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CCB Newsletter
September 2012


In this Newsletter…


News and Updates

Greetings from the New Faces at the CCB

We would like to introduce the two new staff members joining us for the academic year. Katie Boucher is a first-year GSLIS student joining Anna Holland in the CCB Graduate Assistant position. Katie hails from Smithton, IL in southern Illinois and graduated from Elmhurst College in 2010 with a BA in history and a secondary education certificate. She hopes to study library management and youth services during her time at GSLIS. Tad (Thaddeus) Andracki is joining CCB staff as the new Outreach and Communications Coordinator. Tad grew up in Catlin, Illinois, not far from the University, and graduated from UIUC with a BS in atmospheric sciences this spring. He is interested in youth services, community engagement, and criticism of literature for young people. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Katie and Tad!

CCB Annual Open House

The annual Center for Children’s Books Open House will be held beginning at 4 pm on Tuesday, September 11. During this time, you can get an overview of the center and its staff, as well as meet and greet with youth services faculty at GSLIS. The Open House also serves as our first Galley Giveaway for the academic year, so you can stop by and get your hands on pre-publication copies of books for children and young adults. We will also have apple cider and doughnuts from Curtis Orchard to share!

K-12 Professional Book Club

The fall 2012 selection for the K-12 Professional Book Club is Bullying Prevention & Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools by Susan M. Swearer, Dorothy L. Espelage and Scott A. Napolitano.  Dr. Espelage is a faculty member of the University of Illinois College of Education, and she has enthusiastically agreed to join our book club discussion (date TBA).  It’s time now to order the book and start reading!  For more information, contact Georgeann Burch, K-12 Program Coordinator at  When scheduled, the book discussion will allow both face-to-face and online participation.



September Calendar

  • Monday, September 3: Labor Day – CCB Closed
  • Tuesday, September 11: CCB Open House and Galley Giveaway, 4 pm
  • Wednesday, September 19: Youth Lit Book Club, 5-6 pm
    The first YLBC meeting for the fall semester will be discussing Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

Events take place at the CCB unless otherwise noted. For complete descriptions of events, visit the calendar on our website.



New Bibliography on the CCB Website

Back to School: A Bibliography of School Stories
Created by CCB GA Anna Holland



Our Affiliates Out and About

CCB Affiliate and GSLIS Associate Professor Carol Tilley will be presenting two papers in September at Protest on the Page: Print Culture History in Opposition to Almost Anything, a conference at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her papers are titled “’Books of Fun and Adventure’: Children’s Librarians Protesting Comic Books, 1945-1952” and “Children and the Comics: Young Readers Take on the Critics.” Professor Tilley will also be sharing a paper on nostalgia and superhero comics at a workshop in Reading, England called “The Multiple Life Cycles of Children’s Media: Childhood Nostalgia in Contemporary Convergence Culture.” The workshop will be run by the Platform for a Cultural History of Children’s Media out of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

CCB Affiliates Betty Bush (GSLIS Adjunct Lecturer) and Georgeann Burch (GSLIS K-12 Certification Coordinator) will present “Here Comes the Core!: Implications for the Nonfiction Collection” at the Illinois School Library Media Association Fall Conference in October.



Feature: Q&A with Melanie Lyttle, GSLIS Alum and “Crabby Librarian”

When the Center for Children’s Books heard about a librarian in Ohio who does youth outreach in the persona of “Crabby Librarian”—a crab-shaped-hat-wearing, grumpy “library lady”—we were intrigued. When we found out that she’s an alumna of GSLIS, we knew that we just had to talk to her.

Melanie Lyttle graduated from GSLIS in December 2003 with a focus in youth services. Regarding her decision to go into youth services, she says, “Originally, I thought I was going to be a school librarian. However, I realized that to do the things I wanted to do, I really needed to be a youth services librarian in a public library. This would allow me the freedom to try new services and programs [that] I really wanted to do.” She says that, in addition to a practicum with University Laboratory High School Librarian Frances Harris, the storytelling class with Professor Emerita Betsy Hearne was one of her most influential experiences at GSLIS. “I use the skills I learned quite often. That class was about stage presence and preparation. It was about controlling your body language and engaging the interest of an audience.”

Lyttle uses those skills in her role as “Crabby Librarian,” a persona Lyttle created to visit schools to get students interested in joining her library’s summer reading activities. In 2006, Lyttle joined the Madison Public Library in Madison, OH, a rural community of 20,000 residents. She began as Head of Children’s Services, but when the Adult and Children’s departments combined in August 2010, she became the Head of Public Services. She describes her job by saying, “Practically speaking, I am still very involved with outreach to preschool and school-age children, but primarily I have administrative duties.”

The Crabby Librarian was intended to be a one-time gig to pair with an animal-themed summer reading program. Lyttle describes the idea: “The Crabby Librarian works on the principal of reverse psychology. She says and does everything a youth services librarian (or any person who works in libraries) should not do. She tells the children they are horrible snot-nosed ankle-biters, and she doesn’t want them to come to her library.” She was surprised with the response she received and decided to bring back Crabby Librarian as a recruitment strategy. “It’s hard to argue with the fact that six months after my first visit to schools in 2006, kids were coming up to me and saying, ‘You’re that crabby library lady who came to my school!’ Clearly, this character had resonated with the kids.”

