2013-14 School Year is a Wrap!

photo (4)Cindy: Blog posts were light last week, but the last week of school is crazy. Lynn was busy attending graduations and end of the year ceremonies and celebrations in her role as a school board member and I was helping my secretaries with the unpleasant task of overdue book retrieval. It’s so much more fun to booktalk and promote checkout than to play the role of the grim book reaper. We still have hundreds out at each school even though I was collecting them in the parking lot as the buses rolled away! I can always hope they are being re-read this summer.

photo 1 (2)One of my teachers organized a last minute visit to our public library north branch, Herrick District Library and we walked two of her classes over for a short tour and opportunity to sign up for the summer reading program. 3/4 of the students had never been through the doors so it was a good trip.

photo 3 (1)Hours of shelf-reading to put the collection in order for the summer makes us punchy. We start to see things, like a book called Falling from Grace that appear to be written by God! Even better is that this book (by Jane Godwin) naturally lines up next to K. L. Going’s book The Garden of Eve. At the end of a long school year we take our humor where we can find it.

Storied LifeI’ve started by summer off by reading, gasp, an adult book. Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Algonquin 2014). Twenty pages in, I stopped reading the galley I’d been sent and drove to my local indie bookstore and bought a hardcover. I read this book that is, in part, about the fragile future of bookstores while I watched the emails roll in across our state of Michigan from more school librarians whose jobs had just been eliminated. There aren’t enough tears, folks.

On Friday afternoon as our school emptied out I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I puttered around my empty library and thought of my colleagues who were packing up to leave their libraries forever. A career of service to children and teachers. A career supporting literacy and research and stronger teaching. There must be something we can do to stop this madness…

Lynn:  I echo Cindy’s anguish about the loss of library positions.  Sometimes it is  hard to understand why 1 + 1 fails to make 2 for the people who make legislative and budgetary decisions.  To improve reading, kids need to read and kids will read if they have access to books.  Kids do better on standardized tests in schools where there is a full-time professional librarian and and well maintained collection.  We, as a nation, want literacy skills to improve.  Why can’t we see the answer is a simple equation?

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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