New York City Celebrates Walt Whitman’s Bicentenary

It was the two-hundred year anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth this past May, and The Morgan Library & Museum and  The New York Public Library are celebrating with separate exhibitions regarding one of America’s most beloved poets.

The New York Public Library’s exhibition titled: Walt Whitman: America’s Poet, examines many of the individuals, beliefs, and experiences that shaped Whitman’s work while also noting his literary legacy and continuing cultural impact. The exhibition will be up from March 29, 2019 – August 30, 2019.

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image via biblioklept

The Morgan Library & Museum’s exhibition, Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy, includes several of Whitman’s notebooks, as well as his portraitist’s copy of Leaves of Grass from 1855 and the famous letter written to Whitman by Ralph Waldo Emerson commending that book. There will also be a series of lectures and gallery talks that you can find here.

Whitman, born in 1819, spent most of his life as a journalist and wrote numerous articles during the civil war while visiting the wounded at New York City–area hospitals. His magnum-opus, Leaves of Grass, was published in 1855, and although it was seen as highly controversial, the collection of poems went on to become one of the most important pieces of literature in American history due to its sincere self-expression and revolutionary free-verse style.

If you find yourself in NYC these coming months, come honor this poet’s legacy at these exhibitions and sing your body electric!


Featured Image Via: JSTOR Daily

Spokane Public Schools Turn a Cold Shoulder to Librarians

Remember your favorite school librarian?

In Spokane, Washington, future students might grow up not knowing what a librarian does.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane, Washington Public Schools superintendent announced that librarians in public schools will be laid off before the academic year begins again in the fall, although the libraries themselves—generally very large rooms with hundreds of books and programs and resources that students need assistance navigating—will remain.



Image vIA eLLA’S lIST


Students will still have the opportunity to visit their school’s library, even if there’s no one to help them use it. As for library services, teachers will be expected to perform the librarians’ old duties—in addition to being teachers—while their students are visiting the library, according to The Spokesman-Review.

Just to be clear, school librarians often have degrees in library science and have been thoroughly trained in the instruction of research applications that library patrons have the option to use. The void left by a mass-migration of trained school librarians cannot be filled by giving the keys to teachers who already have full-time jobs outside the library.




Librarians are not guaranteed replacement positions in the public school system once they have been ousted from their jobs, although some librarians with suitable experience might be placed as teachers in the schools and communities that need them most. 

Specifically, the district’s choice to cut librarians out of the budget comes after the announcement for a $31 million deficit for the year; generally, across the country, more and more school districts are eliminating librarian positions, and more librarians are switching to part-time work. 


Library Closed for Budget Cuts



Another recent article from The Spokesman-Review claims public schools with more low-income students will be hit far harder by the layoffs than schools which serve more middle-and high-income families; in other words, more librarians will be removed from communities where students are already receiving subsidized school lunches, and from which librarians and other school faculty are leaving en masse for ‘better’ schools and neighborhoods.

Teachers are seeing salary increases with the elimination of librarians, with some employees receiving a 10-15% bonus.


Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.

Front and Back cover image of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

First Edition Harry Potter Book Sells for Nearly $100k

First edition books have become prized possessions to bibliophiles around the world. The more expensive ones like The Canterbury Tales or the Gutenberg Bible have sold upwards of $4 million, while others like The Catcher in the Rye and Pride and Prejudice have sold in the thousands. Joining this list of prized first editions is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which recently sold for just under $100,000.


Front and Back cover image of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has found herself on the list of top ten most expensive books before with her Tales of Beedle the Bard. This book is a collection of children’s stories from the Wizarding World first featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsTales was one of just seven, hand written copies and sold for over $3 million. While the other six went to friends and editors, this one was auctioned off in order to raise money for Rowling’s Lumos Foundation.



Opening page of Tales of Beedle the Bard

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Harry Potter became an instant sensation, going on to sell over 500 million books worldwide in eighty different languages. So what makes this one book so special? The same that makes any first edition special: spelling errors and the limited number of books. This book is one of just 500 copies, according to Bonham’s Auction House. Their site also lists out the following errors:

Publisher’s imprint page with the number sequence from 10 to 1, and author cited as ‘Joanne Rowling’, p.53 with the duplication of “1 wand” on the equipment list, misspelling “Philospher’s” on lower cover, J.K. Rowling’s signature on a sticker loosely inserted (see footnote), publisher’s pictorial boards, small crease to lower fore-corner of upper cover, very thin vertical scratch to lower cover

The listing typo in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Image Via mugglenet

A similar edition was sold for just over $68,000, but this one book in particular was even more special. The book previously belonged to Christopher Little, J.K. Rowling’s first agent, and it contains a personalized note to him in the pages. The book was originally thought to sell between $52,000 and $75,000, according to the Independent, but a bidding war sent the price way past expectations to $90,074.

featured image via leonard shoup books
Photo - Candace Bushnell

Candace Bushnell Tackles #MeToo Issues in Upcoming Novel

As Women’s History Month winds down, HarperCollins released an announcement highlighting Candace Bushnell’s new (and exciting!) project. Known for her New York Times bestseller Sex and the City, Bushnell is taking a step back from adult fiction to write a Young Adult book focused on timely issues of the #MeToo era. She will be working with Katie Cotugno, New York Times bestselling author of romance novels How to Love and 99 Days.

Bushnell has been known for her sex-positive books, like The Carrie Diaries and Four Blondes, and so it will be interesting to see how she approaches the sensitive topic of sexual assault and harassment for young girls. Pairing with Katie Cotugno’s mastermind for “messy, complicated, feminist love stories” will definitely make the book oh so much sweeter.


Katie Cotugno with book 'Ten Days'

Image via Book of the month


The book, Rules for Being a Girl, is set to release in April 2020 and will follow a spirited high school girl, Marin. After one of her teachers makes a pass at her, Marin decides to place her anger into a column in the high school newspaper: ‘Rules for Being a Girl’. Though an official blurb is not yet available, we are officially in love with this forthcoming release! Lovers of Bushnell’s Sex and the City will once again find the spirit of columnist Carrie Bradshaw in our new heroine. What’s not to be excited about?

Featured image via time magazine