“Zombies, stay where you are!” – A @guardian visit to Library Island

They were sitting in rows in a room at the heart of the Guardian‘s Education Centre in London: teachers, librarians, educators, gathered for a day to explore reading for pleasure and attending to diverse voices in literature. They were happily caffeinated, ready to learn, excited for the day ahead of them.

About a third of them wore a name tag with the chilling legend: ZOMBIE.

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Tell us your story: Libraries’ global storytelling manual

The International Federation of Library Associations, IFLA, has released a new guide designed to help librarians and library advocates to tell compelling stories about library activities, projects and programmes, showing their impact on communities and people’s lives.

sdg-storytelling-manual

Libraries and the Sustainable Development Goals” is a practical document and storytelling tool, linked to the United Nations goals which IFLA uses to demonstrate libraries’ global relevance.

You can check out the manual at the IFLA website.

#NotEnoughScifi: Good things happen

Seven years ago now. Springtime in New York.

I had read Nnedi Okorafor’s Zahrah the Windseeker back in 2010 and it had blown my mind. One of the greatest kids’ books I’d ever seen, wondrous and witty and thrilling.

>Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch Review at Brooklyn Rail

Nnedi had a new YA novel coming out – Akata Witch, the beginning of a fresh series.

I wanted to sing the praises of an incredible writer who, at the time, was still not quite getting the attention she deserved.

I pitched a review to Brooklyn Rail, the New York arts paper.

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Interview with @Sherlonya Turner, @aadl Ann Arbor District Library

I met Ann Arbor District Library (AADL)’s Sherlonya Turner on my visit to Michigan earlier this year. Sherlonya manages youth and adult services and collections for the library. This involves leading desk service staff, directing children’s programming, and contributing to client-facing operations across the board.

As a writer for AADL’s arts blog Pulp, Sherlonya reports on film screenings, book launches, festivals, exhibitions, and cultural happenings of all kinds. Whether she’s covering visits by Hillary Clinton or Roxane Gay, a meditative movie on Native American experiences in Michigan, or her own participation in a street art festival, Sherlonya’s words provoke reflection, self-examination, and a questioning of our own assumptions alongside an account of the event in question. (I’m particularly fond of her piece on a successful Guinness World Record attempt to amass the most women dressed as Rosie the Riveter).

IMG_3829.jpgWhen she’s not making magic happen within the walls of AADL or stoking the curiosity of her readers online, Sherlonya has an unusual side project – making cakes, ice cream sundaes, and other sweet treats to represent US presidents and other senior figures in the history of American political life. Waffles, cookies, scoops, and sponges become the gateway to a thoughtful interrogation of power and personality over 200 years of the American experiment.

Sherlonya joined me earlier this month to discuss topics including her journey into librarianship, leadership and play in library settings, community blogging, and, of course, the Head of State Cakes.

“What was your origin story? How did you get to the place you are today, professionally?”

I thought I was going to be an engineer. I went to a college of engineering but then drifted into the literature, arts, and sciences department.

The university had to get in touch: “Yo, you are a junior and you don’t have a major — do something about it!”

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Postcards from the Future: Behind the Scenes at Wondrous Strange #notenoughscifi

Imagine letting your community dream wildly of the world to come.

Imagine collaborating on a future history spanning millennia.

Imagine turning public space into something that was wondrous and strange.

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As part of our time-travel themed festival of weirdness, storytelling, art and science at Ann Arbor District Library, we asked visitors to write postcards from the future.

We collected over 80 tales stretching from 2018 to the year 5000.

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Wiradjuri Language in Parkes

History Parkes

Painting

This week is National Reconciliation Week (NRW), Let’s Take the Next Steps (17 May – 3 June 2017). NRW runs annually and marks two milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey: The 1967 referendum and the historic Mabo decision.

To recognise the reconciliation journey Parkes Library would like to share with you a recording from the Library’s “Recording and Retelling Local Wiradjuri Stories, An Oral Cultural and Historical” project.

Learning Parkes’ local indigenous language, Wiradjuri, is part of daily school life in the Shire. In this excerpt from one of the project’s oral history recordings, teachers Kerry Gilbert, Ron Wardrup, and Geoff Anderson describe how the Wiradjuri language came to Parkes.

The “Recording and Retelling Local Wiradjuri Stories” project produced twelve oral histories that have been transcribed and can be access at Parkes Libary.

ABC Open’s Suzi Taylor produced a film and story that also shares the Parkes Wiradjuri language story – ABC…

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Peace for the Immortal Sock Monkey

My friend Stevie made the sock monkey – a placid purple chap with chubby limbs and buttons for eyes. He seemed pretty satisfied with existence, but his deeper woes had gone unseen.

Two Student Occupational Therapists from Griffith University pose with their client, an immortal sock monkey

It turned out that the sock monkey was cursed to live forever, and as the centuries rolled by, he was succumbing to despair. Two students from the Occupational Therapy course at Australia’s Griffith University decided to help, using their professional skills to explore ways of reconciling him to a happier immortality.

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Marvellous, Electrical returns

My newsletter Marvellous, Electrical kicks off its second season this weekend.

Last year, the newsletter took us from the fairytale coasts of Portugal to an ibis-themed burlesque show; we met bakers and boxers and bassists and acrobats, spent time with cleaners and inner-city drug counsellors, and even investigated a family history of murder.

In 2017, Marvellous, Electrical will appear once a month so I can fit in a few more projects on the side.

Sign up for Marvellous, Electrical here.