Over at Slate they are trying their best to whip up controversy about sappy Young Adult novels. Ruth Graham thinks that ” …you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.”
I am amused as I am both a librarian and immersing myself in YA and children’s literature. It’s plain wrong to broadly categorize all YA as too lightweight. There are some really well written novels that are still being studied. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier come to mind.
See the comment by atibamanii who is a retired librarian for a thoughtful response. To paraphrase atibamanii, a good story is a good story no matter what shelf it was found on.
Happy summer reading!
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Working in a school library with fine late May weather, I am finding it hard to concentrate. I am anticipating the home stretch as we wind down the year. The kids and myself are antsy thinking ahead to summer…and summer reading, in my case. Luckily I don’t have an assigned summer reading list. But kids going to summer school or private school might have pre-reading for classes to complete. Educator and author Donalyn Miller has strong opinions on the value of summer reading:
Assigning complex texts for summer reading doesn’t assure students are reading. Even if students muddle through these challenges, I suspect more than a few readers miss the deeper themes or fail to understand the books. Kelly Gallagher talks about “underteaching” books—sending students off to read difficult texts on their own without support from teachers—a practice that results in poor comprehension and reduced engagement for most young readers. Reading books they don’t understand does nothing to improve students’ reading ability and goes a long way toward disenfranchising them from reading altogether.
(from blog post June 9, 2013 by Donalyn Miller)
I remember slogging through Huckleberry Finn in high school, which ruined me for Mark Twain’s work for a long time. So this time I tackled Charles Dickens with a slow, methodical plan. I chose Great Expectations carefully and opted to read it digitally in Overdrive. I own this copy, which is sourced from awesome free e-books at Project Gutenberg. The result is very little stress to finish it fast and return it to the bricks and mortar library. At times, I can be a slow reader too, as this has taken me over a year to read. But my reading pattern has been a good fit, as Dickens writes in episodes, in which characters cycle back. By chance I browsed the graphic novel, but I refuse to watch a movie adaptation as I am enjoying the rich language and images that visuals would compete with my imagination. Many strong readers/friends have tried to dissuade me from reading Dickens as they have classified it as boring or too complex. I don’t think any text is too complex, but rather we need to come to it with the right frame of mind, and in a conducive context.
Choice for students is a critical factor as to whether they will develop and identify themselves as readers. That’s where my job is a more of a vocation to spark that interest in all the adventures waiting for them in books. The more they read, the more they can understand what they like and don’t like. Reading is not just task-based about completing the number of book reports per term.
And the last word goes to Miller who has a Book A Day challenge for the summer. I might just try it out…So many books, too little time.
Filed under: Reading, School library |
Tags: reading, School library
What got me started on this post was this article from INALJ (I need a library job) called 5 Things That People Don’t Realize Their Librarians Do.
This is my year for public speaking. I’m sitting on a panel of library technicians at the 2014 Manitoba Libraries Conference called “What can you do with a Library Technician Diploma?” There are five other panelists for a 75 minute session, so I don’t have a lot of time. I’ve been thinking about how I can best describe what I do and how what I learned through my library technician diploma made the difference to performing this job.
When I think about what I do, I realize that the most important part of my job is building relationships. I connect with my lawyers to reinforce how I can help them, I network with my colleagues at other law libraries to support me when I don’t know what to do or where to start, and I connect with legal publishing vendors to ensure I get the best resources for my firm for the best price. Of course I also do the “library” stuff too, like reviewing and entering data into the library catalogue, making sure invoices are paid, suggesting which resources to use, training on database use, and performing legal research.
I’ve tried to get my role down to one line: I help my lawyers win cases for their clients, and help them find new clients. I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks figuring out how to put that all together into a 5-10 minute presentation that’s both educational and entertaining.
Wish me luck!
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I know two toddlers that could not be more different. Rick’s mom is not a reader and finds “mom and tot” programs boring at the library. When I play with him, he is engaged but he doesn’t verbalize a lot. Things don’t bode well for his language development. The other baby is Marie, who is developmentally about average. She can say “Bye. See you.” If you pull out a book, she is all over it and wants to sit for a reading.
So many people underestimate the early engagement of developing readers. There are great ideas in the link about How to Raise a Reader. Personally we always read in the family as I grew up. I also went regularly to the public library as a child. My uncle also bought me a book focusing on science and ramps. I learned a whole world was waiting for me inside a small book. Let’s hope that little Rick has the same chance to discover of other worlds.
Filed under: Learning, Literacy | 1 Comment
There has been some dramatic changes in our lives lately. We moved from a busy urban environment to life in a small town in Saskatchewan. In the mean time, I was at a crossroads wondering if my career would be more in social media or in libraries. It looks the the tug of libraries won, as I am the new librarian at the local school.
What made me stand out was my experience with social media tools, like Twitter and this blog. I also felt confident about speaking and communicating with people as I had come back from giving a presentation on law libraries at Ontario Library Conference. I will be doing everything from managing the library’s web site to promoting digital literacy to kids in middle school. The common threads are organizing information and teaching skills to evaluate information. I thought a lot about my transferable experience and ways to demonstrate how I was a good fit. As always, marketing the library and reaching out to kids, teachers and other clients will form an important part of both relationship building and promoting the library itself.
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That was the title of the presentation Brenda and I did at the Ontario Library Association’s 2014 Superconference. Dana Schwarz, of the Ontario Association of Library Technicians kindly invited us to appear way back in June 2013 (they really plan a long time in advance!). At the time, Brenda was still living in Toronto and working at McMillan LLP, but by the time the conference came around she had moved to rural Saskatchewan! However, thanks to technology, we co-ordinated our work, although we didn’t actually practice together until arriving in Toronto the day before the conference.
This conference is aimed at public library and school library staff, so we based our presentation on providing information for those wishing to transition to a law library. We outlined the skills needed, the opportunities available, and described some of the situations we’ve run in to personally. I’ve attached the paper we wrote, which gives all the facts (but has none of the personality) of our talk.
What I liked most about doing this was how comfortable it was. When you know your topic as intimately as I do this one, it’s very easy to do. It was like having a conversation with some friends, talking about my job, with no interruptions ;)
I’ll be appearing at another conference later this spring, the Manitoba Libraries Conference. I’m on a panel with several other library technicians talking about “what you can do with a library technician diploma”. Eventually, I’m going to have to learn to talk about something else!
Filed under: Marketing, Professional Development | 1 Comment