Author Archives: thisbookisrad

Oral Literary Traditions: Storytelling

I love my books. Words on a page yellowed with age, the smell of old books, the way they look on my bookshelf all neat and orderly… I just love books. I’ve been known to download and enjoy an ebook or ten, but it’s no secret to those who know me that I favour a good ol’ physical book. However, I come from a long line of storytellers. My people—the Appalachians—were known for their oral stories.

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(The area in white is considered Appalachia, as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission.)

There were always a few people in each community known for their wordsmith capabilities, who could pull words out of thin air and stick them with other words to form even better sentences that could make you laugh, cry, or just plain think. When I was a kid, a few family members, friends, and neighbours would gather on the front porch at twilight during the warmest time of the year with a glass of sweet iced tea in hand to cool us from the oppressive heat of the summer’s day. The lightning bugs would be blinking and the frogs would be ribbitting, and it was at that moment, when the sky was burning into darkness, that stories would be told. Inevitably, the topic at hand would remind someone of a story, passed down to them by a long-deceased relative or friend. The first few sentences were punctuated by long sips of iced tea, keeping the audience rapt attention (or perhaps creating impatience for the person to get on with the story), then the storyteller smoothly began to weave a tale, playing to our reactions and expectations. And even though I love my books, these front porch gatherings have remained some of my fondest memories from childhood. I maintain this early and consistent exposure to storytelling helped me become a reading superstar at school and fostered a love for writing my own stories.

In the Western world, we tend to favour the written word over the oral one, but there is something about storytelling that is innately personal and interactive. Whether at an intimate gathering or in a large group, it feels like the storyteller is telling you—and only you—a personal story. The storyteller works to keep the audience’s attention and is able to tailor and tweak the story by “feeling” the mood of audience. For years and years before the advent of movies, television, and radio, my people—and people around the world—told stories for entertainment. People gathered together to deliver tales they had inherited from an older generation. Some of the most popular stories to tell, the “Jack” and the “Grandfather” tales and the “Br’er Rabbit” stories, had been brought to the mountains of Appalachia from the British Isles, Germany, and places in the west, central, and south of Africa. Carried by immigrants to their new mountain homes and by people who were forced to migrate due to the slave trade, these stories remained relatively intact as they travelled from place to place and home to home. They were passed down from generation to generation and were favourites at family and community gatherings. Beginning in the late 1800s, Appalachian culture was “discovered” by folks residing outside the region when they came to the area looking to reap the plenteous coal and timber there. Its ballads, arts and crafts, and the oral stories and traditions were becoming more of an interest to folklorists; it was during this time that these stories began to be written down. One such folklorist, Richard Chase, travelled to North Carolina and interviewed scores of folks, writing down the stories that had been passed to them by their elders.

Storytelling was important for literacy in Appalachia. There weren’t many people who could read or write (there were schools in the region, but the challenging mountainous terrain made it difficult to get there, especially if the school was quite far from home; also, reliance on farming as a way of life made any kind of consistent schooling difficult because families relied on everyone for labour) and books were very expensive to buy. For a culture that made their living farming and whose economic system was based on bartering, oral storytelling was the most important literacy tool available. Knowledge, history, ancestry, religion, values, and morals were passed down, incorporated into fantastic tales designed to keep you on the edge of your seat and subtly teach you and thing or two about life. Appalachians weren’t the only folks who created stories and passed them down. Storytelling can be found in cultures around the world. How is storytelling just as important in building literacy skills as reading a printed book?

“Understanding and creating narratives is a fundamental literacy skill—it is also a universal human activity. When students work with written texts, recite or listen to stories, or present narratives through non-verbal means, such as art or dance, they are learning to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate their world. Teachers can build rewarding experiences for students that activate their natural love for and interest in stories. They can do this in a way that expands children’s fluency and confidence with language, as well as their respect for the rich diversity of narrative approaches and language use across cultures. As students experience narratives from different cultures, they gain perspectives on people and stories in worlds that may be unfamiliar. This will be valuable to students in many ways, for example by helping them bring a sense of perspective to their own culture and stories” (PBS Learning Media).

