A highlight of my year has been talking to librarians about what they do and why they love their jobs—both at the ALA Annual Conference and at the Arkansas Literary Festival. So, it was a special thrill to speak today with Sharon Saye, the Director of the Bridgeport Public Library in Bridgeport, WV, a town of 8,000 in north-central West Virginia. The BPL is a municipal library with 18,000 registered borrowers—pretty amazing considering the city's population. ("Location, location, location," said Sharon; the library is near a mall off of I-79.)
I called Sharon because she featured BookPage in her November 10 weekly "Library Lowdown" column in the Bridgeport News (see below). Sharon has been writing this column since the mid-1970s, and she will celebrate her 40th anniversary as Library Director in March of 2012!
In her column, she writes book reviews and highlights library programs. She mentions BookPage about three times a year and always near Christmas. Her patrons often ask her for recommendations for books to give as gifts, and she directs them to our holiday catalog.
It was fun to talk to Sharon about how she and her patrons use BookPage. Since she orders books for the library far in advance, she reads the publication as a reminder for what's actually coming out in a particular month. Her patrons read it, of course, to find new books to check out. (Although sometimes they get frustrated if, say, the new Ian Rankin isn't in circulation on the day it is published!)
"[BookPage] is very handy," said Sharon. "A lot of people pick it up. Patrons want to know what's new. It's easy for desk staff to hand it off. It's nice and compact and out the door. And we don't find a lot of them in the parking lot!" (That's a compliment, since apparently the same can't be said for all handouts from the library, unfortunately.)
We also chatted about eBooks—Sharon said last year she looked to see how many eBooks were checked out on OverDrive in December. Thanks to all those eReaders under the tree, the number tripled on Christmas Day.
Finally, I asked Sharon what book she's excited about right now. "The new Janet Evanovich," she said. "She certainly makes you laugh, and that's a good thing."
Thanks again, Sharon, for writing about BookPage!
Find out if BookPage is carried in a library near you on our website. Are you a librarian interested in carrying BookPage or a patron who'd like to see it in your local branch? Click here for information on how your library can receive two free trial issues of BookPage. Also: Whether you're a subscriber or not, anyone can sign up to receive our free e-newsletters.
Banned Books Week runs from September 24 until October 1. Here's some more info from the American Library Association's website:
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
There's also something about BBW that makes reading "subversive" books cool and exciting. I still remember when my library branch distributed bookmarks that listed various banned books. As a teen, I would take that bookmark then march straight to the stacks and check out challenged books from Judy Blume and Ray Bradbury. (Click here to see a list of Frequently Challenged Books.)
We can all celebrate BBW by reading a challenged book or attending a library event—but I thought it would be fun to figure out another way of showing support for banned books. I saw these awesome accessories that incorporate banned books, and I had to share. Click the images to go to the vendors' websites.
Have you seen any cool project ideas or products for sale that get you excited about banned books? Have you ever DIY'd something banned books-related? Please share in the comments!
With the announcement of the American Library Association's children's and teen book awards coming up soon (on January 18), it's prediction season in the children's book world. English teacher and children’s book reviewer extraordinaire Dean Schneider, a member of the 2008 Newbery Committee, shares some of his predictions, a number of which he reviewed for BookPage:
Newbery Medal: When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead)
Newbery Honors: Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary (Elizabeth Partridge); Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Philip M. Hoose); The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Jacqueline Kelly)
Caldecott Medal: The Lion & The Mouse (Jerry Pinkney)
Caldecott Honors: All the World (Elizabeth Garton Scanlon)
Printz Medal: Marcelo in the Real World (Francisco X. Stork)
Printz Honors: Lips Touch by Laini Taylor; Fire (Kristin Cashore)
Sibert Medal: Charles & Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Deborah Heiligman)
Sibert Honors: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Philip M. Hoose); Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary (Elizabeth Partridge); Truce (Jim Murphy); A Savage Thunder: Antietam and the Bloody Road to Freedom (Jim Murphy)
Do you have any other predictions? Also, be sure to bookmark the Children's Page on BookPage.com. In the bottom left corner, we highlight award winners from the past. This week we're featuring 2006 Caldecott Honor Book Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni and Bryan Collier.