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#YASummerShowdown 2014, Week 7: Library Love

In which we tear up learning about all our Showdowners' favorite library haunts.

#YASummerShowdown 2014, Week 7: Library Love

Previously: Week 6 (Mashup Up Up and Away!)

Week 7 is officially done, and our hearts are officially full. This week was dedicated to the libraries we love, with a challenge to each team's individual members to post pictures of their most recent library haul along with a brief description of their local branch and any cool related details. 

The nice thing about this challenge was that it brought a ton of silent (or, photo-silent) competitors out of the woodwork--hi, silent members! The unfortunate flip side of that nice thing is that it brought out a TON OF COMPETITORS. Way too many for us to compile in photos AND descriptions here. So enjoy these highlights by city, then head to the Showdown hub to see the collection.

Vancouver, WA (#FYAVWA)

The Vancouver (WA) team frequents some TRULY tiny libraries. One is a former high school science building, built in 1909; one sounds like it is basically smaller than the World's Largest Egg (Wincock's claim to fame); one is in a town so small it's "affectionately known as Mayberry RFD." In a baller library patron move, one VWA member couldn't even take a haul picture of books officially checked out in week 7 because…her card was maxed out.

Hearts in eyes.

Vancouver, BC (#FYAVBC)

Our Canadian competitors also frequent a collection of super interesting libraries, including a pile of Little Free Libraries and 22 VPL branches--some even that offer speed dating (um, brb mving to BC). Most excitingly, this:

The Simon Fraser University library is spread over three campus locations. The majority of the books tend to be at the main campus in Burnaby (W.A.C. Bennett Library) and I love wandering in the stacks finding related titles and interesting sounding books. The Gender & Women’s Studies related titles and other Humanities are mostly from this location. The other location I frequent is downtown Vancouver (Samuel and Frances Belzberg Library) and has all the Publishing program related titles as well as about half of the Communication books. This stack of titles is just a small selection of the books I perused for my current term paper titled “Women in CanLit: Examining Cultural Policy and Gender Disparity in the Canadian Literary Industry”. I’m new to the Vancouver FYA Bookclub but looking forward to jumping in with both feet next month.


(Monica and a friend found our club after the showdown blurb was published on FYA’s website!! We haven’t even met her in person yet so she wasn’t included in our good faith club head count!)

Showdown magic strikes again!!

San Francisco (#SFFYA)

Obviously, our reigning leaders in San Fran have access to an amazing network of libraries, with branches near parks and waterfronts; branches built in 1888; branches near all the hipster food you could want. But what I want to highlight here is this ebook haul, and its accompanying story:

Hi. I am SFFYA’s Token Boy.

Others in the club have noted that there are “no unaccompanied adults” signs in their libraries’ teen and children’s sections, much as there are at playgrounds. I am that unaccompanied adult. I’m a Boy of a Certain Age without kids.

I am a creeper. They make creeper movies about me.

So I stay away from the teen section. That doesn’t mean I don’t borrow from the library. Oh yes, I do. We have a game we play: I place a hold on a book, even though it’s available; the next day, they bring it downstairs for me.

I go through all this effort because I like books. Heavy ones. I judge books by their covers. I judge books by their typefaces. I reject books because the copy is set solid.

This morning, being old, I awoke creaky. I worried that carrying my hardback This Song Will Save Your Life might end my life. So I relented and made a beeline for an e-book. A very slow beeline. I had to get the reader, figure out how to use the library’s e-book system, learn to download onto the correct device… this took me an hour, and I manage computer programmers for a living.

Finally, though, I had a weightless copy of The Queen of Attolia. I may get a paper copy for home, too. On hold, of course.

Eff yeah, SF!

Pittsburgh (#FYAPGH)

Pittsburgh has been killing it with Photo Hunt entries these past few weeks, so it should come as no surprise to regular Showdown followers that they have been raised by a killer library system: namely, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. However! Much like Van City, Pittsburgh is about to have a new member, and she posted a great story about her current, tiny library home:


Hi, I’m Mallory and this is my library. Some of you may be wondering, “Ridley Township? Is that near Pittsburgh? I’ve never heard of it…” So, technically it’s a little over 5 hrs on the highway from Pittsburgh. However, as a satellite member of PghFYA & a future resident of that city (*fingers crossed*), I feel totally comfortable claiming to be one of them. “One of them, one of them…”

This library is officially 2 years younger than my mother, a fact which I am choosing to never point out. I rarely visited this particular library in my youth. The other local library (Ridley Park) has a much larger children’s section. And it’s super small & stone so obviously better. I didn’t even have a library card 5 years ago. As a matter of fact, this parking lot is most of what reminded me to get my library card. It looks pretty desolate & sad in this picture, but a few years ago it was filled with trailers filled with MOVIE STARS! That’s right, A-list, academy award winning movie stars. Well, at the time only one had won an oscar, but you get the idea. In my effort to passive-aggressively stalk said movie stars (mostly pre-Hungers Games Jennifer Lawrence & pre-People’s Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper) I realized that casually going to and from the library would be a non-creepy way to get a picture. Never happened. Oh well. The movie, Silver Linings Playbook, turned out to be kind of a big deal and I can now read for free (yay, free!). This library also afforded me the opportunity to meet Jonathan Maberry and introduced me to Victoria Schwab and her work. I’m becoming rather attached. They loan books for 3 weeks which sounds like a lot, but I am not a fast reader. I usually try to limit myself to three, but as you can see…

FIVE hours! FIVE. 

AND one of Pittsburgh's members ALSO belongs to Bellevue's Andrew Bayne Memorial library, which hosts tea tastings and summer movie series and is housed in an old mansion in the middle of a park. BRB moving again…

Orlando North (#FYAON)

Our intrepid Orlando North team is this year's smallest, but they are making a strong showing in all the activities. Probably this is because one of them works for the Lake County Library System, where she gets her holds delivered to her desk. Spoiled much, Orlando North? The other library they highlighted is the Deltona Regional Library, "considered by many to be the jewel of the Volusia County Library system." It's been recently remodeled, and has a permanent used book store with a $3 fill-your-bag deal, and is located on the same site as the Lyonia Preserve and Environmental Center. Bags of books and endangered species watching!

New York City (#FYANYC)

Not surprisingly, the NYC club is one of those that is full of member with not one, not two, but three or four different library memberships. Once you know what a good library can do, you can't get enough!

What did surprise and delight us, though? The story about the haunted Yonkers library, and this:

The ugly truth? I don’t have a NYPL membership. I’m a crazy person when it comes to taking care of my books and get sincerely distracted by a book in anything less than perfect condition. That admitted, I recently learned (thanks Challenge!) that you can get e-books as a library patron! And then in hot pursuit of a library discovered there is one a mere 2 blocks my apartment -  the St Agnes branch, which began in 1893 as a Parish Library, but now hosts super awesome events like Orange is the New Black marathons!

We are true evangelists! SHE HAS BEEN SAVED. HALLELUJAH!

Austin (#ATXFYA)

Being a big club, Austin had a lot of variety on display--both in types of branches they visit, and reasons for doing so. There are a LOT of parents in this group (what up!), and it was great to see the cool ways ATX is serving its future YAngelists!

Faye H. says: This, plus kindle downloads is a typical week’s bounty for me, a mother of two and a homeschooling parent.   I visit the Yarborough Library almost every Saturday after I meet for breakfast with my knitting group.  It’s been my routine for years.  I’ve checked out so much of the E Fic there for my daughters that I’ve had to start frequenting a different branch.   This library is built in an old movie theater.  It has a very cool, huge retro sign.  My favorite person who works there is a guy who sort of looks like Sean from Boy Meets World, except with Nicotine teeth.

Obligatory Boy Meets World reference, obvi.

Portland (#FYAPDX)

In the most Portland-y move of all, one of our Showdowners told us she WANTS to volunteer, but has been turned away because the wait list to do so at her local branch is too damn long. PORTLAND, man.

Free Agents (Winslow, AZ edition)

We already know from previous challenges how tiny our Winslow competitor's new Arizona home is. But then she posted her local library's picture, along with a note that it is closed on Mondays (tooooo small to be open), and it blew our minds. Also because it was so wee and charming.

Still she got a pretty good haul in a single visit! 2 books for online book clubs (Dying for Chocolate and The Autumn of the Patriarch), and 3 YA books (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Ruby in the Smoke, and Jellicoe Road). Not bad!

Dallas/Fort Worth (#FYADFW)

First off, everything really IS bigger in Texas. To our delight (again! so much delight this week!), DFWer Melissa sent in a haul picture WITH WINE:

You're our kind of people, Melissa.