If you’re not familiar with oral stories, I urge you to try attending a storytelling event or, if that’s not possible, listening to or watching storytellers online. World Storytelling Day is March 20th and is an international celebration of the oral art of storytelling. Storytellers of Canada / Conteurs du Canada has an events page of storytelling events happening in each province and online. Storytelling isn’t just for children, but for adults, too. And don’t be afraid of making up your own story! The more you do it, the better you’ll be.

For further information on how oral storytelling can improve literacy, please visit The Power of Story: Using Storytelling to Improve Literacy Learning. For examples of the art of storytelling or to simply enjoy a story or several, please see:

Telling Tales

Storytelling Sampler

Ghost Stories by Jackie Torrence–Part 1

Ghost Stories by Jackie Torrence–Part 2

Richard Chase Tells Three Jack Tales From Southern Appalachia

Ray Hicks Telling Four Traditional Jack Tales

Appalachian Storyteller Ray Hicks Tells “Jack and the Giant”

If you would like more information about prominent storytellers or oral literature in general, please feel free to contact me at catherine.bellamy@surrey.ca.

-Catherine Bellamy, Youth Services Librarian – Community Outreach, Guildford Branch, Surrey Libraries.

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Reader’s Fatigue

I have reader’s fatigue.

Today, I asked my colleague, “What is the point of reading all these books?” Like, there’s just another pile waiting for me anyway, and it’s never going to end, and some of the books are literally the same story as the one I just read (I read a lot of YA). So, I’m feeling kind of bitter, jaded, and mostly fatigued about the whole thing. Has anyone else felt this way?

She told me to take a break, to listen to music instead. Good advice. Except for the fact that one of the books in my pile is an interlibrary loan, and I NEED TO GET TO IT. Do you know that stressful, anxious, urgent feeling I am speaking of?

It also doesn’t help that I am currently on committees that require me to read books (ALA’s Over The Rainbow booklist and the Red Cedar Award selection committee). I also have magazines that I subscribe to that I haven’t even had a chance to even flip through. Don’t even get me started on the journals that route my way at work. Why did I sign up for all those again? Oh right, so I can look through them to find MORE BOOKS TO READ. And I have to apologize to all my friends and anyone else who has loaned me a book of theirs, because they are sitting in the corner gathering dust, as I wade my way first through library books and have put your lovingly bought and owned books on the back burner.

Then there’s the book club I’m in, which some of you may be familiar with: the Book Club for Masochists. Each month a different genre is pulled out of a hat. This is a great way to read books from genres that one normally would never explore. I love this idea! And I like the people that are in the book club! But this month, I bowed out. I just didn’t participate (it’s mainly online). So, I felt guilt and shame about it. I wanted to be part of it, but I just had no time. And February is a shorter month than the rest so that makes it even more time-constrained.

It’s a never ending cycle and I need some intervention. Please, fellow readers and reader advisors, help me! How can I rediscover my love for reading when I am feeling completely burnt out? What is your advice? Do I just have to give up some of the titles that I have at home? Return them and release them back into the wild, and hope that one day they will cross my path again when I am feeling better?

Or when do you give up on a book? How many pages do you give it before you toss it back into the Return Bin? My threshold is about 50-100 pages, unless the first few pages are excruciatingly bad. Or do you power through so you can feel accomplished? I’m a quitter. I don’t have time to read bad books if I’m not into it. Or perhaps I need to quit reading for awhile and try and find myself again.

Someone just told me Reader’s Fatigue is an actual thing. Is it? Does anyone know?  I didn’t do any research on this topic. I am just expressing what I am going through at the moment, and hopefully it will touch a nerve with someone out there. Has anyone else heard of or suffered through Reader’s Fatigue? If so, how did you get through it?

– Alan Woo, Information & Teen Services Librarian, Guildford Branch, Surrey Libraries 

UPDATE:

Today, the next morning, I am feeling better. Maybe all I needed was a good night’s sleep? Or maybe I just needed a BETTER BOOK? I ended up taking that interlibrary loan I spoke of for my morning commute read, and wow, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it and dare I say, chuckling audibly on transit. This is the book that may have saved me from myself:

Meaty by Samantha Irby.

