Celebrating Teen Read Week at an Urban Independent School

I work as an independent school librarian in Brooklyn, NY. Our school serves grades PK-12 with two separate libraries. We have a PK-4 space and a space for grades 5-12. Our Non-Fiction is integrated with stickers signifying approximate age range. We have three separate fiction sections which are Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult.

As a school librarian, Teen Read Week is often blended into the background but that doesn’t mean it is not celebrated.  In October, we are just getting into the groove of being back at school, the book clubs have just begun gaining momentum and the bulletin boards are in their full display glory.

Queens Library Fetes 104-year old Patron

Sadie Rosenkrantz is like many other Queens residents: she loves to read. She visits her community library in Forest Hills regularly, at least once a week. Today, Sadie celebrated her 104th birthday at the library. Staff honored her with a bouquet, and dedicated two new books to her by a favorite author, James Patterson.

Is This the Real Life?: Graphic Novels

September brings a lot of things: cooler temperatures, pumpkin everything, the start of a new school year, Library Card Sign-up Month, and Banned Books Week, to name just a few. This year, Banned Books Week is focusing on comics and I thought I would share some contemporary, realistic graphic novels. What other recommendations do you have?

United for Libraries designates Literary Landmark for Alex Haley

PHILADELPHIA — United for Libraries, in partnership with the Tennessee Historical Commission and the staff and board of the Alex Haley Museum and & Interpretive Center in Henning, Tenn., designated the museum a Literary Landmark during a celebration on Sat., Aug .9.

More than 150 people joined the museum staff and board at the ceremony for Alex Haley (1921-1992), as well as to celebrate what would have been Haley’s 93rd birthday. The program included the unveiling of the official Literary Landmark bronze plaque; proclamations by city, county and state officials; the United States Coast Guard and Color Guard Detail; commissioners and Historic Sites Program Director Martha Akins from the Tennessee Historical Commission; music by trumpeter Joshua Campbell, and vocalist Charlotte Ammons.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Back-to-school Tips for Parents

It’s back-to-school time, and students, equipped with the necessary supplies, are ready to tackle another school year.

School supplies aren’t limited to what the student carries in their backpack. The school library furnishes ready-made “school supplies” - resources designed to maximize a child’s educational experience.

Beyond a place where students can visit to check out books, the school library is a place where students can work on their homework assignments, explore new technology, and share new thoughts and ideas. The presence of the school librarian ensures that they can gather and learn in a safe environment.

How a Virginia City Came Together to Build a New Library

Like a lot of the South’s once-segregated cities, Petersburg, Va., is beset by challenges. A quarter of adults do not have a high school diploma; a third of its high school kids don’t graduate on time; unemployment is high; jobs are scarce; and health problems like diabetes and heart disease are too common. Indeed, in a recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin, Petersburg ranked as the least healthy place to live among 131 Virginia communities.

Extremism @ the Library

Bring up the subject of extremist literature and hate propaganda, and the first mental image most people are likely to have is of waves of protesters, livid Holocaust deniers, and the ACLU defending free speech. Curating such material takes a special brand of fortitude.

Radical literature that calls for destroying the status quo and hate speech that assaults various demographic groups may well be uncomfortable to read, but study of the human condition wouldn’t be honest or complete if it didn’t take a hard, thorough look into humanity’s darker corners. On the other hand, maintaining collections for that kind of scholarship without providing free publicity to precisely the wrong element can be a tricky thing.

Four Public Libraries to Follow on Instagram

In honor of TechSoup's StoryMakers challenge kicking off in a few weeks, I wanted to help you get inspired by other libraries. Instagram is a great tool for exploring how other libraries tell their story. Yup, I'm telling you to go lurk some other libraries! Here are a few of my new follows: