Since migrating to WordPress from Blogger last week, I have been working my way backwards fixing formatting issues and bad links to internal content. While WordPress makes the process pretty easy, it is still time a consuming task. Please bear with me during this transition process.
Two weeks ago, I met my dear friend, Amy, in beautiful downtown Grand Haven for a library tour!
We started our afternoon with a delicious lunch at Lucy’s Market and Deli. I’ll definitely go back and you can see why:
Afterwards, we headed to the gorgeous Loutit District Library for a complete behind-the-scenes tour with Library Director, John Martin.
- Class Size: 5 (serves a population 26,000 – 49,999)
- A library that is a class 5 requires that the director have a Level 1 certificate (MLIS degree + four years of full-time employment post-MLIS) and at least one Level 3 staff member (Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university + beginning workshop) for every 20,000 people living in the library’s area
- According to the 2012-2013 State Aid Report, Loutit serves 35,540
- Loutit is quite a bit larger than the libraries in the Thumb area which typically range from Class 1 – 3
- I currently work at a Class 3 library, which serves a population of 7,000 – 11,999, with an actual population of 11,833
- Loutit is quite a bit larger than the libraries in the Thumb area which typically range from Class 1 – 3
- The library’s service area is comprised of roughly 83 square miles
- The library occupies 49,723 square feet and has a collection of 131,771 (includes digital content such as ebooks and databases)
- Loutit has two library millages – one of which was voted in perpetuity
- Operating income (local + state + federal): $2,408,429
Notes From My Visit:
- Lots of parking – all of which was free (including a covered parking structure)
- The main lobby area occasionally plays hosts to concerts
- Loutit Library hosts children’s art for the community’s ArtWalk (similar to ArtPrize in Grand Rapids)
- Loutit is participating in the Geek the Library campaign
- The library’s lower level features ample seating for working on group projects, vending machines (beverages are allowed in the library), and two meeting rooms
- Flat screens mounted on the wall loop through a series of informational slides about upcoming library events
- In the near future, the library will begin intershelving its paperback collection which will free up floor space
- Grand Haven has a bus system – Harbor Transit. There is even a phone with a direct line to the bus company in the foyer
- Loutit has a self-check out kiosk
- The library also has a self-service holds pick-up for patrons – books are wrapped in white paper for privacy purposes
- The children’s area has reference copies of Newbery and Caldecott books for projects
- Board games are available for kids to play
- Via a Great Start grant project, the library has a number of backpacks in circulation which are filled with theme-based books and activities
- Very popular items and are hardly available during the summer months
- At the end of the semester, the youth programming room is turned into a study hall for kids
- Loutit Library houses a collection of materials for Ottawa County’s literary group, R.E.A.D – Reading Enables Adult Development
- The library has a local history and genealogy room which has 6 computers just for genealogical research
- Lockers are available for patrons – no food or bags permitted
Thank you to John Martin and the fabulous staff at LDL
for their time and hospitality!
To view more pictures from my tour, please visit my
Loutit District Library album on Flickr.
The month of February has been pretty eventful thus far….
At the beginning of the month, I visited John King Books on Lafayette Boulevard with fellow librarian and friend, Jeanette.
It was my very first visit. A pilgrimage of sorts. I bought a few books — one of which The Fight for America by Joseph McCarthy which is a fabulous addition to my intellectual freedom collection.
My last post focused on the need for multicultural literature — February is African American history month. As you can surmise, this month’s YA display features African American literature and historical materials. I created this graphic:
Here are some various pictures from work:
|While working on weeding the YA collection, I discovered
this awesome note inside Or Give Me Death by Ann Rinaldi
when checking its circulation
|My doll, Verity, joins the staff at CADL|
On Monday, I toured Loutit District Library in Grand Haven, Michigan. I’ll be uploading pictures and some notes from my visit in the near future.
Working on December’s YA display, Walk A While in Their Shoes, helped to revive one of my favorite discussions in library school (besides censorship and intellectual freedom chats) which centered on the notion of literature as providing the means of being mirrors and/or windows. What does that mean?
In the 1990 essay titled Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors by Rudine Sims Bishop (which was shared with me during library school and more recently cited in a Bitchmedia article), Bishop expounds:
Children from dominant social groups have always found their mirrors in books, but they, too, have suffered from the lack of availability of books about others. They need the books as windows onto reality, not just on imaginary worlds. They need books that will help them understand the multicultural nature of the world they live in, and their place as a member of just one group, as well as their connections to all other humans. In this country, where racism is still one of the major unresolved social problems, books may be one of the few places where children who are socially isolated and insulated from the larger world may meet people unlike themselves. If they see only reflections of themselves, they will grow up with an exaggerated sense of their own importance and value in the world — a dangerous ethnocentrism.
In the article, Black Girls Hunger for Heroes, Too: A Black Feminist Conversation on Fantasy Fiction for Teens, authors Zetta Elliott and Ibi Zoboi discuss their experiences and thoughts about literature — I’ll share a few excerpts that resonated with me:
ELLIOTT: Do you remember reading books as a child that served as a mirror for you?
ZOBOI: Not at all. I remember having to read the Chronicles of Narnia. I went to a Catholic school in Bushwick, Brooklyn and Sister Ann was reading it to us and we were bored to death. It was all Black and Latino kids in the class. The nuns for the most part were Irish. I remember Sister Ann loved the book and we were like, “YAWN.” I was that kid who did not read because I just didn’t care about the characters.
ELLIOTT: I recently met a Black teenager who told me she didn’t like to read. And I said, “But there are so many great books out there and many of them are being made into movies. Did you see The Hunger Games?” And she had. After we parted ways I thought to myself, “What do Black girls do when they’re watching The Hunger Games? Do they identify with Katniss more than Rue?” I thought of Jacqueline Bobo and her work on Black women as cultural readers. So many of us walk into the theater knowing that Hollywood is going to screw us over. And so we’re already prepared to navigate around stereotypes and extract meaning from the film. I was listening to the lively commentary during the film and it was clear the Black women and girls were engaged with the movie. I thought, “They’re finding a way to enjoy this experience even if there are no Black girls on the screen.”
ELLIOTT: I noticed in the previews that came on before Catching Fire that there are so many YA novels being turned into films—including Divergent. And so you have predominantly young white women being featured in these books that are then being adapted into films—
ZOBOI: And garnering a much larger audience. That’s the subject of my MFA thesis. If you’re going to create an atypical hero—she’s a girl, she’s not as pretty, or maybe she’s clumsy—you’re going to raise her to the rank of hero and let her save the day. Why not go deeper and get that girl who’s really at the bottom of the pile? Around the world, girls of color are the most marginalized group. So if you’re going to write a story about the marginalized, why not reach down and pick the darkest girl?
ELLIOTT: That brings me back to Rudine Sims Bishop and how she said the lack of diversity in children’s literature is also harmful to white children because they grow up thinking they’re the center of the universe. And that then makes it very hard for them to communicate cross-culturally because they haven’t had to learn how. So what are your fears and your hopes for your daughters specifically in terms of finding heroes in literature and film?
ZOBOI: I have more hope than fear at this point. I’m teaching my daughters in an indirect way to think critically about everything they’re consuming. If they’re watching TV, I ask, “Where are the brown girls?” To them it seems like there’s more diversity because of what I intentionally put in place around them. They don’t see a dearth because on our bookshelf there is abundance of books that feature girls and boys of color. In terms of what we can do, I think it has to start at the ground level. I see it in the classroom. The teachers don’t know what books are out there. And if the teachers don’t know, the kids don’t know, and their parents don’t know. It’s choice fatigue if they walk into a bookstore.
I wholeheartedly concur with Zoboi: it needs to start at the ground level. As a librarian, it starts with YOU and your library’s collection. Not only teachers, but the entire community looks to librarians to provide them with recommendations for materials. Aligning with S.R. Ranganathan’s fourth law of library science, “save the time of the reader,” librarians can develop annotated bibliographies to recommend and call attention to a specific works.
Throughout the course of my tenure at CADL, I’ve created a number of bibliographies for teachers and patrons alike; however, my most recent bib project focused on contemporary fiction featuring African American characters — not as supporting characters or in the background of the story, but as main characters. Originally, the list focused on materials for the YA demographic (ages 13 – 18), but was later expanded to include works for children and tweens with the last phase of the project will include works of historical fiction. While working on the project, I flagged works of historical fiction (because I wanted the primary list to focus on contemporary pieces) and plan on building a supplemental list which will exclusively focus on African American protagonists in historical contexts. In the near future, I will sharing my lists here. Stay tuned.
So…my fellow Bibliothekare, what say you?
Do you have lists/bibliographies to assist readers or even perhaps a special collection like several libraries do — YA African Heritage. My library has a Coretta Scott King Award collection which primarily focuses on books for children and tweens.
Confession: I miss library school.
I miss the open sharing of ideas with enthusiasm and excitement. While I am certainly learning in the field, it just isn’t the same.
