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From Boing Boing:
In Kansas, 9-year-old Spencer Collins has been told by authorities that he must stop sharing books with his neighbors, and close the little free library in his yard. Its slogan was "take a book, leave a book," but city government is mostly about the taking.
Collins loves reading. He doesn't just dive into a book -- he swims through its pages. "It's kind of like I'm in a whole other world and I like that," he said. "I like adventure stories because I'm in the adventure and it's fun."
When he tried to share his love for books, it started a surprisingly frustrating adventure.
"When we got home from vacation, there was a letter from the city of Leawood saying that it was in code violation and it needed to be down by the 19th or we would receive a citation," said Spencer's mother, Sarah Collins. The Bookcase was considered an illegal accessory building."
Worldreader, headquartered in San Francisco but with offices in Barcelona, Accra, and Nairobi, was co-founded in 2009 by former Amazon.com executive David Risher and Colin McElwee. The genesis of the non-profit was predicated on two simple notions:
Everyone should have access to books.
Technological advances are quickly making digital books cheaper and easier to distribute in more scalable ways than physical books.
David and Colin spent a year or so preparing, gathered some Kindles, and in March 2010 went to Ghana to test the idea with twenty students.
L.A. Unified paid for library staff in every school before the recession began in 2008. Today, it provides librarians in high schools but leaves most elementary and middle school campuses to make tough choices on whether to use their limited discretionary funds on library aides, nurses, counselors or other key staff.
Since 2011, the union has alleged that L.A. Unified laid off their members, then illegally allowed parent volunteers, instructional aides and others to do their work at nearly four dozen campuses. The district issued a bulletin last year clarifying that library work can be performed only by those with proper credentials, but the union asserts that violations are still occurring. Without trained staff to make sure books are properly checked out, returned and refiled, she said, thousands have gone missing.
Aiming to stem the problems, the Los Angeles Board of Education recently agreed to form a districtwide task force to seek ways to improve access to school libraries with more dollars, alternative arrangements and collaboration with other public libraries and charitable organizations.
From The Chicago Sun-Times: A beautiful new library opened last week in Humboldt Park for the 800 students of Daniel R. Cameron Elementary School. Puffy pillows await children for story time; new chairs sit at brand new tables, and shelves of books line the long, light-filled room. Quotes from children’s literature adorn the freshly painted walls. “Let the wild rumpus start!” reads one from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”
A very grateful Cameron community celebrated the opening with Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who praised the room as “absolutely amazing” and told children that libraries were her favorite place as a girl.
“You are fortunate now to have a library,” Byrd-Bennett said at Thursday’s festive ribbon-cutting. “We know you’re going to be successful because you have this precious resource.”
But still, 252 of the 527 Chicago Public Schools that are staffed by union teachers lack a librarian, and 18 more schools have just a part-time librarian, according to the Chicago Teachers Union. By CPS’ count of 658 schools, which includes charters, 517 schools have libraries, according to district spokesman Joel Hood, who did not provide a count of librarians.
Here's [PDF] the Materials Review Committee Reconsideration of Materials Summary for 2013 from the Toronto Public Libraries... It lists a complaint against Hop on Pop... Encourages children to use violence against their fathers: Remove from collection and issue an apology to fathers in the GTA and pay for damages resulting from the book. "The children are actually told not to hop on pop. "
This is a tragedy.
From The Miami Herald: Squeezed by tax cuts, Florida’s largest library system can’t buy nearly the number of children’s books it used to.
Countywide, Miami-Dade libraries budgeted about $90,000 for children’s books this year, a fraction of the $1.3 million the system spent in 2005 and about 60 percent below the $210,000 budget in place just three years ago.
Here's the story via Melville House about a three year old childrens book that is ruffling some French feathers.
In a country where the banning of books is rare and mostly unheard of, France has recently experienced a spate of attacks by its politicians on the most liberal of French children’s books. Right-wing and even mainstream politicians have begun calling for the censorship of certain books in a trend that seems to reflect that “the domestic political system in France is under strain”, as Olivia Snaije noted for Publishing Perspectives.
In the most public example, the leader of the UMP, France’s main opposition party (which was previously led by President Nicolas Sarkozy), Jean-François Copé, appeared on French TV holding a copy of Tous à Poil (Everybody Gets Naked). Surely one of the sweetest ideas for a children’s book, Tous à Poil is a story in which everyone, the baby, the babysitter, the neighbour, the teacher and even the CEO get naked. The book’s authors, Claire Franek and Marc Daniau, explained they had written it in in order to show:
“Real bodies in natural situations from a child’s everyday life to counter the numerous images of bodies, often undressed, altered by Photoshop or plastic surgery, that are shown in ads or on the covers of magazines.”
From The New York Times:
Patricia Ann Kettles did not read her first book until she was 10. She knows what it is to struggle with the very act of reading, trying to make sense of words on a page long past an age when other children can polish off a thick Harry Potter or Twilight novel as quickly as a wedge of cake.
Now 40, at the library on Staten Island where she presides and where patrons know her fondly as “Miss Patty,” she talked recently about what it was like to be illiterate while others around her were devouring entire worlds.
“The family’s name for me is Patty Ann, and for the longest time when I wrote the name ‘Patricia,’ I thought I was writing ‘Patty Ann’ because I had memorized it,” she said. “I didn’t realize I was not writing my right name.”
Forced to repeat first grade and twice made to switch schools, she was so lost that she was in fourth grade before she conquered an entire book. “That was ‘Dear Mr. Henshaw,’ by Beverly Cleary,” Ms. Kettles said. “I remember, because I was so proud.”
Today she is the manager of the Port Richmond Library, which operates out of a stately brick edifice that Andrew Carnegie’s largess built a century ago on “one of the finest residence streets on Staten Island,” as the area was described in The Staten Islander of March 1905. There is a theater in the basement bestowed upon the library 74 years ago by the Work Projects Administration.