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1. Fusenews: Anagnorisis, Masks of the Oculate Being, and More . . .

  • DearMrPotterMorning, folks. I’ve been looking to expand my knowledge beyond just children’s literature, so I figured a good podcast would be the best way to go.  After reading Bustle’s 11 literary podcasts to get your bookish fix throughout the day I settled on Books on the Nightstand as the closest thing out there to a Pop Culture Happy Hour of books alone.  Yet even at that moment I couldn’t escape the world of kidlit.  The aforementioned Bustle piece also recommended a podcast called Dear Mr. Potter, described as “an extremely close read of J. K. Rowling’s series, starting with book number one. Host Alistair invites comments and thoughts from readers as he dissects each chapter, (there are live YouTube and Twitter chats before the audio is archived for the podcast) and is able to do some bang-up accents of beloved characters like Professor McGonagall and Hagrid.”  Well, shoot.  That sounds good too.
  • Speaking of podcasts, you heard about The Yarn, right?  That would be the podcast started by Travis Jonker and Colby Sharp that follows a single book through its creators and helpers.  Having finished Season One, our intrepid heroes had a Kickstarter, met their goal, and are now soliciting ideas for Season Two.  Might want to toss in your two cents or so.  Such an opportunity may not arise again.
  • So I say “Proust Questionnaire: Kidlit Edition“, and you say, “Come again?” And I repeat, “Proust Questionnaire: Kidlit Edition”, and you say, “I’m sorry, but you’re just putting a bunch of random words and names together higglety-pigglety.” At which point I direct you to Marc Tyler Nobleman and his interview series. The questions are not too dissimilar from the 7-Impossible Things interview questions, which in turn were cribbed from Inside the Actor’s Studio, (though I forget where they got them before that). For my part, I read the ones up so far and I am now entranced by Jonathan Auxier’s use of the word, “anagnorisis”. Proust would approve.
  • The Bloggess likes us, we the librarians.  We could have guessed that but it’s nice to have your suspicions confirmed from time to time.
  • Kidlit TV: It’s not just videos!  Case in point, a recent interview with my beloved co-author Jules Danielson in which she says very kind things about myself and my fellow Niblings.  She is a bit too kind when she says that, “Betsy never whines or feels sorry for herself.”  This is the advantage, dear children, of co-writing a book with someone in another state.  They will not see you whine or kvetch in person, thereby leading them to believe that you are better than you are.  Learn from my example.
  • As ever, Pop Goes the Page takes the concept of activities in a children’s library (or, in some cases, a museum) to an entirely new level.  Good for getting the creative juices flowing.
  • And now it’s time for another edition of Cool Stuff on the Internet You Didn’t Know and Weren’t Likely to Find By Browsing.  Today, the Kerlan Collection!  You may have heard of it.  It’s that enormously cool children’s book collection hosted by the University of Minnesota.  Cool, right?  You may even have known that the doyenne of the collection is Lisa Von Drasek, who cut her teeth at the Bank Street College of Education’s children’s library for years n’ years.  Now she’s given us a pretty dang cool online exhibit series tie-in and if you happen to know a teacher in need of, oh say, primary sources and picture book nonfiction titles, direct them to the Balloons Over Broadway site.  Explore the links on the left-hand side of the page.  You won’t regret the decision.
  • Here in Evanston, October will bring The First Annual Storytelling Festival.  A too little lauded art that can be sublime or painful beyond belief, the festival will be quite a bit of the former, and very little of the latter.  If you’re in the area, come by!
  • We all know from Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle that it’s the daddy seahorses that shoulders the bulk of the parenting responsibilities in the wild.  Now travel with me over to Portland, Oregon where the husband of a buddy of mine just started Seahorses, “Portland’s first dad and baby store.”  I helped them come up with some of the good daddy/kid picture books they’re selling there.  If you’re an author in the area with a daddy/child title to your name, consider contacting them.  They’re good people.
  • Lucky, Baltimorians.  You get to host Kidlitcon this year.  I would go but my October is pure insanity, travel-wise.  You go and write it up for me, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.  I don’t mind.  Really.
  •  Daily Image:

And finally, this is precisely what you think it is.

GoodnightConstructionPJs

Yep. Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site PJs.  Awesome?  You betcha.

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2. Back to School Posts on TWT

We've curated some of our top 'Back to School' posts to help you plan and launch your writing workshop.

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3. #727 – The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham

cover
The Perfect Percival Priggs
Written and Illustrated by Julie-Anne Graham
Running Press Kids       5/26/2015
978-0-7624 -5506-5
32 pages      Age 4—8

“Percival Priggs wants to be the perfect child in order to please his seemingly perfect parents. But even when Percy gets his family into a mess of a situation, his parents’ love for him remains absolute perfection.” [front jacket]

Review

“Percival Priggs was perfect.
His parents were perfect.
His grandparents were perfect.
Even his pets were perfect.”

Wow! The Priggs are a tremendously perfect family. This puts a lot of pressure on young Percy to be perfect in everything he does. Both parents are professors with shelves of awards between them. Percy has his own shelf that is nearly as filled with shiny trophies and perfect straight-A report cards. But Percy is finding it is tiring to be so perfect all of the time. If he told his parents this, would they love him any less? Percy is afraid they might, and so he keeps his feelings to himself.

2One weekend, Percy has so many competitions to complete he has no idea how he will ever finish on time. He isn’t thrilled about many of the competitions he is entered in, but he must to find a way to finish perfectly before the weekend is over. Percy comes up with a plan to finish faster, only making one small miscalculation . . . that sends everything into a disastrous cavalcade of humorous tumbles. He just knows his parents will be furious. What will happen to Percival Priggs now that he is no longer a Perfect Percival?

ill1_planI love this story. How many of us think we must be perfect and perform all our duties perfectly, never giving ourselves a break? Count me in. Yet, what does that teach our children? I love that Percival’s parents finally open up to their son, showing him that they were never always perfect (and maybe still not). This takes a load off young Percy’s shoulders. The illustrations (pen and ink on drafting film, with textures and backgrounds in Photoshop), are goofy with an old-fashioned sense of style and are extremely appealing. Oddly, there are words embedded in the character’s head, face, and eyeglasses (which all three wear). I’m not sure, but are these people so intent on perfection that they actually were their thoughts? It is an interesting idea and illustration technique.

I love the message from these two imperfect parents: They love Percy for who he is, not what he wins, and they keep on trying for perfection because they love what they do, not because they want to be perfect. They let Percy off the hook, telling him to find out what it is he loves to do, and then do that, no matter the imperfections or failures he will encounter along the way. Percy does just that in a humorous attempt to find out what he loves to do.

percival_spread2Roller-skating . . . nope, he falls too much. A rock star . . . well, no, not a rock star. In the end, Percy’s trophy shelf is as full as ever, but looks a whole lot different. It starts representing the real Percy. And his best trophy, the one he adores the most? Nah, not telling. Read The Perfect Percival Priggs to find out.

THE PERFECT PERCIVAL PRIGGS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Julie-Anne Graham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Running Press Kids, Philadelphia, PA.

