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Library Matters

Library Matters is a podcast by Montgomery County Public Libraries exploring the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning.
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Library Matters is a podcast of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) in Montgomery County, MD. Each episode we explore the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning. Library Matters is hosted by Julie Dina, Outreach Associate, Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian at our Silver Spring branch, and David Payne, Branch Manager of our Davis branch and Acting Branch Manager of our Potomac branch.  

May 23, 2018

Listen to the audio

David Payne:  Welcome to Library Matters with your host David Payne.

Julie Dina:  And I’m Julie Dina.

David Payne:  And in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about Summer Read and Learn 2018.  The summer period is, for those of us who work in public libraries, without a doubt, the busiest time of the year.  And while summer reading has changed in the way it’s organized, the way it’s done over the years, the overall aim is still very much the same of stimulating and encouraging reading.  And talking about MCPL’s upcoming Summer Read and Learn Program, we have two guests today, first of all, Christine Freeman.  Welcome, Christine.

Christine Freeman:  Hi, thank you.

David Payne:  Christine is the Manager of the Noyes branch as well as the Early Literacy and Children Services Manager as well.  So thank you for taking time in your undoubtedly busy schedule to be with us.

Christine Freeman:  I’m glad to be here.

David Payne:  And joining us today as well, we have a voice you may well recognize if you’re a regular listener, that of Lauren Martino, our head of Children’s Services at the Silver Spring Branch.

Lauren Martino:  Hi, David.  Thanks for having me.

David Payne:  And if you’re confused, don’t be.  Lauren is, as you may well know, usually found in the hosts chair.  She’s now in the guest chair.  I will know if you’re really confused if you start asking me questions about something.  Anyway, welcome, Lauren.

Lauren Martino:  Thanks David.

David Payne:  So let’s start with our first question and let me start with Christine.  Tell us about yourself, your role as MCPL’s Early Literacy and Children’s Services Manager.

Christine Freeman:  So my name is Christine Freeman.  I was previously the – I’m head of Services and Children Services at Noyes Library and I’m the Branch Manager of Noyes Library.  As the Early Literacy and Children’s Services Program Manager, my responsibilities include all of our reading programs, which include Summer Read and Learn and 1000 Books before Kindergarten.  And don’t forget you can sign up for both of them at the same time if your children are under fives.  Summer Read and Learn is going to be a lot of fun this year.  The theme is Libraries Rock because we do.

And we have lots of fun programs that feature actual rocks and rock music.  So there’s something for everyone.  We have game boards for the kids.  You can log things online.  It’s just fantastic.  We also have game boards for even little kids for zero to five.  We have early literacy and game, so we won’t need the little ones out this year.  And children’s, we have six to 12, and then of course our teens, we don’t want to forget them, they are 13 to 17.

David Payne:  And Lauren, and your role as Head of Children’s at Silver Spring, tell us a bit about your department how you’re preparing for summer reading.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, gosh.  We’re doing what we can.  Right now we are contacting all of the schools and, well, I’ve contacted them and now I’m following them, getting back to the ones that haven’t gotten back into me just to make sure we visit all the schools and get the word out.  We are coordinating volunteers to help us out because this is a big undertaking.  I know a lot of people, I guess you come to the library and you see all of these faces but so many – we’ve got so many volunteers that help out every year, teens that come out of the woodwork ready to help.  We are just getting our materials organized.

I feel like I’ve got like battle plans drawn up in my office, kind of my organizational software out there, it’s color coded.  Yeah.  So this is – and just getting everybody on board, just making sure all the staff members know like this is what you do.  And we have so many like subs that come through Silver Springs.  So it’s like not only the people that are here all the time, the people that, you know, may not be here all the time.

David Payne:  Do you find with each year that you do it, you have more of it nailed down?

