Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Welcome to Library Lions! This week we’re showcasing THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL.

Student MC 2012 Teen Book Festival

In 2004 a group of librarians, parents, and students joined together with the avowed purpose of promoting teen reading in our community. We held the first Montgomery County Teen Book Festival in January of 2005. Following the first event we received the Highsmith Award, given annually for the most innovative project involving a school library in the state of Texas.

Our Dream is to celebrate the joy of teen reading. In support of this dream we promote books and bring together teens and authors.

A Roar For The Committee
The festival couldn’t be a success without the work of each and every member!
The Teen Book Festival is a group effort. From the beginning, it has been supported by the Conroe Independent School District and has grown to include volunteers from entire Montgomery County area. The committee includes public and school librarians in the area, as well as parent volunteers and other community members.

Cinda Williams Chima & Pam Cooper (Pam is one of the founding committee members)

Three of the many librarians who help us each year.

More Volunteers

(See the full list of all of the librarians and volunteers on our website )

Author! Author!
We’ve had so many great authors over the years! This year’s festival included:

From L-R Melody Carlson, Patrick Jones, Cinda Williams Chima, Joseph Hayes, Belle Whittington, Melissa Studdard, Gayle Forman (somehow Kristin Cast didn’t make this photo op)

Other authors we’ve had include Chris Crutcher, Lois Lowry, Lauren Myracle, Melissa Marr, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Sara Zarr, Justina Chen, Gordon Korman,, Cassandra Clare, Tamora Pierce, and Neal Shusterman.

The Festival Day
The festival day is largely run by student volunteers. We have a student master of ceremonies every year and students introduce the authors at each session.

Authors and their student assistants

We have student volunteers who escort the authors,

Lauren Myracle student escorts

They help with food, handle the festival surveys, and provide entertainment.

Another unique aspect is that the artwork for the festival this year was created by a student. We had a contest among the schools where students created artwork and the winner’s art was used for the banners, T-shirts and bookmarks promoting the festival.

Before the festival, the student volunteers get to have brunch with the authors. As you can imagine, that is a huge hit with the teens!

Lois Lowry Brunch

Neal Shusterman Brunch

While teens are arriving during the first hour or two, we have music, food and book sales in the main area of the school where the festival is held. In the past we’ve hired a band to play. This year we had a DJ playing music. Additionally, we typically have student performances. We’ve had school jazz bands, dance troupes and drumlines. This year we had students from the host school’s theatre department perform scenes from “Little Women.”

Dance troupe


The first event is a general assembly. This includes a panel of all the authors.

Author Panel from L-R Sara Zarr, Nick Abadzis, Cassandra Clare, Shirlene Obuobi

Our student master of ceremonies directs questions to each of the authors. The keynote author speaks. Then we have two breakout sessions where each of the authors will speak in their own locations throughout the school.

Chris Crutcher

Finally, the day concludes with autograph sessions and more mingling in the common area.

Roars For The Fest!

"What a day full of AWESOMENESS! So many wonderful readers in one place at one time! It was like MAGIC! ♥" Belle Whittington- Author,

"Thank you for hosting such a wonderful festival this weekend!" Sherry Stafford Rowland – Adult attendee

Roars from Our Student Surveys!

“This book fair is the coolest thing ever, the majority of people never get to meet authors and I think it is a huge privilege,”

“I have come to this for 6 years in a row. Epic every year.”

In addition to comments about the event, we get a lot of requests for authors for future festivals.

What’s Ahead?
We are looking forward to a bright future! We have formed a formal non-profit organization and hope to see the festival grow into a special celebration of reading for the people of Montgomery County and surrounding areas.

Thank you for the interview! We enjoyed haring all about the terrific Montgomery County Teen Book Festival!

Let’s Link Up
Festival Website


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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Happy Valentine's Month. This week we’re celebrating Library Love with celebratory quotes from previous posts with authors, librarians, and kids across the U.S.!

"I love connecting readers to books, but my favorite thing is connecting readers and authors. I have a very supportive Friends group which has provided the means to author visits in the schools. One middle school girl was so excited to meet an author. She told me she didn't think she would ever meet a 'real live author.'"

Darcy Brixey Teen Librarian at Bellevue Library, Bellevue WA

"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 . . ."

Author Lisa Yee

"I have the best job in the entire world. I love talking about children’s literature and helping a child find the perfect book. I could discuss children’s books twenty-four hours a day. The best part of my job is when a reader visits the library to tell me about what they read the night before or to share a cool website. I am very lucky."

John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, Illinois.

"I love connecting with people, and connecting people with books."

Chris Davis Youth Services Librarian at Sacramento Public Library,

"I feel delighted to work with teens who are creative, funny, smart and far more together then I was as a teen. I believe that libraries are the last public space and I think librarians should all be challenging outmoded ideas of what types of programs we should have in libraries. We have an All Ages Arts Night

that showcases teen performers, dance, hip hop, spoken word."

Jennifer Bisson Teen Librarian Seattle Public Library.

"When I was a kid, I was the new girl in school nearly every year. This was in a time when folks didn’t move around a lot so that made me a real oddball. There were some pretty rough first weeks of school – lots of teasing and excluding. I quickly learned that no matter where I went, I would find a friend – between the covers of a book, in the school library. I would not have grown into the person I am without the salvation of those libraries."

Author, Kirby Larson

"I work in the best children’s room in New York City.I really love getting my books into the hands of readers. So much so that I’ll spend hours making sure that we have the maximum amount of books on our shelves, just in case there’s a reader about with a penchant for the additional works of Kenneth Grahame and such."

Elizabeth Bird Children's Librarian NYPL

"I love the creativity involved in being a teen librarian. Realizing that even though I don’t call myself crafty, I do a lot of crafty and creative activities with my teens. I love how my job is different every day. I think my biggest love is the collection development part of my job. Buying all the books and media for teens."

Kristin Fletcher-Spear Teen Librarian Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, Arizona.

"My absolute favorite part of my job is connecting readers with books. A lot of times, here in New Britain, the teens are not really enthusiastic about reading. If you can just connect a teen with one book, one, that really peaks their interest, then they will come back and ask for more. Having a teen say “Miss, you pick out the best books” brightens my day like nothing else! I love to go to the schools and book talk, because a lot of the teens in New Britain don’t have transportation to get to the library, so I have to come to them. It’s another way to reach them and to say, 'Yes, reading can be totally awesome.'”

Jessica Miller Teen Librarian New Britain Public Library, New Britain, CT.

Love from the Cubs!

“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

“I like the library because it has books for everyone. Even when I’m in middle school I can find something to read here.” G, 3rd grade

“I like that you can find something to read at any time in the library. The librarians can always give you a recommendation!” C, grade 12.

“My favorite thing about the library is the Best of Books display. It shows kids and teachers reading their favorite books. Each person tells about the favorite book..I use it to find new books. - Syed, Grade 5

More Roars!

"When I was a child, I spent far too much time searching the woodlands for a secret door to the magical Otherworld. I collected many beautiful stones, which my mother called “clutter” and I called “magic”. During these years of searching, I did discover one small reliable door into a vast enchanted country I could open any time she liked: it was the cover of a book. My school librarian knew me and knew the books I liked, she set me on the path of story exploration, a path I’ve followed as a reader and a writer ever since.

"In the past few years I’ve begun to worry about the ongoing health of our public libraries. And I’ve been stunned to see how fast libraries are vanishing from our public schools. I created Library Lions blog to roar about the importance of libraries, applaud librarians working with youth, and to showcase the amazing library programs across the U.S. Here at Library Lions we celebrate Library Love all year round. Special thanks to all the librarians and authors who have taken the time to interview with us."

Janet Lee Carey Author, Creator Library Lions Blog

"I like to involve kids 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."

Carol Matheson Teacher Librarian at Redmond Elementary in Redmond WA

"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."

Jessica Gomes Teen Librarian Issaquah Library, Issaquah, WA

"Each day is different and varied in the library, and it keeps all of us on our toes!"

Stacy Dillon Lower School Librarian at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City

"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!"

Jennifer Rummel Teen Librarian Otis Library,Norwich, CT

"I love connecting library patrons, especially teens, with programs. To see them interact with a comics illustrator, artist or author is a real thrill. An even bigger thrill is to see them teach each other, whether it is a gaming program, or an art workshop. You never know what seeds are being planted. It is such a great opportunity to visit a school and talk about some of the cool books that are out there for teens and all the programs and things that teens can do at the library."

Seated on panel, Ken Gollersrud Youth Librarian High Point Branch of The Seattle Public Library

"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."

Susan K. S. Grigsby Librarian Elkins Pointe Middle School; Roswell, Georgia

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

Anne Sandbo Librarian Einstein Elementary School, WA

"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."

Teresa Young Middle School Librarian

"As a YA author and proud owner of a well-worn library card, I want to give back to all the librarians whose book recommendations have fed my imagination over the years and helped me grow as a writer. I know it’s hard being a librarian in a rough economy. You’re strapped for time and cash, but still want to create fun programs to keep your kids and teens reading week after week. Not because they have to, but because they want to."

Kay Cassidy Author and Creator of The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest,

More Love from the Cubs!

“Our library has the best books. There are always new books for me to look at.” -Jasmine, Grade 3

“I love when we Skype with authors and illustrators.” Gabrielle, Grade 3
“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.” – Michelle, Grade 9

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

“You give me the BEST books” Alexis

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

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

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


"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. Libraries are 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."

