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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Library, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. The Library in My Daughter's Room

On Sunday the Easter Bunny brought my daughter a book (among other things). When asked how the Easter Bunny could have known that she liked books, she said: "He would just have to look in my room. There's about a million books in there." When her father responded that, yes, she practically had a mini library in their, she got a little gleam in her eye. Without missing a beat she told us: "When I am 10 or 8 I'm going to have a real library in my room."

Over dinner, we fleshed out the whole plan. The requirement to wait until she is 10 or 8 quickly fell by the wayside. Here are some highlights:

  • Kids will be able to borrow books Anyone checking out books now will be able to check out four books (because she is four), but by the time she is 25 they will be able to check out 25 books.
  • She will hold separate storytimes for boys and for girls (though she plans to read them the same books). 
  • We discussed sending out invitations to all of her friends to visit the library, and even made a list of which friends would receive invites. (Though we did not actually get to the point of making the invitations.)

When she proposed that we move to the middle of the country, so that it would be easier for her cousins to also visit the library, we decided that things had gotten out of hand, and we moved onto something else. But not before she declared her new "what I'm going to be when I grow up" plan. She's going to be a doctor and a librarian. When she's not busy taking care of patients, she can read books to people. 

I thought that those of you who've been following this blog might appreciate this little window into the evolving life of a Baby Bookworm. If you give a kid "about a million" books, and make time to read them, you might end up having to let her open a library one day. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon Affiliate. 

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2. On the Shelf with Librarian Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee is a teacher librarian at Willard Middle School in Berkeley, California. She has also been an English teacher, a public librarian, and a waitress, but her favorite terrible-teen job was selling snacks at Six Flags Magic Mountain. She is the mom of two boys who are also students at her school, fully integrating the work-life experience.

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3. A bookish slideshow

From ancient times to the creation of eBooks, books have a long and vast history that spans the globe. Although a book may only seem like a collection of pages with words, they are also an art form that have survived for centuries. In honor of National Library Week, we couldn’t think of a more fitting book to share than The Book: A Global History. The slideshow below highlights the fascinating evolution of the book.

In celebration of National Library Week we’re giving away 10 copies of The Book: A Global History, edited by Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H.R. Woudhuysen. Learn more and enter for a chance to win.

Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen are the authors of The Book: A Global History. Michael F. Suarez S.J. is Professor and Director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. H. R. Woudhuysen is Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford.

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4. What’s a children’s librarian to do?

JeaneD Whats a childrens librarian to do?Twice in the past week I’ve been asked to opine publicly about the future of books and libraries for children, first at the NYLA conference in White Plains and then at the investiture of Eileen Abels as the new dean of the Simmons GSLIS. I had far fewer answers than questions, which I present to you for possible mastication:

Whenever I worry about the future of publishing and, in particular, the demand for professional book reviews in an increasingly Amazoned world, I think, “well, I could always go back to being a librarian again.” I’m twenty-five years out from the Chicago Public Library but I still hold my union card in the form of an MA from Chicago’s Graduate Library School (itself gone for almost a quarter century as well).

But then I think, could I? My library school curriculum included no courses in electronic reference, never mind the web, which did not yet exist. In Don Swanson’s required computer class, we learned assembly language and how to program IBM punch cards. As a children’s librarian in the early 80s, I worked at a branch that boasted the first public-access microcomputer in a public library, the brain child of branch manager Patrick Dewey. Adults used it to access BBS networks; kids used it to play Pong-like games and use very elementary, black-and-white, educational programs. For story hours, our idea of high-tech was a filmstrip projector.

Still I tell myself that the basics of library work with children remain the same as when I was working in the 80s and in fact when Anne Carroll Moore and Alice Jordan, cheered on by the Horn Book’s Bertha Mahony Miller, were establishing children’s librarianship as a profession a century ago: Library service based in book collections and storytelling, presided over by librarians with deep knowledge of literature and methods of bringing children and books together. Last week I was at the White Plains Public Library in New York and while the place was so high-tech that I expected lasers to shoot from the ceiling, books—regular old print books—were everywhere.

How long will this remain true? As reading becomes increasingly at one with the ether, will librarians have a place? As even reader’s advisory becomes more automated and egalitarian, to whom do we give advice? If there is no physical collection of books to maintain and promote, what do our jobs become? I would like to believe that there are 21st century Alice Jordans ready to colonize and civilize the brave new digital world, and I hope that our library schools are getting these pioneers packed and ready.

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5. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events April 8-14

NIGHTINGALE'S NEST by Nikki LoftinThis week I’m excited about The Houston Writers Guild Annual Agents & Editors Conference 50 Shades Beyond Gray: Color Your Writing, Infuse Your Future. It’s going to be this Saturday in Sugar Land at the Marriott Town Center, and Nikki Loftin, the fabulous and energetic author of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy and Nightingale’s Nest, will be giving the keynote speech. There may still be time to register!

LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary D. SchmidtAnd speaking of conferences, registration is still open for the Houston Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 25th Anniversary Conference, taking place April 26-27. If you write or illustrate for young readers or have ever dreamed of doing so, register now! We will have agents from three agencies: Writers House, Jennifer DeChiara Literacy Agency , and Bradford Literary Agency, plus three editors:  Viking Books for Children, HarperCollins Children’s Books, and Charlesbridge, and the Associate Art Director at Viking Children’s Books. And the big bonus is that two-time Newbery Honor winning author Gary Schmidt will be delivering our keynote address! Register now!

Other events going on this week:

April 8, Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.LIKE CARROT JUICE ON A CUPCAKE by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Julie Sternberg,  MG Author

I did a mean thing.
A very mean thing.
I HATE that I did it.
But I did.
This is worse than carrot juice on a cupcake or a wasp on my pillow or a dress that’s too tight at the neck.

