Don’t hurt & don’t put up with being hurt

This is the start of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week. Anything that hurts teens makes me want to scream. Nobody deserves to be hurt. Period.

What can you do?

Learn about the problem.

Study the numbers.

Review the research.

Know the signs.

“Break the silence, make the call.”

Read Lynn Evarts’ article, “The School Library as Sanctuary” (VOYA, Dec, 2006 – thanks YALSA blog for the tip).

Please pass on these links to anyone you know who is caught in an emotionally or physically violent relationship.

::totally changes topic::

The best part of yesterday (aside from walking around in a daze and muttering “I turned it in… I turned it in…) was going to the gym for the first time in two weeks. Aaaaahhhhh, sweat!

We got LOTS of snow overnight, so I will spend the day watching the wind blow it around.

teachers – this is for you

I’ve been meaning to post a link to this for months.

Agnes Irwin, one of my favorite schools in the country, started the Dream Flags Project in 2003. It has blossomed and grown.

Teachers who are looking for an excellent project next year that revolves around themes of peace, poetry, art, and ways to connect with other schools – this is what you’re looking for.

But really, everyone should take a peek. It will make you smile.

Big kudos to teachers Jeff Harlan and Sandy Crow who are the godparents of this special project!

How to make yourself feel good today

The Dewey Donation System might be my favorite Internet concept of the year. It is a website that coordinates donations to libraries in the Gulf Coast region hard-hit by Katrina. They’ve set up wish lists on Amazon so you can order books that will be shipped directly to the libraries. Simple, fast, and elegant.

Our family just gave them American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, Parable of the Talents, by Octavia Butler, and Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure, by Toni DiTerlizzi. The first two are because I love fantasy & sci/fi (and Gaiman is in my Top 5 list), the last one because my S&S editor Kevin worked on it, and it is a fantastic book.

I challenge thee, LJ-reader. Check it out. Tell all your friends. Give if you can.

Make the world a better place!

(If you donate, let us know here – it would be cool to kep a running tally!)

Many thanks to melange428 for telling me about this. Say hi to Hannah and the AI girls for me!

More proof that librarians are angels on earth

The American Library Association’s annual conference is going on in New Orleans right now. (No, I’m not there. But I wish that I were.)

This is the first major convention to be held in New Orleans since hurricane Katrina devastated the city. I am not exactly what you call an insider, but from what I’ve heard the last few months, the leadership of ALA has been firm and committed about holding the convention there as a way to help the people of the region get back on there feet.

But that’s not all.

Librarians are volunteering their time and energy while in New Orleans to help with the reconstruction. More info.

Librarians have demanding, underpaid jobs. They provide access to information, education, and opportunities for enlightenment for all Americans. And they catch a lot of flack for it from people who do not understand the principles of the Constitution. But you know what? Most of them see that as an opportunity to educate people and encourage more discussion. Librarians make this country a great place.

Is anyone blogging from the conference besides professornana andhornbookfeed, and this guy ?

EDITED TO ADD – thanks for the feedback – here is what you told me:
Sara Ryan thisisnotanlj
Nielsen Hayden
Sarah Dessen writergrl
The YALSA blog!

In other librarian news, would somebody who has a myspace account, please send a note to this wonderful librarian and tell her I say thanks for doing a great job with her book club? Thanks.

Let’s say it all together: librarians rock!

Amazing Timken Experience

Days like yesterday give me faith in the American High School. Yeah, I really just wrote that. I can’t believe it, either. I have lots of faith in teenagers and good teachers, but I have been in way too many schools where administration was a weak link, and the kids suffered from a lack of vision and compassionate adults who were willing to fight for them.

Let me tell you about Timken High School in Canton, OH.

If you look at the statistics, you’d sigh. Many of the kids in this school come from what is politely called “underserved” areas, meaning their families struggle with poverty, unemployment, and a host of other concerns. These are the kids that are usually forced to accept the bottom of the barrel. Not at Timken. It has brilliant administrators (yes, I put those two words next to each other!) who have crafted a high school that offers all kinds of academic and vocational programs for their students. The school is divided into academies: a Technology Academy, an Arts Academy, and a Service Academy. Along with the elements of a traditional secondary curriculum, kids are given loads of opportunities for real-world education, and can take classes that will feed directly into post-secondary training to prepare them for jobs. I really hope some smart reporter looks into the innovative and practical things that are going on there.

My presentations were unique, thanks to the handiwork of Lynn Rudd, who coordinated my visit. Speak was chosen as an “all-school reads” book. Yep – everybody read it, including the guys in the auto body classes. Students made magnificent artwork based on the book and discussed it all over the place. Instead of just having me blather on in the auditorium, Lynn set up an extravaganza. The jazz band played while students took their seats. A beloved principal and one of their top seniors (who will study broadcasting) interviewed me on stage. And when the show was over, a punk/rock band played as students left. If any of you teachers out there are looking for information about this innovative format, or how to pull off a whole school reading the same book, please give Lynn a call.

Yes, like many schools in America, Timken is struggling. They have received a lot of attention because of the number of pregnant students at the school, an issue which they are addressing head-on. (Many of the administrative and curricular changes are recent.) Resources are stretched. But the faculty there is committed to their students in a degree which I rarely see. The kids are fantastic. People there are all working hard so that every student has the chance to grow, strive, and become the best person they can be – regardless of income or background. I left there feeling energized and uplifted by the people I met. So thank you, Timken!!! Thank you very, very much!

Oh, and when I was in the Canton/Akron area, I got to drive past the NFL Football Hall of Fame. It does not look as imposing as the photos make it look. In fact, it looks rather like the kitchen tool you use to squeeze lemon juice from a lemon, or maybe a painful medical device. I was amused.

Now I am in Columbus for a couple more days. I think I’m going to get to see the house where they filmed the Speak movie tonight. Will take photos.

(Note to a couple friends of mine who are trying to reach me by email – these hotel internet services are weird and I can’t send email out, plus I am really busy. Call me at home on Friday afternoon, or I will email you back then.)