Small Press Preview & Fall Meeting 2022

On Thursday, November 10th, HVLA librarians gathered for our fall meeting and Small Press Publisher Preview at the Nightingale-Bamford School – our first in-person, indoors gathering in nearly two years! Librarians enjoyed refreshments, mingling, book displays, and a warm welcome from HVLA President Christine Nassar before hearing from an exciting roster of small press publishers about new and soon-to-be-published titles.

Librarians heard from representatives from the following small presses:

  • Astra Books for Young Readers
  • Elsewhere Editions
  • Enchanted Lion Books
  • Greystone Kids & JY Press
  • Lee & Low
  • Little Bee Books
  • Nobrow Press
  • Pow Kids
  • Tapioca Stories

The evening closed with raffling off the many books generously donated by the small presses and, as a result, many happy school librarians with new titles to add to their collections.

Many thanks to all of our visiting publishers, the Nightingale-Bamford School librarians and facilities team, and Angela Perna (HVLA VP) for coordinating to host a wonderful in-person gathering. Please find helpful links to resources below!

Introducing the 2022-2023 HVLA Board!

As we embark on another year of programming for our Hudson Valley Library Association community, we’re here to reintroduce ourselves as your Board of Directors. We can’t wait to get to know you at our soon-to-be-announced fall meeting. Learn a little about us now and stay tuned for more information soon!

Christine Nassar, President

Christine Nassar is a librarian at The Dalton School, working with grades K-3. She obtained her Master’s of Information from Rutgers University, with a concentration in Library and Information Sciences, and a specialization in School Media. She is a lover of graphic novels and picture books. Some of Christine’s favorites are Journey by Aaron Becker, Stuck by Oliver Jeffers, and Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell. Christine speaks English, French, Arabic, and some rather rusty Italian, which she is always happy to practice.

Angela Perna, Co-Vice President

Angela Perna is a K-8 librarian at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s. Born in Montréal, Québec, she attended McGill University where she obtained her MSLIS.  Angela worked at NYPL for three years as a YA librarian and, at various junctures, in specialized libraries including medical, art and research.  She finally found her professional niche as a school librarian, now celebrating her twentieth year. A picture book aficionado, she enjoys discussing the role illustrations play in telling a story, reflecting her love of art and undergraduate background in art history.  She lives in The Bronx with her husband and, hopefully one day, a yellow Lab to be named after one of her many favorite literary characters.

Sarah Kresberg, Co-Vice President

Sarah Kresberg is the Upper Division Librarian and Director of the Library Tech Commons at The Allen-Stevenson School. A native of the UK, she was a third grade teacher in London and, after moving to the U.S., a fourth grade teacher in Vermont. It was in Vermont that she first encountered a school library in an elementary school and grew hugely envious of the librarian. Sarah completed her MSLIS at Kent State University and moved to NYC after seeing an advertisement for the job at Allen-Stevenson in the NY Times. Sarah can often be found walking or running along the waterfront near her apartment in Long Island City, which she shares with her husband, her fluffy cat Lola, and, during college vacations, her children. In her free time she tries new recipes, studies Korean and watches quite a few K-dramas.

Elaine Levia, Secretary

Elaine Levia is a High School Librarian and House Advisor at The Dalton School. A native Californian, Elaine majored in Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz and completed her MSLIS at UCLA. While interning at the Windward School, she became enamored with ~*the teens*~ in all their joyful, determined glory and decided to pursue a career in progressive education. Out of the stacks and classroom, Elaine enjoys biking, baking, Pilates, and keeps up a sporadic writing practice. She’s getting into hiking and backpacking, and will most likely take a memoir, chapbook, and novel out with her wherever she ventures.

