20 posts categorized "Libraries" Feed

Literacy Milestone: Checking Out Her First Book from the School Library

LiteracyMilestoneALast week my daughter started Kindergarten. Which is a literacy milestone in its own right, of course. She was a bit nervous at first, but seems to be settling in well. She was fortunate to have several kids she already knew in her class. 

After orientation, a friend who knows of my interests introduced our family to the school librarian, Ms. H. The librarian wasn't ready to check out books yet, but gave us a quick tour of the library. When I went to pick my daughter up on Friday she asked if we could go to the library again. The library was closed, but we ran into Ms. H, and she was happy to let us, along with my daughter's friend and his mom, in to have a look. 

Ms. H. still wasn't quite ready to check out books to the kids (some sort of technical issue involving A/C had thrown things off schedule). However, it turned out that after talking with us for a few minutes, she couldn't resist recommending a couple of titles for each child. And so it came about that not only did my daughter check out her first book from the school library, she was the first child this school year to check out a book at all. This seemed fitting.

We came home with The Aminal by Lorna and Lecia Balian and Seneca by Karen Lee Baker, the first of what I'm sure will be many books checked out of this library over the next few years. This milestone means a lot to be because I ADORED my elementary school library. I used to go in and shelve books before school in sixth grade. I still cherish two books given to me as gifts by Mrs. Tuttle, the wonderful librarian. I've hoped that my daughter's experience would be equally positive, and we are off to a good start so far. Of course we'll continue visiting the public library, too, I'm sure. We are fortunate in our libraries. 

© 2015 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Santa Clara Teens Take Third Place In "Why I Need My Library" Contest

As a board member for the Foundation and Friends of the wonderful Santa Clara City Library in Santa Clara, CA, I'm thrilled to post this news release:

Three students from Wilcox High School win $1000 for the Santa Clara City Library

May 23, 2011 -- Alvin Ho, Brian Li and Alistair Twombly placed third in the 16-18 year old category of  the American Library Association’s “Why I Need My Library” video contest. This national contest encouraged teens ages 13 to 18 to create original videos on why they think libraries are needed now more than ever. Teens submitted one- to three minute videos on YouTube. The videos could  be live-action, animation, machinima or use a combination of techniques, and teens worked in groups of up to six.

The Santa Clara teens' artistically shot video conveys the library as a haven and escape for teens from everyday stress and pressures. Alvin Ho describes his thoughts about how the idea for the video came about:

When planning this video, my initial plan was to play up the "learning" aspect of the library, as a source of books, magazines, and internet. However, as I sat in the designated teen section, it occurred to me that yes, our library serves that purpose -- but so does every other library in the United States. What sets Santa Clara's library apart is its open environment, from the public displays of art to the sprawling park behind it. In the Teen Section, students sprawled on couches, huddled over computers relax after a long day of work, and its proximity to several high schools make it a hub of activity after school. Then it dawned on me that what truly makes this library special to us is the freedom it affords.

The YouTube link to the video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scx1pEceFMI.

Congratulations to the winners. The Santa Clara City Library appreciates the prize money and will use it to continue to make the library a welcoming environment for teens and all its patrons.

So nice when a library gets good news, during these trying times. And when that news comes at the hands of motivated teens, it's even better.

City Librarian as Crime Fighter

This past weekend there was a truly horrific hit and run accident near where I live in San Jose. Two elderly women were killed while in a crosswalk, crossing a major street. The whole thing is tremendously sad for the friends and family members of the women, and my heart goes out to them.

But at least, thanks to a concerned citizen and the Santa Clara City Librarian, the suspect was arreseted today. On Saturday, a witness followed the car and got the license plate number. The number was released to the public. Today, the suspect was recognized and arrested at the library where I'm a Foundation Board Member (the Santa Clara City Library). As reported on ABC7 News:

"The city librarian heard about the accident, recognized the suspect and car description and called police.

"Very quiet, police basically approached the suspect, escorted him from the library building and took him away in a police car," says librarian Karen Saunders."