Lauren Martino:  I do.  I do.  This has been – let’s see, this is year number – this is the fourth year I’ve been doing this as the person in charge of a branch or a – not a branch but a department, so, yeah, slowly, I’m getting, you know, the first year I was like, “You want me to do what?  What?  We never did this.  What are you doing?”  But, yeah, we’re getting better and just as, you know, we have a place to put everything now.  That first year, we were open at Silver Spring.  It was like we’re carrying all our summer reading materials around in bags, like, it was just, you know, anytime you open a new branch, it’s like you can figure out what you’re doing.  But, yeah, we got that all down this year.  I think it’s going to be a good year.

David Payne:  Great.

Julie Dina:  Yay.

Christine Freeman:  I do think too that since the last past couple of years, we’re trying to make it easier for customers and more simple of a program for staff so that is more fun and easier too.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  And I think it has gotten a lot better.  Yeah, I think we’re getting in the groove of it.

Julie Dina:  So with all of this excitement, you know, and I – not only staff is excited but I bet the kids who are going to be participating are also excited, when exactly does the summer reading program begin and end?

Christine Freeman:  It begins on June 9th and we will go all through the summer up until September 9th, so there’s plenty of time to get it finished.  So everybody should complete their summer reading challenge this year.

Lauren Martino:  Yes, don’t just start, complete everybody.  You can do it.

Julie Dina:  Is there anyone who doesn’t?

Christine Freeman:  Just a few.  We’re working on that this year.  We’re working on that this year.

Julie Dina:  Now, another question that I wanted to ask is why exactly is it important for kids to read over the summer.

Lauren Martino:  Well, there’s been a lot of talk about this phenomenon called the Summer Slide where some research suggests that kids that don’t read over the summer especially lower-income kids, kids that are kind of disadvantaged in general can actually start the next school year a month behind where they stopped.  So imagine going to school in September and you’re, you know, a seventh grader who’s, you know, gotten through school in April instead of May and some people suggest that this is actually cumulative so, you know, you lose one month one year and then you lose another month the next year and, you know, you can see how you’d go through and be almost a year behind at the end of your schooling.

This has come under some scrutiny there are people that suggest that, you know, studies say different things.  I’ve seen a lot of people that suggest too.  It’s like, “Well, if you’re forgetting it or if you’ve really learned it –” like library programs in general and just reading for fun in general really focuses kids on doing stuff that’s fun, it’s learning but it’s fun and that fun is going to make whatever they learn stick in their brains that much better.  So anything that they would have learned that, you know, is just going to slide off of them because they’ve learned it for the test because, gosh, I know that was like for college career, you know, but you’ve read it.  It’s like, you know, what you get from reading the entire Captain Underpants series?  You know, seriously, you know, it’s, you know, and the parents will come in and it’s like, “I don’t want my kids reading that trash.”  And, you know, there’s, you know, something going to be said for expanding horizons and –

David Payne:  They’re reading, that’s the main point, yeah, yeah.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah, but, you know, it’s like the quantity really makes a difference.  When you’re reading a lot of stuff, and kids read a lot of stuff and they’re reading stuff that’s fun, so we’re really just out to get kids to look at that and to try some of this stuff out.  And we’ve got other activities that we’re going – that we’re encouraging kids to do through this program, things like make a pet rock or, let’s see, read a book that takes place in another country.  They’re going to, you know, ask them to expand those horizons a little bit.  But we will count any book in place of any of these activities.  So if you want to read all the Captain Underpants, you know, you can – that’s your program, you know.  We will count that.  Do you have anything to add, Christine?

Christine Freeman:  I just said a lot of the activities that we have on our boards are not only to keep the kids engaged but also to have families and kids engaged together.  So like one of them is listen to a grown-up favorite song.  So you have to ask your grown-up what is your favorite song and then you can listen to it together, then you can talk about it, maybe do a little dance.  So just –

Lauren Martino:  Karaoke.

Christine Freeman:  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.

Christine Freeman:  Just mashed potatoes twist, I’m not sure.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Christine Freeman:  So it’s just getting parents and kids to do things together instead of just sitting on the couch watching TV but actually doing activities together, I think.

