Meet the librarian: Lisa Collins

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What kind of a librarian are you?
Enthusiastic!  But, professionally speaking, I have a degree in General Librarianship  with Graduate certificates in Storytelling and Working with Children and Youth in a Library Setting.  Which means I’m any kind of librarian you need me to be.  I’ve worked as an academic librarian at a small Christian university, a reference librarian at a public library and now I’m the library director at a base library–everything to every patron.
How long have you been a librarian?
I graduated in 2009 and have been working in libraries ever since!
What led you to wanting to be a librarian?
This is a convoluted answer.  I did not grow up wanting to be one.  I wanted to be an “-ologist” geologist, archaeologist… I ended up as a biologist.  But when I got married and had kids and stayed home to raise them, it’s hard to stay up-to-date and relevant in that field.  So, as the kids got a little older and I decided I wanted to go back to graduate school, I looked through the book Careers for Dummies and saw under “working with people and information” the profession of librarian.  Things just clicked after that and I’ve been happy ever since.
How do you pick books for your library?
I use some common selection tools: Publisher’s Weekly, the New York Times Bestseller list, Kirkus reviews, and some others.  I also rely on my own reading experience, patron requests and talking with as many avid readers as possible of all ages.
Do you have a favorite author?
That’s another tough question.  I think I have favorite authors within certain genres.  I love Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series.  I also really enjoy Bill Bryson in non-science science nonfiction.  I avidly read Amanda Quick and Gaelen Foley in historical romance.  I loved Ransom Riggs’ Peculiar series in YA and I adore Mo Willems for children’s books!
How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid?
I talk with them.  I ask what they’ve read before, I ask what they’re interested in.  I ask if they like to try new things.  I talk about books that I’ve read and what I liked about them.  I also ask them to come back and tell me what they liked or didn’t like about the book they eventually pick out.

Librarians aren’t all books!

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