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This book is a collection of essays that read like hilarious blog posts from Samantha Irby, creator of the blog Bitches Gotta Eat. Thank you Ms. Irby for rescuing me and renewing my faith in reading!

Do you have a book recommendation that would save someone from Reader’s Fatigue?

 

This Book is RAD!

There are countless resources out there when it comes to diversity in books for children and youth. The successful We Need Diverse Books campaign, for one.

But when my friend and fellow librarian Christina Appleberry and I tried to find books for adults that featured diverse characters, we had a much more difficult time doing so. By all means, there are numerous staff lists on library websites that embrace diversity, but that took a lot of digging and sifting. Plus, many of those lists grouped the books into categories such as Asian Books or African American Books. What if we wanted to find a cozy mystery that featured a lead character that also just happened to be a person of colour or identified as gay?

This is when we had our lightbulb moment to create a website that would act as a Readers’ Advisory resource for those seeking various types of books featuring diverse characters or written by diverse authors. Thus, This Book is RAD was born! (RAD stands for Readers’ Advisory Diversity.) We are still in the beginning stages of this, with a handful of book titles up on the site and continuing to update it as much as we can whenever possible, but we have yet to break the Internet. With that being said, if anyone out there has any recommendations for diverse books, please do feel free to get in touch with us and send in a write-up for us to post!

Diversity is such a big topic, so we try to read widely and add categories as they come up. Our main focus is people of colour, but we have also gone on to include sexuality, gender, body image, disabilities, mental health, women, etc. We do try to keep it to adult selections as well, though you’ll notice there are definitely several young adult titles that we have featured. We also try to have a variety of genres, from non-fiction to graphic novels, poetry, science fiction, spy, etc.

Here are a few selections from our blog:

Homegoing
By Yaa Gyasi
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Epic is the best word for me to describe this debut novel from Yaa Gyasi. It reminded me a lot of And the Mountains Echoed, in the way that each chapter revolves around a different character and how it jumps in time, but it all fits together into one larger story. A novel in stories, I believe is what I had been told this is called. Each story stands alone perfectly, but is woven seamlessly together to create an expansive tapestry.

Homegoing encompasses the lives of two sisters born in Ghana in the 18th century who get separated and wind up with very different lives – one is sold into slavery, the other becomes the wife of a British slave trader. And from there, we watch as the two family trees unravel into Africa and America, respectively. There is so much going on in this novel, that it’s just breathtaking. Parts will destroy you, while others will lift you right back up again. At only 26 years old, Gyasi has produced an instant classic here. Now how RAD is that?

Homegoing was released this past June 2016, so it’s a very new and current novel, as well!

-Alan Woo

And The Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini
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This third novel from Khaled Hosseini is a return to form for the author the bestselling book The Kite Runner. I loved that book. It was a doorway into a world I had no concept of. His second outing, A Thousand Splendid Suns, focused mainly on the lives of Muslim women and domestic abuse. I wasn’t sure if I was a fan of it as much as The Kite Runner, but I liked it enough to want to read his most recent piece, And The Mountains Echoed.

This book is a sweeping tapestry of stories from Afghanistan, with a pit-stop in Paris, and jumps through time as we visit upon a multitude of characters whose lives intertwine and are torn apart. The first chapter featured a story within a story (i.e. one of the characters is telling a fable), which threw me off and didn’t really make me want to continue reading, but the fable fits well with the story line and once I got over that hump, I just could not put this book down. Beautiful, poetic, and downright moving, And The Mountains Echoed is a wonderful read that I would highly suggest.

-Alan Woo

Dietland
by Sarai Walker
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I really enjoyed Sarai Walker’s debut novel Dietland, which is toted as being “part coming-of-age and part revenge-fantasy.” It follows the story of Plum, a heavy set woman who is dealing with body image, weight, dieting, and self-confidence. One day she notices a young lady following her, and this leads her into an adventure of self-discovery. The journey itself is filled with intrigue, as we meet mysterious characters and an international movement to empower women.

