Ask the librarian: Nicole Lane

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Name of Library (and website if it has one): Dearborn Public Library, specifically the Henry Ford Centennial Library (we have three locations).

What kind of librarian are you?

I’m an Adult Services Librarian. That means I generally work with Adults, though certainly not limited. Each librarian in my department has a lot of varied responsibilities and we try to have one back up librarian in the event someone is hit by a bus, or just absent.

The collection that I purchase for is FICTION (very exciting) and this includes our genre fiction as well (Mystery & Science Fiction/Fantasy). I also purchase and manage our book club kits. Each kit includes ten copies of the title, discussion questions and background information about the book for groups to discuss.

When I’m not on the reference desk or managing the collection, I have no problem keeping busy. I supervise our Pages (bookshelvers). I also sit on two committees: Social Media & Marketing. A few days in the week, I tweet from our library account and this is how I found you! There are a lot of small details to the day-to-day of being a librarian that I really enjoy because each day is unique, and I am constantly learning. Learning is truly forever.

How long have you been a librarian?

I have been a librarian for eight years, and only two of those have been in Dearborn.

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian?

I think I always wanted to be a librarian, though for a while I thought it was reserved for someone much smarter than me. It took working with a few really great librarians to realize that they have the tools to research and find information without having to be walking encyclopedias. They also encouraged me to go to library school.

How do you pick books for your library?

I follow book reviewers (like yourself!) and plenty of publications such as Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, Foreword Reviews, Kirkus and Lithub(online). I also generally purchase items that patrons place a suggestion for through our website. Besides new releases, I try to replace worn items in our collection and might order more copies if there are a lot of requests, or the book was recently made into a movie.

Do you have a favorite author?

So many! There’s no way I could pick one. A few off the top of my head are Toni Morrison, Rebecca Solnit, Louise Erdrich, Marilynne Robinson and Adrienne Rich, all of whom I didn’t read until I was in college. When I was around your age, I was obsessed with The Chronicles of Narnia, Matilda, Peter Pan and Harriet the Spy. The cool thing for you is kid lit is now a powerhouse and there are more writers than ever that are publishing across reading levels.  

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid?

Such a good question, often I leave the professionals (our youth librarians) to recommend books for kids, so I’ll refer them to our children’s desk. If I can tell the kid is looking for something at a higher reader level, I start by asking them to tell me about the last good book they read and why they enjoyed it. There are a few elements that I try to listen for: Story, Character, Setting, and Language. A well-known librarian named Nancy Pearl who has written a lot about reader’s advisory calls these, “The Four Doors”. If you’re not already familiar with this, you might find it interesting as a book reviewer.

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