Monday, 28 October 2013

Teen Read Week

Annapolis Valley Regional Library (AVRL) branches will celebrate Teen Read Week October 28-November 2, 2013 with special events and programs aimed at encouraging teens around the area to read for the fun of it. Teen Read Week is a time to celebrate reading for fun while encouraging teens to take advantage of reading in all its forms —books, magazines, e-books, audiobooks and more! It is also a great opportunity to encourage teens to become regular library users.

The libraries at AVRL  have some great events planned, including a Carnival just for teens at our Annapolis Royal, Berwick, Middleton, and Port Williams libraries. Games, photo booth, prizes, and snacks await! GirlPower, a program for girls ages 10-15, will be held at four of our library branches. Our Bridgetown branch is throwing a Harry Potter Party, and in Kentville teens are invited to A Night in Paris. There’s also a contest planned for the week—check out a Teen Read Week display book and be entered to win a “Big Bag o’ YA” books and treats.  And starting November 1, we will offer LIVE online Homework Help from Teens can get help with Math, English, Science and more from expert tutors online. 

Stop by your local library this week to see what's going on! You can print out the week's activities here.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

It's OK to Read YA

More and more, adults are reading novels written and published for the YA (Young Adult) market. This blog post is a companion piece to a presentation that I am giving at the NSLA conference this weekend—lots of links and titles and authors and articles for you to explore. 

YA is not ALL Ghosts & Vampires, (but there are some good ones.) A boy whose father is a grave robber, two young cancer-stricken lovers, a prisoner of the Nazis in France, the best love story ever (with 80’s music), a very creepy ghost meets some flappers, a real-live Cinderella, growing up in a whore-house in New Orleans, a sexy and sensitive vampire, and a Voynich manuscript mystery: do these sound like YA to you? Meet the new YA!  Do those sound good? Try them:

Rotters by Daniel Kraus, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Diviners by Libba Bray, Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick, Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, Blood by K.J. Wignall, and The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman.

Yes, the themes are mature. But so are teenagers. Some of these books may not be suitable for a 13 year-old, but then another 13-year old may have already lived through worse. We have to give teens credit for being able to handle mature themes in books. There’s plenty of controversy surround YA books: they get banned all the time.  Some adults think teens shouldn’t read these books,  but “challenging the books doesn’t change the teen years".

Why are adults reading these books (and loving them?) Have you ever snuck into the teen area of the library or book store and pretended to be picking out a book for your son or daughter? It is OK to read YA!  Here are some authors to check out (in no particular order):  Maggie Stiefvater, Paul Rudnick, Robin Wasserman, Elizabeth Wein , Malinda Lo, Philip Reeve, Carrie Mac, A.S. King, John Green, Daniel Kraus, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith, Sarah Dessen, Lurlene McDaniel, Ruta Sepetys .  All of these authors already have a pretty big fan base with teens, and adults are starting to figure out why. These books are savvy, exciting, terrifying, funny, witty, creepy, real, and grab you from the first page. There’s often very little time in a YA book for too much navel-gazing. It is all about the character and the story and often, some really good writing. 

If you want more, here are some booklists. And don’t forget about audiobooks, because many of these books have been produced as high-quality audios that will make you stand up and pay attention. Have fun on your YA journey. Share a book you loved with a teen, and find out what they are reading—you might just like it. 

Booklists on the AVRL website:  Dystopia For Beginners, Ghosts & Vampires, Got Wolves?, Faerie Realms, FantasticFantasies, Realistic Fiction, Teen Romance. There are even more on our website, so go explore!  Still skeptical that YA is not for you, the discerning adult reader? Try some read-alikes suggested in this article.

Celebrate YA books with us next week, when Teen Read Week gets into gear! Lots of programs and a contest, so stay tuned!  

--Angela J. Reynolds, Head of Youth Services

Monday, 21 October 2013

NS Public Libraries’ Seniors Week - October 20-26, 2013

From Walkabouts, to walks down Memory Lane, whether it’s discovering a new book, a new hobby, a new idea, a new neighbour, or perhaps rediscovering – join us at a public library this week as we celebrate the wisdom and knowledge ... that comes with experience.

Your local library has developed some special programs this week for older adults. Some of them include talks on Senior Travel, Knitting and Felting, Book Talks, Writing workshops, Financial Advice for Seniors, Technology workshops, an Arthritis Workshop, a talk on “The Culture of Whales” and also some afternoon socials. Check out our website for a list of events, or stop by your local library to see what is happening! 

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Faces of Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Week has just passed so I would like to touch base on this issue. The reality is that most of us have either dealt with or know someone who has had to deal with a mental illness.  Sadly mental illness still has a great deal of stigma and secrecy attached to it.

One of the ways organizations are trying to change this is with the Faces Campaign.  Through public service announcements, advocacy meetings  and participation in the Let’s Talk Campaign people can offer up  their face along with their experience with mental illness.  We can hear about what helped them and what hindered them.  This campaign is designed to engage the public by putting a real face to the subject of mental illness.

Getting a message out to the public is always a challenge but the bravery shown by participants who  open themselves up this way should make us  take notice.   Libraries are a great place to educate yourself on the subject of mental health or get in touch with your community health organizations. Really look and listen the next time you see one of these television spots. There are many stories out there and hopefully this campaign will continue, helping people better understand mental illness and how to achieve good mental health. 

On this Thanksgiving Day take some time to think about the many faces of mental illness and what we can do to make it better.

--Patricia Milner, Head of Reference Services