All posts in: libraries

04 Jun 2014

The BEA 2014 Experience

Last week, I had the good fortune to attend Book Expo America. It was my first time! I’ve been to ALA conferences more than once, so I fancied myself quite the conference expert. Oh boy was I wrong. BEA was an entirely different beast, in good ways and not so good ones.

I’m a bookish person with a bookish job. When presented with a buffet of choices at a conference, I like to attend the bookish panels. I have to forcibly wedge less-literary sessions into my schedule, lest I walk around like a dazed book fan rather than, oh, you know, engaging in meaningful professional development. I try very hard to attend a conference as a library employee first and a raging book fan second.

So now, I’m at BEA, and it’s ALL BOOKS ALL THE TIME. Walking into the Javitz center and seeing a grotesquely huge fabric sign hanging from the vaulted ceiling advertising the cover of Scott Westerfeld’s new YA book was a trip and a half. This is a gathering of my people, and we are all here to talk books. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

But before I arrived at BEA proper, I attended SLJ’s Day of Dialog. While gigantic conferences can be fun, the Day of Dialog is really more my jam. You show up, join a hundred or so other librarians in a normal-sized lecture hall with nice seats, and sit quietly while genius after genius takes the stage to entertain and edify. There are breaks with food. There is a free coffee station. At the Day of Dialog, there were even little vendor tables set up for ARCs, and, at the end of the day, free signed books to go around.

After that lovely little experience, BEA was exciting but completely overwhelming, even for the ALA-vet that I am. Publisher booths were swarmed with people, and most did not provide books or ARCS for browsing or taking. If you want an ARC, it seemed, you needed to get into a designated autographing line, maybe even get a ticket. As an introvert who has enough signed books to last a lifetime, this removed a lot of the fun of the exhibition floor. I missed the nice book displays at ALA, where you can browse and chat casually.

There were, however, enough attractive sessions to keep me busy. I attended an adult author buzz session and a middle grade author buzz session and came away with some new Fall titles to keep on my radar. (The big MG title that I saw EVERYWHERE? Kat Yeh’s adorably covered The Truth About Twinkie Pie). I caught a session where my friend Heather talked fantasy world-building Michael Grant, Scott Westerfeld, Kiera Cass, and Brandon Mull, and another on realism (or not) with E. Lockhart, Gayle Forman, Meg Wolitzer, and Jandy Nelson.

I also toured the Recorded Books studio which was freaking awesome. I got to meet the guy who says “Recorded Books Presents…” and who also narrated all of Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who books. Guys, I probably listened to a dozen of those as a kid. Maybe all of them. He started talking and it was like, a bizarro time-warp out-of-body experience. Also, Miss Rosa from Orange is the New Black was wandering about the studio as well. No big deal, guys.

So, BEA, good. New York, good. I braved the transit system on my own, stayed in an Airbnb apartment in Brooklyn, dined with former bowling league-mates, and ate a lot of protein bars.

And then came BookCon.

My oh, my, BookCon. I thought BEA proper was huge and crowded enough. Little did I know… I wanted to attend the We Need Diverse Books panel but made the mistake of showing up a mere 3 minutes late. The doors were shut. A bouncer was fending off a few truly livid conference-goers. If this was the scene for a first-thing-in-the-morning diversity program, then what in the world was I getting myself into?

This year, I have become a quietly devoted fan of Lev Grossman’s work. His panel with Deb Harkness was the only panel I really wanted to attend. I showed up a half hour prior to the panel, thinking I could get a seat and wait quietly.

Oh no. No, no, no. The line snaked all the way into the food court. I waited for over thirty minutes, the line not moving, and when I finally got in I was the second to last person seated. Everyone behind me, who had been waiting nearly as long, was denied.

You would think that the mass of John Green fans waiting for the TFioS event a full 2 and a half hours prior to that event would have tipped me off, but no, I was shocked. I’m accustomed to attending professional conferences, where you might not always get a seat but you can probably get into your session at 11:00 and then flit off to your session and 12:00. Also, find a seat for lunch that is not on the floor. Also, find an outlet for your poor dead iPhone. None of this was the case. I went straight from the Grossman/Harkness event into yet another long line for an erotic romance panel that started an hour later.

