Jul 22, 2010

Librarians Make Me Happy

Has everyone seen this video??

In it Librarians Do Gaga. That's right, as in Lady Gaga, changing her popular song "Poker face" into "Catalog." It is so worth the 4+ minutes of your time, so go watch!

Last fall Nancy and I collected books for a local school library. The funding was tight for the program (of course), and when a young new librarian looked over the inventory she discovered that half of the books were so worn and old that they were unusable (some were mildewed, others torn or drawn in, etc). No wonder kids didn't want to check books out at that school! When she told me this over dinner one night, we came up with the idea to run a book drive. And who has more books at their fingertips than the publishing industry??

When we reached out to editors and publicists that we knew at each publishing house, the response was enormous! We received donations from every major publisher and then some, in the end donating over 10 full boxes of books--some the latest and hottest YA titles, some classics, and some non-fiction. Needless to say, the librarian and the school were very grateful. It wasn't enough to fill a whole library, but we gave them a good start!

But I still can't help but wonder...what would have happened if we didn't donate those books? Funding is being cut for libraries across the country. What were once considered safe havens for children of any social status, they are now being closed down or given low-priority level in the budget.

In elementary school my sister and I were instructed to walk to the library (3 blocks away) and wait for my mom to get off work to pick us up. There we would sit in the children's section and gobble down books one after the other. In middle school my library is where I met my "boyfriend" for study dates. In high school it's where I researched papers and took out romance novels that my mom didn't know about (sorry, Mom!). My librarian is the one who introduced me to Tamora Pierce and ten years later...Harry Potter. I would have been *devastated* if any of those moments weren't part of my life. They're what made me the book lover I am today.

Support your local libraries!


middle grade ninja said...

Here, here. And that video is hilarious! Oh, and The Duff rocks!

Alicia Gregoire said...

In my town we used to have 4 libraries, but they all closed but our newly renovated main branch. It's nice and central, but you can tell that the funding is low because there are still sections that have no books.

M. G. King said...

Our town recently opened a new, beautiful two-story library, a project conceived back when the economy was running high. But they promptly cut the hours because now they can't afford to staff it! I've been inspired to hear stories like yours, Joanna, where people in the community are coming together to find creative ways to meet the needs of this very important resource!

Sandy Wills said...

An unweeded library? *cringe*

During my practicum, I helped a librarian weed an elementary school library after the previous librarian retired. The library you described sounds a lot like that one. The books were disgusting and out of date. I found one book in the technology section with a publication date of 1978! I kid you not. There were fiction books that were even older than that. Honestly, a small, up-to-date, pretty collection of books is better than a huge, unweeded collection.

It's ironic library budgets are being cut so much. When the economy goes down, library patronage goes up. So basically, librarians are accomodating more people for less money.

I *miss* being a librarian. I have an interview next Thursday for a temp position w/ the library I worked at before I went to London. Cross your fingers I get the job!

Livia said...

I loved my school library -- discovered all my childhood favorites by just wandering the fiction stacks, reading book covers.

storyqueen said...

Libraries are the great equalizer (or they should be anyway.) Equal access to all materials.

I can't imagine not having had a good school library...and when I got old enough to discover the public library, well, it was like finding treasure.

I think it's great you held a book drive! What a great way to give back.


Joanna said...

MG Ninja--thank you!

Alicia & MG King - that is so sad to hear. It's scary what's happening these days....

Sandy & Shelley - *waves* hey ladies! Thanks for stopping by and sharing comments. Hope the agency is doing you proud in cyberspace. And Sandy--1978?! That's nuts!

Livia - ME TOO!

Loretta Nyhan said...

This is such an important issue. Libraries serve so many purposes within a community.

Our local library cleared out a small storage area, filled it with old bookshelves and stocked those shelves with donated books. Presto! An instant used bookstore. Volunteers staff it (seven days a week) and the store brings in significant revenue. In fact, our local library posted two new positions in the past few months, a sign of fiscal health. I'm proud our community came up with such a creative way to deal with budgetary issues.

Monica said...

My mom was a librarian, so I cut my teeth on books. Honestly, I can't imagine growing up without that influence in my life.

Now, I'm lucky to live in a community that really values its library--we have a beautiful two-story one. It has meeting rooms, study rooms, a computer lab as well as regular computers, a teen gaming room, and oh, lots and lots of books. Really, it's a community center, and needless to say, it's always packed--which thrills me.

It would be a dream to turn libraries across the country into places like this...LOVE my library.

Amy Lukavics said...

I also used to go to the library after school until my mom got off work. It was the time of day I looked forward to the most.

This is an important issue!

Gail said...

Loved the video!!!

I agree on the importance of libraries. Some of my fondest childhood memories (back in the dark ages- not the Harry Potter type of dark) I used to go to first the fairy tale/folk tale section and methodically read every book in that section, then moved on to the mystery section and did the same. Of course I discovered Nancy Drew and had to buy all of those books!!!

Hardygirl said...

We've got a great library in our town, too. We have community support and a wonderful, knowledgable staff. It's a hoppin' place.

But, we're on vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, this week, and the library here is absolutely DREAMY. It's a new building with huge windows overlooking the yampa river, a cool teen section with great furniture, a children's section with kid friendly book bins . . . and the ultimate coffee bar with the best pressed ginger chai tea that I have ever tasted.

I think we've been there every day.


Hardygirl said...

You know what? Here's a link


Check out the coolness!!