Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome Jennifer Rummel

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries and for the outstanding Librarians serving Children and Young Adults in Schools and Public Libraries across the U.S. Please welcome today’s guest Jennifer Rummel.

Jennifer pictured here at Edith Wharton’s Library

Jennifer is the teen librarian at Otis Library in Norwich, CT

Jennifer’s believes librarians should keep up with their reading. She read 350 books in 2010! Her terrific blog YABookNerd has book reviews, library news, pop culture events, author interviews, and contests.

Jennifer contributes to the eastern CT Librarians Blog. She reviews books for VOYA, TeensReadToo, and makes and posts booktrailers on youtube.

The Skinny:
I love how YA books have become so popular. I like seeing adults and teens come into the department and exit with an armload of books. I love chatting with teens about books and giving them some to read. It’s especially great if they don’t really like reading, but need a book for school and then they come back for more just like that one!

I believe that teens are in a make or break it phase of their reading lives. I think everyone has the perfect book just waiting for them and all it takes that one book to hook a person and make them a reader. I love helping teens try to find that one book that will rock their world.

Library Laughs
Last year, I was showing Iron Man 2 just as it released to video. I had about 15 teens in the room. We started the movie – only to discover that the movie I rented through the Red Box was the first Iron Man. When I came into work, the Head of Cataloging mentioned that the copy from the library came in that morning before I arrived at work. I quickly ran downstairs, but the movie was locked in a cabinet. I didn’t have the key.

I called her at home and we quickly came to the consensus that I should break into the cabinet and we’d fix the lock later. So I used my amateur skills, feeling like I was in a movie myself, I picked the lock. The teens enjoyed watching the intended film.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
Food Fun
My teens love programs with food. We’ve done make your own chocolates, I-pod brownies, smoothies, popsicles, and candy sushi. I just saw this program about how to make healthy delicious homemade potato chips that I want to try. We don’t have access to a stove, so I have to get creative and grab a lot of ideas from other librarians, books, and blogs. I love how the librarian community is so friendly with sharing their awesome ideas – not every job is like that.

Girls’ Night In: DIY Spa Night
We really had a great time at this event and the girls walked away with bath salts, lip gloss, and a bath potpourri mixture they had all made themselves. Plus, we all tried out an oatmeal mask that made our faces smooth. There was lots of laughter and lots of fun. See the news bite.

Famous Women’s Tea
The first annual event for the library happened because of a program at my Alma matter William Smith (the other half of Hobart and William Smith Colleges). I adapted the program to fit out library. The first year, we focused on famous American women.

We had members of the community volunteer to portray a woman of their choosing who was significant in her times and who helped change the world. All the women, including several students from the local high school, dressed in costume. The response was so positive that we will be hosting it again this year, focusing on Civil War women to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War: Here’s the news bite.

Readers Roar:Let’s hear from the kids!

“This library shows the best movies,” Tiara

“You give me the BEST books” Alexis

“That was really fun! Can I make another one?” John at the I-pod Brownie program

“You’re the cool librarian,” Claudine

Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?

Only three books? Wow this is hard. I’m going to have to choose:

Last Sacrifice - It’s the end of Rose’s story. I just finished it and it’s an amazing end to the series. Plus Rose is so feisty and a girl who kicks serious butt.

Eona – So many people waiting for the follow-up to Eon Dragoneye Reborn, a perfect read. It’s FINALLY coming out in April. Another strong female read.

Across the Universe - I’ve been hearing great things about this book. Here’s the tagline: A Story of Love, Murder, and Madness Aboard an Enormous Spaceship Bound for the Future. It sounds so unique and gripping.

Author! Author! Describe the perfect author visit from a librarian’s point of view.
I love having authors come to the library. I wish more of my teens took advantage of this opportunity, but those who come to my author programs have a great time. I have been fortunate to have some really great authors: Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Marley Gibson, Michelle Zink and Jessica Verday all came last year.

Jessica and Michelle READ poster

I love having the room all decorated. We have a food table full of goodies

I introduce the author, who gives a talk and usually a reading. The author stays to sign books or bookmarks and meets the readers. Then I usually have a chance to gush about how much I love their work and take some photos. I usually take a photo to make a READ poster for the teen area.(Not all the READ posters are from author visits, some might be from authors I’ve seen in bookstores. Other authors I’ve contacted through email or facebook asking for their photos and they’ve graciously sent them to me.)

