April 10, 2014

By Alan

When you walk into the library and head over to the YA section, and you see all of those books with YA on the spine, do you ever wonder:  Why these books?  Who gets to decide what books are in the YA collection?

The OutsidersThe process generally goes something like this:  An author writes a book.  The author is almost always an adult, but there are a few exceptions:  S.E. Hinton famously wrote The Outsiders when she was in high school, and more recently (and check this out if you’re intoTruancy the current dystopian craze), Isamu Fukui wrote Truancy when he was only 15.

When the book is written, it goes off to a publisher, who is certainly an adult.  If they decide to print the book, they consult with a marketing team (also adults) to determine who is most likely to read the book.  Often times the author of a YA book Eleanor and Parkhas a YA audience in mind when they write a book, but sometimes the author thinks they are writing an adult book, but it ends up being marketed as YA instead.  Such was the case with Rainbow Rowell’s novel Eleanor & Park.

Once a book is published it is up to librarians (all adults, are you beginning to see a trend here?) to pick books to add to the YA collection.  This isn’t done randomly.  Some librarians specialize in working with teens, and have spent years learning what sorts of books appeal to teenagers.

So there you have it:  Adults write YA books, adults publish and market YA books, and adults collect YA books.  And that’s how we build a YA collection.

But that doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?  Why should adults have all the say in trying to decide what teens read?  The truth is, we don’t.  WeEnder's Game don’t decide which books you should and shouldn’t read. We guess.   A YA collection is our best guess at what teenagers would like to read.  And like all guesses, we don’t always get it right, nor do we always agree as to what constitutes a YA book.  At Winnipeg Public Library we have copies of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card in the YA collection, but many other libraries don’t.  Into Thin Air: A Into Thin AirPersonal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster only appears in our adult collection, but you can find it listed in YALSA’s Teen Book Finder.  If you’re a teenager who has picked up and enjoyed a book off the general fiction shelf, you wouldn’t be the first.

So if adults are only guessing at which books belong in a YA collection, who does get to decide what teenagers read?  Teenagers do, by reading.  What teens enjoy reading in a large part defines YA literature.

If you’ve ever read an ‘adult’ book that you think should be in the YA collection, please let us know in the comments below.  And if you’re really passionate about how to improve teen services at the library, consider joining our Youth Advisory Council (YAC), where teenagers can have their say about what goes on in the library.

Alan is a Branch Head at Transcona Library.  He tried really, really hard not to grow up, but is currently an adult.

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April 10, 2014

By Barbguitar

Unless you were living under a rock (and if you were, hey, I won’t judge), Winnipeg hosted the Juno’s a week or so ago. I know I’m late with this announcement, but better late than never. Or so they say. I’m not terribly sure about that myself, but it seems like a good excuse.

Without further ado, here’s a sampling of some of the big winners.

Artist of the Year – Serena Ryder

Group of the Year – Tegan and Sara

Album of the Year; Alternative Album of the Year – Arcade Fire, Reflektor

Breakthrough Group of the Year – A Tribe Called Red

Pop Album of the Year – Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob

Rock Album of the Year – Matt Mays, Coyote

Rap Recording of the Year – Drake, Nothing Was the Same

Electronic Album of the Year – Ryan Hemsworth, Guilt Trips

Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year – Protest the Hero, Volition

Adult Alternative Album of the Year – Ron Sexsmith, Forever Endeavour

Country Album of the Year – Dean Brody, Crop Circles

International Album of the Year – Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox

Reflektor   Nation to Nation   Heartthrob   Coyote    

 Guilt Trips    Volition   Forever Endeavor   Crop Circles  Unorthodox Jukebox

Come back to our web site in the next few weeks, when we unveil our new service, Hoopla! Streaming music, videos, and audiobooks, and all you need is a library card, and a smartphone or tablet.

Barbara is a librarian who spends WAY too much time reading graphic novels and re-watching Marvel movies. Yes, she saw Captain America: Winter Soldier on opening night. It was awesome!

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March 27, 2014

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that 8 of the top 20 most popular eBooks on our OverDrive site are from the teen collection? Not really, not when you take a look at the list of popular movies that are coming out or have come out in the past year! So many great teen books have recently made the transition to the big screen - and now everyone wants to borrow them!

Veronica Roth's Divergent (which hit theatres March 21) tops our list, with sequels Insurgent and Allegiant right behind. Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, which came out last November, is still holding strong, both in eBook and eAudiobook form (and if you asked me, I'd say go for the eAudiobook version - it's one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to). The Fault In Our Stars, John Green's immensely popular & guaranteed-to-make-you-cry novel, comes out in June 2014 and stars Shailene Woodley, who'll be a familiar face from her starring role in Divergent (move over Jennifer Lawrence, there's a NEW it-girl on the rise!). The remaining three titles in our eight-out-of-top-20 are all from the Hunger Games series (all available as eAudiobooks only, due to publisher restrictions - otherwise this would probably be a top 12 in 20 list!).

I've rounded out my grid of bestsellers below with the 9th most popular YA title on OverDrive - James Dashner's The Maze Runner (#27 overall in popularity) which is climbing the lists in advance of the movie release in September 2014.


Of course, the only problem with great YA books getting "discovered" by Hollywood is that all of a sudden, NONE of them are available for immediate borrowing anymore - the holds lines get too long!

I guess the only consolation is that someday, that relatively unknown book that you just checked out last week might be the #1 book that everyone else is waiting for - and you'll be the one saying "PFFT, that book? I read that 3 years ago when it came out!" (I know, I say that about EACH of the books in list above!). Got any predictions for which YA book might be the next blockbuster movie?

- Sophie is a Virtual Services Librarian for WPL. She makes website things happen, and talks about eBooks a lot!



