Name of Library: Gladys Harrington Public Library (part of the Plano Public Library System) – http://www.planolibrary.org
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.