Monday, February 6, 2017

HVLA Printzbery Recap

On Saturday, January 14th, HVLA librarians came together for the 5th annual Mock Event, affectionately named The Printzbery after we decided to expand our discussion to include both the Printz and Newbery Awards. Karyn Silverman and Joy Piedmont from LREI -Little Red School House and Elizabeth Irwin High School organized and hosted the event.
After a delicious catered lunch and a quick readership poll, we decided to start discussing our shortlist, which included the following titles:
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Vietnam by Russell Freedman
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Middle Grade:
The Best Man by Gregory Peck
Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan
Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes
The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz
Makoons by Louise Erdrich

The young adult titles were being considered for a mock Printz award, the middle grade titles were under consideration for the mock Newbery, and the crossover titles were eligible for either or both awards.  Though even during our conversation, we moved titles around, realizing that The Inquisitor’s Tale was more of a crossover title and we also allowed a few “write-in” nominations from librarians present including: Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart, Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner and Soar by Joan Bauer.
Each book had a nominator that spoke passionately about why that book should be considered for one of the awards and then the group discussed that title until the allotted time ran out. While deliberating, we kept in mind the criteria for both the Newbery and Printz awards which were written on the white boards. In voting, we stuck as closely to the spirit of the official award voting procedures as possible, but since we were a group of seven, the numbers had to be slightly adjusted. 
On the first vote, there were clear winners: The Passion of Dolssa for the mock Printz and Ghost for the mock Newbery. When deciding how many honor books to include, the books with the second most votes were chosen, with The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Lucy and Linh, and The Lie Tree receiving mock Printz honors and The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Wild Robot, Inquisitor’s Tale, and Samurai Rising receiving mock Newbery Honors.
Historically, a crossover book has tended to win the Printzbery and this year was no exception. Since there are no official policies and procedures for the Printzbery, the librarians present decided to vote for our “heart” books that we each felt deserved recognition. (Maybe one day, we will actually come up with some official guidelines!) Not surprisingly since it picked up honors in both other categories, The Girl Who Drank the Moon became our Printzbery winner, with Ghost and The Passion of Dolssa, winners of the other two categories, as Printzbery honors.
So here’s a quick recap of the results:
Mock Printz: The Passion of Dolssa, The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Honor), Lucy and Linh (Honor), The Lie Tree (Honor)
Mock Newbery: Ghost, Wild Robot (Honor), The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Honor), The Inquisitor’s Tale (Honor), Samurai Rising (Honor)
Mock Printzbery: The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Ghost (Honor), The Passion of Dolssa (Honor)


Of course, we weren’t perfect since we were only scratching the surface of the reading done by the real committees, but it was nice to see some overlap with the Real Awards, particularly in the Newbery Award. It was a great day of conversation and camaraderie among HVLA librarians and friends, full of insightful discussion. This has become a yearly HVLA event, so join us next year when we talk about 2017 titles!

- Carrie Shaurette, Middle/Upper School Librarian, Dwight-Englewood School

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Repair - You Don’t Know What You Didn’t Know

On January 30, 2017 HVLA hosted a Book Repair Workshop at Williamsburg Northside School with Sophia Kramer, a bookbinder and book conservator from White Iris Books. Currently Sophia is working as a book conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is focusing on rare herbalist books (think 1425!)

As school librarians, we regularly encounter books that have been damaged: from damaged spines, to tears, to dog chewed corners, etc. Usually we attempt to repair them with book tape, a hot glue gun, and rubber bands. Apparently everything we thought we knew about book repair was WRONG. Luckily, Sophia showed us the way and blew our collective minds. There’s something about putting together a feathered tear with PVA that makes you feel really cool (or maybe that’s just us?). Regardless, picture a dozen librarians giggling in glee about about using a fan brush to paint polyvinyl acetate on a tipped in plate and you’ve got the basic idea.

Fun facts:

  • The interior of the spine is called the mull.
  • Foxing is an age-related process of deterioration that causes spots and browning.
  • A tipped-in page or, if it is an illustration, tipped-in plate is a page that is printed separately from the main text of the book, but attached to the book. If a tipped-in page falls out, one must apply glue to the page lightly and then tip it back into the book.
  • Different types of binding require different repair methods.
  • Deckled edges are the feathery, unfinished pages

Places to purchase book repair supplies:
Talas (located in Brooklyn)

Places to purchase archival products:

Book Repair Supply List for a Librarian on a Budget
  • Knitting needles
  • Filmoplast (available in different weights)
  • Paintbrush (1 inch flat brush and fan brush)
  • Ruler
  • Olfa utility knife
  • Bone folder
  • PVA glue
  • Instant wheat starch paste
  • Scissors (any kind will do)
  • Rubber cement pick-up (used to remove sticky adhesive)
  • Ace bandage

  • Remay (spun plaster!)
  • Japanese paper
  • Book cloth
  • Water pen
  • Paper Saw! (yes, we said paper saw.)
  • Heat spatula (someone please get me this for my birthday)
  • Wooden dowels
  • Blue Paper
  • Self healing mat
  • Cord (thick thread)

To learn more about classes book repair and book arts, look to The Center For Book Arts.