People seem guarded…even cynical. They don’t have time. They already know it all. They are too shy. Perhaps they’ve had their ideas/thoughts/opinions mocked by others and are subsequently insecure about sharing. Blah blah blah blah. A plethora of reasons.
Within the last few months, I had someone say to me (paraphrase), “You have interesting ideas, but they aren’t always applicable.”
Ideas are seeds — they need to be cultivated. Don’t kill the creativity and flow just because it doesn’t seem readily applicable to your X and Y variables.
Shape it. Cultivate it. Encourage it.
Conclusion: I miss the openness and freedom of expression that library school encouraged.
December’s YA display, Walk A While in Their Shoes, featured contemporary realistic fiction, biographies, and autobiographies:
What I Did
Using Sharpie markers, I drew stars on an old pair of my Converse. Looking around, I found a scrap piece of black construction paper and laid it over the library’s cutting board. From there, I took a couple of pictures from various angles and tweaked the images using Instagram. The lettering, which didn’t turn out all that well, was done via freehand. Overall, putting this display together didn’t take very long and the cost was minimal.
January’s YA display, Books with a Bang, features books with at least one explosion within the story — idea compliments of Guys Read author Jon Scieszka:
What I Did
Once again, the lettering and two dynamite sticks were done via freehand using white printer paper, red construction paper, and crayons.
When I was mulling over my 30Y.30L project in 2011, it was a no-brainer to include Brandon Township Library as I had grown up in the neighboring town of Oxford. Further, having worked in the new Oxford Public Library, I learned that BTL was deemed a sister library, of sorts, sharing the very same architect.
I have much to write about; however, each time I start working on the post, I begin having doubts and questioning my professional ethics — see, there is a bit of a scandal coming to light in Michigan library-land…
The issue: Brandon Township Library hasn’t received State Aid in the past 5 years and the library board wanted to know why. Upon calling a special meeting, the library director tendered her resignation effective immediately and subsequently retired.
Here are the relevant articles in the press:
11.20.2013: Brandon Twp. Library Director resigns; investigation underway
11.27.2013: Brandon Township Library on administrative lockdown
12.4.2013: Brandon Township Public Library director resigns after library receives no state funding for five years
12.20.2013: Brandon Township library hires forensic auditor, tightens finances after director’s resignation
A case of credential fraud?
Having just jumped through all of the hoops in order to complete my MLIS…and the fact that I currently hold a nonprofessional/non-salaried position in the LIS-field, this is a very bitter pill for me to swallow…
When I attended the library board meeting back in November, I was surprised that the board refused to directly respond to any of the comments or questions raised by taxpayers and former employees. I am not sure if that’s their standard operating procedure…or if it’s due to the open investigation. (Note: I serve as a trustee on a township board and that is not how we conduct our meetings.)
cold Gordian knot
finite – without end
|2011, Schwartz & Wade Books
New York, NY
Unpaged, $20.99 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780375967658; OCLC: 649077295
Melancholic over relocating and skeptical about making new friends, a young boy takes a walk through his drab, monochromatic neighborhood where he begins yelling the name, “Neville.” After just a couple of shouts, he is joined by a neighbor boy who begins yelling for Neville, too. Soon a gaggle of neighborhood kids, and dogs, are yelling and howling for someone named Neville. Curiosity overtakes the group and they enthusiastically begin asking the new boy all about Neville — the boy in which they were all calling. As the boy answered more and more questions, someone cried out, “I like Neville already!” When the kids began parting company to make their way home, the group consensus was to meet up again tomorrow to continue looking for Neville. Feeling much better about the move, the boy’s walk back home is illustrated in color. At bedtime readers learn the boy’s name when his mother tucks him into bed and whispers, “Good night, Neville, pleasant dreams.”
The illustrations were supportive of the story and transmitted feeling/mood to the reader by way of the Karas’s use of color — e.g. the monochromatic neighborhood at the beginning of the story to depict the boy’s melancholy.
Starred Review, School Library Journal, September 2011
Starred Review, Booklist, October 15, 2011
Parents’ Choice Award, 2012
While the story was predictable (it’s a children’s book), I found it to be humorous and heart-warming — a great book to share in a classroom or a library story hour for early elementary school-aged children regardless if they have/haven’t experienced a move in their life. In addition to the story showing readers that new friends can be made wherever you might be, it sheds light — color in this case — on how it feels to be befriended as the new kid.
I plan on purchasing a copy for my private collection.
children’s picture book, life transitions, moving, making friends, illustrators,