Posted in Ask the Librarian

Ask the librarian: Erin Durrett

Name of Library Flint Public Library,

What kind of librarian are you? I am a Digital Learning Librarian. That’s a fancy way of saying that I teach technology skills to library patrons, like how to set up a Facebook account, check out an e-book, use Microsoft Office, etc. People have different levels of skills with technology and computers, and a big part of my job is teaching them so that they feel more independent and confident using technology. I also have the privilege of holding Minecraft programs for kids and using our 3D printer for library programs.

How long have you been a librarian? I have been a Librarian for about 5 years, but have been working in libraries for about 10 years.

What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? Working in a library was my very first job in high school. I was a Page, or Shelver, and checked in and shelved library materials. That is the best way to learn the library’s collection. When I was finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, my professor asked that we prepare an interview of someone who is doing a job or preparing for a job that we were interested in. I Interviewed my friend Anne, who at the time was getting her Masters Degree in Library Science. After graduation, I started working in another library, and the rest is history!

How do you pick books for your library? I feel very lucky to purchase graphic novels. To me, it’s one of the most fun collections to purchase. I choose some bestselling titles. Barnes & Noble has a really fantastic graphic novel blog and they post the best releases for each month. I also look at reviews in School Library Journal and Booklist, and get recommendations from library staff and patrons.

Do you have a favorite author? I have several. What comes to mind first is the YA Author, Maggie Steifvater. She has the most beautiful writing style and her magical realism seems so plausible, you don’t consider what she does as fantasy. She is a master of blending real life with the supernatural. For graphic novels, I’m a big fan of Raina Telgemeier, especially her latest book, Ghosts.

How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I ask what books they have already read that they liked. I also ask about favorite topics or genres and if they would like to read more of those types of books. It’s good to have eclectic reading taste as a librarian, so you can recommend something from every genre. I try to read over 200 books and graphic novels a year (and keep track on Goodreads), to keep up with what’s new and catch up on titles I’ve missed.

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 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.

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 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.