Julie Dina:  I like the sound of that.

David Payne:  Sounds good.

Julie Dina:  Yeah.

David Payne:  Yeah.  So each summer reading program every year has a different theme.  And perhaps, you can tell us, Christine, a bit about this year’s Summer Read and Learn theme and what kinds of events that we have lined up that tie-in with that theme.

Christine Freeman:  So this year’s theme is Libraries Rock and that’s for all of our age groups.  And I think the most exciting program we’re going to have is going to be our dance parties and we’re going to have them all across the county and libraries throughout the system.  And those dance parties, we have a bubble machine, we have some colored lights to fastened on the ceiling.

Lauren Martino:  I’m so excited when I read about that.  It’s going to be awesome.

Christine Freeman:  We have some day-glow bracelets for the kids.  We’re going to have a photo op so the kids will could then become just as the favorite rock star or music musician or they can just come with some crazy hair, and we’re going to have photo opportunities for them to take pictures and hopefully tag us on Instagram or Facebook.  I think it’s going to be a lot of fun this year.  I’m excited for our theme.

David Payne:  That’s great.  And, Lauren, how are you preparing for Libraries Rock?

Lauren Martino:  Libraries Rock.  Oh, I got this one program that we’re really excited about called Video Games at the Symphony.  We actually have this group called The Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra coming and presenting this event where they’re going to, you know, talk about video game music a little bit, which is, you know, a thing.  This is a thing.  People create this gorgeous music for video games.  And then, you know, they’re going to perform and then the kids get to play with the instruments, which I’ve kind of been wanting to do something like that forever and then, you know, this kind of fell into our laps like, yeah, yeah, we’ll do this.

Somebody that actually listened to the CD that came with my Wii that’s like nothing but Zelda Music.  And, yeah, my daughter like just starts dancing to it.  I’m like, “Yeah, this is good music.”  So we’re really excited about that.  Let’s see, we’ve got a clown coming for our kickoff June 9th.  Everybody, I think just about all the libraries are doing some sort of kickoff event or some sort of open house event, so we’re really hoping people will come out for that.

David Payne:  Sounds exciting.

Julie Dina:  Yeah.

Christine Freeman:  Yeah.  That should be good.  We also have that program at Rockville as well.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, the gamer program, yes.

David Payne:  So, Christine, did you come up with a theme?  How do you arrive at with this theme?

Christine Freeman:  So the theme was selected by the CSLP, which is a Collaborative Summer Library Program, that’s a nationwide program that libraries use for themes.  And they have graphics that we can use.  They have activities we can use, booklist, that type of thing.  But this year I think it’s going to be really fun to incorporate music and rocks into our program.

Lauren Martino:  I love the summer reading theme where it’s like, you know, dig into reading or it’s like, archeology or construction or you get someone to play with it.

Christine Freeman:  Yeah, archeology.

David Payne:  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.

David Payne:  Great, thank you.  And so do they come up with the theme sort of year by year or do they have a sort of five-year plan of –

Christine Freeman:  They do you think ahead and next year will be type of a space theme.  It’s being blogged at the moment.

Lauren Martino:  I’m excited with that.

David Payne:  Interesting.  Okay.

Christine Freeman:  I think that’ll be a lot of fun.

David Payne:  Correct.

Christine Freeman:  But they do think ahead of time.  They actually will get this I think from the moment it stops, they start up again.  Basically, the same as we do here at Montgomery County.

David Payne:  Great.

Christine Freeman:  We take like a two-week break and then start up again for next year.

David Payne:  Right, it never ends, yeah, yeah.

Christine Freeman:  It’s ongoing.

Julie Dina:  I know you mentioned the dance parties earlier, will that be at all of MCPL branches or only specific ones?