This book makes the RAD list because it features a character who is overweight, and also a side character who is half-Black and possibly a lesbian. Many of the characters in the book are female, with only a handful of men popping up here and there if only to put their chauvinism on display. This was also an enjoyable read that had me flipping through the pages as quick as I could to reach its heart-swelling climax.

-Alan Woo

Symptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin
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Oh wow. This book is fantastic. It taught me the term “gender fluid” which was something totally new to me. If you don’t know what gender fluid is, this book will definitely enlighten you. It brings you into the world of Riley, who sometimes feels like a boy and sometimes feels like a girl.

Now try going to a new high school with that. Add in a love interest, political drama, bullying, and so much more, and you have a recipe for a tightly-written, engulfing coming-of-age-and-then-some story, while introducing a whole new world and experience to readers at the same time. Other characters who bump this book up the RAD (Readers Advisory Diversity) ladder include Solo, the African-American jock with a heart of gold and a slight body image issue; Bec, the girl who wins Riley’s heart; and the multitude of trans characters who show up throughout the book in numerous different ways.

This book ran me through a gauntlet of emotions. I was crying my eyes out one moment, then completely enraged the next, but throughout the story, I found myself consistently rooting for our main character, Riley. Jeff Garvin’s book is a YA treasure that needs to be uncovered by more people. So go do it already and read this book!

-Alan Woo

Whatever It Takes
by Gwynne Foster
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This is not the kind of book I would normally read, but I was walking through the paperbacks section of the library and I saw a book with a black woman on the cover. It’s not a common sight among the cozies and westerns and romances, so I figured I’d give it a try. Whatever It Takes, written by Gwynne Foster, is about a woman who is dealing with her parents’ divorce, a jealous and spiteful twin sister who seems hell bent on sabotaging her life, and the new man in her life. At times I thought that I might be reading Christian fiction (the father is a deacon) or romance, but I don’t think this book is either. It’s really just about family and relationships. It’s kind of like a Lifetime movie… but a book. Not bad, but not great. It didn’t change my life, but it was nice to read a book with black characters that wasn’t about slavery, civil rights, poverty, violence, or racism. We need more of that.

-Christina Appleberry

Fresh Off The Boat: A Memoir
by Eddie Huang
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In the words of the author, Eddie Huang, this book is ill! (That’s a good thing!) Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off The Boat, is the basis of the hit ABC sitcom of the same name. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know it’s a pretty funny show. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? The book however, is not quite the same. The show is much more Disney while the actual memoir is pretty raw and gritty at times.

Don’t get me wrong. The book is still full of humour as Huang navigates what it’s like growing up as an Asian-American in 1990s Orlando, with wit, intelligence, and heart. He bares all as he describes all the fist fights, the drug pedaling, and the racism. You don’t see much of that in the TV sitcom. What you also don’t get from the TV show is the reason why his grandma is in a wheelchair. On the show, she shows up in every other scene to deliver a sassy line of dialogue. In the book, it turns out she’s in a wheelchair because her feet were bound when she was a child!

His obsession with hip hop is also rampant in the book, as is his love for sneakers, basketball, and food. Now the proprietor of NYC’s BaoHaus restaurant, this book clearly shows his trajectory from being a small time troublemaker to a law school graduate to restaurateur, and everything in between. Along for the ride are his two younger brothers, his bad-ass of a father (also dumbed down for television), and his outrageous mother. Huang tackles the issues of race from his perspective, using his points of reference: hip hop, rap, basketball, and food.

This was an inspirational read. I can’t wait to go to NYC and visit his restaurant and maybe even meet the man himself.

-Alan Woo

Indian Horse
by Richard Wagamese
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This novel by First Nations/Aboriginal Canadian author Richard Wagamese follows the life of Saul, aka. Indian Horse, as he is born and raised in the Canadian wilderness, only to be ripped out of his family’s arms and thrown into the horrors and evils of a residential school. It’s terrifying to know that these places actually existed here in Canada, a country that today seems so advanced in human rights yet has a dark and cruel past.

Saul’s only savior is of all things, hockey. How much more Canadiana can this be? His success on the ice helps carve out a new life for him, away from the residential school. But no matter what hockey team he plays on or what Canadian town he ends up in, there is little escape from the atrocities of racism that plight the world around him. Saul continues to run, skate, and drink, but eventually his past threatens to break through the ice to leave him drowning.

