Friday, January 24, 2020

About That Librarian-In-Residence Thing

This week, Reese Witherspoon's book club, which is in conjunction with her media company Hello Sunshine, put out a call for a librarian-in-residence. People have mixed feelings about this opportunity. Some people are REALLY EXCITED about it, and others are very frustrated.

While on the surface, it seems great, we thought we should take a closer look at this. There is already a pretty comprehensive article written on BookRiot, and Library Twitter has plenty of opinions, but we thought we'd share our thoughts anyway.

The Bad

  1. Lack of Information. Though the ad has now been updated, when it was first posted, there was no mention of salary, hours, benefits, etc. In addition, the title "Librarian-In-Residence" implies that you would have to live in Los Angeles, which means it would only really be open to a select few. The updated ad says that this is a part-time, paid position, and you wouldn't have to live in L.A. Some travel is required, which would also be paid for. This doesn't really answer all the questions, though; how much travel is required? Is this something a librarian can do on top of their full-time job? We really don't know.
  2. Wait, a Librarian Is What Now? It seems that the term "librarian" is being used to mean "a person who likes books a lot." This is ... not correct. As we know, many of us got a Master's Degree to have the title of "Librarian," and to see it given away to just anyone raises our hackles a bit. According to the actress, "the word 'Librarian' encompasses all types of interests and educations," and that is just not true. It's hard enough to have people think that we're not volunteers when we're full-time employees; please don't add to this. Really, you don't have to be a librarian to do this job. A really good booktuber would be great at it.
  3. Dance Moves? In the video Ms. Witherspoon made to advertise this position, she mentioned that great dance moves are important. Many people find this ableist. What if the absolute perfect person for the job has limited mobility? Even those of us who are lucky enough to be able-bodied... well, I can't dance to save my life, but it's never come up in a job interview.
  4. It's Too Cute. One of the comments I've read about this is that the whole thing is just too cute. We work so hard to be taken seriously as educated professionals, but here comes this video that makes us seem like, to be A Real Librarian, we have to not only be educated and knowledgeable, but also adorable. Really?
  5. It's Not An Application, It's A Contest. As BookRiot explains, this is more of a contest than a job application. You need to look good on camera, and once you submit an entry video, Hello Sunshine can use that video however they wish, with no guaranteed compensation to you.
  6. So ... Really, Does It Pay? The ad says that it is as paid, part-time position. It doesn't say how much, and the lack of transparency is an ongoing issue in terms of salary in the library world. 

The Good

  1. Honestly, It Sounds Like Fun. The person who gets this position will get to "collect and catalog resources, talk about our book picks with Reese, speak directly with our authors, and have fun and entertaining conversations with our community." A worldwide book club! HOW COOL! It really does sound awesome.
  2. You Get To Talk To Celebrities. I'm going to be totally honest here. The thought of being friends with Reese Witherspoon is pretty cool, but what I would really geek out about is the opportunity to talk to authors about the books they wrote, maybe get the inside scoop on details that ended up getting cut in editing. 
  3. A Little Extra Income. While the ad doesn't say how much the job pays, many of us are drowning under student loan payments and the general cost of living life in 2020. Especially for those of us with Etsy shops or barista jobs on the side, an extra paycheck doing something we love would be pretty nice. 
  4. Free Travel. I mean... how fun! 

Our Thoughts

Look, if this sounds like a good opportunity for you - why not apply? Take these things into consideration, but if you go into this with your eyes open and you still are interested, then go for it. This job sounds like a really great opportunity for someone, and I hope that Hello Sunshine finds the perfect person for the role.

Ms. Witherspoon, if you're reading this (which I know is extremely unlikely), we here at 5 Minute Librarian love you and would welcome the chance to educate you about the field of librarianship. We're a very dedicated profession, and you should drop into your local library and take a tour! 

And please consider hiring a degreed librarian.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Ready to Go Book Display: Australia

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go! Book Display." Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month we are showcasing books that feature Australia. 

Adult Recommendations:

The Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Jul 2012)

After moving with his wife to an isolated Australian lighthouse where they suffer miscarriages and a stillbirth, Tom allows his wife to claim an infant that has washed up on the shore, a decision with devastating consequences.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Jan 2013)

A socially awkward genetics professor who has never been on a second date sets out to find the perfect wife, but instead finds Rosie Jarman, a fiercely independent barmaid who is on a quest to find her biological father.

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss (Apr 2018)

What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology showcases many diverse voices, experiences and stories in order to answer that question.

Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough (Jan 2013)
A story of two sets of twins - all trained as nurses but each with her own ambitions - stepping into womanhood in the 1920s and 30s Australia.

Growing Up Queer in Australia by Benjamin Law (Jan 2019)

Compiled by celebrated author and journalist Benjamin Law, the book assembles voices from across the spectrum of LGBTIQA+ identity. Spanning diverse places, eras, ethnicities and experiences, these are the stories of growing up queer in Australia.

Teen Recommendations:

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (Apr 2011)
In small-town Australia, teens Jasper and Charlie form an unlikely friendship when one asks the other to help him cover up a murder until they can prove who is responsible. 

Wildlife by Fiona Wood (Sep 2014)

Two sixteen-year-old girls in Australia come together at an outdoor semester of school, before university - one thinking about boys and growing up, the other about death and grief, but somehow they must help each other to find themselves.

Children's Recommendations:

Escape to Australia by James Patterson and Martin Chatterton (Mar 2017)

The trip to Australia Rafe has won starts badly, but after connecting with a group of misfits he finds a way to do what he does best - create mayhem.

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle (Apr 2000)
Presents the names of animal babies, parents, and groups, for example, a baby kangaroo is a joey, its mother is a flyer, its father is a boom, and a group of kangaroos is a troop, mob, or herd.

The Australia Survival Guide by George Ivanoff (Feb 2020)
This book will help you by providing the knowledge you need to survive in all kinds of Aussie conditions - in the bush, in the desert, or even at the beach!

Bob by Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead (May 2018)
Visiting her grandmother in Australia, Livy, ten, is reminded of the promise she made five years before to Bob, a strange, green creature who cannot recall who or what he is.

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai (May 2019)
Knowing very little English, eleven-year-old Jingwen feels like an alien when his family immigrates to Australia, but copes with loneliness and the loss of his father by baking elaborate cakes.

Don't Call Me Bear! by Aaron Blabey (Sep 2019)
Warren the Koala is cute, furry, maybe a bit of a grump, but he is NOT a bear!

Emu by Claire Saxby (Apr 2015)
Protecting his chicks according to the instincts of all emu fathers, an emu in Australia's eucalyptus forest watches over his growing hatchlings as the outmaneuver regional dangers, in an illustrated introduction to the emu life cycle.

One Very Tired Wombat by Renee Treml (Sep 2012)
A tired wombat has trouble falling asleep when penguins, magpies, kookaburras, and other birds native to Australia disturb his peace and quiet.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Read & Bead: Summer Reading on a Necklace

 Readers, we have a special treat for you today: a guest article by the incredible Melissa McCleary, Youth Services Librarian at the Pembroke Public Library in Pembroke, Massachusetts. She brought the Read & Bead program to Massachusetts, and was kind enough to write down everything you need to know if you're thinking of changing up your summer program.

If you love her ideas, please consider following her blog, Little Bit Librarian, for amazing programming and storytime ideas!


As snow falls and ice crunches under foot, many libraries and library staff begin to prepare… for Summer Reading. 

What Am I Going To Do This Year?

Each library does this program a little differently and many have varying names for it: Summer Reading/Library Program/Challenge/Club, etc.  Whatever its title, most public libraries use the summer months as a way to combat the Summer Slide of losing academic skills as well as a chance to increase social opportunities and encourage a love of literacy (yay!).  

Libraries have a plethora of ideas for presenting Summer Reading and incentives that include (but are certainly not limited to) drawings, scratch tickets, BINGO cards, and more with prizes ranging from tiny trinkets to big bucks.  After seeing (and trying) a few things, I began to think of what method might best suit our community, budget, and goals.  And that’s where Read & Bead comes in!

