Friday, February 25, 2011


Any future librarians who are considering going into the youth services field should give this a listen. This is a speech given by David Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and most recently Dash and Lily's Book of Dares at the 2007 Reading Matters Conference in Australia.

"What are you here for? That's the question you have to ask. Reading matters, we all agree upon that. why does reading matter? Reading matters because life matters and reading matters because living matters.
You're here because you want to help kids and you help kids by getting them the right book at the right time. And you can't let the vampires prevent you from doing that. If you don't kill the vampires you are killing the kids who need the books.
A kid walks into a library or into a bookstore or into a classroom, he or she wants to see himself or herself reflected in the shelves. Absolutely. You have a moral obligation to respect that. and to fight off the vampires and to give them those books. There's no question here...
Right now homophobia is the acceptable prejudice...There is no such thing as an acceptable prejudice. Period.
The kids need you. These books help...We owe it to them to fight. It's a moral obligation. You have to do it...The only argument you have is doing the right thing.
Teen literature at its best, and the reason that I believe that I do it, that most of us do it, is that in the right hands, it doesn't just entertain, it is meaningful it says you belong...Books can help, but books can only help if you get them to the kids."

Some steps have already been taken to change things he addressed in this speech. There are more and more books being published every year in the GLBTQ genre for YA, but we as librarians need to be willing to fight those "vampires" that Levithan talks about that are in our workplace. The fear of being called out for supporting this cause, for causing controversy with those who do not want these books on our shelves. If kids can't come to the library with their questions and receive unbiased answers, where else are they going to go?

I want my library to be an environment where kids feel safe. I want them to be able to know that they can come to me with their questions and I will do my best to help them in finding whatever answers they are looking for.

But to do that, I need to start fighting my own personal vampires. I do fear getting into trouble for buying these books and having these materials available. But as a librarian, it is my duty to make sure that the kids have access to this information. No matter what the cost.

It is time to take up the battle against the vampires. Are you ready?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Librarian Stream of Consciousness... Bear with Me Here...

So, I was thinking today while doing homework (a frightening thought, I know).

Specifically I was taking a homework break and continuing to try to catch up on my vlogbrothers video watching ( and then catching up on my email subscriptions, a.k.a. the my ALA emails (which, I am proud to report, that I am now completely up-to-date on!) and emails from EcoGeek (

I went back to my reading and while I was reading an article about the library as a search engine, I had a brain wave; so while I'm still riding said wave, I am going to attempt to record my thoughts.

The article was talking about Google books and how they are attempting to digitize all of the books ever written, and how libraries could work to reduce the number of print books they purchase by utilizing union catalogs in order to reduce the number of multiple copies of a single item held by multiple members of the catalog, and instead have one copy and use the funding saved to purchase additional resources, such as online journal subscriptions, ect. ect.

And this got me to thinking about books and the environment.

Now, I will admit that I love books. And it has reached an intensity in which in the past week alone I visited 2 bookstores in the same day (and came away disappointed, but that's another story entirely).

What I started thinking about was the amount of paper used to print all of the books I currently owned and wish that I currently owned. That's a lot of trees! And if you think about it, how many times am I going to read these books? Realistically I would like to say that I will read each one at least once, but there are many books currently residing on my shelves that I have had for years, that I have yet to read. I tell myself it is because I am still in school and I am working on building my life's library. I'd like to say that there are many books that I have purchased because I know that I would like to read them more than once, but still, there are many books that I own that I may read once, and then it will sit on my shelf collecting dust.

But then I started thinking about e-readers. And my specific thought was, which is more environmentally friendly, buying printed versions of books, or buying an e-reader and electronic books? In previous posts I have said that my personal jury is still out on the e-reader. I love the idea of the kindle or nook (or whatever reader you prefer) for travel, because it is so much easier to carry that one small device, rather than the 4 or 5 (or 6 or 7 or 8...) books that I would like to read while on vacation, but I love the feel of the actual book in my hands. I love the weight and the smell and texture of the paper. I love being able to jot down notes in the margins and highlight things, and heaven-forbid, dog-ear a page for later info retrieval. But which one is better for the environment?

Books are printed on paper, which require trees, a renewable resource. E-readers require power to work, which in most cases the said power used to charge the reader comes from coal-based energy. So which way is better for the environment in the long run?

I personally have no idea, but I would like to find out. I'll have to do some research and get back to you.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a small glimpse of what it is like to be inside my head while I'm attempting to study. Only usually there's usually 2 or 3 ideas/trains of thought all trying to use the same track at the same time.


Thanks to an awesome NerdFighter, I have some further info. According to this person, the first link here is a "back of the envelope" calculation of the energy used.

And for those who are extremely interested, there's a 252 page study that was done at U of M here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I had a professor during my undergraduate who was a member of the education department, but I took a children's literature class that she taught. I love her to death, and one of the many many reasons why I love her, other than because of our shared love of children's literature, was her childlike spirit. My professor, when teaching the children's literature course, would bring all of her materials for the day's lecture to class in a wagon. We went through so many book titles in one session that she needed it in order to be able to get everything to our room in one trip. If you went to visit her in her office you would immediately see her two wagons parked inside the door; a radio flyer for the warm months, and a john deer wagon with tractor-like tires for the winter, or for extra heavy loads.

I have decided, now that I am taking my Library Materials for Children course, that all graduate MLIS students who are pursuing a career in children's librarianship, should immediately be bestowed a wagon upon entrance into the program. I know the college my sister is currently considering attending for her undergraduate gives first year students a bicycle, since they cannot have cars on campus, a Schwinn that is built with their specifications, that they get to keep even after they graduate. So why shouldn't children's librarians get wagons?

I had so many books to carry to class today that were needed for a presentation and class discussion that I had a full backpack and a second bag that was bursting. I looked like a turtle with my huge backpack full of children's storybooks, which also made me look like a little kid in elementary school with a backpack that is too big for them.

A wagon would have come in really handy... that's all I'm saying...