Outstanding author interviews

I’ve been blown away lately by the lengths that some authors have gone to for their reading public!

The first is an interview with the creators of Battle Bunny.  The brilliant Mac Barnett and jon Scieszka.  Colby Sharp is a Grade 3 teacher who asked his students to help him create an interview, Battle Bunny style for Mr. Barnett and Scieszka to answer.  The results are hilarious.


The second is an illustrated interview between teacher-librarian Travis Jonkers and author Herve Tullet.  I’d love to print out some of Herve’s answers and frame them for my library!


The third, isn’t an interview per say, but is just pure brilliance.  A couple of years ago Youth librarian Lucas Maxwell at the Tantallon Public Library in Nova Scotia decided to celebrate their library’s 10th anniversary by writing several different authors asking them to write a letter back, addressed to the youth of Nova Scotia, outlining the benefits of reading and libraries in general.  The responses he got….well read for yourself.




A new school year, brings tons of volunteers!

School started back up almost a week ago.  I got the basics done. I updated our client list, put tons of great books back on display.  Now I need to gear up for our volunteer program. 

Several years ago we started asking for student volunteers to work in the library to help with shelving of books, pulling magazines that needed fixing (which is pretty much constantly around here), and other random tasks that the kids come up with. 

The popularity of the program has grown ENORMOUSLY in the last two years.  It may be in part because when the kids donate their time to work in here; one morning recess a week, we blast music of their choosing the entire time they’re working (I get to choose my cbc radio 2 favourites as well, which usually emits a large amount of groans, until they start requesting them a few weeks later 🙂 

Students need to be in grade 4 – 6 (our grade 7 & 8’s do no get a morning recess.  But I’ve had several previous volunteers ask if they could continue working in the library this year, so they may be coming in one lunch recess a week). 

The grade 4’s usually get the task of sorting magazines and putting away Fiction and Easy Reader books.  After a year if kids want to try putting away non-fiction titles I’ll train them to do that as well.  I’ve learned that some kids get the hang of shelving books right away, and some never do.  My biggest issue is not the mishelved books, and I will admit there are a fair amount of them with this program (most are CLOSE to where they’re supposed to be though :).  It’s getting kids to come to me when they don’t where things go.  Very few are willing to open their mouths and say “you know what, I’m not really sure I understand how to do this”.  Which is frustrating beause I make it very clear that if they need to ask me every single time where a book goes, they can, because I want them to learn how to do it properly. 

A wise person once told me that it’s much more important that they continue to shelve books (even if half are wrong), if they’re working hard, and they really want to learn how to shelve, that’s more important than it being 100% right. 

This morning I did an all call for volunteers who are interested in working this year.  62 students showed up, 25 of them being volunteers from last year.  A good 15 of those kids will either decide this isn’t for them, or will quit halway through the year.   At this point I’m not sure how to handle 13 students each recess and not have complete chaos!

It’s not just about the books, end of the year musings.

I always find the last few weeks of the school year interesting.  I get completely absorbed in things I NEED to get done by the last day of school, the normal things, like shelf reading, and inventory, and trying to get as many outstanding books back as I possibly can.  These things are important, but I find there are things outside the library that become more important.  Like supervising on field trips, so that the kids get to know you as someone other than “the weird library lady”.  Like running a 10K race with thirteen students who realize they are capable of so much more.  Like getting 4 grade five students to help me clean out disgusting, moldy compost buckets, and do it with smiles, and laughter, no matter how disgusting it was 🙂

A very wise person once told me that it’s sometimes more important to be there for the kids, to be a listening ear, than to be there to run the library, I try to do my best at both.

Today, on the last day of school when I am usually in the library by myself for the last couple of hours trying to finish up odds and ends, and counting down the minutes as much as the kids, a grade 8 student who I had gotten to know through various activities through the year decided to spend his last 45 minutes in the building as a student chatting with me, about life, about books, about everything.

I don’t know if I made a difference in his life over the past few years, but I know he’s made a difference in mine, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent my last 45 minutes in the building this year.

End of the year amusement – Entrepreneurs

It’s that lovely time of year, when I collect the 1500 outstanding books from the school.  Shelf read the library (can you sense the excitement of putting every book on the shelf in order?……goosebumps I tell you).  Then doing a complete inventory.

It’s a bit mind numbing.  I always find classic books as I complete all of these tasks.  Today I found this book.  The cover alone stood out, I didn’t know who this Entrepreneur was, but his 90’s look, and self-confidence grabbed me immediately.  Plus he’s Canadian….tell me more!!!


Then I opened the book, and I laughed even more.  The classic Canadian entrepreneur that all children should aspire to be appeared on page two.  Compete with picture that should have ended up anywhere but in print. 


This is why you weed your collection.  Books that can seem new are easily filled with misinformation depending on the topic.  But man do I enjoy reading them.

The art of weeding


Weeding is an art form.  Where you go through the shelves and get rid of classic books about the Soviet Union, or those new fan-dangled tube tv’s!I I weeded this beautiful book from a school library I worked in about 7 years ago.  By and far the best/worst I’ve found in a collection.  The title alone made me giggle, but the addition of the sticker asking the user to please wash their hands before reading was the icing on the cake.

When you open it though, you find beautiful poetry, about death, and people being shot, right next to poetry about what little girls are made of.  It’s like dressing up as a clown and then talking to children about suicide, what in the world???  It now belongs on my bookshelf at home, a classic.

photo(1)O  photo(2)

I also removed many wonderful books from that collection that boasted they were “now in colour!”….nooooo who splurged to get it in REAL COLOUR!!!!  There’s a fanastic website that is dedicated to many of these wonderful books that long ago should have been taken off library shelves.  Amuse yourselves at http://http://awfullibrarybooks.net/