Lesley James Librarian Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library

Thanks to everyone for your year round Library Love. Library Lions Roar!

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, February 2, 2012

Librarian Turned Author, Carole Estby Dagg!

Please Roar today’s guest, author Carole Estby Dagg!
Carole has stopped by to share her Library Love with us, and what better person to do that than a former librarian turned author!

A Bit of Background – Carole the Librarian
Carole started volunteering in her school library in 1952, later she worked her way through the University of Washington at the NE Branch of the Seattle Public Library in the early 60’s, earned her library science degree at the University of British Columbia, and has seen school, academic, and public library operations from the standpoint of volunteer, page, circulation desk clerk, children’s librarian, branch manager, and assistant director.

And Now Author!
She crossed over to the other side—the writing side—with her first book after she retired from Everett Public Library.

The Year We Were Famous
“Would you walk over four thousand miles to save your family's home?”
(Clarion Books, 2011)

Tell us about Your Library Love When You Were a Cub
In fourth grade, I looked forward to Thursdays, when my teacher let me spend most of day in the school library. Then, as now, school libraries were understaffed and librarians appreciated unpaid help from eager wanna-be librarians.

“Carole the cowgirl” this was taken a couple years before I started volunteering in the school library; 1950 was the year I met Great-aunt Clara.

I read to kindergarten and first grade classes as they came in, checked books in and out, repaired books, and processed new magazines. I loved rotating the date due stamp to the next due date, the smell of library paste, dipping the metal nib of a wooden-handled pen into India ink to letter date due cards, and most of all, having younger kids calling me the ‘library girl’ on the playground.

More Library Love
The Year We Were Famous couldn’t have been written without the help of the librarians across the country who scrolled through microfilmed newspapers of 1896 to locate articles about Clara and Helga Estby (my great-aunt and great-grandmother) as they passed through on their 4,000-mile walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City.

Sketch of Great-aunt Clara and Great-grandmother Helga which appeared in the New York World in 1896

For each chapter, I checked out armfuls of books—often children’s books with lots of illustrations—on everything from President McKinley to the eating habits of cougars. When The Year We Were Famous came out, the biggest event was at my home-town library, where the staff made me feel like a rock star, with my name in lights on the reader-board.

Here I'm in 1896 costume for a program about TYWWF at the San Juan Island Library

Here is my writer's shack. I currently write in Everett, and a converted woodshed on San Juan Island library.

Author’s Roar
School librarians, with their involvement in Battle of the Books and reading circles, encourage love of reading—the basis for the lifelong learning students need. I saw first-hand how understaffed school libraries are when—after retirement from the local public library—I volunteered a morning a week at the local elementary school. The school librarian had a steady stream of classes coming in, so she had no time for collection maintenance. After I had weeded the entire collection, tossing geography books on Africa from the 1960’s and sports biographies of people who were stars before even the students’ parents were in school, the shelves so bare the PTSA had to organize a series of fund-raisers to replenish the shelves.

When I worked at a public library branch where nearly a third of the users were new to this country, I saw whole families came in for materials for the citizenship test and videos and DVDs that were the Rosetta Stone of learning a new language. I felt almost maternal joy when I saw a child who had known only a few words of English three years before come into the library speaking with nary an accent and acting as translator for his grandmother…or when an immigrant’s daughter who had been in my preschool story hours came in a dozen years later for materials for her research paper on Freud.

Hooray for ALA!
ALA is the most important link between publishers, writers, librarians, and readers. My most memorable conference was in Seattle of January, 2007. As I came up to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators booth, I found out that one of our own, Kirby Larson, had received a call that morning to tell her that her book Hattie Big Sky, had been named a Newbery Honor Book. I also took advantage of having so many publishers in one place to talk to representatives of publishers which had expressed interest in my manuscript – and ended up shaking hands with Jennifer Wingertzahn at Clarion Books, which ultimately published The Year We Were Famous.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
I love bookstore programs, but not every child has transportation to bookstores and the money to buy books. School and public libraries provide the accessible link between authors and their readers. As a children’s librarian in a public library, I visited all the classrooms in the area to share my favorite books and talk up the summer reading program. As a new author, I’ve already talked to roughly seven hundred middle school students in their schools. As a member of The Class of 2k11, I visited libraries in New York City during Book Expo America Week.

The photo is in front of the Seward Park Branch of NYPL; I'm the one waving in the front row.

My Favorite Librarian
My daughter, Emily Dagg, of course!

She’s carrying on the mission of bringing children and books together and following literally in her mother’s footsteps by having worked in three of the libraries I worked in many years ago. As current head of children’s and young adult services for Everett Public Library, she has been involved in a series of fundraisers to create a new teen area. Here she is, showing off the new teen area at EPL.

Let’s Link Up

Website Carole Estby Dagg

Thank you,Carole for sharing your story and Library Love with us.

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.