10 Questions with Kyle Lukoff

Lisa Norberg, Acting Director of the Library at The Cooper Union and librarian at La Scuola d’Italia, spoke with Kyle Lukoff, author and librarian at Corlears, about writing, reading, and life in the library.


LN: First, congratulations on receiving the Stonewall Award for When Aidan Became a Brother. How has receiving national recognition for your work changed the way you think about your writing?  

KL: Thank you!

I think winning the Stonewall (and, prior to that, the generally good press it received) helped me trust my gut. See, it was really hard to find a publisher for Aidan. I had one editor suggest that I “team up with a talented writer,” and others give me vague, nebulous feedback saying that the story “didn’t work,” or that they “just didn’t love it.” My former agent wanted me to completely overhaul the story, but all of her suggestions involved deadnaming him, having strangers openly speculate about his gender, or include various transphobic microaggressions. Which I didn’t want to do. The last few months have proven that I was right to keep trying even when it probably made sense to give up. Which will hopefully translate to that level of confidence–or at least stubbornness–for future projects! Though who knows, that might not always be a good thing.

LN: You recently tweeted “I’m not a “real writer” I’m three very lonely creative children who like to make up stories about their imaginary friends stacked in a trench coat.” Do you think there is such a thing as a “real writer”? What’s your definition of a “real writer”?  

Continue reading “10 Questions with Kyle Lukoff”

HVLA Winter Meeting (with NYCSLA)

On February 12, librarians from both the public and independent school communities came together for a rare opportunity to comingle and collaborate in a workshop focused on the newly-revised (2019) Empire State Information Fluency Continuum (ESIFC) This multi-faceted document identifies discrete research skills and helps enable collaboration between teachers (content specialists) and librarians. What’s new in the “New IFC?” The addition of Design Thinking;  Multiple Literacies (e.g., visual and media); Social and Civic Responsibilities (e.g., diverse perspectives; digital citizenship) and Personal Growth and Agency (e.g., social/emotional growth, independent reading) to the standards. Continue reading “HVLA Winter Meeting (with NYCSLA)”

How To Host An Author- An Author’s POV

Ever wondered what an author visit is like from the author’s point of view? HVLA’s very own Kyle Lukoff, Librarian at Corlears School, and Stonewall Award-winning author of When Aidan Became a Brother, shares his insights.


I joined HVLA in the fall of 2012 when I was a brand-new librarian in my first year at the Corlears School in Chelsea. My school schedules author visits once a year, for our bookfair, and after a few years, I became responsible for coordinating those visits.

Then, in the fall of 2019, I took three months off from work to travel around the country with my second picture book, When Aidan Became a Brother. I made a lot of mistakes, and in doing so learned a lot about what goes into making a successful school visit. The HVLA board was generous enough to let me share some of what I learned with you! I’ve tried to include everything that I’ve discovered through trial and error, and also got two author friends (Michelle Knudsen and Traci Sorell) to look this over and add their thoughts. Of course, no one guide can account for every possible situation, and every individual author might have their own needs and preferences. But I hope this helps, especially when paired with clear and direct communication with the authors you’re working with.

Continue reading “How To Host An Author- An Author’s POV”

2020 Printzbery Results

Our annual Printzbery event was held Saturday, January 11, 2020. Twelve librarians gathered to discuss the merits of various MG and YA books published in 2019. In addition to awarding a Newbery, a Printz, and honors for each, our mock committee also awards a Printzbery to the most excellent book for 12-14 year olds (the overlapping ages for Newbery and Printz).

Without further ado, our winners are: Continue reading “2020 Printzbery Results”

A Winter Checkout Party

The last days before break at our upper school level are filled with deadlines and nervous energy. Along with this comes an uptick the most frustrating phrase I hear at least once a week: “High schoolers don’t have time to read”. We librarians know this is untrue and during finals it is especially important to remind students (and faculty) of the value of reading for pleasure.

With all of this in mind, I used the prospect of winter break as an impetus to remind folks to read. Inspired by Melissa Ahart’s summer checkout party, I threw a “Winter Break Checkout Party” during our flex and lunch periods. To advertise, I made an announcement at morning meeting earlier in the week and reminded students that a great way to get grown-ups to leave you alone during winter break is to have your face in a book. Then the morning of the party, I sent an email with event details and links to our ebook collections. I also used these moments as an opportunity to plug our Mock Printz collection. 

It took about half an hour to set up the room. I used spare book stands and stacked books to turn two tables of the library into a bookstore. I placed decorative masking tape directly on the tables to label the categories of books. In addition to our Mock Printz books, we chose to highlight essays, short stories, and “as seen on tv”; these being some of the most accessible and easy-to-sell books. Our library assistant Camilla set up a special checkout desk with string lights, bookmarks, and treats. The final touch was putting a “yule log”-type screensaver on our display tv. I chose “Winter at Hogwarts”.
Using our retail skills, Camilla and I walked around the room chatting up our students and recommending books. All in all, our circulation was significantly higher than most days of the year. We were thrilled with the connections we made with regular and new patrons of the library.
Special thanks to Camilla Yohn-Barr who contributed so much to the planning, set-up, implementation, and general awesomeness of this event.

Anna Murphy is Upper School Librarian at Berkeley Carroll; she is also HVLA treasurer. 

AASL 2019 Recap

This year’s American Association of School Libraries (AASL) Conference took place in Louisville, Kentucky, from Thursday, November 14th to Saturday, November 16th.

The AASL Conference began on Thursday morning, with an option to register for a two-hours pre-conference session.

The conference kicked up in earnest in the afternoon with the opening of the IdeaLab. The IdeaLab offered a place for librarians to walk around and hear quick presentations on what other librarians are doing in their own spaces. Some presentation topics included opening the library over the summer, research and inquiry units, digital literacy programs, and ways to integrate more technology into our work.

Soon after the IdeaLab closed, the conference officially kicked off with the opening general session! A joyful welcome included special shout-outs to state and regional library associations, who each took a turn (and a bow) on stage.

Ellen Oh, a YA author and co-founder of We Need Diverse Books, then addressed the crowd, sharing her message of how vital diversity is to our work as librarians largely through touching, personal stories of her own life and the lives of her three children.

The following two days were filled with meaningful concurrent sessions, often with so many enthusiastic attendees that you could regularly find participants sitting on the floor. All sessions were categorized according to AASL Shared Foundations: inquire, include, collaborate, curate, explore and engage.

As a first time attendee, I am grateful for such a space, where those of us who do this work can come together and share, be it our struggles or our triumphs, and find a community all our own. I look forward to more experiences to come.


Christine Nassar is a First Program Librarian at Dalton and one of HVLA’s vice-presidents.