Category Archives: life the universe and everything


It seems the things leading me to blog recently are consistently musically motivated. So sorry for any library-land folks who miss my rantings about the field. But hey, there’s always my twitter.

So, fair readers, today I am here to write about a nifty little group I heard about on Studio360 (which is, btw, a NPR show you should probably be listening to, if you don’t already). What happens when you mix classical music nerds and indie pop?


Just watch this and then purchase all her albums. You know you want to:

Hopefully the snow won’t prevent you from doing so.


Stay warm! Stay safe! And have a wonderful weekend fair readers.


Tess of the d’Ubervilles. A Soundtrack.

So I had the day off today and while reading for my book club, I became inspired. I made a soundtrack for the book Tess of the d’Ubervilles. You can view it here:

But it might not be in the right order. So here is the breakdown:

Phase the first: The Maiden
1. The World is a Very Scary Place – The Gothic Archies
2. Unfortunate Few – The Ditty Bops
3. Wolf Like Me – TV on the Radio

Phase the second: Maiden No More
4. Sad, Sad Song – M. Ward
5. Lady Sings the Blues – Billie Holliday

Phase the third: The Rally
6. Love Love Love – The Mountain Goats
7. I Want To – Best Coast

Phase the Fourth: The Consequence
8. I’ve Got A Secret – Kate Nash

Phase the Fifth: The Woman Pays
9. I’ve Got Hurt Feelings – Flight of the Conchords
10. Sully My Name – The Marked Men
11. Brakes – De La Soul

Phase the Sixth: Convert
12. Troubled Waters – Cat Power
13. The Great Escape – Patrick Watson
14. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – The Beatles

Phase the Seventh: Fulfillment
15. Monster – Kanye West
16. Wholehearted Mess – Bear in Heaven
17. Stonehenge – Spinal Tap
18. Shit Luck – Modest Mouse
19. Falling Down – Tom Waits



We Come From the Sea

An old friend of mine is looking for help. Davis Silis is a director and is looking for support for his new short film We Come From The Sea. Watch his video here:

Even $1 will help their cause and if you can give more, then please considering doing so. Their kickstart page can be accessed here:

Support the arts and consider giving Davis and Co. a helping in hand to create their beautiful short film.

Have a great weekend, fair readers.

Good Parenting

I am sitting here thinking about one of my first musical memories. This was really the moment when I realized the time how much music could make me feel and how truly emotional listening to music can be. It was when my Mom played The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd for me. It was Christmas, a long time ago. My Dad had bought her the album on CD when we first bought a CD player (I was pretty young). She put the CD in and put it on this track. I remember feeling a little afraid of the song. The woman wailing…why was she so upset? But I also remember my complete awe. Understanding the relationship between the music and how I was being made to feel at that moment. I think its safe to say that was a pivital moment in my childhood, especially when it comes to my relationship with music now. Just one of those great and amazing memories that shapes us.

Thank you Mom for introducing me to the emotional side of music. And thank you Dad for re-buying her the album that introduced me to this concept. Now that’s what I call good parenting.

Belated Obligatory New Year Post (redux)

Hello fair readers,

I never get these things up on time! Just like last year

2010 was special. It was my year of change. I moved in with my boyfriend and headed to a new neighborhood—got a new job, in a new type of library, in a field I never imagined myself specializing in–I published my very first featured article in Library Journal–I turned 28, moving just a bit further into my late twenties–co-founded the Chicago Deskset. Also my little nephew Oscar turned 1 and started to walk and talk and become a tiny little person. There have been lots of big moments.

But as usual, this has been a year of good reads, great concerts and complete loves. How could it not? Here are my favorites…

Cut Copy at Lollapalooza

I wish I could find the perfect youtube video to show you how completely in the palm of Cut Copy’s hands we were…it was just amazing. He said jump, we jumped. A lot. It was a total blast. Everyone danced. Everyone leaped around. We just fed off each other. I haven’t been to such a perfectly in sync concert with the musicians and the crowd just vibing off each other like that in years. Made Lollapalooza definitely the best concert experience of 2010.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

What can I say, other than: Go read it. Now. You can thank me later. Don’t worry that it was picked by Oprah for her book club. Who cares? Just get to a library and grab a copy of this book. Seriously….now! Stop reading this silly blog and go!

Grand Canyon National Park

Sometimes I think about how much I underestimated the power and majesty of the Grand Canyon…and then I laugh at myself. This was simply the best. We did a great deal of hiking at the canyon. I have done small hikes but this was a whole new level. It was so challenging and so incredibly rewarding in ways I never knew possible. Nothing compares to hiking on an unmaintained path, up the edge of the Grand Canyon. It changes things. Going to the Grand Canyon was a much needed reminder for me. I cannot wait to go back and discover more. Some people feel patriotic when they see an American Flag? Well this makes me feel patriotic. America the Beautiful, indeed.

