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Reading My Library

Monday, March 15, 2010

Library School anyone? Sure sounds fun!

Recently it dawned on me that I actually have a blogging friend who was a former librarian and thought to myself that she would be a good person to ask some library-ish questions of.

Enter: Amy at Hope is in the Word. If you haven't yet visited Hope is in the Word, I'd encourage you to do so. Amy is very much into children's picture books (considering that she has few kids of her own to share them with!) She also hosts Read Aloud Thursday which I like to participate in (and hope you will consider it, if you aren't already.)

Amy was one of the inspirations for the Reading My Library challenge in the first place! I had rather fallen out of the habit of going to the library and her Read Aloud Thursday posts nudged me back in.

Anyway, I just had a few questions for Amy and she kindly obliged me by answering them. Here they are, as follows:

1. What drew you to the idea of becoming a librarian?

I've always loved reading, and after I had taught public high school for a few years, I knew that I really didn't want to keep doing that forever. I also wanted to further my education. When I was considering my graduate school options, very few graduate degrees in the field of education appealed to me except becoming a school media specialist, so that's what I did. I had worked as a public library aide for five years while I was in undergraduate school, so it was something I was already familiar and comfortable with. I worked in a small library that grew a good bit while I worked there, so I learned how to do everything from cataloging books to weeding shelves.

2. How long did it take you to complete the educational requirements to become one?

It took me about two years to complete my degree and my state certification as a school media specialist. This included doing a semester-long school internship.

3. What was, as you call it "library school" (is that really what it is called?) like? (Tell us about your favorite teacher.)

The official name for my particular school is the School of Library Information Studies (SLIS), but I just called it "library school." Come to think of it, I don't know if this is something I did or if it's something we all did. ;-)

I LOVED library school! It was a good time in our lives since we had the freedom for me to pursue this. The school I attended is about three hours from my home, and most of my classes were held on the weekends since most of the students in the classes were full time teachers, etc. Steady Eddie, my husband, and I would leave early Friday afternoon and I would attend school that night, we would spend the night in a hotel, and I would attend school all day on Saturday. Steady Eddie became very familiar with the college town and he got a lot of reading done, too. :-) I definitely would never have done it without his support! Not every class I took was on that university's campus, though--I had several distance learning classes that took place on two other college campuses (including one inside a private college's BEAUTIFUL library!) and at the satellite branch of my university. We got to do a lot of traveling and become familiar with several different schools.

Since I was in school media (as opposed to public libraries, academic libraries, corporate/law/medical, etc.), I was able to take several children's and YA literature classes, and those were obviously my favorites. In fact, I would take them again today just for fun! Hands down my favorite teacher was Dr. Joan Atkinson, who has since retired from that university. I understand that Dr. Atkinson is well-known in children's and YA literature circles, and her knowledge of and love for those genres really shines through. In addition to all of that, she is a phenomenal teacher, and just an all-around kind person. I want to be like her when I grow up! :-)

4. What was your favorite part about the job?

My favorite part of being a school media specialist (I was an elementary librarian for 2 years before Lulu, my daughter, was born) was definitely sharing the books with the students. It was very gratifying to share a new story with them and see their faces light up, or to recommend a book to a student and have that student return it and tell me that he or she really enjoyed it. Of course, in my state there are a lot of other things that a school media specialist is responsible for, but simply sharing the books was the best part.

5. I've noticed on your site that you first and foremost promote the idea of one using their library. As a book blogger, I've had the impression that the best way to support the book industry is to purchase the books for one's self. How should we reconcile the idea of supporting the book industry and the local library (putting aside arguments of personal budgets, of course)?

That's a real tough one for me and I'm wondering if I just don't get 'how it all works' or something. I'm very curious for the perspective on a librarian (past or present!) on that particular question. You know, this is something I've honestly never thought about. My own blog just blossomed into a book blog--to begin with I didn't have a "niche." My blog truly is a reflection of what we do in our home, so I focus on library books because that's mainly what we read on a day-to-day basis. We do purchase a fair number of books, but there's no way we could keep up with our reading appetites on our budget (or likely anyone else's, for that matter). Since I worked in a public library, I was aware of all the resources public libraries have that are often untapped. I still like to think that I'm supporting authors and the book industry simply by keeping their books in circulation.


Thanks, Amy for your time!

Again, if you haven't checked out Hope is in the Word or participated in Read Aloud Thursday, follow the links to learn more!


  1. Great post! Like Amy's family we could never buy enough books to keep up with our reading appetite. We'd be broke pretty quick if we tried. :)

  2. Great interview! I enjoyed learning more about Amy.

    Your last question really stumps me. I'll be pondering it all day...

  3. Thanks for interviewing me, Carrie! :-)