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March 20, 2014

by Madeleine

Hunter's Moon

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I’d like to introduce you to Irish-Canadian author O.R. Melling and her series “The Chronicles of Faerie”. Melling was born in Ireland and brought up in Canada, and always manages to incorporate both countries (as well as the Faerie country) into her books.

The first book of the Chronicles of Faerie is The Hunter’s Moon. Sixteen-year-old cousins Gwen and Findabhair have also been best friends their whole lives, even though Gwen lives in Canada and Findabhair lives in Ireland. They both share the same interest in Irish mythology and have been trying to find a way into the Faerie world since they were little. Gwen is visiting Findabhair in Ireland and they embark on a journey which may finally lead them to Faerie but it is not without danger and sacrifice. The girls decide to sleep on a Faerie mound one night, and when Gwen awakes she comes to realize that Findabhair has been taken by the Faerie High King. She quickly ends up on the trail of her missing cousin, and soon learns that the Faeries and humans share a common enemy in the Hunter. The two must band together before the night of the Hunter’s Moon if they want to save both worlds. The Hunter’s Moon has adventure, romance and colourful characters, with plenty to learn about Irish mythology.

The Summer KingThe second book of the Chronicles of Faerie is The Summer King. Events from “The Hunter’s Moon” have consequences that play out in this second novel, which features some of the characters from “The Hunter’s Moon” but with a new main character, seventeen-year-old Canadian Laurel. Laurel and her twin sister Honor used to visit their grandparents in Ireland every year. Laurel was always the loud, sporty, outgoing sister, whereas Honor was quiet and bookish. This latest trip, however, Laurel is alone. The previous summer her usually risk-avoiding sister decided to go hang-gliding with her and ended up falling to her death. Laurel blames herself for not stopping her sister, and is unsettled by her sisters diary entries from the weeks leading up to her death that reference a mysterious mission and Faerie people. Laurel has always been practical and does not believe in the Faerie people. She feels a duty to her sister to put her convictions aside and complete her mission to free The Summer King. She reluctantly ends up with the companionship of a troubled, angry boy, Ian, from her childhood who turns out to be vital to the tasks she must complete, and maybe not as terrible and annoying as she had always found him. A strong follow-up to “The Hunter’s Moon” and my personal favourite, as one of the characters is a pirate queen!

The Light Bearer's DaughterThe third Chronicles of Faerie book is The Light-Bearer’s Daughter. Twelve-year-old Dana has lived in Ireland her entire life with her father. Her mother left when she was only three. Dana’s father tells her that he wants to leave Ireland and take a job in Canada. Dana is heartbroken—how can she ever find and reconnect with her mother when she is a whole ocean away? When she is visited by a mysterious young woman who promises to grant her a wish if she delivers a message to a Faerie King by the name of King Lugh, Dana takes her up on her offer immediately and runs away from home, seeing a chance to find out what happened to her mother. “The Light-Bearer’s Daughter” has appearances from characters in the previous books, and much more to discover about Faerie and Irish mythology.

Madeleine is a reference librarian at WPL. She enjoys music festivals, playing the accordion, and applying Arrested Development quotes to everyday life.

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March 17, 2014

by Cyerra

The Hunger Games and Divergent series are always compared to one another; both are dystopian reads, both have strong female leads, and both have the characters standing up against something that was once thought of as right.



Because they are always compared to one another, I always thought “what if The Hunger Games characters were in Divergent”?

It had me thinking a lot about what they would do, how they would feel, and most importantly, what faction they might belong to.

Abnegation (The Selfless): Peeta Mellark I always thought that Peeta would be in Abnegation. He always thought of Katniss during The Games and did everything he can to ensure she would be safe. Well, actually, he thought of Katniss long before that. Remember when he secretly gave her burnt bread to prevent her from dying of starvation? And how he volunteered to take Haymitch’s place in the Quarter Quell to protect Katniss? Selflessness was another type of strength for Peeta.

Dauntless (The Brave): Cato Cato was a perfect candidate for Dauntless. Look at how he had no hesitation to enter The Games and willingly did so. He knew what could happen if he failed but he went on anyways, wanting to make his district proud. He went into the arena with one thing on his mind; to win The Games at all costs. To any normal person, going into The Games would be a death sentence. To Cato, it was an act of bravery.

Erudite (The Intelligent): Foxface It was very hard to pick this one but then I remembered Foxface. Though a small character, from what we saw, she was very intelligent. From her testing her knowledge of plants in her training session to studying and carefully stepping around the mines in the careers’ camp to steal their supplies. Although she slipped in the end, her intelligence kept her around in The Games for a long time.

Amity (The Peaceful): Primrose Everdeen Although she didn’t participate in The Games, she was known to be one of the most peaceful and caring characters in the series. How she cared for others when they were hurt and how she didn’t like the idea of killing or hurting. She never liked The Games and any other peaceful person wouldn’t either.

Candor (The Honest): President Snow President Snow was a ruthless, cruel man… And he was very honest about it. He was honest about the things he did and he didn’t hide it. He was honest to Katniss. He knew the things he had done and he didn’t try to hide it.

Divergent: Katniss Everdeen Katniss was divergent. She was selfless for volunteering to take Prim’s place in The Hunger Games at the reaping. She was brave for doing what she had to do in The Games and starting a rebellion to stand against The Capitol. She was intelligent because of the choices she made in The Games. Just like Tris in Divergent, she showed traits of Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite.

Remember to check out the details for our Divergent Party! If you are 13-17 and would like to come to the Divergent Party at Millennium Library on Saturday, March 22 at 1PM call 204.986.6488 to register! We have tons of movie swag to give away as prizes!

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