Tag Archives: books


20 Jul

In 2015, Corinne Duyvis suggested on Twitter, “Glad important discussions are being had. Would love to be able to walk away with book recommendations. How about a hashtag? , to recommend kidlit about diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group.”

This was the beginning of a new hashtag that has become quite popular in promoting not only diverse books, but as Corinne suggested choosing diverse books written by diverse authors. And if you’re looking for more information about the hashtag, check our Corinne’s website and her views on #ownvoices.

We are continually promoting diverse books, but there’s something to be said about an author who writes with the experience of their characters that creates an even more authentic voice. Does that mean authors can never write about characters that are different from themselves? Definitely not, but research needs to be extensive and having readers or mentors look at a manuscript with a different eye, is important.

For example, my parents work with people with disabilities and growing up, this was very much my life. I tend to know more and see more injustice for this marginalized group of people than most, because of my background. But, that doesn’t mean that I’ve lived anyone else’s experience or should assume that I can provide a true, realistic voice to a character with a disability. It’s the subtlety of every day life that I personally have never experienced. That being said, I think it’s important to create stories that are as diverse as the world we live in and with research it’s possible to write a character an author personally is not anything like.

Check out this great article written by Kayla Whaley on Brightly about her own experience as a author with a disability and how that has influenced her own writing. I think it’s so important as a white, female librarian to keep this in the forefront of my mind as I suggest titles for my very diverse community. I’m thinking about how I can incorporate this even more into the work I do – not only one-on-one with patrons, but by creating booklists and book displays to promote #ownvoices authors and book titles.

If you’re working on something in your library or at home, let me know what you’re doing, I’m always looking for new ideas!

Director’s Thoughts #10 – Shifting Collections

1 Jul


After you weed the entire collection… what do you do next?

That was my question, after spending 5 months and countless hours running reports, scanning, stamping and sorting books. The next step for us…. shifting the collection. Although tight, our children’s department had a lot more wiggle room at the end of this process and not as much needed to be shifted, but in our adult department, space is still at a premium, so I went to work.

We first mapped out what we wanted tot do – redefine our space for nonfiction by tightening up the collection and moving it toward the back of the library. This collection although still gets some use, it’s got nothing on our audio collection and fiction collection – prime space for collections that hold their weight in circulation. So first the nonfiction was shifted, it wasn’t an easy task, but with a staff that’s, how should I put this delicately?, advanced in age and some have lower back issues – I did the majority of the moving. I just spent a little time each day and it took me about 5 weeks. And man, does it look good! Everything is nice and neat, new aisle labels and everything! Next up, was audiobooks and Playaways, two collections that are heavily used in our library and had grow out of their current space – these two collections were shifted to better use space and were also better organized.

Now, I’m on to fiction and after that Large Print – these two collections are jam packed in some areas, have empty shelves in other areas and overall are a hot mess. We actually gained shelving after all the other shifting has been done, so I’m hoping to give each shelf some wiggle room for additional material that we purchase.

Shifting is an interesting beast – I’ve never quite figured out how to shift just once. I always end up shifting the collection and then going back and shifting it again to get it just right. I can’t figure out an easier way (without getting super math-y), but I love the way it looks when we finish, so it’s all worth.  And hopefully, it will be easier for our patrons to find material and pull it from the shelves too!

Although we weeded about 20,000 items, it really only gave us the wiggle room necessary for our current collection. It didn’t gain as much space as we need as I keep pointing out – we’re adding more than we’re getting rid of, so that’s a problem. But, we hope to keep up with our weeding but following a strict monthly schedule in the hopes of preventing our collection from getting out of hand, but soon… we’ll just need more space, which is whole different conversation!

