Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Author, Debby Dahl Edwardson,  has joined us today to Roar for Libraries!

Debby is the author of My Name is Not Easy Marshall Cavendish/Amazon 2011, A National Book Award Finalist. (Click HERE to hear Debby reading from the book at the National Book Awards)


We'll explore more of Debby's books below. First let's hear her Roar for Libraries!
Library Love When You Were A Cub
One of my earliest memories is a vivid memory of standing before a tall wall filled with books. I didn’t know how to read but I understood, even then, that books contained codes, keys to stories and invitations to wonderful journeys. Oh how I longed to crack those codes and accept those invitations! As I grew older, I discovered that books were indeed passports to new worlds and I savored the experience of getting lost within the covers of a book.

The smell of a library was like an exotic tonic to me. Today, when I sign books for young readers, I often write, “Read the world!”

Whale Snow cover

More Library Love
I often wish I had chosen to be a librarian because libraries feel like home to me and, in fact, many of my writer friends are librarians. When I visited my daughters at Dartmouth a few years ago and walked into Sanborn Library, with its deep easy chairs, sheltered spaces and green vistas (with afternoon tea!) I thought for sure I had died and gone to heaven. In my theology, heaven looks a lot like a good library.
I guess you could say that libraries are at the metaphorical center of my world; a visual representation of my place in the world. I live in a very remote area of the country—Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost community on the North American continent. We are far from the publishing centers of the world but we do have a good library and I’ve have had the privilege, over the last 35 years, of watching this library grow from a one room collection of books in the front of a Bingo hall to a spacious and beautiful facility overlooking the stunning tundra of the high arctic.

Tuzzy Library is now a consortium library serving a region the size of Minnesota. I always feel a sense of homecoming when I walk into this library. The walls of my home look like libraries too!

Author’s Roar
Funding for libraries, especially school libraries, is currently under threat. As an author, what are your thoughts about that?

Oh dear. Don’t get me started. I tend to get rabid on this subject. I have testified at the state level about library funding, blogged about it and ranted about it at the local level as president of the school board.

Libraries are the foundation of education. With commercialized reading programs that turn reading into something akin to a health check up involving testing and probing and the prescriptions, it should be no surprise to any of us to learn that we are turning out fewer and fewer students who read for the sheer joy of reading and are able to engage in the critical thinking a good book engenders. Why can’t people understand that there is only one prescription for turning children into readers and lifelong learners? It’s an old one but it still works.

All it takes to turn a child into a reader is one good book. And all it takes to connect children to books is one good library and one good librarian. Every school should have this as a bare minimum because every child deserves it. It is the promise of public education and the fact that we are moving further and further away from this promise should be a call for national concern. If we are not willing to fund libraries, we will get what we pay for—or fail to pay for.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
I write from a remote and marginalized culture, the Inupiat (Inuit) culture of northern Alaska. My first two novels, Blessing’s Bead and My Name is Not Easy, were historical novels set within this cultural context. I happen to believe that the history of Native American peoples should be taught in every school in the country. Maybe teachers don’t teach it because they never learned it themselves and it is hard to find books that portray it in ways that are accurate and authentic. I hope that my books help fill in this gap in some small way. I have appeared in libraries from Hanover, New Hampshire

(Hatsy MacGraw, writer and librarian at Bernice A Ray School in Hanover, New Hampshire), to Ketchican, Alaska and I am forever grateful to the librarians who read, blog about and book talk my books for the benefit of both students and their teachers. And I thank those who have hosted my visits. I know it makes a huge difference when students get to meet a “real” live author. It makes books come alive for them, I think, and it validates their own writing, as well.

Librarian Erin Hollingsworth and Poet Joan Naviyuk Kane.

I’d like to give a special shout out to Alaskan librarians who have put two of my three books on Alaska’s Battle of the Books list. We Alaskan children’s writers are not a huge group and I love knowing that our books are celebrated in Alaskan schools. I always say that books are both mirrors and windows. The window that opens the world of reading for a young child must also be the mirror where that child first sees his or her own reflection between the covers of a book.

