Posted in Ask the Librarian

Meet the librarian: Lisa Collins

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!
Posted in Ask the Librarian, Book Review

Ask the Literary Festival Director, Dylan Teut!



Twitter @dylanteut

Tell me a little about you I am currently the director of the Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival in Seward, NE. Prior to that, I taught first grade for several years. I also teach literacy courses to pre-service teachers at Concordia University, where the festival is based.

How did you become the director of a literary festival? I volunteered with it one year while I was a student at Concordia University. I was so inspired by the speeches from the authors and the children’s excitement, that I became heavily involved the next three years. After I graduated and moved to IL, I came back for the festival each fall. I started a mini version of it at my school in IL, and when the director of Plum Creek retired in 2015, I applied for the job to take over. I got the job and moved back to Nebraska, and couldn’t be happier.


What is easiest part? Getting up and going to work every day – it’s so easy to get up and go to a job you love at a place you love doing what you love.

What is hardest? The hardest part is winnowing down the line up each year! We are a unique festival in that we have a very small number (12-15) authors that we are able to invite each year. I have hundreds on my list who I would love to invite and I know would be such a good fit for the festival, but so many factors go into play- we try to have a balance for all ages, authors, illustrators, author/illustrators, male, female, diversity, and so much more. It’s never an easy task to find just the right line up, but we do our very best!

What do you hope comes from the festival? Children who are inspired to read, write, and draw and follow their dreams.


You have a book coming out soon. How did you become an author too? No books officially for me yet, but I may have some news to share soon. I never imagined I would become an author, or really thought I could do it. I have to give credit to Candace Fleming for getting me started- she saw something I wrote and told me it would make for a good picture book. With the help and guidance of a few other friends, I turned the text into a manuscript. From there, I got my agent, and we have just recently sent my first text out for submission! Now we wait! Stay tuned for news. 🙂

Who are your favorite children’s authors right now? This is a difficult question! There are so many individuals who I respect and admire so much. Though I’ve never met them, I would love to have a cup of coffee with Eve Bunting and Cynthia Rylant- they’ve both been so influential in the field over the years. I have great respect for Brendan Wenzel- he is a fantastic author, illustrator, and just one heck of a human being. I do look up to him, along with Ryan Higgins, Loren Long, Judy Schachner, Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann, Denise Fleming, Julie Fogliano, Matthew Cordell, Evan Turk, Ben Clanton, Ben Hatke… gosh, and so many more, it would be impossible to name them all! Be sure to check out all of their books.

Any favorite children’s books? Another hard question! How about I share a few of my recent favorites- Rabbit Magic by Meg McLaren, Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell, The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy.

Friday was Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Why do you think multicultural books matter? Multicultural books matter because it’s so necessary for every child to see themselves, and know that they matter; and to see many people different from themselves, and know that they matter, too.

What advice do you have for kids? Read, write, draw, and be kind. Reading and kindness can lift you up to so many places you never would have imagined possible- and in doing so, you have the opportunity to lift others up with you.


Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the Librarian: Stephanie Loiselle

Name of Library (and website if it has one): 
Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library in Wilton, NH

What kind of librarian are you? Youth services librarian for ages 0-18. I work full time, and have one 10 hour a week assistant

How long have you been a librarian? I’ve worked in libraries for about 12 years, but have been a professional librarian for 3.

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? I love books, obviously. But more important to me is the ability to educate, support, and provide kids with a safe space to grow and explore. Its also is also a bit of a family thing, as my mom and both of my sisters are librarians as well!

How do you pick books for your library? A variety of ways. I look at what is being checked out by kids, and live getting recommendations. I also look at what school projects there are. Other than that, professional journals like School Library Journal and Horn Book are great resources, as well as the award nominees for state and local awards. I also look for things that are different and unique in some way and of really good quality.

Do you have a favorite author? Not consistently, it changes depending on my mood and season, etc. I really love Louise Erdrich, Rainbow Rowell, and Jandy Nelson at the moment.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid?  By asking a lot of questions! About things they are interested in, other books they liked and why, and what things they don’t like. It’s a pretty small town, so for a lot of kids I’m pretty familiar with what they like to read.

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Dear Librarians….


Today is the first Saturday of 2017. I usually would post an interview with a librarian but I don’t have any! I need more librarians to talk to!

I would be happy to talk to any kind of librarians – current, retired, soon-to-be,school librarians, research librarians, school reading teachers….. pretty much anyone who helps kids read! Librarian posts are my most read posts – that means people want to hear from librarians more than authors.

If you want to be interviewed or know someone, let me know. My email is bridgetandthebooks AT .


Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Leslie Minor

My name is Leslie Minor and I am a children’s librarian at Everett Public Library in Everett, Washington.  The library website is
I graduated from the library school at the University of Washington in 1982!  I wanted to be a librarian because I love books and people and like to get them together.  My first job was at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs (Oceanography) on San Juan Island.  It was great fun!  Our books came by seaplane from Seattle!
I purchase the picture books, easy readers, board books and children’s music for my library.  We order through baker and Taylor and I read reviews and spend about 44,000 dollars per year on these books.  About half of the money goes to replacing all of the wonderful library ‘basics’ (because when children’s books are checked out, they are read about a dozen times while adult books are typically read only once, so condition is usually the issue for ‘weeding’ a children’s book) and the other half goes to new books.
It’s hard to pick a favorite author, but I love Julia Donaldson and Rosemary Wells, and Jane Cabrera, oh and also Jan Thomas and Mo Willems!
I usually ask a kid what s/he has enjoyed reading lately and go from there.  We have bookmarks with selected books for each grade, and it’s always fun to check out the new book shelf.  There’s also the five finger rule.  You count the words you don’t know on a page and if you don’t know one, that book is too easy.  If you don’t know two or three, that book is just right.  If you don’t know four or five, that book may be too much of a challenge for you.
I don’t have a picture of myself but have included one of my dog, Pearl, and one of my two little grand daughters, Elena and Alice
Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask a librarian: Adryana (Ana) Billotti

Cool hair!

Name of Library: The Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Branch of the Washington County Free Library.

What kind of librarian are you? I’m a Children’s Librarian at our Central Library. I work with upper elementary and middle school aged children. I do STEM, Coding, and Tech programs. I, also, am in charge of planning our library system’s Summer Reading Club.

How long have you been a librarian? I have been a Children’s Librarian for over a year now, but I have been working in libraries for six years.

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? My elementary school librarian! One day in fourth grade, she had my class break into groups to do a scavenger hunt through the library. For whatever reason, I was able to find everything very quickly and easily. One of my classmates asked me how I knew where everything was. I told him I didn’t know, the library just made sense to me. From fourth grade to now, I have never dreamed about being anything else.

How do you pick books for your library? That’s actually not too much a part of my job; my boss handles most of that process! However, I know he reads a lot of book review magazines and he is always open to taking suggestions from our patrons and other librarians. If you ever really want a book, just ask your librarian to try their hardest to get it for you!

Do you have a favorite author? I love Kate DiCamillo (mostly because she wrote a book about a squirrel, and I am more than slightly obsessed with squirrels). I, also, think Gordan Korman is hysterical.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I really let the child tell me what they want. I do have some go to authors, but I just ask the child a few questions, and then pull several books for them to look through. I always let the child make the final choice!

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the Librarian: Aimee Gangai

Hey, that is Matt de la Pena!

Name of Library Handley Regional Library

What kind of librarian are you? Youth Services Librarian

How long have you been a librarian? I got my MLS in 2004

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? I worked at my college library as part of my work study program and just fell in love with the job

How do you pick books for your library? I offer suggestions to the librarian who orders the books

Do you have a favorite author? So many! I like anything by Gary Paulsen and Andrew Clements, Mo Willems and Jan Brett and I could go on and on…

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I try to ask them what they like and try to get a feel for each child and what their interests are.