Visiting Madison and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center

My trip to Madison, WI, to accept the Charlotte Zolotow Honor for Finding Family was absolutely amazing.  Randy and I drove down on Thursday and back home on Sunday. In between, we spent time with the fabulous staff of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, the Charlotte Zolotow Award Committee,and Kim Rogers and her husband, Kelvin. Kim won the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Just Like Grandma.

I have a public post and photo album on Facebook that you can read and look at for full names and funny details. (You don’t need a FB account.) Make sure to open up the post so you can read the captions.

Also, I’ve long known of the CCBC for their annual Choices list. But I knew very little about the library itself. Here’s what I learned.

The Cooperative comes from the fact that the CCBC is funded by both the University of Wisconsin and the State of Wisconsin. I also didn’t know that they mainly function as a repository of children’s books (non-circulating) so that librarians and future librarians can study them and make acquisition/curation decisions. The staff also does enormous amounts of outreach around the state so that outstate librarians have the opportunity to look at books in person. How cool!

They sort of have three collections. I can’t remember the official names, so I’m just sharing how I think of them here.

First, there’s the current collection. Publishers send arcs/review copies of their books. The CCBC keeps ALL of them for a year or two. That way, librarians can see a full spectrum of what’s being published. The good, the beautiful, and the ugly.

Then, they cull the books, keeping copies of just the CCBC Choices. The Choices lists have been around since 1980, so the CCBC’s built up quite a Choices collection of top-notch books across genres!

They also have a historical collection, gathering and annotating (that’s a super important step) children’s books over time (including from before 1980) around various issues. This way librarians can get a historical perspective on, say, representation of the disability experience in kids’ books.

There’s a lot more to all this, of course! But those are the broad strokes–and I may have gotten something wrong here! But I can tell you it’s an amazing place! I kept finding and admiring books with friends’ names on them, including some of our very own Poetry Friday community. I hope to go back someday! The librarians and the books are outstanding!

Besides our CCBC events, Randy and I went to a cave, did some zip-lining, and took our niece (a student at U of W) to breakfast and the farmers market on the Capitol Square. More in the photo album! 

[My Classroom Connections posts share a way to connect one of my books or poems to a classroom topic–often something timely that you might be covering in the next month or so. Please share this post if you have educator friends who might be interested–thanks!]

6 Responses

  1. Congrats Laura on receiving the Charlotte Zolotow Honor for “Finding Family” how exciting!!! The library sounds intriguing too!

    1. Thanks, Michelle! It was lovely to feel so welcomed and taken care of by such passionate book people!

  2. That’s wonderful Laura!! Your story is so deserving of the award and recognition!! Congratulations!! Sounds like the whole trip was great!! 😊

  3. Laura, I am so happy for you. Congratulations on this wonderful honor! Sounds like a great library. I’m so glad I saw your post here. I saw your post on FB, but it was gone before I could look at all of it so I saw it all now.

    1. Thanks, Gail, especially for taking the time to track it down here so you could see the whole thing. <3

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