Purchase The Perfect Percival Priggs at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksiTunes BooksRunning Press Kids.

Learn more about The Perfect Percival Priggs HERE.

percival-priggs-activity-pack.

Find The Perfect Percival Priggs Activity Pack HERE.

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Meet the author/illustrator, Julie-Anne Graham, at her website: http://www.julieannegraham.com/
.           .  Twitter: @Ja_Illustrator
Find more picture books at the Running Press Kids’ website: http://www.runningpress.com/rpkids
.             . Running Press Kids is an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers, and a member of the Perseus Group.

.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

.

Full Disclosure: The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham, and received from Running Press Kids, (an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: family, Julie-Anne Graham, parent-child relationships, perfection, Perseus Group, pressure, Running Press Book Publications, Running Press Kids, The Perfect Percival Priggs, winning

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4. Harry is alive

I’m on vacation as I write this. On September 1, students returned to Hogwarts, boarding that scarlet train from Platform 9 3/4.  They’d been to Diagon Alley for new robes, cauldrons, chocolate frogs, and spellbooks. The professors were probably already at the castle, getting ready for another school year.

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

Lest you think I’ve lost my mind, please note. I. Am. On. Vacation. And I am re-reading all the Harry Potter books, because that is my summer book tradition. They are like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Comfort food. Yes, I am a 50-something Potterhead. I am admitting it here in a public forum. But, look, folks, I am not the only one. I have at least one Twitter friend that is re-reading Harry Potter this summer, and she’s a responsible adult. I know of two Harry Potter parties that happened in the last few days. Several friends are now reading Harry aloud to their children (they’ve been waiting for their kids to get old enough for this). Harry Potter is alive and well in the hearts and minds of so many of us.

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

How many of you celebrated on July 31? Who watches the Harry Potter movies when you are feeling a little sad or have the flu? Do you have pets (or maybe even children) named for characters in the books? How many of you are planning to take extra vacation days before or after the ALA Conference next summer and make the pilgrimage? Raise your hand if you, too, relish days off, in the most comfy spot in your house, or at the beach, with a Harry Potter book tucked firmly in hand. And now, I need to return to Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire is calling.

The post Harry is alive appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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5. App of the Week: Giphy Cam

Giphy Cam LogoTitle: Giphy Cam
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free

GIFs are a fun part of online communication. Whether shared through a text message or on your Tumblr, GIFs can help to share your emotional state or just make the reader laugh. But, most GIF fans just find their GIFs online, they don’t create them. Giphy Cam is an app that can change all of that. From the team at Giphy, a platform for finding and sharing GIFs, this iOS app uses your device’s camera to let you create your own GIFs.

With the app, you can opt to either film a short looping GIF by holding your finger on the red button or a five frame “burst” for a shorter GIF by tapping the button. When you choose either option, you can also select from a range of special features that can be added to your GIF. These features include filters, backgrounds, animations, overlays, and what may be the creepiest rabbit mask I have ever seen. All of them help to add additional meaning and personality to your videos to make for a more dynamic GIF.

Once you are happy with your GIF creation, Giphy Cam makes it easy to share the GIF. The app includes integration with messaging features on your device, Twitter, Instagram, email, and other apps on your device. You can also decide to instead save your GIF to your device for later use. Overall, Giphy Cam makes it just as easy to create a GIF as it is to take a selfie. That makes this app a great tool for your library’s outreach efforts or for teens at your library who love to use their devices to take and share photos and videos.

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6. Reading Roundup: August 2015

By the Numbers
Teen: 9
Tween: 1
Children: 3

Sources
Review Copies: 5
Library: 8

Standouts
Teen: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Although there's not so much a plot as a set of loosely connected events, this story broke a major reading drought for me, sucking me right in to Ari's world and his blossoming understanding of love, family, identity, and sexuality.
Tween: The Adventures of Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader
Okay, fine, so there's not much competition for this slot this month. But I did adore this story of a kid in a struggling family, learning to see the world differently. I also loved his sorta? kinda? friendship with Sam, who was all prickles and combat-boot ferocity.
Children: Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
Brown v. Board of Education gets most of the attention when you talk about school integration, but not many know there was another, earlier landmark case in California, when the Mendez family fought for their children to go to the better equipped and funded white school. Tonatiuh's narration and illustrations guide you through this story without sugar-coating the struggle, before or after the decision.

Because I Want To Awards
He Picked the Wrong Victim: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
When a serial killer kidnaps Ruth, he doesn't know he's met his match. The resident mean girl at her family's stables, Ruth comes by her nickname of "Ruthless" honestly, and it's her cold determination and dispassionate survival skills that will not only keep her alive, but enable her to come out on top.
Didn't Go the Way I Thought It Would: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Two cousins discover magical family abilities and obligations. To my delight, it was shy and obedient Lou who immediately rose to the occasion, and willful, wild Dacia who needed some time to come to grips with the situation - a reversal from what I expected.

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7. Silver in the blood, in the hand and everywhere

Media of Silver in the BloodDacia, and her cousin LouLou, are traveling to Romania to meet their mothers' family for the first time.  While Lou visits Paris and shops the fashion houses there, Dacia travels by ship with her Aunt Kate.  Dacia, ever the rebel, is in disgrace since she had an escapade with a certain nobleman in England.

Dacia catches sight of her prim aunt passionately kissing a stranger when the train they have boarded is stopped by snow in the mountains.

Meanwhile, Lou is stalked by That Awful Man, a stranger who accosts her on the ship asking if she is The Wing or the Claw.  Another time, he announces that she is the Smoke and an houri, which upsets her terribly.

In Romania, Dacia meets Prince Mihai, charming to the nth degree.  Then she meets her maternal grandmother, the dread Lady Ioana.  "Dread" does not come close to describing this woman.

Dacia and Lou are trapped by their genetic make-up in a destiny that neither wants nor can control.

But things are worse.  Their family believes that these two girls are the answer to a prophecy.  And the family is at odds about what the prophecy means.

And the English Lord, That Awful Man and Prince Mihai are, none of them, what they seem to be.

Ahh, a proper paranormal romance, set in the home of paranormal activity, the mountains of Eastern Europe!   Terror, entrapment, kidnapping, poison, armed guards, swoon worthy men, Victorian fashions and manners... It's all in here.   Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George.

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8. Interview – Lauren DeStefano and A Curious Tale of the In-Between

First things first. Look at that book jacket.

CuriousTaleInBetween

Gaze upon it. Feast thine peeper upon its delightful creepy factor. That’s a cover, my friends. And it takes a good book to live up to it. Fortunately, A Curious Tale of the In-Between hasn’t exactly been lacking for the stellar reviews. As Kirkus put it, “DeStefano artfully concocts a moving and multilayered tale that is an effective mix of genres and tones, at times contemplative and philosophical yet also macabre and psychologically sophisticated. Love, loss, and hope are at the heart of this exciting read.”

