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  • 02 Sep 2015 3:09 PM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    I Love My Librarian Award 2015


    Librarians touch the lives of the people they serve every day.  The I Love My Librarian Award encourages library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians.  We want to hear how you think your librarian is improving the lives of the people in your school, campus or community.


    Each year 10 librarians are selected. Each librarian receives a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony and reception in New York City, hosted by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

    Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.  Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university or at an accredited K-12 school.


    Nominations for the 2015 I Love My Librarian Award are open through September 28.


    Nominate a School Librarian


    Nominate a Public Librarian


    Nominate a College, Community College, or University Librarian


    If you want to resubmit a nomination from a previous year, we've made it easy.


    Sign up here to be notified about future I Love My Librarian Award activity.


    Questions?  Email Megan McFarlane, Campaign Coordinator,

    American Library Association, mmcfarlane@ala.org.

  • 27 Aug 2015 5:01 PM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    Maine is one of five states chosen to take part in one of the first academic studies on the efficacy of story time.  OCLC, along with partners at the Washington State Library and Thrive Washington have been working with the Information School of the University of Washington to compile data and implement best practices into a program called Supercharged Storytimes!


    The first research phase, unsurprisingly, took place in Washington State.  80 public libraries took part.  This phase was a roaring success, and now the project has expanded to five more states.  Maine was selected after a multi-tiered process, and being chosen is quite a feather in Maine’s cap.  In addition to Maine, the other states are: Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and North Carolina.


    In this phase, each state gathers a cohort of public library staff who present story times on a regular basis.  Staff who are interested apply directly to OCLC.  Library staff can expect to gain wonderful information and practical skills from this experience, whether they are new to story times or long-term presenters. Participating in this project will:

    • Enhance existing early literacy programs (such as Every Child Ready to Read) with tips and tools that can help you purposefully and creatively incorporate essential early literacy concepts into your story times;
    • Encourage sharing of and learning from experiences and ideas through an online-based peer support network;
    • Provide you with research-based tools and tips that can aid story time interactivity and engagement with children and caregivers;
    • Give you the confidence that what you are doing really does make a difference in helping young children learn to read;
    • Empower you to articulate the value and impact of the early literacy services your library provides.

    Hopefully you can see that some of these benefits are of particular interest to Maine.  First, all of the project takes place online.  In a state where travel to meetings, workshops and get-togethers is difficult, taking part in a high-quality, online experience is a boon to many.  


    Second, you probably know that in Maine, a very small percentage of children are able to go to preschool.  Story time becomes crucial to a child’s school readiness.  Presenting the best story times you possibly can is helping young children get ready to read in kindergarten (or before!) and is making a measurable difference in Maine.


    Third, we see more and more in Maine that cities are struggling to make ends meet, and the public library often suffers for this.  As the last bullet above states, this project will allow participants to explain the value of early literacy skills, story time, and the public library, and describe the impact these have on children and Maine’s future.


    The Maine State Library hopes that every public library story time provider in Maine signs up for this project.  The links below lay out the information and expectations in detail.  Please read the information carefully.  If you have any questions or need help, please contact Early Literacy Consultant Shannon Schinagl at the Maine State Library: shannon.c.schinagl@maine.gov or 207-287-5660.


    Need a general overview?  OCLC has provided a Supercharged Storytimes! Announcement Letter.


    A more detailed description of Supercharged Storytimes! can be found here.


    Please read the Supercharged Storytimes! Participant Overview very carefully.  All of the nitty-gritty is spelled out here, including requirements, time commitment, and what you can expect.


    If you choose to participate, apply with a Statement of Interest.


    If you would like to read the research from the first phase, the academic study is called Project VIEWS2.


    Finally, the deadline for application is Friday, September 11, at 5:00 EST.


    Please join Maine in participating in this exciting project!


    Shannon Schinagl

    Early Literacy Consultant

    Maine State Library

    shannon.c.schinagl@maine.gov

    207-287-5660


  • 14 Apr 2015 1:07 PM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    As we were all taught back in kindergarten, sharing is good. Several Maine libraries are demonstrating this through participation in Maine Shared Collections. Back in in July’s edition of MLA to Z (summer seems such a long time ago!) I wrote about wrapping up the grant activities of the Maine Shared Collections Strategy (MSCS). Based on our experience from the grant, we’ve developed our own collection analysis service. We provide libraries with data and advice for making decisions about what titles can be safely weeded and those which are potential candidates for long-term retention as part of Maine Shared Collections. So far, 16 libraries have participated in analyzing their print monographs collections (Edythe L. Dyer, Witherle, Northeast Harbor, McArthur, Freeport, seven Community Colleges, University of Maine Farmington, University of Maine at Presque Isle, University of Maine at Augusta, and UMA Bangor) and I’m keen to get as many libraries involved as possible.


    Analysis to date

    By committing to retain items, member libraries provide other libraries with the option to weed their own local copy, safe in the knowledge that their patrons can still access the title via existing resource sharing agreements. Overlap has been high (on average 40%) between libraries’ print monograph collections and titles already committed to retain by Maine Shared Collections members. Therefore, there have been plenty opportunities for weeding. Some libraries have literally taken their spreadsheets to the stacks to pull items for weeding. Those libraries that have already identified weeding candidates used the spreadsheets as another check before deciding whether an item could be safely weeded.


    Generally, the titles identified as retention commitment candidates are those where there are fewer than ten holding libraries in OCLC, don’t have an existing Maine Shared Collections retention commitment, or are Maine related. The average number of titles identified as potential retention candidates account for less than 1% of the library’s print monograph collection. The numbers of titles involved – from only 17 to 97 – are sufficiently low that libraries have felt comfortable making the retention commitments, but there is no obligation for them to do so. Examples of titles that have been committed to retain include Rev. Seth Noble: a revolutionary war soldier's promise of America and the founding of Bangor, Maine and Columbus, Ohio by Carol B. Smith Fisher and Embedded memories: the story of Aroostook potato houses by Roger P. Akeley. 


    A nice byproduct of the collection analysis is documentation that identifies incorrect and missing metadata (e.g. incorrect and missing ISBN, OCLC numbers). This can be used to correct records, benefitting other libraries in our shared resource environment. 


    Benefits 

    There are four main benefits for participating in the collection analysis and joining Maine Shared Collections:


    1. Data-informed collection management decisions. While data alone is never going to make decisions, it can be used to make more informed decisions based on overlap with peer libraries, rarity, and usage.


    2. Insurance of retention commitments. The large volume of retention commitments made by the grant partners (approximately 1.4 million titles) and those made subsequently by new members can act as an insurance policy. Libraries can choose to weed those titles committed to retain by members while still retaining access to them via inter library loan. 


    3. Freeing up local shelf and storage space. 


    4. Contributing towards the common good. Even a small number of retention commitments will mean a library is contributing towards the common good of managing and preserving the print collection in Maine.


    Collection analysis service


    The collection analysis service we offer consists of us providing libraries with spreadsheets which show for print monographs: 

    • Titles they hold which have received a Maine Shared Collections retention commitment.
    • A subset of committed to retain titles they hold that have Maine Shared Collection retention commitments and have had fewer than two circulations at the local library since being added to the collection.
    • Titles they own with zero Maine library holdings in OCLC WorldCat. We also show MaineCat holding levels for these titles.
    • Titles they own with 10 or fewer holdings in OCLC WorldCat. We also show MaineCat holding levels for these titles.
    • Metadata errors e.g. incorrect and missing ISBN, OCLC numbers that can be used to clean records.
    • All item level records with circulation and OCLC WorldCat holdings data.
    • Data permitting, we can adapt these spreadsheets to meet local needs.

    The spreadsheets which show local overlap with Maine Shared Collections are generally used by libraries to identify items that they can weed because they are already been committed to retain by a Maine Shared Collections library and have rarely circulated locally. The spreadsheets which include overlap with OCLC and MaineCat are used to identify those titles a library holds that are not widely held elsewhere and are therefore potential candidates for being committed to retain. 


    I will meet with library staff to review the spreadsheets and offer suggestions for areas of focus for retention and withdrawal. 


    The cost of collection analysis services is based on the time it takes to complete the data extracts and compile the above spreadsheets, so the larger the collection the more time it will take to run the comparisons. For libraries with a collection size of fewer than 50,000 print monograph volumes then it will cost $350. Between 50,000 and 100,000 volumes cost $420. There are NO ongoing membership fees.


    There may be other options for libraries who can’t pay fees for the collection analysis service, for further information contact me. Libraries can also self-nominate titles they feel warrant Maine Shared Collections retention commitments by sending me a list of titles they agree to retain. 


    Joining Maine Shared Collections 


    Ten new libraries have so far joined the Maine Shared Collections Cooperative (MSCC) which means MSCC membership has more than doubled since September 2014. These libraries have committed to retain approximately 300 titles.

    If you are interested in finding out more Maine Shared Collections and bringing out your inner kindergartener, please see our website http://www.maineinfonet.net/mscs/or contact me at matthew.revitt@maine.edu.


    Written by Matthew Revitt, Special Collections and Maine Shared Collections Librarian


  • 14 Apr 2015 1:03 PM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    Welcome aboard folks. I know many of you have professional experience in the field, but I must warn you to be prepared at all times during the tour and remember to follow some basic ground rules. They might seem obvious to some, or silly to others, but they have been put in place for very good reason. First, photos are fine, but be aware that the lighting inside is tricky, unpredictable and can change at any time, so don't be surprised if the image you get looks completely unlike what you thought you saw. Rule number two. Please remain with the tour at all times. Last December on the Holiday Tour, we had a young couple who lagged behind so they could have a little private time in one of the rooms. He's still being treated at an inpatient facility because he's convinced that he's the reincarnation of Melville Dewey and she can't speak anything but Mongolian without breaking out in a horrible body rash. Third, please refrain from touching any of the items on display. While most are believed to be benign, there are a few that are capable of changing your personality and outlook completely. That's why we had you sign your tour waiver in the presence of a notary.


    Ready to go? Please follow me. There will be time for bathroom breaks and questions at the end. One last comment before we enter, what you see inside may look like complete chaos, but remember that it has functioned in ways that have and continue to amaze many in the profession.


    I wait as everyone enters the soft flexible door, waiting to see if anyone comments on its structure, but they're either squinting as they hit the darkened interior or texting God knows who. I wish we could ban those damn things, but once we get inside, it won't matter. The electrical impulses will jam the heck out of any signal.


    We call this room the Den of Cluelessness AKA Where I learned to pay it forward. Note the series of early emails between the owner and his peers in the medical library world. As you can see, he came into the profession out of a combination of desperation and bravado. Desperate because his current role as an adult educator in an insane asylum was crumbling and brave because he had the ego and the delusion to claim that he could modernize the library at said asylum. Funny thing, though. He delivered big time, in part because he discovered the Zen of Librarianship. Know what you don't know and then learn it. Note how many responses he got from other librarians as far away as Great Britain, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Amazing how many wanted to play nice. Now, if you look at the wall on the opposite side of the room, you'll see a map of Maine that's covered with yellow pins, more than 150 in fact. Each one represents a library that he's personally visited and in many of them, he offered suggestions and examples of how he figured out various things or better ways to do something. That was the biggest lesson he took away from the era of cluelessness. If you want to keep it, you have to give it away.


    I notice several of the tour members making copious notes while a few others are trying to figure out how many libraries they've visited during their career.


    We move down the hall with its dark purple velvet wall hangings that depict scenes from books he's read and loved. I never get tired of the amazingly lifelike series from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. It makes me realize why that series had stuck with him for over thirty years.


    I wait until everyone is in the next room which we call the 'You ain't making Progress Until You Piss Someone Off' room. There are about twenty dioramas scattered about on display stands. I like the one with the racy graphic novels tucked into the oversize shelf, but the one that makes the most sense is the one where Christian fiction is housed as far away from Paranormal Romance as possible. One you're not likely to see in many places is the one where the miniature figure's hair stands on end while a teenager cowers in front of the checkout desk. Behind them is a whiteboard that says “Just accept the fact that when you're the entire staff and have a bad day, people are gonna see it, That's what apologies are for.” The other one I like is the same figure bending over an overflowing toilet with the caption, “Taking the plunge took on a whole new meaning when I started working here.” Finally one I doubt many librarians would admit to having a shared experience with, is one where an obese couple are bent over to look at the DVD section and neither one has their derriere adequately covered. This one is captioned thusly “In my next life, I'm mandating taller pants, longer shirts and unisex suspenders.


    We exit and walk around the south end where a railing allows everyone to look down at what initially appears to be a termite colony. I admit that it took me three tours before I understood what the boss told me on day one. It's the hall of unfinished projects and ideas. Each of the insect like entities is actually a task, idea or project that he never got to or realized he's never have time to complete, so he tossed them all in a big arena. I'm told that when no one is around, they choose sides and play an old game created by Mad Magazine called 43 Man Squamish.


    There are three more rooms currently open to those tour members. The next one has a sign over the door that says “In honor of Dr. Chuckie who taught us that the roof is gonna leak when you least expect it.” Inside are little videos much like you'd see on Youtube or America's Funniest Home Videos. They all feature snippets from his memory of situations that library school could never prepare you for. My favorite is from his days at the Boothbay Harbor Library when he was called by a frantic patron and her husband who had just been fired as managers of a nearby lodging facility and wanted him to come take some books. As the video progresses, you see the couple imploring him to take more and more stuff because they're desperate and can't pack everything. By the time he drives off, his pickup looks like he's headed to join the Beverly Hillbillies and includes three sets of silverware, two dried flower wreaths, pancake mix and maple syrup. In another, he's told by a patron that wild turkey poop killed her husband. It fast forwards to him doing an interview with her for the local newspaper and darned if she wasn't telling the truth. Another favorite is the one featuring a phone call from a woman wanting to reserve the downstairs room for bible study. After he agrees, she asks for directions, and wants to know the nearest intersection coordinates. As the conversation progresses, he realizes that this lady ain't in Hartland Maine, but Hartland Michigan. The offer stands, but he cautions her that her gas bill might be a bit too much. Because there are so many things in this room, we always allow extra time for the tour members to get their fill. It's guaranteed to have half of them laughing and the other half shaking their heads as we move on.


    The next room is the one we call 'why a library is like a really fancy restaurant.' When you enter, it's full of holographic images. Most are tables with fine linen cloths and a scattering of books. As you enter, the librarian dressed as a Maitre D, welcomes each tour member and as if being able to read their mind, escorts them to a table, where, Viola! They find a bunch of books that are perfect for them. This is an active reminder room that reinforces two things. A good librarian doesn't have to read everything, but if he/she wants to be really good, they must pay attention to who read what and really liked it and what authors have excited other readers who like these books. This makes pleasing patrons a heck of a lot easier.


    The last room has a sign over the door that has a bus with a teen about to be run over inside a big red circle with a diagonal line through it. Inside are endless titles of juvenile and young adult novels scrolling across each wall, followed by reviews he's posted online. Every so often there are random quotes in bold between the reviews. Among them we see the following. “Why do librarians spend so much time trying to get little kids to use libraries, only to avoid them and their needs when they catch the dread disease called puberty?” Then there's “Every day at least one teen will come into your library desperate to be listened to with respect. Will you notice which one it is?” The one I like best is “Almost every teen does the impossible. They grow up, and even more amazing they just might cast the vote that saves the library budget five years from now.”


    I notice the tour members are much quieter as we exit the building. In fact almost all of them forget to grab their smartphones as we come out into sunlight again. Maybe they saw something on the tour that was more important than texting. I hope so.


    We hope you have enjoyed this tour of a librarian's brain. If someone were to tour yours, what would they find?


    Written by John Clark, Hartland Public Library
  • 15 Nov 2014 2:20 PM | Nissa Flanagan (Administrator)

    Just in time for the Joint Conference and Annual Business Meeting!


    Maine Library Association 2013-2014 Annual Report.pdf

  • 15 Oct 2014 8:00 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    After creating, merging, or fixing close to 50,000 bibliographic records and processing some 15,000 interlibrary loans, I'm ready to hand the Hartland Public Library over to someone else. My wife retired in May and is taking care of our first granddaughter, a job less stressful and far more fun than her having to ride herd on a couple hundred nursing students. My body and my brain keep telling me I should follow suit, so I've set next June 1st as my final day as a full time librarian.


    If you look around at any gathering of Maine librarians these days, you're likely to see more gray than any other hair color. Tonight, I had dinner with several other Tri-County librarians at Pat's Pizza in Dexter. Two retired this year and at least one more is thinking about it. I doubt these statistics would be much different in similar informal gatherings of Maine librarians these days. Let's face it, fear of economic inadequacy has kept/keeps many of us working beyond a personal comfort point, but we're getting a tad long in the tooth.


    I'm writing this because I've spent a lot of time thinking about some of the emotional and intangible aspects of retirement and want to share what I've concluded. Maybe none of it will be useful or of interest to you. I hope for some, the opposite is true. I very clearly remember a syndrome that was common when I worked in inpatient mental health. Plenty of people were like my good friend Jon M. who looked at me one day when we were duck hunting and said: “When I'm not working, there are times when I have no idea who I am.” He was dead serious. So many of us who worked in mental health put so much of ourselves into the job that it became as much who we were as anything else in our lives. As I've worked to make the Hartland Public Library the best possible library I could, I've realized that some of that has carried over. While what I've created is pretty darn good, I know that on June 1, 2015, it's no longer my baby and part of my job between now and that day is to ensure that I'm as okay as possible with that. To get there and remain sane, there are a number of things I've decided I need to do. I'm sharing them with you in hopes that one or more of them might be helpful when you make this important decision. I list them in no particular order.


    1-Patrons, particularly in a small library have a comfort level with the librarian, the collection and the environment. It's important to reassure them that whoever takes over will be caring and competent and will have gotten some tips on who likes what. They also need to know that nobody is irreplaceable and that someone else's style of operation may be just as satisfying after the initial adjustment period is over. This attention to patrons needs to happen with all ages. Teens, tweens and little kids have just as much investment in the library as adults.


    2-Sharing your prejudices with your successor isn't going to help anything. Face it, we all have patrons who irritate the hell out of us, often for reasons we can't put our finger on (I had three of them in the library at the same time this afternoon). Sharing those with whoever takes over might derail a productive connection for everyone concerned.


    3-Take time to write as thorough a handbook as possible. Remember how you felt when you first took over. Things like who empties the trash, mows the lawn, handles the plumbing, what E-rate is all about and who to call. Create a list of important phone numbers including other libraries. If you have special relationships with particular libraries (like we have with Newport and Pittsfield), explain them in sufficient detail. If you have go-to people for certain things like cataloging, add them to the handbook. Include volunteers you use regularly and if they have a particular skill, note it. Explain things like how ILL and the van delivery work. Your successor may already know all this stuff, but taking the time to create a handbook will make you feel good about what you've done and may spark an idea for something you completely forgot.


    4-Leave them a list of who loves what author so they can surprise a few patrons early in the game.


    5-Leave them another list of people you think would make great library board members or trustees. Remember, you didn't work all those years just to have some idiot get on the board and screw everything up.


    6-Decide what level of availability you're comfortable with. In one person libraries like Hartland, finding capable substitutes isn't always easy. Are you willing to fill in when your successor gets sick or has a vacation and nobody is available to cover? Likewise, are you willing to volunteer in some capacity, assuming your successor is okay with that?


    7-Brainstorm a list of things you never finished or quite got to. You'll feel better and hopefully your successor will appreciate having a direction to go in once their feet are wet.


    8-Decide what stuff you really need to bring home and what you're comfortable leaving behind.


    9-Realize that no matter how much time and effort you put into these things, like everything else in life, you're going to realize it's incomplete at least half a dozen times, so cut yourself some slack. Being human isn't a crime AND you're getting older, so brain slumps go with the territory.



    Now for the emotional stuff. This is the tricky part of this process. I come home on days when I have a volunteer helper to let the family dog out. Lately these warm October afternoons make it extremely difficult to go back to work. That book I couldn't quite finish reading last night and the chair on the back deck really look more inviting than returning to the library and calling people about overdues. Developing an emotional detachment from the job and doing so gracefully isn't particularly easy. If you catch yourself being grumpier more often and for longer periods of time, consider the source. Likewise for that less than enthusiastic getting out of bed to greet another day of work. If you're like me, some mornings, those covers look pretty darn sexy, especially compared with the knowledge that you'll have to deal with 25 interlibrary loan requests as soon as you fire up the computer.


    Another area that has the potential to become a slippery slope is the mental shrug. Sure the day when everything will become someone else's problem is approaching, but until that day, it's important to keep things in balance. On the other side of this coin, don't throw away vacation time just because retirement is approaching. I have 85 hours left this year and I'm using every dang one of them.


    Perhaps the trickiest issue, for me, at least, is achieving a feeling of okayness about not being part of the library. Until I actually retire, I won't know whether I'll get up in the morning and be looking forward to a clean slate for the day or fighting a feeling that I'm no longer relevant. I'll get back to you on that one.


    Finally, what, if anything will you carry from your library job into retirement. While I plan to read my brains out and amp up my writing career, there are still parts of being a librarian I really like, enough so I want, or think I want to keep doing them after June first. I've got four things on that list. I'm considering hiring out as a freelance weeder for librarians/libraries where killing their babies is too painful. Second, I've really developed a liking for cataloging, particularly original cataloging, so I might offer my services one day a week for libraries where lack of staff creates a serious backlog of stuff that needs to go on the shelves. Third, I've heard from a number of people that having someone willing to hire out as a temporary library professional to cover unexpected vacancies or illnesses for short periods of time would be very well received by the library community. Finally, I'm willing and interested in continuing to handle the sales of items on Amazon for the Hartland Public Library. I'm good at it and that would free up whoever replaces me to focus on some of those things I never quite got around to doing.


    I hope you found this interesting and maybe a bit helpful. I'd very much like to hear your thoughts about this article and retirement. 


    John Clark, Hartland Public Library

  • 04 Sep 2014 4:07 PM | Kara Reiman

    The MLA Communications Committee is hereby accepting nominations for the 2014 Outstanding Librarian and the Journalism awards.  Download the nomination forms at: http://mainelibraries.org/page-1686488.  Deadline for nominations is October 15th.  The awards will be presented at the MLA/MASL Joint Conference in Bangor on November 16th-17th.

  • 01 Jul 2014 8:00 AM | Jenna Blake Davis (Administrator)

    YSS has opened the online form so that interested libraries can order their copy of next year's Summer Reading Program Manaual 

  • 10 Jun 2014 5:36 PM | Kara Reiman
    The scholarship committee is in need of 2 new members.  If you're interested in getting involved, please contact MLA president Nissa Flanagan at (nissa.lohrmann@gmail.com)
  • 14 Apr 2014 4:30 PM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    A Series of Book Reviews from Maine Librarians.


    From Nancy Noble, Archivist/Cataloger, Maine Historical Society:


    I just read Simon Armitage’s Walking home : a poet’s journey. Published in 2013, this book details his walk along the Pennine Way in England, which is much like America’s Appalachian Trail. Armitage exchanges room and board at various venues for reading his poems, to a variety of audiences, including appreciative, at times. Not only did I learn about this trail, but I enjoyed Armitage’s wit and honesty about himself.

    This book brought to mind another wonderful book, by Baron Wormser, The Road washes out in spring: a poet’s memoir of living off the grid. Baron Wormser was the Poet Laureate of Maine in 2000, and at the time of his book, lived in Madison, Maine, where he was a librarian for the local school district. Anyone who lives rural in Maine (and experiences mud season) will appreciate and enjoy this book.


    From Katie Connor, Brewer Public Library:


    Longbourn, by Jo Baker, is a fascinating twist on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. For all those who loved Austen's social criticism, this provides an eye-opening peek into the belowstairs world. Focusing on the housemaid, Sarah, the footman, James, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Hill, this book leads the reader through all Longbourn's secrets, from rooms you never saw before, to secrets no one wanted you to know. Though initially it may seem like a slow read, Jo Baker knows how to hit the reader where it counts, leaving you spinning and eager to read more.


    From Jennifer Stone, Old Town High School Library Media Specialist:

    The Truth About Alice

    by Jennifer Mathieu
    Publisher: Roaring Book Press

    Genre: YA
    Expected Publication Date: June 3, 2014
    Author Website: http://www.jennifermathieu.com/

    Book Summary from Goodreads: Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

    My Thoughts: I received an advance copy of Jennifer Mathieu’s debut novel from NetGalley and it kept me turning the pages. It’s a powerful story about the impact of rumors, what friendship means and discovering friendships in the most unlikely people. The story is told in alternating chapters between Elaine, Kelsie, Kurt and Josh with the last chapter by Alice.

    Kelsie: “The hard truth is I think I knew we weren’t going to be friends anymore the day after Elaine’s party when I read the text about her and Brandon and Tommy Cray. It sounds terrible and shallow and not at all like something the Kelsie Sanders I knew in Flint would have said, but I’ve spent too many years sitting alone in the cafeteria, and I just can’t handle doing it again. And I won’t.”

    Young adults will definitely identify and connect with the characters and as someone who is around teenagers all the time I  found the writing style to be very similar to how teenagers think and speak. There are some important lessons in this book and this would be a great book for discussion, whether in a class or book club. I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this for my library, I’ve already had one student upset that they couldn’t get the book NOW!

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