Must Listen: Book Lover’s Podcasts

22 Jun

get-booked-logo-e1441883061578I love the Get Booked podcast – it’s a book recommendation podcast where people submit questions for reading suggestions for themselves, as gifts, for their book club, etc. and receive suggestions from the hosts and Book Riot contributors. 9 times out of 10, I know very well that I’ll never read the books they suggest, but I love hearing about them – it’s a great way to hear about books from a wide-variety of genres and the ladies who host are so fun!


artworks_mediumIf you’re a kid lit author or illustrator and like to drink (both alcoholic and non) this is the group for you. I’m neither an author or illustrator, but I enjoy this podcast just the same – it’s fun to listen to other people geek out as much as I do about kid lit! They talk writing, interview authors, and in general have a lot of fun together – which is awesome!


downloadThis is a podcast hosted by a 5th grade teacher focusing on middle grade books. She talks classroom shop – always looking for ways to connect middle grade students to books they’ll love. My favorite part of this podcast is when she offers up suggestions and the format she uses is great – a quick overview of the story and three reasons why she loves the book. She’s got some great ideas to encourage readers and reading habits!


The-Yarn-logo-500-300x300The Yarn is hosted by Colby Sharp and Travis Jonker and each season has had a little bit of a different focus – but it’s always enlightening with a focus on kid lit author interviews. The first season of the podcast the guys focused on looking at Matthew & Jennifer Holm’s book – Sunny Side Up from many different angles – book designer, author, illustrator, colorist, editor and more.


These are just a few of the podcasts I listen to and if you’re looking for some more great examples, check out Brightly’s article, Press Play: 8 of the Best Kids’ Lit Podcasts (and a Few for Grown-Ups Too)!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/2/17

2 Jan

Well, that’s weird… the first time I wrote the New Year down.  Anyway, it’s a new year with new books to read and what better way to start than on my first day off of the New Year with dreary weather outside and no plans to get off this couch. I’m hoping to spend a good chunk of my day reading, just because I can.

I started The Bookshop On the Corner by Jenny Colgan last night and am excited to delve into her quaint little world again today.  My other plans for this week include The Reader by Traci Chee, Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner and The Inquisitor’s Tale Or The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz. I don’t usually make any sort of reading goals for the year.  I joke that I have very few outside interests, so reading is something that I really enjoy doing and don’t want to feel obligated to read a certain number of books or certain types of books.  I’m thinking about a couple of different types of challenges, but we’ll see where the year takes me.

Over the course of this week, I plan on reviewing my last year and looking forward for what I want to do over the next year. Thanks for checking in on my blogging journey, I have a good feeling about 2017!


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

A Renaissance of Children’s Literature

29 Dec

I saw this terminology (or something very similar) on Twitter over the past week and it seems to continually be popping up after hearing many librarians, teachers, parents and kids enjoying soooooo many of this year’s books published for children.

Don’t get me wrong, according to statistics, the publishing world still publishes primarily white, cisgender, “traditional” characters, but I think that now, more than ever the world of children’s literature is not only asking, but demanding that every child will see themselves in the books they read.  The quote that so many people continually come back to is a quote that describes books as windows and mirrors:


That being said, publishers have taken these demands to heart and although I don’t know that more books are being published about diversity, I think that the books that are being published are often times extremely well done and getting a lot of buzz in the children’s literature world. What I most appreciate are the books that are diverse without being about diversity.  You don’t need to scream diversity when writing these books, just be sure to include characters that are diverse.

Award committees both through ALA and across the blogging world are promoting diverse books as well which makes them even more wanted by kids, teachers, bloggers, librarians and parents. What I love about this community more than anything else is everyone’s passion for getting the right books into the right hands.  Every podcast I listen to, every interview I read, continues to amaze me.  Authors and illustrators in the children’s literature field are some of the most kind, humble and beautiful human beings on this planet. I’m convinced. They care so much for getting these stories into the hands of kids and their love for teachers and librarians shines just as bright.

Still not convinced we’re in a Renaissance? Check out the upcoming list of titles for middle grade novels coming out in 2017 from Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook. Check out the Mock Caldecott from Watch. Connect. Read., the Newbery and Caldecott Predictions from Fuse #8 Production and if you Google “best of children’s literature 2016” you’ll be sure to find lists upon lists of amazing literature published over the course of the past year.  Soak it all in and update your TBR lists!

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