In LIKE CARROT JUICE ON A CUPCAKE, the third installment from author Julie Sternberg and illustrator Matthew Cordell (the team who created Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and Like Bug Juice on a Burger) Eleanor’s relationship with her best friend, Pearl, experiences its first growing pains. When a glamorous new student transfers to school, at first Eleanor’s excited about the possibility of a new friend. But when Pearl is assigned to be the new girl’s buddy, Eleanor fears she can’t compete. To make matters worse, Eleanor’s been chosen for the lead role in the springtime musical, which means she has to sing a solo in front of the entire school!

April 9, Wednesday, 5:00 pmSKY RAIDERS by Brandon Mull
Blue Willow Bookshop
Brandon Mull, MG Author

Brandon Mull will discuss and sign his newest novel for kids, SKY RAIDERS. Cole Randolph is just trying to have fun with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.

After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them—and ends up in The Outskirts, five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds. And once you come to the Outskirts, it’s very hard to leave.

Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet Brandon Mull for book personalization, please purchase SKY RAIDERS from Blue Willow Bookshop.

April 10, Thursday, 7:00 pmSTAY WHERE YOU ARE THEN LEAVE by John Boyne
Blue Willow Bookshop
John Boyne, MG Author

John Boyne will discuss and sign his newest novel for children, STAY WHERE YOU ARE THEN LEAVE . The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight–but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by—a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock. Alfie isn’t sure what shell shock is, but he is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place. . . .

Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet John Boyne for book personalization, please purchase STAY WHERE YOU ARE THEN LEAVE from Blue Willow Bookshop.

April 12, Saturday, 2:00-4:00 pm
Missouri City Branch Library, Missouri City, TX
Poetry Slam Competition for Young Adults

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Missouri City Branch Library will present a Poetry Slam Competition in the Meeting Room of the library. Local high school and college-age students are invited to compete in the event by reading original works they have created themselves. Prizes will be awarded. The Poetry Slam is free and open to the public. For more information, call the branch library at 281-238-2100.

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6. March Winds of Time, Books, Kids and Dogs


The boundaries shift and change as children grow with the winds of time. 

Children's stories, fables and mythology open doors to both the real world and to the world of fantasy and imagination.

Fairy tales have been retold and endured through many cultures. Aesop's fables have been part of children's literature for over 2000 years. 

This blog is dedicated to the power of story and the worlds of wonder and imagination that are the world of children's literature. And to therapy dogs, that help reluctant children banish fear of reading  

The illustration from Miyazaki's Howl's Movin g Castle



Litworld opens the doors of possibilities in life to disadvantaged youth through books, reading, mentors, and guidance.

LitWorld celebrated World Read Aloud Day on March 5.


 Lit World is bringong litereracy, books, and empowerment to underprivileged children in Ghana,India, Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru the Phillipines, Rwanda, Uganda, and the USA.

More than 793 million people are illiterate worldwide. Two thirds of these are women.


LitWorld places a special focus on young women and girls ages 10-14

"LitWorld’s strength-based model of social emotional learning fills a critical gap in education... LitClub and LitCamp curriculum cultivates core strengths that inherently exist within each child. The LitWorld 7 Strengths – Belonging, Curiosity, Kindness, Friendship, Confidence, Courage, and Hope – are ideas that are key to building resilience."

Barking Planet salutes  LITWORLD and their founder and leader Pam Allyn for their wonderful work.



Gabriel's Angels...helping heal abused children in Arizona.

Pam Gaber and her therapy dog, Gabriel, began working together in 2000 Gabriel and Pamin the Crisis Nursery, a shelter for abused children in Phoenix, Arizona. Gabriel had an immediate positive impact on frightened, withdrawn children. This was the beginning of Gabriel's Angels. During his 10 years of service as a Delta Society registered therapy dog, Gabriel visited over 5,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children.

The organization has continued to grow since that time. Gabriel's Angels GabrielsAngelsnow serves 13,00 children a year through over 115 agencies through over 150 volunteer Pet Therapy teams. Teams visit each participating agency on a consistent schedule to build trust, empathy and respect in the children.  

Here's a Link to a video that will take you into the world of abused children and the wonderful work accomplished by Gariel's Angels' therapy dog teams.


This dog is a genius...

Mr-peabody-sherman-LINCOLNHis name is Mr. Peabody and he is winning at the box office.

Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, inventor extradinary, and his adopted son, Sherman, use their time machine for extraordinary adventures...

Dreanworks has a big hit, based on a dog as a parent to a miscievous boy and their travels on the winds of time...past, present and future.


Here's a link to trailer(s) Dreamworks IMDB

Meanwhile, Frozen has earned over 396 millon dollars; and The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, has earned over 424,000,000 dollars.




Reworking the Hunger Games with a book and a movie sequel...

Here are excerpts from reviewers of the movie and the book...

 Divergent was first published in 2011 and written by the then 22 year old Veronica Roth. The book made the best-seller lists the first week it was published in 2011 and has sold over 11 million copies. Like Hunger Games, it became a trilogy. Here is an excerpt from an insightful review by Susan Dominus, in the New YorkTimes 

 "...though Roth’s “Divergent” is rich in plot and imaginative details, it suffers by BookCovercomparison with Collins’s opus. The shortcoming would not be so noticeable were there less blatant overlap between the two. Both 'Divergent' and 'The Hunger Games' feature appealing, but not conventionally pretty, young women with toughness to spare. Both start out with public sorting rituals that determine the characters’ futures. And both put the narrators in contrived, bloody battles that are in fact competitions witnessed by an audience. Even the language sounds familiar..."

Here are excerpts from incisive movie reviews by Manhola Dargis in the NY Times and Ty Burr in the Boston Globe...

