SAXTON B. LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
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SEPTEMBER 29, 2010
Supplements are not replacements
An article that appeared in today’s New York Times, cites a recent survey done by Scholastic Inc. (publishers of the very popular Harry Potter and Hunger Games series). The survey asked students and parents about e-books.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010
Folksongs for kids
Last night we welcomed Columbia resident and folksinger Rhonda Kincaid into our little library for some traditional American folksongs and games. She brought her guitar, a dulcimer, an autoharp, and even a limberjack, to accompany her songs and stories. I for one had never seen anyone use a limberjack (see below), so I thought that was really interesting and the kids got a huge kick out of it.
A limberjack is a wooden puppet with loose joints that dangles from the end of a long stick. A singer can use a limberjack to keep the beat of the song by tapping its legs rhythmically on a thin wooden board as if it’s dancing.
If you weren’t able to join us last night don’t worry, we hope to have Rhonda come again sometime soon! In the meantime you can get your folk singin’ fix in our children’s music section with CD’s like:
SEPTEMBER 22, 2010
People don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about witches these days. This is probably a good thing.
When I finally remembered today that it was my blog day and my mind went completely blank, I searched today in history. What came up and caught my attention was that today was the day the last witches were hung in Salem, MA. A quick investigation confirmed this. Further, in that weird 9 degree of separation way, one of the alleged witches is a relative of a person I worked for.
So I offer to you today, a list of those men and women hanged on this day 318 years ago. May they remain in our memory and may we be thankful for how times have changed.
Hanged September 22, 1692
If you’d like to learn more about the Salem witch trails, check out these books at our Library!
A delusion of Satan : the full story of the Salem witch trials / Frances Hill.
The devil on trial : witches, anarchists, atheists, communists, and terrorists in America's courtrooms / by Phillip Marguiles and Maxine Rosaler.
In the devil's snare : the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692 / by Mary Beth Norton.
Witch-hunt : mysteries of the Salem witch trials / Marc Aronson.
Escaping Salem : the other witch hunt of 1692 / Richard Godbeer.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2010
Banned Book Week 2010
In the coming few weeks you are bound to see book displays in public libraries and book stores celebrating our freedom to read. Banned Book Week is an annual campaign to make people aware of books that have been challenged or banned, mostly in schools and libraries. This awareness campaign was started in 1982 by First Amendment and library activist, Judith Krug. Krug passed away in April of 2009 but has left us with an event that encourages us to ensure our right to read the books we choose.
Banned Book Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. You can read more about it by visiting http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm. You can see the 2009-2010 list of challenged books by clicking here.
The most frequent question we hear is "Why is a book banned?". Some are banned for sexual content, violence, religion, profanity and others for point of view. In 2009 The American Library Association published these statistics:
Over the past eight years, here’s WHY 3,736 works were challenged:
* 1,225 challenges due to “sexually explicit” material
At Saxton B. we have had very few challenges over the 28 years I've worked in the library but one recent incident reminds me that it is important to be vigilant in allowing each of us to Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same. In 2009, the book In the Middle Of the Night: The Shocking True Story of a Family Murdered in Cold Blood by Brian McDonald was published. It is McDonald's true crime accounting of the horrific murder of Jennifer Hawke Petit and her two daughters,Hayley and Michaela in a Cheshire home invasion, July 23rd, 2007. The Cheshire Public Library as well as many other public libraries in the state were challenged to remove the book from their shelves. Ramona Harten, director of the Cheshire Public Library, decided to purchase the book and make it available to residents. Harten stated that, "despite what she described as a “very emotional” and negative reaction to the idea of the book, she felt it was her professional obligation to offer the book at the library. Our job is to let the readers decide,” said Harten. “There are 100,000 books in our collection. Something is always going to offend someone.” Saxton B. had two requests for the book and I decided to purchase it for our collection. Sometime very soon after the two requesting patrons had read the book, a very well dressed Columbia resident, visited the library, got a new library card and borrowed the book. Call it gut feeling but something told me we'd never see the book again. And we didn't. Overdue notices and the billing process did not see the book returned. Though it would be hard to prove, this is what we in libraries see as a subtle form of censorship. Simply borrow the book and don't return it. Having no further requests for the book, time has gone by and it hasn't been replaced. I aim to remedy that this week by ordering a new copy for our collection.