Christine Freeman:  It won’t be at all of them but it will be at the majority of them.  So you can check our ongoing calendar on our website and that will tell you all the dance parties will be located or you can check your branch specifically and look for the dance parties or ask your librarian and they’ll be happy to tell you.

Julie Dina:  And now a brief message about MCPL services and resources.

Lisa Navidi:  Summer may mean vacations, beaches, travel, and sunscreen.  But at MCPL, it also means summer reading.  Whether you and your family are on the beach, on your porch or in a plane, we have a reading list tailored to your child’s age and grade, and a special list just for adults.  You can find a link to our reading lists in this episodes show notes.

Julie Dina:  Now back to our program.

David Payne:  So one of the important parts important, important elements of summer readings are always the programming that goes along with it.  And I think animal programs are probably some of the most popular ones that we find.  As in past years, can we expect animal programs throughout the MCPL system?  And how can we find out when and where?

Christine Freeman:  Yes.  We will actually have Glen Echo Park Aquarium.  They do Touch the Sea Programs throughout and we have different themes.  Like one of them will be sharks, so they’ll probably have a baby shark, love it.  They bring live animals out in an aquarium and they had this really cool microscope that they can project that up to the wall so everybody gets to see even if they’re a little bit in the back.  And then at the end, usually less people walk by and they can get a close-up look of the animals.  But he breaks it down and makes it very interactive with the children and the adults and it’s learning as well as having fun.

Lauren Martino:  See, we’ve got a number of other programs going on around the system as a – see, we’ve got Nature on Wheels presenting “Raptors!” on June 7th at Rockville.  We’ve got a program called Reptile Rangers going on in the Maggie Nightingale Library on Saturday June 23rd.  And the Maryland Zoo is presenting a number of programs as well.  They’re going to Kensington on July 28th and they’ll also be at Germantown on August 22nd, presenting amazing adaptations.

Julie Dina:  So it’s to no surprise that the Montgomery County Public Library runs a great summer reading program.  However, I will like for you, either of you, to tell us some of the challenges that you actually come across in running a great program.

Lauren Martino:  Wrapping your head around everything that is to happen?  Yeah, it’s a lot.  I found having really good volunteers on-hand helps a lot.  Let’s see, just making sure everybody knows what’s going on.  I work at a very, very big branch.  I don’t know, this is probably a different challenge than maybe what Noyes, for example, faces with, you know, three people.  But just making sure everybody knows what’s going on and what to do and where everything is located and things like that.  Just also that in the libraries, which is super busy during the summer anyway.

Julie Dina:  I imagine.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah, yeah.  So, yeah, I just – I always forget just how exhausting summer is but it’s all worth it, it’s all worth it.  You see kids that you don’t see as much during the year and they’ve got big smiles on their faces and they’re just so excited.  And when they come in and they’ve gotten their prize, you know, it’s like, yeah, that makes it all worth it.

Christine Freeman:  I think for me in planning the program, the challenge I find is finding prizes that everybody will like.  So this year, this year –

Lauren Martino:  This year.

Christine Freeman:  – we have a big treasure chest and it’s going to have all kinds of prizes in it.  So I’m sure that you can find something you like.  And some of those things will be recorders.  There’ll be mustache whistles.  They’ll be, for the little ones, Play-Doh.  There’ll go charts for the little ones.  I’m trying to think of all the cool stuff that’s in there.  But lots of music type things, blow-up guitars, everybody wants a blow-up guitar.

Lauren Martino:  I really want to see those book parts at our dance parties.  I’ve seen them.

Christine Freeman:  Yeah.  We have bandanas -- bandanas that are decorated for our theme, Libraries Rock.  So I think the good thing is the kids can choose a prize that they like, and hopefully that will encourage them to keep it over the summer because the more they read, the more prizes they get.

Lauren Martino:  I’m also digging these like Rockstar themed rubber duckies.  Yeah.

David Payne:  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  Oh gosh.  And these are ribbons to dance with.

Christine Freeman:  The dance ribbons are fun.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Christine Freeman:  And we have the sticks.

Lauren Martino:  The didgeridoo type of sticks?

Christine Freeman:  The groan sticks.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, so the groan.

Christine Freeman:  So you turn them upside down and they go, "Rrrawn!" and then you put all handful of them together.

Lauren Martino:  Hey, kids, take this down to the fourth floor where the grownups are all studying.

Christine Freeman:  You can use the kazoos to wake up your parents in the morning.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah.

Christine Freeman:  Lots of fun stuff in the treasure chest.

David Payne:  Yeah.  Yeah.

Christine Freeman:  And for the teens, we have cool stuff too and they live in a teen prize bag, not a treasure chest, a teen prize bag.

Lauren Martino:  Oh.

David Payne:  Oh.

Christine Freeman:  And in there, we have like fidgets, we have some coloring pencils and color books.  We have PopSockets for phones, we have ear buds that type of things.

Julie Dina:  Teens always love that.

Christine Freeman:  Yeah.  They get to pick something cool also.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  We felt really old around them just like, “What does this PopSockets thing we’re giving out?”  No, it’s cute.  And I noticed them on every teen’s phone, like, cool, you guys are way ahead of us.

David Payne:  Some great prizes there.  So, now, I’m going to put you on the spot a bit and ask both of you, if you had a choice, who would be your dream Summer Read and Learn performer?

Lauren Martino:  We can choose anybody?

David Payne:  Yes, absolutely anyone.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, gosh.  I love Laurie Berkner or Jim Gill.  We just went to a workshop with him.

Julie Dina:  Jim Gill.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, my gosh, I want Jim Gill.  Jim Gill, if you’re listening, I love your workshop the other day.

Christine Freeman:  Do you want to see librarians fan girl?

Lauren Martino:  Oh, my God.  Oh, yeah, yeah, no, we saw it.  We saw it.  Some girl brought her ukulele to be signed at this workshop and I’m like, “Oh, I should have brought mine”  Oh, my goodness.  I should have brought my banjo.

Julie Dina:  Should have brought everything.

Lauren Martino:  I should have brought – oh, gosh, I could have him signed everything.

Christine Freeman:  He is amazing.

Lauren Martino:  He is amazing.  Just somebody who really – it started off like in special – he was doing like family playtime like in college, just working with kids with special needs and then he got a Master’s in Education.  You know, he is a fun musician.  But he just gets kids and he gets what’s he needs to do.  He gets it, so, okay.

Julie Dina:  Wow.

Christine Freeman:  And everything he does so looks so well with every child ready to read because he is all about play and he is all about seeing, he is all about reading, he is all about writing.  So it’s just – it works so well.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  Although you know –

Christine Freeman:  We'll stop fan girling, really.

Lauren Martino:  And fan girl.   Oh, I don’t know.  So Damascus is having milkshake, I think that would be pretty awesome too you know.  And Jacks Are Wild, you know, you know, some of these dream programs that I would like to have at my branch or happening at other branches this year.  So, go out and take advantage, guys.  It’s like, yeah, I feel like – I had a co-worker the other day who was like, “Jacks Are Wild.  Let’s get them, let’s get them.”  And we can get them for our branch.  But Gaithersburg has them June 16th, so.

David Payne:  Maybe next year.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  Oh, gosh.

Julie Dina:  It’ll be your turn.

Lauren Martino:  Christine, if you’re scheduling.  That’s what we want.

Christine Freeman:  And we have some other great performers.  We have Eric Energy.  We have Groovy Nate.  We’re going to have just many, many performers, too many to name, all over the system.  And if you miss them at One Library, check out calendar because more than likely, they will be in another library during the summer.  You can always ask our librarians, they can help you.  Look at all calendar and see if they’re available at the library.

Julie Dina:  So while we’re on that same topic, is there a specific picture book or chapter book you wish every kid could read over the summer?

Lauren Martino:  I was thinking about this last night.  Picture book, I have to go with Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall.  I’m sorry if I’m slaughtering her name.  But, yeah, it’s about this little boy and it’s just he goes up, climbs that – he gets to that diving board and he’s in front of the line and then he’s next in line and then he’s, you know, a couple of people back in line because he’s perfecting his technique.  He is, you know, thinking really hard about the way he wants to jump down this diving board and, you know, basically, you know, he’s conquering his fear of going up on the diving board.

and his dad and his sister there and they’re cheering him on and they’re, you know, walking him through this whole process of fear and, you know, it’s like, “Okay, you don’t need to be afraid, that’s all right, you know, this is how you deal with it,” and it just was really moving to me especially since as a kid during the summer I had an experience like that.  Like, I got to the top of the diving board and like stopped and, you know, waited like for five minutes, I couldn’t jump while the rest of the people are like – so this happens.  And, I mean, gosh, this is about like a seven-year old.  I think I was like 13 at the time, you know, so it happens.  And it was just – it’s just – it’s surreal and just something that we all face and just beautifully drawn and just, you know, sun-washed.  It’s like this is what a pool, you know, this is the color, this is the pool midsummer.

Julie Dina:  Christine?

Christine Freeman:  For textbooks, I’m going to go old school and go with Watson’s Go To Birmingham.  It’s one of my favorites, it’s just classic.  I love it because it’s about a real family.  And even here’s tragedy in the book, there’s like laughter and there’s just a family being a family.  And I think everybody can relate to some parts of this book.  And it’s historical fiction, which I think kids don’t normally go to unless to do an assignment.  But once they start reading this book, they’ll forget that it’s historical fiction book because they’ll just relate so much to the family, I believe.

Lauren Martino:  Well, you just have to start that first chapter where he’s got his tongue stuck to the mirror of the car.  I think that’s enough to sell it.

Christine Freeman:  So in his books, his – Christopher Paul Curtis’s books are so great for listening to on audio.  I know I listen to Bud, Not Buddy on audio.  And the people in the car had listened to it because I was listening to it and I could hear my kids laughing in the back, like they were getting into it even though I thought they were sleeping, so it’s –

Lauren Martino:  Isn’t it nice?

Christine Freeman:  Yeah.  It was – it was great to listen to it aloud.

Lauren Martino:  I got to have those audio books for car trips.

Christine Freeman:  Yes, for sure.

Lauren Martino:  Also put down Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Garcia Williams.  And I had to think about this.  I feel like, “Oh, yeah, it’s the third book in the series.  That’s my favorite.”

Christine Freeman:  Oh, yeah, it’s the third book.  I only have the first book.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah, yeah.  I mean, I feel like they get better because I enjoyed the first one and then I enjoyed the second one even more.  And by the third one, I’m like, “This is the best one.”  But, yeah, so, like, three girls and I – it gets – it’s sort of, you know, like Watsons Go to Birmingham.  They’re in the Deep South for the summer.  They’re from up north, they’re Black, it’s, you know, but they’re with their family.  And, you know, kind of gradually realize their family, you know, goes back a ways to the fact that, you know, you got the family, the Black family over here.  And, you know, they’ve got family that was like plantation owners.  You got this guy over here, he’s a member the Ku Klux Klan and he’s still a part of their family.

you know, it’s like it’s really complicated, like look into family relationships and, you know, what does it mean to be family.  But, yeah, and – but the three sisters are just so real, like, they love each other, they’re going to be there for each other but they are going to annoy the heck out of each other on the way.  And something happens in the middle of the book, I don’t want to spoil it or anything but, like, just blindsides you, like to the point where it’s like, I don’t know how this book’s going to end, you know, nothing – I can’t take, you know, I’m not taking anything for granted at this point.  So, yeah, I think it’s the best, you know, read the whole series, please.  But if you don’t read any of the other ones, read Gone Crazy in Alabama.

