It’s Wild Out There!

Dear HVLA Members,

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! It’s hard to believe we’ve arrived here. After summer explorations, adventures, and relaxation, I am excited to welcome students back into our school and library. 

This past Labor Day weekend, my family and I went camping at Jabe Pond near Hague, NY in the Adirondack Mountains. We were without electricity and running water but we were in an idyllic setting at the edge of a pond surrounded by fresh air, bird calls, and wild animals. Hiking into our primitive site proved more eventful than we anticipated. We had to traverse a bog, navigate the path after the trail ended, and my husband even had to survive a standoff with a five foot timber rattlesnake. A scary and potentially dangerous situation. Once again we were reminded that nature, while peaceful and restorative, demands our respect. 

As educators, we ask students to do things that are challenging and occasionally scary for them. It’s important to remember how that feels in order to be able to guide them through it. On the first day of school, we will show up in our schools and libraries carrying our own unique feelings and experiences from this past summer and of course our lives. I hope HVLA can support all of your work connecting with your students, teachers, staff, administrators, and families. The work you all do to develop comprehensive library collections that reflect the communities you serve and show the diversity of peoples’ experiences, while advocating for intellectual freedom, is invaluable. Not to mention the safe and welcoming spaces you create so that everyone feels they belong in the library. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. 

I wish everyone a smooth and joyful start of the school year. I know this is some people’s favorite time of year (new notebooks and pens and pencils!) and some people’s least favorite time (grieving the end of summer). How ever you show up on the first day, I hope you find connection and joy. I especially hope you’ll find these at our Fall HVLA meeting (October date TBA). It’s going to be a great year!


Amy Chow, President

Looking for a book recommendation? Here’s what the HVLA board enjoyed during the summer:

Dune by Frank Herbert. It was time to read the book that inspired the movies. I love both the 1984 film with Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart and Sting and the 2021 film with Timothée Chalamet. Now reading Dune Messiah while I await the release of Dune: Part Two. ~Amy Chow, President

This summer I read a book titled Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty. I checked it out of the public library and renewed it twice. I have since purchased a copy for my own personal library collection. The photos and stories are stunning. I also enjoyed that it is a book you don’t have to read in order; you can literally just flip to a page you like and read the excerpt written about each model.  ~Ayana Mbaye, Co-Vice President

Like many of you, I view summer as an opportunity to read as much as time allows. Amy asked us to write about one book that we liked for the blog post–too hard! My favorites this summer include Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson where I traveled to 1926 London and spent time with Nellie Corker and her seamy entourage in a variety of Jazz clubs. The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris was also a favorite. This novel takes place in Georgia in the days after the Emancipation Proclamation–it follows two formerly enslaved brothers, Prentiss and Landry, and the white man who encountered them camping on his land. Lastly, The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel was a great read featuring a woman and her two daughters grieving over the death of their husband/father. A lot happens, but the most exciting part involves a wooly mammoth. ~Ragan O’Malley, Co-Vice President

Passport by Sophia Glock ~Gwen Kaplan, Membership and Financial Coordinator

Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo ~Mallory Weber, Communications Coordinator

To find out what Elaine Levia, Secretary, read during the summer, you must seek her out at the Fall Meeting and ask her!