Thursday, June 4, 2009

Radical Militant Librarian Say What?

I always hated that term in grad school. It was usually accompanied by some ugly 50s housewife meets guerilla soldier looking picture, that did librarians no better justice than the stereotypical poor-dressing, cardigan-wearing with cat glasses, hair-in-a-bun stereotype we've been fighting for years. But you know what? Librarians can get pretty fired up and fiesty when it comes to certain issues. Like right now...

There is a budget in the Pennsylvania state senate right now, to be voted on July 1st, that will cut state funding of libraries 50%. That's right. HALF. If that happens, libraries stand to lose from federal aid as well, since the federal budget won't pick up the slack for the state's inability to at least produce level funding. What happens if that passes? Power Library databases, used by schools, public libraries and students across the state: gone. Access PA, used to interlibrary loan items libraries don't have in their own collection ("library sharing") for their patrons: gone. Collection sizes? At state minimum. Staff? My library (and others) forced to lay off or cut hours when we're already grossly short-staffed as it is. And I don't even want to think what that could mean for programming.

So the very thing that people need in a recession: free materials, free programs, free computer classes, free wireless internet, research databases, quiet places to study, and much more... all provided to anyone, regardless of whether they are employed or not... devastated. I know the whole economy's hurting right now, but why is it always the education and community service related things that get cut? The things community needs at times like this? Yes, I'm biased. I love my work. I also want to keep my job. But I have to trust God's in control of that. But I still don't get it. I know the people reading this have probably already received my email, but please, please, please... write your lawmakers! Let them know how you feel! If you need to know what to write or who, let me know. But they need to hear us! We've already received updates from the President of the Pennsylvania Public Library Association that legislators are feeling the heat, calling him to "call off his library attack dogs"! Great! Keep up the good work, Pennsylvania! Keep hitting them until they see how much we care!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Krosoczka Countdown

Yep, if you've ever asked me my favorite picture book, you've heard the name. Jarrett Krosoczka. The name that I can pronounce and spell as if it were my own, so often do I type/say it. If you too would like to learn how to pronounce Jarrett's name, go to this website and have a little listen. (Jon Scieszka's is pretty good, too!) He's one of the three (along with Scieszka and Mo Willems) that I could go on and on about. One of the three picture book author/illustrators I would probably act like a giddy girl in front of, embarrassing myself wholeheartedly.

Sooooooo, anyway. He's coming out with a graphic novel series for the grade school set, which I am uber-excited about, and not just because one of the titles features the word "librarian". It's from the comic and illustrating-talent brain of one of my favorites; the addition of librarians only increases the fun. But this series about a superhero Lunch Lady and her sidekicks is sure to be awesome. So since I have to wait *patiently* for the end of July before they'll be released. I wanted to share one of Jarrett's books.

So, as I mentioned, I kind of talk about one of his books in particular all the time. If you've known me long enough, you know my love for Punk Farm. As crazy as a barnyard band playing the punk version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" is, the rest of his books are pretty spot on "normal"... but definitely not boring. He tackles a friend who's a little too clingy in My Buddy, Slug (like that the clingy friend is a slimy suctiony slug?), a girl running errands with her mom in Giddy Up, Cowgirl, and one that covers something every parent has experienced: a child's self-haircut.

In Baghead, Josh goes through an entire day, from breakfast, riding the bus, giving a report (about a boy and his friend Slug!), soccer practice and dinner, with a brown paper bag on his head. After each adult asks him why he's doing such a thing, he continues to keep the bag on and not explain. The big reveal of Josh's brown bag statement is met by a smart and stylish sister who comes up with a genius (spiky) solution! The illustrations, as always, are amazing. The font of the words even fits in with the page. And most important, the story will resonate with parent and child alike!

If you've never read anything by Jarrett Krosoczka, do yourself a favor. Go to your nearest library and pick one (or 5!) up right away! He's got many famous authors/illustrators saying he's the next big thing! (Not to brag, but I've known about him and been singing his praises for over 3 years! When I found out he was friends with Mo and Jon, and they were my three favorite... I nearly squealed with joy! Yes, I'm a children's book nerd.)