Christine Freeman:  You’ve convinced me.  I’m going to go get it.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  Yeah.  You know –

Christine Freeman:  I’ll try – I got the first one.  I know there’s a second and third, so I’m going to go check them out today.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah, PSPL love it and it’s good.  Yes.  And the audiobooks are quite good.

Julie Dina:  How many books are there in this series?

Lauren Martino:  There are three.

Julie Dina:  Okay.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  And the first one is like, “We spend the summer with mom who’s in California and she’s a Black Panther.”

Christine Freeman:  Which is in Oakland, close to my hometown.

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yeah, okay.

Christine Freeman:  So, that’s why I was interested in the first one but –

Lauren Martino:  But, yeah, it’s, you know, all the historical stuff and also, you know, I’m going to annoy the heck out of my sisters because they’re annoying me back.  Oh, yeah.

David Payne:  Well, reading this is always very helpful in terms of connecting readers to books.  Will MCPL be providing reading lists for all ages?  And how can parents find new books for their kids to read?

Lauren Martino:  Well, when you’re signing up for summer reading, you’re also signing up for something called Beanstack.  And, so, automatically, you’ve got something built in right there.  You can – there’s a box that you check or leave unchecked that will send recommendations right to your email for kids that are your kids’ age.  So that’s a good way.  We’ve also got lists on our website.  And I think most of the branches have lists available of just lists that our librarians have put together for each grade because I know parents come in and they’re like, “Oh, where are the first grade books?” or “Where the fifth grade books?”

it’s hard if you don’t know, you know, how to choose a book for, you know, how old your child is, and we get that.  And for, you know, fairness reasons, we don’t categorize stuff by age.  You know, I’ve seen libraries that did this and I actually was – had a pile of books with these ages written on them and had a group full of kids and they’re like, “I can’t read this book.  It’s a fifth grade book, I’m a 6th grader,” you know, and that’s what, you know, you’re trying to avoid because, you know, there’s plenty of books that work for fifth graders and sixth graders and fourth graders.  You know, the lists are kind of good that way because there’s a range.

So for each grade, there are some that are easier and some that are harder.  So there’s something on it that’s going to work for your kid.  And, also, you know, ask your librarian.  People don’t think about it.  But, you know, and they always act like they’re bothering us, you’re not bothering us.  Just ask us, we are happy, we are – I’m shelving books there or, you know, putting stuff on display just waiting for you to ask me a question.  So, please, ask me and I’m happy to find a book that’s going to be great for your child.

Christine Freeman:  Yeah.  And we do have to restate that parents can print them from home, they’re available in our website.  If you’re interested, you can print them at home also.  We can go to our library and ask the librarians to print them out for you.

David Payne:  So, listen, just ask a librarian.

Julie Dina:  And I’ll be asking you this question.  What would be your favorite summer reading memory from childhood or with your own kids?

Lauren Martino:  I have to say I don’t think we’ve participated much with summer reading as a kid.  I do remember being a volunteer in signing people up and I just felt so important and, like, this weigh of this responsibility they were trusting me with all the stuff.  And, you know, they just, you know, they put me in my place and they just kind of went off and did their thing and, you know, here I am, signing kids up for summer reading.  You know, I didn’t realize that then that I’d be, you know, doing this my whole life.

But, yeah, I’ve got a four-year old at home and, you know, we’ve been working on some of them but – and I want to encourage people to consider this, you know, like, your summer is busy, you may not always have time to do all these stuff, but if you have parents that get to take your kids for any length of time, grandparents love to do this stuff with the kids.  So, you know, we want you to spend time with your kids and we want you to have these experiences, these enriching experience.  But, you know, you can share them with grandma, you can share them with uncles and aunts and cousins.  Yeah, you can share the wealth, and it’s a really great experience for everybody.

Christine Freeman:  And I think for me, I remember my son, I was a library page, so I’m responsible for putting books on the shelf, and I would take my son  to work with me and I would make him put the picture books away because they were the easiest and that way I didn’t have to do it.  And then afterwards, he would –

Lauren Martino:  Nice.  Smart.

