Friday Focus

Friday, March 18, 2016 . . . vol. 3, no. 27

Friday Focus is a quick digest of news and notes for members of the Indianapolis Public Library Shared System.
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One Book, One Wall, One Castle

Jorge Méndez Blake, a well-known Mexican artist, created this installation called El Castillo or The Castle. I found only a little information online about why he created it, but not about why he chose Franz Kafka's The Castle to be the book that changed the wall. It's a great metaphor for our work, though, isn't it? Think of the change you create each day, one book at a time!

Students who read discover so much more than good books. They encounter new ways to approach age-old problems, Whenever I hear about young people dying senselessly from violence, I always wish they had had a good librarian when they were little - someone who knew them well enough to cause just a little shift in the way they see the world and their place in it.

But I digress.

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Spring Meeting of Shared System Members

We had a cozy meeting in the Training Room, didn't we? And we covered a lot of ground! I'm excited to hear from several of you that you've begun work on some of the projects we discussed (waiving debt, reviewing cataloging profiles). If you didn't make the meeting, you should receive a nice thick packet of handouts and instructions any day now in your library tote delivery.

Several of you were kind enough to compliment Janet Spaulding, juvenile selector, on her PowerPoint presentation about trends in juvenile and teen publishing. One of you sent her this email:

I just wanted to tell you what a great job you did yesterday at the meeting with your presentation! It was chock full of information we can use and you presented it in such

an interesting way. I could have listened to you and watched your presentation for a lot

longer than the time you spoke. It was fascinating and I appreciate all the time and energy you must have put into it to get such a great product!

We are lucky to have Janet! You can access her slide show through that link and then download it as a PowerPoint to your desktop. Note that she wrote presentation notes for many of the slides so you can get not just the titles from the slides, but often a little more info or the source of the information.

Paper Tigers Trailer - KPJR Films

Remember to Pass the Word about Summer Job Openings

Every spring, the Library hires extra staff to help run the Summer Reading Program. If you have teachers or teaching assistants looking for summer jobs, this might be a good fit! Library managers would be especially interested in Spanish teachers, artistic types, and people who like working with kids. The managers at Brightwood and Eagle were especially interested! Here is a link to the job application. It just got posted this week. I would encourage people to apply ASAP as it's a popular position.

Jacqueline Woodson: Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture

Friday, April 15th, 7pm

8401 Westfield Boulevard

Indianapolis, IN

Remember, Friends of the Library have front row seats reserved for the McFadden Lectures!

You can find all kinds of information about her on, available through Inspire. Here's the direct link to author interviews, book synopses, book guides, and lesson plans.

Let me know if you'll be inviting students to attend!

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Here is a roundup of news articles surrounding issues of diversity in the children’s lit world:

How the controversy is changing the conversation about diverse children’s books. A great overview of the disagreement over A Birthday Cake for George Washington. If this is a new topic for you, don't miss this link!

Where’s the color in Kids’ Lit? An 11 year old girl found as much of it as she could, and reviews her top picks for NPR.

Curious George learns about Ramadan. BuzzFeed gives a glimpse of the author and several page shots of the book. (Currently, this is only available as a board book; I’m trying to get an answer about whether they will be coming out with a hardback version)

2016 Children’s & YA Lambda Literary Award (aka the “Lammys”) Finalists were announced. This is a good place to start when you get asked for recommendations.

How Pura Belpre paved the way for Latinos Firsts at 2016 Youth Media Awards. If you have many, indeed any, Latino students, consider requesting or buying some of the titles mentioned in this article.

Happy Reading!

A Book Note from Sarah: Wish I could speed read like Janet (she really does - how else could she do her job?). The School Library Journal just began an online newsletter for those of us who work with middle school students. Called Tween Reads, the newsletter has just a couple of pieces of info (i.e way shorter than Friday Focus) that could quickly add value. The most recent issue had a link to a great list of YA books that were definitely appropriate for those middle school students who need something a little meatier than the usual fare, but that's not too challenging for their age group. You can find that list here if you're interested.

Join the Friends of the Library

McFadden Lecture Sponsor - get your reserved seat here!


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