Monthly Archives: May 2015

Why libraries are important

Kids Say the Smartest Things:

Why Are Libraries Important?

Most often, when there’s polling to be done, it’s the grownups who get to answer the big questions. Here at Little Pickle Press, we (like you) know that out of the mouth of babes comes wisdom. Also some super funny stuff sometimes, but hey. We asked a bunch of kids why libraries are important, and they’ve hit the nail right on the head. The answers range from sweet to profound; read on and enjoy their answers.

“Libraries are important because if you don’t have a computer in your home, you can use one at the library. And if you don’t have any books, you can read in the library, and it’s free. And they have a bunch of fun and games at every library.” —Katie, 8

“Because it is like reading. You go in there and find books and read them.” —Simmie, 12

“They let families like us who don’t have much money read so many books we would NEVER be able to read otherwise!” — Maryam, 9

“Because books are important to help us learn.” —Kate, 5

“Well, so you can read and learn! And if Mom and Dad can’t buy you books you can barrow them at the library, and if you don’t have any toys you can go to the library for story time and you get to make stuff.” —Kamberlyn, 7

“Because there are books there.” —Kaylor, 6

“It’s good for us to go because people see us and find out that Muslims are people like them. And they have the Hardy Boys.” —Mu’aadh, 11

“I don’t know.” —Isaac, 3

“Because you can find out all sorts of things in books.” —Tanis, 6

“If some kids don’t have access to books at home, they can go to the library and get them, or just read there if their parents are mean … like Matilda!” —Lily, 9

“Because [the] Summer Reading Program starts next week!” —Shirley, 7

“Because you HAVE TO READ!” —Kinz, 3

“I like it because we get books, and ice cream after. I like books, and I like ice cream, so that’s good! Right?” —Asmaa, 4

A huge thank you to all of our wonderful interviewees, and an equally huge thank you to their families for giving these kiddos a love of reading. How about you? Why do YOU think libraries are important?

Little Free Libraries

10 Pinterest Boards: Little Free Libraries

I love this trend; people and organizations set up cheerily decorated boxes, fill them with books, and invite the world to stop by and read. Take a book, leave a book, share a book, love a book.

In addition to the generosity of spirit that goes into building and maintaining little free libraries, there’s a ton of imagination. Birdhouses, miniature replica schools, or even my personal favorite: a T.A.R.D.I.S. library! Hopefully you can find more time to read on the inside …

We’ve assembled a list of ten of our favorite Little Free Library boards from Pinterest. They’re all loaded with cool stuff, so I’m just going to mention my favorite from each one. If you have a board of your own, be sure to share the link in the comments section.

  1. Katherine Reinhart: As a Kansas resident, I was especially taken with the little cabin library perched atop a twig “twister” a la Wizard of Oz.
  2. Helen Wahl: The one to watch for here is a big inverted bowl. It stands up on legs tall enough to allow patrons to step underneath and view the circular shelves, while keeping book and readers out of the elements.
  3. Mar Schaeffer: I love the theater library on this board. It’s done up to look like a classic movie theater, complete with marquee.
  4. Storytime Standouts: Science fiction fans, unite! The pin to pine for is a bigger-than-life-size R2-D2 library. These are the books you’re looking for …
  5. Kelly Morgan: A favorite here is the little library with a roof shaped like an open book. What could be more inviting?
  6. Kath Lucas: On this board you’ll find a little free library made from a converted microwave. It’s just the thing for when you’re “not quite done” with your book.
  7. Katie Lopez: A truly stunning library is the one created using a grandfather clock. With one of these, you’ll always have time to read!
  8. Mary Catherine: This board feature a number of re-purposed phone booths, each one enjoying new life as a library. Move over, Superman. Super Reader needs some room!
  9. Jabones Violet: A friend of mine is an amazingly talented woodworker. The wooden library with the beautiful sunburst roof on this board looks like something he might design.
  10. Judy Arnold: What’s special about this board? Most of the pictures feature smiling Little Free Library patrons, from tiny tots choosing their first volumes to young men completing their Eagle Scout projects. This board proves that libraries, no matter what size, are a vital part of our lives.

Are there little free libraries in your town? What design features would you build? Spread the word, and share a book!

Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin-based Little Free Library initiative.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress

To a bibliophile, the Library of Congress has got to be pretty much the coolest thing ever. Eight hundred thirty-eight miles of shelves? Count me in.

Our national library is the research arm of Congress. Open to the public at no charge, it is believed to be the largest library in the world. While the Library of Congress doesn’t house every book published in the United States, it is home to more than thirty-six million books (including all of the Little Pickle Press titles currently available) and more than one hundred twenty-one million other media offerings.

According to the Library’s website, the Library of Congress has four main priorities. “First, to make knowledge and creativity available to the U.S. Congress on a continuing basis. Second, to acquire, organize, preserve, secure and sustain for the present and future use of Congress and the nation a comprehensive record of American history and creativity and a universal collection of human knowledge. The Library’s third priority is to make its collections maximally accessible to Congress, the government and the public through such means as its website. Its fourth priority is to add interpretive and educational value to the basic resources of the Library to highlight the importance of the Library to the nation’s well-being and future progress.”

In addition to providing information to Congress, a major function of the Library is copyright registration and research. The bulk of the collection is made up of copyright deposits; the process was centralized by Congress in 1870.

Although volumes are restricted to the premises, anyone age sixteen or older is welcome to use the reading rooms and collections. The Library welcomes 1.6 million visitors each year, and offers guided tours to visitors of all ages.

Say what you will about Congress (not here, please; this is a family show), they definitely have the most amazing library. And it’s ours, too! The next time that you’re in Washington, D.C., be sure to visit the Library of Congress.

International Youth Library

The International Youth Library

When you think about libraries, what’s the first image that pops into your head? The local library a few blocks away? One of those tiny little lending libraries in someone’s front yard? The bookmobile that cruises by every Tuesday?

What if your library were housed in a castle, complete with towers, a protective ring of trees, and its very own lake?

It’s not a fairy tale; it’s the Internationale Jungendbibliothek, the International Youth Library. Located in Blutenburg Castle in Munich, Germany, the International Youth Library’s stated mission is: “supporting international children’s and youth literature through collection, cataloguing, and outreach efforts. The Library’s mission is the preservation of cultural diversity as it is manifested in the world’s literature.”

In addition to workshops, panel discussions, and exhibitions, the library hosts the White Ravens Festival, a six-day gathering of authors and illustrators from around the world. A showcase for both new and renowned authors, the festival aims to share the best in literature for children and young adults, and inspire more of the same.

From its start in 1949 with eight thousand volumes, the International Youth Library has grown to more than half a million titles. More than one hundred thirty languages are represented, and some of the books date back several centuries. Online catalogues are available for both the book and poster collections.

With its focus on children’s literature, impressive collection, and gorgeous setting, the International Youth Library isn’t a fairy tale—it’s a dream come true.


Libraries and Their Place at a Global Summit on Love and Forgiveness

Dr. Loriene Roy, Ph.D., is a professor of the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin. As a writer, researcher, and presenter, she has won numerous awards in library-related and academic fields. She has kindly allowed us to re-post the following piece, which originally appeared on the blog Transcending Boundaries to Increase Cultural Understanding Between Countries.

Established from the estate of an American, Mr. John E. Fetzer, who made his career in radio and television programming and who also owned a championship baseball team (the Detroit Tigers), the Fetzer Institute (USA) is planning a unique event that will take place in September 2012 in Assisi, Italy. This Global Summit on Love and Forgiveness will present positive examples from around the world that illustrate the impact and potential of expressing love and forgiveness. Sixteen sectors were organized to represent different professional sectors including the Information and Communication Professions Sector. The Sectors are nominating cases to be highlighted at the Summit, each case connected to the values of the sector and also demonstrating the potential for proceeding to a “creative next step” with Fetzer support.

