The author/monkey speaks


henryHi, folks. Because I’m no longer doing children’s work in libraries, and have felt myself drifting further away from children’s work, I’m ending this blog.

I have lots more to say, but I think I will be saying things about the future of libraries that are more general, and all-ages, in nature. Come back soon, and I hope to have some new stuff to share.

We’re in an interesting spot in public libraries now. Books are definitely not as important to American culture as they were when I began my career as a librarian in 1975. Electronic media now dominate most aspects of our intellectual and entertainment lives in the way printed matter once did, and the portion of our lives taken up by electronic media will only grow larger as the years pass. Is this wrong? Is this bad? No, I don’t think so, as long as each new generation learns how to be literate and make judgments about what they read, see, and hear.

What I see in many public libraries right now is a place in which people who can’t afford broadband Internet can get it for free, 30 minutes or 45 minutes or an hour at a time. While providing this service is a good thing, it leaves many of us librarians feeling a bit overtrained as we unclog a printer or demonstrate how to log into an e-mail account. Where are the old-fashioned reference questions we were educated to answer? I see them rarely now.

We need to unveil and be able to explain clearly to our users what it is that we do, and why it’s important. As I’ve said in these posts several times, I know why I do what I do for a living: I think literacy is crucial. Too many folks don’t have it, or don’t have enough of its multiple skills to use it well. Everyone needs to share literacy, to drink the word in deeply. I hope the library profession continues to believe that literacy is the reason we all have jobs.

Later, folks.

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henryGet back to it and just do it – know what I mean? Hey folks – I know I went AWOL for a while. I needed a break, plus there’s been plenty happening in my 3-D life. But it was time, I realized, to either fold up this blog or to get busy and post, and I’m not ready to quit yet. I’m going to do my best to post stuff on a more regular basis, and I’ve been working hard on my ukulele playing, so I hope to have more uke materials to share soon.

Thanks, W (the Monkey)

Austin TXHi, folks… that is, if anyone is still reading this blog. (I hope so!) The reason I haven’t posted anything for a week or so is that I have been moving. In late January I resigned my job at New York Public Library.

I now live in Austin, TX (take a look at that pyramidal skyline – in its smaller way, it’s more monumental than New York City’s – except that I miss the Chrysler Building), and will soon be working at the Austin Public Library.

Why? A little while ago, my wife, Celia Holm, who also worked at New York Public Library, grew tired of NYC mania and got a job as a youth librarian at the Spicewood Springs Branch of APL. I planned to follow her down there soon, but remained in New York for a while, waiting for jobs in Austin to open up. Staying there wasn’t my preference; I missed Celia, and a long-distance marriage is not much fun. The time had come to leave NYC, after eight and a half years there.

So here I am in Austin. And here I am back posting again. And Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Henry, our monkey hostAs you can see (unless you read this blog through an RSS feed), there’s a new header graphic, with a new monkey. I had been looking for years for a Steiff monkey hand puppet, and (hooray) I finally found one on eBay.

These Steiff monkeys have, I think, a certain personality about them – a tongue-in-cheek quirkiness that┬áreally appeals to me. I plan to use Henry (for so I have named him) for various purposes in the blog in the future, so watch out for him in some graphics as time goes by.

He may even find some part-time work in storytimes.

After having a blog briefly in the past, I’m back at it again. I want to promote some discussion about the present and future of children’s services in libraries. I hope to include issues such as programming, technology, how libraries serve both kids and parents, teachers, and other adults who care about children. While my main experience has been in public libraries, I’m interested in any place or topic in which the lives of children intersect with libraries.

What I won’t be dealing with much is children’s books. I love children’s literature–hey, I read more children’s books than adult books, plus I review books for School Library Journal. But there are already bunches of blogs out there that review and discuss children’s books, and we probably don’t need another one.

That said, let’s go. –W