I’d heard around the Internets that the BEA folks wanted to beef up their Saturday BookCon events, to provide a Comic-Con-type thing for Book Nerds. Well, the Book Nerds showed up. They swarmed, they hoarded galleys, they waited in hour long lines for the women’s bathroom. It was really thrilling to see such a passionate bunch – nay, mob – of readers, assembled to celebrate the continued existence of books, novels, novelists, and reader-culture. And so many of them young! Readers of the future! In this industry, where dour proclamations of the Death of [Libraries, Books, Printed Word, Reading] are so commonplace, BookCon was just a damn heartening thing to behold.

Sure, I didn’t want to actually MINGLE among the masses of rabid young fans, but I’m glad they were there.

The Final Scorecard

SLJ Day of Dialog:   Great

BEA:    Good

BookCon: Complete Nerd Madness

So that was my BEA. I’m glad I had the chance to go. I might not get to go again. I will probably post again soon about, oh, the things I *learned* at BEA. That is really my conference jam, guys. I love the panels and the speakers, the Big Ideas, the chit-chat with fellow librarians in between sessions. I take compulsive notes. I leave feeling refueled and excited to be a part of this industry. It seems a waste to let these great ideas fizzle away, so look forward to a more conceptual BEA post later in the month.

Oh, okay, okay. You want to see the goods. You’ve made it this far, I suppose you deserve it. Here are my top five galleys, the ones I really can’t wait to sink my teeth into.


Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

05 Apr 2013

to ALA or not to ALA

This is a post for all the librarians out there… you know who you are. Because you have appropriate degrees and job titles and are otherwise confident in your librarianship.

I can’t decide if I should join ALA and attend this year’s Annual Conference or not,

and I need your advice.

Here’s the sitch:

I have the opportunity to attend this year’s annual conference in Chicago. I am 99% sure my time away from the office will be approved, and I will likely receive some cash-money to fund my trip. But unless there’s some kind of act of Library God, I will need to pay a significant chunk of the trip on my own – at least 300 dollars, probably much more, and that’s not including membership fees. It’s also very close to my wedding, so an additional trip to the Midwest would be stressful.

But I’m not really interested in the particular pros and cons of my ALA situation, though. What I want to know is, given the considerable investment of my own time and my own money, what exactly is the return?

Based on previous experience attending ALA conferences and assorted other groundless assumptions, allow me to categorize what I perceive as the potential benefits in order of significance:

1. Professional Development & Professional Contribution

Pros: Attend ALA Annual and one can attend various sessions, talks, and presentations on subjects of professional interest. One can chat with publishers about upcoming trends, chat with vendors about the products ones use every day at work, chat with other librarians who have similar concerns and questions about the library-world. There’s also the benefit of contributing to the national librarian discourse – just asking smart questions and having conversations with other librarians, or committee-work. I feel like those who can contribute should. I feel like I’m a person who wants to contribute.

Cons: My current librarian-purview is a unique one. The chances of sitting in on a session that is directly applicable to my job’s challenges is highly unlikely. My position also crosses the barrier between techie-librarian and youth-services; I’m not likely to find many others in my situation without some kind of ALA type meet-up (hey, wait a second, that idea might be genius…) I’m worried that the professional development available at this conference will not provide the bang for the buck.

The big PRO retort to this, of course, is that I think the professional development benefits to ALA membership might be cumulative: join now, come now, and in five years I might have connections and opportunities that aren’t available/visible to me right now. Maybe in a few years, I could be giving a presentation, serving on a committee… but at some point you have to, you know, join/show up.

2. Networking

Pros: Do I really need to go into the “pros” of networking?? You meet new people and build relationships with people you’ve already met, and those people will be your future source of ideas, resources, etc. It’s fun, it’s mutually beneficial, it can occasionally include cocktails, and although the term networking makes me feel awful and squirmy, “talking to other librarians about stuff we like” is good for the soul.

Cons: Networking makes me feel awful and squirmy. Even if I can tone down the social anxiety long enough to show up and chat with people I don’t know, I am still an introvert-supreme: such efforts will expend much energy and require recovery. Otherwise I will feel extra awful.

