National Library Week – Friday5 for April 13, 2012

1. What were the libraries at your elementary and high school like?

I went to two different elementary schools, so the short answer is that one was awesome and one sucked. In kindergarten, our library was fantastic – you could pick out whatever books you liked, there was a cool story well to sit in, and our librarian, Mrs. Hewitt, was great. She read us books like Roald Dahl’s The Witches and really encouraged us to read. Then in first and second grade, I went to a school which pigeon-holed readers by grade level. I couldn’t pick anything that wasn’t a first or second grade book, and because I was reading on a fifth grade level in kindergarten, I was bored and my mother was pissed. Fortunately, I went back to the other school for third through fifth grade and was much happier. In third grade I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong and it’s been happily downhill with book (and dragon) addiction ever since.

My high school library was where I spent most of my time working on papers for my AP English class. The librarian was a family friend – she was the widow of a music teacher I worked with in middle school, and her son dated my sister. Every year the freshman had to go through a library orientation that consisted of her dressing in the school colors (complete with a crazy wig) and playing a character named Suzy Goody-Two Shoes, a student who had all the answers to the assistant librarian’s questions about the library’s resources. It was silly but effective. It’s one of the few things I remember about the library 19 years later.

2. What’s interesting about your nearest community library?

It was built and maintained by one of the town’s oldest families, so the history of the family is the history of the library as well.

3. What’s the longest you’ve had an overdue library book?

Maybe four or five months. Our library doesn’t charge overdue fines, but they’ll send you a card in the mail requesting that you either return it or pay the cover price to buy a replacement.

4. Among people you know who aren’t already librarians, who would make a good librarian?

Probably my sister or my mother because they’ve instilled a love of reading in my niece and nephew, and they both have fantastic organizational skills.

5. Who’s your favorite librarian?

Mrs. Hewitt, the librarian I mentioned in the first answer.