Also check out Esther K. Smith and Dikko Faust’s Purgatory Pie Press for more classes and books about books (Karen recommends Esther’s Making Books With Kids).

For online information: Check out this video or this guide to learn more about book repair.

-Karen Grenke, Williamsburg Northside School and Maria Falgoust, International School of Brooklyn

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My Journey as a Librarian: From Sweden to Brooklyn

When I tell people what I do for work with I usually get the following reactions:
1. Oh wow. Librarians, they still exist? (Polite answer: Yes. We still exist. Existential question I guess.)
2. So what do you actually do all day? Read books? (I wish!)
3. What's the difference between working as a librarian in Sweden and the US? Unfortunately, I don't have a snappy comeback to that one.  But let's try to answer some of the other questions.

I graduated in 2010, with a degree in library and information science.  My first job was as a substitute librarian at a public library in a wealthy suburb outside Gothenburg, the second biggest city in Sweden. Fresh out of school, I was excited to put all my brilliant ideas into practice. Soon I realized being a librarian is not anything like being Belle in "Beauty and the Beast", happily swinging from shelf to shelf on a fancy book ladder picking out the most wonderful books.  Even though that would be truly amazing. The harsh reality of budget constraints, patrons with a wide variety of needs and demands, and a rigid organization was a rude awakening.

There is so much to love about working in a public institution - the inspiring, passionate colleagues, the opportunity to plan free events and programs, and the joy derived from reading to all types of people (from a first grader to an adult with limited eyesight). The thing I loved the most about public librarianship was that I was able to interact with people from all walks of life. Whether it was with children, senior citizens, people with mental illnesses, newly arrived refugees, or new parents, it was such a privilege to be an important part of people's everyday life and routines.

My relationship with public libraries is a complicated love story. For me, the down side of the profession was that sometimes it felt draining, as if I could never do enough to give the community what it needed and deserved. After working in public libraries for six years, I craved a change of pace. Despite my commitment and passion for public libraries I had a nagging feeling that in order to develop and grow, I needed to challenge myself.
Sweden has a growing immigrant population and I wanted to focus on something that could benefit my local community and help develop my career.  While trying to figure out what type of experience I wanted to focus on, I found myself thinking about the work I did with a mother tongue collection at a small public library. The target audience included a population of children, teens and teachers who wanted to read books in languages other than Swedish. My goal was to expand the collection to include twenty seven target languages and encourage their love of reading. It was such a thrill to present books in Dari or Somali to a group of unaccompanied refugee boys, who were so visibly excited to find their language represented. It was a gratifying project because I knew I played a role in making a positive impact in people's lives.

How does one work with a multilingual collection? I sought to learn more about selecting and purchasing books in a variety of languages, cataloging these titles accurately, promoting the collection and -- since a library is always way more than just a collection of books -- how to work as a librarian in an international, diverse, and multilingual community.

First, I researched international schools and institutions in the New York City area and and contacted several. The International School of Brooklyn (ISB) intrigued me with its immersion program, and how invested in diversity and global awareness the school is. ISB is an IB school with a French and Spanish immersion program with classes from Nursery to 8th grade. One of the primary reasons I felt drawn to ISB was their librarian, Maria Falgoust. Not only was she was full of enthusiasm, I could see how deeply committed and dedicated to the community she was. I decided to go with ISB. To acquire a trainee visa,  you need a sponsor organization and the American Scandinavian Foundation helped me immensely. They were really supportive and helpful in every way.

I dove right in the beginning of the school year! The first months were incredibly busy and there was plenty of information to absorb and process. It started with learning over 330 students' names and faces in addition to the 70 teachers and staff! Maria introduced me to the IB pedagogy and curriculum, the collection (10,000 volumes!) and library program. While learning ISB's school culture, I was simultaneously adjusting to my new country. To say the least it was a tad overwhelming. I’m proud and grateful for every single moment: the author visits, the lessons, and the workshops I’ve been a part of, not to mention every student I've met.