Karen Saunders is the city librarian who I just mentioned in my vacation reading wrap-up, with whom I share a love of mysteries. That's my librarian and book buddy, recognizing a suspect, verifying that his car was on the premises, and calling the police (another library employee was also involved, but wasn't interviewed). How cool is that? It's like something out of a book. I'm proud that the people at my library made a difference, and took action to help bring these families closure.

In addition to the ABC7 story, Karen was also interviewed on KTVU 2 News and NBC11 News (with thanks to Foundation Executive Director Maria Daane for the news, and to Foundation President David Stringer-Calvert for tracking down the links). Updated to add: this San Jose Mercury News article has a bit more detail about the story.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

A Tale to Warm Your Heart

If you are feeling a bit blue today, I urge you to check out this story by Denis Theriault from today's San Jose Mercury News. 82-year-old philanthropist Lorry I. Lokey donated $20 million to Santa Clara University to help build their new library. The university would have happily named the building after him, but instead, Lokey surprised his longtime companion, Joanne Harrington, by having them name it after her instead. There's this picture in the article of her looking happy, perhaps a bit teary-eyed, at the ceremony, while he has eyes only for her. It is truly beautiful.

And then, as if I wasn't already smitten, I read this part:

"But Lokey said he also meant to honor another important woman in his life: Mary Belle Hancock, the librarian at his grammar school in Portland, Ore. Lokey says Hancock inspired him to a life of reading and writing. To pay tribute, he dedicated a stone to her in front of the library.

"This librarian was a sweetheart," Lokey said. "She made me a pretty serious student.""

How excellent is that? He is 82 years old, and paying tribute to his elementary school librarian. I know that when I am 82 years old I'll remember my elementary school librarian, Mrs. Tuttle, and that I'll still have the books that she gave me as gifts. But I doubt I'll be in a position to build a library in her honor... Thanks, Mr. Lokey, for brightening my day immensely.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

The NYPL Central Children's Room

A number of bloggers have written today expressing concern for the fate of the Central Children's Room Collection in the Donnell Library Branch of the New York Public Library. Along with many wonderful books, this collection is the home of the original Winnie the Pooh (the bear, not just the book) and of Mary Poppins' umbrella. I've never been there, but by all accounts the Central Children's Room is a magical place, and a tremendous resource for residents of New York City.

The problem is that the Donnell Branch is being sold to a hotel. While the library will retain a small amount of space in the hotel that is to be constructed, the fate of the Central Children's Room Collection remains unspecified. Librarian Betsy Bird, who works at the Donnell Library and blogs at A Fuse #8 Production is seeking people's stories about their love of the Central Children's Collection. She wants to hear from people who "remember how important it has been in their lives". Other bloggers addressing this topic include Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, Terry D. at The Reading Tub Blog, Megan G. at Read, Read, Read, and Cheryl Rainfield. Updated to add a heartfelt plea for the Children's Collection by author Robin Brande.

Cheryl pretty much summed up my thoughts, when she said:

"In a time when we need more literacy programs, not less, when we really need to help kids learn to read, the Central Children’s Room is a necessity. I truly hope, for that reason, that the Central Children’s Room will find a new space, a new home, that is just as good as its previous one was."

We can hope, anyway.

Local Program for Kids: Healthy Cooking and Live Theater

For those of you local to the San Jose area, I wanted to let you know about a program being held at the Santa Clara City Library this weekend. Here's the announcement:

For Kids: Healthy Cooking and Live Theatre. Saturday, 10:00 a.m.—12:30 p.m., Central Park Library Cedar Room. Start off the morning with Chef Silva from Pacific Coast Farmers' Market at 10:00 a.m. and learn ways to cook quick and healthy summer meals. At 11:30 a.m., watch an award-winning performance of Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Program. It provides health information through the engaging medium of live theatre. Kids will love the show!

This program is part of the Kaiser Permanente/Santa Clara City Library "Wellness Conversations" series. You can download a PDF file with more details here.

Kaiser has been a tremendous benefactor to the library, and I think that the Wellness Conversation program is a great series, well worth your attention.

Two Recent Honors

I've been kept pretty busy this week with preparing the Carnival, and I neglected to write about two tremendous honors that I received.

