Tina: Welcome, Jennifer, and thanks for joining us! Could you please tell us a little about your background and how you came to be a YA librarian?
Jennifer: I always loved books, but just kind of fell into the librarian world. I was a senior in college and not knowing what the next step would be. I talked to some people about it and thought that, yeah, that sounds cool. I could talk about books all day. So I went to graduate school. The first day I went to classes, I found the local library and took a look around. Before long, I picked up some teen books and just like that, I was hooked. I took a young adult literature course where we had to read 30 different books of all genres. I LOVED it. I could read for class. I expanded my knowledge and knew it was the path for me. I wouldn’t change it now; it’s the best job EVER.
Here is Jennifer’s avatar, which won a YALSA award.
Tina: We'd love to know about your typical work day at the Otis Library, including some of your favorite (and least favorite?) moments?
Jennifer: I usually spend the first hour or so reading blogs (like this one!), emails, and catching up on news. Then I move write up a list for the day of things I’d like to accomplish. It’s usually long and rarely gets finished in a day. My focus changes every day. Some days I need to create of list of books and materials to purchase or create a display or a bookmark for a display or I need to put together a program. Sometimes I do some research into a area that I need to improve upon and there are librarian journals to read.
My favorite moments are purchasing books (it’s great when you’re spending someone else’s money), helping someone find just the right book or sharing news that just makes their day, and having a really fun program like gingerbread house making or transforming clothes. I also love talking with authors, over MySpace or blogs. I’m sometimes star struck when this happens, but I love meeting my favorite authors, even if it is in cyberspace.
My least favorite moments deal with disciplining patrons. I really hate this and am horrible at it. I also hate it when someone comes to the desk with a list of books they want to read and none of them are checked in. It’s always hard to tell someone they have to wait until we can get it for them. And this one is just a pet peeve, but I hate summer reading lists. We never had these where I’m from (Vermont), and some of the books are just, well to put it bluntly, boring. There are so many fresh titles out there that it’s hard for me to hand over some of the titles schools are require teens to read.
Tina: No doubt, your patrons are lucky to have you. So now tell us, has a patron ever brought a book to your attention that went on to become one of your favorites?
Jennifer: I have a new favorite almost every time I finish a book, but this happens to me all the time. And if you ask me to name titles…that’s a bit harder. I hear a lot about books from various blogs that I immediately put on hold. Or from librarians, Twilight is an example of this. I didn’t really think I liked books about vampires. But after reading Twilight, I scoured for other YA vamp books. A patron told me about Scorcery and Cecelia, I loved that one.
Tina: A middle school librarian told me that someone took off with their copy of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, and to be flattered by that. Is there one particular book or author's books that keeps "disappearing" from your shelves and needs replacing?
Jennifer: All the time and there are several: Cut by Patricia McCormick, TTYL by Lauren Myracle, Crank by Ellen Hopkins, all the books from the Twilight saga, several graphic novels, and I’m sure there are others that I’m unaware of at the moment.
Some of Jennifer’s books from her home collection.
Tina: Okay, last question. You're about to take off on a 14 hour international flight. Sure, they'll be movies and meals, but plenty of time to read, too. You can bring one book--either one you've already read, have been wanting to read, or one that's in the works like "Stephenie Meyer's latest." What's it going to be and why?
Jennifer: Wow, only one book, that’s really hard. I’m going to say the Dance of Dragons, the new upcoming fantasy novel from George R.R. Martin. He’s quickly become one of my very favorite authors. He’s funny, clever, writes amazingly and creates unique characters.
Tina: Thank you so much for visiting with us, answering these questions (some of which were hard--sorry!) and giving us these pictures to share.