You’ll understand then why I was intrigued when Bloomsbury offered unto me Ms. Lauren DeStafano herself for an interview. And actually, I saw her speak in person years ago. Remember the YA Chemical Garden trilogy? That was her! So saying, she agreed to my probing queries:

Betsy Bird: Hello!  Thank you so much for acquiescing to a rousing series of questions.  First things first, though.  What we have here appears to be a book by the name of A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN.  Can you give us a run down of what it’s about?

Lauren DeStefano: I like to describe it as a love story between a living girl, a living boy, and a ghost.

BB: Well, how did you come to write it?  Which is to say, why did you make it a middle grade book (for ages 9-12) and not YA.  You are, after all, the author of two New York Times bestselling YA series.  Why the switch into younger territory?

LD: When I wrote this story, I wasn’t conscious of the idea that it would get published, so things like MG and YA weren’t in my head. I had an idea about a girl who had a peculiar condition that caused her to conspire with ghosts, and I began to write it. After dinner one night, my cousin, who I think was 8 or so at the time, asked me to tell her a story. I told her about this one, though it was only half finished at the time. Her interest and questions really surprised me, and I began to wonder if Pram did have something to offer to younger readers.

BB: I know that writing books on the younger end requires an entirely different set of muscles than writing for the YA crowd.  How was writing this book for you?  Did anything surprise you along the way?

LD: Writing for younger readers was nothing but a joyous experience from start to finish. I had little of the fears and insecurities I have when tackling some of my other endeavors. All I had to do was believe in magic and let that carry me to the end.

BB: Great.  Now when an author gets a particularly good cover on their newest title I like to say they’ve made small animal sacrifices to the book jacket gods.  You fall into that category perfectly.  How do you like it?

LD: I LOVE it. I wish I could claim credit, but that all goes to my designers.

BB: This book has already been compared to Coraline, which is sort of the de facto thing reviewers say when dealing with gothic middle grade literature.  What are some of the books for kids you’d equate it with?  Related (or maybe not) what did you like to read when you were a kid?

LD: That is an incredibly flattering and humbling comparison, and I’m honored to hear that. I don’t know if, plot-wise or voice-wise, I could compare it to any particular work off the top of my head. When I was a young reader, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was my most treasured book and I obsessed over it for months. It reached me on some cosmic level that made me feel understood. I would just hope this story could do that for someone else.

BB: And finally, what are you working on next?

LD: A tangled web of secrets and intrigue.

Many thanks to Ms. DeStefano for submitting herself to questions that, I am sure, she has answered many times before and will answer many times again.  And thanks too to Bloomsbury for offering her up to me in the first place.

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9. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week - September 4, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between September 4 and September 11 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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10. YALSA Core Professional Values: What They Mean to You!

YALSA core professional values coverWhat do accountability, excellence, innovation, and social responsibility have to do with the teen services profession? The quick and easy answer is a lot. However, a more specific answer is that these 4 ideas are a few of the Core Values listed in YALSA's new Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession. This Professional Values document was published by YALSA last month after a year-long development process by the association's Professional Values Task Force. The Task Force began their work after discussions by the YALSA Board of Directors during their 2013 Annual Conference meetings The Board wanted to develop and support the professional development of library staff serving teens and to help others in the library profession understand the value of what library staff working with and for teens work towards every single day of the year.

The document, a one of its kind in the area of library teen services, is an excellent framework for the values that all those working with teens in libraries should embrace. Not only does it list the Core Values but it includes ways of demonstrating those values. For example, if you demonstrate Innovation, which is defined in the document as:

Approaches projects and challenges with a creative, innovative mindset

Then you demonstrate that by:

  • Recognizes that learning comes from failure and experimentation
  • Demonstrates a willingness to take calculated risks to improve teen services

It is important for all staff working with and for teens in libraries to go through the Core Values and assess strengths and weaknesses in demonstrating each value. Weaknesses aren't a bad thing as knowing where you are weak gives you the chance to find out what to improve on in order to serve teens even more successfully. Actually, the Excellence Core Value includes continuous learning as an area to focus on:

"Engages in acquisition of new knowledge throughout one’s career" as a demonstration of that value.

Along with assessing your own personal strengths and weaknesses related to the YALSA Core Professional Values, it can also be really useful to use the document as a way to help colleagues, administrators, trustees, principals, superintendents, community members, funders, and more understand what you do and why you do it. You can go over the document with them or make it a point to highlight different sections of the document for them over several months. You can talk with them about how you already achieve the values and what you are working on in order to do an even better job to support the needs of teens in the community. You can give those you talk with ideas about how they can support the Core Values by demonstrating at least some of the practices outlined in their own interactions with and for teens.

The Core Values are a core tool for you to use as you continue to work with and for teens in your community. Use it professionally as a way to make sure you are doing what you need to do and as a way to inform and advocate for the value of teen services in the library and the community at-large.

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11. Miss Piggy and Kermit: From the Happiness Hotel to the Heartbreak Hotel!


Well, I rarely pay attention to celebrity gossip, but this particular piece has to do with The Muppets!

As I'm sure you've heard, after 40 years, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog have split!

Say it isn't so!

Sadly, the news is true, and both have publicly stated that they had come to the mutual decision to end their relationship. The famous Frog and Pig duo announced their break up over (what else?) social media this past August. While Kermit and Piggy have been known to bicker in public, the main source of their choice might just be that Piggy herself, is more in love with the spotlight than Kermit is comfortable. 

This news comes hot on the heels of the new Muppet show, which will be airing on ABC in a few weeks. For those of us who care to relive the glory days of Miss Piggy and Kermit's love, the The Syosset Public Library offers an extensive collection of classic Muppet related media. This includes DVD's, CD Soundtracks, and books! One book in particular interest to this topic is Miss Piggy's Night Out, an early reader, featuring a date between the two when they were just young love birds -- er -- love PIGS and FROGS. 
http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search/?searchtype=t&searcharg=miss+piggy%27s+night+out&sortdropdown=-&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBMIT=Search&searchlimits=&searchorigarg=Xpiggy%27s+night+out%26SORT%3DD

To rub salt on the wounds of the news, rumor has it that Kermit has already moved on with a new pig named Denise! However, in typical form, Mr. The Frog remains coy, insisting over Twitter that the two (he and Denise) are just good friends. 

-A heart-broken Miss Jessikah


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12. District Days Reminder

We’ve passed August’s halfway mark. That means school is just around the corner and we’re in the middle of District Days! Your state’s representatives are home for a short recess from their Washington business. They’re taking this time to learn about what’s happening in their communities, and what issues their constituents have on their minds.

It’s our chance to advocate for libraries! For teens! For the valuable work libraries do in communities across the nation! Not sure how to proceed? Check out YALSA’s Advocacy page for ideas ranging from short and simple to more complex (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/advocacy). Find your representative’s  office information at ALA’s Legislative Action Center (http://cqrcengage.com/ala/).

