Monday, October 31, 2016

Grogger Todd Burleson Meets The 14th Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden!

One of the phenomenal bonuses to being named the 2016 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year is the way it has opened several new doors to me.

One of those doors was meeting the newly installed Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden!  Dr. Hayden has already, in just five short weeks, transformed the stodgy perception office of the Librarian of Congress. 
 She started a Twitter feed and had over 18,000 followers by the end of the first week.  She remained true to her roots as a children's librarian and is actively seeking insight and feedback from all levels of support within and outside of the LOC.  When she agreed to meet with me on the same weekend as the School Library Journal Summit, I nearly burst with excitement. 

Dr. Hayden's office is actually in the Madison Building, which is across the street from the Library of Congress.  

While I was touring the Library of Congress, I had a chance to see the 'Ceremonial' office of the Librarian of Congress, which is in the main Library building. This Italian inspired wooden paneled office reminded me of the Oval office.  Dr. Hayden had just recently opened it to the public for the very first time.  

Another mark of Dr. Hayden's term in office was the completion of the carving of her name in the wall as the 14th Librarian of Congress.  They had just added the gold to the carving the day before. I tweeted a photo of the wall and she tweeted back to me.

Dr. Hayden greeted me with a giant hug and as we walked into her main office she clung to me like a mom or a grandmother would do.  We spent the next 45 minutes chatting about libraries, the SLJ award, the state of STEAM education in America and what's next for school libraries.  She was an amazing listener.  I kept trying to pull the conversation back to her and her work and she turned it right back to me.  She was warm, inviting and kind.  I felt like she and I had been friends for years.  

She briefly reflected on her time in Chicago, her work to renew the Library of Congress and her desire to continue to be on the cutting edge of what's coming.  

She actually invited me to be on an advisory board with her for bringing not just STEAM but adding the 'R' for reading to the equation; that would make it STREAM!.  I immediately said, "YES!"

 Too soon it was time to go; I could tell she had a very busy day planned.  Frankly, I was impressed that she took as much time with me as she did.  She was, after all, only in her fourth week!  

It was an incredible visit, one that I will never forget. Hopefully, this will not be my last.  
Later in the day, I got the above tweet, where she called ME a rockstar!  You're doing something right when the world's most important librarian is calling YOU a rockstar!
I am eager to be part of her plans to continue to help the Library of Congress and libraries around the world to evolve!  Thank YOU, Dr. Hayden!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In Her Book Store With Annie B. Jones

by J.G. Annino

This is my first interview here at our Group Blog with
a bookstore owner. I am excited to introduce
Annie B. Jones, of The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Ga.

 I met Annie when she helped her area's public library
put on its annual author extravaganza. I have enjoyed
getting to know her even more, ever since as she's
traveled down the road into Florida for book events here.

Prediction: this young woman is likely to become famous 
within her field. How many bookstore entrepreneurs have
 invited everyone who could fit, to a sit-down dinner 
among the books, eating fine food on family china?
Annie has. The picture is at her store blog.

What are some of your more popular categories of
children's books? Animal topics? Sports? Nature?

Children's picture books of all kinds are our most popular,
perhaps because they're not quite the same when read 
electronically (their beautiful illustrations look best in print!).
Books with imaginative protagonists, animals, and fairy tales
seem to attract the most little hands

Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, Ga. (Left.)
Irene Latham, visiting children's author (Right.)

Can you share a few specific titles of The Bookshelf's

most-selling children's books? 

The Adventures of Beetle
The Princess and the Giant
I Want My Hat Back
This Is Not My Hat
The Book with No Pictures  
any book we use for story time
often does really well.

How do you decide which children's books to order?

 Our children's manager Rebekah creates draft orders
for all of our children's picture books, middle reader titles

 and YA selections. She's got great taste, and I follow
along behind her and add any titles I think we'll need.

We base our orders on our own personal tastes (Rebekah
leans more toward fantasy, and I lean toward more
realistic fiction) and on customer feedback -- including
 feedback from children and teenagers who love
The Bookshelf as much as we do. 

Our sales reps for different publishing companies
are also great at recommending new titles. 

 Have you ever missed a title & then realized, due to
customer requests or other indications, you needed that
children's title in the shop?  Which ones?

Absolutely! This happens mostly with older titles
 (The Paper Bag Princess
 Each Peach, Pear, Plum)
 We're pretty good about stocking new, fun, current
 titles, but sometimes we forget about the classics!

Our customers are great about telling us their favorite
 older titles, and those often become bestsellers for us. 
People still love classics for baby showers and gifts, and
we're happy to accept and order customer suggestions!

What are three favorite non-book items, that are bought
for children at the bookshelf? (Candy counts!)

We try to stock imaginative, educational toys at
The Bookshelf, and they do really well for us. 
Magnetic play sets and colorful flashcards by Eeboo are great,
 and we carry these awesome super hero capes, 
masks, and tutus from Everfan -- an imaginative play 
company based in Thomasville. It's so fun to watch kids 
try on the capes and roam around the store.
Puzzles are also big!

 Spooky season is here, so can you share any 
popular store titles for pumpkin & fun-scary times?

 The Old Woman Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything
Big Pumpkin
Eek! Halloween
Owl Babies (more fall than Halloween)
Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin.


Care to share some favorite titles from your child days?

Children's books really do have the power to create
lifelong readers. I remember my favorite chapter books more than
I remember my favorite books: Caddie Woodlawn,
The Boxcar Children, Harriet the Spy, Bloomability,
Grandpa's Mountain, Emily of New Moon,
An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins,
Anne of Green Gables... honestly,
 I could go on for days. 

That's a great closing line, Annie B. Jones, because 
fortunately you do go on for days and days in your very 
own lovely bookshop of new & recommended volumes. 
Brava! for being where you shine.
To visit The Bookshelf from afar-

Dip into a lively blog there, in which Annie discusses books on screens.

See their national honor nomination (Of course, I voted for Annie & The Bookshelf!-Jan)

Appreciations to Annie B. Jones who is living her very own Kathleen Kelly-inspired dream as the owner of The Bookshelf, an independent bookstore in downtown Thomasville, Georgia. An avid reader since childhood, Annie loves matching her customers with the perfect book.