Dear Mr Gove by Jess Green

Teen Librarian Monthly April 2014

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Let’s Facebook It! Promoting Library Services to Young Adults Through Social Media

The College of Communication & Information is seeking research participants to study the professional social media practices of young adult librarians. We are seeking people who are currently employed as young adult librarians in public libraries. In particular, we are seeking participants who worked with social media as professional librarians. We are seeking participants who would be willing to participate in a research survey or interview.

The purpose of this study is to better understand how young adult librarians interact with young adult patrons through their library’s social media profiles. Additionally, we will investigate the role(s) young adult librarians see social media as playing in marketing and promotion of library services. We hope to understand the what, how, and why of social media use by libraries and librarians.

This research study is being conducted by doctoral student Abigail Phillips of the College of Communication & Information at Florida State University to learn more about how librarians engage with young patrons through social media. You can reach the researcher to volunteer for surveys and/or interviews or to ask for more information about this research study at this email:, Florida State University, College of Communication & Information, 142 Collegiate Loop, Tallahassee, FL 32306.

For additional information on your rights as a research participant, you can also contact Florida State University’s Human Subjects Committee, Tallahassee, FL 32306, (+1)850-644-8673.

For more information regarding this study, please visit the study website contact Abigail Phillips at to schedule to complete a survey and/or schedule an interview. Thank you for your help!

For full details and documentation go here:

NEWS: Vote for your favourite UK Educational Blog

UKEdChat is running a poll to discover the most popular educational blogs in the UK.

Teen Librarian has been nominated and there are a ton of other excellent educational sites that you can discover. So take a look here:

Discover some excellent sites and cast your vote (if you are so inclined).

Let libraries lend ebooks

Activity Idea: Library Myth Busters

This event can be run by following the Myth Busters format of having small teams investigating various Library Myths and then presenting their findings to the entire group or class. If permission can be obtained for filming, a short DVD could be made of the proceedings. This could tie into a larger media and film-making programme that can be run over half-term or summer holidays. It is fun and educational – teenagers learn how the library works and what the staff do all day as well as debunking misconceptions they may have on what goes on in libraries.

Here are a a list of library myths that can either be debunked or confirmed:

  • Librarians have lots of time to read on the job
  • All librarians are fast readers
  • Public libraries are only busy during the school year
  • Public libraries are only busy during summer holidays
  • Libraries are used only by those who cannot afford to buy their own books.
  • Librarians have no stress
  • Librarians have read every book in the library.
  • Librarians know the answer to everything
  • Everyone who works in the library is a librarian
  • Libraries are just about getting books
  • Libraries aren’t necessary because everything’s available on the internet
  • Libraries have plenty of money because they get so many donated books and charge so much in fines
  • The librarian can be held responsible for everything that kids check out because they work for the government and must protect young people from bad things
  • School libraries aren’t needed because kids can get everything they want at the public library or online
  • Librarians wear their hair in buns, have wire-rimmed glasses, and say shhhhh! all the time
  • Librarians only issue books
  • Everything in the library is free
  • You have to know Dewey to use the library
  • Libraries are serious and quiet all the time
  • It is difficult to get a library card
  • Libraries are for English readers only

The list is by no means complete and if anyone would like to add library myths in the comments you are most welcome.

Library Genre Displays: Crime

For the rest of the school year I will be celebrating genre fiction (& relevant non-fiction) in my library display space. I have decided to start with crime as everyone loves a good mystery.

I am hoping to extend the displays into the next school year to introduce readers to the best that genre fiction has to offer

My idea is for these displays to rotate and with each cycle they will grow and evolve to grab the attention of browsing students.

Books so good the only CRIME is not reading them!


A book list will follow.

Shift by Jeff Povey a review

Meet Rev, Billie, the Ape, Johnson, GG, Carrie, the Moth and Lucas, a motley crew of bickering teens who find themselves totally alone in the world after a strange power surge hits their classroom during detention. With no answers as to why or how the rest of the world has disappeared, the mismatched group is soon facing a bigger nightmare than they could ever imagine…

Standing between them and the only way home are lethal duplicate versions of themselves, super powered teenagers who will kill anyone who gets in their way.

