Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Welcome to Library Lions BANNED BOOKS WEEK Special Edition! Please Roar today’s guest Lynn Miller, Teen Librarian at The Seattle Public Library, Ballard Branch.

First a bit about our Guest:
Lynn has worked 10 years as a Teen Services Librarian. She says, I am the luckiest librarian because of my colleagues at Ballard Branch. We work in concert to serve 1000- 1500 patrons a day at the busiest branch library in Seattle. Serving a teen well means being sure you already served them as children, serving their parents, serving their teachers, schools and community, and being prepared to continue to serve them as adults.

Tell us about Banned Books Week:
Every year in September libraries and book stores have the unique opportunity to remind their patrons of how precious their 1st Amendment right is by celebrating Banned Books Week and the Freedom to Read.

It is a time to feature Big Ideas, stir up conversation, even controversy. When each person stops to think about it he or she has a unique idea of what the 1st Amendment means.

American Library Association is a professional library organization that established and supports Banned Books Week in lots of ways.

If you are asking yourself “What is Banned Books Week?” Check out this Banned Books Week ALA page

Or take a look at the Banned and Challenged List for 2009-2010

What is your library doing for Banned Books Week?


We always do displays at the front of the library. But these are not passive displays!

Do your homework and be prepared for discussion. In some states or in some library settings, a Freedom to Read display might in itself be questioned or censored.

A display can be as simple as a collection of banned and challenged titles with custom Post-it notes on them, such as, “What would you do if someone said you couldn’t read this book?” (There is a Glue Stick product that can turn any piece of paper into a Post-It note.)

A few years ago, a librarian took some poor condition gift books that would have been recycled and altered them for a display that has turned out to be the biggest conversation starter imaginable. He put a copy of Harry Potter in a jar; he bolted them, locked them up, etc. This has stopped our library patrons in their tracks.

Book-It Program Danger: Books!
Finally, for over ten years Seattle Public Library (with funding from the SPL Foundation) has collaborated with Book-It Repertory Theatre and Seattle Schools to bring Book-It's show Danger: Books! to about twenty Seattle middle and high schools.

This year Book-It performed selections from On the Devil’s Court by Carl Deuker, Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes and The Land by Mildred Taylor at Salmon Bay School, my neighborhood school.

Following the performance 250 7th & 8th graders discuss censorship and the 1st Amendment. Each year after the discussion ends, I am re-inspired by these young minds and am proud to be a Teen Services librarian.

Any Banned Books you would like to highlight?
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger is a title that appears on the most recent list of Challenged and Banned books. Very well-told story. And scary. And powerful. We have countless books on our shelves of heterosexual romance among teenagers. But this story crosses the line and tells a different kind of story, equally real.

I mention it because I am proud of the West Bend Community Memorial Library, West Bend, Wisconsin for retaining it despite a month’s long campaign to remove. Both sides exercised their 1st Amendment rights. This is how the discussion should take place in a community. Fortunately, the book was retained and readers were able to then choose to read it or not read it and decide for themselves.

What can Library Lions blog readers do for Banned Books Week?
How to celebrate Banned Books Week?
For myself, I try to read and understand a little more each year about the issues of censorship. Intellectual Freedom is central to our work. As you get sensitized to the subject, one reads the news with an eye to how infringements on the Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Read play a bigger role in our life than we might at first think.

I also make a point to read a challenged or banned book each year. There are so many to choose from! Most amazingly great literature.

For a Library? Make a display of banned and challenged books or create a booklist. If you have time and support for programming: invite community members to read Banned and Challenged books or organize a discussion led by your local chapter of the ACLU.

Readers Roar:
Middle school and high school students are at a wonderful age to think about and appreciate their rights. Their first question is “That was banned?” Followed by “How can a book be banned with the Internet?”

Pretty soon they understand that our 1st Amendment allows us to challenge books and also protect books from being banned. Rights get complicated very quickly. They love speculating about the subject of censorship!

"After Danger: Books! performed at Salmon Bay School this week a 7th grader from the school came into the library. He recognized me from the morning and thanked me for the presentation. Then said: “I think I would like to read On the Devil’s Court.”

I love connecting young people with books they might like to read. Whatever it takes.

Here’s a way to connect Library Lions Blog readers, try the Push to Talk
The SPL Teen Blog
Seattle Public Library Facebook

Thank you, Lynn, for the Special Edition for Banned Books Week!

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 janetleecarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shauna Yusko Evergreen Jr. High Library

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 Shauna Yusko

Shauna is a youth librarian at Evergreen Junior High Library in Washington

When I asked her how long she’s been a librarian her answer:
Forever :)No seriously,12 years. 5 in public libraries, which I loved;7 in school libraries,which I love more(summers off ROCK!)Shauna’s currently on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults committee (2011),she’s won a national Best Buy TEACH Award (A LL Roar of congratulations for the award, Shauna!).
She also added she used to coach a middle school speech team and LOVED IT.