In the summer of 2015 we initiated the Read & Bead Club, a primarily prizeless version of summer reading incentives.  As years have passed, the program has not only gained popularity in our library, but has spread and been successful in libraries all across the continent (see below)!  With some preparation, staff training, and a few purchases you can implement Read & Bead at your own library.  

These little pieces come together to make a BIG difference in Summer Reading!

Read & Bead in a Nutshell

Kids read and record their minutes (or have a grown-up help them track time) then they turn those minutes into beads of varying colors, shapes, and designs to decorate and personalize their very own necklace.  This Club is open to ages 3 through (entering) grade 6; babies, toddlers, teens, and adults have different Clubs or programs at our library that won’t be discussed here.

Upon signing up at the Youth Circ Desk or visiting the library after registering online, participants get three things and are ready to start:
  • 1 Brag Tag 
  • 1 necklace
  • 1 reading record sheet 

The Brag Tag is basically a plastic “dog tag” that your library can personalize to include your name and logo and/or some stock images and phrases.  Our most popular Brag Tag has been “Reading is Cool!” featuring a penguin bundled up and reading a book; below this aquatic, flightless bird is our library’s name.  We always have at least four choices for kids; one will match that summer’s “theme” while the others are just cool or cute.
"Take Me to Your Reader" matched the 2018 CSLP theme of "A Universe of Stories."  We have at least 4 designs to select from each year.

The necklaces are ball chains that measure 30” with a clasp that can be undone (with some practice); staff may need to help kids and even their grown-ups in undoing and redoing the clasp at first, but patrons get the hang of it.  On the topic of these necklaces, one of the biggest questions I get about this program is, “What about the boys?”  Don’t worry, ALL the kids love the necklaces.  When we originally launched, we had a necklace option and a keychain option that was about five inches in length (just in case), but necklaces were overwhelmingly popular. Many libraries that have implemented the program offer only the necklace option and we even stopped distributing them this year with no complaints from kids or caregivers.

The reading record can be anything!  Our library uses the standard CSLP records; these have a blank line on the front for the child’s name and small bubbles on the back to fill in with minutes.  We also subscribe to Beanstack so families may choose to log online instead of using paper at all.  Either way, all minutes are recorded in Beanstack eventually by a library patron or staff member.  We just ask families to track minutes in whatever way best suits them.

I’m Ready for Beads!

We organize our beads, tags, and chains in one divided case.
Each time kids visit the library, they can collect beads for the amount of time they’ve read.

There are 5 "levels" of beads kids can earn: 
  • 15 minutes = Solid color pony beads 
  • 30 minutes = Sparkly/Glitter beads 
  • 1 hour = Shiny/Metallic beads 
  • 2 hours = Glow-in-the-Dark/UV beads 
  • 4 hours = Shaped beads (sports balls, animals, skulls, etc.) 
Participants can "level up" as the summer progresses. So if they read for 30 minutes one day and pick up a glitter bead, then read for 30 minutes the next day, they could exchange all of those minutes for one shiny bead (turning in their original glitter bead). This process can also work in reverse or in any other combination!

Other Successful Read & Bead Libraries:

You don’t have to just take my word for it.  Just because something is popular in one community doesn’t mean it will work everywhere, right?  Put your mind at ease: libraries all over have started using the program.

This year I asked libraries who have successfully implemented Read & Bead to sound-off on Facebook via the group Storytime Underground.  Many of those are listed here along with other libraries who have reached out to me or have been brought to my attention throughout the years.  Some even created their own version years before our Read & Bead program!