DivergentTrainJump"Veronica Roth, who wrote the book “Divergent” and its two hot-selling follow-ups, tends to avoid mentioning “The Hunger Games,” but the similarities between these young-adult juggernauts are conspicuous in the extreme. “The Hunger Games” is a dystopian tale set in a postwar North America divided into 13 districts; “Divergent” is a dystopian tale set in postwar Chicago divided into
five factions. Each series pivots on a gutsy teenage heroine who fights to the death like a classic male hero..."

Here is the Link to read all of Ms Dargis review.

And here is Ty Burr's impassioned review;

Divergent” is almost good enough to make you forget what a cynical exercise it is on every possible level. The original 2011 young adult novel by Veronica Roth — reasonably engrossing, thoroughly disposable — reads exactly like what it is: an ambitious young author’s attempt to re-write “The Hunger Games” without bringing the lawyers down on her head. The folks at production company Summit Entertainment are happy to turn the book into a movie because it allows them to crank up the franchise machinery that has worked so well for “Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and the “Harry Potter” films, only without the bother of creating something fresh." Here is the Link to read all of Ty Burr's review:Globe

 Here is the link to the action filled trailer for Divergent 

Divergent sold $56 million in tickets for its first weekend...the YA market speaks!


Movies inspire mock weapons for 8-12 year old girls

Here is an excerpt from a fascinating article inthe New York Times article by Hilary Stout and 

"Heroines for young girls are rapidly changing, and the toy industry — long adept at
GIRLSTOYS-DivergentKatnisscapitalizing on gender stereotypes — is scrambling to catch up.

Toy makers have begun marketing a more aggressive line of playthings and weaponry for girls — inspired by a succession of female warrior heroes like Katniss,  the Black Widow of “The Avengers,” Merida of “Brave” and now, Tris of the book and new movie “Divergent” — even as the industry still clings to every shade of pink...

The premier of the movie “Divergent” this weekend is only adding to the marketing frenzy
GirlsToysWeaponsaround weapon-wielding girls. A Tris Barbie doll, complete with her signature three-raven tattoo, is already for sale on Amazon...

All of this is enough to make parents’ — particularly mothers’ — heads spin, even as they reach for their wallets. While the segregation of girls’ and boys’ toys in aisles divided between pink and camouflage remains an irritant, some also now wonder whether their daughters should adopt the same war games that they tolerate rather uneasily among their sons...



 Five Hundred New Fairy Tales and a "harsher dose of reality"...

The headline and the article that appeared in the Guardian proclaimed that 500 new fairy tales had been discovered in Germany... a collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth that had been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years. 

This was in March 2012. However, I was unaware of the discovery that these tales existed until I RackhamGirlTree01recently read the following in Maria Tatar's children's lierature blog, Breezes from Wonderland 

"Returning to blogging after I finish translating The EnchantedQuill, an anthology of nineteenth-century fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver Schonwerth.  Once you read these stories, you will abandon any ideas about the literary transmission of fairy tales–these are tales in the raw, not cooked to suit the tastes of the literate..."

Reading this led me to read Ms Tatar's New Yorker article entitled, Cinderfellas: The Long-Lost Fairy Tales, 

.Here are excerpts from this informative and compelling article::

 "Bavarian fairy tales going viral? Last week, theGuardian reported that five hundred unknown fairy tales, languishing for over a century in the municipal archive of Regensburg, Germany, CruikshankjackBeanstalkhave come to light. The news sent a flutter through the world of fairy-tale enthusiasts, their interest further piqued by the detail that the tales—which had been compiled in the mid-nineteenth century by an antiquarian named Franz Xaver von Schönwerth—had been kept under lock and key. How astonishing then to discover that many of those “five hundred new tales” are already in print and on the shelves at Widener Library at Harvard (where I teach literature, folklore and mythology) and at Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley.

Schönwerth—a man whom the Grimm brothers praised for his “fine ear” and accuracy as a collector—published three volumes of folk customs and legends in the mid-nineteenth century, but the books soon began gathering dust on library shelves...

Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault,..Schönwerth gives us a harsher dose of reality than most collections..."

Here is the link to read more of this fascinating and informative article: Tatar

The illustrations, from the top down, are by Warwick Goble, Arthur Rackham, and George Cruikshank.



2 Doghead 1.457 by 1.573 inchesI don't want to mislead our blog readers about non-violence in a violent world. But perhaps in our Planet Of The Dogs series they will see something of the possibilities for non-violence in the the "real" world, as the dogs, with their unconditional courage, loyalty, and cleverness overcome invaders, swords, and warriors on horses...and bring peace to the land. 


               Newgrange- where time stands still  



 Newgrange rests on a hill in Ireland.

It was in place 3000 years before Christ, a thousand years before Stonehenge, and 500 years before the pyramids.

In Ireland, it is known as a Thin Place...

Author Bonnie McKernan writes of Thin Places on her blog..."where time stands still, beauty enthralls, the bigger picture is glimpsed... 

Do you remember that stretch of road or river or mountainside you immediately felt a connection to? A place where the draw was so visceral it elicited a feeling of peace and excitement concurrently? It might have resulted from sensory delights like the sun on your face, fresh air in your lungs, a spectacular vie Cliffsof Clairew—or from a scene that stirred your imagination or recharged your faith. However this attraction defined itself, you were thoroughly transfixed, wanting to stay longer and feel more.

Early Celtic Christians once called such experiences thin places, where the veil between the natural world and spiritual realm seems especially transparent—where time stands still, beauty enthralls, the bigger picture is glimpsed… where one feels closer to an omnipresent God..."

In a future blog, I will write more of Thin Places and the myths, folklore and fairies of Ireland.

Here is a link to see a brief National Geographic video on Newgrange. 



The importance of children's books in opening the mind to the door of life ConnorUSA-Oct-Nov-2013 072and the world of imagination is beyond measure. The importance of a dog in the life of a child is also beyond measure. It was from thoughts like these that the Planet Of The Dogs Series evolved - Read Sample Chapters at: Planet Of The Dogs 



Fairy tale legends often have a timeless quality...