We invite you to visit our display, take a chance and read a banned book and let us know what banned book was your favorite. My vote goes to The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I'm still not certain why it's banned but I've read that it is sexist. I think it's one of those that fits in point of view as you can look at the story as one of ultimate giving or one of selfishly taking. Optimist that I am, I have always seen it as a story of giving. It was my choice to read it and am glad I live in a country where I can.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
Last week Carol showed me a craft book she was about to ILL to another library called 1000 ideas for creative reuse: remake, restyle, recycle, renew. Before she sent it on we both browsed through the book, looking at all the amazing projects people made out of recycled and found materials. This particular book is not a how-to craft book; rather it shows finished projects and would be a good source of inspirations for crafters. Looking through it got me thinking about all of the different library programs we have offered here that were directly inspired by books from our collection.
Duct tape crafts are always popular, and over the past few years we've done a number of duct tape projects, many directly inspired by Ductagami: The art of the tape, both by Joe Wilson
Check out these pictures of a duct tape hat (yes - that's the sorting hat!), and duct tape roses:
Last year we had a Recycled T-shirt program, where kidsbrought in old t-shirts and turned them into pillows, tote bags, and headbands, all using directions from the Generation T books, by Megan Nicolay:
Last summer we made electrical tape bracelets, and earrings and necklaces from nuts, bolts, and washers, all inspired by the cool crafts in Hardware: Jewelery from a Toolbox, by Hannah Rogge.
I used the Fancy Nancy Tea Parties book by Jane O'conner when planning for our Fancy Nancy Party and our Doll Tea Party:
Candy sushi is one of the most popular programs we have ever run here, and the whole program was originally inspired from The Twinkies Cookbook, by Hostess.
If you’re in a crafty mood, but don’t know what to make, turn to our huge collection of craft books for a little inspiration!
SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
Hispanic Heritage Month
Today kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month. I found it odd that a “month” started on the 15, but there is a reason for this. It was September 15, 1968 that Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week to be observed in the week that included September 15 and 16. The observance was expanded to a month (Sept 15- Oct 15) in 1988, effective 1989. This celebration honors the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010
Nobody Reads Anymore Anyway!
Nobody reads anymore anyway...I'm certain you've read that declaration
somewhere. A bit of an oxymoron in itself, isn't it? when you consider you had to read to have read this nonsense.
Frankly I'm amazed at how much people are reading.
Just look at these figures from my GoodReads account:
103,480 people rated The Hunger Games by by Suzanne Collins
71,277 rated Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
45,827 rated Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
11,694 have rated The Passage by Justin Cronin
10,581 for The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
14,635 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
16,151 Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
and these are just a few of the numbers generated from my list of
books that I've read and rated.
Nobody's reading anymore...and certainly not at Saxton B. where last year we loaned 73,343 items, 6,925 items than the previous year.
As a life long reader even I was amazed at the figures above. I'm happy to say reading is alive and well. Long live reading! And Happy Reading to all of you!
So seeing you're reading, we'd love to have you share what you're reading at the moment by making a comment on the blog.
You can see a snapshot of what's on my list by visiting the adult library webpage at www.columbiactlibrary.org/adult.htm and scrolling down to my GoodReads Widget. It's updated regularly.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2010
Favorite Read Alouds
Here at the Saxton B. we offer two Story Times a week; Tuesdays & Wednesdays both at 10:30. I usually read two picture books and then follow up with some sort of simple craft. Choosing what books to read each week isn’t always easy. The audience can range from infants to 5 and 6 year olds, all with varying attention spans and interests. Of course I do have my favorites to read aloud, and there are certain qualities that I look for when picking a Story Time book. Things I look for include; eye-catching illustrations, HUMOR, length (not too long, not too short), topic (trucks and sharks are popular with my regular crowd), rhymes and refrains (allow children to ‘read’ along with you), and choosing a story with characters that you can make funny voices for never hurts either.
Here is a short list of a few of my all time favorites:
I’m Dirty! By Kate and Jim McMullan
This one gets points just for being a book about a bucket loader – the majority of my storytimers can name the parts of the truck faster than I can read them out loud. The bucket loader picks up garbage and gets covered in mud, and as you read you can make all sorts of great truck sounds …. CLANK! RATTLE! CHOMP! And even a nice loud TIM-BERRRRRRRR!
Wild Boars Cook, by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall
This follow up to Meet Wild Boars has it all – great pictures, funny premise, and the all important gross-out factor as the nasty boars cook a disgusting and massive pudding. Just take a look at that pudding:
Can I Play Too? By Mo Willems
Ok, I am a complete sucker for Mo Willems books. I love reading ALL his books at Story Time and they always get the crowd laughing. Can I Play Too? is the latest in the Elephant and Piggie series, and in it Piggie and Elephant meet a snake - a snake that wants to play catch. Very clever Mr. Willems, very clever indeed.
