Library Revelations

I have worked for the Carroll County Public Library for the last five years, spending my first six months exclusively in the children’s department.  And, children’s services remain my favorite aspect of library work.  What better reward is there for a job well done than for a child to wrap their arms around your legs and not want to let go.  (Okay, money is a good reward, too.  But, let’s face it, librarians are not rolling in dough.  I’ll take the hugs.)
Since going part time at the library, to focus on my writing, a majority of my time is now spent behind the information services desk.  Not as fun, but I do get asked a lot of fun questions.  I thought I’d pass along a random sampling of the questions I’m routinely asked.

What are the most commonly requested books for children?

The most requested Young Adult titles are: Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, James Patterson’s Confessions: The Private School Murders, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and anything by John Green and Rick Riordan.

Popular Juvenile Fiction titles are:  Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman, Chupacabra by Roland Smith, Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde, and anything in the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis.

The most requested Picture Books are:  Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale, Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner, Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean, The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig and Unicorn thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea.

How do I find the right book for my child?

Finding the right book is all about that particular child’s interests.  There are plenty of author-read-a-like resources that I turn to on a daily basis. Novelist is great tool  and offered through our online resources.  It’s a search engine that will offer read-a-like titles for each title you search. Goodreads has a similar tool.  As for ages and reading levels, that varies, too.  With a little information from the child and parent, finding the right book is easy.  Nancy Pearl’s Book Crush offers recommended reading by age, interest, and subject.  As book lovers, we want to find the perfect book book for your child. Sometimes, we can’t sleep until we do.

What web resources do you use to keep current in the children’s book industry?

This is a tricky one.  I come from both sides of the book world and I use all the resources I can get my hands on.  I regularly attend writing conferences where I can meet authors, agents and editors.  I use publisher’s weekly and agent blogs like Literary Rambles to keep my eye on what agents are looking to acquire.  I like School Library Journal, Goodreads, Amazon, Fantastic Fiction, Novelist.

What is the future of libraries/librarians with all the e-books and digital resources?

Okay, this question is a little irritating.  Basically, they are asking whether I see myself out of a job in a few years.  I can honestly say that I don’t think libraries will disappear.  The e-book market hasn’t really affected the circulation of our books in print.  I think people want choices.  It doesn’t mean that one medium will replace the other.  People still want to hold a book in their hands.  And, let’s face it, a picture book is a work of art.

The other thing to consider is all the other resources libraries provide.  We offer public computers, movie rentals, music CD’s, children’s programs, adult programs, one-on-one computer instruction, tutoring and conference meeting rooms, and a place to go.  And, we do most of that for no cost to the library patrons.  Many bookstores are closing and libraries are filling the gap.  We are embracing a more comfortable, community feel.

What do I consider my role in library services?

Regardless of the format, my job is to instill a love of books in children.  I want to help children learn to seek out information, show them how to receive and evaluate it. If they can do that, they can do anything.

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2 Responses to Library Revelations

  1. Miranda McClain says:

    Great Post! Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Larissa, for your insight and thoughts. Few of us have your “behind the scenes” library experience, so I found it quite educational. I, too, am hopeful that libraries will not disappear. Thank you for what you do.

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