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Friday Finds: August 17, 2018

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Around the Web

Teen suicide is soaring. Do spotty mental health and addiction treatment share blame?

Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Report Says

Do children have a right to literacy? Attorneys are testing that question.

3D-printed guns lead Broward libraries to suspend printers’ use

Disabled LGBT+ young people face a battle just to be taken seriously

LGBTQ displays not allowed at any Washington County libraries


Friday Finds: August 10, 2018

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Book Review: Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Listening to Old Ghosts : The Haunting Influence of Our Town and Spoon River Anthology, a guest post by author Mary Amato

Talking with Nancy Evans, Creator of the Strong Girls Program, a guest post by Natalie Korsavidis

Rethinking Book Displays – Again

YA A to Z: Peace and Quiet – Recharging Your Battery After Summer Reading, a guest post by librarian Lisa Krok

Sunday Reflections: Sometimes, If You’re Lucky, You Find More Than Books at the Library

Around the Web


Tiny Pretty Things breakout Sona Charaipotra previews solo debut Symptoms of a Heartbreak

A Patron Wants to Print a Gun: Now What?


Friday Finds: August 3, 2018

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Book Review: DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test by Hamish Steele

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Public Libraries, 3D Printers, and Guns – oh my

What a strange time to be a woman, a guest post by Bree Barton

Book Review: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

YA A to Z: P is for Penultimate, how a competitive writing competition inspired a YA novel

Sunday Reflections: The Reality and the Myth of Just Get a Job and Its Impact on Kids

Around the Web

‘Catwoman: Soulstealer’ By Sarah J. Maas & 11 New YA Novels Coming Out In August 2018

Representation: Raising the Bar

5 Sweet Queer Love Stories to Devour This Summer

Can You Print A Gun At Your Local Library? It’s Not Likely

Raising Kids Who Want To Read — Even During The Summer

John Green wants you to read tiny books – The Washington Post

Check out the Penguin Teen 2019 YA Book Preview

From multiple Muslim sci-fis to Jewish and Asian fantasies to romantic comedy between two boys of color these are the most anticipated books from now until December! via Barnes and Noble

Sitka Public Library is providing some amazing services:

Keep your eye on this amazing resource:

And here’s another look at August releases thanks to Pop Goes the Reader

Friday Finds: July 27, 2018

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New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

YA A to Z: F is for Female Friendship

Stuck inside the library? 5 Tips for doing a successful outreach event

Post-it Note Reviews of Recent YA Releases

Things Libraries Do That Hurt Libraries and Fail Our Local Communities

Sunday Reflections: Let’s Talk About INSATIABLE, Fat Shaming and Eating Disorders

Around the Web

20 LGBTQIA Books We Wish Would Get TV or Movie Adaptations

7 Surprising Things Librarians Do Other Than Check Out Books

How to read more books legally and for free – a list of alternatives to book pirating

19 of Our Most Anticipated YA Debuts of 2018: July to December

No, Forbes, Libraries Cannot be Replaced by Amazon

New South Bend bookstore promotes diversity, inclusion through literature


Friday Finds: July 20, 2018

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#ReadForChange: Reading into Hurricane Season with Joanne O’Sullivan’s Between Two Skies

Summer Reading Programs: The importance of staff training and the summer reading pep rally

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Showcase and Giveaway

Book Review: The Pride Guide: A Guide to Sexual and Social Health for LGBTQ Youth by Jo Langford

Sunday Reflections: Can Public Libraries Be Open to Hate and Be a Welcoming Place? A look at the recent pronouncement from the Office of Intellectual Freedom

Around the Web

Shrinking public schools reflects the state’s neglect

Cleaning Toilets, Following Rules: A Migrant Child’s Days in Detention

DC’s Young Readers Imprints Add New Titles, New Creators

Alone in the Dark Why we need more children’s books about suicide and severe depression.


Friday Finds: July 13, 2018

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For your summer 2018 TBR: Backlist YA you don’t want to miss

Things I Never Learned in Library School: Waiting for Reimbursement, aka Libraries Must Fund Their Programming

Collecting Comics: July 2018 edition by Ally Watkins

Book Review: The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell and friends

YA A to Z: O is for Outsider, a guest post by author Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Sunday Reflections: There is no one right way to be an American

Around the Web

Who’s ready for I read YA week?!

Some teachers have declared their right to resist NC legislators. How far will they go?

Here’s What’s Going On With Affirmative Action And School Admissions

YAs That Get it Right: Depression Edition

Policy allowing hate groups to meet at libraries comes under fire


Friday Finds: July 6, 2018

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Book Review: Light Filters In: Poems by Caroline Kaufman

Books we reread, a crowdsourced post

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA July 2018

When Books Are The Things That Save You, a guest post by Cindy Baldwin

To MLS or Not to MLS

Sunday Reflections: Reproductive Rights ARE Teen Issues

Around the Web

What new YA books release in June 2018?

DeVos goes deep with anti-regulatory mission at Education Department

14 of Our Most Anticipated OwnVoices YA Books of 2018: July to December



To MLS or Not to MLS

tltheaderI’ve been working in public libraries for two years now, and I’ve noticed this discussion arise with great regularity both online and IRL. When I worked in school libraries, it was never a discussion. In the state where I worked an MLS was a requirement to be hired as a school library media specialist. We all had the degree, most of us from the same three (then 4) schools that were available in the state. And I will (braggingly) say that we all had fairly positive experiences with our degrees, as far as I know. I never heard anyone say that they felt their degree program was a waste of time, or that they could be doing their job without it. Maybe it was just a perception on my part, or maybe it was just peer pressure? Or maybe it’s the fact that there’s no one there to train you – you have to hit the ground running.