The Terrible Plop, by Ursula Dubosarsky
This one was recommended by another Children’s Librarian on an email listserv I belong to. The story begins when a bunch of cute little rabbits hear ‘a terrible plop’ and promptly panic, sending waves of terror through the forest animals, who later find out it was only an apple. The rhyming text is easy to read since it flows so nicely with an almost Dr. Seuss like cadence. PLUS, plop is just a funny word to say.
Of course as I wrap up this post more favorites are coming to mind, but I’ll just have to save them for another day!
SEPTEMBER 8, 2010
A news story is circulating among librarians. It points out that at least one Walmart store has divided its books by race. (See article here: http://www.ohio.com/news/102043983.html ) This is not really a new story. In the large big box bookstore circuit for years there has been an “African American Literature” that gets debated. Is this customer service / market identification or is it segregation?
In Libraryland, similar questions get asked. Though often libraries do not have the physical room to group books, many do use stickers. There is great debate as to wither books should be labeled about various things, usually it’s a question of genre: westerns, romance, mystery, science fiction and now in recent years Christian fiction and African American literature.
For reader’s who only like particular kinds of reading, these designations are badly wanted. For those with more curious and broad based tastes these designations are viewed as annoying. For libraries it is often problematic. If for no other reason, how do you classify a book in which the two main characters fall in love in a whirlwind romance while solving a murder and the whole thing takes place in the Old West?
However, the question of race and one would suppose religion, puts a different spin on this. These classifications are not based on literary genre, but personal characteristics. Thus while the criteria for grouping may become easier, the implications are much larger. In my experience the big box bookstores have generally circumvented this by placing only “literature” or fiction by and about the particular group in their so labeled section. All other books were placed else where in inclusive headings by broad subject.
The above mentioned article states that the retailer sold two books both about sports figures. One was about a Black man, the other about a White man. Each book was shelved in a different section. I think this is where the problem really stems.
I do not believe the company or the employees who stock the shelves of that company were intentionally trying to make any statement. In fact, I don’t think they thought about this at all. I think they were simply following a vague marketing idea with easy to follow criteria.
But this still begs the question, is this reasonable? Currently libraries are often pressured to follow the trends of bookstores. It is suggested that we should abandon Dewey Decimal Systems and shelve by category – like bookstores. It is suggested we abandon tables and provide large comfy chairs – like bookstores. It is suggested we abandon our no food/drink policies and provide refreshments – like bookstores.
But who is monitoring the implications of these things? Following paths to their logical conclusions? Libraries categorical systems, tables, policies, etc. have purpose. We have reasons. We think about things. Maybe its time we should start asking book sellers to follow the trends of librarians?
SEPTEMBER 7, 2010
Would Emily Post be rolling over in her grave? Are manners dead? I ask this question as this past Sunday my husband and I attended The United States Coast Guard Band Labor Day Concert. Held on the grounds of the beautiful Fort Trumbull State Park; it was a glorious day; perfect weather, perfect setting along the Thames River. The Tall Ship Eagle was in port for young and old alike to explore and families and friends could have a last hurrah summer picnic as summer wanes. I couldn't even begin to estimate the numbers attending this event but it was a large group, partially due to the Coast Guard Band reputation, partially the great weather and of course to some degree, the anticipation of the final traditional piece of the day, The 1812 Overture, including cannon fire provided by the Artillery Company of Newport.
To warm up the crowd a first selection was played followed by the official march of The Coast Guard Band, Semper Paratus. Then all were invited to rise for The National Anthem. This format sets the stage for most concerts and like Megan's story time rituals, should let people know it's time to settle in and enjoy the show. A large group behind us were very noisy, continuing to talk and laugh quite boisterously through all of this, with the exception of our anthem, and well into the next 2 songs. My husband's patience wore thin and he turned around and boomed for the group to be quiet. I would imagine if the concert were held indoors that this group would never have been so noisy. I think it would have been more polite for my husband to walk up to them and quietly ask that they hold their conversation to after the concert but I'm glad he did. Without the booming I wonder if they would have listened or continued. They certainly got the hint after he boomed and though we could still hear some whispers, they were relatively quiet.