Boy, Snow, Bird...Snow White for Adults

Helen Oyeyemi has transformed Snow White into a critically acclaimed book for adults that deals with timeless questions, identity and mystery. Here is an excerpt from a top flight reviewer,  YVONNE ZIPP, fiction critic for the CS Monitor 

BoySnowBirdCover"Helen Oyeyemi upends the whole Snow White story, tossing out apple, dwarves, glass coffin – and replacing them with an unsettling book that casts a spell of its own...

As with her fairy tale counterpart, Boy Novak (a young woman) is fond of her own reflection.“Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy,” says Boy, who would gaze into them, kissing her reflection or setting two mirrors opposite one another to create an endless series of reflections.

Her daughter and stepdaughter have the opposite problem: Sometimes their reflection doesn’t show up at all.

All three women learn the ways that mirrors can lie during the course of the story, most of which is set in the 1950s in a fictional Massachusetts town called Flax Hill. The novel hinges on several plot revelations, which I am not going to spoil. This is one book where I would recommend you not read anything in advance, even the back cover: Just go buy it."

                 Illustration for the Grimm's Snow White by Walter Crane. 


"Someday you will be old enough to read fairy tales again."- C.S. Lewis



Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs...You can write us at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series.

Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by clicking here:Sample Chapters  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's, the Book Depository and... 

Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.


"As a parent and a teacher, therefore, I argue for the continuance of books in an age Kids on booksmarked by visual technology. There remains nothing like the feel of a book in the hand, nothing like the security offered by a book in the bed ( an experience recorded in the West from at least the twelth century)...If there is a future to children's literature, it must lie in the artifacts of writing and the place of reading in the home. To understandthe history of children's literature is to understand the history of all forms of literary experience."-

Seth Lerer writing in "Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter".



National Puppy Day was March 23..."a day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. It’s also a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills, as well as further the mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores. While National Puppy Day supports responsible breeders, it does encourage prospective families to consider adoption as a first choice"...To read more, visit the site of Colleen Paige, who founded National Puppy Day nine years ago. 


 Circling the Waggins 

CtWHave you ever wondered what sort of chaos ensues in a home full of rescue pets? Author C.A. Wulff  lets readers experience the surprises, the laughter, and the wonder of it all in her book “Circling the Waggins; How 5 Misfit Pets Saved Me from Bewilderness”, a personal account of just such a household.Wulff’s pack of dogs, cats and mice all have unique personalities, some of them intriguing, nearly all of them challenging – even for a veteran of rescue! Circling the Waggins examines the bonds we create with pets, no matter how big or small, and how our pets affect and enrich our lives.
Wulff’s honest story recounts the ups and downs of letting furry family members into our hearts. Circling the Waggins is available in print and for kindle.
"Imagine having a mother who worries that you read too much. The question is, what is it that's supposed to happen to people who read too much? How can you tell when someone's crossed the line." ” 
Helen Oyemeni, Boy, Snow, Bird

Podcasting at the Children's Literary Salon

NYPLlogoThe New York Public Library annouces their  next Children's Literary Salon to be held on Saturday, April 19th at 2:00 p.m.: The Topic is Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs

These fascinating discussions are lively, informative and free...This event will take place in the Stephen A. Schwarzman building (the main branch of New York Public Library) in the South Court Auditorium. 

For any questions and comments please contact Elizabeth Bird at elizabethbird@bookops.org.
Here's another excellent article for dog lovers at Way Cool Dogs...
 Six Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Dog From A Pound 

You should adopt from a dog pound — whether it is a nearby dog shelter or your local pound — CITM-Raku and the girl-blog sizeas it is one of the best ways to acquire a new and loyal companion. Unfortunately, many people opt to purchase their dog from breeders or pet stores, which often get their dogs from puppy mills and other unlicensed breeders.

Many dogs in a dog pound remain homeless and are often put down due to overcrowding. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, consider the following reasons for adopting a mixed breed from a dog shelter or dog pound:

Mixed breeds are healthier dogs

Mixed breeds are, in general, far healthier and longer lived than purebred dogs. Many purebred dogs are prone to diseases caused by genetic vulnerabilities which have been aggravated through centuries of  inbreeding. A mixed breed is far less...   Read about all six reasons at this link: WCD

The illustration is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty from Castle In The Mist


Listen to the Wind in the Willows -- free 

WindInTheWillows1Thanks to the BBC, an audio version of Kenneth Grahame's  The Wind in the Willows  is available to all -- at no charge.  This link also offers several other free recordings of enduring children's stories.

The classic story of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger is told in 10 episodes and read by Bernard Cribbins. The reading is delightful, very British, and accompanied by music and sound efects. Lesson plans and discussion ideas for educators, home schoolers, and librarians accompany the audio readings.


Bringing the World of Reading to Kids


Two hard working women believers in the canine conection organized and continue to guide Nor'wester Readers. Wendi Huttner, a mom and a breeder/ trainer of Labradors, and Deborah Glessner, dog lover and retired librarian. A grass roots, hands on organization, Nor'wester is a vital part of their Pennasylvania community in bringing the world of reading to kids.


Here are some of the Nor'wester Canine Book Buddies, volunteer therapy reading dog teams participating in the Northampton Township Library program. "Several Nor'wester Readers teams volunteered at the Expressions Day Camp, a camp for boys and girls (age 4-18) with high functioning autism, Asperger's Syndrome, non-verbal learning disabilities, and other types of social challenges. 


BookDepositorylogoComThe Book Depository

Free Worldwide Shipping of the Planet Of The Dogs Series 

Free Worldwide Delivery
The Book Depository (Guernsey) is an international bookseller shipping our books free of charge, worldwide, to over 100 countries. By working with various world postal authorities and other carriers, we are always looking to add more countries to this list.

All books available to All: Currently, The Book Depository is able to ship over nine million unique titles, within 48 hours, from our fulfilment centre in Gloucester, United Kingdom. This figure is increasing every day. Apart from publishers, distributors and wholesalers, we even list and supply books from other retailers.


 “There is no psychology in a fairy tale. The characters have little interior life; their motives are clear and obvious.” Phillip Pullman in his Introduction to Fairy Tales from the Brother's Grimmm  


What should you do,  what can you do, if you see an injured dog or one Sunbearsquad-logoin distress?

For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket  Posters,  Informative and practical guidance...Visit SunBear Squad


"A man may smile and bid you hail

Yet wish you to the devil;

But when a good dog wags his tail,

You know he's on the level>"

Author unknown














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7. More grants for early reading programs

As I mentioned yesterday, Target offers grant money to schools and organizations who need help with an early reading program. An early reading program might entail hiring a children’s book author/illustrator to present to students (he said rather shamelessly).

Dollar General also has a grant program for early literacy/youth development—as does Barbara Bush, Verizon, Scripps-Howard, and Clorox.

Here is a round-up of foundations who offer grant money for summer reading programs. Here are awards & grants available from the International Reading Association.

If you would like a detailed description of my presentations to help you apply for these grants, be sure to give me a yell!

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8. Free Professional Writers Series with Julie Daines!

Pleasant Grove City Library presents: 2014 Professional Writers Series

Come meet local authors from a variety of genres. These authors will share their views on the creative process. Discover what makes a storyline, how to write historical fiction and what drives writers. You could come away from this exceptional series with a new sense of purpose and direction, not to mention ideas that should spark your imagination for days to come.

Mark your calendars for all these free presentations now! Each presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be on the lowest level of the library. There will be a Q&A after each session.

Julie Daines - "First Chapter Perfection: Learn the Elements Necessary to Make your First Chapter Shine"

Thursday, March 20, 7:00 p.m.

Julie Daines was born in Massachusetts and raised in Utah. She spent eighteen months living in London, where she studied and fell in love with English literature, sticky toffee pudding, and the mysterious guy who ran the kebab store around the corner.

She loves reading, writing, and watching movies—anything that transports her to another world. She picks Captain Wentworth over Mr. Darcy, firmly believes in second breakfast, and never leaves home without her vervain.

She is the author of A Blind Eye (published February 2013), and has won several awards for her writing.

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9. Beware the Ides of March and unrelated--Marguerite Henry

Can't pass this day without thinking about Rome and Julius Caesar. Greek Mythology  and Roman lore are two of the staples of my Intro to Humanities Class at South Central College.

On a different note, Nikki and I took Alec to the Greenville Library yesterday. There is a terrific children's wing. We perused books, picked a bagful for Alec, and I came across this nostalgic section:

When I was in grade school, I read every book I could find that Marguerite Henry wrote.  My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, made us tell the class what we wanted to be when we grew up (Smile), and who would to teach us how to do it. I said I wanted to be a writer, and I wanted to learn from Marguerite Henry.

I got to hear Marguerite Henry read once at the University of Minnesota--she was the very first published writer I ever saw do a public reading--but I was too shy (believe it or not) to go  up and tell her she was my idol. I wish I could still tell her. Instead, I'll try to do her legacy justice.

Thank you, Marguerite Henry, for all your wonderful stories.

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10. I Didn’t Make This Up

This has ben a day of I-couldn’t-make-that-up-if-I-tried. The star of awesome from work today went something like this.

A young woman walked up to the circulation desk and asked, “Is this a library?”

I looked at her a moment before answering because I thought she might be joking but she was completely serious. “Yes,” I replied.

“A law library?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“So, um you like have law books and stuff here?”

“Yes,” I managed with a straight face, “is there something in particular you are looking for?”

The poor woman was completely clueless about what she needed and I wanted to help her but we crashed and burned spectacularly. I asked a research librarian if she could help out and she had as much trouble as I did and we sent the woman away with information that may or may not have been useful for her. When I told the librarian how the interaction had begun she gawped at me, “You’re making that up!” Nope, couldn’t have made that up.

Now, this evening is the at home version and capstone event. I was doing some preliminary searching on the Mysteries of Udolpho because nature plays such a huge role in the novel I wanted to see if I could find anything on the role of nature in gothic novels. I looked at Wikipedia’s Gothic Fiction page for clues, not expecting any but sometimes I am surprised. And I was surprised but not by nature and gothic fiction but by this (click on image if you need it bigger):


See, I had to take a screen shot because some Wikipedia editor is going to come along and fix it eventually and I needed proof that I did not make it up! I know someone is just screwing around, but oh, did it give me an extra good giggle because it is that kind of day. A wicked side of me hopes some undiscriminating student writing a paper comes along and adds that bit into her essay.

Now I can’t follow any of that up with even a half serious chat about how I am getting on in Mysteries of Udolpho so I will just have to leave it at that today and maybe try again tomorrow.

Filed under: Books, Gothic/Horror/Thriller, Library

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11. Library Circulation Desks Take On New Look

The circulation desk as we know it is changing. In my district as we renovate our elementary libraries I have reduced the height of the circulation desk countertop to better accommodate our younger students and self-check. I constantly look at self-check kiosks for both elementary and secondary levels but have yet to purchase a free-standing one.

If you follow this blog you know we just opened our first STEAM Academy with a library commons of less square footage than a traditional campus library. I had a smaller footprint circulation desk custom-made and today it arrived. Ah, it is the right size, shape, and texture for that campus. The students will mostly self-check with a laptop we leave on top along with a scanner. We aren’t taking up valuable landscape with a huge circulation desk and it accomplishes its intent…get books in the hands of our students. What do you think?CircDesk2 CircDesk1

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12. Why go to ALA conventions?

Over on Turbo Monkey Tales this week I look at what I got out of attending the American Library Association's summer convention the last couple of years.



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13. Academy High School and Library Commons

Our new Academy high school had their Open House tonight with an energized crowd. We have opened this campus with a Library Commons and no librarian but it seems set to be the focal point of the Academy due to its location and inviting presence.

Listening to the parents and students it was obvious they were awed by the uniqueness yet familiarity of the space. There are still physical books along with the normal eBook components and soft seating is suited to the needs of our students. As parents and students wandered in and out of the library I loved hearing one parent say to her children, “Oh, they have books and we still have the ability to sit and read!”

Everyone was excited and positive as they toured this district’s newest educational endeavor. We aren’t sure if this campus will have a librarian (all teachers are at least dual certified) next year as the enrollment grows, but in the meantime we will support it and the needs of our students.

AcademyNonFiction FictionSoftSeating AcademySoftSeating AcademyConferenceRooms

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You know how avid book lovers--the ones who prefer ink and paper over the technophiles' odorless e-books--can't live without pages filling their senses with the familiar musk of mass produced, spinally bound papyrus? Well, if you're one of those people, you'll appreciate this video created at the Seattle Public Library. Listen to the entrancing sounds of over 2,000 books--hardcovers and paperbacks--smacking into one another incessantly. It's too bad videos don't emit smells. Get on that, Google.

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15. Makerspace in the Library

My district has been all over Participatory Learning for several years now and when I first saw Makerspaces I thought, oh, yes, perfect. Our libraries already have a rudimentary beginning for this and what’s not to like about a DIY space?

“Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a Makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables: making.” From Makerspace Playbook

Makerspace as in create, build, design bring to life an idea. Not digital 21st or web 3.0 tools, but real tools like my dad had in his workroom.

Not sure what to do or how to start? Download the Makerspace Playbook and get started!

Maker Space PlaybookWith our new STEAM Academy, makerspace-like areas will be the norm, but why can’t an area in our libraries become a niche space for collaborative hands-on projects?  We need places where the 8 or 18-year-old student can teach not only classmates but also the teacher.

This is a pivotal time for our libraries to stand up and reshape the old notions of what can or cannot be done while in the library. I say, bring on the tools…my dad would be proud!

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16. IF "Whisper"

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17. A Defining A New Character


“Welcome to the studio, Dahlia!  I am so glad to meet you!  Your entrance made me smile! Now let’s get down to business!  Tell me about yourself? “.

When I create a new character I have to find out who they really are and what makes them tick! Will they be loud and boisterous?  Will they be shy and hold back? Will  they run to meet the world or hide behind trees and bushes?  It’s great fun to imagine!

Since Dahlia is new, let’s walk this process together. Let’s get a good look at her and ask ourselves some questions.


Here she is, in her great BIGness.  As you can see, Dahlia is running!  That gives us our first clue. She is ready to meet the world!

(Another little tidbit you can use when creating a character.  It is a link to writing a character profile. I can get your wheels turning!)


In order to decide WHO Dahlia is, I  look into her face. Her eyes are not like our eyes, but expression and body language are quite helpful.

Dahlia is running.  Dahlia is laughing.  Dalia is carrying a flower. Dahlia is practically leaping off the ground!  I can almost hear the ground shaking!  So, she is a “ground shaking” happy elephant.

But wait!  She has no tusks!  That tells me she is a baby elephant. My imagination is taking off now!  Dahlia tromps!  … but no…  I found out that tromp is not a word… (hmmm…it seemed so fitting).  So, Dahlia thumps, stomps, tramples and plows through!  Thank you dictionary.com!  Love all those words!

Looking again at this picture, I see that Dahlia is also clumsy.  She trips, stumbles, tumbles, plunges, sprawls and topples. Even so, she is not bothered by falls.  She simply rolls over and gets back up to her feet laughing!  “What great fun!” she gigglies, “Let’s do it again!”

This tells me that Dahlia does not take herself too seriously. She is playful,  but is she smart?

More of her qualities may surface once the other characters in her story emerge.   Bring on the monkeys!

Filed under: My Characters

5 Comments on A Defining A New Character, last added: 2/19/2013
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18. Newbery 2013

Yesterday morning the American Library Association announced the Youth Media Awards for 2013.


I posted on Facebook that the Youth Media Awards equals Christmas for librarians. At least, it is like Christmas for this librarian.

This year, I was excited to introduce Juniper to the special event.

She was pretty riveted.

First Newbery

First Newbery


The Newbery committee chose three Honor books, which are as follows:

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz


Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and Glooms

I actually thought this one was going to take the gold, but I am extremely happy it received an honor. This book is creepy and original with vivid characters, setting, and drama. It is rather long but so worth the time. As you can see from the cover, Ms. Schlitz is already a Newbery winner. She wrote, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, which won the 2008 medal.

Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinken



I am not the greatest at finishing non fiction. I try, I do, but I do not always succeed. I started this one, and really, really enjoyed it, but did not finish it. I think I am going to have to give it a second go. Can you guess what bomb it is about? Really fascinating stuff.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Three Times Lucky

Three Times Lucky

I really enjoyed this book. It is a quirky mystery, which, in my opinion, there is not enough of in the world…at least for a middle grade audience. I am glad this one made the honor list because it is fun, light-hearted and definitely a book I think kids will pick up and read.

And the gold goes to….

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan


Okay, so I am REALLY embarrassed by what I am about to admit to you…

I did not read this one.

My book club did, but when I saw it on the list for discussion and then saw the cover… I decided not to read it.


Oh, judgmental soul!

I am sufficiently chagrined by my book cover snobbery, and I am currently number 8 of 50 holds at the library.

I’ll let you know what I think once I have read it.