The first part of this book was intriguing, describing traditions, living in the woods, and re-tellings of Aboriginal stories. The residential school portion was infuriating and heartbreaking. The hockey parts of the book are the most fleshed out, and you can tell Wagamese is either himself a huge hockey fan, or has done his research! I’m not fussed over hockey, but in the context of this novel, I can appreciate it as a vehicle for the main character to escape and make a better life for himself.

Indian Horse is a selection I came across through the Amnesty International Book Club.

–Alan Woo

Visit This Book Is RAD for more diverse selections!

I Know What You Read Last Summer – A List of Guilty Pleasure Reads

We’ve all done it. We’ve picked up that book and hurriedly checked it out and stuffed it furiously into our book bags before anyone can see. It’s that book that we probably wouldn’t advertise we were currently reading over on Goodreads. But still, under the deep cover of night, we’ve flipped frantically through the pages unable to resist wanting more. Such is the plight of the guilty read. And yes, as some of the people I polled for this article attested, why should we feel guilty for reading? We shouldn’t! However, there may still be a few titles here and there that we wouldn’t readily admit to reading. What are some of yours? Feeling embarrassed? In that case, let me be the first to confess one of my more guilty reads…

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Brunette Ambition
by Lea Michele

I was never  a huge Glee fan… (okay, fine I watched every single episode). I am definitely not a huge Lea Michele fan by any means, however. Yet, I found myself picking up her “autobiography” and checking it out. The main reason for this is because she is besties with Broadway star Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening, Hamilton), and I had heard somewhere that she discusses their friendship in her book, as well as his bout with skin cancer. Unfortunately, any mention of her and Groff’s friendship was pretty minuscule and almost nothing about his battle against cancer. Instead, the book is entirely fluff. It dedicates an entire chapter to photos of Michele doing her favourite yoga poses in her backyard and what she likes to eat for breakfast. Um…. So not quite an autobiography either. Brunette Ambition comes across as more of a lifestyle magazine disguised as a hardcover. This isn’t really a guilty pleasure, but I definitely felt lots of guilt for even wasting my time reading it!

I sent out a poll to SLAIS students and grads to see what some of their “guilty reads” consisted of and here are some of the titles I got back. All contributor names will be kept confidential in order to respect their privacy.

 

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Act Like It
by Lucy Parker

“A smart, witty, and refreshing romance about two West End actors who agree to pretend to date for the publicity despite their dislike of one another. I’ve stopped calling things guilty pleasure reads, because I don’t think it’s worth spending time feeling guilty about reading or finding pleasure in it,” said one of my fellow classmates, who sent this in.

Here’s a more detailed synopsis of the book:

“Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard’s antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city.

Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man?

Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip. From fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance.

Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?”

– taken from the Vancouver Public Library website

 

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The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

“I don’t know if I ever have guilty reads – I love reading soo much – but [this is] the one book I can’t wait to read again!”exclaimed a Lower Mainland librarian, who sent in The Night Circus as his pick. (I too have read this book and found it to be a wonderful and enjoyable read!)

“Le Cirque des Rêves appears without warning and only opens at night. Behind the scenes a fierce competition is underway between two magicians: Celia and Marco. They have been training for this competition since childhood, yet, despite themselves, they fall headfirst into love. But they don’t know that this is a competition in which only one can be left standing.”

– taken from the Burnaby Public Library website

 

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The Veronica Mars spin-off books
by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

“I loveee the recent Veronica Mars TV show spin-off books, but I don’t feel guilty about it at all! (Okay, just a little.)” That’s what one SLAIS grad posted on Facebook about her guilty pleasure reads. This sparked a supportive comment from another person, who wrote in, “No guilt needed – I’m reading Mr. Kiss & Tell right now!” If you’re not familiar with the television show, Veronica Mars is about an amateur teen sleuth who helps out her private eye father with his investigative work. After the series ended, a movie came out and the books pick up from where the feature film left off.