If we understand that “Forgiveness is a complex construct without a consensual definition, “then it is not “forgetting, condoning, excusing, or justifying.” Where do libraries lie within these scenarios of love and forgiveness? This presentation examines the core values of our field within the context of cases that were selected as exemplars of love and forgiveness. Did these cases rely on library services? If so, was this reliance overt? If not, why not? In any case, what can be the library’s role in furthering love and forgiveness? Libraries are trusted institutions that are ideal for supporting public forums on topics of deep concern. They serve all members of their communities and are advocates for those who might be disadvantaged due to economies and reduced access to information. Libraries provide community members with the tools to engage in civic discourse, including topics related to love and/or forgiveness. Libraries are meaningful during good times and essential during economically challenging times. They are trusted locations that community members turn to for information and for assistance in skills development. They are venues for community engagement. In times of social stress, libraries are ideal locations where individuals can gather to learn, share, and engage in dialogue. Libraries were established to serve growing immigrant populations. Conversations about serving multicultural populations are even more needed today. Libraries have long served as champions for intellectual access to information; their services, presence, and righteousness in the wake of often oppressive (e.g., anti-immigrant) legislation and behaviors are needed even more than ever if societies are to move closer toward love and forgiveness.

Libraries are sometimes underappreciated institutions–yet those who have not visited libraries recently still respect them for their historical pasts and for their services related to books, reading, and children. Today’s libraries have social commons, information commons, and are the third living space outside of home and work; they are laboratories for discovery. In the midst of misunderstandings around the world, the library–especially the public library–stands as a trusted and unbiased institution for change and a sanctuary for protecting freedom and human rights. It is important to include the library community at the Global Gathering. It is positive and logical to highlight the work of libraries internationally in supporting multicultural library services.

Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Featured B Corp: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Are you tired of big-name publishing houses that churn out cookie-cutter novels? Do you want new and interesting titles that make you think outside the book bag? Are you interested in making the world a better place? Berrett-Koehler Publishers is the company for you!

An independent publishing company, Berrett-Koehler has been a Certified B Corp since January 2012, a move that backs up their mission statement: “Connecting People and Ideas to Create a World That Works for All.”

Rather than focusing on popular genres, Berrett-Koehler Publishers puts the emphasis on personal improvement, offering titles that foster value alignment, social justice, and progressive and effective leadership.

In addition to inspiration, a key descriptive term that can be applied to Berrett-Koehler is stewardship. Seeking to practice what they print, the company aims to provide responsible administration in all aspects of their business, from stakeholders and employees to authors and communities.

Independent does not equal ineffective. A small company can make a big change, and Berrett-Koehler Publishers is doing just that.

Tomás and the Library Lady

Tomás and the Library Lady

Imagine that you are a young boy, uprooted every few months as your parents drive from place to place, following the work available to them. The road is dusty and long, the days are hot and dry.

Now imagine that into the midst of this life comes an almost magical being, one with the gift of limitless adventure and the means to escape the drudgery of everyday life.

Tomás is the son of migrant farm workers; with his parents, brother, and grandfather, he travels between Texas and Iowa as the seasons change. The work is hard, but the strength of the family prevails. Papá Grande, Tomás’ grandfather, tells stories in Spanish to keep his grandsons entertained. One afternoon, he tells Tomás to visit the local library in search of new stories.

Feeling shy and out of place, Tomás hesitates on the steps of the vast building. His fear is short-lived, however, as the library lady invites him inside for a drink and a chance to read anything and everything he wants.

Tomás accepts, opening the door to friendship and endless possibilities.

As a lifelong library patron, I don’t remember the first time that I wandered the stacks. What I do remember is the sense of reverence that I feel, much like Tomás feels, every time I visit a library. Tomás and the Library Lady is a truly beautiful book, visually and emotionally. Based on the early life of University of California Chancellor Tomás Rivera, Pat Mora’s story is accompanied by warmly inviting illustrations by Raul Colón.

For any parent seeking diversity in children’s literature, or a way to recapture the sense of awe that comes with knowledge, Tomás and the Library Lady is an excellent choice.