February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Sendak Library Cards Draw Attention To Importance of Storytimes

Wild Things HRThe children (and adults) of the New York City borough of Brooklyn will be able to check out books from their library using a library card emblazoned with Maurice Sendak’s iconic characters from his classic book, Where the Wild Things Are (HarperCollins, 1963). The card was unveiled at a ceremony on Tuesday, March 28 at the Central Library branch in Park Slope, before a group of giddy second-graders from PS 118, which is, appropriately, also called the Maurice Sendak Community School.

On Saturday, April 1, Brooklyn Public Library branches incorporated Where the Wild Things Are read-alouds and activities into their regular storytime programs. Those events helped to raise awareness for the importance of Saturday storytime programming, the expansion of which was made possible by the city’s increased investment in public libraries over the past two years.   

Mizrahi has a captive audience. Photo credit: Gregg Richards

Mizrahi has a captive audience. Photo credit: Gregg Richards

The students at the ceremony were treated to a read-aloud from Brooklyn-born fashion designer, artist, and performer Isaac Mizrahi. In his dramatic reading of the book, he encouraged audience participation, especially when he got to the line “Let the wild rumpus start.” At that point, the children imitated the characters in the book by (loudly) romping around the library, with Mizrahi leading the way.

The ruckus begins! Photo credit: Gregg Richards

The rumpus begins! Photo credit: Gregg Richards

The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) worked closely with the Maurice Sendak Foundation and HarperCollins in making the card a reality. “HarperCollins is delighted to partner with the Brooklyn Public Library in getting a library card into the pockets and backpacks of tens of thousands of Brooklyn kids of all ages. That it’s a card featuring Where the Wild Things Are would have made Maurice Sendak even happier,” says Antonia Markiet, editorial director, HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Photo credit: Gregg Richards

Photo credit: Gregg Richards

Sendak was a native of Brooklyn. In 2013, PS 118 was named for the late author. The school is “to be a place where kids are flexible thinkers and they step outside the boxMaurice Sendak was known for his creativity,” says the school’s principal, Elizabeth Garraway.

Each child attending the ceremony received a new library card on the spot. The new cards will also be issued free to all patrons (regardless of age) by request, while supplies last.

Where the Wild Things Are has been a favorite at Brooklyn Public Library’s story times for more than 50 years,” says BPL president and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “The new library card, featuring Max and two of his most terrible monsters, is a tribute to one of Brooklyn’s greatest authors and one of the most beloved children’s books ever published.”



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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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