Seven Librarians Share the Reasons They Love Libraries

*Originally published on Bookish.com, an editorially independent division of NetGalley.

February 14th is the day we celebrate love in all its many forms, including the love of libraries. Here at Bookish we’ve been known to swoon over our local libraries. In fact, we are so tongue-tied about our own love for them that we decided to consult the people who adore libraries so much that they have devoted their careers to them. To celebrate Library Lovers’ Day we’ve asked seven librarians to tell us why they love libraries.

Share your love of libraries in the comments below!

“I love libraries for so many reasons. First, the library made me a writer—childhood hours spent reading library books taught me how to write a sentence, how to understand my fears and experiences, and how to tell my own story. I value the library as a pure community space unaffected by the exigencies of commerce—no one expects me to buy anything or to limit my time; I can simply hang out and read. Furthermore, the library is a democratic institution: Its resources belong to all and are accessible by all. At the library, we can find information that helps us live, learn, dream, and be more engaged citizens—for a mere few tax dollars per month. Value-added bonus: The library profession is committed to protecting everyone’s First Amendment right of freedom of speech, thought, and inquiry. Libraries are badass, radical, and crucial. How can people not love them?” —Stella Beratlis, reference librarian at Modesto Junior College and author of Alkali Sink

“What makes a library? For me, it is a place of ongoing conversation and communication. It’s a space where everyone in the community is welcome to participate in those talks. When I first began working at libraries, I thought mostly about collection development. I thought about what the library housed, not who it served. Now I’d say I think about librarianship the way I think about the world around me. I want it to succeed because I want my community to succeed. Libraries are spaces that give back infinitely—they are one of the only places you can go that are dedicated to figuring out what you need, even if you aren’t sure what that thing is. Libraries are bastions of information, certainly, but they are also repositories of community service.” —Kristen Arnett, access services librarian and circulation supervisor at a law library in Florida and author of Felt in the Jaw

“I am not the first to love libraries, and won’t be the last—thank god for millennials! Beyond the more obvious reasons to love libraries (love of reading, free programs for adults and children, free wifi, and so on), I really love libraries for their grit, tenacity, and revolutionary, rebellious spirit! Not what you think of when you think about your public library? Ditto. Until I began to learn more about the quiet, unassuming chutzpah libraries have shown since their inception. Libraries exude an incongruous mix of innocence and hope with a serious rage-against-the-machine attitude. Within these walls exist the librarians—protectors of books, intellectual freedom fighters, and guardians of patrons’ rights. Imagine a world where Harry Potter was successfully banned. You can thank a librarian that these treasures are still on the shelves. Libraries have been at the forefront of the battle for net neutrality, fighting for equal access to the internet. And right out of the pages of a superhero comic comes the real life story of the Connecticut Four—four librarians who, under a gag order as well as threat of imprisonment, steadfastly fought the federal government’s unwarranted, overreaching demand for personal and private information on patrons. Libraries provide refuge to those in need, from assisting homeless populations every day to helping victims during catastrophic events. Many librarians are now being trained to administer Narcan to help in the opioid crisis. And fearless libraries have kept their doors open to the public during the Ferguson unrest of 2014, the Baltimore protests of 2015, and even during the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama. By providing this refuge, libraries create a gathering place where communication can occur, information can be shared, and community can grow. With what seems like an ever-shrinking amount of empathy and understanding among humans, libraries provide an opportunity for people to interact with each other in person, and to subsequently gain awareness about the others sharing this planet alongside us. By doing so, libraries help build a more resilient people. I am Groot. (I love libraries.)” —Erin Tuomi, assistant director at the Newbury Town Library

“One winter morning in 2005, I locked myself out of my house. I’d just driven my daughter to school and was still in pajamas and slippers under my parka. No spare key in the garage, under a rock, at a neighbor’s. My husband wouldn’t be home till 7:30. My wallet was on the kitchen island next to the house key. Frazzled, I wondered where I could go to kill the hours without imposition or expense or—most crucially to me— embarrassment. The answer was obvious: my local library. There, a friend on staff chuckled sympathetically at my predicament, offered me coffee, spare socks. I meandered through the dusty stacks, slipping into the forgotten pleasure of aimless perusing, and narrowed in on Seamus Heaney’s verse translation of Beowulf. I sat by a glass door with a view of woods, nodded good morning to some cheery seniors, bundled my parka closer, and got lost until I had to pick up my girl. Now I work at that library and love the idea of the place as refuge as well as resource. A place of welcome, no matter how unwashed, half-dressed, needful, frantic, demanding, snobbish, chatty, nervous, exuberant, or miserable a patron is. A place to get safely lost.” —Eileen Frankel Tomarchio, staff librarian at a New Jersey library