  • Connecticut
    • Berlin-Peck Memorial Library
    • Guilford Smith Memorial Library
    • Southington Public Library
  • Florida
    • Monroe County Public Library
  • Illinois
    • Oak Park Public Library
    • Palos Park Library
  • Indiana
    • La Porte County Public Library
  • Iowa
    • Britt Public Library
    • Le Mars Public Library
  • Louisiana
    • Webster Parish Library
  • Maine
    • Libby Memorial Library
  • Massachusetts
    • Ames Free Library
    • Amesbury Public Library
    • Beaman Memorial Public Library
    • Bedford Free Public Library
    • Flint Memorial Library
    • Morrill Memorial Library
    • Newbery Town Library
    • Norfolk Public Library
    • Northborough Free Library
    • Parker Memorial Library:
    • Pembroke Public Library (That’s us!)
    • Plainville Public Library
    • Seekonk Public Library
    • Taunton Public Library
    • Tewksbury Public Library
    • Ventress Memorial Library
    • Weymouth Public Libraries
    • Woburn Public Library
  • Michigan
    • Ionia Community Library
  • Missouri
    • Adair County Public Library
    • Scenic Regional Library
  • Pennsylvania
    • Emmaus Public Library
    • Honey Brook Community Library
    • Lower Macungie Library
    • Pottstown Regional Public Library
  • South Carolina
    • Georgetown County Public Library
  • Texas
    • Brownwood Public Library
    • Pottsboro Library
  • Wisconsin
    • Eager Free Public Library
  • Canada
    • Aurora Public LIbrary
    • Centennial Branch of the Ottawa Public Library
    • Terrace Public Library

Tell Me More!

If you’re interested in details, please visit my Read & Bead blog articles.  The articles and links have information about where you can buy supplies, how you can work to convince admins to get on board with the program, and even a webinar.  I update the FAQ portion of my blog whenever someone has a unique question so feel free to ask via the comments there!

Please note: Parts of this article used information or portions from my original articles about Read & Bead.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Literary Holidays to Celebrate All Year Long - 2020

It's that time of year again - time to add all the literary holidays you can find to your planner! We have written a calendar in past years, but we've been trying to add as many reasons to celebrate as we can find. We also checked all the dates, because some of them are on a specific date, while others are on, for example, the Thursday of the second full week of the month. If you have more literature-based or library-friendly holidays, please let us know and we will add them in.

Please note that, while many of these holidays are officially sponsored by (and you can purchase posters and such from) the American Library Association, many of them are made up just for fun, and there is no official, cohesive, governing body. As such, you can celebrate them however you like. I have linked to official sources where I was able.


National Braille Literacy Month (Louis Braille was born 1/4/1809)
International Creativity Month
1/2 - National Science Fiction Day (also Isaac Asimov's birthday)
1/10 - Common Sense Day (Thomas Paine's Common Sense was first published January 10, 1776)
1/12 - I'm Afraid I Can't Do That, Day -  In 2001, A Space Odyssey, HAL first goes online on January 12, 1997.
1/16 - Appreciate a Dragon Day - from Falkor to Viserion, today is the day to celebrate fictional dragons.
1/18 - Winnie the Pooh Day (A.A. Milne’s Birthday)
1/19 - Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday
1/25 - Burns Supper/Burns Night (to celebrate Scottish poet Robert Burns)
1/29 - “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is first published
1/31 - Inspire Your Heart with the Arts Day


Love Your Library Month
National African American Read-In Month
2/1-7 - National Storytelling Week in England
2/1 - Take Your Child to the Library Day (first Saturday of February)
2/2-8 - Children's Authors and Illustrators Week (first week of February)
2/5 - World Read Aloud Day
2/8 - John Grisham's birthday
2/12 - Judy Blume's birthday
2/14 - Library Lovers’ Day
2/16 - Reading Rainbow Day (LeVar Burton's birthday)
2/22 - Edward Gorey's birthday


