For several weeks of my time at CRRL, I worked with the Youth Services Coordinator on organizing and taking inventory of the books that would potentially be put into the schools for the coming academic year. These books were usually advanced copies, meaning their release dates had either just past, or they would be released in the coming months. I spent many hours taking down the author’s names, book titles, release dates, and tag words that would help categorize the books into genres and theme-related groups. I also spent a considerable amount of time researching the credible reviews of each of the books. This would allow the school librarians to get a feel for the book, and help them come to a conclusion about whether they would consider the book for the next academic year.
I learned how to read the publisher’s notes, the author’s descriptions of their work as well as about themselves. The authors tried hard to be whimsical in depicting themselves and their lives, attempting to have the reader, or in this case, the librarian, remember them. I wrote a few ideas about how I would go about writing a publisher’s note or an authorial blurb about myself, if and when I ever write and publish a book.
The YS Coordinator also taught me some valuable lessons about the separation of public library and school:
School: there is a responsibility for the school (middle or high) librarian and teacher to censor – or at least take into consideration – the materials they provide or make available for the young students. Schools express a sense of restraint on behalf of the age demographic they serve.
Local public library: There is a legal, social, and employment obligation for the freedom of information. Librarians cannot deny anyone a book or body of information if they are asked by a patron or customer. Here’s an example: If a child that may be below the age group of young adult fiction comes to a public librarian and asks for a copy of The Hunger Games, that librarian cannot and will not deny putting that book in the hands of that child. Where this gets tricky is when parents or various patrons fail to see that withholding information from someone is not ethical in the mind and eyes of the faculty at the library. The biggest difference is that local, public libraries have a set of ethical, moral and employee-related codes that all faculty must follow, that often differ for public schools. The demographic of patrons, students and customers also differ. The schools cater to a certain age group, while libraries are open to any and all people regardless of age group.