READ posters vlog:
Note from Janet: Hey I'm in there with Dragon's Keep on the readergirlz READ poster. Thanks, Jennifer :)

Library Lion’s One Last Roar
I’m an aspiring author – and have participated in NaNoWriMo three years in a row (the past two years I’ve held write-ins at the library for other local writers). I’m working on four drafts at various stages. They’re all teen novels. The first novel is in free verse about a girl named Emily who has spent her entire life waiting for something to happen. Now that she's off to college, she expects her life to completely change. Only nothing does. Luckily, her new roommate is spunky and outgoing, the kind of person who makes things happen and Emily and Lauren become fast friends. The girls struggle to balance class, work, romance and their own friendship during that tumultuous first year of independence. Emily must stop waiting and find happiness on her own terms.

The second, set in a different world, features Princess Raphaela whose father has just died, leaving her in charge of a kingdom. However, there’s a law decreeing no woman can sit upon the throne. In order to prove her worth to the council and thus the kingdom, she must locate and retrieve a long lost magical amidst dragons, backstabbers, and worrying about her fate.

The third book takes place in a small town in Vermont where the main character’s family owns a Christmas tree farm. Kate works on the farm while juggling school, figuring out her plans after high school, and dealing with her boyfriend who runs hot and cold.

The fourth book takes place during summer. A group of teens have been united at one particular camp to focus on video games. Each teen excels at video games and has been recruited to test out one particular game. Luke recognized the strange rules, although it takes him a while to understand the camp isn’t really what it seems. Luke might have uncovered the secret, but certain knowledge can get you killed.

Thanks again for the terrific interview, Jennifer!

Jennifer’s Connections
Blog: http://yabooknerd.blogspot.com/
Librarian blog: http://ecya.wordpress.com/
Reviews: http://www.teensreadtoo.com/JenniferRummel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yabooknerd
Twitter: (as YABookNerd) http://twitter.com/#!/yabooknerd
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/yabooknerd?feature=mhum

Library Lions readers swing by and show your Library Love in “comments”

Librarians who would like to showcase their library programs contact Janet for an interview at jlcarey@hotmail.com

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Library Lions Welcomes Jessica Gomes

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries and for the outstanding Librarians serving Children and Young Adults in Schools and Public Libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest, Jessica Gomes

Jessica works at Issaquah Library, Issaquah, WA

She approaches her job with vitality, offering a range of dynamic programming from the Manga Club where teens publish their own fan art zine and host an annual Art Walk showcasing their talent, to a Teen Music Show featuring local high school bands, and a Digital Discovery Zone (affectionately known as the DDZ). More about DDZ below. Jessica says, “It’s great fun and currently the only place for teens to use Mac computers through the King County Library System.”

The Skinny
Jessica says - Libraries provide open access to information and entertainment to people regardless of age, gender, educational background, economic status, etc. In our consumer-based society, there are few places outside of libraries where anyone can go to learn, grow and connect for free. I love that my personal values of sharing resources (borrowing instead of buying and making information publicly available), promoting life-long learning, and preserving public spaces- mesh with the values of my profession.

Master Mahan performing Issaquah Library’s Librarypalooza, June 2008

A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
The Digital Discovery Zone is a big red van with MacBook laptops, a green screen, a stop animation station, and more; basically it’s a place where teens can go to create and share digital photos, videos, animation, music and more.

In October and December 2010, Issaquah Library teens stopped by the Digital Discovery Zone to create their own comic strips, mix music, capture, edit and share photos, draw digital manga fan art, and make photo slide show DVDs.

In 2011, the Digital Discovery Zone will be visiting various branches of the King County Library System and making stops at community centers, schools, festivals and more around the county. Look for it in your town.


Library Laughs:
Funny things happen at the library all the time. One of my favorite things though is the impromptu wasabi eating contest that took place at Manga Club’s Art Walk this past summer. Chris and Alex, two high school boys, began bragging about how much wasabi they could eat. Each one claimed that he could “eat the other one under the table.” Soon, they were facing one another at a table- equipped with a set of chopsticks, a cup of water, and a generous dollop of wasabi.

They sized one another up over the green mounds before beginning to tentatively eat their way through the green heat. It was intense. Suddenly, Chris shoveled his remaining wasabi (a mouthful) into his mouth, all while maintaining a neutral facial expression. This seemed like a victory until Alex shoveled his remaining wasabi into his mouth, also with a neutral facial expression. The winning qualification became, instead of eating the most wasabi, going the longest without water. (Though it is known that water doesn’t cool the sensation.)

Faces turned red but nobody caved.. In the end, it was a draw and both contestants got a free manga book. I later commented on the intensity of the face off on Manga Club’s Facebook group. Chris replied to my comment with “ LOL. Nothing for me.” Yep, just another day at the Issaquah Library’s Manga Club.

caption: Go By Bathroom (afternoon in Japanese class), by a Manga Club teen

Readers Roar: Let’s hear from the kids!
“Thank you so much for starting up book club again. Books are so important, and I think in this day and age we are losing them.” – Said by Michelle, Grade 9, upon the learning that Summer Book Group will continue throughout the school year.

“I can’t believe you have this! This is so awesome! OMG it is SO COOL! Listen to the song I just made.”—Said by Samantha, Grade 9, while using Garageband in the Digital Discovery Zone.

Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
Depends on what you mean by hot. Post-apocalyptic fiction and dystopian SF in general is really big right now, in terms of popularity and demand. Many young adult readers are turning to imagined, not-so-distant futures in which today’s current fears of environmental destruction, economic collapse, and government failure have been realized.

Of course the third installment of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, is one such book that has attracted a lot of readers this year but Ship Breaker by Paulo Bacigalupi is up and coming. Ship Breaker is a hit with my teens and was just named the 2010 Mock Printz winner by teen librarians at King County Library System.

Another one that’s not popular but certainly provocative is Janne Teller’s Nothing- definitely another one to watch out for. It’s an existential social experiment. Some of the darker issues raised by this book have made it a problematic addition to teen fiction world- critics ask “Who is its audience?” “What kind of reader is this book for?” “Is it for teens?” Every reader is different but, like Lord of the Flies, which is has been compared to, Nothing is probably better suited to an upper high school audience. It may not be “hot” in terms achieving a level of bestseller sales in the U.S. but Nothing is a well-crafted story that will make its reader think. And that is hot.

Author! Author! Describe the perfect author visit from a librarian’s point of view.
The author arrives 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled time to get set up and acquainted with library staff. Author has low expectations for audience turnout and does not take actual audience turnout personally if low. Author is well-equipped to respond to strange questions or to field “How can I become a published author like you” questions from adults.

Library Lions people like to stay connected. Readers can check out the Blog: Issaquah Library Teen Readers

Facebook: Issaquah Teen Readers

Thanks again for the terrific interview, Jessica!

Love Libraries? Give a Roar in “Comments” below.

Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Roar for 2011!

Welcome to Library Lions first roar of 2011! We Raise a Roar for Libraries and for the outstanding Librarians serving Children and Young Adults in Schools and Public Libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest Librarian Susan K. S. Grigsby

Susan has been a Youth Librarian for 15 years. She works at Elkins Pointe Middle School; Roswell, Georgia. I met Susan in 2009 when she was the President of the Georgia Library Media Association. It’s a delight to have Susan kick off our first 2011 LL post!

~Susan testified before her State Education Subcommittee on the importance of public school libraries and adequate library funding.

~She coordinates the Georgia Summer Institute professional development programs for librarians throughout Georgia.

~She will be presenting a concurrent session at this year’s Internet in Schools National Conference in Washington, D.C. March 2011.

The Skinny: What inspired you to become a librarian?
I was active in Atlanta’s audio/video industry prior to becoming a media specialist. When my second child was born I began to look for a more kid-friendly career and read about how Georgia needed qualified media specialists. I had no idea what that meant but I was intrigued and investigated what it would take to become one. I found out it was the new term for “school librarian” but when I learned about all the technology then available in the schools and how my background could be used effectively every day I jumped in with both feet.

I LOVE my job and feel very fortunate to find something that is such a perfect fit for my personality, my skills, and my life’s goals.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
March Madness
We start our March Madness Reading Tournament with a a big team "rah rah" Pep Rally in the gym. March Madness connects reading with sports so we show photos like the one below to get things started.

The Reading Tournament is run with "homeroom teams". We treat it like the March Madness basketball format. Students fill in reading logs and teachers create DEAR time that is logged on student accounts. Our tech specialist set up a database in which teachers can plug in the number of minutes read. We start counting the minutes each week in March, narrowing down to sweet 16, elite 8, and the final four - the final four get to come to the tailgate party in which the tournament winner (most minutes read) is announced.

We culminate the program with the March Madness Tailgate Party

Photo of Tailgate Party

I also have a themed reading program in which students are required to read at least one book from that month’s theme and one book from any other area in the library. It is based on The Dewey Decathlon developed by Kris Woods, a fellow Georgia media specialist. I took her idea and tweaked it a little for my own purposes using monthly themes like Realistic Fiction, Horror/Mystery Fiction, Biography, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, etc. to help guide students towards a broader range of reading materials. Each month, every student that has read the two required books are invited to the library for Cafe Read-A-Latte –

I serve them Mocha Lattes or Vanilla Lattes with some home-baked treats and they get to hang out for 30 minutes and read magazines, play board games, or just visit with friends in the library while enjoying their treats.

Clapping Paws for Susan and her Library Programs!
~ I attended, and thoroughly enjoyed, your Café Read-A-Latte presentation at COMO!
(Conference participant)

~ WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for putting this together. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had so many excited kids today with their books!! Thank you again!! (Teacher)

~ We are so lucky to have you!! Thanks for all you do! (PTA President)

~ When I get a chance I want to come by and get some reading logs for the historical fiction month…A.Z. ASKED to read his book yesterday….. sometimes mountains do move… Thank you partner for the support and assistance as we try to get these kids reading! (Reading Teacher)

Library Laughs:
In my first year as a media specialist I worked in a K-8 private school. I had a beautiful library collection in a brand new facility and prided myself on really knowing my collection. One day a little 1st grader came in and asked for my help in finding a book on dinosaurs. I confidently led the way to 567.9 and then asked if he had something in particular in mind. He replied that he wanted a dinosaur book that had pictures in it. I pulled a big, colorful book off the shelf and said, “How about this one?” He shook his head and said he really wanted a book that had pictures in it. I pulled another book off the shelf, and another. He kept saying “I really want one that has pictures.”

I showed him the pictures in the book and said “See? This one has pictures.” Again, he shook his head and looked at me like I must be the most dense librarian on the planet. “Pictures,” he said. “You know...pictures like you take with a camera!” Thinking I had the request nailed I pulled out a book filled with photographs of scientists digging up dinosaur bones with accompanying drawings of what they believed the dinosaurs looked like. “NO!” he said. “Pictures of the dinosaurs!” I slowly realized what he wanted, got down on one knee, looked him straight in the eye and said softly, “Cameras weren’t invented when dinosaurs were around because people hadn’t been invented yet, either.” “Oh,” he said. “Then that first one you showed me will be okay.” He happily checked it out and went on his way!

Author! Author!
We were fortunate to be visited by Laurie Halse Anderson in November 2009 just as Chains was being promoted.

Susan with Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson did an amazing presentation to my middle schoolers about how she did her research into the historical accuracy of her story. She made some beautifully poignant remarks about how finding out our founding fathers were slave owners rocked her own belief system and forced her to think about our American Revolution in a slightly different way. The students were mesmerized and so many lined up after class to speak to her personally - she looked every one of them in the eye and listened to what they had to say, answered their questions without rushing them, and signed their books if they had them. It was one of my career highlights.

Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?

~The Hunger Games series (Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins).

~Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth.

~I’m just starting to get some interest in The City of Bones series, too.

~I know this makes more than three, my students cannot get enough Origami books. Is this some kind of new craze?

Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
I work with some of the best teachers in my county. It is an absolute pleasure to walk into my building every day and know that I will be collaborating with some of the most creative, dedicated teachers I’ve ever met. It is the collaboration that makes my program work. It takes effort, compromise, flexibility, and energy but it is worth every second when I see the results: improved student achievement. My principal is a smart leader who knows how to create a positive working environment without micromanaging the professionals in the building. This atmosphere of mutual respect has cleared the way for innovative and dynamic teaching to take place. I encourage anyone reading this to reach out to his/her staff and find a way to work together towards improved teaching, improved learning, and improved students.

Susan’s Links

Susan Grigsby Wordpress

School Library Website

Susan’s Website

Thanks again for the interview, Susan!

Love Libraries? Become a Follower of Library Lions! Give a Roar in “Comments” below.

Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview.