March 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for July 2008

Summer Reading at the School Library

Elementary school children in Klein, TX, have just ended several fun-filled summer reading programs at—of all places—their school libraries. Thanks to a program sponsored by the Klein Independent School District, seven media centers opened their doors—and their many services—to local kids and their siblings for six weeks this summer. Librarian Hillary Volkmann talked to SLJ about her program for young readers at nearby Roth Elementary. 

Not many school libraries are open in the summer. How did your district manage to pull […]

Controversy Surrounds Library Expansion in Posh NY Hood

“Build it and they will come” didn’t seem to be on the minds of the zoning board overseeing a proposed 6,800-square-foot new children’s wing of the East Hampton Library in New York.

In an ongoing contentious review process, the East Hampton Village Board of Zoning Appeals has expressed concern that an expanded children’s collection would lead to more library usage by those who live in the less affluent areas of Springs and Wainscott, says Dennis Fabiszak, director of the East Hampton […]

The Good War | Scales on Censorship

If we don’t fight the perils of censorship, we can’t win

Every year, the PTA sponsors a book fair at our middle school. Lately they haven’t been pleased with the selections they’ve received from the book-fair company. Although I’m the school librarian, I’m never included in the selection process. But when the books arrive, the PTA insists that I identify the titles that could cause trouble in the community. I feel like I’m being asked to be a censor. What should […]

Girl with Two First Names: Interview with Alison McGhee | Under Cover

Alison McGhee’s bighearted first novel for young readers is irresistible

Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) is a charming story about a precocious nine-year-old who makes papier-mâché masks and is crazy about her dog. But on a deeper level, the story tackles some of life’s grittiest challenges. Did you plan to write such a serious story?

Before I began writing Julia Gillian, I treated myself to rereading the Ramona books and I read a couple of the Betsy-Tacy books for the […]

Surf’s Up: The Sea and Shore | Focus On

A day at the beach–what could be more fun and relaxing? Whether exploring on the shore, swimming, diving, surfing, sailing, or just gazing at the horizon, people have always been drawn to the sea. Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the planet, yet they are vastly underexplored and mysterious. The depths of the ocean may be out of reach for all but the most adventurous of scientists, but anyone can explore the shores and tide pools or learn to snorkel […]

All a Twitter: Want to Try Microblogging?

Want to try microblogging, but don’t know how to get started? Read on.

While sitting before a presentation at a recent library conference, I was able to broadcast my whereabouts, my mood, and my desire to connect with friends for dinner to over 150 conference attendees simultaneously, using my mobile phone. I managed this feat of hyper-connectivity through a service called Twitter, which enables social butterflies like myself to instantly publish brief messages to a network of contacts.

Although not quite as […]

Make It New: the Queens Library for Teens and Dallas’s Bookmarks

Today’s youth deserve more than the same old library services in the same old libraries. Beginning on this page, Maureen O’Connor discusses what motivated the Queens Library to create a library for young adults—and how this unique facility is having a positive impact on teens’ lives. On pages 40 and 41, we report on a new library in Dallas that’s just for children and placed where families can’t help but trip over it—in the mall.

Queens Library
Far Rockaway, NY

Each weekday […]

Street Fight: Welcome to the World of Urban Lit

Teens love it. Some librarians loathe it. Welcome to the world of urban lit.

Street lit is controversial stuff. From the racy covers (think buxom babes and mouthwatering men) to the provocative titles (like Death Before Dishonor) to the assorted R-rated acts, it’s enough to make many librarians reach for the Advil. And they’re not the only ones.

Grad students in my young adult and children’s literature classes are also befuddled. “Is it OK for teens to read urban lit?” they often […]

Face the Facts | Consider the Source

The way we present the topic of slavery to young people is all wrong

During the past few years, I’ve written books about the history of race relations (Race [S & S/Atheneum/Ginee Seo Bks., 2007]), the American Revolution (The Real Revolution [2005]), and with my wife, Marina Budhos, the history of sugar (Sweet and Bitter [forthcoming, both Clarion]). While researching these books, I realized that the way we present the topic of slavery to young readers is completely incorrect. I hope […]

A Little DAP Will Do Ya | First Steps

An often ignored concept is the key to successful programming

Best practice to a youth librarian is using lots of songs in storytimes for babies and repeating them each week. Best practice is choosing books about trucks and teddy bears for two-year-olds. The early childhood educators among us would be more precise: they would call these strategies developmentally appropriate practice.

One of the most important ingredients of successful library programming for young children has not been discussed thoroughly in library literature. The […]

Cardboard for the Silicon Set | The Gaming Life

Board, card, and miniatures games for video gamers

There’s a new generation of innovative board, card, and miniatures games that take full advantage of the developments in game design over the past 20 years that have made video games so popular. These games have moved beyond Monopoly and Clue that most of us played as children to incorporate the strategy, role-play, conflict, and competition that make console games so enticing.

In “Teaching Through Play: Cooperative Games in the Classroom” (School Library […]