Since August is a quiet month in our library, instead of inviting our elected officials to come to us, we’re going to them. Members of our Teen Advisory Group will create a “highlights packet” to send to Senator Jon Tester, Senator Steve Daines, and Representative Ryan Zinke at their Helena offices. Packets will feature teens’ favorite library activities and personal statements about why the library is important in their community. I’ll include YALSA’s great infographic “What Public Libraries Do For Teens,” an infographic about teen services at our library, and an open invitation to attend teen programs. One event we’ll feature is from January 2015, when, I took five teens to demonstrate MakerSpace gear –robotics, MakeyMakeys, and button making – at the Montana Library Association’s Legislative event. The Governor and state representatives enjoyed interacting with our teens, going so far as to offer engineering advice!

This is me, standing on the street corner of the internet, inviting you to get the word out. Call, email, or visit your elected official’s office to share the super cool things teens are doing at your library.

 

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13. Check Out our Felt Stories

When our library created its strategic plan, many of the goals concerning the Children’s Room fell under the category of “Create Young Readers”, so we’re always looking for ways to engage our youngest patrons and the adults who work with them.

I’ve posted before about our School Collection program where we circulate boxes of books to teachers for classroom use. This year, we have debuted another facet of our School Collection program: circulating felt stories.

We had gotten requests for circulating felt stories from teachers over the years, and this year we decided to go for it. I have a particularly crafty staff person and I made this one of her goals this year to create felt stories to add to this collection.

Felt 1

Photo by Abby Johnson

Each felt story/rhyme is housed in a simple ziplock bag. A piece of cardboard in the bag helps give them shape.

Felt 2

Photo by Abby Johnson

On one side of the cardboard we print the words to the rhyme or story, the contents of the bag, and we place the barcode for checkout.

The felt stories are a special perk for teachers, so only teachers with a School Collection card may check them out. We have tried to provide a good selection and have made multiples of felts that fit popular themes (seasonal, etc.).

As the felt stories circulate and come back, our staff check the bags to make sure all the pieces have been returned. If we’re missing something, we can contact the teacher to see if it’ll turn up or we can pretty easily make a new piece.

We’re still growing our collection, but hoping that this will entice more early childhood teachers to check out School Collections and use them with their students!

Do you have any special circulating collections that are popular with your patrons?

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
http://www.abbythelibrarian.com

The post Check Out our Felt Stories appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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14. I Left My Heart at ALA Annual

Around 8:00 a.m. PST on June 26th, 2015, I sat at a Starbucks, downing as much coffee as possible before my first day at ALA Annual began. As I anxiously flipped through Facebook, a theme spread like wildfire through every post: Marriage equality is the law of the land! Love wins! SCOTUS FTW! I could hardly believe my good fortune to be in what felt like the center of the universe for this landmark decision. Awestruck, I gathered up my things and headed to a 3.5-hour preconference: Rolling Out the Rainbow Carpet: Serving LGBTQ Communities. Later that same day, I heard Roberta Kaplan give the opening keynote speech. Two days later, I donned my rainbow regalia and watched the San Francisco Pride Parade.

In addition to all of that amazingness, my conference experience was made special in the following ways:

  • Attending a preconference. I gained so much in the way of programming ideas that the preconference practically paid for itself. Also, David Levithan magically appeared as part of a panel discussion and then signed books (squee!).
  • Fun, yet practical sessions. I learned the best strategies for approaching my manager with creative (read: far-fetched) ideas. I learned how to fearlessly weed print and digital materials. I learned how to fail gracefully and embrace “relentless optimism” (my new favorite phrase). I learned about the art in Caldecott winners and got a chance to apply that knowledge to upcoming contenders. All this, and more, were immediately applicable to my work.
  • The Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet. Putting on a fancy dress and eating dinner with lovely individuals is great. What’s even better? Hearing Dan Santat and Kwame Alexander’s emotionally charged speeches, and then telling them that they made me cry a little bit. I also got to tell Dan Santat how, upon reading The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, I ran around my library showing everyone Beekle’s backside, saying “Look at his little butt! Look at it!!”
  • Meeting authors. Cece Bell referenced the movie Heathers while being unbelievably sweet. After I gushed effusively over I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson told me she wanted to take me with her everywhere—especially while writing. Tim Federle told me that my necklace was “funsies.” Authors are rock stars, and I will unapologetically geek out over these interactions for the rest of my life.
  • Exhibit hall happenstance. While booking it around the exhibit hall, I screeched to a halt in front of the world’s coolest and most versatile LEGO-Train-Light-Tinker Toy Table. Not only were we in the market, but it even fit my library’s color scheme. Serendipitous! I sped down an uncrowded aisle only to see Raina Telgemeier sitting in a booth all by her lonesome. Magical! I came across my grad school’s booth and there was my advisor! And there were cookies!!  Exhibit hall happenstance: it’s a thing.

Before attending ALA Annual, I spent a lot of time researching it and getting advice from veteran conference-goers. The best piece of advice I got was to talk to everyone. Though extroverted, I am not always outgoing with strangers. But these are librarian-strangers—the best kind of stranger! By chatting with those around me, I managed to befriend people in libraries near my own (what are the odds?), learn major takeaways from sessions I’d missed, exchange business cards, programming advice, book recommendations, laughs, and hugs. Putting yourself out there is the best thing you can do.

Thank you so much to Penguin Young Readers Group and the award committee for allowing me the incredible opportunity to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

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FullSizeRender

Photo courtesy of the guest blogger

Today’s guest blogger is Heather Thompson. Heather is a Children’s Librarian / eMedia Coordinator and science programming enthusiast at the Cook Memorial Public Library District. Heather was a recipient of the Penguin Young Readers Group Award.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post I Left My Heart at ALA Annual appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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15. Seventh Most Important Thing

Seventh Most Important Thing. Shelley Pearsall. 2015. Random House. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall is loosely based on a true story. One of the characters in the novel was an actual person, an artist named James Hampton. An author's note tells more of his story. I do wish I'd known this at the start; that is one reason I'm beginning my review with this 'essential' information.

Arthur T. Owens is the hero of The Seventh Most Important Thing; the book is a coming-of-age story set in 1963. Arthur has not been having an easy time of it, life has not been the same for him since his father died. And one day he loses it. He sees "the junk man" walking down the street pushing his cart full of junk, and the man is wearing his father's hat. He picks up a brick, takes aim, and hits him. Fortunately, it hits him on the arm and not in the head. James Hampton is "the junk man" and he urges the court to show Arthur mercy, and sentence him to community service. His community service will be working for "the junk man." Arthur has a list of SEVEN items to collect each Saturday. And the list is the same week to week. To collect these items, he'll need to walk the streets and neighborhoods picking up trash and even going through people's trash. It won't be easy for him, especially at first, to lower himself like that. But this process changes him for the better. And there comes a time when readers learn alongside Arthur just what "the junk man" does with his junk. And the reveal is worth it, in my opinion.

The Seventh Most Important Thing is definitely character-driven and not plot-driven. It's a reflective novel. The focus is on Arthur, on his family, on his new friendships and relationships, on the meaning of life. I liked the characters very much. The story definitely worked for me.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. NEW ISSUE OF JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON LIBRARIES & YOUNG ADULTS

The Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults is pleased to announce the recent publication of two new papers discussing research related to teens and libraries.