There is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, a criminal, a stud, a narrator trapped in an empty world – with only their classmates and dark shadows of themselves for company.

However this is no coming of age tale, Shift is an apocalyptic, survival race, chase and mystery all rolled up in one.

Having worked with teenagers for over a decade now I think I can safely say that Jeff has captured a disparate group of teens’ inability to put their differences aside to work together to achieve their goals (survival, finding out what happened and escape) almost perfectly!

Shift twists and turns like a snake trying to escape a trap, it is a thrilling story that can be read on its own, but as it is the opening act in a trilogy it is set up to introduce the protagonists, overarching storyline and introduce the villains of the piece. I have no idea what will be happening in book two, but the way that Shift held me entranced I can hardly wait!

It is a story with multiversal appeal. If I only had one sentence to describe Shift in the hope of convincing you to pick it up, I would say:
It reads like Stephen King meets John Hughes… in the Twilight Zone!

Teen Librarian Monthly March 2014

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Why Libraries make the world a better place by Tammy February

So last night I got lost in the library, wandered down the passages and found a treasure trove of books.

Now, one would think, that for someone who buys so many books and receive quite a number of them for review, that I wouldn’t have time for the library.

This is where you’d be wrong.

You see, for me, the library is not just a gateway to a world of shelves upon shelves of books, but it’s my second home and sanctuary.

My love affair with this magical place started when I was a young child, but it was only during my primary school years that I’d really come to appreciate what the library would mean to me.

As a young girl, I was severely bullied, and as a result, I’d spend most of my lunch breaks hiding out in the library to get away from the viciousness of the girls in the playground.

The library, at the time, became a place where I could hide; and at first, that was as far as it went. The more time I began spending there though, the more I realised that something had changed.

Once I got beyond the point where the awful feelings living inside me subsided just a little bit, I finally began to comprehend what kind of impact just being in the library had on me.

It dawned on me that I had unlimited access to a world beyond worlds.

I could walk into a forest filled with fairies at any time I wanted and I could go on adventures the various little critters, creatures and all sorts of wondrous beings. And oh, not even to talk about the soothing atmosphere, the classical music and the knowledge that time suspended itself every time I took a step into the library.

This was the moment when both the written word and the library became my best friends.

By that time, I had pretty much loved reading, but it was those trips to what I thought of as my book palace (I still think that by the way), that made me realise just how important having access to books was and still is, to me.

If I think about it now, I’m thankful for the girls who picked on me back then because they are the ones that only served cement my love of reading. They hurt me, but I don’t think they realise what they gave me in the process.

Because it’s Library week in South Africa this week, I’m dedicating this column to all the wonderful librarians who keep our libraries up and running.

Because, without you, libraries wouldn’t exist and I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that not only did I have (and still have) a fantastic bookish place to run to, but I also had kind librarians who always kept an eye out for me and kept new books aside for me.

Thank you for loving books and for always sharing your knowledge. Trite as it sounds, you truly make this world a better place.

When I think of it now, I realise that I am actually pretty privileged to have the access to the kind of information and books that I did back then and do right now.

As the child of parents who were directly affected by South Africa’s apartheid laws, I don’t take for granted the fact that my parents didn’t have as many options as I do today.

Not only were they barred from libraries that had a ‘whites in attendance only’ policy, but the books that they were allowed to borrow, left a lot to desire, in terms of content and quality. In spite of this, my parents somehow always made sure that I did have the best reading material.

Not only that, but they made sure that the library became a place I could run to whenever I wanted to leave the real world behind.

Today, thanks to the girls who bullied me, my parents who encouraged me and the wonderful librarians who always recommended new books to me, I’m the sum of all of their knowledge and teachings.

And I, for one, have every intention of passing on the library’s magic to everyone and anyone who cares to listen.

Happy South African Library Week lovely libraries and librarians of South Africa.

Never stop doing what you’re doing.

The world needs more custodians like you.

Tammy February blogs at and tweets under the name Tammy24_7

This column originally appeared here: