Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


It's our last post of the year here at Library Lions. Let's all give a mighty roar for our guest the amazingly talented author LISA YEE!! ROAR!

Whether in a book store or a library, Lisa'a award winning books are guaranteed to fly off the shelves! Here's her latest!

Click Here to learn more about Warp Speed.

Since Lisa lives at Warp Speed, we're lucky to have her guest blog today here on Library Lions. Welcome Lisa. Let's talk Libraries! Go!

I Love Libraries!In case you can't tell by looking at me, I think libraries are awesome . . .

When I was a kid, I used to play library. Um, I still do . . .

(For you young folk out there, that's a library card that you sign and get stamped when you check out a book. This is pre-scanner, pre-computer, pre-e-books. Yes, I am old.)

I was thrilled to be invited to speak the the Young Adult librarians at the main branch of the LA Public Library.

It's gorgeous inside . . .

I was part of a YA author panel that took place in the Mark Taper Auditorium LAPL Manger of Youth Services, Eva Mitnick led the event, and our panel was moderated by Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers VP of acquisition and development and editor Jennifer Hunt . . .. . .

The panel included Cecil Castellucci, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Sherri Smith, Margie Stohl, Carol Tanzman, Janet Tashjian, Angelina Jolie, and Moi. (Well, most of those people.) We had a WONDERFUL dialogue with the attractive, witty and smart YA Librarians . . .

Later, some librarians shared their favorite books with us . . .

Since we were on the YA panel, it was only fitting that we visit the Teen area . . .

Then get this . . . we went SHOPPING at the LIBRARY with a GIFT CERTIFICATE the librarians gave us!!!

After, it was off to Cole's for a literary lunch with Cecil and Sherri . . .

We love Cole's and have been there with authors Ransom Riggs and Sonya Sones! (Though not at the same time.) And we love librarians, too!!!

Oh! And what did I end up getting at the store? How's about this . . .

What's that, you ask? Why, it's old fashioned vintage rubber stamps of things called typewriters and rotary dial phones!!!

Let's Link UP!

Follow Lisa on Facebook


Lisa's Blogs

Follow her on Twitter

Thank you Lisa for the terrific interview!

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 slot.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Einstein Kids Will Change the World!

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, Anne Sandbo!

When asked about her job, Anne says “I have the best job in the world with the best kids in the world. I am the librarian at Einstein Elementary School in Redmond, Washington. We are the Einstein Otters and we will change the world!"

Einstein Library

The Skinny
I love that I am able to see each student in the school every week. We learn together. They teach me as much as I teach them….maybe I learn more than they do. I love that I am able to learn new ways to access information along with the students and we can share our favorite books.

Library Laughs
One day I was checking books out with a class. A little boy had an overdue book and he couldn’t remember what the book was. I pulled up the picture on the computer and showed it to him. He looked at me and asked “Does it tell you where I left it?”

Another day I was exploring encyclopedias with 3rd graders. We’d gone over Alphabetical order and how to make a good guess if you’ll find something at the back or the front of the volume. When I asked where I would look for the Japanese Beetle a student answered:
“Probably in Japan.”

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
I think my favorite program that we do with our students is Battle of the Books. Einstein has participated since the program began and even though we’ve only won the district battle once, we have teams of real readers. They form teams, read the books and above all, they have fun. In the 10 years we’ve been doing Battles, we have only had teams end the tournaments with smiles, laughing and handshakes all around. You can’t do any better than that.

Readers Roar: Let’s hear from the kids!

~I love that the library was open this summer. I got to read the books that are checked out all the time during school. ~ Jen grade 4

~ I don’t ever want to hear Mrs. Sandbo use her “librarian voice”. I think it would be scary!~ Robert grade 5

Book Brag: What's Hot This Year?
Our Greek Mythology Graphic novels are hot this year. We have multiple copies of three volumes and there is as long a waiting list for them as there is for the 2012 Guinness World Records.

Author! Author!
I had the perfect author visit a few years ago. Robert Liparulo’s (author of the Dreamhouse Kings series) publisher called me. He said Robert had looked at our web site and would like to come see the students at Einstein.

He came with free books, he didn’t charge us for the visit or travel. He asked students to submit ideas to him for future settings for his books. He stayed connected with the students for years after his visit. Several of them were readers for him before later books were published. He really motivated some of our reluctant readers to start reading!

Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
Our students are coming to the library during recess to add grains of rice on the free rice.com website. They read the stories of the difference it makes to kids around the world and they get practice with some vocabulary and know they make a difference.

Let’s Link
Library Website: As it says on our website: We know just about everything, just ask us.

Thank you, Anne for your terrific interview!

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 slot.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Roar for Middle School Librarians!

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 Middle School Librarian, Teresa Young.

Mrs. Young works in Springfield, MO. We first met when I presented at the Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks. We're pleased to interview her here on Library Lions!

The Skinny: How long you’ve been a Youth Librarian?
This is my 8th year as a school librarian. I served four years in an Elementary and then followed my students over to the Middle School. This will be my fourth year in Middle School.

When I switched from Elementary School Librarian to Middle School Librarian, I read the student evaluations and presented a vision to the principal of how I could transform the library by rearranging furniture, splashing some paint on the walls and creating new reading spaces for the students to enjoy.
I’m happy to say we made some fun changes.



Library Love: Briefly, what do you love most about your work?
Every day I look forward to serving in the Middle School library because each day is unique! As I work with young teens, my goal is to increase their knowledge of being effective users of information.

I love connecting to the students and staff, promoting literature, teaching how to be ethical with technology and serving the families I work with on a daily basis.

This school year I am serving as the President of the Regional Area of School Librarians and have been an active part of the state wide professional organization, MASL, Missouri Association for School Librarians.

Library Laughs:
When you think of a Middle School student, you have to think of a cell phone. Our school rule is no phones during school time however as soon as the last school bell rings, cell phones come out of everyone’s pockets.

During National Library Week, the Student Library Advisory Board, SLAB, decided to have a book drive for the new Preschool that opened just down the street from us. They have a great facility but only a small space for a library with books supplied from donations. A teacher in our school building volunteered to bring her young children’s favorite toy car into the library so that the preschool book DRIVE could be collected to donate to our neighbors. Students saw the car, came into the library and then asked permission to take a picture of the car because it was so cute!

Cameras were flashing but no students were allowed to get inside the car. Not sure anyone our size would even fit! The book DRIVE was a success and boxes of books were brought to build a preschool library or to put books in backpacks to take home.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
The Library is the place to be from before school programs, during school learning and after school clubs. Before school the Spanish Club meets one morning a week, the Breakfast Club meets two mornings a week to listen to a Truman nominee book be read aloud, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meets with one of the coaches and SLAB, Student Library Advisory Board alternates meetings with the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) which both create activities that involve school spirit around literacy or scholarship and serving others in our school or community.

During school, the library is used constantly by the reading teachers who require students to read to science and social studies teachers needing students to do research on a topic. The Health teacher uses the library for technology projects where students create and then share about a health topic. The art teacher makes uses of the library space and computers when starting a new project such as perspective. Even the PE teacher will use the library to have students do research on sports that are being taught in class.

The library is really the heart of the building and offers so many opportunities for others to learn about the resources inside by celebrating National Geography Awareness Week, Money Smart Week and Pi Day!

After school, the students proposed to start a Twilight Book Club and all those students who loved the books, gathered together to share their favorite book character, play Twilight games and even eat Twilight snacks. Again, the students created a club to “hang out” and called themselves the “Couch Club”. Nothing formal was announced as there was a limited space on the couch, but the club grew from word of mouth and the students quickly found a safe place to just chill.

Readers Roar: Let’s hear from the kids!
Students wrote metaphors about the library. Some chose to use a simile, since that was a little easier to do. Here are some samples of what the students said about the School Library:

“Walking in the library is like walking in the mall; you can look at stuff and not walk out with anything.” Alex, 7th

“Reading is a doctor because it helps.” Riley, 6th

“The library is like my room where I feel safe inside.” Daphne, 6th

“A book is like a roller coaster ride, you read it and want to read it again.” Audryanna, 6th

“The library is like Wonderland where we are Alice with a new discovery around each corner.” Kali, 8th

“The library is a thrift store; everything is used.” Tori, 6th

“The library is a friend because when I am down, I can always turn to it.” Sarah, 7th

“The library is like a recycling center; you read, return and repeat.” Rose, 7th

“The library is a toolbox I use for my work.” Mitchell, 6th

Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
The Truman Readers Award is promoted in this school library. This is a state program sponsored by MASL where the students pick their favorite. Reading teachers use the books in literature circles in class. Students hear about all the books and then select the one that interest them. There are twelve books on the list and students read at least four titles to be eligible to vote in early March. These are the hot books from that list:

1. MAZE RUNNER I can not keep copies of this book on the Truman rack nor on the Hold shelf. As soon as students know it is available they want to read it. This is the first book in a trilogy about boys who work through obstacles in their “community” as they seek out an escape.