During recent months I've learned so much about international school librarianship. I’ve collaborated with teachers to catalog books on projects, cataloged books in French and Spanish and organized workshops and events. Some of my highlights include hosting the acclaimed French author and illustrator, HervĂ© Tullet. He kicked off the school year with a huge, hands-on workshop. Despite being one of the hottest days of the year, our students from nursery to 5th grade happily, collaboratively painted together. Our next big project involved organizing a multilingual book fair with a new vendor (Book Culture) in a new location (our new gymnasium) while also spearheading a Literacy Week for students and a workshop for adults (about Diversity in Children's Literature)  Our most recent major project (just before the winter break) involved packing up the library, located in a storefront two blocks from the main campus and moving it to an amazing new space called the Learning Commons on campus. The new location is spacious and centrally located, allowing us to collaborate with teachers and expand the collection.

Circling back to the third question; the difference between working in the USA and Sweden. In my experience, the basic practice of being a librarian is fairly similar wherever you are in the world. The main cultural difference is the idiosyncrasies in how we perform these practices. I've observed that there are more discussions about the age appropriateness of books in the US than in Sweden. In my past experience, I can only count on one hand when I've told parents or teachers that the book chosen by a child might not be appropriate. It's illuminating to see how different traditions and value are reflect in the way we live.  That is only one small example of many but ultimately I believe there are more things that unite librarians than divide us, no matter if we work in school libraries or public libraries.

Regardless of where you work, librarians all share a strong core of spreading the love of literature and the joy of reading, teaching and sharing the importance of research skills, empowering patrons, and reaching out to the community.

By Josefin Skoglund
Trainee at The International School of Brooklyn

Bio: Josefin Skoglund is a Swedish a librarian in Brooklyn by day and an illustrator by night, or whenever she can find the time. Here's her Website.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The 2017 Printzbery is coming!

Next month, HVLA and School Library Journal's Someday My Printz Will Come are hosting our fifth mock awards event at LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School. We lovingly call our mock the Printzbery, coined two years ago when we added a Mock Newbery to our existing Mock Printz. At the close of that year’s event, everyone agreed that we wanted to have heard or participated in both discussions, so we joked that we should just have a Printzbery—a single discussion group that would consider Printz books, Newbery books, and those could-go-either-way books.

For this year's Printzbery, we have once again compiled a list of books separated into those three categories:

Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan
Makoons by Louise Erdrich
The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz
Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes
The Best Man by Richard Peck

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Vietnam: A History by Russell Freedman
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

After lunch, which will be catered by Dig Inn, attendees will gather at our (mock) committee table to first vote down the list to 10 books. Discussion will kick off for each book with a "nominated" from someone at the table. Every year I've come away with fresh insights on books I've already given a lot of thought to, and I always leave excited to read the books I never got around to reading.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the day is the voting. I'll never tire of that moment when we finally crown a winner because I've never been disappointed with the result. I might walk in with a favorite, but occasionally someone points out some major issues with the book I've never considered before. The conversation allows us to get multiple takes on a single work, which means when we vote, we're all voting based on the same information, knowing perspectives outside of our own.

Are you interested in joining us this year? Go ahead and register now! Here are all the details:

WHO: All HVLA members and their book-loving friends/colleagues! HVLA membership is not a requirement. Please feel free to share this invite with anyone who would like to be a part of our mock committee.
WHEN: 11:30 am - 5:00 pm on Saturday, January 14, 2017 (Lunch and snacks will be served.)
WHERE: LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School, 40 Charlton Street


Do I need to have read all the books before the Printzbery?
It’s up to you. It’s way more fun if you’ve read the books, but also way more work, so attendees at all levels of readership are welcome.

I’m not an HVLA member, can I still come?
Yes, of course! Interested readers of all stripes are welcome. Please feel free to spread the word and share with any librarians, educators, and general book enthusiasts who might be interested.

Is there a registration fee?
Nope! This event is made possible through the support of the Hudson Valley Library Association, SLJ's Someday My Printz Will Come, and LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School.

I’ve never been to an HVLA book club meeting.
You’ll probably want to attend after this, but there is no prerequisite for the Printzbery. We'll start our 2017 reading in February. Keep an eye on the listserv for the dates and titles. You can also join our Goodreads group, where we post what we're reading and solicit suggestions for future book club reads.

Still have questions? Leave a comment or email me (jpiedmont [at] lrei [dot] org).