In “Adolescent Females and the Graphic Novel: A Content Analysis,” Emily Simmons analyzes 70 books from several of YALSA’s recent “Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens” lists to examine the gender distribution of the main characters and the racial/ethnic diversity of the female main characters. She finds that about a quarter of the 70 titles feature exclusively female main characters, whereas nearly half feature exclusively male main characters. In addition, nearly three-quarters of the female main characters are white, and as a group the female main characters include just four of the fourteen disability characteristics identified by the Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. To encourage greater diversity of representation in the materials that teens read, the author suggests that librarians, teachers, parents, and other adults who recommend graphic novels to teens should consider the gender, racial/ethnic, and disability representation of the main characters in titles they recommend.

With the goal of learning how public libraries can make their websites more appealing to teens, Robin Naughton presents a study entitled “Teen Library Website Models: Identifying Design Models of Public Library Websites for Teens.” For the paper, she analyzed the teen sections of 60 U.S. public library websites in 2012 and again in 2015 to identify recurring design patterns and to look for design changes over time. She identifies four common models: the Reading Model, the Media-Oriented Model, the Portal Model, and the Information Discovery Model. Unfortunately, the Reading Model, which past user studies have shown to be largely unappealing and boring to teen users, was by far the most common design model in both 2012 and 2015. The author suggests that libraries using the Reading Model modify their websites to increase interactivity and visual content. The paper concludes with a useful list of questions that public library staff can use to assess the design and appeal of their own library websites to teens.

 

Denise Agosto, Editor

 

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17. A Parent’s Guide To Writing Workshop

Back to School Night is around the corner! When it comes to writing workshop, what do we need families to know?

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18. Review: We Believe the Children

We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980sby Richard BeckPublicAffairs. 2015. Review copy via NetGalley.

It's About: A look at the child abuse prosecutions of the 1980s.

The Good: We Believe the Children was the cry of the media, prosecutors, and families during the prosecutions and lawsuits of the daycare child abuse allegations of the 1980s.

I was in law school in the late 80s; I remember studying the varying ways that children were being questioned, and how their testimony was being presented in court. I remember thinking, how could children lie about such things? Why would they?

We Believe the Children gives answers to those questions, and not answers that are very comforting or easy. At this point, I think many familiar with these cases and the time know about some of the "why", about doctors and therapists and police and prosecutors and family members who, at best, weren't equipped to investigate such claims and, at worst, made it worse with leading questions, faulty science, and almost abusive questioning tactics of very young children.

Beck discusses those things, but also puts what was happening in the context of the times.Why, for example, was it so easy for people to believe? He points to fear, yes, but also the bigger context of politics -- it was easier for people to believe that the danger of abusers was outside the home (in the daycares, in places which employed those of lower socioeconomic standings), and to link those dangers to changing family structures (the "danger" came from the child being outside the home, in a daycare, so while the parent (ie mom) was not doing what she should).

How does memory work? What does it mean, to repress a memory? What is multiple personalities, is it real, and how does that contribute to what people think about child abuse and what children say?

This book is not an easy read; and the consequences of what happened in 1980s are still ones we live with, and not just in terms of the individuals on all sides of the investigations and prosecutions. Not just the people sent to jail, or the children subject to problematic questioning. It lingers in today's reactions that demand more than allegations; look at happened the last time "we believe" became a tagline. It's also still around in how people view daycare and parenting, as well as how child abuse is viewed, prosecuted, and treated.

It also raises the questions of how people believe what is reported in the here-and-now, without reflection. Truth be told, there are some things in the book that I've read before and agree with, but other points, well, I had a bit more skepticism about. I'd want to look more into, before agreeing a hundred percent.

We Believe the Children also made me think of novels, of fiction that is based on current events and "torn from the headlines" stories. Books that used these stories as parts of plots or motivations.



Other reviews: The New York Times review; The Guardian review.




Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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19. Collaboration for Learning: Notes from the Public Libraries & STEM Conference

I was recently able to represent ALSC at the Public Libraries & STEM Conference in Denver, CO. The conference was kept very small–around 160 people total–and thus was very concentrated, with plenty to learn from and discuss with colleagues from libraries, STEM organizations, and other institutions with missions for informal learning. And while the small size necessary means that the participant pool was limited, the takeaways weren’t. I particularly want to share with you one of my major takeaways: the library as a single element in a larger learning ecosystem.

Note: I tried visual note taking at this conference. Since my handwriting isn’t always great, I’m transcribing text in the captions of images.

Here’s what I learned and have been itching to share:

Public Libraries & STEM Conference (Image by Amy Koester)

Public Libraries & STEM Conference; Denver, CO, Aug. 20-22, 2015 (Image by Amy Koester)

Help define a new 21st Century vision of STEM in public libraries. (Image by Amy Koester)

Help define a new 21st Century vision of STEM in public libraries. (Image by Amy Koester)

There were several goals of the Public Libraries & STEM Conference, but one in particular resonated with me immediately: to figure out what STEM/STEAM in public libraries could/should look like in our age of technology and innovation. What is the library’s role now, and what should it be? It’s within our collective power to create a framework for STEM in public libraries.

Collaboration as a System of Collective Impact (FSG) From individual orgs with individual goals & pathways to collaboration of goals and pathways (Image by Amy Koester)

Collaboration as a System of Collective Impact (FSG) From individual orgs with individual goals & pathways to collaboration of goals and pathways (Image by Amy Koester)

That said, while we, libraries, can certainly make some decisions and create some practices around this (or any other) topic, it’s imperative that we recognize that we are NOT the only institutions with a vested interest in STEM learning and experiences. Yet if we think of ourselves as wholly separate from other organizations even when  they possess similar goals to our own, we’re muddying the waters. Or, rather, as Marsha Semmel (formerly at IMLS) shared from an organization called FSG, each individual organization is moving in its own direction. It’s a little bit of chaos, no matter how well intentioned. But when we collaborate, however–and this is meaningful collaboration, in which we set a common goal and common pathways to achieve it–we can actually accomplish meaningful progress and change.

Progress moves at the speed of trust." Collectively see, learn, do. (Image by Amy Koester)

“Progress moves at the speed of trust.” Collectively see, learn, do. (Image by Amy Koester)

An integral part of meaningful collaboration: trust, said Marsha Semmel. If we observe together, learn together, and act together out of a trust that we truly are working toward a shared goal, we can accomplish transformative change much more quickly than independently, or even working parallel to one another.

STEM Learning Ecosystem: P-12 Education, Family, Out-of-School Programs, Higher Education Institutions, Business Community, and STEM-rich Institutions as spokes around the Learner - Ellen Lettvin (Image by Amy Koester)

STEM Learning Ecosystem: P-12 Education, Family, Out-of-School Programs, Higher Education Institutions, Business Community, and STEM-rich Institutions as spokes around the Learner – Ellen Lettvin (Image by Amy Koester)

Part of developing that trust is recognizing that we as libraries are a single aspect of a larger learning ecosystem. When it comes to STEM learning for youth, we fit into a larger puzzle of groups and individuals supporting students. Ellen Lettvin, of the U.S. Department of Education, emphasized some of those other players in this ecosystem, including students’ families; their schools; their out-of-school programs and activities; community businesses; institutions of higher education; and STEM-rich institutions, of which libraries may be one.