2. THE LAST THING I REMEMBER Another title that students are talking about after they read it and everyone wants to get their hands on it! This is another book that is the first in a series. The main character awakens in a torture chamber with no memory of how he got there. He flashes back to the last thing he remembers.

3. JANE IN BLOOM Every student who reads this title tells at least two others and the book constantly moves from student to student. This is a first novel for author Deborah Lytton. A deeply personal look at sisters, the oldest sister faces issues with anorexia and the youngest has to deal with grief issues.

Author! Author!
One of the Middle School reading teachers used the book, THE MAN WHO LOVED CLOWNS with her classes.

When I asked her if she had ever met the author, June Rae Wood, a Missouri Author, she told me no. I immediately contacted June Rae Wood and asked her if she could squeeze in a visit to my school library before attending the Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks in October. She told me her fee and then I started making phone calls asking if businesses would like to fund her visit. A local business contributed so the students and the teacher got to interact with the author. We even had a parent reception after school. This made reading come alive to these students who continue to ask for June Rae Wood books.

June Rae Wood Author Visit

Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
Because I see a great need for new and fresh materials in the Library, I write grants every year to fund a special project. Some of the grants are local and others are national. Each grant makes a difference and helps me to offer the newest and best to my students and staff. I would like to send a ROAR to Lowe’s who gives grants to libraries nationwide. Lowe’s gave over $5,000 for our library to build our nonprint collection as well as a computer kiosk where the students can easily access the card catalog for searching or to work on a health technology presentation.

Building the Kiosk

Finished Kiosk

Thanks again for interviewing with us here on Library Lions!

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 slot.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Welcome to Library Lions special edition celebrating TEEN READ WEEK. This year’s theme “Picture It.” What R U doing for TRW?

Here at Library Lions we’re Roaring for YALSA = Young Adult Library Services Association. Swing by their site and see what YALSA says about TEEN READ WEEK

“Teen Read Week is an initiative of the YALSA. Teen Read Week started in 1998. This year's theme is Books with Beat @ your library®. YALSA encourages teens to read poetry, audiobooks, books about music, and more. Libraries across the world celebrate Teen Read Week with a variety of special events and programs”
Announcing this year’s Top Ten list of books for Young Adults!

Congratulations to the Teens Top Ten!!
Teens from selected libraries across the U.S. read and voted for the Top Ten list.

Special thanks to YALSA's Teens' Top Ten Committee is Chair Jennifer Barnes, Rebecca Jackman, Amy Fiske, Carrie Kausch, Rachel Kitzmann, and Lisa Martinez.

Best-selling author, Jay Asher is the spokesperson for 2011 Teen Read Week this year
More about what Jay’s doing for Teen Read Week here

We’re also roaring the 25 nominees this year:
•Bachorz, Pam. Drought. Egmont USA. 2011.
•Beam, Cris. I Am J. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2011.
•Beaudoin, Sean. You Killed Wesley Payne. 2011. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
•Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier. Zombies vs. Unicorns. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books. 2010.
•Card, Orson Scott. The Lost Gate. Tor Books. 2011.
•Clare, Cassandra. The Clockwork Angel. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry. 2010
•Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay. Scholastic. 2010.
•Collins, Yvonne. Love, Inc. Disney/Hyperion. 2011.
•Condie, Ally. Matched. 2010. Penguin/Dutton.
•Cremer, Andrea. Nightshade. Penguin/Philomel. 2010.
•Fitzpatrick, Becca. Crescendo. Simon & Schuster Children’s. 2010.
•Grant, Michael. Lies. 2010. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.
•Hawkins, Rachel. Demonglass. Disney/Hyperion. 2011.
•Hakwins, Rachel. Hex Hall. Disney/Hyperion. 2010.
•Kagawa, Julie. The Iron King. 2010. Harlequin.
•Lore, Pittacus. I Am Number Four. HarperCollins. 2010.
•Moore, Peter. Red Moon Rising. Disney/Hyperion. 2011.
•Nelson, Jandy. The Sky is Everywhere. 2010. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers.
•Oliver, Lauren. Before I Fall. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010.
•O’Neal, Ellis. The False Princess. Egmont USA. 2011.
•Patterson, James. Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel. Little, Brown & Company. 2011.
•Pearce, Jackson. Sisters Red. Little, Brown and Company. 2010.
•Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Blessed. Candlewick Press. 2011.
•Westerfeld, Scott. Behemoth. Simon Pulse. 2010.
•White, Kiersten. Paranormalcy. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010.

More ways Library Lions can celebrate:

1. Join readergirlz The cutting edge literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Award for Innovations in Reading. Support readergirlz and keep up with the latest great book news.

2. Free your inner teen and read an excellent book from the Top Ten or from the nomination list this year.

3. RIP Read In Public

RIP on the subway, bus, in the park, in the grocery store line – join those of us who RIP!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Also, the picture you’re adding and the —who is absolutely wonderful. J

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest School Librarian Carol Matheson!

(Pictures of Carol by Redmond Elm. PTSA President, Elena Savage)

Carol is a Teacher Librarian at Redmond Elementary in Redmond WA.

I met Carol last year on one of my Read Across America school visits and knew at once I wanted to interview her for Library Lions. Welcome Carol!

Thanks, Janet.

Roar for Lion Cubs
Last year on my visit I noticed that your students are Very involved in the library. Can you tell us about that, Carol?

I like to involve the students in decisions about our school library. I have a suggestion box for kids to recommend good books they’ve read that aren’t in the Library. I buy as many of the suggestions as I can and the kids love it. They’re listened to. They’re part of the Library. I also periodically do a survey asking kids what they like about the Library and what they would change. We’ve changed a lot including
~ How many books they can check out
~ How long they can check them out
~ When they can check out (almost any time they want to—recesses, before and after
school, etc.)
~ They wanted the Library to be brighter so we added posters to the wall which they
picked out

I work very hard to make sure that what I teach is meaningful to our students. In primary I focus on introducing them to a wide variety of picture books—we read Classics, Folklore from around the world, books reflecting Lifeskills (which is a big focus in the classroom for primary students), and even books demonstrating the 6-Traits of Writing. In intermediate we focus on research skills from doing a research project on birds to an extensive unit on what resources to use (and trust) for different kinds of projects.

The Skinny: Briefly, what do you love most about your work?
I love the kids. I love getting to know them, teaching them, encouraging them to read, encouraging them to be the best person they can be. Some of my kids face big challenges: some are homeless, some don’t have enough to eat, some move frequently, and some have behavior and/or learning challenges. I’m amazed some of these kids can even make it out of bed in the morning and yet they come to school to learn, make friends and start believing in themselves.

I also love the people I work with. They are an amazing group who try to help the student who struggles with everything and challenge the student that everything comes easy to. They are compassionate, hard-working, caring people with good senses of humor!

I feel like I do one of the most important jobs in the world. It’s hard. I put in long hours and go home much more tired than I did in the business world (I was in marketing for 15 years before becoming a teacher). But, I know what I do makes a difference and the rewards are big: An “AH HA” moment, a hug, a smile from a face that came in sad, a junior high or high school student that still stops by to say hi . . . .

Library Laughs
We are the Redmond Hawks so above the check-out desk the students chose to have pictures of Hawks. One of them is a beautiful photo of a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I have a 6th Grader who loves turtles and insists that this hawk looks like a turtle. He takes polls of everybody who walks through the Library. We have now banned the dreaded “t” word during class because it was causing a bit too much disruption but it can be discussed during check-out time. It has made a very fun bond between me and the kids in that class, especially with the turtle lover.

Turtle or Hawk??? Kids check the photo out.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
We have a wonderful program at this school which was started by a 5/6th Grade teacher who enlisted me. It’s called Hawks Read.

(Artwork by Paula Randolph)

The 6th Graders (and the 5/6 Split) read to the Kindergartners and First Graders every Friday at 1:00, right after lunch recess. The Library supplies the books (pulled by a student volunteer in the morning). The teacher got the idea from a reading program sponsored by Target. Our kids weren’t eligible for the Target program because they were too young so we contacted Target and explained what we were doing. They were amazingly generous with a big celebration about reading last year to help kick the program off and money for books in the Library. They gave us another grant this year.

We also have another program call Donuts for Dads and Muffins for Moms.

Once a month we have donuts, muffins, fruit, juice, etc. and kids come in with their families to read books. We have people in every corner of the Library eating and reading (despite the fact we tell kids not to read and eat at the same time). It is very fun and much loved. We’re fortunate to have the PTSA and the Neighborhood School House help sponsor this.

Readers Roar: (Let’s hear from the kids!)
~ I like coming to the Library to read at recess sometimes because it’s calm and quiet.~ Varsha, Grade 4:

~ I love to read all the fantasy and adventure books. Mrs. Matheson even lets me come in after school almost every day to check out books. ~ Alex, Grade 4:

~ I like Mrs. Matheson because she is really nice. I come to the Library because of her and I really like to read a lot.~ Jared, Grade 6:

Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
I’d love to tell you about a wonderful award winning book that I can’t keep on the shelf but . . . at least they’re excited about reading.

~ Graphic Novels—it doesn’t matter which one. My section was decimated the first week of school and I’ve been working hard to add as many books to that section as possible.

~ Harry Potter—the last movie set off another year of checking every one of those books out.

~ The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series—Given the competition for these books when they’re actually in the Library, I’m amazed how well the kids peacefully work out who gets what and nobody complains!

Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
I’d like to roar about my PTSA. Given this is a school with almost half of our students on free and reduced lunch, our PTSA performs miracles. They have been amazingly supportive of the Library program and have worked with me to fund wonderful new books which have helped almost double our circulation since I came five years ago. A roar to all those wonderful people who put hours into supporting our teaching, making sure all of our kids get to participate in special programs and helping our school be an even better place.

Thank you, Carol for your terrific interview!

Love Libraries? School libraries need your support. 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.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Welcome to Library Lions special edition Banned Books Week.

Lesley James, librarian at Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library is here to Roar for Banned Books Week. Welcome Lesley!

The Skinny: First tell us a little about yourself and your library

We have an awesome after-school Homework Help program at my branch, thanks to the amazing volunteers who spend two to four hours each week helping students of all ages. The students deserve a lot of credit, too, for wanting to learn and for helping each other. I keep things bubbling along by orienting the volunteers, organizing the schedule, etc.

I’ve been a librarian for eleven years. One of my favorite things to do is visit schools to do presentations on information literacy and the research process. Sometimes classes of English Language Learners or special education students visit the branch for a presentation on “How the Library Is Organized.” I also love doing good old-fashioned booktalks and enjoyed working with a nearby school where I taught students how to do their own booktalks so they could share their favorites with their classmates.

Douglass-Truth Library interior

For many years, several branches worked together to hold a “Reading Marathon” that pitted four middle schools against each other to see which could log the most reading time in a six-hour period. Because of budget cuts and staff reorganizations, this year the competition was between the three grades from one middle school and held at just my branch, but the participants still had a great time eating snacks, winning raffle prizes, and, of course, reading.

Tell us about Banned Books Week:

Banned Books Week is that special time of the year when librarians get together and ban as many books as possible…just kidding! (Although teens are sometimes confused by the name.) The serious fact is that every year books are removed from the shelves of libraries when library staff responds to patrons’ official complaints by choosing to censor. Librarians and other educators who consider themselves staunch supporters of the First Amendment want to bring this to the attention of the public so they can appreciate their Freedom To Read. It’s also a great opportunity to examine the issues and emotions that prompt those complaints and the prices we sometimes pay for having the freedom.

It surprises some students to learn that there are books I hate—but I make it clear that I’ll defend the rights of those books to be on the shelves of the library with my last breath. That’s what makes the Freedom To Read so powerful: it’s not a simple or easy thing to defend, but it’s worth it.

Learn more at the American Library Association site:

Can you showcase some more displays for us?
There are great displays at every branch of The Seattle Public Library system.

What do you do to spread the word about Banned Books Week and Intellectual Freedom Issues?
When teachers invite me to do a presentation on intellectual freedom for their classes, I do a lesson on the “competing goods” of the Freedom To Read. I start by showing the students the text of the First Amendment and then I show them a newspaper photograph and tell them this is a picture of the First Amendment in action. We discuss what’s going on in the photograph: an African-American woman is crouched defensively over a white man who became the target of a group of violently angry people who turned up to protest a Ku Klux Klan march. Why would this woman protect a Klan member whose speech is filled with such hate for her race? Because she believes in his right to speak, no matter what he’s saying. The protesters have an equal right to voice their opinion, but not to silence his. It’s a compelling image that helps students understand the gravity of defending free speech, even when you completely disagree with it.

