What is the point of books?

I am a White woman, a book lover, and a librarian. I believe in the power of books. I started a book/discussion group for local White moms in response to the public and brutal killings of Black people across the nation. During past protests and responses to police killings, I have made booklists for children and parents at my library. This article, by Tre Johnson, has me reflecting on that impulse and what it achieves. Titled “When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs,” it discusses how White people look for performative responses to the death of Black people, such as book clubs. Of course I believe books are vitally important. I wouldn’t do this work if I didn’t. However, if we’re looking at reading alone as a solution to injustice, we’re not going to get anywhere. If libraries assert, as they have for so long,…

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

Information literacy for parents in comics

Since switching over to working as an academic librarian at a community college, there’s a lot of focus on information literacy. It got me thinking, as a parent who has struggled to navigate parenting information, about ways that we can make that accessible to parents. For instance, while I was a children’s librarian, I felt it was important to address the vaccine issue by hosting a panel of health experts and discussing it with parents from an information/health literacy perspective. I made these two comics that cover some basic information literacy concepts. Hopefully, they are useful to your patrons, especially as people are navigating COVID-19 information. To read Michael Caufield’s ebook, click here. Lisa Nowlain is an artist and librarian. After working as a youth librarian at Darien Library and Nevada County Community Library, she now works at Sierra College as part-time faculty in the library.

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

Goodbye, youth librarianship!

My last day here at Nevada County is Friday. I couldn’t get them to give me a part-time position (even temporarily), and the inflexibility has been really tough on me as a new parent- and there was some other issues with a promotion I was supposed to get. Either way, my partner works full-time and we can afford to work a little less, so I’m looking for another job. Because I live in a rural county, I’m assuming that I don’t have other options for youth librarianship. I’ve been thinking a lot about the validation I’m getting for this decision, all of which is coming from a place of patrons supporting me, but I think speaks to a cultural issue we have in the US around women at work. In a position so dominated by people who identify as women, I think there is value in us thinking about what…

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

What made me read?

The new Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report was released last month, and it has some interesting statistics in it. For instance: “Three critical measures of a school-aged child’s (ages 6–17) relationship with reading have remained fairly steady since 2010. In the seventh edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report: -Fifty-eight percent say they love or like reading books for fun. -Fifty-two percent agree reading books for fun is extremely or very important. -Thirty-one percent read books for fun 5–7 days a week (known as frequent readers); 41% of kids read for fun 1–4 days a week (known as moderately frequent readers); 28% of kids read for fun less than 1 day a week (known as infrequent readers).” “In the past two years, both kids and parents are less likely to say that when picking a children’s book to read for fun, the type of book doesn’t matter, it…