Author Archives: Matt Imrie

Teen Librarian Newsletter

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Every Child has the Right to… The Children’s Laureate Charter

By now you should have heard that Cressida “How to Train Your Dragon” Cowell has been appointed as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate for 2019-2021.

Not content to just take up the reins, she has hit the ground running, with the announcement of the Children’s Laureate Charter.

This ambitious list forms the blueprint for her two years as Laureate, and is one that sees her drawing from Pennac’s Rights of the Reader, the campaign to save libraries and from further afield – calling for creative subjects to be retained as well as fighting to save our increasingly imperilled planet.

Championing the rights of young people in literature and beyond is no small task and I am sure that like me you will be supporting and amplifying her efforts in encouraging young people to read and gain agency in their literaery choices and beyond!

Congratulations on becoming Children’s Laureate Cressida! I will support you in any way that I can!

Cressida Cowell Announced as New Waterstones Children’s Laureate

Books are transformative because of their unique ability to develop three key magical powers: intelligence, creativity and, most important of all, empathy. Words are power; let’s take magic seriously.

Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate

http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/

Tuesday 9 July, London: Cressida Cowell, the international bestselling author and illustrator of theHow to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series and the author of the Emily Brown picture books all published by Hachette Children’s Group has today been crowned the Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2019–2021.

Cowell was presented with the iconic silver Laureate medal by the outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, at a ceremony at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, awarded once every two years to an eminent children’s author or illustrator to honour outstanding achievement in their field. The ‘League of Laureates’ – including Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson – are the foremost representatives of children’s literature, showcasing the extraordinary and dynamic art form and its rich contribution to UK culture.

Managed by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, and sponsored by Waterstones, each Laureate brings their own passion to the prestigious role to create a unique legacy. Today, the new Laureate unveiled the Cressida Cowell Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter, a ‘giant to-do list’ to help ensure that books and reading are available to absolutely everyone. The charter asserts that every child has the right to:

  1. Read for the joy of it
  2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops
  3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller
  4. Own their OWN book
  5. See themselves reflected in a book
  6. Be read aloud to
  7. Have some choice in what they read
  8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week
  9. See an author event at least ONCE
  10. Have a planet to read on

At the ceremony, Cowell spoke about the importance of school libraries and her plans to campaign for these to be made statutory, and, along with public libraries and librarians, funded properly. Cowell also spoke about helping to develop children’s creative intelligence in the context of the cultural industries and the value they add to the UK economy and beyond, arguing for creative space on the curriculum.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a trilogy of books containing a mixture of urban myths and folklore that were compiled by author Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Caldecott-winning illustrator Stephen Gammell.

Scary Stories to tell in the Dark

The stories and artwork terrified a generation of readers from 1981 to 1991. The books also muscled their way to the front of the ALA’s 100 most frequently challenged books for 1990-1991 and hit seventh place in the 2000-2009 frequently challenged list. The challenges were often down to the violence of the stories as well as the ” surreal, nightmarish illustrations” in the original books.

On August 9th, a film adaptation produced by horror-maestro Guillermo del Toro will be released by Lionsgate and CBS Films.

Ahead of the movie’s release, Harper Collins is re-releasing the books with the original illustrations: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062961280/scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-movie-tie-in-edition/

The movie and books release in August will be a perfect centre for a display along the lines of Tales to Chill the Warmest Months… featuring urban myths and horror stories for younger readers.

If you have never heard of or read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark then now is the perfect time to change that. These books are phenomenal and the stories are sure to chill the blood of all who read them!

Library Workers share Concerns with CILIP Employer Partnerships

A group of Library Workers have written an open letter to CILIP‘s Board of Trustees regarding concerns about CILIP’s Employer Partnership Scheme, particularly their recent announcements of partnerships with GLL and the Ministry of Defence.

You can read the letter here

If you wish to add your name to the letter you can send an e-mail to: openlettertoCILIP@protonmail.com

Melvil Dewey, “Father of Modern Librarianship” and racist creep

Melvil Dewey’s name is most often associated with Librarianship due to the Decimal Classification System that carries his name.

But did you know that he also championed spelling reform, and was an early promoter of winter sports.

As Melvil Dui (spelling reform) he was one of the founders of the American Library Association.

Less well-known was his persistant sexual harassment of women – his unwelcome hugging, unwelcome touching, certainly unwelcome kissing  were noted by biographer Wayne A. Wiegand.

When he opened the School of Library Economy at Columbia College he requested a photograph of each female applicant due to his belief that “you cannot polish a pumpkin”.

Then there were his racist and anti-semitic views, at the Lake Placid Club, a place where Dewey envisioned educators finding health, strength and inspiration at modest cost; he banned African-Americans, Jews and others from membership.

Many people at this point may think that his views were common and accepted at this time but they contributed to a petition demanding Dewey’s removal as State Librarian because of his personal involvement in the Lake Placid Club’s policies, this led to a rebuke by the New York State Board of Regents causing him to resign.

He was later forced out of active mebership of the American Library Association after he made physical advances on several members of the ALA during a cruise to Alaska.

In 1930 he was sued for sexual harrassment by a former secretary that cost him over $2000 to settle out of court.

At the 2019 ALA Annual Conference his name was stripped from the Melvil Dewey Medal – awarded for creative leadership of high order, particularly in those fields in which Melvil Dewey was actively interested: library management, library training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.