Marginalized cultures and communities often have few books that serve as mirrors for young readers and reading rates reflect this. I am glad to see that my books, thanks to the help of librarians, are reaching these readers. And I am glad to see, as well, that my books are opening the world up a bit wider for readers everywhere, again thanks to librarians. I recently spoke at the Pacific Northwest Library Association convention. I was grateful for the opportunity to talk about one of my passions—multicultural literature and the growing multiracial/multicultural face of this country. During this talk, I showed the cover of my book, Blessing’s Bead.

Blessing’s Bead is the story of an Inupiaq girl but the cover features a photo of a girl who does not look the way we expect an Inupiaq girl to look. Some people thought that perhaps the cover of this book was “white washed” by the publisher. In fact--as I told the audience at PNLA--this girl is Inupiaq. She is my own daughter and is part Inupiaq and part white.

To me, her photo is reflective of the new multiracial face of America. I was heartened by all the people who came up after my talk to share their diverse multiracial and multicultural heritages, heritages which we are just beginning to see, in increasing numbers, reflected in books. My thanks to those librarians who celebrate these books.

In closing, I have one parting memory from my time at the National Book Award ceremony in New York City where I was honored as a finalist for the National Book Award for my book My Name is Not Easy.

Debby with author Nikki Grimes at National Book Awards.

What an honor it was sit at Cipriani’s that November evening surrounded my many of my own writing heroes and mentors—people like John Ashbery, whose poetry was one of the beacons along the long and sometimes dark road of my writing apprenticeship. My heart was filled with gratitude at the fact that I had been invited to sit at the table with such a distinguished audience, to watch a writer like Ashbery accept the 2011 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In introducing Ashbery, Ann Lauterbach mentioned the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration, which was happening right across the street from where we sat. “We are occupying Wall Street,” she announced and everyone cheered. May libraries, books and book people continue to occupy our hearts and minds!

Let’s Link Up 

Blog: http://wordsfromthetop.blogspot.com/

Website: http://www.debbydahledwardson.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debby.edwardson

Link to the reading at the NBA: http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2011_ypl_edwardson.html#.UqIr9GRiJws

Link to the My Name is Not Easy trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcsxHUgdymQ

Link to my school district: http://www.nsbsd.org/domain/33

Thank you, Debby, for your terrific interview! It was an honor to have you 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.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest Library Media Specialist Julie Hembree! We're celebrating Thanksgiving with a look at giving back through the Books to Africa program.   
Welcome back, Julie. 
Recap: Julie is the Library Media Specialist at Bell Elementary in Kirkland, Washington, which serves about 340 students.  

Lion's Pride of Program
My greatest point of pride is our Books to Africa program. A year ago, I had the opportunity to meet Angela Maiers and hear her speak passionately about how students can matter and we are all born to make an impact in this world. Then last September I read The Dot by Peter Reynolds and participated in International Dot Day. My students talked about what they could do to make their mark on the world. I shared my dream to send books I had found to some children in Africa who had few reading materials. A group of students said they wanted to help with my dream and our project began.

In addition to fundraising and sending over 1,000 books to four partner schools, each grade level also learned about a different aspect of Africa and created a research e-Book and video linked with an activity with our art teacher. Here’s an example of one of the first grade projects we made. The 4th graders made an advertising video and entered it into a contest to draw more attention to our project.

One highlight was when we Skyped with some students in South Africa, over 10,000 miles away and the technology worked! The kids loved seeing each other face to face and hearing the different accents. They learned about each other’s school and the subjects they study. They realized quickly that despite the distances, accents and other minor details like school uniforms, they are really more the same than different.

Their work started to come to a complete circle when our project was included as one of the student quests on Angela Maier’s Choose2Matter website. This past summer I also had the chance to meet Peter Reynolds, and for me, it was a very special moment.

When the school year ended last June, our students knew first hand that they could make a difference in the life of a child. When school began again this year, the question “Are we sending books to Africa again?” was the first I heard. “Yes!” Now we have a new crew of 35 students who want to organize and make sure that we continue this work.

