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.

 

Library

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.

 

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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

Image via curiosasociety.com

 

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

Women, Small Presses Dominate Man Booker International Prize Longlist

Founded in 2016, The Man Booker International Prize exists to spread fiction in translation to worldwide audience. The Man Booker Prize itself, established several decades earlier in 1969, “guarantees a worldwide readership” and an enormous spike in book sales; the international version aims to offer the same visibility to an international author whose work may otherwise remain lodged behind the language barrier—tragically inaccessible to the general populace. The Man Booker International Prize aims to change that.

 

In 2019, translated fiction sales jumped 5.5%

 

Given the nature of the award, its winners are inherently diverse: drawn from throughout the world and writing in languages that may be less accessible to a Western audience. While some nominees are from Western Europe and South America, many are also from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, regions whose languages are not taught as frequently in Western schools. The publicity surrounding this prestigious award typically grants its winner an international readership whose value cannot be understated—for instance, a novel written in Polish, a less widely-spoken language, may have an incredibly limited audience regardless of the quality of writing. Poland also has a lower population density than a larger country like China, further limiting the market of possible buyers.

This year in particular, the award’s diversity is more than a matter of geography. Women comprise eight of thirteen longlisted nominees, and all but two books are small press publications. In the age of self-publishing and indie bookstores—an age of increasing ability to shirk the confines of tradition—these nominations are deeply reflective of the increasingly diverse (and increasingly individualized!) nature of publishing. Of course, it’s a matter of geography as well—translated languages include Polish, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Swedish, and Dutch.

 

"More translated fiction is read now than ever in this millennium."

 

This year, the group of five judges is comprised entirely of women and people of color (though no women of color), each a respected academic or writer. The full list of nominees is now available; the shortlist is anticipated for April 9th. In the award’s tradition of respecting translation as an art form, both the author and translator will receive an even half of the £50,000 prize.

One author to watch out for is Olga Tokarczuk, whose Polish-language novel Flights won the prize in 2018. She’s up for a second consecutive nomination: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, has made the list for 2019.

 

All In-text Images Via Man Booker Prize Twitter.
Featured Image Via Penguin Books.