In the meantime, what are you reading these days? What do you think of the Newbery choices this year? Was your favorite chosen?


Coming up: Bran muffin recipe of amazingness!



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19. Library Loot

Another haul from our local library. I only wish I could have grabbed more today. The crawler was doing laps of chaos and her older brother was cheering her on. I'm excited about the board game in the top left corner. Peaceable Kingdom makes such lovely products. We'll be playing lots of this one in the next week!

1 Comments on Library Loot, last added: 7/27/2012
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20. On the Shelf with Librarian April Hayley

Librarian Spotlight #1

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 17, 2012

April Hayley, MLIS

To kick off TCBR’s new column “On the Shelf,” which shines a spotlight on brilliant children’s librarians, April Hayley, MLIS, graciously  talked to us about becoming a librarian— among other great topics. Do you think you can guess which is the most checked out children’s book at San Anslemo Public Library in California? Read on!

Bianca Schulze: Why did you choose to become a librarian?

April Hayley: I was fortunate enough to discover the magic of reading at a young age, probably before I was out of the cradle. My mother, a librarian, read me stories and sang to me every night before bed and my father made up fairy tales for me. I didn’t discover my calling as a librarian until college one summer, working for the Chicago Public Library (my hometown). My job was to provide library services to children in some of the city’s most neglected and poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Instead of working inside the library, I brought books and literacy activities directly to the young people who needed it most. I visited three playgrounds a day, equipped only with a trunk full of picture books and a quilt to sit on. Once the kids figured out why I was coming around, they always ran over to join me, so eager to read stories, sing songs, and learn something new.Reading opened up new worlds for the kids I met. I could see it as they linked their eyes with mine, and for me that was a powerful, life-changing experience.

Most of the precious children I met that summer had never been exposed to the pleasures of reading, and none of them had ever visited a public library. When I witnessed the joy and curiosity that reading sparked in them, I understood the transformative effect of reading on young minds and I knew I wanted to be a Children’s Librarian. Once I entered graduate school to earn my Masters in Library Science, I had the opportunity to intern in the Children’s Room of the beautiful Mill Valley Library, and I knew I was on the right path; delivering traditional library services within the walls of a suburban public library could be just as fun and rewarding as literacy outreach in the inner city.

BS: Librarians are the ultimate evangelists for reading. How do you encourage students and children to read?

AH: Now that I work at the San Anselmo Library, I am lucky that many of the kids I meet already love to read. There is a culture of reading in San Anselmo that simply does not exist in places whose inhabitants must spend their time dealing with the dispiriting effects of poverty. Of course, I do a lot of work to promote reading for the children, babies, caregivers, and teenagers of our community. I lead several weekly storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers, which are designed to nourish a love of reading that will last a lifetime. It’s important to reach out to new parents and their babies as early as possible to show them how fun reading, sharing nursery rhymes, learning fingerplays, and singing can be. I also lead a book discussion group for elementary school students called the Bookworms, and a poetry club for yo

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21. Camden Library Book Festival

Camden Public Library, Maine must be right up there in the list of prettiest locations for a library. And last week I was lucky enough to be part of the line up of authors and illustrators for the 7th Annual Children's Book Festival .... it was a fun day, and I think the pics say it all! I love doing Book Festivals!



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22. Interview: Megan Frazer Blakemore

A few weeks after I redesigned her website, I conducted a Q&A with Megan Frazer. Megan, like me and Mindy Kaling, is a fan of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Megan is also a writer, a mother, and a librarian, among other things. Find out more about her books and her busy schedule in the interview below!

Do you have any sort of writing routine?

As a mother of two with a full-time job, finding a routine is hands down the hardest part of my writing life. In the summer, I write when my kids are napping. In the school year, I'm still working on finding a good schedule, but it tends to be after my kids go to bed. I try to write for at least 30 minutes a day. I don't really focus on words or pages as a goal, though I do usually check how much I've accomplished. I have an office, but often find myself writing at the kitchen table, especially since we've bought a fixer-upper and my office has not yet been fixed up. My husband is working on the electricity and right now there isn't any in my office.

You got the idea for your novel Secrets of Truth & Beauty while watching the movie Little Miss Sunshine. Do you think Dara and Olive would get along?

I'd like to say yes, but I wonder if Olive would think Dara too serious and if Dara might find Olive a little kooky. I think Grandpa Edwin Hooper would love it on the farm.

How long did it take you to write the first draft, and subsequently to sell it?

Secrets happened really quickly. I can't remember how long the first draft took, but I had a draft ready for agents in nine months or so. Then, once I got my agent, Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, she was able to sell it quite quickly, within a couple of months, I think. This was back in late 2007, which might as well have been a different era. The Water Castle was a much longer process. I don't remember exactly how long it took. We did a revision for Mary Kate Castellani at Walker who ended up buying it.

What inspired your novel The Water Castle?

The Author's Note of The Water Castle is all about the inspiration for the story. It was inspired largely by places I lived and visited, from an old stone house much like the house in the book to the Poland Springs bottling plant. I went a lot different directions before the right story for the places came to me. I thought I might write about teens with special powers, but got too bogged down. Eventually, from the core elements of the castle-like house, a house full of books, and strange happenings in a small town, the story emerged.

What's your target audience for this story?

The Water Castle is for a younger audience than Secrets of Truth & Beauty, probably ages eight to twelve or so.

Tell me about your current work-in-progress.

I just finished a rewrite on another MG novel, a mystery set in the 1950s wherein a girl becomes convinced there's a Communist spy working for her parents.

What do you think your books have in common? Do they feature different aspects of your writing, and of yourself?

I think all of my books deal with revelations, uncovering things that are hidden, especially within families. I also am interested in the play between the past and present. This is really tricky when writing for kids and teens because the characters lives are so short. So, I often find myself looking at multiple generations.