“I think I fell in love with libraries before I understood what they were, before I could tap their limitless potential just by wandering their square footage and running my finger along the books’ spines. You see, there is a black and white photograph of me sitting on my father’s lap at his desk at his library. I am about three years old, and he is young and his beard is big and puffy like a lumberjack’s. My father was a librarian at a year-round school for severely physically handicapped children and in the summer he would take me to work with him so that I could play with the kids while he worked. I remember how he welcomed each child as he or she entered the library. I would stare and take in in, and even feel a little jealous of how loved he made those kids feel.” —Olivia Gatti, librarian at Brooks School

“Outside of the high school library I run, I spend many of my hours at Central Library, part of the Brooklyn Public Library. I take photos to celebrate the library as sacred space, where one can both confirm who they are and become someone else. What I love the most about the library is the people, because without the people, a library is a building full of information without purpose. I love that the library is where my mother took English as a second language (ESL) classes and where she wrote her first poem in English. I love the people who inhabit the art section and sit and draw and collage or make watercolor paintings. I love the people who build forts of books around them and consult well-worn stacks of notes, presumably writing a book or a manifesto or nothing at all. I love the men and women studying for nursing or civil service exams. I love that the library is one of the last public spaces anyone can go and take, take, take without giving a cent. In my writing and in my life, I seek the unexpected in the everyday and the library never disappoints.” —Adalena Kavanagh, librarian at Sunset Park High School Library

“It is hard for me to articulate why I love libraries. They have always been in the background of my life. I grew up in my hometown’s public library. I attended story time as a kid, joined a mother-daughter book club as a teen, and even worked as a page in high school. I worked in my college library, interned at an antiquarian society, and helped friends start an anarchist collective library. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to pinpoint the moment that libraries became the foundation of my life, walking through Georgetown’s library where I work now, watching students frantically typing and dust motes floating through shafts of sunlight. I love the people, the conversations, the constant opportunities for learning—but I know that isn’t why I stayed. I love the fight for patron privacy, the fierce commitment to fair dissemination of information, the care and concern for all members of our community—but I think for me it’s something even simpler. I love the structure and order, the noble attempt to classify the intangible. I first fell in love with the Dewey Decimal System, its arcane largess able to contain nonfiction multitudes. I’ve grown to love the Library of Congress Classification System, with its rigid yet ever-modernizing classifications. I love archival finding aids, homebrewed special library systems, comic-shop pull lists, the color-coded books in my own home. Books contain everything we know, everything we’ve seen, everything we are, and naive and arrogant, we can’t stop trying to find ways to organize that. Every day I head into the stacks to track down a book, and every day I uncover new knowledge by proximity. The structure leads to discovery, to the words I hear hundreds of times a year in my job, that ‘I was looking for this book but then I found this one’ moment that opens doors. It encapsulates a very human need to understand each other, to draw connections, and at the core, that’s what I love about libraries.” —Dana Aronowitz, access specialist at Georgetown University Library

 

Divider
News from NetGalley

NetGalley is proud to announce two new initiatives that will benefit librarians in Australia!

 

Members of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) can now validate their ALIA ID numbers within their NetGalley profiles. Once you add your number you will receive an ALIA badge that publishers will see when you request their titles. This will help you access proofs even faster because publishers can rely on the badge to approve requests, auto-approve librarians and even feature your reviews on NetGalley. Learn how to add your number today!ALIA_logo

Librarians can now recommend books to patrons and fellow librarians on a national scale by nominating titles for Librarians’ Choice monthly lists! You can nominate right from the Feedback section for any title published in Australia, and then NetGalley will collect nominations monthly, and submit them to Librarians’ Choice for consideration. Learn more about nominating for Librarians’ Choice!

LCGoldHeartBKText2

Divider
Library Reads

LibraryReads List

What is LibraryReads?

The concept of LibraryReads is simple: The top ten books published this month that librarians across the United States love. Our ultimate goal is to connect our favorite books to as many readers as possible!