Knowing myself, I will probably figure out which of my friends are attending and spend 90% of my required socializing time reconnecting. That is not a bad thing, but also not exactly “networking” at it’s most effective. How valuable is the limited networking that an introvert can accomplish in one hectic, travel-filled weekend?

The PRO retort is probably the same as above – small amounts of networking add up over time, and why not start now?

3. Free books, swag, and giggly-fun author events

Pros: This is the fun stuff, and for the first time, actually somewhat of a professional help for me – my success at my job requires a certain amount of nebulous “book awareness” that allows me to make good purchasing decisions. Conferences such as these definitely contribute to that awareness, even if I don’t read every ARC I come home with.

Cons: Although I have attended some swell author events and snagged some choice advanced readers at conferences past… is that really helping me get “book awareness?” I’m dubious. I also haven’t recovered from the class where we discussed Authors-as-Celebrities and Librarians-as-Groupies at length. I’m not above attending said events or getting excited about certain pre-pub titles, but I’m also not going to fork over hundreds of my own dollars just to do so.

Am I being cynical? Or is there value I’m not seeing here?

At the end of the day, participating in ALA as a member or a conference-attendee is a decision that librarians make. Some librarians choose not to participate. I don’t know which decision is for me yet, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing some information.

Any ALA members, past or present, have any input? Has your ALA membership been worth the cash and time? Would you never trade it for the world? If you could go back, would you have joined earlier… or later… or never? Is there value that I am ignoring or glossing over? Is it all overrated? Is it better to invest time and energy into less hyped-up endeavors? Am I making a mountain out of here’s-some-free-money-to-go-to-ALA-take-it-and-shut-up? Am I completely anxious and crazy?

Don’t answer that last one, actually. But the rest I could use some help. Lend this First-Year Librarian some wisdom!

03 Dec 2012

2012: week forty-seven

November 28 – December 3

One of the reasons I decided to go into librarianship was the huge variety of tasks and skills most library positions require. I like to do different things every day. I like a good shake up, and this week, I got it.

You see, we are getting a new Integrated Library System. This is a huge, extended, heartbreaking process. Side effects include suspended filling of holds (ouch), various tasks for librarians to complete in order to prepare for the switchover, and oh yeah, we aren’t allowed to buy new books.

So while we wait out the “computer upgrades,” we’ve been dispatched to help other librarians complete their extra tasks, which means last week I spent four days out of the office doing what I truly enjoy – playing with piles of books. I also enjoyed different wake-up times, different commutes, getting to know my fellow branch librarian coworkers, and lunches out.

This week, I am back to the office to catch up on tasks and emails. Back to the routine. Hoping my I-Am-Freezing related depression will lift a little bit, now that I have made some progress in Project Cold Apartment: I found this puffy vest to wear over everything, we saran-wrapped a few of our windows, and The Boy taught me how to take a hot shower that lasts for more than 8 minutes. Positive developments! Life is not a meaningless misery!



  • Nonnnnfiction
  • A book to review that had the protagonist lose her virginity on page 3 and she got pregnant on page 10 and got on a bus to San Francisco on page 12 and what is going on here?
  • I decided one evening that I was too grumpy and cold to stay awake, but it was like, 9:15, so I took to my bed and cracked open Gone Girl. I made it through about 15 pages and then had an hour of half-awake, half-asleep, wordily-narrated literary dreams.

Listening To:

  • I am listening to a lot of music lately, which is nice. I am mostly getting my ideas from the Staff and Host best of 2012 lists from WXPN. I also listened to some Fleet Foxes, some First Aid Kit. Listening to a CD while reading on the couch is something that I truly like that I haven’t done in years, so now I am making up for lost time.


  • My Saturday afternoon was greatly improved when I discovered that Clueless was on Netflix Instant.
21 Sep 2012

notes from the job hunt, vol. 4 – the end

Between March and July, I applied for 43 jobs. I applied for part-time and full-time positions, children’s librarian positions, teen librarian positions, school librarian positions, and academic librarian positions. I applied for editorial assistant positions, academic advising positions, and administrative assistant positions. I applied for jobs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Chicago and elsewhere. Jobs I thought I was qualified for, jobs I didn’t. Jobs that paid a good amount of money, jobs that paid nearly nothing.

