Monday, November 3, 2014

What Comes First: Chicken or the Egg? Book Before the Movie?

 While this isn't exactly a question posed since the beginning of time, it is one that evokes a heated response among avid readers. As both a librarian and a passionate reader, I find myself planted firmly on the fence here for several reasons.

1. I won't even begin a debate on which medium is best for storytelling. Both have their merits and limitations. (Though if pressed, I'd pick a book for my taste.)

2. While I suspect that book readers go to see the movie version at a higher rate than movie-first goers reach for the book after seeing a film they enjoy, both routes promote books.

3. Movies bring beloved characters to life in a new way for a reader.

4. Books take you deeper into a world you enjoyed in a film.

What I will concede however, is the advantage books appear to have in film making of late, especially Young Adult titles. The latest batch of book-to-film releases include beloved favorites and newer titles that don't shy away from asking life's tough questions.

There's more happening here than studios wanting a solid return on their investment. (Though with comic book franchise films that is most definitely the case.) I have to believe that someone is reading these stories and recognizing what made these books bestsellers. The best art, in any medium, informs and entertains seamlessly.

For those of you who haven't picked up a YA book in years, I recommend you take a peak into this very popular (and profitable) genre. 

The Harry Potter series is still one of my favorite reads of all time (We named the dog Weasley!). And while I didn't enjoy the films nearly as much as the books, my husband and I are planning a visit to the studio where they made the movies when we visit England next year.

I enjoy the Hunger Games movies thus far, but was disappointed by the Divergent film.

As for John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, I intentionally passed on seeing the film because the book was so emotionally satisfying I didn't want to lose that feeling inside me. My Husky readers still tell me I should see it and perhaps someday I will.

At the end of the day any reading is good reading and I won't judge the road that leads a student to a book. Luckily, all the roads are good right now.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What Dreams May Come-Creating the Perfect Library Space

The Kansas City Public Library

I found this picture last week and I can't stop looking at it. For me books are magical all by themselves, but to see them like this gives reading a whole new look. I'm inspired  that the design is made up of books and not cell phones, tablets or a Kindle. If that labels me old-fashioned, then I guess I am.

One thing that is vital to creating a thriving and used library is a dedication to not only design, but redesign as times, trends and patron interests evolve. Here at HHS, we are nearing completion of a makeover in the Library Media Center that includes new tables, chairs, couches, more student use devices and of course books, in both print and e-format. 

We are excited beyond belief and to watch the students' reactions to the changes has added to the experience. Kids notice everything!

The best libraries are adaptable. Our goal hasn't changed with the times. A library is a space for the discovery of information, ideas and stories. We just have more ways than ever to go about doing it. 

Once we have all the new additions practically perfect in every way, I'll post pictures. 

You're going to like the way we look!   

Friday, January 31, 2014

Weeding Books: Getting Your Hands Dirty in the Name of Progress

Before you panic- this is NOT a picture from HHS!

Any good library will update its book collection periodically. We call this weeding. Here at HHS we are beginning the lengthy process of weeding the Non-Fiction section. There are a variety of reasons we take books out of the collection-
  • Outdated (happens often in Science & Technology sections)
  • Damage beyond repair (sad but true, backpacks are often unkind to books)
  • Low circulation (due largely to curriculum changes over the years)
As an avid reader and writer, it pains me to see books go, but when we clear space, the good materials we have remaining get more use.

Libraries are still fighting against the image of our services and offerings as being out-dated and unnecessary in the digital age.  To talk about weeding books appears, on the surface, to only perpetuate that image. Dynamic environments are in constant states of evaluation and adaptation. These processes move with more accuracy and speed when they're directed by trained and dedicated library staff. (I could name a couple people off the top of my head.)   

Even with budget cuts, I honestly believe this is an exciting time to work in a library.  Here at HHS, we're expanding our collection to include e-books for the first time. Our fiction section is the most current in the district and will be growing when our Spring book order arrives.  By far the most exciting news is that our reading-for-pleasure population continues to grow.

In addition to improving our collection, we're redecorating the LMC. The first wave of new furniture has arrived and hopefully by the end of February we'll be done with our beautification process. Please come by and visit us!

All of this just goes to show you, if you build it with teens in mind, they will come!