The Skinny:
I originally wanted to be a science teacher (probably high school chemistry). When it was time to get the teaching degree however,I was pregnant with my first child and did not relish the thought of student teaching while pregnant. So I was looking for something else to do. My husband, who’s aunt was a librarian, suggested library school. And that’s actually kind of funny coming from a man who never reads.But I realized that I’ve always loved to read (almost like an addiction) and being a librarian would give me a chance to work with students on all subjects, not just one. And since I can’t be Indiana Jones, this is the next best job!

Library Laughs:
Wow, I have to pick one? Hmmm…you probably do not want to hear about the time the preschooler vomited all over storytime. And when you work with teenagers in junior high/middle school, there are MANY hilarious stories to choose from. I should probably pick a story where I don’t have to change names to protect the guilty. Okay, one that definitely stands out is the time that I put up the Twilight READ poster featuring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. I had a group of 9th grade girls in the library at lunch standing near the poster, pointing, ooh-ing and aah-ing. There was quite a bit of girl giggling too. The best part is, the girls would send one of their group out to find other friends in the lunchroom so they could come ogle the poster as well. So funny to watch, I wish I had taken a picture, or even video. The best part? It went on for days.

Now,if only they realized that the Sherlock Holmes READ poster (starring Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr.)

Or the Orlando Bloom READ poster were much more worthy of their staring…

A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
I absolutely have a favorite library program:Not Just Reading & Writing.This program allows our 7th grade Tech I classes to tie their learning of technology skills into the Language Arts curriculum. The project culminates with them writing, illustrating, and publishing a children’s picture book of their own design. Completed picture books are also turned into an audiobook, narrated by the students.(Some books are also translated into Spanish by EJH students)When the final books are published, 7th graders invite kindergartners from the neighboring elementary schools to visit the junior high library for a field trip to hear the stories read aloud.

It might be considered crazy by some to have 75 kindergartners and 75 7th graders in the library at one time, but we call it organized chaos… and GREAT FUN! So much fun that we do it each semester. Maybe that makes us crazy? I’m not sure who has more fun though, the kindergartners or the older kids.

Reaching Readers:
Since I work in a school, I have a slightly captive audience. Just like a lot of librarians, I try and reach readers any way I can…having new books on hand, displaying books, talking with students whenever I can about what they are reading, soliciting book reviews, having contests, promoting new books, etc.
I inherited an old library in an old building,so trying to make the collection up-to-date and the library seem inviting and welcoming has been a big key (it is amazing what paint and posters will do to change the look of the library).

Collaborating with teachers is a big key for me in order to get students in the door, as are making the library a place to want to come and hang out (now, if only they would stop playing tag in the stacks).

I have also started a library blog and a Facebook page to reach readers in new ways!

Readers Roar:
“Thank you so much for your patience and helping me find great books! I have enjoyed every one!”—Juliana, Grade 9

“Thank you so much for letting me read all the advance copies. I am always looking for more books to read.”—Gretchen, Grade 8

“This is the best library EVER!”—John, Grade 7

“Thank you so much for letting me read my book at Dickinson Elementary. I appreciate everything you have done for me. Thank you!! Thank you!!”—Selene, Grade 7

Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
Well, for us, this year means the school year, which just started. In the first week of school, our top three books (based on checkouts and hold requests) would be: (1) “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins; (2) “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins; (3) “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” by Jeff Kinney. Really not a surprise.

Since kids know that I receive advance copies of books, I have already been asked this year for “Halt’s Peril”, the next book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series (coming in October, which I do have an ARC of), and “Angel” by James Patterson, the next book in the Maximum Ride series (coming in February, which I do not have a copy of).

Author! Author! Describe the perfect author visit from a librarian’s point of view.

FREE :) I know that is pretty unrealistic though, but you did say perfect. I would love to host an author that genuinely enjoys talking with students and can be flexible in what they present...be willing to go with the flow depending on how the students are interacting. A real love of what they do goes a long way and really gets kids engaged in what they have to say. My dream visit would be a “roundtable” of sorts with several authors at the same time, talking about books, reading, writing, and more. As part of the BFYA committee, I attended a pizza party at ALA in June (hosted by Penguin Publishers) where John Green, David Levithan, and Andrea Cremer entertained teens in the audience with stories about books, reading, writing, touring. PERFECT!! And completely out of my budget!

Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
So many things I could roar about. But I’ll probably just say that I love the library blog and have become completely addicted to blogging. Truly, if there were a 12-step program for it, I might have to join. I hope that you’ll stop by and visit!


Thank you, Shauna for your terrific interview!

Love Libraries? Give a Roar for your local library or favorite school library 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 janetleecarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot.