Monday, June 1, 2020

Happy 10th Anniversary Stand-Up Librarian!!!

I can't believe it has been 10 years since I created Stand-Up Librarian.  Happy 10th Anniversary to me (funny how I just totally ignored the 9th anniversary I guess.)

Once again, I am completely overwhelmed and exhausted to try and summarize my thoughts of the past 10 years because for the past 2 months, I have been sewing face masks all day, every day, to help fight this Covid-19 pandemic.  So far I have sewed 1,522 masks in just under 2 months, something I never envisioned would ever be my full-time job way back in 2010.  But here I am, busy as ever!  If you need one, pop over to my Etsy shop!  


I think when I do look back to the weekend in 2010 when I decided to combine my comedy career with my library degree and create Stand-Up Librarian, I just wanted to be of service.  I thought using my sense of humor and love of reading to promote literacy and libraries in fun ways while I applied for library jobs would be both productive for me and beneficial for the library community.  As I had a background in public relations (and I knew how expensive those services cost), I thought offering my PR services for free to libraries, authors, and anyone in the book community would be appreciated.  I had so many fun ideas of things I wanted to do!  So I did them (mostly alone, unfortunately, as not everybody always understood them at first which was often sad and confusing to me, but thankfully, I had enough confidence in myself and some great friends and family supporting me to continue to stand-up to the challenges I faced and not quit.

My favorite book has always been The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  It is a story about pursuing your dreams but learning along the journey of the treasures you have always carried within.  I have countless copies of this book from the many journeys I have been on in my life, highlighting and making notes in these paperbacks when I reread it every year whenever I felt lost or my path unclear.  It has taken me years to realize that applying for jobs and trying to fit in the qualifications of a job descriptions was a pointless task utilizing hours of my time that should have been put into myself.  When I created Stand-Up Librarian, I had the hope that someone would discover me and see my passion for libraries and hire me.  After five long years and hundreds of job applications later, someone finally did.  But he met me as the Stand-Up Librarian, wearing a book dress I made and selling my literary purses and accessories at a book fair I was the spokesperson for.  I had also performed my literary parody songs the night before and been featured in several newspapers.  He would later hire me without my ever having to apply for the job or offer a resume.  I would spend the next five years building a library from scratch where I would also become friends with a co-worker who loved to read as much as I did and would eventually become my husband.  I share this story because some of the best things in life happen because you create the things that make you happiest and then the right opportunities find you.

Lastly, I figured I would share ten of my favorite things I accomplished over the past ten years.  Some were crazy ideas that became goals to attain and others just came out of left field and turned into incredible adventures I never could have planned.  I am so grateful to all of my friends and fans that I have been there with me the past 10 years attending my shows, buying items from my shop, reading my blog and news articles, following me on social media, and for all the literary love you have shared with me.  Thank you so much.
So, Happy 10th Anniversary Stand-Up Librarian.  I got you the perfect gift...


1. Interview authors, librarians and tour unique libraries for my You Tube channel (2011)

2. Perform literary comedy show at library (2011) and make entrance on book cart (2012)

3. Sew literary fashions to wear on stage and sell them at my own shop (2012)

4. Be literary rock star singing own songs about books (2012)

*Videos at my You Tube channel!

5. Attend opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley as journalist (2014)

6. Plan James Joyce/Bloomsday event and ask Guinness to sponsor so can have free beer (2014)

7. Build library from scratch (2015 - 2019)

8. Adopt orange cat and name him Ulysses.  (Finnegan Butterbeer adopted 2016)

9. Meet cute guy at library who likes to read and cook. (Met him in 2015/Married him in 2020)

10. Write bestselling book. (TBD)



Friday, June 1, 2018

Happy 8th Anniversary Stand-Up Librarian!

Library before (2015) and after (2018). 
In this eighth year of Stand-Up Librarian, I am wrapping things up at the library and trying to decide how to move forward.  I admit to being slightly lost and confused as I have gotten away from performing and writing – things I always thought were pretty important to me – and instead, allowed my on-again/off-again job at the library and my on-again/off-again relationship with my boyfriend to both occupy most of my time. It’s understandable I guess, you think something is done and you start to shift gears and then they pull you back in for one reason or another.  However, now as I sit here for my once a year post, I am ready to put myself first again. I’m just not sure how to do it anymore. I guess I will get back to you next year with the results.

Completing the Gracegate Library this year was quite the accomplishment for so many reasons - most of which weren't included in the two articles written about us (but thanks again to the Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Bay Newspapers for their wonderful pieces.)  After all, the library was my work – every item catalogued, labeled, shelved and loved by me - so as a result, I had become pretty attached to the place over the past three years.  But despite my hopes to have a future here with the place full of people - ideas and plans I offered my boss numerous times as my background is in public relations, event planning and literary/library programs! - he reminded me over and over that he only hired me to catalogue and assemble the library, making it clear to me my work was done...or until he calls me to catalog more things he bought.  Not exactly a gig you can build your life around, right?  So as I put the signage on the walls and made sure all 10,873 items were perfectly in place on the shelves, I took a few photos and walked out the door.  What happened to the place wasn’t up to me anymore.  Like a lot of things in my life right now, I needed to put the experience in the archives and move on.

Thanks to having pretty consistent work for several years, I finally had enough money saved to take my dream vacation to London to celebrate my birthday last October…and I did it alone and it was literary awesome!  I had gotten my Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play ticket almost two years before and booked a tour to visit the film sets in person and both were as magical as this muggle anticipated.  The British Library launched their exhibit Harry Potter: A History of Magic the day before my birthday and as a aspiring writer, what a thrill it was to see J.K. Rowling’s manuscripts and handwritten plans in person.  Of course, I visited the Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens museums and had drinks, dinners, and walking tours at so many literary spots. Tea parties at Claridges, Browns and Mr. Foggs were must dos as was seeing my favorite British comedian Ricky Gervais.  It was all a reminder that being alone really isn't so bad after all.

Two other things that have brought me incredible joy over the past year are my cat Finnegan and scuba diving.  

Finn continues to be the best cat ever as he loves the outdoors walking on his leash, spending time with his dog friends and tolerates me putting him in costumes at the holidays.  He truly is a model cat and not just because he works as one showing off my pet harnesses and bow ties at my Etsy shop (my best seller being the Fantastic Beasts harness – thank you my fellow Harry Potter fans!)    

Getting certified in scuba back in March of 2017 was something I had wanted to do for years and now I wonder why I hesitated - I absolutely love it!  In the past year, I have done some twenty dives all around Florida and found beautiful seashells and swam with sharks, sea turtles, and even a Goliath grouper larger than me!  I hope I can continue to explore our oceans for many years to come.  Maybe someone is looking for a Scuba Diving Librarian?  Now that would be cool.

So for now, I will get back to applying for library jobs, sewing my literary (and scuba diving) fashions, and writing a new book (not to mention, editing the one that has been done for years...what a procrastinator, huh? haha)  

As always, thanks for joining me on this journey and as the great Charles Dickens' wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."