Young Adults

YoungAdult

Who's a Librarian? And Who's Not?

Interesting blog entry from KM the Librarian about a discussion on the above-mentioned issue.

The other day I got into an "argument" with a student about whether or not I was really a librarian. His position was that I wasn't a librarian--I was actually a teacher who happened to have an office in the library.

It was a weird discussion to be having. As the conversation continued, it became clear that he was, in no small part, trying to annoy me. But I don't think the original statement was meant just to taunt me. We ended up trying to pull in other students to make our respective cases--his that I wasn't a librarian, mine that I really was. The general consensus seemed to be that I was definitely a librarian. And probably also a teacher.

I was thinking about the discussion I had with him, and with other students, in light of one of the phrases I so often hear when it comes to changing the perception/image of school librarians:

"how do we make them see that librarians [fill in the blank]"

This was not a student I know particularly well, nor have I worked with him a lot. He's new to the school this year. There's nothing I've done to try and "make" him see anything. I've just been doing my job the same way I've been doing it for years, and he came to his own conclusions.

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Occupy Wall Street Library Sending Banned Books To AZ

Join Us in Supporting the Students and Teachers of Tucson Unified School District

This is where you come in. Acting in solidarity with OccupyTucson and the students, parents, and teachers of the Tucson Unified School District we are going send copies of the banned texts to Tucson for distribution. Lots of copies. As many copies as we can find and buy. We respect the rights of authors and publishers, so all copies will be completely legally purchased though an independent bookseller or directly from the publisher. Donations of the these texts are, of course, welcomed.

Libraries must find way to draw teens

Libraries must find way to draw teens, she says "As a general rule, libraries focus on little children but don't offer teens that much in the way of programming," she said. "We usually think they're too busy with gym, soccer, football and other activities," she said.

"They usually come back when they're older adults, but we usually miss serving those in their teen years."

Collating the Best Childrens Book Lists

Collating the Best Childrens Book Lists
Publishers Weekly released its Best Books selections today (100 adult titles in various categories and 40 in childrens). The new “interactive” format features each book’s cover, an annotation and link to the original PW review. EarlyWorld collated the titles from various lists into a spreadsheet, with ISBNs, so you can check the titles against your collection and place orders for those you may be missing.

DC COMICS OVERHAULS SUPERHEROES

With the proliferation of big-budget superhero movies, it’s easy to forget about the pulpy comic books on which the characters are based. But it seems many people have: sales of comics are way down. As fanboys have become fanmen, publishers are desperate to find new — and younger — readers.

So this month, DC Comics — the home of Superman, Batman, and dozens of others — is overhauling its entire lineup of superheroes. They’re called the “New 52.” All the old classic storylines have been thrown out the window. Clark Kent and Lois Lane? No longer married. And that’s just the tip of the Kryptonite.

“I think they’re just throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks,” says Tom Adams, owner of Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn.

He tells Kurt Andersen that while the reboot has boosted sales considerably, he still worries about the long term trends. “I think [DC] should be writing comics that are a little more geared toward the smart 12 year old,” Adams says, “as opposed to the smart 20-45 year old who’s reading [the same] comics that he’s been reading for years.”

Listen to audio here

This was a piece on Studio 360 on NPR

Making Room for Readers

From The Millions, an excellent article by Steve Himmer:

One recent morning, my almost four year old daughter started crying out of the blue. I asked her what was wrong, and she wailed, “I don’t have a library card!” So with a proud paternal bibliophile’s heart swollen in my chest, I strapped her into her car seat and we set off for the library in search of a library card and — at her request — in search of Tintin books like those I’d told her were my favorite stories at the library when I was young.

We went first to the branch library in our end of town, a small, round building with walls almost entirely of glass. All those windows, and the books behind them, make it look pretty inviting, and we parked our car in the lot and I held my daughter’s hand as she skipped to the door, bubbling over with excitement. Unfortunately, it was closed; I’d known municipal budget cuts had reduced the hours of all library branches, but I’d thought that only meant it was closed on Fridays. Instead, it meant this branch — and all others, apart from the main library downtown — were open only a couple of hours four afternoons through the week. No mornings, no evenings, no weekends.

The importance of reading outside?

Researchers suspect that bright outdoor light helps children’s developing eyes maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina — which keeps vision in focus. Dim indoor lighting doesn’t seem to provide the same kind of feedback. As a result, when children spend too many hours inside, their eyes fail to grow correctly and the distance between the lens and retina becomes too long, causing far-away objects to look blurry.

This leads us to a recommendation that may satisfy tiger and soccer moms alike: if your child is going to stick his nose in a book this summer, get him to do it outdoors.

Full op-ed piece

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The YA Literature Rant and Rail

I’m not sure what angers me more about the recent article by Meghan Gurdon in the Wall Street Journal about the coarseness, violence, and overall lack of quality in young adult books today: her insistence that any books that give teens a look at reality is bad for them or can even promote destructive and infectious behavior, or the list of “Books We Can Recommend for Young Adult Readers” on the side of article, broken down into books for boys and girls.

Full article: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3336

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Fighting Censorship in School Libraries

From SLJ:

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) recently recognized author Lauren Myracle, school librarian Dee Ann Venuto, and 19-year-old college student Jordan Allen for fighting against censorship in schools.

NCAC's annual "Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders" ceremony in New York City brought together more than 150 authors, publishers, and First Amendment advocates to celebrate the work of the 36-year-old organization.

Venuto, a media specialist at the Rancocoas Valley High School in Mount Holly, NJ, was honored for her efforts to keep a list of gay-themed books on her library shelves. The titles Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson, 2000) edited by Amy Sonnie.

Venuto followed her district's materials review policy, which outlines the steps that must be taken when library materials or other instructional material are questioned, when a local grassroots organization called the 9/12 Group challenged the books, drawing media attention.

Venuto says she's grateful to NCAC for spreading the word about the challenge and for the professional and personal support they gave her.

Web Site for Teenagers With Literary Leanings

Figment.com, created by former staff members of The New Yorker, gives teenagers a chance to show what they’re reading and writing.

Full article

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Super Public/Middle School Librarian

<a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/1206/Super-librarian-figures-out-secret-to-getting-kids-to-read">Super-librarian' figures out secret to getting kids to read</a> Librarian Cynthia Dobrez uses e-readers, bibliotherapy, and her own intuition in her middle school library in Michigan.

New Stonewall Award for Childrens Books

The American Library Association on Monday announced it has added another prize to its Stonewall Book Awards.

The Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award will recognize an English-language children's book “of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience.”

“Children's books regarding the LGBT experience are critical tools in teaching tolerance, acceptance and the importance of diversity,” Roberta Stevens, president of ALA, said in a statement.

“Our nation is one of diverse cultures and lifestyles and it is important for parents, educators and librarians to have access to quality children's books that represent a spectrum of cultures,” she added.

In making its announcement, the group cited figures by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that show 14 million children are being raised by a gay or lesbian parent and the latest Census data which estimates that more than 56 percent of gay households have at least one child under the age of 18.

Additional coverage in the NYTimes.

School Librarian Allegedly Continued Teen Tryst

CALGARY, ALBERTA - An "inappropriate" relationship between a junior high school librarian and a student continued even after court-imposed orders forbade contact, police alleged Thursday.

The librarian, identified by QMI Agency sources as Agnes Kooy, reported to be in her late 40s, was charged this summer following a complaint brought forth by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who police say had entered into the "ongoing" relationship that began earlier in the school year.

Ted Flitton, a spokesman for the Calgary Board of Education, would not reveal the school in question, citing privacy legislation.

"What I can tell you is when Calgary Police Service told us in July that they had laid charges, we took immediate steps to have her removed from the school and all schools, and with a view to her not returning to work," Flitton said.

Police said the alleged relationship, consensual but illegal due to the boy's age, was brought to their attention by the family as well as the school.

"After remedies weren't satisfied through some sort of intervention with the parents and the school, they went to the police," Staff Sgt. Mark Hatchette told CTV.

Not Your Parents High School Library

Lamar (TX) High School’s library is in the midst of an overhaul that is shifting around more than the books. The project is redefining how the study space will be used and how students will access the information resources it holds.

More specifically, the conversion under way means fewer physical books on the shelves (and fewer shelves), but more equipment on site for tapping into the books, periodicals and research tools available in electronic formats.

As explained by Principal James McSwain, the project includes:

Laptop computers (100 now and hopefully 100 more to follow) that can be checked out for use only in the new center and accessible only by a student ID code that also connects to the new Lamar portal, “Sky Drive.”

Longer hours of operation, (6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) to increase access to the new computer equipment and online information for students who might not have other study venues or research tools.

Space for peer tutoring and teacher-led tutorials, and

A small coffee bar that also serves healthy snacks for studying. Students in the culinary division of Lamar’s magnet program in business management will run the new amenity.

Lauren Myracle Reads (and Writes) Banned Books, Do You?

Lauren Myracle, author of ttyl and Luv Ya Bunches, two frequently challenged books, writes about the phenomenon of Banned Books. She says that parents anger springs from fear. Grown-ups who care about what kids read aren't the enemy.

From Shelf Awareness: As 2009's number one most frequently challenged author in the country (Mom, cover your ears), I often catch flack for writing about topics that certain parents, teachers and librarians would prefer I didn't. Like what? Like a teenager kissing her female best friend, or high school kids drinking too much and doing really stupid things, or a discussion of the pros and cons of thongs.

I've also come under fire for writing (lovingly) about a fifth-grader who has two moms, as well as a boy who won't join the Boy Scouts because of the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policies. Biology gets me in trouble, too. For example, parents get all kinds of upset about a scene in one of my novels in which a 12-year-old girl sits down with a box of tampons and attempts to make heads and tails of the dense instruction pamphlet.

In grappling with issues surrounding censorship, I've come to the conclusion that the enemy--at least in part--is the inevitable us/them dichotomy that arises in discussions of intellectual freedom.

Author Proclaims "I Would Be Dead Without Libraries"

From Telegraph Herald OnLine: A librarian saved Gary Paulsen's life. More than 100 people listened with amazement Sunday as the self-proclaimed street kid who became an award-winning author shared his life story at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque IA.

"I would be dead without libraries," said Paulsen, 71.

Dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans, the author of three Newbery Honor Books -- "Hatchet," "Dogsong" and "The Winter Room" -- held nothing back.

Paulsen described how he sold newspapers as a teenager at bars. One cold night, he walked into a library to keep warm until the drunks got so sloshed that he could easily swipe extra change.

Once inside, something amazing happened. A librarian asked Paulsen if he would like a library card.

"Nobody gave me anything," Paulsen said. He was shocked when the librarian gave him his very own card with his name correctly spelled. She encouraged Paulsen to read more and more books over the next few years.

Although he failed in almost everything at school, Paulsen continued to read. "Everything that I am or ever will be in writing is because
of (that librarian)," he said.

Internet Can Be a Dangerous Place for Unsupervised Children

Internet predators are using more sophisticated means to lure children into dangerous situations says The News Chief of Winter Haven, FL.

In July, the Federal Trade Commission released a report concerning child safety on the Internet. The report stated that in 2004, 45 percent of American children had a personal cellular phone, while in 2009, the number of children with a phone grew to 75 percent.

Cellular phones have become more sophisticated, allowing the user to access the Internet, chat, text, e-mail, photograph and play games - all on one device. The report raises concerns about the amount of personal information teens and older children inadvertently may share by making online purchases and browsing the Web. In response, the FTC has concentrated its efforts in combating Internet predators by expanding its Internet lab and developing tools to assist in mobile-related investigations.

This is something Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has been focusing on for much of his career. "There is no fail-safe protection from these predators," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Wood. "This is a new frontier for crime.

Fight for Libraries As You Do for Freedom

A very powerful op-ed piece by novelist Karin Slaughter in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"My father and his eight siblings grew up in the kind of poverty that America doesn’t like to talk about unless something like Katrina happens, and then the conversation only lasts as long as the news cycle. His family squatted in shacks. The children scavenged the forest for food. They put cardboard over empty windowpanes so the cold wouldn’t kill them.

Books did not exist here. When your kids are starving, you can’t point with pride to a book you’ve just spent six hours reading. Picking cotton, sewing flour bags into clothes — those were the skills my father grew up appreciating.

And yet, when he noticed that I, his youngest daughter, showed an interest in reading, he took me to our local Jonesboro library and told me that I could read any book in the building so long as I promised to talk to him about it if I read something I didn’t understand. I think this is the greatest gift my father ever gave me. Though he was not a reader himself, he understood that reading is not just an escape. It is access to a better way of life."

Read more: AJC.

Using eBooks in School

With varying degrees of success, area schools and libraries have begun making use of ebooks like the Nook and similar devices. The hand-held devices can compactly replace a whole stack of textbooks, lightening the load for students.

In today’s technology-driven age, where children have grown up in front of computers and video games, challenging them to read a book has become more difficult.

Marian Parker, librarian at Seneca Grade School decided to test electronic books with students last school year in a pilot program to see how they would respond to getting their reading from a hand-held device.

“Last year’s pilot program had 18 Kindles, which were used by seventh- and eighth-grade students,” Parker said. “This year, we have 106, and have six more ordered.

Read more: Morris Daily Herald, Morris IL.

Stockton Book Ban Upheld 7-0 in Packed Public Forum

Stockton MO -- The Stockton Missouri school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to uphold its April decision to ban a book from the school curriculum. The 7-0 vote came after a public forum about the novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.

The board also voted, 7-2, against a proposal to return the book to the high school library with restrictions.

Board member Rod Tucker said his main concern was the book's language, that it had too much profanity to be of value. He rejected the argument that most kids are familiar with such language and use it regularly. [ed- note to Rod Tucker: don't forget you live in the 'show me' state]

Supporters of the book said it was chosen to get high school boys, particularly, interested in reading. Another board member said that was a mistake because the book's reading level is low for high school readers. "We're dumbing down our educational standards if we do that," Ken Spurgeon said.

Cheryl Marcum, a resident who had pushed the board to explain and reverse its decision, was disappointed by the vote. She said she's heard about the issue from young people who have left Stockton.

"They said, 'I left Stockton because stuff like that happens there,'" she said.

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