Hot off the Press. Great News about the Books to Africa program!
I just found out that I was selected as one of the 250 Microsoft Expert Educators for my Books to Africa project. I know I'm the only librarian going from the US. Here's a blog entry about it.

Janet: What an honor Julie. We’re thrilled for you!
We would love to do a Special Edition about your trip here on LL.
Let’s Link
I would love your visitors to know about the Bulldog Reader’s Blog where I share ideas about books, library lessons and technology. 
Information about Books to Africa project including all of the projects we completed last year and the work we are doing this year in on a separate blog.
Finally, I love connecting with other librarians and educators on Twitter where I’m known as @mrs_hembree
Thank you Janet for giving librarians a chance to roar about the importance of reading and libraries!
Thank you, Julie Hembree for sharing the Books to Africa project with us -- a lovely Thanksgiving gift for all of 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. 

Friday, November 1, 2013


Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest Library Media Specialist, Julie Hembree! This is the first of two posts with Julie Hembree. Welcome Julie!

I’m the Library Media Specialist at Bell Elementary in Kirkland, Washington, which is located in the suburbs of Seattle. This is my 9th year as a librarian after many years as a classroom teacher. We are a K-5 school with about 340 students. After being in the midst of a two year construction period, our old school was torn down in the summer and our new school opened in September.

The library is on the second floor with huge windows where we can view the playground and trees that surround the property. We have reading posters all over our walls celebrating reading, lots of fun cubes and couches to sit on and great display areas to showcase books.

Our students come to the library every week for 30 minutes in grades K-2 and every other week for 60 minutes in grades 3-5. We are also open during all of the recesses for kids to come to find books, read, research, play board games or do homework. It’s a busy place and there’s always a hum of voices in the background.

 The Skinny
What I love about my work is that I get paid to be a reading and technology cheerleader! I believe that my job is to sell the importance of reading and research. To do that I try to merchandize the “reading product” in fun and engaging ways. I try to make sure my students understand that they are part of a global reading community by taking part in larger activities such as International Dot Day or World Read Aloud Day. We have bright book displays that draw students into the library from the busy hallways.

My students and I love to make book trailers to showcase new or well-loved books in our library. I have found that this type of visual advertising really connects with kids. As soon as the trailer is over, the arguments begin about who gets the book first! Using technology makes my job as a reading advocate so much easier because I am talking the language of today’s digital learners. The students also find making trailers a fun and engaging way to share books they love with other students.

Our trailers are hosted on our Bulldog ReaderBlog where anyone can view them. I also have a great time showing other librarians and teachers at conferences the process to make their own trailers. We are all connected and the more we share with one another, the more it positively impacts our students.

Why are libraries important
Libraries are vital in schools because they are nurturing the imagineers of our future. Libraries are the place where anyone can freely come to seek information, become engrossed in a book or daydream about what could be. In an age where classroom lessons are becoming increasingly prescripted, the library is one of the few places where creativity has a home. Everyone is trying to find the way to obtain test scores that match or exceed the students in Asia and Finland. In that pursuit of test scores, creativity and innovation is shoved to the side.

Yet, creativity and innovation are the hallmarks of our country. Innovators are developed in libraries where a student can lose themselves in a book or research the background for ideas that are important to them. When we lose libraries, we lose a piece of our future.

Library Laughs

Once a year we have a favorite character day. Everyone, students and staff included, is encouraged to dress up as a favorite book character. I have dressed as Little Red Riding Book, Captain Underpants and Viola Swamp.

In the week before the event there is a reading buzz around the school as kids and staff have conversations about who they will choose and how they will dress up as that character. I never reveal who I will be ahead of time.  It’s hysterical to overhear whispered conversations as kids speculate what character I will choose for the year. One year, I thought I had kept my ideas firmly to myself. Yet, on Favorite Character Day, I found that I had lots of company when I arrived as Fancy Nancy! Twenty girls also came dressed in their finest Fancy Nancy clothes. It’s too bad that Jane O’Connor wasn’t here to see all that glitz and glamor!

Author! Author!

I’ve had some fabulous opportunities to meet a variety of authors. This fall I was part of Kirby Larson’s book launch for Duke at Third Place Books.

A few years ago Matt Holm came to our school and entertained all of us with his Babymouse stories and drawings. The kids talked about him for weeks afterwards. The Babymouse books are still some of the most popular books in the library.

We have had large author assemblies, and author Skype visits. However, we had the perfect author visit nearly two years ago when Katherine Applegate came to our school. This was a year before she won the Newbery Award. A student had given me a copy of The One and Only Ivan, insisting that I read it right away. I took it home and fell in love with Ivan that night. I made a book trailer for Ivan and put it on YouTube. Somehow Katherine Applegate saw it and wrote to me sharing how much she enjoyed the trailer and asking if she could visit our school the next time she was in Seattle.

Her visit was a wonder from beginning to end. She shared her story in a dynamic slideshow about how she developed the Ivan story with photos that were both age appropriate and engaging. She had lunch with a group of students and talked with them, answering their questions about her life as an author. She signed books and allowed students to have their picture taken with her.

We tried our best to treat her like a rockstar and she captivated us with her stories and love for her work. It was a magical day. This year we are looking forward to some graphic and mystery fun when Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady and Platypus Police Squad series visits in February!

One last big roar
I’d like to make a big roar to all the librarians and teachers who come early and stay late to make sure that kids have what they need to be successful. They not only work hard to make a difference for the students in their classrooms and libraries, but they also share their ideas with others. It’s through collaboration that we can learn from one another and strengthen how we teach.

Let’s Link

Blog: I would love your visitors to know about the Bulldog Reader’s Blog where I share ideas about books, library lessons and technology. Here is the URL: http://bellbulldogreaders.edublogs.org/

Twitter: I love connecting with other librarians and educators on Twitter where I’m known as @mrs_hembree

Thank you Janet for giving librarians a chance to roar about the importance of reading and libraries!

And thank you Julie 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. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Author, Jim Whiting  
us today to Roar for Libraries from an Author’s perspective. Welcome, Jim!

First what’s your Roar for Libraries?
I admire librarians for their dedication to their jobs and the amount of work they do for wages that are nowhere near commensurate with their contributions to society.

The Skinny: Thanks for the first Roar. I know you have more below, but before we go there, can you tell us something about yourself and your work?   

I tend to view myself as the Harold Stassen, Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul (depending on your age) of kids writing—someone definitely out of the mainstream but who hangs in with a dogged persistence. Which is to say, I write nonfiction for young people, almost all of it on a work-for-hire basis. Definitely not the glory side of the business.
In previous lifetimes, I published Northwest Runner magazine for 17 years, advised a high school newspaper, wrote the first piece of original fiction in Runner’s World magazine, generated a lot of stuff for America Online in the days when AOL was relevant, served as sports editor a couple of times for our local newspaper, cranked out hundreds of freelance articles for newspapers and magazines, even journeyed to Antarctica where I was the official photographer for the Antarctica Marathon.

(I thought I'd pop in the cover of your history of Antarctic Exploration book here Jim)

Now, in addition to writing and editing (which was actually how I broke into KidLit), I coach middle school running on Bainbridge. What was originally a fall competitive team has spun off into several additional programs that span all four seasons.

I got into kids writing after being fired from a dot.com company (which soon afterward followed me into oblivion). I’ve always wanted to thank the guy who axed me. If I hadn’t lost my job at that exact moment in time, I wouldn’t have spotted the advertisement from a small kid’s nonfiction house that was looking for a freelance editor. I responded, they sent me a book about Tiger Woods (back in the days when he was famous only for golf), and liked my work. That led to more editing work, and eventually to authoring. Charles Schulz was my inaugural effort. Since then, I’ve written about 180 books (and definitely still counting), with topics ranging from (A)ntarctica to Z(ionism). At the moment I’m working on books about Islam and European soccer, with editing projects that include Asian countries, scifi, fantasy, and a chapter book about ants and an obnoxious cousin.
Here are a few covers:

Find many more of Jim's books here 
Library Love When You Were A Cub:
Because our public library was right across the street from my elementary school, we often took mini-field trips there. I loved to browse through the stacks, always finding treasures that I would take to the reading tables and read happily until it was time to go back to school.

More Library Love
I am blessed to live in an area served by the Kitsap Regional Library, which encompasses eight branches in addition to my home library on Bainbridge Island. Because I write nonfiction, I am continually doing research. While I scour the Internet, I grew up without it and my first loyalty is to books. Our system almost always seems to have plenty of materials on whatever subject I happen to be writing about.

Since I read a lot of nonfiction for pleasure, sometimes this reading suggests topics. And it’s not uncommon for me to read something, then be given an assignment months or even years later on the same subject so I have a running start on the research. And even if that doesn’t happen, whatever reading I do – whether fiction or nonfiction – keeps my mind active and supple.

Author’s Roar:Funding for libraries, especially school libraries, is currently under threat. As an author, what are your thoughts about that?  
I’m appalled, on several levels. First, as mentioned above, since I am so dependent on KRL for research, funding cuts threaten my livelihood by reducing the amount of research materials that may be available on a given topic.

Second, it’s well-documented that this country is continually falling behind in educational achievements. Shrinking library budgets mean cutbacks in hours that libraries are open and therefore available for patrons, as well as reductions in the ability of libraries to maintain their inventory and keep it up to date.

Third, I sometimes hear people say, “Well, I don’t use the library. Let the users pay for it.” I’m sure that people like that don’t have any problem with having the streets they use maintained by taxpayers. Even though I will never use those streets, I don’t have issues with my taxes going to projects like that. It helps to maintain a strong and vibrant infrastructure. There’s also a strong likelihood that people with that mindset are the same ones who say things like “I don’t want the government messing with my Medicare” or who call Barack Obama or George W. Bush “Nazis.” Anyone who reads my Holocaust book (or anyone else’s) would realize how absurd the comparison is. While such people aren’t likely to patronize a library, it’s vital to have libraries available in the event that they do. They might actually learn something.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs:
Since I spend most of my workdays in front of a computer with impending deadlines spurring me on, it’s easy to forget that there are real flesh and blood readers out there. It’s a huge boost to stand in front of a classroom or an assembly with several hundred kids and bask in their warmth and affection. It’s also fun to go into classrooms and interact with smaller groups. I will always remember two second grade girls who hugged each other when I read a couple of selections from a series of scary stories.

Hooray for ALA!  Equipped with my resume, list of published titles, copies of reviews, etc., I’ve attended several ALA conventions, and hooked up with publishers who otherwise would have been closed to me. Nothing like a personal chat with editors and publishers to help sell them on the idea of throwing work my way. For the cost of day passes and a couple of nights in hotel rooms, I can trace about a third of my output to contacts I made at those conventions. Too bad that my stock portfolio doesn’t have the same return on investment.
Let’s Link Up:
Learn more about Jim Whiting and his work on his website: http://www.jimwhiting.com

Thank you, Jim, 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. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome to Library Lions special edition Banned BooksWeek ! One of our favorite posts of the year! http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/  

Teen Services Librarian, Wally Bubelis, has joined us to Roar for Banned Books Week. Welcome Wally Bubelis!

The Skinny: First tell us about yourself and your library
I’m a Teen Services Librarian at the West Seattle Branch of The Seattle Public Library. 

I’ve been working in teen services for 15 years and am proud to say I’m the last of the original hires when The Seattle Public Library began Young Adult Services in 1998.  There were seven of us hired to begin this service division, and the rest have moved into other areas of library service.  I was the teen booklist coordinator for a decade or so, and I’ve been an editor and writer for our teen blog, Push To Talk, since we began in 2007.

Tell us about Banned Books Week:
Banned Books Week is probably my favorite library-oriented celebration.  I try to read something that’s been banned or challenged every year around the big week.  I like picking up things that were challenged years ago, even if I usually cannot see what the fuss is about; the perspective time gives us illuminates the transitory nature of values, beliefs, and mores, things we usually think of as eternal.  Last year, I read Kate Chopin’s proto-feminist classic, The Awakening.  What seemed to be the issue was her independent mind, her willingness to leave her family behind to pursue her own desires.  She’s a selfish woman in many respects, but her rebellion against her society’s strictures still holds a charge.  This year, I’m rereading Allen Ginsberg’s long poem, Howl.  I recently watched the film adaption with James Franco as Ginsberg, and really liked how it opened up the poem with a dramatic version of the obscenity trial and animations in conjunction with long sections of the poem.

Can you showcase some displays for us?
My branch, an old Carnegie library, does not serve displays well, and I’ve often let it slide, at least in my teen area.  This year, though, my teen volunteer Lexie and I put together a sort of Top Ten Banned Teen Books.  We display each of the books face forward along with a short annotation, a list of the reasons why it’s been banned or challenged, and a six-word summary for readers who just can’t wait any longer to get their hands on the book.  I’m also including the other displays we did this year for adult and children’s materials.



What do you do to spread the word about Banned Books Week and Intellectual Freedom Issues?
For many years, I worked with our local theatre group, Book-It Theatre, to bring one of their Danger! Books programs to the middle school I work with.  They would perform a section out of three challenged books (line by line, including the little parts like “he said, she said”), full of drama and gestures and even funny voices, if the piece required it.  The students were always hooked on these performances, and then we’d have a short discussion afterwards beginning with a reading of the First Amendment and then moving into the reasons these books were challenged and how it was always a complex issue, because of people’s different values.

Seattle Public Library has a podcast of one of these performances, from 2009, here: PODCAST

I also write for our teen blog, Push To Talk.  Last year, I created a series of posts that featured a different teen title each day of Banned Books Week. Push To Talk Banned Books

Readers Roar: Let’s hear what kids and teens have to say about banned books


[This part is from Lexie, my teen volunteer, 15 years old.]
Libraries are an essential part of our culture because they grant everyone access to books and media that are expensive or unavailable otherwise. Libraries form a community and encourage others to read. They are a vital support for those who wish to learn and a resource for all ages. Books can be anything you’re looking for, or something completely unexpected. They can be friends, teachers, a hiding place, or a way to express who you are. Books open a gate to other cultures, build a path to other worlds, take you back to your roots, and then lead you home, a slightly different person. I believe that books are a necessary way to explore the limits of imagination.

When a book is banned, it doesn’t protect people from bad ideas, it locks the door to a separate story. People shouldn’t be able to define “good” and “evil” for everyone else*. It’s your own job to establish your morals and values, and everyone has to do this themselves. Forcing your own on someone else is like taking away their opportunity to be their own person. People should be free to warn others and discourage them from reading certain books, because that’s free speech, and some may heed that. But they should be free to form their own opinions, whether they agree or not.

*This leads on to ethics, agreed-on morals, and global consensus. I will leave my rant about this untyped and simply thought.

 Any Banned Books you would like to highlight?
Even though I’m a teen librarian and I live in the same town as Sherman Alexie, I’d like to highlight Dav Pilkey’s series that starts with Captain Underpants. 

This series has done more to promote a love of reading among a certain age group than any other book or series I can think of.  Little kids – boys and girls – just love a book that uses words like “fart” and “poopypants.”  Their parents will often roll their eyes just a bit, but if I ever meet a really young, reluctant reader with a frustrated parent, I direct the family to Captain Underpants, who consistently saves the day.

What can Library Lions blog readers do for Banned Books Week?
Pick up a title that’s been challenged, especially in your community, and read it.  Read it with no expectations of liking it or disliking it, wanting to protect it or wanting to ban it.  It’s OK.  Just enjoy it for what the author intended.  I like the older titles for perspective, as I said, but the current targets need support too. 

Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
IFACTION listserv. I get the daily digest of news headlines in my email.  The moderators categorize the news into different sections, highlighting all the different ways our access to information, knowledge, discussion, and the workings of our government and media are supported or stifled.  Even if you don’t read all the articles, a scan of the headlines gives you a good idea of what’s going on in the world and who wants to control what information you can access.

Let’s Link:

Librarian Blog and/or Library Blog:

Thanks again for the terrific Banned Books Week interview, Wally, and thanks also to Lexie for her contribution!

I invite LL readers to click on the website for Banned Books Week and check out all the events going on across the US week. Facebook, Tweet #BannedBooksWeek, and spread the word!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest, Jean Vallesteros. Jean, creator of the amazing book blog, JeanBookNerd  (definitely one of the hottest book blogs out there), is here to share her book love and library love with us! Welcome Jean!   

Tell us how your blog got started:Having many fond childhood memories at my local library, reading has always been an important part of my upbringing and had carried over towards my adult life.

In early summer of 2011, I decided to open up a blog just to share my thoughts and ideas about the books that I was reading. Unbeknownst to me, there was a huge community of book lovers on the Internet. It was great! Being able to discuss the books that I had been reading with others, I really didn’t know what to expect but it turned out for the best. Also getting the chance to meet new people along the way and develop some great friendships.
I was reading Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck and I instantly fell in love with the series.

This is when I began to wonder how amazing it would be to get to know the author and receive answers to my questions about her work first-hand from the creator. In an effort to reach out to Mrs. Houck, a reply came back to me almost instantly!

She was extremely humble and easy to talk to, making the conversation (not to mention my first effort in speaking directly with an acclaimed author) much more comfortable. From there on the wheels kept turning and I realized that this communication between myself and a well known author could be a great event to share with my growing number of followers. Furthermore, I would like thank Colleen Houck and Katie of Sterling Publishing for donating items for my giveaway and for giving me the opportunity to share it with everyone. It is because of them that my blog is the way it is now.

Sharing my passion with others is very rewarding. My blog has allowed me to share my love of reading at a global scale with people who are just as passionate as me.

Jean with D.J. MacHale author of the Pendragon series 

On my blog, followers can find fun, exciting, and interesting author interviews and insights on the latest book titles. You can join in on the discussions and participate in exciting giveaways.

Jean with Michael Scott, author of The Alchemyst 

  JeanBookNerd is an interactive blog that promotes the importance of reading and the invaluable rewards that only reading can bring.

Jean with Melissa Marr author of Wicked Lovely 
Janet: I love visiting your site, Jean. It’s definitely one of my favorites. I always find more great books to read and authors to follow. Your generous site makes the book community come alive.

Library Love When You Were a Cub The library was a huge part of my childhood. It allowed my imagination to explore an assortment of amazing places and introduced me to many interesting characters. The library became like a second home to me and my permanent home every summer.

Jean’s son, Jordan
I remember the excitement that would overcome me whenever I stepped into the library. I spent most of my younger days sitting in the aisles and easily getting lost in the stories, the adventures, the characters and the settings that came bursting from within the pages and pulling me into them, allowing me to journey through my own imagination.

At some point, I had also discovered comic books as an alternative form of literature and became an avid subscriber to Marvel, Archie, DC, Disney and many more. It became an amazing form of entertainment for my growing mind and an outlet for my creativity as a youth.
Even now as I have matured into an adult, I still find appreciation in all styles of storytelling including but not limited to stories of horror, suspense, drama, mystery, action and romance.
I have always appreciated the positive contributions the library has had on my childhood. With nieces, nephews and young children in my life, I use the library as another venue for them to pick up invaluable education and life skills.  
Blogger’s Roar: Funding for libraries, especially school libraries, is currently under threat. As a book blogger, what are your thoughts about that? 
Many people don’t know the other services libraries provide. One service that is beneficial to our youth is that they offer free tutoring. Hiring private tutors is costly but this free service allows for everyone to get help and imprint a positive impact on students’ academic performances.

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Website/Blog: www.jeanbooknerd.com & www.booknerdtours.com


Thank you, Jean 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.