Out of school experiences are increasingly central to the public's STEM learning. (Image by Amy Koester)

Out of school experiences are increasingly central to the public’s STEM learning. (Image by Amy Koester)

Why do we need to recognize that we’re part of a larger learning ecosystem? John Falk, from Oregon State University, has researched this very topic, and has oodles of evidence supporting the fact that all of those experiences that youth–any age person, really–have out of formal school contexts are more and more important to overall STEM learning. Schooling isn’t sufficient in and of itself.

Learning is continuous and cumulative. (Image by Amy Koester)

Learning is continuous and cumulative. (Image by Amy Koester)

That’s because, says Falk, learning is continuous and cumulative. It happens all the time, and it constantly builds on what a learner already knows. There is no place or situation that is not ripe for learning. As such, if the library is a place people spend time, the library is necessarily a learning place.

Libraries are hubs & hosts of STEM. (Image by Amy Koester)

Libraries as hubs & hosts of STEM. (Image by Amy Koester)

Now, we know this. We know that libraries are institutions of learning. But in what capacity? Are we mostly places of individual discovery? Of information support? What if we really embraced that concept of library as learning place to its fullest extent and intentionally and proactively support the public who use us? We could be intentional hubs and hosts of STEM learning–or, truly, any type of learning that our communities need.

R. David Lankes: "The power of libraries is not in being a space for X, it is in being a space to facilitate connections between community members and local organizations that are experts in X." (Image by Amy Koester)

R. David Lankes: “The power of libraries is not in being a space for X, it is in being a space to facilitate connections between community members and local organizations that are experts in X.” (Image by Amy Koester)

David Lankes, from Syracuse University, was careful to emphasize, however, that our being hubs and hosts of STEM learning does NOT necessitate that we ourselves be the be-all, end-all experts. Should you tap staff expertise and interests in creating STEM programs and services? Absolutely. But remember that whole bit about collaboration for collective impact? Here’s where it really comes in. There’s a very legitimate school of thought that says that libraries’ best role in supporting STEM learning, across the board, is to meaningfully collaborate with organizations who are unequivocal experts in STEM so that we can connect our patrons directly to the experts. We are mediators, introducers. That makes our capacity so much greater than it could ever be on our own.

Partnerships help us develop more and more programs and to bring those programs to the people we are targeting." -Sharon Cox, Queens Library Discovery Center (Image by Amy Koester)

“Partnerships help us develop more and more programs and to bring those programs to the people we are targeting.” -Sharon Cox, Queens Library Discovery Center (Image by Amy Koester)

This sentiment was echoed by Sharon Cox, from the Queens Library Discovery Center. It’s an entire library dedicated to children’s STEM learning and exploration, and even with that mission, focus, and staff expertise, they add huge value to what they are able to bring to their community through partnership with organizations who are expert in STEM and whose goals align with the library’s. As libraries, we’ve always thought of ourselves as the people who connect our public to the resources they need. This type of collaboration means that the definition of “resources” our public requires may very well include organizations other than our own.

Do what you do best, and link to the rest." -L. Rainie; Libraries should NOT be trying to do everything. (Image by Amy Koester)

“Do what you do best, and link to the rest.” -L. Rainie; Libraries should NOT be trying to do everything. (Image by Amy Koester)

Or, in other words, we continue to do what we do best and then connect our patrons to the rest of what they way. That was the overarching sentiment from Lee Rainie from Pew Research Center–that libraries are strongest not because they can do everything, but because they can connect you to people and organizations who can.

Cultivate collaboration. Ask: What are our shared interests and goals? -Dale McCreedy, The Franklin Institute, LEAP into Science (Image by Amy Koester)

Cultivate collaboration. Ask: What are our shared interests and goals? -Dale McCreedy, The Franklin Institute, LEAP into Science (Image by Amy Koester)

So if we’re deliberately not doing everything, and we’re also going to best support our patrons’ STEM learning through collaborating with expert STEM learning organizations, how do we collaborate? Dale Creedy, who works at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and is a collaborator with the Free Library of Philadelphia to offer a LEAP into Science program, says that the first step in cultivating collaboration is to reach out to other organizations and straight up have a conversation. Your intent: to identify what, if any, are your shared interests and goals. If you determine that you don’t have sufficient shared interests/goals to merit the time and resources that would go into a formal collaboration, it’s no real loss–you now know more about the organization and can better identify when to direct your patrons to them. But if you do have sufficient overlaps in your interests and goals, the foundation is primed for you to work together. Now you can shift your conversation to what, specifically, your shared goal is, and how you might reach it together.

Collective Impact: How do we serve as part of a solution, as opposed to the solver? -M. Figueroa (Image by Amy Koester)

Collective Impact: How do we serve as part of a solution, as opposed to the solver? -M. Figueroa (Image by Amy Koester)

This type of conversation can actually be a little clumsy for libraries. We tend to think in terms of the library being the sole solver of a problem, rather than just one player in a larger solution–that’s according to Miguel Figueroa from the Center for the Future of Libraries at ALA. Collective impact necessitates that libraries be part of a collective solution, which may require a bit of a mindset shift.

Collaborations: Actively participate in a robust learning ecosystem; Re-envision the library with community input; Bring people to museums, and vice versa -Dr. S. Sampson (Image by Amy Koester)

Collaborations: Actively participate in a robust learning ecosystem; Re-envision the library with community input; Bring people to museums, and vice versa -Dr. S. Sampson (Image by Amy Koester)

So what to do to enact that mindset shift, to form those meaningful collaborations? Dr. Scott Sampson, Vice President of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (and also Dr. Scott the Paleontologist from Dinosaur Train), gave some suggestions in the form of a few progressively-more-involved strategies. Starting small, figure out how to bring people to libraries, and vice versa–that is, how to bring libraries to people. Where are the people in your community who do not come to the library? What spaces do they tend to use? Figure out collaborations with those places to bring the library to them.

Next in the spectrum is re-envisioning the library with the input of the community. We tend to get into a library echo chamber and create new programs and services based on what other libraries are doing or what we think would be appealing to the community. But that’s not the same thing as asking the community what they need the library to be. It could be through surveys, focus groups, inviting a cultural organization to the space… the possibilities are endless, and the results fruitful.

Last on that spectrum is actively participate in a robust learning ecosystem. Sound familiar? It should, and the concept is repeated here because it is so important. When we work on our own, we are limited to reaching the people we personally serve. But when we are part of a larger ecosystem, however, we not only draw on the strengths of fellow elements in the ecosystem but we draw from the people they reach as well. Maybe a person child will just never come to the library; that’s just the reality of their life. But they do go to school and out-of-school activities. So if the library is part of a learning ecosystem that includes that school and those activities–if we collaborate with them–we do reach that child in a fundamental way.

A Collaboration Workbook: 1) Install a collaboration team; 2) Find a common goal; 3) Listen to the community; 4) Generate ideas for collaborative programs; 5) Prioritize and implement programs -Heart of Brooklyn (Image by Amy Koester)

A Collaboration Workbook: 1) Install a collaboration team; 2) Find a common goal; 3) Listen to the community; 4) Generate ideas for collaborative programs; 5) Prioritize and implement programs -Heart of Brooklyn (Image by Amy Koester)

Dr. Sampson’s best suggestion for a model for collaboration comes from the Heart of Brooklyn, a cultural partnership involving the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park, and Prospect Park Zoo. Their method: Install a collaboration team whose first task is to find a common goal that al of the partners can get behind. Then listen to the community; is your goal their goal, too? From there, the partners and the community can generate ideas for collaborative programs and services–these should be in play with one another, building off one another, not simply a list of isolated programs that take place at isolated institutions. With those ideas in mind, it’s time for the collaboration team to prioritize and implement select programs. Obviously there will also need to be some evaluative piece after this implementation, but that’s a bit beyond the main takeaway of this post: collaboration.

What is holding us back is not money. The currency in short supply is collaboration and vision." -Dr. S. Sampson (Image by Amy Koester)

“What is holding us back is not money. The currency in short supply is collaboration and vision.” -Dr. S. Sampson (Image by Amy Koester)

And collaboration is vital for transformative, dynamic support of STEM learning by libraries. Yet many of the smart people at this conference indicated that, right now, collaboration–and the vision of collective impact that can inspire and support it–is in short supply. We need to recognize that libraries need not go it alone when it comes to supporting STEM. That is not to say that we shouldn’t invest in doing some STEM programing and providing relevant services ourselves; it is just to say that we can do so much more when we collaborate with others who also aim to support the STEM learning of our communities.

That vision of what we can do together is huge.

The collective impact we can have when we collaborate meaningfully is massive.

And what, after all, is our overall goal as libraries if not to support our communities in transforming their lives?

The post Collaboration for Learning: Notes from the Public Libraries & STEM Conference appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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20. Archivist Wasp

Archivist Wasp. Nicole Kornher-Stace. 2015. Big Mouth House. 268 pages. [Source: Library]

Two words describe Archivist Wasp, in my opinion, confusing and compelling. It's not often a book is equal parts confusing and compelling. Even though I found myself with more questions than answers and lingering confusion, I couldn't stop reading Archivist Wasp. Two more words to describe the book? How about post-apocalyptic and ghosts?

Our heroine is an archivist calling herself "Wasp." I'll be honest, Wasp doesn't have the best of lives, even, when she's not fighting for her life, fighting to stay the Archivist. (She's challenged every year by three Upstarts. That's how she got the job as well, by killing the previous Archivist.) Archivists have a marginally better life than Upstarts. But essentially, no one in this post-apocalyptic world has a happy, easy life. The villagers, well, they have their problems too. But at least they aren't tortured/tormented by the Catchkeep's Priest and brainwashed into a life of hate and violence.

So what does an Archivist do? She hunts ghosts, recording what she learns from each ghost, disposes of ghosts after studying, except, for when a villager wants to buy a ghost for whatever reason. It's a bleak, lonely life. And Wasp does spend a good bit of the book recovering from various injuries.

So the book is about what happens when Wasp meets an out-of-the-ordinary ghost, one that is actually able to communicate with her, one that has a tragic tale to tell and a huge request for her. This nameless ghost (he can't remember his identity, I believe) wants her help in finding another ghost, Catherine Foster. He wants them both to travel to the underworld and search the spirit-world. She agrees, and, in the process learns that life below isn't any more bleak than life above. In fact, in some ways it might even be slightly better. But the search won't be easy. And it will have its own dangers.

The book is about what she learns through this search, it will change her certainly....

Do I understand everything that happened in Archivist Wasp? Not really. The quest was really confusing in places, and, she is thrown in and out of other people's memories. She sees the past on her quest, in bits and pieces, and probably not sequential flashbacks either. She has to piece it all together. And she does a much better job than I did with that!


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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21. The Clone Army Attacketh

William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh. Ian Doescher. 2015. Quirk. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I did enjoy reading Ian Doescher's The Clone Army Attacketh. It was a pleasant-enough way to spend two evenings. I haven't enjoyed any of the adaptations nearly as much as the first book in the series--Verily, A New Hope. Perhaps because Verily A New Hope retains so many memorable lines, only slightly adjusted to come from the pen of Shakespeare. Perhaps because it was the first, the concept, the premise was so new, so novel. It was like trying a new dish for the first time and discovering that you love it. I have to confess that the second prequel movie is one of my FAVORITES. I adore this one for so many reasons. And I was hoping that the flavor of the original movie dialogue would shine through. I was a bit disappointed in that. Though probably Doescher's changes are for the better. Most of the changes focuses on Anakin and Padme, and their romance.

If you've enjoyed the previous books in the series, chances are you'll enjoy this one too.  

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. Talk it Up: Promo Power


Pixabay image
I've been thinking lately about how promotion of our services can really make a difference in the public's response to our efforts.

There are traditional methods of promotion in getting the word out: flyers, handouts, posters, press releases to the media and youth serving organizations, online newsletters, social media, email blasts and so on.

Then there is the more subtle - and I might suggest more successful - methods of simple word-of-mouth advocacy.  The information we relay while on the desk working with patrons AND wherever we see our community members - at the grocery store, place of worship, gym, bar, 5K, trail or across the fence - becomes a personal invitation that's hard to turn down.

I've seen some great examples of this over the years:

  • An early literacy librarian who inevitably found her way to each new parent she saw (whether at the library or outside in her civilian life), cooed over their baby and personally invited them to baby storytime. She always carried a business card with the days and times of our storytimes to leave with the family. Our storytimes never lacked for attendees.
  • Desk assistants who, while checking people out, always mentioned upcoming programs of interest to their various children. They relayed excitement and a hint of the fun to come. Our programs were always full of eager kids.
  • Storytime presenters who, when interest in 1000 Books initiative started to falter, promoted the program in their sessions. Sign-ups and participation perked up again.
  • Librarians attending community meetings chatting about our programs and services with tablemates and putting our literacy efforts out front for people to discover. Amazing opportunities resulted.

Like any kind of advocacy, these personal conversations and invites work best if they are ongoing and consistent. Once word-of-mouth promotion becomes a habit for staff, it's as easy as falling off a log to promote services, programs and initiatives. And the results can be amazing!






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23. Everyday Advocacy Challenge: Meet the Inaugural Cohort!

Creating a Better Future Button

Image courtesy of ALSC

Who’s ready to take the inaugural Everyday Advocacy Challenge (EAC)? Eighteen bold and daring Everyday Advocates are—and we hope you are, too!

From September 1 through October 20, our cohort of intrepid volunteers has agreed to do the following:

  • Commit to completing eight consecutive Take Action Tuesday challenges on a back-to-school theme;
  • Collaborate with their EAC cohort members over the eight-week period, sharing successes and troubleshooting issues via e-mail and online documents;
  • Write posts for the ALSC blog about their EAC experiences; and
  • Nominate colleagues to participate in the next EAC.

As the first-ever EAC gets underway today, we’d like to introduce each of our cohort members and their reasons for taking the eight-week challenge. Watch for their sure-to-inspire blog posts beginning next Tuesday, September 8!

Sue Abrahamson, Librarian and Supervisor, Waupaca (Wisc.) Area Public Library
“I want to participate in the challenge so that I take action rather than just thinking about taking action; to show my teammates how easy it is; and to recognize the benefits of telling the story of our work.”

Ashley Burkett, Library Assistant, Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library
“I want to learn, share, and make a difference!”

Natasha Forrester Campbell, Librarian
“I’d like to become a better advocate for libraries, reading, and literacy in general.”

Olga Cardenas, Librarian, Stanislaus County (Calif.) Library
“[I want to participate in the challenge] in order to grow as a professional because the challenge will force me to step out of my comfort zone. I also want to take the EAC in order to become an active member of the librarianship community; I’ve been an inactive member for almost 2 years!”

Pam Carlton, Librarian

Samantha Cote, Librarian, Winslow (Maine) Public Library
“I participated in an advocacy course, Turning the Page, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and ALA, and I loved it. Sadly, I’m not doing as much with it as I’d like. I’ve enjoyed doing the advocacy challenges so far and would love to bring my advocacy skills up to the next level.”

Africa Hands, Executive Assistant

Andi Jackson-Darling, Administrator, Supervisor and Librarian, Falmouth (Maine) Memorial Library
“I am immersed in library administration on a day-to-day level. We are working on a large expansion of our library, and I’ve realized how little I am involved with a large part of our community and our patronage—our children! Challenges are great ways to reconnect and make what is important on my radar and will make me more engaged with our community.”

Kendra Jones, Librarian, Tacoma (Wash.) Public Library
“I see Take Action Tuesdays and always say I’ll do them, but then things happen and they don’t get done. By taking this challenge, I’ll actually do them! I need to work more on advocacy professionally, and this is the perfect thing to help me build some advocacy skills. Plus, working with others makes the tasks more enjoyable and adds a level of accountability that wasn’t there before. I’m excited!”

Eileen Makoff, Librarian, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School (N.Y.)
“I am a member of the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee. Plus, I feel strongly that libraries save lives (Little Rock Public saved mine). I’ll do what I have to do protect them.”

Kelli McDaniel, Administrator, Supervisor and Librarian, Piedmont Regional (Ga.) Library System
“As a newly hired Assistant Director, I am responsible for inspiring and steering children’s services in our 10-library system. Learning to be an Everyday Advocate would help me boost the wonderful programmers in our region who are always looking for a fresh approach to serving our communities. I also look forward to working with a cohort to share best practices and hear different perspectives on our important role as librarians for children.”

Matthew John McLain, Supervisor, Salt Lake County (Utah) Public Library
“I’m the co-chair of the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee, and this looks like an awesome opportunity to get started.”

Lynda Salem-Poling, Librarian and Supervisor, El Dorado (Calif.) Neighborhood Library
“I would like to strengthen my advocacy skills and my connection to local schools. I am new to this library and see that as an opportunity to make new bonds with the community and local representatives.”

Megan Schliesman, Librarian, Cooperative Children’s Book Center (Wis.)
“[I want to participate in the challenge] first and foremost to support the Everyday Advocacy effort.”

JoAnna Schofield, Librarian, Akron-Summit County (Ohio) Public Library
“What libraries and librarians do for children and their families on a day-to-day basis is important work, and one of the best ways to showcase our value to our communities is to share our work. Many Tuesdays I eagerly open the Everyday Advocacy Take-Action activity and make plans to engage on behalf of the intentional and sometimes inspiring work happening at my library, but some weeks I simply fall short. I am excited about the Everyday Advocacy Challenge and eager to participate because it will give me that extra push I need to follow-through on advocacy challenge and connect me with other like-minded individuals to share experiences and encouragement.”

Brittany Staszak, Supervisor and Librarian
“It’s so easy to get sucked into the everyday flow of library life and habitual users where everyone knows the value of the library and its services. I strive to take my advocacy home with me and make it a part of my out-of-library life and conversations, showing all I interact with exactly what makes libraries so valuable. Being a part of the challenge would be a perfect way to kick-start a new habit of Everyday Advocacy—all day, every day.”

Mira Tanna
“I am new to ALSC and would like to get involved!”

Lise Tewes, Supervisor and Librarian, Kenton County (Ky.) Public Library
“My library and several other library systems in northern Kentucky have spent the last three years fighting a lawsuit that was filed by the Tea Party and which threatened to eliminate our tax-based funding. That would have effectively closed my library system as well as four others in our state. Fortunately, the district court ruled in favor of the library, but these last three years have opened my eyes to the need to advocate for libraries and make sure the public is aware of the tremendous return on their tax investment that public libraries provide.”


Jenna Nemec-Loise is Member Content Editor of the ALSC Everyday Advocacy Website and Electronic Newsletter. E-mail her at everyday-advocacy@hotmail.com and follow her on Twitter: @ALAJenna

The post Everyday Advocacy Challenge: Meet the Inaugural Cohort! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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24. Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott: short chapter book with big appeal (ages 6-8)

Young children who are just ready to move beyond "beginning readers" need short chapter books with big appeal. These readers, often in 2nd grade, are still developing their reading stamina. Our students are loving Owl Diaries, a new series with big kid appeal.

Eva's Treetop Festival
Eva Sees a Ghost
Owl Diaries series
by Rebecca Elliott
Scholastic, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
read an excerpt
ages 6-8
When Eva gets a diary, she is sooo excited. She is so happy to tell all about her life at school, her best friend Lucy. Eva is a cheerful little owl, who acts and talks just like a bubbly little 7 year old girl. Eva begins by introducing herself, and this helps young readers build a sense of her world. Every page has drawings and only one or two short paragraphs.
"Hello Diary, My name is Eva Wingdale."
Eva is always full of ideas and enthusiastically pursues them. In the first book, she decides that her school should have a spring festival and undertakes planning it all by herself. In the second story, she's sure that she sees a ghost but is frustrated when no one will believe her. In both stories, Eva works to build her friendships and figure things out in a satisfying way.
"My very BEST friend in the whole owliverse is Lucy Beakman."
Rebecca Elliot's charming artwork is definitely the highlight. Eva and her friends have big, expressive eyes. The colors remind me of just the sorts of clothes that so many kids pick on their own. The text is simple to read, a bit on the overly cute side, but appropriate for the audience. 

The perfect audience for this short chapter book are kids who have moved beyond Henry and Mudge, but are not quite ready for the Magic Treehouse or the Rainbow Fairy books.

Illustrations ©2015 Rebecca Elliott. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Scholastic. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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25. Write. Share. Give.

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.

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