Where do you go for inspiration?

Recently I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the influx of newsletters, snail mail items, blogs, Facebook posts, even friends texting me with awesome librarian ideas! While it is great to have this overload of info, I’ve realized that at a certain point, everything cannot be consumed and I have to make choices.

Additionally, some of you may feel that you don’t know where to turn for fun and invigorating new ideas, help with programming, or even just some solid advice!

My blog post this week is aimed to help with both of these problems–either too much, or not enough–information.  I’ll do this by listing some of my favorite sites that I have on my RSS feed.

Nancy Pearl Action Figure: Courtesy of http://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Pearl-Librarian-Action-Figure/dp/Booo6FU9EG



Letters to a Young Librarian:

As a young (I’d like to think) and new (okay, future) librarian, Letters to a Young Librarian is a great place to gain perspective about what the profession is like and how to enter the field.  I like to read this when I’ve had a rough week of classes and may feel I am loosing perspective.  I find this blog is geared for the overall mental health and wellbeing of people new to the field.  It is a great place to hear different types of advice on librarianship life.

Teen Services Underground

Teen Services Underground is a great resource to get programming ideas, hear from other librarians, and get a sense of what other teen librarians are doing.  I find it helpful just to browse the articles to get ideas for things in the future.  This is actually the website I look to first when I am trying to figure out what to write for this blog. 🙂

Nancy Pearl

Okay, if you don’t know who Nancy Pearl is, you need to go to her site right now! She is basically a rockstar of the library world.  She even has her own action figure.  She is located here in Seattle, WA and has done some really fantastic things for libraries.  Her website features tons of book reviews and book group tips.  I always go here if I am looking for a new book for fun, or something to recommend.

Book Riot

Also, for something a little more fun and bookish and way less academic, I love to go to Book Riot.  They always have great lists, fun blog posts, great podcasts, and anything else bookish you can imagine.  They have a pretty robust YA fandom happening and it is all super magical.  I’m especially in love with their “Read Harder” challenge that has a list of different categories for reading selections each year–you know, in all the free time that I have… But actually, it makes a great list to give to voracious teen readers to engage and challenge their literary choices 🙂



This blog was written by Katie Riley. She is a first year online MLIS student.  As a former 6th grade English teacher, she love working with kids but likes the library setting rather than a traditional classroom. She is working toward the school library media endorsement. She love kids books–from farting aliens to swooning zombies–she can’t get enough!  When she is not tearing up over a great middle grade read,  she is usually playing with her crazy dog Soliloquy (Lily for short), making up silly songs, or writing some awesome snail mail to friends and family.  She excited to be a part of iYouth and to help create, discover, and learn!

What I’m reading now: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare





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Full STEAM ahead! An Introduction to a New Blog Series

We have all heard of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), right?

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But have you heard about the “A” that is missing?

The “A” stands for arts.

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I have the privilege of working at a library system that is very well known for their STEAM programs. So much that it made me want to start a series of blog posts about the importance of STEAM and feature interviews with those in the field incorporating STEAM.

So first…

What are some examples of STEAM?

STEAM concepts can be applied to many existing programs that libraries provide. Including:

  • Science storytimes
    • Read a story and relate STEAM concepts to it with activities. Sometimes, just changing the way you ask questions can make a storytime STEAM. Use words like “hypothesis” or “observation” makes science not so scary. It becomes more natural and comfortable. For preschoolers, you can read a book that has to do with bears and then have a discussion about hibernation.

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  • Hosting building events
    • Lego nights
    • Video game making/playing
    • Robot kits
    • The science of art



STEAM is more than just crafts that are traditionally used to end storytimes. STEAM is about activating the creativity in young minds and sparking their curiosity.


Why promote STEAM in libraries?

Continue reading “Full STEAM ahead! An Introduction to a New Blog Series”

Who needs the Oscars when you have Book Awards!!

Hello Everyone, it’s that time of year again! Just this Monday, at the ALA Midwinter conference, they announced the ALA Youth Media Awards.  According to the ALA website, these awards are:

Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.

So let’s take a look at some of the notable winners!

John Newbery Medal


For the Newbery, the winner was Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson.  Not only was this noteworthy because the Newbery is not often awarded to picture books, but also it is noteworthy because it was the first Newbery winner to be written by a Hispanic author.  The illustrations are also incredibly beautiful–the perfect companion to a wonderful story.

 Randolf Caldecott Medal


The Caldecott Medal is awarded for the best illustrations for an American picture book for children.  The winner for 2016 is Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackwell, written by Lindsay Mattick.  I am currently waiting for this one from the library!  Just from the cover I am practically drooling!  So Stinkin’ Cute!

Coretta Scott King Award


The Coretta Scott King award is awarded for outstanding African American authors for children and young adults.  This year, the winner is Rita Williams-Garcia’s Gone Crazy in Alabama which is the third book in the series, proceeded by by One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven, both of which are also award winners.  This series is one of my favorites.  It is about the three Gaither sisters who are growing up in the late 6os and early 70s amidst the civil rights movement.  They visit California to see their mother who is a Black Panther in the first book, see things changing in New York city in the second book, and in the third book they go down to Alabama to visit family.  It is a great book to read with students in school or in a book club setting.  It is full of great life lessons, historical significance, and some really wonderful, lovable characters.

Michael L. Printz Award


The Printz award is given to the best book written for teens.  This year’s winner was Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.  I just ordered my copy because the library’s queue would take entirely too long and I am impatient! Can’t wait to crack this baby open.  It’s one that was getting a lot of hype throughout the year and I hadn’t had a chance to get to it.  I am glad to have a reason to finally dig in!

Continue reading “Who needs the Oscars when you have Book Awards!!”

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Being an ABC but also a Superhero

Growing up as a ABC (American Born Chinese) for me, was like living in a shadow. You see yourself as one person at home, but then another at school or with your friends. Sometimes, you just don’t know who you are. This identity crisis occurs not just in ABCs but in everyone at one point in their life. It’s our job as future librarians to help aid in helping people find their identity.

In honor of his anointment by the Library of Congress as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature on Monday, I wanted to write this week about my reading experiences that included works by Gene Luen Yang, specifically American Born Chinese.


Over winter break, I read his latest book, The Shadow Hero



Reading it reminded me of my teenage inner demons and how important it is for books to have protagonists from all backgrounds. This is the background story of a 1940’s comic book hero called the Green Turtle created by artist Chu Hing. It goes through the story of the son of immigrants named Hank. He and his family run a grocery store in Chinatown. After his mother was saved by a superhero who could fly, she aspired for her son to be one too. One problem: her son doesn’t have superpowers but he becomes tangled with some bullying gangsters anyway. When a tragedy hits, a spirit is released who has some answers for Hank. The importance of the story is aligned with the importance of the author’s note in the back. It explains from an unbiased point of view of the faceless 1940s Green Turtle character and how it is rumored that the artist wanted the character to be Asian. Even though his publisher turned down the idea, the character’s face was always in the shadows; replaced with the shadow of a turtle head. The first issue of the 1940’s comic is attached at the end for the reader to determine the hero’s identity for themselves.

Continue reading “Being an ABC but also a Superhero”

Book Awards Bonanza!

The ALA Youth Media Awards will be announced Monday January 11th, 2016, at 8:00 am EST at the ALA Midwinter Meeting Exhibition in Boston.  The awards include Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards.  Have you made your predictions yet?


Here are some of the top choices based on Elizabeth Bird’s predictions found on the School Library Journal’s blog. Tell us your predictions!



Let us know if there are others that you think are better in the “comments” section below!  iYouth Blogger, Katie, is rooting for Listen, Slowly for the Newbery!