By Steve Zalusky


by Robert Behre, courtesy of the Post and Courier

Cynthia Hurd worked her way up Charleston County’s (SC) library system to become manager of one of its busiest branches, but those who knew her best say she was much more.  One of the nine victims of Wednesday’s church shooting, Hurd spent her life helping people, particularly helping them become educated, said Jamie Thomas, the library system’s spokeswoman and Hurd’s friend.

In a 2003 interview, Hurd said, “I like helping people find answers,” adding that the best thing about being a librarian was service. “Your whole reason for being there is to help people.”One of those...


The Athens–Clarke County (Ga.) Library Pinewoods branch is a small library with a big heart. Located in a mobile home park and housed in a double-wide manufactured home, the library serves 19,000 in the
greater Athens area.

Adult immigrants often make Pinewoods Library and Learning Center their first stop after arriving in the Athens area. The library is enabling these new residents to develop English-language skills that better equip  them to thrive in American society and communicate with their children.

Many of the English-language learners at Pinewoods are parents with children in local schools. Immigrant children entering US schools...


By Steve Zalusky

When Ciro Scardina, librarian at the John G. Whittier School in Staten Island New York,  arrived at P.S. 18 about four years ago, his leadership abilities were obvious to all.

As Donna Desantis, his nominator for Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award, wrote, “He carries himself with confidence and he is authoritative without being overbearing or bossy.”

She said he pays particular attention to professional development, in a way that is relevant to his community, in which close to 100 percent of the students come from poverty – a challenge for the faculty, which is nearly all middle class.

She wrote, “To even up the playing field, Mr. Scardina this year introduced P...

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Review of the Day

Hawkins, Scott (author).
June 2015. 400p. Crown, hardcover, $26 (9780553418606).
REVIEW. First published May 15, 2015 (Booklist). Carolyn is a librarian whose father has gone missing; could he be dead? Well, maybe, but that would be strange, since he is nearly omniscient and, by all evidence, almost omnipotent. And Carolyn herself is no ordinary librarian: for one thing, she is the self-taught master of all languages, even that of storms! And she has the power to replace the sun (don’t ask). Clearly, there is something weird going on here, but something wonderfully weird. Hawkins’ first novel is an extravagant, beautifully imagined fantasy about a universe that is both familiar and unfamiliar....