Thursday, January 20, 2011

Economic Hardships at Home and at the Library

There is no denying that everyone is facing challenging times. As a librarian who serves young ones the economic crisis hits home in more ways than one. Parents, who only two or three years ago, visited the library during the evening are now coming in the mornings or afternoons. These same adults are now taking advantage of the career resources in the library, hoping this will lead to new opportunities. As a part time children's librarian, it is easy for me to relate to their situations. Library budgets are getting tighter, which means materials and staff hours are victims of the "necessary" cuts. However, for the children it is not so easy for them to understand why Mom and Dad are worried all the time. They see having Mom and Dad around all day long as a bonus. Which in some cases it is but the harsh reality is that paychecks are needed to sustain a household.

It has been become a "mission", for lack of a better word, to help parents discuss unemployment and tough economic time with their children. There are so many other resources out there on how to talk to children about Internet safety, bullying, and even sex education. All good topics, but when a family is struggling to make ends meet, other topics become important. For example, money management, security and becoming resourceful. In searching for books that would help parents discuss this topic, it was important to find resources that not only help children understand their situation but also emotionally support the parents who are trying so hard to make their children's lives "normal". It was equally important to find books that parents and children could read together.

This list is meant to be shared with friends, family and library patrons. The books listed here are not the end all be all about the topic. If there is a title or two that was missed, please feel free to send them to: As new titles come in, I'll post them to the blog. A full bibliographic handout, which includes summaries of the titles and publishing information is available.

Ramona and Her Father Beverly Cleary
The Gold Watch Bernice Myers
Everything You Need to Know When A Parent Is Out of Work Stephanie St. Pierre
Finding A Job For Daddy Evelyn Maslac
Twilight in Grace Falls Natalie Honeycatt
The Babe and I David A. Adler
The Effects of Job Loss On the Family Michele Alpern
What I Believe: A Novel Norma Fox Mazer
Trading Places Claudia Mills
When Times Are Tough by Yanitzia Canetti
Let's Work It Out: What To Do When Your Family Has to Cut Costs Rachel Lynette
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