And just to reveal my prejudice in the debate even more, I didn’t work in libraries before I got my degree. When I went to library school, I wasn’t entirely sure what type of library I wanted to work in – all possibilities were open to me. What I learned in library school has served me really well over the years, and I sincerely enjoyed the experience. In fact, library school was the first time in my academic career where I felt what I was learning was a perfect marriage of theory and practice that prepared me well for the profession.

Since I’ve been in the public library arena, however, I’ve heard a number of people disparage the degree as unnecessary. And perhaps it is for them? Maybe their library system did such an amazing job of training them that it completely obviated the need for a masters degree? Or maybe that, combined with say 10 years of on the job experience? I just don’t know.

And I wonder if this is a common discussion in other professions where you might need a specific degree to ‘get ahead.’ Does the business community, for instance, have similar discussions surrounding the value of the MBA degree?

Well, dear readers, what do you think? Did you get good value from your MLS, or was it a waste of time? Or do you have mixed feelings? Let me know in the comments.


Friday Finds: June 29, 2018

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Post-It Note Reviews of Recent Releases

What To Say About Sarah J. Maas’s Books (A-Z Project: M) by Kelsey Socha

Penguin Random House 2018 Showcase and Giveaway

Recently in Book Mail

Around the Web

How YA author Jason Reynolds turned his adolescent anger into best-selling poetry

Planned Parenthood Sues Over Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

America’s poor becoming more destitute under Trump, UN report says

ALA, ALSC respond to Wilder Medal name change




What To Say About Sarah J. Maas’s Books (A-Z Project: M) by Kelsey Socha


tltheaderThe thing about writing a post about Sarah J. Maas is that it feels redundant. Everyone’s heard of Throne of Glass or A Court of Thorns and Roses, right? Both of these series are New York Times bestsellers that are constantly checked out of my library. Probably you own them in your library. If you own them, maybe you’ve been turned off by the covers for Throne of Glass which admittedly feel a bit dated, or you figured that the Court of Thorns and Roses series was just another Beauty and the Beast retelling. Neither of these criticisms are wrong, exactly, but let’s take a slightly closer look at both of the series.

Throne of Glass is a seven book series (with the last book coming out in Fall 2018!), with some additional prequel novellas. It starts out as the story of Celaena Sardothien, an 18-year-old assassin who accepts the king’s son’s offer to compete with other assassins and mercenaries for the chance to be the king’s champion. What seems initially like a straightforward fantasy competition (in line with The Selection or The Hunger Games) becomes a fight against dark and sinister magics at war in the castle. What starts as a very contained and familiar plot ultimately turns into a multi-continent fight between the forces of good and evil with Celaena at the very center. While Celaena is nearly always the primary focus of the series, they are told in third-person narrative with several perspectives–much like A Game of Thrones. Each book opens up the world more and in more surprising ways–the ending of each book feels like having survived a very intense and exciting roller coaster.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is totally different! For most of the 3.5 book series (with more books potentially coming out in the future), there is one first-person perspective: Feyre, a human girl who lives in a small town on the border between the human realm and the land of the Fae. One day, while hunting for food for her impoverished family, she kills a wolf that was actually a shapeshifting Fae; the wolf’s friend Tamlin, the Lord of Spring, comes to collect Feyre as a debt for his friend’s murder. While she initially hates everything about the Fae and the Spring Lands, she and Tamlin eventually fall in love, and she sacrifices everything to save him and rescue him from a terrible evil that’s spreading across the land. From there, the world expands into a larger and more complex battle to save not only the Fae but the whole world. The underlying threat of war is constant, but the most vital part of the series is the relationships Feyre builds with her friends and loved ones. The vast majority of the characters are vastly likeable, and you really want to see their relationships grow and change. 

Why You Should Read Them: High fantasy for teens done well is SO hard to find, particularly ones that balance extremely structured plots and rules with engaging characters and dialogue! Feyre and Celaena are delightful and deeply flawed protagonists, and Maas truly allows for them to embrace their contradictions. Romances are believable and swoon-worthy if a bit overwritten. Any examination of conflict in either series really examines the costs of war on civilians. There are a lot of very handsome elves. 

Reasons You Might Not Want To Read Them: They are definitely not Clean Reads! There is a fair amount of thoroughly-described sex in both series (particularly A Court of Thorns and Roses) and characters often curse, so readers looking for something squeaky clean will not find it here (conversely, maybe this is EXACTLY what some of your library’s readers are looking for!). There are not many LGBT+ characters in either series, and the ones that are there are exceedingly minor roles or not fully fleshed out. There are more characters of color than many other fantasy series, but white is nearly always the default, particularly with the principle characters. There are graphically described scenes of injuries from battles and physical abuse that are at times painful to read. 

Verdict: While they definitely are not for everyone, they are really popular with good reason! I’m not generally a fan of high fantasy, but I’ve had a blast reading these and so have a lot of the teens I’ve worked with! There are plenty of moments in which you have to suspend your disbelief, but it never really feels like a burden to do so. 
Looking for more Sarah J. Maas? She’s coming out with a book in August through the DC Icons series–Catwoman: Soulstealer. 

BIO: Kelsey Socha is a youth services librarian on the South Shore of Massachusetts. She is already to discuss books and programming for children and teens. In her spare time, she enjoys watching television with her cat and learning to play roller derby. You can find her at @kelseysocha on Twitter.