I was considered for 7 professional positions over three months. I interviewed face-to-face for two public librarian positions in suburban Connecticut and one in southern Massachusetts. I had a Skype interview for a big-deal fellowship and did an all-day campus interview at an academically ridiculous boarding school. I had a phone interview or two.

I rented my first car and drove 3+ hrs away by myself for an interview. I bought a suit jacket. I turned down a job offer that didn’t seem like a good fit. I cancelled an interview at the last minute because I got a better offer.  I still managed to show up to two different jobs every week while all this was going on. I still do not have a smartphone. It’s been a bit of a ride.

Some generic words of wisdom. I think what helped me get a job was working hard for a number of years, filling up my resume diligently with stuff I actually wanted to do that would be useful for my career. It wasn’t always easy to execute, requiring sacrifice and time management and all the other bullshit I complain about in every other post for the past 700 posts. But after I sat around for almost a week, fretting about whether or not I would accept an internship or take on another job, I decided that I was tired of fretting and I was just going to say “yes” and figure out the rest later. I remembered this again and again as different opportunities came up – just say yes.

Every internship and job and other opportunity I pursued was because I wanted to, because I thought it would be fun, because I thought it would be a good way to spend 10-20 hours a week. Maybe this was a luxury, but if you can overload yourself with professional stuff you like to do rather than watching Netflix, you should probably do that.

In terms of applying, I knew that I would be anxious and stress about every.single.application. So I decided to just apply for everything, that way I would constantly be applying for something new instead of stressing about any that were pending, if I got a rejection there would always be another iron in the fire, and it just all became a somewhat annoying painful lifestyle instead of a million personal affronts. I’m not sure that I would recommend applying for as many as I did – yes, the cover letters you breeze through will suffer for it. However, I managed to get interviews for cover letters both mass produced and individually crafted, so there’s that.

One tip that helped me immensely with my last few interviews was bestowed upon me by my darlingest of roommates who is a notoriously amazing interviewee. After so many interviews that were good-but-not-great, many of which had led to “no’s,” I needed help. She was a bit flummoxed, though. She said something like, “I don’t know what to tell you… I just tell them that I’ve been working hard for three years or more to have a position like this and that you would be happy to take the job if offered.” That was the key that unlocked something in my brain – I could see how at all my previous interviews, I’d vacillated between dangerous bravado and unnecessary humility. Either I was a cocky rockstar, too cool to work for your library, or I didn’t give myself the credit I deserved; neither attitude inspires confidence in an interviewer. The solution: just tell them you’ve been working hard for three years and that you’d be happy to take the job. I did both of those things at my next interview and got hired.

So, that is how I got a library job after grad school. The end. It is comforting to think about how this is the only job hunt that will feel quite like this one. I will never be a new grad again. I will likely be looking for a new job while currently employed, or have some sort of defining criteria (location, salary requirements, etc), and from here on out I will have at least this little bit of full time experience to rely on. Thanks for everyone’s support and thanks – it was cathartic to come to this space and try to parse out how this job hunt was going and how I was feeling and whether I was going in the right direction. and thanks for reading along.

Notes from the Job Hunt – Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

10 Aug 2012


First week of New Job is drawing to a close, and I am so far pleased with the results.

It definitely feels excellent to go to One Job in One Location that does not involve an Hour Long Bus Ride Across the River and allows me an entire hour for lunch and a professional wage.

One of this week’s tasks has involved going through boxes and boxes of books and sorting them into piles. Maybe not everyone’s idea of a good time, but for me, a fine way to spend an afternoon. I am a fan of touching books, making piles of books, and most rote tasks in general.

So I was basically content with my lot in life when I opened a book and a slip of white paper fell into my lap. I’d forgotten that when you are touching and sorting and opening library books, sometimes, you get a surprise! I went through a short phase where I was a bit obsessed with the misplaced ephemera of strangers’ lives, after my darling mother introduced me to FOUND Magazine. The last time I worked in public libraries, I had both a filing folder and a bulletin board dedicated to storing and displaying my favorite scraps of paper.

I am taking this particular scrap of paper as a good omen; I flipped it over and found one of my favorite video game creatures on the other side.

