Monday, January 30, 2012

Minnesota Book Award Finalists

The Finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards have been announced!

Here are the Finalists in the categories of Children's Literature and Young People's Literature:

Children's Literature

- BookSpeak! Poems About Books by Laura Purie Salas and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon.
- Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships by Catherine Thimmesh.
- The Last Day of Kindergarten by Nancy Loewen and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa.
- Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes.

Young People's Literature

- The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
- The Books of Elsewhere: Spellbound by Jacqueline West
- The Tanglewood Terror by Kurtis Scaletta
- With or Without You by Brain Farrey

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Man (Woman) Down

Four main people work at Micawber's. The two owners - Tom and Hans. Karen, who has been there since the beginning, and me. Plus, Tom's son Max helps out occasionally.

This makeup of people works pretty well. We have enough people to cover every shirt, plus times to work together.

Except every other January.

Karen spends the month of January in England every other year. Her husband is a professor of technical theater and brings a group of students to London for a month of study and fun. Karen goes along to participate and help chaperone. It's very cool.

But, this means we're down to three people (plus Max) at the store. This makes scheduling tricky. And it's rare that we get to work with anyone else.

This is a real challenge to small businesses everywhere.

Tom once said, "The biggest challenge to a small business is illness." (And vacation, I would add.) When someone calls in sick, it's not always easy to cover that shift.

This January, if one of us needs a day off, the other two have to work.

What this all comes down to is being flexible and willing to compromise.

Working with a slim staff has it's challenges, of course. But it also has it's benefits. We know each other very well. We can help each other out in a pinch. And we trust that everyone is committed to the store and doing a good job. Everyone has a little ownership in the endeavor.

And that is the biggest benefit to a small business.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Inventory Day

Today was Inventory Day at the bookstore. This is the day - once a year - when we count every book in the store.

Since we're very "old school," we have paper tally sheets and clipboards. We write down the price and how many books there are at that price. It's labor intensive to say the least. Luckily, we have about 15 volunteers helping us each year.

Today, it took about 5 hours to inventory the entire store. That is, it took 5 hours to write down the number of books and their prices. Now it will take WEEKS to add up all the tally sheets and reach the total.

I'm glad Inventory Day only happens once a year!