What’s Better Than A Day At the Beach?

LIBRARIES ON THE BEACH (from Atlas Obscura)
BY ALLISON MEIER / 09 JUL 2014

library 1Pop-up library by Matali Crasset in Istres, France (photograph by Philippe Piron, via Designboom)

 

Books and the beach go together like sun and sand, and around the world libraries have been set up right by the shore. From Spain to Tel Aviv, pop-up mobile carts and elaborately designed structures are offering books to beachgoers to read for free.

The above colorful canopy was designed by Matali Crasset and installed in Istres, France, last year. The Bibliothèque de Plage offered shade along with shelves of books in a fold-out design of steel and tarpaulins. While Crasset’s is more elaborate than most beach libraries, many of them are like this — able to set up quickly right on the sands. There’s also a mobile version in Holland, and another inaugurated last July in Tel Aviv on the Metzitzim Beach, offering books in five languages and Wifi for tablets to check out electronic reading material. In 2010, IKEA set up 30 shelves on Sydney’s Bondi Beach for the surfers and sunbathers

library 2Biblioplatja in Vinaròs, Spain (photograph by Daniel Gil)

library 3The Albena, Bulgaria, beach Library (via Albena Resort)
Some of the beach libraries are more permanent. In May in Abu Dhabi, a public library opened in a beautiful glass architecture on Corniche Beach. Starting in 2006, the Department of Seine-Maritime in France has installed 12 small libraries on its northern beaches (you can find a whole map of them online). Perhaps the most well-known is the extensive beach library at Albena, a restort on Bulgaria’s Black Sea. Designed by German architect Herman Kompernas, it’s built to withstand the sun, water, and wind, and equipped with a vinyl cover to protect the books in rain. It reopened this May with more than 6,000 volumes in 15 languages, all totally free to take — and visitors are encouraged to leave their own tomes for others.
At Atlas Obscura, we’ve written about libraries in cemeteries, on the backs of burros, in Masonic lodges, and other unexpected places around the world. Yet with summer in season and the train to the Rockaways inviting us away from the office here in NYC, there idea of finding a good read on the beach is irresistible.

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Library on the beach in Étretat, France (via Mosman Library)

library 5View of the library on the beach in Étretat, France (via Mosman Library)
Discover more beautiful and unusual libraries on the Atlas Obscura

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Anyone Making A Book Fort This Weekend?

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Bookworm Gardens

Did you know there is a wonderful garden devoted to children’s books? Neither did I and it’s only 45 minutes from Milwaukee!

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http://bookriot.com/2013/10/22/cool-bookish-places-bookworm-gardens/

 

 

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Walter Dean Myers (New York Times)

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Walter Dean Myers, whose realistic portrayal of the struggles of youths in the city made him a best-selling children’s book author, and who was an evangelist for literacy and education, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 76.

His publisher, HarperCollins, said he died at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan after a brief illness.

A onetime troublemaker who dropped out of high school, Mr. Myers spent much of his adult life writing realistic and accessible stories about crime, war and life in the streets. He wrote more than 100 books, including “Monster” and “Lockdown,” and was the rare author to have a wide following among middle-school boys.

He was a three-time National Book Award nominee, received five Coretta Scott King awards for African-American fiction and from 2012 to 2013 served as national ambassador for young people’s literature, a position created in part by the Library of Congress.

Well before that, he traveled the country, visiting schools and prisons and libraries.

“He wrote with heart and he spoke to teens in a language they understood,” Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said in a statement.

In March, he wrote a cover essay in the Sunday Review section of The New York Times with the headline, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” In it, he lamented the scarcity of characters from different racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds.

“Books transmit values,” he wrote. “They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books? Where are the future white personnel managers going to get their ideas of people of color? Where are the future white loan officers and future white politicians going to get their knowledge of people of color? Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?”

Mr. Myers’s books were usually narrated by teenagers trying to make the right choices when the wrong ones were so much easier. There was the 17-year-old hiding from the police in “Dope Sick,” or the boarding school student in “The Beast” who learns his girlfriend is hooked on drugs.

He was careful not to make judgments, and in the crime story “Monster” he left doubt over whether the narrator was really guilty.

The fourth of five siblings, he was born Walter Milton Myers in Martinsburg, W.Va., in 1937. His mother died when he was 18 months old, and his father, George, sent Walter to live with his first wife, Florence Dean, a cleaning woman and factory worker, and her husband, Herbert Dean, who raised him in Harlem. He took the pen name Walter Dean Myers in honor of his foster parents.

Over 6 feet tall by middle school, he was a basketball star, but also a stutterer who was teased often and fought back in return. At home, he was happy to sit quietly and read.

“There were two very distinct voices going on in my head, and I moved easily between them,” Mr. Myers wrote in his memoir, “Bad Boy,” which came out in 2001. “One had to do with sports, street life and establishing myself as a male.” The other voice, he said, “the one I had from my street friends and teammates, was increasingly dealing with the vocabulary of literature.”

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Mr. Myers was gifted enough to be accepted to one of Manhattan’s best public high schools, Stuyvesant. But he was also shy, too poor to afford new clothes and unable to keep up with the work. He began skipping school for weeks at a time and never graduated.

“I know what falling off the cliff means,” he told The Associated Press in 2011. “I know from being considered a very bright kid to being considered like a moron and dropping out of school.”

He enlisted in the Army on his 17th birthday and served three years, after which he was employed as a factory worker, a messenger on Wall Street and a construction worker. Anxious to be a writer, he contributed to Alfred Hitchcock’s mystery magazine and numerous sports publications. When his half brother Wayne was killed in Vietnam, he wrote a tribute for Essence magazine.

His first book — “Where Does the Day Go?” — was published in 1969 after he won a children’s literature contest for minorities. His visits with students and inmates not only gave him the chance to help others straighten out their lives; it also inspired some of his work.

“Lockdown,” a National Book Award finalist, began after Mr. Myers met a youth who was afraid to get out of jail, thinking he would only get in trouble again. For “Monster,” he remembered a boy who would talk about the crimes he committed in the third person, as if someone else had committed them.

“Then I found out that all the guys could do that,” Mr. Myers told The Associated Press. “They could separate themselves from their crimes. We come up with strategies for dealing with our lives, and my strategy might be different because my life has been different.”

Mr. Myers’s novel “On a Clear Day” is scheduled to come out in September.

His survivors include his wife, Constance, and two sons, Christopher and Michael. A daughter, Karen, died.

 

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Not Going Anyplace Special This Summer? YOU COULD BE….

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LAST DAYS OF SCHOOL

The last days of school are always a bittersweet time. We are all excited for summer vacation, yet I know when I come back some things will be changed. Students will have moved away, the eighth grade will have gone on to high school, new students will have arrived in many grades and new teachers will be in some classrooms. Even personalities will have changed. A formerly shy student will be newly garrulous, a student who was chatty will have turned into a taciturn teen, an immature student will be grown-up and helpful. It’s the cycle of school years and I have grown used to it, mostly. Even the library will have a new look next fall. Here are a few photos of our brand new tables and chairs that just arrived in the library today. And after that is my faithful friend, Abby, a former student who is heading off to college in the fall. Abby has helped with inventory in the library these past two weeks and I could not have finished without her. Below she is taking a break and “reviewing” one of the new middle school books. Good luck to you, Abby, and THANK YOU!

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FINI

 

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