Gwen Kaplan, Membership & Financial Coordinator

Gwen Kaplan is a Lower Division Librarian at the Horace Mann School. As an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, she was interested in so many different topics that she realized the library was the place to be! Since completing her MSLIS and School Library Certification at Drexel University, she has served as a librarian at Abington Friends School and Saint David’s School. She loves it when children ask “why?” and she is usually reading at least a couple of nonfiction books and mystery novels. A graduate school repeat offender, she is currently indulging her curiosity by working on a M.A. in American History, which means she has deep empathy for every student up against a deadline. In between parenting, teaching, and studying, she uses a time turner to make opportunities for quilting and baking.

Megan Westman, Communications Coordinator

Megan Westman (she/her) is the Lower School Librarian and Lower School Equity Coordinator at the Nightingale-Bamford School. She holds an MSLIS from Pratt Institute’s School of Information and has a background in storytelling via BAs in Musical Theatre and History from the American University. As a librarian and human being, Megan is passionate about antibias & antiracist education, sustainability, community building, and everyone reading whatever they want to read. When she’s not at school, Megan can be found baking, writing, playing the ukulele, and tending to her many houseplants. She lives in Brooklyn with a grumpy senior chihuahua named Beignet.

Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year!

And just like that, we’re back! Inspired by my third grader students, who are currently writing “hopes and dreams” poems, I’d like to share my hopes and dreams for HVLA this year.

I hope for a great year of reconnection,
Of being together, to celebrate and to learn.

I dream of reviving clubs that have lost touch–
the HVLA book club, field trips and craft nights, our retiree and solo librarian groups.

I hope for more valuable time together,
With a return to in-person meetings, both professionally and socially.

I dream of an organization that is by its members, for its members;
Not a dream, but a reality.

I hope we can move forward,
To evaluate what serves us, and what we’d like to leave behind.

I dream of all this and more in the wonderful year to come.

In the spirit of these hopes, look out for the HVLA membership survey towards the end of September, once we have (hopefully) settled back into our school routines. We’d love to hear how best to serve you.

If you have not renewed your membership yet, you can do so here.

Let’s have a great year together.

Christine Nassar
HVLA President

Farewell 2021-22 School Year

At our meeting at the Polonsky exhibit this spring, someone shared a sentiment so succinct, yet that at times can feel so cuttingly accurate: “no one understands what we do.” While this resonates with me deeply, it gives me yet another reason to be grateful for this community we have all built: we understand what we do. We have each other to learn from and lean on.

I am so filled with gratitude to have such a wonderful group who understands so profoundly what we all do and why we matter. I am humbled by this community of incredible educators, who fight for their students and for access for all, for freedom of speech, whether or not we agree with what is said. There is and will always be work to be done, but I look forward to doing it all together.

As the 2021-22 school year comes to a close, I cannot help but reflect not just on this year, but the arc of these past few school years. As we all grew tired of phrases like “social distance,” “abundance of caution” and the dreaded “remote learning,” much had to be put on hold. While the shape of our days might have returned to normal, in many ways we are still living out the consequences of this challenging time.

I look forward to reconnecting more next year, bringing back more time for those quality interactions that we have most lacked with those who understand what we do best.

I wish everyone a summer full of well deserved rest. Take a deep breath, and know that in the fall, we will be together again.

Christine Nassar
HVLA President

Book Fair 2022: Reading Colors Your World at St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s

If you asked me, some twenty Book Fairs ago, what I thought the purpose of a Book Fair was, I would have told you that it was a way to raise funds for the school and get some more books into the hands of students.  Over the two decades of organizing these Fairs, my early career preconceptions have been thoroughly turned on their heads.  Few are the occasions that elevate a school librarian to the status of ‘rock star’, but at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, this highly anticipated event has become a highlight of the school year.  This year’s Book Fair, which was a return to our traditional in-person event, was typical of the Fairs that have preceded it.  And over the years I have learned to take advantage of this momentum to make the Book Fair into a celebration of reading.  Here is what I learned:

Continue reading “Book Fair 2022: Reading Colors Your World at St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s”