Just as the concept is simple, the process is simple as well. Nominators have until the 20th to nominate books coming out two months later. For example, on March 20th, May nominations are due, and June nominations are due by April 20th. You can nominate any title being published that month, as long as it has appeal to an adult audience. This does mean reading in advance, of course—but you’re a NetGalley reader, so we’re guessing you’re already in the habit of reading ahead!

Then, the list is a straightforward calculation: we tally them up, and whichever ten books get the most nominations go onto the monthly list. The book with the most nominations becomes the #1 Pick. It’s as simple as that! Books from all adult genres and categories are welcome. The list is announced a few weeks later to give you ample time to look into the selections and order them for your library.LibraryReads FB template

Although library staff do all the nominating, we designed LibraryReads to reach an even larger group of readers, so that even if you’re not nominating, you can still benefit. The core audience is everyone who uses a public library—whether in person or online, whether they borrow books, attend programming, rely on library staff for reading recommendations, subscribe to newsletters, browse the shelves and stacks for reading ideas, or participate in any type of library activity.

If you are already a NetGalley member, and registered as a Librarian, it’s really easy to nominate! You may nominate any of your approved titles via the “Feedback” button on the Title Details page, and check the LibraryReads nomination box. Couldn’t be simpler.

We already receive many nominations from NetGalley users, and we are always hoping to bring more readers on board. Anyone who is regularly employed in a U.S. public library may participate. You don’t need to belong to an association, and you don’t need a specialized degree. If you love to read and are passionate about discovering wonderful books, please join us!

For more information about LibraryReads, please visit their website, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’d like to receive updates when the new LibraryReads lists are available, (so you can request them on NetGalley!) subscribe to the NetGalley blog –>

Divider
News from NetGalley

MLA banner

The NetGalley team is honored to receive the Platinum Award from LibraryWorks’ second annual Modern Library Awards (MLA’s.)

Did you know that over 26,000 librarians worldwide are using NetGalley (for free) to discover new titles to purchase for their library collection and recommend to their patrons?

As a new or existing NetGalley member, you can:

  • Request digital galleys from over 350 publishers which can be read on all major reading devices and tablets. NetGalley’s friendly support team can help you, too!
  • Receive invitations from publishers to access a title immediately, as well as a complimentary monthly newsletter just for librarians featuring new titles.
  • Be auto-approved by publishers for instant access for all their titles, so you won’t need to wait for your request to be approved!
  • Use NetGalley to submit your feedback privately to publishers (such as comments on the title itself, if you will be purchasing a title, or if the title will be used in special programs.)
  • Nominate titles for the monthly LibraryReads list (US), right from your NetGalley account!

Also, librarians who are members of the American Library Association (ALA) can add their ALA numbers to their NetGalley profile. (Add your ALA number today!)

Continue reading “NetGalley wins Platinum Modern Library Award”

Divider

DOE_SLS_LOGO_Left__2_

At NetGalley, we’re definitely fans of librarians and how their passion for reading and knowledge influences so many readers (young and old), so we wanted to highlight an event geared towards librarians that helps provide them with tools and resources so they can continue to evolve. The New York City School Library System is holding their 26th Annual Fall Conference on November 3rd at the famed CitiField, with the theme: Libraries for ALL Learners, which will focus on equity and all that it entails. We had the chance to sit down with Melissa Jacobs, a coordinator for NYCSLS, to talk about her interactions with librarians, their annual conference, what her department does to help libraries.

As coordinator at the New York City School Library System, can you describe some of the projects you work on? Do you have any favorite aspects to your day?

I have been working as a coordinator in the New York City School Library System for a little over 12 years. I provide support services to librarians and help develop strong library programs. What does that look like on a daily basis? No day is ever the same… yesterday, I spent eight hours weeding out a collection that has been neglected for years and mentoring a new librarian. Last week, I facilitated two professional learning community meetings for librarians in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Next week, I am traveling off to Lake Placid, NY for the New York Library Association’s Annual Conference and facilitating the School Library System Association of New York State’s Executive Board Meeting and General Membership Meetings as President.

What is your greatest achievement so far, and do you have any projects you’re looking forward to?