“Veronica Mars is back in action, and with the help of old friends she’s ready to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts. But she’s struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case. When a girl disappears from a spring break party, it’s no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties. Soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime – and a shocking connection to her own past.”

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, taken from the North Vancouver District Public Library website

 

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The DUFF (Designated, Ugly, Fat Friend)
by Kody Keplinger

“I read The DUFF, a YA romance novel, that I picked up because I saw the movie,” confessed another friend.

“Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper starts sleeping with Wesley Rush, a notorious womanizer who disgusts her, in order to distract her from her personal problems, and to her surprise, the two of them find they have a lot in common and are able to help each other find more productive ways to deal with their difficulties.”

– taken from the Surrey Libraries website

 

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The Caster Chronicles series
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Finally, our last guilty pleasure reader wrote,”Honestly, I am a sucker for the Caster Chronicles series even if it is cheesy YA paranormal romance.”

Curious about these books? Here’s more of what they’re about:

“Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.”

– taken from the West Vancouver Memorial Library website

So what are some of your guilty pleasure reads? Or not so guilty? Let us know what you’re hiding in your book bag, and why you are or are not enjoying it! We want to hear from you!

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Alan Woo is a new librarian who has just completed his MLIS degree. He has worked for North Vancouver District Public Library, the UBC Education Library, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

A BCLA Conference Report

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” – Anne Herbert

That is just one of the many quotes that inspired me at the BCLA conference in May. Hi, my name is Alan Woo and I was lucky enough to attend the BCLA conference after receiving the Student Library Bound award from the BCLA Readers’ Advisory Interest Group. Not only did I have a chance to connect with people and network, but I also attended a variety of different sessions and felt myself being inspired at each one!

The first session I attended was on services for the LGBTQ community, where one big takeaway I got from it was the website NoHomophobes.Com, which tracks homophobic language on Twitter. The average for the number of homophobic tweets is about 40 tweets per minute.

The Reading For Change session had a speaker panel consisting of two writers and one book club organizer, who runs a local chapter of the Amnesty International Book Club. Not only did I manage to jot down a number of recommended titles from this session (i.e. Shake Hands With The Devil, The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk, Indian Horse, 28 Stories of AIDS In Africa,  Escape from Camp 14, and We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, to name a few), but I also witnessed people realizing that “just” reading was in and of itself a catalyst for change. It may or may not lead to volunteering for or donating to an issue/cause, but the act of reading about said issue/cause has now informed the reader of something new they may not have known before. And if it leads to further action beyond reading a book, even better! The entire session was very inspiring, including the group “hymn” that we all read aloud alongside the poem’s author Renée Sarojini Saklikar, from her book Children of Air India.

A session on legal resources was very educational for me, as I was not able to take the Law Libraries course at SLAIS. After hearing two law librarians discuss their work and offer up resources for librarians who might have to deal with patrons asking for legal advice, I feel more equipped to be able to point people in the right direction, whether they are looking for laws dealing with family matters, tenancy, criminal law, or Aboriginal issues. At the very basic level, I learned about the Beginner’s Guide to Finding Legal Information at the website: www.clicklaw.bc.ca

The conference would not have been complete without some children and youth service oriented sessions and activities. The Summer Reading Club session was great in describing successes and failures of one library’s summer reading club. Through that session, I learned about the very inspirational Caine’s Arcade, which I dare you to visit and watch the 10 minute documentary film without shedding a tear! You can find that here: www.cainesarcade.com

The session on Early Literacy brought up examples of a Parents’ Night Out felt-making workshop, the Alligator Pie program being held weekly in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, and Baby Talk, a VPL collaboration with Children’s Hospital. For more resources and information, check out librarianasearlyliteracycoach.wordpress.com.

Both opening and closing key notes dealt a lot with the issues of privacy and security, which I found fascinating.”Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say” is a quote by Edward Snowden that one of the speakers had up and had an impact on me. I learned more about the TOR network and became fully convinced that we should ALL be using it: torproject.org.

Being among all those people involved in the library world and seeing their passion and all the amazing work they are all doing was a good reminder as to why I am pursuing a career in this field. Thank you BCRAIG for the opportunity to attend!

-Alan Woo