Mary Frances Cooper, President & Director: I've just finished Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses by Paula McLain. I saw this recommendation on the Library's 11th Stack Blog and was intrigued enough to reserve it. This memoir depicts the author's resilience in a life of fear, confusion and sadness growing up as a foster child who is shuffled from house to house to live among strangers with her two older sisters in the 1970s.
>> In her first year leading the Library system, Mary Frances is facilitating a three-part strategic planning process to set the direction of the Library, bringing together the board, staff and community to share ideas and insights.
Emma Brown, BLAST School Outreach Specialist: When summer comes, I find that I simply cannot get enough of great young adult fiction novels! Recently, I have devoured Gayle Forman's novel If I Stay, and am looking forward to reading the sequel, Where She Went. Forman's novel, If I Stay, is a beautifully written, emotion-filled story about love, family and bonds that tie us to each other and to the Earth. I would highly recommend this book!
>> As part of the BLAST School Outreach team, Emma regularly visits Pittsburgh Public Schools, bringing the Library and literacy skills to the classroom (K - 5). Her students look forward to her engaging storytimes,themed activities and contagious love of books.
Michael Balkenhol, Teen Specialist, CLP - Hazelwood: I am currently reading Alison Bechdel's newest graphic memoir Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama. Much like her first graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, she again tells a story of a family that is so magnificently complex that it's best told visually. So far, I am loving every second of it!
>> During this year's Teen Summer Reading program, Michael created a Teen Lounge at CLP - Hazelwood for teen library users to enjoy their own book club and let their creativity shine through fun activities, including edible constellations, duct tape art and bracelet making.
Sam Wagoner, Clerk, CLP - Allegheny: I've seen the swells and declines of various literary phenomena and have a recommendation as a reflexive response to the latest cultural craze. Please read House of Holes by Nicholson Baker. I prescribe it as an antidote to the collective that has granted Fifty Shades of Grey a formidable foothold in contemporary letters.
>> By the time this newsletter goes to print, Sam will have been with CLP - Allegheny for a little over two years. For five years previous to this, he was a driver for the Shipping Department. That said, the majority of his service to the Library has been dedicated to removing, as much as possible, the distance between our users and the materials they want.
Gwen Brunasky, Unit Head, Bibliographic Services: The classic Roots, by Alex Haley is my all-time favorite book (I actually read it twice) because, for anyone who knows me, my family is the most important part of my life. How fascinating it was for me to learn the richness of my family history when, after years of research, a cousin traced our family tree back to our great, great, great grandfather. I believe Roots may possibly inspire many people to trace their family history.
>> Gwen celebrated her Ruby Anniversary with the Library (it's hard to believe, but she started her Library career in October 1969!) She works with the copy-catalogers to make sure new materials are added to the Catalog every day for library users to borrow.