Some people may say Dewey the Bearded Dragon has a face only a mother could love.But in Lead Hill (AR) it’s a face the entire school district loves.  “He’s the face of the library. He’s our mascot,” said Dewey’s owner, Amy Curtis, who is the Library Media Specialist for the Lead Hill School District.Since last summer he’s actually been more than just the mascot.In July, Dewey was certified as an emotional behavioral therapy animal after Curtis realized he had a certain calming effect on students, especially those who struggled with attention, anxiety and stress-related issues.“We started realizing kids who had a very difficult time paying attention in class or were struggling emotionally for various reasons, or were stressed, that once they sat with Dewey they would calm very quickly,” said Curtis. “He helps them relax. That’s when we got the idea of going ahead and registering him for emotional support and behavior therapy.” READ MORE
Annie Cipolla’s journey had, in her words, a bad beginning.In a TEDx talk, she recalled how her parents escaped the Communist revolution in China and came to the United States with everything they could carry in two suitcases.“They didn’t speak English. We were impoverished and we ended up living on the lower East Side (of Manhattan in New York),” said Cipolla, senior librarian at the John C. Fremont Library Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library system and one of 10 winners of the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award. “Our home was a rat-and cockroach-infested apartment, and I was surrounded by squalor.”School, she said, wasn’t much better. “I had a kindergarten teacher who used to lock me up in the closet because I didn’t speak English. And I didn’t want to end up locked in the closet forever, so I knew I had to change my life. I realized that education would be my ticket to the life that I wanted.”A full scholarship to a prep school in midtown Manhattan exposed her to a dazzling world full of culture and beauty.Perhaps these experiences made her the kind of librarian she is today, trying to level the playing field for her patrons in the Los Angeles Public Library system and providing opportunities for all to grow. READ MORE
by Katy Moeller, courtesy of Idaho StatesmanThe exclamation point on the Boise Public Library sign jumps out at you.It’s energetic!It’s exuberant!It’s enigmatic!It’s now a city icon but when it was first unveiled in 1995, Dave Bieter was not a fan.“I thought, ‘What self-respecting library needs punctuation? … If you’re a great library, you don’t need punctuation,” Bieter told a crowd gathered recently for the monthly storytelling spectacular “Story Story Night.” The theme for the night was “!” — and the library sign was the inspiration for a whole season of punctuation-themed shows, said Story Story artistic director/host Jodi Eichelberger.Bieter was elected mayor in 2003 — and the library sign was on his agenda.“I thought, ‘I’m going to go after that exclamation point, and I’m going to get rid of that sucker,’ ” he recalled. “I learned in about an hour and a half of being the mayor that the exclamation point is beloved in the city of Boise.” READ MORE
The category: Beloved TV Programs.The answer: Roughly 150 librarians have competed on this game show since 2005.And the correct question: What is Jeopardy!?“We use a lot of librarians on the show,” says longtime Jeopardy! staffer Maggie Speak. “One of the coolest things about being a librarian, from what we hear from our contestants, is that on any given day they’re facing a whole new set of questions or problems, and that keeps them very sharp. Plus, for our show, personality is a big factor. Trust me, we’ve seen some librarians—they’re a lot of fun.”Here, 11 librarians who have appeared on Jeopardy! share their stories of applying for and competing in one of the nation’s most popular game shows, which first aired in its current form in 1984. READ MORE
by Kelly Rocheleau, courtesy of The CitizenWhile other students in Auburn Junior High School (NY) have been bound to their desks Tuesday afternoons this school year, Kristi Newton's health class has been doing yoga.On one of those days earlier this month, Newton, a health teacher, and media specialist Marcella Didio led the class at the school's library. Some students giggled as they tried various poses while following along with their instructor. Some children had more success than others; a few would wobble when doing moves requiring balance with one foot, forcing them to readjust.Some students looked to those next to them, and sometimes laughed as they saw each other try the poses. Poses the class did ranged from students leaning forward with their heads down while perched on one leg to getting on their hands and knees, raising one leg and then stretching their opposite arm out to grab that leg READ MORE
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ home in Cross Creek, Florida was designated a Literary Landmark on August 8th, 1996 by the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society and the Florida Center for the Book during a celebration of Rawlings’ 100th birthday.Cross Creek was the beloved home of Rawlings from 1928 to 1953 and a source of inspiration for her most timeless works including Cross Creek and The Yearling. The virgin Florida territory and near isolation of the Cross Creek farm became the colorful and memorable backdrop for The Yearling, the story of a backwoods Florida boy and his pet deer. READ MORE
2017 was a lively year for libraries.National issues and trends impacted our nation’s libraries, and librarians rose to the challenge, promoting media literacy, protecting the freedom to read, advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion and responding to the needs of their patrons.At the beginning of the year, librarians were quite literally on the front lines, many of them participating in the Women’s March on Washington in Atlanta in January.Throughout the year, they continued to advocate, with more than 500 librarians participating in National Legislative Day on May 1-2 in Washington, D.C. It was a time when the proposed federal budget threatened to wipe out the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an important source of funding for library programs.Recently retired ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels said in his opening statement at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, “Libraries are facing the challenge of a lifetime, if this funding can be done away with at the stroke of a pen. This is the time when the rubber hits the road.” READ MORE
Through the front doors of the Naples (FL) Jail Center and up the second floor past the sleeping quarters, a couple of inmates spend most days organizing thousands of books in a library-like room.The inmate librarians — part of a workforce program with the Collier County Sheriff's Office — order the books on shelves based on the Dewey Decimal System and then administer them to other inmates, or library patrons, throughout the day.The genres range from self-help, romance and mystery to best-sellers written by James Patterson and Stephen King.  "The library is one more aspect that helps educate inmates, but also gives them some normalcy from the outside world," said Tanya Williams, Collier County Public Library director.   READ MORE
Dec. 7, 1941, is a date ingrained in the minds of most Americans, marking the attack on Pearl Harbor and the inexorable entrance of the United States into World War II.At the time, Yakima (WA) was home to just more than 27,000 residents, and only a few weeks earlier, on Oct. 24, 1941, the Yakima Public Library had made its own, much more pleasant sort of history — by debuting the city’s first bookmobile.Officially known as the A.E. Larson Traveling Branch Service, the Bookmobile was funded through donations and had taken two years of careful planning and negotiation to bring to fruition.  The new service was met with eager patronage in each of the neighborhoods and schools it visited, and staff enjoyed getting to interact with the public in a “personal and neighborly way.”For head librarian Helen Remsberg, the only downside to the service was that because so many children frequented the Bookmobile, staff were often hard-pressed to provide one-on-one attention.  But this, she conceded in one of her library reports, was a lovely problem to have. READ MORE
Sheikla Blount maintains a high standard for the library at Columbiana Middle School in Columbiana, Alabama, even in an environment where it has not necessarily been required.In the words of Jason Mayfield, her fellow teacher and nominator for the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award, “Ms. Blount has had to fight and create everything that’s good in that library. She hasn’t had resources, finances, or really any encouragement to do the exceptional job that she’s done. Time and again, she’s risen to a standard far above anyone at the school and in the county.”Mayfield said Blount, whom he calls a “quiet giant,” was the first National Board certified teacher the school has had.  In addition, she has been relentless in making sure media center programs serve the needs of readers, whether they are reluctant or advanced.Her library is a welcoming place, a warm contrast to what it was before her arrival.  Mayfield said, “The previous librarian wouldn’t open until two weeks into the school year. She would close the entire month of May to inventory. Ms. Blount has always been welcoming Day 1.” READ MORE