Christine Freeman:  Afterwards, he would go and he would do the summer reading game, and he loved it because they had, like, a little spinner.  So if you completed so many, you got to do the spinner and get a price.  So he really enjoyed doing that when he go to the library with me.

Lauren Martino:  Great memories.

David Payne:  So we always close our episodes by asking the guests what they’re reading now.  So let me ask, let’s start with you, Christine, what’s in your bookshelf right now?

Christine Freeman:  Right now, I’m reading travel guides to England because I’ve been traveling there and I’m trying to make a plan.  It’s a lot harder than it sounds.  So lots of travel guides live on my shelf right now.  I’m also reading Matt de la Pena’s We Were Here.  I’m a bit halfway through it.  I picked it up because the setup was done in Stockton and I relocated from Stockton so that’s why I went and had picked that up.  So that’s what I’m reading right now.  Nonfiction and fiction, which is unusual for me because I usually don’t read nonfiction.

Lauren Martino:  I am slugging my way through this book in French.  I actually read it in English and I saw the movie and I really liked it in English and then the – and the movie.  It’s called the Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  It is, I believe, the only book I know of that’s been dictated entirely with eye blinks because –

David Payne:  Right.  It was very, very unusual.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah.  The author, he was like chief editor, I believe, of Elle in France for a while and he had, like, a stroke or something and ended up, like, with locked-in syndrome.  So he basically can’t move –

David Payne:  Couldn’t communicate.

Lauren Martino:  Couldn’t move, he can winked one eye because his other eyes is closed.  He can wink one eye, he can’t talk, he can’t sign, he can’t do anything but he can blink one eye.  So, they developed this system of, like, they’d read the alphabet out and in an order in which, you know, just by the frequency they occur in French and he would blink an eye when he got to the right letter.  So it’s spell out word by word what he wanted to say.  And, yeah, and he wrote a book this way.

Christine Freeman:  That amazing.

Lauren Martino:  I know.  It’s incredible.

David Payne:  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  And he’s also super well-educated and as you know, you know, French is not my first language, you know.  I’m just like, “Vocabulary, vocabulary.”  Yeah.  I had the same problem with the Elegance of the Hedgehog and, like, so, you know, it’s taking me awhile.  But the book in the English was very good.  And the movie – there’s a movie too that’s incredible that they made on the same subject, so.

David Payne:  I can see you’ll be busy with that for a while.

Lauren Martino:  Yes.  I’m almost to the end, you know.  So, you know, I keep thinking like, you know, it’s taking me awhile to read, you know, how long did it take him to write?  I can’t complain.

Christine Freeman:  Right.

Julie Dina:  So many blinks until you finish?

Lauren Martino:  Okay.  Luckily, I don’t have to blink.  Yeah.  But it’s just about, you know, he’s talking a little bit about the hospital, you know, and you just, you know, the intricacies of, you know, people coming to visit him and how they feel and how he feels and just –

David Payne:  Incredible story.  Yeah.

Lauren Martino:  Yeah, it’s an incredible story.  And he told them little snippets and, like, he composed this, he memorized everything like he, you know, spend hours, you know, alone in his room, in his bed like memorizing what he wanted to say until he could get somebody that would dictate for him and then he would just let it all out.  So it’s in like little chapters, like little bits at a time, but just fascinating.

Julie Dina:  You’ve guys have wowed us.

David Payne:  You sold us on summer reading.

Julie Dina:  Yes.  You really have been.  I want to thank you, Christine and Lauren, for all the wonderful information you’ve given us this afternoon.  Let’s keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on the new Apple Podcast app.  Stitcher or wherever you get your podcast.  Also, please review and rate us on Apple Podcast.  We love to know what you think.  Thank you for listening for our conversation today and see you next time.

[Audio Ends]

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