Friday, January 15, 2010

Libraries in books!

Perhaps I have a natural sensitivity to the portrayal of libraries in books, but it seems like lately much of what I've been reading mentions (or focuses on) a library of some sorts. So, I decided that every once in awhile, I'll highlight some scenes in books that mention a library because hey, it's interesting to me.

The Maze of BonesThe Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
published September 2008 by Scholastic
224 pages (hardcover), Middle Grade

First, some quotes:
Mr. McIntyre stood. He closed his leather folder. "I must get back to my office. But, my dear, perhaps your way of finding out is not the same as the other teams'. What do you normally do when you need answers?"
"I read a book." Amy gasped. "The library! Grace's library!" (41)
I may have squealed a little after reading this passage. Oh, it makes my little heart flutter when someone thinks of the library first for an information need. And I'm not alone...
Fortunately, the librarians were having a slow day, and Amy wasn't shy around them at all. She loved librarians. When she told them she was doing a summer research project on Benjamin Franklin and needed to use historical documents, they fell all over themselves to help her. (89)
(We love you too, Amy!) What can I say, really? Riordan was very kind to bring out the best of the library and librarians, where other authors are still stuck in the past, in outdated stereotypes that frustrate us just a tad. And I appreciate the bit of humor at the end, as we can be overly eager to help out, but only because that's the best part of our jobs (in my opinion), and we just love to do it. So, yay for libraries in this book!

Any librarians out there have a favorite library passage or scene to share? I know you think about it too!



Jaymie said...

I have this book on my shelf, waiting for some of my attention. This review makes me want to curl up with it soon. Thanks!

Laura (Reading and Rooibos) said...

I've always really enjoyed how important reading and books are to Klaus in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Snicket/Handler often slips in positive nods to libraries as well:

"If you feel . . . that well-read people are less likely to be evil, and a world full of people sitting quietly with good books in their hands is preferable to world filled with schisms and sirens and other noisy and troublesome things, then every time you enter a library you might say to yourself, 'The world is quiet here,' as a sort of pledge proclaiming reading to be the greater good." -- from The Slippery Slope

Bill said...

How about a movie passage? I love when Matilda begins to pull her little red wagon to the library and one of her first positive interactions with an adult is the librarian. I love that movie.

Rawley said...

My students didn't understand the importance of this passage when I read it aloud to them. In this age of teacher cutbacks, we only have a media aide instead of a real media specialist. And as much as I try to steer them towards the public library, many of them have yet to come in contact with a "real" librarian. Sigh.

NatalieSap said...

Jaymie - You're welcome!

Laura - Excellent quote. Though it makes me wonder about its kid appeal in terms of readability...

Bill - Sure, movies work too! I often refer to the movie when I want students to read the book. :)

Rawley - It's so sad to hear of schools without librarians. I wonder if the public librarians could come into the school for some programs or maybe take students on a field trip to the library? Sigh is right.

Angela Craft said...

I read & reviewed Freeze Frame not too long ago, a YA book that has a great librarian in it, and have been looking for more books featuring libraries and librarians! Thanks for the heads up!

Lee Wind said...

Mary Pope Osborn's Magic Tree House series has Jack and Annie become "Master Librarians" who travel through time on adventures to save books and collect them for Morgan's Camelot Library - they're basically love letters to books and librarians! (And my kid loves loves loves them!)
Thanks for sharing the others,

Jim said...

I named my daughter Harper after the main character in Kathryn Lasky's Memoirs of a Bookbat in which librarians are of the utmost importance. I loved those bits of Maze of Bones too. I need to get back to that series! Thanks.

NatalieSap said...

Angela - Awesome! I hope to make this a somewhat regular feature.

Lee - You know, as much as my students love the Magic Tree House books, I don't know that I've ever read one myself! I had no idea they had so much library love - will have to check some out. :)

Jim - Ooh, Memoirs of a Bookbat sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing!

Caroline said...

Since I became a librarian (well, actually, since I was in library school), I've found that these things pop out at me much more than they did before!

I just finished reading "Bettina Valentino and the Picasso Club," and while there isn't a huge library presence, there is a quick mention of the school librarian, who appears to have a thing for the art teacher. She's described, I think, as lovely. I remember thinking, "Oh, Miss Nightengale," because I did not get the impression that he would be interested in her.

Jennifer said...

I love the part in China Mieville's Un Lun Dun where he describes "bookaneers" traveling back into the dangerous stacks to retrieve books...but I'm also crazy about Mac Barnett's new book, The Brixton Brothers: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity, where the librarians are actually....heh. I won't tell you. But they're cooler than the CIA and the FBI.

Lawral the Librarian said...

I was trying to remember the name Mieville had for the librarians in Un Lun Dun. I'm glad Jennifer came up with it!

There's also a great short story in Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link that is all about EVERYONE's obsession with a TV show about superhero librarians.

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