Ways to Maximize Your Library's Welcome Kit

Memorial Hall LibraryDean Baumeister at Memorial Hall Library in Andover, Massachusetts talks about ways to maximize a library's welcome kit.

Hello Dean! Please tell us about Memorial Hall Library's welcome kit; I'm curious to hear what you include.

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Contemporary YA Novels about 9/11

All We Have LeftOver 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001. With the impact of that catastrophe being so far-reaching, it's no surprise that there have been a plethora of films and books released that recall 9/11. Oliver Stone's World Trade Center and Paul Greengrass' United 93 are two of the most popular movies to recreate that day. Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, an outstanding novel about an eccentric nine-year-old boy trying to piece together a puzzle his father left behind after being killed in the World Trade Center, is another title that might be familiar to those who seek out art related to America's contemporary history.

But these well-known works aren't aimed specifically at younger readers, and there was certainly no shortage of teenagers impacted by the events of that day. Thankfully, there are books that give a focused teenage perspective on the events of 9/11. Wendy Mills' All We Have Left, which follows the lives of Alia and Jesse, two teenage girls from very different walks of life, is one of these special books. Mills' takes readers on a journey that looks at Alia's young Muslim life, as well as Jesse's more narrow-minded view of the world. When the two stories collide, readers are rewarded with an emotionally rich conclusion that's tear inducing.

For this Beyond the Book, I scoured the library's bookshelves to uncover some lesser-known YA titles about 9/11. Each of these titles offers a unique perspective on one of this tragedy. There will be tears, for sure, but these YA novels are more than worth the emotional commitment. If you are searching for 9/11 YA fiction, look no further.

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Books About North & South Korea for Book Clubs

One narrative can never fully represent any cultural experience but becoming aware of singular stories helps us find empathy for a wide range of the world. Here we have gathered a variety of stories that together explore a diverse representation of Korean perspectives, history and life situations.

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Anythink Libraries' Shakespeare Society: Pizza and a Play

In the first of a new series of posts that feature librarians' successful ideas and creative solutions, Katharine Phenix from Anythink Libraries in Colorado tells us about "Shakespeare Society: Pizza and a Play," a popular program that has been running strong for six years!

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Do readers have an obligation to history to read "difficult" books?

I was recently participating in BookBrowse's online book discussion for Vaddey Ratner's excellent novel, Music of the Ghosts, in which the main characters are survivors of the Khmer Rouge. Needless to say, since it discusses the horrors Cambodian citizens endured during the genocide, it contains some pretty intense passages, and one of my fellow posters mentioned finding the subject matter "difficult" and therefore hard to read about. This comment prompted an offline discussion with others regarding books that cover topics that we generally don't want to dwell on, specifically humanity's ability to be unimaginably cruel to others or indifferent to their suffering.  The question arose: As readers, do we have an obligation to history to read "difficult" books?

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Five Female-Focused Historical Novels for Book Clubs

Women are at the heart of each of these historical novels, and so are the deep challenges of holding family together and pursuing personal dreams all at the same time. The Women in the Castle and Manhattan Beach both explore the effects of war on women and their families, while Love and other Consolation Prizes and Rebellion take readers across time and place to shine a light on the hidden ways we are all connected. Finally See What I Have Done offers an intimate glimpse into one family's complicated dynamics - sometimes what we think we see isn't always what is true, and sometimes we are not as connected as we appear to be.

Each of these books are, or soon will be, available in paperback and are already available in e-book and hardcover. You'll find all you need to know to decide which of these are right for you and your book club on BookBrowse, including reviews and "beyond the book" articles, excerpts and reading guides.

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