Share Our Books: A Community Reads Program for Elementary Schools

Share Our BooksA couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Sara Pennypacker give a talk to children's librarians, during which she mentioned a program that she and a few of her children's author friends have launched:

"Share Our Books was born from a conversation a few of us children's authors had about how much we loved Community Reads. The idea is for an entire elementary school community from the principal and teachers to the bus drivers and nurses and, of course, the students and their families to share the experience of reading the same book at the same time. It's an honor and a joy to have our books chosen to help bond a community this way. What could we do to encourage more of it, we asked each other? The answer was obvious...provide the books."

The concept is simple:

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Banned Books Week

Beware of the BookThis week marks the USA's 30th annual Banned Books Week (sponsored by half a dozen American library, bookseller, journalist and publisher associations; and endorsed by about half a dozen more.) During Banned Books Week, bookstores and libraries across the USA celebrate (for want of a better word) the books that have been challenged or outright banned from libraries with in store displays, readings and so forth.

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The World's Most Beautiful & Unique Libraries

Books have been inspiring people from all walks of life for many centuries, not least the architects who build the libraries to house them!

From the Vatican library, established more than 500 years ago, to modern buildings that are pushing the boundaries of the avant-garde such as The Czech Republic's proposed new national library, these six websites will take you on a tour of some of the most beautiful, inspiring and, occasionally, downright weird library buildings to be found in our wide world....

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2010 BookBrowse Award Winners

4045 votes were cast by BookBrowse subscribers to decide the 2010 BookBrowse Award winners. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!

The winners are ...

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Early Video Interview with J.K. Rowling - Over the Moon at Selling 30,000 Books!

I just came across this early interview with J.K. Rowling (probably from late 1998 or early 1999). She's sitting in the now famous Edinburgh House cafe in Edinburgh where she wrote the early Harry Potter books. She looks, frankly, exhausted, but hugely excited to have sold 30,000 copies of her first two books - especially as her agent told her, "there's not much money in children's books." She goes on to say that she's always wanted to write but "my realistic side had not allowed me to dream about half of what has happened to me," - this in reference to her agent selling the first two Harry Potter books to eight countries so, as she says with huge excitement, "it will be translated in France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy and Finland ... I love the idea of saying I'm big in Finland!"

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How Libraries Stack Up

There have been mumblings in certain quarters recently suggesting that libraries are a waste of money in this day and age.

Pardon me, but I beg to differ; and this is why:

  • Two-thirds of Americans have a library card.

  • Every day 300,000 Americans get job-seeking help at their public library.

  • 13,000 public libraries offer career assistance. By comparison, the US Department of Labor offers 3,000 career centers.

  • Americans are six times more likely to visit a public library than they are to attend a live sporting event. US public libraries receive 1.4 billion visits annually.

  • Small business owners and employees use public library resources 2.8 million times each month to support their businesses.

  • 5,400 public libraries offer free technology classes - that's more technology training classes than there are computer training businesses in the US. Every day, 14,700 people attend free library computer classes - a retail value of $2.2 million.

  • Every day, 225,000 people use library meeting rooms at a retail value of $11 million. There are more meeting rooms available at public libraries than there are meeting rooms in all the US conference centers, convention facilities and auditoriums combined.

  • Most public libraries offer internet access - a vital resource for the approximate 1 in 4 people who do not have internet access at home.

  • Every day, US libraries circulate 7.9 million items. That's more materials than FedEx ships worldwide.

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