Ask the librarian: Sarah Peden

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Name My name is Sarah Peden. Ms. Sarah to my library friends! 


Name of Library  Humboldt Public Library (in Humboldt, TN… there’s a couple of Humboldts in the USA!)

What kind of librarian are you? I am a (non-degreed) children’s librarian. I run the programming and do the book selections and assist with circulation. Most librarians have a masters degree in Library Science, which is a goal I have yet to accomplish, but you’ll find that many rural or small town libraries will have librarian positions for non-degree holders. To me, librarianship is a calling, and if you don’t have the degree, but still do the work well, you can call yourself a librarian! 

How long have you been a librarian? Two years as a full time librarian, though I’ve worked in four different libraries on and off since I graduated from high school, so probably closer to 6 years over all. 

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? When I was a kid I loved reading and I loved organizing my books. We lived a block from the library until I was 10 and my family would go all the time, my mom letting my walk by myself as I got older. Every time we moved, almost the first thing we would do would be to go find the library and get a card. Library days were special.. from 1-on-1 outings to family nights together, because when you’re in a family with 9 kids, its not cheap to go to most places, but libraries are free! I was in a book club with a cool librarian named Ms. Karen when I realized that being a librarian was a viable career choice so, later on when I was in highschool, and my dad wanted me to start thinking about what I would want to do in college and after (I was homeschooled so my dad was my guidance counselor) I thought that being a librarian would be perfect. As I went through college and most recently as I’ve worked full-time, my heart has grown ten sizes in love toward librarianship as I’ve found my passion in helping kids find their perfect book, and making sure every kid has the same great memories and feelings towards libraries that I did when I was growing up… no matter who they are! 

How do you pick books for your library? I use a couple of tools to help me pick books. Since my library is smaller, I have a good eye on what is popular for checkout just by working with people on a daily basis, so if a popular author comes out with a new book, that’s an easy pick. Other times I use review sites like School Library Journal and various book bloggers that I trust to gather information on new books that might be good for my library and patron base. Its a challenging task sometimes, cause you want to find stuff that people want to read, but you also want to introduce them to new materials that will stretch their imaginations and spark thoughts! 

Do you have a favorite author? I have MANY favorite authors, but one I always come back to is L.M. Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. The Anne books have been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl, and they’ll always be my best book “friends”. I even named my cozy reading chair “Lucy Maud” after L.M. Montgomery. And yes, its totally normal to name things… see Cynthia Rylant’s book The Old Woman Who Named Things.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I talk and listen to them, getting to know them a bit–finding out their interests and likes and dislikes. It gets easier the longer I know a kid. My repeat visitors are my friends and its SUPER easy to recommend a book to a friend! 

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