Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Internet Is Alive--With The Sound Of Intelligent, Passionate Librarians Speaking!

Wow! It has been an amazing start to 2013 throughout library-land online!  Although I maintain this blog and a Twitter account, I've generally been much more of a consumer than a contributor to the wonderful world of librarian, educators, kid lit, and YA lit bloggers.  The simplest reason for this fact is the sad reality that I have yet to figure out how to balance a regular blogging schedule with both my job and my life beyond work. However, the more powerful (and less embarrassing) reason is that there is simply so many amazing librarians, educators, and authors sharing a plethora of outstanding material!  And as a young and still very inexperienced librarian, it's both intensely overwhelming and incredibly comforting.  I don't believe I could have survived either my adventures as a grad student intern in children's departments at public libraries or my first year and half as a middle and high school librarian without the wild and wonderful online community surrounding libraries.

So why am I writing this post now?  After all, I've been reading blogs and following Twitter feeds related to reading, education, kid/YA lit, and librarianship for about 3 years.  Well, it just happens that there has been a bumper crop of brilliant and incredibly relevant posts written about librarianship, youth services, kid/YA lit, and more over fews weeks.  And so I thought--why don't I pull together a bunch of these awesome links in one place?

As usual, taking time to check up on the latest from Liz Burns (@LizB) and Kelly Jensen (@catagator) on Twitter pays off big time.  Both pointed us toward a fabulous piece posted by Julie Jurgens (@himissjulie) about modern librarianship, the frequently skewed spotlight in the library world, and the under-appreciated daily realities of librarian life.  It's not only a very important piece of writing-- it's also a great conversation starter, provoking thought and discussion about very diverse and complicated world of modern librarianship.  As someone who got into libraries with the goal of working with children and teens and who did her first semi professional work in children's departments of public libraries, I have to say that the librarians working on the ground--especially those working with children and youth--do not always get the recognition they very much deserve.  Rehearsing puppet shows, leading toddlers through movements of a new storytime welcome song, helping a 10 year old decide on a new series to begin reading while he waits for the next Rick Riordan novel to be published, or showing a teen where the Sarah Dessen books are shelved--these do not sound like glamorous activities to many people.  But they are the backbone of libraries, of literacy, and of education in United States.  If we care about education, about children, and about our future, we absolutely must care about all libraries and librarians, especially those serving children and youth.  And we have to demonstrate that care though action and advocacy.  Because picture books and story times and puppets and children's series fiction MATTER-- even if they don't sound "cutting edge" or "sexy."

Whew! Anyway, that's my two cents on the subject.  There have been many more eloquent responses from librarians--check out Kelly Jensen's recent posts over at Stacked and Julie Jurgen's twitter feed (@himissjulie) to track some of them.

In other fun and fabulous librarian blog news, both Abby Johnson and Kelly Jensen recently wrote up some particularly wonderful posts as part of their regular features "Around the Interwebs" and "Links of Note."   Both collect a bunch of really great and diverse links that I will not try to recreate here--go check them out!  And then go follow the tags for those features and check out their past posts for even more online goodies.

Meanwhile the brilliant Jennifer LaGarde AKA LibraryGirl (@jenniferlagarde) posted a wonderful piece about neuroscience, affective learning, and libraries! Such a great example of taking recent research and tying it directly to real, everyday work in libraries!

Yesterday, awesome librarian Sarah Bean Thompson over at GreenBeanTeenQueen posted a really helpful piece about reading and writing critically about children's and young adult literature!  She not only gives some great advice (especially for newbies like me) but also references some specific professional books and links out Kelly Jensen's critical reviewing cheat sheet  as well as her posts on the value of critical reviews and on critical reviews & critical advocacy.

I also want to include a link to The Nerdy Book Club, an awesome collaborative blog that I have only recently started reading regularly--shame on me! The posts in the last 5 days alone are all amazing and if you aren't already checking the blog regularly, start today!

Finally I just want to express my general thanks to all the wonderful librarians, educators, and authors sharing their insights, ideas, and advice with such generosity! Take it from one newbie librarian--your contributions are insanely valuable and greatly admired;  you make me proud to be a librarian and your examples constantly challenge me to be a better librarian.  Thank you! 

Check out my ever growing Diigo list of Librarian/Educator Bloggers to see why I'm so thankful! 


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