CLIFF’S EDGE: A few leftovers from my discussion on libraries…

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I thought you and I had a healthy conversation around the table last Friday as we chewed on the topic of local libraries and their continued value in this age of evolving media.

I thought this weekend I’d share a few leftovers from my discoveries on that topic.

I had asked the two librarians with whom I had talked, Lydia Katzel at White Center and Gaye Hinchliff at Burien, what topics most appeal to early readers today, whether in print, audio, video or digitally.

I followed that up this week by asking the same question of Devon Abejo, the teen-services librarian at the White Center library.

Last week Lydia had identified a couple of topics right away among the younger kids: Dinosaurs and transportation. Close behind those came “life issues,” she said, such as Adoption ….bed-wetting … ‘feelings’ “ in general.

At the Burien library, Gaye Hinchliff quickly identified one book popular with the younger set: “The Bad Guys,” featuring the big, bad wolf, a snake, a piranha and a shark. Heck, I may give that one a read.

In fact, I envy those of you with at least one beginning reader close by because you have an excuse to revisit with them Dr. Seuss and then keep right on going into some of the new books at that level.

Some of these new ones, called “graphic novels,” incorporate comic-book- style content of varying amounts.

One series of such books suggested by Gaye at the Burien library is titled “CatStronauts” featuring cat astronauts who work out of Catsup Headquarters on solving world problems. (We can use all the help we can get.)

She also cited a couple of popular authors from this state, Asia Citro whose books combine science and fantasy, and Don Gemeinhort, author of “The Honest Truth” and “Some Kind of Courage.”

Those were some of my leftovers.

For dessert this week, we’ll share a little time with Devon and her teen readers back at the White Center Library.

Noting that she’s the third librarian in her family, after her grandmother and mother, to work with teenagers, she said she’s surprised at how politically aware today’s teens are.

“They’re up on current events,” she said.. “They realize they have an obligation to make change and that they can do that.”

She said she and her teen readers don’t turn to books as much as they do YouTube and other electronic information sources.

However, Devon encourages them through her “Book Watch” program to bring to her attention books that they find of use so that she can order more like them.

The afternoon I visited with her she was scheduled to lead a gaming session where she expected to greet about 10 teens on this nice, sunny day. During the school year she may get between 20 or 30 students for such an activity using either video or board games.

She, and the other librarians with whom I talked provided much more food for thought, but I’ll have to put that in the topic refrigerator for future use.

Cliff Rowe is a retired journalist and journalism professor. (He practiced both in a time before journalists and what they produced were considered “enemies of the people.”) He and his family have lived in the Shorewood area of White Center (then Burien) since 1969 when they returned to the Northwest after seven years in the Chicago area. There, following graduate school, he wrote and edited with the Chicago Sun-Times and with Paddock Publications in the Chicago suburbs. On moving here, he was with The Seattle Times for 11 years before turning to teaching journalism at Pacific Lutheran University for 35 years, retiring in 2015.

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One Response to “CLIFF’S EDGE: A few leftovers from my discussion on libraries…”
  1. Wondering says:

    Yes, I enjoyed reading to my grandchildren starting almost 19 years ago. We went through many pop-up books and continued through “Lord of the Rings” “Harry Potter” among others spending many enjoyable hours together.
    Now, as teen-agers, as you say they have moved on to You-Tube even introducing me to it.
    We also attended story hour at the library when they were small.
    I believe these activities have helped them in doing well in school, as well as enhancing our relationship.
    I highly recommend the Burien Library to all parents and children and am thankful for the opportunity to have such a nice facility here.

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