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She’ll be swell, she’ll be great!

Carla Hayden

I am over the moon about President Obama’s nomination of Carla D. Hayden to the position of Librarian of Congress. Carla and I were buddies back in Chicago–we met when she was YA coordinator at CPL and I interviewed her for a paper I was writing for library school, and later I worked for her […]

Freeing writers AND readers

Mrs. Trimmer

I agree with Allie Jane Bruce that “kids say this stuff” is a piss-poor reason for racist language in books for children. It’s a piss-poor reason generally, as the point of fiction has never been to mimic reality, which rarely makes nearly as much sense as even the most hackneyed novel. Fiction is always selecting: as Miss Binney explained to Ramona, […]

Whips AND chains

story-of-o

I’d really like to ban the term “self-censorship” from discourse, given that we already have a spectrum of words–from “prudence” to “cowardice”–that say more precisely what we mean, and because it causes us to be confused about what censorship actually is. As Megan Schliesman at Reading While White posted last week, the discussion about A Birthday […]

Beyond the Pluto Problem

weeding

Perusing Debbie’s Reese’s  provocative (to me, anyway!) and useful site American Indians in Children’s Literature, I came across a comment she made referencing and linking to the Texas State Library’s guide to weeding, CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (link goes to a pdf). Last revised in 2012 by my most respected colleague and […]

Crankypants Monday

badsanta1-620x330

Interesting discussion about holiday library programming over at SLJ. I have two questions. First, as is so often true when we are talking “on behalf” of children, I want to know if Santa-in-the-library is genuinely offensive to non-Santa people, or is this a case of one party being offended in advance on behalf of another? […]

Cause to celebrate?

stormcenter

If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was […]

What’s a children’s librarian to do?

JeaneD

Twice in the past week I’ve been asked to opine publicly about the future of books and libraries for children, first at the NYLA conference in White Plains and then at the investiture of Eileen Abels as the new dean of the Simmons GSLIS. I had far fewer answers than questions, which I present to […]

Five Questions for Julie Roach

JulieRoach

Cambridge Public Library youth services manager (and Horn Book reviewer) Julie Roach will be discussing library services for preschool children at our Fostering Lifelong Learners event (free; you should come) at CPL on April 25th. I asked her to share some of her thoughts on serving this (very) particular audience. (I think her answer to […]

Strike that

busted cat cute

The Chicago teachers’ strike is reminding me of one of the more embarrassing moments of my professional career. I was working at Chicago Public Library  as the manager of a small branch on the North Side, and there was a teacher’s strike. According to the news, CPL was offering alternative programming for children at all […]

Editorial: We Belong Together

Roger Sutton caricature by Ed Bryant

Like you (I’m guessing), I felt my soul give a little lurch at the news that Encyclopaedia Britannica was getting out of the book business to go online, all the time. Part of my reaction was nostalgia—when I was a child we owned the first four or five volumes of some encyclopedia that my parents […]