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The powers of the Librarian of Congress

June 20, 2015

I’m still fascinated by the open position(as of January) for the Librarian of Congress. According to an online technology article from June 18th issue of the the Atlantic, this will be the first librarian appointed since the invention of the web. The position is thought of as “one of the best titles in government”, and the Librarian has considerable power. He or she will be in charge of the largest library in the world, and ultimately oversees thousands of staff. The position also carries with it the responsibility of supervising the Copyright Office. The Librarian possesses ultimate power over copyright violations, which was not an issue in 1987 when Billington was elected, but is much more important in today’s world. The new Librarian will also face a backlog of materials to be digitized, an issue of which Billington has been criticized, for not keeping up with the demand to have materials readily available to the online community. And the suspense continues…

Librarian of Congress

June 17, 2015

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, has chosen to retire as of January 1st of 2016, and President Obama must choose Billlington’s replacement. Only by retirement or death does the Librarian leave his post once elected. President Obama joins a list of only 10 presidents who have had the honor of choosing a new Librarian of Congress. According to the NY Times, many names are being tossed around, including college presidents: Harvard’s Drew Gilpin Faust, and Wesleyan’s Michael S. Roth. Were the president to pick a librarian to head the Library of Congress, he may possibly consider the president of NYPL, Anthony W. Marx, or the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero. But he also has the choice of choosing a management professional, another historian, or a former politician. Read the June 12, 2015 issue in the section of politics to find out more information. It will be interesting to see who is chosen to succeed Mr. Billington.

YA Books-to-Movies Adaptations Coming Summer 2015

June 13, 2015

The 4 most popular are:

        

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” “Paper Towns,” “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” and “Scorch Trials.”

We hope the movies are as good as the books!

Remember: always read the book first; then see the movie!!

Transgender Children’s Books

June 7, 2015

In the “New York Times” on Sunday, June 7, 2015, Alexandra Alter’s article “Transgender Children’s Books Breaking a Taboo” explored this topic.  Children’s and young adult books have covered almost every subject facing society in today’s world.  Books for young people on rape, drug abuse, sex trafficking, etc. have been available for a long time.  Books on being transgender are, according to Alter, the last taboo in the children’s publishing world.  Recently, several new books have been published which address the issue.  Many have been well received.

Probably the first book on being transgender that was issued by a major publisher was “Luna,” which was released in 2004.  It was the story of a teenage girl whose brother wants to be a girl.  Since then more than 50 novels with transgender characters have been published, most for young adult readers.9780316011273_p0_v1_s114x166

In November, 2014, Disney Hyperion published “Gracefully Grayson,” which was aimed at the 8-to-12 year old audience.  This novel is about a sixth-grade boy who feels like a girl.  This book marked the opening on a new audience for transgender literature.

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In August, Scholastic will join the growing list of publishers marketing transgender books to the middle-grade group.  “George” is the story of a book who knows he is a girl but doesn’t know how to tell his family and friends.  The publisher stated that it initially faced resistance from teachers and librarians, who weren’t sure that third and fourth graders were ready for this discussion.  After receiving positive feedback, Scholastic decided to increase its first printing to 50,000 copies.

Other publishers and authors, as well, will be closing monitoring the acceptance of books like “George.”  It does, however, seem that there will be more books to help, in the words of two transgender authors, “fill the void that they felt as young readers.”

“Dead Water”

June 4, 2015

Dead Water (Shetland Island Quartet #5) by Ann Cleeves. This is #5 in the Shetland Island series. (#6 “Thin Air” is just being released). Another location, cozy mystery set in the Shetland Islands starring police detective Jimmy Perez. He has been on leave since the last novel, since his fiancee was killed and he has been entrusted to help raise the 7 year-old daughter she left behind.  “Dead Water” begins with the dead body of a journalist found in a boat. Soon after the body of John Henderson, to be married in 6 days, is discovered. Evie was the girlfriend and fiancee of both men. What is the connection to the deaths of the two men? Jimmy reluctantly comes out of his self-imposed leave to help track down the killers.  Under the watch of a new female detective, Willow, Jimmy knows the island ways and people and finds ways to get people to talk that noone else can.

Ann Cleeves’ novels have been made into a popular TV series in England (Vera Stanhope starring Brenda Blethyn). I hear a TV series of the Shetland books is in the makings, too. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith might enjoy Cleeves’ novels as well.


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