Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Sunday, September 21, 2014


 Library Lions Roars for BANNED BOOKSWEEK one of our favorite posts of the year!

Adult/Teen Librarian Danielle Dreger-Babbitt from Mill Creek Library WA is here with us this week. Welcome Danielle.

Tell us about Banned Books Week
Banned Book Week was started 32 years ago to celebrate the freedom to read after more and more books were being challenged in libraries and schools. According to the American Librarian Association, over 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982. Over 200 of them happened in 2013! You can learn more about Banned Book Week on the ALA website.

What do you do to spread the word about Banned Books Week and Intellectual Freedom Issues?
I do a banned book display each year.  My favorite displays are the ones I did in 2011 when library patrons wrote about their favorite banned books and the 2012 display that took up a whole shelving unit. I love being able to showcase these banned and challenged books.

Along with each year’s display, I include Banned Book lists and pamphlets as well as bookmarks and buttons for library customers to take home. We’ve had essay contests where readers write about their favorite challenged or banned books and win copies of banned books. When I visit the middle schools to talk about books in the fall I often bring along books that have been challenged from other parts of the country and have the students guess why they might be banned or challenged.


Readers Roar: (Let’s hear what teens have to say about banned books)

“If people read the books before they banned them, they might have a better understanding of why the book is important. If you ban a book, it only makes me want to read it more.”- Jessica, Grade 11

Any Banned Books you would like to highlight?
Some of my favorite banned and challenged books include Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Shine and TTYL by Lauren Myracle, and 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  And my absolute favorite banned/ challenged book is Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Most teens are amazed to hear that it has been taken out of some schools and libraries!

What can Library Lions blog readers do for Banned Books Week?
Readers can celebrate their freedom to read by reading one or two banned or challenged books during Banned Book Week. Bonus points for reading these all year long, not just in September and for sharing these titles with their friends and family.

Note from LL host, Janet Lee Carey: I’d like to also add that you can tweet about the banned books you’re reading. Use the hashtag #bannedbooksweek. And if you want to do a temporary profile pick change as I did below, go to this site Support Banned Books Week 

My twitter profile: Photo by Heidi Pettit. Poster added on the site link above.

The best way to support libraries is to use them! Check out books and DVDs and CDs, use the databases to find information, and attend as many library programs and events as your schedule allows. By doing these, you are showing us that you think libraries are important. There are many ways to give back to your library. Consider becoming a volunteer or join the library board or Friend’s Group.  Teens can join the library’s Teen Advisory Board and help make decisions about future library programs and purchases. You can also donate books to the library for the Friends of Library Book Sale. The money from these sales supports library programs and special events!

About our Guest Post librarian, Danielle Dreger-Babbitt
I’ve been a teen librarian for over 10 years and have worked in libraries in Massachusetts and Washington. I’ve been an Adult/ Teen Librarian at the Mill Creek Library for over 5 ½ years.

I’ve been active in ALA’s YALSA 
(Young Adult Library Services Association) for the last decade and have served on committees including Outreach to Teens With Special Needs, The Schneider Family Book Award, and most recently The Alex Awards, for which I was the 2014 committee chair.

In my spare time I write for children and teens. I love to read YA and MG fiction and cooking memoirs/ cookbooks. I own two cats and two badly behaved (but adorable) dogs. I also love to travel and recently visited Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina.

Let’s Link:
Sno-Isle Teen Blog

Thanks again for the terrific Banned Books post, Danielle!

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. The calendar for 2015 is currently wide open J

~Note to Authors: If you’re interested in Roaring for Libraries on this blog, contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Today we're thrilled to welcome acclaimed author Justina Chen to Library Lions. Check out her newest book and hear her Roar!