So many amazing things are happening in libraries throughout this country. In the last year, we have seen libraries being highlighted as sanctuaries from the world’s chaos, artificial limbs being fabricated in Makerspaces and Maker Labs, and mobile technology infiltrating society and K-12 education. Several years ago I founded the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. Watching that task force grow into a nationally recognized committee and seeing the work continue on by my peers has been truly rewarding. It makes me smile knowing teachers, parents, and students now have a professionally vetted list of apps to refer to.

A major project you’ve been working on, the New York City School Library System’s 26th Annual Fall Conference, which NetGalley is proud to be a sponsor of, is happening next month – can you describe the conference and the events at the show that you’re most excited for?

The New York City School Library System hosts an annual conference for K-12 public and nonpublic school librarians.  It is an amazing day of collaboration, learning, networking, sharing and a celebration of school libraries. This year, we are so excited to welcome Jacqueline Woodson as our closing keynote and Dr. Alfred Tatum as our opening keynote. We will also be hosting an amazing panel of authors in a session moderated by Susannah Richards called The Lens of Diversity: It is Not All in What You See. This session will bring together Sophie Blackall, Daniel Jose Older, and Sean Qualls for a lively discussion on their views on diversity for young and older readers.

Do you find that the conference has changed or evolved in any particular ways over the years? Are there any trends that you’ve noticed or are there any you would like to see, on behalf of librarians, publishers, or relevant companies/services?

Absolutely! Our world changes daily and so does the needs, concerns, and issues of librarians. Five years ago, mobile technology was cutting edge and few people even had a smart phone. This year, I expect social media to play an enormous role in librarian’s access to information before, during, and after our conference. Anyone can now follow along the day’s events on Twitter using hashtag #nycsls2015 or on Facebook.

I’ve always admired librarians in general for their ability to adapt and then excel when it comes to major shifts in our culture, like the transition to ebooks and the use (and almost dependence) of phones and tablets. Have you witnessed, or personally administered, any creative ways to meet the challenge of evolving the traditional library so it’s more accessible and fun for patrons? Do you see any new challenges on the horizon that you’re preparing for?

Equity is an issue librarians struggle with and school librarians are confronting it daily. How do librarians provide the same level of practice and a strong library program in every neighbor and corner of New York City? It is something that keeps me up at night.

And for fun, if you were going on a long journey and could bring no books or devices, but you had time to commit just one book to memory, which would it be?

A secret confession… I love cookbooks and read them like novels. However, it would be impossible for me to select just one of the 400 plus I have indexed at home.

I’d like to thank Melissa for answering our questions during this very busy time of year. I’d also like to remind our librarian members to add your ALA number to your NetGalley Profile, nominate titles for LibraryReads, check out the latest monthly lists here and request the titles!

*Interviewed by Tarah Theoret

Divider
News from NetGalley

MLA-LPN_ad_2015

The NetGalley team is honored to receive the Gold Award from the LibraryWorks, Inc. 2015 inaugural Modern Library Awards (MLA’s.)

Did you know that over 22,000 librarians worldwide are using NetGalley (for free) to discover new titles to purchase for their library collection and recommend to their patrons?

As a new or existing NetGalley member, you can:

  • Request digital galleys from over 300 publishers which can be read on all major reading devices and tablets. NetGalley’s friendly staff can help you, too!
  • Receive invitations from publishers to access a title immediately, as well as a complimentary monthly newsletter just for librarians featuring new titles.
  • Be auto-approved by publishers for instant access for all their titles, so you won’t need to wait for your request to be approved!
  • Use NetGalley to submit your feedback privately to publishers (such as comments on the title itself, if you will be purchasing a title, or if the title will be used in special programs.)

Also, librarians who are members of the American Library Association (ALA) can add their ALA numbers to their NetGalley profile. (Add your ALA number today!)
Continue reading “MLA announcement”

Divider

image

The New York City School Library System will be celebrating their 25th Annual Fall Conference: Libraries are Elemental at Citi Field on Thursday, November 13, 2014.

Special guests include Dr. Antero Garcia, an Assistant Professor from Colorado State University and Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor!

The conference will feature a wide range of concurrent sessions on emerging technology, literacy, inquiry and instructional strategies. There will be 65 exhibitors displaying their products and services and 14 authors and illustrators signing their latest and greatest titles. Click here for more information.

We’re pleased to have many of these titles on NetGalley, and thanks to our partnership with the New York City School Library System, you can request them below!

