The Road to Annual: Saturday, June 8

We headed west on I-64 toward our next stop just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m a sucker for a National Parks Passport stamp, so when we saw the sign for President Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home, I took exit 57A, drove for ten minutes, and promptly got lost and couldn’t find a parking lot. (This will surprise no one who knows me.) We tucked the van under a tree on a stretch of gravel next to the road and walked twenty minutes down a path past the Lincoln family farm to the visitor center. American history is difficult to represent and reckon with. I mulled that over while moving my legs more than I had in a week. We’re spending a lot of time in the car!


Entrance to the Lincoln Boyhood Home.

After settling in at the hotel, I joined our host for tomorrow, school librarian Tom Bober, at a St. Louis barbecue spot near Washington University. Bober caught me up on news from the Missouri Association of School Librarians and introduced me to fried ravioli. I’ll have another!

And then he took me to where the magic happens: his library! Distinct spaces for different kinds of student use and engagement, an accessible, a genrefied collection, and a wall covered with autographs and drawings from authors who have made visits to the Captain Elementary School library. Part of Bober’s work is to help his young students learn to situate events in geographic space and time. Book covers march in timelines around the room, while a world map takes up another corner. “We’re always reinventing what we do,” Bober tells me about school librarians. Tomorrow we’ll learn more about what makes that challenging for his colleagues in Missouri.


At the Captain Elementary School, book covers are linked to places, giving students a visual representation of where stories are in the world.


Kate Beaton signature on the wall of the Captain Elementary School library.