Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reducing Risky Behavior Through Reading

Michael Cart has an interesting article out this week in American Libraries:

A Literature of Risk
By Michael Cart
Teens dealing with violence and other risky behaviors can get help from young adult fiction

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Booktalks @ AMS

I did something a little different with prezi this time. This wasn't a visit like what we do when we go to present summer reading, this was a more casual drop-in lunch in the library of one of my middle schools. It was a two day engagement, so what you see here reflects the additions I made after the first day, when I learned they wanted more zombie and apocalypse books (I was more than happy to oblige).

SO, what you'll see here is that there is no path, no slideshow, PowerPoint-esque intended order to the presentation. Students would walk in on the "What to Read" text, and we'd chat for a couple minutes so I could remind them who I am, etc. Then I'd scroll out, and ask them what they wanted to hear about. They'd indicate a cover, I'd booktalk it, we might talk a little about other books they or I know of that were similar, then we'd move on to a title another student wanted to hear about.

The library media specialist wanted me to bring books that her students could check out from me. I wasn't sure exactly how that would work out at first, but I, by exploiting my poor personal library record (at the time), realized that the OPAC reveals a patron's standing, whether it's good or limited, or blocked. Students who had their library card or knew their number would log onto their account, I'd verify that they were in good standing and then I'd just write down their numbers and the item numbers to check them out manually when I got back to the branch. It worked out great, and I'll definitely do it again. I of course, got an okay from the branch manager to do that.

We only had the lunch period (three lunches total), so we weren't necessarily able to get through all of the books, but that's the way I always design my school visits - I want them to realize there's definitely more at the library than I can talk about in 30 minutes.

It was also a great way to use the Explore and paperback titles. I had multiple copies and then could meet demand when five kids all wanted the same book. Two days was great for this because students who forgot their Sno-Isle library card the first day could come back the second day and hope that the book they wanted would still be there. The school library media specialist and I are now planning to do one of these a month starting in the fall, and hopefully the entire event will become routine for everyone.

I also deliberately had both old and new titles. I wanted to make sure that some of the books I talked about were available in the school library for those who didn't have public library cards. And frankly, almost everything is new to THEM. In case it isn't, it's kinda nice to have a kid attest the awesome (see: The Ranger's Apprentice). Gives ya cred. ;)

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Bloody Jack by LA Meyer
Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
Born to Rock by Gordon Korman
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
Cut by Patricia McCormick
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
Green Angel & Green Witch by Alice Hoffman
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Love You, Hate You, Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Messed Up by Janet Nichols Lynch
Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by Ehrich Van Lowe
Northlander by Meg Burden
Outlaw: the legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas
Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan
The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins
The Rock and the River by Keekla Magoon
Samurai 7 by Akira Kurosawa & Mizutaka Suhou
Swim the Fly by Don Calame
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien
Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby

To see the actual booktalks click here.

I'm now afraid I might run out of books. I need to read faster.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Edible Book Festival - Should We?

Jackie sent on this delightful article about a program that the Calvin College Libraries did:

Calvin College celebrates its first book-eating contest

Calvin librarian Lois Dye, a self-proclaimed "foodie," founded Books in the Baking this year after learning about the International Edible Book Festival, a similar contest that has been celebrated worldwide on April Fool's Day -- or as they like to call it, Edible Book Day -- since 2000.

Seems to me this could be a delightful inter-generational program. Think we should try for it next year?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Love Tearjerkers? Here is a Great Display Idea!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE books that pull my heartstrings and evoke sniffling. Some of my favorites are the lovely picturebook Faithful Elephants, If I Stay, Last Days of Summer, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and especially The Time Traveler's Wife.

Lynn Rutan and Cindy Dobrez made this fantastic interactive Sob-O-Meter display where teens get to add books and rate the level of weepiness. I love the huge gage and giant tissue boxes!

What are your favorite tearjerkers?

Don't have one? Check out our teen booklist - Tearjerkers: Books to Make You Cry

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cracking Down on Gangs in Snohomish County

Gang signs: a growing battle for the soul of Snohomish County's streets

Police, advocates for children and families, and other community leaders are working together to find the answer. Snohomish County was awarded more than half a million dollars to combat gangs and youth violence.

This is a tough topic and may seem beyond individual community agencies, but if we all work together, I truly believe we can make a difference.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I don't know if anyone else has been following the headlines about the teens facing criminal charges for bullying Phoebe Prince, but I have. I found an interesting article about traditional responses to bullying as well as a strategy that has thus far proven to work well.

Here's the article: Bullies: They can be stopped, but it takes a village.