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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

International Migratory Bird Day or Bye Bye, Birdie

MigratoryBirdDayThose canny readers amongst you will notice immediately that the date of this post is all wrong.  What am I trying to pull here?  After all, International Migratory Bird Day (as every good schoolchild knows) is always held on the second Saturday in May.  Yet here I am on June 29th, saying unto you that it is nigh.  And, in a way, it is.

Folks, what is the state bird of Illinois?


Actually, it’s the plucky little Northern cardinal (plucky, because it’s apparently the state bird for seven states), but if we’re talking the state Bird (capital B) then it’s me.


Is it just me, or does this cardinal look seriously displeased with the state of the world today?

On Friday, July 31st I will start my new job as the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system.  Which is to say, I am leaving New York Public Library and I will no longer be your roving reporter in NYC.

For the record, that costume is enormously warm.

For the record, that costume is enormously warm.

This may come as a bit of a shock, but for those of you who know me (or who have brushed against me in the past five years) you’ll know that it’s a long time coming.  Over the last few years I think I’ve mentioned to friends and acquaintances an “imminent” move to L.A., Minneapolis, Vermont, Connecticut, and Amherst (and I know there are a few additional places I’m forgetting as well).  But extricating myself from NYC has been difficult.  The only way I can describe it is to the say that it’s been like a big stone lion has been sitting on my back and I’ve had to pluck out its claws one by one before being able to move on (any artist that wants to bring that image to life, I encourage you to do so).  Which is NOT to say that I don’t still love NYPL with all the beatings of my blackened little heart.  If I could pick up my current job and carry it with me out of NYC I would do so.  This city has given me opportunities I could never have found anywhere, and New York Public Library in particular allowed me to attain what I really do believe was my dream job.  I owe New York City everything.  That said, I am a mother with two small children and I’m a city employee.  I may have a lovely life in Harlem but it’s not the kind of thing one can maintain for a long period of time.  And so, I go.

I assure you that in terms of this blog, nothing much will change.  Thanks to the appearance of Bird #2 my librarian previews pretty much trickled away to nothingness anyway.  Plus, Chicago offers a LOT of good possibilities.  ALA is centered there.  Book Expo is slated to go there next year (which I think is awfully kind of its managers to think of me like that).  I could finally attend ChLA for the first time in my life.  Add in the LOADS of children’s book names centered in that town and I have big plans.  Big big big plans!  Watch out, Windy City.  We’re about to have a whole lotta fun.

And, of course, my departure from NYC can only mean one thing.

Kidlit Drink Night Returns!!


Visual approximation.

Awwwwww, yeah, baby.  You didn’t think I’d bow out of the New York scene without a bash?  A bash to which you and all your kin are invited?  Heck no!  I want to say bye bye to you in style so for one night only I’ll be holding court at the Houndstooth Pub later in the month (details to come).

And you may, in the midst of the move, see a small gap on the blog postings.  Then again, I managed to blog continually when my two kiddos were born, so maybe not.  I really have no idea.  This blog has never known me to live anywhere else.

Windy City, HO!


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Betsy, congratulations, and all best wishes for your upcoming move! Your new job sounds grand.

  2. Good Luck with the next chapter in your life!!

  3. Congrats, Betsy — and lucky, lucky Evanston PL!

  4. Katya Schapiro says:

    Oh Betsy, we’ll miss you in this town beyond belief. Migrate fabulously.

  5. Oh my! This is like hearing the Statue of Liberty is packing her bags and moving to Cincinnati. It’s hard to get my head around.

    Chicago, count your lucky stars and roll out the Red Carpet.

    Congrats and best wishes in the new job, Betsy!

  6. ChrisinNY says:

    So happy for you! Great move. (And an update- the munchkin you met and helped lo those many years ago, starts her MSIS in Sept.)

  7. New York’s loss is our gain – welcome to the neighborhood!

  8. Jennifer Norborg says:

    So excited for you– & Chicago Libraryland is very lucky!!

  9. Now you can come to Nerd Camp.

  10. Wow, wow, wow, Betsy! Cheers and congrats on your new job and your new home! How exciting and wonderful for you! Wishing you fair winds as you take flight at the end of July! xo

  11. New York City is going to miss you, Betsy.
    (But I know you’ll build a wonderful life in Illinois!)

  12. Congratulations, Betsy! I’ll miss you terribly in person, but I’m glad to still have you online. Chicago is great–I grew up there. You’ll have access to freshly-made Garretts popcorn and the best hot dogs in the country. You laugh now, but you’ll see! A note about Evanston: the citizens mostly keep their shades up at night and their lights on, offering you wonderfully homey (mostly) tableaus. A person of your observational skills is going to love it.

  13. Welcome to the Heartland!!!

  14. Wishing all of the Birds a safe flight to Chicago. I’m sure you’ll settle in in no time.

  15. Congratulations Betsy!!!!

  16. Congratulations and good luck, Betsy. No doubt, you’re going to love your new hometown.

  17. Genevieve says:

    Mazel tov, Betsy!! Chicagoland is lucky to be getting you, and I bet you will love Evanston, Chicago, and environs. Best of luck to you and your Bird family in your new endeavor!

  18. Congratulations!

  19. We will so miss you in New York but I fully understand your move. Lucky Chicago peeps!

  20. Congratulations! But sad to see you go.

  21. It’s all my fault. I bought a copy of the ‘Bye, Bye Birdie’ flick recently and thoughts attract ;))) Congratulations! I will miss you in the Big Apple but this was coming for a while

  22. Lucky, lucky Chicago! Congratulations on the new job, and best of luck with your move!

  23. Dear Betsy, Congratulations! Your new job sounds really fun, like you can build an incredible book collection :) Very often, when there was a fun and interesting kidlit in NYC or environs, you would be there, and I will miss that, but glad to keep reading about your new adventures.

  24. Karen Gray Ruelle says:

    Wow! Betsy, congratulations! We sure will miss you here in NYC, but Birds migrate; what can you do?! All the best for a smooth flight and a happy new roost.

  25. Betsy, I’m so glad I had the opportunity to hear you speak at the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference before you flew the NYC coop. I’ll forever remember your advice to writers, “For the love of God, please, no more books about butterflies.” I lived in Evanston for 7 years and absolutely loved it. (My first 2 children were born there.) Best of luck & enjoy!

  26. Huge congratulations! I grew up in Evanston, and I spent hours and hours at that library. It was a fantastic place to grow up, with great schools and long summer days by the lake. Now I make books, and a lot of it has to do with my young literary life in Evanston. Congratulations and good luck!

  27. Many congrats! I know you and the fam will enjoy the new digs. (btw, NC’s state bird is also the cardinal. Something in common!)

  28. Welcome to Evanston!

  29. Emma Otheguy says:

    Betsy, we’ve never met in person and I’m still so upset. I’ve benefitted so much in the last few years from the library salon and other events you’ve put together or participated in, like this year’s international picture book conference. We’re really going to miss you, and I just hope the cool kids’ lit events can carry on!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Aw. Thanks, Emma. But fear not. I’ve arranged Lit Salons through March and my intrepid and highly talented colleagues will continue the series in my absence, no worries. I’m just getting a chance to expand it across the country.

  30. Sally Isaacs says:

    You’ll love the Midwest and its fine people. And they will love you! Good luck, Betsy!