Justina Chen is an award-winning novelist for young adults whose most recent book, A Blind Spot for Boys, is a Booklist Top Romance for Teens. North of Beautiful was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus and Barnes & Noble. Her other novels include Return to Me, Girl Overboard, and Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), which won the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. Additionally, she co-founded readergirlz, a literacy and social media project for teens, which won the National Book Foundation’s Prize for Innovations in Reading. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she was given the Dean’s Award for Service.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Justina can be found hiking with her daughter (who’d rather be shopping) or Skyping with her son who now lives in Abu Dhabi.

“Educators and librarians hoping to engage female readers want to add this novel to their shelves.” –VOYA

Shana Wilde has always had a blind spot for boys. Can she trust the one who’s right in front of her?
Shana is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it’s time to end the plague of Mr. Wrongs and devote herself to her true passion: photography.

Enter Quattro, the undeniably intriguing lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don’t just fly; they ignite—and so does Shana’s interest. But just as she’s about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind.

Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see, so they plan a photo safari to Machu Picchu. But even as Shana travels away from Quattro, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Love and loss, humor and heartbreak collide in this new novel from acclaimed author Justina Chen (North of Beautiful).

About writing the book
Of all my novels, A Blind Spot for Boys was the most fun to write. Machu Picchu, a bedbug sniffing dog, a girl who puts herself on a Boy Moratorium? Those were such fun elements and balanced some of the more serious themes in the book. Seeing your blind spots clearly—the blind spots we have for our mistakes (especially the ones we keep making over and over and over again). The blind spots we have for people. The blind spots we have for our past.
Teachers and Librarians check out the free Educator’s Guide

Library Love When You Were a Cub
My second home when I was growing up was the Cupertino Public Library. I would spend hours and hours in the library, browsing books first in their children’s section when I was in elementary school, then in the adult section as I grew up to be a teen. The few YA books at that time were housed in slender rounders on the second floor that I would check every visit in hopes that a new book had been written for girls my age.
This deeply ingrained memory of wanting stories that reflected me propelled one of the literacy projects readergirlz spearheaded, Operation Teen Book Drop (Operation TBD)For a number of years, we partnered with Young Adult Library ServicesAssociation  (YALSA), publishers, Children’s Hospitals and libraries to get 30,000 YA novels into the hands of teens around the country.

More Library Love
Celebrating librarians and teachers who work so hard to match books to teens drove Janet Lee Carey, Dia Calhoun, Lorie Ann Grover, and I to create readergirlz.

Readergirlz with Nancy Pearl

That same mission to nurture librarians has led me to commit to create small happy hour gatherings
for librarians and teachers so we could celebrate the launch of A Blind Spot for Boys together with Lorie Ann Grover’s new novel, Hit.

I’d like to give a personal shout out to Michelle Lane for organizing a fantastic Northwest book festival. Through A Cavalcade of Authors  thousands of teens have been able to meet with their favorite authors because of her, her vision, and her team of literacy-minded volunteers.

We are so blessed in the greater Seattle area to have truly great librarians who are providing amazing thought leadership on what it means to be a library and provide youth services. Their programming is cutting-edge and community-building. So a special shout out to Jackie Parker Robinson, Rachel McDonald and Darcy Brixey.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
One of my greatest joys as an author are my visits to middle and high schools where I get to spend time with remarkable students, teachers, and librarians.

Photo with Middle School librarian “Walter the Giant”

With Hanna Teter and Arlington Librarian
One of the most memorable visits was to Charlotte Country Day School in North Carolina. Megan Fink is a truly wonderful librarian who worked with media specialists to sponsor a multicultural day where I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker. The school district bused in a couple of hundred of students to Charlotte Country Day so they could hear me. On display outside the auditorium was a student’s senior art project: a pair of wings crafted from maps and inspired by my novel, North of Beautiful. I was beyond touched that my words could catalyze a young woman to create art.

Let’s link
Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorJustinaChen
Twitter: @JustinaYChen

Thank you Justina for sharing your books and your 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. The calendar for 2015 is currently wide open J

Note to Authors: If you’re interested in Roaring for Libraries on this blog, contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot.