CLASC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

On Thursday, November 10th, CLASC will celebrate its 40th Anniversary at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Centereach from 6pm – 8:30pm. Join your colleagues from around the county for appetizers, FULL BUFFET DINNER, dessert, music from 1971, a visual reflection on the last 40 years of CLASC, and remarks from special guests Sandra Feinberg and Marie Orlando. The 40th anniversary is the “ruby red” anniversary, and all are encouraged to wear red to this event. The cost is $35 a person, and RSVPs should be directed to CLASC president Kristen Todd-Wurm at Middle County Public Library. All library staff is welcome.

CLASC New Book Forum and Discussion

On Thursday, October 20th, CLASC will be hosting a New Book Forum and Discussion at Sachem Public Library from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. The evening will begin with a discussion of The Emerald Atlas by debut novelist John Stephens. After the discussion, each NBF participant will have an opportunity to flash-talk a new book for young readers that has left a strong impression.

The Emerald Atlas is the first in a fantastical adventure series, but the book has an ending that is completely satisfying. Young orphans Kate, Michael and Emma are as likable as their evil nemesis, the Countess, is deplorable. The strength of the characterization was like an anchor for me in an ocean of action. Scrappy, small-for-her-age Emma may just be one of my favorite characters I’ve met this year. The book is also quite humorous, and after watching these interviews with the author, you’ll see why!

If you’re already buried under a pile of new books and Lit-Fest reading – and even if you’re not – I suggest listening to the audio book. I just finished the recording from Listening Library this morning and it was a marvelous production. The story is narrated by Jim Dale, the award-winning voice of the Harry Potter series, and is available on CD and as an electronic file from

If you’re able to attend the NBF, please RSVP to Marybeth at the Sachem Public Library. Arrive early, if you can, and stroll through Sachem’s beautiful outdoor space, Inside/Out, and see what should be a stunning show of fall foliage.

Brooklyn Artists Share Their Stories

On May 5th, CLASC sponsored the program “Illustrating Books for Diverse Audiences” at the Long Island Library Conference. What a treat it was to hear from three different artists all united by a passion for representing the diverse community they observe everyday in their Brooklyn communities.

Pat Cummings had the audience laughing with a story of how, as a child, she had a tendency to get in trouble. At the age of four, she decided to travel – unaccompanied – on the bus across town with a group of older girls attending a ballet class. She joined in the class, twirling and leaping and thoroughly enjoying herself. At the end of the class, the teacher pinned a note to Cummings’s shirt and sent her back on the bus. When the little girl arrived home, her frantic mother discovered the note which simply read: “Please don’t send her back.” Cummings, who is a warm, funny, and eloquent speaker, did more than merely entertain her audience – she showed how she developed into an artist who values the importance of including all children in books for young people.  

R. Gregory Christie followed with an equally passionate talk about his artistic goals. In a world that bombards us with violent images that are often thoughtlessly presented, Christie endeavors to bring “another type of extreme” to his artwork. Christie means to communicate, to “take something that you know about and find the beauty in it.” By finding beauty and sharing it with the world through children’s books, album covers, and editorials, Christie brings some sense of balance to the images presented to people of all ages.

Following these two impressive speakers was Selena Alko, who charmed us with her personal story about her journey as an artist. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Alko has found New York City to be wonderfully “diverse and stimulating.” Alko, who is married to illustrator Sean Qualls, has done portraits of musicians such as Mick Jagger and Macy Gray for magazines. In the book I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother, Alko’s first published book as the author and illustrator, she tells the story of her growing family, featuring her son Isaiah as the protagonist. The success of this book has led to Alko writing and illustrating full-time, and her forthcoming book “B is for Brooklyn” promises to be another celebration of diversity.

The artists are as genuine and kind-hearted as they are talented. I could have listened to them all day, and I suspect others in the appreciative audience felt the same way. Many thanks to CLASC for arranging a stellar program and the artists for sharing their art and their stories.


Upcoming events:

February 3 Children’s Librarians Meeting

February 15 SCLA/PLDA program: How to Fill Out a Training & Experience Exam. Brentwood Public Library. 10am.

February 15 Children’s Department Managers

February 21 Free Booklist Webinar: Books for Youth Alert: New Titles for 2012

February 29 Performers Showcase

March 23 YSS Spring Conference

April 28 Authors Unlimited

May 3 Long Island Library Conference

May 11 Assistive Technology and Resource Fair. SCLS Blue Room and Auditorium. 10am – 4pm.

May 14 Children’s Department Managers

May 15 PALS Public Services

August 11 Battle of the Books

September 25 Children’s Department Managers

October 19 CLASC/SCLS Fall Literature Conference: Timeless Tales, Emerging Visions. Featuring Katherine Paterson and John Rocco.

December 13 Children’s Department Managers

CLASC Annual Meeting and Dinner

CLASC sure knows how to make a business meeting fun! It’s not too late to RSVP for the CLASC Annual Meeting and Dinner on Thursday, April 14th with Victoria Kann, author of the Pinkalicious books. All are welcome to this evening of food, friends, networking, prizes, an author presentation, book signing and, of course, a CLASC business meeting.

Please see flyer here for full details and RSVP info: