May 29, 2007

"Nobody graduated from a library, Nobody graduated without one."

This holiday weekend I visited with family. My mother-in-law watches a little boy every morning before school. She told me recently the little boy brought with him a dozen books that had a school library stamp on them and the word discard. The elementary school library the books came from is one his dad works at (as custodian) NOT the one the boy attends.

My mother-in-law asked the boy how he had gotten the books, he said his dad found them in the garbage. So after a little research (my sister-in-law is a teacher at the school) I found out that the school has so many books that they weed constantly and just throw out books.

Well, as you can imagine I went on a little tirade! It was actually my turn this year, as someone has a melt-down at every family get together. I, not calmly, discussed how ridiculous this is. It reminded me of the two libraries my friends work with or at. One is in an affluent community and has so many books they don't fit on the shelf, the other library has empty shelves. So we discussed the possibility of sending books from the richer library to the less stocked one.

But even if the library can't find another school library to work with they could have done so many other things with them: donate them to a classroom, a children's hospital, a women's shelter, the public library, a daycare, WHATEVER JUST DON'T THROW THEM AWAY.

It makes me ponder the inequality of material distribution, why does one library have so much and others have so little?

The middle school library I work at is so well-used and so well-stocked because the librarian believes in books, and makes sure her kids get what they need--getting these books are not always an easy thing. However, what if the librarian can't get books--I don't believe it, there are ways to stock your library that does not involve a yearly budget allotted by school boards. Librarians who don't tap into these sources are lazy...pure and I know lazy, right now I'm using a reaching stick to move the curtain so the sun doesn't shine on the computer while I'm typing...I could get up, but...hey maybe I can get my 3 year old to do it?

Librarians need to work together.

May 16, 2007

Beware, danger ahead!

If your library is not unsafe, it probably isn't doing its job.
John Berry, III

I finally read The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron. What a joy to read. A story of a little girl trying to find some sort stability, some love to hold her up. Who doesn't relate to that? However, I bring her up to come back to the discussion of censorship. Due to the word scrotum the book has been banned from many school libraries as inappropriate for the reading level.

Now we won't go back to the complete absurdity of banning a great read because of an anatomically correct word, oh no, I won't revisit the absolute insanity of not buying an AWARD WINNING book to put on the shelves because of a WORD (which my seven year old didn't even notice, but if he had I'm sure he would have become a sexual deviant because of hearing this word, which would lead him to drugs, homelessness, and let's face it possible homicide).

I bring this up to tell you of the how librarians are the worst culprits. I am trying to start that library in my sweet little alternative school, yet who keeps telling the English teacher that it wouldn't be a good idea because the books might not be appropriate...another librarian in the district...what? You're going to tell kids who have slept in the street, endured abuse of all kinds, and seen things we only see on the Lifetime channel that a book with questionable language is bad? Ahhhh, engagement of reading? Importance of life-long reading? Who needs it?

This is comparable to the way new books are "approved" in the district. So, after all the extensive obtaining, processing, and cataloging of the new books (usually donated or begged for) they are sent to the Board for approval. So then the School Board reads reviews and/or reads the books themselves right? Ah, no they look at the cover...the title...that's it, maybe read the cover if the title is Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, board says oh no, that could possible be bad for our innocent babies, it talks of thongs for god-sake, imagine the chaos as girls go crazy running amuck in the school halls.

Can you hear my teeth grinding? The Title? should I mention that this too is an award winning book, beloved by many teenage girls, hilarious, and is continued as a series. Yeah, let's ban that book. So guess what, we put it on hold at the public library, and put it in the hands of as many readers as possible.

So that's right, we librarians are sneaky, we keep lots of sneaky stuff in our tightly wound updos, too.

May 10, 2007

The Future is Now!

Holy crap! This library breathes new life into the biz...something we desperately need now that many seem to desire their extinction.

Check out the Allen County Library in Indiana (Webjunction did a highlight, or visit the site itself). They made videos, little commercials if you will, for their programs, or grand openings, or even training, then turned them onto YouTube...genius! Free PR! They also have this amazing eRef program that is out of this world with innovation, technology, and most importantly-getting people information that they need. Chat rooms, department collaboration, etc.

I just now thought of a way to advertise for events at a library--what about a MySpace account? Students are on it so much, why not create a site, reel em in, tell about events, book lists, resource, ask questions! This needs more pondering. Did you see the lightbulb over my head just now? High on life baby!

Watch this funny video about their YA program--notice the dance revolution going on IN THE LIBRARY! Be gone quiet library! Enter fun, hub of community.

May 1, 2007

Small World

This is a photo contest winner!

Photographers take pictures using a microscope...can you imagine the incredible science lesson plans from this site!

"Nikon Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope."

Check out the link here or in the Check it Out! section