  • First, Elaine Magliaro dedicated her Poem of the Day #18 at Wild Rose Reader to me! She mentioned especially liking my Sunday Visits and Literacy Roundup posts, which are among my own favorites. The poem is funny a nursery rhyme parody in which Mary conquers a casino.
  • Also, as regular visitors to this blog may know, I've been a volunteer for the Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara City Library for a a couple of years now. I was just named to the Board of Directors of the Foundation and Friends. It's a wonderfully diverse and active organization, and I'm so pleased to have been asked to be part of it. Some of my efforts with the Board will probably be focused on marketing, which I have some experience in through my paying job.

Thanks Elaine! And thanks to the Library Board members, for being so welcoming.

Mid-Week Visits: February 7

Usually I save round-up posts for the weekends, when I have more time. But there is so much great stuff going on this week, that I simply must bring it to your attention right now.

  • First of all, there is only one week left to wait for the announcement of the Cybils winners! Liz B. from Tea Cozy has an excellent article about the Cybils published today in School Library Journal. A fine companion piece to her article about the kidlitosphere from the other day, I think. You can also find a teaser over at the Cybils site about the status of the various groups, and a post about how to better spread the word about the awards, with suggestions in the comments. If you have thoughts about how to promote this award, head on over and give your feedback.
  • You'll also recall that I wrote the other day about maintaining a childlike spirit, even while working at a responsible adult job. Well, Alvina has a post at Blue Rose Girls about remembering your childhood and finding activities that bring you back there in spirit. And Grace Lin wants to have a party. Such a fun crowd, those Blue Rose Girls.
  • Meanwhile Whimsy Books reports on the Top 10 Hazards of Being an Obsessive Reader. Let's just say that I can relate. I also relate to her obsession with all things Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight and New Moon), and enjoyed this detailed list of notes from a recent Stephenie Meyer talk. And can I just say that I totally picked up on the Pride and Prejudice vibe in the first book, as mentioned in my review.
  • I learned from Wendy at Blog from the Windowsill that it's Library Lover's Month. She urges people to celebrate by checking out books. I say, be nice to a librarian, or volunteer, or donate books, or all of those things. Libraries are a critical part of our communities, and we should be appreciating them year-round. It's no coincidence that the Foundation and Friends organization that I volunteer for has the url www.LoveTheLibrary.org.
  • In a tremendous show of modesty, MotherReader has declared this MotherReader Week. It must be true, because in addition to her interviews on the Cybils site and the 7-Imp site, her Blogger's Against Celebrity Authors plan was mentioned in the Orlando Sentinel Parenting Blog.
  • It's not too late to take part in the first Scholar's Blog Book Discussion Group. If you've read Susan Cooper's King of Shadows, head on over to the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone to put in your two cents. There's some great discussion going on.
  • And if you're thinking of becoming a writer, check out Kirby Larson's thoughts on what people should ask themselves before answering the call to write children's books. Best sentence: "If you take up writing for children because you think it's easy, because you have a message to send or because your grandchildren love your stories about Opie Oppossum whose tail doesn't curl, please do the world a favor and go on tour with Madonna instead." Kirby is the author of the Newbery Honor winning Hattie Big Sky.
  • And while we're talking about this year's Newbery Honor winners, please join me in congratulating Cynthia Lord for selling her second, third, and fourth books! Yay, Cindy!
  • And while we're still talking about Newbery Honor winners from this year, I received a lovely package from Jennifer Holm this week. I'll be posting a picture and details soon.
  • In case you haven't seen it yet, Overdue Media's Unshelved comic strip recently featured Kiki Strike! Thanks to Gail Gauthier for the link.
  • For a different take on literacy, check out Jess's post over at Frontline Books. She writes about how newer technologies (like html and videos and podcasts) affect our ability to read, and our pleasure from reading. You can see some of my thoughts in the comments. I met Jess at the BlogHer conference in San Jose last summer, and enjoy her academic perspective on the digital culture, and the role of women in said culture.

And that's enough for today. Whew! It's hard to keep up with all this Kidlitosphere activity.

