Friday, August 29, 2014

I could watch this over and over

Nafisi Challenge Update

This summer, I read six books for the Nafisi Challenge. How many did YOU read?  Even better, really, is that I met Azar Nafisi, authoress of Reading Lolita in Tehran.  Can you believe it?  I met her at the American Library Association conference where she spoke about her new book, The Republic of Imagination: American in Three Books. In her new book, she discusses Huck Finn, so juniors should take a look.

The coolest part about the event was that I got to tell her about the Nafisi Challenge.  She was thrilled, and I've since been tweeting with her a little bit, if you can believe it.  I am so star struck.  Here are some of our tweets:

See her response?  She wants OUR recommendations!  For those of you who read her book, what should we tell her to read?

I can't believe she likes this book!  Well, I can.  It's brilliant.  It's so exciting to have her respond to me about what I'm reading.

Ok, so here's what I say we do.
1. Keep reading the books for the Nafisi Challenge!
2. Keep suggesting books to discuss with Ms. Nafisi.
3. Find a way to bring her here to speak to our school!

Who's with me?

Mother-Daughter Librarians

My mom is suddenly a Librarian!

In Decatur, Illinois (my hometown), the high schools are under serious renovation.  It's about time, since I'm pretty sure Macarthur HS has not had a makeover since before I graduated way back in 1994.  It really doesn't look too much different from when my mom graduated in 1964, to tell the truth.

What it looked like when I went there.
The students and teachers have all been moved to a temporary facility until January, when they'll return to a brand-spanking-new building that will be awesome.

What it will look like after renovation
Until then, the school is in flux, and even more so because they are without a Librarian.  Can you imagine?  The horror!  

My amazing mother has been volunteering at the school library for the past year.  When the Librarian left and the school announced that they wouldn't hire another until returning to the new building, my mom stepped in.  What will the students do, she asked, without a functioning Library?  Where will they get books?  What about all the kids who love to read?  So, she called the school and arranged to keep the library open.  I'm so proud of her!  Here is where she stands when she's checking out books.

See the sign? "Substitute Librarian, Ms. Lucy Murphy".  And this is her Library.

Pretty nice, huh?  Well, I'm just thrilled.  In the morning, we talk on the phone and she tells me all about what books kids are checking out, and what it's like when teachers bring in their classes, and how long it takes to add all the new students to the computer system one by one.  We have the same job!  

Mostly I'm just proud as can be.  A high school should never be without a library, even during construction.  My mom knew that, and all the kids who are checking out books day after day are proof.  For some of us it's the best place on campus.  It's a refuge, or a welcome distraction, or a home.  So this is a shout out to my mom, the Librarian.  She rocks.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Spine Poetry Contest

Students at New Student Orientation last week competed for a spot in this year's Book Spine Poetry contest.  Two poems were selected as finalists from each orientation group (yes, there are 13 finalists - I couldn't choose!).  The winners will receive a gift card to the vendor of their choice (amazon, iTunes, or Starbucks).

What is book spine poetry, you ask?  It's a playful way to look at book titles, organizing them into a poetic verse.  Some are sweet, others funny, and some of our new students went in decidedly darker directions.

Who wins?  You decide!  Use the poll on the right side of this blog to vote for the best Book Spine Poem.  You can also submit your own to the Library Blog by simply emailing a photograph to Ms. Murphy at










BSP 10

BSP 11

BSP 13

I've felt like this Librarian once or twice.