—Joy Piedmont, LREI

Monday, December 5, 2016

A recap of the December HVLA + NYCIST meeting

Since 2014 HVLA has partnered with NYCIST (New York Consortium of Independent School Technologists) to host meetings that bring our two groups together. Collaboration between librarians and technologists is increasingly vital for any school that wants to innovate and remain current with the constantly changing information and technological landscape. These meetings have been a wonderful way for our two departments to share and learn from each other outside of the busy school day. Our most recent joint meeting took place on December 1st at my school, LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School. Saber Khan, Director of Educational Technology at The Browning School and current NYCIST President asked our library and ed tech department invited us to host and we planned an a quasi-unconference style afternoon.

Before I give you an overview of the meeting, some background: Karyn Silverman, High School Librarian at LREI and I led a workshop called, "It's LIT: Librarians and Tech Integrators in the Future" at last January's NEIT (NYSAIS Education & Information Technology) Conference. Our goal was to have a productive brainstorming session to understand where we are now in order to map out the future. We came away from that hour with a Venn diagram of our roles in the education ecosystem of our schools.
The "beautiful" Venn diagram we created during "It's LIT" at NEIT16.
Those of us who attended this session felt like we had created a solid foundation for future conversations about collaboration between library and ed tech departments. This was the first thing that came to my mind to frame our conversations on December 1st.

The next step was to gauge what attending members wanted to discuss. In the RSVP we asked, "Librarians/Technologists what would you like to discuss with technologists/librarians?" We also wanted to know if anyone had stories of successful collaboration that they wished to share. Based on these answers, I created a word cloud to visualize our questions and ideas.
As it turns out, "research" was the word that bubbled up as the most cited topic for discussion. Using the word cloud, as well as the full responses from members, we came up with four main discussion topics that seemed to address the various interests of attendees: research, information/media literacy, STEAM and design thinking, and equipment (1:1, fixed resources, etc).

After some snacks and mingling, introductions and announcements, we broke out into four groups to discuss our main topics. I joined the information/media literacy group and we had a great conversation that generated ideas as well as questions and resources. Matthew Moran, Director of Technology and Innovation at Dwight School created a Google doc with our notes. Feel free to take a look, use and/or add resources.

Before we parted ways, we had a quick share to wrap up. Listening to each group, I was struck by how we all approached these topics with various professional experiences, but we were meeting on common ground because both librarians and technologists have roles to play in developing curricula and programs for these issues. As Sarah wrote last month, our departments are stronger when we learn together and from each other. Keep an eye out for future meetings with NYCIST and please invite your ed tech counterpart if they aren't already on the NYCIST listserv. The upcoming NEIT conference at the Mohonk Mountain House is also a great opportunity for professional development with fellow librarians and educational technologists from New York. 

—Joy Piedmont, LREI

Monday, November 28, 2016

Literary Events Around Town: December 2016

Even though literary goings-on might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of December, here are actually some interesting events you might want to catch.

Books of Wonder (18 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011)
There are always so many amazing authors and events here but these ones especially caught my eye.

  • Meet R. L. Stine on Saturday, December 3rd - 1:00pm-3:00pm
  • Pop-Ups and Interactive Books Celebration on Saturday, December 10th - 1:00pm-3:00pm
  • December Picture Book Bonanza on Sunday, December 11th - 1:00pm-3:00pm
  • Fantastic Teen Reads on Friday, December 16th - 6:00-8:00pm (three authors including Neal Shusterman)

Barnes and Noble (Central Plaza, 2614 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10710)
Chris Grabenstein presenting Home Sweet Motel at 6:00pm  (to be followed by the Harry Potter Magical Ball)

Children’s Books on Tour: NYC - Literary Networking Event on Thursday, December 1st 6:30-8:30 pm
Join the German Book Office of New York on December 1 at the Goethe Institut NYC (30 Irving Place, 4th floor) for a panel on translating children’s books, followed by a networking session.
  • Daniel Slager (Publisher and CEO of Milkweek Editions and renowned translator of German)
  • Emily Clement (Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, Inc.)
This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Riky Stock ( by November 28, 2016.

Barnes and Noble, various locations, on Saturday, December 3rd - 9:00am on
Educator Holiday Shopping
Pre-K through 12 educators are invited to a special holiday shopping event --- just for you! Educators will receive a 25% discount on books, toys, games, movies, music and more. Plus, 10% off CafĂ© consumables and select NOOK® devices. 

Sarah Kresberg, Library Director
The Allen-Stevenson School