Also, a great ebook haul for club leader Mandy's maternity leave, and this lovely story from Rachel:

My library is the John Ed Keeter Public Library in Saginaw, TX.  I have been a patron there since I moved to the area in 4th grade, except for 12 of my adult years when I lived out of state. I moved back to the area 4 years ago with my husband and children, and I have been a patron and volunteer there since.  I’ve taught Adult ESL, Literacy, and Citizenship there over the last few years. I’ve also been a member of the Library Boosters and helped with our twice a year Book and Bake Sale to raise money to support the library. The last couple years, I have also served on the Library Board of Trustees, and am currently the Chairperson for the Board.  My daughters are both teen volunteers at the library as well. We are VERY involved with the library, and I am, in fact, on my way to becoming a librarian myself. In September, I start my MLIS grad school program. Much love for libraries is coursing through my veins!  As for my local library, it’s my home away from home. It’s in a different location than when I was growing up, but the feeling I get when there is the same. It’s my happy place, and I consider libraries to be the heart of their communities.

It's our happy place, too! GOOD LUCK on your MLIS program!!

Washington, DC (#FYADC)

DC's library system has some…kinks, let's say, that it could work out of the supply side of its equation. But they do respond (relatively) quickly when deluged with purchase requests, and an FYA club is good for nothing if not deluging a library with purchase requests. What the system lacks in supply perfection, it at least makes up for it well-distributed branches, and the support of the greater NoVa and Maryland library systems, in which most of the DC members are also patrons.

To wrap up the library profile highlights, as (newly minted) DCer Ashley put it, "I think that if I lived someplace without a good library system, I’d probably go crazy. Or broke. Or both, actually."



Of course, it wouldn't be a complete Showdown week without a puzzle to solve. This time around, it was a replay of a 2013 challenge: identifying YA/MG books by their LoC subject listings

See if you guys can crack the codes! Answers will be posted on Tumblr on Tuesday.


A few teams competed in the literal interpretation/actual LOL department…

Sasha/Dorothy faces down some serious weaponry for DOROTHY MUST DIE


Why won't you tell us what's the matter?

#FYAPGH finally gives us (me) the MATTER OF SOULS in a graveyard pic we've (I've) been waiting for!

#FYAVBC took FAR, FAR AWAY to an extreme! 

"Hermione, I just don’t see the point in a spell to make someone cold."

"Oh don’t you, Harry?"

#FYAFREEAGENTS gave me an actual laugh with their HP COLD SPELL interpretation…

…while across the country, #FYAON had the same idea while on their all-day Photo Hunt EXTRAVANGANZA at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

And SPEAKING OF the Wizarding World, #SFFYA's genkibee mentioned in her library haul post that she was crossing the country to visit, which caught the eagle eyes of #FYAON, who had their own trip planned for the same day, and through the magic of Showdown/tumblr…

The first ever bi-coastal FYABC meetup? MAYBE. Either way, wizard!


While Austin joined NYC and Pittsburgh in their epic cover redux battle…



(we hear that Atlantic Ocean water was ~50°…that's some Showdown commitment!)

from #NYCFYA


from #FYAPGH…the last reblogged by Jenny Han, herself (who is also, evidently, a huge Leo fan)!

In Showdown miscellany, #SFFYA recorded a video of themselves singing karaoke to an original song; #FYADFW attended the Mighty Mississippi YA Book Blast YA Tour (with member Julie ON THE PANEL!); DC's Sasha ran into Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard at the YA Runs a 5k event at the Philly Color Run; #ATXFYA attended the ATXTV fest and hung out with Brendon Fehr (Roswell) and Julian Morris (PLL & Once Upon a Time).

And as far as the leaderboard goes, San Francisco is still well in the lead. But Austin, Pittsburgh, and DC (in that order) are within spitting distance of each other for the next three places. And if Pittsburgh keeps up this cover redux jag…well. Could be anyone's 2nd place!

The Week 8/9 (and FINAL) challenge will post on Friday. Scores will be officially updated tomorrow. 2014 prizes will be profiled later in the week.

See y'all soon!

Next: Week 8 (The End Is Nigh)

Alexis.'s photo About the Author: Alexis grew up in Wyoming, where she did NOT ride horses to school, but did write her IB extended essay on the youth of heroism in Peter Pan and Stargirl. In spite of this, she was shocked years later to realize how seriously she loved YA lit (blame the snobbery of academia for the blindness). She now lives in Washington DC, where she reads so much YA and MG she built a whole scavenger hunt around it.