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September 2, 2014

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Staying Power: The Magic of Susan Cooper

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I’m on my way to visit Susan Cooper on an unseasonably warm day in mid-February. As my car cruises along, about 45 minutes south of Boston, low tide reveals miles of untouched marshland. I drive across a short causeway, creep down an unpaved lane, and suddenly I’m staring at the exquisite home that Cooper built a couple of years ago. My first thought is that I’ve stumbled upon the Grey House, the setting of Cooper’s first children’s book, Over Sea, Under Stone. With its soaring cathedral ceilings and wraparound windows that frame the wetlands, the space is filled with warmth and light even on a winter’s day. It seems like the perfect place for the 77-year-old writer to conjure up some more of her magic.

What Is the Future of Reference?

From the left (left image): Rocco Staino; Barbara Genco, Library Journal's manager of special projects; and Christopher Harris. From the left (right image):Jon Gregory, Matt Andros, Roger Rosen, Diana McDermott, and Geraldine Curran.  Photographs by Sean McGinty.

The world of reference is moving at warp speed these days. Public library patrons are used to Wikipedia and expect the same convenience when it comes to library resources. And in many school libraries, budget crunches, technology issues, and Common Core standards have made librarians’ jobs even more, shall we say, exciting. Wouldn’t you love to sit down with some of the world’s leading reference publishers and say, “Hey, wait a second! This is what we need you to do to make our libraries better”?

Best in The West: ALA Program Guide

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Planning to catch this year’s American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Anaheim, CA? If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to make every second count. That’s why we’ve asked seven savvy librarians to give us the skinny on the top five sessions they plan to attend during the June 21–26 event. As you’ll see, they came up with an eclectic mix that’s bound to make nearby Disneyland’s power couple, Mickey and Minnie, a mere distraction.

LGBTQ Lit: Speaking Out | Focus On

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The right resources can save lives. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or questioning teens are disproportionately at risk for being bullied, becoming homeless, and attempting suicide. Despite an increased representation of LGBTQ teens in the media (especially white, middle-class gay male teens), LGBTQ teens often feel isolated, confused, and without support.

Catch A Wave: Get kids listening and beat the summer wipeout | Listen In

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As the days of summer approach, thoughts turn away from structured routines and toward opportunities for fun. Unfortunately, research continues to indicate that extended learning breaks contribute to diminishing literacy skills such as fluency, vocabulary acquisition, and reading comprehension. The dreaded summer slide! In this column we explore this phenomenon and offer some ways that school and public librarians can work with families to keep kids reading—with audiobooks.