere speck at only 21 square miles. Yet, this tiny British colony endured first the unexpected rage of Tropical Storm Fay on Sunday, October 12th, and Hurricane Gonzalo on Friday, October 17th.

Bermuda was largely unprepared for TS Fay, which had category 1-hurricane force gusts – most thought it, like so many other storms, would miss us with little more than a little extra breeze rustling through the trees. Unfortunately and unexpectedly, the storm’s pattern changed and Bermuda received a direct hit leaving a wreck in its wake. Roads were blocked with debris and whole trees were pulled out of the ground, roots and all. The wind also wrecked havoc on the island’s power supply, and most of the island was plunged into the dark, which also left them without water, internet, and other services that rely on electricity.

And then the word came that there was another storm brewing out in the Atlantic Ocean – Gonzalo – and it was also expected to make a direct hit. However, instead of a tropical storm, it was going to be a category 3, possibly 4, hurricane.

As you can imagine, Bermudians went into overdrive with hurricane preparedness – we would not be caught unawares again! This time, we were better prepared (Bermuda was discovered thanks to a hurricane, so we do fare much better than many of our American counterparts), but once again, the island was plunged into darkness – some never having gotten their power turned back on after Fay.

I write this long narrative to set the stage for what has proven to be a true benefit in my life – and for so many other Bermudians…

On the Friday before Fay hit, the Bermuda National Library celebrated its 175th anniversary with an open house of sorts, offering free popcorn, cupcakes and gelato to members (“Just join, and you can get it free, too!”). Work continued as usual that Saturday, and then Fay arrived (the library is closed on a Sunday). Amazingly, the reopened on Monday morning just as normal – even after sustaining damage to a portion of the roof. Over the week, many utilized the free wifi (probably more than we’ll know for sure) to access email and social media, while they awaited power to be restored.

Of course, they then had to start preparing for the impending Gonzalo – a task which included some very creative marketing on Facebook, advising people that library books were important hurricane preparedness supplies and reminding them that their Kindles would only last so-long when the power was out! Again, the BNL didn’t miss a beat, only closing the two days that the entire island was shut down for the impact of Gonzolo and the day after when roads were closed.

For my own family, we were very fortunate to only lose our power for 12 hours during Fay (unlike my parents’ house and about 1500 other homes which went without between the two storms). However, I had a feeling things would be different when Gonzalo came (we lost power for 2 weeks in 2003 when the island was hit by Hurricane Fabian). As I am currently working my LIS degree online, having access to the Internet was imperative. But, again, the library came to my rescue!

By day 4 of no electricity, I was desperate touch base with professors and classmates in a group project (oh, and my family overseas, too!), I left work early and headed into the BNL, sat outside at a café table with my two children in tow, and was able to successfully check-in with professors, clear my in-box, schedule a mass emailing for my “day” job, and let the rest of the world know that our family was okay! Even my youngest was thrilled, as he had been going through YouTube-withdrawal… Had it not been for the free wifi service, it might have been days before I could have checked-in (okay, not days – we were fortunate to get our power back that very night, but other friends are still without).

Needless to say, I am so very thankful that we had access to what has proven, at least to me, to be a vital service of the Bermuda National Library.

ILN – the International Librarians Network

Last year, during the Library 2.013 online conference, I learned about a global network of librarians – the International Librarians Network (ILN).

I loved the concept – their goal is to partner librarians at different stages of their career (including students, like me!) to correspond over a set period of time in a peer-mentoring programme.

Of course, I signed up right away, but then had to wait until the next session was ready to start this past September. I have to say I’ve been partnered with a lovely school librarian, Cynthia, in the Mid-West USA, who, like me, became a librarian after a previous career. She’s proven to be a great resource, especially as I work on a pet project – helping to get my oldest son’s school library up and running after being nothing but an empty shell for 4 years (saving that for another day!).

Anyway, the ILN does give some guidance/suggestions on things to talk about between partners, and recently, the topic has been on Libraries and Natural Disasters… BOY, did this one hit home! Especially after my tiny island was hit by two storms – TS Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo – just 5 days apart!

I’m pleased to say that I’ve just written a blog post for their site about my personal experiences and how the Bermuda National Library (their free Wi-Fi, in particular), proved to be a big help to me, as well as many others. I’ll be sure to share the link as soon as it is posted!