Book Suggestions: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

We love books at CMLE Headquarters!

On our weekly podcast, Linking Our Libraries, we always have a book segment so we can share some of the books we are reading. Since this has been so popular with our listeners, we decided to talk about books even more, in additional formats! This includes a second podcast about books coming out later this fall, and also includes some regular book suggestions here on our site.

(Books below have links to Amazon; if you follow them and make a purchase Amazon will donate a small percentage of your sale to CMLE! We appreciate it!!)

Looking for a delightful story for middle-grade readers? I loved listening to Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, narrated by Jim Dale (he also narrated the US version of the Harry Potter series). The story had a definite fairy-tale vibe, plus great villains, development of unlikely friendships, and using teamwork to overcome obstacles. Even though it is technically a book for middle grade readers, the story was easily enjoyed by an older reader as well!

From Amazon: “Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost named Po appears from the darkness.

That same evening, an alchemist’s apprentice named Will makes an innocent mistake that has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.”

Lauren Oliver has written many other books, some of which include:

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Do you have other suggestions? We want to hear all about it in the comments section!

Visiting the Little Free Library Headquarters

I love Little Free Libraries! Several of our members have these as part of the service they offer to their communities, and it can be a valuable item. So when I was able to stop by their Headquarters in Hudson, WI, I was excited even before I arrived.

I was not sure I was in the right place, as my GPS directed me off of I-94. But as I drove slowly along this set of offices in a long building, I finally reached the end and found this sign. I had arrived! Success!!




I hopped out of my car, not even noticing this adorable little collection of libraries until I was walking into the building! The staffers there told me that there is a karate school at the other end of the building, and that kids come charging out of classes to explore the libraries. How cute is that?? (Answer: SO cute!)


The libraries have to be ready to travel sometimes, so they have a nifty trailer to keep them safe on the move. Like everything else associated with the Little Free Libraries, their trailer is branded and has some excellent-looking sample libraries. If you are riding in traffic behind this vehicle, you could definitely spend some time planning out your own library!

When not in use, the trailer and other vehicles get to sit in this nicely signed garage. I feel like the little libraries are expressing their own travel goals. Reading can really take you places!





Welcoming you right at the front door, you find even MORE little libraries!! I have no immediate proof of this, either way, but I’m guessing that working surrounded by all these adorable book-filled libraries must be a wonderful experience!! Aaahhhhhh….surrounded by books and libraries all day – a dream come true for most of us!




When you finally make it inside (tearing yourself away from the cute stuff outside), there is more to admire! I absolutely loved this bulletin board filled with thank you notes, and some very serious fan mail from all over the place. When you have such a fun product, it is wonderful to hear how happy people are with it, and all the fun things they do with their books and libraries. (Does your library have a similar wall? If not: think about it!!)


And for all of us who like pop culture, gaming, and books: they even have a Pokemon Go stop at their headquarters, with a picture of their so-cute libraries!




Does your library have a Little Free Library? Do you have one in your community? (Or, do you have a bunch of them in your community??? They seem to come in groups for even more book-related fun!) Tell us about it! We would love to feature you in an upcoming blog article!

Day Eighty Four of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

As a serious library lover, and someone who knows how much impact libraries can have on their communities, hearing about libraries being forced to shut down is devastating. And, of course, it is so much more devastating for their communities!

Small-town libraries serve residents like never before, but budget cuts could close them

If you don’t work for a library or you haven’t been inside one in a number of years, forget what you believe libraries mean to small towns in Mississippi.

Yes, you can still check out books.

But 20 years ago, we would have never heard a librarian tell this story.

“I was at the grocery store one day and this man sees me,” says Loraine Joyce Walker, librarian at the Noxubee County Central Library in Macon (population 2,600). “He was with his mother and grandmother. His eyes got big, and he said, ‘Mama! Nanny! This is the lady who helped me get the job.’ All of a sudden, I was enveloped in a double hug.

“Using one of the library’s computers, I had helped him apply for 20 offshore jobs. He was now going to be able to send money back home to help cover some of the expenses of his sister at college. He was also going to send them money to cover food and rent.”

The man didn’t own a computer, didn’t know how to apply for a job online and had no access to the internet.

“We are a poor county,” Walker says, “and most people here can’t afford wifi.”

The local library changed that family’s life.

“It happens all the time at libraries all over the state,” Walker says.

Here is the bad news: Budget cuts threaten the future of libraries statewide, especially in rural areas, where they are needed the most.”

(Read the rest of  this article here; and prepare yourself to constantly advocate for the future of libraries everywhere!)


CMLE Resources: Take advantage of CMLE Scholarships!

Each week, we will draw your attention to one of the many resources available to you from CMLE Headquarters. Our mission is to help build connections between members, across all types of libraries. We exist to share information across libraries (and archives, and museums, and history centers) – and we are always looking for more ways to make that happen!

One of the ways in which we encourage creating connections is by offering scholarships for professional development opportunities. And there are so many options out there for library people! We want to make sure all of our members get a chance to participate, whether it’s taking a webinar or attending a conference. Since we know money is often tight in libraries, CMLE has scholarships available to help fund your continuing learning and professional programs! And starting this year, you can apply for up to $300 to help with your expenses!

Some quick guidelines:

  1. You can apply for up to $300 in each CMLE fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).
  2. We need the application before the event, to approve it.
  3. You must be an employee or Board member of a CMLE member library. Preference will be given to first-time scholarship requests.

Find the rest of the guidelines here, along with the FY18 CMLE Scholarship Application.

If you are looking for professional development opportunities, make sure to keep an eye on our Continuing Education calendar which we update frequently! Or check out sites like TIES, ALA’s webinarsLibrary Juice, AASL’s eAcademy, and ACRL’s online learning page.

Day Eighty Three of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

ICCE First Student Wallkill School Bus
Summer may be coming to an end here, but we are always interested in helping kids to work on their literacy skills! So we totally approve of, and give a CMLE Endorsement to, Richmond, VA for their work in this area!

RICHMOND, Va. — When students can’t come to the school library, teachers bring the library to the students.

Oak Grove-Bellmeade is one of 20 Richmond schools participating in Reading Riders; mobile libraries, or school buses, packed with books.

“We are proud teachers at Oak Grove and we love our community and we love our students,” said Kisha Christian, a fourth-grade teacher.

She said that reading can prevent what they call “the summer slide”; something a lot of parents don’t think about when they’re kids are off for the summer.

“It’s going to help them continue to be educated during the summer and not just sit there on their video games, fidget spinners,” Christian said. “It’s gonna help them continue to make sure that they’re building on skills they already have.”

Kids from kindergarten through fifth grade can check out two books, read and return them, and be registered for prizes. It’s an incentive that helps them retain what they learned during the school year, and Christian said it seems to be working.

“To come back year after year and see the smaller kids with their older brothers and sisters being able to come back and get books and being exposed to new and different things,” Takia Archer, a school bus driver said. “It’s exciting to me.”

(Read the rest of this article here!)

We support libraries!