Monthly Archives: October 2013

Finnish Joy of Reading

One of the poster  at the  October 2013 European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) in Istanbul focused on the “Joy of Literacy” program in Finland (part of the Finnish “Joy of Reading” program.  Helen Boelens noted the following recent publication, which  is related to the poster session, may be of interest, especially in view of Finland’s excellent international reputation in reading and literacy.

 Good Media Literacy – National Policy Guidelines 2013 – 2016 : Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland, 2013.

Library impact in Ghana, Namibia, and New Zealand

This article from LIANZA in New Zealand reminds readers of the importance of libraries by likening them to essential services, “like roads, health care and education.” The article conveys the ways in which libraries contribute to the economy and the fabric of society. This could perhaps be used as a model for writing to our own local newspapers to communicate the vital role of libraries.


This article from Ghana Web notes: “Schools urged to engage qualified librarians” to assist in addressing the illiteracy rate of 43.4 percent:



The Finnish library Web TV called  visited Namibia’s capitol, Windhoek. There they shot a 30 minute long documentary film about two young persons whose liveshad improved because of the local library. The documentary is now available online and it’s published with Creative commons Attribution Non-Commercial license, so everyone can watch and share the video. Libraries, schools, etc. can even show it in their events.

The Greenwell Matongo library was initially founded in cooperation between the cities of Windhoek and Vantaa (Finland). The target was to bring the library services down to the grassroots level. The library was opened in 2005, and the public has embraced the library. The Greenwell Matongo Library also serves as an example library to the Libraries for Development project, which started in 2012 and is administered by the Finnish Library Association.

Documentary with English subtitles:

Documentary with Swedish subtitles:

Documentary with Finnish subtitles:

Middle East Book Awards

Here are the winners of the 2013 Middle East Book Awards.
Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies


1. Picture Book Category:
The winner is: Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books, by Karen Leggett Abouraya (author) and Susan L. Roth (illustrator) (Dial)
Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books, by Karen Leggett Abouraya, illustrated by Susan L. Roth (Dial) This remarkable picture book features beautiful and varied illustrations of an actual event, with photo montages at once captivating and playful. It makes the Egyptian uprising accessible to young children through the lens of the library and offers useful background information and possible extensions across the curriculum. Reviewers were pleased to note the inclusion of Arabic writing, details in illustrations with Alexandria’s seacoast setting, colors and significance of the Egyptian flag, and issues important to those protesting.  Highly educational and suited for extension on many topics and subject areas.
Honorable Mention:Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, by Hena Khan (author)and Mehrdokht Amini(illustrator) (Chronicle Books)
 Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, by Hena Khan (author)and Mehrdokht Amini (illustrator) (Chronicle Books) impressed reviewers with its beautiful illustrations and easy-to-read yet engaging prose. The text in rhyme makes it pleasing to younger students who may be hearing the book read aloud. Reviewers pointed out that the glossary at the end further supports learning about Islam.
2.  Youth Literature Category:

The winner is The Girl Who Fell to Earth: A Memoir, by Sophia Al-Maria (HarperCollins)

The Girl Who Fell to Earth: A Memoir, by Sophia Al-Maria (HarperCollins)
With its insight into the rapidly changing society in the Gulf, a world infrequently read about by American youth, and a central character caught between two worlds, one of her American mother and the other of her Qatari Bedouin father, Sophia Al-Maria’s The Girl Who Fell To Earth is this year’s Middle East Book Awards winner. The memoir not only reveals conditions in another part of the world, but will help readers be more aware of similarities, good and unfortunate, between the “other” culture and their own.  The central narrator’s engaging and witty, voice manages to weave references from Eastern and Western culture in the 1980s and now. Where else could you read about the starry night in the Qatar desert; Carl Sagan’s videos; star-crossed lovers from East and West; the oilification of the Gulf or Ziggy Stardust- David Bowie as an alien? Humor, surprises, plot twists make this memoir very appealing to readers
Honorable Mentions are A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return, by Zeina Abirached (Graphic Universe) and A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story, by Qais Akbar Omar(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return, by Zeina Abirached (Graphic Universe)With its compelling plot, characterization and imagery, this graphic novel gives faces and stories to the families from the Lebanese civil war trying to survive. The historical content focuses on the civic geography of living so close to a green zone which divides a city during a war. It is a story about families, war, survival, and above all community. The stark black blocked illustrations work well to convey the content of fear during war. Because of its simplicity, Game for Swallows is a book for all ages; young children will grasp the basic situation:  two young children like themselves whose parents are away but who are looked after by other adults.   Older readers will be interested in the background of the story and want to discuss why the writer-illustrator created the book as she did.   Adults will focus on the subtleties–slight changes in facial expression, for instance–that can reveal a lot about characterization and relationships. This is a compelling  and meaningful book for all readers.
A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story, by Qais Akbar Omar(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) Described from a young person’s point of view, A Fort of Nine Towers gives a vivid, intimate, and detailed picture of life in another culture and the violence besetting the society of Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s. The memoir is a complex cultural tapestry of a range of Afghan tribes and dialects through the travels made across nine years of fleeing to safety during the war. The narrator’s openness to the novelty and differences amongst the people he and his family meet is a fantastic contrast to the strife bred by religious differences between warring factions in the country.  Told from the perspective of an Afghan youth experiencing what no adult should ever have seen, the memoir brings new perspectives to Western readers.
3. Youth Non-Fiction Category:

The co-winners are: The Compassionate Warrior: Abd el-Kader of Algeria, by Elsa Marston (Wisdom Tales) and The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations, and Amazing Facts by Saima Hussain (Annick Press)

The Compassionate Warrior: Abd el-Kader of Algeria by Elsa Marston (Wisdom Tales) is a well-written account of a 19th century Algerian freedom fighter, Abd el-Kader, who won respect in the West for his humanitarian values and compassionate policies during the struggle against French colonialism. In fact, Abd el-Kader is commended by Abraham Lincoln, has a town in Iowa named after him, and is the subject of a yearly essay competition for U.S. high school students. Evaluators felt that this book will be an excellent addition to any high school classroom or library because of its clear, interesting writing style and relevance to World History, U.S. History, and Constitution classes.

L’Urgence de Lire

Les 11 et 12 octobre derniers, BSF organisait le colloque international sur «L’Urgence de Lire» à la Maison de l’Amérique, retransmis en direct sur le site, et présentait l’Ideas Box.

En présence de plus de 200 personnes, une quarantaine d’intervenants de qualité, spécialistes de l’urgence, de l’information et des fondations, ont partagé leur expérience et appelé à une meilleure prise en compte de la dimension intellectuelle de l’être humain en danger. Etaient notamment présents Bertrand Delanoë, Maire de Paris, Michèle Pierre-Louis, Ancienne Premier Ministre de Haïti et Présidente de la FOKAL, Alexander Soros, Président de la Fondation AS, Eva Joly, Présidente de la Commission pour le Développement du Parlement Européen et T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Haut Commissaire Adjoint des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés.

Interventions, débats, témoignages: deux journées de réflexion et de partage

Deux sessions plénières le vendredi matin ont dressé un état des lieux de l’accès à la culture et à l’information en situation d’urgence humanitaire. T. Alexander Aleinikoff a ainsi montré le rôle essentiel d’ouverture que peuvent aujourd’hui jouer les nouvelles technologies dans les camps de réfugiés. Les trois écrivains voyageurs Marie Darrieussecq, Erik Orsenna et Daniel Rondeau, ont quant à eux témoigné de l’importance vitale du livre aux quatre coins du monde. Le vendredi après-midi, 6 ateliers ont notamment permis de mieux comprendre les enjeux d’un meilleur accès à la culture et à l’information en situation d’urgence, la place occupée par les nouvelles technologies dans l’aide humanitaire et l’importance de construire des solutions adaptées aux enfants touchés par les crises. Enfin, les débats du samedi matin traitaient du rôle de l’imaginaire et de la créativité dans les situations de crise, et de l’importance primordiale d’une meilleure prise en compte de la dimension intellectuelle de l’être humain en danger. Michèle Pierre-Louis, ancienne Premier Ministre de Haiti et Présidente de la Fokal, ainsi qu’Eva Joly, ont partagé leur expérience personnelle et leur expertise pour défendre la culture en situation d’urgence humanitaire. Le mot de la fin laissé à Patrick Weil, Président de BSF, rappelait que ce colloque n’est que le début de notre action en faveur d’un meilleur accès à la culture et à l’information pour les populations en crise.

Ce colloque était également l’occasion pour BSF de présenter en 3D vendredi soir à l’Hôtel de Ville de Paris, l’Ideas Box, la médiathèque en kit pour les réfugiés, conçue en partenariat avec le HCR et le créateur Philippe Starck.
Dotée d’une connexion internet satellitaire et de tablettes tactiles, de livres électroniques et papier et d’un cinéma ambulant, l’Ideas Box s’adressera aux enfants comme aux adultes. Standardisée, facilement transportable et déployable sur le terrain, autonome énergétiquement simple d’utilisation et robuste, elle constitue une innovation majeure en matière d’accès à la culture et à l’information dans les situations de crise.
+ d’infos

Manitoba School Library Day

The Manitoba Government Proclaims October 28, 2013 as Manitoba School Library Day:

“School libraries in Manitoba function as information-rich centres supporting inquiry and research in schools. They are active learning centres that provide instruction and access to a wide range of resources locally and globally. School libraries also foster student achievement and collaboration as well as the growth of traditional collections and electronic databases for the purpose of curriculum implementation in schools.” Hon. Nancy Allan, Manitoba Minister of Education (past)

Students from across Manitoba will be “Dropping Everything and Reading” throughout this day to celebrate their school libraries. They will be joining students from across the country as they celebrate National School Library Day on October 28, 2013.

Tweet what your students are reading on this day at: #canadadear2013

New York Public Library’s Top Children’s Books

The children’s librarians at The New York Public Library have made a list of 100 Great Children’s Books – Great stories never grow old.  These 100 inspiring tales have thrilled generations of children and their parents—and are still flying off the library’s our shelves. So use this list and your library card to discover new worlds of wonder and adventure!  100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Gottesman Hall, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, June 21, 2013–March 23, 2014.