Also, FOUND is on its 10th anniversary tour (TEN YEARS?!??!) and they are stopping at one of my favorite Boston-area bookstores next week. I may have to stop in and pay a visit, maybe leave this little guy in good hands.

03 Aug 2012

the real live librarian

I’ve been sitting on this news for a few weeks because it just hasn’t felt real. It hasn’t felt possible that after a 2012 that was made of constant ups and downs, after three years of ridiculous schedules and harrowing schoolwork and jumping without a parachute across the country that yes, yes, things would just work out.

After years of work, countless risks, and months of planning for the worst, I just wasn’t prepared to get the best. Yes, I got a job. Yes, it is a librarian job. Yes, I get health insurance and paid time off to do things like, oh, go on a honeymoon, and yes, I get to take public transportation and yes, I get to stay in Boston.

Yes, it is everything I am looking for in a job right now, and more things that I just didn’t think existed in a library job – I saw the posting and my jaw dropped because, perhaps, this job posting had been written specifically for me. I dropped all my evening plans to apply, my jaw dropped again when I was asked to interview, and I crossed every finger and toe for the long three weeks I spent waiting to hear back.

I start on Monday, so I’m sure that this will be like any-other-job and come with its fair share of challenges/annoyances/pressures, but yes, I am excited I am excited I am excited.

I’d like to keep the specifics away from this personal space, but if you are librarian-ly incline, please email me and I’d be happy to dish, in full.

But broadly speaking, I am getting paid to buy books. Children’s and YA books.

This might be as close to a dream job as it can get.

Thank y’all for reading through all of my career and job searching angst… I’m sure there will be more angst along the way, but for now, everything is falling into place. Sometimes, you work hard and get what you want.

Me = Over the Moon.

29 Jul 2012

nerds only post

My current favorite Fictional-Pop-Culture-Librarian: this looker, Urag gro-Shub.

First of all, he is an orc. Second of all, he is often found spouting such badassery as

I don’t care if you are the arch-mage of the college, don’t you think about touching my books.

In related news, the boy took apart our broken, borrowed Xbox, overheated its GPU (?) and I can play Skyrim once again.

Goodbye, semblance of productivity! Hello, epic fantasy quests to retrieve rare books from compromising locations across varied and dangerous landscapes.


03 Jul 2012

notes from the job hunt, vol. 3

It is July. I have applied for 43 jobs. Since March, have been considered for 10 positions.

I am no longer being considered for 4 positions. Two decided on other candidates and one had last minute budget challenges and was not able to fill the position at all.

I am still in the running for 4 positions: two I would love to accept, two would require some tough decisions.


Time is running out for optimal decision-making.

September 1 is the day I am kicked out of my apartment. It would be lovely to either have a job sometime before this date, or to know for sure about any pending jobs so I can choose an abode appropriately.

It is also the day my health insurance expires… so… there’s that.

I am still feeling hopeful.

I’m applying for fewer and fewer jobs – 20 in May, only 11 in June, and only two currently on my “to apply for” docket. This is natural, because as time ticks by, my geographic range shrinks significantly. But there are still jobs coming up, jobs that I feel qualified for. And maybe the early fall is a good time to find a library job in the Boston area – the new grads have already found jobs or got the heck out of town?

There is the blind panic, yes, but I still have options. I still, miraculously, have two jobs. I have supportive friends and family and professional relationships. The jobs I am applying for, I think, would be challenging and great for starting my career. I am learning a lot about myself from this process.

I am so happy to watch all of my friends get all sorts of exciting jobs all over the place.

My fellow grad school colleagues are an exceedingly fun, bright, talented group of people and they are, one by one, landing really exciting jobs. I now have librarian & literature friends working all over Massachusetts – Newburyport, Worcester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Westfield, Boston, Plymouth – and in Missouri, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Florida and elsewhere. Every time I get together with friends, someone else in the group has something new to celebrate.

I am glad that I have spent the last three years hanging out with them, and their successes give me hope.


20 Jun 2012

the aftermath of book bankruptcy

Sad thing that happens to me once in awhile:

1. I check out books from the public library. I check out more books. I check out more books. I put more books on hold, I check out more books.

