Libraries Are for Everyone

A moving video about all libraries do for everyone in their communities:

Libraries are for readers, for the young and old, for people who are searching for jobs, for people who are learning new languages, for people who are new to their communities, for people who can’t leave their homes, for people who need some help, for people who want to share their knowledge.

Libraries are for everyone.

Let’s make sure our libraries get the support they deserve.

Turning the Page for Library Support

An awesome video about the Toronto Public Library system and why it needs support.

I think most public libraries (or school libraries for that matter) could say the same. Every so often I see articles about how libraries are dying and how they’re not necessary anymore, but they continue to be a vital resource for their communities–for readers, for families, for educators, for students of all ages, etc. Now more than ever, we need our libraries.

(via bookshelves of doom)

Be an English Major

Fellow Candlewick YA writer and one of my favorite 2014 debut authors, Sarah Combs, recently sent me this article about why English majors matter. Needless to say, my heart swelled with bookish pride. For example:

“The English major is, first of all, a reader. She’s got a book pup-tented in front of her nose many hours a day; her Kindle glows softly late into the night. But there are readers and there are readers. There are people who read to anesthetize themselves—they read to induce a vivid, continuous, and risk-free daydream. They read for the same reason that people grab a glass of chardonnay—to put a light buzz on. The English major reads because, as rich as the one life he has may be, one life is not enough. He reads not to see the world through the eyes of other people but effectively to become other people. What is it like to be John Milton, Jane Austen, Chinua Achebe? What is it like to be them at their best, at the top of their games?

English majors want the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of people who—let us admit it—are more sensitive, more articulate, shrewder, sharper, more alive than they themselves are. The experience of merging minds and hearts with Proust or James or Austen makes you see that there is more to the world than you had ever imagined. You see that life is bigger, sweeter, more tragic and intense—more alive with meaning than you had thought.”

The whole article is fantastic. Edmundson defends not only the act of reading, as above, but also the act of writing and how deft handling of language allows us to “not merely to represent the world but to interpret it.” Isn’t every other major or career made better by the ability to represent and interpret the world and its ideas? Definitely click through to read the rest.

I’m a former English major and, even though people often make jokes about how unemployable we are and how useless it is to “sit around and read,” I can think of nothing more valuable than understanding language and being sensitive to the human experience. My English major certainly helped me get jobs (with health benefits!) and has made me a more thoughtful person overall.

Also, I gave a little cheer when I saw that the article writer was, in fact, Mark Edmundson, professor at the University of Virginia, my beloved alma mater. (Woohoo, English department!)

Thanks again to Sarah for sharing such an inspiring article! (And guys, you are totally going to want to read her book, Breakfast Served Anytime when it comes out next spring.)

Every Bean Matters

Not exactly writing related, but a lovely video by Ze Frank featuring a whole lot of jelly beans:

Of course this reminded me of Our Town and Mrs. Dalloway (because everything reminds me of Our Town and Mrs. Dalloway). Our lives are filled with all of these seemingly insignificant jelly bean moments. Make each jelly bean count–not necessarily by climbing Mount Everest or saving orphans from fire (okay, at least call 911)–but by appreciating and recognizing each bean. We only have so many beans and we need to appreciate them while we can.

This week, let’s try to acknowledge and appreciate our beans as much as possible.

Remember, Honor, Share

Today in the US marks Memorial Day, during which we remember and pay tribute to men and women who died in the armed forces. Amber Lough, one of my favorite 2014 debut authors and a former First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, has a beautiful post up about what it means to remember and honor those lost in service.

For me, Amber’s post is also a reminder of how important it is to share stories. Some veterans might find it hard to talk about their experiences; some might not be around to share those experiences themselves. But I appreciate when people like Amber can talk a little about what she and others experienced and how it changed them. I’m so glad Amber is sharing stories now, both from her own life (as in her blog post) and from her imagination (as in her awesome novel).

Make sure to check out Amber’s post. Sending love to all feeling loss on Memorial Day.

Be a Bookish Kid

Updates from NESCBWI coming when my brain isn’t fried, but first, a lovely video about why we should all be bookish kids, no matter how old we are:

I love the idea of everyone processing their own story and realizing the expanse of possibilities through reading. Maybe you’re not going to tesser to other planets and save your dad from a giant brain, but you can still better process your own life and the lives of those around you having learned about  Meg Murry’s expansive love and bravery. All kinds of art can show you the possibilities of other stories, but I think there’s something to be said for reading in particular–it’s intimate and personal while still being expansive.