Program with Jim Trelease

I volunteer for the Foundation and Friends of the Santa Clara City Library here in the California Bay Area. It's a wonderful library, and I'm happy to do my small part to help out. For those of you in the area, I wanted to bring to your attention an upcoming program that the Foundation and Friends is hosting.

Jim Trelease, author of the well-known Read-Aloud Handbook, will be speaking next Tuesday, January 16th, at 7:00 pm. The program is for adults only, and should be of high interest to parents and others who work with, and read with, kids of all ages. Jim will be speaking on the subjects of children, literature and television, with an emphasis on the positive benefits of reading aloud to and with your children. You can register for the program at the Library's Youth Services desk, or call (408) 615-2916.

I will certainly be there! I hope to get my copy of The Read-Aloud Handbook signed. It's a new edition, by the way, for you fans of the previous (fifth) edition. I'm a huge fan of this book, and have given it as a gift to many people. I highly recommend both the book and your participation in this program. This may be Jim's last speaking trip to Northern California, and it's not to be missed.

School Library Journal Interview for MotherReader

Congratulations to MotherReader, who is now officially famous for creating and hosting the 48 Hour Book Challenge last month. MotherReader was interviewed about the book challenge in a recent School Library Journal article. Her picture is even included, so you should definitely go over and check it out.

I'm also a tiny bit famous by association, because MotherReader was kind enough to mention me in the interview. It's so much fun to get credit for reading and reviewing books, something that I love to do anyway. She also mentioned Midwestern Lodestar (overall winner and reviewer of the most books) and Little Willow (winner in the alternate challenge category). In case you were wondering, I won the "has too much time on her hands award", I mean, spent the most time reading and blogging besides our illustrious organizer, MotherReader herself.

Here are some other sites that I noticed that wrote about the SLJ article: A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, A Fuse #8 Production, Wands and Worlds, and Finding Wonderland. As Miss Fuse said "it's nice to see children's literature blogs getting such attention." I'm sure that the trend will continue!

I also recommend that you check out the new look on MotherReader's blog, especially the excellent 48 Hour Book Challenge logo.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

A Library Story by Eva Ibbotson

If you love libraries, or you are a fan of Eva Ibbotson, or you just want to read a little story that restores some of your faith in the world, you simply must read this article by Eva Ibbotson. I clicked through mainly because I'm currently reading Ibbotson's The Star of Kazan, but I'm glad that I did. The article is part of the Guardian's effort to stand up for libraries, and tells of the difference a small London library made in the lives of several people during wartime. (Incidentally Kelly wants to move to the UK because of the Guardian's book section - they are tireless advocates for books.) This article made me cry a little bit (in a good way). Go read it!

Hat tip to bookshelves of doom for this link. Thanks, Leila, for brightening my day!

Congratulations are in Order

Three of my fellow kid lit bloggers are due for congratulations today.

  • Tasha Saecker, the creator of the wonderful Kids Lit blog, has just accepted a new position as the next director of the Menasha Public Library in Wisconsin. The Appleton Post-Crescent news article about her appointment, while not directly mentioning Kids Lit, does feature this quote: "She's a high-energy person with very good technical skills," said James Englebert, chairman of the library director search committee. "She's been on the cutting edge of technology as it pertains to libraries." You can read Tasha's thoughts about her new position here. I learned about this from A Fuse #8 Production. Congratulations, Tasha, on your new job!! I'm sure that they made an excellent choice.
  • Melissa Wiley at Here in the Bonny Glen made this announcement today: "Starting in the next few weeks, I will actually be getting paid to blog, which is both very nice and hard to believe." Melissa will be blogging about homeschooling and special needs children for a new set of blogs at ClubMom.com. You can read more about it here. I'm just so impressed! How cool is it to be paid for blogging? Congratulations, Melissa! Thanks for being such an inspiration to other bloggers.
  • And finally, Chris Barton announced yesterday that his seven-year-old son for the first time has declared a love for history. Chris loves history himself, so this is both an achievement and a validation. Congratulations, Chris!

If anyone else has occasion for congratulations, do drop me a line! Cheers!