There’s more. More moments and songs and books and words. 2010 was pretty good to me, looking at it overall. Funny how each year just brings more surprises. More depth. I can hardly wait.

Happy New Year, fair readers. To the days to come!

Placements & Salaries 2010: The Lucky Few

Hello fair readers,

I know.

I know, I know, I know.

It’s been 3 months since I have posted. I have little excuse for such behavior and I will fully admit that this blog may now seem all but dead. But in my own defense, I have been…


Insane amounts of busy. I have been working at a new library, in a new position and I have found that, low and behold, I am pretty damn good at it. Still, starting a new job is challenging. And that has taken up much of my time. Also I have been pouring my heart and soul into the group that I co-founded with Adam Girard and Anthony Molaro, the Chicago Deskset. And this has been going splendidly.

But! As you can tell from the title, this isn’t exactly the point of the post. For the past few months I have been working very hard on the feature piece for the Salaries & Placements issue of Library Journal. And today, it has appeared in the online format.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this — it was such an honor to first, be selected by LJ and then two, be able to work with an amazing editor, and three, to have the honor of selecting three incredibly talented librarians to write with. Adam, Karen and Molly, seriously, I know I keep saying this but THANK YOU! I am constantly in awe of my peers and what we are capable of putting out into the world. Your writing brings me to tears and makes me laugh and makes me proud to be a librarian. So yeah. You pretty much rock my world.

Okay, now I will get back into library world. Working my tail off. Writing what I feel. And speaking my mind. I will be back, fair readers. I just don’t know when.

Have a lovely weekend ❤

The Thrill of It All

Hello fair readers,

Although the title maybe have led you to believe it, this is not a post about Roxy Music.

(I know, could that song be more awesome? probably not)

I’m writing about a fun little poll going on over at NPR, the Killer Thriller’s NPR Poll. Here is what they have to say about it.

Last month when we asked the NPR audience to submit nominations for a list of the 100 most pulse-quickening, suspenseful novels ever written, you came through with some 600 titles. It was a fascinating, if unwieldy, collection. Now, with your input, a panel of thriller writers and critics has whittled that list down to a manageable 182 novels. That roster, which we now offer for final voting, draws from every known thriller sub-genre — techno, espionage, crime, medical, psychological, horror, legal, supernatural and more.

This means you can vote for your favorite Thrillers (up to 10)! Now I don’t know about you but I have a wicked weakness for a fun thriller. I generally find that they really suit themselves to audiobooks and listen to them that way — during commutes and what not. So I thought I would share the books that are getting my votes on the list and then hopefully persuade you to go vote for your own favorite thrillers over on NPR.

Yay for participating!

Leah the Librarian’s Top Ten Thrillers (in no specific order, from the NPR Killer Thriller Poll)

  1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
  2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  4. Jurassic Park by Michael Critchon
  5. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  6. The Passage by Justin Cronin (still reading this one but he’d have to really go astray to stop me from loving this book)
  7. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  8. 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs (I wouldn’t have chosen this one but I love this author and it’s the only thing she has on this list)
  9. The Children of Men by P.D. James
  10. In the Woods by Tana French

Those are my top ten (from the list) but it’s hard to narrow down. They have some heavy contenders there and interestingly across multiple genres. For example, I almost voted for Contact by Carl Sagan. Because well…Carl Sagan is awesome.

But I haven’t read it and that just feels like cheating.

So those are mine, fair readers! Now what are yours? Have a lovely weekend ❤


Hello fair readers,

Well, change is afoot here in this librarian’s world. Starting Monday I will be making a pretty major career shift from the Pritzker Legal Research Center

I took this on my last opening shift.

to the Morton Grove Public Library.


And I am so EXCITED! But at the same time, I’m a little sad. This is a very new feeling for me. While working at the Pritzker Legal Research Center, so many opportunities arose. I had my first article published, was interviewed for the Chicago Tribune, and had the pleasure of working some of the most intelligent and hilarious librarians I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. To all of them (and even to the ones who didn’t pull the weight) THANK YOU! I have learned from all of you. And I have become a much better librarian and a much better person for it. The PLRC is special. I will miss you…

PLRC: Looking up the stairs, towards the lake.

My shadow saying Goodbye to the PLRC ❤

Now that my sentimental, “I miss you” is over (at least somewhat) I AM SO EXCITED! I will officially be the new Readers Services Librarian over at MGPL. I will get to run the book clubs, develop the Fiction collection, perform uber awesome readers advisory services and…ahem…HAVE MY OWN BOOK BLOG! Morton Grove has had library blogs since 2007.

Did you read that? Let me just write that again: Morton Grove has had library blogs since 2007!!!!!!!

