Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest, Cynthia Bartek!
Seen here with the amazing author Libba Bray. (Okay I’m a little jealous of this photo, Cynthia).
The SkinnyI’m one of the Librarians at Becker Library, which serves St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. St. Stephen’s is a private school that instructs students in grades 6-12.
I love playing “matchmaker” for readers with books! Nothing is more satisfying than finding just the right book for either a reluctant or a voracious reader. I also love working with our Middle School students in the Computer Lab on their Information Literacy skills.
A Lion’s Pride of Programs
We love to sponsor students at local events and conferences. Becker Library regularly registers and chaperons students at the Texas Library Association “Texas Teensfor Libraries” Day, otherwise known as TT4L. A posse of our students gets to attend as special guests for the day, visit the exhibitors’ showroom, and get VIP access to prominent YA authors!
We also sponsor students to serve as greeters and escorts for visiting YA authors at the Austin Teen Book Festival, a growing local event which saw over 3,000 attendees this year!
Becker Library is happy to join with our fabulous committee in hosting our semi-annual Literary Festival, which brings our whole student body into contact with all sorts of people who use writing in their careers: novelists, journalists, songwriters, bloggers, and historians, among others!
Once a month, our Librarians gather up some of our best and coolest new books and display them in the Middle School building, so that any student can browse and check out books on the spot! We call it “Booked for Lunch,” and it’s a great way for kids to mingle over reading material. Word of mouth from peers is the best way to get things circulating.
Readers Roar! Let’s Hear From the Kids!
“A book is like a roller coaster ride, you read it and want to read it again.” Audryanna, 6th grade
“The library is like Wonderland where we are Alicewith a new discovery around each corner.” Kali, 8th grade
“I like the library- the knowledge just seems to seep out of these books and into our minds.” – Hallie, 11th grade
“Upperclassmen like the library because we get the comfy couches.” – Larkin, 11thgrade
“The library is a great place to chill with my friends.” – Gavin, 7th grade
“I like funny books; they make me laugh and help me find my next good joke.” – Andrew, 8th grade
Once, a group of students set up hidden speakers in the library shelves and tuned each of the computers to the same YouTube video so that when we walked in, we were surrounded by the sounds of monkey chatter, elephant trumpets, lion roars, and a general animal cacophony. It was like walking into our own private jungle!
Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is popular because it’s one we recommend a lot(!) and because it contains enough action to satisfy those Hunger Games readers who are searching for a read-alike. It also appeals to both male and female readers.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Well, for one thing, it’s by JOHN GREEN! He has a huge online following; his vlog is wonderfully quirky and informative, and his writing is stellar. He captures the teen voice better than anyone I can think of.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is in demand because of the current movie tie-in. Our Upper School students are passing this book around a lot, and it’s an upcoming selection for readers in our Literary Society, which is a student-run reading group.
The perfect author visit can be either in person or via Skype. In fact, a Skype session with wonderful author Laurie Halse Anderson at a recent Literary Festival at our school pretty much fits the definition! She was candid and open with the students. She took a photo of us and tweeted it while we were in session! We had a warm and genuine dialogue, and she even took the time to ask the name of each student who asked her a question. She’s a real advocate for youth and is honest and fearless when discussing her writing.
Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
As part of the Library’s outreach, I have developed an Information Literacy class for our 6th graders, which is part of our curriculum and runs all school year. We cover all sorts of 21st Century library skills and learn how to use databases, cite sources, evaluate websites, and stay safe on the Internet as good digital citizens!
Blog (s): http://blogs.sstx.org/library/
Library Website: https://www.sstx.org/library?rc=1
Thank you, Cynthia! Your school library sounds terrific! We’re here to Roar for Libraries and to create a space for librarians to share their amazing youth programs.
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Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Email Janet on the Contact page on this website for an interview.