Find out more about Melvil Dewey here:

https://www.stuffmomnevertoldyou.com/podcasts/librarians-part-1.htm

https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1905/02/15/101408654.pdf

https://www.latimes.com/books/la-et-jc-dewey-name-removed-library-association-20190626-story.html

The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals 2019

On Tuesday the 2019 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals were awarded to the most outstanding books as selected by the judging panel, assisted by the advisory panel.

These were the first medals awarded since the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards Independent Diversity Review Final Report was published in September last year. As a long-time observer (and one-time judge) of the Medals I was excited to see how the CKG process would play out this year and I was not disappointed.

Most of the changes to the Medals involved behind the scene stuff – although the majority of the processes are not hidden from public view. The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals have some of the most transparent processes in literary medals anywhere; from how the judges are selected, how the eligible titles are nominated and how the entire judging process works. The only thing that is done behind closed doors is the actual process of choosing the long and short lists and the most outstanding titles for each of the medals.

You can read about the changes that were made to the processes here.

The most publicly visible change to the medals is the addition of the Shadower’s Choice Awards – voted for and awarded by members of the 4,500 school reading groups who shadow the Medals. This is important, as for years people (myself included) have called for the involvement of the shadowing groups to be more visible and to recognise their choices in some way. Going forward, future participants of the shadowing process can join in knowing that their views will be listened to and acted on.

What is also amazing is that this year the Shadower’s Choice Awards and the official medals went to the same books! When I heard this it gave me a frisson of excitement as for years in conversations with colleagues and friends online and face to face, many have complained that the judges never choose the books that their students love, thus showing that the awards are out of touch and out of step with popular reading.

Jackie Morris won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for her frankly amazing artwork in The Lost Words, a spell-book of poetry about words from nature that we are losing, written by Robert MacFarlane. I knew from the first moment that I delved into this book that Jackie was going to win – and it is a well-deserved recognition. I don’t often say this but The Lost Words is as close to perfect a work of art that is a book can be and I never tire of losing myself in its pages!

Elizabeth Acevedo won the CILIP Carnegie Medal for her verse novel The Poet X. Elizabeth wrote the most outstanding book for children and young people as chosen by the judges in accordance to the judging criteria of the Carnegie Medal, and, is also the first writer of colour to win the medal in its 83 year history. There was a lot of excitement over her win in certain parts of the US kidlit twittersphere, this cheered me as it is not often that book folk outside of the UK take such an active interest in the medals.

I have said this before and will reiterate it here, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are a living and vibrant part of the literary landscape in the UK and abroad. For being such well-established awards, with a pedigree of winners, the organisers of the awards are able to effect changes fairly swiftly and respond to criticism and advice from all quarters. This bodes well for the future, and not just of the medals but also, (hopefully) publishing in the UK; seeing BAME writers winning high-profile awards will give agents and publishers the push to find new authors and stories that will give more young readers the opportunity to see themselves represented on the page and open the minds and eyes of others to a wider, more vibrant world.

In closing I would also like to say a massive thank you and well done to the judges.

Judging the awards is never an easy task, especially at this time, after the often critical scrutiny the medals and judging panel have faced over the past several years. Often the biggest criticism the judges get when the most outstanding books are announced is that they have “got it wrong” and that observers and critics know which book should have won.

This year, as they have done every year, following the criteria, the judges have made the only choices they could and made the right choice in selecting the most outstanding books for children and young people!

Interactive Display: Where Would YOU Like to Live in the FUTURE?

This interactive display has been more popular than I ever expected, a simple question: Where would YOU like to live in the FUTURE? and then four options of future residences with little laminated astronauts for participants to stick under their choices rapidly mushroomed.

I could not cut out astronauts fast enough to keep up with demand (I eventually dragooned two colleagues in to help me keep up with demand), currently close to two hundred library patrons of all ages have participated in voting as can be seen in the image above.

If anyone would like to make their own display they may download images below. For the first time I have made downloads available in US and UK paper sizes:

US Letter size

Download (PDF, 1.3MB)

UK A4 size:

Download (PDF, 1.19MB)

The astronaut template page can be photocopied to make extra astronauts

All-new Teen Librarian Newsletter

The all-new Teen Librarian Newsletter will launch in July!

If you were a previous subscriber or want to become a subscriber, you may do so by clicking on the link below:

https://mailchi.mp/0a73cd6985a3/teenlibrariannewsletter

Library Island by Matt Finch

Library Island is an activity which simulates five years in the life of a nation’s library services. Participants become librarians, government officials, or community members on this island and face the challenges created by conflicting wants, needs, and limited resources. There is an Indigenous community and colonial history to be reckoned with, plus a range of political interests with their own agenda for the library.

It’s a simple game played with nothing more than office furniture, pens, and paper, but it swiftly leads to rich and complex scenarios. The fictional setting allows us to explore structural issues, political challenges, and even some of the disruptive behaviour that professionals may face from their users, within the relative safety of a “make-believe” context.

Source: What exactly is Library Island anyway? – matt finch / mechanical dolphin

Matt has provided a toolkit that can be downloaded with full instructions on how to run, adapt and play the game. It is available here:

https://booksadventures.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/library-island-toolkit.pdf