Next, we do an activity that involves small groups of students looking at children’s picture books that have been challenged in the past and guessing what the challengers objected to. We use picture books because they’re easier to flip through than young adult novels, they lead to a later discussion about age restrictions, and they elicit cries of, “But I love the Lorax!” By the way, I want to give credit to the Multnomah County Library System librarians—I observed a version of this activity led by them at a conference and adapted it.
PHOTO cover The Lorax

Some of the reasons for challenging seem silly to the students (such as the bottle of wine in Little Red Riding Hood’s basket for her grandmother leading to alcoholism) but others are more serious (such as the use of racial slurs in Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry). The important thing I want students to understand is that they all represent someone’s personal values. Whatever their personal values are, the students always bring up the point that it’s good to have books that represent different opinions. If we removed every book that offended someone, there would be no books left on the shelves! The students also agree that that depicting a particular behavior doesn’t necessarily condone it and that it’s better to show reality as it is, rather than trying to shield readers from harsh truths.
We do a couple of other activities during this lesson and I’d be happy to share them, as well as details about the activities described above.

Any Banned Books you would like to highlight?
I’d like to highlight some hometown heroes. Three local (Seattle or Seattle-adjacent) authors of books for teens are represented in the American Library Association’s “Books Banned or Challenged in 2009-2010” booklet: Sherman Alexie, Brent Hartinger, and Richelle Mead. Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was challenged but retained on a school summer reading list. (It’s important to note that many challenges fail to lead to a banning.) The objections focused on “vulgar and racist” language. So many teens, especially boys, have read and loved this book.

You could have a great discussion about the difference between being racist and depicting racism with these readers. Hartinger’s Geography Club was retained at a public library despite complaints that it was “obscene or child pornography.” (In 2005, it was banned and then reinstated by a nearby school district, although the focus that time was a scene in which the protagonist arranged to see someone he met online.) This book also provides a great opportunity to talk about the difference between gratuitous sex scenes and sex scenes as an important part of the plot—or, in this case, books in which characters think about sex but don’t actually have it but are still considered “pornography.”

Mead’s entire Vampire Academy series was banned at a junior high school for “sexual content or nudity,” including books which have not yet been written. It’s true that schools don’t have the same responsibilities as public libraries to protect the freedom to read, but that doesn’t mean they should go ahead and ban books without reading them first!

What can Library Lions readers do to roar for Banned Books Week?
Support your local public library! We love our volunteers and appreciate every penny that’s donated, but most of our essential functions can only be funded by the city or county government’s budget. When times get tough (as they are right now), tough decisions have to be made about those budgets. It’s crucial that city and county governments know that public libraries are a vital service to their communities.

Yes, a lot of people get their information online these days, but where do people go when they don’t have computers or the skills to navigate the increasingly complex world of online information? The library, of course. We are actually more needed than ever. Our buildings are bursting with job-seekers, recent immigrants, and students of all ages who need help with their homework. They may be the only places where children hear stories read to them, elderly people figure out how to use a computer mouse, or someone who’s having a bad day sees a smile. And our local governments need to know all this so they don’t put us in the same pile as the parks and the art projects that are awesome but tend to lose their funding more rapidly than the police and fire departments.

One More Library Lion’s Roar:
I’d also like to put in a plug for the profession of librarianship, which seems especially relevant at a time when we’re celebrating the First Amendment. It’s true you don’t need a master’s degree to do a lot of the things we do these days (if I had a dollar for every printer I’ve un-jammed, I could have retired by now) and that what we bring to our work is somewhat intangible. But intangible doesn’t mean unimportant. Librarians hold back the forces of censorship with one hand and welcome everyone—and I mean everyone—into the library with the other. Without us, freedoms would get chipped away, both the freedom of ideas to enter the public space and the freedom to gain access to those ideas, regardless of your skills or resources. Interest in those ideals led me to library school and by the time I left, they were tattooed on my soul.

Let’s Link!Teen

Blog: http://blog.spl.org/yablog/

Adult Blog: http://shelftalk.spl.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeattlePublicLibrary?ref=ts
Thank you, Lesley for your terrific interview!

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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 slot.