Lyttle has found that kids become attached to the Crabby Librarian. “The Crabby Librarian works partly because many of the kids know me outside of the persona. They know that I love having them in the library. Children who don't come to the library but only know me from yearly visits to the schools, they still get the message—the Madison Public Library must be a pretty special place if they allow someone as crazy as me to work there! Most kids can't remember my real name, but they get a big smile on their face when they remind me that I saw them at school. Even the kids in middle school now who first met the Crabby Librarian when they were in kindergarten or first grade remember me coming to their school ‘when they were little.’ They get confused at first because when I visit the middle school, I’m not in the Crabby Librarian costume, but the minute I open my mouth and speak there is this chorus of ‘I remember you. Why aren’t you wearing the crab outfit?’”

Interested in seeing Lyttle’s creativity in action? Check out the Madison Public Library’s YouTube channel. Or ‘like’ the Crabby Librarian on Facebook to see her regular updates.



New Books We Just Had to Read

Every month, the CCB Graduate Assistants highlight books reviewed in the most recent issue of the Bulletin that we were excited to read.  These decisions are based on personal preference, but all books listed are Recommended by the Bulletin. For complete reviews, visit the Bulletin website ( to learn how to subscribe.

Anna’s Choice: Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Reading Level:  Gr. 10-12
Pages: 293
Publisher and Year: Philomel, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-25748-3
Price: $17.99

After the unexpected death of her father and facing a worsening relationship with her estranged mother, eighteen-year-old Kenzie seeks solace in her longtime best friend-turned-boyfriend and unexpectedly finds herself pregnant. A few months ago, Kenzie had a bright future, a promising college career, and a Yale-bound boyfriend. Now, she only has the choice she made. Determined to keep the baby despite the wishes of her mother and boyfriend, Kenzie is whisked off to Spain where she spends the duration of her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch and ponders the soon-to-be adoptive parents of her child. The beautiful Spanish backdrop full of life, scarred and loving characters, and tragic histories works its way into Kenzie’s heart, drawing her out from her isolation and helping her to discover the beauty and choices surrounding her and growing within her. At its heart, Kephart has written a sensitively emotion-wrought travel novel. Kenzie’s unplanned pregnancy takes second to the breathtaking, gypsy-filled, enchanting summer of Kephart’s Seville, though patient readers will likely be rewarded by the satisfying, lyrical, and sophisticated end portrait of life, love, and Spain’s beauty.   

Katie’s Choice: Every Day by David Levithan
Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
Pages: 336
Publisher and Year: Knopf, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-97111-2
Price: $19.99

A wakes up every day in a different person’s body and lives a different person’s life. Whether the person is a boy or girl, A inhabits other teenagers’ bodies for no more than one day, every day. A has learned to adapt to this strange way of life by following a strict set of rules: do no harm, go unnoticed, and never get attached. This all changes when A spends a day as Justin, whose girlfriend Rhiannon makes A break those rules and long for the ability to stay one person for more than one day. Falling in love with Rhiannon pushes A onto a risky path of discovery in hopes of one day being able to live a real life, no matter how dangerous it may be for A or for those whose bodies A inhabits. Levithan’s Every Day is a story of love defined not by gender or convention, but by the spirit and longing that exists in every being, no matter their outward appearance. Readers’ hearts will break for the plight of Levithan’s cleverly and thoughtfully crafted protagonist, and they’ll get a glimpse of what it would really be like to try on someone else’s life for size.

Tad’s Choice: The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman
Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
Pages: 324
Publisher and Year: Schwartz & Wade, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86943-3
Price: $17.99

When Cally Wood enrolls in St. Bede’s Academy midway through her junior year, she tries to hide the fact that her sister Clare disappeared from the campus ten years ago while visiting a friend, the daughter of an instructor. Cally must learn to navigate the social terrain of St. Bede’s elite while being drawn to the mystery surrounding Iris, a student whose recent disappearance in the woods behind the school is chillingly similar to Clare’s. The plot races as Cally runs into one dead end after another in trying to step closer to the truth of what happened to Iris. Meanwhile, her heart races ahead of her head as she tries to have a normal personal life in spite of her circumstances and ends up breaking a few hearts. St. Bede’s campus takes on a creepy personality of its own while we see Cally honestly portray the complexities of navigating its weird social life. Templeman draws the thriller to a wholly satisfying close that will delight mystery fans while giving readers a dose of delicious teen angst and social commentary.



Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

San Vincente, Luis. The Festival of Bones/El Festival de las Calaveras: The Little-Bitty Book for the Day of the Dead.  Bilingual ed. El Paso: Cinco Puntos Press, 2002.

For more book selections or to order this one, visit the CCB’s Amazon Wish List.



CCB Fall Hours and General Information

  • Monday: 10am-5pm
  • Tuesday: 10am-7pm
  • Wednesday: 4pm-7pm
  • Thursday: 10am-6pm
  • Friday: 10am-5pm

For more information about the CCB and our collection, please visit the About Us page on our website.

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The Center for Children's Books | Graduate School of Library and Information Science | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 E. Daniel St. | Champaign, IL 61820 | 217-244-9331 |