Also, if you are a Librarian, you can add your ALA number to your NetGalley Profile. Start requesting today!

Undeniable
View title on NetGalley

Continue reading “The New York City School Library System”

Divider

image

We’re excited to celebrate National Library Week (April 13-19th)!

Did you know there are currently 50+ library associations represented on NetGalley? Check out the list below.

As one of the 18,000+ librarians using NetGalley, you can select your library association(s) in your Profile. This is an easy way to let publishers know that you’re a member of a professional association, which will help them approve your requests!

Below is the list of current library associations in NetGalley – go ahead and select them in your profile today!

If you are a member of an association not listed below, contact support here so we can add it to the list.

Have you found NetGalley helpful in discovering and reading new titles? If so, please keep NetGalley in mind when talking with your colleagues and other members of your associations so they can also benefit from our service.

Library Associations Represented on NetGalley
* indicates 100+ NetGalley members
** indicates 1,000+ NetGalley members

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

American Library Association (ALA)**
Continue reading “We’re excited to celebrate National Library Week (April 13-19th)!”

Divider
News from NetGalley

Today starts School Library Month in the US, but at NetGalley we want to recognize all of our 18,000+ librarian members across the globe for their dedication to books and those who love to read them. We know librarians have a unique role in the success of a title, and your recommendations are often priceless to reluctant and voracious readers alike. That personal moment between a librarian and a patron is so unique, and we want to help you create more of this opportunities by providing you with easy and quick access to new titles.

Ways librarians can utilize NetGalley:

As a NetGalley member you have access to many tools and features, and below are the ways librarians can use NetGalley to their advantage:

  • Request titles from the catalog that interest you.
  • Receive invitations from publishers to access their titles instantly.
  • Get notified of new titles in your favorite genres by selecting your Preferred Categories in your Profile. Click here for more profile suggestions.
  • Submit Feedback (reviews, ratings, notes, links, recommendation plans. Though you may not be leaving full reviews, please know that publishers appreciate any feedback you provide, such as if you will be purchasing the title for your collection, or if the title will be used in any special programs (such as a book club), etc. Here are more tips for leaving librarian feedback.

Spread the word!   

Have you found NetGalley helpful in discovering and reading new titles? Have you cultivated any publisher or author relationships after reading the title from NetGalley? Were you better able to make purchasing decisions and then recommend titles to patrons because you accessed the title via NetGalley? If you answered “Yes” to any of these (or all of them!) please keep NetGalley in mind when talking with your colleagues so they can also benefit from our service.

And keep an eye out for our monthly Library Edition newsletter, which feature titles hand-picked for librarians by our publishers—and forward it to your colleagues!

We love to hear from you!

Your enthusiasm for books is contagious and makes us want to provide the best service we can to better help you. Please feel free to reach out to our support team here or leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. If you’ll be at BookExpo America this May in NYC, we’d love to meet with you. Keep an eye out for an email soon with details.

Happy reading!
Tarah Theoret
Community Manager

Divider

Recipes for Success: Librarian Voices
The Ins and Outs of ARCs, from ALA Annual
Guest Post: Kristi Chadwick, Library Director at Emily Williston Memorial Library and blogger at Books, Yarn, Ink and Other Pursuits

Books, Yarn, Ink

I’m happy to welcome Kristi Chadwick, Library Director and blogger, as our guest writer today for Recipes for Success: Librarian Voices. Kristi participated in a panel on the “Ins and Outs of ARCs” at ALA Annual last week and has been generous enough to write up a recap of her experience. Keep reading to find out more about what was discussed during her panel, including what publishers look for in librarians’ NetGalley profiles, and about what she’s reading and requesting via NetGalley!

The Faceless One      Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl

Recipes for Success aims to give NetGalley members helpful information, tools, and best practices to help facilitate your growth and effectiveness as professional readers. Check back often for tips and tricks from the insiders.

The American Library Association held their 2013 Annual Conference June 27- July 7 in Chicago, IL. As Marlene mentioned last week, the ALA conference is definitely “BEA for Librarians,” and this year was no exception. While I definitely found some print galleys to bring home with me, I am a self-proclaimed “go-go gadget geek” and love having access to digital advance reading copies and galleys. I love them so much, in fact, that I was part of a panel that discussed them!
Continue reading “Recipes for Success: Librarian Voices”

Divider