Celebrating Libraries: Installment #2

An interview with my good friend Hannah, A.K.A. “Future Children’s Librarian”!

CC:  Congratulations on being accepted to graduate school for Library and Information Science!  What made you decide that this is what you want to do?

FCL:  While I was working overseas as an English teacher in northern Somalia, I had the opportunity to help a local boarding school by turning a donation of 20,000 books into a lending library.   That experience made me realize that I didn’t just want to work in libraries as a side job or as a hobby- I wanted to do it all the time!  I loved helping students find books that got them excited about reading.  

CC:  What an incredible experience.  That answers some of my next question, but why do you think libraries are so important? 

FCL:  Libraries exist to serve the community and to foster and facilitate learning.  They offer free access to a huge pool of knowledge and resources.  I think when we’re so used to having the internet at our fingertips with laptops and smart phones, we tend to take access to information for granted.  So, to many people today, libraries are the place where you find a good beach novel to take on vacation – pure entertainment.  Which is one of their functions, sure. But there are people all over the world who can’t afford cutting-edge technology, and many who can’t even afford to buy just one book.  For those people, libraries and the information they provide access to can level the playing field.   Knowledge should not be a privilege afforded only to those with the means to pay for it.  It should be a universal right.  Libraries help make that possible. 

CC:  Speaking of vacation reading, what are you reading right now? 

FCL:  Right now I’m reading Cast in Fury by Michelle West and The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.

CC:  I have Riordan’s The Lost Hero in my “to-read” pile, actually!  What books are in that pile for you?

FCL:  Oh my gosh, so many! But probably first up is the next book in The Chronicles of Elantra series by Michelle West, and also Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, whose Mistborn series ranks pretty high among my favorite books ever!

CC:  Who would be your biggest fictional-character crush?

FCL:  OH! So easy! Bran, from Juliette Marillier’s Son of The Shadows!  Well, or maybe Domitan Masbolle, from Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small Series.  Or George Cooper, from her Alanna series! And I can’t deny a soft spot for Teddy Lawrence, from Little Women. All right, so maybe it’s not so easy!

CC:  Mmm…Teddy Lawrence.  So dreamy!  On another note, what is your fondest in-library memory?

FCL:  My best library memory is the moment I realized we really truly had built a library in Abaarso, Somalia.  I was shelving books one day and I saw students lounging everywhere, reading books on art, studying the Koran, having a book club meeting, and working on the trivia question someone had written on the whiteboard.  It was amazing. I don’t know how to describe it without sounding cheesy!  It stopped me in my tracks. 

CC:  I know that this is a near-impossible question, but who are some of your favorite authors and why?

Juliette Marillier, Tamora Pierce, and Brandon Sanderson are probably my top three. Although there are many many books and authors that I love, these three have written series that I can read over and over again.  All three write fantasy books, and for me what makes their books so riveting is that they completely succeed in creating entire worlds that exist in such detail you can totally lose yourself in the story, never questioning it once.  It’s more than entertainment.  It’s a journey to somewhere absolutely foreign!

CC:  Same idea — What are your favorite books?  (I’m giving you multiple, because I know that picking just one is painful!)

FCL:  Well, the series I referred to in the question before must obviously rank at the top of my list: Sevenwaters, Tortall, and Mistborn, respectively.  I also love Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore, The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper, and Juniper by Monica Furlong.  As far as classics go (yes, I don’t read ONLY fantasy!) I like Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas, and I Served the King of England by Hrabal.

CC:  I think we first bonded over Graceling, if I’m not mistaken!  Fond memories!  Now, if you could be a character in any novel, which would you choose and why?  (And you could be yourself, or a specific character from that book.)

FCL:  That’s so hard! I think I would be Aly, from Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen.  She’s always one step ahead of everyone and her mind perceives things in a way few others do.  Also, to me, she’s believable in a way many main-character women aren’t.  Most are just TOO perfect.  And too unaware of how great everyone else seems to think they are.  Aly is always completely aware of who she is and what other people think of her.  She’s smart, sly, and charming.  I wish I was her!

CC:  If you could have any character-sidekick in real life, who would you choose and why?

FCL:  Hermione Granger!  She counts as a sidekick, right?  She’s brave and super smart and ALWAYS knows a million esoteric spells you didn’t even know existed.  And she likes muggles so I’d definitely be in luck there.

CC:  I couldn’t agree more.  And she’s so loyal, too!  I heart her.  Anyway,  last question.  Fast-forward five years and imagine the library where you’ll work.  What will it look like?  Feel like?  How will you run it and get kids excited about reading?

FCL:  I hope I’m working at a big public library!  I want it to be inviting and homey, like you want to curl up and read a book there all day.  Our community library at home in Wisconsin is like that.  I love it.  And we’ve had the same librarians forever, so they know you and your family and all the books you like to read.  I love to visit there whenever I travel back home.  As for getting kids excited, I want to run programs with local schools.  I volunteer at an Austin elementary school, and I’ve witnessed huge success with book readings and book clubs.  Especially when the adults get really excited and goofy about reading the books, kids react so enthusiastically! And I want to have weekly or daily activities like story time and discussion and bring-a-lunch book club, especially in the summer when kids have lots of free time.  Sure, it may seem cliché or cheesy, but they work!  And in addition to getting people started reading, they offer opportunities for people who already love reading to meet up and form friendships with that as their bond.  Everyone wins!


Thanks so much for guest-starring here, Hannah!  I want to live in your library one day! 

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