Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Dana Guisti

Name of Library: Fishtown Community Library (a branch library in the Free Library of Philadelphia system)
What kind of librarian are you?I am a Children’s Librarian, which means I get to share and encourage a love of reading with children!

How long have you been a librarian?
I have been a librarian for two years now. I have worked at the Fishtown Library for a year and a half.

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian?
I had been interested in becoming a teacher, but found my true passion was focused on literacy. I love that I can share great stories with kids during storytime, encourage their creativity through crafting, and have fun during themed programs, such as celebrating Star Wars Day! There is nothing better than hearing a parent say their child loves visiting the library and picking out new books to read together.

How do you pick books for your library?
I don’t order all of the books we receive; however, I do get to choose a fair amount. I get ideas by listening to what parents and children ask for, or when I see books that are similar to titles that are checked out often. Sometimes I fall in love with a particular book and decide to add it to our collection for everyone to enjoy!

Do you have a favorite author?
When it comes to children’s literature, I am always quick to recommend anything by Mo Willems, Greg Pizzoli, or Beverly Cleary. Personally, I love J.K. Rowling and Liane Moriarty.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid?
I usually ask what sort of subject they’re interested in reading about, or what sort of tone–funny, adventurous, etc. I then ask what sort of books they already enjoy; that is usually a helpful guide to finding a new book for them to enjoy!

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Denise Lyles


My name is Denise Lyles, and I am currently a Children’s Librarian at the
Larchmont Public Library, in Larchmont, NY. Larchmont is in Westchester County which is north of New York City).  The Larchmont library is part of the Westchester Library System, which consist of 38 libraries.

How long have you been a librarian? I have been a librarian since 2008, and I love it. I started out as a Librarian Trainee, while attending Library school. I worked at the New York Public Library. I stayed with them for 5 years, an excellent institution. Librarianship is my second career before Library school I worked for Barnes and Noble Booksellers in the NY buying office for 13 years.

How did you decide to be a librarian? My doctor suggested library school to me. He knew someone who was a librarian and thought it was a good job for me. I applied to library school and was accepted and attended Queens College Library School in Queens NY.

How do you choose the books for your library? I choose books based on reviews in library magazines and newspapers and authors I am familiar with. I love picture books and they are one of the more popular books so I am purchasing them often.

What was is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author? My favorite book as a child, I have two, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlotte’s Web. Both of which are movies but the books were better.
My favorite author is Langston Hughes, who is actually more famous for his poetry.

How do you pick a book for a specific kid? I decide what books to recommend to kids based on the last book they have read, and I usually ask them what they are interested in. Sometimes the kids think their interests are strange and or weird but most times there are books about what it is. This usually makes them very happy.

What I like most about my job is story time, I love to act silly and do different voices when I read and make the kids laugh. It brightens my day. Sometimes I get high fives an occasional hug.

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Sarah Peden

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! 

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Sarah Wingo

This is the first research librarian I interviewed. I know who I am calling when I have homework questions.


Name of Library: Falvey Memorial Library (Villanova University)

What kind of librarian are you? I’m an academic research librarian, or some libraries would call me a subject specialist. At my library there is a subject specialist that works with all of the major departments on campus. I am the librarian for English and Theatre, which means I work directly with the students and faculty in those two departments to help them use library resources and do research for papers and other assignments.

How long have you been a librarian? I have been a professional librarian for 3 years. I started working at Villanova right after finishing my Masters of Science and Information (library degree) at the University of Michigan in 2013.

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? Like most librarians I’ve always been a voracious reader. I’ve also always been very good at helping people find information, which is a very important part of being a librarian. However, my plan wasn’t always to become a librarian. After finishing college I went to graduate school for my master’s in English. After finishing my M.A. I took a few years off to work and apply to more graduate school. I had planned to pursue a Ph.D. in order to become a professor, but over the next couple of years things changed for me and I realized that all of the things that I wanted out of being a professor were things I could get out of being an academic librarian so I went back to get my library degree. What I love about my job is that I get to work in a collegiate environment, I get to teach, and I get to work with faculty and students to help them find information.

How do you pick books for your library? Picking books for an academic library is very different from picking them for a public library. We don’t have a lot of general fiction, though we do have some, instead we have scholarly books to help support students and faculty in their research. I work with the faculty in my two departments (English and Theatre) to select the kind of books that support their independent research, and the curriculum for their classes. Because I am familiar with the scholarly work being done in both English and Theatre due to my own educational background, I keep an eye on new scholarly publications and reviews to select new books, but I also purchase books suggested/requested by faculty.

However, because I am the English librarian I do get to purchase books just for fun sometimes and then I like to buy popular reading books that I know students will enjoy having access to when they get a bit of free time from their studies. For example I recently purchased The Cursed Child (the new Harry Potter book) for the library, and we haven’t been able to keep it on the shelf.

Do you have a favorite author? It would be hard to pick just one, but a few of my favorites are Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, and Virginia Woolf.

When I was closer to your age Philip Pullman, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, Patricia C. Wrede, and Tamora Pierce were some of my favorites.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? Nowadays I mostly recommend books to students to help them with their research, but when I used to work in a bookstore (Borders) I would usually help kids pick out books to read by having a conversation with them about the kinds of books they liked and didn’t like in the past. I liked to ask what the most recent book they read was, whether they liked it, and if so what they liked about it. I would try to help kids pick books with elements that I thought they would like based on what they had told me, and maybe a few new things that I hoped would be interesting to them.

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Jaime Eastman

Name of Library: Gladys Harrington Public Library (part of the Plano Public Library System) –

What kind of librarian are you? My official job title is Public Services Librarian. That means that I work with patrons of all ages, from little babies all the way up to adults. I think of myself as a children’s librarian because I spend the majority of my time working with kids and families and doing story times and other family programs. I am also the Family Place Coordinator for our library. I work as part of a team of librarians in my building.

