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September 21, 2012

The Post-it Post

Written by Susan Marston

Since long before I began working at JLG, we have had a no-writing-in-manuscripts-and-proofs policy. It derived from a time when we frequently returned manuscripts to publishers after our review. Apparently, an assistant once included our reader evaluations inside a box she sent back. The publisher, upset by our assessment, stopped submitting titles to us for consideration (for a time).We still don’t often write in the materials we review even though we rarely need to return them. We rely on scads of Post-its to mark errors, notable quotes, mature content, things we want to check, or as a means to vent our joys or frustrations about the book we are reading. Shira and Lee recently went through our files of rejected ARCs and removed the Post-its prior to donating the books, but they saved some of the notes.

Want to know more about the origin of Post-it Notes? It is one of the most memorable stories in Charlotte Foltz Jones’s Mistakes That Worked, a fall 1991 JLG selection, illustrated by the inimitable John O’Brien who, incidentally, has a creative and hilarious book called Look . . . Look Again! in our HE level this December. In 1970, a researcher named Spencer Silver, working in the 3M laboratories, was trying to find a stronger adhesive than 3M already manufactured. Instead he found a weaker one. No one knew what to do with it until four years later when another 3M scientist, Arthur Fry, was having difficulty marking places in his choir hymnal. He decided to try Silver’s adhesive to affix his markers—and it worked!

Thanks for a most useful invention Mr. Silver and Mr. Fry!

Rather like highlighting every passage of a book, here are my enthusiastic flags of memorable moments in A Girl Named Faithful Plum by Richard Bernstein (for writing our review).

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Susan Marston

Susan Marston

Susan Marston is our Editorial Director in New York. Susan has been selecting books for Junior Library Guild for a few years shy of half her life and even after all this time, finds that the work never grows old. She likens finding the perfect book for each slot on the JLG list to solving a tricky and very satisfying puzzle and enjoys the privilege of reading—and falling in love with—great books long before they capture the public imagination.

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