What would Emily Post have done? What would you have done? I think I'll check our book to see if there are any suggestions...
SEPTEMBER 3, 2010
Get ‘em while they’re hot!
We have had some exciting new book deliveries at the library over the past week or so. If you’re looking for some good reads for children, allow me to suggest the following:
The Boss Baby, by Marla Frazee
This hilarious new picture book by Marla Frazee had starred reviews from School Library Journal, Kirkus, andPublishers Weekly, so I couldn’t wait to read it. In it, the ‘boss’ baby, wearing a onesie business suit, keeps his staff (mom and dad) on a round-the-clock schedule, conducting meetings and making all sorts of demands. Kids will laugh out loud at this bossy baby, but new parents will probably laugh even harder. A good pick for ALL ages.
Scumble, by Ingrid Law
Scumble is the follow up to Ingrid Law’s debut novelSavvy. Savvy was a 2009 Newbury Honor book, and it tells the story of the Beaumont family and the magical talent or ‘savvy’ that each family member inherits when they turn 13. In Savvy, 12 year old Mibs Beaumont is about to have a birthday and find out what her savvy will be, and in the process ends up on a wild adventure with her little brother and two family friends. Scumble takes place nine years after Mibs savvy journey, and follows her cousin Ledger Kale as he discovers what his savvy is, and how much trouble it can cause! We read Savvy in our book club and it was a BIG hit, so I’m sure Scumble will have our young readers eagerly waiting to find out what happens next in this magical family.
Binky to the Rescue, by Ashley Spires
Binky to the Rescue is a sequel to Binky the Space Cat. These books are formatted like graphic novels for young readers, and follow indoor cat Binky as he fights alien invaders (bugs) from outer space (his yard). I originally heard about Binky at a BEA conference on hot new graphic novels. I love the whole concept of the books, and think kids will love to read about Binky as he rescues his best friend (a stuffed mouse) from an enemy warship in outer space.
What new books are you looking forward to? Let us know!
SEPTEMBER 1, 2010
Earl, Earl go away...
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Earl should miss us. This is not to say we will not get bad weather and residual effect, but at least we should not get walloped with a full fledged hurricane. Personally, I am very happy about this.
As you read this, there are portions of my house for which all the siding is gone and one can stand in the room and peek out at the world. The plan is that this will NOT be the case by Friday when the weather should hit, but any degree of less wind, rain etc. I am definitely believing is a good thing.
As storms go, I generally don’t mind hurricanes. I figure they are better than other things: tornados, tidal waves, etc. But hurricanes have not been particularly kind to me. Remember Doria? Probably not, but I had a friend with a pet rabbit, the rabbit decided that very day was a good day to escape. Ever chase a rabbit in a hurricane? It was interesting. I remember singing G-L-O-R-I-A as Gloria knocked out our power for a week. That was no fun.
I was working in a small private school library during Floyd. It was my first week on the job and my first week working in a school. We had all arrived that morning though the school was on the coast and in direct line of being hit. As the morning wore on, the weather was getting increasingly worse. Everyone was in a twitter – will they send us home? Will we be stuck? Will it really hit US? It was taking a lot of effort to keep students calm while the administration figured out what to do.
Around 10, I heard a collective gasp from the teenagers in the next room. Although this was my first experience working with this age, I knew gasp then quiet could not be good. I walked into the room to see a glass door blown in. Rain, wind, and debris were blowing into the library. Welcome to the job. Of course, all maintenance and admin were in a meeting assessing the weather, so left on my own I begged the Science department to help be block the window and helped myself to a vacuum to clean up the glass. I roped off the area, then got everyone calm.
It was shortly after that we got word we’d close at noon. Chaos broke out again – how would students get home? What if parents could not be reached? What if the storm was already too bad? We calmed everyone, yet again and I wondered, why me my first week on this job? I looked at the clock. 11:15. I could do this! Just 45 minutes. Less, really.
The storm grew worse, the rain coming down in torrents. I, too, wondered how I’d get home. Then, at 11:47….
The fire alarm began.
We all looked at each other in stunned silence. No way. But this had to be real…it was the edge of a hurricane outside. No one would do a drill in that weather. Maybe an electrical problem? We paused. The alarm kept going and all 500 plus students and staff trudged out into Floyd to see the fire trucks come up the drive.
We found out later, that in fact there had been no fire. But a kindergartner learned some very valuable lessons from the fireman.
We hope you stay dry during Earl and you can always come check out something to keep you distracted at the Library!