Paws To Read Month - a celebration of reading dog programs
First full week – Return of Borrowed Books Week
3/1-7 - (First full week of March) – Read an eBook Week 
3/1-7 - Will Eisner Week - a celebration that promotes comics, graphic novel literacy, free speech, and the work of artist Will Eisner
3/2 - Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss’s Birthday)
3/4 - National Grammar Day
3/4 - Captain Underpants Day (Dav Pilkey's Birthday)
3/1-7 - (First full week of March) – Read an eBook Week
3/8 - National Proofreading Day
3/15 - The Ides of March (Julius Caesar is stabbed, 44 B.C.)
3/16 - Freedom of Information Day
3/17-23 - World Folk Tales and Fables Week
3/20 - Won't You Be My Neighbor? Day - Mr. Rogers's birthday! Wear a cardigan, feed the fish, and have a beautiful day in your neighborhood
3/21 - United Nations World Poetry Day
3/22 - Wonder Woman's birthday (according to the official DC Comics calendar)
3/22 - Captain James T. Kirk's birthday (If Star Trek is correct, he will be born on March 22, 2233, in Riverside, Iowa)
3/25 - Gondorian New Year - the day that the One Ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom
3/27 - Ame Dyckman's birthday - according to the author, the #1 thing you can do to celebrate is laugh!


National Poetry Month
4/1 - Hatching Day - celebrate the Dragonriders of Pern series on Anne McCaffrey's birthday by enjoying bubbly pies and coffee!
4/2 - International Children’s Book Day (Hans Christian Anderson’s Birthday)
4/3 - Paraprofessional Day - Celebrate your paras!
4/4-11 Money Smart Week 
4/4 - 1984 Day (the day that the protagonist of the book started writing his diary)
4/4 - National School Librarian Day
4/12 - D.E.A.R. Day (Beverly Cleary’s birthday) - Drop Everything And Read!
4/16 - Celebrate Teen Literature Day (Thursday of the second full week of April)
4/17 - Chaucer Day (both the day that the characters began their journey, and the day that Chaucer first read The Canterbury Tales to the court of King Richard II, in 1397)
4/18 - National Columnists Day (in memory of well-known columnist and 1944 Pulitzer Prize Winner Ernie Pyle, who died in WWII)
4/19-25 - National Library Week 
4/21 - National Library Workers’ Day (Tuesday of National Library Week)
4/16 - National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday of National Library Week)
4/21 - National Tea Day (in England)
4/23 - Take Action for Libraries Day (Thursday of National Library Week)
4/23 - Shakespeare’s birthday
4/23 - World Book and Copyright Day
4/24 - Library of Congress Appreciation Day - the library was founded April 24, 1800
4/27 - National Tell a Story Day
Mystery Month - sponsored by BookList Reader!
5/2 - Harry Potter Day (May 2 was the day of the Battle of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series; many also celebrate July 31, which is both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's birthdays)
5/4-10 - Children's Book Week (also celebrated in November)
5/4 - Intergalactic Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth be with you.")
5/2 - Free Comic Book Day (first Saturday in May)
5/9 - Peter Pan Day (James M. Barrie’s birthday)
5/12 - Limerick Day - the birthday of noted author of limerick poems, Edward Lear
5/18 - International Museums Day (spread the love and promote your museum passes!)
5/20 - Eliza Doolittle Day
5/25 - Towel Day (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Day)
5/27 - Dashiell Hammett's birthday - author of The Maltese Falcon and creator of the "hard-boiled" school of detective fiction


LGBT Book Month
Audiobook Appreciation Month
6/10 - Maurice Sendak's birthday. Let The Wild Rumpus Start!
6/12 -Anne Frank’s birthday (on which she received her diary)
6/14 - Caldecott Day - the Caldecott Medal was first awarded on June 14, 1938
6/16 - Bloomsday (the day on which most of James Joyce's Ulysses, whose main character is Leopold Bloom, takes place)
6/19 –-National Garfield the Cat Day (strip is first published, 1978)
6/22 - Octavia Butler's birthday
Bonus: Any beautiful Wednesday in June can be Mrs. Dalloway Day


Read an Almanac Month
July 4-6 (official dates TBD) - National Tom Sawyer Days
7/10 - Clerihew Day (in honor of the poet Edmund Clerihew, who invented a fun style of poetry)
7/18-21 - (third week of July) – Hemingway Days takes place in the Florida Keys
7/28 - Beatrix Potter's Birthday
7/30 - National Paperback Book Day
7/31 -Harry Potter Day (July 31is both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's; many also celebrate May 2, which was the day of the Battle of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series)


