Monthly Archives: December 2009

Switching shelves…are you a J or YA? Sometimes I wonder…..


I finished reading a good mystery, Vanishing Girl by Shane Peacock, a Canadian author.  It’s the 3rd in the ‘The Boy Sherlock Holmes’ mystery series.  The young Holmes is 13, orphaned in the consequences of the 1st two books – The Eye of the Crow and Death in the Air – and is coming into his own as a detective, albeit a poor adolesent, hardly walking among the aristocrats yet in his short history.  This book is marked a ‘J’ book, meaning juvenile.  After reading I got a little bit greedy and thought, “Why is this a  J book?  The text is rather complex as is the story.  This seems like a good fit for an early YA, meaning young adult, title.”  So, I start looking.  I look at the author’s website, I look at Amazon and the reviews, I look at the CLAMS and OLCN systems to see where other libraries have the series shelved.  OK, now I go to to see what real readers are saying about it and the other titles.  I am convincing myself that it will be discreetly ‘lifted’ from J and gently enfolded into the YA collection.  How easy was that?  Not so much actually.  There are tougher books out there that are a harder peg to find a square to fit.  I have taken some books from YA and reversed their lives so the titles are now in J.  Yes, readers are becoming more sophisticated.  In this little bit I am NOT going to talk about those books that, heavens, have torrid, lurid, evil, violent, putrid, maniacal darkness, possibly ‘adult’ themes that are lying comfortably in the Young Adult section….I wait for those to be brought to me and hope for the question, “Does this really belong in a public Library or in this section?”  You do have to look at those titles, too.  But not in this little ditty.  No, book readership chimeras are real….one 6th grader’s book is another 8th grader’s, too; and one 11th grader’s book is another 35 year old mom’s ‘can’t put this down’ story.  It IS difficult at times to give a book it’s proper or most useful location (most are easy by the way).  I hope that anyone who has read a book and wondered, “What the….that book is SO sitting in the wrong section”, can calmly and logically approach the nearest likely librarian and offer your educated opinion.  The Library is not built on opinions, per se, but opinions matter…daily. Back to Sherlock…good series.  If you are a mystery fan, do read this one.  No Watson yet but Irene Doyle is already a part of young Holmes life. With the new Sherlock Holmes movie coming out, perhaps your interest in this master detective will be peaked.  Check out the podcasts on Shane’s website from CBC radio.



You are the chosen people, you Reluctant Readers.  Shakespeare is re-written in graphic novel form for you; vampires are coming out of the walls to appear on the pages of books to entice you to read; worlds are INVENTED and grown like spores in a petri dish for YOU…you, Reluctant Reader, are the SUBJECT of books.  You, Reluctant Reader, are the  the despair of parents and teachers (but still much loved) and the hope of many a would be and present writer. LISTS of books are compiled with you in mind.  Everybody wants a piece of your time, the piece devoted to reading. YOU should feel very, very lucky.  We lost a few of you when Harry Potter came around.  That wiped out thousands if not millions of Reluctant Readers, both boys and girls.  Yes, there are Reluctant Reader girls, too.  I don’t even think I need to ‘define’ the Reluctant Reader….you just have better things to do OR reading is a chore for one reason or another and you are NOT your brother who reads six books a week OR, even better, why read a book when you’ve got a computer that takes you into worlds and worlds of stuff.  Yeah, I know there are legitimate reasons to be a Reluctant Reader.  AND, sorry to say (but not really) that you are a TARGET of authors, teachers, librarians, miscellaneous reading fanatics who THINK, ok, they KNOW that reading is essential.  Well, Reluctant Reader, you are among the chosen because of your label. I would keep that label even when you find that series, author or magazine that just floors you and you can’t stop reading what it is you are reading because it is just too good to let go.  Don’t let on that you are no longer a Reluctant Reader, just savor the amount of attention lavished on your seeming lack of  interest in the written word. Keep that flashlight handy for after lights out reading.  Hide the book deep in your locker.  Forget that graphic novels, manga and anime and even comic books COUNT as reading material.  YOU ARE THE RELUCTANT READER and will accept any and all offerings to entice you to read, but don’t let on it’s working.  When, at some point, you can no longer claim legitimately the title of Reluctant Reader, be generous and accept your fate.  It wasn’t easy being catered to…but it was nice.  Maybe YOU can do the same for some other Reluctant Reader coming up in the ranks.

ANOTHER WICKED GOOD CONTEST? Artists & Taggers, take a look….


This is exciting….I received an email from Anne Hrobsky of the Worcester Public Library just today.  Evidently, a Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award is on the horizon (like the Massachuett’s Children’s Book Award) and the committee is searching for ART WORK…A GREAT LOGO… FOR THE AWARD.  I’ll post more details as they come along.  I think it would be a great opportunity for students who are interested in design. Right?  Here are the basic rules and regs.  I’ll have copies available in the Teen Reads area by Friday.  Pencil up!


Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award Logo Contest Rules

 Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award is looking for an image to use as a logo on the webpage and other award related publications.

  • Participants are limited to all teens ages 12 -18 years old, residing or attending school in Massachusetts.
  • Entries may be made in either paper or digital medium.
  • Finished paper size should be no larger than 11” x 17”. Logo will be reduced in size to 2” x 3” or 2” x 2”.
  • Logo should be submitted in color as it will be used on posters, webpage, bookmarks, etc.
  • Digital artwork must be high resolution and submitted in .jpg, .gif, and .png format.
  • Entries must be submitted with completed entry/release form between November 1, 2009 and January 31, 2010.
  • Forms and artwork must be submitted at the same time.
  • Incomplete entries will not be accepted. It is the teen’s responsibility to make sure entries are complete.
  • Artists must submit their entries to:

Maureen Ambrosino, Youth Consultant

Central Massachusetts Regional Library System

8 Flagg Road

Shrewsbury, MA 01545

  • The MTCBA Committee will select 5 finalists. Teens will select the winning logo through an online poll.
  • This contest will have one winner, and a prize will be awarded to the winning artist.
  • The name of the artist (and any subjects) may be used in promotional materials.
  • The artist must not break any copyright laws. It is the artist’s responsibility to determine if any elements of their design are copyrighted.
  • Obscene artwork will not be accepted.
  • Entries that do not comply with these rules will be disqualified.


Email submissions:

  • Print out a copy of your artwork.

Attach a copy of the entry/release form to the printout as verification, and snail mail it to Maureen Ambrosino at the above address.