Ask a librarian: Jen Pace Dickenson

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Jen Pace Dickenson.jpg

Name of library: Polk County Public Library

What kind of librarian are you? Youth Services Librarian

How long have you been a librarian? 3.5 years

Why did you become a librarian? I have always loved books and libraries and was considering going back to get my teaching certification in my late 20s. After going to Korea to teach English, I decided I did not like teaching! I was reading The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (which is a fictional account of Laura Bush’s life, who was a librarian) when I had the epiphany that being a librarian would be the perfect career for me! I researched masters degree programs, applied and got accepted, and got my MLIS in December 2013. I started working here before I finished my degree in April 2013.

How do you pick books for your library? I read lots of library journals and subscribe to many book lists. I choose books based on these reviews as well as requests from library patrons.

Do you have a favorite author? I have so many favorite authors… Ruth Ware, Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, Jon Krakauer, Sherman Alexie, Curtis Sittenfeld, Kimberly McCreight, Mary Kubica, Khaled Hosseini, Jeanette Walls, and Kiera Cass to name a few.

How do you pick a book for a specific kid? When recommending books I try to find out about the person’s interests and other books they have liked, and then make suggestions based on books I have read or heard about from other people/reviews. Occasionally I will ask other librarians for assistance if it’s not a book genre I am very familiar with or if they have a super specific request.

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