Ask the librarian: Kelly Mueller

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What kind of librarian are you? – I’m a Youth Services Librarian.

How long have you been a librarian? – I’ve been a youth services librarian since September 2014. Before that I was an academic librarian, working in a community college. I started that job in September 2013.

What led you to wanting to be a librarian? – I wanted to be a librarian because I liked to read, I liked to find out information, and I liked recommending books to other people. After starting library school, I learned that there is a lot more to it than just that, but I am still enjoying what I do!

How do you pick books for your library? – At my library I, specifically, am in charge of ordering the audiobooks, books in Spanish, and board books, all for youth. Board books are special books for infants and toddlers that are hardier so they can put them in their mouths and turn the pages and they won’t rip or fall apart as easily. So, I read journals such as School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly to find out about audiobooks and read reviews of them. I also check websites related to what I order that give awards for certain types of books. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks myself, and I am aware of a number of quality narrators out there. I have a handle on what checks out the most at our library. I order diversely so our patrons (people) have a wide range of options. I get suggestions from people at the library. I guess there are a lot of ways that I decide what books or audiobooks are best for my library!

Do you have a favorite author? My favorite author is Chris Crutcher. He writes books for teens. My second favorite author is Will Hobbs. He writes adventure stories for middle grades. And my favorite author when I was a child was Cynthia Rylant, probably because of the Henry & Mudge series and how much I loved dogs.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I ask what grade they’re in, what the last book they read that they liked, and then I have a few options. I have a list of “readalikes” – books in all kinds of categories like animal, funny fantasy, friendship, space-related, etc. – that I can use to recommend from. I can try to think of books that fit off the top of my head that I’ve read or that I know about. I also have a database called Novelist – a tool I can search by the last book they liked and see what comes up as being similar to that.

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