Fiction is dangerous, Gaiman explained, because “it lets you into others’ heads, it gives you empathy, and it shows you that the world doesn’t have to be like the one you live in.” That imaginative leap into other minds and other worlds is surely the reason many of us read fiction.

It’s the weekend! Time to celebrate! To mark the occasion library-style, here is a fairly hilarious gif of Erin Shea from the Darien Library (who, among other things, runs the institution’s amazing Tumblr). She’s the one on the left with the laser fingers, who states, “I was not even trying to be funny, that is actually how I dance.” This is a fun and particularly appropriate way to end the work week, considering NYPL Wire joined Erin, as well as Kate Tkacik (The Lifeguard Librarian), Rachel Fershleiser of Tumblr, and Molly McArdle of Library Journal at Book Expo America today for a talk on - what else - Tumblr and libraries! It was fun so … it’s time for the laser finger dance! 

Every Monday, in thousands of language and language arts classes, children are given a list of 20 vocabulary words … If you show the list of 20 words to a child who has read, who grew up with books, he probably knows 15 or 16 of the words already. He has seen them before, in Choose Your Own Adventure, Harry Potter, and Batman Returns. If he studies, he gets an A. If he doesn’t study, he gets a B. If you show the list of 20 words to a child who did not grow up with books, the situation is very different. He may know five or six of the words. If he studies, with a heroic effort, he might get a D+.
RAUNCON asks: Where do you learn about books?

When librarians registered for this year’s Unconference, we asked them: Where do you learn about books? Many librarians, especially those new to RA, are overwhelmed by the sheer number of books in the world, and we wanted to make a helpful list of resources that are actually used on a regular basis. Here, in order of how often they were named, is where the several dozen RAUNCON librarians learn about books:

Feel free to add your own to the list, or to register–registration for Friday’s Unconference closes today!

You told LJ about over 390 of your favorite Tumblrs. Here they are, from most to least popular:

  1. thelifeguardlibrarian, with 29 mentions
  2. libraryjournal, with 16 mentions
  3. fishingboatproceeds, with 13 mentions (sorry John Green, Kate & LJ won this battle)
  4. librarianproblems, with nine mentions
  5. nypl, with six mentions
  6. oupacademic
  7. schoollibraryjournal
  8. todaysdocument
  9. motherjones, with five mentions
  10. neil-gaiman
  11. slaughterhouse90210
  12. theatlantic
  13. theparisreview
  14. therumpus
  15. betterbooktitles, with four mentions
  16. bookriot
  17. chicagopubliclibrary
  18. darienlibrary
  19. doctorwho
  20. edwardspoonhands
  21. ilovecharts
  22. johndarnielle
  23. laura-in-libraryland
  24. libraryadvocates
  25. mentalflossr
  26. nprfreshair
  27. shortformblog
  28. theartofgooglebooks
  29. unypl
  30. wilwheaton

Keep reading

It’s our FIRST birthday on Tumblr!

We have had a truly wonderful year. Thank you to all our lovely followers for making us feel so welcome! Here’s some of our highlights from the year that you made possible:

Thank you everyone!

Image credits: Breakfast Club gif via agirlforallseason, Library Journal Tumblr cloud used with permission the from Library Journal (thanks!).

Over in the US, libraryjournal has just published a piece on a project which I helped to launch in the Australian town of Parkes last year. 

Local writers’ stories were printed on the takeout cups used by cafés and venues throughout the town. 

You can read “Coffee Cup Stories” at the Library Journal website and see TV news coverage of the project at the Prime7 website

Early Praise for Rooms!

“…as haunting as it is haunted.” –Booklist.

“Oliver makes vivid use of both dead and living characters—all of whom are trapped in the past and striving toward a happier existence—to narrate her intricate, suspenseful story. The house’s breathing residents and ghosts alike find freedom, and the story culminates with an ending that arrives in dramatic and surprising ways.” - Publishers Weekly

“With poetic prose, Oliver weaves a satisfying story arc for each character, and readers will be left with a feeling of peaceful acceptance.” - Library Journal

Rooms comes out September 23rd!

Set your calendars. Tell your friends. Reblog for your followers. Library Journal and Tumblr are joining forces, with the help of Togather, to host an ALA meetup to end all meetups.

Important facts:

So excited to see you all then!

But the opportunities are myriad if we view patrons as whole people with needs beyond what any one department or service point can offer. For example, we must collaborate with fluidity and serve college students who also need life-skill support—or even pleasure reading. If we work to create this kind of culture, provide this kind of service, everyone will benefit.

The End of Turf | Editorial, by Rebecca Miller

Rebecca’s first editorial as libraryjournal & schoollibraryjournal’s joint EIC is a fiercely intelligent thing of beauty.
We Need Diverse Books™ | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Change Agents

The diversity gap in children’s books and publishing isn’t new, but 2014 saw it confronted with unprecedented energy. A group of authors for children and teens together assembled a virtual call to arms that is likely to influence the face of publishing for years to come.

Gotta admit, that’s a pretty cool team picture. Thanks again Library Journal for considering We Need Diverse Books one of the Movers & Shakers along with so many wonderful educators, librarians, and activists around the country.

My last review for Library Journal! This is of Hilton Als’s really stunning essay collection, White Girls, which is coming out from McSweeney’s in November:

[star] Only Als (theater critic, The New Yorker; The Women) could write about ringworm—"my cruddy friend,“ "a dark flower,” “an erotic ‘pain’ I could not wait to get my hands on"—and make it sound good. His first book since 1998 contains 13 pieces, most of them previously published, in which he meanders through fiction, criticism, and memoir along the axes of race, gender, and sexuality. He touches on aspects of his own life and on various cultural figures: Truman Capote, Flannery O'Connor, Malcolm X, Eminem, Michael Jackson, André Leon Talley, Louise Brooks, and Richard Pryor, among others—all examined as "white girls” or in relation to them. (Als asks in “Tristes Tropiques,” “How could one be a white girl and hate it?”) On writing about pictures of lynching victims, he admits, “I have become a cliché” by answering white America’s request to “Tell me about yourself, meaning, Tell me how you’ve suffered. Isn’t that what you people do? Suffer nobly, even poetically sometimes? Doesn’t suffering define you?” VERDICT Suffering does not define Als; his art—loping, loopy, yet astonishingly precise language—does. This is a book that readers will want to spend the rest of their lives with: a searching, insistent, and thoroughly wise collection.—Molly McArdle, Library Journal

The library can provide a neutral open place where issues can be discussed face-to-face, where you bring different people together, and the library also has resources to help inform those discussions. If you’re going to do that effectively, the library staff have to be willing to understand what it means to be community dialog facilitators.
—  Susan H. Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Library Journal | October 15, 2014

DMLA News:

Starred Library Journal Review for Karen Memory

Library Journal: Verdict: Bear (Steles of the Sky; Blood and Iron) pumps fresh energy into the steampunk genre with a light touch on the gadgetry and a vivid sense of place. Karen has a voice that is folksy but true, and the entire cast of heroic women doing the best they can in an age that was not kind to their gender is a delight. Ably assisted by a U.S. Marshal and his Comanche posseman, Karen and the ladies kick ass.

The Gold Rush town of Rapid City is just about what you would expect in a frontier community catering to the mining trade: rough, violent, and full of prostitutes. Karen is a “soiled dove” working at Madame Damnable’s establishment, where she and her sisters in trade serve a more respectable crowd than the poor girls who work the cribs at the waterfront. When one of those young women escapes and runs to Madame’s for help, she brings the wrath of the crib owner, Peter Bantle, on the house. Bantle, in addition to bring a vicious bully seems to have a device that can control people’s minds.

On a February day in 1926 Washington, DC, Carter Woodson, one of the first historians to focus on people of African descent in the United States, announced the inaugural “Negro History Week.” Woodson chose that first wintery week because it marked both Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. Now, just under a century later, Americans celebrate African American history for a whole month. Below are some books to consider for this year’s celebration and beyond. Any excuse to dig into these titles is a good one: they deserve attention all year long.

African American Experiences: 50 Titles for February 2014 | Library Journal

I COULD NEVER QUIT YOU, LJ. (My latest piece, and first as a noneditor, for Library Journal.)