How long have you been a librarian? I graduated from the University of North Texas in May 2010 with my Masters in Library Science. While I was still in school, I volunteered doing story times in a local elementary school and helped some of the teachers organize their class libraries. For my first job, I was a librarian in a career school (so academic), and then I was a children’s librarian at another library before taking my current job. I’ve officially been a librarian for 6 years, but I’ve loved all things library since long before that.

What lead to you wanting to be a librarian? I decided to be a librarian during my senior year in high school. My family helped me pick it as a career that was a good match for me. I’ve always loved books and libraries! I chose youth services because I love sharing my passion with families and watching children grow up to be adults who love reading, too. Doing story times is one of the best parts of my job.

How do you pick books for your library? The Plano Public Library System has a team of collection development specialists who pick all the books that the library buys. Each person on that team has certain collections that they focus on, like youth books or adult books. We also have a form online that patrons can fill out to recommend that we buy specific books. At my last job, I got to help decide what books we purchased. To do that, I looked at recommendations from other librarians, what books were popular with our kids, new books in series, and all kinds of journals with book reviews in them.

Do you have a favorite author? I read too many books to have just one favorite author! When I pick books for story time, I like to pick authors that have fun stories and great pictures. Some of my favorites are Eric Litwin and James Dean (I love Pete the Cat), Mo Willems, Jane Yolen, and Jan Thomas. I like to read all types of books in my spare time, too. I have a library collection at home that has more than 1000 books in it. Some of my favorite authors there are Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I like to talk to each person I help to find out what they are interested in. I want to know what kind of books they like, and what books they have read recently and enjoyed. We also talk about whether they want stories or books with facts, and if they want picture books, chapter books, or something like a comic book (graphic novels). I use that to make recommendations about what books I think they will like. We have a special place in the library to look at new books when they come in, so we always know what books are coming out and what kids might like. We also have lots of lists of recommended books that we can look at if we get stumped, with everything from books by grade level, favorite books series, cool subjects (like dinosaurs), and different award winning books.

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Barbara Flynn

Name of library: Norwin Public Library

What kind of librarian are you? CHILDREN’S LIBRARIAN

How long have you been a librarian? 14 years

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? I’ve ALWAYS been a reader. Books, magazines, cereal boxes! I took a part time job at the local library (which is also the library in the town where I grew up!) when my youngest son started school. Soon thereafter, the library was moving to a new building and location (so exciting!!!) and the Children’s Librarian decided to retire. At that time, I was doing one story-time a week. They asked me to fill in, so I am. I decided after a brief time to finish my college degree and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Library and Information Studies. This job is totally ME–I can be silly and I get to talk to kids and families and learn about books. Reading has always been a huge part of my life and now, it’s my work, too.

How do you pick books for your library? I read reviews. I ask kids about new series, my own kids are grown so sometimes I need to hear from kids what they have heard about or want to read! I check out Barnes & Noble and Amazon for upcoming titles to be released. I see them in bookstores. I also need to know what my collection is lacking. Just last week, a girl asked me for a book on Eskimos. I told her she taught me something. She taught me I DIDN’T HAVE ONE. EEK! So, I just bought 2 books about Eskimos.

Do you have a favorite author? Kids author? I love the wacky thoughts of Amy Krouse Rosenthal. (And I’ve actually been able to have a TINY part in some of her work!) I also enjoy Margaret Petersen Haddix. The Shadow Children series was amazing.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I ask them to tell me something that they have read that they LIKED and something they DID NOT like. I take into consideration how old they are. Sometimes the kids are shy so Mom gives me clues, like she really likes adventure stories or he plays basketball. That helps a lot. I have favorite books that I always try to share.

Can I tell you some of my favorites? I adored THE SHADOW CHILDREN series by Haddix and the INKHEART trilogy by Funke. (Maybe I liked INKHEART a wee bit better than Harry Potter, even!) For picture books, I adore LITTLE PEA by Rosenthal and ARE YOU A HORSE? by Rash. I bet I have read each of them a few hundred times. Picture books are my favorite. Then fiction. Then non-fiction.

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Marisa Frantz


Name of Library: Mansfield/Richland County Public Library (

What kind of librarian are you?  I am a Children’s Librarian.

How long have you been a librarian? I have been a librarian for 8 years, but it doesn’t feel that long (boy how time flies)!

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? I have always had a love of reading (when I was a little kid, I would go home with 50 books at once). I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read in my life, but it’s a lot. I also love to help people. I found this out in college that I liked to help my friends find research for projects they had to write. Then it grew from there. When my advisor (guidance counselor) and I talked one day about what I was going to do after college, he mentioned that I would make a really good Academic (College) Librarian. I started library school, and found out that as much as I like research, I preferred working with children. Long story short, I get to do the two things I love the most: help people and talk about children’s books!!!

How do you pick books for your library? I don’t pick books for my library, we have a very special team of librarians that do that. But, I have picked books for other libraries I used to work for. Here is how I would choose books: there are special magazines just for librarians that have book reviews in them that helped me decide what books I wanted to buy, I also liked to look at blogs about books to see what other people were reading, and I talked to people (parents and children) to see what kind of books they loved. I still like to do all of these things even if I don’t pick out books for my library anymore!

Do you have a favorite author? Oh, this is such a hard question… I have so many favorites. I guess if I have to pick just one, it would be Herve Tullet. I love the pictures he draws for his books and I love that he makes his books a game! My favorite book by him is Press Here.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I like to talk to the kid and see what kind of books he/she likes and what he/she has read recently.