I am so excited to be moving to a progressive, forward-looking, popular reading library. This is such a brave new world for me and I am going in head first — full of enthusiasm — and ready to be the best possible librarian I can be for the patrons of Morton Grove.

So that’s the big news. Thanks for partaking in my weird schizo happy/sadness of it all, fair readers.

And OH YEAH, check out the latest issue of American Libraries. There’s a little surprise for you.

hint: I wrote it. woot.

Have a great week fair readers ❤

The Adventures of Flat Leah

Afternoon fair readers,

Have I ever told you about how hilarious and awesome Erika the Snarky Librarian is?

Erika impersonating a RUSA Board Director at ALA last year.

Because this girl rules. And she also happened to be one of my partner’s in crime at the American Library Association conference last year. (see above picture where we think fraudulent badge flags are *hilarious* and definitely worth wearing around) So when I found out that financially I wouldn’t be able to swing the conference this year, Erika went into full out creative mode and created Flat Leah.

Flat Leah!!

And then proceeded to take Flat Leah to the American Library Association conference in D.C. She took Flat Leah sightseeing…

Flat Leah on top of the Washington Monument

Hey look, it's that vampire hunter guy!

Flat Leah got to watch the world cup with all the other librarians

Drinking beers and watching soccer!

And even stand in the notoriously long lines at the conference center’s Starbucks

Coffee! nomnomnom

There’s more and of course, I created a Picasa album for your viewing pleasure:

If you are so inclined, feel free to check them out.

So while I may not have been able to actually attend the conference this year, it is so much fun to have friends who are willing to go to such awesome lengths to make you feel included. I love my librarians. And thanks Erika, you make me laugh my ass off.

Have a lovely week fair readers and for those who were able to make it, I hope your ALA went swimmingly.

Oh my awesomeness

Hello fair readers!

Have you heard of Oh My Rockness?

No? Because you should…because it is *awesome* I wish I could remember who but someone on Twitter led me to this fabulous site (whoever you are THANK YOU!)

While the website itself is useful, the best part about the whole affair are their weekly show list emails. (which you can sign up for right at the top of the screen) They basically just email out updates on who is coming to town, when and where you can buy tickets.

Now I never have to flip out when I realize Sleigh Bells is coming to town again! Plus their email newsletters are hilarious. At the beginning of each email is a little essay of sorts. And they are generally some of the funniest reading I get to do all week.

To illustrate this point, here is what they sent out last:

8 Show Tips For The Casual Concert Fan Wanting To Pass As A Show Pro This Summer

  1. If any band says, “How you all doing out there?!” from the stage, don’t clap and go “Wooo!” or, GASP, “Woo-hoo!” That’s for amateurs. The show pros respond with, “You tell me! The dishwasher just broke! Charles never shows me affection anymore! And just this morning I walked in on our cocker spaniel French kissing some tramp in-between bites of linguine! Maybe it was angel hair, I don’t know!”
  2. Be sure to wear sunscreen at all those free, sweaty outdoor shows. That way, when it inevitably drips into your eyes and begins to burn, all the hot stuffs standing near you will think you’re oh so super sensitive because you cry at rock shows. “There’s just *sniff sniff* something about a G chord….”
  3. Show pros are highly fashionable people. So if you don’t attend all shows this summer in your underwear and fuzzy ear muffs, prepare to be quietly judged.
  4. Drink lots and lots of water before going to outdoor shows; you’ll want to use those refined port-o-potties over and over and over again. All come equipped with coconut hand soap, lavender scented towels, and toilet seats heated to a comfortable 70 degrees. And they even fill the basin with chocolate milk! Gosh, we could squat in there forever.
  5. Don’t bring lots of money to shows! Bring barely any money! The food and drinks at shows (especially the drinks!) are so super, super cheap! They’re practically giving the stuff away!
  6. Don’t forget your earplugs. And then don’t forget your Cracker Jacks. Have you ever eaten Cracker Jacks with earplugs in? Oh man, the bass in each CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH will destroy you! Now THAT’S rock ‘n roll, bro.
  7. If you see a beach ball flying in your direction, don’t casually bop it towards the fan on your left. Act like a show pro and attempt a beach ball bicycle kick. And if successful, shout, “GGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!”
  8. In between sets while the bands set up their gear, talk to your show pro neighbors about how funny that duck is in those AFLAC commercials. Show pros love those commercials and can talk about how funny they are forever. “So there’s this talking duck, right? And it wants you to buy this insurance, right?”

LOVE! It’s hilarious because it’s true! (my favorite part is about wearing your underwear and ear muffs to shows….because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen someone actually do that)

So if you live in New York, Chicago or LA, get thee on the Oh My Rockness emailing list! You won’t regret it.

Have a lovely weekend fair readers.