Read a Romance Month
8/1 - Spiderman Day - The popular character debuted August 1, 1962
8/9 - Book Lovers’ Day
8/14 - Coloring Book Day
8/15 - National Relaxation Day
8/18 - Percy Jackson's Birthday - enjoy some blue food for your favorite demigod's birthday!
8/20 - H.P. Lovecraft's birthday
8/21 - Poet's Day
8/22 - World Folktale Day
8/25 - Founder's Day - the United State National Park Service was founded on August 25, 1916
8/30 - Frankenstein Day (author Mary Wollenstone Shelley was born August 30, 1797)
8/31 - We Love Memoirs Day


Library Card Sign-Up Month
Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month
9/5 - Erin Entrada Kelly's birthday - according to the author, the #1 thing you can do to celebrate is swap book recommendations!
9/6 - Read a Book Day
9/7 - Google Day (Google was founded on September 7, 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page)
9/8 - International Literacy Day
9/13 - Roald Dahl Day
9/15 - International Dot Day (based on the book by Peter H. Reynolds)
9/18 -  Read an eBook Day
9/22 - Hobbit Day
9/22 - Dear Diary Day
9/25 - National Comic Book Day
Last week of Sept. - Banned Books Week
Wednesday of Banned Books Week - Banned Websites Awareness Day


National Book Month (no longer sponsored by the National Book Foundation, but we can celebrate anyway)
National Reading Group Month
National Medical Librarians Month
National Arts and Humanities Month
National Graphic Novel Writing Month
National Cookbook Month
TeenTober - replacing Teen Tech Week and Teen Book Week
10/2 - Phileas Fogg's Wager Day - "I will bet twenty thousand pounds against anyone who wishes, that I will make a tour of the world in eighty days or less."
10/4-10 (first full week of October) National Mystery Series Week
10/6 - Mad Hatter Day (because his hat says 10/6)
10/11 - Myths and Legends Day
10/16 - Dictionary Day (Noah Webster’s Birthday)
10/18 - Newspaper Comic Strip Day - the first newspaper comic strip ever run was "The Yellow Kid Takes a Hand at Golf" by Richard Fenton Outcault, on October 18, 1896.
10/18-24 National Friends of Libraries Week


Picture Book Month
National Family Literacy Month
National Novel Writing Month
11/1 - National Family Literacy Day
11/1 - National Authors Day
11/1-7 (first full week of November) - International Games Week
11/6 - National Non-Fiction Day (it's "national" in England; let's spread it internationally!)
11/8-14 - National Young Readers Week (starts the Monday of the second full week in November) - in conjunction with the Library of Congress and the Pizza Hut Book It! Program
11/8-14 - Children's Book Week (also celebrated in May)
11/10 - Neil Gaiman's birthday
11/10 - Sesame Street Premier Day (November 10, 1969)
11/14 - Astrid Lindgren’s birthday (author of Pippi Longstocking)
11/15 - I Love to Write Day
11/16 - World Philosophy Day
11/18 - High-Five a Librarian Day
11/30 - Joy of Cooking publication anniversary, November 30, 1924 - cookbook clubs, unite!


Read a New Book Month
12/1 - Sherlock Holmes Day (“A Study in Scarlet” was said to have been first published 12/1/1887 - this is actually in dispute, but we can still celebrate)
12/2 - Kate Milford's birthday (author of Greenglass House). The author says the best way to celebrate is to tell someone else a story.
12/10 - Dewey Decimal System Day (Melville Dewey's birthday)
12/16 - Jane Austen’s birthday
12/21 - Celebrate Short Fiction Day - The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year. Why not celebrate with some short stories?
12/24 - Jolabokaflod - the "Christmas Book Flood" is an Icelandic tradition, in which people open gifts of books on Christmas Eve, and retire to bed early to read them.