Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Does the Library Help You? Enter this Woman's Day Essay Contest

Tricia Sanders, one of my good writing buddies, posted this essay contest from Woman's Day and The American Library Association on her blog, "A Novel Approach." The prompt is:

"If the library has gotten you or your family out of a tough financial crunch, helping you save in unexpected ways, tell us about it in an essay of 700 words or less."

For all the rules and details, you can find them on the Woman's Day website.

I would love, love, love to read these essays. I love to use the library. I check out audio books for the car, picture books to read for my blog, and my book club novels. For writers, the magazine section is one of the best parts of the library. Where else can you go to find all those back issues of magazines the editors are always asking you to look through before you query?

But I can't say the library has helped me out of a tough financial crunch, although I wish it could or would or did because I would love to write about the library. I think in today's society, the library is often a forgotten resource. So, these Woman's Day essays could help us all, not only the writers who win the contest.

Maybe the library has helped you during these hard economic times. If so, enter this contest and let your love for the library shine through!
How does the library help you? Do you use it often as a writer?

Happy essay writing!
Margo Dill
Seattle Public Library photo by jeffwilcox

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Saturday, September 06, 2008


Library Card Sign-Up Month Is Here

By Jill Earl

Did you know that the arrival of September not only brings fall and a new school year, it also brings Library Card Sign-Up Month? The American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide want to spread awareness of the vital role libraries and books have in the development of a child, enhancing learning and ensuring that everyone has access to the information available at these treasured places.

For 2008, NBA great and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is honorary chair for Library Card Sign-Up Month and has his own READ poster. In a quote appearing on the event’s webpage, Jabbar stated, “The library has always been my own personal time machine. I can walk through the doors and land in any place, any time period in history. I didn’t have to wonder what their worlds were like; I could experience it first hand.”

Takes me back to my first library card. I could hardly contain myself after receiving it and dashed off to make my selections. From then on, visits to the neighborhood branch with my mother---and as I grew older---by myself, were the norm, and a lifetime love of books and libraries was born.

I read just about everything I could get my hands on. History, the sciences, novels, geography, poetry, plays, you name it. Sure, you can find practically anything on the Internet, and I appreciate that convenience, but there's something so satisfying about the feel of a book in your hands.

I remember one incident where I was able to pass on the importance of owning a library card and my love of books to children. I spent two summers after high school graduation working at my former elementary school’s summer reading camp as a junior counselor. My respect for teachers increased dramatically as we created lesson plans emphasizing reading and writing for children ranging in age from 6-12 years old, in a community where books and reading weren’t valued. The school’s library was a welcomed resource to us counselors, but it also gave me ‘street cred’ with the kids, as they discovered the variety of books I’d taken out when I was a student there and checked them out themselves.

Perhaps those kids managed to convince their parents to make a trip to their local library to get a library card. Maybe their guardian was inspired to get their GED so they could read to their child at night. Did my love of reading help develop a lifetime love of reading in some of those children? I’d like to think so.

I make the effort to visit my neighborhood library once a week, spending a few hours working on my laptop and browsing the stacks. I’ll fit in a trip to a bookstore a couple of times a month, too. Both are such a part of me that when I don’t do them, it feels like something’s missing in my life.

So, what can you do to help celebrate with your child and get the word out about Library Card Sign-Up Month? Some resources are included below.

I Love

1) Make your own READ mini-poster.
2) Check out the recommended book lists from the Association for Library Service to Children.
3) Check out Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s website and blog for his interview with I Love Libraries. Family Crafts site

Takes you to Sherri Osborn’s page with ideas to help celebrate, such as making your own books and bookmarks, with more links to other book-related activities.

Maybe you can pair the above activities with a related September observance, Read A New Book Month.

The library card. Can’t think of a better way to open children’s imaginations and introduce them to the world.

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