Monday, September 15, 2008

Graeme Base, my favorite Australian author/illustrator, is returning to the Parkland Community Library on October 17th at 3:30 pm. That's a LOT of advance notice, I know. Expect to hear about this again - and again. Graeme is fabulously talented. His books are visually challenging and thought provoking. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of his latest, Enigma: a Magical Mystery. I hope it comes in soon.

So what else have I been reading? Well, not New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. It's not on the shelf here and there's a waiting list. This is a GOOD thing. I love it when a book or a series gets so popular it flies off the shelf.

I finished the latest Miss Julia, Miss Julia Strikes Back by Ann Ross. Miss Julia chases jewel thieves all the way to Miami, FL and she takes her late husband's son, "Little" Lloyd with her!! (His mother, Hazel Marie, won a trip to Mexico just at the same time that Miss Julia's new husband, Sam, took a long-awaited tour of Russia. What a coincidence!) Sometimes I worry about Miss Julia's judgment. At least, in this book she agrees that at 11, almost 12, Little Lloyd is not so little anymore. Without her lapses of judgment these books wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Miss Julia always manages to prevail over difficulties of ALL kinds. Drunken PIs, doubtful wardrobe choices and the unbearable heat of Southern Florida ruffle Miss Julia's feathers but she wins out over all. This book is for Mature audiences - not because of questionable content, though. It's just that us older readers can relate to Miss Julia and her particular struggles.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Teen Read Week Approaches - Oct. 12-18th, 2008
On the 14th - a Tuesday, at 7:30 pm, The Parkland Community Library will host a book discussion on Books with Bite. I MIGHT try to find a montage of vampire footage to display since vampires are so....[Insert word that means very, very popular here].

But Books with Bite don't HAVE to be about vampires. Any book that creates a stir, causes people to think differently about something, opens our eyes to a situation, opens a door in our souls, builds our world view and understanding - THAT book has bite, my friends. For some, that book could be Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. For others, it could be Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Terry Pratchett's Making Money is a biting commentary on the financial world and a hoot, to boot.

So bring one of your favorite biting books to this book discussion and build a case for its biting-ness. I will prepare a booklist and email it to all participants.
Open House at the local High School (PHS) was an eye-opening experience. I'm surprised that the school district doesn't auction off hall space to area organizations. If you just want to expose a product to a captive audience, high school Open Houses are a great choice. (Many thanks to our high school's excellent librarian, Ms. Will, for inviting the Parkland Community Library to participate.)

For sure, the parents are not interested - AT ALL - in getting a new library card, or learning about drug intervention or heart disease. What they want to know is how to get to Room B125 or to the Cafeteria or where they can pay Class Dues.

Still, there you are - in their faces - as they dart back and forth, following a truncated version of their teen's daily schedule. Like hawkers in subway stations at rush hour, you can hand them a flyer or a bookmark and a few of those will make it home. A small percentage of the ones that make it home will actually be used.

An information table at a school Open House is a lot like a billboard on a highway. People see it. And if they pass it often enough, it sinks in.

Open Houses are NOT the place to sign people up for Fun Runs, library cards, or Scout Troops. An organization's presence at these events should be designed to just advertise that organization's mission and availability and to give people the information they need if they WANT to sign up for a Fun Run or a library card - all with the School Districts' blessings, of course.

Just some librarian-ish thoughts.