Literacy

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to Receive 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service National Award Recognizes Exceptional Contributions of Cincinnati Library System

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County of Cincinnati, Ohio, as one of 10 recipients of this year's National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The nation's highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, the National Medal celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities. The National Medal will be presented at a celebration in Washington, D.C. on May 8.

Women, Mobility, and Libraries

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Long before there were such devices as smartphones and tablets—or personal computing, for that matter—women in librarianship were bringing reading material to people beyond the four walls of a physical library. As Women’s History Month draws to a close this March, American Libraries celebrates the library workers, most ofthem women, whose mobile devices for delivering literacy consisted of wagons and horses bearing books door to door in rural America.

Library as a Starting Point to Revitalize Tz’utujil Language

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Located in the heart of the town of San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala, the Community Library Rija'tzuul Na'ooj regularly buzzes with activity. In one corner of the library, a new area provides a space for schoolchildren to partake in educational games. On the other side of the main room, younger children listen attentively as a volunteer reads aloud during storytime. And once a week, an elder resident of the community sits down with teenagers to share a little bit of his or her wisdom attained throughout a lifetime.

"Guys Read" Comes to the Topeka & Shawnee Co. Public Library

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We all agree that kids should read, read, read. But did you know that it’s harder to get boys to read than girls? Because they read less starting at about eight years old, they also typically score lower on standardized testing.

Children’s author Jon Scieszka (Stinky Cheese Man, Time Warp Trio) saw that boys were reading less, but he also saw that teachers and librarians weren’t doing a good job finding books boys would want to read. So he started Guys Read, a national web-based organization to get more boys reading by showing them that there’s plenty of fun, awesome stuff to read.

Fifty Shades Fever

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No question, the hottest book at the moment is E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage, 2012). As I write this, there are 140 holds for the print edition, 20 holds for the audiobook, and 69 holds for the e-book at my southwest suburban library serving a population of approximately 75,000.

This is the most holds I have ever seen on a single title — more than a new Janet Evanovich or James Patterson and more than the The Help (Amy Einhorn, 2009) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), both of which benefited from blockbuster movie releases. Fifty Shades and its sequels have surprisingly exceeded the demand for The Hunger Games and Twilight trilogies, books that appeal to a broad range of ages, compared to Fifty Shades’ more mature audience. The phenomenon of this trilogy is unprecedented and like nothing I have seen before.

Rural libraries start a new chapter in villages

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Zhuang Jinfu's ducks kept dying.

The farmer in Huilong village in Sichuan province's Guanghan county says he lost 10,000 yuan ($1,600) when 500 - about half - of his waterfowl mysteriously died a few years ago.

But he can now earn 100,000 yuan in 18 months because almost all of his 1,000 ducks survive to slaughtering age, he says.

"It's because of the library," the 32-year-old explains.

Solving Mysteries in the Library

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Librarians definitely solve mysteries!

I spent April 21, Sisters in Crime’s "Solving Mysteries Day," working as a volunteer at the Warren County Public Library in Monmouth, Illinois. Monmouth is a town of 10,000 in west central Illinois about 20 miles from the Mississippi River.

Kathy is the saintly woman designated to keep an eye on me. What a patient person! In this photo, we are standing in front of books by authors who are members of Sisters in Crime.

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