Monday, July 11, 2011

Where Be There Dragon Ladies?

Margaret Tice has an article in the new SLJ, querying what the de-funding of supervisory youth services positions might mean for children's librarianship. If you missed them, take a look at Barbara Bader's acute portraits of two of the greats from NYPL: Anne Carroll Moore and Augusta Baker. In the latter, BB also has a good observation for those who think libraries can do without children's coordinators: "library work with children loses a spokesperson on the inside, and a representative to the outside: politically nullifying its two bases of support. Who’s to say, then, what’s good for children?"


effie said...

Where do people think that future (adult) library patrons will come from if they don't pay attention to the young people in their communities? Today's kids will find other ways to satisfy information needs besides going to the library - online sources have no closing hours, amazon and itunes have books and music both digital and hard copy, bookstores have coffee and food and stay open til 11:00. Libraries need to recruit kids early or it's the death of The Library. Just my opinion formed from working with high school kids.

dkm said...

amen about the importance of nurturing the next generation and go effie!

Susan said...

One of the people referred to in the Westchester Library system that was laid off (in a very disrespectful kick to the curb sort of manner) was the brilliant Judith Rovenger who was also one of my professors (aka Yoda) at Long Island University's Palmer Library School. To lose a person of such creativity and brilliance has been crushing.

Anonymous said...

See, this is why they turn the library over to louts playing video games. It's to keep the lights on. "Recruit" enough kids for free babysitting at the computer screens and their parents will pay the taxes to fund the library. I wish there was another way.

Rahma Krambo said...

Rant on. This is a topic close to my heart as I love children's books and libraries. Too many short-sighted people.

KT Horning said...

I recently came across this intriguing tidbit in an oral history conducted with August Baker back in 1989:

"The top administration of New York Public Library wanted to get rid of the power of Anne Carroll Moore. Now this was going on all throughout public library work. Because in public libraries the strength up to that point had been in children's work. There was Siddie Jo Johnson in Texas; Julia Sauer up in Rochester. Those powerhouse women in Pittsburgh. And they ran the libraries. And you came in, and especially if you were a young person, young men then were coming in as directors, and you had to go up against an Anne Carroll Moore who said to you after you said I would like to take this direction and whatnot, and she looked at you and said...."No young man. No it won't. It will continue along this way and we will do this"... Well, you know this was hard on egos. And these men were getting together in ALA. Now they were not formally ALA then, they are now, but they weren't then. But it was a convenient time for these administrators to meet and share their problems, and their problems were always that person who was in charge of children's work.

RW: And her influence.

AB: And her influence. So they set out to cut them down. And children's work suffered then."