A Used-Book Book Fair

by Melissa Kazan, Upper Division Head Librarian at Horace Mann

Every year, the Horace Mann Parents’ Association hosts a used-book book fair for the Upper and Middle divisions. This annual tradition generates tons of excitement throughout the community for many reasons, mainly because families and employees can donate books that have been sitting around their homes forever and because people can buy books on the cheap. Prices this year were $2 for paperbacks, $3 for hardcovers, and $5 for textbooks/test prep books. During the final hours of the three-day event, there’s a “bag sale” – no, not a sale on bags – but $8 for all the books one can stuff into a bag we provide. To say that people get creative is an understatement.

The book fair also features a raffle for students and teachers (prizes are gift cards or items like AirPods, all donated by parents), as well as a flea market for previously-loved games, toys, clothes, etc. And one of the best aspects of the book fair is that we send leftover books in good condition to community partners, such as Riverdale Neighborhood House, Housing Works, local public school libraries, and educational programs for incarcerated people.

Arranging the book fair requires a decent amount of organization, communication, and (literally) some heavy lifting, so it’s essential to coordinate with your maintenance or buildings department. It’s also critical to have energetic and dependable parent volunteers to set up, break down, and staff the fair. As such, this event is a good collaborative moment between the library and parents, as we not only work side-by-side organizing the fair, but proceeds from the fair help fund various non-essential library needs. Last year, we used the money raised to replace the library’s worn soft seating, and this year we plan to purchase group study tables to replace some study carrels.

And last but not least, the used-book fair is a perfect destination for your library’s weeded books. It’s really a win-win situation!

Found in Translation

by Maria Falgoust and Amy Ribakove

Have you ever considered how many works in translation are included in your collection? Are you interested in adding more? If so, we hope this blog post will get you started and provide some inspiration.

Why is it important to include translated books in your library? 

  • It honors linguistic and cultural diversity and helps preserve uniqueness of cultures
  • It relates to our diversity, equity and inclusion work
  • It builds audiences for literature in translation
  • It opens cultural borders

Groundwood publisher Karen Li wrote “Part of growing up is learning how to be in the world, and translated titles show us that there are so many different ways to be- none more or less valid than the other!” and this really strikes a chord with us.

Reading translated literature can build empathy, show the universality of emotions and  experiences, spark curiosity and build new connections. What’s not to love??

Where to start when building your collection:

Continue reading “Found in Translation”

Navigating Challenges and Advocating for the Freedom to Read

HVLA Winter meeting 2023

Book challenges – something most (probably all) of us dread thinking about. However, many HVLA members braved the topic and came out last week to hear the fascinating and valuable perspectives of a panel of experts. The discussion was eye opening and supportive, and we have some takeaways to share!

Moderator Christine Nassar and audience members got a chance to ask questions of five people with direct professional experience in this arena. They were:

  • Leanne Ellis – School Library Instructional Coordinator, NYCDOE
  • Vincent Hyland – Library Coordinator, North Brooklyn Office of Library Services, NYCDOE
  • Kyle Lukoff – Newbery Honor author,  former HVLA Membership Coordinator
  • Kacey Meehan – Program Director, Freedom to Read
  • Christy Payne – Director of Library & Information Services, The Dalton School
Continue reading “Navigating Challenges and Advocating for the Freedom to Read”

Meet the new HVLA co-Vice President

Welcome to HVLA’s newest board member, Ayana Mbaye!

Ayana Mbaye is a 6-12th grade librarian at Professional Children’s School. She obtained her MLIS with a specialization in school librarianship from Pratt Institute. She began her library career at the NYPL for the Performing Arts library at the age of 17. Since then, she has worked in an academic library and various independent schools in NYC. She has even taken her librarianship skills abroad to teach students and collaborate with educators in the Samburu region of Kenya. She loves the Wizarding World, wildlife, visiting museums, traveling and her 12 year old mainecoon Brooke.

A Look Inside the Caldecott Committee

Christine Nassar, First Program Librarian at The Dalton School and HVLA President, spoke with Ramona Caponegro about her experience as a member of the 2023 Caldecott Committee.

CN: Alright, well, thank you so much for being here with me. Do you want to introduce yourself ?

RC: Sure. So I was a member of the 2023 Caldecott Committee and in my day job, I’m the curator of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature at the University of Florida.

CN: Great. We have some questions from elementary students, and some questions from librarians. The first question from our students was how did you get onto the committee?

RC: I was appointed to the committee by the President of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), part of the American Library Association, which is the organization that runs the Caldecott Award. And I was probably asked to be part of the committee because I have been on other committees for ALSC beforehand. 

CN: Amazing. I think this was my favorite question. How many books did you have to read as part of this process? And, how do you decide which one wins?

RC: So I had to read over 700 books for this process. Most of them were picture books, but we also read early readers, chapter books with illustrations, and graphic novels. So if it has pictures and it’s by an American author/illustrator and published in the United States in 2022, I probably got to look at it.

Continue reading “A Look Inside the Caldecott Committee”