2. I get busy and forget to log onto my account to renew the books I want to keep.

3. All of my books go overdue at once, and then I can’t renew any of the others. Soon, every book I have is overdue.

4. I then have to bring them all back at once and pay a lot of fines.

I call it declaring book bankruptcy because I really have to just bring back EVERYTHING. No more library books in my apartment. All, gone.

Today I did #4, shamefully. I returned, I paid up, and my holds were released to me.

And although I was a little sad to say goodbye to my oversized collection of unreads and half-reads… my little hold shelf was about the best stack of books that I could have come home with.

Seven books, all of which I literally want to pick up immediately. I want to open them all up, line them on the floor, and walk by, reading one page after another after another.

What a nice little stack.

06 Jun 2012

notes from the job hunt, vol 2

Ladies and gentlemen in seek of library jobs?

Heed my advice:

Get Thee a Smartphone.

First, the surface benefits. A Fancy Internet Phone is fun and shiny, yes, but when you are deep in the job search, having ready access to email can be handy, especially if you are working part-time jobs that do not afford you computer access (see: retail). You can send and reply to emails, have your calendar at the ready to schedule an interview, and even search for jobs on the go. And when you are out on a job interview, having a nice phone can be a comfort as you drive unfamiliar roads or wait impatiently for a  bus to arrive along a foreign route – Google Maps, NextBus, and simple access to the Internet to look up a phone number to call in case you are late can be a great comfort. Interviews are stressful enough without that added element of COMPLETE PANIC. Smartphones can smooth out the process a bit.

But for future librarians – those looking for jobs with kids and teens in particular – let me tell you that so many job postings ask for familiarity with web services and devices and apps, ask for technological proficiency (even passion!) across platforms. During my first interview I was asked, point blank, what kinds of apps I use. I do not have a smartphone, and use my iPad for Goodreads, Netflix, and Bejeweled. I was basically stumped. I was better prepared for my all-day interview last week for a different position – out of many conversations held over the course of the day, a vast majority revolved around the library’s role in a digital future, how we can help students and teens and children best access the information available at their fingertips, and I was asked, point blank, what kind of smartphone I use.

This is making me uneasy because although I consider myself to be a very tech-savvy person, I have been somewhat indignant about getting a smartphone. I do not have one. I sometimes want one and sometimes do not. It’s primarily a financial decision – I have never paid more than 50 dollars a month for my phone service, and during this time in my life where I have to save up money to go to the dentist, it seems irresponsible to double my expenses for a shiny new toy. Plus, now that everyone has one, I hear all about the woes of smartphone ownership – the lost phones, the dropped phones, the slow phones, the phones with buggy software. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lost in a city and asked a companion to help navigate us back to safety, only to hear that “Well, my phone doesn’t like to do that” or “It’s too slow to be of any help.” That just seems like throwing money away.

Yes, I am stingy, but I am also wary about adding yet another device to my life. On the whole, I want to spend less time looking at screens, not more. I am addicted to the Internet already – do I need to carry my drugs around in my pocket at all times?

But here I am, in a profession where information and information access is digitizing, where mobile access is the future, where keeping up with technology is paramount. Libraries that are hiring right now are trying to stay on top of the game – and you know what is easier than training your more “experienced” staff members to use Twitter or provide chat reference or develop apps? Hiring some young, technologically-hip blood. This is most definitely not a bad thing for libraries – in fact, I think it will become a very VERY important thing. However, it’s a bit frustrating to be sitting in interviews in which 3 years of Master’s work is ignored and instead I am asked about how I use my cell phone. Your MLS program probably isn’t going to give you what you need in terms of technology. I loved my Tech class, but it’s not enough to know how a router works, to know a few html tags, to be able to tinker around in an ILS. If you plan on working in a public service department of any library – public, private, children’s, academic, etc – you need to be comfortable with the kind of technology your public is using – maybe you need to be MORE comfortable than they are, and MORE comfortable than your potential coworkers. You, as a new hire, are a de facto ambassador for the future of libraries, the future of information access. Whether you are indignant about it or not.

If you’re already job hunting, do your research, learn about what libraries are doing cool things with iPhones and such, and don’t get caught off guard. If you are a new MLS students, do yourself a favor and add the expense of a smartphone into your loan budget from the get-go. Use it. Master it. Hopefully in two years when you finish, you’ll be ahead of the game.