Do you find it difficult to name your characters? Have you ever named a character after someone you know personally?

I do find it very difficult to name my characters. I use baby books and the Social Security names database. I actually try to avoid naming characters after people I know, which is hard when you work in a school and so many kids pass through your life.

You have a master's degree in library science and now work as a librarian at a school. Tell me about the path that led you to your library.

I started off working in television, but quickly realized it wasn't for me. I decided to move to Boston with a friend, but she needed a couple of months longer than I did to be ready to move, so I went back home and was substitute teaching. One day I was assigned to the library. I'd like to say it was an "A-ha!" moment, but really it was more of "Duh!" moment. All my life I'd done service projects and worked on literacy. Working in a library was a natural outgrowth of that, but it hadn't occurred to me until that moment. Fortunately, Boston is home to Simmons GSLIS, a fantastic library school. My education there was fantastic, though very theoretical. I was lucky to also have a part time job as a children's librarian. When I graduated, I took a position at an amazing independent high school, The Commonwealth School. I would probably still be there if my husband and I hadn't decided to move to Maine. After four years at a public high school, I am now at an independent school serving as their middle school librarian.

Happy new school year to you! What kind of programs have you been involved with that the kids really enjoyed?

I'm very proud of the coffeehouses we held in the public school where I worked. I believe that libraries should be as much about students sharing their skills and knowledge as they are places where information is retrieved, if not more so. Giving kids a creative outlet to express themselves made me very happy. I also try to use the connections I've made as a writer to get kids in touch with their favorite authors.

What are your ten favorite books of all time?


Visit Megan's official website.

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23. Batgirl works at the library

The original version of Batgirl was a librarian. You didn’t know this but many librarians do. Even the American Library Association does, as evidenced by this bookmark and poster:

I couldn’t find larger resolutions of them whole, but here’s a larger shot of just the art:

Thanks to Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, I have now met two real-life Batgirl librarians.

The first is Angela Smith, lower school librarian at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC. She didn’t me to tell her who Batgirl really is, but I did suggest (when I spoke at Sidwell on 9/21/12) that she dress as Batgirl for Halloween. She was game:


The second is Jess Stork, librarian in the Washington DC system, who set the bar high for future bat-themed events. On 9/13/12, she hosted me for an evening presentation at the Palisades Neighborhood Library, and it was instantly obvious how committed she is:

Yes, those Oreos are bat-configured. (Not bat-flavored, however.)

She is not only a librarian but also an engineering genius. She rigged a laser obstacle course; kids had to reach through to get a book without getting zapped:

Speaking of zapped, a highlight of the evening was a comment from a girl who was about 10 years old: “If Bob Kane was alive, he’d be really mad at you.”

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24. Victricia Malicia, Book-Loving Buccaneer by Carrie Clickard

…………………… Victricia Malicia: Book-Loving Buccaneer Carrie Clickard, author Mark Meyers, illustrator 4 Stars ………….. Inside Front Jacket:  Victricia Malicia Barrett may have been born on a pirate ship and raised in all the best pirate ways, but she sure is a wreck on deck. Her knots slip, she falls from the rigging, and rats abandon [...]

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25. The Physical Arrangement of Books

After trolling the notes from Piper’s Book Was There and adding a number of books to my TBR list, I also got ahold of an article, “Falling Asleep over the History of the Book” by Seth Lerer (PMLA, Vol. 121, No. 1, Jan 2006, p 229-234) thinking it was about reading in bed. Reading in bed is mentioned at the very end of the article but nothing especially interesting or important is said about it. The article is really just an introduction to a special issue of PMLA on the history of the book. Talk about disappointing.

There were a couple interesting thoughts/ideas/questions in the piece though like this on the literary canon:

Books are objects, though, and canonization is as much a process of selecting space as of selecting value. How can we fit the range of literature on the shelf? The physical, artifactual nature of the book has made the canonizing of the literary work into an act of space management. I think it is worth pausing over this suggestion to provide another lens for […] thinking about the past and future of the book.

Can I just say that librarianship has been, and is, all over the space management thing? And not just for literature but for all other disciplines too. Lerer does go on to mention libraries but but not so much in relation to what he said above. He discusses libraries in terms of cataloging and points out the Cambridge University Library organizes books in part by size, the Marzian Library in Venice by date of acquisition, and Robert Cotton, a 17th c book collector organized his books by ancient emperors. Lerer wonders briefly how we arrange our books affects not only the way we see and find them as objects, but the way we read them and view literature in general. It’s a much better thing to wonder about than how shelf space affects canonization.

I read many years ago about a famous library in Europe that was once the personal library of, I believe, an author. He had his shelves and shelves of books organized by association and sometimes how the book was related to its neighbor wasn’t clear until you read the book. The last book on the last shelf supposedly referred back to the first book on the first shelf. How I wish I could remember more about this library because it was really fascinating. Maybe someone out there knows about it?

Anyway, I can see how shelving books like in the unknown library can affect how we see and read each book. But I doubt many people shelve their books like that. Think about the way you shelve your books. Mine are alphabetical more or less and broken out into different categories — fiction and nonfiction, poetry, classic fiction, books about books, reference books, etc. Then the TBR books are pretty much a wild jumble. My system helps me find my books when I want them, most of the time, but how does it affect the way I see literature? It’s a rather conventional system, does that mean I have a conventional idea of reading and literature’s possibilities? Or does it simply reflect that I value being able to easily locate my books over what a more creative arrangement might impart? Or maybe it is all bunk and means absolutely nothing.

I just don’t know. While I acknowledge a creative arrangement might provide extra bookish insight, I don’t want to be relegated to the conventional and uncreative heap because of the way I shelve my books. Therefore I’m leaning toward it not making that much difference how books are organized in my personal library.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Filed under: Books, Library

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